By Dwayne MacInnes
The next morning the party resumed its usual morning routine. Nori and Brady started preparing breakfast while Sarge and Cooper gathered some dry wood. The wood gathering took longer than usual because the rain last evening had everything pretty much soaked.
"I've been thinking a lot lately," Nori started in an unusually serious tone.
"Yeah?" Brady replied.
"If I'm attacked by one of those zombies..." she stopped a moment before she resumed her thought. "If I'm bitten I don't want to become one of them."
"Understandable," Brady replied before he caught on to where the conversation was going. "Wait a minute!" he exclaimed as it sunk in.
"No, please hear me out," Nori continued. "If I'm bitten I'll die. There's no known cure. Sarge has that in writing in that briefcase. So I'm asking...No, I'm begging you that if you are able please...uh." She stopped again fighting back the urge to cry.
"I can't do what you are asking, Nori. Please, don't ask me that," pleaded Brady.
"You have to. I can't. Killing myself is a grave sin. But I'll be dead for a while before I turn. That's when you do it. No, please listen to me. It's not murder! I'll be dead. I don't want to hurt you, Sarge, or Cooper. So I'm asking you to do it because I trust you with my life... and death."
Brady couldn't bring himself to answer verbally. He kept his eyes glued to the pan he was working on as he slowly nodded his ascension.
"Thank you," Nori said as she leaned over and kissed Brady on the cheek. Brady hardly noticed as the tears filled his eyes.
After Sarge and Cooper returned with some wood, the small group finished preparing breakfast. The meal was unusually quiet. Ronald noticed how Nori and Brady couldn't look at each other. Under different circumstances he'd have different ideas, but he knew what transpired. Even Cooper looked up at the two for a second. Concern quickly flashed across his face. Sarge noticed this too. "Well, maybe he's starting to come around," Sarge thought.
It was another two days before the small band finally reached the outskirts of the tiny town. Brady's feet were starting to heal, and he found that though he was still pretty sore, things were getting easier to carry. Nori didn't seem to have any problem at all keeping up with Sarge and Cooper followed along silently as usual. The trip would have normally taken only two days, but with Brady's unconditioned body and tender feet they all had to take a slower pace.
The town wasn't really so much a town. It contained fewer than a hundred buildings including residences. There was a sign at the town's entrance the name had been spray painted off with the words "Terra Mortis - Pop: Dead."
"I don't know how correct the Latin is, but I have a feeling that it is an appropriate name for this entire region," Sarge offered.
"So everyone has been evacuated?" Brady asked.
"Everyone the military could reach in the limited time they had available. Of course, you are living proof that more remote regions couldn't be reached in time. They even drove as much livestock as possible over the passes before closing them down," Ronald answered.
"There's an outfitting store down there. We'll get as much supplies as possible. Then we can head for that cabin of yours. It's pretty remote and should be hard to find by zombies, the military, and crazies. Maybe we can hang out there until things are calmer. I just hope that they'll start letting people across the barricaded passes again," Ronald continued.
The four travelers spread out as they entered town. No one said a word as Sarge led them down the main road. They cautiously walked along looking from building to building for any signs of trouble.
Sarge walked up to a large one story building with the words "Murphy's Outfitters and Sporting Goods" painted on the side. He glanced through the dirty windows into the dark interior. Ronald then motioned for the others to stay back and low. Brady, Noriko, and Cooper crouched down in the middle of the street. They all took a different direction to keep watch.
The sergeant opened the front door to the store and then disappeared into the darkened interior. Brady kept his ear tuned for any sound of a struggle. Though the sergeant had been gone only for about two minutes it seemed like an eternity as the small group waited anxiously outside. Eventually, Sarge reappeared and waved them into the building.
After they were all inside, Ronald shut the door. The only light in the place came from the windows. It was enough to see that the store had saddles, boots, fishing poles and other sporting goods throughout.
"Everything looks clean," whispered Sarge.
The Ranger then started looking over different clothing. Brady went over to the boots. He knew what he was supposed to look for. They had gone over the plan for the last couple of days on the way over here. It wasn't long before Brady was wearing leather pants, new boots, gloves, and had a framed backpack like Nori's.
"You look good," smiled Nori.
"Thanks," replied Brady, "Doesn't it get hot wearing this leather all day?"
"Sometimes, but the alternative is much worse. Hey, where's Sarge?" Nori asked.
No one had noticed that Ronald had left the room. Coop was still there looking over some paintings of cowboys on the wall. But the sergeant had silently slipped away while Brady was putting on his new clothes.
"I'm over here," Ronald reappeared from a back room carrying a .30-06 Savage Model 111F hunting rifle with scope and a PASGT helmet much like the one Ronald himself wore. "I think this helmet would be better than your motorcycle helmet." Ronald tossed Brady the helmet.
"Why don't we get Coop something to wear?" asked Brady as he adjusted the straps of the helmet to fit his head.
"There doesn't seem to be any leather outfits in his size. His denim jeans and jacket will work fine in a pinch. Plus, if things go wrong I want him to run. We can fight effectively, but he's too small. If it comes to it, we will fight to the last in order to buy him the time needed to run to a safer place," Sarge responded.
"I also thought we could use a weapon with a bit more range on it." Ronald changed the topic. "This rifle will be better for hunting than our M-16s. Here's a P-13 for you. It's like Nori's P-14, Para-Ordnance .45, but a little smaller and has a 13 round capacity." Ronald passed the black automatic pistol in holster and two full clips over to Brady. "There are a few other things I want to get. I'll gather everything up with Coop. You and Nori head over to the doctor's office and find some medical supplies."
Nori and Brady quickly located the doctor's office. It was a smaller white building with the words "Doctor Williams" written in the window. Fortunately, the door was unlocked so they didn't have to kick it in. Brady seriously doubted that he could have kicked it in anyway. He probably would have had to break a window.
As Nori and Brady entered, they noticed that the interior was a lot brighter than it was in the outfitters. The front office appeared to be in perfect order. It looked like the receptionist had just stepped out of the room.
"I've got the list of supplies that Sarge wants us to gather. I figure everything will probably be in the back." Nori said.
Brady nodded and leaned his shotgun against the receptionist's desk. They were going to have to use both hands for this work. Nori slung the M-16 over her shoulder and then led the way into the back.
The hallway was almost pitch-black. The only light came from a tiny round window down the end of the hallway. There four doors, two on each side of the hall.
The first was a bathroom and the one across from it was a supply closet. The next two down should be the examination room and Dr. Williams' actual office. They started down the hall towards the next two doors. "Man, this place is musty," thought Brady, "it stinks. They must have forgotten to empty the trash before they left. Yech!"
Nori opened the door to the examination room. Light bathed the room from the window next to the open cabinets. Everything was in disarray. There were cotton swabs and bandages strewn across the room.
"Looks like they had to hurry before they left and just threw everything they could into a suitcase or something," observed Nori.
"I hope they left us some things of value," Brady said as he started gathering some bandages and other medical supplies. He began throwing them into his backpack.
Nori started checking things off the list as Brady loaded them into the backpack. It was obvious that the prescriptions were not stored in the examination room. After they got everything they could, Nori started for Williams' office while Brady started closing up the backpack.
Brady had just shouldered the backpack when he heard Nori scream. Brady rushed out of the examination room. In the office across the hall Brady could see Nori struggling with a dark man shaped figure. They were crashing around in the cramped office. Brady watched as Nori's helmet was knocked off in the struggle. Her hands were caught in her assailant's strong grip. Brady could smell the man from where he was. It wasn't the trash! It was him.
Brady unconsciously ran towards the figure whose back was to him. "Damn it," thought Brady as he ran. "The zombies have made it here already."
Nori was doing all she could to avoid the slavering mouth. The fear in her eyes drove Brady to a madness he had never encountered. Brady jumped onto the attacker's back wrapping his arms around the thick neck.
A strong arm reached back and threw Brady off its back. Brady slammed into the hallway wall behind him. He just sat there stunned as the foul smelling creature smacked Nori's head against the desk knocking her unconscious. Her limbs went limp as she lay across the desk with the abomination stooping over her.
Everything slowed down as Brady fumbled for the pistol at his side. He had rudimentary training with Nori's gun over the last few days. But he wasn't sure if he could remember everything. He pulled the pistol out of its holster and thumbed the safety off as the beast lowered his head towards Nori's helpless body. Brady squeezed the trigger as he was instructed. The pistol barked in his hand slightly kicking. The bullet whizzed by the creature's head shattering the window across from him.
As the beast turned its head towards Brady the gun barked again. In the fraction of a second before the bullet shattered the zombie's face Brady saw blood dripping from the mouth of the creature. "No!" Brady's mind screamed, "Oh God, no!"
Brady scrambled up from the floor and ran into the office. It felt as if the bottom had dropped out of his stomach. This couldn't be happening. She's got to be OK. Brady stepped over the bleeding body and looked over Nori.
At first glance she seemed fine except for a nasty bleeding head wound. "Sarge can fix that," Brady thought. He continued searching her for wounds. As his left hand pulled down the collar of her jacket he saw it. At the base of her neck where it meets the shoulder were a set of bleeding teeth impressions.
"NO!" screamed Brady. Then he remembered his promise to Nori. Brady looked down at the still smoking pistol in his right hand. Brady started to cry as he lifted the automatic and put it against Nori's head. His finger started to squeeze the trigger.
"NO!" cried Brady as he flung the pistol into the open medicine cabinet behind the desk.
Brady leaned over Nori and took her in his arms and started sobbing uncontrollably as he rocked her back and forth.
- "The Amnesiac" - Forth Entry
- Friday Fun
- "The Amnesiac" - Third Entry
- "The Amnesiac" - Second Entry
- "A Bottle of Elixir"
- "The Amnesiac" - First Entry
- "Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Six: Smith Meets Wesson
- "Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Five: Back to Earth
- "Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Four: The Life of Zephenia Smith
- "Smith and Wesson" - Chapter Three: The Escape Continues
- Doug: Not Nori! Nooooooooo!!! The suspense is going to kill me. read more
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