(Please feel free to use these links to catch up on past chapters!
Kaya opened up the large mason jar of cannabis wax concentrate and loaded her electric vaporizer the brim, before dabbing the extra wax off of her tool to clean off the metal dab tool that she used to scoop out her wax concentrate.
Chugging some water, to prevent more coughing from such a large hit, Kaya loaded her bong and ripped it as well, before coughing a bit from the impact of both large hits. “Damn…Damn that is some good shit!” Kaya said out loud to herself.
Kaya adjusted her hair, securing her thick hair into a messy bun, before chugging some more water and flicking on the radio, a smile crossing her face as she settled in for a nice Tuesday night in.
“This is M.E.T.A Radio, and I am your DJ in the PM, Sam, and this is M.E.T.A Radio “After Dark”, so load the bong, tap the keg, do whatever, because tonight looks to be a long one.” Came the familiar voice of Sam, the late-night radio DJ who got the “dark” spots in programming, like late nights and holiday hours no one else wanted to work.
Sam had an eclectic taste in music and a potty mouth for a vocabulary. Sam also thought the studio should go back to the days in the past when people smoked in studio, and T.V.’s weren’t in every room.
Kaya liked the radio station, and liked Sam, so she turned it up, and prepared to take another dab.
Kaya’s connect, Roxy, had delivered her some potent stuff, and a larger amount than she normally could get. Kaya had been treated to a large mason jar of wax concentrate, a good sativa mix, along with a smaller jar of a heavy indica, and a large bag of hybrid flower, to go with it. Far more than Kaya could ever afford in one go, more than anyone she knew could, really.
“Whoa, uhhh that’s a lot more than I normally get for this much cash” Kaya had said, meekly handing Roxy her cash.
Roxy had handed Kaya a small black backpack, it looked like a generic brand Jansport, black, with a silver zipper with black pull tabs hanging off the zippers.
Kaya opened the bag and saw the large mason jar of wax, along with the large bag of weed, and a bottle of a purple shimmering liquid.
“I’ve got a special deal on.” Roxy had said nervously shuffling her feet. “It’s just…uhh, things are gonna get crazy around here, soon, and I need you to be ready to run, to stay alive, okay? It’s already crazy outside.”
Kaya arched an eyebrow. “Yeah, I heard some people were sick, but you know me, I never leave my apartment.”
“I know. But I also know you have these windows and stuff…and you don’t have a ton of food or anything…Just…look, I need you to stay alive okay. So, I have a special deal on. This whole bag is yours.”
Kaya had shaken her head, not sure what Roxy had meant about things getting crazy or her needing to stay alive, but being amazed at the deal she was getting so she didn’t argue. “What’s the liquid?” She asked.
“Special liquor. You’ll know when to have it. I have given it to a few others…I am trying…” Roxy lowered her voice to just above a whisper. “Look, I can’t say what’s going on, but I am doing everything I can to keep some of you alive. Just listen to any messages I manage to get through to you, and stay safe.” Roxy’s voice returned to her normal volume. “Basically…You will know when to drink it, I promise.”
Kaya eyed Roxy curiously, but finally opted to trust the strange girl she had known for a while. Kaya didn’t trust many people, but something about Roxy had always put her at ease, and, considering Kaya always trusted her instincts, she decided to once again trust them, and to trust Roxy.
This decision directly impacted Kaya’s survival.
Roxy had known it would be a tough sell, but had been grateful she was a trustworthy person. Plus, who would turn down such a great deal with the wax and flower? Roxy caught sight of her eyes in a decorative mirror Kaya had hung up by the door. Seeing her eyes, Roxy knew she probably would trust them too. Something in Roxy’s eyes was betraying her truest self, and her truest self was really hoping she could help some people survive what was to come.
Roxy may be a narrator, but as far as she knew, that didn’t mean she couldn’t meddle a bit, more so if she knew she would be locked out of this city she loved so much, soon.
Besides, her helping other people was a part of what was to come, she was sure of it.
Kaya had bid Roxy goodbye and promised to keep herself safe, confused by Roxy’s behavior, but also knowing her friend and dealer was a bit weird.
Kaya had then hunkered down for a night that her favorite DJ was claiming would be long, so, Kaya checked her phone to see if any news had broken, wondering if anything had happened that she just didn’t know about.
Kaya didn’t see anything new on any of her social media apps, and nothing the news, other than a very cold snow storm that was apparently going hit everywhere. The storms on in Flake City were a legendary thing, and even if this storm was planned to hit many areas of the country, it was likely this storm would be one of the usual intense Flake City storms.
When Sam came back from her commercial break, she announced that they would be doing phone interviews all evening, interspersed with listener requests and Sam’s topical favorites.
“Tonight’s theme…infected.” Sam had said into the microphone.
Kaya shivered, having noticed earlier on one of her streaming sites that zombies were trending. A whole section of the service had been dedicated to zombies and infected movies, and now, the radio channel was doing a show on it.
Kaya scooped some wax onto her dab tool and lit her butane torch to heat up her quartz banger.
Kaya liked to smoke weed, and she also had a medical card for it, for a litany of reasons she rarely disclosed to others. Roxy knew, to an extent, and had always been kind enough to ensure she never ran out of medical grade stuff. Kaya was lucky enough to get small containers of wax, normally sold for hundreds of dollars, for a cool 100, and Roxy never missed a drop off, always making sure to keep her supplied with medicine.
Roxy had been better than most dispensaries in terms of service, but this most recent drop of had been more than a little lucrative.
Sam’s voice began speaking after some music and groaning noises.
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you like my voice, I may be the only voice you hear on the radio for a while.” Sam laughed before continuing, “I was called in to come man the radio as the last DJ available in the city, and in the time between that phone call and this broadcast, ladies and gentlemen, shit has gotten insane.”
Sam took a deep breath. “But you don’t have to take it from me. I will say that I encourage all of you to make sure your windows are barricaded, and your doors are securely locked. It appears that some of the people affected by the virus in Flake City are trying to break into homes. As far as I can see, the T.V. news station is down, and so are any internet communications regarding this event. We here at M.E.T.A. Radio have the exclusive, being the first to cover this developing story and quarantine, but sadly, as we often discuss on this radio channel, radio listening is way down, thanks to current trends. I really hope some of you out there are listening. I know we have some college listeners, and they are going to be joining us…First up we will be joined by some sorority sisters at the…”
Kaya heard a loud bang and shatter of glass outside, and a few more sirens went off in the distance. Kaya peaked out her window and was surprised to find sick looking people trying to break into the apartments below.
Kaya had heard from her downstairs neighbor earlier that there was an infection going around, but Kaya never left her apartment so that text message from someone who worked in the hospital, largely wasn’t important to her.
“Holy fuck.” Kaya murmured out loud as she watched these sick people beat against the walls, doors, and windows of any place they could access, like in any number of zombie movie or game Kaya enjoyed.
Kaya looked around and wondered how to barricade her windows if needed, to avoid anyone breaking in.
Kaya didn’t have much to break apart, and she wasn’t sure she even had nails to secure bits of furniture to the walls, so she pushed her large bookshelf against the window in her living area, and shuttered her bedroom windows which mercifully, due to the silly design of the building had shutters on that side of the building’s windows, to make the cheap building look nicer from the street view.
Sam the D.J. was interviewing some girls from a sorority house on campus, a few of them and a few other Greeks and non Greeks, who had taken refuge in the house, and had been able to barricade it, if not perfectly, but well.
“Now, you keep whispering, do you care to share why you are keeping your voice low?” Asked Sam to the girl who had identified herself as Paige.
“Noise, they come with noise.” The girl named Paige, whispered. “And we think they can see lights, so we turned those off too.”
“So, listeners, please, barricade windows and doors, and keep noise and light to a minimum. According to this group of people, once these sick individuals become infected, and the fever gets a hold of them, they do get violent.”
Sam began another phone interview with a nerdy boy in another frat house, this guy insisted the fever wasn’t the problem.
“Sam, anyone who has seen a single Romero movie, a single episode of Walking Dead, knows what this is. These people may have been sick, but they are violent now, and they are trying to eat us. Heat shots. Double Tap. If you have seen the movies, you know the rules. Follow them, it is terrifying out here.”
“So, Nate, are you saying…”
“Zombies. I’m saying zombies. This shit is horrifying.”
Sam laughed and asked Nate a few questions about their interactions with the infected people, before wrapping up the interview to play a few different songs she had queued up. “Remember, M.E.T.A. Radio listeners, make sure your doors and windows are barricaded, and don’t turn this music up too loud, eh?”
Kaya already had her lights turned low, with the intent of just chilling, so she double checked her doors, and lounged on her couch while rolling some joints with the weed Roxy had brought her.
“This shit, is this shit real?” Kaya wondered, and texted Sam the very same while mulling over how creeped out she was by what she had seen and what the radio was reporting. The kids on the campus could all very well be trying to prank people, but the stuff Kaya saw outside made her think they weren’t. Besides, Kaya reasoned while she lit a joint, she had seen enough of the college plays to know none of the students could act that well.
Kaya wondered about all of this, and settled in for a long evening, knowing she would find sleep hard to come by with the sirens that were blaring every few minutes, unusual for a weekend unheard of on a Tuesday. Kaya laughed, knowing this meant that no one at the dispatch or anyone driving the ambulances, fire trucks and police cars, knew that the violent infected were dawn to light and sound, which meant they were all likely to draw most of the infected’s danger, with their emergency response vehicles.
“You hate to see it.” Kaya said, flicking on her TV to play some zombie movies in the background while she listened to the broadcast.
“Well, now that we have heard from a few of you, I guess I will recount what I have experienced.” Sam said into the microphone. ”Because obviously I don’t believe this is a hoax, and with good reason.”
“My station manager urged me to get here quickly and mentioned a quarantine. He told me they may section off the city, so I don’t know if that is still a plan, or if that plan fell apart and the sick people are everywhere. I got here, but I was chased by sick people. When I arrived, I actually dealt with a former coworker…And let me tell you guys, I don’t think this is a simple infection. This coworker of mine was rabid, kept trying to attack me, not in some creepy guy way, but in a hungry animal kind of way. I ended up flipping him over the balcony when hitting him with a baseball bat twice didn’t do anything more than help keep him at a distance. When he fell, he got up, as if nothing happened, and ran after some more people, trying to eat them. I don’t want to say “zombie” but for the sake of survival, maybe everyone should think of the infected as such. I don’t want to be harsh, but what I can see from up here, is chaos. I can’t imagine what anyone else with a view can see, but I can see fires starting all around town. I can see these infected people shambling and sometimes sprinting around, trying to, and in many cases succeeding in, hurting and killing innocent people. It is madness out there. I have put out word to surrounding shelters, so far nothing official has been set up, but I understand the churches, including the church hospital, have started a shelter for everyone who is free of symptoms.” Sam took a deep breath, aching for a cigarette.
“I personally would suggest everyone get to somewhere safe. Start thinking of backup places to go if you are overrun by the infected. I have heard reports of these infected people breaking into homes, and breaking windows, and weak doors. I have no idea if they will get stronger, but I do know if you live on a ground floor or have a lot of windows, you may be in trouble. They seem to have trouble with stairs, but who knows how long that will last, and stairs may make escaping if you are overrun tricky, so consider how you will survive if you are over ran.” Sam paused.
Kaya eyed her apartment, knowing she was as safe as she could be, but accepting her apartment wasn’t exactly a fortress either.
“In addition to all of this, we have a bad storm brewing, and I think it will hit us soon. I know in the past, many of our storms stall out in the mountains for a few days, just to pummel us harder and longer than predicted. I bet this storm will do just that, and it looks the same too. I have reached out to some of the folks living in the mountains, and the few who were kind enough to respond told me they feel the storm will do the same. We have a few days of these zombies, and then we are going to be hit hard by a storm too.” Sam leaned in.
“Listeners, this is a great time to look at how much you have stored up, food, water, weed, whatever your vice is, wise, and get ready to hunker down. All streaming services seem to have some great zombie flicks trending, I am sure that is someone’s cruel idea of a joke. Either way, it may be good to refresh your memories on zombies. We just had Halloween, so the knowledge should be fresh on your brains. I wouldn’t recommend anyone get all murdery on these infected, but be prepared to use lethal force if necessary, to stay safe. They seem to take a beating and keep going, so be careful, and make sure you are ready for the long haul. Be ready to evacuate, to, because people are being overrun every hour. Speaking of hour, I am going to cue up the first power hour. When we return, we will be speaking to some more survivors, so check your doors and check your supplies, while we rock- rock- rock-“
Kaya checked her own kitchen and was not surprised to see she wasn’t in great shape for a storm and hunkering down.
“I wonder…If anyone will deliver groceries.” Kaya thought, knowing she normally never left, and tried to avoid needing to for groceries either.
Kaya whipped out her phone and attempted to order some groceries, opting for mostly dried and canned goods in case the power went out.
“I gotta figure out where the fuck to go though.” Kaya said, entertaining, for a moment, the idea that maybe she would be over run by these infected creatures. Kaya searched for a bag to pack supplies into before realizing the random bag Roxy had given her could fit more than anything she had.
Not a huge bag, but it seemed to be one of those bags that looked smaller than it was. Kaya knew she may not be able to fit much into the bag, so she tossed a change of clothes, some warm flannel pajama bottoms, and a few extra pairs of underwear and warm socks, into the bag. Kaya then reconsidered and rolled everything carefully to make more room in the small bag, realizing she may need to take this seriously, and grabbed some wet wipes, a roll of TP, her toothbrush and toothpaste, and a bar of soap, along with her first aid kit.
Kaya could hear sirens all around town, and more worrisome, very close to her. “They are going to bring more zombies to this area than we had before and get us all killed.” Kaya muttered, worriedly peeking out her window to eye the crowds below.
Several of these infected humans were down below, some more still were breaking into the apartments below. Kaya wondered how the apartments below her were handling it, fearing the worst.
Kaya took another dab and loaded a large bowl for her bong, after changing out the water. Eyeing her supplies, and knowing how fast her apartment would lose power, she hard boiled all the eggs she had and cooked up what was left of her leftovers in the fridge. Kaya didn’t have much that would be good for eating on the run, a couple granola bars and a bag of trail mix, but she tossed those in her bag.
Kaya also charged her extra phone batteries and power supplies for charging, and dug out her hand cranked radio she had bought during last years snow storm.
Kaya liked radio, preferring to listen to radio over TV, and personally believing that radio tended to break information and news in a disaster faster and better than TV.
In this instance, and how it pertained to Flake City, Kaya was completely right. The information Sam had already covered in the first hour of her radio show, wouldn’t be covered by anyone in the TV news until at least a day later.
By then, most of the city would have fallen to the infected.
Kaya felt her phone buzz and saw her grocery order had been canceled. Kaya rolled her eyes, mad at herself for thinking she would be able to get groceries delivered in the middle of some horrible infection outbreak that had turned humans rabid and cannibalistic.
Kaya still had a little food, but if the power went out, she would quickly run out of a way to cook said food.
Sighing, Kaya made a brief list of things she would need if she found herself on the move, and a list of places she could try and hide, and eyed her bag on the floor.
“Most stores will likely have people trying to holdup in them, to have access to supplies. I need to find a secure place, with a fireplace, wood, some food… Kaya jumped as she heard something bang on her door. “Thick doors.” Kaya whispered.
Kaya carefully got up and crossed to her door, checking her peephole. Outside, an infected human tried to gain access. Kaya turned off all her lights and turned down the radio, before returning to the door.
The zombie outside shuffled elsewhere, searching for somewhere to go, and something to eat. Kaya let out a small breath of relief and realized she had to plan for where to go when, not if, her apartment was overrun.
“I need to be higher up.” Kaya thought, wondering how she would gain access to any place that would work for her. Kaya didn’t have many friends, but she shot text messages out to those in the city, including Sam, at the radio station, who was likely too far for Kaya to get to, if the zombies outside were any indication.
Kaya searched her apartment, wondering what on earth she could use as a weapon. Kaya had a knife, and a multi tool that also had a knife, which she put in her backpack, but she didn’t have much by way of a weapon.
“I need to get to a sporting goods store maybe…” Kaya thought, knowing she could probably also grab some camping equipment, and maybe some dried meals or cooking equipment.
Kaya gathered up her cold weather clothing, including a thick knit beanie, gloves, a scarf and her thick black coat. If she had to be on the move, the rapidly falling temperatures would cause her a ton of problems.
Kaya yawned, and settled in for a night of scared waiting and planning for disaster, wondering still if any of this could really be real.
The radio played a few more interviews, but slowly, the night wore on to the early morning light, with Kaya dozing on her couch and Sam the DJ making coffee.
It was early in the morning, in fact the sun had yet to rise, when Kaya heard a familiar voice urge her awake.
“Kaya, you have to run. If you leave now you can get supplies and find a place before it gets worse.”
Kaya woke with start, searching for the voice, but all she could hear now were the groans of zombies outside. The sound had grown, since she had last dozed off. It sounded like several more than the few she had seen the night before.
Kaya opted to not search for the source of the voice, when it came again, urging her to take a sip of the liquid from the bag and get ready to run.
Kaya blinked sleep from her eyes and shoved her feet into an extra pair of socks before shoving them into her boots. Kaya had fallen asleep in her jeans and a tank top, so she added a hoodie and her scarf before donning her jacket and crossing to her kitchen. In her fridge, Kaya had some soda’s, so she popped one open and chugged it for the caffeine while depositing the rest into her bag, and sliding it onto her back. Outside, the activity seemed to be escalating despite her doing all of this so silently. Kaya heard glass break, and was grateful for the bookshelf she had moved in front of the window.
Kaya finished her soda, searching around for anything else she would need, and finished tying her boots. Kaya was slipping on her beanie and sliding her vape pen into her pocket, when her bookshelf blocking of her window tipped over, crashing into her couch.
Kaya yelped, and realized, with horror, what all was now coming into her apartment, attracted by the noise of the crashing furniture and her own fearful scream.
“Fuck. Goddamnit, Kaya, you can’t do that.” Kaya yelled at herself, quickly scanning her living room as infected humans began climbing in through her window. Kaya grabbed her butane torch and extra butane but couldn’t pack her dab rig or bong, crushed under her fallen bookshelf.
“Fuck again.” Kaya moaned, glad she had papers and a vaporizer on her, and slid into the bathroom while infected poured into her apartment.
“FUCK!” Kaya moaned to herself, locking the weak door and quickly opening the small window.
Kaya knew she could wiggle out the hole, but knew she bag couldn’t, not on her, so she pushed it through first, setting it on the ledge outside, praying it didn’t fall.
An infected began banging on her bathroom door, causing the door to buckle under the weight, as Kaya pushed her torso through the window, grateful for the slight edge she could balance on.
Kaya had once upon a time, been quite the gymnast, and in this moment, was grateful for the balance she was left with. “Take a drink from the bottle!” Urged the voice once more, so Kaya obliged, not wanting to argue with a voice she couldn’t see the source of, before tucking it back into the bag Roxy had given her, and sliding the bag back onto her shoulders.
Willing herself to breath calmly, deep and slow, Kaya searched the area around her, searching for the next place to head. Kaya’s apartment didn’t have balconies, but some on higher levels did, as did a few others in the area. Kaya could see a general store, one she knew had food and more importantly, camping supplies.
“You need to get to the mountains” came a voice, that was gone again with a gust of wind that reminded Kaya of two truths, One, a large storm was heading her way, and two, she was balanced very precariously, and needed to find a more stable place to stand and survey the area. Down below were no small number of zombies, but none of them seemed to be moving very quickly.
“Okay.” Kaya took a deep breath. “Okay. Okay. Okay. This is all…oh!” Kaya moved her leg, seeing the infected that had first broken into her apartment now at the window.
“Holy crap that was fast.” Kaya breathed deeply, wondering what was making some of these zombies move faster and with more skill than other zombies, and made a note to try and reach out to Sam at the radio if Kaya got to safety.
“So how to get safe?” Asked Kaya, knowing she couldn’t very well stand on the window edge all day. The sun was still working its way up, and the early morning darkness gave Kaya the idea to maybe just stick to the shadows and avoid contact with other infected.
Kaya inched her way towards the corner of the building, so she could try and work her way down using the ledges on both parts of the wall.
“It’s just like parkour” Kaya said when she reached the corner she had been working towards.
Grateful for the good drip on her boots, but wishing she had a greater range of motion than the boots and jacket allowed, Kaya made her way down the wall.
Kaya only slipped a few times, but kept her lips tightly pressed together to keep from yelling out in fear, and lingering core strength from her gymnastics days allowed her to made her way down the building in relative safety.
Her hands were already drying out and getting torn up, having removed her winter gloves to have a better grip, when she first tried to begin scaling the wall down. Thankfully, the bottom of the building had a few bushes and trees, which provided some coverage for Kaya when she finished scaling the wall.
Carefully, keeping eyes on the infected around her, Kaya slid her gloves back on, gingerly, and slipped her scarf up around her face a bit, to act as a mask.
“No way of knowing how this disease is exchanged…” Kaya said, her head already spinning from being outside in such a dangerous situation, hell being outside at all tended to make her uncomfortable enough to get the spins. Kaya felt nearly frozen in place as the spins took over her mind. The world spun and tried to get smaller. Kaya fought this feeling, forcing herself to stay grounded and present.
“MOVE!” Kaya finally urged herself as one zombie began to shamble towards her. Kaya removed herself from the bushes and made her way towards the store that was nearby, trying to stay behind trees and bushes, to avoid detection from the infected.
Kaya moved carefully wishing with every passing moment that she had something to defend herself with, but she seemed to be able to outrun most of these zombies, so she just kept herself moving and ducking behind anything she could.
Kaya made it to the parking lot of the store, and had to flat-out run, as the parking lot was covered in these infected zombies. “Shit” She said when she saw the first few reach for her.
Kaya ducked, and at one point had to roll, to avoid some of the zombies, before having to leap up once more and keep running as fast as she could.
“Oh my god oh my god oh my god.” Kaya began looking ahead to the store, and saw some windows were already boarded up.
“Fuck.” Kaya hadn’t thought about people already being inside the store, much less a store already being closed up, but she didn’t have much choice, so she ducked down into the cart collection area and was able to crawl through carts to get into the store.
“Oh thank god.” Kaya breathed softly, keeping her voice down. Anyone in the building could also already be a zombie or be some other kind of evil that would be just as bad, so Kaya decided to keep low and quiet, get her supplies, and get the fuck out of there.
“Ignore food. You need shelter items first. You can raid food somewhere else. People may shoot over food.” Kaya told herself, passing some food aisles and heading straight to the camping section of the store.
Passing the garden section, Kaya grabbed a machete, remembering that from a list Sam had read on the air the night before.
Kaya kept moving until she found the sporting goods area. Checking over her shoulder, surprised to have not seen anyone yet, Kaya grabbed a cold weather camping sleeping bag and some bungee cords.
“Only take what you need.” Kaya told herself, grabbing a tarp and some cordage and sliding these into her bag before heading to the next aisle where camping cooking equipment was kept. Kaya found a backpacker cooking kit and slid it into her bag, leaving behind the camp stove.
“It’ll only weigh you down. You’ll need to find a fireplace regardless.” Kaya told herself, sliding the backpack back on, she began to search for another weapon and an exit that wouldn’t leave her so exposed when she left.
Kaya turned the corner of the aisle and found herself face to face not with a zombie, but with a double barrel shotgun, aimed precisely at her head.
Kaya immediately tossed her hands into the air. “I am not your enemy.” Kaya said quickly, quietly and calmly, terrified of what this man would do.
“What are you doing here?” He asked with an obvious drawl, clearly not local to Flake City.
“Nothing. I needed a few essential supplies, my apartment was overran. I didn’t take much, just what I needed, not even everything I needed. Enough to take care of me, that’s it.”
“So, you looted.”
“No. I am surviving. Looting is taking TV’s.”
“What all did you take then?” Asked the man calmly. Kaya wanted to look at him, but all she could see was a tuft of white hair behind the shot gun.
Kaya urged her trembling nerves to stay calm and recounted her items. “A tarp, some cord, a sleeping bag, some bungee cords to lash it on, a machete for a weapon, I’m looking for something better, and a camp cook kit. No food. I saw it was boarded up, didn’t want to take your food, I walked right past the food and water.” Kaya urged the man.
The man nodded and slowly lowered his gun.
“I watched you on the cameras. Had you taken food, or lied to me just now, I would have blown you away.”
Kaya gulped, grateful for her instincts. “I believe that.”
“You need anything else?”
“A weapon. This machete won’t stay sharp if I am cutting heads off. Maybe an ax or a bat?”
The man gestured to the aisle she could find a bat in. “Find something there. I’ll grab you a travel ax for wood.”
Kaya searched the bats, torn between wood and metal, before realizing she would need the strength of the metal.
“Metal will be good. Here.” The man gruffly handed her some things. A small travel ax and sturdier gloves, meant more for outside work, not snowballs.”
“Thank you, I really appreciate this.” Kaya said, careful to keep her tone even and appreciative, fearing this man with the gun at least as much as the zombies outside.
“Here. I won’t risk losing my MRE’s, but you can have this.” The man gave Kaya bag of beef jerky.
“Thanks. Is there a way out of here that isn’t the front?” Kaya said, storing the supplies and putting on the gloves. The bungee cords helped her lash things like the bat and machete to her bag, while the axe was stored in a case in her bag.
“Yeah, I’m gonna take you. If I see you again, or you bring anyone here, I’ll shoot you.” The man who felt entitled to the store he didn’t own, said gruffly.
“Then I will make sure to not come back.” Kaya said to him, shaking his hand to thank him for the supplies, but also mostly to hopefully show him respect enough to not shoot her in the back as she left. Kaya feared what had happened to the store owner, with this gun toting out of towner branching a gun like he owned the place, Kaya feared the kind owners may be dead now.
The older man pushed open a door with his hip and shot a nearby zombie.
“Head shots, just like the movies, you hear?” The man told her as the infected dropped dead and stopped moving.
“Yessir.” Kaya said, holding onto her metal baseball bat, she quickly darted out towards some trees and bushes, hoping they would hide her from not only the zombies but the man with a gun. The zombies seemed to run towards the man, the explosions from his gun, Kaya assumed, drew them in.
Fighting the spins from her nerves, Kaya moved quickly, occasionally seeing a car drive by, or hearing a siren in the distance, which would draw zombies to them, running often right past Kaya.
Kaya used this to her advantage, tossing rocks when she needed to draw an infected’s attention away, taking breaks when she came across a car alarm or security alarm, which would keep the zombies occupied for the most part and allow her a moment to get her bearings.
Kaya was careful, moving from the back of the store, which was near some smaller homes. All around her, other than the infected, Kaya saw that the houses were torn apart, which made Kaya wonder how hard the night had been for some people. None of these houses would work for hiding out in, and with the intense concentration of zombies, if Kaya were to stop moving for long, she would likely be overtaken by zombies, with car alarms being few and far between. Kaya’s success had come from moving quietly and quickly, not drawing enough attention from the zombies for long enough to cause problems, but if she stopped moving, she would have problems.
Kaya was surprised to see a few cars on the road, most looked to be searching for people. Kaya watched one man slam his car into park and jump out of his car, grabbing a woman by the arm, hard, harder than Kaya felt would be necessary, to jerk her back to the car, when the woman, long since having turned into a zombie from the infection, dove at his neck, tearing into him, eating him as his screams became gurgles and death. A few other zombies joined her, feasting on this man, buying Kaya a moment of time. Kaya eyed his car, and made her way to it to check it for supplies.
Inside, Kaya found nothing terribly useful, the gun he had was not well maintained and Kaya didn’t think the noisy tool would be helpful right now, nor would the cellphone he had, as Kaya’s was newer with more of a charge, but he had a map, which Kaya grabbed, before continuing on her walk.
The streets were becoming more and more clogged from cars just like this mans, abandoned when someone tried to save someone else, so Kaya figured using his car wouldn’t actually get her around town any faster, and could lead to her being trapped in the car.
The sun was up, which seemed to only encourage the infected activity. Kaya ducked between two large work vans and checked the map, trying to remember apartments she had toured when she moved that were secure, with balconies and fireplaces.
“I can use balconies to get in, those doors are normally unlocked, or easy to break in. Then I need a fireplace because power is going out.” Kaya noticed some of the stop lights were already not working, and a small fire near a transformer told her that much of this block was likely without power.
Kaya kept walking, hoping to get closer to the radio station, but knowing with how densely populated these zombies were, she likely wouldn’t make it. “Plus,” Kaya reasoned, “the radio station is probably very secure, and I would have to beg Sam to let me in first.”
Kaya didn’t know if she could convince Sam to let her into the radio station; she was friendly enough with Sam, never having called into the show, but having actually met Sam a few times while using the telescope in the station, at the few parties Kaya could manage to leave her house for- Normally smaller shindigs with lots of weed. They texted often, and Kaya considered Sam a friend but…Things could always be different when things got hard, and Kaya had trust issues.
“No, it will take me a while to even get to that side of town.” Kaya said with a sigh as she ducked behind a tree. There were tons of zombies and Kaya needed to take a breather and figure out where to go but everywhere Kaya turned, zombies were around. Kaya’s moment behind the tree was short lived, as another infected zombie lumbered closer to here. “Bleegh” Kaya said out loud as she tried to duck the zombie, before running into another one.
“Oh gross.” Kaya mumbled pushing this second zombie off of her.
“Oh damn.” Kaya looked around, realizing she needed to get safe fast, because she was now surrounded by zombies.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck…” Kaya took off running, ducking a few more. The zombies were moving more than before, making Kaya wonder if the sun was making them move faster, maybe warming them up or something.
The wind was still gusting, and the temperature was cold and steadily declining, so the sun, Kaya had reasoned, shouldn’t be warming them up, or making them move any faster, but alas, these zombies seemed more alert and quicker.
Kaya ran, scanning for somewhere to hide or evade them. Most the buildings were locked up or worse yet, open and crawling with zombies, making Kaya wonder how many survivors the town even had. Kaya had yet to really see anyone that wasn’t already being eaten.
Kaya spotted a tree, and even better than the tree, was an apartment building that had always been outside of her budget, boasting both beautiful patio balconies, and lovely fireplaces too.
Kaya ran, eyeing a branch and leaping onto it, swinging her legs up around the branch, ignoring the ache in her abs from lack of workouts. Long ago, this stunt wouldn’t have phased Kaya, but suddenly she was aware of how little she had worked out since she left her gymnastics days.
With a grunt, Kaya swung herself up and began to climb the tree as a zombie arrived at the base of the tree, grabbing at where she had been hanging only moments earlier.
Kaya worked her way up, hoping the branches would hide her a bit, from the zombies down below, but sadly, the trees were already mostly bare, and her climbing on the branches knocked off more than a few of the remaining leaves.
Kaya spotted where she could shimmy onto the second-floor balcony but knew it would be very risky.
On one hand, it was at the end of a branch.
On the other, the balcony had a glass door and what looked like at least two zombies inside. Kaya hadn’t considered how infested the individual apartments would be, but was grateful she would be able to see in.
Less grateful that she didn’t know how strong the glass was.
“I’ll have to get onto the balcony, without this branch breaking, and get the fuck off that balcony, before they break down that possibly very flimsy, glass door.” Kaya shuddered against another cold gust of wind and wondered how cold it was outside. She was reasonably well bundled up but the weather was blustery, snowflakes could occasionally be seen trying to fall, the storm in the mountains was clearly trying to break into the city, building up power in the mountains. Kaya reached back and touched the baseball bat, lashed to her backpack which bungee cords, where she had stashed it to have both hands free.
“I don’t think I can kill two of them with this.” Kaya said leaving it where it was stashed. “Hell, I have seen more of them kill us than us kill them so for all I know we can’t kill them.” Kaya reasoned, eyeing the distance between balconies.
Kaya held onto the trunk and carefully sized up her situation.
The balcony she could reach had zombies in the apartment, hovering by the door, the balconies on the ground floor were crawling with zombies, and she had no idea how many were elsewhere. The balcony across from her, that she could reach, wasn’t far from the one next to it, nor the one above it, however.
“I don’t want to be on the second floor, I need to be as high up as possible.” Kaya thought, eyeing the floor above her, sizing the distance between the two balconies.
“If I can get there, and there are no zombies in there, I may be safe.” Kaya told herself, eyeing the task at hand. “Just don’t think about how much that drop would suck.” Kaya said and tested the branch. It wasn’t the strongest branch, and by the time Kaya got out far enough to get to the balcony, she would have to jump, and the branch would likely break.
“But it’s only going to get worse. So, go.” Kaya told herself. “But first.” Kaya removed her vaporizer and hit it a few times, hoping for good luck.
Finally, Kaya felt her nerves retreat as much as they could, as the THC and CBD hit her system, and she carefully made her way across the branch.
Kaya had expected the branch to break but hadn’t expected it to do so quite as soon.
But she also hadn’t expected to get lucky, and she did, grabbing onto the balcony edge, with its secure fencing. The zombies inside the apartment started growling and banging on the glass door, so Kaya quickly moved towards the wall of the building, desperate for a foot or hand hold to climb the building.
Kaya climbed onto the balcony banister and reached out for the bottom of the balcony above her, wishing for more height, but grateful to reach a ledge.
“Ugh.” Kaya groaned, trying to gain footing on anything before taking her remaining leg off the only semi stable thing it had found.
Kaya fought back panic as she thought about how precariously she was positioned, and how badly things would go if she fell. The glass was breaking, she could hear the gut dropping sound of the glass splintering, just before the glass gave way, releasing the zombies inside the apartment to the balcony.
Kaya grabbed a better hold of the ledge, this time able to get a secure hold on it, and kicked off the banister and wall, trying to swing any part of her body up, as the zombies turned from where they fell through the door, and, covered in glass, tried to grab her.
“Oh no!” Kaya kicked down at one zombie, essentially using its head as a step, and was able to grab higher up on the banister and wrap her arm around the banister, pulling herself up. Scrambling, Kaya pulled her legs up, her now exhausted abs screaming at her as she did so, and Kaya fearfully investigated the apartment window, praying for at the very least, not zombies.
Kaya saw one, inside, but knew she couldn’t possibly climb again, not without resting, so she removed her baseball bat.
“Okay. Slide the door open and use the bat to toss this dude over. Just like Sam did. Then, you can roll yourself the fattest joint and raid this guy’s apartment.” Kaya promised herself, taking a deep, steadying breath.
Kaya tested the door, and when in slid open easily and quietly enough to not draw the attention of the infected inside, Kaya tapped the metal bat on the metal banister, and the former inhabitant of the apartment shot off after her through the door.
Kaya hit him hard with the metal bat, swinging in the direction of the edge of the balcony to try and coral him towards the edge to facilitate tossing him off the edge.
“Ggawhhh!” The zombie moaned as the bat connected with a solid thunk. The zombie seemed almost stunned for a minute, so Kaya hit him again, which seemed to injure it, before using the time he was stunned to grab his legs and toss him over the edge. The infected zombie fell below, landing on a few others.
“Okay. Good. Next, see if he has friends.” Kaya stepped into the apartment with her bat at the ready. Carefully, Kaya checked the bedroom and the bathroom, glad to find both clear of infected, and, in the case of the bathroom, in working order and well stocked.
Kaya checked the kitchen, happy to find it stocked with some food. None of it great, as the guy seemed to be a bachelor, and worse yet a health nut, but enough basic food for a few days or more at least, some was shelf stable enough to go in her bag. Kaya checked the door, making sure it was securely locked, and found it was. The guy, it seemed, had barricaded the door, and Kaya could easily imagine why, when she heard the groans outside from the hallway.
Kaya closed the patio door after checking the outside once more.
The power was out, but the stove was gas, and the water was still running, so Kaya deemed the space to be suitable to hold out in for a little bit while she figured out her next move.
Kaya searched for a radio around the apartment but only found a couple of TV’s, one in the living room, another in the bedroom, and then, to Kaya’s amusement, another small one in the bathroom, mounted to the wall.
“This is what single boys do. I swear…” Kaya laughed.
The apartment was incredibly modernized, Kaya observed, with everything wired up, it would make for an incredible modern and comfortable stay, if the power wasn’t out and there weren’t zombies everywhere.
Kaya removed her small hand cranked radio, grateful she had packed it, and cranked it up and turned it to M.E.T.A. Radio.
Sam had a power rock hour going, so Kaya left it on, turned down low, and checked the kitchen for supplies. Dried foods, like the power protein bars, Kaya stashed in her backpack, and one of the cans of soup she found, she tossed into a small pan and turned the stove on the warm it.
The fridge, Kaya knew from the bad storm the year before, would stay cool for a day or so, so if Kaya opened it quickly and took out what she needed, she could preserve a few things in the fridge. Kaya swung it open, ready to scan for many different items, before realizing the fridge was full of mostly drinks, soda, beer, post workout shakes and a couple of large jugs of water, so Kaya proclaimed this to be a victory, grabbed a post work out shake to soothe her aching muscles from the climb, and checked the freezer, which seemed to mostly contain overly healthy versions of your usual frozen foods, including an insane assortment of plant based crust frozen pizzas.
When Kaya’s soup was done, she ate it, hot from the pan to avoid the dishes, out of habit, grabbing another soda from the fridge before flopping down onto the couch and eating while waiting for updates from the radio.
Kaya munched, wondering how Sam was doing, on her side of the city, and wondering where she would find permanent shelter. These thoughts were quickly answered, however, when Sam’s familiar voice interrupted the rock music that was playing, mid lyric.
“The churches are overwhelmed, repeat, the churches are overwhelmed!” Came Sam’s voice, and the next round of information was given to Flake City.
Thank you so much for reading- Kaya and Sam are some of my favorite characters so I hope you enjoyed and will continue to enjoy some of my favorite characters, on the other side of Flake City….I mean c’mon, you didn’t think this story was just about Chloe, Damian, Charlie, Chev, Moria, Georgie, Lissa and Mark, right?
Nah, in truth, we are just getting started. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading, if you have any comments or questions, my DM’s are always open- @abbigrasso on all social medias I am on.
Thanks for reading!