Published on August 18th, 2012 | by Brendan Bertrand0
Survivors of the New Age: Part 5
I didn’t sleep well, I kept thinking of the last house we looted. I thought about whether the kid was alive or not, with friends or running around alone. He could be dead. We didn’t exactly search the whole house so I couldn’t be sure. I would get over this eventually. Everything fades sooner or later, even humanity has faded, they’re all rotting corpses now. Sure, they still move and eat but, they’re still rotting and dead. If we had enough food, we could be able to hide out forever until they’re all nothing but bone. No, that would be impossible, we’re having trouble feeding ourselves for a day, let alone for a few months or years. I guess this is what an animal feels like, hiding in a hole until day time then scavenging for food with a constant fear of getting eaten. I’m not all that scared though, Keith is pretty badass, definitely useful. We’ve joined the circle of death, we kill, eat then eventually get killed and eaten by others, then it continues in a loop. Once we’re infected, we shall kill and eat yet again, a very interesting loop indeed.
We left the house early with our usual equipment, bags stacked at least halfway. I admired my handiwork on the front door before leaving. I was impressed at what I managed to do with almost no experience whatsoever. I played it cautiously today. I didn’t want to get close to them for some reason. I also hesitated before making a kill once or twice. I’m not doing too well. I was walking with my head down along a walkway, pass the many houses a few streets away from our holdout. We were really just trying to find survivors today and maybe get a few scraps of food to last the night. At about twelve o’clock of walking in circles, I stopped, my heart started beating so loud I thought Keith might hear it. Spray painted on the concrete was a fluorescent yellow ‘S’ with the end curling up to form an arrow pointing ahead of us. I beckoned Keith over to look, we squatted down to investigate.
“Safe house? Survivors? Supplies?” He said, guessing at what it meant.
“Suicide” I replied bluntly, scratching my chin. Keith swallowed.
“There’s only one way to find out” He said, standing up with a grunt. “Either way, it means survivors.”
Now that I think back, it probably wasn’t a good idea in the first place. For one, we had no idea where we were going, two, even if there were survivors they were likely a group of bandits and three, it’s very likely that the markings were left there long before the infection. But we followed it anyway, finding multiple more markings leading us towards an area I wasn’t familiar with. We fought a few infected on our way to wherever these markings led us and eventually, we saw it, a make-shift road blockade, made with cars, furniture and random scraps of metal and wood. We stood staring at it, shocked. A couple abandoned cars littered the road before the barricade along with many blood stains splattered almost everywhere. I studied the wall again. A large entrance was in the centre, big enough for a single vehicle to pass through. The wall wasn’t well-made and looked like it could easily be toppled with a single push. Just as I was skimming my eyes over the right side of the wall, I saw a strange hollow pipe sticking out of it, it took me a few seconds but almost as soon as I figured it out, it flashed and a loud ‘bang’ rang out through the street. A tiny explosion smashed between us as the bullet found its way into the road. We sprinted opposite directions and hid behind the nearest cars. We waited for many minutes. Nothing but silence.
“Identify yourself! Friend or foe?” Shouted a voice from the wall. I took a long while to think about my answer, they could be bandits pretending to be scared survivors.
“We’re friendly!” Keith shouted over his car. We waited again. Another long silence. I heard heavy footsteps coming this way. I cursed silently, desperately working my brain for a plan. Too late, four men emerged and surrounded us, two on each side pointing old-looking rifles at us. “Lay down your weapons, equipment and stand with your hands in the air” an old man in his sixties ordered. We had no choice but to do what he said.
They didn’t hurt us, simply grabbed our stuff then escorted us into their base. It wasn’t big, only went as far as 5 houses, all of which seemed to be barricaded so no one could enter. They had set up tents on the front lawns, the largest being on the third property, right side of the street. Another road barricade was blocking the end, almost identical to the one we walked through. I counted about 10 people, all of which stared at us like we were dangerous animals, I only glared back. We were shoved into the large tent, big enough to fit 4 people inside. The space inside was almost completely empty. A foldout table with a camper chair in the middle, a sleeping bag pushed up against the left wall and a large, black hiking bag on the right. A young man, no older than 25, sat at the table with his head over a map of the city. He had long brown hair that covered almost his whole face. “Thank you, Mark, you can leave them with me. Wait outside” The man said, addressing the old man which captured us. He left without a hint of hesitation. “Good afternoon kids, my name is Andrew. Who is it I have the honour of speaking to?” I stayed quiet and glared at him. Keith looked at me with uncertainty but stayed silent as well. Andrew stared at me with deep blue eyes, like he was looking through me. His eyes made me uncomfortable. “I’m guessing you’re the leader?” He asked, still staring.
“I guess I am.” I replied, not exactly sure when I became the leader of our small group.
“I’m sorry but I’ll have to keep the two of you in this base for awhile under watch. I’m not sure whether to trust the two of you yet and letting you go could be dangerous for us all.” He lowered his eyes to the map on his table and crossed out one of the buildings in red pen. I didn’t protest, it’d be good to have a few days of rest, even if I was a prisoner. We were escorted to separate tents, just as they were finished getting put up. At least 4 men watched us daily.