[Author’s note: If this is your first time reading Oasis, please start with Chapter 1.]
A Burning Discount
The wind whipped against me and the rain beat down.
My hand shook as I fumbled with the key.
The deads continued their march. Every moment closer.
Only fifteen feet away.
The key finally slid in the hole.
I wiggled it side to side.
One of the deads raised an arm.
The lock finally broke free and the key turned.
I pulled open the door, forgetting about the key.
The closest dead crouched.
I scooped up my other glove and jumped inside.
The dead man sprung, colliding with the open door.
I caught my balance.
The weight of the dead slammed the door shut and I was again in darkness.
I hadn’t had time to see where the where the door was that lead to the rest of store.
The deads outside pounded on the door.
Or was that my mind playing tricks on me?
My heart raced. I had to find the door. I bumped into a table and a chair before I found the wall.
I walked and felt my way around.
There was a sink. And a refrigerator.
This must be the break room.
I kept fumbling.
Did I get turned around in the dark?
As if to answer, a sliver of light shot in from behind me. The sound of the rain grew noticeably louder.
I spun around.
One of the infected had done it. Just as some of the deads in the hotel could remember how to climb stairs, this dead had remembered how to turn a key and pull on a door.
I turned back over my shoulder.
The door that lead to my escape was only a couple of feet away.
Lightning flashed outside.
I wrapped a gloved hand around the handle and pulled.
The door swung open.
Dimly lit by skylights above was the main area of the store.
I checked back.
Three wet and grisly deads had entered the break room.
I glanced at the door handle in my hand.
Will they remember this, too?
I side-stepped, lifted the ax, and brought it down.
The handle crumpled but didn’t break free.
I looked up.
My heart jumped.
The deads were too close for another swing.
I hoped the mangled handle would be enough to at least slow them down.
I pulled the door closed behind me and leaped out of the break room.
The door swung fast, slammed hard, and shook against the frame.
It wouldn’t hold long.
I took two steps back and looked around.
I didn’t see any movement, but that didn’t mean I was safe.
I wouldn’t be able to hear if one of the infected came shuffling toward me, the rain pelting the metal roof would cover it up.
My helmet blocked out much of my peripheral vision. I had to stay sharp.
One of the deads pounded on the door I had just closed. It made a terrible splintering sound.
I ran down the aisle toward the front, where I knew there’d be a shopping cart.
The door behind me cracked again.
The coat and helmet I was wearing was starting to get heavy.
I did my best to ignore the fatigue.
It would be my only protection for what I was about to do.
A crashing echoed through the store.
They must have broken through.
I grabbed an errant shopping cart and ran toward the center aisle.
I had shopped here many times after getting off work. I only hoped I could remember where it all was.
I knew I was making a lot of noise, but right now it didn’t matter. If I didn’t get the job done quickly, they would surround me in the aisles and I’d never get the chance to get it done at all.
Near the end of one of the aisles I saw it- picnic supplies.
I checked behind me.
Three deads were shuffling down the center aisle toward me. How many more were behind them?
I turned the corner.
They wouldn’t be long.
Right next to the picnic supplies sat a beautiful sight.
I tossed the ax in the cart, then pulled off my gloves an put them in the child basket.
The noise of the pounding rain seemed to intensify on the roof.
I reached up on the shelf and pulled down two bags of charcoal. Then I scooped an armload of lighter fluid canisters on top.
The deads had to be getting close.
I grabbed a package of lighters from the display.
My hands were shaking with cold, fear, and frustration as I struggled to open the package.
The first of the deads turned the corner.
The package finally ripped and the lighters scattered on the floor.
I gave the cart a shove further down the aisle.
The next dead turned the corner, all the time staring straight ahead.
I snatched one of the remaining lighter fluid canisters from the shelf.
The third dead rounded the corner.
I popped open the lid and squatted to grab the lighter.
One of the deads made a gurgling noise.
I got hold of the lighter and squeezed the canister. The sharp odor of lighter fluid filled my nostrils.
The deads just kept walking their disfigured bodies forward.
I backed up and let air rush back into the canister, then squeezed again.
The lead dead shuffled into the puddle I had just squirted onto the floor.
The third time I aimed up and squeezed even harder.
Lighter fluid splashed on the dead woman’s bloodstained shirt.
I flicked the lighter and stooped, still squirting lighter fluid.
The dead woman raised her ragged hands.
I touched the flame to the lighter fluid.
A stream of flame shot her way across the floor.
Her movements didn’t change at all as the fire danced up her pants and lit her shirt.
I squeezed the canister again, this time at the paper towels on the shelf next to me.
The fire on the infected woman died quickly. She was too wet for it to keep going.
I flicked the lighter again and put it to the paper towels.
The flame leaped up again, eating through the plastic and igniting the paper underneath.
I squirted lighter fluid one last time at the stuff around the burning paper towels.
Fire engulfed the shelf.
I looked back at the deads.
They had turned their bodies to the growing flames.
I only hoped the fire would keep burning.
The fire started to climb down the aisle in both directions.
I ran and tried to put on the gloves while pushing the cart.
It was harder than I thought.
I heard several small explosions behind me.
I hoped it would be enough to start the whole store in flames, but I wasn’t sure how well a cement brick and metal building would burn.
That’s why I had to keep going.
There was nothing blocking the sliding front doors. So much had happened when this crisis started that the store hadn’t been closed up they way it should have been.
The doors were mostly glass with a metal frame.
I looked out the window.
The rain was coming down in sheets. Across the street thousands of deads swarmed around the hospital.
I prayed that my fires would be enough. Several dozen lives depended on it.
I turned to my cart and wiggled the ax from under the charcoal and lighter fluid.
I raised the ax and brought it down as hard as I could against the door.
It met with a satisfying crash, shards of glass exploded out of the building.
An icy wind tore back in the new hole with almost the same fury.
I swung again and again until I had knocked enough glass and metal away to get myself and my cart through.
I stepped out into the wind and rain, then lifted and pulled on my cart.
With some effort, cart got through.
I faced the parking lot.
At least four deads had heard the commotion through the storm.
They were spread out and walking my way.
I jumped behind the cart and ran like a madman for the first large and burnable object I could see.
It was the place curiosity had led me right after my last day at work.
It was a white trailer, and it had been used by evil men to start the spread of this viral apocalypse.
Keep reading as Corbin faces fire, rain and zombies in Chapter 54.
And remember, if you never tell your online friends about Oasis, they might never read it. So post a link in your favorite forum today. Please follow all the rules of your chosen forum. I don’t advocate spam. Unless it’s in Portugese.