Alisha walked back towards the city with Dan and Rick, keeping herself a few steps behind the men as she walked. With each step Alisha took back into the city she had just fought her way out of, she questioned whether or not she was being complete idiotic following these men. Everything she had experienced since that day at the diner had proven to her that she could not trust anyone. Yet for some reason, she felt like if she didn’t follow them, she’d never make it out of this city. They had made there way back downtown and neither Dan nor Ricky had made any indication that they were going to try anything on Alisha, so for the time being she felt slightly at ease. It was clear that if they were going to do anything to her it wasn’t going to be here in the city. So even though she still didn’t trust them, she was fairly certain she was not in immediate danger.
They snuck their way back onto the main streets of the city and came up on an old drug store Alisha remembered from before.
“I have already been here. It’s empty.” She told the men.
“It’s not empty. It just looks empty.” Dan said as he led them around to a side window that was slightly cracked. Dan pushed the window open and offered Alisha first entry.
“No,” she said, “I’ll go last.”
“Suit yourself.” Ricky interrupted as he climbed past Alisha and into the window. Ricky made a bit of noise to lure anything out, but nothing emerged and so Dan followed through the window. Alisha, after a short internal debate, pulled herself up and through the window last. As she regained her footing she looked around the drug store. It looked as she remembered it. The shelves were nearly bare, some of them knocked down. Boxes of completely smashed crackers and spilled bottles of various drinks littered the floor. Ripped up newspaper and magazines were everywhere and the paper dust covered everything like dirty white snow. The store smelled the same as it had the first time Alisha had been there.
Alisha’s shot gun was empty and Beth’s bat was dripping blood as they marched, exhausted, back towards the city. As much as they feared the idea of going back into the zombie infested streets of downtown, they knew it was their only chance of finding more supplies. If they kept walking towards the country, it could be days before they found any food or water. As they got closer to downtown, cars began to zoom past them on the road. More than once Alisha and Beth had to jump to the side to avoid being side swiped by a speeding car. The screams of the city could be heard as they came even closer. Alisha used the butt of her shotgun to smash a zombie across the skull as it came lunging out at Beth from an alley. It’s cheek split in half as it’s lower jaw broke away from it’s skull and hung, flapping against it’s neck. Blood poured and spewed from it’s destroyed mouth.
“What are we doing Alisha?” She asked desperately. “We are going to die if we go back there.”
“We are going to die if we don’t go back.” Alisha told her. “Did any of those cars look like they were going to stop for us? And how far out do you think the nearest house or gas station is? If we don’t try to find water and shelter we will die out here, and I hate it but the city is the only place to go to find those things right now.”
Beth just looked at Alisha scared and panicked. Alisha grabbed her arm and pulled her forward. “Come on, let’s go.” Finally reaching the streets of downtown, Alisha and Beth ran on past smoking, wreaked cars and various downed civilians being savagely ripped apart. As the girls ran by, several zombies abandoned their current meals and set their sights on them. Alisha, now holding the rifle like a bat, swung her weapon over her head, bringing it crashing down against the shoulder of a zombie. It fell to it’s knees and lunged forward at her legs. Alisha jumped back just in time to avoid it’s ragged nails catching her ankles. She slammed the rifle down onto it’s head and then swung it back up, letting it fly into the face of another zombie that was coming at her.
Meanwhile Beth swung her bat wildly, destroying the ear of a tall zombie man. The end of her bat hit it’s head and it’s ear split in half. The zombie fell to the side and Beth battered it with repeated blows until she was forced to move on to the next approaching zombie. She smashed the bat against it’s face. It’s eye socket sunk into it’s skull beneath the blow.
The girls kept fighting and running, looking desperately for a place to hide. Finally Beth spotted an old drug store that looked secure enough. She directed them towards it. They reached the door and tried to open it, but it was locked. They went around the side of the building to find another way in. There was a side door but it was also locked. Beth banged on it and yelled in frustration. Alisha told her to be quiet but it was too late. Zombies were coming from either side of the building. There was no other way out of the alley. Alisha and Beth prepared to fight off as many as they could, but they knew they would not be able to fight forever. Gripping their weapons tightly, they looked at each other. A wordless exchange of acceptance and the girls started swinging. Two zombies hit the ground as even more filed toward them down the narrow sides of the building.
The side door swung open and a man in a mask and helmet rushed out, taking down three zombies in a quick motion before grabbing Beth and Alisha by the arms and dragging them through the door and into the drug store. The girls stummbled against a wall as the side door slammed shut behind them. Banging could be heared from all around the outside of the building. The armored man stood in front of them holding out a large machete. There was another man and a younger woman securing the door. The man looked to be in his late forties and the girl looked around eighteen. The armored man removed his helmet and mask, revealing he was perhaps just a little older than the girl. The three looked similar in features and Alisha assumed they must be family.
Once the door was secured, they all turned to Beth and Alisha. The girls breathed heavily, leaning against the wall, weapons still in hand. The older man spoke first.
“Are you injured?” He asked. “Have either one of you been scratched or bitten? You have to tell us right now.”
Alisha and Beth shook their heads. “No,” Alisha answered, “We are fine. We are not hurt.”
The man stared at them a moment, as if deciding whether he believe what she said. After a moment he spoke again, “What are your names?”
“I’m Alisha, and this is my sister Beth.” Alisha told them.
He put a hand up, lowering the younger man’s machete. Alisha and Beth held their weapons at their sides. “My name is Oscar, this is my son Peter and my daughter Betty.” Betty gave the girls a nod. She looked familar to them. Alisha thought she probably had gone to their high school in previous years.
“Do you have any water?” Beth asked.
“Yes, of course.” Oscar told her, “Betty can you grab a couple bottles of water and something to eat please?” Betty nodded and went to get water. She returned moments later with a bottle of water and some cookies for each girl.
“Thank you. We really appreciate the help.” Alisha told them.
“Well,” Oscar said, “Times like these, we have got to stick together.”
The group chatted while Alisha and Beth rehydrated. Beth recounted how they’d ended up stuck outside the drug store. Oscar told them about how him and his family ran this store and they had been here doing inventory when everything had started. That was why there was no one else in the store.
“Where did you get the armor?” Alisha asked Peter.
“Sports and outdoor equipment in the back.” Peter told her.
“We were planning an expansion.” Oscar added. “So much for that.”
“At least we had that stuff.” Betty chimed in, “You’d have been pretty screwed if we hadn’t.”
A few hours passed as everyone sat awkwardly trying to maintain a conversation. They learned more about each other. Oscar had lost his wife a few years before and his son had come home from college to help keep up the store. Betty was helping out until she could save enough money to move to San Fransico to live with her Aunt. Alisha and Beth told them about their parents and all that had happened.
“I am so sorry. I can’t imagine how afraid you girls must have been.” Oscar told them.
Later that night they gave Alisha and Beth sleeping bags and everyone laid down in the back room of the store. After a short time dozing, everyone was woken by a loud bang against the side door of the building. It was louder and more forceful than the banging of the zombies. Everyone grabbed their weapons and moved to the door. Someone was trying to get inside. They were yelling and ramming the door with something.
“What should we do?” Betty asked, “Should we let them in?”
Oscar thought about it a moment, “Everyone deserves a chance. We have room. Open the door.”
Peter readied himself to go out and help, but as soon as the door was unlocked it burst open. Five men in football gear carrying rifles busted into the store. One of them slammed the door shut behind them and another knocked a shelf of newspaper over in front of it. The men pointed their rifles and told everyone to get on the their knees against the wall. All lined up against the wall one man checked everyone for injuries and weapons while the others held their rifles at aim. Oscar and Peter spoke up when the man started touching Betty but were quieted by one of the men hitting Peter across the face with the butt of his rifle. Once they were sure no one was injured or armed they stood everyone up again and moved the whole party to the grocery section of the store. The men started packing everything into their backpacks and pockets.
“Just take what you want and leave!” Oscar yelled at the men.
One of them stepped up to him and took off his helmet. He was college aged and mean looking. “Actually I think we might stay a while.” He told Oscar. “But we will take you up on your generosity.” The man laughed as he grabbed hold of Betty’s waist. She pushed him away but he grabbed her arm and held it tight, pulling her close. “Don’t make this difficult. We can have a good time.” He said, grinning. Betty spit in his face. He laughed and threw her to one of the other men. “You guys can have this one.” He walked up to Beth and touched her hair. “What’s your name girl?”
Alisha pushed Beth behind her. “Don’t fucking touch her.” She told the man.
Beth pulled Alisha back, “Shut up Ally.” She told her frantically. Alisha pushed Beth back further.
The man laughed, “Ally?” He grabbed Alisha by the back of her neck and point the rifle at her face, “How about I do you first then?” He grabbed Alisha’s hair and drug her towards the back room. Beth screamed at him to let her go, Oscar and Peter were being beaten into submission as Betty was dragged to a different corner of the room.
“Have your fun boys, we’re staying in tonight,” He yelled to his men.
Or start with From Hell They Came:Part One