[note: If you haven’t read any Oasis before, you should start at the beginning. This chapter may be kind of raw, I haven’t read through it as much as I usually do. As always, I’m not offended by you pointing out typos and half sentences. Also, the following link is just so that I can claim my blog on technorati. Technorati Profile]
At least, I felt like I had seen those same shoes before. I just couldn’t remember where.
Plus, I hadn’t yet seen any of the deads running, so I decided he was probably uninfected.
I backed toward the approaching man and yelled at the deads again, hoping to get the attention of a couple more.
Six deads ignored me and continued beating on the ragged door. The two I had hit lay motionless on the ground. The other two continued their silent pursuit.
I heard the man in red shoes slow down as he got close.
I half turned so I could see him without losing sight of my pursuers.
We looked each other over for a moment, searching for signs of infection.
He was young, maybe seventeen. He didn’t appear to have any fat whatsoever on his body, but he didn’t look starved either. He wore a t-shirt with a cartoony picture of a knight with the words “OHS Knights X-Country.”
I guess that explains his good shape.
He stepped closer. “You send up those flares?”
I shook my head and pointed. “They did.”
He looked at me a moment longer and then nodded at the building. “How many?”
“You mean inside or out?”
“I’ve seen at least five.”
“You got a plan?”
“Just to lead these away and then go get the rest.”
A smug teenager grin crossed his face. “Follow me and learn.”
We swung wide of the approaching deads and ran back toward the building.
In the street, someone had knocked over a big plastic trash can.
The kid picked it up by its base, spilling its remaining contents on the ground.
I kept a close eye on the deads behind us. I didn’t want to be trapped.
He lifted it over his head and hurled it at the group of pounding deads.
All six whirled about almost immediately and marched for him.
He motioned toward them. “You got to hit ’em with something. Then you yell to keep them coming.”
How does he knows that?
“What’s your name?”
“Corbin. Where do we go from here?”
“Just follow my lead.”
“I mean once we get everybody out.”
“Oh, we’re heading to the hotel.”
Somehow he must have thought that would be a suitable answer.
The deads kept shuffling. They never stopped.
I had the feeling they never would.
Kevin cupped his hands around his mouth. “If anyone in there can hear me, we’re going to lead these infected about a block away and then double back. We can take you somewhere safe, but we wont have much time.”
I felt a knot of uncertainty as we backed away and started yelling at the deads.
I looked around. I couldn’t see any more yet, but I knew they were around somewhere. The deserted shops and dark buildings were undoubtedly full of them.
Kevin seemed perfectly at ease with the whole rescue operation.
A memory sparked.
He’s done this before. I saw him when I was in the storage shed.
Kevin waxed colorful in his taunting of the deads.
He probably grew up on video games and skateboarding, and now he feels invincible.
I wondered how many times he had already done this, and how long he’d have to.
The whole world had changed over the space of so few days.
I wanted to lash out and beat back the terror of it all. But I couldn’t. I was just lost and powerless.
With all my soul, I wanted to do something real and useful.
The deads continued their unrelenting march for us.
They had followed us a good forty or fifty feet when the door to the apartment building opened.
Rather, it fell down.
Into the street shuffled the tenants. They were carrying something. It looked like a cheap camping cot. With somebody on it.
I could see blood, but I couldn’t tell how bad the injury was, or even what it was.
Apparently Kevin had seen it too.
He waved his hand. “Let’s go.”
Kevin took off at a sprint.
The street was wide enough and the deads hadn’t spread out very much. Kevin went to one side, and I went to the other.
Holding the cot were six people. Three girls and a boy in their early teens, the middle aged man I had seen in the window, and a woman who appeared to be about the same age.
In the cot was a man who appeared to be about my age.
Something had happened to his left leg.
Kevin only arrived a step or two before me.
I grabbed Kevin’s shoulder. “Hold it.”
Kevin spun around and looked a little surprised that I had been right behind him the whole way.
I looked over at the leg. “What happened?”
The injured man was wearing jeans and his thigh had been wrapped with a mess of gauze and ace bandages. Blood had soaked through on the outside of his leg. The bleeding seemed to be centered just above and to the left of his kneecap.
The woman looked at me and appeared to be a little relieved to see that I was wearing scrubs, or at least a scrub top.
“He was shot. In the confusion.”
There wasn’t anything else to be done for him right then, and the deads were getting closer, so it was time to go.
I glanced over at Kevin. “Which way?”
“Just down the street a ways.”
Kevin and I found a spot to grab on to the cot and we all started moving.
With eight people holding the one small cot, it was hard to really get moving. We had to take shuffling steps or we’d trip over each other’s feet. We weren’t going much faster than the deads.
I knew something had to change. If more of them showed up, we’d be trapped.
So after a couple of blocks, I kicked off two of the teenage girls and told them just to stay close.
With less crowding, we were able to pick up the pace.
The sky took on a light blue-gray hue, and I new morning was finally on its way.
Our little group was nervous and quiet. Kevin was the only one that spoke, and only then when he needed to give us directions.
We lost sight of the eight deads from the time we made the first turn.
Somehow that didn’t make things any easier.
Small noises came from some of the buildings we passed. We couldn’t tell whether they were made by living or dead.
Inside every window I could see shadowy movement. Or was my mind playing tricks?
I hoped the hotel wasn’t far.
Besides the physical strain of carrying the injured, the mental strain of not knowing when the next deads would appear got worse and worse.
We turned a corner and there it was: the Grand Oasis Hotel.
It was a gorgeous five story building. The only building in the city that didn’t look like it could have belonged to the old military base in which Oasis was built.
Kevin pointed at a small structure in the middle of the small parking lot. “We go in through those stairs. They lead down to the underground parking lot and then in the hotel.”
The structure was basically a box with a metal door. We reached it in short order.
Kevin reached out for the handle and tried it.
He looked back to the rest of us. “It’s not supposed to be locked.”
Why is the door locked? How are they going to get inside? Is the injured man going to make it? Find out next week in Chapter 35: Breaking and Entering. (I haven’t chosen a title yet.)
Feel free to tell your friends about Oasis. It’s not like a secret or anything.