[note: This week’s been hectic. I’ve got a whole bunch of stuff to write about, including the purchase of my first gun, when I get a minute. Anyway, if this is your first experience with Oasis, you should start with Chapter 1.]
Best Laid Plans
The food and drink had done me a world of good.
Neither my arms nor my legs shook as I pushed myself onto my feet.
I followed Samson and Kevin into the trophy room.
The trophy room wasn’t as wide as the other conference rooms I had seen, but it was just as deep, and the far wall was made of windows looking toward the desert outside of Oasis.
It matched Samson’s rugged exterior better than any room I had seen in the rest of the hotel. It was like a museum. Several plaques and animal heads hung on the walls. Toward the middle of the room was a stuffed bear, a stuffed bison, and a stuffed lion. There were photos of Samson holding up large fish, climbing mountains, and leading a camel through some desert.
Apparently, he’d been just about everywhere.
Samson pointed at a bench against one wall. “Sit there for a minute.”
He turned and left.
Kevin and I sat.
I motioned at some of the animals and awards. “Where did he get all of this?”
Kevin nodded at the center of the room. “Well, the bear attacked his camp, a friend of his drew a buffalo tag, and he bought the lion from a zoo after it died. He shot most of the rest of the heads on the wall. The rest of the stuff he just picked up on his adventures.”
I looked over at Kevin.
I didn’t even have to ask the question.
Kevin just shrugged. “I’ve worked for Mr. Malsrock over the summer since I was fifteen.”
We didn’t have to wait long.
Samson, Linda, and another man entered the room and walked over to us.
“Corbin, this is Dale.”
Dale had a bushy gray mustache and a bald head. I would have guessed him to be about the same age as Samson.
I nodded his way.
He nodded back.
Samson threw his shoulders back like he was stretching his chest. “Here’s where we’re at. The infected took the second floor.”
Dale half raised a hand. “What about all that ammo?”
“Most of it got moved to the south stairway.”
Dale folded his arms.”How long can we hold?”
“Not sure. Some of the infected seem to remember how to climb stairs a lot better than others. Some look like they trip on the first step and have to crawl up. The higher up we go, the more they naturally spread out, and the easier it is to hold them back.”
Dale looked out the window. “So, how long will we hold?”
“We’ve got the south stairway doors barricaded pretty well, so we should be able to get everyone down them when the time comes. And I really don’t see how we can stay here much longer as our escape routes get cut off. I don’t want to be trapped here on the top floor. It’s just a question of when we leave and where we go. How are we on supplies?”
Linda looked over at Samson. “We’ve got everything bundled up that can reasonably be bundled. We just need to put everybody in groups.”
Kevin stood up. “So where do we go when we leave?”
Samson squinted his eyes. “The way I see it, we’ve got two options. The desert and the hospital.”
I raised an eyebrow. “The hospital? Isn’t that were all this broke out?”
Samson smiled. “Oh, that’s right, I haven’t told you or Kevin yet.”
He looked over at Dale and opened his mouth for a moment like he was about to speak, then shook his head. “I’ll explain later. Just trust me. Now that Richard ruined everything for us, it’s probably the safest place to be in town.”
Dale frowned. “It’s sure to be surrounded.”
“You voting for the desert, then?”
“Didn’t say that. If it was just you and me, Sam, that’d be fine. But there’s a lot of us.”
I got the feeling Dale was the only person in the world that had license to call Samson “Sam.”
Kevin spoke up. “Plus, we don’t know if they’re still patrolling or how often.”
Samson nodded. “True.”
Linda raised an eyebrow. “Patrolling?”
Kevin looked a little too satisfied with himself. “Three days ago while scouting around, I spoke to a guy who had tried the desert with a big group. The military showed up and told them to go back. A few of them turned back. The rest tried to make a break for it. The military just…”
Samson put a hand on Kevin’s shoulder. “Stopped them.”
Linda poked an accusing finger into Samson’s chest. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Samson shrugged. “No reason to give you or anyone else one more thing to worry about.”
I stood. “I say the hospital. As long as you say it’s secure, I trust you. If it fails, we can still try the desert. It’s the best chance.”
Dale had wandered toward the window, but now turned back to us. “Looks like Mother Nature has made the decision for us anyway. Desert’s even more dangerous during and right after a storm like that.”
We all turned to the window.
Thick, black storm clouds were appearing over the horizon.
My heart sank. I couldn’t believe it. And then something worse occurred to me. “We can’t wait it out. If we’re going to go, we’ve got to go now, before the storm hits.”
Linda and Samson spoke at the same time. “Why?”
“Infection. You remember how much standing water we had after that storm two years ago?”
“Well, we know for a fact that there are several thousand carriers of the virus by now out in the streets. We don’t know how well the virus survives outside of a human host, but if it’s resistant to the elements at all and we have to wade through it…” I shrugged. “We’re screwed.”
Samson spun and headed for the door. “Let’s move.”
Keep reading as the survivors prepare for the exodus.