The foul rumbling snarl of the walking dead around him had faded to a tolerably quiet roar - either that, or Cancer had simply gotten used to the idea that he was temporarily trapped in the back of the truck. He huddled amongst upended boxes of tinned fruit, back resting on what should’ve been the roof. Idly turning a can of peaches over and over, he was left with little else to do other than retreat back inside his own mind.
Survival had been little more than a game to him before the zombie apocalypse marched right out of the realm of fiction and into reality. Now, all the rules of that game had changed.
His skin was itching, developing a light sheen of sweat, in spite of the night’s cold air rolling in through the thin slit between the truck’s back doors. The ends of the shoelace holding them closed drifted listlessly as another sigh of wind caught them. The urge to curl up and sleep away the horrors of what lay beyond those doors in a heroin induced coma for a while was more than tempting.
But his thoughts were spiked with memories of Rayn’s childlike grin. He closed his eyes, exhaling slowly. He couldn’t just give up on the idea that his only friend might still be alive.
The kid acts all dumb and innocent, but he’s not. He never has been. He has to be alive, Cancer thought, chewing on the chapped skin of his lower lip, he has to be.
As that thought slipped from his mind, it changed abruptly to anger. His fist curled, uncut nails digging into the bony palm of his hand. It was occurring to him that he had abandoned Rayn. Again. A coppery taste dripped between his teeth. Blood was pooling in tooth-shaped dents in his lip, making him wince a little as the pain made itself known.
The self directed anger was beginning to win the internal war between the need to find Rayn and the urge to stay in the truck and get high. It was incredibly close, but the thought that he might have failed Rayn for a second time was enough to make him move.
After stashing a few tins in his backpack, he moved towards the doors, cautiously looking outside. There were still zombies shuffling around, still too close for comfort. But this new motivation was propelling him inexorably forward. With one hand, he steadied the bottom door, yanking the shoelace free with the other. Slowly, slowly, he began to lower the door, fighting against its weight, desperate to prevent it from betraying his movements to the moaning herd that surrounded him.
Once the door was safely down on the ground, he peered out again to make sure he hadn’t been noticed. His aching fingers quickly relaced his shoe, before checking that he still had all his weapons easily accessible. Heart thudding uncomfortably, he crept out from the relative safety back out into the infested street.