If you are new to this series here is the link to Chapter 1 Part I.
Chapter 5, Part II
Traveling South down the tunnel I notice it getting wider the further down away from the mountains I get. It’s like having my own little super highway under the streets. I feel safe for the time, but I’m going to have to surface at some point and get more supplies. Without humans pumping millions of gallons of material down the sewers it’s amazing how empty these tunnels are now. It smells, but no where near as putrid as the Moaners above. Ahead along the highway are a lot of strip malls, with any hope I’ll be able to salvage some supplies.
It only takes an hour before I get to where the grade of the storm drain begins to level out, I’m guessing I’ve made it pretty close to the highway. Taking my pack off I fish out the 550 cord, tie one end around the carry handle at the top of my pack and loop the other through one of my belt loops with a simple slip knot. With my tomahawk in my hand I climb to the top and press the lid up just wide enough to peek out. Looking through the gap I see the car dealerships and the McDonalds. I’m right in the heart of the AutoMile. The handle of the tomahawk has a point which fits nicely in that hole beside the notch in the cover. I’m able to rest the head of the tomahawk on the street and am confidant that it will hold while I shimmy my body out of the hole. As I get my torso up onto the street I can see some Zombies fighting over something in the Audi dealership parking lot. Six months on it wouldn’t be a salesman but I can’t be sure. Pulling my legs onto the hot pavement I quickly kneel and start to pull my pack up.
Hearing the moans motivates me to pull faster, when it rises up to the street it’s obvious it’s not going to pass through the gap created by the length of the tomahawk. With my foot I kick the top of the lid trying to balance holding the cord and with my free hand and catching the tomahawk before it falls into the hole. The lid crashes to the ground making a loud GONG sound, then spins on itself making an enormous racket as if it were a giant silver dollar coming to rest on a table after spinning on edge. Over my shoulder I see several of the Zombies stand to attention and look in my direction. Like a tide they start to move towards me, at first it looks like two, then after pulling my pack through the hole and standing I see several more behind them following like lemmings.
Gathering the cord into a loose ball I tuck it into the top of my pack leaving it tied to the carry handle. I don’t have time to be neat and organized right now. Of course the shoulder straps fold in on them selves as I start to jog binding up in my shirt and cutting off the blood flow to my arms.
“Of course,” I said to myself. “Murphy comes knocking again.” It seems even in the Apocalypse Murphy’s Law will always prevail. Timing the steps I’m able to straighten each strap as the pack rises off my shoulder briefly being weightless. I hear a faint sputtering sound. Looking back I see a flurry of activity there’s at least 20 Zombies trying to keep up. Still hearing that sputtering sound, it’s been so long I forgot what the Hell it was. Moaning interrupted by mechanical.
“What is that?” I mutter out loud to myself.
From the right I hear it getting louder. “Is that a VW?” Sure enough a VW Bug is driving on a side street pacing me. He’s two big blocks away probably a 1/4 mile but I feel like he’s looking at me. I swing my arms in the air while running sideways. He turns up the road and flashes his headlights. Making a beeline I turn towards him. The Zombies change their course and are actually gaining on me a little because they cut off the corner. As I get closer the Bug turns broadside to the road, stops and the driver opens his door, stands and takes aim over the roof of the VW with a M16. He’s dressed in BDU’s and a Hawaiian shirt.
“Hi!” He yells. “How’s it going?”
“Pretty good, you?” Either he’s really optimistic or loves pleasantries. He fires two shots and I flinch from the loud crack as the rounds pass by my head a little too close for comfort.
“Sorry, a couple are getting a little too close. Get in.” I take his invitation and try the handle.
“Oh yeah, sorry about that, it’s not a good neighborhood.” He gets in reaches across to unlock the door and revs the engine. What a welcome sound that tinny exhaust system is on a VW Bug. Getting in he extends his hand. “I’m Mack.”