Monday, October 14, 2013

No One Left Behind

The details of what happened after that are fuzzy. We took all of the essential things that we had and loaded them into the back of Lex's truck, but once I let my bag go, I plopped into the passenger seat and sat in shock. I remember him asking if I was going to be okay, and I nodded numbly, hearing the engine roar as we took off.

The town looked like it was generally in one piece towards the beginning. There were no zombies around from what I could tell. The houses in my neighborhood looked as they always did. As we drove outward, there were only a couple of things out of place: A freshly broken window here, a fallen mailbox there, but it wasn't bad. It looked like a group of punks gathered in one place and decided to get into trouble, but nothing that couldn't be fixed or replaced in a couple day's time.

As we kept on driving, however, it got progressively worse. Broken windows in houses, storefronts, and a few cars, the glass glistening in the streets under the setting sun lighting the pavement up like diamonds underneath us. I watched them sparkle and I was immediately reminded of a pair of earrings that my mom used to wear. She had two piercings in each ear and kept the tiniest diamond in the hole that was further up. It was so subtle I often forgot it was there until the light caught it just right. When I thought of it, I could feel my eyes become hot and wet, and I didn't know if I should look in my lap, or keep staring forward.

Lex must have noticed because he said in the gentlest way possible, "Don't cry, Amy. We can't let this keep us down. We have to get out first."

I pressed my lips together and just nodded as the tears streamed down my cheeks. The further we drove out, the more foreign everything looked from the damage. There were cars that looked abandoned and I could see a bright, white police cruiser that had bloody hand prints that smeared away to the side as if someone had been dragged from it.

I swallowed thickly and said, "Looks like someone wanted their pork extra rare."

Lex glanced over at me and laughed. A slow smile came to my face and I couldn't help but laugh with him, even though my face was still moist and flushed from my own grief. I felt a little fucked up for laughing, but at the same time I really needed it, you know? That kind of laughter that causes you to hold your sides and cry a little. I needed it because it made me feel sane, despite what was going on around us. More than likely, I would never see this town again, and even if I came back, what would become of it? What home would I have to go back to? I may not have had anything tangible anymore, but I had my wit and I definitely had my humors, and if I was going to get through this thing, I would need every ounce of it I could manage.

When our laughter died down, Lex attempted to click on the radio, but most of the stations were out - big surprise - and every station crackled eerily or was unsettlingly silent. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and Lex spoke, "You can pick out a CD if you want. They're in my console."

Yeah, I definitely needed a distraction, even if I didn't agree with Lex's tastes in music. I grabbed the folder he kept wedged there, packed to the brim with CDs and flipped through it aimlessly, taking in the colors and looking at the art, tilting the folder this way and that so the rainbow reflected in the mirror-like surface would shine.

As I flipped, our silent station began to crackle and then a voice came through, "Hello?" A deep male voice by the sound of it. My eyes went wide and I immediately turned it up.

"I don't know if anyone will get this," It went on, "But the outbreak happened so fast that this was the only place I thought to go. Please, if anyone can hear this, I'm down at the station on Main Street."

I looked from the radio to Lex and urgently grabbed his arm, "We have to go get him."

Lex gave me a sideways glance and I could see a stubborn glint in his eye, "We don't know him. This guy could only hold us back."

"But we could find our strength in numbers! Please," I begged, "We can't just let him die if we could have done something about it? Are you that cold?" I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes as I argued which, by the way, I completely hate about myself. Every time I argue something I believe in, I cry. Way to totally prove a point, right?

To my surprise though, Lex huffed out a deep sigh and turned his truck in the direction of Main Street. Thankfully, the road was ahead and we weren't moving backwards by our detour.

After driving for a mile, I knew the station was coming up. I'd seen it a few times, even though I wasn't on this side of town very much. It was a modestly sized building, a boring, default beige in color, with random graffiti tags that had to be painted over once or twice a month. Really, you think they would just break down and paint the thing.

Not that it really matters now.

What I hadn't anticipated, however, was the boring, beige building was now flanked by zombies surrounding the perimeter. It was like all of them decided to conglomerate there. Maybe they smelled fresh meat, or maybe they were upset because their favorite song wasn't played during rush hour traffic. That's a joke, of course. Though, I think the zombies would love 'Thriller' for obvious reasons.

Anyway, I pressed my lips together and glared forward at the horde.

"This isn't a good idea," Lex insisted.

I was too busy reaching in the back to grab a gun, "It's the best idea. On my watch, we're not leaving anyone behind."

"You're being foolish!"

"I already left someone behind and I swear to God, I won't let it happen again!" I practically yelled as I pushed open the door, aimed, and fired.

The zombie, who looked to be thinner in frame immediately fell, which caused the others to turn around and stare in our direction.

"Shit," I whispered as I clamored to the hood of the truck as the zombies began to move towards us. Lex was quick on my heels with a gun of his own.

As I stood on that hood, firing away at the hissing, gurgling, screeching horde below me, I briefly thought of a picture I saw on Facebook that circulated for a while. It was a picture of a guy standing on top of a truck, surrounded by an endless horde. It pointed an arrow to him and said something along the lines of 'how you think you'll be', followed by the same picture pointing to the horde saying 'where you'll actually be'.

Who would have thought a girl in a tank top and yoga pants would be standing on the hood, effectively laying the horde to waste at her feet?

Definitely not me.

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