Chapter 1 - Entry 4

April 16th cont.

The air was colder than usual for mid April and felt pretty damn good against my hot skin. Black and yellow-tinted clouds drifted slowly overhead, blotting out the sun. They reminded me of hurricane clouds. Wind gusts whipped along the building’s side and created little tornadoes of smoky-scented ash as I crouched down and scanned the staff parking lot before me. A dozen forms shuffled slowly in my direction, likely drawn by the sound I’d made when breaking the window.

I took off at a jog, outpacing the slower moving infected as I headed to the larger visitor parking lot behind the hospital. Ash fell from the sky like snow and my feet kicked up little clouds of it as I ran, causing me to sneeze and cough out grey-tinted phlegm. Once around the building’s corner, I hopped onto the hood of an SUV and surveyed the scene.

A teeming mass of infected shuffled around the parking lot like ants on a corpse. Clusters of six or so gathered around still twitching bodies, ripping flesh from bone in gory feasts. One group dined not twenty feet from me and the wet sound of meat tearing free mingled with their soft moans and gnashing teeth.

Two infected were crouched on top of a car in the parking lot’s center, sniffing the air like wolves after their prey. They jumped down and ran towards an ambulance, followed by any shamblers they passed on the way. A man’s screams sounded seconds later, only to fade into wet gurgling sounds. Then nothing.

I closed my eyes and listened, slowly turning in a circle until my hearing managed to detect what I was looking for. Car alarms were going off everywhere, though many sounded as if the batteries were nearly dead. Beneath their high pitched electronic whines and blurting horns lay a lower, rumbling sound; a car engine idling near the lot’s exit.

I ran quickly then, keeping cars between me and the infected. Occasionally I’d spot one trapped inside a car, struggling against its seatbelt or too stupid to open the door. A woman banged on her car window frantically as I passed, calling for help. I fired the gun at the windshield, knowing the infected would go after slower prey and give me more time to escape. Her screams echoed behind me for only a few moments.

A snack food delivery truck had one tire up on the curb with its driver side door left open and the engine still running. The corpse that lay on the ground beside it looked as though most of its meat had been stripped clean, leaving little more than bones and hair. The body meekly reached out for me with one arm, too little muscle remaining to give it proper mobility. I ignored it and climbed in, sliding the door shut and locking it behind me.

Safely inside, I crouched between the two front seats and peered down the aisle in back to make sure I was alone. My stomach growled loudly as I looked upon the snacks before me; hundreds of potatochip bags, candy bars and other junk food once destined for vending machines. I grabbed a few bags of chips and tore them open while backing the truck out slowly. A pack of cigarettes fell out of the sunvisor as the front tire cleared the curb with a jolt. Grinning, I pushed in the truck’s cigarette lighter, lit up a cancer stick, and headed down the road, merrily smoking in between handfuls of crunchy potato goodness.