Carole cried out, burying her face in Burt's shoulder. Emma gasped, despair filling her heart. How could this have happened? It couldn't be this bad already, Emma thought. We can't have to do another funeral already. It's only been a day.
Puck had moved the cars and he drove the van in from the gate. "Roz." Emma said, her voice frighteningly small even in this new, quiet world. "What happened?"
The swim coach looked towards her group, not wanting the adults to see her face. "It was chaos. Even worse than Franken-mommy's vajayjay over there." Roz made the joke half-heartedly as if she wasn't in the mood, which truth be told, wasn't far from the truth.
"Start from the top." Emma encouraged, resting a hand on the other woman's back.
"Alright." Roz said, straightening her back and assessing the small group standing in the lot. First at Sue, then Burt and Carole, then Emma, and then…. Roz's mind stopped for a second when looking at the military pilot. He stared back, shaking his head ever so slightly, almost imperceptible to the casual observer. She gave him one last look and cast her gaze towards everyone else. "The top? Y'all sure you want to hear it all?"
"Of course." Sue said, startling everyone with the gentility with which she said the two words.
"It's not pretty. But I guess you figured that out by now…" Roz began.
The hand had a death grip around Roz's neck as she thrashed and tried to yell for help. It seemed to have come through the shelf as the presumed zombie tried to bring her into his awaiting maw. "Help." She managed to choke out before black spots started appearing around her vision due to the dearth of air.
Vaguely she heard and saw Puck rounding the corner of the aisle. "Beast?" She thought she heard him ask.
And then the person let go.
Roz gasped and dropped to the floor, sucking in as much oxygen as she could. "Beast?" someone else asked. Finn this time. But Roz was confused. Why were they suddenly interested in some animal?
"Boys? What the hell are you doing here?" another voice asked. This one was unfamiliar. It was female and not part of her group. No. It was familiar. She knew it anywhere.
"Shannon!" Roz yelped, jumping up onto her feet.
The voice from the other aisle chuckled. "And Roz? I must be hallucinating now."
Roz ran to the end of the aisle and turned down the next, seeing Shannon Beiste standing with the group of boys that she took with her. Wendye and Mindy stood awkwardly at the end of the aisle.
"Hey." Beiste said with a smirk. "Sorry about the whole 'I'm going to choke you to death' thing. Thought you were one of them."
"Shut up." Roz said, grinning wider than any of those in attendance had ever seen her before. "What are you doing here, Shannon?"
Her smile fell and she looked away from everyone, opting instead to stare at the floor. "It's… It's Coot." She said, obviously choking back a sob. "He isn't doing too well."
Finn eyed his coach suspiciously. "What do you mean, Coach?"
"He came home yesterday with a limp, which he said was just because of one of the players, but he got worse and worse, and then… I forced him to take off his shoes, and there it was. Just a small little bite on his ankle that just kept bleedin'. He eventually told me the truth, that one of those things was under his car, and it reached out and got him. We cried for a bit, and I sat right next to him, all through the night until about six this mornin' when he reached over and told me with those horrible, bloodshot eyes, 'Go get a gun. You need to protect yourself, Shannon, and you need to kill me if it comes to that. I love you….' And then he just fell right then. He was still breathin' but I knew it wasn't long. I brought him and I here, and just took one of these off the shelves and sat with him in the back office. He… He stopped breathin' a little while ago." The stoic woman shed only a singular tear in the entire retelling, but her words were full of passion and a love that would never be reclaimed.
No one spoke for a while, all afraid to look at the distraught coach, until Roz finally broke the silence. "Did… Did you do it?"
Beiste swallowed and finally looked at her fellow coach. She said nothing until the faint thudding of a backroom door caught their attention. It was a thud, coming every few seconds as if someone was throwing themselves against a door, which someone (or more likely, something was doing). "I just couldn't…" Beiste said weakly.
"Shannon…" Roz whispered, hand clutched to her chest. It seemed impossible that the strong woman was not able to spare her ailing husband. Emma was strong enough, a fact that still surprised Roz to this very moment. The small stab wound in Will's cranium said it all. "You can't leave him like that. He deserves better."
"I can't!" Beiste yelled, punching her fist out and rattling the shelf. "I try to, and all I see is his face staring back at me… It's not fair."
Roz was at a loss for words. Seeing the normally strong woman so defeated and downtrodden left her with a feeling of utter hopelessness. "Will… He got bitten." Roz said, struggling to find something, anything to say.
The football coach's eyes widened and she gripped the shelf next to her, knuckles instantly turning white. "Will… Oh god. What about Emma?"
"She did it. She stabbed him in the head, before he turned, like the radio told us all to do." Roz said softly. "Shannon…" she drifted, once again at a loss for words. Finally, she reached for a pack of bullets and inserted one in one of the guns she had. In a silent gesture, she handed it to Beiste, who took it. She let only one tear roll down her cheek and walked past Roz into the back rooms.
Roz stood speechless as the sound of Beiste's footsteps receded into the back rooms. She vaguely heard the boys calling her name, but it didn't register. Seeing Beiste, the woman she had always held in such high regard, near her breaking point defeated the swim coach, totally and utterly.
Beiste reached the end of the hallway, the doorway to the office on her right. The rhythmic thudding of her undead husband pounding against the door increased in pce, and with it went her heartbeat, like an iron hammer desperately attempting egress from her body. It was so strange to think that this time two days ago Coot was coming home from his job and she had dinner made. Why were they all treating this so calmly? It seemed so strange-now the world was in turmoil and on the other side of the door that same man was entirely different and she now had to kill him She wished she had done it before her friends had shown up. Now she was a coward, in a world where cowardice was rewarded with a bite to your neck.
The woman sighed nd leaned in to the door. The thudding could be heard loudly through the door now, intermingled with snarls, grunts, and growls. "Coot." Beiste whispered. "I-I know you can't hear me, but listen. I'm safe now. My friends found me, and I'll protect them. I'll protect them better than I protected you." She fell silent, faced with the enormity of what lay in front of her.
"Coach?" Finn asked the silent swim coach. "Earth to Roz?"
"Don't call me that again." Roz growled. "I'm fine."
Wendye and Mindy walked over to the group of teenagers and the seemingly catatonic swim coach. "Excuse us." Wendye said. "We don't mean to be rude, but with her, I think that the car won't be able to fit us all. Mindy's van is parked in the parking deck twenty or so blocks away. Seats eight."
Roz looked at the women. They had a point. Driving downtown in a five-seat car with seven passengers seemed almost comical. "Of course. Makes the most sense at least. When-"
The gunshot that interrupted the conversation made them all jump. Within seconds, Beiste came back, her face impassive and stony. Roz threw her a small smile and apt her on the shoulder. "We'll make a grave for him at McKinley." Beiste nodded, not wanting the trouble, but appreciating the sentiment. "We're going to get Mindy's van from the deck in town." She announced. "We'll split into two groups. Wendye, you'll-"
"Why are we splitting up, Fred?" Puck interjected. "This isn't Scooby-Doo. We're not some ginger that you can boss around because you obviously bang her in the back of the Mystery Machine. We're not splitting up. We've already dug one grave because of that."
Roz set her jaw. "Because, Puckerman, we still need supplies. And one group can get them while the other one is getting the car. We've still got an hour or two of daylight."
Puck crossed his arms. She had a point, but he didn't like it. "Fine. But anyone bites it; it's on you, Mochaccino."
A smirk appeared on Roz's face. "Now, we need Mindy to come because she's got the keys. Dave will come 'cause he's a good shot. Beiste and I will round out that group. Rest of you… Go to the Asian market across the street. See of they've got anything."
"How do we know when to come for you?" Wendye asked.
"Two quick shots, one right after the other." Roz responded after a thought. "And if anything happens… Make it to the train and the railroad crossing."
The group agreed with minimal opposition. It was futile to argue with the swim coach. Everyone eventually nodded in agreement. As they all walked outside, Blaine muttered "This is insane."
"'Bout as insane as that hairstyle, Anderson!" Roz responded from the front.
With the time of day waning, the group quickly set out to ready themselves for the mission ahead. All of the artillery had been loaded to capacity and the guns and ammo had all but been exorcised from the shop. In all, there were forty-seven assorted guns and over twenty-five-hundred bullets. No one said it, but they all realized the absurdity of the situation, surrounding a pile of guns and bullets in the front of a ransacked store. Only Dave, Beiste and Puck had ever handled firearms before, and even that exposure was minimal. All of them had a gun with extra bullets, but the likelihood of them coming in handy outside of a direct shot to the head was slim to none.
Roz was talking to Mindy and Wendye while Finn and Puck were talking in front of the broken store window. With the abysmal state it was in, it baffled them why all of the guns hadn't been taken from it already. Still, though, the streets were empty, a fact that loomed over all of them as they talked.
"So what do you think of those two new chicks?" Finn asked Puck.
"Oh… Them." Puck said distractedly. "They seem fine. Wendye's hot as hell." There was little emotion in his voice.
Fin wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he knew when his best friend was upset. "Puck, what's up?"
"Nothing, just-" Puck began.
"Puck." Finn asserted, dismissing any thought of denial Puck had cooked up.
Puck scowled and said "You get a bad feeling about Washington? Like she's unnecessarily taking control of us?"
Finn frowned, thinking of what the woman had done. Nothing she had done seemed reprehensible to Finn. "No, not really. Sue's pregnant, so she's the most fit adult we have to lead…" Finn stopped, realization dawning on him. "You're jealous aren't you?"
Puck scoffed. "Hardly. I don't like being chained down, bro. And that's what it feels like she's doing."
"Sam said she was good though. Bit of a hard-ass during drills, but likeable." Finn reasoned.
The answer was received with a roll of the eyes from Puck. "Whatever. Let's just make sure we get back to the school alive."
The two walked back over to the group. Blaine and Dave had been talking about the latter's shooting ability and they soon joined as well. They had all been unintentionally talking in clipped whispers and now it was strangely silent once again. Roz began speaking about safety, but most of it was just speculation. They knew so little about the life forms that now ruled the world. Even so, Blaine noticed how she eyed every single person protectively as she spoke. It elicited a feeling of safety. No matter what she was doing, her Eckleburg eyes were always watching over him and Kurt. He laughed inside of himself. Even if it was the end of the world, he was still a hopeless romantic-if he's had the ability, he would've grabbed his fifty-year old copy of The Great Gatsby. It had always been one of his favorites. When he had read his grandmother's ancient editions as a boy, he could relate to Jay's longing for the green light, the love he had wished he had. Now that he had just that, he wondered if the green light still existed. He figured it did-it was just its meaning that had changed.
He drifted out of his thoughts when the group started drifting apart. The plan had been this: the group that went to get the van would walk there, figuring as the others would need the car more if trouble arose. The latter would check out the adjoining shops and wait for two shots fired in quick succession-the signal for them to get in the old car and drive to the parking deck, where the others would have had the awaiting van ready. They'd then make their way back to the school.
"Are we sure we all can't fit in the current car?" Mindy worried.
"There's eight of us now." Roz reasoned. "If we all got in that little car, we'd be the most diverse car since Driving Miss Daisy."
There wasn't much argument to that. Beiste was huge. There'd be no way they could have fit her in there. The group embraced and said very quick good-byes. No one wanted to say more than they had to.
The four walked away that were meant to go to the parking deck while the other quartet walked to the Asian market across the street. Not a sound was heard except for the adjoining footsteps against concrete.
"Alright then." Wendye said once they reached the front door. "Let's go in."
Puck rolled his eyes. "We don't need to go in there. We've got plenty of stuff at the school. Roz is just wasting our time. Why don't we take a page from the Brits and live while we're young?" He threw a wink to Wendye who giggled in response.
A smile played across her face. "But Puck… If we did that we'd be disobeying orders." Her fingers reached up and tugged at the dip in the collar of Puck's V-Neck. "And I know you must be good at disobedience." Her disposition suddenly changed nad happily said "Come on!" and opened the door.
In the back, Finn leaned over to Blaine and said "Five bucks says they end up screwing."
"Just five?" was Blaine's response to the obvious flirtations. He noticed how sheer her pajamas were suddenly. Finn snickered in response.
The store was dark, its lights shut off. It was small, with a register to the right and a few aisles that they could see in the dark shadows. Wendye found the lights and clicked them on.
The shelves were completely empty.
But unlike the gun store, everything was perfectly neat. Between the silence and the emptiness, it was utterly eerie.
"Well this blows." Puck yawned.
Wendye chuckled. "You're telling me. Fan out I guess. See if there's anything left."
Finn stalked over to the far side of the store and went down an aisle. There were a few items, but upon further investigation it turned out to be assorted knick-knacks and nothing of use. He sighed in frustration and went over to the next aisle where Blaine was futilely investigating empty shelves. "It's the strangest thing." Blaine said to Finn. "Judging by the last store, you'd have guessed that people would've been tipping shelves over to get food."
"Let's just go." Finn said, defeated by it all. Roz had sent them off on a wild goose chase. "Where are Wendye and Puck?"
In answer to the question, the two heard Wendye giggling and a back door being shut. Finn grimaced. "Nice."
"Don't you get tired of it all?" Blaine asked as they walked out of the aisle. "I couldn't stand constantly sitting around while my friend goes off humping everything that moves."
Finn shrugged. It had been that way all through high school-he knew it wasn't going to change. "After a while, you just get used to it, I guess."
"Should we go get them?" Blaine asked.
"Good luck trying," Finn muttered. There wasn't anyone that could stop Puck while he… Did his thing.
"What about the back? Maybe there's a storage room or something?" Blaine suggested.
Finn sighed, but agreed with the use of their time. It was worth a shot. The pair walked to the back of the store, where an opening led to the back hallway. Though the only doors led to back bathrooms, there was a set of stairs that stopped at a landing at the second floor.
"Where do you think that leads to?" Finn wondered aloud. It couldn't be a storage room (if it was, it was a very inconvenient one, being at the top of a tall set of stairs).
"Some of these stores were made with apartments built on top of them." Blaine explained, his uncle having worked on building a lot of the town. "That's probably what it is."
Finn wrinkled his nose in confusion. "Why would you live in a tiny apartment above a grocery store?"
"It is an Asian market." Blaine said as they began the ascent up the stairs. "A cramped apartment is probably better than what they'd get over there."
Finn yawned loudly. "Okay, I didn't need a history lesson, dude."
"Well it's not so much a history lesson than current…" Blaine began, but stopped at a familiar scent. "Smell that?"
Finn sniffed the air and recognized the scent immediately, the adjoining food having been a favorite of his as a kid. "Egg rolls? Hell yeah, man."
Blaine knocked on the door and waited. From the other side there was the sound of rustling and general busyness. People were obviously rushing and in a hurry. "Hello?" Blaine called out. "Anyone home?" A female voice was then heard talking hurriedly in Chinese.
"What's going on in there?" Finn responded, an eyebrow raised at the eeriness of it all.
"Ma'am?" Blaine asked, hoping the more polite term would elicit a better response. Instead, the woman was now yelling in her native tongue, at a volume which was quite easy to hear through the wooden door. Neither of them had any idea what she was saying, or any reason for the sudden level of alarm. "We don't mean any harm."
She finally switched to English. "That's exactly what he said," she replied scathingly with a thick accent. "He was lying of course. Tried to off every single one of us. He got Emilia. Then it all went downhill for him, I can promise that." She was at a near whisper as she uttered the final words.
Both boys were perplexed. The woman seemed horribly unstable; they could almost imagine her stroking a rifle as she spoke.
"We aren't armed." Finn lied, although he slipped his small gun in the waistband of his jeans, and gestured with his head for Blaine to do the same. The latter did not, however, and replied by simply shaking his head. He silently pulled his gun out as he did so.
"LIES!" The woman screamed.
"Mama?" The speaker was a much younger female voice this time. "What's going on?
"I wanna know too!" another child yelled, this one male.
She spoke in a high, breathy tone now. "Go back to your room, sweeties. Please."
"Mommy, why do you already have the gun?" the boy asked. Finn and Blaine's eyes widened in response to this.
Her voice was not hiding how much she wanted the children to go back in their room now. "Mommy's dealing with something right now, please-"
"Oh for God's sake, Addie, will you just let them in already?" A deeper voice called, this one more distant, as if from a back room.
She breathed heavily and muttered under her breath, but opened the door nonetheless. Inside was a tidy little living room with an adjoined kitchen and a hallway that led to bedrooms. "I apologize for her." The same male voice said, sounding as if it was coming from the kitchen doorway. The hum of a microwave followed him. He soon came out, a short Asian man with an unreadable demeanor. "Kids, will you please go back to your rooms?" The man asked tiredly. The phrase was a question, but it had the firmness of a command. The children grumbled, but the petite Asian man was seemingly had more authority than the seemingly psychotic mother as the kids stalked off to their room. "Come, come." The man offered warmly, ushering the teens in to sit down in two chairs across from the sofa. As they did so, Blaine stuck his gun in his rear pocket, hidden from view but within reach.
The two looked at each other, rigidly attentive to the bizarre proceedings on display. "It-it's alright." Finn stammered.
The man smiled and settled into the sofa in front of them. His wife stood next to him, a gun cocked in her hand. "Please, ignore Addie. She's gone round the bend since yesterday."
Blaine raised a brow quizzically. "Round the bend? What could've happened, mister…?"
"Ah, of course. It's Kevin." He said plainly. The deceiving smile refused to leave his face, unsettling the both of them. "You see, ever since all of this has begun, progressively wackier and crazier people have been walking around. Just yesterday, a man came by and ate our daughter. Right in front of us, too." He said it all matter-of-factly, as if reading a story from a novel.
Blaine on the other hand, was entirely horrified. "Oh my god… I am so sorry." It seemed all too early to start speaking of cannibalism.
The man showed a small flash of remorse before saying "I do suppose it was our fault. We took all of our food for ourselves as you saw downstairs. If we hadn't, he wouldn't have found us up here and taken Emilia."
Addie cried out in the corner before straightening up and remaining impassive. "Kevin, you and I both know he had what was coming for him!" she said.
Blaine swallowed hard, not liking where this was going. "What did he have coming for him?" He asked, not wanting to find out the answer.
"Death you idiot!" The woman cackled. "Killed that son of a bitch, we did."
Finn had had enough. Hearing of another person eating their daughter was one thing, but sitting in the same room as a murderer was another. "What the hell man?" He yelled, standing up with a stamp of his foot.
"SIT DOWN!" Addie roared, firing a bullet at the floor in front of Finn's feet. He yelped and did exactly as she told him. Neither Finn nor Blaine wanted to listen to these lunatics, but Addie was clearly far more proficient with artillery than either of them were and did not want to take their chances firing at her.
"Papa?" the voice of the restless son came from the hallway, impatience having gotten the better of him. "Is it time yet?"
"Of course, kids." Kevin said to the children, who quickly rushed into the crowded living room. He then turned to the scared-shitless teenagers. "I'm sorry you'll have to see this. It was supposed to be a family affair."
"And what affair is that?" Blaine bravely shot back, not fully realizing the risk he was taking.
The father and kids lined up behind the coffee table and in front of the sofa. Addie stood to the side with an evil grin on her face. Suddenly the microwave dinged, signaling its completion. "Wonderful." He said, matching his wife's unnerving Cheshire Cat-like grin.
Finn sniffed the air, remembering the smell of egg rolls that permeated the air. "Dude, why did you make egg rolls if you weren't going to eat them?" He asked with a scrunched brow. When no one reacted, Finn got up to get them from the small kitchen, his stomach having taken over all sense of his mind. Blaine's nerves twisted in nervousness.
"The smell of corpses is completely dreadful." Kevin remarked, sniffing the air as if the smell had returned. "We had to mask it with something."
Finn gasped when he reached the kitchen. "That's a body!" He yelled across the room.
"What did you think we did with him?" Kevin laughed. "Guess someone else will have to deal with you later."
Blaine heard the shot before he registered its repercussions. He should have realized that Addie's gun was aimed towards his friend's chest, but she had moved beyond the far reaches of his peripheral vision in the far corner of the room. Blaine hardly even recognized the sound of three more gunshots, and the sounds of the bodies hitting the floor that accompanied them. Time seemed entirely stagnant.
Then, in a torrent of sights and emotions, the past moments rushed into Blaine's awareness. He shot from the chair and ran over to Finn's motionless body, denying with every ounce within him that he was dead, though the spreading red stain said otherwise. It was unclear at first where the bullet entered, but as Blaine tore the shirt from Finn's body, he found that it had entered in his right side, clipping cleanly through it. With a dearth of medical supplies, Blaine applied pressure to the bleeding wound. Despite his endeavors, there was still a pool of blood that was steadily increasing in its largeness. Finn was rolled over by his friend (at which point the former moaned in agony, instilling hope in the latter's heart) and upon investigation, Blaine found that the bullet had left Finn's back as well. All sense of hope that Blaine had felt dissipated in that moment.
"It's a far more merciful death." A toneless voice said, making every cell in Blaine's body jump.
He stared at the tall Asian woman whose hands still gripped the gun. "How the hell is getting shot by a deranged psycho merciful in any goddamn way?" Blaine screamed, hands gripping the wound in Finn.
"Would you rather him be torn apart limb from limb by those monsters out there?" Addie quipped evenly. All sense of lunacy was gone, replaced instead by total insensitivity.
Blaine lacked an answer, but Addie had one. "You wouldn't. And I wouldn't either. So why try? We all die anyway. The only difference is that this is voluntary."
"And getting shot against a refrigerator?" Blaine spat in a tearful reproach.
She ignored him and checked her gun. "A single bullet left. It's a shame considering you friend blew the first one for you. If I still had it though, both of us could be dead." She tutted her disapproval to the two. "What makes you want to live in this world? It's deplorable." Addie paused, staring at the boy who stared right back at her with contemptuous eyes, full of more fire than Hell itself.
"If I didn't have to block the bullet wounds," Blaine said, his calm voice surprising even him "I'd strangle you with my own hands." He did not know where it had come from, but he pulled from the deepest ire within him. He even believed it himself.
"Now dearie," Addie frowned in a silent reprimand . "I'm sure you would have never said that till today. However…" Addie began. "I envy your tenacity. Makes me wish I had it…. Since you so desperately want your boyfriend to live… First-Aid is beneath the bed."
It was the sound of Addie's body hitting the ground, not the shot of the gun, that caused Blaine to break down. Tears diluted the blood, the two mixing in the pool on the floor. Seconds after the final shot, the door flew open and Puck and Wendye stood in the door frame. "We heard the…" Puck began, but trailed off at the sight of his bleeding friend. "Oh my god." He whimpered. Wendye cried out and buried her face in his shoulder.
Moments later, Blaine felt the two wrap their arms around him and Finn; all four huddled together on the cold tiled floor of the kitchen next to the cannibal's corpse, the very thing they didn't want Finn to become.
The streets were completely desolate. They didn't encounter a single zombie and, save for the occasional traffic jam, the group made good time.
But not good enough.
Among them there was a lack of dialogue. Anything that had to be said was conveyed through hand gestures and inaudible gasps. Besides, with the exception of Roz and Beiste, none of them had been in the same room for more than a few minutes. The quartet fell into a silent dance of learning about one another through those aforementioned movements. Dave learned that Mindy had been a gymnast when she skirted lithely around an area of shattered glass from a crashed car-a short question revealed the guess to be true. Mindy herself found Roz to have been in color guard as she absentmindedly tossed her rifle up and down in various patterns as they walked. It wasn't an ideal situation, but when one was walking through their war-torn town, it was the most anyone could do. A block from the parking deck, the group turned a corner and stopped dead. "Holy shit." Roz whispered.
Many strange things had been seen in their walk to the complex, but nothing topped this. An upturned truck sat in the middle of the road, its hood crushed into the asphalt. A hole in the concrete wall of the third floor of the deck showed the origin of the vehicle before it crashed into the ground. A pool of blood next to the car confirmed what none of them wanted to say.
"Keep going." Beiste said gruffly. "We're almost there."
Mindy was almost to the entrance when she made an about face and walked back to the other three. "There're two bodies on the ground right over there." She gasped.
"Were they… Or…" Dave said, not wanting to say either of the taboo words.
"Turned already." Mindy said definitively. "You can see it in their eyes. What's left of them." She added with grimness on her face.
That's when they heard the shot.
"Was that them?" Dave asked frantically.
"Can't be anyone else." Roz said, arming her rifle. "Either way, we need to-" she was interrupted by the sound of another shot. "Go. RUN!" she yelled, skipping the speech and giving orders. The group shot towards the parking deck elevator when three more shots rang out, picking up their speed even more. Beiste's hand slapped the elevator button and the doors opened releasing a pair of corpses who fell onto the ground at their feet. Mindy clapped a hand to her mouth and the other three expressed similar feelings of disgust.
Then another shot rang out. And it wasn't theirs.
"Damn it, we're running out of time!" Roz yelled and ran over to the stairs door and yanked it open. The four piled in and Mindy and Roz, the more nimble of them all, made it to the fourth floor first. The lone blue van sat in the middle of the top level. Mindy reached into her pocket and disengaged the lock, hopping into the driver's seat while Roz jumped into the passenger's side. They shot back to the stair door where Dave and Beiste were jjust emerging. Both jumped in the sliding side door as soon as Mindy hit the button. Quickly, they shot down the ramp to the third floor.
It seemed bizarre that only a few minutes ago there wasn't much on their minds. Now they were spent racing ot figure out how to get all eight out of the town alive.
Mindy was racing too, turning the corners and nearly fish tailing the car. "Damn, girl." Roz grunted around one particularly sharp turn. "For a tiny-ass white girl, you sure can drive fast."
The driver only huffed in acknowledgement as she turned the final corner and was met with a horrific sight.
Hundreds upon hundreds of zombies were running and chasing something or someone with a vicious pursuit. None of them looked like they did in the movies-it seemed that it had been too little time for their bodies to begin to rot-and the group even recognized some of the people running by. All of the bodies running by seemed too human to be horrifying monsters.
Either way, the group was stuck.
"Damn it!" Mindy yelled, honking the horn of the car as she slammed an angry fist on the wheel.
Then all hell broke loose. The zombies, likely running after something unachievable, now stopped at the sound of the very existential sound of the horn. Twenty or thirty zombies meandered into the deck and as soon as they saw the headlights in their faces, quickly picked up speed.
Mindy was meanwhile trying to turn around. Not wanting to hit the other parked cars, she had a semi-difficult time until they were facing the other way, back up the ramp they had just driven down. Others had filed in and about eight dozen of them were ascending the same ramp. Mindy slammed on the gas and shot around the corner going to the top.
"Where did they come from?" Beiste yelled.
"Chasing after somethin' probably." Roz yelled back, white knuckled as she clenched the door handle.
"We'll be trapped on the top." Mindy gasped as the reality sunk in.
"What about the hole on the third floor?" Dave asked, as they rounded the corner to the second.
"We can't do that!" Beiste said, shaking her head. "Are you crazy? Did you see what happened with that truck?"
"What about the store next to us? What if we jumped down onto it and then down to the ground?" The gears in Dave's head were turning, wondering whether the van could make the one story jump across the street. "Pull up over here." Dave said, jumping out of the van while it was still moving.
"David! Jump back in here!" Roz yelled at the teen.
Dave ignored her and walked over to the hole. It was in the corner and adjoining side of the concrete wall. He noticed a large crack in the remaining conrete and attempted moving it. It only budged a small amount and it was easily a couple tons.
"David Karofsky! What in the hell are you doin'?" Roz had gotten out of the car and moved over to where Dave was standing. "We need to get back in the car."
"Move this first." Dave said distractedly, gesturing to the slab.
"We don't have time for this!" Roz said in one quick breath. In the background Dave could see the first few of them on the ramp to their level.
"Please coach. I know you haven't known me for a while, but trust me on this. You want to end up like this?" Dave exclaimed with a creeping edge of desperation emerging in his voice. He walked over a few feet where four zombies had just emerged from around the corner. He shot three of them, execution-style, with a surprisingly impeccable aim even though he hadn't touched a gun in eight months. "Do you want to end up like this?" He yelled to Roz, shooting the final enemy in the head.
Roz swallowed hard and nodded. More zombies were coming now. "We have to-" Dave began instructing her before finding it to be unnecessary. Roz tipped the concrete block over the edge where it plummeted to the ground and judging by the sound that was made when it hit the ground, a zombie was crushed in the process.
Dave gaped at the swim coach he knew so little about. "What the hell was that?" Dave asked, stunned by the burst of adrenaline. "It had to have been a couple tons of concrete easy." He said as they ran back to the van and jumped back in.
Roz grunted as she snapped her seatbelt in. Mindy slammed on the gas and swung around, narrowly missing an incoming zombie. "Don't ever doubt the strength of a lady." Roz said, keeping her gaze down. "It's rude."
Dave chuckled as Roz told Mindy to floor it. With the slab of concrete out of the way, there was a big enough hole for the van to shoot across to the other building. "Floor it." Roz commanded determination in her clenched jaw.
Mindy chewed her lip nervously and did just that. The van shot clear over the street below, landing on the store's roof with a thud. Behind them, zombies were stupidly following them out of the opening and hitting the pavement below.
Mindy drew a tentative breath, as if the small exhalation of air would affect the entire world. When nothing changed, she smiled and said "Well wasn't that-"
As soon as she began speaking, there was a thunderous cracking sound in the roof and, leaving no room for reaction, it caved in, sucking the van in with it. It crashed through the roof into the second floor, which gave way to the first. It fell with its front right corner first and the right side window exploded in a million pieces, scratching those in the car countless times with the small shards of glass. All of them screamed, even Roz, whose usual stoic demeanor was caught off guard by the fear of falling through two floors of plaster and wood. When the car settled on an enormous pile of rubble, a lighting fixture fell to the floor in a vivid explosion of light. With that, it was over and the room was silent.
Puck ran back from the rooms with large bandages in his hand. "Crazy Asians took all the stuff from the store and hid it in the kids' room. Alcohol was in the crib, though." He laughed at the irony and took a long swig of an imported wine. "Here. They ahd this." He gave Blaine the bandages.
"Thanks." Blaine said, taking them. He had moved Finn with some difficulty to the couch in the living room, quickly staining the dated green fabric. Wendye stood in a corner, nervously biting her fingers. Blaine had told her to stay out of the way, angry at her and Puck for not being there. He quickly and awkwardly slipped Finn's shirt off his torso, laughing morbidly as he did so. "You know if I was still a Boy Scout, this is where I'd get kicked out based on sexual harassment charges."
Puck rolled his eyes and took another sip of the wine in response. "Now is not the time to take advantage of him while you can. Isn't a gay guy doing Boy Scouts the equivalent of RuPaul joining the Ku Klux Klan, though?"
"Well it's a good thing I was a Scout then. Where you learn to apply a bandage and to never kiss boys in the same class." Blaine retorted drily. He wrapped the bandges and gauze around Finn's body like an amateur, then stood up. "I've done what I can." He said. There were large square gauze pads on both holes and a long gauze wrapped around his torso several times and tied in a little knot. The bullet had only clipped him it seemed, passing right between two ribs on his right side, an inch or so away from missing.
"Hot damn. A gay boy scout. Don't you get cuter by the minute?" Wendye said with a smirk.
Blaine's face fell when his gaze shifted to her. "Wendye. Can I talk to you for a second?"
"Well I can't imagine going out there would be too smart, would it?" Her black hair fell to her face when she said this and she brushed it back at Blaine's forbidding stare. "Lead the way, boss."
He led her outside the door on the landing and shut the door. Blaine crossed his arms and said "Listen, what you did with Puck… I don't care that you did it. He goes after adult women all the time, and you can do whatever you want when we get back to the high school. But right here, right now?"
Wendye was not looking at Blaine, having a strange fixation with a nail on the stairwell. She wasn't sure if she wanted to share such personal information with this seventeen year old, but she figured it only made sense if she was going to be living with them for the foreseeable future. A sigh escaped her lips. "It's nymphomania." She said simply.
Blaine stood, his face slack-jawed with surprise. "What?"
"It's a pathological addiction to sex. I was… Abused as a kid. I've had it for as long as I can remember. As a matter of fact, ever since Mindy and I met your group, all I could think about was which guy I wanted first." Her words came spilling out, tripping over each other like a reservoir was opened. Unconsciously, she added "It's a real shame you're gay." She graced her fingers across his thigh then stopped herself.
Blaine was absolutely wordless. He had no idea what to say, even ignoring the indirect flirtations from Wendye. The only association he had with nymphomania was when he and Kurt had binge-watched American Horror Story: Asylum together. Finally, he said, "Well Puck is almost the same way at least." A grin crossed his face, even despite the situation. It was an attempt to add levity to the suddenly somber situation. In a way, he was disappointed-he had a whole monologue rehearsed in his head and to think that the solution was a simple syndrome was almost a let-down.
Wendye smiled in response. "Yeah. You ever seen Scream?"
"Yes, and I've got Kurt's nail marks in my hand to prove it." Blaine grumbled, fondly remembering the night when the pair watched the movie together and Kurt refused to let go of Blaine's hand the whole time. He had felt like a father holding a wife's hand during childbirth it hurt so much.
"They said that the only rule in a horror movie was to never have sex. Guess I' screwed then." Wendye laughed, an exuberant trill of happiness.
Blaine laughed too and said "Yeah, well-"
He was cut short by four gunshots, fired in quick succession, one right after the other.
"Shit." Wendye swore. "Could it be any worse of a time?" She burst the door into the apartment open. Puck was crouching over Finn with a half-drunk glass of water in his hand. Finn's eyes were open, but he still retained his deathly pallor.
"Was that them?" He asked, his voice a hoarse and hollow sound. At least he was somehow awake.
"We can only hope it wasn't." Wendye muttered.
"Can you… Can you walk?" Blaine breathed from behind her, too afraid to speak louder.
As a response, Finn shut his eyes. He kept them closed and Blaine was afraid he had slipped away again. Then with a loud grunt and movements awkward even for Finn, he stood up with a hand gripped on Puck's arm.
"Careful, bro." The latter warned, steadying his ailing best friend.
Finn stood all the way up now, his legs slightly wobbling. Wendye walked over to him and gripped his other arm. "Do you need a hand?" she quipped.
Finn shook his head no. "I need my shirt. It's kinda awkward with… Everyone in the room." He said, obviously only talking about Wendye's gender and Blaine's sexuality.
Blaine rolled his eyes and tossed Finn's blood soaked blue polo shirt to him, having held it the whole time. "You know I already took your shirt off and put the bandages on. I'm halfway there." He joked, winking to Finn, who quickly shrugged on his shirt.
Finn walked slowly to the door, saying "I don't need your help dude." Puck pursed his lips but backed off while Wendye did the same.
"You sure?" For once, there was genuine concern in Puck's voice.
"I was gonna be in the military. Don't they, like, get shot all the time?" Finn replied.
The four made it outside with little difficulty. Although it would have thought to do the opposite, every step seemed to renew a little bit of strength in the generally inept teenager with a hole in his side. They reached the small car and Puck opened the door for Finn. "Thanks." He murmured before clambering in the back row with an obscene amount of grunting.
Blaine sighed and got in after him. The entire situation was bizarre, from the desolate streets to the walking corpses to Finn who now had a dime-sized hole in his chest. But the weirdest part to him was how easily he reacted to it. After all, Schuester only died that morning, which still brought on a pang of remorse, yet here they were that evening going for supplies. It seemed inhuman to him. But then, maybe with the unreal becoming reality, his mind had simply switched to survival mode.
His reverie was broken when he heard Puck and Wendye shut their respective doors. "You doing OK back there, Finn?" Wendye asked dutifully. The boy simply nodded and gazed out the window, his arm wrapped around his midsection.
She had nearly put the key in the ignition when Blaine said forcefully from the back "Wait. There's something weird going on here. Look at the glass."
The driver stopped and put the key on her thigh. Indeed, there was a slight vibration in the glass similar to a very small earthquake beginning. Even the dashboard was shifting as there was the steady sound of plastic hitting plastic, the repetitive tat-tat-tat sound foreboding an ominous conclusion. Next to Wendye's leg, a half-drunk coffee rippled as well. She grimaced and said "This is way too close to Jurassic Park."
Puck snorted and said "Please let this be a T-Rex then," already anticipating the outcome.
The group turned their heads unanimously, dreading what was coming. There was nothing at first until a person shot around the corner a couple blocks behind. At first, they thought he was a zombie, until about a hundred of them came from the same corner as well, with even more still pouring out.
At the same time as each other, Puck yelled to drive and Blaine told Wendye to pop the trunk. "Shit!" she yelled, opening the rear compartment in the ignition and punching the trunk button, opening the trunk door. She started the car forward at a crawl, only around ten miles an hour, and the incoming person got the idea. With a sudden burst of energy as the end was in sight, his speed increased and then jumped in the open trunk, slamming the door shut as he did so. With a larger target in sight, the mob of the undead pressed forward.
Wendye then slammed on the accelerator as she said "Blaine, press the button and lean your seat forward. Let whoever was running inside."
The former Warbler nodded and reached for the button next to the headrest. He pushed it and the seat leaned forward. A pale hand reached out from within the trunk and an all-too familiar voice said "Not the smoothest landing, but it'll do." His head popped through as well and their suspicions were confirmed.
It was Sebastian.
The van was still running which was a good sign for all of them. Mindy turned the ignition off and then it was silent and dark. Then, a light shone from the driver's seat into the dark room that their car sat in the middle of. "Everyone alright?" she asked breathily, pocket flashlight in hand.
Roz groaned, her forehead plastered to the dashboard. She sat up, rubbing her face. "Some broken-ass glass, but other than that, I'm good." The slightly cut up woman said. The two in the back muttered similar agreements of discomfort. Dave was brushing off granules of glass off himself and the seat he and Beiste shared.
Mindy dismounted from her seat in the driver's side. The van sat on a pile of broken wood, plaster, and glass. One of the tail lights had been crushed in as had a section of the back and side as if a car had rear-ended the corner of an old building. It didn't look ready to drive and Mindy growled in irritation. They'd have to drive it anyway, remembering the gunshots they had heard. "It's got a lot of damage out here." She said to those in the car.
"You think it can still drive?" Roz groaned when she too got out of the car. Mindy didn't have time to answer as a corpse fell through the hole to sky, having somehow made the leap across the gap, and it landed with a thud on the van. It rolled off, its body horribly disfigured. Mindy yelped but Roz walked over and stomped on his head, exploding in guts and blood. Her boot squelched out of the gooiness.
"We need to get out." Roz said, her demeanor suddenly urgent. Mindy nodded, frightened by the dust-covered antiques store. She knew Lucille Booth, the wizened old woman who owned the shop and felt bad about destroying her store. The two back in the car and inside, Beiste and Dave were cleaning up the wrecked interior.
"What the hell was that?" Beiste asked with a wooden plank in her hand, which she promptly threw through the broken window.
"A zombie made it across the gap and fell through." Mindy said as she got back in the car.
"Ugh that sounds disgusting.' Dave grimaced, having flinched at the sound of Roz's boot crushing the zombie's skull in. "Will it drive?" He asked.
"We'll see." Mindy said. "A big issue is all the stuff on the ground. Luckily we didn't get a flat but we don't want to get one." She turned the key in the ignition and it sputtered to life. All four sighed with relief, but realizing the urgency of the situation, they moved forward. Every crunch of material was even more opportunity for the van to attain a flat tire. The shot suddenly rang out in Mindy's head again and he pushed the van off the pile of rubbish hastily. Without hesitating, she crashed through the front doors.
With the giant crash, twenty or so stragglers were still ambling around outside. They quickly moved to the van which pulled forward and turned left, in the opposite direction they wanted to go, having been cut off from the other one. Roz swore under her breath as the car quickly gained speed in a matter of moments.
"Where are we going?" Mindy asked as they drove down Brown Oak Avenue.
"Turn right on Magenta." Beiste said from the back. "Takes you all the way down to Fowler and you'll be back to the shop in no time. Mindy took note and shot down the road to rescue their friends in distress.
Behind their small car, roughly a couple hundred feet in hot pursuit, was the largest crowd of people any of them had ever seen. Feeling the necessity of speed over stealth, Wendye went far over the speed limit in the streets. The farther they went, it seemed, the less of the monsters remained. Between the roadblocks and a loss of interest, it slowly diminished.
At the same time, there was panic and distress at the new intrusion in the vehicle. Puck demanded that the car be stopped to kick him out and be devoured by the others. Blaine was angry that he had even opened the trunk for him while Finn just wanted them all to be quiet. "Guys." He said as loudly as he could through the yelling. "Can we please just stop? It's making my head hurt." He said, continually clutching his wounded side while he laid his head on the cool glass.
"But Finn, that bastard-" Puck yelled scathingly.
"Yeah he's a bad dude." Finn said evenly. Blaine had reluctantly let Sebastian in who now sat in his seat and Blaine was in the middle. "But we're not leaving him to die like Mr. Schue." Fin finished wisely.
"Schue's dead?" Sebastian asked, surprise and concern in his voice.
"Yeah." Blaine replied simply, not looking at his enemy.
"Can someone please tell me how you know this kid?" Wendye asked, whizzing around a traffic jam by driving up on the curb, hair flying from the jarring shift in position. Finn groaned and gripped his side.
"Sebastian Smythe." Puck spat on the dashboard. "Rival Warbler and total douche bag."
"At your service." Sebastian said tartly.
Wendye tittered in the front. "I'll be damned. Even in the apocalypse, nerd singing can still be bloody." She said, thinking fondly of her glee club in high school. "Where'd you come from after all?" the car, past the jam, got back on the road. The impasse had severed flow of undead corpses behind them, but still around sixty stayed behind them.
"Well, I was hooking up with a guy on Windy Hill…" Sebastian began, clearing his throat. "Had to stay because the streets were so crowded and in such a mess. Didn't bother me, just more time with him. Nice body and you should've seen-"
"We can still throw you out at any time." Puck growled.
Sebastian rolled his eyes. "God, for such an "accepting" glee club, you sure don't let things go, do you? Anyway, so I woke up early the next morning and tried to get out of his apartment through the fire escape… Apparently, I'm enough weight to send it crashing to the ground. Fortunately, yours truly jumped back in the room before it fell, but the damage had been done. It made the loudest crash imaginable and they all seemed to swarm in and be attracted to that. I'm not sure how it got to be so bad so quickly…" He drifted off, thinking of the quick turn of events.
"So that's why the streets were so empty." Blaine said, realization creeping into his face.
"Oh, that's not even the half of it." Sebastian laughed, gesturing wildly. "Then, some idiot from across the street runs out and they all jump on him, getting even more. They smell blood like Honey Boo Boo smells snacks."
"Wait, what about the guy you were with?" Wendye asked with a furrowed brow.
Sebastian shrugged. "I don't know. He woke up really sick and I think he was hallucinating and he ran out in the hallway this evening-there were even more out there and… They all got him there. Fortunately, it gave me time to escape. Of course, I couldn't catch a break even then and they all decided to run after me because they had finished Idiot McGee from across the street."
"That's insane." Wendye said of his retelling. "Did you-"
She was cut off as a small explosion was heard. With dreading realization, Wendye realized that she hadn't been paying attention and ran over some road spikes a cop had laid down. All four wheels popped and the car came to a skidding halt.
Puck let loose some words that even Finn had never heard him say before. With the car stopped, the roughly forty that were still pursuing them ran quickly to the car, stopping any chance of a quick escape. "What the hell are we going to do?!" Puck yelled, veins popping out of his neck and spittle flying everywhere.
A thud was heard on his window and a zombie was there, plastering his face against the window, hands slapping the glass. More and more came, surrounding the car. Finn unconsciously whimpered in fear.
"Oh my god." Wendye breathed. It was the worst feeling of dread any of the five had ever felt. Finn had just been shot thirty minutes ago, and even then he didn't feel as close to death as he did now. They pressed closer to the glass, desperate for a way in.
"So we can't get out through a door…" Sebastian began slowly.
"Maybe it's like a video game or something." Fin said as a woman's mouth opened and closed only inches from his head. "We need to find a way out."
"The sun roof." Puck said, feeling an enormous weight lift of his chest. He slid the cover from it and darkening evening light poured in through the only glass in the car not covered in zombie faces. "Maybe we can get out through the top and shoot enough down to jump off."
"What about them reaching over the top?" Blaine asked. It's not a tall car, and I know some of them can reach over the top and pull us down.
"Do you see another option? We just have to get enough cleared." Puck growled.
In fact, none of them could find a better option. Feeling like a fish in a fish bowl was not a sensation any of them wanted to feel so very eager for an exit, Wendye hit the sunroof button and it almost noiselessly slid back. "Alright, so who's going first?"
With very unsurprising narcissism and ego, Sebastian stepped forward and desperately clawed his way out, stepping on the two front seats to hoist himself up. "It's actually not too bad." He called. "I'm definitely not getting pulled."
"And what a damn shame that is." Blaine muttered.
"Alright, buddy we'll get you out next." Puck said, reaching up and getting out as well.
Finn leaned forward and sighed in pain. He put his arms up and Puck grabbed them while Wendye got his feet to help him through. On the roof, the metal buckled from the weight but it did not give. The earlier estimation of forty turned out to be roughly fifty and they completely ensnared the car. Hands only got as far as the edge of the roof fortunately and then Wendye crawled up after Finn. Her body was halfway through when-
Blaine knew it would happen based simply off Murphy's Law. With a crash, the driver's side window caved in and eager hands groped Wendye's legs, pulling her back in the car.
From the roof, it was the most horrific sight imaginable. Her body fell back through the opening and with a sound like a crushed watermelon, her leg split open and she screamed in pain and terror. Blood flew up through the hole and onto the roof.
Blaine screamed as they tore open her calf, blood splashing everywhere including himself who sat terrified in the middle of the back row. With a stroke of sheer nature, they seemed far too occupied with Wendye's flailing and screaming body, attempting (but failing) to yank her through the fractured opening, giving him just enough time to blindly find an exit. Thinking of Sebastian's entrance, he slapped the button and leaned the adjoining seat forward. Just as he started crawling in the trunk, another window crashed and a hand shot through, blindly grabbing his foot. Blaine screamed again and kicked, getting it partially off. He made it all the way through but the arm did too. With blinding finality, he pulled the seat forward, cutting the zombie's fingers off.
Although safe from the outside, Blaine realized with stunning clarity that he was now stuck inside as he could not get out. He was completely trapped.
They knew there was trouble when they saw the zombies milling around the store front. Mindy slammed on the brakes, not wanting to run into one. "What now?" she yelled, trying to turn the car around.
"Make it back to the train, I guess." Roz said. We can only hope that they're there." Her eyes were welling up, though she wouldn't admit it to anyone.
"They can't be gone." Beiste said pitifully in the back, her voice empty with sadness. "You know, I've seen Puck and Finn get right back up after a twenty-person pileup. They can't be out for the count 'cause of this."
"All we can do is hope." Dave said.
And that was that.
Finn stared openmouthed at the spectacle of blood and gore. He was so distracted by it that he hadn't realized that he had torn his wrappings. But when he began to see spots, he began to sway. "Oh my god… What's happening?"
"Finn!" Puck cried out, reaching out and steadying him. "You're not going anytime soon." He said this with a choked back sob. And then he straightened and to Sebastian he said "C'mon. We need to find a safe spot to get these back on him."
"But what about Blaine?" Sebastian said, lustful feelings bursting forth once again.
"I saw him shut the seat to the trunk." He jerked his head down to the rear pane of glass. "He's safe for right now. They're all distracted with her right now." Indeed, the yhad successfully pulled her through the window and all of them now swarmed the suddenly silent Wendye, leaving enough room for them to get down.
All the while, however, more zombies came from the smells and sounds. They came from storefronts and houses, stumbling through the door like a town drunk. With urgency, Puck jumped down to the ground. "Finn come on down. I've got you."
Finn slumped forward and half jumped, half fell to the ground where he lay slouched over Puck's shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Sebastian jumped down too and the three weaved around the incoming zombies into a nearby store to fix Finn up.
Blaine, on the other hand, wasn't doing as well. He lay stunned in the trunk until his instincts kicked into gear. He fumbled around and thanked the heavens that he found a flashlight in the trunk. Thank God Mr. Schuester was prepared. In the trunk was very little. A laptop bag lay in one corner and a fire extinguisher lay in the opposite side. A roll of duct tape sat nearby and a box of CDs was the last item in the far recesses of the trunk.
He didn't have a clue what to do. Blaine knew the only way out was to hit the button on the trunk outside, but he couldn't reach that; and Finn's torn wrappings eliminated his friends getting him out. Blaine was on his own.
A deep breath of air helped him clear his senses, but he realized that, like being buried alive, air was a precious luxury in a small and enclosed space. Blaine knew the only place to get air and with a couple of kicks to the back, he knocked out one of the rear tail lights. A light breeze rushed in, calming Blaine's claustrophobia. It was small enough that only an arm could make it through, but all the same, he backed away from the opening.
The air helped him think and a thought came to his mind. His arm might be long enough to reach the button, but he didn't like the thought of shoving his hand out in the wide open. Blaine needed an extra defense somehow and he looked around again. The only viable option that he could see was a roll of duct tape. Maybe he could wrap it around his arm a bunch and if anything tried to attack it, they wouldn't be able to penetrate. Blaine felt a lot better with a plan.
The small amount of light stopped the use of the flashlight and Blaine turned it off to conserve the batteries anyway. With a calming ripping sound, he began wrapping the tape around and around him arm and hand, over and over, not letting any of it show. After about ten layers, where mobility of his fingers was an issue, he figured that was good enough. Even in they attacked, he could still pull it back with more time than he'd had with the impromptu cast. To be sure, Blaine bit hard into it. He didn't make it to the skin and he felt a lot better.
A tentative hand found the cool air refreshing, though it was covered in tape. Blaine inched his hand out until it was out to his elbow. He could feel the Toyota logo, meaning he was probably halfway to the button. He felt further and further until a hand wrapped around his arm.
With a yelp, Blaine yanked his arm back in, feeling a mouth futilely bite into the arm. Once fully back in, Blaine felt to make sure there wasn't a single puncture. When there weren't, Blaine looked back and realized that a man's face blocked the hole. He sighed and reached for the gun in his pocket. With his casted hand Blaine reached forward and poked it out into the zombie's mouth. His other hand blocking an ear, he pulled the trigger and the shot rang true and clear, bowling the enemy over. With such a loud sound, he realized that more might come over and he shoved his arm all the way through. His hand blindly slapped around and finally got it and the trunk door flew up.
It was a gory hell outside. Wendye's emaciated body dribbled blood everywhere and what looked like a liver rolled outside of the mosh-pit. Blaine hurried away, dodging incoming zombies and shooting a couple he ran forward to a store and three came out. He yelled and shot one, this time in the heart who fell. He turned to run-
And four more were walking to him. He yelled and realized he was trapped. He shot blindly and knocked two more down. Blaine was pressed against a wall while the remaining four ran to him. He cried out, knowing what was coming. One was upon him, which he pushed away with force. Blaine felt that it was the end until a shot came from above, wiping out two of them. Another one came down and clipped a third and with a leap of faith, Blaine got the fourth one.
Blaine looked up and on the Dollar Tree across the street stood Puck and Sebastian, smiling at their very alive friend (or enemy, in Sebastian's case, but in the moment it didn't matter at all). He ran across the street narrowly missing one and threw open the door to the cheap store. Racks were tossed over and it was in as much disarray as the gun shop. A partially open door in the back led him up two flights of stairs past administrative offices and to the roof.
Puck applauded when Blaine burst forward from the door. The former clapped the latter on the back with a huge smile. "You rocked that dude! That was awesome."
Blaine frowned, shaken from the events. "It didn't feel so great down there."
"Yeah, well you're alive right?" Sebastian said in a snarky tone.
Blaine was about to retort when Finn (who had been slouched on the ground) said "It was pretty neat, Blaine." A half-smile played on his face.
Blaine didn't reply and instead looked over the edge to the ground. The crowd had coming back with around two-hundred of Lima's own wandering around in their daily clothes, hungry for more flesh. He hadn't realized he had passed that many and that impressed him. It also dissuaded any notion of going back down.
"What about the train?" Blaine asked as he turned away from the ugly sight. "We need to get to them."
"Yeah, the train's only a few blocks that way." Puck said with a huge smile. He pointed down the street and a little ways down the train peeked out from the roof of the last house.
"Are we roof-jumping to get there?" Blaine said, forcing himself to smile a little bit. It sounded absurd.
"It's the only way to get to it." Puck chuckled.
Sebastian was tinged with green. "I guess now is not the time to say I'm a little afraid of heights."
Blaine glared at him. "Looks like the impenetrable Smythe is afraid of something. Come on, Sebastian we have to get there."
The four stood at the edge to the adjoining building. It was the same height and only separated by a three-foot wide alleyway. They all jumped across with no difficulty, even Sebastian. A short walk across that building revealed the next one to be a bit of a drop, roughly eight feet or so. Finn looked queasy at landing like that and jumped wildly off the edge and rolled when he landed. He yelled in pain but stumbled up. The rest made it in a similar inept fashion, none of them having been a gymnast.
They continued like this, going up and over buildings' roofs until they reached the little house at the corner. Its roof was slanted fairly steeply but there was a fortuitous fire escape down to the ground from the building they were on. Sebastian groaned. "Why is it always fire escapes?"
"Shut up." Puck growled. Behind them, the crowd had followed them partially, losing them two buildings back behind a sign.
By some miracle, they heard a car in the distance. Praying that it was them, the four leaned forward, desperately clinging on for a glimpse of a van through the streets. Finally, a powder-blue van turned a corner and all of them cheered, even Blaine, who had remained mostly forlorn through a lot of the rooftop trek. The four didn't care about the group of zombies and climbed down the stairs (luckily without a collapsing incident) and the van stopped and opened a door, letting them in before the zombies got there.
"Oh my god, you made it!" Mindy gushed, happy at the group of people who now crowded the van. She hadn't yet realized who was missing.
"Where's Wendye?" Roz asked, worry across her brow.
Puck swallowed in the back of the van. "She, uh… She didn't make it."
A cry of anguish came from Mindy and she stopped driving the car, wiping her eyes. "Oh god… Wendye…"
"What about Finn?" Beiste asked, noting the constant clutching Finn had to his right side.
"He was shot." Blaine sighed, reliving the moment in his head. The van suddenly started forward again, outpacing the oncoming zombies.
"What?!" Roz roared. "Finn is this true?"
In answer, Finn suddenly slipped into unconsciousness. There was a hum of worry as everyone that could fretted over the boy in the middle row. Mindy, still silently weeping, reached the end of the train and almost turned left over the tracks.
Despite the worry over Finn, Roz held her hand out and said "Stop."
Clenching her jaw, Mindy slammed on the brakes. "What now?"
"They like the sound of things have you noticed that?" Roz asked, looking back at the swarm of them hundreds of yards away. "We can't lead them right back to the school."
A dawning look of dread went over Dave's face. "We need to get out of the van."
"Not all of us." Roz said. "We've still got the fainted wonder back there. I'll drive with him back to the school. I'll go quickly and take an indirect route so they don't get there."
"I'm not leaving Finn." Puck said firmly. Roz looked at him and silently agreed.
"Everyone. Out now, before they get here." Roz ordered. Mindy clambered out of the driver's seat and Roz scooted into that position. Blaine, Dave, Beiste, and Sebastian followed Mindy and the five ran across the tracks to the edge of the wooded area.
The last thing that Roz saw as she drove Puck and his dying friend back to the school was a forlorn Blaine looking directly at her, a silent gaze that spoke volumes. She understood that he had seen unspeakable horrors and hated that it had happened to him. Roz nodded and waved to him as he gave a small smile and a nod to her as he followed his group into the forest beyond.
"So?" Roz asked. "Are they in the school now?"
Emma shook her head worriedly. "No, Roz, they're not here. Maybe they got caught up somewhere."
Dread came like a tidal wave over Roz. None of her plans ended up well today and Wendye (and possibly Blaine, Beiste, Sebastian, Mindy and Dave as well) were all dead because of her. Trying to calm herself, she asked "Well what about that explosion back there? I was driving and I heard some big fiery explosion."
"That was me. I apologize for any sort of problems I made for you all." The man in the army uniform said.
Roz looked up, suddenly realizing the new person. The two looked at each other for a long moment, then she looked away and asked Sue "Who the hell is this?"
Sue cleared her throat and said "This is Jared Macready. He was a pilot for the military and decided to… Abdicate his position and come here with us."
Roz humphed in frustration but said nothing. Right now all she wanted was the rest of the group to make it back alive. Exasperated, she sighed and walked to the school. "What now?" she yelled to the people behind her.
"I guess all we can do is wait." Burt said.
Beiste had led them through a neighborhood nearby to the town. They five of them crossed a street and were now at the top of a small hill. In the distance, they could see McKinley. Mindy smiled, exhausted by the day's events.
"Just a little ways more." Beiste said with a grin. She clapped Dave on the back and together the group pressed forward, wanting only to make it back.
As much as they all enjoyed Lima for its wooded areas and green views, in an apocalyptic setting, it was not the most ideal situation. In some cases, the trek was slow-going but fortunately this final stretch seemed forgiving.
Just as soon as they walked into the brush, they heard a noise in the sky. All of them craned their necks upwards, trying to see the source of the airplane-like sounds. "It sounds like military planes from movies." Sebastian said, urging the group to continue to move forward.
"Maybe it is. Maybe they'll sort this thing out." Dave said hopefully. "A guy can't live on Uncrustables and milk forever."
I doubt it. Blaine though, optimism having left him long ago. All he wanted right now was to let Kurt soothe him and wrap his arms around him. Kurt would make him feel better almost instantly, but a sinking feeling in his gut told him that wouldn't happen for a long time.
"Yeah, well-" Mindy began, before being bowled over by an incoming figure. They had all been so preoccupied with the planes (which, had they looked up, a plane flying out of formation would have been seen) that they hadn't heard the person running through the underbrush. Mindy yelled and pushed the girl off of her.
"Quinn?" Dave asked, surprised. She would have been the last girl he'd have thought to run into them like that.
Indeed, it was the blonde cheerleader. Her short hair was disheveled from the impact and her face was wild. Mindy grumbled and got up. "Seriously, is there any one here you don't know?"
Quinn swore under her breath. "Yes, well… I wasn't expecting to see any of you here."
"Quinn, honey." Beiste said soothingly. Her hand reached out for Quinn's bare arm, which was covered in scratches and bruises. "We can take you back and fix you up." She also wondered what Quinn was doing out here, but that wasn't important at the moment.
The runaway frowned before saying "I don't want to go back there. I ran away-"
But they didn't get to find out why she ran away. With a deafening roar, one of the military planes flew to the earth and crashed through the canopy in a ball of flame. All of the people below yelled in terror, but the explosion tossed them before they could do anything about it. Beiste and Quinn were thrown the farthest, all the way back a couple hundred feet. Dave was thrown the opposite way but almost just as far as them. Sebastian was tossed end over end and his head landed with a sickening crunch on a rock. Blaine and Mindy were thrown headlong into an enormous tree's trunk. Some part of the former realized that his wrist was bleeding but, just like everyone else that was tossed like ragdolls, he slipped away into unconsciousness.
Hardly recognizing reality from unconsciousness, Blaine's eyes drifted partly open. He could see distantly that a crowd of zombies were getting mown down by a group in a large truck. It was now night; the clearing would have been very dark if there wasn't a burning shell of a plane in the middle of it.
There was a hum as the car drove around, inspecting the bodies of his friends. He heard them say something and the sound of their bodies hitting the truck bed.
Blaine almost blacked out again, but the last thing he saw was a large face come very close to his. There was a flash of light and he was out.
Hate to leave you all with another cliffhanger, but they are oh-so-fun to write. This chapter was huge as it was my first foray into a real zombie-hunting experience. It went through a ton of re-writes and edits until I came out with this!
I hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, please be sure to review it, favorite it, follow it, whatever you want! But a review would be nice :)