Making Progress (Chapter 3)
Jacque stands there looking at one of Richard’s patient, one of the first they picked up from the small towns they passed through. This looked and sounded like they were on their death bed over night, and now this morning they are thrusting a hand out at Jacque. The person is moaning in pain as it does so, so Jacque decides to kick out at it, sure that this thing is now one of them, the walking dead. His foot finds its mark on the corpse, knocking it back down through the minibus as it bounces off from the chairs and smashes to the floor. All the while Jacque shouts out a warning as loud as he can to wake the others. Both Richard and Malloy awake to what seems like the screams of a woman in distress, until their senses clear the fog of sleep from their minds, and they are suddenly aware that it is Jacque shouting a warning. They also are aware of someone hitting the floor hard. The person looking a lot like one of Richard’s patients. Richard stands and keeps his distance from the person on the floor and Jacque, giving his mind the chance to think clearly of the situation. Malloy on the other hand jumps to his feet grabbing his trusty piece of wood. The dead patient turns and lunges for Malloy. Richard moves to his other patients who are still stretched out on the seats half unconscious. Malloy keeps a seat between him and the walking dead. As an arm lunges at him, Malloy swings his makeshift club at it as if he is back on the school diamond shaped pitch, trying to hit a homerun. There is an awful crack as bone snaps, and the dead’s arm flops limp. Jacque jumps the walking dead, tackling it to the floor. As he pins it to the floor, the dead turns it’s head to him, moaning it tries to bite at Jacque’s face. Malloy takes this opportunity to thrust his makeshift club at it. Unfortunately he misses, hitting the floor and just misses Jacque’s head. The hair on his head displacing with the force of the blow as it whistle past his ear. This closeness of the blow puts Jacque off from his attempt to keep the dead pinned to the floor. Instead his hand squeezes down on one of its wounds, forcing flesh and blood to ooze out and coat his hands in a slippery gooey mess. With a quick thought Malloy stamps down with his booted foot, kicking the head a couple of times before finishing it off with a curb-stomp. All the while hearing the bone cracking with the force, and finally giving way with the final blow as blood, flesh, and brain matter splatters across the floor of the minibus, coating Malloy’s boots and splattering on to Jacque.
Malloy spends a quick moment decontaminating his boots. Jacque franticly cleaning himself up before feeling the bile stir in his stomach, but manages to keep it down. Richard grabs a torch from the glove-box of the minibus and begins to study the bloody headless body on the minibus’ floor. He then moves it away from the rest of the people in the minibus, and suggests that it will be interesting to find out more about the condition. He pulls out his note pad and begins to take notes. He soon gets lost in his examination. Malloy jumps in to the driver seat, turning to Richard and asks if he could do that while they are driving. He then turns back and turns the engine to life. The tour guide wakes up all groggy, looking around and asking what has happened and where they are. She then notices Richard deep in examining a headless corpse and screams, fainting where she lies. “Can you keep it down slightly? This is not easy at the best of times. Plus I do not have the correct tools, and it does not help with someone screaming. This is our best chance of finding out more about this ‘re-animation’ that is going one. We can not become squeamish at this point.”
Malloy reverses back up the road until they can turn around and go back to the junction on the main road. Jacque sits himself down next to the tour guide and looks after her, trying to bring her back around, and keep himself between her and Richard. By the time they get back to the main road, Jacque is aware that she is awake once more, but is keeping her eyes shut and trying to block everything out. Malloy notices that the fuel gauge is getting low once more. When they make it back on to the main road they head left and travel in a northerly direction back up the island. Not stopping in the now deserted small town.
The tour guide eventually braves it and opens her eyes. She tries to look past Jacque shoulder towards Richard and the corpse. Jacque moves slightly to block her sight and places his hands on her head to focus her on him. She shakes her head and squirms and then closes her eyes once more. “Will you please leave my patients alone? That is not conducive to their healthy recovery.” Richard tells Jacque without looking up from his work. “And what you are doing does?”
“Yes it does, to all our benefit for that fact.”
“Look doctor, I think someone witnessing an autopsy is going to put that someone in to shock.” Malloy turns in his chair and adds, while he carries on driving up the empty road. Jacque moves the tour guide’s head away from the scene behind him. However Richard abruptly stops what he is doing and walks up to Jacque, placing his hands on his shoulder, informing him to take his hands away from his patient. The tour guide noticing Richard approaching, clamps her eyes shut tight and cringes away from him as a quiet squeal escapes her mouth. Richard walks back over to his corpse and places a spare blanket over the body covering it completely from sight. He then wipes his hands clean with some more scrap cloth. Then he kneels down by the tour guide and tries to talk to her reassuringly, encouraging her to give a response to his questions. The only response from her is that she tries to closer her eyes even tighter and move further away. He asks her to just nod her head in response. Eventually she does give a very slight nod of the head.
Soon Richard turns the subject of his questions to her being a tour guide and knowing the island. By this time the minibus has arrived at the junction that turns off the main road and heads back up north to where they had started from. The main road carries on in a heading north-easterly direction. The tour guide gingerly opens her eyes, looking directly ahead of her and avoids looking in any other direction. Malloy slows down at the junction, and they all decide to carry on instead of turning off. They stick to the main road. The tour guide eases herself up enough to look out the window. She looks around to familiarise herself with the surrounding and then lowers herself once more. The tour guide gives a quick look to the back of the bus, towards the covered up corpse, and then she shuts her eyes and curls up again. She nods to Richards questions to whether they are heading in the correct direction. She then gives no further response. Richard gives her some water and then goes back to his corpse. Once there he calmly apologises to Jacque for his actions, but he states that he was worried that she may go back in to shock if not careful.
After a few more miles they begin to see the occasional side road, which then turns in to more and more roads and the beginnings of buildings visible on and off the side of the road. This appears to be the outskirts of a bigger town. They can see that there are more sturdy buildings here, with some managing to stand up to the storm. But there is still the destruction and debris everywhere. They stay to the main road as they drive in, and they eventually spot a gas station up ahead. Richard stops what he is doing and covers the corpse up once more. Malloy checks the gauge again to find the needle down on the red. He slows down and lets the minibus idle its way slowly to the forecourt of the gas station. However a mere matter of yards away from a pump the bus stalls and comes to a halt. The pump will not reach to the gas tank, so they climb out and decide to push it up to the pump. Richard double checks under the minibus once he jumps out, just in case.
Richard climbs back in to the minibus and keeps an eye on the patients and up and down the streets. While Jacque fills the gas tank of the minibus from the pump and the spare jerry can. Malloy keeps a watch out with his trusty stick, staying close to Jacque. Once they have filled up, Jacque asks Richard to turn the engine. The engine turns but doesn’t fire, so Jacque pops the hood of the minibus and looks over the engine. He soon finds the fuel filter and disconnects it. The door to the garage clatters closed and Jacque spots a walking dead walking out towards them. Malloy rushes up to it and swings his trusty stick. Jacque takes this opportunity to walking around them and head on in to the garage.
With his quick wild swing, Malloy manages to just miss hitting his target. The target has a lot of blood around its mouth and dripping down on to its chest. However Malloy’s wild swing carries his body in a twist leaving his back exposed to the walking dead. Mean while Jacque walks in to the garage to find a bloody scene. There in the middle of the floor is a half eaten corpse. Its arm has been eaten off and lay cast to one side. The stomach and abdomen has been eaten in to, with its intestine pulled out and chewed upon. Jacque collapses to his knees, grabbing on to a workbench to steady himself. Bile urges itself up and out un-controlled. Jacque covers the floor and his legs in stomach content. The bile dripping down his chin, and his head feeling all dizzy.
Malloy feels the hands of death grab him from behind and start to pull. The walking dead pulls Malloy towards its mouth, while at the same time moving its mouth closer to his head. Richard sees this happening and begins to make a lot of noise in the minibus, banging against the sides and windows trying to distract the damn thing. Inside the garage Jacque stands back up and wipes his mouth. He then starts to take a look around for a replacement fuel filter. Once he finds a suitable filter he then takes a tyre-iron to use as an improvised weapon, just in case.
Richard is aware that all his banging and shouting is not making any difference to the walking dead. It seems more interested in the subject before its face. Malloy desperately brings his trusty stick up and around, hitting the things square on the side of its head. The impact dazes the walking dead for a moment allowing the grip to loosen and Malloy to escape. Now Malloy is back facing the thing, he thrusts the end of his stick with force up and under the walking dead’s chin, burying the stick deep within its neck and up in to its head. A sickening squelch invades Malloy’s ears as a final moan escapes the dead’s mouth. The walking dead goes limp against the stick still in Malloy’s hand, so he twists to the side and lets it fall to the ground with a thud. Once on the floor Malloy gives the head a further hit to make sure. Jacque looks up and around spotting a door leading in to the shop of the gas station. Cautiously he walks up to the door and pushes it open. The door doesn’t open fully due to debris of shelves and goods knocked across the floor, but with a little muscle Jacque barges the door wide. He takes a quick look within, finding no obvious sign of walking dead he steps in and begins to look around for food and drink. Soon however Jacque soon hears a familiar moan coming from one of the isle, and decides to keep quiet and avoid that area. However he also notices a noise that sounds like someone eating a steak rare with their bare hands, a tearing and wet munching sound. Jacque grabs some plastic carrier bags from the till and begins to fill them with food items. He soon comes to realise that the walking dead is probably right by the fridges where the drinks are stacked. This in turns makes him aware that he can not hear any munching noises any more. Freezing to the spot and catching his breath, Jacque strains his hearing to try and pin point where the things has gone. He soon hears a subtle movement come from roughly the isle he had heard it in previously. Jacque grabs a packet of food from a nearby shelf and throws to towards the back of the shop.
After a few more swings of his stick to the head of the now motionless dead, Malloy turns his attention to the minibus and pumps. He walks around the bus and pumps making sure there is nothing else ready to surprise them, and fortunately finds nothing so with that he tells Richard that he will go check on Jacque. Richard nods his head with an appreciative expression on his face, as he looks at this person who easily adapted to fighting these walking dead without a second thought. After checking that everything is clear there, Malloy heads over to the garage and heads on in to find Jacque.
Inside Malloy is greeted by the same scene that greeted Jacque, the half eaten body of someone. Malloy also reacts the same as Jacque, grabbing a hold of the work bench and vomiting on to the floor. He then becomes aware that the body is not that of Jacque but a mechanic, and in fact Jacque is no where to be seen. Malloy does notice the door leading in to the shop is open ajar. Once composed Malloy looks for a new improvised weapon, especially as his trusty stick is looking worse for wear. However he does find the metal pole attached to the car jack looks adequate for his needs and takes that. He then heads through the door.
Richards stay put in the minibus outside, while both Malloy and Jacque have disappeared in to the garage. He keeps a look out for any other danger, and keeps an eye on his patients. Standing stock still, hardily daring to breath. Jacque slowly moves his eyes to follow where he heard the sound of the walking dead move. It is slowly moving towards where he had thrown the distraction, towards the back of the shop. Jacque then spots Malloy ease open the door and step through. As Malloy steps through he is suddenly aware of a walking dead before him, walking in his direction and spot him. Malloy instantly raises his new weapon, a smile crossing his face and charges forward. Standing side on, to give as little target for the walking dead as possible, Malloy aims a strike to the things head. Jacque can see Malloy standing there before the walking dead, holding the metal rod like a baseball bat, ready to hit the homerun. So with this Jacque turns his attention back to the chilling cabinets up against the wall, and begins to fill his bags with cool drinks. As he pulls out each bottle, his eye turns to check on the situation with the walking dead, and then goes back to taking more drinks. In what looks like slow motion, Jacque sees Malloy swing his large metal rod at the walking dead. However probably due to the unbalanced and heavy improvised weapon, Malloy swings and misses straight past its head, and then dropping and hitting the floor. The walking dead steps forward, unaware how close it was to having no head, and then reaches out for Malloy. Luckily Malloy is more prepared and avoids the grab, side stepping, half due to his instincts and half due to the momentum from the improvised weapon. Malloy swings one more time, and on the second swing makes contact with the walking dead’s head. Seeing Jacque clearly now, Malloy can see him busy loading his bag up one bottle at a time. Looking back down at the walking dead, Malloy sees it begin to move once more. Rushing Malloy rushes over to the prone thing and goes mental on it. He swings wildly at it, making contact with any part of it that gets in the way. While this is happening the walking dead tries to grab for him, but it is unaware of how futile this action is. Blood begins to fly everywhere, spraying over the floor and shelves as bone can be heard smashing and cracking under the pressure. Lumps of flesh and parts of limps come away with each blow. After several seconds of this Malloy is suddenly aware that the thing is moving no more. “That’s it. Stay dead!” Before leaving it alone, Malloy pulls one of the shelves over and on to it. Once done Malloy stands with his hands on his knees, the metal bar across his legs, and catches his breath. Jacque carries on filling his bags all the while, and once he has finished filling them he ties them up and casually strolls out of the shop.
Malloy quickly follows him out and catches him up. He takes a quick look in the bags to check that he has everything that could be helpful. Most of the contents are of snacks and sweets, plus a lot of bottled water. There are also some juice drinks and fizzy bottles, and there are a few health bars. Richard on the other hand looks like he has been enjoy the relative solitude, keeping an eye out while to some stretches and breathing exercises. He soon spots some movement some distance away down one of the streets, and walking towards their direction. He can not tell whether they are alive or dead. Richard steps out of the minibus and takes a cautious walk towards the people walking up the street. While Jacque busies himself fitting the new fuel filter, and Malloy keeps watch.
Soon however Richard gets close enough to tell that the people walking in the street are in fact more walking dead, so he turns around and walks back to the minibus. Once back he asks Jacque how much longer he thinks he is going to need, as there are more of ‘them’ coming, and that ‘quicker would be better’. Jacque throws his dirty rag down on to the engine and snatches the filter back up, explaining to whoever is listening that he needs to find a better filter, and then promptly walks back in to the garage. Soon Jacque comes back out with an arm full of different filter, less confident in his knowledge, and buries his head back in to the engine compartment without a word. While things are being done to the minibus, the walking dead has grown in numbers, as they get ever closer to the band of survivors, they have now approached the junction to the main road they are on.
Jacque jumps back in to the drives seat and turns the engine. After a couple of tries the engine fires to life. A black belch of smoke shoots out from the exhaust, and a few backfires before the engine settles and runs smoothly. Malloy and Richard jump back in to the minibus. Richard checks up on his patients while Malloy keeps a watch out for any stragglers, and Jacque puts his foot down on the accelerator and speeds out of the gas station.
As they travel on along the main road heading even further in to the town, they keep a look out for anything that may be of use, or any buildings that could have radio or medical equipment. There are many roads heading of here and there, going down industrial estates and housing. The road gets more coastal as they go and Jacque spots what looks like an interesting building over in the distance behind a group of buildings. Jacque tells the others and suggests it could be an ideal place to rest up and find some useful equipment. The others nod and agree with him and they head that way at the next turn off.
Jacque turns off the main road at the next junction that heads to the right and travels along a coastal road heading southeast. The road follows the coast for a while and they pass another road that turns off to the right. Soon they draw near to the building and they can see that it look like a hospital of some kind, which pleases Richard no end. Richard tries to bring his two patients out from their stupor and explain what is happening, and that they will be moved over to the hospital.
A road turns to the left at a cross roads, that heads directly to the hospital. Once there Jacque pulls up and reverses the back of the bus to the main doors. But stops at a safe distance from the doors just in case there may be any problems. Malloy and Richard exit the minibus leaving Jacque to keep the engine running in case of an emergency, and leave the patients with him until they have had a quick look inside.
The hospital building looks like a standard hospital building, except that it doesn’t appear to be one that deals with the general public, more of a government building. There is also a helicopter pad stationed outside. Inside the large double doors they find themselves in a reception space with a small amount of seating/waiting area, and a reception office. Richard heads directly to the telephone and checks for a dial tone and luckily finds one, then he dials a number listed there for Port Blair. Eventually after long seconds of waiting for an answer, Richard was about to place the receiver back down when he hears someone answer. Quickly Richard replies and finds himself talking to someone over at the hospital in Port Blair. He explains that he is a doctor, giving his name, over at the Mayabunder Hospital, and that he has two injured patients. He asks if there is a possibility of getting a helicopter over to assist him. The person on the other end of the telephone explains that there is no helicopter as it was damaged in the storm, and goes on to explain that there is no way that they could get one from anywhere else. He then goes on to explain that they have a major problem that they are trying to deal with. Richard tells him that they have a problem too, having to deal with over fifty hostiles, and that the problem seems to be getting worse. The guy then tells him that they are having problems with the dead coming back to life and attacking people. There are not many survivors left and that they are grouping together and are waiting for when the next cruise ship arrives tomorrow to get off of the island. Richard then explains that the hostiles he was referring to are the one and the same. He is told that they are better off going to the harbour at the north-eastern peak of the town, and hopefully finding a boat they can use to get back to Port Blair in time for the ship. Richard thanks him for the help and tells him that he looks forward to seeing him tomorrow.
Richard explains to the others that this problem they have is not an isolated problem, and it seems to be all over the island, “They have it bad down in Port Blair.” He suggests that they had better bring the two patients in for him to treat here before they head off. Malloy and Richard go back in to the hospital to find a couple of gurneys they can use to take the two patients in on. They suggest that Jacque stays outside in the minibus and keep a lookout in case of a quick exit is needed.
Once back inside Malloy heads off in to a nearby room, while Richards takes a look down a nearby corridor. Outside Jacque is busy looking back over at the hospital entrance, unaware of a couple of walking dead stepping in to the road about five hundred yards away. In the meantime Malloy has his own problem. He walks in on two walking dead who are both busy knelt down over a corpse, tearing off pieces of flesh and organs and filling their bloody mouths.