This week’s prompt:
A prison escape
Kolby felt as if the ground had risen up in front of him to hit him in the face. He spat out dirt and grass and scrambled back to his feet. He had no time to check for injuries or even to wonder if he was hurt. The dogs and search parties would be sent out soon and there was always the problem of running into one of the zombies.
Alex had been smart to leave when he had. Kolby had wanted Leavenworth to be the safe place he had never known so badly he had let the other man just walk away. For a couple of weeks he could believe that his life in the old military prison with the high walls and guard towers to keep the monsters out was exactly what he needed. But then he met David, and it all fell apart. Not immediately at first, but once again he found himself surrounded by the kind of monsters that look like people.
He tried to leave, just grabbed his bag and his bedroll and tried to just walk away, but they stopped him before he got to the main gates. David showed up and things went to hell.
Things were already hell, but he found out that there were things even worse than his father and the zombies. Every time he tried to leave, it got harder and harder. This time he decided it was going to happen no matter what. He took nothing with him this time, just put on his shoes, didn’t even take his jacket. He slipped out as the guards were trading shifts. He knew them well enough now that their figurative and literal blind spots were easy enough to manipulate.
Once outside of the walls he ran The opportunity came almost before he was ready. He had been training with a couple of guys to be more of a medic. His background in pharmacology had been a big help to the group, but he wanted to do something more actively helpful. It was almost night when a small crowd formed near a gate. A group had gone out earlier to get more supplies and were not back yet. They sent Kolby and another medic out with a few others to find them. They took the medics, assuming something had happened to the group.
They found them three miles out. They had a little modified pickup that looked like it had been used to commercial landscaping, and they were driving it in circles in a field, whooping and hollering like a couple of rednecks on spring break.
Turns out they found an undisturbed cache of supplies, and a couple bottles of cheap vodka. They had stacked the back of the little truck with a couple crates and some bags, but those now lay in the mud near the field where the young men were making a mud pit. The noise was sure to bring the dead, and it was getting close to dark.
Kolby’s team had taken the other little truck and were able to load the inebriated men into it and reload the supplies in the other before the sun went all the way down. The trip back should have been only a matter of minutes, but there were no street lights any more and the road was falling to ruin much faster than Kolby thought possible.
It was too dangerous to use bright headlights. The glare added to the noise of the engines would draw too much attention. And not just from the zombies. No one knew exactly what was going on, but there were occasional patrols of what looked like military. They almost never seemed to notice the people living in the old prison, but there were stories of them taking people foolish enough to be alone when they came across them. No one ever heard from these people again.
Kolby kept his knife on him at all times, so he was slightly prepared when the first shambling horror came into view. They were almost in sight of the walls by then. Kolby rode in the flatbed on the back of the second truck. He spent most of the bumpy ride trying to keep the idiot drunk from throwing up on him, but he saw the creature before anyone else did. He slipped off the truck bed and over to the cab. On these roads with no lights at night, they moved at hardly more than a brisk walking pace. He rapped on the driver’s window and got a startled yelp, which gave him a little pleasure. The man was one of David’s cronies, and Kolby hated him with a passion. He actually thought about not warning them about the dead man following them, and just running, but some of the other guys were ok, and he did not want to leave them to die without at least warning them. He pointed out the now two followers and went back to his spot on the back. They always kept guns in the lock box tucked up next to the cab and the only other sober person back there had already opened it to find it empty.
“Well shit,” the man spat. He pounded on the back glass of the truck bed and gestured frantically. Apparently the driver knew what he wanted, because he switched on his headlights and accelerated suddenly. Not expecting the move, Kolby found himself sitting on the damaged road before he could react. The second truck was still close enough for him the get back on and he heard the click and clack of guns being prepared, but something told him that was his one chance. He ran. Not toward the truck, not toward the prison. He ran straight up the hill and into the tree line. He was not sure if anyone saw him or if they had even noticed he was not on the first truck any more yet, so he kept running.
The land was mostly flat around the prison grounds, but he found what little shelter he could as he ran. He tripped and fell more than once, and branches tore at his face and clothes. He ignored it all. Abandoned houses lined the streets here, but those would be the first places they would look for him. Anything useful had been stripped out of them long ago. He needed to get as much distance between himself and the camp as possible and run into as few zombies as possible. It was much easier to say than do, but Kolby was used to that.
He ran until he could not any longer and then walked until he was so tired he was afraid he would not spot a zombie if it walked right up to him. By now he was outside of the city limits and open country surrounded him. He spotted a house with a kid’s tree house in the yard. He was asleep before he could think twice about it.