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June 17, 2024

All-Nighter 16

By Lydia Manx

Episode Sixteen


Back then ...

It wasn't anywhere near the morning but we ignored the clock and went made breakfast. Okay, Ginny and I made breakfast while Dean and Sammy spoke near the monitor in hushed tones. I didn't much care, because Dean hadn't compromised us and Sammy was keeping Dean distracted. We had paper plates, plastic flatware, and the breakfast was served on the floor. We all sat on our bedding and ate without speaking. I was just happy to have food that was cooked and not dry. It seemed Ginny and Sammy weren't into coffee, at least not that morning, and we sipped bottled water. Once we were done Ginny and I cleaned up the mess and we all returned to the mattresses without any words.

"So, Lindy, now what?" Dean asked. I had expected Sammy to question our plan, so Dean's question pretty much made me want to scream. Instead I took the high road and said, "We get out of town."

It seemed like a great idea at the time. But what did I know?


I waved off the memories of being back in West Virginia and seeing zombies for now and concentrated on getting off the interstate at the right exit and not totaling my grandma's Lincoln in the processes. Finally rolling up to her home, I could see her sitting on the couch watching TV when I pulled into the driveway. I used the remote for the garage door and it opened up slowly, and once to the top I carefully squeezed her land yacht into the space available. I was happy that I didn't hear anything scraping or thumping. It was always a challenge, and so far I hadn't tapped anything, but I was more than a bit freaked that I'd fuck it up one day and have to take the bus or train to get around -- hell, to get to work. I resisted dancing around as I went through to the laundry room. I shut the garage door, and the door into the laundry room, hooking the keys in their place next to the door. Grandma was ultra-organized, but I liked it. I was your basic slob, I knew, but I made the effort around grandma 'cause she'd done so much for me.

"Sammy, honey, is that you?" I heard her call out from the living room. Behind her was the canned laughter of some brain-draining show currently amusing her. Grandma was totally a smart woman, but she liked to laugh and tell me, 'Sammy, a woman's got to have her guilty pleasures. Never mock them, always smile, and know if she's sharing with you that than you are part of her world.' I sorta understood it, but knew better than asking any more questions. I answered, "Yeah, it's me."

I heard the laughter abruptly shut off and knew she'd muted her show. I hurried inside to keep her from missing her program -- her guilty pleasure.

"Well?" She looked at my face and laughed, "You got the job!"

"Yes, I did." I didn't bother to backfill what happened during the interview, because I still wasn't sure what had actually gone on back there.

"When do you start? Tell me everything." She patted the armrest of the large couch next to her favorite chair. I sat down and saw her program was on commercial, but she had left the closed captions on the show so I didn't feel so bad interrupting.

Smiling, I told her the basics about monitoring people in a sleep clinic and how they liked my resume -- naturally thanking her for her advice and help -- and that I had to start at nine.

"Tonight? Do you need to use the car?" She looked excited.

"If I can, until I get enough money together to buy my own," I looked at her with hopeful eyes. She came through for me like she'd always done -- when my mom would let her -- saying, "Nonsense, Sammy. Use my car. You know I don't drive at night anymore and it's just sitting in the garage. No need to buy a car just put some gas in the tank now and then, okay?"

"Thanks! I am going to go grab something to eat and try to nap for a bit. Is that okay?" I watched her eyes flicker back and forth to the TV and gave her a kiss, and went to the kitchen, relieved by my grandma's offering the car for me to get to work. The whole idea of my job was gnawing at me, but I had said that I would do it, so I'd try for a while.

Pulling out the makings for a huge sandwich, my mind went back to West Virginia and how things got weird fast once those two showed up. Dean, and what was that bitch's name? Oh yeah, Linda. No wait, Lindy. Fucking made-up name. She was so smug and so sure she knew everything. Hell, that wasn't true. Yeah, I was a kid but she was a fucking real estate whore who thought her background prepared her for my home. Hell, she dressed like she was strolling through downtown Seattle or a suburb of LA. Comfy yet sleek. She wasn't like, old or anything, but she just wasn't from West Virginia. I didn't know her family and she was super uptight. Dean was local -- not like my-town, but down-the-mountain kin -- but he didn't have a clue about zombies ... but that Lindy didn't blink, just went for it. I wonder what happened to her. I remember the night of the storm that started it all for us.

Back then ...

"What the hell is wrong with Dean?" I hissed at Lindy. She had a closed face like she was weighing what to tell me and what to lie about -- you know, that shut-in look folks get right before they decide if to lie or tell the truth.

Ginny caught my eye and shook her head. I settled back. I mean, she was right, after all. Lindy had just said that we should get out before those dudes in camo with ammo and cigars came back to put a red X mark through our building. The monitor was filled with white. Snow, fog on the lens and just the pretty much nothingness of a winter storm --zombies or not. I didn't have to be outside to know the shades of white to gray that covered the world.

"Okay, but how? I mean, I don't see our bike and fully loaded wagon is going to get us twenty miles or so to the next possibly fucked up town." I know I sounded surly, but hell who the fuck was she kidding? We knew what was here, but at the same time it could be worse there.

"We have a SUV back at the hotel that your buddy Emmett checked us into, and some supplies. There's a cargo rack on top, and with your loot here, I am pretty sure we can enhance our supplies, and tie down the extras on top of the vehicle. You have some siphoning tricks we can use to fill up the tank before we head out?" She looked at me with a knowing glance. She wasn't stupid.

"Sure, my cousin's shop had some tubing, and we can use it to fill up the car, and if need be, fill a few containers to make sure that we get the fuck out of Dodge and down the mountain if need be." I actually had already liberated the tools of the trade, and I was pretty sure all the cars in the motel lot were nearly full of gas. When traveling up here most folks filled up every chance they got, because you never knew when you'd find another gas station. My own cousin's station closed with little notice, and I didn't think the other gas station on the opposite end of town was still working. The lack of electricity pretty much fucked the pumps up, and nobody gave it a thought because they all hoarded red plastic containers of gas on their property for their various machines.

Ginny volunteered, "I know a few places around here that probably have gas we can grab and not have to suck down fumes."

Lindy looked off then said, "Yeah, but those assholes aren't going to just let us tool around town liberating gas from random barns and sheds now are they?"

We all shut up and worried about it for a minute until Dean said, "Fuck them all. We have plenty of guns. Let's get the SUV and load up what we need from here then get the fuck out of here."

Even I could tell that his brain was screwed, up big time but everyone nodded like we heard him. The snow was still falling like that storm was heading into the blizzard category and I wasn't ready to abandon our nice little nest. Then two more of those jerks strolled back into the monitor screen. They had put their cigars out and the map was in our view. There were more than a dozen new red X marks since less than six hours ago. We couldn't hear them but their breath fogged the air before them. There was no back slapping like yesterday, but instead grim looks and angry words. Even I could see when they said fuck and damn without needing subtitles or sound. Lindy caught my eyes and raised an eyebrow letting me know she was right. Damn, she was right, but I wasn't happy. This wasn't good, from any angle.

Ginny said, "We have to go next chance we get. We can use the alley behind here and drive that SUV you've been talking about to the door behind us and load us up."

Dean didn't even disagree, but nodded. He was totally spacing out, but seemed to hear Ginny best. Ginny threw me a glance and I could see that she knew she had some control over Dean and wasn't sure why. But she was smart enough to know we needed him. That Lindy chick didn't trust him, but I knew we could use him to delay being attacked if we had no choice. I mean he already didn't give a damn if he was dead or alive but I sure as fuck cared about us. Ginny smiled slightly, knowing what I was thinking. She was great at doing that. I wondered how much my grandma had told her about me. She sure seemed to have my number.

The mercenaries walked out of view heading back into town. I wondered why they never even tried the front door, when I remembered how run down it looked, and smiled. Seasonal rentals worked in our favor for a change. I hoped my cousins were okay. I was pretty sure my grandma had made it out of town, but I still worried. I felt bad because I didn't give a fuck what was going on with my mom. I knew she'd survive. That was how she was wired. I saw a tear roll down Ginny's face, and I knew she was worrying about her dad and her skanky cousin. She saw me looking and swiped the back of her hand over her face and shrugged.

It felt like days, but a few hours later the snow slowed down and we decided to head out down the alley to get the SUV. We'd talked about Ginny and Dean staying, but Lindy said we'd go together or not at all. I was pretty sure she didn't trust Dean to stay and was afraid that Ginny would be hurt. I was glad, but still worried. We had primo real estate and none of the crazy mercs seemed to even look at our place. Ginny had been busy filling bins with stuff she wanted to take and Lindy had suggested some stuff get dumped and adding other things. They seemed to understand how screwed we were while Dean was drifting. I thought he was pretty much useless, but Ginny liked him, or pitied him. In size, he was fucking huge but I knew he was stupid.

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-05-23
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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