The New Plague

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Chapter 22

Rick slung his new katana over his back; he had found it in the library of the college and spent hours sharpening it. He made his way to the bike racks, where Butch, Ben and Jack were waiting for him. Yuri had tasked them with finding out if there were any nearby settlements, and if they’d form an alliance or even trade with the college. Rick had picked the three best fighters, he had argued with Yuri that a smaller group would be better for this kind of task and they’d go on bikes to seem like less of a threat. He told Yuri if they showed off their armoured buses and weaponry, they’d most likely get raided by another settlement.

“You ready, Rick?” Butch asked.

Rick smiled, “Yeah, let’s go guys.”

They rode down the highway, there didn’t seem to be many infected in the area but the further away from the college they got, the more frequent the infected were in the streets. Most of the shops they’d passed were smashed and looted. Rick kept a mental map of where most of the hardware stores were for when the college kids needed more tools. He kept peddling his BMX, taking a moment to enjoy the fresh air and the quiet. The temporary bliss was interrupted by the sound of motorbike engines cutting through the tranquil peace. The group leapt off their bikes and ducked into an alleyway, and peered out into the street from behind a dumpster. The motorbikes pulled up outside a small warehouse. There were at least 5 of them; their riders were dressed in leathers with metal plates made of scrap metal strapped to various areas of their bodies.

“Friendly or not?” Butch whispered to Rick.

One of the bikers cracked his neck as he pulled a body bag from the side of his bike. The person inside writhed furiously, trying to break free of the hulking boy’s grip.

“Looks like they got another kid in that bag, I don’t think they’re friendly. We haven’t been over this side of town long, so who knows how things work over here.”

Butch nodded, “We gonna help that guy?” He asked.

Rick shook his head, “We don’t know how many people they got in there,” he pointed to some more bikers, walking with guns in their hands, on a long catwalk that connected a few of the buildings together, “Plus we couldn’t even get close without being seen. We’ll be better off coming back when there are more of our people.”

Butch nodded, “Well let’s go get some backup.”

The boys headed off, filled with the addictive excitement that adventure brought. Then the screaming started.

Jack’s head snapped around to the back of the alleyway, where a stick-thin lady huddled against the wall. Jack strode over to her.

“Hello? Are you ok?” he asked. The figure panted, but stopped screaming. “Guys, it’s another person, an adult.”

Jack walked closer, the lady did smell, but didn’t everyone these days? He prodded her with the tip of his crossbow bolt. Suddenly the lady let out another scream and turned to face them. It stared, hungrily at Jack with yellow eyes and a bloodstained face.

“Nope, definitely not a lady.” He yelped.

Jack ran back to join Rick and the others.

“The chick isn’t a chick.” Jack gasped.

“It’s one of them, not the normal ones. It’s like… different. Got hug claws and a crazy ass face.”

Butch let out a small laugh, “Crazy ass or face? Or has she got both?”

The rest of the boy’s laughed, while Jack took aim and shot the crazy lady through the head. She fell to the ground and the screaming stopped.

Rick walked over to him, “Did you notice those bikers didn’t even care to look and see what the screaming was? I reckon that your crazy lady is just some kind of new infected. I’m gonna call her a Siren.”

Jack nodded then pulled Rick to the ground. “The screaming stopped, so they’re gonna come out and have a look at what stopped it, won’t they?”

Rick nodded, peering over the dumpster at the group of bikers coming out of the warehouse. “We gotta get back to the college and let Yuri know.”

On the walk back, Butch pulled Rick to the side, “When are we gonna go back to the Mall?” he asked in a low voice.

Rick shook his head, “We aren’t.”

Harvey’s day had gone from bad to worse. He was chased out of his little apartment room by some undead guests. They chased him for about an hour, then he finally managed to lose them. Then he got caught walking in the wrong neighbourhood by the Reapers. The Reapers were a bunch of tough kids who ran around the place killing zombies and stealing from groups of smaller people. They had man power, food and guns, the three things that mattered most. Occasionally he tried to steal things from them; he’d had a lot of beatings so they knew his face. He ducked behind an overturned car as the motorbikes came revving passed. The Reapers got off at one of the old warehouse, so Harvey decided to see what they were up to. He slipped through the side door of the building and hid under some camouflage net that was draped over some boxes. Camo net? He took a closer look at the boxes and they read in stencilled print: “USA Marines, Gamma Squadron. Operation Zenith. Ammunition.” His eyes widened, this was military gear, and those boxes were everywhere. How much did these guys have?

Harvey crawled on the ground, sandwiched between the ammunition crates and the wall of the warehouse. He made his way to a small storeroom, the silenced pistol digging into his hip. The boxes at this end were stacked high enough for Harvey to stand up. He made his way quietly to the door, voices echoed from the other side.

“We’ve sent a radio transmission to the Poachers about the zombie migration behaviour that they have been displaying.”

He frowned, that didn’t sound like a big and tough Reaper, it sounded like a nerd that was wetting himself with fear. They must have captives working for them. Harvey wasn’t the hero type of guy but he knew what it was like to be a victim of the Reaper’s brutality.

Another voice spoke, this one was definitely a Reaper. “In English, nerd.”

The nerd spoke again. “I told the Poachers about the strange behaviour that the zombies were showing, when they move around in large groups, knocking out small survivor groups and such. The Poachers leader, Darren, said they’d be happy to go on hunting expeditions with your boys and said they’d like a truce between both of your gangs. They said it is time to start working together to make things easier and know who the real enemy is.”

One of the Reapers snorted, “We’ll work with those guys but that sounds a little bit lovey-dovey to me.”

Harvey had heard enough, he spun around to leaving but slammed straight into a hulking figure. “Well look who it is, Harvey Barbie. How you goin’ buddy?”

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