Its been a while, but another update for this has arrived!
Hope you guys enjoy!
Three days had passed since the massacre at the New Hampshire compound. The survivors had escaped to a neighboring town and holed up in one of the buildings. They had managed to get most of the provisions from the camp so food wasn't an issue, but there was one problem.
"Gosh, it's really piling up down there." Harold observed, peering out the window down onto the street below. Sure enough, the white powder was at least six inches high and it was still coming down with a fury.
"The temperature has dropped too," Shuie said, shivering despite his several layers of clothing.
"It's only 11AM and it looks like its night, that is not good, brah." Geoff said, joining Harold at the window.
"What do we do?" Izzy asked, "leave? I mean, how long can it last?"
"It's not how long it lasts that's the issue," Brick told her, wincing as he adjusted his wounded leg, "it's the snow remaining on the ground. It's cold, so it won't melt quickly, if it all. Much easier for bandits and the like to follow our tracks if we leave footprints in the snow every time we go outside."
"What do we do? Hole up or head out? There's gotta be some cars that have a little gas in 'em still. At least until we go south." Geoff said.
"I say we go for it," Devin agreed, "we've heard some weird shit around here. If everyone in a ten mile radius gets stuck here, we don't wanna be a part of it."
"If we're lucky, the snow will keep coming down." Harold said, peering out the window. "Let's get a car going. All ten of us can cram if we have to."
"No way ten of us and our provisions will fit in one car," Shuie told him, "we need two."
"Or a van," Rock added.
"Whatever. Pack up, we're moving out." Harold said.
Everyone was ready to go in ten minutes. They had all wrapped scarfs and different pieces of clothing around their heads to protect them from the frigid winds and blinding snow. Harold and Shuie even had some ski goggles, valuable looted items from a raid on a sporting good's shop they did a couple months back.
"Get ready. It's gonna be close. Stick together." Harold said solemnly.
They opened the door and were immediately blasted by cold air. They emerged into the white outside. Despite the fact that it was almost noon, it looked almost light night time. The sky was a dark grey, and barely any sunlight was peeking through the clouds.
One good thing was that visbility wasn't quite as bad as they had feared, and they didn't have any issues seeing what was around them.
Shuie lifted his ski goggles. "Visual conditions seem fine. Let's check cars! Remember, newer cars can't be hot-wired, so look for older models!. Two groups of four, and one group of three. Signal if you find a suitable car.
The rest nodded. Wordless and like a well oiled machine, they split up. Brigette, Geoff, Brick and Izzy went straight ahead down the street. Harold, Shuie and Stephanie went one street over. Carrie, Beardo, Devin and Rock went the opposite way.
Harold, Shuie and Stephanie slipped through an alleyway connecting the streets and emerged. A couple of zombies paced around, but they were slow and sluggish. The cold weather was impacting their joints. While they weren't affected by frostbite, physics was still physics, and their joins were clunky and sticky.
"I'll take 'em out," Harold said, his tone calm. He walked towards the zombies and pulled a knife. He stabbed the first one before it even knew he was there, and dispatched the other handful shortly after.
Shuie let out a hiss, startling Stephanie.
"What, what it is?" The pretty girl asked frantically.
"It's perfect," Shuie said, pointing ahead to a large, windowless van. It was painted dark blue, and had "Johnson's Electrical" on it.
"Gosh, it really is," Harold muttered, wiping zombie gunk off his knife in the snow. The three approached the van and tried to peer in the windows. No luck, as they were tinted.
Stephanie tried the door. "No luck. We'll have to smash the window."
Harold shook his head. "Bad idea," he told her. "It's too cold out. We don't want an open window the whole way. We'll be miserable." He opened a coat pocket and pulled out a small lockpicking kit. "Let me take a crack at picking the lock. The car looks old enough so it might work."
"What if sets off the car alarm?" Stephanie asked, nervous.
Harold shrugged, "I can disable the alarm in a couple of seconds. Zombies are slow, we'll take 'em easy."
"It's not zombies I'm worried about," Shuie said, his eyes scanning the windows of the buildings. "Hurry up, I don't like being exposed like this."
Harold nodded and began working on the lock. Stephanie went back and took a look at the van's double doors, and noted that they were padlocked shut.
"Hey, this is still locked up tight," she told him, "whatever is in here might be unlooted!"
"All the more reason to get this thing up and running," Harold grunted, struggling with the lock. "Stupid snow keeps blowing into my eyes…" There was a small, sharp click and Harold's eyes widened. "Yes! Got it!"
He opened the door, and thankfully no car alarm went off. He instantly went under the steering wheel, by the pedals, and let out a little cheer. "I can Hotwire this, guys! Give the signal!"
Shuie put two fingers in his mouth and gave two sharp whistles. Objective completed. Regroup on my position.
While Harold fiddled with the wires, Shuie and Stephanie kept watch. Within a couple of minutes, Bridgette and Geoff appeared out of the snowy whiteness, a limping Brick being helped along by Izzy.
"Nice find!" Izzy whistled, "does it have gas?"
"I dunno," Stephanie said, "we can read the gas gauge once Harold starts it up."
As if on cue, the car rumbled to life and Harold retracted his head from underneath the wheel. "Got it!" He checked the gas gage. "About a third full…hm, not good enough. We should siphon a little bit and fill it."
"On it," Geoff said, unslinging his backpack. He rummaged around and came out with a rubber hose and a flaccid one gallon waterskin. Devin and Beardo joined the party boy and they moved towards the closest car. Beardo got the gas cap off and Geoff stuck the hose in. He began to suck on the other end, and soon enough a little bit of gas began to pour out of the hose.
Izzy poked her head into the passenger side door of the van and frowned. Separating the two front seats from the back benches was a solid, sturdy metal grate.
"Bad news, Harold," Izzy said, poking her head back out of the car. "Looks like we can't get in without busting that padlock. It's all grated out."
"Okay," Harold said, "I'll try and pick the lock."
Geoff came back with a full sack and poured the gallon of gas into the van.
"It's probably an eighteen gallon tank. We should get another ten gallons in there," Rock said, reaching into his own pack and puling out another tube and sack. "Let's split up a bit," he looked around the whirling snow, "I'm starting to get an uneasy feeling."
Devin nodded, his face and tone grim. "I agree. Let's get this done."
Gallon after gallon came back from various cars, and eventually the van was topped off.
"Nice work," Bridgette said, "Harold, any luck with the lock?"
Harold was annoyed, "I can't get it."
The group whipped around to see zombies starting to appear out of seemingly nowhere.
"Shit!" Carrie shrieked, pulling her knife.
Unbeknownst to them, the conditions of the weather had gotten way worse. Having been distracted by the gas getting and lock-picking, the group hadn't noticed. Now, dozens of zombies were lumbering towards them.
"Can we take them?" Brick asked, reaching for his handgun.
"Don't," Shuie hissed, "there's too many. Besides, if we start opening fire we don't know what other kinds of attention we'll be attracting…"
"I can't get this stupid lock unlocked!" Harold snapped, panic starting to creep into his normally monotone voice.
Stephanie and Izzy began stabbing zombies as they got close. Red splatted the white snow. The zombies moans were barely audible over the howling wind.
A zombie appeared directly behind Stephanie, seeming materializing from nowhere. It bit down on her neck, but didn't have the strength to pierce her fluffy down winter coat. Stephanie shrieked and elbowed it in the face, caving it's frozen, rotten skull in.
She frantically stepped back, clawing at her neck. She choked out a sob of relief as she felt her unblemished skin.
"Stephanie!" Carrie shrieked, stabbing another zombie, "are you okay?!"
"I'm fine, I'm fine!" Stephanie said, clearly shaken. She retreated back to Harold. "We gotta do something! They're coming out of nowhere, we can't see anything!"
"Harold, move!" Brick thundered, unholstering his pistol, "I'm going to shoot the padlock. Get in the drivers seat!"
Harold obliged instantly, hoisting himself up onto the roof of the van and sliding across it, dropping down right in front of the drivers seat. Bridgette and Geoff squeezed themselves into the passenger seat together.
That left everyone else outside to deal with the zombies.
Brick stood five yards away and fire at the van. The bullet sparked off the license plate. "Damnit! The wind and the snow makes it hard to aim," Brick said, "Shuie, the goggles!"
Shuie chopped the head off a zombie with his Bowie knife and turned, yanking the goggles off his head and tossing them to the cadet in a fluid motion. A zombie got in behind the ex-criminal, but Rock shouldered it out of the way and beat it's head in with a baseball bat.
"Stay frosty, dude," Rock joked, a ghost of a smile playing at his lips.
Brick caught the goggles and hastily put them on. Notably, Izzy was standing just inches from Brick, watching his back.
Devin and Carrie dodged and weaved through the slow, stiff zombies, braining and stabbing all that got in their way. They seemed to have run into a horde, though. For every one they felled, two seems to materialize out of the vast whiteness.
The bullet sparked off the padlock, denting but not destroying the padlock.
The metal padlock blew apart, and Beardo rushed to the door, unbarring it and yanking it open. "Get in, everyone!" He rasped.
Izzy helped Brick in, and Stephanie went in right behind them. Devin and Carrie covered the retreat. Rock and Shuie joined Beardo.
"Carrie, Devin, let's move it!" Brick barked.
The two stopped their zombie slaughtering and began making their way into the van. A couple zombies lunged out at them from nowhere, but Carrie and Devin knew how to have each others backs. Untouched, they made it into the van, and Izzy slammed the door, padlocking it. They were immersed in darkness as Harold shifted the van into drive.
"Let's fucking go, baby!" Geoff cheered, kissing Bridgette on the cheek. "Step on it, Harold!"
The zombies beat uselessly on the windows and metal of the van as it began to peel out, Harold faced a little resistance in the snow, but got it under control.
Rock clapped his hands together. "Good shit guys! Not a single issue. Way to keep the cool!"
Shuie nodded in agreement, a rare smile adorning his face. "Indeed."
"Which way is south, guys?" Harold called from the back seat.
Stephanie pulled out a compass. "The way we're heading," she told Harold, "just keep going straight."
"You think we should head south?" Shuie asked him.
"Yeah, the less we have to deal with snow, the better I think," Harold told him. "At least big snowstorms like this."
No one had any problem with this. "Sounds like a plan, dude," Geoff said happily.
Harold nodded. "Anything useful back there with you guys?"
"No idea, I can't see anything!" Izzy said. "Anyone got a flashlight?"
"Yeah, hold on," Carrie said, digging in her pack. She came out with a flashlight and flicked it on. She shined the beam of light around the back of the truck, looking for anything of use. She gasped. "Oh wow!"
"What, what is it?" Bridgette said excitedly, craning to look through metal grate from the front seat.
"There's a bunch of jerry cans back here," Carrie said. She attempted to pick one up, and struggled. "I think they're all full!"
"Hey, there's a couple boxes of batteries here too…AA batteries!" Rock said, picking up a 12-pack.
"I got a first-aid kit here," Devin said, rummaging through it, "though it's nothing special."
"Any bit helps." Harold said, "any food back there?"
"I don't see any," Beardo said, "but we should have enough for a little while. At least until we get somewhere else. We got plenty of gas, and we can always stop and loot some places."
Harold finally let himself relax in his seat, drumming his hand on the steering wheel. "We're lucky. Visibility is shit, but there are hardly any cars on the road. Perks of staying in a rural little town, huh?"
"You can say that again," Brick agreed. "We're safe…for now, at least."
"In that case, I Spy, with my little eye, something white and fluffy!" Rock said.
"Uh, that's a hard no," Shuie deadpanned, getting a chuckle out of a few of the others.
They continued to chat amicably as the van sped down the snow-covered highway. They were safe for the moment…
But safety is only temporary.
Dead: Owen, LeShawna, Staci, Sadie, B, Sam, Dakota, DJ, Lindsay, Chris, Cameron, Tyler, Scott, Anne Maria, Katie, Haley, Zoey, Dawn, Mike, Zekitrov, Cody, Eva, Mary, Ryan, Spud, Ellody.
Alive (Maine, Heading South): Ezekiel, Noah, Justin, Beth, Courtney, Trent, Duncan, Heather, Gwen, Alejandro, Sierra, Lightning, Jo, Chef, Aidan, James, Rodney and Sky.
Alive (New Hampshire Highway, Heading South): Harold, Shuie, Geoff, Bridgette, Izzy, Carrie, Devin, Beardo, Stephanie, Rock, Brick.
Alive (Car Heading North): Emma, Kitty.
Ugh. Two years. You have every right to hate me! I won't make excuses. The next update probably won't be for a little while if I'm honest, but I'm still plugging away at this! I know these chapters are pretty short, but I don't feel the style fits long chapters.
Next chapter we'll be bouncing back to the Maine camp crew, who are on their way south, and we might just check in with Emma and Kitty too!
New TD characters will be introduced to this world soon, along with a couple more deaths, so stay tuned!