They slept like the dead. It was amazing to witness such resiliency in the twins. They had no fear in shutting their eyes and drifting off to the land of nod. We all envied them for that. How nice would it be just to be able to close our eyes for a moment and not remember the things that we have seen, the abominations we’ve had to put down. Their innocence, while subtly changed by what they had seen, seems to have restored itself to a degree; like the way a child can believe in the Boogeyman but still feel safe knowing that when an adult is around, it doesn’t really exist. We all know we did the right thing in bringing Lily and Liam with us, but it’s made our flight that much harder. We have two additional lives to consider and any plan we undertake must be worked in such a way that it provides for the safety of the two little imps soundly asleep in the back seat.
As we moved further up the Oregon coast, and into Washington State, it became obvious that the vehicle behind us was tracking us. There was no other reason for its behaviour. It stopped to get gas at every station that we went into and stayed just far enough behind us to be completely out of range of our binoculars. So far all we knew at this point was that it was a black Hummer. We had no idea if they meant us any harm but the fact that they were keeping pace so far behind us didn’t sit well with any of us. Besides, with the vehicle so close behind us and no way to really tell what was ahead of us, we couldn’t work out an acceptable spot for an ambush. And once we were in Washington, we had a huge decision to make: going around the whole coastline would take us forever especially if we weren’t going to be able to get on a boat and sail off shore. If we were going to try to lose our tail, our best bet was to head inland, and go straight through Seattle and then make our way back into Canada.
The scariest moments might well lie before us. We were going to drive through the suburbs. And the suburbs could be full of the Undead. It seems crazy, I know… We’d been doing just fine by avoiding the major urban areas but unfortunately this time we just couldn’t avoid it. But at this point in time, we were trying to outrun and confuse someone following us and the roads we had been taking just weren’t giving us the options for escape that we needed. It was time for us to think outside the box.
It was all that we could do to try to prepare ourselves for the number of the Undead that we might encounter. It had been such a long time since we’d really seen any of them. None, in fact, but the odd one or two since Eureka and that was three days ago. We worried how the children would react in a situation where the Undead were plentiful and in our faces. Would they become a liability to our survival? Was it possible that their potential panic could spread to us?
These were all valid questions that we discussed out loud. It’s better to know what you could be dealing with then to find out in the heat of the moment that someone you need to rely on has frozen. Part of us hoped that the children would sleep through our passage through Seattle. However, chances are we wouldn’t be that lucky, they had already been asleep for 13 hours…
The approach to Seattle was unnervingly quiet. No Undead on the roads. No cars or trucks or vehicles of any kind clogging the arteries into the city, or even out of the city. The landscape was just too pristine for my liking… It was almost as if the Undead hadn’t touched this area, which was impossible. The absence of any debris or walking corpses could only mean one of two things had happened: the entire city was Undead and waiting around the next bend in the road for us, or perhaps Seattle was completely devoid of the Undead.
In the end, the city was an all-together different site to behold.
Seattle had been fortified like something you would see in a Hollywood blockbuster. Something set in medieval times. In the early days after the outbreak, some government official or enterprising individual with some political clout must have had concrete barriers erected 20 feet tall all around the city limits. Where they had gotten the barriers, I couldn’t even imagine. How had they managed to get the walls up so quickly? It was like the last bastion of humanity in a dying world, and it was amazing. Someone had gotten the message. The city could be alive and well on the inside of those walls. People could be alive and thriving, lots of people. Our prayers had been answered. We were excited and relieved at the thought that we might be able to stop running. There was just one really big problem… There didn’t seem to be any way in or out. We crisscrossed the roadways looking for an entrance or anything but all we found were concrete walls blocking our way at every avenue.
Looking for a way in was dangerous. We were losing precious moments on each thoroughfare and side street that we tried. And with each passing moment the mysterious black Hummer could be gaining on us, easily finding a way to box us in with all of these blocked streets. An entrance into the city could end that hunt altogether so we felt the search was worth the risk. It was also potentially a stupid endeavour. The Hummer could have exited from that entrance we were searching for. For all we knew, the people behind the barricade could be bad, for lack of a better word. Not able to find an entrance, our only choice was to keep moving forward.
Maybe it’s best that we didn’t find an entry point. I assume that people were alive and thriving inside those walls. There really is no way of knowing. On the other side of those concrete walls could be approximately 617,000 Undead just waiting for someone to let them out. Or there could be just as many living people waiting for the Undead to starve and die a pitiful second death. Anything at this point is possible. Having made our way completely around the city’s limits, it was apparent that the new Seattle was meant to impenetrable. Driving away from the wall on Interstate 5, you could just barely make out the figures standing on the top of the wall. Proof that the city was alive. The only question was for how long… How long could a city survive without the ability to come and go for needed supplies?
At this point, we know one thing for certain; coming inland has benefited us. We have lost our tail for the moment but in this unpredictable climate of constant change, we could pick them up again at any point. The unknown factor of that cannot be avoided and as a result we’re just going to have to push towards British Columbia and hope for the best.
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