Page Twelve/Chapter One Finale: Where We GoEdit
Downtown Los Angeles is a derelict, as is most of the south of the United States... reports from all across the country and even the world pour in, tying together the bizarre outbreak that is plaguing the streets! Nowhere is safe! Do not go into the streets! Do NOT attempt reaching loved ones outside of your location! This is Maria Espinosa, reporting from the Alamo where survivors have literally FLOCKED to escape the hordes piling up outside---
Jaxin turned off the radio that emitted a far off radio station in Texas as he continued driving along Mullins street, trying to find the easiest road to pass over onto Glendale where the soldier woman, Holly, had mentioned the rest of her team was located in a craft services truck. Jaxin knew the roads pretty well, but the ones jammed up with either cars or dead heads made the path spread further and further away. He hoped that the deadheads coming from all around to the explosion earlier hadn't found the other soldiers...
Moreene Hindle looked down at Aaron, resting his head on her shoulder like he used to after she would stop a sensless beating from Nicolas oh so many years before. Autumn sat in the back of the van, the other young man trying to get her attention. From what Moreene could see, the bitch had barely changed, save possibly for a tit job. It was obvious this other guy, Gary, had feeling for her as he stared directly at her long legs while squeezing the barrel of Craft's handgun.
Aaron finally sat up, wiping his eyes as he stood to walk up front and climb over Holly and into the passenger seat next to Jaxin. He knew that Gary was trying to move in on Autumn still, but he didn't care right now. He was so upset at that moment, all he was ready to do was rest. Everything that had happened went by so fast, he had forgotten to check his cell phone and see if Leon had responded. As he fished it out of his pocket, he flipped it open and saw that he had no service. The world is going completely to shit and the night is still young. he thought to himself, noting that the time was just passed midnight.
Holly Craft leaned against the van's inside next to the few paint cans inside as the Jaxin kid swerved the van left onto another road, finally finding one that was not so congested. She finally had time to think the scenario through that had just occurred as the group had escaped the apartments, into the paint store and out of the area... they had lost both Wheeler and the Barbie look-alike to the undead, so no one had any reason to be sadder than anyone else. It all happened so fast, the group barely had time to mourn either of them and God knows if the old people made it out alive. Whenever they reached Sarge and Layne however, they could begin their trek to the shore where they would be rescued by the Naval fleet. It would take time, given how bad the roads were looking, but they would make it somehow.
"This sucks..." muttered Gary Nerdstrom under his breathe, giving up on trying to get Autumn's attention. He didn't care anymore, these people he was stuck with being so fucking stupid that it killed two others. It wasn't Gary's fault, hell no it wasn't. Sure, he could've covered Jaxin and the pornstar as they were getting back into the van, but he was too worried about Autumn... yeah, his mind was already focused on something else. He fondled the handgun he took from the soldier some, checking it's weight and strength inside of his hands as he looked it over. He could hardly wait to use it.
Autumn Tate-Hindle stared off into oblivion, her hangover still wobbling inside of her brain as she realized just how shitty the situation was. Not only did her husband return home to save her from the plague, she was hiding with a man she barely knew who was obsessed with her and now, Aaron's crazy fucking mother was with them. However the hell she had gotten out of the nuthouse was beyond Autumn's rationalizing and she couldn't wait to get the hell away from her, as neither women had anything but contempt for the other. If the walking dead wasn't scary enough, Autumn now truly had something to fear.
"We're on Glendale! Roads pretty clear!" called Jaxin from the front, breaking the harsh silence inside of the van. Everyone began moving for the front to see where they were and how far off the truck was, Gary taking his time as Autumn remained dormant in the back. "Hopefully your crew didn't have to bail." he said to the soldier. "Shut up" she replied.
As they drove down the drab road they could see the carnage on either side, laced with the dead bodies and the walking dead in small pockets or all alone. The van's pace kept them from catching up much if at all, driving about fifteen miles below the speed limit. "There!" shouted Holly with hope filling back into her heart.
Sure enough, the craft services truck was still parked outside of the gas station where they had found it before, Holly almost giddy with joy as the van slowed down next to it. "Hows the gas in this thing?" she asked. Aaron and Jaxin looked at the fuel's gauge and Aaron replied, "Three-quarters." Holly smiled as she head into the back of the van and passed Autumn, who slid over so that the back doors could be opened. She jumped out and yelled back inside of the van, "Some of you can ride with us, the rest follows us to the main drag. If you need to stop, honk ahead so we won't leave you!" she stated before going over to the truck. She banged on its side to alert the Sarge and Private Layne of her return as she headed straight for the front end. "SARGE! WE'RE BACK! LOCK AND LOAD! I'M DRIVING!" she called out, opening the drivers side door to the truck.
Gary took the opprutunity and headed outback of the van, accidentally kicking Autumn's leg as he passed by her and didn't look back. She watched him go as he ran to the back of the crafts truck to open the door, feeling like she should just go too but couldn't muster the energy to move anymore. If they were all going the same way, she would just stay where she was for now.
Moreene climbed out onto the street as well, watching as Gary banged on the backdoor to alert the soldiers inside to open it. She looked back into the van to see that Aaron and Jaxin were talking when it occurred to her... that the undead were nowhere in sight anymore, save for a shambling few down the road. The undead who had made it to the complex had probably passed right by this truck and the last she saw, the private was watching out for them next to the gas station. If they're hiding inside, why aren't they answering Craft unless---
Gary gave up on waiting for the soldiers to open the door and went straight for the door handles, twisting them over and slinging the door open just as Aaron's batshit mother began to scream, "DON'T OPEN THAT DOOR!"
As soon as he heard his mother's warning shout, Aaron was out of the van and ran alongside Holly to the back of the truck. To their horror, Gary began to scream in agony as Nichols and Private William Layne began digging their undead teeth into his body, blood spurting out all around his body. He attempted raising the handgun's barrel to the head of Layne but ultimately dropped, his strength obviously giving out as all things around him began to go dark and soon enough, he move no more.
"Fucking, SHIT!" exclaimed Aaron, backing away as Holly could only stare on in horror. Moreene watched as the undead Sergeant pulled away flesh, arteries and muscle from Gary's throat while Layne chewed away at his chest. "LETS GO!" called a terrified Jaxin from the van, ready to drive off as soon as everyone was loaded. Holly stepped forward, in a trance as she took aim at her superior's undead skull, her finger shaking as it found the tightened trigger. Moreene stepped in, causing Holly to look into her deep blue eyes as she realized she could not do it herself.
Aaron took Holly back to the front of the truck while Moreene turned back to the van, looking at a mortified Autumn who had checked out upon seeing the young man's demise. It was probably the first time that she had seen the undead up close. Moreene closed the van's backdoors as Autumn continued to remain catatonic, before turning back with her shotgun loaded and aimed at the skull of the undead Sarge who slowly turned to look up at her with a mouth full of Gary and a still hungry look in his gray eyes. Whatever this shit was, it changed everything about you upon infection and however he had changed, Moreene was certain that reanimation occurred after death.
The two rounds were bringing on the attention of the biters and they had to get out of there. Aaron helped Holly into the van's passenger seat next to Jaxin, speaking softly to her, "You tell him where to go. We keep moving, Okay?!" Holly could only nod as she handed Aaron the truck keys and shut the door beside her. Aaron looked back to see his mother had finished off the soldiers and was pickling up Holly's handgun at the back of the crafts truck, returning his gaze with a look of disdain as she climbed inside and shut the doors behind her. Aaron climbed into the drivers seat of the truck as Jaxin drove the van ahead of them, quickly starting the engine and putting the gear into drive before following them away from the latest scene of carnage they had just witnessed.
From the back window of the van, Autumn watched as a horde of undead began to swarm the dead body of Gary who had been left behind. They were lucky to have left before they were overrun, as the hordes quickly began piling up in front of the gas station where they just were. The craft services truck cut off her view and she could see Aaron was driving, unsure if he was staring back at her or watching the long road ahead.
It was nearly 6:45 by Holly Craft's count, as Jaxin continued driving up highway 101 where the ocean was now right next to them. Sadly, there was no sign of any military fleets out in the ocean or anything at all. It seemed that all of California was among the dead. Fortunately they were able to bypass going through Bakersfield by using some elbow grease to move abandoned vehicles out of their path along the highway. The last sign pointed towards an exit for Grover Beach, somewhere they could rest for the night with their backs to the ocean given they could find somewhere to hold up for the night. Holly didn't like the idea of breaking into someones property but they were nearly out of gas in both vehicles and they were all very tired.
"Next exit, take it..." a weary Craft told Jaxin, who was slowly on the verge of passing out. They had been driving for so long that the sun was coming up and now, the gas tank was barely on fumes. He looked into the rearview mirror to see that the crafts truck was still behind them. They had stopped several times on the path, either to move vehicles or take a piss break, but the longer they went the more grim things were looking outside. He looked back to see that Aaron's wife was still asleep, turned away from the front as she curled into a ball. As he turned back to watch the road, he took the next exit towards the beach and the truck followed close behind
Aaron watched as the van took the exit and followed, tired from the long trip out of Los Angeles and into San Luis. It appeared that Holly and Jaxin were taking his advice about stopping for awhile to rest and try to recover from the night before. His mother had moved up front next to him during an earlier stopped and watched ahead along with him. For miles and miles, all they could see was devastation and the wreaking scent of bloodshed filled the air. Nowhere was safe from this plague and it seemed like there was nothing anyone could do about it, including any military. Save for a few undead policemen and soldiers, it would appear that order in California had given into the chaos of the walking dead.
"Did you see dad?" Aaron asked Moreene, already well aware of the answer. Even without his father's modified 12-gauge, Aaron knew that the temptation to hunt him down was too good to pass up now that she was free. She continued staring ahead at the van as she replied, "I did. And no, I didn't kill him... when he was alive that is." Aaron shook his head and glanced at the shotgun, "I like what you did with his old scattergun." The mood was light enough, which suddenly made Moreene feel uneasy. Aaron could feel it too, as his tone changed when he asked "How'd you get out?"
Moreene sought an easier answer than the truth but found the truth had wanted to come out on its own, "One of the nicer orderlies took pity on me. Dropped himself off at his house and allowed me to go on with his car." Aaron took to the next question, this one being a little harder to get out, "Why, mom?" For the four years she had been incarcerated in the mental health facilities, Aaron had never once asked that question during his visitations, instead choosing to take the softer path of conversation, whether saying "everything will be OK," or the more irritating, "We'll work this out somehow." For once, Moreene could be totally honest and not fear any reprucussion. "I expected it to be your father in the kitchen that night... after everything he'd done to us and then to switch up and cheat on me with that underage hussy? I just... blacked out. And I'm sorry."
Aaron felt the sincerity in her words and began to process the way of handling a response. "Everything we've been through and it takes the end of the world to bring us back together... crazy shit, ain't it?" he said, allowing a slight chuckle to ease out under his breathe. This took Moreene back, as she hadn't expected Aaron to be joking anytime soon. "It is..." she replied uneasily, looking over at her son.
The van in front of them stopped at an intersection and Aaron assumed that Holly was looking over the map she had found way back at their first stop inside of another car, the same one that contained more fuel and supplies they would go onto use until now. With the fuel used up now, it was only a matter of time before the truck and van would give out. Stopped behind the van, Aaron replied to his mother, "As crazy as the bullshit has ever been for us, mom... I'm glad you're Okay. We're both Okay, Autumn is Okay... I'm Okay."
"About Autumn..." Moreene began to say, knowing full and well her son had no interest in her, save for her life as a human being. Aaron cut her off, "Not now... I'm not ready for that much yet..." He began noting that Holly was getting out of the van with her rifle aimed ahead at something he could not see, possibly a walker off in the distance. As the hazy sunrise allowed him some visibility, he saw the figure she was aiming at and began to place the truck's gear into park. Both of them proceeded to get out of the truck and approach the back of the van to cover the lone soldier's back.
Holly took aim at someone hiding behind a sign across the street from where they were parked, having noticed him dart across the street and holding a rifle of some sort. The last thing they needed was to come across some Mad Max bandits who would try ambushing them. "I SEE YOU! GET THE FUCK FROM BEHIND THERE OR I'M UNLOADING THIS AUTOMATIC ON YOUR ASS!"
The figure raised his hands into the air, clearly holding an older Winchester rifle aimed away from the van as he approached them. "I'M NOT GOING TO HURT YOU!" he replied, revealing himself to be a middle-aged man with long, greasy black-hair tied back in ponytail while the front was obviously balding.
Moreene stepped up next to Holly, who stood her ground as she said, "Get his gun... be careful." Aaron stepped up as Moreene stormed over to the stranger and took his rifle away and began checking him out. "Is this necessary?" he asked her. Holly replied, "The fucker was hiding from vehicles. Those roamers don't drive, so why the hell is he hiding?!"
"He's clean. Scared." Moreene shouted back, her eyes never leaving the stranger. "I promise, I just didn't wanna cause any trouble by carrying by gun around out in the open..." he said to her. At this point, Autumn and Jaxin had exited the van and watched as Holly and Aaron approached Moreene and the survivor. Having caught the last bit of his statement to Moreene, Aaron began feeling bad for harassing the man. How were they any better?
"We're sorry," Aaron began, "We can't be too careful out here." The man nodded as he looked the survivors over and began to relax some. Moreene took another moment before choosing to hand him back his rifle as to see what he would do with it. "It's Okay, since last night I don't know what the hell is going on myself." said the man. He went onto look at the trucks and continued, "How the hell far have y'all been going?" Aaron replied, "L.A. It's fucked there too."
Tobin began thinking of the negative consequences of his suggestion to this group, realizing these new survivors were just as curious of him as he was towards them. The situation looked bad, but so did everything else... And they have some badass weapons to boot, maybe they could help us he thought to himself.
"Look, do you guys need a place to go?" he asked. Aaron, Moreene and Holly exchanged glances as the man continued, "My Godson lives in a condo up the street some, next to the beach. The property of the area is surrounded by a fence and we've got some food... we could use some more protection if y'all were game enough to come with me." The prospect seemed too good to be true... but at this point, Moreene was ready to rest and felt as if something bad were to happen, they could handle it. She nodded to Aaron, who looked to Holly and she looked back at the vehicles before looking back into the man's eyes. "We do need some rest," she began, "Are you sure it's Okay?" The man nodded and smiled eagerly as he said, "Yes! Yes! It'll be fine! Can we go now?"
Holly signaled for Jaxin and Autumn to get back in the van as Aaron went back for the truck. Moreene followed after another moment as Holly and the man brought up the rear. "Mom," Aaron began to say, "ride with them. I'll be right behind you all." He climbed back into the crafts truck as she nodded, climbing into the back of the van with Holly and the stranger while Autumn climbed up front with Jaxin.
As Holly got situated across from Moreene and next to the man, the van pulled off and she could see Aaron's headlights following close behind. Feeling a sense of hope in her gut for the first time in hours, she listened as Jaxin asked the next question from up front, "So, what's your name dude? Wheres this condo at?" The man smiled as he replied, "My name is Tobin Sinclair and it's right up the road on the left... you can't miss it, it has the name Monroe aross the front gate."
- End Of Chapter One. To Be Continued.