It felt like forever I was laid on the cold concrete with my eyes closed waiting to be chomped upon, I never heard a set of tyres screech to a halt, I did however hear the gunshot and it wasn’t mine, there are few things in this hell to be thankful for but feeling that warm hit my face was one of them allowing me to open my eyes, been sprayed in the face by brainless blood and brain matter isn’t a good thing per say but this is.
“Move it Alex!” I heard barked out recognising the voice and of course not been dumb enough to remain here as a second shot rang out, I take a minute to look around a gap has opened back toward my truck and that’s the direction I go, instinctively heading for the rear where the three bars are welded to back to allow me up onto the roof. Only now do I lie flat on my stomach and pluck the rifle from the cab through the window. I settle onto my stomach and set up the rifle, scanning round I count less than a dozen I’d have to clear to get back to the diesel can, and my train of thought is interrupted
“What the hell were you doing back there?!” Snaps Reds voice over the radio which was in my back pocket, I yank it free and hit the talk button “Waiting to die?”
“Don’t be clever you asshole, where’s Lucas? We saw his monitor go dark and tracked you back to here when you stopped we came out after you” She snaps back, she is smart but doesn’t react well to her instructions not been followed, we are both charged with keeping our group alive, not by choice merely by definition it seems, but she is the one who likes to keep everyone alive, she’s good at it too, it washer who set the rule of never going out alone and if one of you goes down you return to base to regroup.
“We need the fuel, it looked clear, I was wrong” I replied, a matter of fact tone that was true.
“And yet here they are” She replied
“Yea, so it seems” I replied as I pulled the trigger the brainless in my sights snaps back and collapses, a perfect headshot, much easier with a sniper rifle though. I swing the rifle left a little and line up the next, another shot another drop. Reds gun rang out and another hit the ground, then it occurred I hadn’t seen a second with her.
“Who’s with you anyway?” I barked over the radio,
“George, he’s keeping the engine idle in case we had to grab and go” She replied and that was me told. I didn’t bother to check merely lined the last one up and took the shot.
“Cover me while I get that fuel, if that fence goes down, me breaking the rules won’t count for anything anyway” I stated then scrambled down off the truck making for the huge can of fuel midway between the truck and the petrol station. Back to rolling it toward the truck I go and it took what seemed like forever to get there, as I got to the back of the truck I noted George waiting with the rear doors open the sickly smell of diesel flooded out and between us we hoisted the heavy can up into the rear compartment and slammed the doors shut.
“That’ll buy us a day at best” George noted sullenly looking back to the petrol station “There’s more?”
“Yes, about half a storage tank or so, we’ll have to come back though, bigger team and the tanker drain it in one go” I replied with a shrug, a slap to the back of my head told me I’d been joined by Red “We have radios for a reason”
“Yea we have them but short range creates a world of problems, the mobile towers are hit and miss, we needed the fuel, I made a choice, it was a bad one, I’m sorry” I replied
“I’m sorry about Lucas” She stated softly and I nodded “Let’s get back”
I climbed back on the roof to retrieve my rifle then climbed into the truck, well truck isn’t quite right it’s one of those armoured cars, you know the ones they use for transporting money, and it has severed me well in the year I’ve had to endure this nightmare that simply gets worse. The tyres screeched as they found traction and I pulled in behind the 4x4 my partner drove. We made our way back to Ashcroft Farm but didn’t exchange another word between the petrol station and the Farm at all.
So while I make the drive I’ll fill in some more of the gaps for you, they tracked me using monitors, which are actually tracking bands, we used to use them in the games so we knew where the dead and players were at all times, now we use them for those out in the field, George was able to patch them into the mobile networks so we have better range, they can track up to 20 miles now versus the shorter ranges we sued to have, back in the early days we lost people because we had to take bigger risks with these bands we know where everyone is and if one goes dark we will send a team to extract the survivor. Most of the time there are hot zones where if you get stuck you’re probably not coming back.
It’s hell out here but we have a good community, we have a farm and plenty of land encased by huge chain-link fences which are then hooked to our generator, the current isn’t enough to kill but it’ll hurt like hell and throw you back a few feet. When we started the current would kill but the amount of power required to keep it that high just rips through our fuel supply and as you can imagine that’s not helpful when you’re trying to survive, so we dialled it down and found a balance that allows us to keep the house powered, the fence and a few camper vans and caravans as well.
The fields we grow vegetables, some fruits as much as we can to keep us sustained but we still have to bring in canned goods and anything frozen we can find, we also liberated several huge freezers which sit in the barn, right now we have around 70 people on site so rationing what we have isn’t always needed your responsible for your own supplies and the rest is controlled by James and Josephine, they are in essence our shopkeepers. It isn’t perfect, arguments arise but it works. Me and Red have final say either way, again I didn’t want this but it sort of happened by default.
The gates to the farm slid apart and we drove in as always I pulled off to the side then backed across the pathway and brought the truck to a halt, George was already waiting to unload the fuel with his son they’d take it up to the generator and get it loaded in keeping our safe haven, safe for another day. I headed for the house and my room to go clean up, I still had both the brainless blood and Lucas’ blood on me from my eventful raid in the open world, our policy is to destroy such clothes so that contamination cannot occur, as I mentioned just because your bit doesn’t mean you turn and we have an area for that if needed. You get two days in there if you don’t turn we let you out and you return to your duties, if you turn well you’re put down. I used to be one room but we had issues with people turning and not turning and it just got messy so now the one room is divided into four, we never have more than four people in the field at one time anyway so it works. I finished my shower then changed back into jeans and t shirt and headed for the kitchen where with a glare Red is waiting for me.
“I already said I’m sorry” I snapped, I don’t want another engagement but I’d broken my own rule so the telling off I was about to get is probably deserved, but then I’m one of few who is usually operating double standards anyway, I will take risks for the good of the group like the fuel. If we didn’t need the fuel I’d have come back after Lucas died, we were in town trying to track down a fire truck, our plan to convert it into a bigger more portable fuel grabber of sorts, fill the fire truck then fill the tanker, unfortunately the fire station wasn’t empty and things went south for us.
“I know, but we need to figure how to get the rest of that fuel, Joe recons he can get the tanker running, Annie says we have enough ammo for a raid if needed” Red looked at the map then at me “You up for it?”
“Always” I reply with a grin “Six of us, me on the truck, Annie on the tanker, you on the four-by, George and James on the fuel grab, start the drain and then hold out in the tanker until it’s done. Anything that comes we should be able to hold off. It sounds solid”
“According to Google Earth we should be able to do it by having people” She pointed out the locations on the map on her tablet, the plan looked good and solid, of course what looks good usually goes sideways, so we spent the next hour refining down the plans.