The New Plague

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Chapter 8

The boys from the army base settled in quickly, they became part of the brawlers group and were enjoying the freedom that Rick let his people have. Rick gave them some of the swords Matt had made, they were truly horrific weapons, made out of baseball bat handles and saw blades, and each had its own name engraved on it. Rick wanted to get rid of these weapons quickly because he couldn’t stand the sight of them in the weapons lockup, which was located in a large janitor’s room with a heavy iron door that could probably survive the end of the world.

Good choice of words, Rick, he thought.

He went into the community room; kids were just milling around playing games with one another and gossiping.

He cleared his throat extra loudly for some attention, the whole room fell silent.

“As you all know, the nerds are putting together a laboratory, but to do that they need equipment from the hospital. I need a team of about ten to fifteen fighters to come with me to the hospital. We will be taking the bus so that we can bring back as much stuff as we can in one trip. The trip might take overnight but I’m hoping to be back before dark. So what I’m asking is who will come with me?”

There was an outbreak of nervous and excited murmuring and whispers. The boys from the army base stood up.

“We’re with you, Rick.” The buff blonde one said.

Lewis and his skirmishers stood up.

“Us too.”said the small boy said with a determined look in his blue eyes.

Then Butch and his boys stood up, “Us three as well, Rick.”

Finally Jack, who had been sitting with Hayley, stood, “I’ll go too.”

Rick looked at him; his arm was injured after the trip to the army base. “Are you sure, Jack?”

Jack nodded, Hayley gripped his arm, but he brushed her hand off. “Ok, we leave in an hour.”

Jack was packing some things in his bag, when Hayley burst through the door, sobbing loudly. “I don’t want you to leave again, Jack. I want to be with you.”

Jack sighed, “I have to go, Hayley, I’m the only one other than Kyle that can handle a sniper.”

Hayley looked right into his eyes, “Then let me come with you.”

She looked at him with a mixture of determination and fear.

“No, I’m not gonna let you get killed out there, Hayley, stay here, where you can help the little kids. I’ll be okay.” His voice broke as he choked out the last part.

She kissed him, they stood there in an embrace for a while. Then Jack finally broke away.

“I’ll see ya tomorrow.” he said.

Hayley nodded solemnly, “See you later…” she walked away, sniffling.

Jack hopped on the bus, Arthur and Darcy had rigged up a fence on the top of the bus and some of the skirmishers were up there, ready to shoot any infected that got to close. Jack decided to ride up front with Rick again; half an hour later they were moving out and on the road. Jack loved the feel of the sun, warming his face, calming his thoughts, but the peaceful feeling was interrupted by the chaotic mess of the streets and the packs of infected milling around. It occurred to him that it had only been a month or two since the disease had started, and already their world was turned upside down. To get to the hospital, the squad would have to travel all the way across the city; Rick had posted lookouts on the top to look around for potential places to scavenge in or to secure for any future use. The lookouts also had two nerds with them that were marking areas on a map; that were overrun by infected. They were passing through the business district; the huge towers looming overhead gave off an eerie atmosphere. Some of the towers had remnants of fortifications and a couple they stopped to check out, but there were no signs of life except the odd grown-up. They made a stop at a petrol station and had to manually refill the bus because the pumps had no power, while they were refueling the bus, Jack decided to have a look around. The petrol station had been ransacked but the back rooms hadn’t been touched, Jack went further back and found a generator complete with solar panels to charge it. It was the kind that could take fuel or energy from the solar panels, perfect for use at the mall. He smiled, maybe he was useful after all. He fired up the generator and Rick and a couple of others came running back.

“Oh my God, we hit the jackpot!” Rick exclaimed.

They loaded the generator onto the bus and set off again. It took another hour of weaving in and out of cars until they finally got to hospital. They had one problem though; the road leading up to it was blocked by cars, but surprisingly there weren’t as many infected around here, but the ones that were, were tough and must’ve been fitness fanatics before the disease had started. The roamed around in packs of five or six, and they seemed to have a leader in each pack, they drove past an alleyway where two packs were fighting one another, the two that were left from the opposing pack were quickly killed by the other pack and their remains were eaten.

So that’s why there isn’t as many infected in this area, Jack thought, all the strong ones formed groups and must’ve started killing off the weaker ones for a source of food.

They were getting nearer to the hospital now, slowing meandering through the metal maze that the cars created, many of which still had infected people in them, trying to get out, or dead from hunger or the disease. Finally they came to a stop outside the hospital, the doors were surprisingly still intact and showed no signs of being looted.

There was a shout from one of the lookouts, “Guys! They’re coming; we gotta get a move on!”

Jack got up and readied his sniper, as did the rest of the skirmishers, and they climbed onto the roof, while Rick and his brawlers grabbed their weapons and stood guard on foot and the nerds were busy using various tools to try and open the doors or peel boards off some windows. Jack finally got a good look at the infected that were shambling around everywhere, there was a particularly large group of about ten or eleven that had noticed them and were walking swiftly towards the bus. Jack told Rick and he started shouting orders to the brawlers, while Jack was directing the skirmishers.

Jack looked around, trying to find Lewis. “Lewis! Where are you, man, get up here now!”

Lewis climbed up the ladder on the side of the bus carrying his slingshot and a small leather pouch he had filled with lethal-sized pebbles, “Sorry Jack, I had to make sure I had enough ammo.”

He quickly took position while jack adjusted the focus on his scope, then aimed towards the mob, they were very ripped with muscles and six or seven inch biceps, and most peculiarly they weren’t very affected by the disease.

“Ready! Aim! Fire!” Jack yelled as the skirmishers let loose a volley of arrows, rocks, bullets and other random objects that made

Jack wonder how they threw them that far. With a ferocious battle cry, the brawlers ran at the stunned mob, swords flashing, axes swinging, bones cracking and limbs falling. Jack was observing the battle through his scope. It wasn’t going well, the skirmishers had done little to stop the advancing mob, which were scratching and biting at the brawlers who were fighting a losing battle. Jack decided that they needed to take action, He ordered his boys to fire at the infected that were on the outside so that he didn’t hit any of the brawlers. Then he aimed with his sniper, but something caught his eye.

Rick was being attacked by two, tall and buff grown-ups, Jack decided he would risk shooting them because Rick really needed the help. They had him pinned against a wall, cut off from the rest of the group. Jack gritted his teeth and took aim at the first man, and shot him clean through the head, Rick looked over at Jack and nodded and Rick quickly cut the other man down. Just as it looked as if the battle would turn around, another three smaller groups joined in the fight, Jack looked around trying to find the leaders of the new groups and saw a big, bald grown-up that was at the head of his group. Jack decided he’d take him out and the same with the other groups. Jack aimed his sniper and shot the man through the chest; he stumbled and fell over, dead. His group stood still for a moment then erupted in frenzy, more energized by the death of their leader.

Oh, crap. Jack thought, this is gonna be a long battle.

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