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The Gasoline Ignites
Author's note: The walking dead inspired my story
The melody of Variations of a Korean Folk Song resonate through the air as I sit in the back of the band room whispering in the ear of Julia Wilkins. She's a pretty girl, and very sweet, but there is nothing between us. She’s more like my sister than a girl I would date. I can tell her anything though and she will listen, keeping my secrets locked away from anyone else. She’s someone I can trust.
The sun shining through the opaque windows dimly lights the band room. Mr. Cibor likes to turn the lights off in the band room when we play sometimes to make the students less tense after a long day at school because band was the last class of the day.
When the percussionists aren't playing we tend to sit in the back of the room and talk. We chat about the most random things, like Skyrim, zombies, girls, you know, guy stuff. The girls also like to chime in every once in a while but usually they don't have any constructive input to the conversations.
"Hey Neal," Jack Howard says sitting down on the opposite side of me. "We need to talk. Did you see The Walking Dead last night?"
"Yes, I did!" It was nuts man. Although there were not nearly enough zombies. The only good scene was at the end when the sheriff shot those two guys in the bar at the end. That was some crazy s*** man," I responded sounding very intellectual.
"Dude, that pissed me off," Jack said in a slightly agitated tone. "I mean if the zombie apocalypse actually happened I would never kill a person that was not infected. Its the living vs. the dead, not the living vs. the living."
"I know what you mean but the guy tried to pull his weapon first. I would have done the exact same thing."
"Well then I’ll make sure I never get stuck with you when the zombies come."
"Jack, I would never kill you. I'd stick with you as long as I can. We’d make a boss zombie killing team."
"Would you guys let me stay with you when the zombies come?" Julia asked looking over at me.
"Of course Julia! We will need women to repopulate the earth when the zombies come," I sarcastically replied. She scowled at me with a slightly irritated look in her eyes.
Suddenly, mid song, we hear a loud thump followed buy a few more. Mr. Cibor stops conducting the band and turns around glancing up at the window. The class all started to laugh and whisper amongst each other as they looked up towards the source of the noise. A person on the other side projected a silhouette onto the window.
"Must be someone mowing the grass out there," Cibor remarked turning back to the band to resume conducting.
Suddenly shattered glass was raining to the ground as a body fell lifelessly toward the ground. It well to the ground next to the podium with a loud thud and the crackle of snapping bones. Screams shrieked from all the girls in the front or the room. I stood up instantly with the others in the back of the room to get a glance at the commotion in the front of the room.
The students in the front row started to stand up and run away followed by the people in the second and third row. As they ran towards the doors I stood up and started to walk forward towards the front of the room. I needed to know what it was and why it jumped through the window. I looked at the creature on the floor from only a few feet away. It lay there motionless. Its clothes were dirty and stained with blood on the front of his shirt. Blood was dripping from his mouth and his eyes were red and glazed. . His face was and shot a glance at jack. To my surprise he was looking straight back at me.
The body lay still on the ground for a moment and then started to twitch. He lifted his arm and placed it on the ground and proceeded to lift his body revealing a gruesome, bloody face.
I slide forward on my chest and knees. My elbow scrapes on the pavement and instantly starts to drip blood.
"Get up dude! We've got to go!" Jack yelled as he ran up behind me. He grabbed my shirt and helped pull me to my feet as we resumed running. Behind me followed Julia. Her face was red and the scared look on her face instantly made me more terrified.
"Come on Julia. We have to hop this fence to get to my car!" I said. The fence surrounded the school parking lot.
After leaving the band room chased by what looked like a zombie, Jack and I decided that our first move would be to head to my car. From there we would go to my house and gather all of the guns and ammunition in our gun safe.
As we climb the fence a loud scream broke the silence of the air. Jumping down onto the black asphalt of the parking lot we duck behind a silver land rover parked along the fence. I peek my head around the corner to spot a mob of kids, mostly girls, running out of the gym doors. Following closely behind them at a jogging pace were 4 tall men. At a closer glance I see blood running down their faces and down the front of their shirts.
"Come on guys, we've got to go now," I say darting from my current location into the vast grouping of cars in the parking lot. Keeping out of sight we make our way to the jeep.
My jeep shines red under the bright, yet cloudy, sky. The black top gives it a very classy look and the rust added some character. "Julia, hop in the back. Jack you stay up front," I say approaching the driver side door.
The Jeeps doors were never locked because the keys don't have an electric lock on them. I don't want to have to manually lock the car door every time I get out of it so I just don't. This made it easy for a quick entry so we all jumped in the car and turned it on immediately. Skidding out of my parking space into the main street leading out of the parking lot. I swivel my head left and glance upon four bodies on the ground. Two of the bodies I recognized from school were lying lifelessly on the ground and the other two were the bloody bodies of zombies hovering over them.
The garage door creeks as it opens reviling my moms van inside.
"Ok. My parents are home. Thank God!" I said. "You guys stay here while I go in and get the guns from the basement."
"There is no way are you going in there alone… You know what we just saw! What if your parents are infected?"
"Oh come on Jack… Just because there are some zombies doesn't mean everyone is infected. It’s not like those shows you've seen in the past. If there is an infection or disease that makes people turn into zombies then it must take a while for it to spread. It can't progress that quickly. I'm going inside. Be right back."
I step out of the car onto the driveway and make my way up to the door in the garage. Opening the door I could hear loud thuds of heavy footsteps on the wood floor of the living room. "Get off of me!" I hear the voice of my dad yell.
I sprint downstairs, too scared to approach the living room unarmed. I run along the wall and then dart left into the furnace room, where I overlooked a large safe with the door cracked open as usual. The safe door was always open because no one in our house remembered the combination. If it was to be shut, and the dial turned, then the safe would be locked forever.
Swinging the heavy door open I gaze at the guns, all sitting upright in their proper place. I grab the first 20 gauges shot gun from the first gun slot in the safe. I quickly pull 2 shells from their carton on the top shelf. I break the over under barrel open and load the shells in bottom to top. I close the barrel with a click and instantly spin around and run through the furnace room door.
Darting up the stairs I remember the screaming and yelling that I heard before in the living room. Spinning into the kitchen I hope for the best but simultaneously prepare for the worst. Turning into the living room I glance upon the red stained carpet and trace its origins to the pile of 2 carcasses on the floor. Instantly realizing the identity of one of the bodies I fall to disbelief as I look at the body of my own father laying on the floor. Tears run down my cheeks and my arms go limp at my sides causing the gun to fall to the ground in front of my knees.
Breaking the silence of the shroud of sadness that had engulfed the room, the breathing and panting of the body on top of my fathers caught my attention. The body lifted its head and reviled a bloody face with white eyes. It a raspy mutant voice it screamed as it started to crawl over the body in my direction. Leaning forward I grab the gun lying in front of me. I swing the barrel from my left toward the target in front and pull the trigger twice into the chest and head of the zombie. After the bloody body falls to the ground the room falls silent. Smoke from the gun hovers in the living room illuminated by the ceiling lights.
"Neal!! What happened?" I heard as the door opens behind me in the kitchen. Jack and Julia come running into the room. "We heard the gunshot and thought…" Julia suddenly stops speaking as she turns into the living room and observes the scene. Falling to her knees, Julia wraps her arms around me.
"I'm so sorry Neal," she whispers.
"Come on Parker. We have a long ways ago before we get to Speedway," Neal shouts while walking casually to the passenger side door of the red jeep.
"Chill out dog! What are we in a rush for!!"
"I don't know dude. I just want to get out of this house. I'm starting to feel stir crazy. I mean, seeing the same people every day gets a little old."
"I understand. Maybe it's this weather." Ever since the start of the infection the weather had been cloudy every day. Some of our group at the safe house said it was god that made it cloudy during the day. I hate when the others mention god. Sometimes I lose my temper and yell at them when they mention god.
"That’s ridiculous," I would say. "If god was real why would he do this? Why would he kill so many people?" They would always try to defend their beliefs. Defend god. But I knew I had won the argument.
Parker started the car and I stick the barrel of my 22-hunting rifle out of the window of the jeep. He pulled out of the driveway and into the road. Pulling away I stare at the large safe house.
The safe house was a two-story house. It stood on the corner of Charing Cross and Burnley rd in my friend Justin’s neighborhood. The brick walls and boarded up windows really make it look like a fort. We put the curtains over the windows all hours of the day. We can't afford attracting attention at the house so we don't drive around very often. This also keeps our tanks of gas lasting long. We’re afraid we might run out of gas soon so we don't know where we will be getting it after that. Parker and I drive to the speedway gas station on Woodward in downtown Birmingham preparing for the worst case scenario because most likely it will be. It just seems like every time we try to scout for food, gas, or weapons, we encounter many zombies and seem to lose a member of the group in the process. After our last drive to Joe's Army Navy, which had already been raided for guns soon after the infection first hit, did we realize how unarmed we were against the massive hoards of zombies. They would easily overpower us, which sometimes lead to a member of the group being killed or infected by the parasite.
Finally getting to Woodward I decide to finally talk with parker. I hadn't really gotten a chance to talk to him since the infection. We only picked him up days ago when the cell phone towers were still working. He had called me after calling other friends who didn't pick up their phones. We picked him up by his own house where he told us that his entire family had either been killed or gone missing. He was wearing his classy looking off colored bow tie and sports coat as usual. Only a month ago we were sitting in our honors creative writing class talking about writing and our crazy stories and now we are living what seems like something from one of our notebooks.
I clear my throat. "So…" I say making the situation even more awkward. There will probably be a lot of them there… are you ready parker? Is this your first raid on a store since the infection?"
"When it first hit I took some water bottles from a BP gas station, but aside from that I haven't really raided anything."
"Well you’re in for a treat! Raids are fun! I always act like I’m on a secret mission. It makes me feel like a little kid again."
"Well this isn't just some little game Neal…" he responds. The car gets quiet and I turn my head towards him.
"Parker, I know things suck right now but we can make it through this infection. We can keep living our lives the way they were! Although there might be some small changes to accommodate for safety."
"Neal, do you understand the situation? We are surrounded by hoards of zombies! We barely have enough ammo and guns to last us a week and our food supply is running short. Our group can't stay in this area for long. We have to get moving. Drive to another place and make a new safe house." pausing for a moment to take his plan into consideration, I realize that he might be right. If we stay on the road we can never be caught off guard. We will always have the option to get in our cars and drive away.
As I was thinking about what parker said a bright light shone on my face. I squinted but after only a few seconds I realized what this light was coming from. Rays of light could be seen breaking through the clouds and illuminating what has quickly turned into a very dark town. I could only admire the sunlight for a few seconds because we were approaching speedway.
Parker and I stared at the many cars at the gas station. As we pull closer we can see that all of the cars are off and unoccupied. The TV’s above the gas pumps were no longer running and none of the lights in the store were on. Parker and I both stepped out of the car and held our guns at the ready. Parker had his fathers old hand gun that he took from his house after the infection first hit, and I was carrying my old 22 riffle.
The glass door shatters and fall the floor. As I step through the doorway my boots crunch on the glass covering the ground. Looking left and right with the butt of the gun on my shoulder and my eye to the sights I load a shell into the chamber. After establishing that the store is empty I shout to parker, "all right, coast is clear. Get those bags out of the car."
While parker runs to the car I peruse through the isles of the shop looking at all the snacks and junk food.
“Parker, we can only take the items with long shelf lives, like all these Twinkies.“ I said throwing ha few of them at him.
“Hey! Slow down bro. We’re in no hurry!” Parker said calmly.
“Yes we are Parker. We need to get out of here before a zombie sees us. We can’t afford to be caught off guard right now. We have to get out of here as fast as we can.”
As I was finishing my sentence we could hear a car alarm going off outside in the lot of speedway.
“Oh s***.” Parker said looking directly at me.
“We’ve got to hurry.”
Dropping the bags on the ground in front of the shelves, Parker and I started to pull all of the snacks off of the shelves and stuff them in the bags.
“The alarm will attract the zombies attention and attract them to speedway. We don’t have much time.
“We’ve got guns Neal. We’ll be ok.”
The sound of screaming and yelling zombies could be heard clearly through the smashed door along with the commotion of the alarm. Filling up the bag full of chips, Twinkies, and other foods with long shelf life, we get up and run towards the door. Throwing the bag over my shoulder and line the sights of my gun up to my eye. Stepping out of the doorway I glance upon a grouping of over 30 zombies coming from all directions around the gas station.
Parker and I sprint for the car. I approach the drivers side and a zombie approaches me from the front. Pulling the trigger I send one round into the zombies chest. Pulling back the action I reload the gun and shoot a second round into the head of the zombie and he falls to the ground.
I open the car door and jump into the car. Parker does the same only seconds after me. I start the car but the sound of the zombies hitting the back of the back window is very loud. Luckily the windows of the jeep are plastic and won’t break when they are hit.
I pull out as fast as I can and swerve toward the exit of the gas station. As I pull out onto Woodward a crowd of zombies walks strait towards the car. Unable to avoid hitting them I smash through the group. The jeep skids to the left and the wheels grip causing the jeep to roll. My head smashes back and forth in the car hitting the wheel. I see a flash ad my ears start to ring.
Skidding to a stop upside down I see liquid start to leak and pool up on the pavement. I smell the gasoline and know that we are in huge trouble. A zombie tries crawling into the car and I grab the gun. With one shot I hit the zombie in the head. I eject the cartridge and it falls to the ground. I look as the pool of gas gets larger and closer to the red-hot cartridge. Finally the gas reaches the empty shell and the gasoline ignites.