Dawn stopped at the edge of the parking lot. What she saw in front of her was an apocalyptic nightmare. It was a picture of mass panic frozen in a time of chaos.
The parking lot looked like a war zone–cars burned to metal bodies, cars crashed together, cars turned over, shopping carts everywhere and in all kinds of positions, (food and supplies in these carts long since looted), and bodies, lots and lots of dead bodies. Most of them had been laying out here rotting in the hot sun for far too long, and they were now decayed and gooey, slipping back into the Earth one second at a time.
She closed her eyes, held the gold cross on a chain around her neck, prayed, and then crossed the parking lot.
She stopped when she reached the double doors that led into the grocery store. Sunlight gleamed off what was left of the glass in the frame, shards on the ground twinkled like stars. Two zombies shuffled out of the store, heading in her tasty direction. Dead things. Rotten things. Been walking around for a long time now as a corpse things. A couple of quick pops of her gun and both of them went down hard. Perfect, clean, head shots. Blood splattered ground.
Dawn looked to her left and right, back to the store in front of her, and then she turned around to make sure nothing was behind her. No other zombies shuffled about in the late fall heat, at least not from where she was standing; but there was a man, she did see a man, coming across the parking lot towards her. He stood about medium height, not too pudgy, not too thin. He had to be about 40 years old, she thought, as he put his hands up to show he wasn’t a threat.
“Who are you?” She asked, as she aimed her gun at him.
The guy looked down at her gun with the silencer on it, pointed directly at his gut. A nasty shot that would not end him instantly. “My name’s Mike, Mike Beem. You?”
“Dawn Sprig,” she replied, and paused. “Have you been following me?”
“I haven’t, just happened to see you crossing the parking lot. Thought I would walk over and see if you needed any help.”
“I’m fine.” She wasn’t, because she was terrified of being out here on her own without her boyfriend. So, she faked it the best she could. “Just need to do a little shopping. I hope my credit is still good,” she replied, smiling, hoping to ease the tension.
“Store’s probably picked over.”
“Probably, but there might be something left for the Thanksgiving Holiday,” she replied, lowering her weapon.
“I’m stuck on Christmas.”
“Some.” He paused. “You sure you don’t want me to go in with you? I can help if the store is overrun. Always nice to have back up.”
She wanted to say yes, she really did, but even though she had lowered her gun, stranger danger still popped into her mind when she looked at him. He might seem like a nice guy out here, but in there, in the dark, he could be someone totally different. “I’d rather go it alone. If you don’t mind? I’m better that way. No offense.”
“None taken. I Understand.”
“Thanks, though, for the offer.”
“Sure. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving.”
“You too, Mike.”
He made his way out of the parking lot, and Dawn took another quick scan. No zombies about, just Mike evaporating into the distance. She turned back to the store, steadied her nerves, and turned on her light (this light was on a strap that ran around her head, so she could keep her hands free). She made sure her weapons were ready to do the job they were meant to do, knife in place and gun ready to fire. She started to walk, ever so slightly, crunching on broken glass, moving from the light into the dark.
The smell inside the store wasn’t pleasant. All kinds of putrid things in a state of decay mingled and danced together in the non-air-conditioned air. Those smells were having a nice party in this tight enclosed airless space. Dawn tried to hold her breath and not breathe in too much of it, as she stopped just inside the double doors. She kneeled down in front of two bodies that were dead, flat, and squished. These bodies (elderly man and woman) looked like they had fallen down and nobody had bothered to help them up as the crowd trampled over them in a mad rush for supplies. She said a prayer for them, and then stood up. That’s when she heard it. It was a clicking sound, silent electronic keys being punched over and over again, hard to hear unless you were inside the store. She turned her light in the direction of that sound . . . A Zombie Thanksgiving is free to read from 11/16 - 11/19. Grab it at the links below and have A Happy Zombie Thanksgiving.
5 out of 5 stars: Keeping hope alive.
4 out of 5 stars: Wonderful story of giving and hope.