I just stared at T after those words had been spoken. Of course we needed wheels. but, how would we really go about getting them? Never mind I had no idea where we were, and we are sitting in the back hatch of a truck. I guessed we could find some abandoned car on the side of the road, but it still seemed bad enough I stole a car.
“First we need to figure out where we are.” I told them
“Yeah, we are kind of in the middle of nowhere.” K said
“Looks familiar, really.” I said
I was very tempted to knock on the window to ask where we are, when I saw a small town ahead of us. It looked like the citizens had been trying to fortify the thing. Good for them, but, I was beginning to have my doubts that it would really be doable.
“How long was I asleep for?” I asked
“Honestly, B. it was hours. We just didn’t want to wake you up.” T responded
“Are we still in Arizona?” I was puzzled
“I don’t think so.” K blurted out.
We had been surrounded by miles of green grass and trees. I had never seen so much of that color in my entire life. I was even about to see hills and mountains that seemed to still have hints of snow on them. To be honest I felt like I had walked into a family film from back in the 80′s.
“Man, I must have been asleep for a long time.” I whispered.
“When was the last time you saw snow guys?” P asked
“Besides Flagstaff?” K asked
“Yeah.” he responded
“A very long time ago.” I said flatly
The truck kept moving along, and soon passed a mangled sign that said “Welcome to Telluride”. I pointed at the sign as we passed it. It was riddled with bullet holes. As I was staring at the holes, 2 men signaled for the truck to stop. Both of these men seemed to be holding mini arsenals in their hands. Our ride came to a very quick stop.
We all just stared as more men came out of hiding places. They all stopped and then surrounded the truck.
“What do you people want?” a heavy set man asked
None of us knew how to really answer that, figuring we had just figured out where we were. I looked over to our driver hoping he might be able to answer everything for us.
“We have family here! The Millers, they live here.” he practically screamed this
“Hmm…and what about them?” the man asked pointing directly at us.
The driver turned his head to look at us. I thought he was ready to feed us to the zombies with how intense his look was. Then he just smiled.
“They are my cousins. I found them while trying to drive here. Figured we would have a family reunion.” he answered.
I sighed for relief internally. I have the feeling they didn’t want outsiders in this tight nit community. At least not with what was going on. I remembered reading about this place a long time ago, and how it was a major hotspot for tourists. I don’t think it would be anymore.
They waved us through, and as we pulled through I saw them slowly go back to their hiding spaces. I feel bad for any zombies that could end up meeting them. Once we were a pretty good distance away from the “welcoming committee “ the car began to slow, and then stopped. We grabbed our stuff and all hopped out of the car. I Walked towards the driver side window and smiled at the driver.
“I don’t even know your name, but you really helped us out.” I said extending my hand
“Call me J, and don’t mention it.” he shook my hand and drove off.
We all just stood there for a few minutes taking in our surroundings. This place reminded me a lot of Flagstaff with the snow and the shops. It didn’t seem as hospitable though, and I doubt we would be staying here very long.
We began to walk down the street very close to each other. I saw a few people peaking out the windows at us, and I clutched by bat with all my might. “This is not a good place” was all I was able to think.
I looked over to K, who had her hand clutched on her handgun, and T…I don’t think really knew what was going on. P just kept looking forward, like the soldier he was.
“We need to not bring any extra attention to ourselves. So, lets find a shop or something to go to now.” P whispered.
“Fuck, this is scary” I said
As I was looking around…I won’t lie…I felt like I was an alien walking with a a huge sign saying “I am here to eat you”. I saw blinds opening and closing with the occasional look of sociopathic anger. We kept walking ahead, and I saw rising above the building a huge cloud of black smoke. It smelt like overcooked lamb chops, but at a massive scale.
“You guys smell that?” T asked sniffing the air
“I don’t even want to know what is causing that much smoke.” K rebutted
Without any real logic of reason behind it we started to walk towards the smoke. I reached into my backpack and grabbed the handgun I had taken earlier. Even with a shotgun with me (I hadn’t tried to shoot yet, by the way) this felt like the better choice. K still had her hand clutching her handgun as well. I look over to T and smacked his shoulder. He unhooked his strapped shotgun from his back and grinned wildly. P just looked over as us.
“You all seem prepared.” he said
“You don’t.” K added
All P could do was shrug.
“I lost mine when we got overrun.”
I looked at K and she looked at me. She then reached into her bag and handed her extra handgun to P along with some ammo.
“I want this back when you get your own. I stole it fair and square.” she added
We slowly crept down the street, and tried our best to act as casual as possible. Which is not easy when you are the only ones on the street. That is a fact that cannot be denied. We heard noise coming from behind us and I turned my head to see what it could possibly be.
Some people had begun come outside. They looked at us suspiciously, but quickly disregarded us. We kept walking towards the smoke; our eyes completely focused. The smell was getting stronger. It was smelling more burnt and less lambish. The smoke itself was so potent. I was afraid to see what it was.
We reached the corner, and I poked my head around. It was an image that…like my first solo kill…will forever haunt me. Sometimes you learn that man can be the truest of all evils.
I saw what looked like a fire pit, and living people being lined up and thrown into the flames. I don’t know how we didn’t hear the screams, either, or if we did manage to block them out. I quickly receded and I turned to face my friends.
“We have got to get the fuck out of here.” I think by that point I was hyperventilating
“Why are people screaming?” K asked louder then I would have liked
“They are burning people alive…aren’t they?” T asked
“How the fuck did you know that!?” I asked
“The smell, the screams…” T said solemnly
The smell, the screams, they wouldn’t stop. I knew how he wanted to finish that. I turned my head to try to look but I saw a few of the people we saw leaving the building earlier walking up to towards some of the executioners. I quickly turned to face my companions. Their eyes all got wide
“Umm…I think we have been seen.” I said lowly
“Yeah, you have.” a deep voice bellowed
I turned to face the voice and I saw a group of men. They all seemed to have semi-automatic weapons (at least from what I remember). It was about 8 men (way to many for us to fight). I just looked at them for a moment.
“What are you all doing in our town?” the leader asked
He was easily 6’3 and built like a dumpster. I could easily imagine him as being a pro wrestler before this all happened. Now, I have never been that small of a man. but, at this moment I felt like I was a little person lost in a big and tall store. With the addition of his friends behind him, (all around the same size or bigger) I felt like I was about to be snuffed out.
Suddenly I felt a hand grab me, and I was tugged back. I turned, and we all began a full sprint down the side of the building. Halfway there, we saw more people emerging to block our path.
“Fuck.” P said audibly
I was sure that we all felt the same way. We began to slow quickly. We had been out maned and outgunned. (I am sure they at least knew how to use theirs…unlike me.) I looked over to my counterparts and I saw P raise his arms, then T, then K, I soon followed suit.
“So I am gonna ask again…what are you doing in our town?” the voice came from behind me.
None of us seemed to be very anxious to speak. I cleared my throat, hoping that at this very moment it would retreat to years when my voice cracked. I opened my dry mouth when K began to explain
“We hitched a ride, we got dropped off. We fled Phoenix.” K said as calm as could be.
“So why come here? What have you heard?” he demanded
“We just are passing through. Our ride said he was going this far.” she said standing her ground.
That answer seemed to appease him for the moment.
“You four, follow me.” he demanded.
We all lowered our arms and began to follow him towards one of the more shoddy looking buildings. Behind us his roid raged counterparts followed. He walked at a fast pace, and his gun never stopped pointing at us. He opened the door and ushered us in. We turned to face him as his men grabbed the guns, and other weapons right out of our hands.
“You guys finish the pit.” he said as he closed the door behind himself.
He walked ahead of us as he walked behind a desk. I could tell this room (if not the entire building) was once of great importance to this town. The desk was still in complete immaculate condition. He sat in a plush chair and feet soon went on the desk.
“Now, now. No need to worry, our weary travelers.” he spat out with a sense of sarcasm
None of us really knew how to respond to that. I just looked at him with most likely a
mix of disgust and curiosity. P on the other hand decided to take initiative.
“We mean no harm here at all sir. We are just passing through. No one outside will hear of anything.” he tried to explain
“Now, now, now. No need for be formal. You can call me the Savior….due to saving my people.” he had pride, and a lot of it.
“Okay…Savior…” T said flatly
“You got a problem, boy?” The Savior sat up behind his desk
“No problem here.” He said smirking
“Thanks, T”, I thought to myself. If we are really going to get killed might as well have some fun while we are at it, right?
“Savior, we aren’t in the way. Maybe we could negotiate passage through?” I asked
“Besides, we wouldn’t be any harm. I mean you already have our weapons.” K added sweetly
Savior sat back behind his desk. He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a fat cigar. As he lit the thing the whole room seemed to fill with the gray smoke we all knew a little to well.
“Thats an interesting proposition you four propose. But you never answered my question…who are you?” he said taking another disgustingly huge drag
I sighed at him. Looking the man straight in the eyes and decided we might as well be honest with this nutter. He controlled our lives with his decision. I told him our names and our story. The story that began with me waking up, leaving my house to find K, stealing a VW bus, T saving my ass, us pulling a superman, grabbing K, the dog saving our life, the “war” in Flagstaff, meeting with P, and our getting here.
He cupped his hand against his massive chin and seemed to fake contemplation on our fates. Finally, he rose back from his chair again and paced back and forth.
“Now, we don’t like trespassers on our lands…and due to the fact all land here is mine. I really don’t like it. “ he grinned like a maniac on speed
We all kept looking at him for him to continue. He stood there staring back at us, like he was waiting for an answer.
“Sorry for going on your land?” K said flatly
“As am I, K.” He paused. “For the crime of trespassing I sentence you all to death…in the pit.”