Grif slammed against the chain link fence, fingers gripping against the metal. He kept his back to it, facing the mouth of the alley as a group of shuffling zombies headed his way. Looked like he was trapped. He took a few deep gulps of air, eyes darting between the figures closing the distance. There were at least five of them. They weren't very fast, but to be honest, Grif wasn't much faster. Running was never his strong point. Or effort of any kind, really. But surviving in the zombie apocalypse changes a few things.
The zombies stumble closer, and Grif presses back against the fence. The closest one is a little more than an arm's reach away, swiping clumsily at him. Grif takes a moment to look terrified.
“Oh no, a hoard of the undead! What shall I do? It's the end for me, I fear!”
His expression quickly turns into a lopsided grin, pulling the large knife from behind his back.
“Oh wait. I don't have to worry about your stupid virus. Undead suckers.”
The blade slices through the air, taking off the arm of the zombie that had managed to get a grip on his shirt. Said zombie moaned, but was mostly undeterred, advancing until his head was close enough to cut off. Or mostly off, to be fair, it was a lot harder to slice through a person's neck than the movies made it seem. Not to mention really gross, what with the squishy liquid noises and gurgly moans of the one losing its head.
“Suck my living dick, zombies!”
Grif finally finished with the first zombie, the two parts laying at this feet. By then, the next two were close enough to reach for him, so he rolled against the fence, getting some distance. The closer of the pair lost his head a little quicker than his friend; Grif was getting into the swing of things, so to speak. The third zombie tripped over the first one's head, continuing to crawl relentlessly toward its meal. Grif's sneakered foot bounced off its jaw, knocking it back a few feet with the impact. Then he jammed the knife down, aiming for the zombie's neck. A few quick stabs there did the trick, and he braced himself for the remaining two.
Before he could move, he heard the distinct sound of glass clinking on the concrete. With a yelp, Grif lunged, covering his head as the last zombie stepped on the thrown Molotov, breaking the glass and igniting it. The zombie was engulfed in flames, stumbling around and knocking into her partner. Then there were two zombies on fire in the alleyway Grif was trapped in. He scrambled to his feet, staying clear of them. Eventually they burned too much to keep moving, falling to the ground.
“Jesus Christ, Simmons! You could've fucking killed me!”
Simmons jumped down from the dumpster he'd been perched on, arms crossed. “You're fine. It was just a little one, it wasn't going to explode like the last one.”
Grif huffed, glaring at the redhead. “The last one blew up an entire gas station, how did you know that one wouldn't just blast the whole alley?!”
“It's called math, Grif. Some of us know what we're doing.”
Giving the charred corpse in front of him a good kick, Grif stashed his knife away in the holster he'd rigged up on the belt loop of his cargo shorts. “I know what I'm doing just fine. In case you didn't notice, the score was three to two.”
Simmons stomped closer, jabbing a finger against the Hawaiian's chest. “You were baiting them again! What did I tell you about doing that?! Just because you're immune doesn't mean you're immortal!”
Grif rolled his eyes, pushing past the other and heading out of the alley at a leisurely pace. “I had it covered, Simmons. It's cool. It was all under control. Besides, you needed time to get the supplies loaded.”
Simmons let out a sigh of great suffering, rubbing his temples before following Grif out of the alley. Their car was waiting, parked haphazardly at the curb. “It wouldn't have taken so long if you hadn't insisted on so much extra stuff.”
“I have to make sure you're keeping up with the essentials.” The brunette circled the front of the car, giving the inside a quick check before sliding into the driver's seat. “I didn't even get half the stuff I got before.”
Throwing himself into the passenger seat, Simmons quickly buckled his seat belt. “No, Grif, water is essential. Canned goods, batteries, weapons. Those are essentials. Not mini donuts, and especially not energy drinks!”
“It's hard to kill a zombie with low blood sugar, Simmons.”
The other growled, wondering if it would be a waste of resources to have a few aspirin for the headache Grif was causing him. “Look, can we just go? We've gotta meet Tucker at the hospital. He said if we don't get there today, he's leaving again.”
Grif started the car, pulling out into the deserted street. “Haven't seen him in awhile.”
“Yeah, he called me while I was packing up the supplies.” Simmons ran a hand through his hair, ruffling it. “Speaking of which, I'm hoping the hospital still has power. I really need to charge my phone.”
Fingers tapping on the steering wheel, Grif arched a brow. “Didn't you just charge it at that gas station?”
“I did. Funny enough, SOMEONE used up all the battery looking up music apps.” Green eyes narrowed.
“It's too quiet at night. I can't sleep without noise.”
“Noise attracts infected, Grif!”
“We were in a safe house and I was tired!”
Simmons growled in his throat, scrubbing his hands across his face. “Just don't steal my phone, okay? We need it for emergencies and meeting up with the others! We don't know how much longer the power will stay on anywhere, we need to conserve what we can.”
“I think the real problem will be the zombies taking down the signal towers.”
“That is a good point. Luckily the infected are more interested in other people, instead of collateral damage.” Simmons reached under the seat, grabbing for the messenger bag he kept his maps in. He shuffled around until he found the newest one. He collected a new one at each gas station they hit whenever they stopped for supplies. He didn't want to get lost in town in case they needed a quick escape. Also with him navigating, they wasted less gas driving around the city looking for where they needed to go. In this case, the hospital. “Make a left up here.”
Grif took the directions Simmons gave him, leading them closer to the hospital. He grabbed blindly at the backseat, rummaging through the plastic bag he always had there with his snacks. He came back with an energy drink, popping the cap and taking a drink with a satisfied noise. Simmons might gripe about him drinking the stuff, but at least he got it when Grif asked. He could deal with the redhead's bitching as long as he got his caffeine.
The pair was quiet for a bit, save for Simmons directions and Grif's sips of his drink. Once the signs for the hospital started popping up along the side of the road, Simmons put the maps away, curling up sideways in his seat. There weren't a lot of infected in this part of town, which made the drive pretty uneventful. Not that he was complaining, uneventful meant safe.
“Tucker said he picked up a guy.”
Grif snorted, chucking his empty can into the back seat. “So what else is new? He's kinda taking this 'last man on Earth' thing too seriously.”
Simmons shook his head, a small smile on his face. “Not like that. Like a teammate. Says the guy's pretty cool.”
“Really? He's letting him hang around? Even with Junior?”
“Guess so. At any rate, we'll meet him soon.”
Wash watched curiously as Tucker dug into the cabinet in the doctor's office. He'd dragged them all up to the pediatrics area, grinning to himself like a man on a mission. Junior trailed happily behind his father, and Wash brought up the rear, watching carefully for any infected that might be wandering around. If hospitals had one thing going for their construction, however, it was the metal doors. Easy to keep safer in a smaller area, barricading the doors behind them.
Which was how the trio found themselves in some of the smaller offices. Tucker seemed to be intent on finding something, he wouldn't tell them what it was. Wash leaned against the doorway, keeping watch, while Junior sat on the examination bed, feet kicking back and forth as he studied his father's actions.
Finally, Tucker let out a small whoop of victory, nearly smacking his head into the top of the cabinet. He got to his feet quickly, holding a small cardboard box. Grinning, he set it down beside Junior, pulling the ends open. Tilting his head, Junior blinked owlishly, before his face lit up upon seeing the full box of lollipops.
Junior dug in, trying to decide what flavor he wanted. Tucker watched, his smile stretching. Wash couldn't help but smile just a bit as well. It only lasted for a second, before he caught movement coming from the hall.
Immediately on edge, he slid out of the doorway, pressed back against the wall. The corridor stretched out to his left side, dark without its normal florescent lights. Instead, the eerie blue of the emergency lights settled over the tile. Wash stood still, waiting for more movement. His fist clenched against the metal pipe in his hand, ready for whatever had invaded their hall to show itself.
The footsteps came down the corridor, steady and squeaking a bit on the tile floor. There was a slight grumbling from the creature, Wash couldn't make much out, but infected didn't really make much more than noises anyway. He ducked into a small alcove in the hall, readying his pipe to strike.
As soon as the thing came into reach of the alcove, Wash swung the pipe, intent on taking it out before it could reach the other two or call any others to attack. What he wasn't expecting, however, was for the target to fall to the floor before the pipe made contact. Wash let out a confused noise, about to bring the pipe down on the thing's head, when it let out a sigh.
Infected didn't sigh. They moaned, groaned and, on occasion, gurgled, but they didn't sigh. Now even more confused, Wash's face crumpled into a frown, holding his attack long enough to actually study his target.
It wasn't an infected, it was a regular man. No dark veins spidered his skin, and instead of the clammy gray flesh of the infected, he was a golden tan. His hair was mussed as Wash stared at the top of the guy's head from where the other had slumped against the wall. His limbs were sprawled out, as if he'd just dropped on the floor without care. Which, to be fair, he kind of did.
Carefully, Wash left his hiding spot, circling the other. The guy's eyes were closed, chin tucked against his chest. Was he sleeping? He'd been walking literally moments before, how could someone already be asleep? Brows furrowing, Wash raised his pipe, giving the guy the barest poke on the shoulder with it.
“Hey, you okay?”
Immediately the other's eyes shot open, staring at Wash as he let out a yelp. “Holy shit!”
Wash took a step back, keeping his weapon ready in case the guy got violent. “Hey, just calm down...”
“Who the fuck are you?” the other demanded. More footsteps thudded down the hall from the direction the tan man had come from. He had friends coming. This had the potential to end badly.
He leveled the pipe with the guy's chin, eyes narrowed. “I said just calm down. I wasn't trying to attack you, I was just being careful. You could've been an infected.”
“I'm not a fucking zombie, okay? So get your fucking pipe outta my face!” He glared up at Wash.
Sneakers skidded to a halt at the end of the hall. “Grif!”
The other's eyes darted behind Wash for a second. Wash stayed put, grip on the pipe tightening. He could take the pair of them, no problem, if he needed to. But there could possibly be more of them, and he didn't know what kind of weapons the new guy had with him. The standoff continued, the person behind him scared to make a move. He was at least smart enough to know that Wash could take out his friend if startled.
“Whoa whoa! Cool it!” Tucker's hand grabbed at Wash's shoulder. He twitched for a moment before relaxing, not moving his weapon, but giving a bit of slack between the metal and his opponent's neck.
“Hey Tucker,” the guy on the floor nodded in greeting. “Who's the new guy?”
Tucker huffed out a sigh. “Jesus Christ, Grif.” He turned to Wash, rolling his eyes. “Yeah, don't kill that one. He's sort of a friend, I guess?”
Wash blinked. “Should that have been phrased as a question?”
“You obviously don't know how we operate,” Grif snarked, running a hand through his hair lazily, now that the threat of violence was gone. He slid along the wall, looking past Wash. “Thanks for coming to my rescue there, Simmons. I'm sure after he got tired beating my brains into the wall you probably would have actually done something about it.”
Wash turned his head, eyeing the redhead that was looking increasingly more upset at Grif's sarcasm.
“Fuck you, Grif! You're the one who decided to take a nap in the first empty hallway you saw!”
Tiny footfalls echoed on the tile before Junior flung himself at the other, small arms clinging around his shoulders in a tight hug.
Grif grinned. “Hey, kid, how's it going?”
Junior beamed excitedly, scooping a cherry lollipop out of his backpack and handing it to the other. “Dad found me lollipops! A whole box of em!”
“Fuckin' score, dude!”
Wash took all this in, feeling a headache coming on. “What exactly is going on here?”
Tucker leaned against the wall beside Grif, hands in his pockets. “This is Grif and Simmons. Sometimes we meet up and hang out for a bit, when we're in the same area. I told them we'd be here.”
“Grif!” Junior tugged on Grif's sleeve, pointing up to the blond. “Wash!”
“Yeah, this is Wash. He's been sticking with us for a few days.”
“You didn't think to mention to me that you were expecting people?” Wash growled.
Tucker shrugged. “I told you before, we hang with people sometimes. Personally, I thought it would take them longer to get here.”
Grif's face turned into what could only be a pout. “Simmons wouldn't let me stop for snacks.”
“We just resupplied outside of town! It's not my fault you ate all your snack cakes within an hour!” Simmons snapped.
“I was nervous. You know I'm a stress eater.”
“We're in the middle of an infected danger zone, there's nothing but stress!” the redhead's voice rose a few octaves in angry disbelief.
Grif just shrugged. “Even more reason for stress eating.”
Junior giggled from his place on Grif's lap. Even Tucker grinned. Wash just stared on in confusion. They watched the bickering continue for a few minutes before there was a crash from further down the hall. Simmons let out a nervous squeak, hurrying over to the rest of the group.
“Did you guys leave the freaking door open?” Tucker stepped in front of Junior and Grif, staring down the hall.
“Of course not,” Simmons huffed, reaching behind him to grab at Grif's shirt, yanking him up.
“Simmons probably didn't put that file cabinet back in front of the door either though,” Grif piped in.
“It was there for a reason, man!” Tucker scooped up Junior, settling him against his back.
“I couldn't move it on my own!” Simmons shrieked. “Grif ran off! I tried to put it back!”
“Pft. Like I was gonna help you move that anyway. No thanks.”
Wash let out a frustrated noise, cutting the argument short. “Just...! Everyone get to the back offices. There's a fire escape there we can get through.”
Tucker nodded, already sliding back towards the direction they'd come. “You guys got a better car this time?”
Grif gave Simmons a shove to get him to follow Tucker. “Well, it's no sports car, but it's okay. Simmons said we needed more trunk space.”
“Well, considering we're about to take three passengers, it's probably a good thing,” the redhead grumbled.
The first of the infected stumbled into the hall, followed in a quick shuffle by a group of others. Wash fell back, pushing the others towards the door. “Just get out there already, before they--”
He was interrupted by a yelp. “Grif! Watch your elbow!”
The infected all turned to the small group, making as quick a run as they could manage.
Wash sighed. “...see us.”