[New to Oasis? Catch up by starting with Chapter 1. And in other Oasis news, I’ve been working on the cover to the eventual printed book and I’ve started developing a website for Oasis. I’ll need everybody’s help and ideas on that as time goes on. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this week’s Oasis chapter.]
No Calm Before The Storm
The door lead into a large supply closet. Tools of every kind, from shovels to power drills cluttered the floor and bench. In the corner there was a greasy old gas powered generator. The whole room reeked of chemicals and exhaust.
Samson closed the door behind him and pointed to the generator. “There it is, our little secret.”
I looked at it closer. “You mean it works?”
“Yes, indeed. This utility closet is underground and encased in cement. Apparently that was enough to shield the stuff in here from whatever it was that knocked all the electronics out in the city.”
I raised an eyebrow. “How much good can one little generator do, though?”
“Down here we also had a few of the radios we use for maintenance. I run this generator for an hour or so early in the mornings to charge my radio.”
Kevin looked somewhat hurt to have been out of the loop about the working generator. “Didn’t you have two in here?”
Samson smiled. “How do you think we got those three big boxes of medical supplies? The day Dale and I went over to the hospital, we took a radio and one of the generators. That’s how I know we can go there, and how I know it’s now the safest place in Oasis city limits.”
Kevin shook his head. “OK.”
Samson sat down his rifle and his duffel bag. “So now you know, but that wasn’t my point in bringing you here.”
He rifled through the duffel a little.
I wondered what else he had hiding up his sleeve.
At length he pulled a pistol out of the bag. “You know what this is?”
I took a look. “It looks like a Glock. One of the subcompacts.”
A hint of a smile crossed Samson’s face. “It’s a Glock thirty. Forty-five caliber. You have ten rounds and a full mag with ten more. Twenty shots. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing.”
He handed the gun an extra clip to me.
Kevin frowned. “What about me?”
“You’re faster than he is, so you don’t need it.” Samson looked down. “Plus, you’ve got red shoes.”
Kevin looked up at Samson. “Are we going to make it through this?”
Samson placed his large hand on Kevin’s shoulder. “We all will if you do your job now.”
My heart went out to Kevin. I had never talked to him about his parents. I wondered where they were, if they lived in Oasis, or if they just shipped him here for the summer.
Samson slung the duffel bag over his shoulder and picked up his rifle. “We’ve got to get moving before the storm hits us too bad.”
He opened the door and went out.
I shoved the pistol into my empty pocket and the extra magazine into the other.
Kevin just stood there.
I looked over at him. “Let’s do this thing.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve just got to psych myself up first.”
I went out into the main garage and it seemed even colder than before.
The wind was picking up and making noise. The air had the faint smell of rain.
I tried to think back, but couldn’t remember any storms since the one that caused major flooding in the streets about two years before. When it rained in Oasis, it didn’t mess around. Things could get ugly and fast out there.
Everybody was huddled as close as they could manage in their three groups.
Almost every face looked pale and frightened.
Every face but Samson’s and Dale’s.
And mine. I decided I didn’t have time to be afraid. I had to be strong mentally, emotionally, and physically. Those sixty people were depending on me, and I wouldn’t let them down.
In that moment, I realized I had felt that feeling many times before. Working in the ER, I had felt it nearly every day. Every day new trauma victims came in. Every day, panicked family members had looked to me to keep their loved ones alive. In those situations, I always had to be strong.
There was nothing else to be.
I hadn’t fit in with any group since this chaos had begun. I knew deep down that soon I’d be alone again, but it didn’t matter.
I had a job to do.
Samson unlocked and lifted the grate just enough so we’d be able to crawl under.
I figured that even with the wind blowing, he didn’t want to chance attracting the deads with too much noise.
Kevin picked up his walking pace almost to a jog. He passed me and went straight over to Kim.
She threw her arms around him and kissed him.
I winked at Linda as I passed by. “Wish me luck, neighbor.”
Linda held her breath and nodded. She looked like she might cry if she even tried to speak.
Lily was hiding somewhere behind her.
I crawled under the grate, and Kevin was close behind me.
He looked like a new man, full of confidence and energy.
I looked back at Samson. “Just give us a two minute head start. It’s quite a walk for you guys, and we’ll move pretty quick.”
We marched straight up the ramp and onto the sidewalk.
As if to herald our arrival, lighting flashed, and thunder boomed very close behind it.
What appeared to be at least forty deads were gathered around the far end of the hotel, pressing tighter and tighter around the door.
The sky was gray and quickly turning black. The wind had an icy bite to it.
A few deads wandered the parking lot and the streets, shuffling toward the crowded hotel entrance.
I had the feeling they didn’t even notice Kevin and me.
Not that we wanted to give any of them a good reason to notice us yet.
We started jogging for the fountain plaza.
Oasis was not just a clever name for a desert town. The city was built around a small natural spring, which had years later been turned into a fountain.
The fountain plaza had always been called the center of town, even though it wasn’t in the middle of the map. It was only two blocks from the hospital.
We jogged and we jogged.
I remembered feeling people stare at me from every angle after I had left my apartment. There had seemed to be eyes in every window.
There was only emptiness now.
Every house was empty. Every door broken in. Every window was vacant. Every building was ruined.
I wondered for a moment where everyone had gone. Had they all been infected?
I knew the answer was yes.
I just didn’t know where they had gone after the virus had taken control of their bodies.
The streets were desolate. We had only seen a handful of deads since we passed out of view from the hotel.
We turned a corner and the fountain plaza came into sight. Like the rest of the city, it was empty.
I looked down the road that passed in front of the hospital.
Down that street I got a glimpse of the answer to my most burning question. I knew where the deads had gone.
As we continued, one thing became very clear. Our job of creating a diversion would be even harder than I had imagined.
Just keep reading, next chapter the storm hits the city and the poop hits the fan.Â
Thanks again for reading. If you enjoy it, please tell a friend.