|Posted by Boyd Craven III on September 18, 2013 at 10:15 PM|
Brice couldn’t believe this was happening. In no time flat he had gone from hero to zero. Caught twice, bitten but not infected, and handcuffed by god knows who. Actually his body armor sort of reminded him of the movie Blade… Only this guy wasn’t black, he was Asian and something else mixed together.
“Brice, Don’t know if we’ll ever meet again after I drop you off at the armory, but I want you to know, this is my last job for the suck heads. I don’t want to do this, but they promised me a truckload of food for bringing you in, and foods the only thing I didn’t prepare for.”
“You’re a prepper? So this zombie/vampire thing is your idea of fun?” Brice asked incredulous.
“I’m a prepper, but no, this is not my idea of fun. I have a mother and younger sister to look out for. If it wasn’t for them…”
“So you are doing this for your good old ‘ma then huh?” He asked bitterly.
“Yeah, by the way, my friends call me Massey, nice to finally meet you.”
Chapter 1 – Drifting
One thing’s for sure, Tres has never run as hard or as fast as he did with Mariah that day. Everything was all coming apart. Why did Brice open the double doors rather than peek out a storm drain? Why would he have insisted on taking off by himself after that thug? One thing’s for sure, when he gets back he needs to be told he isn’t invincible like he always used to say to Tres.
By the time the group assembled and ran outside only a few minutes had passed. They were able to see Brice getting shoved into the passenger seat of a muscle car before it roared off. They were only 4-5 blocks away, but it might as well have been a mile because it was too far off to do anything helpful.
That was three days ago.
From Mariah’s Journal -
We did everything we could to figure out where exactly Brice was taken. We found the house off Poplar and Walnut where the muscle car had been stashed. When it roared off it seemed like it would have been easy to follow just by the sound of it, but once it was out of sight, the un-muffled roar of the motor could be heard from everywhere. Living in a dead city like this, the sounds started playing tricks with our ears.
Tres and I spent quite a bit of time together, often just sitting, sometimes waiting until noon or so, that way we could walk outside for a moment and sit in the park in the sunshine. It didn’t last very long as the deadheads were forever in the area.
Jake and Karen started going door to door in the residential neighborhood just north of the Whiting. Many times they would take Stephen with them and leave Tres and I back to guard the bunker. On those days we were stuck inside. The adults were looking for cars and car keys.
The 2nd afternoon of looking for a car they found one off Roosevelt Street. It was an older Chevy Suburban that had been backed into the narrow spot between the house and the garage. The battery was dead but when they opened the garage they found a set of car keys right off, and a work bench covered with parts. Apparently the folks who had owned this house were into cars, because there were a couple of big tool cabinets and enough spare parts to operate their own auto parts store… Not that there are any of those left over.
On the bench they found a number of batteries. After changing out quite a few they found one that barely turned over the motor. In the end, Stephen saved the day. He used 2 sets of jumper cables to connect three batteries up and it was able to give the car enough juice to start.
It ran rather rough on the old gas, and this car probably hadn’t been driven in quite a while. Tires seemed ok, but it wasn’t much to look at. They decided to load up what they could in the Suburban from the spare parts and find a house and garage in the area they could stash the car. The garage here would have been great, but there was literally too much tools and stuff to even pull a car into.
In the end, they were able to find a spot to park it. By this time the battery had charged up enough for them to not have to worry about shutting it off. Bolting the door at nighttime was bad though. They were all thinking it but nobody wanted to talk about it directly at first.
Everyone was pretty sure that Brice had been taken to the Armory, but with him gone, some of the spirit had gone out of our group. Tres hoped that they could figure something out in time. In the meantime, they kept as low a profile as they could. After sharing what he’d overheard and what I had heard from the thugs, everybody was wary of making a lot of noise.
Chapter 2 – Three days ago
“Well Massey, forgive me if I don’t consider you a friendly right now.”
“Hey, I don’t really want to do this but once I get that food I won’t have to run outside risking getting killed myself or any infection. I’m the only one who can take care of my mom and sister. It’s nothing personal.”
“Nothing Personal?” Brice tried to lurch to his right side and get a kick into his ribs. If he was getting turned into the suck heads he was as good as dead anyways.
Massey dropped the gun in his left hand and tried to grab the wheel while his right arm tried to cover his ribs. He was too slow. Brice’s kick almost knocked the wind out of him but the body armor he was wearing stopped the worst of it. With Brice lying almost prone, Massey punched Brice in the kidney and watched him gasp for breath before reaching down to pick up his gun.
“Don’t try that again or it will be Personal Brice. I could have shot you several times by now and I haven’t. I’m not trying to hurt you so just relax. Besides, I’m pretty sure they want you alive and unharmed.”
Still trying to get the pain under control Brice sat back up and took a few deep breaths before answering.
“Massey, you take me there, I’m pretty much dead. There is no way in hell I’m going to go peacefully.”
“Well, before you catch your breath and do something stupid, remember, I said alive. If I have to, I’ll kneecap you and the doctor there can patch you up. If you try to escape once I get you there, then that’s your business, I don’t care.”
“What? I thought you said you worked with them?”
“No, I hate those guys, but when my mom came down with pneumonia they were the only ones who had the antibiotics. A lady nurse got the information, and when the dark fell a doctor named Nancy gave me the drugs for her.”
“And they just let you out?”
“No, I pretty much figured out right off, that walking in that place is like Hotel California. You can check in when you like, but you can never leave.”
“How did you get out then?”
“I fixed their big diesel generator and a couple of cars from the motor pool including this big stretched limo that Bill likes to tool around in.”
“They honored that deal?”
“Yeah, they really needed the generator up and running. They said something about the coolers in the bank. Anyways, I was able to get it up and running and when the compressor in the chiller didn’t fire up I replaced a relay switch and got that running too. They were pretty happy with me then. So now, every now and then they call me up and ask me to do things for them.”
“What kind of things?”
“Fixing things and finding things mostly. There’s a lot of stuff out there if you know where to find it, and it can keep me off the dinner menu of the vamps.”
“So capturing me was just another job?”
“Yeah, and if I got the kid I was going to get a big bonus. I never saw him; you want me to cut you in on the deal if you help me get the kid?”
“Don’t bet on it. You don’t sound like a bad guy, but you are definitely making the wrong choice here.”
“I know I am. Every time I trade or make a deal with the vampires I feel like I’m making a deal with the devil. All I’m trying to do is survive and keep what I’ve got left of my family together.”
Brice was quiet for a minute thinking about that. They were moments away from pulling into the Armory.
“Massey, if you don’t care if I escape, can you help me make it easier? How do I get out once I get inside?”
“All I can say is that there are more vampires there now than regular people. Trying to make a breakout during the day would be your best bet. The motor pool is heavily guarded, the fence is electric. If you’re smart you can figure something out.”
“And you won’t help me?”
“They’ll chain me to the front gate and let the zombies have me.”
“Wait, the fence is electric, isn’t the gate? I’ve heard about people getting chained to the gate. It isn’t electric isn’t it?”
“Probably not, but I’m not going to be the one getting strung up for helping. Cheer up, they wanted you alive. You should be pretty safe.”
“Oh yeah, that’ll cheer me right up.”
They were now at the gate and blowing the horn.
“Massey, got any advice before you go?”
“Yeah, don’t go in that hanger over there. There’s some kind of lab underneath it.”
The honking and familiar look of the car was all the guards needed to get the gate swinging open. There was double the number of guards as usual though. Brice figured that was because of dropping Bones and Norman off nearby after injecting them with swarm blood. They all had their rifles out and aimed at the car.
“Ok Brice, just be cool, get out and no sudden moves.”
“How am I going to do that handcuffed genius?”
“Ooops. Hey guys, I am going to go around and open his door. This is the guy that Bill and Nancy wanted.”
Their guns didn’t waver very much when Massey dropped the name of the local Vampire Lords.
He opened the passenger door and helped Brice out. There must have been twenty guns aimed at the both of them.
“Ok, here’s that Brice guy you folks have been hunting for. You guys have my truck of food ready?”
“Yeah, it’s over this way.” One of the guards pointed towards a small box truck.
“Great, so are we all set then guys?” Massey asked them.
Brice had a bad feeling about this. Not the whole getting caught and taken to the Armory here, but he could smell a double cross coming. He wasn’t wrong.
“Yeah, but open the back door here and let’s show you what you bargained for.” The same guard told him.
Massey walked over to the back of the Box truck and unlatched the right hand side of the door. Inside it was crammed with boxes upon boxes with an aisle way cleared down the middle. Massey hopped into the back to see what exactly was on the menu for dinner. That’s when the door slammed and was bolted by the guards.
The amount of cursing and the original way Massey strung them together was both amusing and amazing. The guards had a good chuckle until they turned their eyes turned back to Brice who was trying to edge around to the other side of the Firebird.
“Hold it.” One of the guards said pointing his gun at Brice.
Brice caught in the act just stood there. The gate looked tough enough to have withstood the firebird ramming it, but if he was going to be dead anyways, he’d try to make a break for it even if he had his arms stuck behind him.
“If only Massey could have kept them grinning longer.” Brice thought to himself.
He slowly raised his hands and was escorted to the very hanger that he’d been warned about.
“Jake wasn’t fooling when he said that this place was creepy.” Brice said to one of the guards who was leading him down into the labs.
“Jake? You know him?” The sergeant in front of him stopped to ask him.
“Yeah, you jerks injected him with swarm blood and sent him after us, you kept his wife hostage until we busted her out the other day.” Brice growled.
“Ok, I know who you are. You’re that big group the vamps tell us to stay away from. Under different circumstances I’d offer to buy you a beer, but…” the Sargent trailed off as the airlock opened.”
“Good, you found him, and I one piece I might add.” A small slender man stepped forward.
“Yes Sir.” The sergeant had snapped to attention.
“Who are you?” Brice asked “Another pencil dicked paper pusher…” he asked the slender man.
“No, I go by Michael. And you of course are Brice. Now that we have that over with I’ll also let you know that I’ve been tasked with getting you prepped to see Bill and Nancy. First things first though, sergeant please escort him to the de-lousing chamber.”
Michael had the guards hold him while they did a full body exam. His restraints were had been cut off, and his clothing removed. It was definitely as unpleasant as Jake had described to Brice and the group. The guard by his bruised shoulder gasped and almost lost his grip when he noticed the bite marks.
“Hurry, doc, this guy’s been bit.” The nervous guard said.
“Well, he’s not eating your brains just yet, not that you have any, so he hasn’t turned. Let me see…” Michael looked over the bruising the ghoul had left on his shoulder.
“Yes, well it didn’t break the skin. Were you wearing a jacket or a heavy sweater perhaps?” Michael finally asked.
“No, but as soon as I felt the teeth I got myself away, well not far enough obviously.” Brice said looking around the room.
“You should be fine, no zombie infection. Just to be safe…” Michael said.
To Brice’s horror the doctor pulled out a needle and jabbed it in the meaty part of his leg before he could react. Brice went wild, and in the end it took 4 guards to subdue him.
“Now now Brice, don’t worry. That’s some of the serum that your friends here developed. I’m not for sure if it’ll cure a human who’s been infected before they turn, but I what I can tell you is you will now be immune to their infection, and you’ll heal much quicker than before.” Michael said.
“Yeah, I know all about the magical serum.” Brice spat the words out.
“Yes, I should have figured with the company you keep, Jake the convict, and his lovely wife. How is she by the way?” Michael sneered.
“Healthy, heavily armed and ready to take this compound down.” Brice said trying to intimidate the little man
“I rather doubt they could do that, but I do hear your group is well armed. But enough of the question and answer session, we’ll save it for when Bill and Nancy wake up tonight. Guards, please escort Brice here to an isolation cell.”
At gunpoint, Brice was led to the glorified hospital room with a prison cell door.
“What? No cable?” Brice yelled after the guards had left.
After checking off something on the clipboard Michael soon left as well.