[note: If this is your first experience with Oasis, you should go back and start with Chapter 1.]
Working in the ER I had treated at least ten serious victims of their own stupidity. I had just never been present for the injury itself.
I guess there’s a first time for everything.
The propane tank exploded, but not in a ball of flame.
The bullet didn’t make enough of a spark to ignite the contents. It did, however, make a small hole in the the front and tore a gaping hole in the back.
The propane inside exploded outward in a furious burst of pressure.
I heard a great pop and a whooshing sound and the tank leapt from the ground.
It slammed into the leg of the dead walking nearest to it.
The leg flew from the ground and the body was lifted and spun about by the force.
The collision with the dead was just enough to redirect the hurtling propane tank in our direction.
My instinct was to duck.
Max’s was to raise his hands to cover his face.
The spinning propane missile crunched on Max’s arm and he fell backward.
I cringed as the tank flew overhead then crashed through the front window of the service station.
I jumped to my feet to see the damage to Max.
He had hit his head into a pump on the way down. Glass lay shattered around his bleeding head. His forearm had a new, unnatural bend. Blood pooled around it.
I suspected that when I lifted it up, I would find a compound fracture.
The dead continued their march toward us. And there was still something Max had seen behind the building.
A sudden calm washed over me.
I was no longer trapped in a desperate struggle for survival. It was just another day like any in the ER, and I had work to do.
I pulled the handgun from its hip holster.
It felt heavy and reliable in my hand.
I released the safety and aimed at the nearest of the dead.
The blank stare of the dead didn’t change, it just kept walking for me.
I pulled the trigger twice.
Its head snapped back then it collapsed in a heap.
The next three dropped just as easily.
The fifth was crawling my way, its leg having been shattered by the propane tank.
I laid it to rest like the others.
Now for the next problem.
I dropped the handgun and knelt down.
Max’s head wound appeared to be minor, and the bleeding had already almost stopped. His pulse and breathing were weak, but present.
A change of position revealed what I was afraid of.
A jagged piece of bone poked through the skin on the underside of his arm.
I was grateful that he was already unconscious. He’d be much easier to handle. I stepped around near his head, then braced his elbow with my left foot and pulled his hand.
The bone slid back in the skin.
I did my best to put it back in the right place, and then I gently placed Max’s arm on this chest.
A couple more deads came into view down the street.
Not much time. Keep moving.
I scanned the area for options. Not much useful here.
I yanked the window squeegee from the bucket of blue window stuff.
The head twisted off easily.
I tossed the head aside and set the handle next to Max’s body.
Got a splint, now I just need something to secure it.
It took precious moments to work his shoelaces free.
I grabbed a small stack of paper towels from the dispenser, pressed them directly on top of the hole left by the broken bone, then tied the handle to his arm with the shoelaces.
Time was short. The deads I could see were getting closer, and whatever Max saw behind the station was sure to be here any moment.
I ran back to the garden cart and flung out all but one of the tanks to make some room.
Around the corner of the station shuffled a middle aged woman with that telltale blank stare on her face. Her skin looked thin and more wrinkled than it should be. Blood was smeared all over her shirt and pants.
Out of time.
I raced around the pumps with the garden cart and brought it beside Max.
Three more deads rounded the corner.
The thought occurred to me that I could just run. But that’s not who I am.
Max wasn’t terribly obese, but he wasn’t exactly fit, either.
I thought back to the many dead lifts I did in high school gym and gave it my all. I’m still not exactly where I got the strength to lift him, but somehow I got him shoveled into the cart.
Max let out a groan but his eyes stayed shut.
Good, he’s still out.
The dead woman was only fifteen feet away and coming fast.
Somehow, I still didn’t feel the fear that had gripped me before. Just the resolve to get myself and Max back alive.
I scooped up the handgun, grabbed the cart’s handle and pulled for all I was worth.
The dead woman jumped.
She probably would have been able to grab Max’s foot, too, but her shoulder caught on a gas line.
The cart lurched just outside of her falling reach.
Up ahead, several deads shambled into view from various side streets and shops. This part of the city had been still minutes ago.
In fact, all day, the deads had sat motionless in the shadows. Now, the shadows were crawling with certain doom.
I checked behind.
Deads were coming in a steady stream now from both sides of the service station.
At least the ones up ahead are more spread out.
There was no turning back. I would only get one shot at this gauntlet.
I ran to one side and passed the first couple of deads without problem.
I didn’t dare run the risk of getting lost, so I backtracked the exact route we had come.
It didn’t seem to matter which way I took, anyway. Deads from several blocks around must have heard our call. Every street I looked down was peppered with them.
There weren’t any big crowds of them up ahead, though.
My exaggerated weaving from side to side in the road seemed to be enough to avoid them.
At least until I was a one and a half blocks away from safety.
On just my side of the intersection, four deads stood evenly spaced apart in a line.
Stood, no. They were walking at me, and I was running at them.
Only one chance.
I slowed and raised the gun.
I hadn’t taken a good look, but I was pretty sure it was a 9mm pistol. I knew that their clips could generally hold more than ten shots, but I had no idea how many I had left.
I steered toward the middle and aimed at the dead just right of the middle of the street.
I squeezed the trigger three times.
The dead collapsed.
The dead just to my left dove at us.
I twisted and squeezed the trigger again.
The dead’s direction snapped off course as the bullet tore through its body.
I knew I hadn’t completely stopped the dead who had just jumped at us, only foiled his dive. My only escape route lay almost on top of the first dead I had shot.
I stepped high over his outstretched arm and braced for the bump of the cart.
The cart bounced as the first wheel careened over the arm.
The cart practically jerked out of my hand on the second.
The deads on either side crouched to jump.
My legs pushed hard against the pavement.
The deads jumped.
But they were too slow. I was through.
Behind me the street was filling with deads. Ahead of me lay one clear block and then the warehouse.
I tossed the gun aside and sprinted. I would need every possible second to wrangle Max inside before the dead caught us.
My mind was filled with only one question. Will there be enough time?
Can Corbin get Max in before the zombies get him? Keep reading in, “Chapter 29: First Aid“Please tell all your friends about Oasis. I’d consider it a personal favor.