Call of the Groan (2)

A few odd occurrences in the city of Weaselton lead four friends on a journey to survive a zombie invasion.

Call of the Groan
Part 2

Author's Note: As most of you may know, with a zombie story comes violence. They kind of go hand and hand. So, this is my warning. There will be amounts of violence in this story from now on, but I will try not to make it excessively graphic.

I put the phone back to my ear. "Jessie, I think we really are dealing with zombies here."

A few seconds of silence filled the air on Jessie's side of the phone. I heard him gasp. "Then that means...?"

"Who knows? Just... don't think that way just yet."

"What are we going to do? What about our parents?"

I thought for a moment. "First, we've got to meet up with Mike and Sydney. My parents are at the hospital... and my Dad might be a zombie."

"Okay. Should we meet in the park as usual?"

"Uhhhh... the park is too open. We'll come to your place. Are your parents around?"

"No. I have no idea where they are, and they won't answer their phones."

"Okay. So our first order of business will be finding them. I'll start heading to you. Call Mike and Syd and make sure they get there too, okay?"

"Got it."

Before I hung up the phone, I thought of one last thing. "Oh, and make sure to prepare weapons. Hopefully, it'll just take a hard whack to the head to take them out."

"Yeah. A gun would be better, though."

"We'll just make do with what we have. I'll be over there shortly."

"Okay. See you later, and be safe."

"Yeah. You too."

I hung up the phone and went to my room. I emptied my school backpack and started filling it with non-perishable food, along with the first aid kit. After retrieving an aluminum baseball bat from the garage, I felt ready to set out. Unfortunately, my family didn't own any guns. Before I left, I picked up the phone again and dialed Mom's cell number. I sighed with relief when she picked up.

"Jack?" came her voice.

"Mom! How is Dad doing?"

"He's not doing so well. He's running a strong fever and the doctors are having trouble keeping it down."

"Are there other people coming in with bites as well?"

"It sounds like it. They're all developing fevers, too."

I grimaced. "Have any of them... well, died?"

There was a pause for a moment. "The staff won't tell me."

I really hated to have to say this to Mom, but I had to. "Mom, if Dad dies, you need to leave his room, and lock the door."

She gasped. "What? Why?"

"The news is saying that the dead are coming back to life. I think it's connected with all of the people who are getting bitten."

"Just like those zombie movies you love so much?"

"Yeah. I know it's a stretch, but we have to be careful."

"I understand, sweetie. Just... be safe, okay?"

"Don't worry, Mom. I'm going to get with my friends so that we're never caught alone."

"That sounds like a good idea. When you're ready, I'd like you to come see your father, okay?"

He would be happy to see me. If I got there in time, that is. "Yeah. I'll make sure to head to the hospital."

"I love you, Jack."

"I love you too, Mom. Be safe."

"You, too."

I turned off my phone and set out of the house. Walking the streets of Weaselton, I couldn't help but feel that it was too quiet. I almost felt like I was the only person outside. I held my bat tightly in my hands and I walked the five block journey to Jessie's house.

From what I'd gathered so far, anybody with white or yellow eyes was a threat. As I was thinking, I heard a shuffling behind me. I turned around to see an injured man limping toward me. He held his arm out, and I wondered why he wasn't speaking to me.

Once he was close enough, I heard the groan. It sent chills down my spine. As the man entered batting distance, he looked up. That was all I needed to see. The sound of metal hitting flesh filled the air as my bat made contact with the side of his head. Blood dried on my weapon as the man fell to the floor, unmoving. I sighed. It was possible to defend ourselves, after all.

I made more conclusions as I hurried more quickly to Jessie's house. White eyes seemed to be your "standard zombie": slow moving, lack of intelligence, and groaning. The Yellow eyes, however, were actually intelligent, but I wasn't sure that they were actually zombies. They did, after all, defy every accepted rule of zombies. Additionally, the woman who bit me obviously felt remorse at her actions. A bite seemed to make someone sick relatively quickly, but I felt nothing out of the ordinary. I looked at my bandage and grimaced. There were a couple of spots where the bite had bled through. I would have to keep a better watch on it to make sure it wasn't still bleeding.

I didn't encounter any more zombies the rest of the way to Jessie's house. I knocked on the door and welcomed his smile as he opened the door.

"Hey, Jack. I'm glad you made it."

"Me, too. One of them attacked me on the way, but it turns out that a good whack to the head ~does~ do the trick!" I said, motioning to my bloodstained bat.

"Nice! I've got a few things over there," he said. I looked and saw that he had arranged a wooden bat, a golf club, a frying pan, and ordinary metal bar next to his living room couch.

"How is your bite?" I asked.

"About as good as a bite can be," he said, "what's in your backpack?"

"Non-perishable food and a first aid kit," I said. His eyes brightened as I mentioned the aid kit.

"Think you can toss that kit over here?" he asked, motioning to an unbandaged wound.

I rummaged around in my pack. "Here," I said.

There was another knock at the door while Jessie bandaged his own wound. It was on his lower left leg, and the skin around it had become quite pale. Not wanting to think the worst, I answered the door. Mike and Syd were standing in front of me, and neither of them seemed injured.

"Come on in," I said, "Jessie's in the kitchen."

The two friends didn't need to be told twice.

"Is it true?" Syd asked. "Are there actually zombies around?"

"It looks like it," I said, "but if they're planning an invasion, they aren't very far along."

"Dude, they aren't going to make any 'plans'. They're just going to lumber around and reproduce," Mike said. His eyes widened as he saw my bandage. "Did one bite you?"

"I... don't know," I said, "a woman gave this to me after I struck a conversation with her. She definitely wasn't like the zombie I killed on the way here."

"Huh?" Syd asked, "You mean that one of them actually talked?"

"Yeah. I'm not sure that she really was a zombie. I don't feel sick at all."

"Sick? There's an infection?" Mike asked.

"Apparently, the hospital has been taking in bitten people and they've all developed severe fevers," I explained. "But, as I've said. I don't feel sick at all."

"So we can't be sure of whether you'll become a zombie or not," Mike stated.

"I just don't know," I said, "but I'm really worried about Jessie. He was bitten by the real deal."

As if on queue, Jessie walked into the room. "Well, I'm all bandaged up. Shall we get going?" he asked.

So much for discussing his bite. "We don't even know where we're going," I observed.

"We need guns," Mike said.

"And I need to get to the hospital to find my Mom," I added.

"The hospital?" Syd asked. "There'll be more zombies there than anywhere else in the area!"

"She's right, Jack. We need better weapons if we're going to head in that direction," Jessie said.

I sighed. They were right, but I was worried about the consequences of delaying the trip... especially without a car handy.

"Okay," I said, "do any of us even know ~how~ to use a gun?"

"Nope," Mike said, "but now's as good a time as any to learn!"

"Well, we'd better learn quickly, then," I said, "because we're heading to S-Mart!"

I sat back down after giving my "order".

"Okay, so who died and made you leader?" Mike asked in a joking tone.

"Oh, about half the city, give or take," I quipped, "does everybody have a weapon?"

A chorus of yesses filled the room. Jessie held the wooden bat, while Mike held the metal bar and Syd had chosen the frying pan. I couldn't help but feel that she'd need something with a longer range, but a golf club was simply too thin to be effective. Well, it'd be good enough until we found something better.

"I guess we're ready to go, then," I announced.

"As ready as we'll ever be," Jessie said. I couldn't help but notice that he seemed... tired. I hoped that it had nothing to do with his bite. What confused ~me~, however, was the fact that I still felt completely fine, despite being bitten before Jessie. I tried not to dwell on it as the four of us left Jessie's house.

As we neared the sidewalk, I turned to Mike and Syd. "Say, do you two know where your parents are?"

They both shook their heads and looked down. I grimaced. That was probably bad news, and the looks on their faces as their heads rose again told me that they were thinking the same thing.

"Don't worry. They're probably okay," I said.

"Yeah... there's no need to be so worried without proof... right?" Mike said. Syd just nodded slowly.

Silence began to prevail as we continued the walk toward downtown. It was a long way to S-Mart, or even the hospital, and we weren't sure whether sound would attract any nearby zombies or not.

Amazingly, over an hour passed without incident. We heard the occasional groan, but somehow failed to see any zombies. We turned a corner near a larger park. We were close. I turned around when I heard one less pair of footsteps behind me.

"Guys, I need to take a rest," Jessie said. There was a slowness in his voice that truly scared me. None of us had to say a word. We stopped moving. Jessie slowly walked to the nearest building and slumped against the wall.

"Jessie, what's wrong?" Syd asked.

"I just feel... so tired," Jessie said.

It was hard to see in the oncoming sunset, but his skin seemed to be noticeably paler. Syd put her arm to his forehead, and gasped.

"Guys, he's really burning up," she said.

"This quickly?" I asked.

Syd turned to me with a frown. "I'm afraid so. Maybe I should check you, too."

"You might as well," I said. She walked to me and put her arm on my forehead.

"You feel fine," she said, relieved, "if not a little cold."

"Maybe he really isn't infected," Mike said. I heard relief in his voice as well.

"Either way, you two should keep an eye out--"

I stopped. I heard a shuffling behind me, followed by a groan. It was too close for comfort.

"We've got company," I said, turning to face a zombie.

"They're over here, too!" Syd said.

I knelt down next to Jessie. "Can you stand?"

Jessie looked at me with glazed eyes, but nodded.

"Okay. Keep the zombies off me while I get Jessie up," I said. Mike and Syd readied themselves behind me, and none too soon. I heard Mike's bar hit a zombie mere moments later.

It didn't take long to get Jessie up and moving, but we couldn't afford to spend any time standing still. I started shuffling him along the sidewalk, toward the park, with the others right behind me.

"Man, Jessie. You're heavy!" I quipped. His head drooped a little in response. He might have been trying to laugh. He was barely putting one foot in front of the other, even with me holding him up.

"Jack, we've gotta move faster!" Mike yelled, "They're gaining on us!"

I looked to see that five zombies were following us, and more were further behind them. I cursed.

"Jessie," I said, "do you think you can try walking a little faster?"

It looked like he nodded. I could tell that he was trying to make an effort, but it didn't last long. he began to cough violently. I cringed in fear when I saw blood fly out of his mouth. Now that we were stopped, I heard the clangs of battle behind me. I lowered Jessie to the ground and readied my bat.

Mike and Syd had already taken out three of the original five zombies, but more were advancing in them quickly. I jumped over one of the corpses, smashing in the head of one that was about to taste Mike's shoulder. I then ran ahead and took down the two zombies who were further back, before they placed pressure on my tiring friends. As I rained my wrath on one final zombie, I turned around to find my friends unharmed. Jessie still lay on the ground, moaning softly. I ran to him.

"Jessie!" I called.

"Jack..." he said, coughing up more of his blood, "kill me... please... while I'm still... human..."

I looked to my friends, who both had the same pained look on their faces.

I leaned closer to Jessie. "I'm so sorry, my friend."

I stood over him, raised my bat, and put him out of his misery.

To be Continued

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