"Run," I yelled, grabbing my friend by the sleeve of her shirt, "I said you have to run!" Finally getting back to her feet she started running behind me. Taking out the last bullet I had in my pocket I loaded my gun and aimed it behind me, finally killing the zombie that had been chasing us.
Walking through yet another abandoned town looking for anyone we could we had made too much noise and attracted the attention of a couple zombies. We ran down the road and took care of most of them but one was persistent and kept chasing us.
After finally killing it we stopped for a second to catch our breath and get things together. Putting my gun back in the holster on my leg I took off my backpack to grab a drink of water then handed it to my friend. Pushing on I put my bag back on and we started walking, again. That's all we had been doing for the last few years since everything started, or I guess more of ended. All of my friends were dead, turned in the beginning and I was the one who had to show them mercy. My friend, Hayley, I had met about six months ago. We decided it would be better for us to team up and find anyone we could. We never had much luck in any town, only stopping to restock ammo and the essentials.
"Come on Hayley," I said when I looked over and saw disappointment on her face. We decided to just keep walking down this road to see if there was another town nearby and we honestly didn't know what else to do. We had been walking for only a moment when I saw three cars sitting on the side of the road. I had hope again as I saw people around all the cars. They were standing close to the edge of a hill that over looked the city. I had always enjoyed the country side more than the rush of a busy city.
"Hey, need some road side assistance?" I asked as Hayley and I made our way closer to the group.
"Can we help you?" one of the men asked. He seemed almost like to be the man in charge and everyone looked to him for an answer.
"Nothing in particular, just my friend and I haven't seen actual living people for about four months. My name is Raven, this is Hayley," I said introducing myself, "You guys look like you need help getting some gas."
"Can we get this moving a little faster," I heard someone yell from behind one of the cars. I immediately recognized that voice. I pushed past everyone and walked over to the car he was standing next to.
"Murphy?" I asked as I stood in front of him. I knew I looked different from the last time he had seen me but I knew he would know me. It had been so long since I had seen him, since before I had left for college.
"Raven?" he asked like he couldn't decide whether he was right or not. I immediately jumped on him and gave him the tightest hug I could. He was a little hesitant at first but soon he joined in on the hug. Once we let go of each other he took a step back and cleared his throat and glanced over at the group in the road.
"I take it you know her," the older looking man with the suspenders asked.
"Yea, from before the apocalypse," Murphy said walking away to get into one of the cars.
"Well?" the red headed woman about my age asked.
"She is my sister," Murphy mumbled as he shut the door. I turned and looked at everyone not really knowing what to say.
After and awkward few minutes of trying to fill everyone in since Murphy wouldn't talk they were quick to let us join their group. I was happy Hayley and I were able to find people to help us with the way the world is now. I had given up hope long ago but it was quickly restored once we met this group. After introductions we had all decided to see what could be done about the gas situation.
"All these cars and not a drop of gas," Warren said as she stood on top pf a car with Garnett. I was walking around with Doc trying to restock whatever we could find. I took my bag off to see what I was low in and decided whatever I could stuff in my bag I would take.
"So what's your name? You're kind of quiet," I asked the guy next to me as I raided the backseat of a car he was trying to siphon gas from.
"Ten thousand," he said without skipping a beat, like it was a normal name. I stopped and looked at Doc in confusion hen back to the guy next to me.
"That's not a name that's a number," I said giggling and nudging him slightly.
"Well it's mine, I made it myself," he said still not breaking his concentration in what he was doing.
"I guess you'd have to, does it mean anything?" Doc asked sneaking something into his pocket. I laughed as he winked at me, knowing what he just stuck in his pocket.
"How many zombies I'm going to kill," he replied, Doc and I both stopped and looked at him.
"Well, that's a lot," I said ending what I was doing and shut the car door.
"I'm already at 1,055," he said like it was nothing. Doc and I both stopped and turned to look at the guy.
"Damn," we both said, me shaking my head in disbelief, Doc asking, "What happened when you hit 10,000?
"Change my name," he said as he walked by the both of us to the next car.
"To what, 20,000?" Doc asked laughing at his own joke.
"Jeff," 10k said as he stood in front of a car, "I like the name Jeff."
"Where has everyone gone? We haven't seen anyone except those bikers and the girls," Warren said asking the question I was thinking. I had always wondered what happened to everyone, surely there were survivors somewhere.
"Black Summer, everyone starved to death," Garnett informed us. I hadn't thought about that. I had slowly started tuning everyone out and looking through the cars one last time when I noticed something moving. I quickly grabbed my gun on my leg and aimed at the person climbing through the car.
"Guys," I said getting everyone's attention.
"Whoa whoa whoa," the guy said standing up straight, "Peace, alive, no bite marks here."
"Where's your friend," Garnett asked eyeing the guy over.
"Turns out he had other friends of his own with lower morals. Stole my ride," the man said.
"You should choose better friends," Cassandra said grabbing the guys attention.
"Good…" the guy started once he looked over to Cassandra, "Advice." I saw the way he looked at her and I knew something was up.
"What can we do for you?" Warren asked getting to the point. I decided to holster my gun again but keep an eye on him, this guy was a creep.
"Just a lift, don't want to be out here when it starts to get dark," the guy said.
"Sorry we don't run a taxi service," Murphy said sarcastically, that was the same Murphy I knew growing up.
"Which direction are you headed?" Garnett asked completely ignoring my brother.
"Word is there is a horde headed south on the New York side. I see you guys are scrimmaging fro gas, I know where you can fill up."
"Now would be the time to share that," Garnett said.
"A place called Jersey Devil Refinery, maybe five miles off the turnpike," the guy shrugged.
"How do you know there is gas there," Warren asked still holding her gun in his face.
"Got run over day one, gas tanks full just rusting away," the man explained. Everyone just eyed him trying to decided if he was telling the truth or not.
"Alright, take us to the refinery and if there is gas there than you can ride with us to the next outpost," Garnett finally decided. I personally didn't like this decision and I could tell one or two others didn't either.
"You guys won't be sorry," the guy said as he bent down to pick up his gun again. I quickly got on guard as Doc and 10k aimed their guns.
"You got that right," Warren said as she picked his gun up herself. Garnett began telling everyone who was going to ride with who as we all made our ways back to the cars. I quickly got into the truck sitting in-between Cassandra and Doc in the front. Murphy, Addy and Mack in the back seat and Hayley in the truck bed with 10k.
"So are we just going to pick up every sketchy stranger we come across," Cassandra said to everyone in the truck.
"Hey I resent that," I said giving her the stink eye.
"Yea, we picked you up didn't we?" Murphy said, I could tell he was annoyed by everything about this.
"We're not really going to California with this guy are we?" Mack asked leaning up between Doc and me.
"Why is Murphy going to Cali?" I asked. I had heard several mentions about it but no one ever told me why he was going.
"The apocalypse is a lot like rehab kid, just take it one day at a time and do what is next, right now that's getting gas," Doc said ignoring my question once again.
"We're doomed," Murphy said. He had always been one to look on the darker side of the situation.
"So, Raven, what was it like growing up with old Murphy here," Doc said laughing slightly to himself.
"A lot of what you see actually, he hasn't changed much," I said glancing back to see him glaring at me.
"How would you know you never saw me after you left," he said resentfully.
"Hey, blame that one on your mother," I said turning around and adjusting my army jacket around me.
"She was your mother too," he said quietly.
"No, she wasn't. When she told me if I was going to leave for college to never come back she stopped being my mother," I explained. I could tell the tension was rising and everyone was getting uncomfortable.
"Then what about me, I'm your brother and you couldn't be bothered to see me," he said and I could tell he was letting his anger get the best of him now.
"I tried ok, I tried to make amends with her but she stopped talking to me, she stopped seeing me and wouldn't tell me anything about how you were, I tried Murphy," I said and I knew I had gotten him with that one.
The rest of the car ride was relatively silent so I decided to lay my head back and close my eyes for a second. It had been a long time since I felt this safe and I was going to take full advantage of it. However it didn't seem long until Doc was waking me up saying we were here. We all were silent as we pulled up to the haunting buildings we saw the machinery and all the Z's.
"This isn't a refinery it's a zombie factory," Murphy said as he rolled down the window and leaned out to get a better view.
"Fracking zombies," I heard 10k say and couldn't help but chuckle. He didn't say much but when he did he was funny.
"They must want something in there really bad," I said looking around and wondering how we were going to do this.
"It's the sound, like bees to honey," Cassandra explained.
"Or Z's to shit," Murphy chimed in. I just turned and looked at him rolling my eyes.
"Did you know about this?" Warren asked turning to the new guy. Hayley had finally gotten out of the back on the truck and brought my bag to me. Thanking her I opened my bag and grabbed one of the few bottles of water I had taking a sip then handing it to her. She never fared well since I had met her, honestly I was surprised she had lasted as long as she did before I met her.
"Hey, all the easy gas is gone," the guy said. I was starting to like this bastard less and less.
"So, brilliant plan," Murphy said, "Die, get eaten, go home early?"
"What's that smell?" I asked zipping my bag and putting it back on.
"Zombies, gasoline, both highly flammable so no firearms of any kind," Garnett said. I snapped the latch over my gun on the holster on my leg and instead pulled the duffle bag that Hayley always carried out of the back of the truck.
"In that case I have the perfect weapon," I said smiling up at 10k. unzipping the bag I pulled out my favorite weapons of choice, an axe we had taken from a town when Hayley and I first teamed up and a bow with as many arrows as I could stuff in the quiver. Taking my bag off and placing it in the back of the truck I got ready for what was ahead of us. Sticking the axe on my belt loop I strapped on the quiver and slung the bow across my chest.
"Where did you get all this?" Doc asked as he walked over and looked through the bag.
"We raided a weapons store a few weeks after we teamed up. Kept it with us ever since," I said as Doc pulled out a bat, "Don't loose my bat," I told him zipping up the duffel bag and throwing it in the back of the truck as well.
"So how do you want to handle this? Warren asked as I walked up a little closer so I could hear.
"First we need to turn off whatever is making that noise," Garnett said with authority, I liked this guy.
"Ok, some kind of pump but where?" Warren asked.
"Follow the zombies," Mack said speaking up.
"Yea, they all seem to be going up that catwalk," I added, getting a glare from Mack, I could tell he didn't like me.
"We will go up there and check it out," Addy added.
"Ok, after that we need a noise that draws the Z's away from the pump so we can get to the gas," Garnett added.
"Sorry, left my guitar back at Camp Blue Sky," Doc joked.
"Car horns?" I asked trying to throw out ideas.
"No, they will just head this way," Mack countered grabbing a shovel.
"Yea, so will every dead head within ear shot," Warren added. I tried to rack my brain of any information I could think of.
"I have something," Cassandra said as she pulled something out of her bag, "Zombies like high pitched sounds, the more musical the better." Winding something small up she held it up as it started playing music and it was like magic. All the Z's seemed to forget the loud banging and searched around for the music. I stood there in awe.
"Well, learn something everyday," I said as she put it back in her bag.
"Great, you'll be the decoy," Garnett started only to be interrupted by the new guy.
"I'll go with her," he said.
"I don't need his help," she countered quickly. I knew something was up with the two of them.
"No, you'll need him to keep cover for you. Start the music once you get to the top of the cat walk," Garnett was saying giving the group orders. I saw 10k sneaking off to the side and I decided to follow him, he would need back up just as much as anyone else and being a couple stories higher I could snipe anything with my bow, making sure to keep an eye on Hayley and Murphy and Doc. I told Hayley to stay with Doc and Murphy and to keep safe while the others did what they needed.
Using my axe for the first two floors I had finally cleared out all the zombies that I could but I had yet to see 10k. Setting up where I could see Mack and Addy as well as Doc and the others in the car I put my axe back on my belt loop and grabbed my bow, getting an arrow out of the quiver. I wasn't as close to Mack and Addy as I was to the car but I kept an eye on them. I wasn't keeping an eye on my surroundings like I should have and before I knew it something grabbed my shoulder. I yelped and spun around pointing the arrow I had pulled at whatever had grabbed me. Turning around I realized it was 10k holding his hands up in defense as I had an arrow pointed at his head. I quickly lowered it and put the arrow back in the quiver.
"Sorry," he said innocently putting his hands down and stuffing what looked like a sling shot into his back pocket.
"You scared the hell out of me," I said letting out a deep breath and laughing. He smirked and said he was sorry again and told me he had found some small gas tanks that were full but needed help carrying them all. One last look at Doc trying to kill all the Z's I saw that he was having trouble with one of them. Pulling my arrow back out and aiming I was going to kill the zombie but by the time I had everything aimed 10k had already killing it with his slingshot.
"1,058," 10k said picking up another rock to sling. Before he could however I shot a Z through the neck cause it to drop instantly. Hesitating I turned and realized there was another Z.
"Keep helping them I got this one," I said as I took an arrow out and stabbed the Z with it, dropping him instantly. Pulling the arrow back out of the Z I aimed with my bow and shot another I saw coming around the corner. After killing it 10k grabbed my arm and ran towards where the gas was needed.
We had just picked up the tanks when all of a sudden we heard a loud crash.
"That cant be good," I said as 10k and I both stopped and looked at each other. We both grabbed the tanks a little tighter and started running as fast as we could back to the truck. As we ran back the way we had come I didn't see the car with Murphy, Hayley and Doc and I knew something was wrong. Coming down the stairs and getting a better look I noticed Garnett and Murphy trying to get away from the van before it blew but there were Z's in their way. Luckily 10k saw the same thing I did and dropped the tanks he had grabbing his slingshot and whatever he could find as a weapon, killing the zombie.
"1,062," he said turning to me and smiling as he picked up his tanks again just as there was another explosion. Telling him we needed to hall some ass we ran as fast as we could to the truck.
"There they are," I heard Hayley yell as 10k and I made it around a corner.
"We found these, or actually 10k found them," I said as I set them down before I dropped them.
"Kids, you two are sent from the Gods," Doc said as he helped us load the tanks into the truck.
We had done it, we got the gas we needed and was one more step closer to getting my brother where ever it was that he was needing to go, I still needed to figure that out. Once we all loaded into the truck everyone had piled into the back leaving Doc, Warren, Garnett and my brother inside the truck with me. I was sitting in the back in-between Doc and Murphy. My brother however was leaned up against the window asleep.
"So now that Sleeping Beauty is unconscious I have a few questions," I said looking between Warren and Garnett.
"Alright?" Warren said turning around to look at me after eyeing Garnett. I'm sure they knew this was coming.
"Why does my brother need to get to California so bad?" I asked looking from Murphy to Warren.
"Honestly we don't know the details. But we do know he may be the only thing that can save mankind," Garnett said blatantly.
"Save mankind?" I asked in complete disbelief, "We are talking about the same Murphy right?"
"He was injected with some experimental drug right before the place he was in got over run with zombies," Doc told me, "Got bit eight times." Doc motioned towards his torso pointing to where Murphy had been bit. I was at a complete loss, I had no idea what to think. My brother, apparently the savior of humanity, had been bitten by zombies eight times but was still alive and just the same brother. I did the only thing I could think of at the time, I turned and looked at my brother, smacking him on the arm waking him out of his sleep.
"What the hell Raven?" Murphy yelled swatting my hands away as I tried smacking his arm even more.
"What the frick Murph?" I yelled smacking him one last time getting a huff and confused look from my brother, "Experimental drug? Zombie bites? Show me!" Before I realized it I had the attention of the whole truck, everyone inside and out. Looking from Warren and Garnett in front and Doc behind me he let out a sign of defeat and started lifting up his shirt. Lifting it as high as he could I saw all the bites I wanted to see. Running my fingers over a couple of the bites I still couldn't believe this was true.
"Bastards got two of my ribs there," Murphy said laughing awkwardly and pointing to one of the larger bites. I couldn't believe it and pulled his shirt down.
"So what does California have to do with this?" I asked holding back the rage the best I could.
"There is a lab there that can clone his blood and hopefully recreate the drug he was given," Warren explained, she had changed from the hard calculating National Guard to more of a motherly tone and I knew she felt bad for me.
"Well, I guess its California or nothing."