One more Game of Life for this month, part 16 will be the last for a while then the NaNoWriMo Marathon begins! Sorry for the late post, I’ve been putting some time in setting up shop for November.
Part 15 — On the Road, Again
The ride east peppered the American highways with biter blood. The souped up humvee blazed through the common zombie like a lawn mower culled weeds. Tighter packed cityscapes cluttered with disabled vehicles required a different approach.
The nearby cities were completely overrun. They cut through the downtown area in light of a downed bridge, product of desperate carpet bombing. Jeff manned the roof mounted railgun, keeping close watch on the abandoned buildings. None of them would make good shelter, too damaged by the airstrikes.
They turned a corner, going a slow pace down the main road. Four biters tore towards the vehicle. Jeff lined up a shot and pulled the trigger. The pulsing thrum of the rail cannon echoed through his ears. Two biters crumpled back, a cloud of blood erupting from fresh chest ventilation. The high voltage current left them twitching. It took two shots to drop the other two.
“We clear?” Harriet said from the driver seat.
“Clear,” Jeff said. “Though I’d think we’d see more sprinters.”
“They’re smart enough to stay away.”
“You think there are any survivors? How should we–”
“Fuck everyone else,” Harriet said. “We played this game with Chae, we either lose someone or they stab us in the back. If you ask me we should pitch this data and focus on surviving.”
Jeff chuckled. “Tempting. With all that free time we’re bound to end up with another someone to worry about.”
“Not a problem. I’d just kill you off. Black widow style.”
They shared a laugh.
They reached the other end of the city without incident and picked up the pace. Jeff slid back into the truck and caught some shut eye. They could only sleep in tandem, being able to drive indefinitely was both a blessing and a curse. Jeff dozed off, trying his best to deal with the uncomfortable seats.
Harriet nudged him awake a few hours later. He regained his composure and realized they had stopped. She turned to Jeff with a corny smile, something he hadn’t seen for some time. He turned forward, taking in a massive mansion behind a locked iron gate.
“You have GOT to be kidding me.”
“Nope, one lock and we have a brand new home. Worst case? Some snobby biter zombies inside. We can take a few easy right?”
“No. Worst case is the place is full of biological weapons and dozens of keycard locked doors.”
“Get real Jeff,” Harriet leaned on the steering wheel. “This could be huge. Security gates, camera system? We could jerry-rig the humvee to be a power plant. We’d just need food.”
“We might be able to get air drops, too.”
“It’s settled then. Lets do it. I’ll climb over the gate.” Harriet stepped out of the Humvee and Jeff slipped back into the turret chair and covered her. She tossed her rifle over the fence and scurried over. She disappeared into the security station, the door was conspicuously ajar. A moment later the gate popped open.
Jeff let out a satisfied sigh. Rich folks tended to have battery back ups for such things, and the battery held the charge. Harriet moved out, dragging the gate open manually, enough for them to come inside. Judging from the state of the yard it had been abandoned for well over a year. Harriet drove the humvee in, fastened the gate and it was time for inspection.
The mansion had an open and empty garage, but it was too small for the military vehicle, made more for lamborghinis. It hadn’t been picked over or looted, making it seem like the place had been abandoned in haste.
They patrolled to the back and found a second storage area unlocked and bare. It made for a great place to hide their ride.
“Looks like the gate is the only point of entry. We’ll put some barbed wire up there and we have a choke point.” Harriet said, assessing an electrical panel. “I can make this work. This might be home. Lets head to the main house on foot.”
The back door was locked, along with the side entrance. The front was unlocked.
Jeff pushed in, rifle at the ready and took in the foyer. A healthy layer of dust couldn’t hold back the grandeur of the place. The foyer alone was six times the size of his last apartment with a glass chandelier bolted to the ceiling. “Wow. What a mansion.”
Harriet groaned. “Thank you for the insightful observation, Captain Wesker.”
“Heh. Couldn’t resist. Lets check this place out, secure the place then see if they have a King sized bed.”
In a mixture of relief and disappointment, the mansion was clear. No rotted food, no dead bodies and no signs of zombies. The mansion had three floors, seven bedrooms with an attic and a basement. They had a gas powered backup generator and a source of clean water. Two of the bedrooms had coveted King sized beds, in great condition and the rest fluffy queens. They went from paupers to royalty in a blink of the eye.
The main kitchen worked on all gas powered equipment, useless because of the main lines being down. The second kitchen had an electric stove and a microwave, both useless for now, but not until they got their mobile power plant running,
They set up in the ground level bedroom, just in case they needed to make a hasty escape.
“This is nice.” Jeff said. We can make this work. We’ll need to raid an electronics store for some consoles but that’s a day trip. I think we hit pay dirt.”
“No plumbing though… we had plumbing at our last place.”
“We can make it work.” Jeff took her hands, kissing her on the cheek. “Maybe we can hit the water works and get things running. Maybe it isn’t overrun.”
She nodded vacantly. “One week, then we keep going.”
“What? Look at this place. We–”
“Have to finish what we started. I can’t get a net connection here, not like I can send the data by email.”
“Man. I miss email.” Jeff said as an aside. “But Harriet? Fuck that. We can just plant some stuff and set up shop here. We could live a normal life.”
“I sure as hell can’t garden,” Harriet said. “We lived off canned goods and snack cakes unless we got supply drops from the feds.”
“Then we can make a beacon. We can make this work. Trust me.”
“Well… it is secure,” Harriet said. Fine, but until we know thisplace is secure, no hanky panky.”
“What? Why? We have a real bed. A real house.”
“Because now what we have, is worth taking. Don’t argue with me Jeff. Once we’re online and armed, then we can worry about being comfortable. For now, stay on guard.”
“Yes’m.” Jeff said, sighing. “I’ll go see about salvaging some electric wire for setting up the plant. We can probably make a dock if we deepen the front garage.”
He wandered away, shouldering his rifle. No rest for the wicked, I guess.