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Day Zulu 0: Come Hell Or High Water

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"Come Hell or high water!"

That was the cliche I threw in her face when confronted by the naked terror in her eyes. Christ an' th' Gods o' my ancestors, what was I thinkin'? There must a' been a hundred things I could have told 'er to alleviate the panic. Rud a' crie! Army drilled that crap into me real deep, didn't they?

How'd I let this happen? We had escaped. We were fine. Afraid, but fine. Got out in the nick o' time as that last wave o' infected came in, overpowerin' what was left o' the NATO troops at the facility.

I'd prepared for just such, grabbin' what supplies I could; gettin't the others to grab some, too. Jack found that tent an' some sleepin' bags in th' shed th' NATO boys were usin' t' store supplies. We got out. We made it to a wooded hill a klick or more away. There was no sign of infected anywhere 'round that place. So we made camp.

Trail mix an' soda. Felt like a feast it did, as exhausted an' hungry an' scared we were. We bedded down. Ron was on watch, an' thank God for us settin' up a lookout schedule, otherwise it probably would a' been worse.

The shout of alarm woke me. Then Ron's screams chased the fog right out o' me. We were awake an' movin' b'fore his screams died away. There musta been a dozen or more o' them. The infected. Christ, the stink was all over th' place. Then the screams were. Jill Chambers. I heard her screamin'. Didn' sound like just panic either. They got 'er, I'm sure of it.

We didn't have time to grab an'athin'. There was no time. I had a can o' beans. A couple field dressin's. The flashlight in my cargo pocket. The bottle o' acetominophen I took for my headache earlier. Not much else.

I told m'Lady to run...that I'd be right behind 'er. She looked at me with those eyes...those panicked eyes.

"Don't you lose me!", she begged more than demanded.

Come Hell or high water, indeed. It happened anyway. It was dark. Couldn' see where I was placin' my feet even, as I ran. Then she was nowhere. Screams, shouts, panic everywhere, but she was gone.

Dear God, please let 'er be okay. Let me find 'er an' everything be okay.

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Turned out it was high water, at least for me. I ran. I could hear infected after me. Their throaty screeches and grunts. No livin' person makes a noise like that. I ran my arse achin', I did. The crunch o' the road, the track rails tripped me and I fell hard, scrapin' cheek, nose an' arms in the gravel. I got up an' ran on, lungs on fire for air from exertion an' panic. The poundin' surf grew louder and louder in the dark.

when I hit the beach, I paused to take m' tennies off an' tie the laces together, loopin' the ties 'round my neck to hang against my chest. I bolted for the surf. Christ it was cold, but what choice did I have with those...things screechin' behind me? I swam until my arms ached. I could feel the rip takin' me down the beach. It was fast an' I knew not to struggle 'gainst it. I let it carry me until I couldn't hear them nae more.

It was just the sound of surf, the waves; the bitingly cold water, and my gaspin', achin' self. I thought I was like to die. But I didn't. The rips subsided a bit, an' I began to make m' way in slow and methodical, flippin' to drift on my back when I was too exhausted to fight in toward shore.

I knew I wasn't going to drown in the drink when I felt sand b'neath my feet. I waded ashore and crawled out of the surf. Then I was out, cold and wet as a fish. I don't know how long, but it was still dark when I awoke, shiverin' an' balled up. I still had my tennies, soppin' wet as they were; socks in one o' my cargo pockets. I slipped the shoes on my feet and tied the laces, then made for the tower of what looked like a lighthouse.

The lighthouse was dark and empty, but I climbed up to get a look around. That's when I saw the dark outline o' buildings in the distance, maybe a kilometer away. I thought that might be where I'd entered the surf, but I wasn't certain. So I made my way there on foot, stoopin' low to keep the infected from seein' me. Though I didn't hear anythin' that sounded like those things, I knew they had to be out there....somewhere.

When I reached the warehouses, I knew this wasn't Chernogorsk. Bloody Hell, how far had I come in the rip tide? The run had done me some good, though I was still chilled; just no longer to the bone. They were there. I don't know how many, but I could hear 'em movin' 'round an' hootin' an' gibberin' like ghoulie fiends from some child's nightmare. I stayed low until I was inside one o' the warehouses. It was empty. I mean, completely empty.

The next one held more promise. Found an old knife an' an unopened can o' Coke. There was a first aid kit on a wall with a couple more bandages. No antiseptic, but beggars can't be choosers, aye? Mostly there was auto body parts an' accessories. I suppose I was lucky to have found what I did in the way o' supplies.

I slowly an' carefully made my way out. Checked a couple smaller warehouses. The infected were in around the cargo crates, so I stayed clear. There was a village not far down the road, so I made my way there, crouchin' an' weavin' between bushes an over short fences. That's when one o' those bastards got wind o' me.

It could'a been my foot stomp on concrete as I vaulted a fence, but I got this naggin' feelin' that the bastard smelled me. Christ, what nightmare or pit o' hell are we in now? The thing uttered a guttural cry an' started runnin' at me. I could see it, so I suppose it could see me. Well, I ran! I just picked up an' ran my arse off fast as could be, vaultin' low fences, weavin' 'round houses, until I lost it. Thank God these damned ghoulies are so witless or I might not 'a made it.

After that, I moved on with more caution. Found a house with the door wide open. There were no things right near by, so I went inside. With nothing but the huntin' knife, I didn't trust bein' able to take one o' the infected down. Inside, there was a mess o' discarded, empty cans an' bottles. An' under a kitchen table....a map! Aye, I found a blessed map!

I was afraid the infected might see the light o' my hand torch, so I lay on the wood floor with the beam pointed down just over the map so I could read it. Had to pull the batteries out and dry the bloody thing out for a time before I could get it to work.

After a few moments o' thinkin', lookin' at that map of Chernorus, I was able to make out pretty damn near where I was an' where I came from. There are some markings scrawled on the map in color ink. Colored circles of reds an' a blue. Dunno what it means, but I'm nae anxious to find out what the red ones are. I'm gonna make m' way toward the blue. Maybe it's a safe zone formed o' what's left of allied forces. I dunno. I speak the native language, so either way, if there are people there, I'm in better shape than I am right now. I'm so tired. So bloody, achin' tired. I'm gonna bolt the door an' try to get some sleep.

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Great to see another doctor in the land! Maybe your experiences in oncology can be directly transferred examining the degradation of the 'zed'? We have radiologists, biologists, surgeons and biochemists all examining to no avail.

Their tumors may lead to a further study and hopefully some indication as to their relevance or if they are merely a side effect as the blood flow stems to a halt. Research is needed to further our chances of survival.

If in need colleague, just shout.

//Great read mate, as always. Looking forward to more.

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Thank you for the kind words and welcomes!

I don't know if I'm going to continue the Forum RP story beyond Michael getting to the Trade Post, but I'll continue it at least that far soon.

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Guest lamiastrix

Not bad MacLeod. Hope you find your girl! ;)

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