Limbo (Chapter 2)

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LIMBO: The First Circle of Hell

Chapter II

Tires squealed as cars rammed into the bottleneck. Gunshots rang though the air. With Alan at my back, we sprinted away from the crazies and into the oncoming traffic.

I headed straight for the midnight blue eighteen-wheeler just rolling in, with an American flag painted on its trailer, dwarfing the vehicles around it. Even though the truck was still moving, I jumped up on the driver’s side step, pulled on the locked door handle, and pounded on the window. “Please let me in!”

The driver scowled. His eyes were covered by aviator-style sunglasses, and I couldn’t see if he was watching me, the crazies, or something else. His lower lip bulged with chew, and with a wave of his hand he motioned me away.

I tried the handle again. No luck. I risked a quick glance behind me to see that, sure enough, the group of crazies that had been huddled around a small truck was now headed this way. I swung back to the truck driver. “Please!”

After a long second, the window opened, and the barrel of a shotgun pressed against my chest.

I didn’t fall back. I didn’t jump to the side. Instead, I stood there as though waiting for him to shoot me. “I’ve got nowhere else to go,” I said weakly.

He scowled even more, causing lines in his five o’clock shadow. He kept the shotgun level at my chest. “You bit?”

I gave my head a fervent shake. “No.” Then I frowned, confused. “Why?”

He seemed satisfied with my answer, though he also didn’t seem in the mood to elaborate. He cranked his head around mine and nodded toward Alan, who was hanging on right behind me. “How about you? You don’t look so good.”

I glanced back to find a sweaty, pale Alan.

“I’m f-fine,” Alan replied with a stutter. When the trucker didn’t respond, Alan threw up his hands. “I was just in a freaking car accident, man!”

The crazies were less than thirty feet away and quickly closing in. I snapped my gaze back to the trucker, pleading. “Mister, please!”

He moved his head slightly to check out the crazies closing in. He spit off to my right and pulled in his gun. “If you want to live, you’d better climb in.”

I heard the pop of the door unlocking, and I stepped to the side to open it. “Thank you, thank you, thank you,” I murmured as I crawled over him, knocking his cap askew, on my way to the passenger seat. Once there, I fastened the seatbelt as fast as I could in case the trucker changed his mind and tried to shove me out. Alan came in right behind me, only he collapsed in the cab behind us. The driver slammed the door shut, set the gun between him and the door, and grabbed the long shifter. Air shot from the brakes.

A crazy rammed the door and clawed at the now-closed window. The truck lurched forward, and the man in a bloodied business suit tumbled off the truck.

“Damn zeds,” the driver muttered, his hat still crooked.

“Zeds?” I frowned, recognizing the term. “You don’t mean…”

He pointed outside where several crazies stood literally dead ahead of us. “You know damn well what they are.”

What the trucker had said made perfect sense, but it shouldn’t be possible. Yet, not only did one of the infected try to eat me less than an hour ago, they moved like zeds—zombies—clumsily and relentlessly. No different from the crazies in front of us now. With no regard to their wellbeing, they kept shambling toward the truck barreling down the road on its way to meet them.

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