At Death’s Door Part 6- A D Day’s Story

Al- After the last shot that Al’s gun held slashed through the shoulder
of one of the men who stammered toward he and Jason, Al turned to his
friend.

“We aren’t making it that way.”

“Yeah I can see that.”

“We got two options. Back to the bar or down that alley.” He pointed to
his right and down an abandoned alley. It held an overflowing green
dumpster and boxes.

“I just hope there isn’t the proverbial fence at the end of that alley.
Ya know the cliche ‘dead end’,” Jason chuckled at his own joke.

As they entered the alley they kicked empty boxes out of the way,
sending them flying. Al could hear the horde close behind, their heavy
breathing, groaning, and screaming. It was the worst sound he had ever
heard. The screams rose above everything, of course there wasn’t much
sound anymore and the echo of their stomping feet reminded him of that.

Just as Al reaches the overflowing dumpster he can see Jason four to
five steps ahead, younger and more athletic, Jason could run off and
leave his partner behind to face the horde alone, but Al knew better.
Jason had stood by him through enough to know that he wouldn’t.

A hand reached suddenly and grabbed Al’s leg. It came from just beyond
the dumpster and Jason had ran right passed it, focused on the end of
the alley he must’ve not seen the D laying there. It’s hunger tried
raged and Al could see it in the man’s eyes. His body skinny and
decaying from the sores and blisters and lack of food, the man appeared
to be on the edge of death.

“Please, kill me, or I will bite you, you prick,” the man said as he pulled on Al’s leg.

Al looked over his shoulder and could see horde approaching and up
ahead he could see his best friend headed away, unaware of what was
happening. Al raised his silver pistol and pulled the trigger, CLICK.
Damn he forgot he was out of ammo. He kicked the mans face and took two
steps away and the man snapped his mouth at him in a chomping motion.

The horde grew closer and Al ran again, looking back only once to see
the horde stop at the dumpster man and begin to tear him apart, ripping
him limb from limb. He could hear the screams of the man and of the
hungry horde.

As he exited the alley he ran into Jason again how stood staring at the
interstate. It wasn’t the abandoned highway sitting littered with
immobile vehicles it was something else, something that Al didn’t think
he would ever see again, one moving vehicle. It moved slowly and popped
and clacked and shot steam into the air like an steam engine, and that
was excactly what it was. A steam powered truck. someone had converted
a pickup truck into steam power. As slow as it was moving Al decided
they could head it off, they ran, keeping the truck in their sights the
whole time.

Near the Gateway Arch they headed it off and started waving in the air
like batting gnats or flies and to Al’s surprise the old man pulled to
a stop. He stumbled out of his truck, his thin stringy long white hair
hung from beneath a camoflague ballcap, and his long whit beard flowed
in the slight breeze. He remided Al of Uncle Jesse.

He patted his hip and moved his overcoat over like there was about to be a showdown, he revealed his large cannon of handgun.

“You boys infected?”

“No sir we are not,” Al spoke up.

“Hop in, which way you headed?”

“Just north, we got a camp, your welcome to stay there tonight in return for you trouble. Its safe, and we have food.” Al said.

“No thanks, I got plenty of food.”

Jason climbed in first occupying the middle of the bench and then Al
climbed in. He glanced in bed of the Old Timer’s truck and noticed a
tarp covered the bed. Must be there to protect his supplys. As the
engine popped to life Al could see the horde leaving the alley in the
distance, they must be finished with their snack. The tarp began to
flap in the wind as they moved along the interstate and the sun began
to set on the far side of the city, bathing it in a bright orange. A
solar powered road sign flashed, “Today’s Air is Green, Breath Easy”,
Al chuckled. The flapping of the tarp caught his attention and his
chuckle ceased when he looked undered the flapping, and saw empty eyes
staring back at him.

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