Pushing Up Gravestones – Chapter 32

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We were walking aimlessly through the forest, looking for a pair of headlights hoping to find a road that would lead into town. The forest swayed, shadows shifting, like Tina’s blonde braids, as we walked along through the cold, howling wind. The forest making noises that normally would have been scary. Nothing scares me anymore though, not after the crash. It was worse than anything I could have imagined the feeling of weightlessly falling for what seems like hours. That wasn’t the worst part though; it was the worst when I thought I was going to turn.

When I accepted that I would never see Rory, Denise, or Tina ever again. They’re the only people I’ve got really, well the only ones left. I think that after all of this craziness we will all be life-long friends. I think I don’t want to pursue a relationship with Rory anymore. Although I still think that he is extremely hot, after the crash and almost losing my friends, I don’t really want a serious relationship, just companionship, and friendship, people to keep me company.

“Denise,” I whispered, “Denise!”

“What!” She hissed a little too loudly, and then Rory turned and gave us a questioning look. “We need to talk.”

I grabbed her wrist and started to pull her away from our little group. She looked back at them a little uneasy; I bet she still thought I was going to turn into a zombie.

“Oh come on, I only bite blondes.” I gave her a wide toothy grin, and she started to pull away.

I rolled my eyes, “I was only joking.”

I choked out giggling in between words. She relaxed and we walked just out of earshot of Rory and Tina.  

“Denise, if you want Rory, he’s yours.”

“What?” 

“I said you can have Rory, I’ve been thinking about it since the crash. Although I still like Rory, I see him more like family than as boyfriend potential. That, and if I see him as family, and you date him, you can kind of be like the sister I never had. I think that is how a near-death experience changed me. It was like the clouds finally parted and let me see the sky clearly. ” 

“You want to be sisters?”

“I already see you that way. Just promise me one thing though. Don’t kiss him around me, if you can avoid it. I really don’t want to see my brother and sister kissing,” I gave her joking face and she laughed. 

“Ok I won’t, and thank you Ferrah, it really means a lot to me.”

We hugged then quickened our pace to catch up to Rory who now was carrying Tina piggy-back. 

“I’m tired.” Tina yawned.

“Me too,” Rory repositioned Tina on his back.

“Maybe we should stop soon and try to find the road in the morning,” Denise suggested. 

“Yeah but we should find shelter I don’t feel safe out in the open,” I shivered as the wind howled my words swept away.  

We trudged on through the night. The longer we walked the sleepier all of us became. And just as we thought that we would never find shelter it appeared, seemingly out of thin air. We would have missed it if it weren’t for the tip of the hunting tent reflecting the moonlight into my eyes.

“Ow, I hate the moonlight why does it have to be in my eyes?” I whined. 

“Really? It’s not in my eyes,” Rory looked around to see what could be reflecting moonlight in to my eyes. “Guys I found it.” He said excitedly. “Look!” He pointed to what seemed to be just another bush, and some trees. “What am I looking for exactly? I don’t see anything.”  

“Look closely, I think there’s a hunting tent and it looks big enough for all of us. Probably left here from before everything got crazy,” I squinted and sure enough I could make out an outline of a hunting tent.

“Thank God, finally,” Denise sighed. 

After that we dragged the tent more into the trees for protection, we decided that it would be safe enough to go to sleep. Tina was the first to nod off, then it was just Rory, Denise, and I. 

“We should play truth or dare,” I suggested  

“Yeah,” Denise agreed, smiling through rosy cheeks.   

“Ok Denise, truth or dare?”  

“Um… dare.” 

“I dare you to kiss Rory,” I hinted.

Both Denise’s and Rory’s face turned a deep red. 

“Umm I don’t know,” He mumbled uncomfortably.

“Oh come on Rory,” I encouraged.

“Fine,” He said trying to hide his excitement.  

Denise and Rory leaned into kiss and as their lips touched, we heard a loud crack, like a branch snapped under a clumsy foot. Tina sat up, probably scared by a dream, none of us had been able to sleep very well lately. Rory and Denise stopped mid-kiss and we all stood perfectly still hoping and praying that it was only a single zombie, rather than an entire horde of them. Then we heard footsteps. They came soft at first, but as they got closer they quickened in pace as if whatever was out there, hostile or not, could see us in what little moonlight was unfiltered by the trees.  

Then an unfamiliar voice spoke, “Hello?”

Tina’s tiny voice came next, “Who’s there?”  

“I’m Trace,” he said, “Who are you?”

“Doesn’t matter. Where are you, I can’t see you.” As he walked towards the tent I peeked out of the ‘windows’ and could see that Trace was a tall built man with salt and pepper hair, who was probably in his 40s. He stopped midway, looking for someone, or something to come towards.   “Ok now where are you, and who are you? If you don’t mind me asking.” 

“We’re over here, walk slowly and follow my voice you see us when you get closer.”

He walked towards us and was about bump into the tent when he said, “Oh, that’s why I couldn’t see you. Anyway Tina are you the only one?” 

“No,” I replied    

“And who might you be?” He questioned, confused by the change in voice. 

“I am Ferrah, also there’s Rory and Denise,” They mumbled hello to show that they existed. 

“Well, um how did you even find this tent? And can I please come in, it has been a long night and I need some sleep,” He pleaded.

I turned to Denise Rory who still only had only inches in between their faces. Well? I mouthed. They nodded, bonking heads, “ Okay you can come in but we are only going to sleep for a few hours they we need to keep moving.” 

“Someone should keep watch.” Tina said sheepishly.  

“Ok I will,” Rory said sleepily.

“No,” Denise pleaded with him, “You’ll be too tired when we start moving again. 

“I said that I’ll do it. Being a little tired is better than having everyone becomes some zombie’s midnight snack, and I’m willing to let this guy in, but I’m not going to close my eyes while he is here.” 

With that, the rest of us lied down and fell asleep, including the stranger who named himself Trace.  

I was shaken awake, “Ferrah wake up.”

I groaned groggily, “Ferrah!”  

“Okay, OKAY, I’m awake. What do you want?” 

“Come on Ferrah we have to move, I heard some footsteps in the wood, and I have a feeling, that this time, it won’t be someone human.” 

“Ok,” I looked around, “Rory, where is Trace?”  

“He’s outside, he said he knew where the road was and that he was going to help us find it. He said he was heading out of town anyway but got lost, because it was so dark last night.” 

“Ok lead the way, the sooner we find someplace secure to stay the better.”  

We walked along a vague path towards, what we hoped was the road, constantly listening for any tell-tale signs of a zombie. The forest was still very dim I don’t really think that we had been sleeping that long, maybe only a few hours. Whatever time it was, it was definitely still night time.

“Here we are,” Trace announced.

I shuffled to the front of the group to see what he was looking at. It was the road. “Is this what I think it is?” Denise questioned.

“Yeah,” Trace said flatly, “Town is that way west so if you head left on the road you should come to the town soon enough. As far as I’m concerned I’m going to go back to the tent and then find somewhere close to a base to wait out all of this craziness.”

He turned and started to walk off.  

“Wait!” Tina demanded. “Thank you, so much for helping all of us.”  

“You’re welcome,” He smiled, then turned and walked into the forest before anything else could be said.  
So we started walking in the direction he had pointed, when we heard a scream. “Run! They’re coming! I’ll distract th-” Trace’s voice screamed.

Then we heard them. A ton of zombies probably a giant horde was coming. We had to get into town quickly.

“Guy’s run we need to get into town and find a way to my uncle’s fort,” Denise said worriedly. 

 With that we all took off sprinting. We probably ran for half a mile before Tina started to slow down. After that we walked and ran, off and on until we came to a sign post that displayed the Janesville as a few miles away. So we urged ourselves on. 

Then we found it, a rundown gas station, with a few cars in its lot. All the lights were on in the gas station, but nobody was there. It had an eerie air to it. And all the cars looked old and abandoned. We went inside, looking for any supplies we could use. We made our way into the attached autoshop as we glanced around. A sudden loud roar emerged from just outside. I ducked behind a counter with everyone else. What was it now?     

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