19 Miles

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


A short story written for the Imaginarium House prompt -- '19 Miles'.

Submitted: June 19, 2018

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Submitted: June 19, 2018

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19 Miles

It’s not so very far is it, 19 miles. Not when you’re in a car, driving along the road. So it might take a while to go that far on crowded city streets, especially when you get caught up in the traffic jams. Then you can sit there and watch your self being overtaken by the slowest of pedestrians. Out on the open road, you’ll easily do it in under half an hour.

But out in the open, with no vehicle, no chance of one passing you to give you a lift either, 19 miles is a long, long way. There are no buildings, no houses, gas stations....nothing but open desert on either side of the road.

What there are, and here I mean a lot, are zombies. Undead. Infected, whichever you’d like to call them. They come screeching across the sands, zeroing in one three people on foot. We do stand out! It’s a bit like having a sign above our heads saying, ‘Snack Here!’

Andy, Greg and I have managed to pick up a few small rocks, which aimed carefully can slow them. The idea is to go either for their feet and make them trip, or aim for the head and knock them back a bit. I’ve also got a plank of wood – haven’t a clue how it got out here – but the downside of this is the proximity that’s need to get much force behind it. I dread to think what I look like as I know I’ve been spattered by zombie.....what? Blood? Is it blood now that they’re dead? I’ll think of it as gunk. Zombie gunk tends to make a big spatter pattern.

I guess we’ve gone about four miles now. It’s hard to make any forward progress when you have to keep stopping to defend yourself after every ten or twenty paces. That distance is a guess. There are not many signs up telling us how far is left before we reach the nearest town. And we’ve got no way of knowing what we are going to find there.

It’s getting darker now. If it wasn’t for the moon lighting up the way we’d end up off the road, trying to find our way across the desert and getting more and more lost. Thank you moon, is all I can say. But then, with all of these ‘things’ approaching, maybe it would be better not to be able to see at all.

Pick it up a bit,” I say. Or puff! I’m not used to walking long distances let alone running them, while fighting off murderous hordes who are intent on gorging themselves on our flesh.

Jeez, Kev! I’m trying, okay.” Greg is clearly no more up to all of this than I am.

Yeah, and my supply of ammo’s getting rather short.” Andy only has about half a hand-full of small stones left. Oh, one less now, as he has to fling one at an approaching head.

Well, we’re not in a position to stop and look right now are we!” As I stop talking there are two zombies almost on top of me. I swing the plank hard, first at one and then at the other. The crunching sound that follows my almost blind swings proves I’ve made contact. More spatters join the ones that I’ve already collected.

In the distance I notice the noise an engine. Boy, never have I been so glad to hear a sound, especially as it is getting louder, nearer.

Yes!” shouts Andy, thumping the air and we all put on an extra spurt of speed.

I can see the lights now, some kind of big vehicle, lit up with spotlights. For a moment, I panic. Zombies can’t drive, can they? No, it’ll be fine.

As we run towards it waving and shouting we can’t help but cheer each time it makes a direct hit with one of the undead. Much as they were attracted to us, they seem even more drawn towards that

truck. And the driver is taking advantage mowing them down in as big a quantity as possible.

Alongside us now, the brakes squeal and a door flies open. “Get on in and be quick!”

We don’t need telling twice as we scramble our way inside, slamming the door just in time. A face presses up against the side window; well, what remains of a face anyway. One eye, half the skin missing and clearly a broken bottom jaw.

The driver wastes no time, pulls hard on the wheel while engaging reverse, flattening the creature before pulling away. “What in hell are you lads doin’ out here?”

Car broke down. We ran out of gas.” Okay, I know it sounds stupid but it wasn’t my car we escaped in. I wasn’t to know it was such a gas guzzler.

Where’d you come from?” As he asks, he swerves from one side of the road to the other, knocking those undead down like pins in a bowling alley. The problem is, as I see in the wing mirror, is that also like pins, there getting up again.

Harborsville. It’s bad there. Nothing and no one left, I’m pretty sure. We got out as soon as they arrived and started to feed on our neighbours.”

here abouts. Them things, they’re everywhere.”

And there in the distance is our destination. They are swarming the place, blocking the road. Could be we’ll take a good few with us but it sure looks like for all our efforts we’ve just run out of the frying pan and into the fire.


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