Day 16

We had hoped to reach the coast today. It looks like that is not going to happen. I’m trying really hard not be pessimistic at the moment but with the day that we’ve had there’s nothing to be optimistic about. It all started out on our way through the southern part of Nevada. We had planned on avoiding the large urban sprawl of Los Angeles and San Francisco and aim a little further north for areas like Crescent City and Eureka, maybe some of the smaller coastal towns in between. We saw no reason to put ourselves into any danger and driving through LA or San Fran might attract too much unwanted attention from the Undead while we were attempting to scope out the perfect vessel to borrow for our escape from land.

At some point while passing through Nevada today, we picked up a bus load of survivors. I’m using the phrase “picked up” very loosely of course. They saw us moving on the road and decided to follow us. The bus was the 101 Capital Metro Transit from Austin, Texas (I only know that because I Google…). You could see the bloody hand prints and smears across the vibrant green hue of its protective shell. Through our binoculars the people on the bus looked exhausted and terrified but there was an overall look of relief that they were moving and somewhat safe.

This may sound callous but we didn’t want them following us. We didn’t want to be responsible for a group of people that A. we didn’t know and B. we weren’t sure we could trust. For all we knew, someone on that bus could have been infected and in the incubation stage. Any one of those people could become one of the Undead at any moment.

And if we did decide to let them tag along that would be X amount of people that we would now potentially have to protect. We had no way of knowing who was on that bus and what kinds of skills they might have. And in the end, we really didn’t want to give up any of our limited gear in the event that they were unarmed. Besides there were more of them than there were of us, we could not run the risk of their intentions being less than honourable. Unfortunately in these times we really need to be on the lookout for those people that were willing to pirate anything and everything that you’ve managed to accumulate. It’s better to be safe than sorry. For the time being, they could follow us but only because we couldn’t prevent them from doing so.

The driver of the bus, a middle aged woman in a frilly pink apron, had been trying to get our attention for quite some time and since we needed to stop for gas we decided that we would scope out the next station as a possibility. Through our binoculars, the place was deserted. It was almost too perfect a place to stop. You could see for miles and there was only a small convenience store attached to the pumps. We decided to drive in and wait for a bit to see if any of the Undead put in a surprise appearance.

This had become our pattern when we had to stop for gas. The first thing that we had to do was observe the station from a safe distance. Choosing a set of pumps in a somewhat remote location seemed to work the best so far; a lower population usually equated to a less of a chance for the Undead and the greater the chance that there would be fuel left in the pumps. Observing the station helped us to determine how active the station was. Once we determined if the area looked safe, we would pull our truck into the outermost pump and wait with it running. Again, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We’d wait for a fairly decent amount of time, maybe 10 minutes just to see if the station was occupied in any way. There were a few times previously where the Undead would make an appearance, usually exiting the station’s accompanying building, either a convenience store or small diner. If we saw any Undead, we just drove away.

In the event that the place was totally deserted, we’d get out of the car with our weapons at the ready. Two of us would stay with the car, one in the driver’s seat, the other watching the area around the truck. The other two would head into the station in order to activate the pumps.

Most people believe that in the event of an apocalypse of any kind that the power will eventually go out. We thought the same thing, which is why we’ve been collecting gas in jerry cans whenever we can. The funny thing is that we have not run into any situation where there is no power. We do realize that this good luck might not last. We also realize that we may be entering areas that have not been hit as hard or as soon as others.

With a simple flip of the switch we were usually in business. Back outside we would go to watch the surrounding area while the fuel was pumped into the truck. Once we were full, we always turned the pumps off (if we could that is, sometimes the Undead found us before we could). Turning the pumps off was just a safety thing for us. If we turned them off, the chances of other survivors driving into them and blowing themselves up was less likely. It also meant that we could mark the station’s location on a map and return in the event that we had to retrace our path.

We pulled our truck into one of the outer pumps and the bus pulled into the spot designated for Diesel. Immediately the doors to the bus opened and the living started to unload, stretching their muscles and heading towards the convenience store. Max rolled down his window and shouted for them all to get back onto the bus, that it wasn’t safe yet. Unfortunately it was too late. One young man, probably about 17 years old, had already made it to the store, intent on foraging for food. His only mistake was not realizing that inside the store could be something else also looking for a meal.

As soon as his hand touched the handle of the door, a greyish waxen face pressed itself up against the glass leaving a greasy face print; the pressure of the body pushed open the door, the little bell signalling its exit. Thank you, come again.

The Undead man was on him before he had time to recoil in horror, with two more Undead following close behind. Thank you, come again. A few of the group rushed to his aid, only to be attacked themselves while the rest of the group ran back to the safety of the bus.

Our position at the pump and the proximity to the convenience store did not really allow for us to defend the inhabitants of the bus. Getting out of the car would be certain suicide at this point. There was nothing we could do to help them, especially those that were under attack and potentially infected. Knowing we could do nothing to help at this point, we put the truck back into gear and started to pull back out onto the road expecting the bus to follow us.

Ben had been watching the bus and realized that it was having a harder time getting itself back onto the road. The multiplied numbers of the Undead were now attacking the bus, only slowing it down that much more. One of the Undead had managed to pry its way into the exit doors on the side of the bus. Through the binoculars you could see the living fighting hand to hand to mouth with the Undead and witness each of them lose their last battle. With the driver in certain peril as well we realized it was only a matter of time before that bus became a possible liability.

Max accelerated smoothly and we shot away from that gas station as quickly as we could, snaking our way down the road. The bus continued to move forward, heading in the direction of the unleaded pumps. It did not appear that anyone was steering the vehicle mainly because it was on a direct collision course with the outside pump; the exact spot where our truck had just been. The bus picked up speed, its driver’s seat now empty. It only took a moment for the bus to crash into the pump; unfortunately the pump was still on. The concussion from the blast still rocked our truck and managed to twist us sideways on the road.

The good news is we didn’t hit anything and there are about 35 less Undead in the world tonight. Thank God for small miracles….

The Next Day

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