Chapter 12: To Start A Long Dark Night
“Dear God Lockett what do we do?!” Carson stammers. The pair stares at the outdoor morgue area they’ve charged with guarding. PFC Lockett turns deliberately to face Medina following her frozen unit mate’s stare back over the still landscape. A short stocky man burst forth from the olive green command tent. He’s flanked by half a dozen subordinates all double timing to keep pace with him. Stopping briefly to take stock and evaluate the situation. He waves a soldier with a radio pack strapped to his back over to him. “This is Colonel Walker. I want this entire operation shut down now.” Suddenly every statuesque soldier springs into action as the man makes his way directly to the trio standing slack jawed in Bunker Two. “Get a line formed here…” he motions as he walks. “I want everyone still upright and mobile on this side behind my fire line.” There is no hesitation as Colonel Walker’s subordinate begins to hustle hospital staff, civilians and medical staff away from the prone bodies strewn everywhere. “You!” he points to Carson “Get on that M-60 and smash everything in there now.” Jabbing a finger towards the bustling contained mass of dead bodies. “You two unless you’re here to model cover his flanks.” Somewhere in in the distance a scream erupts. The once motionless corpses on the ground begin popping up like diseased jumping beans. They take down any living being close enough to pounce on. Gurgling screams fill the cool night air from one end of the compound to the other. Colonel Walker slaps on his helmet sprinting back to his men. “Open fire!” he commands. The night gives way to symphony of agony and automatic gunfire.
In Bunker Two Carson ratchets the heavy mounted machine gun as Medina and Lockett take up positions on either side of him. Squeezing the weapons trigger Carson unleashes the first teeth chattering volley of bullets. He begins to methodically sweep back and forth shredding the creatures as they slowly peel themselves from the stained white body bags. “Why aren’t these moving like those out there?” Medina asks leaning behind Carson while spent shells clatter off her helmet. “I’m not even sure what ‘these’ things are Medina.” Lockett shouts to be heard. With a “whoosh” Carson’s barrage hit’s the tires on a trailer in the rear of the morgue area. The large grey cargo container pitches forward and dozens of wobbly legged figures spill out. “Oh crap!” the boy on the mounted gun hollers to no one in particular. He trains his fire on the horde pouring to the ground. The bullets tear through the soft infected flesh with ease. Carson falls into a rhythm his aim gives way to tunnel vision. Lockett realizes Carson is focused on the occupants of the trailer. She taps Medina on her shoulder with a two fingered motion to her eyes signaling outward. Lockett instructs Medina to cover the left of the Bunker. PFC Sara Lockett picks up her weapon and draws down on the stragglers dragging themselves towards the soldiers in the Bunker. Lockett leans to the side lobbing anti personnel grenade at a cluster of advancing corpses. “Grenade! “ Lockett shouts cupping her hands to her mount. The blast clears the immediate area before them allowing Lockett to pick her targets as they shuffle for the only opening in the enclosed morgue. The thunder of the sixty cal drowns out the sounds of the battle behind the unit.
Carson vomits a shrill scream as he spins to the ground under the weight of the infected woman who has vaulted onto his back. The tripod mounted gun spits bullets as it twirls about detonating the rear tires on the APC parked in front of the Bunker. “Boy I want ……” the enraged infected woman snarls. Medina pistons the butt of her rifle into the back of the woman’s skull until her orange flecked eyes go dim. “Are you ok?!” she asks helping the strapping boy to his feet. “Yeah .. Yeah.” He pants swaying on his feet placing his helmet back atop his head with the sound of the big gun ringing in their ears. The unit stops to take stock of what going around them. “There’s not as much gunfire as there was before.” Medina tells Carson who taps Lockett on the shoulder. “What!?” she rises up never taking her eyes of the straggling dead bodies moving hungrily in their direction. “Did everybody retreat?” Carson looks about. “Either that….” Lockett interjects popping of a round dropping a corpse. “….or they’re dead. Either way we’re screwed.” While the morgue area is relatively clear of the dead. The same can’t be said for the grounds of St. George’s. What had been a setting of organized chaos when the fight began is now the scene of a massacre. Everywhere groups of infected hover over dead or dying victims. As slower undead amble about fighting over scraps like scavenging hyenas. “We have to fallback Lockett.” Carson contemplates aloud. “Fallback to where?” she exclaims “our backs are up against a wall and everything in front of us is dead.” They all lock eyes confusion sets in about what to do next. “Now Carson hand me your weapon and unhitch that M-60.” The tall soldier does as instructed while Lockett slings his rifle over her shoulder. Medina shushes the pair pointing out in the distance. “Some of them are talking to each other.” She whispers.
“Look I got an idea.” Medina calls to them as they all take a knee. “We need to blow that sandbag wall.” She directs their attention to a sandbag wall forming the outer perimeter of Bravo Company’s command tent. “Next we need to hit that gated abutment there.” In the distance they all stare at the gate that was cordoned off as the initial checkpoint of the hospital. “Why go that route and draw attention to ourselves.” Carson mumbles perplexed at the overly complicated plan. Pointing over the sandbags Medina shows him. “We get in the APC and drive over everyone and everything in our way.” Carson shakes his head “Medina you’re crazy girl. That APC is two tires short thanks to that thing that tried to eat me earlier. Lockett smiles from under her helmet “Carson even missing four wheels we’ll get farther in that tuna can than we will on foot. All we have to do is get far enough from her to commandeer another vehicle.” Carson cocks an eyebrow “fine ladies on three.” The two young female soldiers each unhook a grenade from the straps on their chests. “Lockett …” Medina begins. “You go for the first wall and I will toss for the gate.” Lockett signals her agreement “On three people.” She does feel the fetid mouth inches from her cheek until it crunches spent shells under its mangled feet as it moans in frustration. Spinning to the ground she unsheathes her combat knife in one motion. With two hands Lockett drives the polished blade under the dead mans chin puncturing his brain pan. “Something smells delicious.” a gore covered man saunters around the front of the APC. Black blood soaked bandages dangle in tatters from his neck. He tosses a mysterious slab of meat to the ground after ripping a chunk free with his teeth and chewing it greedily. “Mmmm yeah it’s you.” He turns shouting “Over her folks we got a couple tender virgins to sacrifice!” Medina hefts her weapon up as the infected man turns back to face her. With a growl he draws back and she fires. A single round from the M-4 plows through the bridge of his nose dropping the angry corpse in place. Medina Carson and Lockett stand up from behind their barricade. There’s no counting the number of aggressors charging their position. “Three…” Medina says softly.
Lockett hurls her grenade above the horde. It lands as they vault over the sandbags then explodes the infected don’t break stride. Carson cuts loose with the M-60 mowing down the first wave of infected hurtling full speed at them. “Medina you climb up and pop the rear hatch.” Lockett takes up a position dropping to one knee next to Carson behind the APC. Carson works the M-60 standing prone will pivoting at the waist sweeping from side to side he mows down the brunt of the invading dead horde. Lockett is there strictly to cover Carson and clean up runner that make it through the teeth of the M-60’s assault. They measure their shots as Medina crests the top of the huge military transport. Medina feels the panic setting in but she follows through on her mission. She flips the hatch open drawing in a chilling breath seeing the living dead wave about to break upon them. From one knee atop the military vehicle Medina tosses the grenade in the direction of the main gate. Without hesitating she flips the cumbersome hatch and climbs in closing the hatch behind her. Medina lands inside the cramped confines stripping off her pack. She moves through to the driver’s seat. Medina mashes down the APC’s black rubberized ignition button the powerful diesel engine burps to life. With her opposite hand she yanks down the level marked “rear hatch.” The huge rear hatch begins to descend with a metallic whine. “Get in!” Medina screams at her unit mates backs. She can see how close the infected are now. For the first time since this began PFC Carlita Medina is afraid. Carson is busy clubbing a duo of crazies with the empty M-60. He leaps up the open ramp then reaches forward securing the back straps of Lockett’s fatigues. He drags Sara Lockett into the cramped interior of the APC both falling backwards. “Close it …. Close it now Medina” Carson yelps. Medina jams the switch back into the close position. Dozens of hands paw at the closing door as the screams and howls continue. Severed hands soon plop down wetly to the floor inside the cabin putrid severed digits and hands litter the compartment. Before the door can close completely a screeching woman twist her damaged body inside the opening narrowly avoiding being crushed by the hydraulic door. She lunges for the downed soldiers as a deafening shot rings out in the sealed transport. The impact slams into the infected woman’s shoulder but doesn’t slow her. The second shot lodges in the ghoul’s eye socket putting her down for good. The pair of soldiers huddled on the floor peer up at their comrade in arms Carlita Medina holds a shaky smoking sidearm. “Hold on.” she yells over her shoulder diving into the driver’s seat. The beast of a vehicle lurches onward as it is battered from the outside. Medina takes the crippled APC over what’s left of the sandbag barrier it bounces violently. Once they a hit relatively clear path she guns the powerful engine getting as much momentum behind the armored carrier as possible. “We’re headed for the main gate people.” Medina wrestles with the wide steering wheel. Lockett and Carson grab hold of the straps on the wall. “Don’t stop Medina hit it hard!” the engine growls louder as the APC picks up speed. They hit the gate and blow through it cleanly finding them on a clear open road. The infected sprinters fall further behind the speeding transport even as it spits out rubber from the shredded tires. They ride on as what began as a low grinding noise becomes a wobbling clang. They find themselves near a clogged highway on ramp when the brakes go out. Medina attempts to slow the APC by swerving it across the road. “Uhhh guys we got no brakes…” Medina calls from the front. “We’re gonna crash…” she announces and the transport smashes into the rear vehicles of a massive pileup.
Well better late than never Chapter 12 finds our trio of soldiers Lockett, Medina and Carson fighting for their lives. The situation at St. George''s hospital had gone from bad to massacre before our troops could even make a move. So the three young soldiers had to fight their way out of the killing grounds of the Military encampment. They now find now find themselves in a stalled APC on a congested pileup near a blocked highway.
Comeback the week of November 11th find find out what happens next in The Living Dark.
The Living Dark