AJ woke up in the dead of night, cold, clammy, and sweaty. He had dreamt of it again. I'm losing my mind! He thought to himself. He looked over to Wren lying covered up in the corner. I don't need to let her know about any of this. She'd think I've gone crazy. He got up and peeked out the small window in the attic. There were a half a dozen of the things walking in the streets. Those damn psychos ruined everything. They killed my dad, all my friends, and my future. It was true. In a few months, he was going to be a red shirted running back for the University of Tennessee. He brushed back those thoughts. Always what ifs, he thought with a grimace; I need to worry about here and now. The psychos are breathing down my neck, and I have to keep Wren safe. Plus we only have enough food for a couple days up here. I'll have to start sneaking out and stealing some foods.

He heard Wren roll over. "What's wrong Jay?" She yawned.

"Nothin', I'm fine. Thought I heard something outside," he lied.

She got up and walked over, "Anything there?"

"Just some psychos is all. You should go back to sleep," he said casually.

"Can't. You want to play chess or something? Maybe monopoly?" she asked.

For the first time this morning, he looked at her. His hazel eyes met her blue. He realized that she's known what's been going on the whole time. He was always in awe at her appearance, especially now, when everything was bleak and desolate. He thought about her questions and utterly hated the monotony of what their life had become. It was always cards, chess, and monopoly. It might actually be better if they were psychos. He hastily rid himself of the thought. Smiling meekly, he nodded and reached for the monopoly board.

As they were playing, he let slip that they were running low on food, and he would sneak across the street for some later. "I don't know if you should go by yourself," she sounded worried.

"Listen, Wren, I've got it handled. I promise. I'd only be gone for a couple of minutes, a half hour tops. I'll take the revolver just to be safe," he tried to assure her.

"I'm not sure," she barely breathed.

He reached for the box of food and said, "We've got enough to last a week at the most. If I don't go get us some food we'd have to leave, and it's safe here. Nothing can get to us. Would you rather have to leave because we ran out or stay here and let me go get some food?"

"I guess stay here," she hesitated, "but wasn't the guy across the street a cop?"

"Yeah, why?" AJ didn't see the significance.

"What if he catches you?" Wren asked nervously.

"Quite frankly, if he is alive, I hope he catches me. At least you and me won't be alone."

"Good point. You need to see about guns and walkie talkies too. He has one that he'd keep with him and then there should be one in his car," Wren knew all this thanks to her dad, who was the sheriff once upon a time.

"Alright, I was gonna check for guns anyway, but I never thought about walkie talkies." AJ admitted.

He grabbed his .22 mag revolver, knife, and hatchet before opening the trap door going out of the attic. He crouched down and made sure to check out the rest of his house before leaving. He snuck around and peeked out the window. They shouldn't see me leave, he thought to himself as he slowly opened the door. He heard one rounding his truck moaning. He snuck over and crouched down beside his dad's old Pontiac. He pulled out the hatchet and sprinted across the street. He checked the cop car, but it was locked. He wiped the grime of the window and peeked inside. Shit, there's a glock, a pair of handcuffs, and a walkie talkie. Now, I gotta find the keys. He looked around and noticed that none of the psychos had seen him, yet.

He moved quickly for the door and found it halfway open. He crept into the house and searched the ground floor. Nothing was there it seemed, except for blood and a couple dead psychos. He decided to check the basement. He pushed open the door and clicked the light switch. He started down the creaky stairs and heard the tell tale groan. He cocked his arm, ready to swing. When he got down the stairs, he saw two of them walking towards him. A third was more or less dragging itself on the ground. He smashed one's skull quickly, but the other caught him off balance. They tumbled to the ground. AJ reached to his knife with his left hand and struggled to keep from getting bitten with his right. He couldn't get his knife out. The one on the ground reached for him. He kicked it in the face and rolled over on the other. He finally got his knife out and stabbed it in the eye. The third one started for him again right before he finished it off.

He saw the cop's body lying against the wall with its throat ripped out. He pulled the corpse's pistol out of its holster before searching for the keys. He finally found the keys and pulled them out. He reached for the walkie talkie. Suddenly, the cop came to and bit at his hand. AJ held the psycho at bay while he shot it in the temple. Shit! Now they'll all be coming for me. He grabbed the radio and headed up the stairs. As he neared the top, he heard feet shuffling around. Damn it! He left the basement, but there were several already in the halls. He shot one and split another's skull before retreating for the basement. He shut the door and locked a piece of wood between the wall and door. The psychos started beating on the door, and he checked the pistols ammo. It had about seven shots left in it. He decided to check the cop for another clip.


Wren heard the gunshots and was scared. What if he never comes back? Will I be alone? I can't take care of myself. She had lost her mom a year ago to cancer, and her dad was surely dead. He was transporting a prisoner North to Nashville when all this happened, and Nashville was supposed to be a death trap. She just wished AJ was okay and that he had never left.


AJ had found two full clips in a bag along with a semiautomatic twenty gauge and a box of shells. He found two full boxes of canned foods and some silverware in an untouched corner. He sat down and ate a can of pork and beans. In spite of the psychos scraping at the door, he fell asleep. He woke up to shouts and gun fire a few hours later. He picked up the shotgun and knocked the board away from the door. He opened the door and came out in a rush. He shot one in the head and knocked another away. He pulled out the pistol and dropped two more. He shouldered one into the wall and blew it away a moment later.

He turned around and faced down a revolver.

"Well, looky what we got here, little brother," a grizzled man said in a thick southern accent. AJ looked between this man and his wiry counterpart. The pair looked like two members of the Hells' Angels. He noticed that the smaller man had a beat up crossbow that he was loading.