Trey ran along the town wall, lopping at the heads of the dead that had broken through the gates. They hadn’t lasted long, two hours and the gates fell apart, allowing the dead inside. Rick and his team were at the evacuation buses at the depot on the southern wall. He and some experienced fighters drew the dead back towards the northern wall. They had bombs, and at the moment, that was the only thing keeping them alive. Sweat ran down Trey’s face, he’d been hacking away at the monsters for what felt like hours. His team were told to wait for the signal flare, then make a run for the final evac bus. Trey had asked for his favorite bus to be left, it was armored with sheets of corrugated iron and bars blocking the windows and had an old train ram attached to the front. It had been a project that he devoted all his spare time to after he got settled into the town’s routine. A brilliant light shook Trey out of his thoughts, the flare. The small fraction of his team that remained saw it too and started running. The infected turned and stared at the sky. It gave the team the break they needed and before the infected noticed, they had jumped on their BMX bikes and were halfway to the bus depot. Trey raced into the garage, grabbed the bus keys and sprinted to the driver’s seat. The engine started, with a mighty roar and Trey took off, running into several infected before getting out onto the open road, he look back, taking one last look at the place he had called home, knowing he could never truly be safe.
Jack crouched on the roof of Rick’s bus, he had his rifle aimed at the head of a gargantuan type of infected. It waddled around scratching its backside then crumpling into a heap once its head exploded from the impact of the bullet. So far the head was the only weakness those giants had, which Jack though was a good thing, because it let him perfect his target practice. Lewis looked awestruck by Jack’s abilities with the rifle, which made Jack laugh.
He ruffled the smaller boy’s hair, causing Lewis to playfully punch Jack in the arm. “I want you to teach me how to shoot, Jack, I want to be as good a shot as you.”
Jack laughed, “That’s gonna take a lot of time and practise, not to mention use up a lot of ammo. Maybe if we find some blanks for you to practise with then I’ll teach you, ok?”
Lewis looked crestfallen, “But I really want to learn.”
Jack looked at the smaller boy, right in the eyes, “I promise I’ll teach you when we’re at a safe place and have some spare time, but right now, the people of the town need us. They need me and they need you to take care of them, to lead them to safety, you up for that?”
Lewis nodded, picking up his slingshot.
Eventually they got to their stop, Jack smiled at the sound of the kids groaning from pins and needles in their legs. The college was huge, it looked bigger than the town did. There weren’t as many building but the apartment towers next to it made up for lost accommodation. The football fields had been converted into a large farm and the colours of the different fruits made Jack’s eye’s hurt. He was used to the dull grey of the city, but here, it was like the Garden of Eden. Lewis got off the bus, and his eye’s nearly popped out of his head.
“Wow, this place is awesome!” he exclaimed.
Jack grinned, “Once we get everyone settled, you up for a game of football?”
Lewis nodded vigorously.
“Jack,” Rick’s voice called from behind him, “can you give me a hand with the food and weapon supplies?”
Jack nodded, “Sure, Lewis go to one of the grounds guards and find out what room we’re in, I’ll meet you up there later, ok?”
Lewis’s face pouted, “But what about football!” he complained, “You promised you’d play.”
Jack scowled, “Look, I’ve got more important stuff to do right now, you find our room and I’ll be there later, then we can play football, got it?”
Lewis nodded and walked away slowly. Jack punched the side of the bus, “Man, that kid drives me nuts sometimes.”
Rick put a hand on Jack’s shoulder, “He looks up to you like a brother, you know? Lewis was an only child and was home-schooled up until the start of school last year. He never had any friends and now he has a chance to hang out with one of the coolest guys he knows. He just gets a little pushy sometimes, you gotta learn to ignore it.”
Jack nodded, staring at the kids walking around and unloading supplies into the college. “I guess so.” He agreed.
Rick smiled, “Now what do you say? You gonna help me with this? Or you just gonna stand there?”
Yuri paced across the college hall, he was anxious. They were safe from the monsters for now, but how were they to survive without a leader? Yuri knew he had to step up to the challenge but he didn’t think he was ready for that kind of responsibility. He looked out across the college and saw the smaller children playing happily and for that moment everything felt normal. I have to protect them, Yuri thought, we need to rebuild our community and I will make that happen. A voice shook Yuri from his thoughts, he turned around, it was Trey. He was bloody from battle and Yuri couldn’t tell if it was his or the monsters.
“Trey, did we lose anyone?”
Trey nodded gravely, “Alex and Peter, Andrea tried to save them but she got taken too.”
Yuri placed a hand on Trey’s shoulder, “It’s not your fault, Trey, they came because they knew that it was probably going to be a death trap but also that it gave the rest of us hope, hope of surviving this, hope of being able to try and live a normal life. You gave them hope.”
He nodded, “I know, but it still feels like I could’ve done something to stop it, you know?”
Yuri sighed, “Yeah, I get what you mean, but we gotta move on. Someone has to start running this place.”
Trey looked confused. “Where’s Michael?”
Yuri smirked, “You think I’d let that lazy prick use our resources? I gave him a choice, he could step up and be a man back at the town, or he could stay there. I’d say he’s zombie food by now.”
Trey nodded, not at all saddened by the though of Michael's death, “So who is gonna be in charge?”
Yuri smiled, “Me, I’m going to run things differently around here. I’m talking zombie raids, getting a group of kids working on making weapons and expanding this place.”
Trey smiled, “I’m with you and I’m sure everyone else is.”
Yuri laughed, “That’s good, because there isn’t time for a vote.”
Later that day Yuri had called a meeting in the basketball stadium, it was a large building and could easily fit most of the kids in it. Trey was nervous; he hated standing up in front of crowds, even if most of them were younger than he was. Yuri was droning on about his new ideas but the only two Trey was interested in were the zombie raids and expanding the college barriers. The two jobs worked hand-in-hand with one another, first a team of fighters would be sent to clean out a building or street and then the building crew would come and make barriers so the infected couldn’t get in.
Yuri had set up little stalls around the edge of the basketball stadium and kids could go and sign their name up for a job, the zombie raid already had one hundred and twelve applicants but there were only six positions in each group, Yuri had talked about having five groups, each would be led by someone experienced and that Yuri trusted. There were trials to be held tomorrow, Trey was exempt from them because of his position, but he was going to enjoy watching the rest of the applicants compete for a position.