Short Story – 3:10 to Zombie Town

3:10 to Zombie Town

 

Obadiah Jefferson awoke with a start as his alarm clock went off. He shook his head to throw off his drowsiness and got up from his bed. As he stood he felt his old war wound flare up and he shuffled to the bathroom in his small farmhouse outside of Boston, Massachusetts.

He inspected his face while he took his pain pills. At age fifty two he looked a decade older. He inspected his wrinkles and made faces to try and make them evaporate into the rest of his face to no avail. He trimmed the stray hairs off of his salt and pepper beard and brushed his teeth just like his momma taught him to back in Oklahoma.  He walked back into his bedroom more refreshed and began his morning exercise.

Every since he had served in Desert Storm he had made a point to keep himself in excellent physical condition, which had been more helpful in recent times than he could have imagined. After thirty minutes spent on a tread-mill he moved on to weight lifting. In his small town high school he held the bench press, squat, and hang-clean records. To say he was “built” would be an understatement.  AS he got dressed for the day’s work he shook his dog awake from its place on his bed. Troy, stared at his master with a quizzical expression on his mixed color face. “Yes we still have to work buddy, but don’t worry the plantings almost done.” With that he walked out to the hallway patting his thigh to get Troy’s attention.

After eating a quiet meal of MRE’s, that he acquired a tolerance for during his service, the two went outside to his modest one acre field. After a few hours of tilling the earth he sat on the lone stump out in his field that he refused to remove, he felt it gave the place character.  Taking a deep swig from his canteen he surveyed his field. Sure enough he would most likely finish planting by the end of the day.

Suddenly Troy began barking and growling in the direction of the large fence off to Obadiah’s left. He jerked around to look. There behind the fifteen foot fence topped with barbed wire was something that used to be a man.

From its parched mouth came a long and drawn out moan. It started as a quiet lament that grew into a lustful howl full of rage. The thing was splattered with dried blood and was missing its left arm. That didn’t stop it from shaking the fence as hard as it could.

Obadiah stared at it in disinterest. Slowly he got to his feet and grasped his personally modified M4 assault-rifle from where it was leaning against his land’s stump. The creature started to attempt to climb the fence in an attempt to get at the food standing by the stump. Obadiah slowly unscrewed the silencer from the end of his rifle. If he was going to do some extra work today he’d like to try and draw as many of them out as he could. He quietly told Troy to settle down and the dog obediently stopped barking instantly.

He sighted through his military grade ACOG (Advanced, Combat, Optical, Gun sight) and rested the creature’s head on the top of the red triangle in his scope. His farm work had been interrupted by intruders like this one for three months now. While the rest of the world panicked and looted He calmly built up his fence around his house and began digging out a field to grow food. He was allowed to stay after the military evacuations due to his status as a veteran and that he could “take care of himself”.

The first few days after the military left had been hectic. Hundreds of the things charged his little compound on the outskirts of town. Luckily he never ran out of food, ammo, or pain pills thanks to a private who “lost” some equipment while the army left. After the single report of his rifle he heard howling and saw a small group of the creatures sprint out from an alleyway across the street. It looks like he’d have to finish planting tomorrow.

 

                Bran Kilpatrick crawled up to the lip of the apartment building on his stomach. He unfolded the stock of his Lee-Enfield 96 arctic-warfare sniper rifle and rested its bipod on the edge of the building. Now sitting with his legs out to the side of the low wall on the roof he sighted in on the small camp down below.

Small groups of scavengers often came to the big cities in the search of supplies after the outbreak. If the… things didn’t get them the hostile raiders would, unless they were smart enough to get out. Most of the good things had already been looted, guns, food, Bran even saw some take a TV like they did in riots on the Tele, which was ridiculous since even the emergency warning had stopped being broadcasted over a week ago. This was a surprisingly well equipped group of scavengers, many of them had military equipment and military grade weapons and they even had a perimeter chain-link fence.

He started to get a funny feeling and was about to call off the plan but then he saw Vladimir strolling up to the gate with his customary “drunken stumble”. The plan was, and worked many a time before this, to get the group of scavengers as wasted as possible and have Vlad nick all of their useful equipment. As Bran watched he saw them take Vladimir into the center of their camp around the fire he jovially started singing a traditional Russian drinking song while he handed out alcoholic bottles to the twenty some odd people in the camp. Everything seemed to be going fine until someone walked slowly up behind Vlad.

Vladimir Gregorovich turned around slowly with his best friendly smile. The man pulled a massive magnum from under his jacket and pressed it up against his head.  Bran felt the bottom of his stomach fall out, he was over three hundred feet away and could only see through the tiny window of his scope. He suddenly realized that the men were raiders camped out for the night. The man with the magnum was a large black man with a tattered prison coverall on under his military flak jacket. Bran quickly collected his gear and shot a rope attached to a crossbow bolt into the adjacent roof-top to get closer to Vladimir. As he zip-lined across the gap he heard Vladimir yell hoarsely into his radio headset “Bran get ou-!” followed by a slight flash in the distance followed by a loud crack. “Vlad!” Bran yelled into his own head set as he crashed onto the roof of the building. Looking over the edge he saw he was right above the raider’s camp in downtown Boston.  He saw a pack of the men roughly searching through Vlad’s corpse. Bran howled and shot a bullet into the small group. His shot went wide but it definitely got the men’s attention. Instantly regretting his hasty decision bran stepped away from the ledge as bullets peppered the side of the building.

 He turned and ran for the opposite side of the building. He saw a bright yellow tube that workers would have used throw debris into a dumpster down into the adjacent alley’s dumpster. Although tempting he realized that it would be full of bricks and broken glass so he tied a rope around one of its supports and rappelled down to street level. As he started running down the street with his 30 pounds of equipment he heard shouting and as he turned a corner onto the next street he saw the raiders still pursuing him.

Straight ahead he saw the buggy he and Vlad had used to get around town in a hurry. As he threw his gear into the back of the buggy he felt something he hadn’t felt in months. Sorrow.

He and Vlad had found each other on the boat from County Cork to Boston. Since both were immigrants with nowhere to go they decided to pool their resources and make it big in the wonderful land of opportunity. They made a great pair when it came to rigging poker games and had a modest apartment that was almost as nice as Bran’s brother’s apartment that they had stayed in before they could afford to move out.

Vlad’s English was quite good for being a Russian immigrant. He even had a hint of an Irish accent since he spent so much time around Bran and his brother.  The day of the outbreak had been quite a shock to Bran just as it had been to the whole of Boston. Luckily they had made it out of Boston and to one of the military compounds out in the countryside of Massachusetts. After a day there they decided to make a break back to the city since the soldiers there were asking for volunteers to go back and send reports to them on the condition of the outbreak.

 Every night they radioed their information from Bran’s brother’s apartment. His brother was nowhere to be seen but they did find a little secret about him. It turns out that Bran’s brother was a supporter of the IRA and had a very nice stash of weapons behind a false wall in his apartment. There was also an extensive liquor cabinet in one of the penthouses in the building. With their new plan ready to be carried out they began pilfering any wanderers or naive military scouting patrols.

They had stopped receiving contact from the base a week after they established their base of operations. After the first month “zombies”, as Vlad liked to call them, were hardly a problem. Most had starved to death since the majority of people had been evacuated. It was rare to even see one wandering around. But if someone was stupid enough to use their gun without a suppressor then a whole crowd would come sprinting out of hiding to the source.

Everything had been going perfectly until this day. “Damn it!”  Bran slapped the steering wheel in anger as he turned his car around and headed back to their… well his apartment now. He knew Vlad would have wanted him to go on and not risk his neck to help him but it was one of the hardest things he’d ever had to do. As he sat in his buggy in the now sealed underground garage beneath the apartment he started crying. 

It had been like losing a brother and he had been helpless to stop it. He walked slowly up the ten flights of stairs with his gear and slumped onto his couch. The government was in shambles. There was no magic cure that would fix everything. Just as his depression hit a fever pitch he heard the radio crackle. Nearly jumping out of his skin he ran over to it.

 He adjusted the antennae until he heard the message, it was automated he could tell that from the voice. “Attention survivors in,” there was a pause while a new voice said “Boston Massachusetts.” “There will be a freight train passing by the west side train tracks at 1510 hours tomorrow. Be warned due to the loud nature of this train there is a large following of infected ahead of and behind the train. This will be the last train to pass through,” “Boston Massachusetts” “For three months. Be warned, infected sightings will increase greatly in the next twenty four hours, this will be the last chance for escape.” With wide eyes Bran sized up his situation. Without Vlad the adventure of thievery seemed to pale against a horde of new infected that this train would bring with it. And he felt like he could use a change of scenery. The message finished by saying “The train will not stop due to the number of infected, as such your best option to get on the train will be at” “The West Seneca overpass” “Good luck to you all. Bran stood and went to the hidden room. He had some packing to do.

Obadiah shut off the radio and looked down at Troy. “Well, what do you think?” Troy began wagging his tail furiously. “Ok Boy, ok,” he said with a chuckle. He then went about getting his stuff ready for the trip.

 

 

                                To be continued….

Published on May 13, 2009 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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