Tags: Coming of Age
, action and adventure
, women science fiction
, post-apocalyptic science fiction
, strong female leads
, post-apocalyptic fiction
, literary horror
, zombie horror
this new group outside before we get across the courtyard, so I get a good look at them before I have to speak. It makes me feel better to see Savannah trailing a little behind the group, a rifle still in her arms, though held casually.
Good, she doesn’t trust them, I think.
The people that have come here are in terrible shape. I can’t even believe they are walking. Two guys, both of them quite tall and looking like they were turned out from the same familial mold, are skinny and exhausted looking. A little girl not much larger than Jon is in the taller one’s arms. I can’t see much, but she has blond curls beneath the dirt. And last, there’s a woman much older than all of us, or at least she looks that way. She got dark blond hair peeking out from under a baseball cap. She’s skinny, too, and even though the cap shades her face, I can see the dark circles under her eyes from twenty feet away.
The group straggles to a stop when they see us, whatever they were talking about ceasing as they come to a halt. The woman stares a moment, then lifts her arm to the girl’s shoulder and says something I can’t hear as she leans close to the child’s face. The little girl raises her head from the man’s shoulder and looks at us, at Jon. Then she waves. It’s a simple, innocent gesture. One child recognizing the presence of another.
But it’s enough. I feel some of the alarm fading back and the fluttering in my stomach lowers in intensity to the kind I associate with new things, but not necessarily bad ones. Another child for Jon. Someone who can teach him how to play, to do things that other kids who weren’t born into a world where sound is the enemy and laughter can result in death know how to do. Yes, a playmate for Jon. I can handle that very well, indeed.
Today - Ten-Hut
As the fence around the airfield curves inward, we can make out more details on the planes and hangers. The little gray blobs we thought were landing gear from afar are revealed as piles of deaders around the landing gear. They’re immobile, I think, because not even one of them moves or notes our presence in any way. And around the hanger, there are deaders arranged like a skirt, heavy where the giant metal braces stand out further and thinner along the metal panels between them. I wonder if, at some point, the relentless licking at the metal will wear it away until the whole building collapses. Or will the deaders go still into true death first?
The nice thing is we see no in-betweeners or humans at all. Not one. Of course, any in-betweener might have been drawn to the woods that surround this base except in this direction in order to get to the animals there.
“That’s sort of final, isn’t it?” Charlie asks me. We’re riding side-by-side now that the neighborhood is behind us and we’re in the open area and on the access road.
“I mean, we wondered if maybe the military had somehow managed to survive out here,” he says, then nods toward the deaders around the hangar. “I guess we know now. If they did have this base under control, those wouldn’t be there, would they?”
It would seem that way, but I wonder. I’m not quite ready to give up on my ideas yet. “What better way is there to keep away people who come here looking for help than to make the place seem overrun?” I ask, and raise my eyebrows when he looks over.
Charlie’s a thinker and he’ll run with that suggestion.
“Not bad,” he grins. “But you’re right. It would be effective. Whoa…”
Charlie swerves his wheel toward me in a sudden move. I swerve in turn and almost take a tumble from my bike. I look, expecting to see a deader or something, but instead a fat rabbit takes off in a dead run from the weeds on the other side of the road, through the fence and onto the field, where it is lost from sight. The only evidence of it is a rustling of grasses which stops about thirty feet inside the fence line.
“Rabbit? How did a big,