HELLS ON EARTH
Part Twenty Two
As they had walked towards the house, she as preparing herself for the dead zombies. What she found was surprising because the house was empty of death.
She thought she was missing something, and she did not want to ask him either. They climbed the stairs. He was still holding the rifle, a stern look on his face and a hyper awareness about his movements. Eyes flicking, short, sharp head turns, consistently looking behind him.
Carol asked, “What is your name?”
They topped the stairs then turned into a room. when she entered she was greeted by a child’s room, full of color, games, an unmade bed and some clothes on the floor.
He said, “I won’t take long to pack.” He slid under the bed for a moment and returned with a large suitcase. He opened it and without much fuss, threw in clothes, shoes, a few books, a couple of board games, then a few toys. It filled quickly, and when it was done, he closed the suitcase but was struggling to close it.
Carol moved closer and with a smile she sat on the suitcase to force the lid down and gave him a big smile.
He looked at her without a change of expression as he zipped it closed.
She asked, “Is there anything else?”
“No. This is it.”
She said, “Hey, look, do you want us to bury your family for you before we leave?”
“No. My older brother used the digger to do that the day before he got sick.”
“Okay, well, that is good. I am glad they had a burial.”
He simply stood there. Carol was not sure what to say, or do, for Anton. So, she picked up the suitcase then said, “Well, lead the way to the tractor.”
He did exactly that. Within a few minutes they were standing by the tractor, Fred was just finishing up with coupling up the trailer to the tractor. He was still looking terrible, but he was moving and putting on a brave face.
He asked Anton, “Do you know where the shovel is?”
“Yeah, it is over there.” He pointed to what looked like where the tractor was normally stored.
It didn’t take long to set themselves up like Betty’s tractor. Fred took the honors of driving while Carol and Anton hopped onto the trainer. Leaving the farmhouse was easy without any zombies walking about. Almost as an afterthought, Carol threw the bikes onto the trainer while Anton opened and closed the gate.
The ride home was fast, compared to bike riding. Even though Carol felt their excursion had been quick, she was surprised to notice it was heading into latter afternoon by the time they returned to Betty’s Farm.
She was pleased to see Betty and John were on the front porch, plus the three new people from the morning who were adding to the boarded windows. They looked far more friendly than before.
Fred stopped the tractor beside the house so Betty wouldn’t need to walk far.
Betty said, “Hello Anton. Are you the only one?”
Anton got off the trailer while saying, “Yes, I had to….” Then he burst into tears as Betty embraced him in a big hug.
Carol and Fred stood back, thankful that Anton was close to Betty. The other three appeared, went to Anton and each said various versions of “Sorry mate, your family was full of kind people.”
As Anton buried his grief into Betty, the three new people stood near Carol and Fred. There was an awkward silence until Fred said, “I am Fred. From Kyneton. Use to be a truck driver. Not so much now though.”
One of the twin men said, “I am Jeremy, that is Bill, and this is my girlfriend Deanna.”
They all shook hands, then waited a little bit until Jeremy said, “Well, we have windows to board up.”
The trio headed off to the task, as they walked away, Fred said, “Have Kevin, Eula and Lilly returned yet?”
Jeremy said, “No. Betty said they should be back by now. Do you know where they went?”
“Yeah, we do. Looks like they hit trouble. Want to come?”
Jeremy looked at the other two, they talked for a few minutes about the need to secure the house as per Betty’s order and the need to do a rescue mission.
When they reached their conclusion, Jeremy said, “Bill will go with you. Deanna and I will touch up the house.”
Bill was already walking to them. As he walked by his rifle, he picked it up and two boxes of bullets. He made it to them, got onto the trailer then said, “Are we going or not?”
That pulled Carol from stagnating where she stood, hit Fred as she said, “Get into the tractor, we are on our second mission.”
Fred moved into action by getting into the tractor and starting it. Carol popped onto the trailer, Bill closed the door and secured it. He said while looking at the rifle, “Can you use it?”
Carol said, “Not really. It would be best if I didn’t. I am good with my spears though, and they don’t run out of bullets and attract more zombies.” She tried to sound like she was being funny.
Bill, not hearing her humor, said, “You are a smart ass, aren’t you?”
Carol stopped smiling, “Okay, nice intro. Look, Kyneton is fucked up and dangerous. Are you going to work with me or are you going to be all macho? Because if you pick macho, it might be best you stay here.”
Bill paused for a moment, looking as if he was about to get off, when Betty called up to him, “Do what she tells you or else. Do you hear me?”
“Yeah, I hear you.”
Bill looked to Carol then said, “You are the boss.”
Carol said, “Thank you. Have you been into town since the fall?”
“No, but we have dealt with dozens of those things already. I can deal with the town.”
Carol leaned against the trailer wall as it started to move around, down the drive and onto the road towards hell town.
She said, “I am not sure how to break this to you, but it feels like everyone on Kyneton is a zombie now. The only people alive will be stuck in houses. This is totally fucked up and I am not even sure why I am doing this. Or why Kevin and Eula decided to return there for more survivors. But they saved my life, this is me returning the favor.”
Bill sat down. “Well, we should be okay in this thing.”
Carol sat down opposite him. He looked sure of himself. She wanted to slap it out of him but decided to let the zombies do it for him.
When they reached the highway overpass, with what looked like thousands of zombies walking away from Melbourne towards Kyneton, Bill looked suitably slapped.
He said, “Holy shit, Carol.”
There were plenty of zombies on the overpass, but ahead of them there were so many it looked like a mass march was in place heading into Kyneton.
Carol leaned to the tractor cab and banged the window. Fred looked back to see Carol.
She yelled, “If we go into that, we will all die.”
Fred looked ahead, turned the wheel and began driving back to the farm.