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July 19, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Sick

[Posted by Ted H]

This post is brought to you by: Ted remembering he can schedule posts in advance. In reality, I'm either working an inventory on no sleep, done with the inventory and sleeping...or dead. All 3 are viable options at this point...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Sick]

            The trip back west didn't last long before they were driving into a crowd of zombies that were trailing them. Up ahead, Matt was nimbly trying to drive around the dead, darting from one end of the road to another in attempt to keep the zombies off of him. Rhett mean while hung back for a moment, allowing the station wagon to get some distance away from him.
            "Somebody keep score for me," Rhett said as he lit up a new cigarette. "Score for what?" Tara asked as Rhett hit the gas and drove into the closest zombie. "That's one!" Rhett announced as he swerved to sideswipe the next zombie in his path. Instead of trying to avoid the dead, Rhett was trying to hit as many as he could, while cutting down the distance to the station wagon. Tara and Jason were excitedly announcing ascending numbers as Rhett drove all over the place and Steve fumbled his seat belt into position.
            One zombie smacked into Jason's side so hard that it cracked the window, eliciting cheers from everyone in the car. "Ugh," Rhett said, realizing he just damaged his car "That's gonna be a bitch to fix." The final zombie was dead ahead, and Rhett floored the gas pedal and plowed right into it, sending it up and over the car, crashing fatally on its head behind them. A tremendous roar sounded as the car practically shook from all the celebrating.
            The group grew quiet as the trip now became zombie free. Mike eventually found his detour and the group soon found themselves traveling east again. At some point towards the evening, Rhett looked to a road sign the signified the capital was close, but defiantly not reachable before dark as it started to lightly rain. Eventually, in a sparse residential area, Mike stuck his hand out the window as they drove and indicated they were going to pull over just as the rain was beginning to pick up.
            The chosen house was a sizable two story place with a front porch and yellow paint job. There were no cars in the driveway and it didn't look like anyone had made any attempt to barricade themselves inside. There was no driveway, so they parked on the front lawn right in front of the porch. They backed in so they could immediately drive out if need be. Rhett easily parked into position, while Matt struggled to drive the old station wagon through the muddy grass.
            "Is this rain just passing through, or is it going to get worse?" Jason asked as he got out and looked up to the falling rain. "I dunno," Rhett said "I forgot to check the one month apocalypse forecast."  Tara stood in the rain and smiled. Mike checked the street before nodding back to the others. "Let's get inside," he said.
            "I got this," Tara announced as she ran up to the front door with her crowbar. She was about to ram the crowbar into the door when Rhett grabbed her arm and stopped her. He reached with his other hand and tried the doorknob, opening it easily. "Upstate people," Rhett said with a smile "They don't lock their doors too often." Tara made a face as she lowered the crowbar.
            Mike and Matt moved passed and entered the house, guns drawn. "Rhett, keep an eye out," Mike said as he disappeared inside. Rhett held his shotgun while he leaned against the house and watched the others. Steve and Jason were rummaging through the trunks and pulling out bags to take inside with them. They tossed bags to Laura and Tara nearby. "Rhett, you wanna help?" Laura asked, trying to keep her balance under a pile of bags. Rhett ignored her as he looked to the station wagon.
            Jenny was still in her car. The rain came down harder as everyone else hustled themselves and the bags under the cover of the porch. "Ya know, Jenny might be more comfortable inside," Rhett said as he watched her stir, but not make any motion to leave the station wagon. "I'll get her," Jason said as he walked back into the rain, Rhett and Tara right behind him.
            "Jenny?" Tara asked as Jason opened her door. Jenny had been leaning against it, and made no effort to save herself as she fell out of the car and to the ground. "Oh my God," Tara said as she and Jason tried helping her up. Rhett looked at her as she was raised. She was pale and her eyes had a distant look in them. After moving a few feel, she stopped and dropped herself to the ground so she could vomit up what little contents her stomach contained.
            "What's wrong with her?" Laura called out from the porch "Is she sick?" Jenny tried to catch her breath and almost fell over if not for Tara and Jason. She groaned from pain as she was lifted back up and carried to the porch, Rhett chaperoning the way. "I..." Jenny tried talking, but stopped to dry heave at the steps. Steve stepped towards her and put his hand to her forehead. He then took a big step back from her as a worried look washed over his face.
            "What's going on?" Mike asked as he stepped out from the house. Steve turned to look at him and shook his head. "Jenny..." he started as he turned to look at her, more to try to convince himself he was wrong with what he was about to say "She's infected."
            "What?" Mike said in disbelief.
            "She wasn't bitten by anyone," Laura said.
            "Are you sure?" Mike asked.
            "I've seen this before," Steve said "She's got the virus."
            Everyone grew silent as Jenny tried to look up around her. Jason and Tara still had her in their arms, but Jason grew nervous and was looking for an out. "House is clear," Matt said as he stepped outside. He looked about at everyone quizzically based on the tense mood. Looking to every face and finally on the scene of Jenny told him everything he needed to know.
            "Inside," Mike said, motioning everyone to go. Tara and Jason led the way with Jenny and everyone followed next. They found a living room immediately and placed her down on a couch. "I need a shower or something," Jason said, suddenly feeling uncomfortable in his own skin after having so much close proximity with Jenny. "Me first," Laura said "I sat next to her all damn day."
            "Guys," Mike said, watching Jenny lie uncomfortably on the couch "Do not do that here." Laura and Jason began making their way for the stairs, still arguing over who would get to shower first. "Matt, can you stay here with Jenny?" he asked "Everyone else, we need to talk." Mike led Steve, Tara and Rhett into the kitchen on the other side of the house. Mike turned to face everyone and leaned on a counter while the other three stood in a semicircle around him.
            "When did she get bit?" Mike asked.
            "She wasn't," Tara said.
            "Obviously, she was. Was it in the club?"
            "I think Eric would have done something about her then," Rhett said.
            "Maybe he didn't know," Mike quickly said "Maybe she hid it."
            "She wouldn't hide it," Tara said "Not from me."
            "What about when the three of you went off alone yesterday?" Mike asked to Rhett and Tara.
            "We didn't run into anything," Rhett said.
            "Are you sure?" Mike asked, annoying Rhett.
            "Unless she picked up a dead zombies head and forced it to bite her, then yes, I'm sure we didn't run into any problems yesterday," Rhett said "You wanna check her for bites? Otherwise stop saying this is anyone's fault."
            "Then how else did she get sick?" Mike asked.
            "She's infected because she just got infected, Mike," Steve butted in "This thing spread so fast, long before the dead were rising. Bites aren't the only way this thing spreads."
            "All the dead are carriers," Tara said "We could all be infected and just not showing the symptoms."
            "That's comforting," Rhett said as he wandered away.
            "Then how come she's so sick while the rest of us are fine?" Mike asked.
            "She's not eating," Tara said "None of us are eating all that well, but she's only eating things we scavenge. She's weak and she got infected easily for it."
            "Half the group could be infected now," Mike said as he looked down and slacked his shoulders.
            "No way," Rhett said "I was with an infected guy for a long while early on, and I'm still healthy."
            "Were you in a car with him in close proximity?"
            "Yeah."
            "All day?"
            "Long enough."
            "We need to isolate her," Mike said to himself as he walked away "Clear out one of these back rooms for her to sleep in."
            "And then what?" Rhett asked "We're not equipped to deal with this. We have no medical supplies or any idea of how to fight this."
            "Keep her hydrated," Steve said "We can search this house for things like antibiotics. It won't save her, but it'll buy time."
            "Time for what?" Tara asked.
            "I dunno!" Steve said with his hands raised "Get her to Albany or Safe Haven. Maybe there's a cure, maybe there isn't. We have to do something though!"
            "Then we keep going now," Mike announced "Let's get back to the cars and keep driving. If we don't hit anymore obstacles, we'll be to the capital by dawn."
            "Matt and Rhett can't do any more driving," Tara argued "And you need to read the maps."
            "Someone else drives then."
            "Everyone's exhausted."
            "From what? Sitting on your ass all day?"
            "Mike, we've been on a frantic run through the state for the last week! We can't just keep doing this. Jenny's sick because this whole trip has taken a toll on her ability to fight off the virus. We keep this up, we'll all end up infected."
            "Albany is right there!" Mike yelled, motioning as if it were around the next corner "We get there and it's over!"
            "And what if it's dead?" Matt said as he entered the kitchen "What if we get there and it's no better than literally every place we've been to? Will we finally take a rest then or will you immediately start us on a sprint for the next "safe" location?"
            "What do you want from me?" Mike asked with raised arms "Jenny is dying! Sitting around isn't going to save her."
            "Getting her somewhere quiet and soft isn't going to stop her from dying, but it's worlds better than stuffed into a car," Steve said "Having a bed to sleep in tonight wouldn't hurt the rest of us either."
            Mike sighed and looked at everyone. "Fine," he said "But we leave at the crack of dawn and we don't stop until Albany." He marched through and headed for the front door. "Where are you going?" Tara asked as she followed. "Filling the gas tanks," Mike replied and disappeared out the front door. After Mike closed the door behind him, Tara focused her attention to the nearby couch where her friend was lying on, dying.
            "Hey," she said as she walked over and sat down in front of the couch, facing Jenny "How are you feeling now?" Jenny adjusted her head so she could talk clearly while still keeping her head down. "Better," she said "So long as I don't try to swallow...or move...or breathe."
            "You'll get through this," Tara found herself saying. She was surprised at her own feeble attempt to sound reassuring, but Jenny didn't seem to mind. "I'm going to get you water," she said. "No thanks," Jenny said "It's just going to make me sick."
            "You need something in you," Tara said as she rose "You puked everything up. You're only going to get worse if you don't eat." Either by conceding defeat in the argument, or simply being too weak to fight Tara over it, Jenny said nothing as Tara went to leave. Jenny closed her eyes and groaned softly as a new wave of pain washed over her. Tara rushed to the kitchen, not wanting to hear any of it.

July 12, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Spot-a-zombie

[Posted by Ted H]

So a store inventory is upcoming. The night before is prep for the grand event, lasting until 11pm....the inventory starts the next morning at 6am. That's 7 hours between events, not counting if the prep goes beyond 11, and not counting any driving to and from home, and also assuming I can fall right to sleep and wake up and go without fail....OR I can go to a strip club and grab a bite at Dennys before going right into the event without sleep.......I think we all know what my choice will be...

So what I'm trying to say is, next weeks update is dubious at best what with the work I'm doing this next weekend...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Spot-a-zombie]

            "34," Jason said while looking out his window. "Steve?" Tara called out. "Confirmed," Steve replied. "Fuck," Tara said as he focused on looking out her own window. "Tell me again what the prize is?" Rhett asked. "Winners choice," Tara said. "35," Jason said with a chuckle. "No fucking way," Tara said. "Sorry, Tara. Confirmed," Steve said. "Fuck!" Tara said louder.
            Boredom had overtaken the group in Rhett's car. Tara and Jason had devised a little game of spotting zombies from each side of the road they were facing. The game was simple: you see it, call it and hope your score was higher than the other players score. It had started off smoothly enough, until both sides accused the other of cheating. They were on the verge of blows until Steve mediated.
            Now, every called zombie had to be confirmed by Steve because neither Tara nor Jason wanted to look away from their side to check to see if the zombie call by the other was legitimate. Scores were reset of course, to much complaining from Tara who had been winning to that point. Jason had now taken a sizable lead.
            "19!" Tara called.
            "I don't see it," Steve said "Sorry."
            "Are you fucking kidding me? It was right there!" Tara protested.
            "Should I turn around and go back for it?" Rhett asked as Jason laughed.
            "No," Tara said "Because then it'll be on Jason's side and he'll get the point."
            "Yeah, Rhett, turn around!" Jason said "Oh, and 36."
            "Confirmed."
            "Fuck you!" Tara yelled "Jason's got a wide open field and I have to pick my zombies out of the woods!"
            "You wouldn't be saying that if you were winning," Jason said.
            "There! 19!" Tara called, ignoring Jason's point."
            "Confirmed," Steve said dejectedly, apparently looking forward to rejecting Tara's attempt at a point.
            "I'll come back, just you wait! See? Two more! 20 and 21!"
            "No way," Jason said.
            "Mmm," Steve mumbled as he looked to where Tara pointed "I'll give you one on that. I'm pretty sure the other was a tree."
            "Fuck you, a tree? Seriously?" Tara protested "I think you're cheating for him."
            "Don't start this again," Jason complained.
            "There is no way I should be losing all of a sudden!"
            "Calm down, Jesus," Rhett yelled.
            "37!" Jason yelled.
            "Confirmed."
            "Rhett, you need to confirm for me from now on," Tara said.
            "Rhett's driving," Steve reasoned.
            "I can do both," Rhett said.
            "21," Tara yelled, Desperation setting in "I'll punch your head if you reject that."
            "Um..." Steve said as he looked "Yeah, I'll give you that."
            "Don't let her threaten you," Jason said "Call 'em as you see 'em."
            "No, it was there," Steve decided.
            "Fuck yeah," Tara said, celebrating the fact that she wasn't losing as bad as she was a few seconds ago.
            "You're getting a little intense there, Tara," Rhett said with a smile.
            "I am not losing this game," Tara said, more to pump herself up rather than talking to Rhett. "23, 24, 25!" she yelled, almost jumping out of her seat as she pounded at the window. "No way," Jason said. "Wow," Steve said "No, she's right."
            "I'm catching you, mother fucker!" Tara declared.
            "You're still a dozen behind me," Jason said, relaxing in his seat "You'll never catch up."
            "26!" Tara called before kicking Steve's seat as she yelled "And 2 two more for 28!"
            "No way," Jason said as he actually turned away from his window to look at Steve. "Damn," Steve said "That's a lot of them." Everyone looked out the side to see a numerous amount of zombie crawling and shuffling their way out of the woods and into the street after the cars. Rhett had long driven passed by that time.
            "Look at them all!" Jason exclaimed "There's gotta be a dozen more at least."
            "And they're all mine!" Tara said proudly. "No way," Jason said "You never called any of them. It's still 37-28."
            "No!" Tara yelled "I'm calling them right now then!"
            "Can't call the ones already passed," Steve said as he braced for a round of kicks to the back of his seat. "Fuck. You. Mother. Fucker," Tara shouted, kicking the seat with each pause.
            "I changed my mind," Rhett said "Can we not play this game all the way to Albany?" There was silence for a moment in the car, leading Rhett to believe that everyone actually heeded his request. He was wrong.
            "38!"
            "Confirmed."
            "Fuck!"
            The drive continued with the game unhindered. Eventually the score would change to 43-31, still in Jason's favor when Rhett noticed the station wagon up ahead had slowed down. "Put the game on pause," Rhett said as he drove up to the now stationary vehicle ahead. He pulled up alongside the car and rolled his window down as Mike did the same on his end.
            "What's wrong?" he asked.
            "Bridge up ahead is blocked," Mike said as he held up his binoculars.
            "Really?" Rhett asked as he strained his vision to see up ahead. The bridge up ahead was in view and he saw signs posted near it. He could see something in the way on the bridge, and assumed that was blocking passage."
            "We're going to fuel up then try to backtrack," Mike said as Matt got out of the station wagon. "Here?" Rhett asked as he looked back down the road they had come down. There was nothing coming, but he knew that would change sooner rather than later. "We drew a bit of a crowd back there," Rhett said as Mike exited. "Then we fuel fast and get this done sooner," Mike said "How's your gas tank?"
            Rhett checked his gauge. "Half a tank," he said "I'm good for now."
            "No reason to wait," Mike said.
            "Ugh," Rhett said as he switched off his engine and climbed out with the others. "Good to at least stretch your legs," Steve said as he reached out as far as his arms could managed and stretched. "Whatever," Rhett said as he went over and opened his trunk to retrieve a gas can. Mike was looking back while smoking a cigarette and peering with his binoculars.
            "See them coming yet?" Rhett asked as Mike shook his head. "They'll never catch us," he said as he dropped his binoculars, letting them fall harmlessly against his chest tethered to the strap around his neck. Rhett lit up his own cigarette as he pointed to the bridge. "Anything coming from that side?" he asked. Mike shook his head again. "Dead," he said "And even if there were things on there, we're too far back to notice or even reach by time we gas up. Relax."
            "Not the world's most fuel efficient vehicle, is it?" Matt asked as Mike walked by. Rhett went to fill his own gas tank while Tara walked over and grabbed the cigarette out of his mouth. "That's dangerous," she said with a smile as she put it in her mouth and walked away to the station wagon. "Is Jenny okay?" she asked as she looked inside to see the woman crumpled up in the seat. "She's sleeping," Laura said "She's been in a mood all morning."
            "Jenny?" Jason said as he looked at her through the window. She finally peeked her head through the towel and looked out. "You wanna come out for a minute?" he asked, Jenny shook her head. He ran back to Rhett's car and retrieved his bag. He came back with an aspirin and a bottle of water. He opened the other side door and climbed in next to Jenny.
            "He's so sweet sometimes," Tara said as Rhett walked over and plucked his cigarette back from her mouth. "My heart is melting," Rhett said as he looked over to Mike. "I'm full, are we ready?" he asked. Mike shrugged and motioned to Matt, still filling the station wagon. Rhett walked over to see Matt looking up while he filled.
            "What are you looking at?" he asked.
            "I'm looking for helicopters," Matt said.
            "Okay," Rhett said slowly "...Why?"
            "Not just those. Anything in the air really." The gas tank overfilled and started to spill gas along the side of the car. Matt withdrew, but kept looking up as he worked. Rhett looked at him, looked towards Mike with his binoculars, then to Jenny in the car and finally Laura nearby, munching on a bag of junk food she took from the gas station.
            "Do you guys have drugs or something in there I don't know about?" Rhett asked "Because that's just rude not to share." Matt finally looked back at Rhett and shook his head. "I'm not sure Albany is the best course of action anymore," he said. "What makes you think that?" Rhett asked. Matt looked over to Mike to make sure he wasn't looking.
            "I just think that of we're trying to get to Safe Haven, we should just go," Matt said "We should stop wasting time with the pursuit of an out we don't have."
            "What's to say Safe Haven is any different?" Rhett asked.
            "That's an uncomfortable thought," Matt said.
            "Still a possibility."
            "It just seems a place like that, hyped the way it's been, it's just too big to fail."
            "Let's go!" Mike called "I need a change of scenery. Rhett and Matt returned to their respective cars and the group was on the road again. Mike had apparently found a point a ways back to turn and get around the bridge issue. All Rhett knew was it was going to cost them time.
            "How's Jenny?" Rhett asked Jason, who was sitting contently in the back. Jason shrugged. "Okay I guess," he said "She isn't feeling well, I think it's her diet. None of us have been eating all that well." Tara huffed. "Maybe if she was willing to eat real food from abandoned houses, she'd feel better," she said. Steve and Jason laughed. "I don't get it," Rhett said "What's so funny?"
            "You missed it," Steve said.
            "Shut up," Tara said.
            "Tara conceded defeat," Jason said "No way she was going to catch up to me."
            "So?" Rhett asked.
            "I got to name my prize."
            "What did you request?"
            Steve laughed again as Tara folded her arms with an annoyed look. "She flashed us," Jason said with a sly grin.
            "Us?" Rhett asked "What us? You and Steve? What the hell? Where was I?"
            "You were with Mike or Matt," Jason said.
            "I have an adult conversation," Rhett complained "And I miss out on tits for it?"
            "Fuck you both," Tara said as she kicked Steve's seat.
            "You didn't actually have to agree to it," Rhett said.
            "I have no problem with it," Tara said "It's just that I found out afterwards that these two fuck nuggets were in cahoots."
            "Seriously?" Rhett asked "You've compromised the integrity of spot-a-zombie. The game is forever tarnished."
             "Like I said before," Steve said "Borrowed time. I gotta make the most of it."
            "Oh shut up," Tara said "You and your fat pessimism."
            "Yeah Steve," Jason "You're gonna be around forever."
            "Nah, we're all dead," Steve said "Doesn't mean we can't enjoy the trip."

July 5, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Road Trip

[Posted by Ted H]

I have vacation time I should be using...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Road Trip]

            The next morning the journey to Albany was underway. Matt drove the station wagon in front with Mike and his map in the passenger seat while Jenny and Laura sat in back. Trailing was Rhett driving his car with Steve, Tara and Jason. "How long are these back roads suppose to take us to navigate?" Rhett asked. "Well, it depends," Steve said next to him "I-90 is not an option. Most state routes are clogged. Mike assumed it'll take us about 12 hours if we never have to backtrack."
            "Figures," Rhett said "I couldn't get on to a highway to save my life before. Why is that?"
            "The same reasons why all the non-major cities are ghost towns," Steve said "If it's the end of the world and you need to get to a shelter, everyone is gonna take the easiest route there."
            "A lot of good it did them, and us now."
            "Yeah. And people started abandoning their cars once they grew tired of waiting, making it impossible for the congestion to clear up. From there chaos was easy when zombies started making their way through."
            "That's crazy," Jason said "I heard all the traffic had made it nearly impossible for the National Guard to move in and help, which is ironic."
            "What's ironic?" Tara asked.
            "Well highways and interstate roadways were designed to give people like the national guard easy ways to travel between states."
            "That, can't be accurate," Rhett said.
            "Who taught you that?" Tara asked.
            "My history teacher in 12th grade. Well, not so much as taught it as he mentioned it in a lesson."
            "And you were going to college?" Steve said.
            "You guys don't know what you're talking about," Jason said.
            "It wasn't set up just for the sake of the military!" Steve exclaimed.
            "So Rhett, you from around here?" Jason asked after some awkward silence, changing the subject.
            "Yeah. Something like that," Rhett responded.
            "Did you know Laura? She's from around here as well."
            "Uh, no. Safe to say she did not get to grace my life until recently."
            "Must suck to see your hometown like this though."
            "Yeah, well, I always wanted to take a road trip."
            "That's a positive way to look at it."
            "Where you from, Jason?"
            "Ithaca. Lived my whole life there. Even thought about applying to the college."
            "Christ, how old are you?"
            "I'm seventeen. I turn eighteen in a few months."
            "Fuck. I had you pegged for a malnourished adult. Didn't think you were still a kid."
            "Hah, yeah."
            "Jason's the little baby of the group," Tara said while mockingly going to pinch his cheek.
            "How old are you, Rhett?" Jason asked.
            "27. "
            "Wow. I had you much younger than that."
            "I'll grow a beard so I'll look older to you."
            "You're not quite grandpa status yet, old man," Tara said "Mike's middle aged. Though, we might have to consider that an old man age now. Not like many 70 year olds are able to survive nowadays."
            "That would put Rhett at middle age then, right?" Jason said "Anything over 30 is now a retirement age."
            "Hey," Steve said as he turned around and pointed at Jason. After everyone looked at him for a moment, he slowly lowered his finger. "31," he said and turned back around.
            "Wow," Tara said while laughing "Sorry, Steve."
            "You know, when I turned 30, I was all depressed about it," Steve said "My dad tried to cheer me up by saying I had another ten years before I should really get depressed. But you know what he said to me after that? He said to keep my head up, because it's not like turning 30 is the end of the world."
            "Turning 30 isn't the end of the world," Jason said "But 31 on the other hand..."

            "Are you okay, Jenny?" Laura ask while Jenny sat in the fetal position in the back with a towel draped over her head. "I'm tired, and my head hurts," Jenny said while peeking out from under her cover. "You want an aspirin?" Laura asked. "Just, quiet," Jenny said. "Leave her alone," Mike said from the front. "I'll try to avoid the potholes," Matt said, trying to sound reassuring.
            Mike checked his map and nodded at the notion that Matt didn't need to turn for quite a few miles. He relaxed in his seat and went in his pockets for his pack of cigarettes. "Essential supplies only, eh?" Matt said as Mike lit up and took a drag. "I can't find a decent cup of coffee anymore, so I refuse to kick this habit," Mike said as he cracked his window and blew out.
            "I saw you look at Rhett's cigarettes when we pulled him into that bar," Matt said "We were checking him for weapons after we cuffed him. You took a long look at those smokes he had." Mike smiled. "I'll take a man's guns, I'll handcuff him to a radiator without a second thought, but I'll never steal his cigarettes," Mike said as he happily took another drag "I came close, but I won't do it."
            "Good thing you didn't," Laura said "He might've killed you for it."
            "Alright," Mike said, turning back to regard Laura "Enough."
            "What?" Laura asked looking shocked "He's a psycho and we're abandoning him. I wish you found another car so we wouldn't need his."
            "Would you be so ready to leave Eric behind?" Mike asked.
            "No."
            "Why not? He shot Rhett. He killed Sarah. You're so quick to avenge Eric, don't forget Sarah was with us, too."
            Laura folded her arms and pouted. "Would we be abandoning Eric?" she asked.
            "Yeah," Mike said without hesitation "We'd leave him at the gas station though because he doesn't have a car."
            "Why didn't we just take Rhett's car and leave him?"
            "We weren't going to do that."
            "Why not?"
            "Because he helped us, he helped you!" Mike yelled, surprised that Laura even expected such behavior "And we're not bad people."
            "Some of this group is bad," Laura said as she turned her head and watched the passing scenery.
            "I'm fine with that, as long as the bad people only shoot each other," Mike said as he turned back around and took another drag.
            "Was Sarah bad?" Matt asked while quickly looking over to Mike.
            "No," Mike said "And that's why I find myself being more and more okay with what Rhett did."
            The ride grew silent for a long while after. Mike would break the silence occasionally by dictating directions. Matt would nod, but say nothing. Laura's gaze out the window was unbroken while Jenny remained under her towel, groaning every time Matt hit a bump in the road. Mike would finish three more cigarettes before deciding to try an nap.
            "So how are they getting us to Safe Haven?" Matt asked, pulling Mike to reality before he could get sleep. "What?" Mike asked as shook his head and focused. "You never really talked about it before," Matt said "We get to Albany, but how are we getting all the way to California from there? Who there could possibly help us?"
            "Remnants of the National Guard should still be stationed at the capital," Mike said "Originally they were supposed to be at every major city, but thing just kept getting worse too fast, so they retreated. If they're still around, it would be there."
            "There was no one in Harrisburg though," Matt said.
            "I know," Mike replied "So we try Albany next."
            "And if that's not an option?"
            "Then we try Columbus. We go on a damn tour of the country until we find an outpost that's still viable. But we won't have to because Albany will not be abandoned."
            "So, we make it to Albany. Then what?"
            "Unless the plan changed, we will be flown all the way to Safe Haven by whatever transportation is available. Most likely a helicopter. Personally, I hate flying, but today I won't be picky. The choppers will run a designated path with guarded refueling points. All we'll need to do from there is kick back and enjoy the scenic route."
            "Mike," Matt said with a worried look "I haven't seen any helicopters or anything flying around. Are you sure it's not a waste of time?"
            "It's not a waste of time," Mike snapped "We haven't seen anything because we don't cross the flight path. They're there, they gotta be. Besides, what plan would you suggest? Finding the Guard is the only plan we have."
            "We could have been a third of the way to Safe Haven if we just drove to California ourselves," Matt said.
            "That's not an option."
            "Why not? I don't understand, if this place is so important to get to, then why not just go there? Why bother finding other people to escort us when they themselves can't seem to last long enough for us to reach them?"
            "Because I don't know where Safe Haven is."
            "What?" Matt said, looking to Mike for so long he almost swerved off the road. "Jesus, Matt!" Laura yelled from the back. "How do you not know where Safe Haven is?" Matt asked. "They don't tell you," Mike said "The Guard knows. All I know is where a staging area for the final push is."
            "So why don't we at least head for that staging area? Matt asked.
            "Because it's easier this way!" Mike yelled "This way fewer people die. We head for California now, I can't guarantee any of us will make it. Which path do you think is safer: crossing the country or crossing the state? This is my call, and I'm saying we head to Albany. You can thank me when we're in the air."
            Matt said nothing as he looked ahead to where he was driving. Mike glared out the front and grunted. He wanted a coffee in a bad way and the cigarettes weren't quelling that itch as much as he had hoped. "Shit," Laura said dismissively "I bet the party car is having more fun than we are."

June 21, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - We Had a Talk About You

[Posted by Ted H]

2 jobs....one of them is 2 different locations.....fun minus the n.
...but hey, it's summer now!
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[Race for Safe Haven - We Had a Talk About You]

"Nice car," Matt said as Mike stepped out of an old tan station wagon. "Where did you get that car, the 70s?" Laura said with a disgusted look on her face. "The keys were in the car and it has trunk space," Mike said as he made his way to a gas pump "If you wanted something more stylish, you should have tagged along." Mike proceeded to fill the station wagons gas tank while the coast was clear. Steve stood by and looked out while Jason headed inside the station.
            Inside was Rhett and Tara loading a couple baskets into Rhett's car. "Energy drinks?" Jason asked as he looked at the contents "30 racks of beer and a bunch of cigarettes? Does Mike know you're packing this stuff?" Rhett smiled as he opened a pack of cigarettes. "Mike can load his car however he wants," Rhett said as he popped a cigarette into his mouth "This here is the party car, and I decide what's important." Tara pulled a cigarette out and waited for Rhett to reveal one of his many disposable lighters that he took.
            Mike later came in and called a meeting of the group. "Using the tanks, we'll fill up Rhett's car, then we'll refill the tanks. Otherwise, we're all full on the gas front. We'll load up the supplies in both cars at dawn tomorrow and be off. I know where most of the barricades are set, so getting out of the area won't be a problem. We should be in Albany by the end of the day if all goes well.
            "Let's all turn in early and get some sleep. No drinking or anything else like that. We're not that far from the end, let's just get there and survive this." Everyone nodded towards Mike and dispersed. It was mid-afternoon and no one felt like sleeping just yet, so Rhett gave the gas station one last once over for things he wanted to take. All the food and drinks worth taking were gone. At this point there was just odds and ends stuff up front that Rhett would find amusing, not vital.
            "I want you to take first watch tonight," Mike said causing Rhett to flinch at the company he didn't know he had. "Uh, sure," he said, but Mike did not leave. "Something you need?" he asked. Mike took a breath before talking. "We had a talk about you," he said "About what happened between you and Eric yesterday."
            "Oh boy," Rhett said, annoyed at the idea of another judgment being talked down to him. "Eric was an important member of this group and some people are uncomfortable with you after what went down."
            "I guess no one thought much about that Sarah chick then," Rhett said as he put a finger on his forehead to show where Eric had shot her.
            "Look," Mike said with an uneasy tone "I honestly don't know what we would have done about Eric after he killed Sarah, I'm not okay with that, there's no way I would be. But the reality is this: someone we didn't know until yesterday killed one of our own. We don't know you, all we know is you're looking out for your own best interests. That doesn't mean you're out to kill anyone, but it also means I can't have you apart of this group once we get to Albany. And I know you're okay with that, because you've got your own thing going on; Tara told me about your friend."
            "You must know I had no intention in killing Eric," Rhett said "He tried to kill me though. What would you prefer? I lay down and die and you can have a talk with Eric about how he can't keep killing strangers?"
            "I don't know what happened to Eric. I don't know if he snapped or if you just rubbed him the wrong way. I've seen your vest and your bruise. In your spot, I probably would have shot back as well. But this group, my group, I need to keep them safe. In order to keep them safe, I need them to trust in me. And in order for that, I need to deal with this situation. Half of them want you gone. Half of them want you around."
            "And what do you want?"
            "You're useful. I can get us to Albany quicker with your help. A temporary partnership is the best compromise I can offer. I'm not sending you away, but you can't stay."
            Rhett looked at Mike a moment, the light from the setting sun shining bright on his features. "Like I said before," he said "Albany, then I'm gone. You idiots can get killed however you want after that." Mike slowly nodded and turned. "Remember, first watch," he said as he walked away "Wake up Jason when you want to switch."

June 14, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Scavengers

[Posted by Ted H]

Not a big fan of character building, but I know it's necessary. Just wait til the gang gets moving again...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Scavengers]

            The next morning, Rhett woke up in the front seat of his car. He had a mild headache and couldn't understand the cause of the munching noise he was hearing. He was on his side and facing the door when he slowly rolled over and raised his seat up. Sitting in the passenger seat next to him was Laura eating a bag of potato chips. "Morning," she said as she shoved her hand into the bag and retrieved a fistful "Want one?"
            "Out," Rhett said plainly, causing Laura to frown. "Awe, c'mon," she said "This seat is the only comfortable place to sit." Rhett deadpanned a look to Laura as he repeated himself "Out." Laura huffed as she crumpled up her chip bag and brushed off her lap, sending crumbs everywhere. "No chips for you then," she said as she opened the door and climbed out. Rhett sighed as he rubbed his eyes. He checked his watch to find it was around noon. "Another successful night of drinking," he said to himself as he opened his door and stood up outside.
            Inside the garage was dark, as the lights were off and it was a cloudy day outside, all to Rhett's liking. By the garage door standing guard was Matt, not even bothering to turn around to regard Rhett. He slowly made his way to the door to the gas station, each slow and dragging step sending an eerie echo through the garage that made Rhett feel like he was a zombie.
            Inside the gas station, Jenny was sitting on the front counter reading a magazine while Laura was sitting on the floor nearby, still with her chips. "Hey," she said "You kick me out and you weren't even staying in there?" Rhett shook his head "I don't need you greasing up my car seats," he said. "Oh please," Laura protested "Like it matters how nice you car looks." Jenny looked up from her magazine long enough to roll her eyes at the two before returning to her article.
            It was then a smell his Rhett's nose. It was a chemical and coffee smell, mixed with fire. "Who tried to make coffee?" he asked. "Mike," Jenny said without looking up "Have some if you want. I wouldn't suggest it though." Rhett looked to the pot of black sludge next to the coffee maker and decided to walk back to the drink aisle. There he found a whole section for energy drinks, untouched from the previous days scavenging.
            "No one thought to grab any of these?" he asked aloud as he opened the door and grabbed a can. It was still cold, as the stations emergency generator was still powering the coolers as well as the gas pumps. "You should be drinking a water or something," Tara said as she walked up to him. "Yeah, that too," Rhett said as he cracked the can open and gulped down the beverage "How come we didn't grab any of these?"
            "Same reason Mike won't let us pack booze," Tara said "It's not vital. Most of the food and water from here is packed up, getting those would just take up precious space."
            "Screw that," Rhett said as he walked over and grabbed a basket "Where is Mike anyway?"
            "Well, while we slept off our booze, Mike and some people took some empty gas cans from around here and filled up on fuel. He, Steve and Jason then went off to find a decent car so we're not all cramming into yours."
            "Wait, Steve is up doing stuff. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he was drinking with us last night."
            "Yeah, he had more than both of us combined and he's fine while I woke up a wreck. The guy's a tank, what can I say?"
            "Clearly," Rhett said as he walked the basket back to the energy drinks and loaded a bunch in "So how long have the three of them been out?"
            "A while," Tara said as she walked to the water and grabbed a bottle "You know what's fucking bull shit though? Mike thinks we'll make it to Albany in a matter of hours, even though we hit nothing but resistance on our way up here."
            "So?" Rhett asked "Isn't that why he's insisting on vital supplies?"
            "Well we don't have much in the way of food. We've got snack cakes and junk food shit. This gas station won't have actual food. We should spend some time tracking that kind of stuff down." She handed him the bottle as Rhett gave in and opened it to drink. "So what are you saying?" he said "We should go scavenging for some food while the others track down a car?"
            "I just need someone dumb enough to go with me," Tara said with a smile "I saw Mike's map last night and there's suppose to be a small neighborhood not too far from here. We hit up a house or two, load up on some food and head back before Mike comes back." Rhett chugged the remainder of his water before tossing the bottle aside. "Well what are we waiting for?" he asked.
            They returned to Rhett's car as he retrieved the last police flare he had left, as well as his shotgun and two handguns. Tara grabbed her magnum and all the ammo from Eric's bag. Jenny insisted on tagging along and Rhett gave her one of his handguns. "You sure this is a good idea?" Matt asked as the trio finished gearing up. "It's no big deal," Tara said "We'll be super careful and be back soon. We'll even go out the back."
            "What about me?" Laura said, wanting in on the mission. "Guard the chips," Rhett said as they walked away from her. "And stay out of my car," he said as he hit the button on his remote to lock his car's doors. "You're an ass!" Laura yelled as Rhett smirked.
            The back of the gas station was abandoned as the trio made their way out, handguns drawn. Rhett had taken the straps he had from last night and fastened them around the shotgun, allowing him to sling it around his back and keep his hands free. Jenny and Tara wore empty bags on their backs to put food in. Tara led the way down a side street.
            They came up on a short street with a few houses on it. "I don't see anything around," Tara whispered "In an out real quick." They went up to the first hour and crept up the front stairs. Tara tried the front door but found it locked. "You don't think people just left their houses unlocked, do you?" Rhett asked. Tara flashed him a sarcastic grin as she took off her pack and opened it to reveal a crowbar and said "You don't think I came unprepared, do you?"
            Tara stepped back and thrust the crowbar into the doorframe, wedged where the door latch would be. She began to push and pull, trying to break the door down. "You've never done this before, have you?" Rhett asked. "Fuck you, you try it then," Tara said as she stepped back and motioned to the crowbar sticking out of the door. "Guys?" Jenny asked, interrupting them "Why don't we just try that house?" She pointed down the street to a house with the front door wide open. "Fuck you, too," Tara said as she pulled out the crowbar with some effort and the three made their way down the street.
            There was blood splatter on the front porch and bloody footprints leading away from the house. "Think anything is inside?" Jenny asked as Tara poked her head in and shouted "Hello?" They tensed up and waited a moment, but nothing came. "Rhett, stay here and guard the door," Tara said as she motioned Jenny to follow her inside.
            "Rhett seems okay," Jenny said as they reached the kitchen and started opening cabinets. "Yeah, he's good," Tara said.
            "I mean," Jenny said "No one else seems to like him. Mike wants him gone, Laura thinks he's a prick and Steve doesn't entirely trust him. But you seem to like him."
            "I don't see what the problem is."
            "I dunno. He doesn't seem like he wants to be here. Like we're twisting his arm to have him around."
            "He's got a friend in Buffalo he's trying to reunite with."
            "But we're going east."
            "And they're both going to Safe Haven like us. He's just trying to figure out the easiest way there."
            "That explains it."
            "Explains what?"
            "Mike said he's only putting up with Rhett for now because after Albany, he'll be gone."
            "What if Albany is zombie-town?"
            "I don't think he cares. You're the only one who seems to like this guy."
            "I don't like him that much, but I also don't see why we need to chase him off the first chance we get."
            "I don't know either. It's a Mike issue. Rhett's got a gun, he's not afraid to fight zombies, or anyone else with a screw loose for that matter, and he doesn't have any reason to stick around but he does. He could have left already for Albany and make it by time the rest of us finally get moving. But instead he's here, helping us find food and shit so we all might make it."
            "Like I said, he's good. Don't knock him like that. Would you rather still have Eric?"
            "I'd rather no one died. Yesterday was tough on all of us. Eric wasn't himself. Yeah, shooting Sarah was inexcusable, but we would have dealt with it; Mike would have dealt with it. He didn't deserve to die for it."
            "Remember what Steve said he wanted to do?"
            "And Steve's wrong, too. We can't just kill each other. We're no better than those things then."
            "It's not the same," Tara said but Jenny wasn't talking anymore. They searched the kitchen cabinets and loaded up what they could in silence. Tara opened the refrigerator but found the food inside had become rank from the power being out too long. "That's all I think we'll find in this house," Tara stated as they made their way back to the front.
            "Rhett?" Tara asked upon seeing an abandoned doorway "Rhett, where are you?" Rhett came jogging in from outside. "What the hell? she asked. Rhett pointed into another room. Tara turned the corner and saw a motionless body in the next room. "Oh shit," she said. "It's got a steak knife rammed in its eye socket," Rhett said "And a fuck ton of blood. Footsteps then lead away, too small to be made by that thing. Whatever happened, someone got hurt, and everyone left in a hurry to get help. Footsteps lead outside and to the driveway where a car would be."
            "How long ago?" Jenny asked. Rhett shrugged "Can't have been that long ago."
            "So..." Jenny said as she nervously gripped her backpack "These people are coming back."
            "Probably not," Rhett said.
            "They left to get help. They're coming back."
            "They're not. They left with an infected to get help they'll never find."
            "I'm not stealing from these people," Jenny said as she marched back to the kitchen and dumped the contents of her bag onto the table. "What are you doing?" Tara asked. "These people are alive and might come back," Jenny said.
            "We need that food," Tara reminded her.
            "We have enough. We don't need anything," Jenny said as she swung her empty bag around her back and stared at Tara.
            "I'm not dumping this shit out if that's what your waiting for."
            "If these people come back and find their food gone..." Jenny started but shook her head. "It's just as good as us trying to kill them."
            "If we have to confirm the demise of everyone living at every house we loot before we actually take anything, it's gonna be a long God damn day," Rhett complained.
            "I know you wouldn't have a problem with this," Jenny snapped.
            "Yeah, I don't have a problem with trying to stay alive."
            "Guys, don't" Tara tried to intervene, but both sides ignored her.
            "You're essentially trying to kill these people, and I know how comfortable you are with killing people," Jenny said, her tone raising as she talked.
            "The people who lived here are essentially dead," Rhett said back "If you're so concerned about them, why don't you stick around and wait for them to come home."
            "We can take from other places."
            "We just got done robbing a fucking gas station!" Rhett shouted "Where do you draw the line? We do what we have to in order to survive!"
            "That doesn't mean we become monsters."
            Rhett shook his head "If you think we're monsters now..." he said.
            "Not us," Jenny said as she walked passed him for the front "Just you."
            Tara stood uncomfortably by and waited for Rhett. "I'm sorry," she said "We should have tried to get into that first house."
            "Doesn't matter," Rhett said as he grabbed a can of food on the table and opened it "Albany, then I'm out. Any longer and I'll be pissing off too many of you fuckers."
            "No," Tara said "She's wrong. But we're not exactly right. I dunno."
            "What do you think about what I did to Eric?"
            "I don't like to think about it."
            "Shit's gone to hell out here and he tried to kill me. I don't owe any of you a God damn thing, so when he tried to kill me, I fucking made sure he didn't get another chance. I'm not trying to make any friends out here, I'm just trying to stay alive. I don't give a fuck if none of you idiots like me."
            "No one's asking you to be the nicest person here."
            "Tell me to leave, Tara. Tell me to leave right now and I'm in my car and gone in the next five minutes."
            "No."
            "Mike and all them are finding a new car for themselves anyway. Tell me to leave and I'm history, just another face in the apocalypse."
            "I won't."
            "Why not?"
            "Because I don't want you to go!" Tara shouted "I don't want you to go after Albany either, I don't want you to go at all. I don't care if nobody likes you and I don't care if you hate everyone here. We're in this together and I don't give a shit about who likes who. No one makes it if we don't help each other. I don't make it without you.
            "I was there when Eric shot Sarah. I saw the look in his eyes when he turned and shot you. I tried to kill him. I raised the gun you gave me and I aimed and I just...couldn't do it. And I saw the look in his eyes, like he had changed. He was someone different, and I was afraid of what he was going to do, to me. I couldn't pull the trigger.
            "I've never killed anything before, never shot a gun. I thought maybe it was his gun, like the magnum gave him confidence to go out and kill anything without worry. I'm terrified of all this. I'm still terrified. This whole situation feels hopeless. But you show up and I feel like maybe we can make it. We, not you, we. You alone are going to get killed. I don't want you to die any more than I don't want to die."
            Rhett stood there with his jaw set. Tara kept eye contact with his, waiting for a reply. "I don't go anywhere after Albany without Jake," he finally said. "If Albany is legit and we can get to Safe Haven from there..." Tara said "Then I'll wait with you until he shows up. Or go with you to get him, wherever that is." Rhett smiled as he nodded. "Deal," he said.

May 31, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - The Most Important Knowledge in the World

[Posted by Ted H]

God help us all, the Alabama Hot Pocket story is true......and somewhere, it's an actual thing...

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[Race for Safe Haven - The Most Important Knowledge in the World]

            As night fell, most of the group found a quiet spot to spend the night. Matt had volunteered for the first watch, and had set up right at the garage door peeking out. He lost count of the hours passing as he watched zombies occasionally wander by, blindly making their way to where they thought a new meal waited.
            Closed in the office, lit up with flashlights and electric lanterns found in the station, Tara, Rhett and Steve sat enjoying the beer. They tried to keep the noise down for the sake of everyone else sleeping, but also in case any zombie was nearby. As Steve stated before, Mike wouldn't allow any beer to be packed, so they decided to drink it all now and spend the next day hung over before leaving the following day. They were only a couple cases into the beer and already feeling tipsy.
            "So this chick," Steve said, continuing a story while trying not to laugh "She's missing pretty much her entire left arm. I mean it was wrapped up and everything, but you could tell it was torn to shreds. She's infected out the ass, sweating and puking up a storm."
            "There's a joke in there, right?" Tara asked as Steve put his hand up and nodded at her vigorously. "Yeah, yeah, yeah," he said "Like I said, she was dead and she knew it. And at this point it's just us. And she looks at me and says she needs me to do her a favor. Now I'm thinking she wants me to put her out of her misery or something like that. I don't think I could do it, I start to freak out and shit because she's dead anyway and all she wants me to do is make it suck less.
            "So anyway, I decide to help her out. I tell her "Anything," and play it up all dramatic, right? And she just looks up at me, pale, dying face and all. I'm bracing for it, that moment when she asks me to take her life. And she says...you know what she says? She says..." Steve stops talking to suppress a laugh as he tries to finish.
            "What did she say?" Rhett said, bracing for the end to the story and annoyed that Steve couldn't finish without laughing.
            "Okay, okay," Steve said as he composed himself "She looks up at me and says that she doesn't want to die a virgin." Steve and Rhett break out into laughter as Tara smiles and shakes her head. "Oh my God," she said as she opened another beer "That's horrible."
            "So I have no idea what to say," Steve continued "I mean, I was mentally preparing to kill this chick, and here she's asking me to bone her before she dies."
            "Did you do it?" Rhett asked.
            "Look," Steve said "This chick is infected with whatever the fuck that virus is called. I'm pretty sure it might also spread like an STD. So I look back at her and say she just needs to rest or something. Luckily, she passed out a few minutes later."
            "Should've gone for it," Tara said.
            "Hey," Steve said "I know my chances of staying alive long out here are slim. I mean, I'm a fat guy in the apocalypse, I know I'm living on borrowed time. But really, I don't need to intentionally get myself killed."
            "Oh man, what if she died while you screwed her," Rhett said with a wide grin and bright face "And then she went all zombie without you knowing it and bit your dick off?"
            "Shut up," Steve said while pretending to throw his drink.
            "Was she at least hot?" Tara asked.
            "Yeah, she was cute," Steve admitted "In retrospect, she would've been down for pretty much anything. Dying girls might be kinky like that. Might've tried an Alabama Hot Pocket."
            "What the fuck is an Alabama Hot Pocket?" Tara asked while Rhett gave an intrigued look.
            "It's disgusting," Steve said "You don't want to know."
            ""Now I gotta know," Rhett said while Tara egged Steve on. "C'mon, you have to tell us," she said "You can't do that; say something like that and not explain it."
            "Alright," Steve relented "Not that I've ever done this, but an Alabama Hot Pocket is when you hold a girls vagina open and take a shit right inside it."
            Tara dry heaved a little. "Awe man," Rhett said while laughing "I've seen some shit today and all through this apocalypse, but I draw the line at that."
            "Why would you want to do that?" Tara asked.
            "I never said I'd enjoy it," Steve said as backed from the table "But hey, if she would try it, who knows?"
            Everyone finished their beers and cracked open new ones as Matt entered the office. "What's wrong, Matt?" Steve asked. "Nothing," Matt said "Just, I need a break and Laura's taking over. I don't think she'll stay awake long though." Steve nodded as he stood up. "I don't think she'd stay awake neither," he said "Hell, it's a bad idea to trust her alone to begin with."
            With that, Steve left and headed to look out with Laura, leaving Matt with Rhett and Tara. "Hey Matt," Rhett said as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wad of cash "I owe you for the gas." Matt stared in disbelief as Rhett dropped a handful of twenty dollar bills on the desk. "Are you serious?" he asked as he walked to the desk and looked at the money.
            "What's the problem?" Tara asked. "How can you think that money is anything more than glorified toilet paper now?" Matt said as he sat down. "I dunno," Rhett said "Never know. What's really bothering you?" Matt sighed as he buried his face in his hands. "It's the end of the world," he said "And only a select few will have what it takes to survive."
            "You've made it this far," Rhett said "Think of all the people you've outlived."
            "Yeah," Matt said "Because of other people "On my own? I wouldn't last two days."
            "Don't be so hard on yourself," Tara said "None of us would last long on our own."
            "What were you before the world ended, Rhett?" Matt asked.
            "No one important," Rhett deflected.
            "But you look like you could make it," Matt said "You were smart enough to do things like get a weapon, take equipment from a cop car and even take money in case the world could still be salvaged. You know what I did? I left my home without supplies like a sheep because the television said to. And when things got bad, I hid in the comic shop where I worked. I hid under a rock and waited for someone to save me. And when that person died, only then did I think to take his gun and defend myself."
            "Don't be so hard on yourself," Tara said as slid a fresh beer over to Matt "I ran into Jenny and we hid together in an outlet store. We weren't exactly thriving on our own either."
            "You don't understand," Matt said "I don't have any special skills or knowledge that'll help me survive out there. Do you know what it's like for 99 percent of your acquired knowledge and skill set to suddenly be rendered useless?"
            "Can't be that bad," Rhett suggested.
            "I have a detailed knowledge of Captain America's back story, I can recite the Green Lantern oath in my sleep, I know every X-men team configuration through the 1990's and I can identify and list every bat symbol style chronologically including non-canon versions. All of that is pointless now."
            "It can't all be useless," Tara said as she leaned on the desk, struggling to find something to say "You...uh, you look like you eat healthy. I bet you know a healthy diet that's viable for the apocalypse."
            "I don't know any diets," Matt said "Well...one, but no, it's useless."
            "What's the diet?" Rhett asked as he went to drink.
            "It's a diet to allow natural breast enlargement in women. A bigger boobs plan."
            Rhett almost choked on beer as Tara laughed. "Are you serious?" she asked "That's awesome!" Rhett coughed a few times to clear his windpipe. "You my friend, contain the most important knowledge in the world," he said "Especially now since I'm sure plastic surgeons aren't exactly practicing anymore. We need to keep you alive."
            "How do you even know that?" Tara asked. "My brother had a girlfriend who had a breast reduction procedure," Matt said "He wasn't exactly too thrilled about it, but he said he had a plan. He secretly put her on this diet; bought her the right foods, cooked her specific meals. I didn't believe it at first, but lo and behold, she was back to double Ds in no time."
            "You need to share this secret," Tara said as Matt finally laughed and opened his beer. The rest of the night was filled with drunken exchanges and stories, before everyone finally called it a night and retired to their own corner of the gas station to sleep.

May 25, 2015

Race for Safe Haven - Only the Essentials

Hmmmm, been forgetting to update lately. My bad...

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[Race for Safe Haven - Only the Essentials]

            After slipping his shirt back on, he moved to get up. "Oh, this is gonna hurt for a while." he noted as every motion on the way up sent waves of pain through him all the way to his back. After standing, he walked his way to his car. Looking out the garage door, he noticed how quickly it was getting dark out. He opened the driver's side door and retrieved his keys, still in the ignition. "Only I get to drive from now on," he said as he closed the door and went to the trunk to get something before joining the others inside the gas station.
            Various bits of food and equipment were being gathered by the register. Mike was coordinating it all into three piles; car supplies, food and everything else. Steve and Tara were meanwhile carrying all the alcohol they could find into the back office. "Just the essentials, eh?" Rhett asked as Steve walked by. "Mike won't let us take any on the road," Steve responded "So drink them while you got them."
            After everything was sorted, Mike and Steve sat in the back office discussing their next plan while standing over a map. Rhett walked in carrying some straps he found. "We have three handguns and Eric's magnum," Mike said as Rhett walked over. "Two more and a shotgun," Rhett reminded him. "So you changed your mind?" he asked, not too thrilled with what he heard. "Yeah," Rhett said "At least to scout ahead to Albany. After that, I'm going to find my friend in Buffalo."
            "That's a day or two at the most," Steve said "I think he should stick around for it." Mike slowly nodded. "Absolutely," Tara said, carrying a final case of beer. "Fine, fine," Mike said, surrendering to the idea "Rhett can stay, but just watch where you aim from now on." Rhett frowned. "You make it sound like I have a habit of shooting the living." Mike ignored him as he returned to the map.
            "The interstate is probably hopelessly congested," he said as he trailed his finger along the map, showing the road "We're gonna have to stick to back roads."
            "Should we hit up Utica for supplies, or try to power through to Albany?" Steve asked.
            "I don't want to stop at any more cities if I can help it," Mike said "We almost didn't make it out of this one."
            "But what if Albany is gone just like here?" Tara asked.
            "How long do you think it'll take us to drive to Albany? We'll be fine." Mike said.
            "It took you a week to get here from Harrisburg," Steve reminded him.
            "Let's just play it by ear for now," Mike said "We head out tomorrow."
            "Is that a good idea?" Steve asked.
            "We have a car, we have supplies. What more are we waiting for?" Mike asked.
            "We might not have enough gas to make it to Albany, even if we start with a full tank," Steve said "We need to fill all the extra gas cans we can. Also it wouldn't hurt to find a second car."
            "You aren't so keen on having me around, yet you forget whose car that is in the garage," Rhett said, earning a look from Mike.
            "We can't afford to wait forever," Mike said, crossing his arms.
            "One day," Tara said "It won't kill us. I'll give you a chance to find a good car, and some of us could use a day to get our bearings after today."
            "Fine," Mike said, realizing no one else shared his view "One day. After that we double time it to Albany." Mike's statement was received with shrugs and nods as he left.
            "Is he ever in a good mood?" Rhett asked. "He's just...you know," Steve said. "Being in charge has its pressures," Tara added. Rhett shrugged and reached for a beer.
            "Why is he the one in charge?" Rhett asked.
            "He knows how to get to Safe Haven," Steve said "He keeps a packet of information on him detailing how to get there, he knows what stuff is needed and when."
            "It's complicated," Tara simply said.
            "What if something happens to him?" Rhett asked.
            "Well he was teaching..." Tara started "Uh, he was teaching Eric what he needed to know, just in case."
            "Lovely," Rhett said as he took a swig of beer.
            "Matt too," Tara continued "He knows a few things."
            "Why doesn't he teach everyone?" Rhett asked.
            "Insurance I guess," Tara said "As long as he alone has the knowhow to get there, then it keeps him in charge and keeps us from ditching him."
            "Mike's the one who knew about the pickup locations," Steve said "Picked each of us up and accumulated the group along the way. You're just the latest entrant."
            "Really?" Rhett said "No one here knew anyone else before?"
            "Nah," Steve said "When he found me, it was just him, and Matt. We found Eric not long after, then Tara and Jenny. Next we ran across Sarah, Jason came next, Laura a couple days ago and finally you." Rhett looked to Tara. "You and Jenny knew each other?"  he asked. "Nah," Tara said "Not before the apocalypse. We kind of ran into each other and had each other's back until Mike and them showed up."
            "That reminds me of this guy I met," Rhett said "The day everything started going to shit, I headed for my local bar, don't ask why. Anyway, there was this guy there, Chris..."