Survival

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  • Dedicated to The Pub

March 31, 2013.

“God is never gonna forgive us,” Viktor said chuckling as he inspected the dull black P90 and adjusted his sunglasses after shooting a zombie in the head. Carol flipped her blonde hair behind and just rolled her eyes; she was used to his quips by now. Ironically the zombie he had just shot was dressed in a dirty light robe and had a long beard. She watched him run a hand absently through his short black hair as he stood to full height and stretched his body; the damn guy would only wear black clothes with a black Kevlar vest. Picky even in the aftermath of an apocalypse. 

The street was similar to many streets in many towns they had crossed- deserted and littered with papers, plastic items, random damaged weapons, ammunition and spent shell casings. At the other end there were burned out vehicles and haphazardly strewn roadblocks. Carol thought she could see a pool of dried blood not too far away in the corner, near the bent traffic signal; she didn’t want confirmation. Viktor was more concerned if they held any more zombies or even worse, zombie packs; he hated surprises even though he was trained to expect them. ‘Expect the unexpected.’ The biggest paradox he had ever heard.

Both of them started walking up to the small store on the street to gather any supplies they could find. They had been living a nomadic life all the while, traveling in an off-road capable 4x4, never settling in any one place for more than a few days. The zombies always found you, being on the move was the wise option. The last radio transmission they received, which was a week ago, spoke of a group of survivors to the North and that was where they were headed. They were yet to find any stronghold of normal human beings still standing.

Before they could reach the store, a pack of four appeared from a side alley.

“Position.” Yelled Viktor.

Carol raised her M4 and went to stand next to Viktor waiting for the zombies to make a move. The pack started screeching and half-run towards them. They took down two each easily and waited to see if they would get up, guns still trained on the fallen zombies. After ensuring they were indeed dead they headed towards the store. 

“Let’s make this quick.” Viktor pointed towards the store as he spoke. Carol nodded.

They entered the store and after making sure it was safe Carol placed her rifle vertically near the door.

They piled up anything useful and edible which was more than to be expected from the small shop, although it was mainly canned food. Carol nodded towards the pile smiling and said in a silly girl tone, “Not bad eh, Vick?”

Viktor shook his head smiling himself, her mood was infectious. She could make him smile in between battling hordes of zombies. And she almost always called him Vick. He never allowed anyone to call him that but he couldn’t stop nor control her.

He spotted a little red bow on the counter. He walked up to the counter, lifted it, blew the dust off and presented it to her laughing. “Easter present from ol’ Vick.”

Nodding to her, he continued, “I think it goes splendidly with your clothes too.” He always did tease her for her trademark dark brown leather jacket and jeans.

She raised an eyebrow and took it from him, placing it in her front jacket pocket and punched him in the shoulder laughing, “Thank you. Glad I didn’t know you before the Apocalypse, cheapskate.”

“I wasn’t this bad before the *Apocalypse*,” Viktor countered still smiling stressing on apocalypse rubbing his shoulder with mock hurt.

Carol waved the air in front of her with an amused smile, “How would I know? You could have been the stingiest man alive.”

Viktor laughed. “Yeah, right! I’m sure Maddy would beg to differ. In fact she wou-,” He stopped for a moment. The laughter gone from his face and dark eyes, he said, “Never mind. We need to get out of here. I’m not sure if our shooting was loud enough to summon any more Z-packs but let’s not take that chance.” There was clearly a hint of pain on Viktor’s face, his eyes moistening for a second.

“Yeah. OK.” Carol involuntarily shuddered when she heard “Z-packs” being mentioned. Stray zombies like the one they encountered first were not too uncommon but the majority moved in packs. Z-packs was a term Viktor had coined for the zombie packs because unlike the regular Hollywood zombies, these ones moved in small groups of four or five and hunted like animals. They had some intelligence somewhere and that was a scary thought. They had developed hunting patterns, pack intelligence and were evolving into very able predators. What made them worse was the fact that packs would sometimes combine to take down safe havens.

Carol looked at him for a second and saw that pain she knew all too well; his dead fiancée was still a touchy subject for Viktor. In spite of the humour and hard man bravado somewhere inside Viktor was a man still healing, still coping with the pain. She knew she wasn’t very different. She had lost her father and now they had only each other to cling on to. Sometimes they would joke about being the last two alive, each other their last touch with humanity. Sometimes it didn’t feel like a joke.

He slung the weapon across his shoulder feeling it touch the holstered Radom. He bundled up everything into two backpacks carrying one in each hand and headed to the door waiting for Carol. She lifted her weapon from the floor and led the way to the vehicle cautiously, weapon at the ready. They walked the short distance in total quiet, eyes darting everywhere, ears trying to pick out any sounds in between the slight breeze that was rustling leaves on the trees and raising paper and plastic bags from the road. Viktor dumped the contents in the backseat around a rocket launcher he had picked up a couple of days ago.

“That thing takes up too much space.” Carol complained.

Viktor just smiled. A high impact weapon was always useful. 

Viktor drove northwards in silent conversation with Carol who did not share any thoughts either. It was something they had begun to cherish about each other: the silence; the need to not fill every second with conversation.

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