[Author’s note: It’s good to be back. If you haven’t read Oasis before, you should probably start with Chapter 1.]
Arson & Assault
Dark storm clouds blocked out most of the sunlight. Lightning flashed somewhere and thunder rolled down the streets. The rain pounded down and drowned out all but the loudest of sounds.
My feet were already soaked. The fireman’s equipment seemed heavier and heavier. I was exhausted and hungry. Still, there was no giving up.
The lot was littered with debris. A line of police tape had been put up around the trailer.
The closest deads I could see were not moving very fast, and they were still more than half the parking lot away.
I was pretty sure that I could get in and out of at least one trailer without engaging any of them physically.
The cart tore through the police line.
I let it go and only held on to the ax.
The rain drowned out much of the noise as the cart crashed into the stairs of the trailer.
I ran up the stairs and grabbed at the door handle.
The clumsy protective gloves wouldn’t let me get a good grip on it.
I couldn’t tell if the door had been locked or if I just couldn’t turn the handle. I looked around.
I’ve still got enough time.
I pulled off my glove and turned the handle again.
At least I don’t need to break it down.
I took one step in.
Papers had been pushed off the desk, chairs had been knocked over, and on the floor were several syringes filled with a brownish liquid.
A brownish liquid that carried a virus, that carried pain, and that carried death. But there was no peace in the death brought by the liquid. No rest for the mortal remains of the victims.
No time to waste.
I grabbed a garbage can and used it to prop open the door. The cart was only a few steps down the stairs. I tossed the ax in then grabbed a bag of charcoal and a canister of lighter fluid.
I had never really committed arson before, but I figured a sack of charcoal in the corner and a liberal application of lighter fluid should do the trick.
Within a couple of moments I had everything ready so I pulled off my glove and dug around in my pocket for the lighter.
I wondered how far away the infecteds were, and if they were even still coming for me.
Of course they are. There’s nothing else to distract them.
I flicked the lighter and touched the flame to the floor.
Fire raced across the carpet where I had squirted the lighter fluid. The charcoal bag flared up and the wallpaper behind it turned brown. Everything was catching fire.
I shoved the lighter back in my pocket and pulled back on my glove.
The room was already filling with smoke.
I pulled the door wider and stepped outside.
I turned down the stairs and froze.
At the bottom of the stairs was an infected man.
His shirt was torn in places, and he had three deep scratches across his face.
He had bumped the cart aside and had a foot on the lowest stair.
My blood ran cold.
Where did he come from?
He grasped out through the air at me.
I took a step back and bumped into the railing.
I grabbed the railing and jumped.
The dead’s hand smacked into my foot as I hurtled myself over the railing.
My landing was bad. I rolled my ankle and fell flat on my face.
No time for pain.
The rain continued to beat down.
I pushed to my feet.
The dead on the stairs had turned toward me.
I reached for the shopping cart.
The dead man reached again for me.
I hopped just out of his range.
I knew I could outrun him right now, but I didn’t want to take the risk of him blocking my escape from the next burning trailer. I had to stop him there and then. The gun in my cargo pocket was my first thought.
It’ll take too long…
And then the ax.
The dead man stepped off the stairs.
I grabbed the ax.
The infected man grasped with a left hand that looked like it had been chewed on.
Not an infected man. He’s not a man at all. He has become an “it.” A pile of flesh moving about and spreading disease. He is a zombie. Nothing more.
I raised the ax. “Nothing more.”
The zombie made no flinch, no attempt to dodge or block.
I brought the ax down hard.
It shattered bone, split tissue, and sank deep into the dead’s head.
The dead stopped and began to quiver all over. Like all of his muscles were trying to move him in different directions.
I pulled on the ax.
It didn’t come free, it just pulled the corpse off balance.
The zombie fell forward.
The additional weight was enough to rip the ax handle from my hands.
I jumped back.
The dead crashed to the ground.
I reached again for the ax.
The body kept shaking.
Blood and rain formed a pool around the head.
I pulled and shook my ax free of the zombie’s skull.
The deads I had seen before were still on their way, but not here yet. The one on the ground must have been just out of sight behind the trailer.
I threw the ax back in the cart and ran for the nearest red cross trailer.
I spared a glance back at the grocery store.
Light from the fire inside danced in the front windows. Smoke was leaking from several places on the roof.
I hoped it would be enough.
I grabbed the ax and dashed up the five steps that lead to the door of one of the red cross trailers. I knew this one would be locked.
I brought up the blood-stained ax and pounded it into the door.
The collision made a loud clang and the metal door bent in a little, but didn’t give.
I chopped at it five times. The metal door bent and caved only slightly.
I wasn’t going to get in.
I looked around for options.
The closest deads would be to me in two minutes, three max.
The fires in the first trailer and the grocery store were growing, but I had to make sure.
I ran down the stairs, and then I saw my next move.
The two red cross trailers were placed back to back, and powered by a large propane tank set between them.
I grabbed the shopping cart and ran for the tank.