I spent my first night huddled up in the branches of a pine tree. All I had with me was the clothes I was wearing, my atlatl and my newly acquired shot gun. I loaded the shotgun by slipping four rounds into the bottom tube magazine then pumped it. That sound is something everybody recognizes and in my opinion, there is nothing sweeter. I loaded one more shell into the mag then slung it on my back and tried to place the rest of my ammunition in my various pockets. My main two pockets would easily hold about six shells each. My other pockets would be too hard to get at under pressure. With the twelve in my pockets and the four in the gun, I was left with nine shells from the first box and the second full box of twenty five. I pulled the six out of my left pocket and put them in my right after a bit of shuffling. I made sure they were easy enough to pull out in a hurry then I stuffed the second box into my left pocket. There was not going to be any way to get to those shells if I needed them. I put the last nine shells in the front pockets of my pants.
I climbed into a tree that I hoped had thick enough foliage to hide me if any of those things had tried to follow me and one that had enough branches so that I could prop myself up against them so I wouldn't tumble out of the tree while I slept.
I woke up several times that night. Sometimes because of the nightmares and sometimes because I'd hear something in the distance. Once I jerked myself awake at the sound of a bunch of coyotes howling. I gripped the gun in my lap tightly as I listened as their voices echo off the hills around me. As eerie as it was, it calmed me down. When I was little, I was woken up a few times from their howling. I always wondered what they were howling at. I used to think that maybe one of them had gotten lost in the night and his family was looking for him. I fell asleep listening to them and didn't wake up again until morning.
I climbed down from my temporary sanctuary and stretched. One of the down falls of sleeping in the safety of a tree is that there isn't a whole lot you can do to adjust yourself without falling. I started walking and tried not to focus on my stomach too much. It started to dawn on me how much of a hardship the road ahead would be. I started a mental list of things I needed to acquire in order to survive. I have writing this list here for reference.
-Change of clothes
-2 pairs of socks, second shirt, warm pants, boxers
-Non perishable food
-Small flashlight & batteries
-Map & compass
-Lighter or water proof matches
-Something reflective to act as a signal
-Water purification tablets
-Wide mouthed large water bottle
-Small first aid kit
-Swiss army knife or multitool
-Secondary fire arm like a pistol & ammunition
-Two way radio
-Copy of Zombie Survival Guide if available
That doesn't even include half of what it takes in order to hold out in one position. At the moment, my attention was focused on finding some breakfast while avoiding becoming it. I walked the better part of the day before I encountered anything at all. As I turned a bend in the road I stopped to listen. I could hear rushing water. Breaking into a run I tried to track down some good old H²O. As I got to the middle of the bend I figured out it was just down the bank on the other side of the guardrail. I jumped over the guardrail without a second thought and proceeded to lose my grip on the large rocks mixed with gravel and tumble twice before managing to stop myself. I sat there for about a minute cursing and grabbing various limbs in pain. I checked my shotgun over. Apart a nick in the paint beside the receiver, it seemed to have fared better than me.
Slowly this time I worked my way down the bank to the water's edge. I drank until my stomach was full and I felt bloated. At least it would take my mind off my empty stomach. I dipped my face in the cold rushing water. It woke me up. My ears pricked. I looked up at the opposite bank where several dead heads had appeared out of the bushes. My right hand flew to the grip of the gun at my side. My eyes locked on them, I wondered for a moment if they had spotted me, then I wondered if I was hopeful or just plain stupid. I did a quick three sixty to make sure none had wondered onto my side of the river. Turning back to face them I rose to my feet and leveled the gun. The closest one began wading into the water. My finger tightened around the trigger as I took aim.
"A few more steps you stupid bastard. That's it. Almost..."
Then he disappeared. I lowered the gun and watched as he was swept away by the current. I stood there and watched three more, their arms waving above their heads as they bobbed down the river. A smile cracked my face as I waved back.