Chapter 24: Foot Race
The survivors in their battered chariot speed down the road along side of the house. The first hitch in the engine Chip feels the steering get tight. "We're tapped Dad!” Chip screams as the van goes into a fuel less glide. "Shit." Ben shouts. "Pack it up everyone we're on foot." Locket dives into the vans rear grabbing her pack. "Chip grab the keys out the ignition and meet us around back.” Ben tells his son before retreating into the van's chaotic belly. "Mr. James should I stay here and help Chip get out the van?” Jamal asks. Ben sees his son has already flung the door open and deposited his wheelchair on the asphalt below. "No come with me." Jamal snags the rifle from between the seats and does as instructed. The occupants of the disabled van move about in a frenzied state. "Jamal grab some bags of supplies please and then pair up with Bianca help her and grab Dakota please." Jamal snatches up as many bags as he can and moves over to Bianca. At the same moment the vans rear doors fly open. Every gun snaps to in shock fearing the worse. "Come on all of you able bodied people." Chip shouts up from his chair Locket doesn’t realize she’s staring at Chip until it’s embarrassingly obvious. "B go with your big brother until we get down." Anne calls out to her baby girl. The sandy haired little girl gleefully jumps down off the bumper into her big brothers lap. Locket hits the ground rifle at the ready. "No sign of our pursuers yet Mr. James that won’t last for long. Pretty soon we are going to be knee deep in zombies.” Carson climbs down with his pack before lifting Medina back onto his shoulders effortlessly. Next Jamal hops down with Dakota in his arms he still turns to offer Bianca Fullerton a hand assisting her down. Ben crab walks down the rear of the van with Anne in his arms and Brandon hot on his tail. Ben leaps down and the van bounces as the husky mans weight is offloaded. "Brandon close the doors.” Ben tells his son to secure the van now they are all off and it's stripped of anything useful. The crowd gathered before Ben stands facing the house in the distance unmoving. "Move people..." He demands pushing to the front. He sees soft barren plowed farmland leading to the side of the white porch on the big farm house. There's no sidewalk or level surface Ben catches Carson’s none to subtle glance at Chip in his chair. "My God..." Ben mutters to himself Anne squeezes him tight around his neck.
Chip rolls his chair through the gathered crowd. "For people with functioning legs you guys sure move slow.” He then looks across the half mile of overturned soft earth. "Dad ..." Ben cuts Chip off mid sentence. "Don't worry son don't worry we can." Ben spins about whacking Anne's injured foot hard on the stock of the rifle Jamal carries. "Dad!" The boy shouts his father down. "I'll take B wheel up the road and round that bend." He motions off in the distance to a bend in the road which curves behind a small red barn.” The protest from his family is immediate. "No son we don't split up…” Chip glances over his shoulder back the way they'd left the zombies. "We don't have time Dad plus you have mom to carry and Brandon. You guys just get moving and when you get there meet us at the front of the house and help get me up the porch.” Ben doesn't like the idea but he knows the boy is right. "Everyone run now get to the house." He orders the crowd of stagnate survivors. "Come on little man." Locket says smiling reaching for Brandon's hand. The boy looks to his parents "Go hurry Brandon." Anne tells her youngest son tears welling up in her eyes. The pair takes off sprinting behind the others. "Look son..." Ben starts to say but his words won't come. He has long blamed himself for his son’s condition and never has the weight been greater than today. Anne has her head buried in her husband chest. Ben shifts Anne in his arms tugging the pistol in his waistband free he hands it to Chip. His hand lingers rubbing the boy’s smooth cheek. "Me next." little Belinda giggles which Ben Sr. obliges. "Listen to your brother." His voice cracks and Ben turns away. "Dad go take care of mom you're slowing me down." Chip smiles pressing the gun down between his leg and chair opposite "The Lucky Mallet." He pirouettes the chair up on its two back wheels then vanishes behind the van.
Ben repositions his wife and takes off trudging over the field trailing everyone else. Woefully out of shape but driven by fear and determination Ben huffs up the incline carrying his wife. By comparison the much younger Carson has already made it to the house lowering Medina down he takes up his weapon. Looking in the distance Carson is satisfied having seen none of the undead come into view from down the road. He tugs Medina around the corner with him as he goes disappearing from sight. After what feels like an eternity Ben makes it through the field. Ben’s old out of shape legs burning from being pressed into use after so long. They follow Brandon and his new buddy Private Locket. Ben slams heavily against the house sweat dancing down his neck and back. He drags his body along the house rounding the porch stealing a quick glance back. In the miles behind them the first zombies comes around the corner on unsteady legs. More walking corpses emerge from the thicket of trees they’d used for cover. Ben's heart smashes against his ribcage as he ducks out of view. He scans the road for Chip meaning to set his wife down and go get his children. He's dumbfounded Chip in his wheelchair and Belinda is nowhere to be found. "Dammit" He shouts moving to the cluster of people on the porch. "What Ben what?!" Anne cries aloud in his arms. "Nothing Chip is already around the bend." He says feeling the woman in his arms relax somewhat. Ben moves to the bottom of the stairs and begins to climb up. Carson supporting Medina's slumping mass pounds the door mercilessly. Ben can hear the door rattling in its frame from the boy’s heavy blows. "Come on open up if you're in here." He shouts scanning the area behind them. "Locket if nobody answers in the next sixty seconds I'm kicking it in." Carson says his gloved hands unleashing another set of blows. "Is any...." The door swings wide mid sentence the black barrel of an Uzi protrudes aimed between Carson's eyes.
"Wooooooo hold on now." He throws his hand up in surrender. "Easy we're not hostiles." Locket says from her familiar kneeling stance having placed Brandon behind her with one arm. The figure of a lean young man emerges nervously from the dark shadows in the old farmhouse. Rocking a head full of blond dreadlocks wearing Rastafarian clothes and dark sun glasses has a smattering of freckles sprinkled on his pale cheeks. "What y'all doin outside man?" The young man asks nervously looking across the front of the property. "Get in y'all makin to much damn noise." Stepping aside he ushers everyone inside the building carelessly waving the machine pistol like a toy. Ben and Anne are the last in line waiting to see Chip and Belinda come up the driveway. "We have to wait Sir our son and daughter are coming he's in a wheelchair and couldn't make it across the field. So he took my daughter down the road and around the barn to make it to the front of your property." The white Rastafarian kid reeking of marijuana leans out the door looking to his left by the barn. "Mister they took that road?" He asks Benjamin pushing his mirrored sunglasses down but Anne answers. "Yes … Yes they did?" The apprehension returning to Anne’s voice Ben feels her grip on his neck tighten. He takes a second to allow his drug clouded mind to process the situation. "That road goes into a sub division at the bottom of a hill not my driveway."
Our group of Survivors have made it to the farmhouse in advance of a stumbling horde of zombies. After much debate The last obstacle before they reach safety is a plowed field that Chip can't wheel his chair across. Chip convinces his parents to allow him and his little sister B to wheel up to the front of the house. The houses occupant comes to the door hearing all the racket only to inform the Anne and Ben James that the road Chip was on doesn't lead to the front of the house. The family is now separated one pair having seemingly disappeared into a sub division. The other is facing down the barrel of a gun from a nervous white Rasta kid. How does this all play out for our survivors come back the and see.
Next Chapter 25 the week of Febuary 17th!
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