As far as I knew, the walking dead didn’t know how to drive a car. So when I found a car picking its way through the carnage on the dual carriage way, I said a quick prayer, hoping that God would listen to me for once. I’d been on my own for far too long, I needed someone to travel with. I was used to a fair amount of madness in my life, but this was... well, it was a zombie apocalypse, wasn’t it?
It wasn’t hard to catch up with the car. It was quiet out here, too far from towns. I’d learnt staying out of built up areas was a good idea, but it was lonely. Survivors always gravitated to a town, hoping for shelter or food, or maybe even a shower, but they were just walking straight into a trap of corpses that would get up and eat you.
Still, I wasn’t enjoying being alone, even if my solitude meant I hadn’t seen a zombie in days. I picked my way through the wreckages, walking over the roofs of abandoned car after abandoned car.
I knew this stretch of road pretty well – if there were any zombies here, I’d be surprised. I still felt tense, though. I’d lost my last weapon hunting dinner a couple nights ago, so being without was making me feel a bit on edge. Hell, I could be walking towards people that would sooner kill me than consider letting me travel with them, but what could I do?
I thought I was seeing things when I saw someone walking towards us. I was driving pretty slow, just because there was so much shit in the way on the roads, but fast enough to out run an uninterested walker. The interested ones could fucking run when they wanted to, trust me.
I thought it was a walker at first, one that had just somehow ended up on the top of the cars, but they were too steady on their feet for that.
“Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” I asked Sophia, pointing out the window at the figure heading for us.
She looked in the direction I pointed, kinda listlessly. I was beginning to worry she hadn’t told me everything, or that she was having second thoughts about being near me. Maybe she was regretting her decision. Maybe I shouldn’t have made him suffer so much. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I’d been playing a game of “what if” in my head for the last day or so, and all I’d managed to do was give myself a headache and make myself angry.
Joe was sat in the back of the car learning how to clean a gun with me glancing in the rear view every now and then telling him how to take it apart and put it back together. So he was kept busy for most of the ride until we came across the stranger in the road.
“Looks like they’re alive, whoever they are,” Sophia said. I frowned at her tone. It was... dulled. I didn’t know how to make it better and it frustrated me more than I thought it would, but I had to push that thought aside.
“Stop!” I heard the stranger calling as he neared us. “Please, wait for me.” I slowed, narrowing my eyes a little. I didn’t like it. Maybe it was just my mistrust of just about everyone, but my mind instantly jumped to him somehow mugging us and taking everything for himself. What if he wasn’t alone?
The man in the driver’s seat didn’t look like he was fit to be behind the wheel of a vehicle. His arm looked like it had been through a fair bit of abuse. His sleeves were only rolled up to the elbows, so I couldn’t see the extent of the damage, but it looked nasty, whatever had happened to him.
I hoped he had managed to keep it clean enough.
The car stopped and he rolled down the window. “You alone?” he asked. American. I hoped he hadn’t been here on holiday or anything when this all happened. I’d have hated to be abroad somewhere and away from home.
“Yeah,” I nodded. Suddenly there was a gun pointing at me out of the window. He took the safety off, his eyes never leaving me.
“Sure you’re alone?” I put my hands up, my heart rate accelerating at an alarming rate.
“Definitely on my own out here. Not even a zombie for a mile either side of us. More or less.” I flashed him a nervous smile, trying to diffuse the icy cold look he was giving me. When he was satisfied I was telling the truth, I realised the same thought had crossed his mind as it had mine. I tried to fortify my smile. “I take it you’ve been burned by other survivors, too.” If anything his scowl got darker. Touchy subject, then. Okay. Deep breath. “Look, I’ve been on my own for a long time, I’m going crazy out here on my own. I was beginning to think I’d never see another live human being again. I was hoping I might be able to travel with you for a while.”