Hey guys! It's been eons, sorry. We actually do have updates for zTales, but we wrote them on a laptop, which has something wrong with its power thingy (?) The guy who writes Michael understands these things. As soon as the laptop is fixed we'll shoot for updating zTales three times a week.
Sorry about this. Hope to start updating soon!
Between the intermittent cracking of the guns and the itchy blanket on hard asphalt, it surprised Sam that she got any sleep that night. It was good sleep, though, dark, dreamless, and quiet, and she felt surprisingly refreshed when gray light rose in the sky.
Morning was quiet, as the men ran amongst themselves cleaning and preparing to go, while the girls gathered their blankets and waited in line to load onto the trucks. Sam watched ammunition and food get distributed. She suddenly realized she was starving, and thirsty. She felt weak and dry.
"When do we eat?" she asked the nearest girl.
"When we have food," the girl replied.
Sam looked at the frowns on all the other girl's faces. Their dirty clothes and messy hair, and blood on their clothing. About half looked strong and tough. Others looked big and weak, or little and weak.
"Where did you all come from?" Sam asked.
The girl shrugged.
"Where did they come from?" Sam gestured at the men, loading rifles.
"I donno," the girl said. "Some town, I think."
"Was it the same town?"
"I donno. We don't ask."
"Then we get left behind."
Sam was about to comment that that didn't seem so bad, but the men started putting them up on trucks. Sam, Jazmine, and five other girls were put on Olson's truck. It seemed he would be among the middle trucks today. Sam settled against the back window and clutched her backpack and the itchy blanket. Jazmine sat next to her.
The boy with the gun handed the girls frosted Pop-tarts. Eating all that sugar hurt Sam's teeth, but she ate anyway. The boy also had a bucket of water. Sam considered asked for some of the water, but the caravan drove off. They dumped the water on the border fires as they passed, and drove directly into the crowd of zombies. The world was a blaze of screams and gunfire, and it was all dark. Sam and Jazmine sat close to the middle again.
As they drove onto the road, Sam watched as some zombies retreated into the garage again.
Being left behind would be a death sentence, she realized. The zombies would give up on the trucks and go back for the unfortunate left-behinder. There would be too many to handle.
One of the other girls was willing to share her blanket with Jazmine, but none of them offered a blanket to Sam. In fact, a lot of them wouldn't look her in the eye. In a moment of helplessness, Sam told herself she was used to this; that had been what high school was like. She allowed herself to feel sad for a moment. Then she scolded herself, found Olson's truck, and found a blanket in the truck bed.
It certainly wasn't a blanket for sleeping in. It was a tough, thick material, meant for laying on the truck to prevent things from sliding around or poking into the truck. Still, it was a blanket, and it was warm.
She made a bed close to the other girls, although not too close. Her pillow was her backpack. It wasn't the most comfortable, but when she tucked her bare skin away from the blanket it almost felt like a real bed on a real mattress.
The ride was bouncy. The Humvee rattled all the damn time. Sergeant Little didn't like this one bit.
Sergeant Little held on. Corporal Jones was driving and the last of Little's men were in the back.
Sergeant Little was never again comfortable riding around in one of these. His first tour in Iraq ended with three men dying when the Humvee they were in hit an IED. Sergeant Little was the only person to survive in any meaningful way. Fernandez and James wouldn't be able to serve again and the others were no more.
No matter how bad Iraq was, and Little thought it was terrible, the current situation was worse. Over a week and those things took over everything. The Army quickly called them what they were, zombies.
Sergeant Little and his men were assigned to mobilize to a quarantine zone in Alexandria. They never made it there and soon they lost contact to anyone that could give them orders. One by one and careless mistake after careless mistake his men died. They tried to reach their loved ones but when they did they would find the home abandoned or worse. Abel and Rush couldn't take it after they saw what became of their sweethearts. They weren't the only two to end their own life.
The Humvee crested a hill. A mass of those damn things surrounded a barn. Sergeant Little wiped a handful of sweat off of his dark brow and squinted his eyes. He saw a white flag wave from a window near the top of the barn. A woman's scream followed.
"What do we do, Sir?" Jones asked.
Little thought about it. They spent most of their time trying to find their families and nothing good had come of that. Little knew his wife and kids had to be at the base in Fort Belvoir and if they weren't safe there they wouldn't be safe anywhere. It was like Iraq all over again, he couldn't think about anything but the job or he would start to crack and his men would follow suit.
The Humvee stopped. Little looked at the barn.
"We're the Army, what do you think our job is, Corporal?" Sergeant Little waved his finger forward. The Humvee had crushed a few of these things. He was sure they could take a few more.
Garcia, Fuentes, and Gordon were in the back. They readied themselves. They all knew they had a job and a purpose now. They couldn't think of themselves anymore, not until the job was done.