Thursday, January 28, 2010

Morning Write - 3

Wrote this early-early this morning, around 1, which is the morning. Did some light editing just before posting. This is a continuation of my last morning write, so check that out first.


Robert made his way through the dead-quiet buildings. As a young kid, he used to run through an abandoned house that was on his street. He and the other kids would jump heavily on the decaying stairs, throw broken bottles at the water-stained and moldy walls, and just destroyed the place. After a few months, it was torn down and remained an empty lot for years. The grass grew up through the cement, and eventually reclaimed the lot. Nature always took back what was Hers.

These houses brought back those memories, how carefree and rebellious he had been. Stop it, Robert. Don’t get distracted! They may be slow, but they have a way of sneaking up on you. He retrained his eyes, scanning the shrinking shadows as the sun started to ascend.

He made his way westward, trudging through long grass in unkempt backyards and gardens. He always grew weary with longer grass and large bushes, feared they hid a hungry and clever (or just lucky) zombie. Whenever he felt uneasy, he would find a way to the roof of a house, and go as far as he could. Sometimes, he’d find ladders people left on the buildings, and used them as walkways to others. He was thankful for those that remembered the rules. He whispered one of the Shelter’s mottoes: Life remains when it’s above the ground.

From a tall, three-storey home, Robert used his binoculars to survey his progress. He spotted a few groups of zombies scattered about the neighborhood. He needed to keep pushing west, but a rather large group stood in his way. He considered the sun as he took a swig from his tin of water. I have plenty of time yet. I’ll be able to circle around, he thought. Taking caution, he evaded a few groups by going north and eventually swinging back westward.

The farther he pushed west, the larger the buildings got. The residential districts gave way to the industrial zones. Massive factories and warehouses replaced the multitudes of houses, most of which were of the cookie-cutter design: one soulless, empty house after another. Once they had been different colors, now they all wore the same, sad tones.

The cul-de-sacs and thin roads gave way to wide roads and winding streets. Walking alone, one could really feel the scope of what humanity had accomplished in its prime. The wide, empty streets felt too spacious and long when one walked.

After a time, the streets became littered with debris. Old rags of clothes, odd bits of scrap metal and hearty plastics were strewn about, the new detritus of the modern age.

Robert slowed his walking; ahead was a wide mass of cars. Most of them had either been abandoned, ran out of gas, or broken down. He remembered long ago when zombies were just starting. Hordes of them would stand in great walls, and their decaying bodies would eventually slow down cars that were unlucky enough to stop them. Slowly, they tumble over each other, all reaching for the same horrified prize.

He shook his head of the image, and wearily eyed the maze of cars ahead. The Road Crew hadn’t been through this part of the city just yet, it was Northeast of the Shelter, and at the edge of the city. He played with the rifle’s strap a moment, trying to decide what to do. God, I would love to see the Behemoth right now, he sighed. He could almost picture its hulking silhouette ripping through the decommissioned cars like a train. The massive, welded-steel plow that easily tossed aside road-side debris of any size.

If it wasn’t for the Behemoth, then the rest of the Road Crew couldn’t get to necessary places, like the gas stations, grocery stores, hospitals, and warehouses to be sacked.Also, the Barriers wouldn’t have been made either—-without which, the Shelter and all of its residents would be in trouble. Of course, it’s all a matter of time anyway—-Don’t think like that! He stomped his foot.

With determination, he cinched the straps of his backpack and rifle, and checked the straps of his boots (which had been modified to be lighter and flexible, as well as quiet, yet still sturdy). Scanning ahead one last time, he leaned forward and began to scurry through the maze of cars.

He made it past the cars without being spotted, but wasn’t in the clear yet. He angled himself towards a warehouse, whose parking lot was mainly vacant, and dashed into the wide space. Although easy to spot, he was able to catch his breath and keep a look out, as well as plan his next move.

Factory Ruin 20 by Sed-rah-Stock. Used with artist's permission.

On the side of the warehouse was an access ladder to the roof. He was thankful and annoyed that the ladder didn’t start at ground floor. It looked to be about eight feet above the ground. He patted the revolver under his coat and watched the side of the warehouse. After a moment, he approached it, walked right up under the ladder and got a feel for the cement wall.

It seemed sturdy, far from crumbling, and the ladder looked intact. There was an overturned trash can, its content long-ago rifled through and blown, washed, or taken away. Steeling himself, he quickly grabbed the metal can, placed it upside down beneath the ladder and backed off quickly.

The lot and warehouse was quiet as death. It made Robert nervous, but he shook it off long enough to start running for towards the wall. With quick steps, he mounted and sprung off the can, his hands slapping hard against the metal. The can rattled against the wall, and the ladder hummed deeply beneath his palms. With little hesitation, his feet scrabbled for leverage, and he pushed and pulled himself a few rungs higher.

Wrapping the crook of his leg around the rail and lacing his arm through the ladder, he let himself rest. His heart hammered as he strained to hear anything; the slightest shuffle or groan. “Relax Robert, you’re well out of reach and have plenty of time,” he grunted.

Immediately two things came to mind: Life remains when it’s above the ground and Knock on wood. There wasn’t any wood available, so he continued climbing.


This story continues...

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