Elvis Cardona

Dead Reckoning chapter 2: 130 miles out


Written by: E.C.

       Chapter 2: 130 MILES OUT

  I began to ask myself how did I end up where I did when I was trapped in that abandoned house,   when those flesh eating zombies began to break in and try to attack and devour me?! I still can’t, for Christ’s sake, remember how I wound up in that shit hole. The second question I asked myself was, how in God’s name can something be dead; yet just  get up and walk around like a living, breathing person?! I suppose everyone else was wondering the same thing. This was definitely the beginning of something far more phenomenal yet horrifying at the same time.
I remember studying the Haitian Folklore of zombies back in college. I surprisingly gained an unusual taste in the whole mythos and history about the zombies. How the concept of zombies stems from the Haitian Voodoo culture. Now keep in mind this was back in ’78 when I was attending the University of Chicago, where I grew up and where I still reside. Now the word “zombi”, in the Haitian language, means “spirit of the dead”. Voodoo folklore contends that Bokors, Voodoo priests that were concerned with the study and application of black magic, possessed the ability to resurrect the deceased through administration of a powder called coup padre. This powder is issued orally. The subjects being prepared for their decent into zombidom would appear to die insofar as their heart rate would slow near to a stop, their breathing patterns would be subdued and their body temperature would significantly decrease.
Now I knew the difference between what I had studied in college and what I saw with my own two fucking eyes. What I saw was NOT what I had read about, or even thought could and did happen. I couldn’t even fathom the idea of living but, not really living humans?  They sure as shit seemed alive to me! These fuckers were COMPLETELY dead. Their flesh was ripped away from their skin. They had a smell that I would never ever forget; a distinct, disturbing odor-- a very fetid smell. It was the smell of decay. Their eyes were frigid and sunken back into their skulls.  The skin around their mouths was pulled back where all I could see were the yellow, decayed gums and teeth. Brownish colored blood dripped from the inside of their mouths. These “zombies” were someone’s neighbors, someone’s friends, family… The reality of it all seemed so surreal.
The kids I had encountered, the Zombie Slayers, whom I had no idea were brothers, had rescued me the night before. They were totally all about slaughtering these flesh eaters; making damn sure the undead stayed dead. They were truly hell bent on destroying every single one until they were wiped out. The truth was, the undead were taking over every city street, sidewalk, and neighborhood here in Chicago. In the beginning I absolutely had no idea on even how stop those fucking things; that was not until I had taken the crowbar I had found in that abandoned house yesterday and shoved it right between that revolting and aggressive son of a bitch’s eyes; which went straight into its brain. So, obviously the only way to terminate these bastards is to destroy the brain. I ask myself aloud, “How in the world can something just get up and walk if it’s already dead?” Cody looked at me with a look of puzzlement and confusion, “Ben-- I have no clue as to why that is.” “Oh, sorry Cody, I guess I was thinking out loud.” He looked at me and laughed, “It’s quite alright Ben; we all have been wondering the same thing for quite some time now. Actually, to be honest, my brothers and I still cannot wrap our brains around what has been going on!”
Cody was the eldest of the four. There was Cody; 28, then there was Dean; 19, Justin; 16, and Alan who was only 14. He was the “baby” of the four. Cody along with the rest of his younger brothers grew up on the Southside of Chicago in an area called Edgewater. He told me a little about what had happened to his parents.  “My mother, Shayla, was a hard working single mother. She was a waitress at a local diner in Edgewater who never had a lot, you know?” I just sat there and listened to him. He said his mother was a VERY beautiful woman who had nothing and died with nothing. He continued on about his mother. “What about your father, his name was Thomas right? You said that I reminded you of him.” “Yeah you kinda do remind me of him, facial features anyway.” The only thing he could say about his father was that he was a drunk and he was never around for him or his brothers. “My dad beat my mom a lot, ESPECILALY when he came home shitfaced”, Cody continued. I felt really bad for Cody and for his younger brothers, but from what I saw in them was that no matter what they had been through, they still remained close; yet stronger somehow. We were still on the road and headed towards the camp which was about 130 miles out from where Cody and his brothers saved my ass by the skin of my teeth.
I was sitting in the front passenger seat next to the driver’s seat in which Cody was driving. “How long have we been on the damn road Cody?” Dean asked his brother. “You need to relax Dean; we have only been driving for about two hours!” Cody hollered back.  Dean reacts, “Holy shit, that’s it! I must have been asleep a lot longer than that.” Then Alan comes out from one of the back rooms inside the oversize vehicle, “When are we gonna stop and get a bite to eat?” “Yeah, I am freaking starving Cody!” Justin chimed in. Cody tiredly says “Alright, we will stop at the next exit and get a bite to eat.” I was getting hungry as well. We got off at exit 220 and on the exit sign were a bunch of eateries. Maybe the infection was contained to the city and there was still some life or food on the outskirts of town-- Boy were we wrong.  We stopped at the Wendy’s off the exit. It was all I could do to keep from throwing up because what I saw was something I would not even wish on my worst enemy.
There were people being devoured by those fucking ghouls, and let me tell you they had us outnumbered. There had to have been AT LEAST twenty or more of them and that was just within the parking lot. There were at least ten more inside the building. It was massive chaos and pandemonium. People were trying to escape for dear life. Those undead fucks were tearing their victims from limb to limb. Arms, legs, eyes, intestine were all over the ground. They were eating their victims. “What the hell do we do Cody?!” I asked him. “I don’t know but, we have to do something!! Okay Ben, this is what I want you to do, go to the back of the RV and there will be a room on your left.” “Why?” I asked him. “Trust me” He said. When I reached the room he asked me to type in the code “187” I thought isn’t that the code for kill? I typed it in the key pad that was beside the door. The door opened up and I walked inside. It was an arsenal. Weapons I have never seen before, weapons I have never even heard of or even thought existed. Cody, Justin, Dean and Alan all went back to the arsenal room and started grabbing guns. Cody grabbed the Assault Rifle, Dean grabbed a semi-automatic rifle, Justin had the 12 gauge and Alan grabbed a crossbow. “Ben, I want you to use the IOF .32 revolver I gave you and I want you to aim for the fucking head” Cody shouted. “I have never in my entire life fired a gun, Cody!” “I am only going to show this once” he stated. He put the clip in and cocked it. “Squeeze, don’t pull and whatever you do Ben, do not panic. Do not show any remorse and try to contain any ounce of sorrow for these bastards. Remember, they are NOT one of us anymore. They are fucking dead” Cody reiterated.  I told him I don’t think I could do this again. He then looked at me and told me this is the only way to terminate the living dead. Cody went first. Those things weren’t even paying attention to what we were doing; I mean they had absolutely no idea of what was coming. We were packing so much fucking heat it was going to be a massacre. He told Dean, Justin and Alan to split up when they got out and that he and I were going to the back entrance. As Cody and I made our way to the other side, a silhouette caught my eye. What followed was a distinctive sound; almost like a moaning of some sort. “Wait Cody, I think I heard something.” “What did you hear Ben?” “I don’t know.” Cody told me to stay put and just as soon as he went to go check out whatever it was that I heard, one of those things lunged at me and knocked me straight to the ground. There I was,--again-- face to face with one of those zombies only this time this motherfucker was right on top of me. I thought to myself, “this is it.” This cold, undead walking corpse is going to eat me alive. “BEN!!” Cody shouted, “Try to push his head up!!” There I was struggling to try to get it off me. It had its hands wrapped around my throat and it was looking at me, its mouth was wide open. Saliva was dripping down on my face. I mean this bastard was trying to sink its teeth right into me. I thought surely I was going to be its next meal. I was desperately trying to get my hands up underneath its lower jaw so I could push its head up that way, maybe, Cody would have a clear shot. “Come on Ben, I almost got a clear shot!!” just a few more seconds I thought. I took all the strength I had to do what I did. I shoved its head up and held it there long enough for Cody to shoot. “That’s it… say goodbye you ugly son of a bitch” Cody chided. He put a round right into that fuckers head. My face was covered with Brownish colored blood, brain matter and teeth fragments. “Holy fucking shit!!” I stuttered. “You okay Ben?!” Cody muttered loudly. “Yeah, I think I’m going to be alright, considering the fact that I’ve got this motherfuckers blood, brains and teeth on my goddamn face but, yeah I’ll be alright” I jokingly stated. I never really knew how strong those things were, that was, until it was on top of me like that. They had the advantage. They had strength in numbers, but they lacked speed. You could literally just breeze right pass them and they wouldn’t be able to catch you. That was our advantage. Cody called Dean on the walkie talkie, “come in Dean…” he waited a few seconds. “Dean, come in, do you copy?!” finally Dean replied, “Yeah Cody, I copy…what’s up?” “I need you to get Justin and Alan and rendezvous to the back entrance where Ben and I are.” “10-4 Cody.”
 Dean then tried calling Justin and Alan on his walkie talkie. “Justin, come in…  I need you and Alan to…” but before he could finish a loud shrieking scream came from the ally not too far from where he was. It was a woman screaming for help. Dean accidently dropped his walkie and rushed to the young woman’s aid. There In the ally was the woman, but she was surrounded by three of the undead corpses and they were closing in to seal her doom. “Oh my God someone please help me!!” she screamed. Dean slowly crept toward the woman and saw the three walking corpses staggering towards her. “Don’t make any sudden movements or they will attack,” Dean whispered. The young woman froze and was trying not to make any sudden movements, but Dean could tell she was scared shitless. He took his semi-automatic rifle which had a silencer attached to it, aimed it at the one to her left, he squeezed the trigger and shot it right into the side of its head. He did the same with the other two. All three hit the concrete hard. The young woman just stood there in shock. Not knowing what to say or what to think about what just happened. “Are... are you okay??” Dean asked her.” I think so” She said. “What the hell were those things?! I mean WHAT THE FUCK, HOLY SHIT…seriously!!!” she shrieked. “I don’t know what they are, but I do know their dead and the only way to take them out are with head shots” Dean answered. “How is that possible, I don’t understand, what do you mean they were “already dead”?!” she said with confusion. “Haven’t you been listening to any of the news -broadcasts or radio or anything?” Dean said with irritation. “Um, no not really, but I’m sure you’re dying to tell me what the fuck is going on, no pun intended” She sarcastically stated. “I will, but we have to get us out of here. I’m supposed to be meeting my brothers at the back entrance. By the way my name is Dean.” He said with a half smile. “What’s yours?” Dean asked. “My name is Samantha Archer, but all my friends call me Sam.” She smiled back with her natural pink sparkly lip gloss.
Samantha had long curly, reddish hair which had some brown and blonde highlights in it and her eyes were green eyes sparked like two beautiful emerald gems. And she had skin like a porcelain doll. Dean had never in his entire life met such a beautiful and sweet smelling woman. He was taken by her presence.  Then Dean’s walkie talkie went off. It was Cody. “Dean come in… Dean do you copy?” “Sorry bro… I ran into a bit of a situation and I dropped my radio but, all is well.” “Meet me and Ben at the back entrance, by the way did you get a hold of Justin and Alan?” “No I didn’t Cody I was trying to, but like I said I ran into a bit of a situation.” “Well what kind of situation did you run into Dean?” “A woman was in trouble and needed my help was all.” There was a brief pause. “Is she okay?” Cody asked his brother. “Yeah she’s fine, are you okay Cody?” there was another pause; this one a little longer than the last. “Well not so much Dean-- Ben and I ran into a situation of our own and we’ve kinda drew attention to ourselves.” That did not sound good to Dean. “What do you mean you drew attention?” Dean knew the back entrance of Wendy’s was infested with walking corpses. “We’ll have time to discuss our encounters back at the RV. Get her back to “the bus” and give us a few minutes to make a break for it, see you in a few” Cody whispered over the walkie.
They were still coming out of the woodworks. Cody and I hid inside a dumpster behind Wendy’s and we had no choice but to hide inside it. I popped off a couple of rounds to try and distract those dumbasses, but all it did was give us away. I rang the fucking dinner bell! And to top it all off we were out of ammunition. So, with no bullets our guns were useless and that meant that Cody and I were completely fucked.


All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Elvis Cardona.
Published on e-Stories.org on 05/23/2012.


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