Long Road AheadMature

Six months ago civilization came to a messy end, devoured by the undead flesh machines that infested the world. Now, survivor Arthur Crowe is on the run after a devastating attack on his new community. Can he not only survive but link up with others and rebuild his shattered world? If you would like to add simply write a new character in, no constraints on who they are, where they are, or if they know Arthur.

Snow; the snow was everywhere, an undisturbed blanket of white that hid a disturbing world beneath it. Blood soaked cars; abandoned belongings; bodies of men, women and children.

Arthur eyed the remains of humanity from the cab of his truck and tightened his grip on the wheel; the stretch of highway ahead was clogged with dead vehicles. The diesel engine growled as its truck slowed and stopped four car lengths from the edge of the rusted metal graveyard.

The gearshift clunked as Arthur slammed the vehicle into park and rested his forearms on the wheel. The engine purred as he buried his face in his hands, the events of the last twelve hours threatened to drag him down into the depths of despair.

“No,” Arthur growled to the empty cab. “I have to keep going!”

The heater sputtered but otherwise the truck remained silent, keeping whatever criticisms or encouragements it had to itself. Arthur popped the door with a grunt, the truck chirped repeatedly in response.

His breath billowed before him as he stepped into the cold as though he had smoked a cigarette, despite having quit years ago. The door was shut with a thunk and Arthur moved towards the pile up, his shotgun in hand.

The snow crunched around his black boots as he moved closer, the heavy-walled barrel of his Mossberg 590 A1 settled on each of the silent hulks of metal in turn. Once Arthur was sure that he was clear of any immediate threat, he relaxed his posture slightly and moved further into the labyrinth of cars.

I might be able to force a path through here with the plow. Arthur’s eyes lingered on the big yellow blade mounted to the front of the truck; he discounted the thought almost instantly. Hell with using the plow, I’d need a goddamned bulldozer to get through this mess.

     Deep in thought, Arthur began to walk back to the truck when suddenly there was a thump and a hiss behind him. In a fluid motion Arthur turned and raised the Mossberg to his shoulder, taking aim at whatever it was that had landed in the snow behind him.

Arthur knew it was a Moaner before it had even risen, if the hiss didn’t give it away then the grey skin and mangled left side where buckshot had gone through were a dead giveaway.

“Guess somebody already tried to put you down,” the white clad survivor muttered as he pulled the bayonet from its sheathe and clipped it onto the end of the Mossberg. The zombie had staggered to its feet when Arthur came in with a sharp, powerful jab of the scattergun.

The stainless steel blade drove in under the orbit of its right eye socket, past the milky orb and up into the brain. Whatever it was that animated the Moaner disappeared as the bayonet reached the brain and it dropped like a sack of wet laundry. Arthur managed to pull the blade out in time and spared himself the indignity of loosing his weapon to the thing’s head.

The tattered remains of a summer dress clung to the Moaner, ripped so badly around the left side that he could see a part of her left breast. Arthur averted his eyes and started at its face; the eyes that had once held life and then the vile hatred of the undead now stared vacantly into space.

She looked young, maybe twenty-three or four. She must have fled her hometown on Z-Day, maybe with family or friends, only to end up trapped on this stretch of highway, stranded in a sea of cars and a mass of panicked humanity.

After she turned, Arthur wondered if she attacked her family. Maybe that spread of double aught buck in her left side was from a brother, an uncle, or a father. Maybe they stood there with tears in their eyes as they fired, only to be devoured when they failed to destroy her brain.

Or maybe it was just a random stranger, someone who happened to see her and shoot and miss the vital area. Arthur realized that he would never know and his eyes welled up, he would never know if someone had done the same for Renee or if her undead body was roaming around right now, looking for someone else’s flesh to devour.

Arthur scrubbed his face with his free hand, he didn’t even know if Renee was even alive or dead. Renee, Thomas, Levi, Maria and Joe; the people that he had spent the past six months surviving with were gone...missing in the aftermath of the fall of Twin Forks and that gave Arthur no sense of comfort or closure.

The cold had started to creep back a little as he stood there and the smattering of light flurries began to fall at a greater intensity, both were signs of an impending storm.

Arthur quickly wiped his watery eyes and cleaned the bayonet off on the dress before returning it to its sheathe. He slung the 590 over his shoulder and walked back to the running truck, its lights cut a comforting swathe into the dusk.

He had passed an off ramp a mile or two back down the highway, it was there that he hoped he would find shelter for the night and the storm. 

The End

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