No Zombie for a Neighbor
Part One: Fears Begin to Grow
I slept last night in a back room the ladies said was for teaching pottery. I cannot say that I had a comfortable bed. The toy store had mattresses. While I just slept on piles of clothes the previous night, it was really more comfortable than the bolts of fabric I slept on last night. I must also say that I prefer sleeping with a man. Most men provide better conversation and entertainment than the women in this store.
The smell of coffee brought me into the kitchen. I found Dave and Thorne already discussing whether to use a car or not. Dave considered it too far to walk or run, and felt that the streets were clear enough to grab a car and use it to cover the distance. Thorne felt that the use of any vehicle would attract zombies, and the car would quickly become covered with walking dead. I fixed myself a cup of coffee while listening to the men.
Dave said, “Hell, a zombie cannot catch a car.”
Thorne replied, “Traffic lights are still working, are you going to run them?”
“Hell, yes. Are you telling me that a cop is out there watching, or that he has nothing better to do than give me a ticket for running a red light.”
Thorne pointed to baskets holding the stuff that had once been in the vending machine before saying in return, “What about that one or two zombies that get in your way.”
“Run them down. I don’t believe that hitting a zombie breaks any law.”
The room grew quiet as the men looked to each other, then Thorne said, “You know, I don’t believe it does. You cannot be convicted of killing a man when he is already dead.”
Dave replied, “Hitting a zombie should be no different than hitting a plastic trash can that the wind blows into the street. Even that is somebody’s property, so could possible be treated as property damage, but it would just be something for an insurance claim and not a criminal investigation. A zombie might be somebody’s corpse, but I don’t believe hitting it is a criminal offense.”
Edna walked in and spoke as she headed to the coffeepot. “I am sure that there is some fool who would try and make it a crime.”
Thorne replied, “Yeah, well I won’t consider it a crime to run that fool over with a car either.”
“Amen to that,” Dave said before working to return to the original topic. “Still, I say that I could make it in a car.”
“I say that you wouldn’t. Still, the front of the store is rather packed with zombies.”
Dave looked to me to ask, “You did not see any cars behind our store, did you?”
I did not remember looking the day before when on the roof. I thus had to consider that he referred to my run with Al. After thinking about all the items that the man had sought to use to trip up zombies, I had to admit that none of them was a vehicle.
“Okay,” Dave said pressing for more information, “how would you and Al have left this store?”
“We would get on one side and talk for a time. Talk really loud. That would pull most zombies to that side of the building. We would then run to whatever destination we had chosen.”
Thorne blurted out, “Which in this case would be the telephone store.”
“Yes, but we would not stop in the telephone store. Zombies are not intelligent enough to avoid obstacles. We would enter the telephone store, probably fight whatever zombies were in there, then go out the other side to wherever we felt was a good possible stopping place.”
Edna said, “From what I have heard from you, it would be a clothes store.”
“There tends to be more clothes stores than any other. We wanted a deli, but it was filled with zombies.”
Dave washed out his coffee cup, then moved to the door to say, “I am going to the roof. I need a car if I am going anywhere.”
Thorne also moved to the sink , but instead of heading to the door afterwards, he looked to me. “Livonia, would you run with me?”
Feeling the ache of not having had a good night of rest, I said, “If we can find a place to run. I will head to the roof with you.”
As I met him at the door, he said, “I am not saying that we are an item or anything.”
“Listen, at times I have just had to take what I could get. Al was that way, but he proved himself to be a real good man. Do you think that you can do as well as a white guy?”
I could tell that he wanted to say something, but he did not. He simply stood for a moment while I assumed he was thinking, then turned to move to the roof access. I could not help but smile as I followed.
Settling into a position on the roof, Thorne and I both agreed that we could make it to the telephone store. Where he wanted to head was however to a convenience store, which would force us to cross the street again. I felt that would be risky. Thorne did not disagree with me, but tried to speak of a number of options that would put the odds in our favor.
Dave spoke from behind us. “I will get a car and drive it to the far side of the store. That should pull the zombies away from the two of you. Once you are in, I can drive around the store and get out to join you.”
Neither Thorne nor I questioned where he was going to get a car. Our plan was to drop off the side of the building, then quickly move behind cars in the parking lot to keep the zombies from spotting us. The only desperate part of our plan was crossing the street and possibly getting into the telephone store. Having someone make noise by breaking into a car and starting it we did not consider wise, so we questioned that part of the plan.
Dave simply replied that he was getting tired of the store and hot dogs. He liked the idea of relaxing in a house with a bath tub, refrigerator, and some beer. He mentioned that he could assure the supply of beer by picking up some in the convenience store. In mentioning a few other things he would acquire, I understood that Dave would be going with us in his own fashion.
Edna did not like the idea of him going. I did not get the impression that the two were an item, but that she truly felt that he was necessary to the success of her store. She thus sought to keep him from going. Dave however spoke of being available to return to work whenever the zombies left and customers felt safe enough to return to the store. Edna found herself with no other option except to wish the man the best.
Thorne and I moved to the front of the building and dropped a metal tube upon the head of zombies. The weapon came from dismantling one of the display cases. It was made of something other than cheap aluminum, as it was designed to hold some substantial items. The tube did not hold up too well being bashed into skulls, but the activity served a purpose by killing some of the walking dead as well as getting all nearby to focus upon the front of the building.
When Thorne and I moved to the chosen side of the building, Dave was waiting for us. He had taken some of the rope to be used for curtains and such, and had tied it to a pipe that he felt would hold his weight. I cannot just how strong the decorative rope truly was, but did not really put my weight on it for long. Thorne also mostly used it to help break his drop from the roof of the building. Only Dave actually descended slowly putting his entire trust in the rope, but he also did not hang too long before reaching the ground.
What I feared was suddenly wanting the rope to support a climb back on the roof. We however had looked over the land rather well. No zombies had been seen. We thus simply left the rope hanging as we moved behind the first car.
Dave chose a large pickup truck. Not a bad choice for running down zombies, but I looked at it knowing that it would announce its presence to every walking undead in the area. While it might have little problem with a zombie or two, I would not want to be in the vehicle when faced with a dozen or more.
The distance from the last car to the telephone store looked like a couple of football fields. It really was not, maybe only a hundred feet. Being across open terrain, I felt that I would reach the destination feeling as if I had ran a mile.
Zombies however did not simply wander around. They moved to where they detected what they hoped was food. Now dogs and other animals could cause zombies to move away from where humans possibly congregated. Perfect silence was also something that could not exist, but odd sounds could cause the walking undead to go off in the hope that something it considered food would be found to have made it.
The truck started as Thorne and I ran across the street. I really wished that the man had waited for the two of us to reach the telephone store, and, truthfully, had managed to enter it. All that I could assume was that the truck fired up upon the first test of the ignition. While the sound spoke good for the chosen vehicle, I ran afraid that it would alert zombies to my actions.
The large windows of the telephone store did not show any signs of my beating on it with my crowbar. I had given Thorne my second one, and turned not seeing his larger, stronger frame put more serious hurt upon a pane. He was only resting against the glass, and when he saw me looking at him he had his own suggestion for a change of plans.
“Let us go on to the convenience store.”
That was about a hundred yards. Dave saw us still outside the telephone store, so pulled up into the parking lot. Not waiting for an actual invite, Thorne took off to jump in the back of the truck. Zombies surely had been attracted to the vehicle, and I knew zombies were around the convenience store. I thus made my own decision. I told the men to go on ahead, then darted back across the street. As Dave gunned his engine while racing on ahead, I set a pace that would enable me to reach the destination not that long behind them.
I did not feel glad for my decision when the gasoline pumps ignited upon Dave pulling up to them. The erupting ball of flame took me by surprise. I simply stopped and stared at the explosion while wondering what I would do now.
Fantasy puts more requirements on the writer than any other fiction, because the world must be made as real before anything else can be real.
Adult Christian fiction quite different than all the usual lame stuff in that market. "Dilemma of Dreams" now in hard back.