I was scoping out an abandoned Winn-Dixie, looking for food to take back to the Open Arms Baptist Church, or a place to move the congregation. The Preacher was back at our current hideout to ensure that if this one was a bust, we still had a place to sleep. As I wove up and down the aisles, I found a few left behind cans, some dry Raman noodles, and a bag of powdered milk. I put them in my backpack, and moved on.

I held my pistol high, ready to aim at any walking corpses that would be lingering in an abandoned grocery store.

When I reached aisle 10, I heard a growl, followed by a friendly bark, and s sneeze. I held the gun up, and entered the aisle. A mangy dog sat at attention, and smiled at me. Then he sneezed. I couldn't help but smile back.

The dog had no collar on.

I turned on my heels and started to walk away. He stood up, then started trotting at my heels.

"I suppose I can't tell you to go home. If you have any hope of staying with me, you need to have a name. Especially since The Preacher and I would need to share supplies with you. How about Fluffy?"

The dog wrinkled his nose to say "Eww. No way, Jose."


His eyes sparkled, as if saying, "That's closer to something I like."

So I asked him, "Winn-Dixie?"

He smiled. Then sneezed.

"All right. Come on, Winn-Dixie. Let's go get The Preacher."

He barked.

Keeping my gun loaded, and at attention, I told Winn-Dixie that I was 10 years old. I was 9 when everything began to fall apart and the dead began to rise. I told him that my mama had left when I was little, and that The Preacher had opened the doors of the church when the first zombies came to Naomi, Florida. All of the members at the church came there for shelter, and even quite a few others. After it was a complete apocalypse scenario, he closed the doors. And we were going to be in need of a new hideout soon. He listened intently, and we made it back to the church with no issues with the undead.

I gave the secret knock, and The Preacher let me and Winn-Dixie in.

"This is Winn-Dixie. He was all alone. He's friendly, and he needs our help, even though he smells like the back of a garbage truckā€¦and his breath smells like old fish. Can he please stay?"

"Ask around. If no one seems to mind, or cares that we are sparing some resources for a dog, then he can stay."

So, I asked around, and no one seemed to mind about Winn-Dixie.