Apocalypse Empire (Book 1): Apocalypse Origins (10 page)

BOOK: Apocalypse Empire (Book 1): Apocalypse Origins
11.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

"I see," Henry replied. "Thanks for
sharing."

The soldier nodded and left Henry to his thoughts. It made
sense. Those that had heeded Shirley's warning would have had a relatively easy
time compared to anyone trying to make it out now. With so many infected about,
it would probably be impossible to get away without being attacked. Henry hoped
lots of people paid attention to that warning. Atlanta was lost to the infected
now.

 

 

 

5
Greg: Willow Street, Emerald Falls

 

The drive to James's house was uneventful. They pulled in to
James's driveway and Greg led Carol to the door. He retrieved a key from his
pocket and unlocked the door.

"You have a key?" Carol asked.

"I come here a lot," Greg said with a smile. He
held up a hand for her to wait and entered the house.

"Laura?" he called in a loud voice. "It's me,
Greg." He knew Laura was proficient with firearms and didn't want to
startle her. If she'd experienced anything like they had this morning, he
wouldn't be surprised to see her waiting around the corner with a shotgun or
something. He heard footsteps coming from below and then the sound of the
basement door opening.

"Greg?" James called. "That you, man?"

"Yea, it's me. He turned and motioned for Carol to come
inside. James came around the corner and grabbed Greg in a bear hug. 

"I was worried about you," he said as he let him
go. Seeing Carol he smiled. "Good, you got Carol here too."

Carol smiled as she closed to door behind her.
"Wouldn't have made it out of there without Greg," she said.

James embraced Carol in a hug. "I'm glad you're here
Carol. I didn't know how you guys managed at the office." He turned back
to Greg.

"Did you get my message? Phones are down so I had use
the PlayStation."

Greg nodded. "I saw it before we left the house. I was
on my way here anyway once we got away from the office."

James nodded. He knew he could count on Greg to watch out
for his family if something happened to him. "Let's head downstairs. We're
in the basement in case any of those things are walking around. They're drawn
to noise."

Greg and Carol followed. "They are?" Greg
asked. 

"Yea, I'll tell you all about it. Got stuck in the
hospital this morning. First things first, though. You guys hungry?"

"We ate a bit before we left my place. Won't say no to
more food though."

James chuckled. "We've got some stuff downstairs."

Downstairs there were hugs all around as everyone expressed how
happy they were to see each other. Laura looked Greg over several times despite
his protestations that he was fine. After some leftover cold pasta, James and
Greg took turns relating their mornings. 

"So, it's the bite that spreads it then," Greg
said. "That's good to know. O'Hara said the same thing but it's good to
have some firsthand confirmation."

James nodded. "From what I could tell, it looked to be
a few hours before they get back up."

"Things are gonna get a lot worse then," Greg
said. "All those people that escaped the hospital..."

Laura nodded. "So what do we do? I don't think it'll be
safe to stay in the city for too long."

"I agree," Carol said. "Especially with that
message Shirley O'Hara sent out."

"People are gonna be out in the streets," James
said. "They'll probably go for grocery stores and such first."

Greg nodded. "Are we agreed then? We need to get out of
the city?" Greg looked around and saw nods from everyone.

"Alright. I think we need a few things if we're going
to do that."

"We'll definitely need food," Carol said.
"We've got a few days’ worth in the car but we'll need more."

Laura nodded. "We've got a few days’ worth here also.
We can stretch it a bit but we'll definitely need some more."

"Should we hit a grocery store then?" James
snorted. "I'm a cop and I'm about to advocate breaking and entering."

Greg shook his head. "This is survival bud. I'm not
sure the normal rules apply anymore. But hey, if the store's open, I've got no
problem paying for what we need."

James nodded. "You're right. It might not be bad yet,
but it'll get there. I'll be fine."

Greg nodded. He thought back to how he had felt in the
office that morning. That moment when he realized he had to fight or die.
Things were definitely going to get worse. If they wanted to survive, they
would probably have to do lots of things they wouldn't normally do. They'd have
to deal with any guilt later. 

"I'm not sure a grocery store should be our first
stop," he said.

"Why?" Laura asked. "We're going to need
food."

"Well, I mean maybe we don't want to hit the normal
places. Anyone else sitting around like us is going to be coming to the same
conclusions. So maybe we want to hit the smaller stores first.
Also convenience stores and places like that."

James nodded. "That makes sense." He looked around
the room. "We'll also need camping gear. We can't sleep in our cars."

Greg nodded. "You're right. Tents and stuff. Cooking
gear."

"Why don't we make a list?" Laura asked.
"Then we can prioritize what we need to get first."

Greg nodded again. "Alright. I think time is an issue
so it would go faster if we split things up. Laura, not to sound sexist but
you're probably best suited to take care of the foodstuffs."

Laura snorted. "That's fine, Greg. If I left it up to
you we'd probably have nothing but cans of beans."

Greg chuckled. "There's nothing wrong with beans.
Carol? Would you mind giving her a hand?" Carol nodded and moved to sit
next to Laura.

"James, let's take of camping gear and such. When we're
done, we can compare lists and see if anyone missed anything." Everyone
seemed to agree with this so Greg and James moved off to the side to discuss
their list.

Greg looked around. "Where are the kids?"

"They're sleeping," James replied as he pointed to
a corner in the basement. "Laura made them a pallet earlier. We've been
keeping them down here all day so there's been little else for them to
do."

Greg nodded. "Alright, so let's go over this list. We
definitely need camping stuff."

James nodded. "Before we get to that, we need to
discuss weapons. None of the rest matters if we can't keep ourselves
safe."

"That makes sense. I've got my machete and my two
pistols. All of those replicas looked useless for any actual use."

"Alright. I've got my asp, my service pistol, and few things
around the house." He paused to think for a moment. "We've got the
shotgun and couple more pistols. Think we've got a baseball bat or two lying
around somewhere too."

"How much ammo do you have?"

"At least a box for each type of weapon," James
replied.

"So do we want to add hitting a gun shop to the
list?"

"Not a bad idea," James replied. "We need to
think about protective gear too. Something to protect us from a bite."

Greg nodded. "Maybe a leather jacket or something? That
would take care of the arms and torso. Then maybe some thick gloves."

James nodded. "Need something for our legs too. Don't
think jeans will necessarily stop a bite."

Greg rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "What about some
overalls or something? You know, like construction workers wear?"

"That should work. We'll need boots too. Every area
needs to be protected. Something for our heads too."

"Maybe a helmet, or a hockey mask or
something." 

"That's a good idea," James said. "So we'll
need to hit a sporting goods store for some of this."

Greg nodded. "That about cover it for gear?"

"I think so. Experience will tell us anything else we
need. Hopefully we'll find out what else we need without anyone getting
hurt."

"Agreed, " Greg said. "Okay so we also need
camping stuff. I'm thinking a sporting goods store will let us take care of
both of those at once."

James nodded. They spent the next half hour making a list of
camping gear, trying to stick to the bare essentials as they would only have so
much space in their vehicles. With that done they met with the girls and to see
if someone had left something critical off of their list.

"That looks good to me," Laura said. "We
haven't been camping too often but I think that covers most of what we
need."

"The grocery list looks good too," Greg said.

Carol nodded. "We stuck mostly to dry goods and canned
stuff. We figure we can spend a few days here and eat our frozen stuff so we
don't have to go off the fresh stuff right away."

James nodded. "That sounds good. I've got one of those
electric grills. I can cook some steaks tonight. Might as well eat good while
we can."

Greg smiled. "I'm not going to argue with that."

"So how do we go about getting this stuff?" Laura
asked.

Greg thought for a moment. "I'm thinking James and I
should go. I don't like the thought of one of us not being here but I don't
know what we'll run into down there."

Everyone nodded at this. "I have a request," Carol
said. "I want you to teach me how to use one of those guns we have. I want
to pull my own weight here."

Everyone looked ready to protest but Carol continued,
"I know there's other things I can do but I don't want to just stand by if
we get attacked. I don't want to be helpless."

James nodded. "I'll set you up with one of our pistols.
We'll go over the basics before we leave." James thought for a moment.
"Once we leave the city, we can do lessons."

"Thanks," Carol said as she nodded.

"Alright," Laura began, "it's best for you
and James to go. When do you leave?"

"I'm thinking sooner rather than later," Greg
replied. "Give it a few days and we'll have to deal with desperate people,
not just the infected."

Laura nodded. "Maybe you guys should go now then. I can
teach Carol the basics on the gun and we'll get dinner going why you guys are
out."

James nodded. "That makes sense. What do you think,
Greg?"

Greg nodded. "Laura's right. Time's a factor here. The
longer we wait, the more chance we'll run into people. With what's happening,
that could easily be a fight over resources."

"Do you think it'll come to that?" Carol asked.

"Definitely," James replied. "We might get
another day or so of relative calm but people are gonna get desperate real
quick. Just food alone will do it. Most people only have a few days’ worth of
food in their house I'm thinking. I definitely think it's gonna get rough. You
remember that Black Friday a few years back?"

"I think someone got trampled," Carol
replied.

James nodded. "Exactly. Now, that was over toys and
such. What are people going to do for food?"

"That makes sense," Carol said. "Just makes
me sad to think people will act like that when there are literally people
running around trying to kill them."

Greg sighed. "I don't really like to think it, but I
think it's pretty much us versus the world."

Everyone sat in silence for a few minutes as they thought
about this. Greg and James stood up after a few minutes and headed upstairs. It
was time to get what they could off their lists. James took a few minutes to
change out of his uniform and met Greg in the garage.

"We'll take the minivan," James said.

"Sounds good," Greg replied.

They headed out and made good time for the most part. There
were more people about now. Some had probably seen the O'Hara newscast and were
also out gathering supplies. 

"More people about now," Greg said.

James nodded. "Yeah, good thing we left when we did.
Less chance of running into someone stupid this way."

"True. So, how you holding up man?" he asked
thinking about Jeffries.

James snorted. "I don't need to be analyzed,
Greg."

"Not analyzing. Just friend to friend. How are
you?"

James shrugged. "I have no choice but to be okay. Now
isn't the time to be sitting around crying.  My family needs me. So I'm
fine. If we can be really safe at some point, maybe I'll be sad then. No time
for it now."

Greg nodded. "Well, I've got a question for you
then."

"Shoot," James replied.

"So this morning, at the office. When I had to kill Mr.
Ramsey, I felt that I should have felt bad about it. But I didn't. I wasn't sad
at all. In fact, I was actually kinda satisfied."

"Well, I don't think we can really think of these
things as human first off. The way they act..." James trailed off as he
thought back to his ordeal at the hospital this morning.

"I don't really think it's something you should feel
bad about. You defended yourself and Carol. She's alive because of you."

Greg nodded. "Alright. What about other people though.
We're bound to run into someone at some point. If not today, then eventually.
Anyone that survives is going to be looking for stuff just like we are."

James was silent for a few moments as he thought. "I'm
a cop. Have been for what, ten years now? I've always prided myself on being
careful. I never wanted to be that cop that shot someone when they were just
reaching for a cell phone. But now? Unless the government miraculously shows
up and takes care of this, I'm not a cop anymore. I'm just a man looking to
protect his family. And that man will do whatever he needs to do."

Greg nodded. That made sense. He would do whatever he needed
to as well. James, Laura, and the kids were his family. Had been for years now
since his parents had died. And well, it looks like Carol was a part of that
now too. He didn't know what would happen with them as far as a relationship
went, but she was definitely on his list of people to protect. He'd keep all of
them safe no matter what. 

"We're here," James said. Greg looked up and saw
that they had arrived at a Rick's Sporting Goods. There were a good number of
cars in the parking lot, was the place doing business as usual?

"What do you think," Greg asked as James pulled
into a spot. "Looks fairly normal here."

James nodded. "Maybe leave the machete. Keep the pistol
though. Just cover it with your shirt."

Greg nodded. They didn't want any problems in the store if things
were still running normally here. Greg took a moment to remove the machete from
his belt and then made sure his sure covered his gun. Satisfied, they headed
inside. They reached the door and saw two employees standing at the door, each
of them had a bat in hand.

BOOK: Apocalypse Empire (Book 1): Apocalypse Origins
11.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Magnificent Bastard by Lili Valente
Fall of Light by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Runway Ready by Sheryl Berk
The Box of Delights by Masefield, John
Dark of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne
The President's Angel by Sophy Burnham
Metallica: This Monster Lives by Joe Berlinger, Greg Milner