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Caught In A Bind
(© Ralph E. Powers)

Page 1

Part One
Our Story Begins

It's been nearly 3 months since the first outbreak and it's a miracle that I survived this long. A miracle that anyone, has survived this long. For the sake of getting this started, I'll just say that I was en-route home from working a graveyard shift (gads what a ghastly pun) during the initial phase of the outbreak as it happened. I worked at a tourist cave and was doing some late night maintenance on the lights and trail where as I normally was a tour-guide. My experience and expertise in moving around caves during my off hours, had the management assign me the extra hours of over time which, now I'll never collect.  The night security guard of the main building had gotten to us before we managed to exit the cave itself and told us what was going on. Naturally we didn't believe him at first, because his story was just too fantastic. We were fortunate enough that our tourist attraction was a bit off the beaten path so we weren't immediately attacked.

When the guard dragged us over to his small portable tv, we were able to see what was happening beyond our little place in the world. Just our luck we happened to be living at the city now known as "ground zero". It was horrific of course, national guardsmen alongside regular military and some law-enforcement were shooting at people whether they were zombies or not. One of our group of the five late night workers, had gotten a text from his wife, that they were in process of quarantining the city limits and nobody is getting out. A couple of us who had family inside the quarantine zone, as shown by a news graphic on the screen, took off and they probably got shot as soon as they crossed the lines in an effort to get with their wife and kids. The rest of us were either bachelors or divorced with families in other cities. Me, I was one of two bachelors, the supervisor and guard were of course the married ones who lived only a couple of miles from the place we were at.

Either way, far as I know, of that original group of six men at the cave, I'm the only survivor, among a few... hundred? Thousands? That are left in this country and perhaps on the entire planet. What were left are just the scattered remnants of the collective once known as human society.  Practically nothing is left that would be remotely recognizable as a government or a cohesive group with an authoritarian head. National, state and county governments were unable to maintain order in the waves of panic that swept the country. Now things have quieted down a good deal. Assuredly there are pockets of survivors here and there. Small groups of 5 or 20 people who have banded together because of the belief in the adage "safety in numbers". Of course the odds of survival of these groups vary from their members and their individual skill levels. Skills of procuring food and water or fighting and defense. Some I've seen, have a good group of people, well equip mentally to deal with the day to day stress, others... well, a couple I've found had been over-run and the entire group had been torn apart with a few of them opting out. They still got devoured but at least they wouldn't turn and add to the population. This is a certainty because the remaining survivors destroyed the skulls of the ones that had been eaten or died from blood loss, shock, before they took their own lives. I'll attribute to their demise to basic stupidity and complacency. You learn how eventually what not to do to attract the dead. One group was so disorganized that they had three men arguing for the leadership position constantly, no-one really knew who to follow, and it was impossible to barter with any of them. Even after all this time, I still don't let my guard down. I mean, hey... I'm still alive to write this aren't I?

Presently I'm alone, not exactly wandering aimlessly, scavenging, but with no particular place or destination to go. Part of me had always wanted to see this country as it was meant to be seen, a little at a time. Well, that's not true either, I really wanted now was to find any place that had as few zombies as possible. I've come to believe now that there's no mythological "zombie-free-zone" anywhere in the U.S., at least, I don't believe the stories from fellow survivors I meet along my way to "Nowheresville", the place I was headed. I mean if there were, what the hell were they doing so far from it and why were they not headed in the that direction? Upon hearing these stories I simply and politely nod and say: "yeah, hope to see you there someday too, thanks for the trade by the way... you keep being careful. See ya!" I go on my way and they go theirs.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Long story
Rating:9.13 / 10
Rated By:93 users
Comments: 22 users
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