Chapter 14

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Chapter 14

The Scouts were, once again on the road, this time with Mike in the lead. The other two vehicles drove immediately behind him, side-by-side so they looked like a wedge driving down the highway.

Somehow, during the reconnaissance, Scouters Steve and Shaun had decided that Mike was in charge. That was uncomfortable; Mike much preferred to take a back seat spot and assist as needed. Calling the shots was an opportunity to fail and Mike detested failure.

He grudgingly did it though. The other two men hadn't given him much choice, just like they had railroaded him into checking out Citroen in the first place.

So, they drove toward a city that looked to be completely populated by the undead. The only saving grace was that all three vehicles were completely fuelled up, courtesy of the last farm they had passed.

"Okay, guys. We are coming up on Citroen." Mike watched the boys carefully for their reactions. "It's going to get pretty busy for the next while. I expect we are going to have to drive through and over crowds of the undead. It won't be pleasant." 

"We know, Dad," Kyle said. "It will be just like Spring Valley where they tried to get into the truck as we drove through town."

"I'm afraid it will be worse,"Mike said.

"That's because there were a lot more people in Citroen than there were in Spring Valley, isn't it?" Martin asked.

Mike met Martin's eyes in the rear view mirror. "That's right, Martin. And, for some reason, there seems to be a pretty big concentration of them where we enter the town."

"So what do we do?" Todd asked, from the back seat.

"We're going to drive through them like I said. I'm putting the truck into four wheel drive and we are going to push them out of the way. I'll try to go fast enough that they can't break in, but slow enough that they won't fly over the hood and through the windshield."

"Oh," was all Todd had to say. He looked like he might be sick.

Mike had an idea. "There IS something else we can do to get ready. Ricky, do you think you can climb through the window into the back of the truck and push a few blankets through?"

"Sure thing, Scouter Mike," the boy replied before he began climbing through the small window. Ricky's eyes still had a tendency to lose focus and his speech was thick from the head injury, but the boy was eager enough. Hopefully, none of the damage was permanent.

The first of the blankets was pushed through the window. Martin pulled it into the cab of the truck and looked carefully at it. "Why the blankets, Scouter Mike?"

Two reasons, Martin," Mike said, as yet another blanket was stuffed through the window. "The first is to keep the dead from seeing into the truck. Maybe if they don't see you, they will leave us alone."

"Is that enough blankets, Scouter Mike?" Ricky asked, after popping his head in through the window.

"A couple more, please, Ricky," Mike said.

"You got it!" Ricky disappeared back into the canopy of the truck.

"What's the other reason, Dad?" Kyle asked.

"Well, I figure if they do smash a window, the blankets should protect us from the broken glass and help keep the dead out. It's not perfect, but it should help.

Kyle nodded. " That makes sense, Dad."

Mike shrugged. "I don't know if it will work or not, but it can't hurt. When we get closer to town, you will need to hold the blankets up against the side windows, okay?"

"You got it Scouter Mike," Todd replied, just a little too eagerly.

***

The three Scout vehicles slowed, barely doing 20 miles per hour, as they approached the city limits. They had already been passing the shuffling corpses for several minutes but hadn't had to drive through any.

The boys held blankets up against the side windows of Mike's truck. Only the front driver's side window and windshield were uncovered. Mike knew the other two vehicles were much the same.

"Okay, guys. We're coming up on a group of them now." Up ahead, twenty yards or so, a group of a couple dozen crossed the road in a grisly procession.

Mike slowed the truck further and his two companion vehicles did the same, keeping their 'V' formation.

They were almost upon the group when something unexpected happened.

The creatures looked up toward the vehicles, almost as a single being...and split in opposite directions so the vehicles could pass unimpeded. If they had any expressions, Mike would have sworn they were afraid.

"Why did they do that, Dad?" Kyle asked.

"Do what?" Todd asked from the back seat. He craned his neck to look past the passenger seat.

"Don't let that blanket drop," Mike warned. "To answer your questions, the creatures moved out of the way of the vehicles and I don't know why."

"Maybe these ones are smarter than the ones we have seen before," Ricky said from the back seat.

"Could be, Ricky," Mike said. As he spoke, another group of undead moved off the road as the vehicles neared. They too had turned their heads in the direction of the truck as it neared them. After that, they had shuffled out of the way without a second glance.

"It's weird," Kyle said.

"I agree," Mike replied. "But, it's the first piece of good luck we've had." He watched the other Scout vehicles through the truck's mirrors. For some reason, Shaun had slowed further and was beginning to fall behind.

"What is Shaun doing?" Mike asked under his breath.

Shaun had almost come to a stop. Mike slowed further, but the gap between the vehicles increased.

Suddenly, the undead turned and swarmed Shaun.

"Damn!" Mike slammed on the brakes and threw the truck into reverse. He backed up toward Shaun, trying to come to the man's defence.

As the truck neared, the creatures once again looked toward him and shuffled off. Mike continued to back up until he could see Shaun through the passenger window.

Shaun's van was more dented than before and one of the rear windows was smashed. "What's going on, Shaun? Why are you slowing down?"

"I've got a flat front tire," Shaun replied.

"And you decided to stop to change it here?" Mike asked, incredulously.

Shaun's expression was hurt. "We'll, they had been avoiding us until now. I thought it might be safe."

That was too much. "Are you nuts? Drive the wheels off that thing if you have to, but don't stop again until we are out of town, okay? You do have a spare tire, right."

Shaun looked ashamed. "Yeah, I've got a spare. Sorry Mike."

Shaun's apology surprised Mike. "Okay Shaun. Let's just get through this town safely and then we can get you fixed up, okay?"

"You got it."

Mike put the truck back into drive and pulled back into his position at the front the V. He kept his speed down to allow Shaun to keep up.

As before, the walking dead got out of the way of the convoy. It was very peculiar.

But Mike wasn't about to question their luck. Maybe it was a sign of things getting better. He truly hoped so.

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