Word Count: 1,188
By the time we had got back to the staff room, the radio had crackled twice. We didn’t have time to stop and listen and try and change the frequency because the place was still crawling with fucking zombies. You couldn’t catch a break at all these days.
We made it back relatively unscathed. The others were a lot more interested in the radio than the other supplies and I dumped them, still in the bag, by the sofa and passed David the object that right now had as much value as gold dust. You’d think so anyway, the way they were all gathered round it. I was a little more pessimistic, well realistic. I had been around radios in the first days of the apocalypse and they had brought nothing but lies and bad luck. The broadcasts they had done were total bullshit, promising nothing but death.
I was taken back to the hotel room in my mind where Mum and Dad and I were listening to the news reports and prisoners in the hotel room. My heart ached. I could have prevented their deaths so easily; why hadn’t we just stayed in that hotel room? Why hadn’t I gone downstairs to the lobby with them? Why was I so fucking incapable?
I shoved myself off the sofa and joined David, wanting to get away from my thoughts.
‘Is it working?’
‘Not yet,’ he scowled. ‘We keep getting white noise.’
‘Maybe it’s on the wrong frequency,’ Carol suggested.
‘We’ve tried every frequency that’s available I-’
‘…in Riverton, Wyoming…’
‘GO BACK!’ Eloise practically screamed.
David held the radio up close to his ear and shushed everyone. We all waited with bated breaths; I was trying to not get my hopes up but the voice was telling us something. Wyoming hadn’t been mentioned before on the broadcasts, it couldn’t be new…could it?
‘…camps for public safety. Armed guards….patrolling the perimeter….safety.’
It crackled out and died completely.
Immediately, everyone was talking.
‘Riverton in Wyoming it said,’ Richard spoke. ‘Should we head there?’
‘How can we guarantee its safety?’ Carol pointed out. ‘This broadcast could be old.’
‘Daddy what did the radio man say?’
‘David that’s where the others were based, maybe they’re helping out?’
The possibility of a safe haven was dangled in front of us all again, just like this hospital was. I didn’t know what I wanted to do; if we left for the camp we’d be out of these narrow four walls and would get the chance to interact and socialize with other survivors but then if we left and Cancer came back… Cancer wouldn’t come back. He was stubborn. He was probably miles across America by now. The bastard took the car and the rest of the supplies though; it was a damn good job Eloise and David had a vehicle.
‘Alright!’ David held up both his hands, quietening everyone. ‘We should probably vote on this. If you want to leave the hospital and try Riverton, raise your hand.’
I put my hand in the air, along with Eloise and David.
‘And if you don’t…’
Richard and Carol raised their hands. Alicia looked up at her father, confused.
David cast a glance at Alicia and then at Richard who shook his head. David ignored him and crouched down so he was eye level with the little girl. ‘Sweetie, it’s time someone asked you what you wanted to do. Where do you want to go?’
She looked at us with her big blue eyes and once again up at her father. What she said surprised us all I think: ‘I want to leave this place.’
She wasn’t afraid to have her own opinion. Richard held onto his daughter and pulled her back gently.
‘You can’t ask her things like that, she’s too young.’
‘She’s capable of making up her own mind,’ I said. ‘If she wants to leave this place as well you’re both outnumbered.’
The look Richard gave me right then might have frightened me at any other time but right now I simply didn’t care. I didn’t really want to interfere in how he brought his daughter up but I just thought that in times like these she was going to see a lot worse and needed to start speaking up, preparing herself for what was to come. I had had to grow up quickly and I knew she would have to do the same. It was sad, but it’s the way things were nowadays.
It was decided that we would leave the following day; there was no point setting off in the night time it was too dangerous. I don’t think anybody slept properly that night; I heard the murmurings of Alicia and Richard and I also heard the planning that Eloise and David were doing. I spent the night staring up at the ceiling, waiting for the sun to rise.
When it did, we were ready.
David led the group; I stayed in the middle and Eloise brought up the rear. Richard clutched Alicia’s hand tightly and Carol carried a knife close to her, looking petrified the entire journey. We only came across a few zombies this time and we were prepared. The car was outside, but once we got to the doors we saw that it was going to be a problem.
The parking lot had gotten a lot busier since we had gotten there. Luckily, there were quite a way away from the car so we stood some chance at least of getting there unharmed. We would have to be quick though.
‘Alright, Eloise you go first. Richard and Alicia you follow, then Carol. Joe and I will be at the back. Make sure you run fast, okay?’
We all nodded, terrified. I had a knot in my stomach, but I was becoming used to it. I checked my gun had enough ammo and Eloise threw the doors open and we were all exposed. We got maybe halfway there before the first sprinter noticed us. I fired my gun at it, missed completely and this caught the attention of several others. David managed to fire a bullet straight through its head and yelled at us all to hurry.
Richard was carrying Alicia in his arms and she was sobbing into his shoulder. Carol managed to plant her knife into a zombie who had gotten a little too close for comfort. She was completely unarmed though.
Eloise managed to get the car doors unlocked and we all piled in. David cried out suddenly and I noticed a zombie had latched onto his leg. He couldn’t shoot it properly; it was at the wrong angle. I placed the barrel of my gun against its temple and pulled the trigger. An explosion of blood and brains splattered us and I fought the urge to vomit. I helped him inside and pulled the door shut.
The car lurched forward and we were all thrown against the seat.
Eloise sped us all out of the parking lot and I watched the zombies try and shamble after us. That had been far too close for my liking.