Chapter 9 .


We camped on the freeway.  Everyone except the vampires were tense, waiting for any sign or sound of zombies, but it was quiet.  We got up early the next morning and set out. We paused as we passed our cars that we had abandoned on the first night.  It was more of a reminder of what our previous lives were like.  A big part of me did not want to go back into our home city.  It would remind me even more of lives we no longer had and family we had lost. 

Even though Mason and Elsie still approached and spoke with Alex, the other werewolves didn’t.  And Alex didn’t try to approach them.  He stayed near Gunnor and Jin.

We came to the first exit and the closest one to the high school.  Our large group squeezed together closer as we walked down the off ramp.  The streets were void of any people or zombies.  There were cars that had just been abandoned in the streets.  We came upon a few crashes but there weren’t any zombies or signs of people.  

The air began to warm up a little as the day grew on.  The snow on the roads had mostly melted, but there was still snow on the grass and sidewalks.  Maria moved up in the group so she walked next to me.

“It’s weird that our large group isn’t drawing the attention of any zombies,” she said.

“Yeah,” I said.  Our group had discussed that very thing the previous night, but it was more and more concerning as we walked through the empty city.  Some of the buildings around us looked empty and undisturbed, but other buildings had broken windows and doors hanging open with no one in sight.

“Maybe someone killed all the zombies,” Mackenzie offered hopefully.  I hadn’t realized she had joined us.  I wondered if she was cold.  I wrapped an arm around her shoulders and drew her in closer to me.

“Then where are the people that killed them and the bodies of the zombies?” Maria asked.  “This is just weird.”

“Maybe the military came in and cleared the place out and took everyone remaining to a safe place,” Arthur said.  Molly walked happily beside him.  She didn’t seem to think anything was strange.

“We haven’t seen any signs of military or police or anything in all our travels,” I said.  “But maybe it’s possible.”

“Then what of the RU in? place?” Maria asked.  “Would they have pretended to be human to go with the military or try to rebuff the military?”

We all looked at Hunter who was the nearest non human.  “I don’t know,” he shrugged.  “I know as much as you do.”

We came upon a police station.  Windows were broken.  The door was wide open.  We could see the dried blood just inside the door but there wasn’t a body.  Our little group stopped to listen as the bigger group kept going.  

“Should we go in and check it out?” Tanner asked.  “Maybe we can find some more weapons.”

“Usually the weapons would all be locked up,” Grace said, “but who knows.  Maybe we’ll get lucky.”

“It’s not just up to us anymore though,” Hunter said.  I followed the path of his gaze to see he was staring at Alvina.  She had stopped and was staring at us.  As she stopped, the bigger group also stopped.  The vampire who was her second in command – the same one that had charmed Grant – stood near her.  He said something to her, but we were too far away.

“I found out his name is Elwin,” Maria said.  “Jin told me.”

“He seems the second strongest after Alvina,” Hunter said.

“I think he is,” Maria said.

Elwin said something to Grant and even though Grant still looked at him with charmed eyes, he still seemed hesitant.  Finally, Grant approached us with a few other men.

“We’re supposed to go in and check it out,” Grant said as he arrived.  His gaze strayed to Monica.  Monica didn’t even look in his direction as she smiled at Richard.

“Let’s check it out then,” Tanner said.  Not all of our group went in.  Tanner, Grace, Hunter, Maria, Darren and myself went in.  

It was dark inside except for whatever sunlight streamed through the windows and open doors.  We found a few dead zombies that had been shot through the head.  It had been so silent for the past few days that I welcomed it when I heard a zombie groan.  It was only one zombie and it didn’t get closer.  All of the doors inside the station were open.  When we came to the weapons locker, it was open and completely empty.  We didn’t find any weapons or bullets as we went through the station.  We didn’t find any riot gear or kevlar vests.  The station had already been looted.  

The zombie groans grew more desperate as we walked through the halls, but it never got closer.  Finally, we found the source.  A zombie was in one of the few cells the station had.  He reached his arms through the bars towards us.  He snapped his teeth.  The cell’s door next to him was open, but his door was not open.

“It doesn’t look like he was ever injured or bitten,” Darren said.

My eyes scanned the zombie as Darren said this.  It was true.  He didn’t have any wounds on him nor was there any blood in the cell.

“He must have been one of the first initial ones to change on Halloween,” Hunter said.

“He was probably already in this cell when he changed,” Tanner said.

“This was a waste of time,” one of the men with Grant said.

“We should kill this one just so it doesn’t have any chance to bite and change anyone else,” Hunter said.

“Grant should do it,” Maria said with a challenge in her tone.

Grant looked at Maria and then to the men with him.  “I can do that,” he said as if it would be easy, but he swallowed hard as he took out his knife and approached the zombie.  He hesitated when he reached the bars.  The zombie tried to grab him, but Grant easily stayed out of reach.  He avoided looking back at the men that he had brought with him, but he did look at us.  He took in a deep breath and quickly stabbed the zombie in the forehead.  He shivered as the zombie dropped to the cell floor still with his knife buried in his skull.  He quickly composed himself before he turned to the men.  “Let’s go,” he said as if that hadn’t been hard for him, as if he hadn’t been frightened almost of his wits.

We all moved to make our way back out of the station, but instead of going back to his group, Grant walked with us.  Maria and I exchanged glances not sure what he was doing.  None of us liked him.  Tanner and Grace hadn’t been with us originally, but they had heard our stories about him.  They didn’t like him as much as we didn’t.

“So how long has Monica and Richard been a thing?” Grant asked.

“Really?” Maria asked.

“What?” he asked.  “I have a right to know.  She was my girlfriend.”

“You let your dad throw her to the zombies,” Maria said.

“I couldn’t control what my dad did,” he said.

Maria rolled her eyes and sped up so she wouldn’t have to walk near him anymore.

“What?” Grant asked again.  Hunter shook his head and sped up to be alongside Maria.

“Monica is happy,” Darren said.  “Leave her alone.”

“She’s just putting on a show to get back at me,” Grant said.

“No, she isn’t,” Darren said.  “She truly likes Richard.”

“Please,” Grant said.  “Look at me and then look at Richard.  How could she possibly like him more than me?  You just can’t see it because he is your friend.”

Darren sighed in frustration and sped up completely done with Grant.

“Looks aren’t everything,” Grace said.  “And there is nothing with Richard’s looks.  It’s quite reasonable that some women would find him more attractive than you.”

Grant scoffed.  “In what universe?”

Tanner shook his head.  “You’re unbelievable.”  He took Grace’s hand in his and sped up.

“I’m going to give you some advice even though I don’t like you,” I said to Grant.  “Leave Monica alone.  You showed her your true colors and she isn’t going to come back to you in any universe.  Also, be wary of your dad.  There is a good chance he will throw you to the zombies to save himself just like he did with your mom and your ex girlfriend.”

“He didn’t throw my mom to the zombies,” he said adamantly.  “And Monica . . .,” his voice trailed off.  It was obvious he couldn’t think of an excuse as to why his dad would throw Monica to the zombies.

I shrugged.  “I’m just warning you.  Take it or leave it.”  And then I sped up to rejoin the rest of my group.

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