Feel free to use these links to catch up on past chapters of Flake City- “#DontforgetFlakeCity” 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, Chapter Eighteen
Sam, at the radio station, had scheduled some basic programming, and had informed them in the group chat that she had a lot of phone calls and interviews to make that would have her reporting less on the radio, but she would try to at least keep them informed about what was going on.
This was all a much nicer way of saying what had really happened, and Sam’s real mood. Sam was pissed, having recently been in contact with Moria, at the hospital, and having also been in contact with some of the F class people that had been assigned to the Flake City case.
“Oh, do you expect me to just sit here and keep your equipment working, answering service calls, oh and moving the telescope around for your precious scientists, but you won’t even help the people in the fucking city? Nah, you better get me a goddamn supervisor, buddy, because that shit isn’t gonna fly with me, and if you think your gonna fuck me, and my city, like that, you got another thing coming.” Sam said one of the agents who was asking her, telling her really, that they needed her to do something for them.
“Again, we need the telescope moved to the coordinates-“
“Bitch you aren’t fucking hearing me and that sure as fuck ain’t my problem. Until you get me someone authorized to fucking help me, I don’t give a single great goddamn about what coordinates you need the telescope turned to, and I guess you shoulda thought of that before you decided to leave me as the ONLY person in the entire city who knows how to work a single piece of gear in this tower.”
Sam held the phone tight, knowing she was being ballsy as hell, but not caring. The military had been giving her the run around for days, refusing to answer even the most simple of questions, and, on top of this, it seemed that the moronic TV reporter the military had brought in to provide information to the people of Flake City was an investigative journalist, and had sent the bit of information he had, not to the radio station so they could also distribute the information, but had sent a bunch of medical records to the doctor in the hospital. This was fine, as the doctor was able to start translating the files, half of which seemed coded the other half seemed redacted, but the information should have also been sent to Samantha, more so if they expected her to help them.
“This is Gen-” came a masculine voice.
“I don’t give a fuck who this is. Are you going to help me, or are you going to talk in circles and ask for something for nothing?” Sam said, taking great pleasure in cutting off the person who had begun to speak.
“And what help is it that you want, in exchange for the position change we need?”
Sam took a breath. “For one, I need someone who actually knows the scope of what they are asking me to do. So far you have had a bunch of low ranking plebes asking me to make changes to a telescope that generally has two scientists and a radio worker available for the task.”
“Are you implying this position change requires more people?”
“The scientists who always work here seemed to believe so. It isn’t just pressing a button, this particular telescope, and the stuff it is trying to see, requires very special lenses, a computer program, lighting changes, position changes, oh, and then the little buttons you press.”
“This is a highly advanced piece of machinery”
“No, what it does is advanced.” Sam stated plainly. “And if you aren’t high enough ranking to understand, you should find me someone who does. You are aware that people out side of F class designation know F class “secrets” right? I know what this telescope looks for, I know what all it can check, and I bet if I were to check the position you are asking me to move it to, I could even tell you what you are looking for. I am very well equipped to understand the problem in front of us, I suggest you find someone who is, too.”
A deep, heavy, slightly frustrated breath was the response that first came, and Samantha dug her bag of tobacco out of her stash and began to roll a spliff with some of the weed she had.
Samantha stepped outside, now lighting the spliff she had rolled and continued to wait.
“This is Smith” Came a voice and Sam smiled. No designation or title, just a name, classic F class.
“This is Samantha. If they want this telescope moved, someone needs to help me.”
“Well, I could maybe be inclined to help you, if you give me something more specific to act on.” Came the voice calmly.
“The signal. I don’t know how you are doing it, but that big radio wave they put out. Can you knock the zombies out, around the tower, so I can get a couple of survivors, with their supplies, to me?”
Samantha blew out the smoke of her spliff and answered “I need more help to move the telescope, and they have supplies to keep me going. It is obvious the military and F class need this telescope to stay up, I am asking for a small window to let some people get some supplies for us, and get to the tower, before the storm locks us all into place.”
“That’s more mouths to feed, no matter how many supplies they bring.” said Smith.
“More hands to do the work, too. Look, I can’t work the telescope on my own, not to mention the upkeep on the equipment to keep this building up and going. If the power goes out, the telescope won’t work for anyone. If someone isn’t here, manning it, no one can remote in and use the telescope either, as I am sure you have checked.”
“That is what they are telling me.” Smith said, shuffling some papers.
“We had a radio wave that lasted all night and into the day, can we get another one of those?”
“No, absolutely not. If we do this, if this were a thing at all, it will only be for short window of time…and some infected may be impacted differently from it, too, there is a lot we don’t know.”
“Impacted how?” Asked Samantha.
“You will be the one reporting that, not me.” Said Smith coyly as he typed on a keyboard, before continuing, “I will put word in through the channels. Tell your people to make sure they are ready to go, once we are able to put this thing, through, because we will likely only be able to give you a few minutes time.”
“They need time to get supplies too, and to carry them over here, they need at least an hour.” Samantha argued.
“If they give you ten minutes I will be surprised.” Said Smith, and the line went dead.
Samantha groaned, but sent this information to the group chat to let Wes and Kaya know that they may be able to get to the radio station before the storm rolled off the mountains and hit the town in a bigger way.
Snow already covered most surfaces, and Kaya and Wes were already worried about moving through the snow while carrying the still weak Jeff.
Jeff had been trying to make a recovery, which made Sam hope he healed up in the hours to days it may take Smith to arrange a way to get them to the tower.
“Otherwise…” Sam looked across the yard to where the small smoke shop that now housed three survivors. Sam didn’t know what Kaya or Wes would do, but Sam hoped whatever they did wouldn’t involve staying in the smoke shop when the big storm hit. The snow was already coming down, in the next day or so much of the city would find itself covered, not in the fluffy, photogenic snow, but covered in thick snow drifts that froze over, on top of the layer of snow that melted ever so slightly in the sun, before refreezing with the blizzard…bad weather was coming, and with it, this whole area would be locked down.
Sam knew, from past snow storms, in fact, the last bad one they had, Sam had been the one with the short straw stuck at the station, and in the days without city workers and bored students, the campus was stuck. The area got much of the intensity from the storms, coming fresh from the mountains, something about the wind streams always seemed to push more snow to this area, and, Sam knew, this time around, there were no city workers with snow plows, or bored college kids with borrowed shovels, to come and help clear the snow.
The radio station was equipped to stay powered in the event of nearly anything, and at the very minimal, operating power and water would stay active unless something went very, very wrong.
The smoke shop, however, wouldn’t last. Sam was surprised the power was still on there, with power being out in many of the areas. When the power blew, Sam knew, a fire could break out, fires had broken out in other places around town, some in catastrophic ways, destroying buildings in its way before finally going out. The snow, Sam knew, would help with fires that started, but that whole situation would make people even more vulnerable to the ever present threat of zombies.
No, the group in the smoke shop needed to get to Sam, if they wanted a fair shot at survival, and Sam needed the help if she was going to keep the radio station up and broadcasting during a storm.
Sam clicked on her keyboard, doing more research on zombies, and communicating with the doctor at the hospital, Moria, about the research they had on zombies. Moria, desperate for more eyes, and, appreciative of Sam’s more investigative tendencies, had been all too happy to send the information she had to Sam.
The research was redacted, but Sam was slowly starting to notice patterns, so she was checking the internet for any zombie terms that may help her decipher redacted words, or, as it seemed, coded words.
Of course, the words that were redacted seemed coded in some way or another, because the sentences rarely made sense.
Sam found a video about types of zombie from some channel all about explaining things from films, comics, games, etc, and found an entire play list of videos based on various viruses in the assorted zombie realm of culture.
“hrmm…” Sam said out-loud, taking a sip from the coffee she had made, and clicked play on the entire play-list, while opening another window and using it to search for some of the terms she was finding.
While communications outside the city were throttled, it didn’t seem that the Internet was stopped, in terms of information. The internet was largely read only mode for Flake City, it seemed to Sam, who had heard that any mention of the current events were blocked, although it did seem a few generic tweets had escaped from the campus, before the campus fell prey to the hordes of zombies.
Sam spent much of the next hour researching, making notes in the margins of the papers she had printed from Moria emailing the files.
The emailing had taken a while, but, after Moria made the files small, and sent them in batches, the emails went through, and Sam had begun printing them out on the office printer her boss was normally very strict with, never allowing “frivolous printing” like programs or papers.
You know, what printers at radio stations are generally used for.
The night was long, feeling longer than most nights, and across the way, in the smoke shop, the group prepared for the trip to the station.
“I think he is just sick. I can maybe, iuno, get him well enough to travel, but the leg is going to be the problem.” Wes said, after assessing Jeff after a round of medicines.
“We can splint it, and give him some pain meds ahead of time. The adrenaline may keep him going.”
“But how was he during the last scan?” Asked Wes.
“What do you mean?” Asked Kaya as she began trying to sort all of their supplies to figure out how to best carry them all.
“Other survivors weren’t so okay, they went down, massive headaches, whatever. Was he sick at all?”
“Was hard to tell, because of his ankle, and he was already sick. I didn’t notice anything because he was sick.”
Wes considered this, and then asked Kaya why she was packing and repacking all the food she could fit so obsessively.
“We need enough to keep us fed…for a while.” Kaya said as she eyed what all they had, knowing that even with the bags she had, and even if they were all full, to the brim, four full grown adults would need no small amount of food, more, if more survivors showed up.Wes was worried about Jeff being a liability for the group, but still, Wes worked throughout the night, and when Kaya wasn’t looking, he used small amounts of the magic he had to heal Jeff up, to accelerate the illness and strengthen him, so Jeff could endure the pain in his ankle and run.
Jeff could feel it, the weird, cool but warm tingle of the energy as it flowed from Wes’s hand, but he said nothing.
“Zombies outside, who the fuck am I to stop young Merlin from healing this flu. Take a crack at the ankle next.” Jeff mumbled as he fell back into a deep sleep.
Wes did, incidentally, work on the ankle, but accelerate as he could, the ankle was pretty bad off, and energy it took from Wes was significant…in addition to the work on the flu, on top of this, Wes was actively trying to not let Kaya see, fearful of how she would react to magic.
Wes had grown up with that fear, and had only been able to enjoy some peace by sticking to himself and staying at home most of the time. Wes longed for friends, for a sense of community, but until zombies starting roaming the streets, it hadn’t seemed possible. Now, of course, Wes was still worried about revealing his magic, but, he reasoned, the zombies probably made his magic more useful than scary to anyone his group.
Still, Wes wasn’t sure he wanted to risk it, because, after all, it was zombies outside if they were scared and kicked him out.
By the early morning light, when the first of the zombies started getting aggressive and loud, Jeff was actually feeling better, much of his night passing in what felt like a weird fever dream, his ankle throbbed less and his illness felt like it was finally going away. Jeff took the night time formula of medicine that Kaya gave him and fell into another deep sleep, but this sleep was one that was actually deep and restful, not fitful and feverish.
Kaya smiled, grateful Jeff was finally on the mend, and so very grateful for Wes’s efforts.
Wes had been doing a good job trying to hide it, but Kaya suspected he was doing something to help heal Jeff, with energy, or whatever, but was too grateful for the improvements to question it. Kaya’s only concern was that it actually helped and that the improvements stuck.
Kaya and Wes agreed to sleep in shifts, because the zombies outside were quite active, and they wanted at least one person awake in case something went wrong.
Kaya let Wes take the first sleeping shift, and he used the spare sleeping bags and carefully lay next to the sleeping Jeff on the pull out couch, to sleep for a few hours, while Kaya kept an ear out while switching between the news broadcast and the camera feeds from the smoke shop.
While Wes rested, Kaya also tried texting with Sam, phone signal allowing, about what she had learned about the zombies, in her all night research, and also asking to see how the plan to get them to the radio station would go.
Kaya was worried about Sam’s plan, not trusting the government, at all, but, she also knew that the brain wave scan thing they had done last time had rendered the zombies fairly catatonic, so if they could have a few minutes time, they could carry their bags and help the still weak Jeff across the large yard, to the radio station tower, which would be their best chance of survival.
The wind outside picked up, and Kaya knew outside, the weather was cold, blistery, and only getting worse. Today was the last full day before the city would likely be immersed in snow, and travel would be tricky to say the least. When the snow came, it would possibly bury this small building, or at least make it tricky to leave. Additionally, Kaya worried that the power wouldn’t last.
Still, they hardly had the means to make more than one trip across the large yard, with the snow that was already on the ground, and the distance alone, the trip would take several long minutes, longer if they were having to help Jeff walk across.
Wes and Kaya had originally hoped to be able to raid some more supplies, to better supply the group for the coming weeks of snow, but Sam had mentioned that the agent she had spoken with had mysteriously alluded to the fact that getting the wave done would be hard, getting it to be very long would be out of the question.
This fact alone bothered Kaya. The last wave scan had been over night, with humans and zombies affected, and it had lasted nearly 24 hours, leading to increased zombie activity for a day after.
Why would they limit the time? The survivors hadn’t asked for much, and they sure as hell hadn’t received much, so why not give them some time to get safe? Wasn’t that the whole point of getting a reporter for Flake City, on the outside of the city?
But that opened up more questions, to Kaya, than it answered. If the government did care about the survivors in Flake City, enough to get them a reporter to give them information, wouldn’t they have that reporter coordinating with the radio station, and not just whoever texts the hot line?
If the government wanted to help, why wouldn’t they have the military officers stationed outside of the city, protecting the perimeter, why not have those men with guns come in and help survivors? Maybe rescue them and get them out of the city? The reporter was at some motel, if you didn’t want to risk the virus getting out, then house survivors at the motel, in a quarantine, but get them out of the city.
It made Kaya worry that they wouldn’t air drop food or other supplies, if and when the time came. Kaya had been avoiding thinking about it, but even with plenty of people dead, the food stores in the city would run out. Even if the stores weren’t slowly being taken over by whatever survivors could secure the building, or looted by those who can’t secure it, the food would run out, over time, from people needing it.
Kaya and Sam had been trying to get an approximate number on survivors, and Sam’s best estimate was under 5,000, although the number was likely much smaller than that. The food would run out. All of the supplies would eventually run out.
If the government wasn’t willing to save people, or even connect the radio station with the reporter, how could they trust the government to drop some food?
“Stores will run out” Kaya told herself “But private homes may still have food supplies, abandoned homes will for sure. People who were out of town and never made it home.” Kaya knew there wouldn’t be a ton of food, but some canned goods, dried beans, even rice or pasta, would help them survive longer.
Of course, without power, all of the food would require fire to heat and cook it, which would require not only the space for the fire, but the wood to fuel it. Many stores had stacks upon stacks of wood, plenty of houses had stacks too, and the park had plenty of stashes of seasoned wood for campers, but that was all the way in the mountains.
“We may have to go to the mountains.” Kaya mumbled, recalling a conversation with Sam about one of the survivors Sam had spoken to on the phone, who, apparently, had been working the hospital, but once she learned that the hospital had reported everything to the government, and that the city was being quarantined, had left, went home, grabbed supplies, and went into the mountains to ride out the situation.
But, Sam had argued, the radio station would stay safer. The hospital would have been safer, had it not been ground zero for the outbreaks, but the radio station would be even more safe than that. The building was meant to withstand bad weather and stay operational, and had not only several power backups, but also had solar panels to keep the tower operational. The tower had space, and, when in lock down mode, was nearly impossible to get into. The water was fed from a stream that came from the mountains, and the pump that pumped it was hooked to the same power that kept the tower working.
Of course, much of that power did go to the telescope, which was the real reason the building was so secure, and also the real reason the government would be willing to help the group get to the tower…they needed the telescope moved and it really did require more people.
Kaya had been working on repacking the bags, trying to find the best way to pack the supplies to fit the most stuff, and also enable them to get the most stuff to the tower, while keeping the supplies divided should they all be separated. Outside, the roars and growls of the zombies were growing louder. Kaya worried, as they seemed more active than they had in the past, and, when Kaya went out into the shop proper, she was horrified to find that the zombies were actively banging on all of the small, shuttered windows, and the large, locked and barricaded door.
Everything was holding strong, and there was no present danger of the zombies getting in, but, Kaya was worried, as a day ago, they hadn’t even seemed to be aware of the smoke shop, much less people in it, and now, it seemed that at least a few zombies may have an idea of where they were.
Kaya grabbed another glass piece, having been slowly making her way through the pieces in the smoke shop that she liked the best, and also grabbing a piece that had a carrying case to keep it safe, and returned to the employee break room that doubled as their safe room.
Once back in the safety of the break room, Kaya brewed some coffee and took a couple of dabs. Kaya had found some small silicon containers in the smoke shop, and had put some of her concentrate into those, so she could keep the giant jar of wax in her bag, wrapped securely in all of her clothing to act as padding for her supply of medical grade concentrate.
If the government wasn’t airdropping food, they wouldn’t air drop weed, so Kaya needed to make her supply last. The weed supply she had would likely go first, and be best for bartering, but the wax would keep her medicated, so Kaya was taking precautions to keep things safe.
The coffee was ready in the time it took Kaya to splash her face with water and take a dab. In relative silence, Kaya sipped the hot coffee and watched the news that never updated, waiting for either Wes to wake up or Sam to message that the government agents had let her know when the scan wave would take place.
Kaya had already repacked the bags, leaving out only the essentials for them to use, storing things way when not being used, in case they had a small window of time that came with little notice, which both Kaya and Sam had expected.
Kaya wasn’t wrong, but the things that would put their rushed and hasty exit and race to the radio station in their reality, were still occurring. With the few people assigned to the Flake City case, coordinating and largely, debating the type of wave and the duration, knowing more than the people inside Flake City, this group knew that they had several radio waves they could send out, the question was, which radio wave would not hurt the humans, and would render the zombies less active.
What the assembled group of F Class agents and scientists knew, that the people inside Flake City did not know, was that there were several kinds of radio waves they had tested, each with different results.
What Sam at the radio station and Moria at the hospital were discovering, however, was related to this.
“Hey, got a second?” Came the whispered voice of Moria, when Sam answered her mobile phone.
Sam assured her that she did, knowing that Moria hadn’t been too willing to speak on the phone for fear of noise, and with Moria’s medical knowledge, Sam knew it would likely be for a major reason that she was willing to call.
Moria was in the bathroom of her office, looking over some of the key pages of notes she had marked, and looking over her master list of key hit points.
“I think we may be in bigger trouble than I thought, and I think I know why people are reporting different killing shots to the zombies”
Sam quickly grabbed a fresh sheet of paper and followed Moria’s string of logic, with every passing moment growing more concerned.
“We may be very screwed.” Sam said under her breath as she jotted down notes.
Before Sam could process the terrifying reality, however, her phone rang, this time the station phone, and Sam discovered it was Smith, who said they would be turning the scan on at dusk, which was rapidly approaching.
Sam quickly hung up with Moria and called Wes’s phone, who answered groggily, having been left to sleep all day by Kaya, who never bothered waking him up for his shift.
Wes had seemed so very exhausted, so in need of rest, Kaya had just kept drinking coffee and riding on the adrenaline and fear of the zombies banging on the doors and windows.
Wes’s ringing phone, however, informed them that they had very little time until the radio wave that would render the zombies catatonic, was about to start, and the time frame was limited, so they needed to be ready to go.
Kaya and Wes worked to get Jeff up, who, while deeply unsteady, was able to at least hobble around the break room while testing out various options for a cane or a crutch that would also help him kill zombies, like a baseball bat, a piece of wood, and a pipe.
In the end, the baseball bat seemed most reliable for him, able to grab the top to walk and also easily swing it up to defend himself.
Jeff had his bag on his back, with Wes and Kaya carrying their own, and together, the group moved into the smoke shop, where the sound of the zombies grew.
Before long, a loud, piercing sound filled the air, like a pressure change, but with more noise. Kaya popped her ears and realized the noise wasn’t as loud as it sounded, but was rather due to the wave they were trying to send…
And this was the wrong wave.
Kaya, nor Wes or Jeff, had any idea how the science behind these radio waves worked, but they were all certain, in a moments time, that the wrong one had been used. Wes, thinking fast, sent word to Sam, but it was seconds too late, and zombies were already pounding on the shuttered windows, the glass long gone, the wooden shutters buckled.
A few terrifying moments passed as the wooden shutters began to splinter and break. It was nearly a minute before another sound came, this one seemed to send the already angry zombies into a frenzy, before the sound ended, and the silence became more terrifying.
“Should we try?” Kaya asked quietly.
Jeff, close to a window, tried to peak out. Something reached in, pulling Jeff, trying to pull him through the broken window. Jeff screamed, while Kaya tried to pull him back.
“All the scans in the world aren’t going to stop me!” Came a voice no one recognized. Outside, Kaya spotted the same person she had seen walking the streets a few days before, during the scan.
“A talking zombie.” Kaya thought to herself, terrified.
“They bit me, you need to run while they are distracted. I’m a dead man, and we both know I would probably have trouble making it.” Jeff said, grunting as the zombie who accompanied the talking zombie chewed on his arm. Kaya pulled on Jeff, trying to yank him back, before realizing he was right.
“Kaya…” Wes said, tightening the straps on his pack. “Whatever is out there can think enough to form sentences.” Wes pulled on Kaya’s arm, not wanting her to die too, or to die with them both in the smoke shop.
Kaya looked around, and time seemed to slow. Wes was right, and so was Jeff. Kaya couldn’t save Jeff, and if she tried, she and Wes would likely fall…which would also hurt Sam, who needed them to join her in the radio station.
“GO!” Jeff screamed, using his free arm to rip his gun out of his bag. “Even if I’m immune, that bitch is coming in. Run. I’ll keep them distracted.”
Another sound filled the air, Jeff’s gun firing, and the zombie holding Jeff’s arm let go, falling to the ground. Jeff pulled his now bloody arm back, and fought off the urge to puke.
“Come on then, you fucking bitch!” Jeff yelled from the hole in the wooden shutter. “Come and fucking get me! Or is that widdle brain scan making it too hard for you?” Taunted Jeff as he checked the ammo in his gun. He had a few bullets, he wanted to at least take that talking bitch down.
“Zombies that talk. Fuck that.” Jeff said to himself.
“Oh I’m gonna get you.” Came the chilling voice.
Jeff turned to Kaya and Wes. “Take care of her. You take care of him. Tell Sam I said hi. Thanks Kaya.” Jeff bid them farewell, before turning back to the zombie outside, “Let’s dance, bitch!”
Kaya pushed tears from her eyes as her and Wes moved quickly to the back, where the back alley door was still fairly open. Kaya turned back, only for a second, before Wes grabbed her by the hand and pulled her.
“Give him his dignity. This way he dies, in our eyes, as a badass hero. We can’t let ourselves hear his screams, he deserves to die a hero!” Wes urged her as the cold air hit their faces. Kaya nodded and looked around. Most zombies seemed to be in the catatonic state, but the zombie Jeff was dealing with wasn’t, so Wes and Kaya needed to move quickly. Kaya led the way, trying to jog as quickly as she could in the crunching snow. Wes followed, keeping his eyes open, checking behind them to ensure the zombie who had been dealing with Jeff didn’t take off after them.
Another piercing sound shot through the air, and Wes and Kaya popped their ears, hoping to clear the sound.
The sound continued, and with it, growls and shrieks began to fill the air.
“RUN!” Wes yelled, and the two ran. Wes had already called Sam’s phone, not really speaking into it, but using it as a way to let her know what was happening.
In the radio station, Sam had ran downstairs, her heart pounding with fear for her friends and adrenaline. Sadly, Sam couldn’t see what was happening, or even hear the sounds of the waves that were being emitted, since she had to be by the door, and not on her observation deck, so her only frame of reference was what she heard over the phone.
Of course, all but one of the waves weren’t actually audible, but they made the brain think it was hearing sounds until you popped your ears and realized it was a pressure change.
“Sam, be ready… getting close… zombies everywhere!” Wes said into the phone while panting and running.
Sam had already moved the couch from in front of the door, and had unlocked the door, now, all the stood between Sam and the outside, was the door, and Sam holding it closed.
Outside, Wes and Kaya ducked and dodged zombies. Some, were still catatonic, unaware of what was happening, just standing and staring blankly. Some zombies were laying down, looking nearly dead. Others, however, were moving, and not slowly. These zombies all seemed to be able to communicate with each other, growls and screeches informing each other of where they were going, trying to take the two humans down.
Kaya wished, not for the first time, that she could teleport away. The zombies kept getting closer, a couple had even managed to grab her before she yanked her arm away.
The door to the station was just up ahead, but a row of these communicating zombies all stood in a line, in front of the door.
“FUCK!” Screamed Kaya, turning to see Wes. Behind Wes, in the distance, Kaya could see the zombie who had actually spoken words, watching, almost amused. A smile played on her face as she watched the zombies encircle Kaya and Wes, who stood back to back ready to fight a path through.
“We go down swinging.” Kaya said, tightening the grip on her bat.
Wes nodded grimly, summoning up any energy he had. He could maybe use energy to blast a few with wind, to keep them away. Wes began feeling the wind around him, feeling for the energy all things had, when another wave hit the air, dropping all the zombies around them. The zombie who had tormented them at the smoke shop started sprinting towards them, seemingly unaffected by the more recent radio wave.
“Door!” Kaya yelled, not daring to question it, Kaya ran to the door and pounded on the door, imploring Sam to open it. Sam opened the door, and Kaya and Wes tumbled in, the talking zombie hot on their heels, running at supernatural speeds while screaming in anger.
Sam watched, horrified, as that zombie, moving unlike any they had seen, ran towards them, before slamming the door and bolting it, and pointing to one end of the couch so she and Wes could put it in front of the door.
The terrifying zombie shrieked at the door, but quickly ran off, presumably in search of other humans.
“What the fuck was that?” Asked Sam, shocked at the developments.
“I need a smoke.” Kaya said, ignoring the shaking in her knees. “And we may want to make sure this place is barricaded because that zombie-” Kaya gestured with her head, “is insane, and clearly wants us dead.”
“No kidding.” Wes mumbled. “And she already got Jeff, before she yelled at us and ran off.”
“Poor Jeff.” Kaya said. “Came all this way to die. I hope she stays gone.”
“In fairness, you brought him most of that way.” Sam said, never one to be good at tactfulness.
Kaya hugged Sam instead of rolling her eyes. “He was a good kid.”
“I’m so sorry about your friend.” Sam said, realizing how callous she had sounded.
“And you must be Wes.” Sam said shaking Wes’s hand. “It’s nice to meet you in person.”
“Thank you for opening up the station for us. The snow that is already falling would have made things harder.”
“Yeah, it’s about to get worse. We can watch from the observation deck.” Sam led the way, locking doors behind her, and sharing her code for the elevator with both of them.
“Just in case something goes wrong. You need keys for some parts of the building, but most of the building is wired for the keypads.” Sam explained as the elevator brought them to the radio station proper.
Kaya and Wes followed Sam into the station and the station’s kitchenette break room, where Sam had taken up residency.
“So, I’ve been sleeping here. The kitchen is here, and there was a couch to crash on. I think there are cots somewhere, but, like I mentioned, I haven’t wanted to stray from the radio area alone…I was scared.” Sam confessed.
“I would be too, it’s a giant building.” Said Kaya, shuddering at the thought of being alone.
“So you see why I wanted company,” laughed Sam.
“Yeah, no kidding.” Wes said, shrugging his backpack off.
“We have sleeping bags, so even if we don’t find cots, we can make do,” said Kaya.
“Yeah.” Wes agreed, slapping his sleeping bag.
“I have coffee-actually, nah, I’ll brew something fresh. We have gigantic stockpiles of coffee anyways.” Sam crossed to the coffee maker and began making more coffee.
“Yeah cup of coffee sounds awesome.” Kaya said, before yawning. Long days and nights of light sleep were catching up to Kaya, so a cup of coffee sounded wonderful.
Sam set up the coffee maker and turned it on before checking on the equipment in the radio station. After Sam ensured the equipment was still broadcasting, Sam led Wes and Kaya, where the three searched for cots.
Before long, Kaya stumbled onto a closet that had several supplies for a good nights rest including half a dozen foldable cots, and big stacks of linens. “Jackpot!” Kaya yelled to the others, who joined her quickly, and the three carried three cots and sleeping linens back to the kitchenette area by the broadcasting studio.
“There are other places to hide, but I’m the only DJ so…” Sam said, explaining why she wanted to stay so close to the equipment.
Kaya and Wes assured Sam they understood, both grateful to have cots and bedding instead of sleeping bags on the floor.
“You smoke, right?” Kaya said, a familiar joke between the two heavy smokers, pulling out some weed and papers.
“Oh, I missed you.” Sam said appreciatively as the coffee finished up. “Smokes outside with coffee? I want to see what’s happening out there, see if any of it calmed down.” Sam said.
Kaya smiled and nodded, scared but curious.
“I’m still not convinced half of what happened was real.” Wes admitted, as the three put their coats back on and went outside.
Outside, some zombies were still very active, communicating with each other, all trying to break into buildings, some pointed to the radio station, but the scary zombie, the one who had said words, was mysteriously not there.
“Where is that one, that blonde one?” Asked Wes, searching all around.
“I don’t see her.” Kaya said, searching, before explaining to Sam what she seen, and what had happened.
“Uh…A zombie talked to you and you let me lead the way in some silly search for cots?” Asked Sam.
Kaya considered Sam’s words, looked to Wes, and the three broke down into laughter. “Yeah, sorry.” Kaya replied between laughs.
“She was scary,” Wes continued, when they finally stopped laughing and Kaya lit the joint. “She talked, Jeff died talking shit to her, distracting her. For a minute those zombies seemed to follow her commands, like a general.”
Kaya nodded. “It was terrifying. I wonder why she took off.”
Sam eyed the building. “Do you think she could a find a way here, I mean it’s easy to find the way back to the station but like, up here?”
Wes leaned over the edge. “I don’t see how she could climb that. Even someone with equipment would struggle.” Wes looked around. “I mean, we shouldn’t be complacent. But we should be pretty safe.”
Kaya eyed the windows. “It wouldn’t hurt to secure the tower, more so if any of them start to climb, even a little, but, yeah, it seems safe.” Kaya said, continuing to survey the space from their viewpoint on the balcony.
The three shared a joint, before returning inside and updating the radio segment, where Sam gave a weather update. Same tried to get Wes and Kaya to agree to do a segment with her, and maybe some discussions on the show after it, after Wes and Kaya got some rest.
Sam, who was fairly hungry, offered to make the three food, making up some buttery noodles for the three of them, seasoning it and adding a side of shaker cheese and red peppers for them to choose to use at their discretion.
Before Sam served up the large pot of buttery noodles, having set out the cheese and peppers, Kaya did a dab, and rolled a couple of joints for Sam, using the tobacco Sam had handed her. Sam made sure to barricade the doors that led to their area, promising to barricade the door to the sleeping area when it was time for her to sleep, after her show that night. Kaya and Wes both knew they would likely fall asleep beforehand, being exhausted from the days leading up to this one, and their run to the station.
Sam had her usual radio segment to do, so while she fired that up, Wes and Kaya saw to making themselves more human.
After eating, Kaya and Wes took turns in the bathroom, showering off, changing into clean clothes, comfortable enough to sleep in. Kaya made some cocoa and rolled a blunt, glad to be clean with a secure place to sleep. Exhaustion had set into Kaya’s bones, and she was a level of tired she wasn’t comfortable with, days of bad sleep in short spurts.
Wes, who had spent days in a cold church, hadn’t eaten much, was so tired, and the more he smoked with Sam and Kaya, more regular smokers, the closer he inched to bed. Wes knew after they smoked the blunt, he would be knocked out, but, with the pillows, blankets, and fairly comfortable cot, Wes didn’t mind falling asleep.
Sam got to a break point in her show, and the three bundled up again, and went outside. Sam gave Kaya a knit beanie from the radio show, to keep her head warm with the wet hair, and the three huddled together outside the radio station to smoke, watching as snow fluttered down. The snow, while looking beautiful, was picking up intensity, and starting to fall in abundance, with angry gusts of wind blowing around.
Half way through the joint, Sam urged them all inside, and the three smoked the rest of the blunt by the door, not wanting to experience the cutting pain of the wind as it hit them outside.
Kaya and Wes were both tired, and with a belly’s full of pasta and hot cocoa, not to mention days of bad sleep, so once the blunt was finished, Wes tapped out and returned to his cot, falling asleep nearly the moment his head hit the pillow.
Kaya rolled her eyes and pulled another blunt out, offering it to Sam who gratefully lit it, and the two recounted their first time meeting, and how they had cemented their friendship with a similar gesture of both being willing to always “smoke one more.”
Sam and Kaya laughed, enjoying the well rolled blunt. Kaya told her she did have a decent amount, but they would need to use wax, as well, because she had more of it.
“We will need more, but what I have will last a bit, depending on how long this lasts.” Kaya said with a sigh.
“Kaya, I think this may go on for a while. Like…A long while. I really think we may be on our own here.”
“I mean, not really, if so why would they be communicating with you?” Kaya asked her friend.
“They need the telescope. They need us to run it for em. The stuff we are going to work on tomorrow, they need us to run it. They will keep needing it, so eventually we will get help.” Explained Sam, sighing heavily.
“Help, or just supplies?” Asked Kaya, hitting the blunt and handing it back to Sam who admitted she didn’t know, because the latter was completely possible, they had no say in it.
“Who knows if they would help at all if not for the telescope.”
“They are helping the others, they sent in that reporter.” Said Kaya encouragingly.
“If you call that help.” Sam said. “He isn’t that helpful. It’s like he doesn’t know how to research and report. It happens with the investigative type, they worry all about delivery of the material but forget all about the material itself.”
Kaya nodded at her cynical friend, “That makes sense.”
Sam passed the blunt back. “You should get some rest. It will take some days to recover from being sleep deprived and all of that, but the sooner we are all at 100% the better.”
Kaya nodded. “I am exhausted. You said you would barricade the door when you come to bed, right?”
“Yup, don’t worry.” Sam assured Kaya, who took their safety seriously.
Kaya bid Sam goodnight, and curled up on her cot, dozing in and out until she heard Sam come to bed, hours later. Kaya stood, and helped move the large vending machine in front of the door. Sam washed her face and used the restroom, grateful, not for the first time, for the small full bathroom in the room, before changing into her own sleep clothes and cuddling up on the cot she had found, wanting to get off the old couch that hundreds of butts had sat on.
Kaya lay still, listening to the rhythmic, soft snores of the deeply sleeping Wes. Sam’s breathing slowed until it gave way to gentle, soft, unobtrusive snores.
Kaya cuddled into her blankets, grateful for the bedding to keep her warm and comfortable, and felt her own breathing finally slow, until, at last, Kaya fell into a deep sleep.
Thank you so much for reading!!! I hope you enjoyed, feel free to check out the past chapters for the rest of the story and make sure you are subscribed and following the blog for future posts.