Wednesday, May 1, 2013 Don't Ever Ask Me to Do That Again

"I should've stayed at the bomb shelter."

"Don't worry, Nora... We're going to get through this. No matter what this miserable life has to throw at us...we're still here, still alive...we defy the odds. We alone are the survivors..." Ed might as well have been talking to the group, not just his niece, in his attempted reassurance. 

Except everyone knew what was waiting for them inside the Lincoln Tunnel. The winds had a hard time getting through the skyscrapers, keeping the fallout particles at bay making the tunnel a perfect habitat for anything not completely dead.  None of them wanted to make the first step when Corey unwittingly led them into the center tunnel. 

He was much more ready for this than the rest of the group. He had been sitting at the entrance for most of the day, checking out the area and gathering a good idea of the danger. By now he was convinced that they would be safe inside the tunnel. 
“No nest of zombies waiting for us down here!” he jokingly announced.

“Why would you even say that?” Nora said offensively.

Samuel actually thought he saw Atticus stifle a laugh. Even though it was dark, Samuel would always swear he saw a smile on his face in the remnants of his flashlight. Atticus led the group with Corey and Jackson who kept making loops ahead of them and back. Atticus held his pistol out with the flashlight in his other extended arm. He wrapped his hands together and used his flashlight arm to hold his gun-hand steady, and vice versa.   

They walked almost hand in hand it was so dark and terrifying. The only thing that was comforting was the silence. As long as there were no footsteps or moaning they were in the clear. The zombies were cold, dumb creatures, returned from the dead only to satisfy basic functions and urges like eating and killing. They knew not grace and subtlety, so especially in the dark tunnel they would be clanking into things and causing some sort of commotion.

“How long is this tunnel?” Nora asked her Uncle Ed, having never been down here before.
“It’s eight thousand feet.” Samuel told them, “That’s about…twenty-five…twenty six…football fields long…”
“And how far in do you think we are?” everyone kept visiting Samuel's library of offhanded knowledge.
“I’d say we’re at about football field ten.”

"Is there anything you don't know, Doctor Chase?'

Before Samuel could speak, Ed answered for him "I'm sure the kind Doctor would give anything to know how this all started, like the rest of us..."

 Atticus and Samuel both watched Rebecca's posture slide down and her head sink. Atticus told them to keep it down. He thought he heard something up ahead. Jackson, the dog, was already back from his latest round so it wasn’t him. The swipe of something, an echo of a step, it was moving; and it sounded like it was moving towards them. 

Corey made a small whistle and Jackson ran ahead with him and Atticus. Samuel guarded the girls along with Ed and Marcus while Chambers watched the rear. Atticus had his tactical knife back, and he was lucky he did. Not only would the ring of a gunshot be almost deafening, it might bring the zombies down on top of them with no way out.

Instead when Jackson came back he was whimpering and curling up around Corey’s legs, and that’s how they knew there was something wicked ahead of them. Atticus put his gun away and took out his knife to hold along with his flashlight. Corey still had a kitchen knife, but was now a safe distance behind Atticus who so quickly realized...

It was going to be him. 

It was always going to be him. 

Atticus knew that now. He was the one who would always be out in front, like the soldiers on the front line, just like it would always be with Samuel calling the shots. Atticus took another step forward, too scared to make a sound. But then again, he gave up that right back in the SUV. 

And that’s when Atticus remembered why he did that in the first place, why he went back for Sam. He remembered feeling a certain awakening, thinking to himself, ‘If there was a point to all of was through the fate of Doctor Samuel Gordon Chase, not some pilot soldier’ 

Now in a dark tunnel which could very well be a massive tomb put there to end all their lives, if he can’t get them around…what’s the use of hiding? Atticus could not stand it anymore, he wanted to curse the world, he wanted to kill the universe and time, and spit in the face of God if there even was one. Atticus whistled and called out, “You there, Spook!?” antagonizing the threats.

The zombie came into sight of the flashlight and knocked Atticus off kilter. How did it get so close? Atticus dropped his knife and flashlight. Little could be seen after that, the light bounced around the tunnel as a thick quick beam, sporadically lighting the scene. 

Atticus grabbed the zombie’s wrists, fell back, launching himself into a back-roll while taking the zombie with him; and ending up pinning it down in the dark with his knees by its ears. Atticus pulled a kitchen knife from his boot and jabbed it into the forehead of the zombie. 

He put it down and quickly got back to his feet. Crouched down low he now waited for the next one. The flashlight got kicked and Atticus stabbed the zombies in the gut, getting a hold of it to be able to pull the blade back out and finish the job in one fluent motion.

But they just kept coming. Atticus blacked out.

The adrenaline turned Atticus. He could have been moving through with his eyes closed it was so dark. Using it to surround him and move in secrecy, he cut down zombie after zombie before they could even find him. 

Corey called for him to no avail and Jackson was still too scared to move past his master’s legs. Atticus left a trail of bodies for the group to follow, all terrified and with a thousand questions for him but nobody said a word.

Gurgle after abrupt moan sent an echo down the tunnel; body after body rising from the sleeping darkness, too cold to move without food, now with a scent in the air and a dinner bell they begin to stir. The moans and growls turned to screams and took over the echoes. 

Samuel turned around from standing with Corey up ahead and walked past the girls over to Marcus and Ed. They looked at each other as Chambers was standing adjacent to them, staring back the way they came. Samuel knew what they all were thinking and said it softly, "The moans are coming from behind us, aren't they?"

 Just then Corey ran over to them from the front line with Jackson to tell everyone, “They’re coming!” 
“Where’s Captain Ross?” Rebecca demanded to know. 
“I...I don't know...I lost him in the darkness...and...”
"Just say it..."

"They must have gotten past him because they're headed right for us..."