While he never was one to like or condone shooting people, X always had an undeniable affinity for guns. Everyone always questioned him why does he need a pistol, a shotgun and a rifle.
Looks like those finally could come in handy instead of being his grown-up boy toys.
X shakily lowered the pistol, heart racing. The thing that was formerly his neighbour fell to the ground with a thump, black blood pooling from under it. X would probably vomit from the stench of rotting guts if he wasn’t so numb to it by now.
He was barricaded in his apartment for three days already, waiting for police or army or anything to show up and rescue whatever people have not yet turned into walking corpses. But nobody came, only more zombies, their groans and growls more plentiful every night. They were hunting for survivors. Now that this one had broken through X’s door, it was painfully obvious more will come, drawn to the gunshot noise. It was no longer safe in here.
No, X, don’t panic, don’t panic… Deep breath…
He couldn’t stay in here any longer, he had to pack up and skedaddle, to put it lightly. Not that he had anywhere to go, or any hope of going particularly far, but if he can postpone the inevitable, then hell yes he will.
X cast a nervous look at the broken door. He won’t risk anything sneaking up on him while he packs. From the lack of a better thing, he pushed an armchair into the doorway to at least halt any of the zombies. With that done, he went to dig through his closet for a backpack. Not a care was put into keeping quiet anymore, that gunshot was enough to get undead from the apartments above and below shuffling their feet.
He had to hurry.
There was not only a backpack, but a bag as well. Jackpot. The more space to carry things in the beter. Then again, maybe not, he still needs to move fast enough to try and get out of the city before sunset. Good luck with that , X thought grimmly, stuffing a blanket and a set of clothes inside of the backpack, trying to leave enough space for whatever canned food and bottled water he might still have left. Two cuts to the small side pockets and he could strap his bigger guns to it too. Lighter stuff, like instant noodles, granola and chocolate bars as well as a pocket knife and a handful of ammo for his guns went into the bag. Oh, and matches, can’t forget the survivalist staple.
Deep breath, anxiety getting repressed by adrenaline, and he was ready to go.
X quietly moved towards the doorway of his apartment, meat cleaver firmly in hand. It was fairly quiet, save for the footsteps heard from adjacent floors. He peeked out of the doorway, then ducked back behind the wall.
A lone figure loomed over the stairs, hollow eyes and gaping mouth, motionless. X recognised the wife of that neighbour he shot moments earlier. He was looking at X with blank, beady eyes, giving him creeps. Who knows if this thing won’t just get up to jump him? X never liked those two neighbours, they were jerks in life and now they were jerks in death. Not that he wanted to shoot that guy, but X didn’t feel any guilt shooting a face that was already rotting and salivating at a thought of biting into X’s neck.
X leaned into the hallway again. There was no room in the narrow corridor to move past this thing without having to at least push it away. Oh, he didn’t want to do this, he didn’t want to do this so so much…
Oh well, here goes nothing.
X dashed out of hiding and sped right at the zombie, ramming into it with his shoulder and sending it tumbling down the stairs. Loud thump made another zombie somewhere above X growl. Hopping two steps at a time, X almost fell himself, but he didn’t care much. He jumped over the downed zombie that was feebly trying to get back up. Mad dash to the door and he was out!
...and had his way cut off by a herd of ten zombies right outside of the gate to the parking lot.
Dang it .
X frantically looked left and right for a better escape route, but he had nothing. No way he was going to climb over a fence with all the stuff he was carrying. No way he was shooting either, that would only attract docile zombies from the other side of the road. With a resigned sight, he gripped the cleaver in both hands and looked at the zombies, determined. He’s going to get through or die trying!
He took exactly one step forward when a car rammed against the zombie group, sending them flying to the sides and over the car. X gawked at a familiar figure jumping out of the car with a baseball bat and beating still alive zombies into bloody pulp until they stopped moving. It couldn’t be…
But it was. As soon as the guy took off the hood and pulled out his ridiculously long ponytail from under the hoodie, X’s eyes went wide.
“Zero!” X practically pounced on him, cleaver dropping to the ground with a clutter that turned a few zombie heads towards them.
“Oh God, X…” Zero hugged him back tightly, both not caring about the black blood staining their clothes. “Thank fuck you’re alive!”
“I can’t believe we both are.” X whispered, clutching Zero like his life depended on it. It kinda did. “How did you get here?”
“As soon as those freaky things started to pop up, I packed the car and drove here, duh.” Zero was just as desperte in clutching X back. “I see I’m on time. Where were you going? There?” He nodded towards the street littered with undead.
“Better die trying to escape than become zombie chow in my own home. I can’t believe you drove for three days to get to me. You look like shit.” X laughed quietly, pulling away slightly to look at bags under Zero’s eyes. He was met with a tired smile.
“As if living in another state would make me leve my best friend to get eaten.” There it was, that trademark playful grin of his, putting X at ease for the first time since the outbreak started. Being around Zero felt safe. “You don’t look that much better. You haven’t slept much more than me, did you?”
“...Yeah. I had to keep unwanted visitors ou-” X got rudely interrupted by a groan. A few zombies from the other side of the streets were moving towards them, slowly but surely. “...Um, maybe let’s talk in the car…”
Zero nodded in agreement, opening the door to the backseat, motioning for X to put his things there. As X was getting in himself, Zero tried to get the car started. It took a few turns of the key. Wherever they were going, this car wouldn’t last much longer…
Zero floored the gas pedal and off they went, plowing through any zombie that stood in their way until they’re out of the city and driving on the empty highway. They didn’t say anything, but it was comfortable silence. They met as two loners in high school, silently eating lunch together at the same table just because there were no seats left at other tables. And then, after high school ended, they had to stop being joined at the hip because X left for university. They didn’t have an opportunity to hang out for a long time until now.
“So, where are we going?” X finally speaks, looking at the clouds over the horizon.
Zero kept silent, his mouth in a tight, thin line before he finally spoke. “As far as we can.”
“That… doesn’t sound very optimistic.” X winced, giving Zero a critical look.
“If you have any ideas then I’m all ears.” Zero winced back.
That shut X up, because really, where could they possibly go? Was there even a place where there was no zombies? Zero drove from a whole other state and it was the same over there, so why wouldn’t it be like this everywhere ? There didn’t seem to be any safe place, no end goal. Just keep going until you die… X swatted pessimistic thoughts away.
“Let’s find some place to loot for supplies. We could use some extra gas.” Zero glanced at the gas meter. It wasn’t in the red yet, but was getting close.
“ Loot for supplies . I feel like I’m in a video game, but shittier.” X laughed dryly. “Will this do?” He pointed at a building in the distance. It looked like some sort of a rest stop.
“Good as any.” Zero murmured, slowing the car down.
They stopped a few feet from the entrance. Zero confidently opened the door, making X suddenly panic.
“Hey! It can be dangerous there!” X caught Zero’s wrist as he was leaving the car.
“X, look at how lethargic they are at this time of day.” He slips from X’s hold and comes right into a nearby zombie’s face despite X’s protests.
X gawked as Zero waved in front of undead’s face. Nothing. He circled it, still nothing. Only after a good minute the zombie seemed to even notice Zero was there, yet made no move towards him.
“At this time of the day they are pretty docile. Try to stay quiet, don’t touch them, and you’ll be fine. There aren’t that many around here anyway.” With that, Zero started going towards the door. X scrambled to follow, grabbing his pistol. He must’ve leave the cleaver on the ground before they drove off. Idiot idiot idiot .
“If we die here, I’m gonna kill you.” He murmured to Zero nervously, making his friend snicker and ruffle his hair. X pouted. “You ass…”
X, X, X. A ball of anxiety as always. With a bat leaning on his shoulder, Zero stepped inside the building, looking around. There were vending machines, mostly empty and broken, but maybe there would be something left over. He motioned at them with his head and they went over to check it out. Zero made a small triumphant hum, pulling out a bag of chips and a few candy bars. He stuffed them into an empty backpack. X didn’t even see it under all this hair.
Meanwhile X looked around. There were three zombies with them in here, but X kept an eye on them and so far they didn’t cause problems. There were three doors, two of which lead to restrooms. Waste of time, X wasn’t dumb enough to look for gas in toilets. Instead he turned to the last door, opening it and the promptly closing it back, looking at Zero with wide eyes.
Zero knitted his brows and shrugged in a “what?” manner. X motioned to the door, then shook his head frantically. Zero rolled his eyes. It couldn’t be that bad.
And it wasn’t. Not for him anyway, but the sight of fifteen or so zombies along with scattered resources and a few skeletons freaked X out. It sure did tell a story of what happened here before.
“Wait here.” Zero murmured and X wanted to protest again, but Zero put a finger to his lips to shush him, then went inside.
X could only look how swiftly Zero moved around the room, grabbing whatever supplies he spotted. Given his upbringing and the part of the city he was from, it was no wonder pocketting things was his forte. Or bashing someone with a baseball bat.
Zero was about to leave, but then something caught his eye. On the wall there was a torn map of USA, splattered with zombie and human blood alike. There was a big dot drawn with a sharpie and some notes around it. Given his company, Zero decided to grab it and look at it with X later.
X tilted his head when Zero, going out the door, pointed the bat him.
“Pay attention, X. They may be lethargic, but they sometimes do move.”
X turned around and made a split second of the girliest scream ever before covering his mouth. There was a zombie right behind him, inching quietly towards his back the whole time. Zero nudged X gently on the shoulder with the bat so he would step aside. Then he similarly pushed the zombie on it’s chest. It fell backwards.
“Let’s go. I found something interesting.” Zero waved the rolled map in the air.
A few hours later they set up a camp in an open, empty field. Well, they just parked the car and had a snack, but if there were no zombies then it was good in their book.
Zero fetched the map and spread it on the hood of the car. X leaned over it curiously, chewing on a granola bar.
The big dot was drawn right at the canadian border. “Port Huron - Blue Water Bridge” was written over it with a “only hope”, “no zombies in Canada”, “God help those on the Death Road” notes below, all in different handwriting. Explains the three skeletons...
X and Zero exchanged looks.
“What do you think? Worth a try, or full of crap?” Zero asked, leaning on the car with arms crossed.
“It’s something . Sure sounds better than staying around those parts and waiting to be eaten.” X shrugged, throwing the wrapper onto the ground.
“I guess” Zero nodded. “If you ignore all the zombies it’s almost like a road trip.” He and X both chuckle, slightly morbidly, but still. If what the map said was true, there even was a way to survive this and get to a functioning civilization again.
“Onward to Canada, then.” X smiled. Maybe ‘Death Road’ won’t be that bad?