The pickup bounced along the uneven surface, the road broken and scarred by the passing of time and seasons. James doubted that the roads would even be passable for too much longer, as even their souped up pickup was having some difficulties. Although some of those six wheeler things could probably manage… The six wheelers in question was a strange mix between a tank and an armored jeep, and had been only recently developed and were in testing at the time the infection struck. From what he heard though, the vehicles were horrible gas guzzlers, and converting them into solar powered vehicles was more difficult than anticipated. Gas was running out. Maybe not quickly, but still running out nonetheless. The Colorado haven had some contacts down farther south in New Mexico and Texas that were still operating some of the oil pumps, but prices were ridiculously expensive, plus the drive was hazardous. No, the more the relied on solar energy the better. Even so, solar energy had its drawbacks, like the panels needing to be replaced, as well as relying on the sun, which sometimes refused to shine.
The truck screeched to a halt in the middle of the road, then the meager crew climbed out of their various positions. All of them were well armed, shouldering various weaponry ranging from sub-machine guns to shotguns to assault rifles, and even a sniper rifle. James, the sniper/scout of the group tightened the strap on his rifle, ensuring that the lethal weapon was secure before drawing his pistol, a Desert Eagle, and following the others. Their footsteps seemed loud in the empty city, it was quite literally a ghost town now. Their leader turned and spoke, addressing the other men with an air of authority, “Alright bitches, five minutes, in and out. Grab the best loot you can find and go. Taylors, you’re on guard duty. Feel free to grab what you see, but if we get attacked it’s on your ass. Got it?” The man didn’t wait for an answer. “Good, let’s go.”
They pushed open the doors to their target today, light streaming through the dusty ceiling to floor windows. A cheery bell greeted them, and tinkled whenever the door moved. It was a small shop, but it seemed to have been ignored for the most part by looters. A couple shelves were tipped over, their merchandise spilled out across the floor. The men spread out, weapons at ready, then gradually relaxed as the building was declared clean. James pushed open the office door, only to find the room empty, save for a single desk covered in yellowing papers and dust bunnies. Shutting the door again, he turned to his teammates to assess their progress. Some made exclamations of joy as they found their targets, others simply rummaged around tossing items away, discarding the useless ones. It was like picky kids on Christmas. James looked at the shelves, rows and rows of disks lined them, their labels faded but legible, begging him to pick them up and take them with him. It was a music store, filled with old CDs. On every trip into the city, his team leader, Sgt. Grant, took them to various music shops, letting them each take one CD, before moving on with the rest of their duties. It was a waste of time really, and they all knew it, but the superiors never needed to know. “Bob Marley!” Gerard, their heavy weapons specialist exclaimed. He kissed the CD before slipping into a free pocket into his vest, which was lined with bandoliers filled with large shiny bullets. It may have been a waste of time, but it sure did help moral.
Less than five minutes later the team was back into their seats in the pickup, Grant and his second, Miguel up front with the other four sitting in the back of the truck, which had crude makeshift seats, definitely not designed for comfort. The four men in the back showed off their prizes, then debating which to listen to first. Again, definitely not regulation. They weren’t supposed to make any more noise while in the city than necessary, as the zombies could hear the noise and were attracted to it. However, the group had never had problems with it before, and Grant never really played by the rules anyway.
James smiled as he listened to the other men argue, more willing to be a spectator than a participant. “No!” Miguel said. “We listened to your shit last time Michael! Besides, rap is utter crap!”
Michael immediately retaliated, “Ha! Coming from the guy who wants to listen to Bach! Come on, lemme let you listen to some real music!”
“Why you fucker, escúchame. La música clásica es una forma de arte, el rap es sólo hombres furiosos gritos en los oídos ass bitch!” More Spanish followed, and all of it sounded very angry.
Grant laughed. “English dude, what makes you think any of us can understand you, huh? Alright, compromise. Gerard, you have that Marley disk, right?” Within seconds, the disk in question was produced, and a few minutes later the men were laughing and singing along with “Marley’s top 15 Greatest Hits!”
They were just finishing “Three Little Birds” and starting “Every Little Thing” when the first gunshot came. Immediately Grant shut off the radio, and the whole truck went into silence, save for the low hum of the electric engine. Several more shots followed, and soon after came a scream. The team went into action. Guns were prepped, magazines checked, the truck took off, making the whole process much bumpier. James pulled the bipod for his rifle out of his pack, and quickly attached it for more stability, then adjusted the sight down as far as it would go. Then he stood, which took a considerable amount of effort as their leader zoomed through the streets towards the sound of the continuing gunshots. The squad had practiced this before, prepping while the truck was in motion, but even training could not have accounted for the difficulty presented to them here. James placed the bipod on top of the roof of the truck, then crouched, trying to keep both his gun and him from sliding off the truck as they swung around a corner. The gunshots had not sounded very far away, but the ride seemed to take forever for James at least. As they skidded around another corner, they found the source of the shooting, two men fending off a horde about seventy five to a hundred zombies less than a few dozen meters away. Too late, the men were overwhelmed and disappeared under a mass of ravenous creatures. Within seconds, the screaming of the men ceased. Most of the zombies had found new prey though, now focusing on the pickup truck that held six new meals. With a quick “Shit!” and stomping on the gas pedal, Grant maneuvered them out of the intersection back the way they had come, now with renewed urgency and speed. While not fast, nor were the zombies slow, and followed behind the truck as fast as their decaying legs could carry them.
Normally, escape should have been easy. Just drive till out of sight, then hide out and wait for the zombies to calm down. Then again, things never go as they should have, the unexpected always had a way of popping up. In this case, popping up as a zombie in the middle of the road, which proceeded to splatter the windshield with guts, then the truck running into fire hydrant. Bodies flew forward, stopped by either the dashboard of the car, or for those who were more unlucky, the hard metal in the back of the truck. Stars danced in front of James’ eyes as the back of his head hit the metal roof, denting it and tearing the skin on his head, leaving it bloody. Grant, looking out of the driver’s window, only had to take one look at the situation before yelling, “Everyone out, now!” Shaking the daze, James quickly understood why. The horde was too close to back up and accelerate again, plus they didn’t even know if the car would run anymore. Within seconds of Grant choosing a building, the team burst through the door, and immediately found the heaviest furniture possible to barricade the now semi-broken door. James worked together with Gerard to push the enormous metal refrigerator against the door, quickly followed by a leather couch. The two windows that looked out into the street were thankfully already barricaded, probably the only lucky break they had gotten so far. Grant did a quick head count before swearing, then rushing to the nearest window, James following his lead. Peering through the boards, James could see the upper body of Miguel, still in the pickup, seconds away from being swarmed by the undead. Whether dead already, or simply unconscious, James couldn’t tell. Not that it would matter now. He looked away, disgusted, not bearing to look at the man he had called his friend torn apart by the monsters. He could imagine it though. The images would haunt his dreams, the Spanish man mocking and haunting his subconscious, asking why James had not saved him. It was insanity. No, not insanity, James thought, just reality. The images still played through his mind though, taunting him.