The trucks sat idling just inside the treeline of the old, narrow road. The drivers door of the second truck in line popped open, and Beth, wearing military style fatigues and carrying a wire stock machine pistol stepped out…
ZOMBIE: MISSION ZERO
Copyright 2016 W. G. Sweet. All rights reserved foreign and domestic.
Portions copyright 2010, 2014, 2015 by W. G. Sweet.
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Bear and Cammy
Bear sat on the stone steps and quietly stared over Harlem. He couldn’t say what precisely had made him come back to this crumbling apartment building where he had lived for so long with Donita. Maybe a vague hope she had come here, but if she had, he had found no evidence of it. He lifted his eyes to the street.
The gangs were out in force at night. They knew the two of them were there. So far they had given them a pass, but Bear had no doubt that, that wouldn’t last much longer. Soon they would try to take them: Take Cammy, he corrected himself. There was no sense in hiding the truth of the way the world was from himself.
The neighborhood had changed for the worse. More than a dozen small quakes had hit over the last few days. The houses were leaning more, including this one. Last night they had received some CB talk coming out of Manhattan. For twenty minutes they had talked back and forth like they were right next door. There were no more illusions. The people he had talked to were with a group that had come cross country, all the way from LA. There was nothing left. It was all gone. There was no help on the way. The Army was not on the way to put things right.
“Hey,” Cammy from beside him. He had been slipping deeper into thought again.
“You were drifting away,” She said, as if she had read his thoughts.
She did that a lot lately, caught him, or he drifted a lot lately, maybe both. “I was… I was thinking about all of it. I think we should go back into Manhattan, wherever they are, outside the city. They sounded legit,” He raised his eyes to hers.
“As legit as anything in this world,” she shrugged. She looked around the street that really wasn’t a street any longer. “Can’t stay here… I know you know that.”
“I know… I think safety, if there is anything like safety any longer, is going to be in numbers. And we don’t have enough numbers. We’re too few.” He looked at her and waited for her acknowledging nod.
“We can be there in a few days. If they are where they say they are,” Cammy added.
“Do you think they aren’t? Did you feel something?” He looked unsure.
“No… I felt they were straight with us, and I felt their offer to join with them was straight too. Got concerns?” Cammy asked.
“Same old stuff. Really it’s all about whether they’re real or not,” Bear said.
Cammy nodded. “I think they are I don’t see the percentage in luring us in there if they’re just fakes. We’ll come armed and ready for bullshit, they have to know that.” Cammy seemed to consider. “I just don’t see it. I think they’re the real deal. I’ve been thinking about it too,” she sighed.
Bear raised his eyebrows.
“The finality of it all. I mean the fact that from here to the other side of the continent the world’s done up,” Cammy said after a lengthy pause.
Bear nodded. “Hard to wrap your head around, I get it. It’s the same for me. So,” Bear brushed his hands against his jeans and then stood from the step. “I guess we should go get a truck and get moving.”
Cammy stood with him. “Where you think for a decent truck?”
“Probably check out on the strip. There are a few custom shops out there, about a dozen car dealerships and a few truck dealerships. I’d like to find something setup for off road. Save us some time screwing around… Probably save road time too.”
“And they aren’t staying there much longer. It will help us when we move on with them,” Cammy added.
“Or strike out on our own,” Bear said.
“South?” Cammy asked.
Bear nodded. “They said the land went into the sea.”
“They said there was land in the distance though,” Cammy said at the same time as Bear. “It got into my head… Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s like I dreamed about it before they said it. Like I knew it would be,” he shrugged. “I know, spooky.”
“Not really. I mean the world is gone. All the things you count on. Maybe now there is survival… Some sense that kicks in and guides you,” Cammy said.
“Now that’s spooky,” Bear said. They both laughed uneasily.
“Still,” Cammy said. She let her argument drift away unstated.
Bear reached over and retrieved his rifle from where it rested against the porch post. He slung it over his shoulder and shrugged once to make it comfortable. “We,” he stared through the open doorway into the house and then stopped. “We don’t need anything here. We were running low all the way around, about time to resupply.” He took two quick steps to the door, tugged at the handle and began to close it. He stopped with the door still partway open and laughed uneasily. “Guess it doesn’t matter anymore,” he said. Cammy smiled, a small, sad smile and she shrugged and turned away.
Bear released the door handle, turned and stepped down off the porch. He turned and looked at the building once they were a few hundred feet away. He walked backwards, taking it in. It looked ready to collapse. It was leaning, the foundation cracked and crumbled in places. He turned and caught up to Cammy. He didn’t look back again.