Sequel: Static Screams
Status: bloody

White Noise


Remember when I said I wasn’t going to blame Darren? That I wasn’t going to get mad at him for starting the group on the idea of leaving our fortified city? Remember when I said a leader has to be strong and a leader has to give their group hope and a leader has to keep it together?

I take it all back. Every word. I take every word I said about not blaming Darren and about being a strong leader back. It’s all bullshit. All of it. Because no matter how strong a leader is, if you let things be run by votes and you don’t make all the decisions yourself; you could still get your group fucked over. And by god, were we ever fucked over.

I blame Darren. And I blame my shady ass leadership skills.


We left the cabin early two mornings later. Hidden behind the cabin was a truck with a single row of seating and three quarters of a tank of gas. Ian tore the bottom of the dash out and sparked some random wires together. None of us asked him how he knew how to do that. Ian had a lot of random skills that came in handy. I guess we all did, really. I drove, with Sasha and Natalie sitting with me in the cabin of the truck. The guys all sat in the back, backs together so they could see any potential threat from any angle.

We drove along the highway until it told us to exit for a different highway. We followed those signs, and we were about three miles outside of the next major city when the truck puttered to a stop. I cursed and sighed, and we all piled out of the truck, grabbing our packs, and taking a minute to eat some of our snack mix and some water. We started along the road again, this time on foot. We hiked up the steep hill in front of us, then cursed when we could see the city. A chorus of curses, really, as they escaped all of our lips.

This side of the city was flooded with Z’s. They shuffled along the seam where the highway met the street, and stood banging into cars and walls and each other. They were absolutely everywhere. And there was no way we could make our way through them. I threw my hands up. Fucking Darren. He couldn’t have just been happy where we had been.

I turned ninety degrees and headed into the woods beside the highway. There was a bunch of protests and questions as I did so, but I marched forward. Someone grabbed my arm, and I whirled around. “What?” I shouted, turning into Darren.

“Where are you going?” He threw his arm towards the city, as if asking for an explanation.

“Well since your plan didn’t turn out very well, I’m going around the city.” He raised an eyebrow at me. “Stop that. We can’t go back the way we came, and we can’t go that way, obviously.” I waved towards the floods of zombies. “So I’m going around the city to get to the other side of the city to try and save our group because within a week we are going to need to have scavenged or be able to scavenge. So. Again. I’m going around the city.”

He sighed, then waved the others forward. Muttering to each other, they followed us through the woods. Two hours of walking through the woods, avoiding or taking out Z’s that had straggled into the trees, we made it to the other end of the city. We crouched on the edge of the tree line, all carefully watching around us for any surprises. I made sure the safety was off on my gun, and Peter and Natalie did the same for theirs. Peter had a shotgun I’d found in the same police station I had found my other goodies. Natalie had a revolver she had stumbled upon when she was still on her own. Little but brave, Natalie had made it two months before she’d found Ian, who had heard of my merry little band of survivors, and was trying to catch up and join us. A week later, they found us. At first I was apprehensive. Natalie didn’t look like much, but Ian was muscled. Soon after they both proved they belonged and could carry their own weight. Of course, we lost someone that same day, so there was room in the group.

Lucky them.

“Okay,” I started, shifting my squat to rest on one leg, the other stuck out. Made for easier jump-to-it-ness. “We need to get there.” I pointed with my axe towards the short brick building. The windows were reinforced with metal barriers to keep out robbers and looters, and the door had one of those metal gates that could close behind it. It was open about a foot, which was the reason we’d chosen it. The majority of the buildings on this end of the town all had these reinforcements. Which only served as a reminder that even before The End, things had been going downhill. Everyone had invested in these metal gratings to protect their lifelines. Their stores. Of course, soon after, all went to hell and even metal fencing couldn’t keep looters out. But this store didn’t look like it had been hit by anyone yet.

Yet meaning until we crossed the street and broke in. Granted, this entire plan fell on the door being unlocked, or me having enough time to pick the lock. If we broke it – the store wouldn’t have as much protection and wouldn’t be a good choice to stay in anymore. Same goes for if we broke the window. The metal gratings might give us some protection; but not nearly as much as what seemed to be, by the offset gleam of it, bulletproof glass, and locked doors.

Once again, the group was leaning on me to be able to get us in there safely. They all knew as well as the next one, that the deaths this group had seen, were all because of the individuals that were ripped apart. They weren’t safe, they weren’t cautious, and they didn’t follow the rules we all had set. The reason this group had lasted seven months together, was because we all followed the rules. We all followed the safety precautions and they all knew I was leader.

They all trusted me to keep them safe. Which only made me feel like my shoulders would break with all the pressure and responsibilities on them. Feeling that now, I rolled my shoulders, and stretched my arms and neck. “I’d guess we have about five minutes to get from here and inside that store before a hoard hears us or catches us.”

A muffled shriek from Natalie sent my hair flying as I spun around. Four Z’s had come up behind us. “Shit. Make that three minutes. Let’s move!”

Pistol shoved back into my holster, and lock picks in my mouth, I hoisted up my axe. Peter and Ian quickly dispatched two of the four Z’s, and Sasha kicked back a third, before bringing her bat in to shatter its skull. It crumbled to the ground. I started counting down the minutes in my head. One eighty, one seventy-nine, one seventy-eight. Darren followed me as I took off, leaving the others to kill the fourth and then come pounding at the sidewalk after us. I sprinted towards the store, weaving in and out of the cars, careful to keep my feet a safe distance from them. I saw at least six of the decaying carnivores, and ignored them as I slid to a crouch, and quickly started picking the lock. “Shit.” I mumbled as I dropped one of the two tiny tools. One fifty-five, one fifty-four. Fingers scraping on the concrete, I roughly grabbed at the tiny metal object. I cursed again and flicked my nail beneath it. Finally off the flat ground, it was easy to pick up.

I shoved the two pieces back into the lock, and looked around while I waited for the first click. Everyone was fighting off zombies. One eleven, one ten, one oh nine, one oh eight. Darren stood behind me, blocking off the zombies from me while I had my focus on the lock. Ninety, eight-nine, eight-seven. “Fuck, fuck, fuck. Darren, I can’t pick this stupid lock!”

“What do we do?” He asked, voice slightly frantic.

I started looking around for better options and a way out, and I froze. This group was counting on me to get us in this stupid store, and I froze. I couldn’t get in. Sixty-four, sixty-three. First, I let a vote happen, and we lost our safe city. Fifty-seven, fifty-six. Then, I led us to this stupid over run town. Forty-two, forty-one, forty. Then, I tried to get us in a stupid store to fucking feed us. Twenty, nineteen, eighteen. Now, we were all going to die a painful terrible death, or turn into one of these walking, flesh tearing, freaks.

“Scarlett!” Twelve, eleven, ten.

I shook my head and looked at Darren. He must have been saying my name for at least a minute. “Five.” I muttered. He stared at me, eyes wide.

I heard a shriek, my head turned quickly to Natalie. She was shrieking and her eyes were glued to something. Three, two. I followed her gaze. Ian had his hands to his neck, and blood was gushing out of his fingers. I looked back at Darren.


“Scarlett!” Sasha started screaming at me, as she pulled Natalie behind her. Peter fought off the zombies that followed after them. I worked my way around Darren, and around the others as they reached us. I pulled out my pistol, and shot one in the eye. It collapsed. I brought my axe forward in the skull of another. It collapsed. I shot again, while I pulled my axe from the dead-again Z. The third collapsed. I swung into another skull, and left my axe there while I moved in the now clear area towards Ian, who lay on the ground, gurgling blood and soaking in it. I saw his blue lips try to say my name.

I heard myself let a meaningless apology fall from my lips.

And then I fired a third shot.

I heard Natalie shrieking behind me for Ian.

I heard Sasha screaming for help.

Like there was anyone left in this stupid fucking world to help us.
♠ ♠ ♠
1,786 words.

180 seconds.

5 hearts breaking.