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Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three, Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve, Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen.
The sun had risen, and with it, the hungry zombies became more active once again.
Kaya grumbled quietly, irritated with the zombies, and tired. Kaya thought about making some coffee, knowing it would be a challenge, without the proper equipment, she would have to be crafty.
“Ugh.” Kaya grabbed her vape pen an hit it a few times while she found a coffee filter and made a make shift sack out of it, stuffed with coffee grounds. From there, Kaya measure out some cups of water from the pitcher in the fridge, not trusting the tap water for drinking, and put this on the fire once she had added a lot and stroked it back to life from it going cool over night.
Kaya hadn’t thought about keeping the fire lit while she slept, and the apartment was cold, so she hovered by the fire, clutching the blanket around her shoulders. Kaya was tired and cold, and her nerves were already frayed from all the zombie noises all around them.
Shuddering against the cold, Kaya checked out the window. Outside, zombies moved every which way, and a small coating of ice and snow was on the ground below.
Kaya sat back down on the couch, wishing the makeshift coffee would brew faster. Bitterly, Kaya glared at the bright sun that seemed to have whipped the zombies up into an active frenzy once more.
Kaya was a fairly nocturnal person, so she was already pretty irritated with the zombies sticking to their usual habits of rising during the day. Kaya found it hard to rest when she could hear them actively trying to get in to eat her face, so she wasn’t sleeping during the day like she usually did.
“This zombie shit sucks.” Kaya lamented. “I mean, plenty of people have woke me up during the day, but not because they wanted to eat my fucking face.”
Once the coffee was ready, Kaya sweetened it with the sweetener she had found yesterday, and checked to see if Jeff was awake. Kaya assumed he wouldn’t be up, due to all the beers he had polished off before passing out, and she was correct, so she returned inside to drink her coffee that turned out better than she had expected, while hovering by the fire to get warm.
Kaya couldn’t believe how cold it was, it seemed to creep in from outside, and the radio updates told her the temperature was in the teens, but it had a chill to it that seemed to stick. Kaya hoped, not for the first time that morning, that the next place she found for hiding out in, was in better shape.
“More secure, with electricity. And working gas.” Kaya muttered, angry still that the gas had stopped working in the middle of the night. Sure she was getting to learn how to cook on the fire sooner, but also, she was having to cook on the fire, and only have cold water in the sink and shower.
“Water will go next.” Kaya told herself, knowing that by this evening, neither her nor Jeff would likely want to stay at all, the building would be nearly inhospitable.
The sounds of zombies were getting louder, so Kaya knew it could become scary fast, with zombies trying to break down doors and tear down walls, so she was careful to keep her bag at the ready, continuously checking for Jeff.
The day passed slowly, Kaya ate, did a light work out she used to do to keep her newly broken muscles from the building climbing from getting too stiff.
Sometime after noon, Jeff came outside and smoked a few cigarettes and caught the rope that Kaya had tossed to him, to begin lowering down his supplies so he could lower himself down to Kaya.
“Things are getting noisy up here, I think they may be trying to break through the walls.” Jeff said, clearly tired but also scared and hungover.
“Yeah, I think so too.” Kaya said as she caught the camping backpack Jeff had lowered down to her. On it, she saw a sleeping bag and inside, Jeff had packed many of his supplies. Once the rope was secure, Jeff began to lower himself from his balcony onto Kaya’s. As soon as he was reachable, Kaya helped pull him in, and finally, came face to face with her balcony friend and survival buddy, Jeff.
“Hi.” Jeff said, a goofy, sweet grin breaking across a boyish face. “I am hungover.”
Kaya laughed and helped Jeff into the apartment.
“I don’t know how long we will be safe.” Kaya said, keeping her voice down, but as soon as we have a chance, we need to run for it. I am going to work on the rope, make sure it’s secure for us going down the next few floors.”
“I want to nap.” Jeff said laying down on his backpack.
“Just sleep lightly, we may have to go soon.”
While Jeff slept, Kaya cleaned herself up, and made some food. Kaya finally packed up what she could and left her bag by the door, waiting for a good time for them to make a break from the building to somewhere else.
Outside, the zombies were hungrily wondering around, and the wind had picked up.
Kaya was worried, the sounds inside the apartment building had grown around them, and she was worried the zombies were making their way through the apartments by force. Earlier, they had heard screams in the distance, making them worry that other people shared their fate. The radio was playing music with occasional weather updates, and Sam taking phone calls as various places were overran.
“All around Flake, I am getting reports of various safe locations being overran. I can not stress the importance of staying quiet, it seems these infected get much more active during the day” Sam reported. “Please remember, if you can take someone in, take them in, these are scary times and people are having to flee their homes, please consider taking them in if you see someone. If you have space, call me and I can get you in contact with people searching for safety in your area.”
Kaya kept the radio low, and huddled near the fire. Kaya had blocked off every point of access in the apartment, leaving only the sliding glass door of the balcony, available. The bathroom, fireplace, and couch, were now the only areas being utilized with the gas down in the kitchen, and the water threatening to fail. Kaya had filled the tub so they could keep flushing, and found a bucket to force flush if needed, but still, they knew they couldn’t stay in the apartments any longer.
Kaya had been in communications with Sam at the radio station, who was able to tell her which parts of town she knew were destroyed from her sight up in tower or from her reports from others, and there were several buildings still standing near her, so Kaya marked a few options on the map.
While Jeff napped, Kaya stood guard, finally opting to practice with the little bow she had found on the closet, shooting at a target she drew on the wooden counter. The day passed faster than Kaya had thought possible, and before long, it was dinner time.
Jeff had finally woken up, and after getting some makeshift coffee, was able to focus. “Those zombies have gotten louder. I think they have broken into the apartments nearest us.” Jeff finished his hot coffee. “We are likely next aren’t we?”
Kaya shot another arrow, and said “probably” but her word was cut off but the sound of a head breaking through the apartment wall in the kitchen.
“Oh my fuck!” Kaya yelled leaping up and throwing on her back pack. Jeff grabbed his own and grabbed the arrow Kaya had just fired, handing it back to her.
Swiftly, Kaya reloaded it and aimed carefully at the zombie with his head caught in the wall. They could both hear more zombies behind the zombie breaking through, but Kaya shot it, her target practice, and also short range, aiding her.
Kaya quickly reloaded the bow and slid the door open. “We gotta go!” She said in a panic as another zombie began to break in. Another wall began to buckle, making them both worry that zombies would soon be streaming in.
“Who first?” Jeff said looking down. There were already a few zombies below, but they had agreed to have someone up top throw things to try and distract the zombies as the first person went.
“You first. You can’t climb as fast.” Kaya offered, helping Jeff over. “Hurry. When you get down start swinging, I’ll be right behind you.”
Jeff looked pale, but began to climb down while Kaya threw some pieces of wood she had grabbed from near the fire place. More zombies were breaking in, with arms and heads breaking through walls inside.
Below Jeff, the zombies were moving from the spot he would likely land and they were about to most faster, as were the ones trying to get into the apartment.
Nearby, or near ish, an alarm went off, an ear splitting, impossibly noisy siren. All the zombies nearby ran for it. A zombie that had broken into the apartment ignored Kaya and walked right past her, flipping themselves off the balcony.
This zombie collided with Jeff on the way down, however, causing him to crash into the building, and then fall the remaining story he had to climb down.
With a gasp, Kaya was over the rope, and halfway down before thinking of any falling zombies after her, which was equally unfortunate, as the zombies fell, making Kaya collide as well. Kaya felt her body take impact, the hard concrete and stone digging into her body and scraping her head. Kaya shook her head, dizzy and seeing stars from the collision and continued trying to get down to help Jeff, who had crawled to a nearby bush and was trying to be unseen while digging out a weapon.
Kaya landed roughly, her head still spinning, and looked around. The zombies were mostly ignoring them, streaming towards the sound, so Kaya knelt down to Jeff, who was trying to find a weapon.
“My damn leg.” Jeff moaned as he searched. “Probably broken. Need to find my damn…” Jeff removed a gun from his bag.
“I told myself…I would save one bullet for myself, I can use the rest in the clip to shoot any that come near me I guess.”
“Why would you do that, put that away!” Kaya said, surprised he had a gun to begin with. “The noise will draw more. Get your bat out, something useful and quiet.”
“My leg! I can’t walk!”
“You can hobble. I’ll help.” Kaya said, eying his leg. “Watch us, let me see your leg.” Kaya grabbed the leg, ignoring his protests and checked it out.
Very likely, Jeff had broken his ankle. It was starting to swell and looked bad.
“Okay, it isn’t great, but it’s probably a really bad sprain.” Kaya lied smoothly. “Let me wrap it up. You will use something to walk, a bat, whatever, on one side, me on the other. We have to move. That siren is perfect they are ignoring us, but we have to move, NOW.” Kaya quickly grabbed the baseball bat and handed it to him, and helped Jeff to his feet.
“I am going to weigh you down, slow you down!” Jeff stammered through the pain.
Kaya hit her vape and then tucked it back in her pocket, and positioned Jeff. “There is safety in numbers, safety in a team. Teams don’t leave people behind. We have to move. We can find supplies for your leg and get your sorted tonight, once we get safe, C’mon.” Kaya said, urging Jeff on. Jeff moaned in pain, and Kaya let him hit her pen while they moved.
There were a few small grass ways they could walk through, instead of following the streets, clogged with wrecked cars anyway, and get to the smoke shop area.
On the way, there was a small alley, with a pharamacy with broken windows in the front, so Kaya led them down it. “Look, from here,” Kaya pointed, “We can practically see the smoke shop. See, and that whole area looks secure. This place has supplies.” Kaya shifted her weight, hoping what they needed was near a window so she could hop in quickly.
“Yeah, not far at all”.” Jeff said, looking sick. Kaya sat Jeff down on a bench, seeing a first aid section near a broken window.
“Guard yourself. I see stuff, I will jump in, grab it, and come grab you, can you guard yourself?” Kaya asked desperate as some winds gusted around them.
“Yeah. I can, be fast. That alarm has them all distracted but it won’t last long probably.” Jeff urged her.
Kaya pulled her sleeve down over her hand to avoid any glass getting in her hand as she braced herself and stepped inside, checking for any zombies waiting on the ground. Seeing none, Kaya moved quickly to the first aid aisle, scared of leaving the injured Jeff, and of being alone in this situation.
Spotting the area she needed Kaya grabbed several wraps and a a few pieces of ankle supports, including one that would work to mimic a splint to help him heal. Kaya grabbed all these supports and wraps and began to try and shove a few into her backpack. “This will take forever.” Kaya said, knowing the risk of taking her backpack off and not liking it.
Kaya spotted a end cap with some reusable bags for sale and grabbed two, tossing some braces in each bag, and grabbing a few other splints and slings for any future problems. “We are our own clinic now.” Kaya said worried, before moving to the pain management aisle.
Kaya found a few tubes of pain relief ointment, and grabbed some pain relief sleep aids as well as some regular day time ones an several large bottles of anti inflammatory and pain pills. Kaya searched the aisle and grabbed some cold medicine and cough syrup, along with some cough drops and vapor rub, when a cold breeze shot through the open windows and chilled her further.
“We don’t have access like usual.” Kaya said before moving quickly and grabbing some personal hygiene products.
Kaya moved back towards the window she had entered and spotted some candy bars and jerky, so she slid as many as she could fit into the bag.
Kaya put the bags out of the window, waving to Jeff who was trying to smile through his grimace back at her. The alarm kept blaring around them, but the zombies they saw all moved towards the sound, not them.
Kaya grabbed the bags she had set down and returned to Jeff, ripping one of the braces open.
“Okay, this is going to hurt, but we need some support so you can move faster.” Kaya said.
“No!” Jeff said sharply. “We need to get safe first. Not exposed like this. I’ll make noise. We have to move.” Jeff said, forcing his foot down.
Kaya grabbed one of the bottles of pain reliever and ripped open the packaging, tearing through the foil and handing Jeff the open bottle. Jeff grabbed a handful, about double or more of the usual dosage, and took them, shoving the bottle into his jacket.
Kaya nodded and shouldered the bags. “Let’s go.” She said, positioning him on her shoulder.
“I thought, for a minute, that you were dumping me here. Using stopping as an excuse.” Jeff admitted as they moved towards the street.
“No. I wouldn’t do that.” Kaya said. “I would tell you if I were leaving, at very least, but mostly, I just wouldn’t. It isn’t safe, out here alone. We will only survive in a group. You and me, get to Sam, the three of us can make a group.”
“I doubt she will want a liability like me.” Jeff moaned as they moved as fast as they could, with Jeff struggling more and more.
“C’mon, not much further.” Kaya said, spotting an open building next to the smoke shop, a little bridal shop.
There were some chairs in the front, the beautiful display windows were all broken, so Kaya grabbed a toppled over chair, usually used by waiting grooms, and sat Jeff down while she moved towards the smoke shop door. Carefully, Kaya tried it, and, gratefully, found it unlocked. Kaya returned and grabbed Jeff, and the two moved as quickly as they could inside.
“I couldn’t check it, I wanted to come back to find you…I don’t hear anything though. We just need to check.”
Jeff nodded, and collapsed on a small little entry way bench that was by the door. Inside, nothing seemed broken, and even bothered, almost as though the people working it had just gone outside and never returned to lock up, and no one had bothered coming in since.
Jeff had locked the door behind them when they came in, and Kaya had used a pipe from the street to block the door from swinging open should someone have the key, and began to search the place for any survivors or zombies, either of which may try to hurt them.
Kaya checked behind each counter, eager to use one of the pieces as a reward for getting her and Jeff there alive. In the back, Kaya found employee bathrooms, deserted, and even a small kitchenette area, also deserted. There was one door in the back, and it was locked, with a thick bar that also came down and blocked the door from being open, the thick industrial kind that gave a nice feeling of security, a normal for any place worried with security and not wanting to leave it at simply alarms.
Kaya checked the few little storage closets she found, and finally returned to Jeff, finding him in pain, but otherwise safe.
“Looks like we made it, and, it’s empty.” Kaya said happily.
“Nearly-.” Said Jeff. Kaya tried to ask him what he meant, but a hit on her head rendered her unconscious.
Kaya woke up what felt like moments later, in a foggy panic. Jeff sat on a bench, looking no worse for wear, calling her name, and next to her, lay a now dead man.
Blood was pooling everywhere. Kaya pushed herself away from him, her head spinning. “What the…What the fuck happened?” Asked a confused Kaya.
“He…Not a great dude. I shot him. He’s dead…I…I didn’t know what to do. He said he was going to kill us, Kaya, please, please don’t judge me.”
Jeff was sobbing, tears falling down his face, his gun was next to him.
“Hey, Hey, you’re okay.” Kaya moved towards Jeff and hugged him. “No, you kept us safe. Thank you.” Jeff sobbed. “I didn’t know what to do. He didn’t see me have it, the thought, he thought all I had was the bat, so I had to let him think I was helpless, to get him away from me long enough to take the shot. When he hit your head I thought you were dead and I was so scared because you’re right we need to be a team and I thought we were dead…” Jeff cried.
“Hey, no, we are okay. Thank you. But we need to get rid of this body.” Kaya checked Jeff to make sure he was okay and looked out a shuttered window. There weren’t any zombies outside, the siren had died out while she was unconscious, she guess, but the zombies, if they had ever been in this area, weren’t there now.
Kaya tried to drag the body, ignoring the pounding in her head, and slowly got the body to the door. Jeff, having scooted over on his butt, keeping his leg elevated, caught the door when Kaya opened it, and held the heavy door while she slowly made her way dragging the body outside. A couple of infected zombies were milling further down the road than they could see, but Kaya was able to move the body outside and duck back into the smoke shop before they arrived, running, to where she was. Jeff and Kaya shut and barricaded the door, finally, having secured the smoke shop.
“It feels warm in here. The power must still be on.” Kaya said a she helped Jeff back to a chair.
“Yeah. He said that’s why he was going to hide out here. Power and water are still on, I guess part of the main line that supplies the station. He said he was gonna take the station next, we gotta warn Sam that she may be in danger. If that guy did…”
“Yeah.” Agreed Kaya. “But first, we have to take care of you and us. This leg needs help and this place needs work to be a proper shelter.” Kaya dug into the bags.
“Now, I am sure your foot is smelly, but don’t worry. We need to treat it.” Kaya said, grabbing some wipes from her bag. “But I can wipe it down, and we can get it wrapped up. Here.” Kaya handed him a small bottle of liquor she had grabbed from the guys apartment and Jeff took a long swig, before biting down on on some jerky from the bag.
Kaya removed his shoe and socks and wiped his foot clean, shocked to find it pretty clean. The swelling was bad, and the ankle was already discolored. Kaya tried to remember if wrapping it when it was still swelling was a good idea, and was grateful for the fridge/freezer she had seen in the break room kitchenette area.
“I’m going to wrap it, loosely, and then get you some Ice. I can’t remember if it is good to try and put a firm wrap and splint on or not.”
“Google it, on your phone. Try.” Jeff said. “I think the internet is only blocked if we try to communicate out. Try it.” Jeff urged.
Kaya grabbed her phone and went to the freezer to find some ice while she searched. Finding a ice pack before the slow data finally loaded a helpful page, Kaya handed Jeff the ice pack.
“All the internet advice tells me what to do for the first few hours but not for after.” Kaya mumbled in frustration, glad her first instincts were correct. “The internet suggests a firm but not too tight wrap and ice, as well as the elevation, your basic RICE method, and to see a doctor. We can do the first half.”
Jeff moaned as Kaya wrapped his foot and ankle, but took it in stride and lay on the floor to make elevating his ankle easier. “Where are we going to sleep, you think? I can prop myself up there.” Jeff suggested.
“Well, the back is a bit more secure. There is a couch and such back there. We can go check that out.” Kaya said, offering to help Jeff up. “Maybe push some of these cabinets in front of the door to make it extra secure? Although, we would hear people breaking in, I am sure.”
“Well, we can position the pieces you don’t want to smoke out of, along the door and windows. If anyone try to break in, they will knock something over. Like the old fashioned alarm methods people would use.”
Kaya nodded. “Yeah. I saw some wood back there, we can fortify anything we need to, but they have a little couch and a fridge.”
“Cool.” Jeff said, wincing. “Maybe before this pain takes over? I kind of want to sleep.”
“That was your vomit I saw back there, at the pharmacy, wasn’t it?” Kaya asked recalling seeing a large pile of vomit.
“Yeah. The pain is bad.”
“Okay, So we need to feed you and you will need rest. Let’s get you to the back.” Kaya helped Jeff up and moved him to the couch and then returned for their bags, double checking the door and placing a few bongs she wasn’t interested in by the doors and two small, heavily shuttered, windows. Kaya grabbed a few pieces she did like and carried them with her.
Jeff didn’t look great, but he tried to keep his attitude positive while Kaya moved around the employee lounge trying to guarantee it was safe for them. After they had checked all the external entryways, the two had decided barricading themselves into this room, while they rested, would be safest.
“We can see the inside of the store from those monitors.” Jeff had said, having messed with the remote until the security feed came up.
“So we can both get some rest, if anything gets in, we can still be safe in here, and slowly get rid of anything that breaks in.” Kaya finished, having already started pushing the soda machine against it. The machine moved slowly, but on the tile, it wasn’t too hard.
“I’m sorry I can’t help.” Jeff said.
“Nah, it’s okay. You are gonna get me back sometime.” Kaya smiled, heaving one last time as she finished getting the machine in front of the door.
“From in here, we can access the bathroom, and the vending machines have snacks and drinks, plus what we brought…” Jeff said looking around. “A small TV with bunny ears, a large TV with mostly camera feeds, and weather, this couch, I think…may be a pull out?”
“Plus we each have our own sleeping bags and food supply.” Kaya said brightly, looking to see if the couch was a pull out couch.
“This was a great idea Kaya, thank you.” Jeff said wincing from his place on the floor, his foot propped up on the edge of a chair.
“No problem.” Kaya smiled. “Thanks for believing in me. A lot of people don’t.”
Jeff shrugged. “Thanks for not leaving me. I really do owe you, taking me with you, dragging me along when I got injured…”
“I mean, you did kill that guy.” Said Kaya as she found a pull handle for the couch.
“Still, thanks.” Jeff said sheepishly. “And for the booze. I hope you have more of that.”
Kaya smiled. “I have some for you, but we have to make it last, that could be a break. And there could be more injuries.”
“Then why are you smiling?” Asked Jeff curiously.
Kaya smiled broadly. “Because I have this.” Kaya set a dab rig in front of them. “And also this.” Kaya removed the large mason jar of wax concentrate from her backpack. “This will help a lot.”
Jeff was intimidated by dabbing, but once Kaya pulled out the couch and set them up a sleeping area with their sleeping bags, she was all too happy to not only take a few dabs for herself, happy to be able to do her preferred form of medicating again, but also teach Jeff how to dab.
“You don’t smoke often, so one and done will likely be you. Maybe we can get two. It should help with the pain, but also the swelling. Also, parts of the plant help bones and muscle regenerate cells so…Basically this will help.” Kaya smiled, the buzz finally setting in.
“I mean, I think drunk would be better, but I’ll try high and buzzed.” Jeff said taking a small swig from the bottle of booze before attempting his first dab of wax.
Kaya heated up the bowl with her newly refilled and lighter, and when it was hot enough, dropped some wax into it, urging him to inhale on the mouthpiece. Jeff coughed quite a bit, but, had to admit the affect was nearly instant and powerful, helping with the pain a lot.
“Damn, that really may be a wonder plant.” Jeff said with a laugh, gratefully accepting one of the drinks they had brought with them.
Kaya took another dab and popped open the soda she had selected for herself, and the two listened to the first half of Sam’s radio program. They wanted to make sure they were alert when the zombies got active, to ensure things didn’t go sideways, and both were tired from long days of zombie growls and not sleeping well. Kaya knew they should sleep in shifts, but also knew Jeff with his injury was likely in no condition to keep a watch, so she decided to trust their barricades as if she were alone, and sleep. Kaya and Jeff had feasted on jerky, chips, and some candy bars, and Kaya gave Jeff some sleep aid pain relievers. The couch cushions that had to be moved for the couch to become a bed, were useful in many ways, but the current way was using one to prop up Jeff’s hurt ankle. Kaya had set the remaining two near their bags so she could sit on them when looking through the bags.
The walls to the building were thick, good thick brick reinforced with cinder blocks, which made phone signal spotty at best, but it would keep the zombies outside out, and that peace of mind was priceless to Jeff and Kaya. The thick barricaded doors and extra layer of security with the break room door barricaded, helped. Kaya kept the TV on, with the feed to the store on, so they could check it easily should anything happen, and snuggled into her sleeping bag, next to Jeff.
Jeff had his bag unzipped, using it as a blanket, and had one leg propped up, wrapped, courtesy of Kaya, with an ice pack. He had lain this way for much of their time smoking and talking while listening to the radio, and for a while, they had been able to forget about much of the problems outside.
Jeff dozed off first, having bid Kaya goodnight.
As Kaya snuggled down Jeff stirred gently. “Please don’t leave me in my sleep.” Jeff mumbled.
Kaya rolled her eyes and adjusted herself. “I won’t.”
Jeff fell asleep again, falling into the deep sleep of someone injured and medicated and also gloriously high.
Kaya hit her pen a few more times, and let out a soft sigh. It had been an exhausting couple of days, and finally, she could consider herself safe.
Thanks so much for reading Chapter Fifteen! If you enjoyed this, please be sure to subscribe/follow the blog, so you don’t miss the next chapter- I drop new chapters from Flake City Volume One each and every Friday. If we aren’t connected on social media, lets change that- @abbigrasso is my name on any social media I am on, so lets connect! Be sure to tune in next week to see what happens next with our characters.
PS- Yes! Today is my Birthday! Thank you!
Thanks for reading!