The dark red car pulled up to the side of the small store, the breaks caused the crunching of the gravel below it to sound louder than the driver had wanted it too and she visibly cringed. She pulled the hand break roughly and killed the cars engine. Looking over her shoulder to the passenger behind her.
"You've got ten minutes." she told one of them her voice hushed as if the lack of sound from her would help their predicament. Giving a glance to the man sat in the seat beside her she added. "Be quick, and be quiet. I'll remain here." The two others got out of the car, and quietly closed the doors behind them. The last gas station they'd been to had already been ransacked and although this one looked in better condition she didn't want to get her hopes up. Not two minutes into the wait time she flicked the mirror in her direction to get a good look at her face. Life on the run hadn't been kind to her; her short cropped, brown hair was messy, her eyes constantly looked dark with restlessness. Her features carried a worn look to them, and while she'd never claim it herself, her once pretty face now carried a rugged appeal. There was a hard edge to the young woman; a determination that only a survivor could carry. Her nature was normally shrewd and callous and her outlook on the future grim, the world wide events of recent months had turned her even more cynical than she had been before the disaster.
Her hands returned to the steering wheel in front of her, after she flicked the mirror back, and they gripped tightly the leather gloves covering her fingers stretching over her knuckles. The three of the survivors took their turns when it came to foraging for supplies, one always staying in the car in case a quick get away was needed. They'd ran into trouble before at the tragic cost of a former member of the group; her outlook was that death was inevitable and while her lack of compassion for the fallen man hadn't earned her many extra points in the eyes of the others they still agreed that they needed one another.
The groan from behind her made her jump. A noise that she was used to hearing from outside of the safety of the car doors. She froze. The cold grip of fear down her spine locking her in place. Until she heard the slurred speech of the newest addition to their gathering.
"Where am I?" Came the inevitable questioning from the stranger.
"Your safe." came the hard voice of the female driver.
They'd found the man lying by the road side about a week ago, malnourished and half dead. His condition had nothing to do with what had been going on around him and after brief discussion it was decided that they couldn't leave the man there to die. Not even she was that heartless. It had taken a good amount of effort to get his dead weight into the back of the car, but the stop hadn't held them up too much.
The man sat up suddenly on the back seat, and while the driver was pleased to see that he was all right and had finally regained full consciousness she couldn't help but feel wary about him. There was something sinister about him; she couldn't help but feel even more cautious than usual. Tension filled the car as neither of the two spoke to one another. She put her silence down to wanting to give him the space that he needed to figure out his mind. She broke the silence after letting it linger for a fraction too long.
"We picked you up six days ago. You've been coming in and out of consciousness since then. Can you remember your name?" She asked, she already knew his name as she'd read it on the tags that he wore around his neck, but if he could remember all the better for them. Her hand went to touch the tags around her own neck but she refrained and quickly put her hand back on the steering wheel of the car.
The question, her voice. It sounded like an interrogation in the making. He didn't like it.
She gave a glance in the mirror that'd been angled away, looking over the large built man in the back. He looked as awful as she did; if not more so for having spent the past week out of his mind. She could see the defiance for her question on his face and she couldn't entirely blame him for the lack of trust. These were hard times for all involved. She studied him as he shifted into a better position to look out the window. She didn't have much of it to give, but she couldn't help feeling a level of sympathy for the stranger
What he saw confused him; the gas station was run down as hell and the distance behind it barren, like they were in the middle of some sort of deserted wasteland. He frowned, trying to figure out where he was; seeing as the woman hadn't given him the answers. Hadn't he last been in some sort of dense forest? He was sure of it.
His lack of words was infuriating and she added. "Like it or not we are in this mess together, Rambo." The use of his name didn't sound comfortable from her lips for either of them as she'd never been given it, just taken it. "We're going to have to help one another if we're going to survive it."
At her words his hand rose to his head. "Survive?" He asked rather dumbstruck. "Survive what?" he pressed again. His head was pounding and he felt as weak as he did confused. "Six days?" He asked again in disbelief, by all rights he should be dead.
She went to speak, though her words never came as the two other survivors of her group ran towards the car. "Open the door." She yelled to the amnesia driven male behind her, and he complied, quickly moving over so that the other two would have room to get into the back of the car with him. As he did so she turned the key and started the car roaring again. It came to life quickly and just as the second runner towards the car got in she pulled away.
The first into the car was breathing heavily. The other male of the group, he was an older sort in his mid forties. The last member of the group was another woman. A teenage girl and despite the age difference between the two of them they'd been a couple since before the nightmare had been unleashed.
"Good to see you awake." The girl told him, but she was busy looking out of the back window of the car, watching the gas station as they pulled away.
"Did you get anything?" the driver asked. She'd not meant to dodge the questions that the new member of their group had asked her; not entirely. She wasn't exactly certain how to answer it without any visible proof. She'd just be labelled as crazy. Her fingers tightened around the wheel she clung to even harder. Her face turning into a frown.
"A couple of cans, some more water." Said the man looking through a bag that he'd slung onto the floor of the car. He was looking through it. "Some more cigarettes too." he said with a grin.
"They only had one bottle of wine left though, and I call it." Said the young girl with a shrill laugh following it.
The driver rolled her eyes. Whereas she tended to try and find something that would keep the group alive a bit longer, the younger woman seemed to just be out to make the most of her remaining days. It was a different outlook to her own and not one that she could completely understand. What good would it do to get drunk during times like these? She quickly reminded herself that she needed these people and they needed her. That was all there was to it.
She gave a glance in the rear-view at the gas station just as a large horde of shamblers belted down the road after them. The feet of the horrific monsters much faster than the usual uncertain stomping of the undead that they'd come to know. The determination of the followers pushing them onwards. She cursed under her breath. It had been a good few weeks since the group had seen the faster variant; last time had resulted in their loss.
The driver cursed loudly and hit the steering wheel. The lack of composure from her started the older man in the car. Her hand struck the cars horn and the car beeped loudly in the middle of no where.
The young girl moved from where she'd been sat in the back of the car and moved to the front, into the passenger seat. Knowing that although they were being chased by the running undead they'd be able to get away from them; given time.
The older man finally turned to the other and handed him over something edible from the bag. "You must be hungry." He said without question. "We had you on a saline for a while. But we ran out of supplies." he explained. The saline would've kept him hydrated but not nourished, hence the giving of the food.
Rambo took the food, not doubting that he needed the food. "Who are you people? What's going on?" he demanded. The offering of the food did little to appease his bad mood, the tone of which was now being reflected in his voice.
The young girl looked to the driver in her own confusion.
The driver spoke up before the girl could speak on her confusion. "This is Isabelle," She pointed to the young woman next to her; who looked back over the chair to give him a wave.
"John." The older man said offering his hand in greeting, it wasn't taken mostly due to both the man's hands were occupied with opening the wrapper so that he could eat.
"I'm Kiz." The driver introduced herself. She briefly closed her eyes as she tried to think on how to explain what was going on throughout the world. "God turned his back on us."
The car fell to silence a moment after Kiz had stated her overly opinionated view on what had happened to the world.
"Two months ago the dead wouldn't stay dead." John started saying. "They started walking, biting and turning others into more of them."
The look of disbelief that crossed Rambos face was near priceless. He eyed them all suspiciously. His eyes lingering on the view of the driver in the rear view.
"How come you didn't know about it?" Kiz asked, turning the line of questioning on him. Hoping that he was a little more forthright with answers now that they'd all started talking.
"Last thing I remember was being in.." His voice trailed off and the sentence never finished what he'd started to explain. The truth of his last whereabouts were not something he felt he should divulge without having their trust. His lack of explanation wasn't protested as a slamming sounded on the side of the car, one of the running shamblers had somehow caught up with them. Or more likely was a separate that'd heard the cars horn and ran towards them Window nearest the newest member of their entourage. Reacting quickly, Kiz opened the glove box near Isabelle, who'd screamed, and threw a handgun towards Rambo.
"Don't think, just -" She instructed him, her words were not needed as the weapons barrel found it's mark and fired, the window of the car cracking and shattering. The risk to the car worth it. The shambler giving their new addition a good eye-full of what they were up against. The soft flesh squished and imploded on contact, head wound exploding outwards. That was nothing compared to the looks of the monster that'd attacked. Human most certainly, but just as certainly not living. Rambo stared out the window, handgun out in front of him.