Death Can Wait...For More Characters
"AHHHHHHHHHH" I screamed as the light of the outside world hit my sensitive eyes. My eyes hurt, a lot. Luckily I reflexively covered my eyes with my hands. It was extremely bright outside, or maybe it was just that I was inside a dark building or so long.
It may be hell out here, but there was just something peaceful. The door led to a park, maybe even a forest so full of trees it must have been a forest. [i]Wonder why this place was built in a forest, whatever I got more important things to think about like getting the hell out of here alive. [/i] Unfortunately getting out of this place was going to be harder than I thought considering what was in the forest, zombies. Hundreds of them just wandering around, some in lab coats others in suits. They must be what is left of the staff here, at wherever this place is.
Yeah these things are zombies through and through. The mindless wandering, the pale sickly skin, all signs of zombies. Just great, it wasn't just that guard that was infected, but everyone who worked here had to be infected and right in my path out of here. The zombies were just milling about and would occasionally emit a few groans. They hadn't noticed me and I was pretty sure I my little pistol could not take care of all of them. Looks like I have to find a new path, so I did just that. I turned around and went right back in to where I exited from.
I walked through the halls of the building and eventually got to a new wing. It was eerie. Everything was perfect in this area, nothing was knocked over, the lights all worked perfectly. It was if everyone just got up and left without a word. It was nothing like the place I was just in, here the only evidence that people were ever here was the occasional clipboard.
After passing a couple clipboards my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to pick one up to read about what this company was doing. There was nothing remotely interesting on the first page, just the word "two", actually it looked kinda like that paper that had the message on it. Maybe those numbers were identification to different experiments or divisions of the company. I flicked through the report until I found something interesting, it was part of a physical report with some of it scratched out.
Blood Type: AB
Resting Heart Rate: 50 bpm
Strength: 9001lbs of force per punch
9001 pounds of force per punch! Its over 9000!! This guy, whoever he was, was inhumanely strong. With a punch like that he could take out a brick wall. Just what was this company working on that could create such strength in a human being. Probably best not to worry about it right now, I told myself and that I should focus on the task at hand, finding a clear way out of here. And as if by some mystic force commanding my every move at the next corner in these extremely long and bland hallways I came upon a map. An actual map of the building, and this thing was huge, it must have been 10 feet tall and easily 15 feet wide.
I looked for the red marking that would tell me where I was and soon I found that I was in the western corridor of the first floor and the southern corridor was where the forest was. I traced out a path to the nearest exit and saw that the closest exit was a door just the hall. This one even connected directly to the road that led into the city.
I walked out the door at the end of the hall and luckily there wasn't a single zombie. Even better there was an ATV. I came close to it and saw that the keys were still in the ignition. This was turning out to be too good to be true, I half expected a zombie to just materialize out of thin air with a nuke attached to it. You could say I wasn't fully trustworthy of this little bit of luck. In fact all this seems a little good too be true, but I was never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I decided to just be a little cautious and watch out for anything odd. I got in, and turned on the ignition. It hummed to life and I drove out of that creepy place, but not before I saw the company sign. The companies name was Regal.
The town was roughly 10 miles away and I was going a nice and pleasant 20 miles per hour on my newly acquired ATV. The road was empty, devoid of life, the cars were just abandoned on the road, evidence of people trying to escape was all around me. I could see partial limbs with grotesque bite marks in them, pools of dried blood. I even saw a couple, a man and his wife, by the looks of it. They could have had a life together, but now all they are is just a pile of flesh and blood, rotting away into the ground. I couldn't stand looking anymore, it was just too disgusting so I kept my attention on the road. I had to swerve a couple of times to avoid some potential hazards, mainly bumps in the road, but if I crashed here, there would be no paramedics to come and rescue me. After a half-hour of driving I had finally arrived in the city. This city was no Metropolis, but it was fairly big. There used to be tens of thousands of people who lived here, but now it was just all empty, or so I thought.
After driving around for a bit, I started to get a hungry. I tried to ignore it, but the grumbling just got louder and my stomach would not be ignored. I looked for the nearest store and I found it, I parked my ATV on the sidewalk because it wasn't as if anyone would care if I left it there. The inside of the store was ransacked, unopened containers of food all over the place, shelves on the ground, unidentifiable liquids on the floor. I ignored all this and went straight to the snack foods, and they were intact. The most delicious things one could imagine and they were easy to carry, great for surviving zombie apocalypses. It was all going great until I heard a noise. More specifically a groan, and there was only two things that would make a groan like that. An old woman getting up from a long nap, or more likely a zombie. Turns out both of these were right, I looked over to where the sounds were coming from and it was a granny zombie. She even had that look of a person who couldn't hurt a fly, the kind of person who would make cookies and give them to you. Yep, it was definitely a grandma, she even had an I heart My Grandkids shirt on. Now it seemed that the shirt had a slight double meaning.
She hadn't seen me, she was just wandering around, so I was safe for the moment. The ATV was parked just outside on the sidewalk with a zombie in the way. The only way to get to the ATV was to get around the zombie, and somehow make a break for it. I tried to sneak down the aisle, and go around the zombie, but before I made it to the aisle she saw me. The zombie made an earsplitting screech and ran towards me. For a granny, she was fast. Every single step I took away from her, she would take two more, but she hit a shelf and it fell on her giving me the time I needed get out. I go out the front and saw the ATV, I stupidly took the keys out and put them in pocket before I went inside the store. I fumbled through me pocket looking for my key and just as I pulled it out I saw the granny zombie coming out of the store. I tried to get the key in the ATV, but wasn't enough time so I just bolted
away, leaving the ATV in the dust.
I looked behind me to see a school bus that was honking. The bus was going right down the middle of the street, not even bothering to avoid cars, just crashing into them like they were nothing and continuing on. Yes, some maniac was driving a school bus right down the road, and me and this zombie were right in its path. It was going over 60 miles per hour, getting closer, and showed no sign of stopping. I had just enough time to jump to the side and avoid the oncoming bus, the little old lady zombie did not.
That was the end of the granny zombie, all it took was a maniac driving a school bus. The bus slowed down leaving a trial of the zombie's entrails. The bus stopped about fifty feet ahead of me so I walked over to the bus. The door opened and I got to see my rescuer.
He looked to be in his mid 20's. He had dark brown hair and was about six feet tall. He was wearing a pretty standard outfit, blue jeans, a t-shirt, basically the average persons outfit. He was carrying a magnum and was pointing at my head. Oh joy.
"Have you been infected?" He asked while still keeping the magnum eye level.
"No, I have not. If you really want you can look me over." He didn't even bother looking at me. He thought I was telling the truth and that was good enough for him. Go figure. But he didn't lower the magnum. "Will you please point that gun away from me. I do have a fear of guns being pointed at my head."
"My gun's name is Anna and I would appreciated you calling her that."
"Okay. Will you please put Anna away."
"Fine, you are lucky I like you because she would have had me shoot you before you had the chance to talk." He put Anna back in her holster. "So did you see the way that zombie splattered. That was probably one of my best. I'd give it 9 only because some of the guts flew to the side like a popped balloon. I always like it when the squish symmetrically."
"That's revolting. These zombie are people, just very very sick people. People who want to eat your flesh and enjoy your entrails...I'm not making a very good argument here am I, but they are still human on the inside." I looked over to the bus and saw the remains of the zombie on the front of the bus. I barfed a little bit in my mouth, but swallowed it.
"Yeah, so." He remarked nonchalantly.
"They are human, we have to help them. Not hurt them, and especially not make sport of killing them. Where is your humanity?"
"Where you have humanity, I have fun."
"Whatever, I see there is no getting through to you. Thanks for helping me out though."
"No problem, now you wanna get going? I made quite a ruckus out here and more zombies are going to come because they seem to be attracted to noise." I had no choice, I accepted his offer and walked onto the bus.
He closed the door behind me and started the engine. We left just as dozens of zombies appeared. They started chase us, but gave pretty quickly and instead started to feast on the remains of the granny zombie. We traveled in silence for a while, and it was gnawing at me. I had so many questions, and I never did deal well with silence, so I broke it.
"So, who are ya?" I asked.
"Me, I'm a guy who was 2 days away from retirement-I mean graduation. The name's Dovliki, Chad Dovliki. "
"Did you just make a James Bond reference?"
"Why yes, yes I did. And to answer your other question, I was doing early graduation. My major was, I guess is, is in engineering. I wanted my major to be something else, but the school board didn't like my idea for a new major."
"Huh, bwuh, clam?" How did he do that, he answered every single one of my questions, and simultaneously gave me more questions.
"Clams, not particularly fond of those sea creatures myself, but in case you are wondering how I just did that it is no great magical secret. I'm just good at reading people, and nothing personal, but I can read you like a book. And just to make sure you don't go crazy and because you look like a fellow I can trust, I'll tell you the major I wanted. I wanted Draco-American studies. Trust me they do exist, I've even seen one myself. And before you try to argue with me about the existence of dragons, look at outside. There are zombies, ask anyone a week ago if they thought zombies existed and they would have laughed at you. Now ask anyone and they'll try to gnaw your head off."
"You got a point, but dragons really?" At this point I was seriously questioning his sanity and how he managed to survive.
"Yeah, I've always been a fan of dragons. Always thought it would be cool to meet one, not become one, I'm not that crazy, just meet one. Ya know, something to prove that impossible things can exist. You gotta have something to believe in, and I chose dragons. Anything wrong with that right...um what's your name?"
Wow this guy was crazy, but he was the crazy guy that saved my life, so I got no choice, but to entertain him. "It's Joel."
"So Joel, if you don't mind me asking, do you need ammo for your gun?"
"Gun what gun?" I looked over to left pocket and saw the barrel of the gun point out. I facepalmed. "I had a gun that entire time and I forgot about it. I could have been killed by that zombie, but I had a gun on me the ENTIRE TIME! AUGHHHH!!! No, I don't need ammo, I just need more memory."
He laughed, I did kinda deserve, and then he said. "Don't beat yourself up about it, it was a mistake and they do happen. Also don't forgot about those things from now on, if we are gonna survive, we are gonna need everything at our disposal." He was trying to comfort me, and he may have been doing a pretty poor job of it, but at least he was trying.
"You said we, does that mean we are sticking together?"
The bus stops suddenly causing the tires to squeal on the road, I lurch forward from the sudden stop. He gets out of the driver seat, walks down the aisle to the seat I am sitting in and he hugs me. I was lifted out of the chair with that hug. There was a huge, goofy smile plastered across his face and he said. "Yes it does." Chad went back to his seat and continued to drive. We drove in silence, but it wasn't an awkward silence, but a friendly kind. I had been through a somewhat traumatizing day, and I think Chad realized that I wanted to be alone with my thoughts for a bit and just relax.
It got boring very quickly because I have never been very good at sitting still, even relaxing for that matter. So I started to think about what Marcus had told me, and what that sheet meant. How long was I supposed to wait in the city? Would I even realize that I found what Marcus wanted me to find if I found it? Just who is this Marcus? Is he even still alive? So many questions, and not nearly enough answers. Then I remembered the recordings, and how they have been useful so far, maybe they could help give me some more answers. Chad wouldn't mind, in fact he would probably be interested to hear what Marcus had to say about the zombies. I put in the 3rd recording and listened.
"I work for a company called Regal. Regal is a research company, but it is not your average research company, we researched the unimaginable. This virus research was only one small department, and not a very important one compared to some other departments. There are other departments, but we were never allowed to talk about work outside of our own departments, we weren't even allowed to see other researcher's work. The only time we could find out about a department was after it closed. Most of these departments were nothing special, the people who worked in them usually got moved to a new department or quit, but there was one incident that I still remember. I think it was in the Draco research division." Upon hearing this, Chad stops the bus for a second time. He walks over to me and sits in the seat across from me. "This division was closed 2 years ago, and when it closed a researcher escaped with some of the research. I think he may have been the only one of us to escape with proof of what was going on. Some say that the company caught him, others say he got away, and some just believe that he couldn't take the guilt of what he had done and killed himself. Never mind ghost stories, all you need to know is that there are worse things than zombies that escaped from Regal. I do not know what they are, only that they are more dangerous. They will most likely be easily recognizable. Trust me on that respect. I hope this tiny insight into my company does not scare you, only that it prepares you. The worst is yet to come. The stuff that Regal did was the pinnacle of science. I loved that company as much as I feared it. Now my newest tip for you is sound, the zombies seem to be attracted to sound. They will trust their ears more than their eyes. As to how the virus got released all I know is that the computers right before the virus was released had a message on them.The message was the cake is a lie." The recording was over. Some of the stuff that Marcus explained did explain that super human strength that I saw on the clipboard at Regal, but what was the last part about.
I looked over to Chad and saw him with his face eyes shut tight, he was thinking. "Hey Chad, you have any idea what that last part meant?" I asked.
Chad was stupefied, he snapped out of it a moment later and exclaimed "How could you not know about Portal. It is a gaming masterpiece. That's it, after we get back to my base I am showing you lots and lots video games. As for what it means I think he was making a reference to a computer program, an AI, in the game called GLaDOS releasing a toxin. I believe that someone was sending him a warning that a computer program was going to release the virus."
"Wow, you are good." I was amazed at his knowledge, I probably would have looked in cakes stores for some clues. Mmmm cake, I could really go for a nice chocolate cake. My stomach agreed with this and started to grumble again. I forgot that I still haven't eaten anything since this morning.
Chad must have heard my stomach because he got in the driver seat and said "We are going to Wal-mart."
It took five minutes to get there, driving is especially nice because there are no moving cars to get in your way. We parked the bus, Chad must have spent an additional 5 minutes driving around the lot looking for a good spot to park. He was really weird, but eventually we found a spot near the back of the lot. We got out of the bus and walked towards the entrance. This time I remembered I had my gun, and Chad brought Anna. About halfway to the entrance we heard the alarm in the store go off. We ran and hid behind the nearest car. Over by the back entrance something walked out, it looked to like 2 lizards. No, wait those things weren't lizards they were too big and they had wings. That must mean they were-
"Dragons!" Chad exclaimed. He was extremely giddy, but before he could run out I saw that they had guns and pulled Chad down.
"Chad they have guns. They may be hostile, and you running towards them may make it seem like you are a zombie, so they will probably shoot you."
Chad took a moment to calm down. "You are right, thanks for stopping me I would probably be full of holes right now if it wasn't for you."
"We need to think of plan, do you have any ideas. Hopefully ones that involve us surviving an encounter with two dragons."
"Give me a sec."Chad then closed his and started to mumble a little bit. His fingers were going up and down as if he was tapping something. He opened his eyes, and something told me that he had a plan. I listened to his plan and even though it sounded crazy it was a pretty solid plan. I looked around me for something obvious that I could use. I found it, it was a rock.
I picked up the rock, got up, brushed myself off and walked towards what looked to be an RV with a lock on it. I started to bang on the lock with my rock, and then they saw me. I knew they had when I heard a shot fired in the air. I froze up, the dragons were getting closer. I swallowed my fear and looked over to the dragons again. They had a shopping cart of full of food and supplies. I closed my eyes waiting for them to shoot me.
"Bang." Chad said, he had his magnum and my pistol at the back of the dragon's heads. They stopped dead in their tracks. Chad's plan had worked, with me being the distraction he was able to get around them unnoticed, and then stop them from hurting me without hurting them. I didn't understand why he didn't want to them to be hurt, but what could I say. He was the one with the plan. Chad then said "Dr. Maxwell, it has been a long time hasn't it."