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Surviving the Dead
Written By Jeff Weise
Published on the 24th of December 2003
The small town of Grovers Mill sat somewhere East, nearly forgotten by all except those who lived there. It was after eleven and dark as most stormy nights are, rain hammered down on the town relentlessly accompanied by its usual acquaintances thunder and lightening. Its dull barren streets were completely void of anything living, all the shops had closed for the night and everyone was in their warm beds dreaming simple dreams.
The shadowy figure stood on the outskirts of the towns eastern border looking from side to side making sure it was clear, the black storm poncho kept his black jumpsuit and tactical gear safe from the rain. He tilted the cap of his black battle helmet upwards so that he could see better, seeing the coast was clear he shifted his M-16 to his right hand and brought up his flashlight pointing it down the opposite direction of the road flicking it off and on twice.
In the distance through the falling rain a pair of headlights flicked on after seeing his signal, the man put his flash light away and took the M-16 into both arms once again as the truck slowly started to drive forward. The truck came to a rustic stopped near the towns morgue, a one story tall concrete monstrosity with a freshly mowed lawn with lush green grass looking almost fake. From the passengers side another man jumped out dressed in the same manner as the signaler had been.
The looming military figure removed his talk box from his tactical belt and pressed down the talk button, speaking a single word. Masks.
Hearing him over the radio the driver pulled a gas mask up from the floor of the truck and quickly put it on, those on the military hummer that had escorted the transport truck slid their masks on too. The passenger from the transport truck slid on his gas mask moving towards the back of the truck, he climbed onto the bed and removed a single barrel, he set it down on the wet concrete and looked for the keypad somewhere on its top.
He punched in a four digit code on the keypad attached to the barrel and with a loud pop the top opened releasing a plume of yellow smoke, quickly he moved to the front of the truck jumping into the passengers side.
He picked up the CB radio, GO GO GO!, his tone was frantic and frightened.
The transport truck quickly backed out of the morgue parking lot and sped off towards the western exit followed by its escort. Unbeknownst to the townsfolk Operation Paperclip had just begun
Maxs tired eyes fell upon the clich maroon brick school as he stepped off the trademark yellow bus, he let out a sigh and started towards the entrance. He surrendered his black book bag to the ape like security guard named Ben and took anything metal out of his pockets, (a set of keys and a CD player), and stepped through the metal detector. It buzzed as it went off, he let out a sigh.
I dont have anything, said Max annoyed.
Ben pulled open the drawer of the metal desk he sat behind and pulled up a hand held metal detector, he moved around the desk and Max assumed the position. He put his arms up as if he was reaching for the sky, Ben waved the wand all around him, when it didnt beep he simply said, go on.
Max let out a sigh, even for a small town the security was tight. He hated that, after the school shootings like Columbine and Cold Springs they had stepped up the security at the front door, Max grabbed his stuff off the desk and started towards the Canteen where he and his friends hung out.
Hey, Max said to the others as he walked in.
A few of them were already talking and barely acknowledged him, a few nodded their hellos and one actually returned his greeting. He took a seat in the corner on an aluminum folding chair plopping his back pack down next to him. The canteen was small, very small, yet he and his six friends still used it as their main headquarters. It was theres pretty much, it wouldve been if it didnt belong to the school.
Max looked at the watch on his wrist, 8:01 AM, 14 minutes till first class.
What did you do last night?, asked Mike.
The question came so quickly it almost knocked Max off his chair, uh Nothing really. Listened to music, watched a movie thats about it.
Mike nodded and sat down on the chair next to Max, cool I went to see Cher again.
Cher was Mikes girlfriend who lived 10 miles away at the next town, he had met her at the last basketball game when the schools Wolverines faced their Badgers. It had been a slaughter, Badgers won twenty to nothing, Max had lost ten dollars on that game. Either way, Mike had been bragging about her for ages, though Max had half the mind to tell him she wasnt much to brag about But he couldnt do that, Mike was his best friend, and theyd probably end up throwing punches over it. Before either could speak another word the bell rang, 14 minutes only seemed like a couple seconds when Max thought about it.
He stood up slinging his backpack over his shoulder, see ya.
Mike nodded as everyone exited the canteen, Mrs. Silver, (the librarian), closed the Canteens door and locked it as everyone was trying to get in to by a pop at the last minute. First class was always a pain for Max, Mr. Reinhardts class, he had his mustache shaved like Adolf Hitler, even had the same hair style, which made everyone uncomfortable and nervous around him. A few of the kids had complained about it to the principle, but nothing came of it.
Now class, open your text books open to page 420, said Mr. Reinhardt, he taught American Civics, not really Maxs favorite subject either, since he planned on moving to England when he turned 18.
CODE RED! CODE RED!, came over the intercom, a few gasps and oh my gods came from some of the class.
Mr. Reinhardt quickly ran over to the door and locked it, class move to the back of the room!
No one argued, most rushed to the back of the room, Max didnt have to, he was already there. Code Red had been discussed a lot by the teachers, Max had been growing sick of it. Code red was what would be said over the intercom if someone entered the building with a gun, teachers were supposed to lock their classroom doors and move all students to the back of the room. So far so good.
Now kids stay calm, said Mr. Reinhardt who sounded as if he was about to pass a stone.
Max wasnt really afraid for his life like most of the other students probably were, the only thing running through his mind was the school had it coming. He couldnt help but wonder if he knew the shooter, maybe it was Ray, he hadnt shown up that morning The class was quiet, too quiet, Max could hear a few whimpers and someone sobbing but that was it. Most were probably waiting to hear a gunshot, Max knew thats what he was waiting for. He hoped it wasnt a stupid drill, though as time passed he would wish it had been.
In the distance, somewhere else in the school, the sound of a blood curdling scream echoed through the hallways. Max nearly jumped out of his seat when he heard it, fear was setting in now. He had heard plenty of screams in his sixteen years of life but never anything like that, it was a cry. A death cry.
Jesus, the word had escaped Maxs mouth too quick for him to stifle it.
Jesus had nothing to do with that, son, Mr. Reinhardt said in a cold emotionless tone. That was the devils work.
The words sent a chill down Maxs spine as he thought about them, then again another scream broke the silence, the sound of shattering glass and the sounds of a man screaming in agony were all too real. Max closed his eyes trying to take his mind off of now, he wouldve given anything to be elsewhere.
Thats when the pounding started. The classroom door began to shake, with each strike every person in the classroom shook. The moaning started shortly after, bone chilling moans of hunger. The strength and pace of the strikes began to quicken, there was now more than one person trying to get in.
Dont worry kids, said Mr. Reinhardt. That doors solid reinforced steel, theyre not going to get in.
Whatever held the door in place was now starting to bend, soon the door was nearly flying open with each strike. The collective fear in the room could be felt strongly by all. The door was struck once more, finally swinging open in submission. Maxs eyes snapped open as he heard the door strike the wall, in shambled two men. The first was tall, dressed in a suit. A burial suit. Its face had been caked with make up, some of which had been washed away near the mouth by blood, his eyes had sunken deep into the sockets and were surrounded by black rings.
The second was Ben, the security guard, or what was left of him. His throat had been ripped out, replaced by a bloody mass of torn tissue, crimson had drenched his blue work shirt below the neck. A white foam dripped from the sides of his mouth which hung open loosely. The site of both men sent the room into chaos.
One of the students shattered one of the classroom windows with a chair and climbed out, others took his cue and did the same. Max climbed out one of the windows, turning back just in time to see Mr. Reinhardt being tackled to the floor by both men. Max had cut his hand as he climbed out the window, but he didnt even care, the adrenaline helped him ignore the pain and soldier on, he ran for the mass of police cars that had gathered by the front of the school. He looked at the front of the building, two men dressed in tactical gear stood cautiously by the front entrance while another evacuated students who came out quickly with their hands atop their heads.
How many were in there? Can you tell me?, asked a police officer as a paramedic bandaged Maxs hand.
Max remained silent, he had no answer. He wouldve spoken if he had something to say. The officer moved on to another student to ask the same question like a mindless automaton.
Max, said a female voice.
Max looked up, it was one of his friends, Morticia, he finally broke his silence. Hey
Oh my God are you ok?, she asked seeing his bandage.
Mike was standing next to her, damn man. Did you get shot?
There wasnt a gun, Max mumbled.
Huh?, asked Mike.
Max shook his head. Nothin I cut my hand climbing out that window over there.
The sound of gunfire made Max jumped, he turned his head towards the school where it was coming from.
They aint goin down!, someone said over the radio, Max could hear it from the cop standing next to the ambulance.
More gunfire came from inside the school, the three police officers in tactical gear near the front doors began to run as they saw something inside, more rain began to fall from the gray sky. Max sat unmoving on the back of the ambulance watching, the rain wetting his black pants and shoes. Out of the front entrance came another officer dressed in black tactical gear as the others running , four people chased after him, as he ran he unholstered his Colt M1911 .45. He turned and fired two shots point blank into one of his pursuers but to no avail. The bullets did nothing, the person chasing him merely jerked a few times then tackled the fleeing officer. No one could do anything but watch in horror as the mans throat was tore out by human teeth, his blood flowed mixing with fallen rain in a steady stream down to a gutter than into a storm drain.
Cannibals, Max heard someone say.
Max had come to a conclusion that only time would prove right or wrong. These cannibals werent living, but dead. It was beyond him where the conclusion came from, maybe his subconscious had pieced it together. Maybe not.
Drop em!, was the order that came over the police radio.
Gunfire erupted from the police who had their guns trained on the four creatures. Bullets tore through them as they feasted on the police officers body, trained guns and sighted rifles blew them back to hell, where they belonged.
Cease fire, Max could hear the order over the police officers radio who stood next to the ambulance.
Unnerved law enforcement lowered their guns, then slowly the four creatures rose to their feet Along with the police officer they had killed. Maxs eyes widened, total shock and awe. The undead creatures began to run at the living with only one thing on their minds: Food.
The entire town had already succumbed to the ranks of the mass murder and carnage committed by the ravenous humans, who seemed to be in a trance like state. The phenomenon had ravaged the town, spreading quickly like a wild fire in dry brush, Morticia and Max had seen a lifetimes worth of violence in just the first hour since the crisis had started in their small town.
Come on!, Morticia shouted pulling Max along the long alley way.
Max ran as fast as he could, though it was still not fast enough for the things were gaining on him. His soaked shoes sloshed each time his foot pressed down on the wetted concrete, his clothes were soaked as well from the rain that seemed to never stop. The overhanging gray storm clouds seemed to cast a gray hue over everything, for everything seemed a duller color than it really was.
Come on!, Morticia shouted again.
Max heard her, but here was little he could do. She was faster then him, and it seemed so were the creatures that pursued them.
Over here!, a voice ahead of them shouted.
Both Max and Morticia could hear it over the sound of raindrops hitting various things. Ahead of them was a man, one who looked as if he wasnt a day over 20, standing dressed in black BDUs, a matching cap on his head, soaked from head to toe. In his right hand he held a large rifle, like something out of an Arnold Schwarzenegger film.
Hurry!, he continued.
Morticia and Max quickened their pace, running with renewed purpose. Max glanced over his shoulder as he ran seeing a site that encouraged him to go faster, the site of the snarling human monstrosities reaching out after him with ravenous claws. He reached the man standing at the end of the alley a few steps after Morticia, every inch of his being filled with absolute fear.
The stranger with the gun looked ahead of him as the two frightened teenagers rushed past him, three of the creatures in hot pursuit, hell bent on acquiring yet another hot meal. The first to reach the end of the alley was met with a swift and deadly blow to the skull from the stock of the strangers rifle. The second one doubled over as a 5.56mm slug tore through its forehead, exiting through the back of its skull blowing much of it away. The thirds knees were blown out from under it with two expertly placed shots, the heroic stranger stepped forward looking down upon the horrific creature with disgust. Its head cracked open like a melon under his black combat boot, he gave another stern kick to the merely destroyed skull for good measure.
Max had nearly crashed to the ground from exhaustion while Morticia on the other hand was fairing well, she leaned against a brick wall taking in as much oxygen as she could. Max hadnt been built for running like Morticia had. The stranger dressed in black checked the creatures, to make sure that they were truly dead, before turning to the two shaken teenagers.
You two kids alright?, the stranger asked, his voice was filled with something that wasnt quite concern, but wasnt quite anything else.
Max simply nodded his reply.
Morticia had finished catching her breath and looked at the mysterious stranger before asking, who are you?
Lieutenant 1st Class Edward Hawkins, at your service, he replied in a polished tone.
The stranger, who had identified himself as Edward Hawkins, looked at Morticia noticing her slightly unusual attire, wearing all black clothes in an unusual style he had never seen. Her counterpart max was the same, dressed in complete black garb with a chain hanging from his left back pocket attached to one of his belt loops, his wet hair which looked like it had once been in spikes that had been destroyed by the bombarding rain. He was a little less stringy then the girl, but that was only to be expected.
Now may I ask who you two are?, he asked casually.
Im Morticia and thats Max, she replied snappily. But my friends call my Morty, since Morticia is too long.
Whered you come from?, asked Max, he was a little uneasy around this Edward.
Recon element, second SS, I was separated from my squad a few blocks from here when we ran into these, he paused thinking about it for a second, things.
SS? Max gave him a curious look.
The Lieutenant replied almost on cue, Slayer Squad.
To Max the name sounded like something out of a low B-grade movie of the 80s, or rather like something from a video game.
So I take it youre military, said Morticia, looking at him untrustingly.
Edward gave a quick nod, yes. This whole areas an I.Z.
I.Z.?, asked Max curiously. This was all so new to him, though the Lieutenant seemed more comfortable with it.
Infected Zone, the Lieutenant said again in a polished tone, sounding more like a brainwashed automaton from the cheerfulness of his nature. We should probably get a move on, find a place to hide until help comes, the shots I fired will undoubtedly bring more of the creatures.
Neither Max or Morticia voiced any disagreement with the lieutenants idea, they followed him willingly like obedient lap dogs.
The three had taken refuge in a small corner coffee shop, the Lieutenant had secured the place with the tops of tables and other assorted wooden items that could be nailed across openings. Luckily the owner of the place had kept a healthy supply of nails in the pantry. The rain continued to fall from the heavens outside, it filled the air with its unusually fresh scent that wouldve been welcomed happily any other day. But not that day; for it was truly the day of the dead.
So, Lieutenant Hawkins Whatre you really here for?, Morticia asked him as she sat on a bar stool she had frequented regularly, sipping a random cold cup of coffee.
The lieutenant sat with his back to her and Max checking his guns, an M4 Carbine and a Beretta 9mm pistol, facing the front door which had been boarded up from the inside. Im sorry, but I cannot disclose that information.
His tone had been monotonous, noticeably different from when he had spoken before.
Morticia rolled her eyes as she looked at him, are you serious? Were in the middle of something like this, most likely going to die, and you cant tell us a single thing?
Were not going to die, said Max who had become unusually quiet, though he never had never really been a talker for the years Morticia had known him. And that was kindergarten through present.
Morticia had never been a pessimist, but she seemed to be doing well at it. Were going to end up just like Mike.
Max closed his eyes thinking about what happened to Mike, then tried to shift his mind onto something else since the thought was too painful, tears began to streak down his cheeks as he silently wept.
No, hes right, said the Lieutenant. Were not going to die. He knew it was a lie, but false hope was all he could give.
Morticias eyes darted around the coffee shop, all windows had been effectively and sufficiently boarded up to keep the things out, though they hadnt found the three survivors yet, but there was no doubt in her mind that they would. She looked at the lieutenant who kept a watchful eye on the door. Whered you learn to do this stuff? Like the nailing, and all that jazz
Basic training for all in the SS, securing a perimeter to effectively stave off the U.D. is one of the most invaluable skills I was taught, replied the Lieutenant.
W-wait, U.D., whats that?, Morticia asked.
The lieutenant was silent for a few seconds before replying. Undead.
Morticia nearly choked on the drink of the cold coffee she took when she heard him, she spit it out and gasped for air. Undead?!
Told ya, said Max who sat behind the counter hugging his knees to his chest.
You mean, those things out there, theyre already dead?!, she had thought Max was only making things up, lies caused by fear and an inability to explain what had been occurring.
Affirmative. The only way to deal with one of the U.D. is to destroy the brain, the Lieutenant spoke as if it were all normal. This is merely a training exercise, one Ive been long preparing for.
Morticia asked no more questions, the shocking information provided by the Lieutenant was enough to make her wish shed never asked. She was afraid to ask anything else now, scared of what she might be told. I dont need this, she thought. Im only a kid still, I want to live, I want to live
Max remained silent, what had started as a regular day had turned into a blood bath for the ages, one he would not soon forget. The air seemed to be alive with a sort of electric feeling, Max could smell it as well as feel it slightly. Mixed in with the scent of the rain that continued to poor as if God was crying was barely noticeable. Max closed his eyes, thinking of his house. His nice little house on Gorman ST where he and his mom and dad lived, and his dog Chopper. He wanted to be home, in bed, he wanted to wake up and find that this had all been a bad dream. He wanted to wake up and find that this had all been an elaborate nightmare, cooked up by his subconscious from eating the wrong things and watching horror movies before bed.
He pinched himself to reassure himself that this wasnt a dream, a nightmare, but reality. Cold harsh merciless reality. He pondered on his loved ones, and his friends he hadnt seen since the school that morning, wondering if they were ok. He began to doubt that he would ever see them again, that he would ever wake up Saturday mornings to the smell of his is mother making breakfast, since she never had the time during week days because of work. Saturdays were always special, more tears began to well up in his eyes as he realized he would never see another Saturday morning.
Morticia had the same feelings, she wanted to be home, listening to music and drawing as she usually did out of boredom. She wanted to hear her Evanescence CD once more, she had forgotten it that morning on her dresser. But it wouldnt have been of much good use, since her CD player ran out of batterys that morning. She wanted to see her cat again, she wanted to hold Boots once more and pet him. Hear and feel him purring in her arms affectionately. She wanted to argue with her mother about things that werent really important, only now had she come to the realization that she and her mother never really talked. Arguing was their form of communication, the arguments were never anger filled, they were the only way the two knew how to talk. She realized now, now that it was too late, that she wanted to have a regular conversation with her mother. She lowered her head in sadness, knowing that that would never happen.
Morticia, said Max from behind the counter, still sitting in his spot hugging his knees to his chest.
Yeah?, she asked.
How are you feeling?, Max sat silently waiting for her reply.
Im alright How about you?
Max wiped away his tears, Im alright Ive been better though. The pain was present in his voice, though he tried to hide it.
Better? Like that time in 8th grade when we spit in Mr. Nilbogs coffee, and he came back from the office and took a big drink?, said Morticia with a grin, recalling happier times.
Max closed his eyes, laughter coming from him as he remembered that day with crystal clarity. And, he paused. That time Tex McCormick came to school without any pants on, and no one told him till 1st hour when he walked into Misses Lizs class wearing nothing but a muscle shirt and tighty whiteys.
Morticia slapped her knee, nearly hurting with laughter now. How about that time when we put Clearsol in Mikes pop in 3rd hour, and he started farting all wickedly?
Tears were coming from both their eyes now, but they were tears of joy, tears from their laughter. Max grinned, I remember that, he had to go home and c-change his pants and underwear cause of the stuff gave him the Hershey squirts.
Mortica started to laugh again, y-yeah, and Allison Cordaine broke up with him after that cause she was embarrassed to be seen with him We were mean, she paused. Good times good times
The two were both indeed weird, each one of a kind. But that was part of the reason they got along so well...
Something struck the front door of the coffee shop with great force, shaking the entire building, the door nearly flew off the hinges from the first strike.
Jesus!, Morticia said frightened by it, she hopped over the counter landing next to Max.
Both crouched low, peeking over the edge of the counter.
Stay down kids, if those things get in here I want you both to lock yourselves in the pantry, said the lieutenant standing with his M4 at the ready, pointing it at the door way as inhuman moans came from outside.
The glass windows shattered as discoloring hands shot through the openings between the boards, fingers curling and uncurling hungrily, reaching for whatever was inside. With each strike the door weakened, the boards nailed across coming loose. Lieutenant Hawkins undid the button to the leather strap that held his pistol in its holster, just in case he had to draw it quickly.
Lieutenant Hawkins drew in a deep breath and exhaled slowly, calming his nerves like he had been trained to. He had to remained focused, there was no telling how many of the things had accumulated outside, he shouldve told the kids to keep quiet, their voices were like a dinner bell to the undead. But he hadnt, he wanted them to enjoy their final hours as the living.
Another devastating blow came to the door, the lieutenant knew it wouldnt be able to take much more. Another strike was delivered knocking a door hinge loose, the lieutenants eyes narrowed as his hand impatiently wrapped around the pistol grip of the M4, a weird feeling in his stomach developed, his index finger curled around the trigger as he waited anxiously.
Another coordinated strike was delivered to the wooden door knocking three of the four boards nailed across it off, hardened fists knocked away the table top that had been nailed across the doors window sending it to the shops tiled floor. Through the exposed window the three survivors could see a sea of dead faces, expressions of hunger and pain on all. Some had suffered vicious wounds to the skull that had not finished them, Max could see one pour soul missing an eye and a jaw. Morticia caught a glimpse of one whos face had been torn away, the flesh and muscles eaten away down to the surface of the bone. She turned around and dry heaved, Max looked away too, he couldnt bare the sight of them.
Another strike tore the door from the frame tipping it like a tree, before the first could enter the lieutenant had already started firing. He took his shots carefully yet quickly, the roar of his M4 mixed in with the chorus of the undead moans was a hellish anthem of carnage and torment. Yet still, for each one the lieutenant shot another took its place, his gun clicked empty and before he could draw his pistol they were on him, the first tackled him to the tile floor, his unsecured pistol slid out of its holster towards the counter landing close to the two teenagers.
A few of the reanimated corpses noticed Morticia and Max and started towards them, though some were slower than others, rigor mortis had set in, Max scooped up the Beretta 9mm in his left hand as he and Morty fled to the pantry. The thick metal pantry door slammed shut just as the first corpse arrived, bouncing off the solid steel surface clumsily. The two teenagers sat in the rather large pantry, still breathing heavily from fear. All Max could do was stare at the door, it looked similar to the one of Mr. Reinhardts classroom, the one that had given way so easily to so little of the dead.
What now?, asked Morticia.
Max looked in her direction, though neither could see each other for the pantry was dark. I dont know I I really dont
A light clicked on in the room, Morticia had found a light switch, the two looked at one another, each expecting the other to know the answer. They could hear the sounds of the lieutenant screaming in pain outside, though neither paid him any attention. So selfish. The pounding on the door could faintly be heard as well as the moans, the thick walls as well as the door kept almost all sound from reaching the two.
Max looked at the black Beretta in his hands, he had never held a gun his entire life before now. It wasnt at all like the movies, the gun was definitely heavier then he would have expected, and strangely cold, like a block of ice. He didnt know much about guns, only that you pointed it at whatever you wanted to die and pulled the trigger.
Wait, said Morticia as she moved a box out of the way near the door.
Max looked up, huh?
Theres something here, some kind of hatch, she said now on her knees pulling at something.
Max climbed to his feet and walked over, looking over her shoulder just as she pulled whatever it was up. It came open with a strange noise as musty air was released into the pantry.
Yuck, smells like.
Sewer, Max finished her sentence. This might be our only way out.
She looked at him with her icy blue eyes. Well what are you waiting for?
He shrugged his shoulders. What did he have to lose? He tucked the pistol into his kangaroo pocket on his black hoodie and started his slow descension by means of the rusty cold bars that were mounted to the concrete sewer wall. The last two bars were missing, he was forced to drop the rest of the way, which wasnt that far. He landed with both feet evenly, the grayish green sewer water knee high, some of it splashed upwards getting on his hooded sweater as he landed.
Aw sick, you have no idea what just floated past me, said Max.
Morticia rolled her eyes as she started to climb down, wheres the other bars?!, she asked sheepishly.
Just jump, Max replied looking up at her. Its not far, trust me.
Oh, right, trust you, Max Kimble, the kid who once told me to trust him in the 2nd grade by wearing a blindfold, then pushing me into a mud puddle, yeah right, she said sarcastically.
Im serious, come on.
Well ok, but youve got to catch me, Morticia waited for a response.
Uh, ok sure. Ill catch you.
She let go of the bars and jumped down, Max tried to catch her but she fell on him knocking them both over into the sewer water. Max kept his head above the surface, he didnt want to swallow any, sadly Morty wasnt so lucky, she shot up from the sewer water gasping for air.
MAX!, she shouted angrily, YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO CATCH ME YOU IDIOT!
Max helped her up. Sorry, I tried, but you came down at a funny angle, he said trying to stifle a laugh.
Oh sure, erm gross, now I smell like sewer water, she wiped her eyes with the back side of her right forearm. Where to now?, she asked.
Max looked both ways down the nearly pitch black tunnel, lit only by dim light bulbs that hung from the ceiling of the sewer which seemed to be entangled with vines and brown roots of some kind, he shrugged his shoulders, dont ask me man, I just work here.
A man hole, weve got to find one, Morticia started down the right side of the sewer tunnel.
How do you know thats the right way?, Max asked.
She stopped and turned to him, Max, the town aint that big if you havent noticed. Were bound to run into one sooner or later, this place cant be that big.
Max stood still, looking in the opposite direction.
Morticia stopped again, turning towards him once more, you coming or are you just gonna stand around with that Im lost look on your face all day?
Max scoffed and unwillingly followed.
Minutes later they found one, by now they were dreading the stench of the sewer, eager to get to the surface to the rain, the only thing they dreaded worse than the smell of the sewer was the flesh eating corpses which awaited them above. Max was the first up, since he was the one with the pistol, and probably had a better chance of being eaten first. Such a friend Morticia was. Max didnt let it get to him though, she was his best friend now, and if that meant getting nibbled on by ravenous corpses then so be it. He reached the top of the bar ladder, pushing the manhole cover up, it came open easier then expected but was heavy.
He pushed it aside, the cold rain drops hitting his face, he could see his own breath in the air as he surfaced. He climbed up all the way and turned back to help Morticia up, she surfaced and she too was relieved to feel the cold rain drops on her face. The dual sat next to the man hole for a second, taking in the welcoming fresh air, a nice change from the stagnant stench of the sewer system.
T-time to go!, Max said climbing to his feet, Morticia saw what he saw and scrambled to her feet as well.
Max had been a few steps ahead of her but turned and waited for his friend before continuing to flee. Behind them a sea of the undead moved towards them, spread out thick taking up the full width of the street, moving ever forward like a cannibalistic tidal wave of the damned.
Where are we going?, asked Max in between breath, Morticia had taken the lead once again as she was a faster runner than him.
Morticia looked back, seeing the intimidating army of the undead shambling after them, only a few now fresh enough to run, the bridge, weve got to get out of this town!
Max voiced no disagreement and continued to run, the dusty pike bridge was on the west side of the town, where he and Morticia where, if they could make it there then maybe they could loose the creatures. It wasnt long before they could see the bridge in sight, though the heavy fog which had set in rather quickly only permitted them to see so much
Private Beckman stood behind the sandbag and barbwire blockade formed on the bridge, on the opposite side of the blockade bullet riddled vehicles littered the base of it along with the bodies of the re-killed corpses. The towns other exits had been blocked by similar methods, though most of the wooded area had to be patrolled by helicopter and ground units. All of the SS units that had entered the town hadnt returned or reported back.
Private Beckman, has there been any contact with the SS?, Captain Luc asked.
Beckman shook his head, no sir, this storms been messin with our radio equipment, havent been able to raise anyone within the I.Z.
The captain mumbled something then went off to bother someone else.
Beckman sighed, he couldnt wait till this stuff was over, he wanted to get home to his family. His wife had just had their first kid a few days earlier, named him George after General George S. Patton, which was Beckmans idol. He let out a raspy cough which nearly name him drop his M4, he walked over to Private Bates who manned the m60, positioning its tripod on the top of a sandbag as he knelt on one knee.
Bates had seen a lot of things that day, things he hadnt been prepared for, though hed been selected to protect the bridge all he could do was his duty, not to let any body out. If anyone were to approach the blockade they were to be put down immediately, be they man woman or child. He wasnt the only one with his gun trained in the direction of the town, towards the opposite side of the bridge. There were forty other men with him, but even that didnt make him feel safe. The first car that had sped towards the bridge had been riddled with a barrage of bullets from nervous troops, those who survived only lived long enough to see their family members bleed to death, in one case a kid in the back seat had only been injured but the rest of his family had been killed. After a few minutes the other three in the car came back to life, and tore the kid apart as he sat wounded in the back seat. Yes sir, there was one to tell his grand kids some day.
Hey, said Beckman as he took a knee next to Bates.
Bates nearly jumped out of his skin, he had been deep in thought, hey, he replied keeping his eyes dead ahead.
Hell of a day, huh?, commented Beckman who was now pointing his M4 in the same direction as Bates.
To say the least. I didnt join the corps for this kinda thing, I joined to see the world, hell, I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill, I didnt join to be put out in the sticks to kill innocent civilians, Bates grip tightened on the m60s pistol grip as he stared ahead.
Yeah, well the only innocent are the unborn, replied Beckman. But yeah, I know what youre talkin about. I didnt join up to put holes in my neighbors either, orders are orders.
Everyones real nervous, theres things happenin here that shouldnt be happenin, Bates sighed. I dont know if Ill ever be able to sleep again man, not after Ive seen this kinda shit Dead people comin back to life, mothers and fathers eatin their children It aint right
Beckman let out another raspy cough, he paused for a long time before replying. You know, when they told me to aim for the head, cause other shots wouldnt work, I told myself my hearins goin. Told myself I was hearin them wrong, until I saw my first. Its wrong, I know, but orders are orders.
You hear that?, asked Bates.
Beckman quieted down and listened, he could hear it. The sound of hundreds of the undead moaning in unison, their distinctive dreadful hunger filled moans.
Lock and load ladies, weve got company!, Captain Luc shouted as he heard the same noise as the rest.
Beckmans breathing became ragged and unsteady, he was getting nervous, his hand trembled as it rested on the M4s pistol grip, his index finger anxiously resting on the trigger gently. Bates swallowed his fear and righted the M60, mounted it to his shoulder sternly, relying on the tripod to take most of the weight. The soldiers were ready to gun down anything that came out of the thick gray fog, who ever and whatever it may be.
Come on, were almost there!, shouted Morticia to Max.
Max ran as fast as he could, the sound of the creatures moaning behind him pushed him harder.
Come on!, Morticias foot clanked down on the steel surface of the bridge.
Morticia was on the ground before she heard the shots, Max heard the shots before he felt the pain. Max could feel his warm blood rushing up his throat, forcing his lips open as it shot into the air and fell across his face and pavement in a random scarlet pattern. He coughed up more of his own coppery flavored crimson body fluid and closed his eyes, he could feel them in his stomach and chest, a few of the bullets still burned inside. He had never thought about bullets burning though, never thought the pain would be like this. He flopped around on the ground like a fish on land, the pain clouding his mind like the fog that engulfed him, he whimpered and groaned in pain.
He caught a glimpse of Morticia out of the corner of his eye, she wasnt moving; wasnt breathing. A pool of blood was steadily forming around her motionless body, but Max could only feel his own pain, his hands curled into tight fists, his black painted fingernails dug into his palm as the pain from his wounds made him press harder. Cold bodies crashed to the steel surfaced bridge near him, few seconds passed before he could feel the pain leaving him, all was going peaceful now. He could hear nothing, but he watched with a silent eye as the corpses that had once pursued him dropped like flies, most down for good but others with shattered ankles and knees, only slowed by the slugs which the living threw by means of their guns. Max closed his eyes as everything seemed to be getting brighter, though it didnt hurt his eyes, he knew soon he would be seeing Morticia. His breathing slowed, his fists uncurled, his body went limp, the warmth already fleeing, his last breath escaped freely carrying away his soul, he was leaving hell behind
Theres too many, the freight filled words crawled slowly out of Private Beckmans gaping maw.
Private Bates still fired away, but for every one he put down another took its place. It seemed pointless, even for a town the size of Grovers Mill there was still more than they had expected. Beckman slapped a fresh clip into his M4, lock and load, he continued to fire at random targets with no time to choose, some of the damned things were running.
Keep shooting men!, Captain Luc shouted in a tone that was something like seriousness, but bordering on the verge of psychopathic.
It wasnt long before the things reached the barbed wire and turned over wrecked cars, not much of a blockade but it would have to do. The enemy was only inches away, Bates and Beckman could smell them, it was no longer firing at distant shapes, it was looking at their faces. The faces of the damned, the faces of evil. The first to reach the barbed wire sheepishly walked into it, then fell forward becoming entangled in the sharp and treacherous fray, becoming easy targets.
Beckman had been firing away randomly when he had heard the two single most beautiful words that had ever been spoken.
There was no need to tell him twice, he stood up and moved in the opposite direction along with the other troops, Bates at his side keeping a weary eye. The falling rain and fog shielded hazardous dangers that could pop out at any moment, and when they did theyd meet Bates welcoming M60. The troops piled into various military transport vehicles, both air and land before leaving the area in a speedy pace.
Minutes later the sound of fast moving aircraft shooting through the air excited some of the creatures below as they shambled about through the streets of Grovers Mill, still in search of food. Endlessly in search. Most lazily tilted their heads towards the gray sky as a pair of black objects fell from the heavens, a high pitched whistling noise accompanying them. The town disappeared in a flash of bright light, shock waves spread outwards from the impact points leaving a path of fiery destruction in their wake.
As the smoke cleared and the fires fizzed out all that remained where Grovers Mill once sat was a flat lot littered with random lumps of ash and the charred shells of ravaged buildings
General Worthington sat behind his steel desk, a few manila folders sitting before him idly. He puffed on a fat Cuban cigar as he sat back in his swivel chair, feet up on the desk. He took the time to reach over and grab one of the folders and opened it, looking at the paper clipped pages.
No less than 24 hours after the chemical was released into a controlled environment the entire town, population 650, succumbed to its effects, either infected by the carriers or by the chemical itself through inhalation. Special operation units known as the SS efforts to survive within the I.Z. were hopeless, suggestion is of course more training to combat and contain the U.D. within an I.Z. so that if said chemical were ever used in war time scenarios the U.D. may be swiftly dealt with after their purpose was fulfilled. Storms caused by the chemical in open air have been reported to mess with radio and radar equipment. The general flipped the page in the thin report. Estimated time it would take for the chemical to infect the population such as a city - Example: Bullethill City - no less than 7 days. Smaller areas would succumb in a shorter time frame.
The General picked up the other folders and opened his file cabinet, he slid them in a larger brown folder marked Operation Paperclip. He opened one of his desks drawers and pulled out a liter of Vodka and a shot class, he poured himself a shot with a sigh.
He wished the chemical had never been developed, there were some weapons mankind shouldnt possess.