By: Kristian Gore
It started four weeks ago. Meg had no idea what had happened just that whatever had happened was bad. It started with the electronics going dark. She suspected it was some sort of nuclear attack in the upper atmosphere which would explain everything electronic being fried but it didn’t explain the aftermath. The panic was expected and she was prepared for it but something else had been going on outside that was harder to pin down.
She caught glimpses of the creatures making noises outside and from what she saw they could have been human. She hoped her boyfriend had found safe haven and would meet up with her when he could. The plan had been for them to hold up in their small apartment with the provisions they had set aside in case of some sort of disaster. The plan had been to wait for the panic to subside and make it out to their “bug out” car. She stuck to the plan for the most part and with the phones down she hoped she would meet him at the car.
Most cars didn’t work because of the electronics in them but she wasn’t too concerned about the car they set aside. Even if the battery was fried they could push start it if need be. She kept telling herself he would be at the car and not to worry too much. She packed everything she thought she would need and looked at the gray, cat oblivious to everything as it napped on the back of the couch.
She was supposed to have shot him when the shit hit the fan but with her boyfriend gone she had waited and decided to leave a night early. Tibbs the cat was her only company these long weeks and so she was glad she had skipped that part of the plan. With the noises she had heard outside she decided she would be less conspicuous at night. She gathered him up into a cat carrier and headed for the door. She paused and took a last look around to make sure she wasn’t leaving anything important. Meg turned the lock as quietly as possible and slowly opened the door.
Her large backpack was full and in one hand she held the cat carrier and in the other her Mark III pistol at the ready. She kept her AR-15 slung over her shoulder and crept out into the moonlit hall. She didn’t bother to lock up behind her as she was not coming back. She was careful on the way out trying to stay quiet not knowing what awaited her around every corner.
She reached the enclosed courtyard scanning for activity as she headed for the gate. She heard a rustling behind her and quickly turned much to the annoyance of Tibbs her pistol was aimed squarely at a man hiding behind some bushes. He came out into the open slowly as she kept her gun on him. He seemed timid and harmless but she kept a bead on him anyway. He was dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and he wasn't particularly imposing.
“Don’t shoot!” he said panicky.
“Shh! Shut the fuck up! Are you trying to get me killed?” Meg scolded him in a hushed tone.
“Sorry. It’s just been a while since I’ve seen anyone. My name is Don.”
“Do you know what happened?” Meg didn’t want to know his name but she relaxed a little.
“Judgment day.” He said with a straight face. “Everything electric died and then the demons showed up.”
Meg rolled her eyes “I doubt its judgment day. Probably some sort of attack.”
“Then explain the demons!” he was starting to get loud again.
“Shut up! I doubt they’re demons, probably some sort animal or military experiment gone wrong.”
“It’s just like revelations said!”
“Shut up!” she said pulling the hammer back on her Mark III. He was quiet as she started listening for any stray sounds. Tibbs was quiet but he was probably aware of the stressful situation. Meg looked around again looking for any motion, listening for any sound. She turned and headed to the gate and Don followed behind her. Meg decided to let him for now, if things go bad she could always put a bullet in his knee to ensure she could out run him.
She cautiously made her way up the street towards the car she had stashed. Meg was careful not to make any noise and did her best not to react to the corpses in the street, some looked half eaten and all made Huston smell worse than normal.
“Hold this” She said handing her cat to Don. She figured he may as well be of some use but she still wasn’t going to take him with her to Mexico. Don took the cat carrier and remained silent as Meg came to a corner and peeked around it. She peered around the corner looking for movement on the moonlit street. Meg was just about to move when she caught movement in one of the shadows. She couldn’t make it out but whatever it was wasn’t anything recognizable. At first she thought it was human but there was something animal in the way it moved.
She looked around to make sure she was clear and when Don started to open his mouth to speak she stuck her pistol in his face to keep him quiet. She holstered her pistol and swung her AR-15 around in one smooth motion and got on one knee and prepared to hit her target. She focused on her target and exhaled as she squeezed the trigger. It was a perfect head shot and the figure collapsed. She still wasn’t sure what it was but it had been slender and almost human in the features she could make out at this distance.
She didn’t have time to look as she figured the shot would be heard. She started to move motioning for Don to follow but when he didn’t she grabbed his shirt to get him moving. They moved swiftly down the street pausing at the next corner long enough to take a quick look and hurried across the street before ducking down by a car left on the side of the road.
“What did you kill?” Don asked.
“I don’t know.” She said as she shouldered her AR-15 and redrew her pistol. She listened for any signs of life as she remained crouched down with her back to an old Buick with her feet perched on the sidewalk. She heard footsteps rushing towards them and saw anxiety rising in Don. The car shook as if something had jumped up on it and suddenly it appeared leaping off the car onto the sidewalk in front of them. She reacted quickly by taking aim and shot it in the face as it rushed towards them.
The creature fell to the ground suddenly and she took a good look. It looked like a teenage boy but something was off. His eyes seemed wider and his features deformed. Whatever had happened must have carried with it some sort of virus but she couldn’t imagine it was anything naturally occurring.
“It’s a demon!” Don said peering over her shoulder.
“If that was a kid it must have been possessed by a demon.”
“Look” she said examining the body, “it was definitely a boy in his mid teens. The eyes are bulged out like and I'd bet there was a lot of swelling in his head. No this is the work of a virus but then I guess if you use the bible as a science text book then viruses and demons are the same thing.”
“He hardly looks human to me.”
“Look at him his face is swollen his eyes are bulged out, even his tongue is swollen and he's covered in blood. My guess is whatever did this to him made normal eating impossible and when he lost his mind he was hungry and he couldn't chew but he could bite and drink.”
“What kind of virus can do this? Can we be infected?”
“I don't know but I'm not waiting to find out.”
“What about the electronics, if this isn't the end times from Revelations then what is it?”
“I don't really know” Meg said thoughtfully. “My guess is it's some sort of attack. Maybe China maybe a terrorist group, no way to know but it must have started with a nuke going off in the upper atmosphere which would create an EMP that would wipe out everything electronic.”
“EMP?” Don said looking rather confused.
“Electromagnetic pulse.” She explained starting to lose patience. “As for the creatures they are just us. A virus got out either because of the attack or as part of it. Look no more questions for now lets just try and get to someplace safe.”
“Why isn't the virus infecting us?”
“Look I don't have the answers Don but I'm just guessing here but if it is a virus then maybe a small percentage of the population is immune. That just seems to be the case for most viruses.”
Don looked like he was going to ask another question but Meg stopped him by putting her gun in his face. They continued on trying to be quite but it wasn't long before Meg felt they were being followed. She suspected the infected were starting to gather for an assault as she would catch glimpses here and there. She felt like they needed to get out of site for a while but wasn't sure how to do that without getting trapped someplace.
“Okay preacher man, we have to move fast now so stay close behind me and stay quiet or you get left behind.” She picked up the pace and made a quick turn around a corner and sprinted down across the street and quickly went around that corner again sprinting to turn back up to the street she had been on. When she reached that corner she waited to catch her breath and took a quick look around the corner to see the street she had been on. Meg waited a few moments and took another look scanning the street for any signs of activity.
Don sat beside her trying to control his breathing and putting his finger inside the cat carrier trying to keep the cat calm. Meg surveyed the area as best she could without being seen by one of the infected she assumed were out there. The street lights were out so she had to go by what she could see by the partial moonlight through the city smog that had cleared a little with no industry running for four weeks. Still it wasn't much to go on so she started to move as quietly as possible to the car.
They managed to make it four blocks without incident when something bothered her but she couldn't figure out exactly what it was. “Something is wrong.” she thought. She looked around she could see the place her bug out car was hidden but she wasn't going to make her move just yet. She looked closely at all the shadows and dark spaces but nothing was coming to mind. She closed her eyes and listened to the silence.
“That's what it is.” she said aloud to no one in particular.
“What?” asked Don not sure if she was talking to him.
“It's too quiet.” she whispered.
“It's the middle of the night.”
“I haven't heard anything, no bugs, no birds, dogs, nothing.” she said.
“Well I think the demons ate or scared off most of the dogs.”
She thought about it but then she still wasn't sure that was it. Tibbs had been quiet most of the trip but even still he mewed or growled now and then. She thought about it and figured if there were no noises then the infected were probably all over the place. She figured she hadn't been spotted yet but wondered how long that would last if she opened the gate to the junk yard where the car was hidden away. The gate would make noise and even cutting a small hole in the fence would make more noise than she wanted.
They stayed still a bit while she figured out her next move. She needed a distraction and thought about letting Tibbs go She figured he would do okay for himself and not get eaten and it wasn't like she had the cat food to take him to Mexico with her. She figured that wouldn't be enough and then decided it was Don's turn to make himself useful. She thought for a moment about how to plan this and figured she would give him a fighting chance.
“Okay Don this is where we part ways. I'm continuing this way and you can take this key and go back to where you found me. Third floor unit 304 is your destination. There's water and food for a little while and then you're on your own again.” She thought for a moment. Something was wrong with this whole situation.
“Something wrong?” he asked. She sensed something in his tone had changed a little. She looked at him closely and things she should have noticed right away became apparent even in the low light. He was clean. His clothes were clean and his hair was clean. His clothes were not torn and his face had seen a razor as recently as yesterday. He was also well fed and in good health for someone who had been living outside in her courtyard with scarcely anything to eat for weeks.
“Nothings wrong.” She said hiding her anxiety at her revelation. “I just want to make sure the coast is clear before we split up.” She was quiet for a few moments trying to figure out her next move and not wanting to give this guy any more information about her plans. “By the way I forgot to ask how you managed to survive so long out here?”
“I was wondering when you would ask that question but I was hoping you would lead us to whatever it was you were trying to get to first.” he said with a sicking smile.
“Us?” She felt a bit sick and in a smooth effortless motion she brought her Mark III to his face.
“My flock is out there now following us and waiting to take whatever it is god has brought us that you would hid from us and if you kill me you won't last a second.”
“If I kill you you'll be too dead to care if I make it. How many infected are there now?”
“Very few. Most of them killed each other off leaving those of us god has chosen to carry on and rebuild. Of course we have to screen potential adherents before we just let them in. Food is scarce and those that have not been chosen by god to survive must of course have been chosen by Lucifer.”
“So what happens to those who are not chosen by god?”
“They are still human which means we don't kill them unless we have to or until we insure they have added to the repopulation of the world.” Meg suddenly felt sick but as much as she wanted to pull the trigger she didn't know who was out there.
“So what happens now assuming I don't shoot you?” she asked.
“My brothers are nearby watching and a few are getting into position to bring you in now.” He said with a smile. She heard the unmistakeable click of a shotgun behind her and after a few minutes she took the gun off Don. She felt the butt of the shotgun as it hit the back of her head and though it didn't quit knock her out she let them think she was out as two men dragged her off. She managed to see enough to know where she was and which direction she was heading.
They loaded her on to a carriage and she heard the hoof beats of horses. They ended up in the county jail where they put her in a cell. The doors were automated so they used chains and padlocks to keep the cell doors shut. As soon as she heard them leave she popped up and started to take in her surroundings while rubbing the soar spot on the back of her head. The cells were dark but she figured other people were there.
“Anyone else up?” she whispered.
“Welcome to hell.” a female voice responded.
“What the hell is going on here?”
“It's the church, I knew a few of them before everything went to hell but the surviving members of one of the mega churches decided this was like Noah's flood all over again. They figured it wasn't the end times because there was no rapture.”
“So what are they doing now?” Meg asked in a hushed tone.
“Well we were the ones unwilling to fuck them to help populate the earth again so we were deemed spared by Satan and we are kept prisoner here and they rape us daily until they think we're pregnant. The men they only hold for about a week before they take them for slaughter and they do the same to a woman if she makes the mistake of saying she's not fertile.”
“So they're cannibal rapists?”
“That's my guess.” the unknown woman said.
“My name is Meg, I guess they figured I wasn't going to cooperate because I'm an atheist.”
“My name is Tessa and I'm here because I'm a lesbian which as you can imagine makes this a doubly unpleasant.”
“Well Tessa I'm getting out of here you coming with me?”
“How are you getting out?”
“I don't know but I'll figure something out or die trying. How many are there in here?”
“We have six women and two men, you make it seven women now. Like I said the men don't last long before they are turned into food.”
“How many of them are there?” Meg asked
“Thirteen men and three women, maybe more but that's all I know for sure. The leader likes to keep things looking like he's the new Jesus. So he keeps himself in charge and his disciples do what ever he says. I heard them talk about adding more but the original twelve his advisory counsel with special privileges. The Three women are his wives but I would bet there are more of them.”
“The leader is that Don?”
“No, the Leader is a guy named Jack, Don was the preacher of the mega church.”
“How do you know so much?”
“I've been here the longest and if I don't get pregnant soon I guess I'll be on the menu.” Tessa said with a bit of nervous irony.
At dawn Meg was able to get a better look at their surroundings. She saw the pad locks were quality but even the best had weaknesses and the cell doors all faced a glass booth with smashed out glass doors. The cells over looked an area where prisoners would eat when food was brought to them when this was a functioning jail and the large heavy door was open. If the guy on guard was paying attention then she figured she had three or four minutes to get her cell open before he was up here. Plus he was armed so that wasn't going to help things out. Her cell had three bunks and a toilet attached to a sink. She tried the sink and found the city water was still running.
She figured the guard couldn't see under her bunk from his vantage point but wasn't sure just yet how useful it would be. It may get him to open the cell but he would still be armed. Plus he would be able to see her before he opened the cell with his lantern if he was smart enough to lay down and look. She thought of her plan and it might work so she explained it to Tessa as quietly as possible. Meg had her dog tags and other jewelry and was able to get a couple of pins from one of the girls. She took the buttons off the pins, the buttons had the usual lame slogans meant to be semi clever and good for a snicker at most. It didn't take her too long to pick the lock and then she quietly and carefully removed the chain and laid it on the bunk closest to the door and hid herself under her bunk as far back against the wall as she could.
It took about twenty minutes for the guard to notice something wasn't right. He looked at her cell for a good thirty seconds before it dawned on him that he could see the chain for the door on a bunk in the cell. He looked around and then quickly went into the cell block. The sun shone in through the windows but that didn't produce enough light as they were very narrow windows. He got to the cell and opened it when Tessa spoke up. “She walked right buy you.”
“How long ago?” he asked. He set down his lantern as Meg quietly got out from under her bunk and quietly took hold of the chain. As Tessa started to speak she quickly shoved the door open with her foot and swung the chain around the corner taking the guard by surprise. Tessa grabbed his shotgun and as he tried to wrench it away from her Meg wrapped the chain around his neck and pulled back with all his might causing him to try to fight her and let go of the shotgun.
Tessa got the shotgun and was ready to fire but Meg was not ready to let go of her captor. She wrapped the chain one more time around his neck and pulled the ends with all her strength until she heard the crack of his neck.
“The keys are all in the booth.” Tessa told her as she grabbed the lantern and headed for the large glass room. The keys were on their own hooks with cell numbers on them she grabbed them all and handed them to Tessa.
“You get the others out, give me the shotgun and I'll make sure the path is clear.” Meg said hurriedly. Tessa reluctantly handed over the gun and started letting herself and the others out. Meg started out paused and asked “Any idea where the rest of them are or where they took my stuff?”
“Not sure but maybe the police station that's attached to this jail.” Tessa replied as she got the next cell opened.
Meg followed the corridors as much as she could and occasionally had to back track a little. Eventually she found a much less secure area she figured would have been where the police or corrections officers worked. She had to be careful and quiet since she knew someone would be on their way to her cell to start her on their “breeding program”. She didn't want to get too far lost in this are figuring she could wait in the shadows and see what direction they come from. It would also allow her to get the drop on them. She took the lantern back around a few corners in the jail so the light wouldn't be seen where she was waiting and made her way back carefully and hid behind a desk that would give her cover from one direction and allow her to pop up behind anyone who was going into the jail part of the building.
She waited what seemed like forever before she heard a couple of men walking down a hallway talking. She couldn't make out what they were talking about until they entered the room.
“So what's the new one look like dad?” The younger man asked.
“You'll see soon enough son, I think you'll like her.” She recognized the voice as the man who got the drop on her with the shotgun the night before. “Just remember son you can't get attached to her since she's not one of god's chosen. She's just for breeding with for now.”
“What if she repents?” The young man asked.
Meg popped up behind them and answered “I don't think that’s going to be an option kid.”
The older man whirled around and Meg shot him before he completed the turn and she quickly aimed the gun at the younger one. “Okay kid now you're going to take me to my stuff or I can kill you like I did your dad.” The kid shook his head looking terrified. Meg had to remind herself that this kid planned to rape her and wasn't just some kid caught up in this mess.
They didn't talk as he led her to a storage area and said “Anything that hasn't been sorted out and distributed by Jack will be in here.”
She motioned for him to open it up and directed him to get her bag. The backpack didn't look as full as it had been. “Open it and show me what's left inside.” she ordered him. He complied and it looked like the rations were gone and the ammo. “Fuck!” she said. “Where did they take my food ammo and guns?”
“The food would have gone to the kitchen and the guns and ammo to the armory.”
“Put the backpack on and take me to the armory.” The kid complied “How many people are guarding the armory?” She hoped the kid didn't know how to lie.
“Just Earl.” the kid said. If it was a lie he was good at it. When they got to the armory the kid went a bit ahead of her but not to where he wasn't covered.
“Hey Lloyd, I thought you were getting your cherry busted today?” The overweight man behind the counter asked.
“I need ammo.” Lloyd said as he was instructed by Meg. She figured the kid was in a bit of shock still.
“I see I thought I heard your dad shooting at rats again. You'd think the critters would learn not to come in here.” Meg came out shotgun trained on Earl.
“Hi Earl, I'm Meg and since I'm checking out today I'm going to need my ammo and guns back now.” Earl was shocked and started to reach for the gun on his belt. “I wouldn't Earl not unless you want to pull out that gun with two fingers.” Earl paused and then did as he was told. “Now come out of there slow.” Again Earl complied. “Now face the wall and get on your knees.” Earl looked frightened by this request and complied muttering a prayer to himself. “Lloyd take the backpack off and join Earl there on your knees.” Lloyd complied. Meg hit Earl hard with the butt of the shotgun near the base of his neck hoping it did lasting damage before doing the same to Lloyd. For good measure she hit them both again across the jaw and temple.
Meg worked quickly getting her guns and ammo and ended up with more ammo than she started with. She was tempted to take more but she instead found a bottle of kerosine for the lamp at the armory and covered everything in the armory that she could and backed off. She thought about taking Lloyd out of harms way but then again remembered that had she not escaped he would be raping her by now. She threw Earls lamp into the armory and headed the direction Lloyd had said the Kitchen was in with her Mark III in hand and her AR 15 clipped to her backpack.
She made it to the kitchen with no resistance and figured the rest of the nuts were trying to deal with her fire. The kitchen was maned by two women she presumed to be the leaders wives and she could see they were carving up what looked like a mans leg for meat.
“Where is the food I came in with last night?” Meg demanded.
The Women looked at her shocked but did not reply. She emphasized the gun in her hand but still she got no reaction beyond a deer in the headlights look from either of them. She heard something behind her and quickly whirled around and fired shooting a third woman in the forehead and again in the eye before she fell. She whirled back around to see the two women charging her and was able to shoot one dead in her tracks before the other tackled her. Meg was able to redirect her momentum and landed on her side facing the woman who was fighting her. Meg had not dropped the gun and was able to fire four rounds into her gut angled upward. When the woman's grip loosened she put a round in her head for good measure.
Meg searched the kitchen and was able to find her food which she packed up in her bag. Meg didn't trust any of the church food since she found various remains of humans and animals including those of her cat Tibbs. She readjusted her load and this time carried her rifle around her shoulder held in place by her backpack. She paused and thought about putting a stop to these guys before she left. She set them back and she figured the only way to stop them for good would be to kill them all and since today was the day she was supposed to be at the bug out car she had to go now.
She was much farther from where she needed to be than she was when she started last night so when she saw the horse attached to the buggy she unharnessed it and got up on him. She was not the most experienced rider but she had ridden before but bareback was going to be a challenge. Once the jail was out of sight she was able to slow herself to a more manageable pace and made it back to the junkyard in what she judged to be maybe an hour. She went a couple blocks past the junkyard and and carefully made her way back after letting the horse go. She was a bit more paranoid this time around.
She entered near the back of the Junkyard through a hole she made in the fence and made it to the shed her friend had set up for her and uncovered the dark blue Volkswagen Bug. It was an ancient car by today’s standards but notoriously easy to keep running. She figured she would give her boyfriend a few extra days before she bugged out and set up in the corner of the shed. She hoped he had made it but she figured the next few days would tell.