Once night came, the streets were the last place on Earth you wanted to be, Jack thought as he made his way along Ticker Street. At this rate he’d get to the mall in about three hours if he didn’t get in a fight. He and his friend Earl had been living in a small army camp just outside of town. They had to clean out the area first as there were diseased soldiers all through the camp. Luckily Earl’s dad used to take him out on weekends and go shooting. Earl had taught Jack how to handle a gun and together they made quick work of cleaning out the camp. Then they fortified the camp but didn’t do it too heavily as it was surrounded by an eight foot, fence with barbed wire along the top. They found an old radio and there was a broadcast from other kids that told them to come to the mall, they decided there was safety in numbers and prepared to leave. But that had been two weeks ago; their food supply was getting low so they had left camp, well, at least Jack had. Earl died at the gate of the camp, he had a machine gun and thought he was invincible but they quickly overwhelmed him.
No, Jack thought, he died for me to get out.
Jack had slipped out while they fought over Earl’s dead body. Jack was carrying a large sports bag, stuffed with as many guns and ammunition packets he could carry, but left it all in the bag and only carried a baseball bat with nails in the end. He was nearly to the mall, he could see it in the distance, a huge building with a high wall made out of pieces of metal and random bits of furniture. There was a large iron gate, made out of two garage roller doors, there was also a lookout built on the top. In the darkness he could see a light blinking on and off in a pattern. They can see me, he thought, and got his torch out and repeated the pattern. He quickened his pace to a jog, careful not to make too much noise, the infected were sensitive to noise. He got to the gate but a group of infected had emerged from behind an overturned truck.
“Help!” he yelled and banged on the door, “Let me in!” he cried.
There was a screeching noise as chains on the door were being hoisted and a group of kids ran out and viciously attacked the grown-ups. He joined in and half an hour later he was inside eating a warm soup, it was just cabbage soup but it was far better than anything he’d eaten in a while. The girl who had given him the soup was pretty, she was fairly thin and tanned, with blonde hair and a splash of freckles across her nose.
“So what’s your name?” she asked politely smiling at him.
“Jack.” He said.
She held out her hand, “Hi Jack, I’m Hayley.” They shook hands, “So where’d you come from?” she asked.
“Well, me and a friend were staying at an abandoned army camp, there was plenty of food so we thought we were all set, but when we heard the call on the radio we decided there was safety in numbers.” He explained to her.
“Where’s your friend?” she said, tilting her head slightly.
He sighed and looked at the ground, “H-he didn’t make it.” He said in a small voice.
“Oh,” Hayley said, “Don’t worry, we’ve all lost people, I’ll be hanging around if you ever need to talk, I’ve got to go and clean dinner dishes, see ya.”
She got up and walked a few steps then turned around and gave a little wave, Jack smiled and waved back.
Good, he thought, I’ve only been here for an hour and I’ve already made a friend.
A boy walked over to him, he looked like he was fifteen and he had straight brown hair, watchful eyes, and a smile on his face.
“Hi there,” he said in a cheery voice, “you must be Jack?”
He nodded, “Yep, that’s me.” He said.
He smiled “Pleased to meet you, I’m Rick.” Rick held out his hand and Jack shook it, his grip was firm but friendly. He walked over to a chair and sat down, “So where you from?”
Jack’s expression turned dark, “Me and a friend were staying at an abandoned army camp.”
Rick nodded and knew better than to ask about it. Rick looked at the bag, “What’s in the bag?”
Jack smiled, “Just some things I thought would be useful.”
He unzipped the bag and Rick’s eyes went wide as he saw the huge stash of guns and ammunition. “Now I understand why you were only armed with the baseball bat, you didn’t want us to think you were a threat.”
Jack nodded “That’s right.” He said “I thought maybe you could set up a patrol team to make this place safer.”
Rick smiled again, “Yes I’d appreciate that a lot; we had lost three little kids the other day.”
Jack looked around the room; there were a lot of kids just in this room, fifteen big kids that he could count and five little ones.
“How many kids u got here?” he asked, Rick though, “Well, I’m pretty sure we got about fifty kids, roughly forty big kids and twenty little kids.”
“Wow,” Jack said, “where do you get all the food from?” Rick laughed, “We plant our own in the open-roofed gardening section with whatever seeds we can find, and sometimes we go out and scavenge for some tinned meat.”
“Oh, sounds like you really got this place well set up.” Jack said.
Rick got up, “Well, I’ve gotta go, I’ll send Hayley to show you to your bunk.” He turned, took the gun bag and left.
I’m going to love this place, Jack thought.