This is Issue # 5 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled The Dinner Bell.
Issue 5 - The Dinner BellEdit
“What the hell is that?!” Mr. Fleetwood shouts as he runs down the stairs, Mrs. Fleetwood, Micah, and Hannah trailing behind him. They exit the house, onto the porch, where Cole stands and looks toward the looming church, which can be seen from a few blocks away.
“It’s church bell. Aren’t the infected attracted to sound?” Hannah asks.
“I think so,” says Cole. “Everyone, get in the house!” He sees a herd of infected walking towards the church; they have to pass the Fleetwood home to get to the church. They shut off all of the lights in the house. “Just be as quiet as possible.”
“They’re going to get in! Where’s my gun?” says Mr. Fleetwood.
"Shhh!" Cole orders.
"Don't shush me! We need to kill those things!"
Cole grabs Mr. Fleetwood by the collar, an action that even Cole is surprised by. "Listen, you need to be quiet," Cole says in an angry whisper. "Those things are right outside, and your yelling is going to attract them here. If you want to leave and try to kill them by yourself, fine! But don't get all of us killed while you do it."
Mr. Fleetwood is speechless as Cole releases this grasp on his collar. But, the warning seems to have worked, as Mr. Fleetwood is silent as they hide in the house.
The sounds of the infected's footsteps are loud and intimidating. They wait and wait, not making a noise, until they know the undead are finally a good distance away from the house.
Cole dares to peek out of the window. He sees nothing. "The infected must've made it to the church." Then, a figure speeds down the road. It's different; it's definitely not an infected. It doesn't limp, but instead it runs down the street. "Who is that?"
"What?" Hannah asks. "Do you see someone?"
Cole hurries out the front door. "Hey!" he calls as quietly as he can, not wanting to attract any lingering infected. "Hey!" He sees the figure halt for a moment, but not for long. It continues running down the street, away from the direction of the church.
"Who was it?" Micah asks when Cole enters the house.
"I don't know. They didn't answer me," Cole says. "But I think they saw me."
"Saw you?!" yells Mr. Fleetwood. "Now they know we're here! What if they come and steal everything?"
"Dad, will you calm down?" says Hannah.
"No, I won't. Of course, Cole fucks up again."
Cole stabs his finger to Mr. Fleetwood's chest. "You need to chill out, you old fuck. I get that you don't like me, but can you put that behind you for one goddamned second? There's more serious shit going on right now and I don't need you on my fucking case!"
"Don't you talk to my husband like that!" Mrs. Fleetwood demands. Her eyes are wide and her mouth is agape, like she is amazed that someone could be so disrespectful. She slaps Cole across the cheek in her rage.
"Mom!" Hannah grabs her mother by the shoulders and leads her out of the room. "Cole, I'm so sorry." Mr. Fleetwood smiles cockily and follows his daughter and wife out of the room.
"Damn. She slaps hard," says Micah. "Are you okay?"
Cole touches his cheek. When he removes his hand, there's a small amount of blood on his fingertips. "Yeah, I'm fine."
"Hannah!" Micah calls through the house. "We're gonna need a Band Aid."
"I'm on it!" she replies from upstairs. Soon, she marches down the steps and hands the bandage to Cole. "Sorry about that."
"It's fine," Cole reassures her.
"No, it's not."
"I'll just leave tomorrow then. It's obviously not best to stay here."
"Leave? And where do you plan on going?"
"I...I don't know. I have an uncle in Indiana, only about 45 minutes away."
"That's too dangerous. You saw how many infected there are out there," she says, a hint of worry in her voice.
"Please, Cole. I want you to stay. I'll talk to my parents, get them off your back. Okay?"
Cole sighs and shrugs in defeat. "Sure. Whatever. I just need to sleep. It's been a long day."
The next morning, Cole lies on the living room couch asleep. He feels someone shaking his shoulder. "Cole, wake up." It's Hannah; she smiles when she sees him open his eyes. "Still want to head to that Walmart?"
"Wha--? Oh, yeah. Sure." He gets up and stretches for a bit. Then he sees Hannah loading a gun at the table. "You, um, know how to use that?"
She grins. "Well, yeah. Why? Do I look intimidating?"
"Honestly, a little. I just don't remember you knowing how to shoot."
"Dad taught me. I just never really told you because I knew you didn't like when I brought him up..." She drops the subject and pulls some clothes out of a bag and tosses them to Cole. "Here. Go get cleaned up. You look gross."
"Gee, thanks a lot."
She laughs, and it makes him smile. "You know I'm only joking. Now hurry we up! We've got a store to loot."
“Are you sure it was a person you saw yesterday?” Hannah asks. Cole drives while she sits in the passenger seat, lying her head against the window and gazing at the few infected roaming the streets.
“I’m sure,” Cole says. “When I called out, it stopped and looked at me. Then, it just ran off. Infected don’t act like that.”
“What I don’t get is why someone would ring the church bell. Wouldn’t that bring all of the infected towards you?”
“It could, I guess. But it could also move the infected away from where you wanted to go.”
“Huh. I never thought about it like that. I guess--” She’s cut off by the same sound they heard last night: the ringing of the church bell. “Great. That’s just great.”
Cole presses on the gas pedal harder in an attempt to get out of the vicinity of the infected. But he’s not fast enough. Soon, he sees a herd of infected coming straight for them, in the direction of the church. Cole slams on the brakes. “What do I do?”
“What? I don’t know! Drive around?” Hannah suggests.
“How would I drive around? They're taking up the entire street!” Cole can feel himself panicking; the sound of his heartbeat in his ears overcomes the sound of the car engine. “I’ll drive through.”
“You can’t drive through; there’s at least 50 of them! You’ll either fuck up the car or we’ll get stuck!”
“Can you just stop fucking yelling! I’m trying to think!” Cole slams his hands on the steering wheel and inadvertently hits the horn. The infected change their focus from the church to the car. “Fuck.” He puts the car in reverse and drives backwards. For a while, all is clear, until he sees another wall of infected. They’re trapped on both sides.
“Oh, God, they were probably attracted to the sound of the horn. Nice job, Cole! Now we’re going to fucking die!”
“No, we’re not going to die, okay? We’ll just--” He stops when he hears a gunshot and sees an infected fall to the ground. More gunshots come, and more infected die. “Who...?” Cole looks up and sees a man with a sniper rifle on the roof of a store picking off infected. The infected are even changing their course, instead moving towards the store rather than the car. Cole takes this chance to accelerate past the infected and towards the Walmart, which should be just a few blocks away.
“That was a close one,” Cole says as he continues driving to their destination. He glances at Hannah and sees that her eyes are teary and her hands are shaky. “You okay?”
“No, no, I’m just fine,” Hannah replies sarcastically. “I just don’t like almost dying.”
Cole sighs. Hannah’s sarcasm was something he always hated when they were dating. “Well, I’m sorry, okay? You think I meant to hit the horn?”
“Can you just drive, please? I really don’t want to talk.” Her voice quivers.
“See? That’s your problem. That’s always been your fucking problem.” His voice rises as he continues to talk. “I try to fucking work things out, make amends or whatever, and you just blow me off! Instead, you reply like a sarcastic bitch and say you don’t feel like talking.” He feels a little bad when he sees a tear roll down her cheek, but he doesn’t say anything. He just drives until they see the large Walmart.