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April 26, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Who's the Boss?

[Posted by Ted H]

Interviewed for a FT job last week. Still plan to keep the PT job if I get it, meaning 60 hour work weeks. Yaaaaaaaay adulthood!

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[Race for Safe Haven - Who's the Boss?]

            Rhett returned to the window to see the effect of the flare tossing. The far end of each end of the street was littered with bright red flares. The dead flocking to each flare as a potential meal, parting the area of the street the club was in like the Red Sea. Tara walked up to him to also check out the scene. "This is gonna work, right?" she asked.
            "Probably," Rhett responded.
            "Sorry about Eric. He's kind of...intense sometimes."
            "Sometimes?"
            Jenny was getting Sarah up and bringing her to the stairway entrance while Steve and Eric were pulling the last parts of the barricade away. Rhett pulled out one of his handguns and offered it to Tara. "Just in case," he said. "I'm Tara," she said as she quickly took the gun and concealed it before Eric saw. "I'm Rhett."
            "Just try not to provoke Eric too much," Tara said.
            "Don't worry. Once we're done here, we're probably going our separate ways."
            "Well," Tara said after a pause "Try not to piss him off in the next five minutes."
            "No promises."
            "We ready?" Eric announced, the door to the stairway now unprotected, some zombies pounding on the door outside. "Sure thing, boss," Rhett said with some sarcasm. Tara flashed him a worried look, then went to help Jenny with Sarah. "Steve, cover the back," Eric instructed "I'll get the door. You can take point, cowboy." Rhett smirked as he walked up and readied his shotgun. Eric pulled the door open to reveal three zombies trying to get in.
            Rhett fired and all three were thrown back and down the stairs. One was dead immediately, another broke its neck on the fall. One zombie was still alive, but tangled in the bodies of the others with a broken arm. Rhett flew down the stairs, ready for anything else that wanted to attack. "Why are two of these dead girls topless?" he asked as he looked around at the first floor.
            A bar sat nearby, stocked with bottles and glasses all marked for nonalcoholic beverages. Behind the bar was a stage with poles lining all the way back to a small DJ booth. In the back were booths and chairs, all decorated with tacky designs. The entire area was lit up by light coming in through all the broken windows in front. "We're at a fucking strip club?" Rhett yelled out, prompting a barricaded door to the back to be pounded on. The door inched forward a bit to allow arms to reach around and try to push it away. "Zombie strippers?" Rhett asked to himself with a smile.
            From the other side of the club, several more zombies took notice of Rhett and the sound of everyone else coming down the stairs. "Ladies," Rhett said as a few topless zombies made their way forward. They would have to traverse around the dance stage that was cutting the two sides off from each other. By time they arrived, Rhett and the others planned to be long gone.
            "C'mon!" Eric yelled as he came down the stairs, the girls stumbling down behind him. The front door was right in front of them an unobstructed. Rhett moved forward and opened it to reveal nothing trying to get in. "Go make sure it's clear to the street," Eric said as Rhett nodded and ran forward outside. Everyone else filed out and shut the door behind them.
            Sarah was allowed to sit down on the front steps and hold her throbbing leg while Jenny and Tara stepped away. "We're out of sight right here," Steve said as he ventured forward a bit to try to see how far Rhett had gone to scout. Eric nodded approvingly at how smoothly things had been going to this point, but he knew the hard part was still ahead.
            Sarah was infected, and there was no way he could allow for her to remain a potential danger to the group. He could explain that to Mike, but he knew Mike could be coaxed otherwise by Tara and Steve and maybe the new guy. But Mike wasn't here, and he decided he needed to make a battlefield decision. Eric turned to regard Sarah and aimed his gun at her. He shot her right in the forehead before she could even get a word out in protest.
            He whirled around and aimed at Steve next, who had just realized what happened. "Don't do anything stupid, Steve," he said as Steve could only look at him with a dropped jaw. "Now then," he said as he turned to see Rhett sprinting back at the sound of a gunshot. Without hesitating, he aimed and shot Rhett, causing him to suddenly stop and sprawl backwards.
            "What are you doing?" Jenny screamed as moans of the dead taking heed to the gunshots were now approaching. "I'm not looking to kill anyone else," Eric said as he noticed Tara pull out a handgun and nervously aim it. "You're not going to do that," he said as he calmly walked up to her "Sarah was already dead, and that asshole was a danger. I just took care of business for the good of the group." He casually placed his hand on top of Tara's gun and pushed it aside.
            "I told you I'd get us out of here, didn't I?" he asked.
            "You also said that to Sarah," Tara said back.
            Eric sighed. "There was nothing we could do for her," he yelled "Not anymore. When we get back to Mike, that's what we're gonna tell him."
            "And what about Rhett?" Tara asked.
            "He sacrificed himself," Eric decided "So that we could get away. Nobody say a word about me killing him."
            "Sure thing, boss," someone sarcastically said behind him. Eric spun around to see Rhett ready with his shotgun level. He winked and pulled the trigger, blowing a hole into Eric's chest and sending him backwards onto the ground, right at the feet of Sarah's body. Rhett dropped his arms and coughed out a laugh as he walked up to Eric's corpse. The others just stared at him.
            Rhett grabbed his shirt collar with one hand and pulled down to reveal the bullet proof vest he had. "So glad I pillaged that dead cop's stuff," he said as he released his collar and grabbed Eric's leg. "C'mon," he said as he started dragging the body. He brought the body to the middle of the street as zombies approaching the gunshots could see it; an easier meal. Steve meanwhile led Tara and Jenny to the corner where Jason was suppose to be picking them up at. Tara ran back to Eric's body and began digging through his pockets. She had picked up his magnum and wanted any spare bullets he had on him.
            Crashing out of the strip club came several more zombies. Some stopped at Sarah's body, but others pushed passed on their way to where Rhett was. A majority of them were strippers, in various stages of undress. Rhett stood in the middle of the street and made no effort to move; partly because of the pain he was in, but also because he was sure this was one of his fantasies, minus the zombie part. "This is how I die," he said with a smile as a mob of nude women were rushing their way to him, arms outstretched and looking to rip him apart.
            "Rhett?" Tara yelled as she grabbed the man's arm "Let's go!" Barreling down the road was a red SUV with Jason, Mike, Laura and Matt inside. Once it skid to a stop, Matt jumped out and opened the trunk, ushering everyone over. Jenny dove into the backseat while Steve aimed his gun and readied to cover.
            The majority of the zombies giving chase stopped for the meal that Eric was providing, but enough were giving chase for the living to still be a problem. Rhett and Tara arrived at the car and jumped into the back, Matt jumping in behind them and closing the truck with him. Steve got in the backseat with Jenny and slammed his door shut. "That's all of us, let's go!" he yelled and Jason backed the car up through the street before turning it around and speeding away from the dead.
            Mike had been up front giving Jason directions, but he turned around a moment to double check everyone who had added themselves recently. "Eric and Sarah," he asked aloud "What happened to them?" No one said a word until Steve spoke up. "You might have noticed a big ass cluster of them in the middle of the street?" he said "That would be where Eric was. Sarah had her own pile not too far away."
            Mike sighed and slowly turned back around. "Jason, just get us out of here," he said. The rest of the trip out of Syracuse was in silence as they sped out of the area, the mass of zombies trailing them slowly and surely fading away. The sun was beginning to set, and they still had to find a safe place to spend the night.

April 19, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Big Man in Charge

[Posted by Ted H]

Everything hurts...Why do I work? Why can't I play the lotto or rob a bank like normal people?

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[Race for Safe Haven - Big Man in Charge]

            "Next time I'm staying in the car," Steve said as Rhett looked around the roof. The area they were on was flat and it extended to the other side of the building. "Gotta be a way off this roof," he said as he began walking. "Besides the expedient way?" Steve asked. "We need that cable," Rhett said "There's no other way to climb down."
            Rhett returned to Steve and the two of them tried pulling the cable away from the zombies, but they wouldn't let go. Both pulled back with all they had only for the cable to snap, sending them flying back. "Fucking zombies," Rhett said as Steven pushed him away and stood up. "Now WE need rescuing," he said as he put his hands on his sides and sighed. "It's just a two story drop," Rhett suggested "Can't be that bad."
            "You're an idiot," Steve snapped. "Yeah, let's just sit up here and wait to die instead," Rhett yelled. He stormed off to the other end of the roof. Looking down, he noticed two things; there were no zombies on this side of the building, and there was also a window ledge just below. He sat down on the edge and hung his legs down.
            "What are you doing?" Steve asked as he ran over. "There's a window here. Might be no zombies on this end after the commotion we caused. Either way, it's less of a drop down if we jump from this ledge." Steve made a face, but nodded as Rhett dropped himself on the edge and held on with his hands. Even dangling as low as possible, it was still a bit of a drop to the ledge that Rhett could swore looked bigger before.
            He dropped himself onto the ledge and gripped the shutters on each side of the window when he landed. "Easy," he told himself as he then began to wonder how he planned on opening this window, or how to turn himself around if he had to jump to the ground. As he glanced down to the window, he realized someone was looking out at him from inside.
            "Uh...hi?" he said to the woman looking up at him. For the moment he wasn't sure if it was another zombie, but her eyes were normal looking. "Lil help?" The woman immediately began messing with the window until she was able to push it up. Rhett was able to crouch down and slide into the building.
            "Holy shit!" another woman said as Rhett stood up. "Hold it!" someone yelled. Rhett looked to see a man pointing a gun at him "Where the hell did he come from?"
            "The sky," Rhett said pointing up.
            "Were you the one making all that noise up on the roof?" the woman at the window said while pointing up. "Yeah," Rhett said as he put his hand up to calm the guy with the gun down "You guys must be the rest of Mike's group."
            "How the fuck," the man said while he walked closer, gun still raised "Do you know about us?"
            "Because I'm here to rescue you, dipshit," Rhett said.
            "Eric, put the gun down," the other woman said. "Shut up, Jenny," Eric shouted "I don't trust this prick."
            "Rhett!" Steve called from outside "What's going on down there?" Rhett put his hand up to Eric. "Hold that thought," he said as he went back to the window. "Drop the shotgun to me and come on down," he said while looking up "It's alright. They're here!" Steve dropped him the shotgun before preparing to drop down himself while Eric and Jenny continued to argue. The sight of Steve suddenly dropping into view ended the argument. Steve almost fell backwards after landing, but Rhett was able to reach out and grab his arm. He crouched and tumbled in through the window. "Graceful," Rhett commented, earning a middle finger from Steve.
            "Holy shit, Steve!" the woman said as she helped him up and hugged him. "Hey, Tara," he said as he looked around and smiled. "What is happening?" Eric asked as he finally put his gun away and walked up to Steve. "The shittiest day of my life to date," Steve said "Is everyone alright?" Eric shrugged "All things considered? Yeah."
            "Sarah's been bit," Jenny said, pointing to the blond in the corner with her head down, a trail of blood leading from her to a larger puddle. "Damn," Steve said, his smile quickly fading. He walked over to Sarah and forgot all about the rest of the room. Eric looked back to Rhett. "Rescue, huh?" he asked "So you two have something planned?"
            "Something like that," Rhett said as he looked out the window for the building Mike said he'd be waiting in. There he spied in a window Mike watching with his binoculars. Rhett flashed a thumbs up. "Now we wait for the right moment to escape," Rhett said. "Escape how?" Jenny asked "Jump out the window? We already tried heading for the fire escape."
            "Yeah, we know that isn't an option," Rhett said "We could always try the front door." Eric shook his head. "Absolutely not," he said "We were chased up here and had to barricade the doors." Rhett looked to the stairwell barricade. "More than there were heading for the fire escape?" he asked.
            "No," Eric said "But there's only so much we can do when all we had was my one gun." Rhett smirked "I got a shotgun," he said "You got a gun, Steve's got a gun. We got guns now." Eric stared at him a moment before sighing. "We don't have a choice here, do we?" he asked. "Nope," Rhett said "You want out of here, now is the time."
            Tara walked up. "Got any guns for the rest of us?" she asked. Before Rhett could answer, Eric stepped forward. "No," he said "I can handle things."
            "Are you serious?" she asked as Jenny grabbed her shoulder. "Don't worry," she said "I need your help carrying Sarah, anyway."
            "She's not coming," Eric said as everyone looked at him. "Why?" Jenny asked after a pause. "She's infected," Eric said with a serious look on his face "She's just holding us back at this point."
            "I'll carry her myself," Steve said as he offered his gun up. "No," Eric said "I need you up front, helping us push through or no one makes it."
            "I'm not leaving if Sarah's still alive," Steve said, locking stern looks with Eric. "She's as good as dead," Eric said "We only have one shot at getting out now, I'm not letting her jeopardize our chances." Steve shrugged his shoulders. "Tough shit," he said.
            "Fine," Eric relented "But I need you shooting." Steve nodded as he gave Sarah a reassuring smile.
            Rhett knew these people for only a few moments, but he already didn't like most of them. "I just had to stop for gas," he said to himself. Outside, the sizzle of a flare sounded, and Rhett looked to see the diversion tactic already starting. Mike with Laura were tossing flares on one end of the street while Matt was doing the same on the other.
            "Alright," Rhett said "Let's get this-"
            "Who the fuck put you in charge?" Eric snapped "You want to stick around and survive with us? Fall in line!" Everyone else in the room grew silent. "And what if I don't?" Rhett said as he stepped to within a couple feet of him. Eric smirked as he reached for his gun and went to point it at Rhett again. Before he could snap his arm into position, Rhett grabbed the gun and pulled it from his hand.
            An initial shock washed over Eric's face as Rhett brought his arm back around and smacked Eric in the side of the head with the handle of his own gun. Eric was about to recover himself and rush Rhett when he noticed the man had flipped the magnum around and was now pointing it at him. Everyone else kept their distance and Steve had his hand on his gun just in case.
            "Let's get one thing straight," Rhett said "You want to be the big man in charge? Fine. But you pull a gun on me again, I can promise you it'll be the last fucking thing you ever do." Rhett dropped the magnum back on the ground and walked away. Eric just stood there, fuming, as Steve went over and picked the magnum up. "We don't have a lot of time," he reminded him. Eric snatched his gun back as he stared. "Help me open up the stairway," he said sternly as he and Steve went to work.

April 6, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - That Only Works in the Movies

[Posted by Ted H]

Act one of this story: done! Not that I'm anywhere near posting that part here. Def need to overhaul the end of it because it feels rushed and forced at parts. Whatever, I'll probably get around to that right before November. Until then, I'm looking to start my "Demons Ascension" universe short story...

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[Race for Safe Haven - That Only Works in the Movies]

            "Well, it's not like we can go back now," Steve said as he went for the window. He easily slid it up and stuck his head inside. "Clear," he said as he climbed in. Rhett followed to find himself in a small bathroom. "This place has not been cleaned in a while," he said as he wondered if the brown colored sink and toilet were once white. "It's a good thing I'm used to shitting in the woods now," Steve said as he went for the door and slowly opened it.
            Outside the bathroom was another small room. It was dark, so Rhett pulled out his flashlight and searched the room. On the ground by the far wall was a zombie with its arms handcuffed behind it. Reacting to the light, it moaned and tried to move on its stomach to get at Rhett. "I got it," Rhett said as he handed Steve the flashlight and pulled out his screwdriver "No need to risk a bullet."
            As Rhett stepped forward, sudden footsteps caught his and Steve's attention. Steve panned the light over to reveal an approaching zombie, dressed in a police uniform. "Oh shit," Steve said as Rhett, no longer visible in the darkness to the zombie, circled behind the slow moving attacker while Steve backing into the bathroom. As it went to enter the bathroom, Rhett threw an arm around the zombie's neck and used his other arm to ram the screwdriver into its ear.
            Blood spurted out, but the zombie was still active as it now tried to reach behind itself to get at Rhett. Rhett pulled back to get the zombie off balance as he pondered how to quickly and quietly deal here. The idea of snapping its neck seemed solid, but Rhett remembered that he never tried something like that before, and that it might only work in movies. Instead he planted his feet and used both arms to steady himself against the zombie.
            Even in the dark, Steve's wild aiming of the flashlight notwithstanding, Rhett still had an idea of where he was in the room. With the screwdriver still sticking out of the zombie's ear, Rhett shifted himself towards the near wall, then threw the zombie with all his might into the wall screwdriver first, causing it to embed itself even deeper into the zombie's head. With its brain sufficiently screwed, the zombie slumped down the wall and didn't move again.
            "Are you okay?" Steve asked as he came back out of the bathroom. "Yeah, I'm awesome," Rhett said as he gripped his screwdriver and pulled it back out with a grunt. He could still hear the other zombie in the room struggle to get to him as it flopped on the ground. "I'm so glad I brought this," he said as he motioned Steve to follow him with the flashlight.
            The handcuffed zombie had made no progress in its attempt to move. As Steve lit its face up, it snapped its mouth at the light, as if it might be edible. "Let's try this again," Rhett said as he dropped one boot on the zombie's head to keep it steady. He then crouched down and rammed the screwdriver into its ear, killing it instantly. "Better," he said as he slid the tool out of the corpse's ear. "I'm sure you'll get better with practice," Steve said sarcastically. Rhett ignored him as he put the screwdriver away and walked.
            "I don't like this," Steve said as he followed Rhett with the light back to the cop "Two zombies out in the open? Right by where the fire escape is?" Rhett shrugged as he searched the dead cop. "Unless you see a familiar body..." he began as he pulled out the cop's handgun. It was the same standard model as the other gun he had. "Keep it," Steve said as Rhett held it up "I have some extra ammo. You could use it."
            "Suit yourself," Rhett said as he checked the clip then put the gun behind his belt next to the other handgun. A little more searching revealed two extra magazines full of bullets. Rhett offered one to Steve. "Those are nine mil rounds," he said, again refusing what Rhett offered. "I use .45. Completely different from yours."
            "Man, you think movies and video games would cover shit like that," Rhett said as he pocketed the spare ammo. He also pulled a second flashlight for himself. "We ready?" Rhett asked as he switched his flashlight on. "Your turn to go first," Steve said as he motioned with his light to the other door.
            "Right," Rhett said as he walked over and placed his ear on the door. The door wasn't in that good of condition, yet another thing in this building that needed replacing, but Rhett still couldn't make out any noise on the other side. Keeping his shotgun aimed with one arm, he reached out with the other and turned the doorknob. He then flashed his light through as he slowly opened the door more, before quickly stepping back and pulling the door closed with a slam.
            "The fuck?" Steve asked. "Get back to the bathroom," Rhett said as he backed up before something large outside slammed into the door. "How many?" Steve asked, knowing right away that more zombies were attacking. "Too many."
            The door shook from another pound at it, this time accompanied by the sickening crack of the door frame. Whatever was pounding at it was joined by more as the door shook from the constant strikes of the dead trying to break through. "Go!" Rhett yelled as he readied the shotgun while keeping a constant light on the door. It wouldn't hold much longer.
            Steve was long gone as Rhett slowly backing towards the bathroom, never daring to take his eyes or light off the door. When the door finally toppled out of the frame, Rhett took a shot, his gun sending out a tremendous roar as the dead up front were blown back and away. Rhett then turned and sprinted through the bathroom and was out the window in an instant.
            Back on the landing, Rhett immediately noticed a lack of Steve. He looked down the ladder to see the same sea of zombies reaching up. "Where..." he began when her heard Steve call him. He looked up to see Steve climbing the cable off to the side and onto the roof. "C'mon, man!" he called as Rhett looked back in the window to see the zombies after him.
            He pocketed the flashlight and climbed onto the railing. The first of the zombies was pushing its way out the window when he grabbed the cable. Using broken areas of the brickwork as footholds, Rhett tried climbing up the building, awkwardly trying to hold his shotgun as he ascended. Halfway up, he almost fell because his hands were so preoccupied with the weapon.
            "It's not worth it, just drop it!" Steve yelled down. "After what I did to get it?" Rhett called back "Never!"
            "Then fall and die," Steve called. Rhett held on with his left hand while he reared back his right with the shotgun. "Catch!" he called. Steve rolled his eyes as he held his hands out. Rhett hurled the gun up and Steve caught it by the business end as he disappeared from view. "Now move your dumb ass!" he yelled out.
            Rhett felt the cable tighten as he glanced down to see zombies pulling on it. "How much weight can this thing handle?" he asked himself as he picked up the pace. "Steve?" he called as the man reappeared and threw a hand out to help him with. Rhett grabbed the hand and let himself be pulled up. On the roof, they scrambled away from the cable as the dead continued to pile on and pull on it. "You need a strap or something for that thing," Steve said as Rhett grabbed for his shotgun nearby. He could only nod as both men got up.

March 29, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - I Love This Plan

[Posted by Ted H]

Let's hear it for getting vacation time so I could actually get some writing done!

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[Race for Safe Haven - I Love This Plan]

            "I love this plan," Rhett said while in the backseat of his own car. They had just dropped Matt off where he needed to be, and now they were on their way to the club where the rest of the group was hiding out. "You're a little weird, aren't you?" Steve asked, sitting next to him. Laura sat on the far end while Mike sat up front with Jason driving.
            "You sure they're still alive?" Steve asked, silently hoping Mike would change his mind over the whole endeavor. "Once I'm in position, I'll try to see through the window they were in," Mike said as he held up binoculars "Try to see if I can raise Eric on the radio again, too. You two just get to the fire escape I told you about and let me worry about details."
            He meant that for both Steve and Rhett, who were going to try and get into the club and retrieve the group. Rhett didn't know much about the people inside, and he understood why he had been given the job he had for this. Mike and Laura would take up position in another building and, along with Matt, use the flares to distract the crowd of zombies right outside. Jason, meanwhile, would be the getaway driver. Rhett didn't know what the plan would be afterwards, or even if he planned to stick around, but for now he was involved in this group.
            "Coming up on the van," Jason said as he turned the corner. In the middle of the street up ahead was an empty van, some zombies still standing by it. "That's what you used to get here?" Rhett asked, noticing how dilapidated the van looked. "We found it out in the sticks," Mike said "It was the only thing that worked. Sue me."
            "Stop near the van," Mike said as Jason slowed down. Mike, Rhett and Steve piled out before Jason even stopped as they swarmed the van. Mike took aim and shot the nearest zombie while Steve threw open the van's trunk hatch. "We're already drawing a crowd!" Mike said as Laura ran out and grabbed bags from Steve. Rhett waited by the back of his car as Laura and Steve ran over with their gear and tossed it all in the back. Laura then went back into the back of Rhett's car as Mike hustled over.
            "We'll draw as many as we can," Mike said as he climbed back into the front and Rhett closed the trunk. "Good luck!" Jason called as he sped away, leaving Rhett and Steve alone near the dead van. "I told you I love this plan," Rhett said as he and Steve began running down the street after the others. The car speeding through was suppose to attract the dead, allowing the two on foot to reach the club. "Towards the corner," Steve said, pointing.
            Most of the dead had given chase to Jason as he easily drove away, but enough had noticed Steve and Rhett running to option for the easier meal. The club sat with only a few zombies hanging around, and only a couple by the side they were running for. "Get up the ladder quick, I'll cover," Rhett said as he swung his shotgun at the first zombie and knocked it backwards. He then took his handgun out and aimed at the other, shooting it before it could get too close.
            "Fuck!" Steve yelled as Rhett caught up. The fire escape ladder was up Steve couldn't jump high enough to grab it.  "Gimme a boost," Rhett said as he dropped his shotgun and backed up. "Are you kidding me?" Steve said. "We don't have a choice!" Rhett said as Steve eyed the approaching hoard behind Rhett. "Fine," Steve said as he crouched and locked his hands together. "You can reach it, right?" he asked. "Let's find out," Rhett said as he ran up. He jumped into Steve and up as the other man lifted with all his might.
            For being overweight, Rhett found Steve had an uncanny reserve of muscle, as he was launched high into the air, achieving just enough height to grip the bottom rung of the highly placed ladder. Rhett figured most of that strength came from how scared shitless Steve was becoming from the zombies, but it was a welcome revelation. Rhett pulled on the ladder as he began his fall letting it cascade passed him as he fell to the ground. As Rhett landed, he fell off balance and ended up on his ass.
            "Go!" Rhett yelled as he rolled to the side and retrieved his shotgun. He immediately rose to one knee and readied to fire as Steve scrambled up the ladder. Rhett wasn't entirely familiar with the range of his shotgun, and didn't want to end up wasting any shells, so he held his fire as his trigger finger desperately wanted to tighten at the approaching zombies.
            "What are you waiting for?" Steve yelled as Rhett spun as he turned and made for the ladder. There were zombies approaching from the rear, all converging on the fire escape as Rhett covered the couple feet to the ladder and jumped on. With the shotgun, Rhett could only climb with one hand, but he was still able to scale up the fire escape and join Steve on the landing. Below them the ground was no longer visible through the sea of bloody faces and up reaching arms.
            "Still think this is fun?" Steve asked as Rhett smiled. The two took a moment on the landing to collect themselves, despite the constant moaning below them. Rhett looked at the wall of the building. It was brick, in bad need of repair, with chunks of the wall missing. A cable coming from the roof and trailing near them connected to nothing; Rhett having no idea what it could have been for.

March 22, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Who Locks Their Door in the Apocalypse?

[Posted by Ted H]

Writing for this story has hit a standstill. Apparently, outside of November, I'm incapable of writing too much before I let myself get distracted. On vacation this week, gonna try to hammer out a bunch of stuff. Maybe...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Who locks their door in the apocalypse?]

            The group quickly filed out of the bar and headed for the streets. Mike first, then Matt, Laura, Rhett, Jason and Steve bringing up the rear. Only Mike, Rhett, Steve and Matt were armed with guns. Laura had her knife at the ready and Jason wielded a broken chair leg.
            They stayed in the middle of the road to better see anything trying to come at them. A few zombies saw them, but they moved too quickly for any of them to catch up. Mike led them to a predetermined set of connected buildings and led them to the roof of the first one. They walked over to the building on the end of the block and made their way down. If anything had been following them, there was no way they'd be able to catch up.
            "How do you know to come this way?" Rhett asked up the line. "Meticulous planning," Mike responded "You said Spencer Street was where you found the gas station?" Rhett nodded and Mike checked his map. "We're making good time," he said "If all goes smoothly, we should be out of here before sundown."
            "What happens after sundown?" Laura asked, suddenly afraid the dead possessed a nocturnal power she wasn't aware of. "After sundown, it gets too dark to see," Mike said sarcastically, earning a few chuckles from the group and a sour look from Laura. "Let's go," Mike said and the group fell silent once more. They left the final building and made their way forward.
            Back on Spencer Street, Rhett looked about at familiar landmarks. The dead blindly made their way through the street, still walking in the direction they heard the gunshots hours ago. "Up ahead is the station," Rhett whispered. "Alright," Mike said "Jason, get in the front seat and start the car. Laura, pump the gas. The rest of us will surround the car and fight off anything close."
            "Anyone got a credit card?" Rhett asked, remembering the obstacles from his previous visit. "Where's yours?" Steve asked.
            "I, uh, left it at home?" Mike sighed heavily as Steve dug out his wallet and handed Laura his credit card. "I'll pay you back," Rhett said "I'm good for it."
            "Are we really storming for the car armed with four guns and hardly any ammo?" Matt asked. "There's a shotgun in the car. We'll be fine," Rhett said. "Dibs," Laura said at the mention of the shotgun. "You don't get to call that on an owned weapon," Rhett said sternly "Go rob your own dead cop if you want one so bad."
            "We ready?" Mike asked. "Maybe?" Steve said as everyone broke for the gas station. Jordan was out in front with Mike not far behind. Rhett and Steve trailed while Laura was falling behind fast. "Whose idea was it to leave the means to our escape in the hands of the fat girl?" Rhett shouted. "Go fuck yourself!" Laura yelled as Rhett and Steve slowed down and flanked Laura as she ran.
            Jordan reached the car and went to enter when he realized the door wouldn't open. "Who locks their door in the apocalypse?" he asked aloud as Mike reached him and stood in front of the car with his gun aimed. "You can't trust anyone!" Rhett said as he aimed his car remote and unlocked the doors before tossing the keys to Jason.
            The rest reach the car as Laura hunched over and put her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath. "C'mon!" Rhett yelled as Laura made no effort to pump gas. "Gimme a minute," she said between breaths. Rhett grabbed the card from her hand and initiated the transaction at the pump. "Steve, what's your zip code?" he asked as he sped through the process. "13214," Steve said "Hurry up!"
            A crowd of the dead had begun to gather around the gas station. Everyone armed held back and refused to fire. They didn't have much ammo to mess with. Rhett readied the pump and let Laura take over, then moved around to the passenger side and went to retrieve the shotgun. Stragglers from before inside the station were now making their way out.
            "So who is gonna be dumb enough to take the first shot at a gas station?" Steve asked as Laura nervously danced as she pumped gas. "How much do we even need?" she asked. "Just keep pumping!" Mike shouted. "We can't wait forever," Steve said "They keep closing in like this, they'll be too dense to drive through."
            Rhett looked to the hoard closing in. Steve was right, so he walked towards where the hoard looked thinner away from the gas station and leveled his shotgun. He pulled the trigger as the gun kicked into him, the barrel flashed and the group in front of him suddenly blew backwards, limbs and blood suddenly flying away from them. "Nice!" Rhett said as he pumped the gun and readied another shot. "Get forty bucks in the tank and drive this way!" Rhett called back "I'll keep this way open!"
            Rhett took aim and blew away another gathering of zombies. "We don't even need half a tank, let's just go!" Mike yelled as he broke for the car and got in. Laura threw the pump down and jumped in the back while Matt got in on the other side. Steve opened the trunk and crawled into the back as Jason fired up the engine and drove to where Rhett was. He slowed down passing Rhett as he ran to the open trunk and jumped in, ushered by Steve.
            Jason drove them out of the area and to a quiet spot. Afterwards, everyone got out and Mike unfolded a map on the hood of the car. "That wasn't so hard, was it?" he asked with a forced smile. When no one responded, he looked back to his map and pointed to a spot on it. "This is the building where the rest of the group is. We need to figure a way to get there and get everyone out."
            Rhett went back to the trunk to retrieve a bag while Mike continued. "Now it's a lot of those things out there, but if we can distract them enough like at the bar, then we can give ourselves some room to work." Most of the group nervously nodded. "How many of them are we talking?" Rhett asked. "At least twice as many," Jason said. "Doesn't matter how many there are," Mike said "So long as we stay out of sight and the only noise we make is the bottles and whatnot we throw, it'll be okay."
            "That's a dumb plan," Rhett said as he dropped his duffel bag in front of Mike and opened it. "You have a better idea?" Mike asked with an arched eyebrow. Rhett pulled out a flare and presented it. "These will work a lot better than a bottle. Not only will it draw their attention, but it'll do a better job at keeping their attention. Keep them distracted longer."
            "How many flares do you have?" Jason asked. "Plenty," Rhett said with a grin "That cop car had just about everything I'd want."
            "That cop is gonna be pissed when he realizes all his shit was stolen," Laura said.
            "He won't..." Rhett said as he pulled out every flare and handed them to Mike and Matt.
            Mike nodded as he looked over the flares. "These will be our exit distraction."
            "Wait, then what's the entrance distraction?" Rhett asked.

March 8, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Beer Toss

[Posted by Ted H]

Typical scheduled weekend for me: Friday-off, Saturday-off, Sunday-half day
Typical weekend for me in practice: Friday-cover a shift, Saturday-cover a full shift, Sunday-work my shift AND cover a shift...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Beer Toss]

            Mike climbed the ladder leading to the roof of the bar. Out in the open air, he could now more audibly head the moans of the dead where before they were just a muffled background noise. They were farther away than he expected, meaning Matt's job had worked. "Matthew?" Mike called out. Out towards the back edge of the flat roof was Matt.
            He wore dress clothes and his long hair was tied behind his head. He had thick black rimmed glasses that he would occasionally wipe clear with a piece of cloth in his pocket. Strands of hair can come free and were sticking to his forehead from sweat. He had been throwing beer bottles from out of sight to farther and farther away points in the back alley to lure the zombies away from the door. His plan was to work his way to the street so the back alley would be entirely clear of them. It had been tiring work, but effective.
            Jason trailed up the ladder with another case of bottles. They had worked through the empty one and had moved onto filled beer. No one was interested in drinking it, so it was no big loss. "Change in plans, Matt!" Mike called as Matt chucked a final glass bottle and turned around. "What's going on?" he asked. Jason walked towards the front to check things out on the ground.
            "How clear is the alley?" Mike asked.
            "If we had to leave out the back now, we'd be dead," Matt said "I got them away from the bar, but there's just too many of them in the alley to lead them all out. They're just too tightly packed in there, I can't get all of their attention."
            "Maybe you don't have to," Jason said as he walked over "The front's still pretty clear. You could easily lead them away so we can leave." Mike nodded approvingly. "That's the plan then," he said "We leave through the front."
            "What about Eric and the others?" Matt asked.
            "Were going to get them, then we're getting out of the city." Mike responded.
            "How? We barely made it here."
            "Remember the guy we pulled out of the alley?"
            "Tell me he has friends out there."
            "No, but he has a car."
            "We can find a car. That was the plan once we got back together."
            "When was the last time you found a car that worked or had gas in it? Or blocked in gridlock? Rhett has a car at a gas station and all we need to do if fill it up and leave."
            "One car. For all of us?"
            "It's an SUV."
            "That's still one car for almost a dozen people."
            "Then we pile on like day laborers, I don't give a shit. It's a way out of the city. A safer and more readily available way than any other we can come up with."
            "Fine," Matt said and walked over to the case of new bottles and picked them up with Jason to head to the front and draw the few zombies up there away from the front. They began tossing bottles as far as they could to draw the dead away from the bar and give everyone plenty to space to run when they finally left.
            Mike continued to figure the plan ahead in his mind, trying to account for every little detail and what to do if something goes wrong. Then he's think about what comes next and ever last step he figured heeded doing to get to Albany. Anything to think about so long as he didn't have to think about his wife and kids and how they were still out there. Alive or dead, he needed to know, and he no longer knew where he could possibly look.
            "That's as good as we're gonna get," Matt said as he and Jason made for the ladder. "Get everyone gathered up front," Mike said. He looked up to the sky to see the sun begin it's trip down. "Gonna be dark soon," he said as he sighed. Usually this time every day he would get his coffee; a pick me up to get through the rest of his work day, which he would cap off with yet another coffee. Lately he's been learning to go without and he's been pretty good at waking up in the morning without the caffeine boost; fear of the dead makes a fantastic wake up call. But that mid-afternoon always gets him. He yawned and slapped his face a couple times before making for the ladder. He wondered if the gas station had any coffee left.

March 1, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Were Everybody Doesn't Know Your Name

[Posted by Ted H]

Need to get better at putting time aside to write...but then I started playing Red Dead Redemption, and getting into wild west shootouts with the law seemed like a more fun idea...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Where Everybody Doesn't Know Your Name]

            Rhett slowly woke up to the sound of two men talking in the distance. There was still a pain in the back of his head, but nowhere near as bad as it was before. The room he was in was dark, some light peeked through from the open doorway, leading to where the men were talking. "Hello?" he mumbled, but nothing responded. He wanted to get up, but when he moved his right arm to prop himself up, he found it hindered by the handcuff on his wrist attaching himself to the nearby radiator.
            "You have got to be fucking kidding me," he said as he gave a tug on the handcuff again. "If I get handcuffed one more fucking time in this apocalypse..." he said to himself as he used his free hand to pat down his pockets. His handcuffs, the same ones the cop had used to arrest him with previously, were packed in the gas mask bag Rhett had attached to his belt. Whoever decided to detain Rhett took them right out of the bag, but left the bag on his belt. This was preferable for Rhett, who had also stashed the paperclip he used to unlock the cuffs previously in the same bag.
            "This is what I get for being nice," Rhett said as he retrieved the paper clip and began to work on unlatching the cuff on his wrist. While he worked, he kept an ear out for anyone approaching, but also for what the conversation going on outside was about.
            "Are you sure the door will hold?" a young man had asked. He was fat with shaggy hair and a chin strap beard. He wore a black long sleeve shirt with a dress shirt opened over it.
            "It's steel, with a deadbolt," and older man responded "And the window on it is barred. We're still safe." He had gray hair buzzed short and a clean shaved look. He wore a dark shirt with a vest over it, stained with blood on the back.
            "It was still stupid going out there for that guy."
            "Jason said he's okay. He helped them apparently."
            "Laura didn't seem too crazy about him."
            "The less we talk about heeding Laura's opinion on guys, the better."
            "Well either way, this guy could be trouble."
            "Let's just see what he has to say when the time comes."
            "What do we do until then? Those things are at our back are blocking the only way out if things go south up front."
            "Matt is taking care of it."
            "And our next move? We can't squat here forever."
            "I'm figuring something out. We have time though since the others might've found a way out."
            "Mike, the place got overrun. They aren't getting out."
            "Then we'll go get them."
            "We don't even know if they're alive anymore."
            "There's no way all of them died. We have to at least try to save them. They deserve that chance. Besides, do you remember our gear? How long do you expect us to survive without supplies and food?"
            "We don't have the numbers where we can afford to attempt a rescue like that!"
            "Then the new guy can help us."
            "Are you crazy? We had to drag his dumb ass in here because he almost got himself killed!"
            "Are that would be, what, only slightly less useful than the people we have at the ready now? We could use any help we can get, and not just for today either."
            "What am I helping with?" Rhett asked, shocking both men who were too engrossed in their conversation to notice that not only was Rhett awake and unshackled, but also that he snuck out of his room and retrieved his handgun that was sitting on a nearby table. The younger man immediately reached for a gun at his side, but before he could get it out, Rhett had calmly raised his own gun. The older man just stood with an unamused look on his face.
            "I thought you said there were no keys to those handcuffs?" the older man said.
            "Not important," Rhett said.
            "Just take a breath and relax," the older man said "We're all friends here, Rhett."
            "So Jason and the bitch made it?" Rhett asked, eliciting a chuckle from the younger man.
            "Yeah they did," the older man assured him "Thank you for helping us. I'm Mike and the man behind me is Steve. And since we're all alive and thus on the same side, we should probably all lower our weapons. Yeah?"
            "Well, you handcuffed me. What did you expect me to think?" Rhett said, weapon still raised. "You wouldn't have been the first person to take advantage of us," Steve said as his empty hands fell to his sides. "I ran into your people and got caught up in all this mess," Rhett said as he finally lowered his gun "I just want to get back to my car and to the Carrier Dome."
            "Why?" Steve asked.
            "That's where all the survivors are going, right?"
            Steve shook his head as Mike said "The shelter here in Syracuse lasted maybe two days before the dead overtook it." Rhett felt dejected from the news. "How do you know?" he asked. "One of our people came from there," Mike said "Couple others passed by when it fell. Most shelters across the country didn't make it very long."
            "Harboring infected people turn out to not be a good idea after all?" Rhett asked.
            "Not like they could have done anything," Steve said "They were under watch constantly. The infection though, it still spread. People forgot that the infection doesn't show symptoms right away. Gathering all the living together in one place just made it that much easier to spread the disease. By time everyone realized what was happening, it was too late to stop it. People freaked out, some got hurt. All it took was one person with the disease dying without supervision."
            "We also didn't realize that the bites spread it," Mike added "People were being treated for bites and scratches from these things and no one thought that the infection transferred. Sure, there were suspicions, but not enough time or resources to keep track of all the injured. Humanity was caught with its pants down, and we made every wrong choice possible."
            "Damn," Rhett said as he leaned up against a wall. "How do you not know any of this?" Steve asked "The Dome falling is pretty common knowledge." Rhett began to talk of everything that happened to him from the beginning of the infection. Through the story, Jason and Laura entered. At the end, Rhett found Steve was smiling. "Man, you're lucky you ran into us. The Carrier Dome is nothing if not an angry hornets' nest of dead bodies."
            "Lucky me," Rhett said sarcastically. "You could show a little fucking gratitude," Laura said angrily "We pretty much saved your life." Rhett ignored her, but he could feel the eyes of everyone staring at him. "So what's your plan now?" Jason asked. Rhett shrugged. "Hope Jake has better luck, cuz either way I'm heading for Rochester." Everyone else in the room looked at each other. "I didn't hear much from Rochester," Steve said "I doubt they'd still be around."
            "You should come with us," Mike said "Forget Rochester and come with us to Albany."
            "That's not exactly along the way," Rhett said.
            "Tell your friend to head over there too."
            "I've missed something?"
            "That place in California your friend mentioned? That's the place to go. It's called Safe Haven, and it might just be the last place on earth that's free of infection."
            "And going in the complete opposite direction of California is you next move why?"
            "On foot or by road, we may never make it. Every state capital and the DC area are offering guaranteed transport though. The trick is to be there in time."
            "What happens if you're not in time?"
            "Then we walk. By road we may not make it, ergo, if we're too late to Albany then we might not make it."
            "Comforting."
            "Which is why we can't waste any more time here," Steve interrupted.
            "We're not leaving until we at least try to get to the others," Mike said. "Then let's do that shit now!" Steve yelled. Mike turned to Rhett. "There are members of our group pinned down," he said "I know they're still alive, the trick is getting to them without anyone getting slaughtered."
            "I'm really not that interested in joining any groups," Rhett said "Especially if they're trying to convince me to abandon my best friend. Sorry." Jason wore a look of shock on his face while Laura looked disinterested. Steve made a face and shook his head. "What about your car?" Mike asked "You think it's going to be a simple task to get back to it and out of here?"
            "I'll figure it out," Rhett said.
            "No you won't," Mike said "But how about a deal? You don't want to stay with us, but what if you help us this one time, and in return we help you get your car back. Then we can be on our merry ways and never look back."
            Rhett took a moment to think about it. Mike had a smile and seemed like he knew Rhett would agree to it while Jason had a more hopeful look on his face as he nodded towards Rhett. "Fine," Rhett finally said "But we get my car back first."
            "Why?"
            "Cuz we're gonna need it."