“So then I said to myself ‘Kevin’ sometimes I call myself Kevin, I said ‘Kevin, I don’t think this bus driver has the flu’ and sure enough she was a zombie. I had to-“
“Shut up! I didn’t ask you anything,” I said. Joseph glared at me and then rolled his eyes.
“You’re a prime example of why you shouldn’t help people on the side of the road,” Joseph replied. I watched as he tossed through empty boxes and smashed bottles in the rundown pharmacy. It’s been months after the Initial outbreak, I didn’t have any high hopes of him finding anything. After the President went M.I.A and the VP got eaten on TV, the country fell into a bit of a panic. There was a two week period where ‘Americans’ rounded up people who didn’t look ‘American’ there was a lot of death during that time. People called it The Hunt, well some people, the ones that were getting hunted, just called it The American Way. Nonetheless, there were race riots, looting, and a ton of other things I hoped I’d never see again.
“There’s nothing here,” I said softly. My head rested down on the pharmacy counter and I closed my eyes, “You’re wasting your-“ The bell for the pharmacy door rang and Joseph drove down to the floor. My eyes opened as his head popped up beside mine, he put his fingers to his lips and slowly started to help me down off the counter. “Fuck-“ Joseph’s hand went over my mouth and I bit down on his palm from the pain that was shooting through my arm. Joseph quickly pulled his had away and started staring at it, then he looked at me.
“Get the fuck up! And don’t move!” A woman shouted. Joseph’s and I locked eyes and then he sighed.
Slowly Joseph put his hands into the air, “How do I get up if I can’t move?” Joseph asked.
“What!” The woman shouted.
“Well if I can’t move then-“
I stood up slowly with my hand in the air, “Ignore him, he’s an escaped mental patient,” I said. I was staring down the barrel of a sawed-off shotgun. The woman with long black hair stared at me, she looked
“That’s not entirely True-“
“What the fuck happened to your arm?” The woman said.
“I got-“ Joseph stepped in front of me.
“She cut her arm on a rusted car door. I had to take it off,” Joseph said.
“What do you me by ‘not entirely true’ I said softly.
“Stop talking,” The woman said softly, she cleared a bit of blood away from her bottom lip and then pointed the gun at the corner, “move,” She said softly. We slowly started walking from behind the counter.
“We don’t have anything worth taking,” I said.
“Never said I wanted anything,” she said.
“Well normally in situations like this when a weapon is drawn, then a transaction of some kind is requested. You might be new to this, but that’s how it’s normally done.” Joseph said.
We both stared at him and then the shotgun lowered, “He’s gonna get you killed,” the woman said. I couldn’t argue with her, my hand lowered, “So I’m guessing you’re looking for antibiotics?” The woman asked.
“Yeah,” I said softly.
“Well, you won’t find any here. This place was cleaned out by Jerome and his crew,” She said. With the shotgun lowered, I was more comfortable taking in an eyeful of the woman. She was young, about my age, with blood stains on her. But the number one thing that stood out was her lack of shoes. My eyes were fixed on her feet until she snapped her finger, “You got a problem?” She asked.
“No, umm, who’s Jerome?” I quickly countered.
“And is he willing to share some drugs?” Joseph replied. As annoying and socially unaware he is, it was pretty nice to see how focused he was on getting my meds. It almost made me not want to kick him in the nuts, almost.
“Jerome is the end all be all around here. He runs a gang called The Riders, they set up shop here about a month ago.” She said. The girl leaped onto the counter, her bare feet smacking down hand onto the wood, “And to answer the crazy one’s question, no. Jerome isn’t big on sharing.” The girl jumped down and started walking toward the employee only door, “You two are better off getting out of town, it’s not safe here.” She said.
“Well, thank you for the heads up and pulling a gun on us. Jessica, you heard the woman, let's go.” Joseph said.
“So what about you?” I asked.
“What about me?” She replied. Her hand rested on the padlock on the employee only door and she tugged at it.
“Why haven’t you skipped town yet?” I asked. The bell rang once again and our eyes darted to the front door. Standing in the middle, holding the door open was a young guy, with a goatee and a black nappy mohawk. His eyes fell on me and once again, the barrel of a gun was pointed my way.
“That was your last strike Ruby,” The man said.
My head turned to the girl and I saw it. A smirk, that curled into a smile before she said, “I’m sick of running,” She spun back around and slammed the butt of the shotgun into the padlock.
“Don’t you fucking touch that!” The man shouted.
The lock fell to the floor, “Too late,” the woman said, her head turned toward us, “Run!” she screamed and like a starting pistol to the most important race in my life, the employee door swung open pushing the girl back behind it and then one after another came a wave of the infected, pushing their way forward. The wooden counter flipped over and for a second time in the space of two days, Joseph saved me by dragging me through the store.
The gun pointed our way and Joseph slapped the barrel aside, “Save the bullets, asshole!” Joseph shouted. We took off down the sidewalk, racing away from the sounds of moaning and gunshots.
I stared back at the doorway, “What about her!” I shouted. My face slammed into Joseph’s back after he came to a sudden stop. I looked forward to seeing the street lined with men and guns.
“I’m more worried about us,” Joseph said softly.
Footsteps echoed through the dead street and slowly the man started to scatter apart, like the red sea. Walking down the middle came a man in a white tank top and black jeans. There was a tiger that wrapped around his arm, the tail at his wrist and the teeth at his neck. He smiled and turned his head to the side, “Me looking for Ruby, a sweet little thing. Kind of remind you of candy. You seen her.” He said with a deep Carribean accent. The gunshots stopped in the background and then footsteps started racing toward, from behind.
Joseph took my hand and held it tightly, “The zombies are coming.” he said softly.
“Jerome!” The frantic voice behind us screamed, “Run!”
Jerome looked past us and I’m sure he saw the horde of infected. The man with broken glasses and half his face hanging down to his chest. The woman with blood shooting from a huge gash in her neck and the naked man who was missing a very important part of himself. I was sure he saw them coming, but his expression did change, he smiled and turned around, walking back into the red sea of men, “Ruby wanna play games. Riders! Let her know we gonna win!”
“Get down!” I screamed and pulled Joseph to the floor a moment before the bullets rained down over us. My head was pinned to the floor and Joseph’s body was over me and at that moment I knew, if the infection didn't kill me, these people would.