B.O.S.S. — Game of Life, Part 4

Who doesn’t love zombies?   Really.   Here’s the latest chapter of the adventures of Jeff and Harriet.

game of life

Zombie attack. Lose a turn. In fact, lose all of them.

Jeff drove a painfully slow fifteen miles per hour through the wreckage of another city.    Charred bodies from humans and biters alike.   From the looks of it, a revolution put down by the authorities.  Riding in a military vehicle meant playing by their rules.  A route and a schedule that took them along a casual trek that otherwise could have taken a single day.

Chae proved a cooperative prisoner.   Three days on the open road and she showed no signs of sickness or turning.   Her bite produced puss when they cleaned it but didn’t look infected per the guidebook they had been provided in the military vehicle.

The medicine seemed to be working.

Chae spent most of her time asleep, likely a side effect of the treatment.   All the better since the time they could spend travelling had been limited.   The slow crawl to go to a neighboring state had been thanks to the utter and complete destruction of the old highway systems.

Sure it had looked good on paper, regulating travel to an underground system, but it didn’t exactly turn out convenient when the biters brought humanity to its knees no one had anticipated that they would have been so efficient.

Jeff yawned noisily as he wrenched the steering wheel.   Harriet had stayed quiet, fixing her gaze on Chae’s bandaged ankle.

“Something up?” Jeff said.   Hearing his own voice reminded him he hadn’t slipped into undeath along the way.

“We should kill her.” Harriet said with a completely straight face.

“Why?” Jeff’s face fell stony.

“She’s been trying to make a call at every stop.   Or… trying to.” Harriet rubbed her chin.  “Any idiot knows the phones haven’t worked for months.”

“Maybe she knows something we don’t.” Jeff squinted amongst the rubble.  “Maybe she’s a fed.”

“I don’t think so.   But that’s just more reason we should off her.   The medicine works, so we should note that and just move on.”

“And you think the real feds will be fine with us offing a guinea pig out of paranoia?”

“Oh I don’t care about that.   I just think that once she gets better you’re going to get second ideas on partnerships.” Harriet scrunched up her nose.

“Not this again.” Jeff glanced back, Chae had been stone asleep.   Still, Harriet kept up the guise in hope she would fall for it.

“I mean… yeah… she’s cute.   But you can hold your own against biters.” Jeff leaned over cordially.  “Plus you’ve got a nicer set of weapons.”

“Oh, boys and their weapons.” Harriet offered a guarded smile.

The engine lurched abruptly pushing the two of them forward with a jerk.   The tires locked and squealed.   Chae topped forward of her seat and let out a small shriek.

“What the hell?” Harriet righted herself.   “Did you hit something.”

“No way.   The road is clear. ” Jeff rubbed his forehead at the point of impact with the wheel.   “The engine must have locked up.”

“Get it moving.”  Harriet gave him a swat.  “We still have six miles to go.”

Jeff offered a small not and twisted the key.  Nothing.

“What?   It won’t turn over?”

“No… the key just won’t move.   Can’t get it out twist it.” Jeff yanked his hand away.

“So we’re stuck?” Chae sat up with a groan.  “Don’t tell me we’re stuck.  I don’t think my nerves can take it.”

“Mine aren’t much better. ” Harriet snarled.  “Ok  Jeff.   Set up a perimiter, me and princess will be trying to do some engine work.”

“Why me? My hands are…” Chae’s eyes widened as the cuffs snapped free..

“You sure about…?” Jeff muttered.

“Yeah.” Harriet twirled the cuff key between a finger.   “Not much she can do alone anyway.   Sides.  I took the precaution of changing the medical box codes.  And if she doesn’t keep up with her treatments she’s as good as a biter in less than a week.”

“Ok.  So… traps, assement and scout for supplies.” Jeff reached into the overhang for a rifle and hopped out of the Humvee

“Princess.  Grab the toolbox in the back.” Harriet shuffled into the driver’s seat.

“You know.   It’s Chae.   You don’t need to call me that.”

“I’m well aware, princess.   I could call you a dozen other things, you know.” Harriet plucked off the interior panel.

“Fine.” Chae flung open the door, annoyed.  She coughed against the ash and limped exaggeratedly out the door.  “Why are you so rude to me anyway?  You know I’m not out to steal your boy.”

“It’s not you I don’t trust.   It’s him.” Harriet grunted.   She strained to pull a fuse free.

“Then why do you travel with him?” Chae’s hands fumbled on the back of the vehicle.  “It won’t open by the way… Ow–!”

“Oh that’s because I hadn’t pulled the trunk lever.   Make sure you don’t put your head near it, or it’ll tag you in the jaw.”

“That warning would have been nice a touch earlier.” Chae groaned.

“Oh?  Why would I do that?   You know these things have rear view cameras?   That footage is gonna be hilarious.” Harriet sat up.   “Tools.  Hurry up.”

“Fine.” Chae walked to the driver side window and passed the heavy box through.  “Where were you when it happened?”

“Small talk?   Really?” Harriet opened the box and twirled out a wrench.

“Really.   Where were you?” Chae leaned on the window.

“Home, with my family.   Watching T.V.” Harriet slumped down and started to work.   “You?”

“Waiting for my husband to finish dinner.   When he turned I thought he was being frisky.” Chae frowned.   “He was one of the first ones you know?”

“How nice for you.” Harriet rolled her eyes.  “My parents held out for a few weeks.   Turned, ate my little sis.    My little brother died trying to get out.   Had to put him down myself.   He was my first.”

“Mom, second.   Dad, Third.  lil sis, Fourth and Fifth.” Harriet scowled.

“Huh?”

“Didn’t know that huh?   If a body gets mauled before you turn you can actually ber two seperate biters.   Jeff and I run into em all the time.   We call em’ twins.” Harriet gave the panel a hard smash with a wrench.

“Twins huh?” Chae squirmed.  “And sorry about your family…”

“Don’t be.   At least I was able to put em down.” Harriet peeked away from the panel and up to Chae.   “Say.   If we have to kill you, any requests?”

“What?” Chae backed away.

“Hypothetically.   If you turn how do you want to die.   You know… in case you can feel it.”

“I don’t know if I could answer that.”

“Bullet to the brain it is.” Harriet smirked and went back to work.

“How long have you been with Jeff.”

“Long enough.   It’s not like I keep a tally mark on my belly you know?   And I know I can find out from the feds.   But I’d rather not know.” Harriet tugged on a wire and the interior lights went out.

“What did you do?!”

“Broke something.   No big deal.  We havea whole five minutes before the core detonates.” Harriet  shrugged.   “Can you get me a sandwich?   Ham not turkey.”

“Detonates?” Chae winced.  “Oh.   You’re kidding.”

A red light filled the vehicle to match a irate sounding A.I.  AUXILLAR POWER ON.  FOUR MINUTES AND FORTY SECONDS UNTIL CORE DETONATION.

“So.   Um.   Sandwich?   If I’m going to fix this in time I can’t do it on an empty stomach.

“F…fine.” Chae stumbled over to the backseat.

“Harriet.” Jeff hurried to the Humvee’s side.   “We have a problem.”

“Oh hey Jeff.” Harriet smirked.  “We were just talking about you.   So.   Take off your pants.   We’re going to have a contest.”

“Not now.   I’m serious.” Jeff’s thoughts drifted off.  “What sort of contest?”

“There is no contest!   She broke the car and it’s going to blow up!” Chae whined as she dug through the food cooler.

“Oh.   You know you can just flip to Auxiliary right?” Jeff waved a finger.   “Make mine Turkey.   I don’t like Ham.”

“Did.   Don’t tell me you didn’t hear the alert.”

“I mean the other Auxillary.   We have two backups.”

“Used that one already.” Harriet waved a wrench at him.  “Didn’t you say something was up?”

“Oh.  Right.” Jeff glanced off.  “We’re being stalked by a brain.  He’s been following us for a day now.”

“What’s a brain?” Chae approached with sandwiches.

Jeff and Harriet laughed.

“I’m serious.   You’re talking about biters aren’t you?” Chae held out the sandwiches with an urgent shake.

“I’m talking about the same pieces of crap that shut down the tubes.” Jeff lowered his eyes.

“One of those?   Here?   Why is it chasing us?” Harriet narrowed her eyes.

“Why do you think…?” Jeff sighed and took his sandwich.

“So… this is how it ends huh?” Harriet bit her lip.

“How what ends…?” Chae turned to see the Humvee had been surrounded by sprinters.  Shoulder to shoulder, they stared vacantly.

Chae turned back to them, the color drained from their face.  “What are we going to do?

“Isn’t it obvious?” Harriet shrugged and took her sandwich.  “Eat our last meal… and die.”

“But you can…”

Harriet shook her head and pointed a thumb.   “The only reason I’m alive right now is because of that.”

THREE MINUTES UNTIL CORE DETONATION.

“They want the cure, to tamper with it.  They’re waiting until we diffuse the unit.” Jeff shook his head.   “But looks like we might as well explode.”

“So.  Looks like you’re down to three choices Princess.   Bullet to the Head, death by nuclear device, or being mauled and walking the mid-east as a biter?” Harriet took a deliberate bite of her sandwich.   “Bleh.   Turkey.   Can’t even get that part right.”

Jeff made a face and glared at his sandwich after taking a bite.   Wordlessly Harriet and him traded with a small smile, and enjoyed their last meal.

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