Alisha rummaged through the trunk of an old purple Volkswagen that sat in the middle of the vehicle crowded highway. She’d spotted a bottle of water through the window and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to rehydrate with some actual water. It would seem the owners of the vehicle had to leave the highway in a hurry. The trunk was fully stocked with food and water, but no remains of the driver could be found. Alisha felt like she had won the lottery as she stuffed as much of the supplies into her bag as she could fit. She was reaching into the back seat to retrieve a pull top can of tuna that was laying on the floor of the car when she heard a series of gunshots. They sounded close and she had no interest in finding out how close. Bodies that had been otherwise quiet now began to rustle inside seemingly abandoned cars. Alisha had kept extremely quiet and manage to avoid disturbing the undead drivers, but it didn’t matter now, they were all at attention. The ones that were still buckled in lashed back and forth trying to free themselves from their seat belts. Others repeatedly slammed their bodies against their closed car doors and clawed at the windows trying to get out of the cars. A few zombies sat in cars with open doors or windows. They awkwardly maneuvered themselves out of the cars and began a slow stagger towards the source of the sound. Alisha grabbed her bag and hit the ground. She crawled under the Volkswagen and secured her backpack to her back, then waited a moment. She listened carefully for the sounds of approaching people. She wasn’t so much worried about the zombies as she was meeting whoever fired the shots.
So far all new people had meant to her was new trouble. The ones like her, that had been surviving on the road since this all started, they were changed people. They had become paranoid and ruthless. Alisha had run into a few different survivors along her way and she regretted meeting each one. She hoped that if she made it to any kind of survivor’s settlement that the people would be different.
The zombies shuffled past the Volkswagon, bumping into the sides but never looking beneath. Alisha stay as quiet as a mouse under the car, rotating her gaze to watch each side of the vehicle. She wanted to get out from under the car and run, but she did not want to broadcast her presence to the shooter. It wasn’t safe to stay under the car for too long. She waited a few minutes to listen for any sign of the shooter coming closer. While she listened she recalled her first meeting with another survivor after she had gone on the run.
“Oh no!” Beth panicked as the little green Ford Escort sputtered to a stop in the middle of street. The gas gauge read completely empty. “No! No, No, No, No!” Beth yelled, slamming her hands on the steering wheel.
Alisha grabbed her shoulders, “Calm down! We have to go, get your bag, come on.” Alisha and Beth both grabbed the backpacks they’d packed up before leaving their house. They had to leave the house, too many zombies flooded their neighborhood. The undead knocked the door down and nearly ripped Beth’s arm off. They escaped through the attached garage, speeding off in their parents spare car. They drove as fast as they could, down all the back roads they could find. They were simply driving as far away from the madness as they could. However, in their panick, they forgot about gas and after about 30 minutes of miraculously not getting into a collision, they came to a stop on a relatively deserted access road on the outside of the city.
Alisha and Beth, packs on backs, started on foot from there. They still didn’t know where they were going. All they knew was they were heading away from zombies. With that in mind, they scanned the area quickly. Small groups of zombies were scattered about and headed their way in every direction. There were fewer zombies coming from the road to the right, so Alisha and Beth ran that way. Alisha had found their father’s shotgun and ammo at the house. Beth had never been the hunting type, but Alisha had insisted on learning how to shoot. She’d begged her father until he taught her. She wasn’t a crack shot, but she knew how to use a shotgun. Beth carried a baseball bat they’d found in their garage. Their father coached a little league team during the summer. His way of making up for never having a son.
Alisha loaded the shot gun and fired at the zombies blocking their way. BANG BANG, they hit the ground. Beth screamed a girlish scream as one of the zombies stumbled up behind her. She spun around and brought her bat, with mighty force, across the zombies cheek bone, sending it’s jaw flying across the roadside. She twisted to the side as the bat’s momentum pulled her along. Regaining her footing she swung straight up with the bat, slamming the end of it straight up into the jawless zombies skull. It fell lifeless to the ground and Beth pulled her bat free. She turned to check on Alisha who was reloading the shotgun again. Once the shotgun was loaded, they took off running. They ran down that road for a good ten minutes before they had to stop and catch their breath. They started walking again.
“So where are we going?” Alisha asked, adding “We can’t just keep running.”
They were both silent for a moment. “I don’t know.” Beth said finally. “I’m not even sure what part of the city we are near.”
They walked on a while and came to a stop again, a car was coming. They flagged down the car, hoping whoever was driving would help them. The car slowed to a stop next to them and a young woman with pink streaked blonde hair poked her head out the window.
“Ya’ll need a ride?” She asked.
“Yes,” Beth told her, “we aren’t even sure where we are going.”
“Well hop in ladies,” The pink haired girl told them. “I’m going somewhere safe.”
As they climbed in the car she introduced herself. “I’m Erin.”
“I’m Beth and this is my sister Alisha.” Beth said. “Thank you for picking us up.”
“No problem.” Erin answered in a friendly tone. “I was going that way.” She smiled at them and started the car. They drove off towards the horizon and the setting sun.
Erin drove them further out of the city. Alisha and Beth asked several times where they were going, but all Erin would say was “somewhere safe”. They were starting to feel uneasy with her state of overall calmness, but said nothing. Erin asked them about themselves. Beth told her where they had come from and what had happened to them at the diner.
“How did you guys manage to get this far?” Erin asked.
Beth answered her, Alisha had stayed pretty quiet during the car ride. “We packed our bags with food and supplies. We didn’t know where we were going.”
“Really?” Erin said curiously. “How much food do you have?” She asked.
Beth looked at Alisha confused. Alisha had a bad feeling in her gut. “Enough” She answered before Beth could speak.
Erin smiled, “Excellent!” She exclaimed and promptly stopped the car. She got out and opened the back door next to Beth.
Before Alisha and Beth had time to be further confused, Erin pulled a revolver from the back of her pants and pointed it at them. Alisha aimed her shotgun, but Erin already had the gun held to Beth’s head.
“Leave your bags and get out of the car.” Erin told them. “You can keep your weapons, I’m not that mean, but give me everything else, or I will put a bullet in both of you right now.” Erin grabbed Beth’s shoulder and pulled her out of the car. Alisha took her bag off her back and slide out of the car through the open door.
“The bags are there, let her go.” Alisha told Erin in a deep threatening voice.
“Not so fast killer.” Erin said. “Throw your shotgun off to the side. I don’t want you shooting me as soon as I let her go.”
Alisha threw the shotgun into some grass near by.
Erin smiled, “Well, it’s been fun.” She said and pushed Beth into Alisha. Erin jumped in the car and took off at full speed.
Alisha quickly retrieved her gun and aimed but Erin was too far off.
“Shit!” She yelled in anger.
Alisha and Beth walked back towards the city with nothing but their weapons and the clothes on their backs. They figured at this point they needed to find familar ground so they could get supplies. They just had no idea where to go from there.
Alisha saw feet running around the cars on the highway. She heard the smash of skulls breaking to pieces and the hooting and hollering of men hopped up on adrenaline. She decided to stay hidden and hope they just passed by. The plan seemed to be going fine until she suddenly heard a snapping sound. Her head shot around in time to see one of the zombie’s ankles snap in half. The zombie fell to the ground and rolled around a bit, then quickly spotted Alisha.
“Shit!” Alisha whispered to herself. “Shit, shit, shit!”
The zombie came at her from her right side. She spun her body around and kicked it in the face. She used the zombie’s face to push off of and slide herself out from under the car. Bat in hand, she jumped to her feet, but was immediately grabbed from behind by someone. She struggled but could not break their hold on her. A man came around from behind her and took out the zombies around the car with his hand gun. Then he turned to Alisha. She was still struggling fiercely.
“Calm down girl! No one is trying to hurt you!” The man said. He was average height, muscular, with a kind face.
“Let me go then!” Alisha growled at them.
“Alright then, go ahead Ricky, let her go.” He told the man holding Alisha. Ricky quickly let loose his grip on her arms and she spun around to look at him. He was short and stocky with bright ginger hair. He held his hands up to let Alisha know he was not trying to hold her anymore. She took a few steps away from the two men.
“Who are you guys?” She asked them.
“I’m Dan,” said the muscular man, “and as you heard me say before, that is Ricky.”
“Hi.” Ricky sad with a wave and a half grin.
“We are from a camp not too far from here.” Dan went on, “We come up to the city for supplies.”
Alisha considered whether she believed them, and at this point, whether it mattered. They hadn’t tried anything yet, but she wasn’t that easily trusting. “What camp?” She asked.
“The Amish community.” Ricky told her.
Alisha was very surprised, she thought that was just a story. “Really? They really have camps there?”
“Yea.” Dan said, “They aren’t bad either. Those Amish can cook some good food out of nothing.”
Ricky glanced at Dan and then addressed Alisha, “You are welcome to come back with us. There is plenty of room.” Dan nodded in agreement.
Alisha thought hard about this. It was where she was trying to go, but her instinct to distrust strangers made her question whether these men were safe. She finally decided at this point she had to take some chances. She would be ready to fight if she needed to. Ready to defend herself with all her power. But right now, she had to give these guys a chance. It was either that, or wander alone down zombie highway until she found the camp alone.
“Yea,” she told them. “I’ll tag along.”
Begin with From Hell They Came: Part One