Flake City Friday- Volume One, Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Eighteen 

Kaya had enjoyed small updates from Sam, and had pointedly turned off the reporter the government had thrown in, assuming there was nothing new or interesting he would have to say that Sam wasn’t already distilling on the radio show, and continued to listen for her information. 

Sam began her usual evening broadcast, having kept her broadcasting to a minimum during the day, with a weather advisory, explaining that the weather would likely get get worse, soon, and that everyone needed to be prepared. 

“Snow has already started to fall around here, but so far, we haven’t hit blizzard status…but the storm is going to get worse. I don’t know if the snow and ice will slow them down, but I do think it may help. After two or three days of solid snow, it stands to reason frozen flesh would be unable to move. Hardly an expert, but, they seem to move slower since it got colder.” 

Sam sighed. “Not that ‘it’s going to get cold enough to freeze the zombies’ is the kind of broadcast I thought I would be doing when I went to college, but life’s funny, isn’t it.” 

Kaya laughed. Sam was a great DJ, and her nightly show really did have something special. 

It wasn’t every DJ who could run the station by themselves. The equipment alone took a lot of know how, and the stamina needed to be the only one broadcasting was also something to take note of.

It’s not like they teach running the station alone, long term, during a zombie infection outbreak. Some pointers, sure, and plenty of horror stories from professors, but there wasn’t a ton of information out there for that kind of situation. Even with Sam digging into her zombie knowledge, fueled by all that pop culture had to offer, Sam didn’t have a ton to go off of. 

Kaya, being a big fan of that same pop culture that had made zombies so popular, and even being a ranked player in a few different popular zombie games, didn’t have much knowledge on the matter either. No one did. 

People had ideas though, and that was what Sam was discussing on tonight’s broadcast. 

“What we all know, what a few of us know, and what we really need to know now, tonight we will be discussing popular zombie lore and exploring just what we know about zombies that may help us in this show. We have discussed popular lore from many popular movies and TV shows, and tonight we will be discussing what that information will translate into for us. For example, why a double tap or a head-shot for defeating these zombies? Plenty of movies tell us this, but several of you have said it takes at least that much to destroy these zombies. Our next caller is a guy named Wes, who believes this mythos about destroying the head to be totally wrong.”

“Now, Wes is going to explain to us his theory, Wes, you aren’t very far, are you?” 

“No, not at all, I can see the radio station from my window” Wes said. Wes had a lovely voice, and Kaya immediately sat up, unknowingly attracted to his voice. 

Kaya responded to voices,  part of the reason she liked Sam was Sam’s radio voice was nearly the same as her regular voice, and it was pleasing to the ear. Wes’s voice gave Kaya a similar reaction, and even made her a little happy while Wes and Sam discussed the head shot paradigm. 

“No, I fully thought that head shots would work” Wes explained. “But then, there I am, trying to get to the building I was in, and I was hiding between some cars…these zombies they didn’t seem to bright back then, so there I was, hiding, and I see this zombie with half its face blown off, walking around as healthy as you or me. No problems at all.”

“But you didn’t head shot him?”

“No, not this one.” Wes explained. “But, I did actually hit one in the head, smashed his skull open, brains, literally everywhere, and the zombie kept going. I don’t think head shots are as effective as we all think they are.” 

“I smashed a zombie in the head, and he kept attacking me.”

“Yeah, but that Mark guy keeps reporting that some survivors have had luck with it. I don’t know if I believe him per say. We need him to put up the radio number and have those survivors call you to verify their story. I’ll believe people who are actually inside the city.”

Sam laughed. “Well, I am sure the same military that brought him here isn’t letting him in, and that is the only thing keeping him from the action. Surely. I mean, no real reporter would sit on the sidelines while we figure it out.” 

Wes laughed. “Maybe he would. I have been trying to creep on his social media pages…This guy is obsessed with some government conspiracy, so I don’t even know why they recruited him, other than to really not get us any help at all.” 

“But, regardless, we do have reports from some survivors who claim head shots do in fact work.” Sam continued. “We have a small pocket of survivors at the college who have all claimed to have had success with head shots, although, it should be noted, the head damage they have done or seen has been decapitations, bullet, and, in more than a few cases, brutal smashings of the head, to destroy the entire brain. Now, Wes, your theory is the entire brain must be destroyed?”

“Yeah,” Wes replied, his melodious voice coming through the speaker like comforting tomato soup, or thick, sweet caramel. “See, the zombie I saw, the zombies I have dealt with, and the ones you have dealt with, all seemed to require…more. So, the zombie I saw with a smashed in head, like half his head was gone. Head open, I could see inside his head. But, I could see some brain matter left in the open skull, and he had an eye and half a face. The kind of stuff Romero would have loved in his movies. The zombies I have seen survive head shots all seem to have chunks of their head intact. If some people have had luck shooting the zombies, great for them, but that must be some high grade ammo, and I don’t know how much they have…But it would be great if they had around 100,000 or so bullets.”

Sam laughed. “Ah yes, the ever growing question, how many zombies do we have in Flake City. This is a growing question i think we may need to discuss as well, Wes, if you have time, and maybe some other callers will join us.” Sam paused, taking a sip of her coffee. 

“Yeah, I have a phone charger and power here where I am.” Explained Wes. “Not much food, mind you, but I have some supplies and I can keep my phone charged.” Wes chuckled. 

Wes could see the radio station from where he was, and he could also see many of the buildings around, including the smoke shop that, unbeknownst to him, held more supplies and two survivors, which would help him build the group he knew he needed to survive out there in the wild of the zombies.

“So, we have, in the city, over 100,000 people. But, it should be noted, many of those people may not have made it back to the city yet after the holidays.”

“I don’t agree on that part.” Said Wes. “Sure, they may have left town for the holidays, but Thanksgiving was last Thursday. This all started on what, Tuesday? Most people got back into town by Monday.”

“I didn’t leave town, but, sure, it stands to reason some people came back by Monday. Plenty of families leave down and don’t drive back until Monday, however, so where are those people?”

“…They are outside…trying to eat us.” Wes said in a tone that made Kaya laugh hysterically before prepping another dab rig she had pulled from the store to take another hit. 

“You think that most of our population is still in the city, and are in fact the zombies outside?”

“Yes, absolutely” Wes replied. “And our population is higher than 100,000, too.”

“Sure, it was last recorded at just above 100,000, by a couple thousand or so.”

Wes laughed. “And how long ago was that census done?” asked Wes. “Because as far as I know, the last census was actually done eight years ago, and that was the one done by the R & D company, not the government, so the numbers could be very much higher than 100,000. Just think about how many apartment buildings have had to be added? They have added sky scrapers for a reason, massive population. We don’t have the space, on this small area, I mean we are functionally an island.”

Sam laughed. “That’s a good point, we are like an island. I hadn’t thought about the types of buildings they have been building but you’re right…They have been building them taller and taller, all the newer buildings are taller than before.”

“Smaller too.” Wes said, “And not as well equipped. Used to be, in Flake City, there were only a couple of tall buildings, that nice ass high rise by the mountains, which isn’t even that old, the hospital, the R&D lab, your radio station, some churches, and a handful of businesses that had towers. Only in the past decade, more in the last five years, have those buildings been getting tall.”

“Well, the tribes in the mountains fight against that a bit, right? They don’t want the light pollution, but the telescope in the radio station, is never bothered by light pollution, so why would they?”

“Well, the telescope here isn’t supposed to be bothered by lights? Or something?” Said Sam. 

“Sure, and whatever they tell us, we have to go with, but” Wes stopped and took a sip of something. “But these buildings have gone up. You know what didn’t start back on Monday?” Asked Wes.

“What?” Replied Sam. 

“The construction team. The construction workers, the company that Flake City has been employing….They weren’t back to work on Monday, like they always are. I get woke up every morning at 8, by these damn workers….Monday they did not come.”

“Maybe the holidays delayed them?” 

“Or, maybe the government knew this was coming.” Wes said. 

Kaya perked up. Jeff and Kaya had been discussing, at length, if the government had maybe known it was going down. Kaya had many thoughts on the matter, so she was excited for the radio conversation to be going this way. 

“So you think they absolutely knew what was going to happen?”

“How else did they barricade the bridge? And, if you look closely at the footage Mark showed of the bridge, you can not only see military boats patrolling the water around Flake City, and blocking off the bridge, they have TONS of explosives rigged up to the bridge.” Wes said confidently. “They had to have had a heads up. You got one, to get to the radio station, and the person who gave you the warning you got, probably had gotten one too…The question I have is how many people did they help flee the city before locking the rest of us up in here.”

“This is a great new point of conversation” Sam said, “One I think we need to cover, but first, we need to play this hours zombie warnings and small break. As you all know, I am broadcasting alone until some one can get through all the zombies down below and get to me, I will continue to be alone for the broadcasting, which makes these small breaks all the more crucial. When we return, we will be continuing our conversation about population, head shots, and how much the government knows, and all the zombie topics we can manage, when we come back. This is Sam, Broadcasting out of M.E.T.A. Radio for Flake City, and I’ll be right back.” 

Kaya opted to make some more ramen, saving the broth for Jeff, and just plating up the noodles. While Kaya prepped some food, Wes, who was painfully close to Kaya, paced in his area. 

Wes had taken refuge upstairs in a church, high up in the church, too high and hard to get to for any of the zombies down below. The building he was in was in fact, very over ran with zombies, but, fortunately, Wes had been smart enough to keep his bag on him while he rested, and slept with his shoes on.

Wes had been staying in the church as a refugee, as many had, but he was the only one, that he knew of anyways, still alive in the church. 

Wes had been sleeping, trying to sleep while he could, knowing at any second he would have to run, when, the second came, and he had to run. When Wes woke, he was surrounded by zombies and screaming people who were running. Hell had broken loose inside the dormitories in a matter of seconds. 

Wes has been deeply unsure of his safety in the church, but he had been having trouble getting into buildings that were more safe, either they were too secure to break into, had inhospitable survivors already in them, or, were crawling with zombies already. The first two shelters Wes had been to were already overran, and he had been surprised to find the church still standing. 

The church wouldn’t turn away people, and Wes knew it would only be a matter of time before he would be on the run, so he napped lightly, in his boots, with his backpack strapped to him. Wes had napped for about an hour when the sounds of screams woke him up. Wes leaped up while other people were still grabbing at their shoes or blinking sleep for their eyes, and ran for it. When Wes got to the end of the hallway that was acting as a sleeping area, Wes had seen that below, in the church proper, the building had been breached, in a major way. Wes remembered a back staircase, and found a small hoard of zombies already on their way up the stairs, so Wes had doubled back and ran for it, finding another set of stairs and climbing them, before closing a door behind him. The doorway didn’t lock, and if he locked it, people couldn’t run from the zombies. 

Wes shook his concern for others, mostly people not trying to survive anyways, away from him, and carried on, climbing several flights of steep stairs that seemed to get older as he climbed. Around him, Wes saw the smooth sleek walls turn to stone, and the building got colder and colder with the lack of insulation, heat, and the growing cold outside. 

Wes finally found a flat landing with a wrap around area. “Bell maintenance”, Wes realized, as he looked for another door. Wes had heard sounds behind him, and human or zombie, he wanted to put space between himself and whoever it was. 

“No one down there was built to survive” Wes told himself as guilt gnawed at his stomach and chest. 

Wes found a trap door, and a ladder, and began to climb. The ladder up was rickety, but Wes found it reassuring, as less could follow up this far up. 

Wes was tired of not being safe. At first, he thought this whole thing would be an adventure, and, while it was, this whole thing was also crazy and scary. 

“Fucking Zombies” Wes said as he arrived at the trapdoor that he would then cautiously go through. Inside, Wes was pleased with what he found. 

There was a small attic type room, with a window, boxes, and, a small bed, in front of what was probably once a fireplace for whoever slept in this room. 

The small room, unbeknownst to Wes, was used by a groundskeeper the church had employed, many years ago. The church used this room for storage, whenever they could get someone to haul stuff up the stairs.

Wes had some supplies, but this room, with the shelter it provided, would allow Wes to finally get some rest and some time to think of what to do next. 

Wes’s supplies weren’t great, however, and it was very cold up in the church. There was a place where Wes could kind of look into the church, from above, and it seemed to be pretty full of zombies, as did most of the area around him. 

The streets, while not completely crowded with zombies, were far from empty. Wes wanted to get to the radio station, where Sam was. It was safe there, and even though Sam said she didn’t have many supplies, she probably had more than he did, and she definitely had more heat and more water, which would prove to be crucial as his water stores ran low, and the nights got colder. 

Wes had first made do with some candles, bundled up, huddling around the candle, hoping his body heat and the radiant heat would warm the small room up, but the lack of insulation, and the many drafty holes in the walls, left him having to light the small fire, slowly burning through wood, paper, and anything he could find that he could safely burn. Old furniture, thankfully, had been brought up the stairs and ladder, and down below, the way he had come, Wes had been able to find stuff to drag up and burn, and even found some old candy to add to his dwindling food supply. 

But, Wes had very little time to get somewhere else, or he would run out of all his supplies. Wes had already started rationing his food, but water and burnable supplies were not in excess. 

Sam cam back on the line. “Hey, Wes?” 

“Yeah?” Wes said shaking his thoughts of his time up here.

“Hey. I’m outside. Transferred you to this phone so we could talk.”

“You smoking?” Asked Wes, looking out his window.

“Yeah.” Said Sam. “Of course, I’m running out of smoke-ables pretty fast.”

“Yeah, I was just thinking about my own supplies.” Wes sighed. “I know we both need supplies, but we need a team to scavenge. I can’t do it alone, and you can’t leave that tower. I don’t even know if two people would be enough, all those zombies.” 

“You have weapons, right?” Asked Sam. 

“Not much. I had a machete but it got stuck in a skull. The zombie kept coming, so I really started looking at the hit em in the head theory.” 

“Damn.”

“Yeah. I saw an ax downstairs, but that may not last more than a swing or two, it’s not like I have crazy upper body strength. I had a sword but it got confiscated, and it wouldn’t stay sharp long either.”

“Guns would just bring them closer though, they definitely seem attracted to noise.” 

Wes agreed. “Yeah. Noise definitely draws them. I was able to use that siren the other day to get downstairs, but as soon as the noise stopped, they came back, which makes so no sense. How did any find their way back? Some are the same zombies.”

“I think they may retain some…memory? Impressions, more like.” Sam shuddered. 

“I think so too.” Wes sighed. “I wish I could get to the studio. Maybe we could get a few more…”

“Well, I trust you, enough anyways. Kaya, who I actually know from before this, she is nearby…I asked her to join us but the place she is hiding has pretty bad phone signal. She has someone who is injured, but, he isn’t bitten or anything. And a bunch of supplies. Maybe you can get to them, and you three can get to me. I don’t know how we clear the zombies but our best chance is if you guys are together.”

“Where I am isn’t accessible for someone injured, and it’s covered in zombies. It would depend on where they are. But I would love to be anywhere but here, I am running out of supplies fast, it’s so cold up here.” Wes shivered.

“I am going to text with her, see if we can’t arrange something. I’ll give her your number, and if she decides to take a leap and trust you, she can reach out…Just…Please don’t be a bad guy, Wes.”

Wes chuckled. “What is it that the reporter guy said? We all need to be our best selves? Don’t worry about me. I’m more worried about this injured guy your friend has with her.”

“Yeah. He seems like a weak link, in my opinion, but she’s been helping him so there must be a reason.” 

“She’s nice. Being her best self. That’s the kind of person I want on a team, if we are dealing with a zombie apocalypse.”

“I think apocalypse implies more than one city.”

“I think a philosophical discussion about what constitutes an apocalypse is best had on the radio, didn’t you say the content got challenging?” 

“You are right there. Gotta get the good content. Kaya is being great actually. I’m really impressed with how well she is doing, and of all the people, I am glad she has made it this far.”

“I am too. We will only survive in a team.” Wes said, with a slight urgency in his tone. “That storm is gonna hit us all hard. We need to be ready, as a unit, fortified.”

“I agree.” Sam said, yawning. “That sleep last night helped, but I need help around here. Plus the equipment needs to be looked after and tended to, and I can’t do all of it, alone, for much longer.”

“If we have teams, we can raid for supplies to keep us all fed. I will gladly go if I have someone to watch my back, help carry stuff. What does your weather equipment say about the storm?”

“Everything is showing as still stalled out in the mountains, but it is gathering so much pressure, it’s going to blast us, for sure. The temperatures will get below freezing, with snow and ice, for sure.”

“I can’t survive here for that.” Wes shivered. “As it is I am having trouble. I am so cold. I need to get out of here, as soon as possible.” 

“Well, hopefully Kaya is willing to offer up refuge where she is. They will be safe, until the storm hits, probably. I don’t know if they will keep power after that though.”

“As a team, we could easily get to you though.”

“How? I will still be surrounded by zombies.”

“We’ll figure out a way.” Wes said, looking out a window. “The temperatures could freeze them, like you said, and if that’s the case, we all just stroll right up. I can help Kaya with the injured guy.” 

“I’ll let her know you are willing to help. I would love to have all three of you. The four of us could probably make a fair go at surviving, if we get the supplies we need.”

Wes and Sam continued there conversation, before bringing it back to the radio segment, where Kaya listened in on their conversation discussing the nature of the word apocalypse.

“You see, I think you can’t, if it’s just city wide, but then again, someone can have their own personal apocalypse, so why not a city wide one?” Sam said 

“I personally think this could easily spill over to the rest of the world, so we should really look at that and consider that this could be a pre-apocalypse.”

“I’m glad this building has solar panels, if that’s the case.” Sam laughed. 

So the night carried on, with Kaya now listening to Wes’s voice, at Sam’s prompting, trying to decide if she should trust this man hiding out in the church a few buildings away. 

Kaya knew he was in dire need of help, and she knew they had the ability to help him. It would be tricky, but if he could get to the building, they could let him in either of the doors, and they could probably do so without risking themselves too much. 

With Jeff’s injury, another able body would be helpful, and someone to help with watching out for break ins, someone to help maintain the vigilance would be good. Furthermore, Wes seemed to be inclined to the team mentality, which Kaya and Sam had both agreed was a crucial feature. 

No one was going to survive this alone, more so when the temperatures dropped. Another person would help Kaya get any supplies they needed for Jeff, or themselves, and, when they tried to get to Sam at the radio station, another able body would help them get Jeff there, with all their supplies. 

Four people would need food and supplies for the coming weeks if the blizzard hit. Sam had pointed out that without the usual snow services and city workers, the blizzard could leave them all stuck for weeks on end, so Kaya knew they needed to have supplies to survive that…Another person was another mouth to feed, but was also an extra set of hands for pillaging and for defense. Another person to help at the station and help guarantee their safety. 

A team would be needed to survive not only the zombies, but the weather, so Kaya spent much of the night contemplating the future of this small groups survival, while trying to text with Sam from the one corner of the room she got signal in. 

Jeff, in a moment of consciousness, said he thought it may be wise, more so if they were both going to get to the radio station. “If Sam is trusting him, and we are trusting Sam, and she trusts us…we probably need to extend that to him. This is the part of team building that people do on retreats, but we don’t have a rope course. We have to take a leap and trust someone.”

“But trusting him could be life or death.”

“Death is outside, and he could get into a worse scrape. Last thing we need is someone bitter that we didn’t help them.”

Kaya considered this. “We need a team. If he can get here, it could help.”

“Yeah. And if something happens you aren’t alone, either.” Jeff sighed, and grabbed his cigarettes. “We need to build a team. Trusting him now can save us later too. That’s why companies pay big money to have people do trust falls. Teams work better with trust, which means taking a leap of faith.” 

Jeff fell back asleep shortly, and Kaya weighed their options before finally, deep in the morning, Kaya reached out to Wes via the number Sam had provided her. 

“Your best bet will be to travel at night. Roof tops, if you can, to avoid the ground. It’s cold, but we don’t have much time, before the snow hits.”

Kaya looked at this message, and deleted it. That wasn’t a good way to begin this. 

“Hey. It’s Kaya. I don’t have much phone signal. You need safety, and heat, because it’s getting cold. We don’t have much, but…I think you should come here. Sam said you wanted to. I think taking the rooftops is a smart idea. It’s cold outside but they are in the streets and in the buildings. If you want to come, head towards the smoke shop. Sam said you were nearby. The buildings on either side have a fire escape, you can climb towards that.”

Taking a breath, and a look at the sleeping Jeff, Kaya hit send. 

In the church, Wes got the text, while shuddering under his blanket, and smiled with relief. He had hoped Kaya and Jeff would trust him, and it seemed they would. “A team is how you survive.” Wes told himself, and gathered up his supplies. There was still some time before the sun came up, and Kaya mentioned some other buildings, so he was hoping to make it to one of those and spend the day there. 

Sadly, when Wes went about trying to find a way to the next building, he realized quickly he would need more time to get there then the breaking dawn would allow, so he returned to his spot and began to burn what was left. There wasn’t a lot left in the area he had access to, but he knew he was leaving, so Wes grabbed up everything he could burn, books, records, bits of wooden furniture or props from Christmas pageants past. 

Wes surveyed his food stash, which was a couple bags of jerky, some candies, a couple cans of soda, some bags of nuts, and some mini bags of chips. Not much of any of it, but with some help, he could raid some more stuff. There was a store next to the smoke shop, so Wes considered trying to grab some more food before arriving. “Never go to a party empty handed” Wes said to himself as he eyed possible ways to the building next door. Wes could leave the safty of the small room he was in, and return down below, where he had been raiding supplies. 

Zombies, it seemed, hadn’t found there way up the stairs, despite it being easily reachable. Wes knew there was a way out of the church on that level, or at least he hoped so. Should he go down the stairs or out any of the ways to the church below, he would likely easily be overtaken by zombies. A thick pipe, light enough to swing and carry but hefty enough to knock zombies out of his way, would likely be his only weapon, so he needed to focus on avoiding zombies, not trying to kill them. 

Wes spent the day trying to find a way to the smoke shop, the shrieks and growls from the zombies, increased in the day time, keeping him awake and nervous. Wes slept when he could, dozing in front of the ever dwindling fire, to be better rested for his attempt to get to the smoke shop and join Kaya and Jeff in the relative safety of the smoke shop. 

Meanwhile, at the smoke shop, Kaya prepared for a third person, moving the stuff from in front of the back door. Wes and Kaya had agreed that he would go down the fire escape of the building to the left, and meet her in the alleyway that served the smoke shop. 

Jeff’s fever was ever present, but Wes had some medical knowledge too, apparently, Kaya didn’t know the extent, but most importantly, was willing to help Kaya raid. Jeff’s ankle had been redressed by Kaya, and she had been hard at work to keep his fever low with her compresses, and coaxing him to take medicine. With help, she was keeping it around 103, but it wouldn’t budge much lower than 102. 

Kaya had told both Sam and Wes this, adding them both into a group chat to make it easier to tell them both with one message, as holding her phone up to the one corner of the room that she could get phone signal, took time, and this got the message to both in the same amount of time. 

Sam and Wes both used their phones to try and find any solutions, and Sam went to work trying to contact the doctor, Moria, who was in the hospital, to get a list of medicines to try and help Jeff. 

Moria, in the hospital, was so very far from them, she was practically on the other side of the city, which may as well been the other side of the world. Moria, however, had been available via email, and had offered up to text with Sam. Moria had refused to use the phone, or anything too loud, for too long. Moria was staying as quiet as possible, as she was in a hospital building, the main hospital in Flake City, and it was crawling with zombies, so even whispering was a danger, Moria said. 

Moria had been willing to research ailments and illness, within reason, as she was also searching through the files she had found on the zombie virus. Sam had enjoyed an email interaction with her, as things went down, they had updated each other, with the understanding that Sam wouldn’t report on anything unless toward otherwise. 

Sam took all of the messages she had gotten from Kaya about his symptoms and fever, and typed up an email message to Moria, filling her in on his situation, and asking for help. Sam then sent a text to Moria’s phone to alert her to the message, asking for her help. Once Sam had completed this, she went outside to the smoking area and watched out, all along the field around her, and looked to the smoke shop. 

Wes had promised to call her, eventually, and Sam was hoping to see a way to help him find a path on the roof next to the smoke shop, as Kaya had suggested, as the streets had stayed pretty full, even at night, with a couple of zombies. 

Sam, the night before, had tested the night time theory of the zombies, and they had discovered that the zombies may be less active at night, but when bothered, prompted, or their attention drawn, in any way, they would become very reactive, so the plan needed to still be avoid and dodge them at all costs. 

Wes and Sam talked briefly, but not for long, as once the sun went down, Wes wanted to try and find a way to the smoke shop. 

“My wood is nearly gone, I’ve burned everything I can, but I am running out of stuff, and if I get cold, it will be hard to traverse the buildings.” Wes explained.

Wes bid Sam goodbye, and quietly crept out of his hiding area, and made his way further below, looking for a way onto the top of the building nearest him. The church was undergoing some renovations, so Wes was considering crossing on some lumber or something, like one would do in a video game, only with much higher stakes. 

Wes attempted to find a spot that was close enough to cross using a ladder, but sadly, the building space was too far from each other, making crossing on the rooftops impossible. 

“Well” Wes said to himself, “I think it’s time for a distraction.” 

“Then use your magic and make one.” Came a voice as if it were by his ear. Wes jumped, startled with how close the voice sounded, scared more when he saw no one with him in the room he was in. 

“No one knows about that.” Wes mumbled in response to the person he couldn’t see.

“Use it.” Came the feminine voice. The voice almost had a laugh to it, even in it’s urgency. “Zombies are coming. You need to move!” The voice said. Wes could hear what sounded like a flick of a lighter, and a small plume of smoke that smelled like cannabis hit his nose. Wes looked out around the area outside and around him. 

A loud banging on the door that led to the open construction area he was in, overlooking the side yard and next building, told Wes that something was going to get to him, soon, as the voice had suggested. Desperately, Wes searched for something to manipulate. A few cars were parked nearby, and he wondered if maybe any of them had car alarms he could trigger. 

With powerful, cold winds, gusting all around the church, Wes felt for any energy in the winds, and found more than he usually could detect. Feeling carefully for the energy, Wes picked up a piece of lumber and tossed it into the wind, carefully directing the energy towards the parking area. 

The zombie that was approaching banged harder on the door, almost as if it knew there was someone who could be dinner on the other side of the weak door. 

Wes felt for the energy again, this time tossing a few pieces of lumber into the energy filled wind, hoping any of the cars had alarms on, as the wood pummeled the nicer cars in the lot. 

For several painfully long moments, Wes tried to use the winds and his “magic” as the voice had called it, to get a car alarm to go off. His bag dug into his shoulders, and he began to get tired from all his exertions. Finally, luck, or perhaps something else magical, was on Wes’s side, and a piece of wood hit the right car, and another broke open a window of that same car.

“That’ll help” the voice said, by the car, far from Wes’s ear shot. 

The voice, to anyone who knew her well, knew this voice to be Roxy’s, but what she was doing only she really knew. 

The alarm went off, loud, and all the nearby zombies quickly were drawn to it. Wes heard the door give way, and quickly climbed out of the not yet finished wall, clinging to some scaffolding to get down to the frozen ground. A few nearby zombies looked to Wes, but the winds blew strong, and their attention was drawn to the loud car. 

Wes ran, as fast as his legs would carry him, across the frozen ground. Small piles of snow marked bodies that had fallen, or where possible zombies lay in wait, so Wes moved carefully, realizing with horror that the advantage Sam had been hoping for with the snow would also provide for a terrifying new problem…namely, that the zombies would be hidden by the snow, and would therefore be harder to avoid. 

“Raiding needs to happen sooner rather than later…” Wes said as he approached the store next to the smoke shop he was headed for. “If the car alarm keeps going…” Wes ducked into the store through a broken window and began to loot as quickly as possible. 

Wes moved fast, ignoring the fear that was shaking him, and the pounding in his ears from panic. “Be a hero, be a hero, be a hero.” Wes chanted, trying to overcome his more…cowardly, as some would call it, instincts. Wes was scared, but moved from the canned goods area to a few aisles over in the drug store, where medicines were kept, and quickly gathered up as many of the cold and flu medicines he could find, as well as first aid tools, and a new splint for Jeff’s ankle. Wes had been making a list, of things he, Kaya, Sam, or even Jeff may need. 

Wes had been making lists and mentally preparing for days now, for getting with another group of people, ever since the zombies had began to…get all bitey. 

Wes, frequently, saw all people as zombies, so when this all started, it hadn’t been that big of a deal to him, they would now bite instead of any of the creative ways humans would hurt each other when not in an infected state. 

Wes mostly stuck to himself, rarely making friends, and most people considered him to be much of a coward, or at very least, a wimp. 

Wes was terrified, of a great many things, but, truth to be told, he had always wanted a nice little group of friends he could trust and count on. He could sometimes cheat that feeling in his online forums and games, but even that never felt right, probably because it lacked human interaction. 

This was his chance, Wes felt, to prove he could be a hero, and maybe even some sort of leader, or leading man, anyways, in the movie that was this situation. “I’m tired of playing a background character in my own life.” Wes told himself, as he grabbed more bandages and anti bacterial cream. 

Wes’s phone buzzed, and a list of medicines from behind the pharmacy counter were outlined. Moria, in the morgue, had sent some suggestions to Sam, who had forwarded it to him. 

Wes braved the behind the counter area, having to dispose of a legless zombie, and shoved a few blue bags full of medicines from the list, as well as some inhalers, knowing that people sometimes need help breathing when viruses got involved. 

“We should come back, get more of these.” Wes said, eyeing some of the other medicines. “If we get them, before others, we can use it for ourselves or trade for things we need.” Wes grabbed some medicines he knew by name, things that went on the black market for money, pain pills, anxiety pills, a few uppers, and made sure he had the full list of medicines needed from the list, things that would help with fever, with stomach issues, with viruses and bacterial infections. They didn’t know what was hurting and bothering Jeff, but this would let them treat it when they figured it out. 

Wes grabbed up some of the syrups and liquids, and left the pharmacy, wishing he could carry more, but knowing he needed to move quickly if he was going to get to the smoke shop without being eaten. 

Wes sent a message to the group chat, letting them both know he was about to make his way to the alley door, while the car alarm was still going off, and quickly moved, grabbing any last minute things he saw along the way, including some candles. The window Wes used to exit had wood piled up inside, so he put the bags down by the door outside the smoke shop and knocked the shave and a haircut knock, softly, and raced back to gather some wood from the shop, returning with two stacks before Kaya got the door opened. 

“Wes?” Asked Kaya. 

“Yeah, Kaya?” Wes said, handing her a stack of wood and a large, full, grocery bag. 

“Yes, quick, get in.”

“They are distracted, I’m grabbing wood, just in case.” Wes handed Kaya a few more of the bags, and went back for one more arm full of wood.

“But we don’t even have a fireplace!” Said Kaya. 

“Sure you do.” Wes said smiling as he entered. “I looked up this building. They have an old fireplace, from before it was a store.” Wes deposited his stuff down and greeted Kaya properly, once the door was closed. 

“Hi, I’m Wes.” Wes said, pushing some hair out of his eyes and shaking Kaya’s hand. 

“Hi, I’m Kaya.” Kaya smiled. “Welcome to the smoke shop. We have been hiding in the employee break room, it’s got that extra layer of protection. 

“Smart” Wes said, following Kaya into the room, carrying the bags and some wood with him. Jeff was propped up and dozing in and out, and once Kaya and Wes were safely inside, Wes began to evaluate Jeff. 

“He’s had a fever since we got here, basically.” Kaya told Wes. 

“Some of the medicines I brought should help, others we can barter for stuff or save.” Wes said as he checked Jeff’s glands on his neck. “Puking?” 

“Yeah. And other stuff. It’s been hard to get him to the restroom with the broken ankle.”

“Is it broken?” 

“I think so.” Kaya said. “Been treating it as such, because it sure doesn’t seem great.” 

Wes checked out the ankle. “Yeah, I have more experience with colds than I do broken ankles, but it wouldn’t surprise me.” 

“What experience do you have?”

“I’ve taken some classes, took that infectious diseases class at the R&D building. Not medical school or anything, but, they all said I had a knack for it.” 

Kaya nodded. “Well, it’s more than I have. I have some sports medicine knowledge, and that’s it.”

“That’s kept him alive this far, and that ankle looks great, all things considered.” Wes said, removing his phone and typing out a long message to Sam to relay back to the medical contact she had. 

“Thank’s. I’ve been trying to keep him full of fluids, but he has had trouble keeping them down. We have that plastic trash bin as a puke bucket.” 

“Nice. All of this is good. I brought supplies too, food, medicine…hopefully enough to keep us sorted.”

Kaya nodded, and began to go through the bags. “Good selections here.” Said Kaya appreciatively, sorting the canned goods from the dried. 

Wes sat back and eyed the collection of glass and water pipes Kaya had gathered on the small table. 

“Please tell me you have weed?”

“Weed, and wax, more wax actually, than flower, so if you are a dab man, you are in good luck.” 

“I love a good dab, I don’t have a high tolerance but, I love a good dab” Wes smiled. “I have a great dealer, but by the time I realized I needed weed, things were already really crazy out there.” 

Kaya took out some wax and offered Wes a dab, who took it gratefully before his eyes fell on the TV.

“Any good shows?”

“Nothing really. We don’t watch the video news, and one channel is for monitoring the cameras out there…I have found some basic channels, and also have been able to use some streaming sites.”

“Wonder if we could access a web page browser using it then, since it is clearly using the internet.”

“I thought the same,” Kaya said, handing Wes the remote. “But I wasn’t able to figure out how.”

“Well, I’m hardly a tech person, but maybe two of us can figure it out.” Wes said hopefully. 

Kaya finished sorting the dried goods and then began making three piles, for their three bags.

“What you doing?” Asked Wes.

“I have been trying to keep us ready to run. Keep dried foods, and any other supplies, in our bags, ready to run if we need to.”

“He can’t really run though, can he?” Asked Wes, gesturing to Jeff. 

“No. No, he can’t but, I won’t take his supplies either. If we need to run, I will barricade him in, best I can, and take my supplies. He told me I could take his stuff, but I wouldn’t leave him like that.”

Wes considered Kaya. “That takes remarkable character. I can’t say that I would have been so selfless.” 

Kaya shrugged. “I am not okay with being shitty. We all need to be our best selves, you know?”

Wes nodded. “Yeah. That’s why I wanted to join up with you, and anyone with that mentality. I hate those zombie shows where people are just total assholes, worse than in real life. Like, this is the time for us to come together, not to fuck each other over.”

Kaya smiled. “Me too. Can’t stand that Living Dead, or is it Walking? There are two of them, those shows, right? I can’t stand those because it seems like everyone is just screwing everyone else over when we all need to come together. Assuming we are locked in this city, we need to be better than those people, because there isn’t space for warring people on top of the hungry, flesh eating, zombies.”

“I think this may be a flu, whatever Jeff has, or some other nasty virus. I’m worried about us, or others. If people didn’t get their flu shot, this could become bad for anyone left alive in the city.”Wes finally said, after looking over some stuff online.

Wes’s phone signal was spotty as well inside the break room, but he was able to get some signal by sitting against the wall with the small thin window. 

“Flu would be bad. I got my flu shot, did you?”

“I did.” Wes said. “I hated leaving the house, but even I knew it was smart to do.”

“Me too. Got really high and went.”

Wes laughed. “So, neither of us like to go out, and we both take our health seriously. I bet those both contributed to us surviving this long.”

“Yeah. I got lucky. I guess.” Kaya shrugged. “I don’t know, man, if I were to tell how lucky, you wouldn’t believe me.”

Wes chuckled. “Believe me, I understand. Nothing I would say would sound real.”

“Maybe you both have had highly unique and unbelievable experiences, so you are well suited to believing each other.” Came the voice that had guided both Wes and Kaya. 

“Whoa. What?” Kaya said, looking around for the source of the voice.

“You heard that too?” Asked Wes, standing up and joining her.

“Yeah, she woke me up, I would have died if I hadn’t had that warning.”

“Yeah, same here. The voice has given me some advice here and there and has kept me alive.”

“And apparently we both can hear it at the same time.” Kaya said, looking in the bathroom. “Sounds just like my dealer, my friend, Roxy. She gave me this bag…” Kaya crossed to her bag and held it up. “And she seems to know some of the stuff happening but keeps speaking cryptically when I text her.”

“So you know the person?”

“Yeah.” Said Kaya. “I…well, I mean, it sounds like Roxy, anyways.” 

“Hrm. Yeah, I don’t know the voice.” 

“So, I guess…uh…safe to say, we have both had a weird time, getting to here.” Kaya said awkwardly when neither of them could find the source for the voice. “I think…maybe we just need to chalk it up to magic, or…something.”

“Yeah, safe to say magic may just be real.” Wes said looking out the window. “I’ve always thought maybe it was, but…middle of all the zombies is a hell of a time for confirmation.”

“You seem willing to accept magic is real pretty easily, how do you know it isn’t like, some hallucination from the wax?”

“Because THC doesn’t do that, for one.” Wes smiled. “But, I have had some magical moments in my life, where no logic explained it, but magic would, so…it seems like not a far leap.” Wes said, trying to both not lie but not tell the full truth.

Kaya smiled, glad his reasoning seemed to be in order, and changed Jeff’s cold presses to keep his temperature down. 

This is how the two new friends spent much of their evening, catching the other up with how they had spent the past few days, and taking turns changing Jeff’s cold compresses to keep his fever down, while zombies roamed the streets of Flake City.

Thank you so much for reading! I truly hope you enjoyed it! Please subscribe/follow the blog for more chapters, every single Friday, and, with any luck, a return to some of my other blog content too.

At a readers suggestion, I am including my links to previous chapters at the end of the blog, instead of the front, to see how that works for any new readers. Please feel free to use the following links to catch up on all the past chapters and short stories relating to Flake City, and comment/DM if you liked having the links at the end!

Don’t Forget Flake City Short Story

Letter from the Narrator, Roxy.

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 Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen

Thanks so much for reading!

Abbi

4 thoughts on “Flake City Friday- Volume One, Chapter Eighteen

  1. Pingback: Flake City Friday: Volume One Chapter Nineteen – Abbi Grasso Blog

  2. Pingback: Flake City Friday- Volume One, Chapter Twenty – Abbi Grasso Blog

  3. Pingback: Flake City Friday: Volume One- Chapter Twenty-One – Abbi Grasso Blog

  4. Pingback: Flake City Volume One- Chapter Twenty-Two. – Abbi Grasso Blog

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