Last Updated on July 8, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
As the night began to settle in, the shadows from under the door became less pronounced. It was getting more difficult to see whether the gas station was still filled with the walking dead. However, the gurgling sounds they made were greatly reducing in volume. This meant the zombies either walked off or were content with standing. Either of these were a possibility. I remember watching one zombie stand in place for several days until something caught its attention.
After spending a few weeks with the moans and groans of nearby zombies, I learned to live with certain sounds. At first, it can be very difficult to feel comfortable enough to sleep. But once you figure out ways to keep yourself safe from the dead, it becomes easier with time. This night was no different. Not only was the metal bathroom door locked, my foot was also against the surface. This was to help keep it shut while alerting me if anyone does manage to open it. At that point, I felt as safe as I could in a town full of rotting corpses.
I don’t know how long I was asleep, but it was the light from under the door that woke me up. I lost my watch a long time ago and really didn’t have need of time. I laid there on the floor peeking through to see if I could identify any bodies. Across the gas station on the floor, I saw the new hammer I dropped. If I could make it to the hammer, I could surely make short work of any remaining zombies in the building. That is, unless there was an army of dead waiting for me outside. It must have been an hour or two that I spent in this position without seeing a single foot step or shadow move. That didn’t mean anything, though. Those bastards could remain dormant and silent for a very long time.
I sat myself up and began taking inventory of my gear. The last thing I wanted was to be on the run while leaving something valuable behind. As soon as I was sure that everything was in its place, I tried to get to my feet. The pain in my knee was more obvious when I tried to bend it. From what I could tell, however, I should be able to hobble along quite nicely. The plan was to make it to the hammer as quickly as possible and head directly south out of town. Luckily, there were several buildings and alleyways that I could duck into if things turned bad.
Standing next to the doorway, I carefully unlocked the mechanism between myself and damnation. I found it quite amazing how things always seem to be louder when you’re trying to be quiet. As my pulse began to quicken, I slowly unlatched the large metal door and peered into the gas station. From what I could tell, there wasn’t a corpse in sight. Here was the moment of truth. It was time to leave my solitude in darkness and brave the world once again. I darted out with amazing speed considering how much I was limping. I figured it was the adrenaline that gave me the extra boost of speed as well as the drive to get out of town. I slowed down only slightly to pick up the hammer as I made it to the gas station’s doors. I paused and glanced around. Oddly enough, it seemed the zombies moved on. Usually you don’t see that kind of behavior unless there was something grabbing their attention.
The road to the south looked clear. If I was going to leave, I had do to it then. Because of my knee, I decided to try and sneak my way through the structures. If I simply ran straight out of town, I could attract some unwanted attention. Besides, it would be much easier on my knee if I could ninja my way past the dead. I gripped my hammer tight and spied across the intersection at the alley. That was going to be my target.
I hobbled with the grace of a wounded gazelle as I crossed the asphalt towards the alleyway. Once I got to the space between the buildings, I was able to relax a bit. The entire length of the alley looked safe. I was still going to take it easy as something could be hiding under a dumpster or behind a trash can. As I walked, my ears were carefully tuned to pick up any sound no matter how insignificant. I held the hammer up in a striking position ready to pummel anything that came out. Each step was one more closer to getting out of town and finding safety.
Before the alley came to the end of the block, it opened up into a parking lot. It was wide open and offered no shelter from the west side. A building still lined the east side of the alley giving me cover from the downtown areas of Cranberry. I glanced down the pathway across the street and could see the old police station. As I suspected, someone must have gathered the attention of the zombies in town. The dead looked like they were holding a rally in front of the building’s doors. Usually that meant someone was trapped.
This is where the dilemma started. I could take advantage of the situation and just leave some poor Joe to rot. On the other hand, I could play the hero and try to help who ever is trapped within the police station. I didn’t know if the person was friend or foe, but my conscious was nagging at me to help. Being less than 100%, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be of any real assistance. I did have a few arrows and a bow, but the horde was quite large. I needed to make a decision quick. The longer I stood near the alley entrance, the more likely I was going to be spotted.[template id=”416″]
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