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My eyes open groggily, and I can feel the crust from my eyes being closed. I wipe at my eyes and slowly get up. I can hear my father and Doctor Kilandra talking from outside the cell. They are talking in hushed voices. I look at them, and I see them hold each other for a long time and kiss. I see Kerri enter the room, and get immediately up. I sprung out of the bed and called for them. I see my father look behind his shoulder at me and quiets the Doctor.

He rolls to me, and checks the cameras. He quietly whispers,"The Mayor has ordered your executuion for today. It's going to be public. The Doctor found something strange in your blood, but other than that, it's the average joe blood. Nothing special." I look at him and try to comprehend what he is saying. "We are letting you out of here, and we are leaving this base, once and for all." Doctor Kilandra gets up and she heads to the cell next to my father. He holds her by her side.

"Jake, we haven't got any time to lose. We brought Kerri so you can say your goodbyes and we can get out of here. The three of us." Doctor Kilandra explained to me.

"Wait what? No. I want to help Jake get out as much as you guys do, but if he's leaving I'm leaving. I am not going to be left here with no one else to be with me." Kerri speaks up.

My father rolls over to her, his wheelchair squeaking a little as he stops. He puts his hands on her shoulders, a little roughly, "You don't have to do this. I understand how you might feel like you owe Jake, but you don't. You deserve a chance to be happy, a chance to survive. Once you are outside these walls, you are no longer that safe as you can be on the inside."

"I want to come with him. That's it." She demands. My father nods his head at her, and he lets her go. She grabs her shoulders and rubs them. She looks at me and I want to hold her in that moment.

"We have to get out of here. Right now." Doctor Kilandra insists, as a beeper on her belt beeps. "They just ordered me to unlock the cell for Jake and to talk to him, give him fake hope that there was something in his blood and that he gets to live, yadda yadda yadda. They'll be here in five minutes."

"Throw me the keys, Kilandra!" My father exclaims. She tosses the keys at him, and he fumbles them around trying to catch them. He looked for the right key, and put it into the lock and rotated it until there was a click and the gate opened. I open the cell and run out of the cage, through the door behind Kerri. My father was behind me and Doctor Kilandra stayed behind.

"Dad?" I asked.

"She's staying to pretend she was knocked unconscious by you. That will launch a manhunt. They won't know what's happening, so we will have more time to get out of here. Just go!" He answers back at me, rolling through the hallways. Kerri opens the last door, and we exit out one after another. Kerri takes off her jacket, and hands it to me.

"For disguise. Put it on, quickly." She adds quietly. I put on the jacket, and she takes a hold of my left hand. "Pretend that we are happy." I smile, and laugh along with her laughs. We make a fake conversation to go along with it. We talk Gibberish, and we say what's on our minds. My dad is rolling behind us, but at a distance to keep it from looking suspicious. We turn to the left and towards the gate. I look down as the Mayor exits a building to my right. Kerri looks at me, and her eyes widen as she sees the Mayor exit behind me. She leans in and kisses me on the sidewalk, and we land on a bench. The Mayor looks our way, but sees nothing wrong, and continues walking towards the building we were just in. Kerri stops kissing me, but I want more, so I slowly give her another kiss and she blushes.

We get up at the imperativeness of my father's nagging. She takes a hold of my hand again, only this time she's squeezing it, and I can feel the wanting. We speed up towards the gates, and she nods to the guards on top of the wall. I feel like I did on my first day here almost a week and a half ago. They look at us, and cry out for "Private Kerri!" They ask if she's heading out to settle an argument. She agrees to it, and they smile and laugh. One of the younger looking guards, a male, longer blond hair, green eyes, the kind of kid you would expect to have zero to no repsect for the rules, comes over and stop right in front of us.

"Who's the loser who's going to be taken out this time?" He adds sniveling. She points at me, and he takes a long look at me. He concentrates on my face, towards the cheek scar, and he smiles.

"Hello Jake. Nice to see you out again." He stops smiling, and whispers to me, "I'm here to let you out, what the Mayor is doing, isn't fair to you. You don't deserve half of what happened at that house. I'm Captain Hoopard." He extends his hand, and I let go of Kerri's to shake his. "Follow me, but keep that hood on. If any one of the Colonels recognize you, you'll be dead for sure."

I nod at him. He spins around and practically skips to the gate entrance. He asks to be let outside of the gate, and the others ask, "Under what grounds, from last I heard, you were kicked off patrol team bravo for cowering like a little girl. That's why you work gates." He sighs angrily, and demand they let him out or he goes straight to the Mayor.

That's when I heard the sirens blast off. My father curses from behind me, and yells, "Jake! Go hide on the top part of the gate along with Captain Hoopard. " I gaze upon my father. Captain Hoopard gives him a huge gun. "Now!" Captain Hoopard drags me away from my father, as I scream and scream for him. My father rolls and turns around to face the militia coming to ask him questions. They're running down the street that we were just on. Captain Hoopard pulls me into the building to our right, and slams the door. He then lets go of me, as I run to the door and pound on it.

"This is the fastest way out." He tells me. "There's an underground tunnel that you can take. If you wait any longer, you will get caught. Hurry! Once you are outside run to the house on the hill. It's about two miles away. Thats' where Doctor Kilandra, your father, and I will meet you." I stare at Captain Hoopard and he screams my name, "Jake! Go! Now!".

I shake my head. "I'm fighting. It's my life." I crawl out of the crawlspace and into Captain Hoopard's arms and give him a hug. "Thank you." I say to him. He looks at me like I am crazy, and he gives me the alright to do this. He hands me my pistol. I smile, as I check the bullets. They refilled my ammo. He hands me a small box of a dozen magazines for my specific pistol. I thank him yet again.

He opens the door, and raises his gun. There is a huge battle going on outside. Bullets are whirring towards one side, and then they go the opposite side. I see innocent civilians laying on the ground, crimson blood already circling where they were shot. I see people in uniforms getting shot in their bodies, being flung towards the ground. On my right, there are a couple of guys duking it out, old style, dropping their weapons and going for pure shots.

I look for my father and Kerri. I can't see them anywhere. The Mayor is in the middle of the battle. She wears a gray coat, spattered with her own citizen's blood, as she ruthlessly guns down the rebellious group that has come across her. I aim my pistol at her, and Captain Hoopard slaps my gun. "Don't go for the boss just yet. Take out her lackeys." I look at him in stupidity, and say okay. I look back out onto the street. The Mayor stops and looks to her left. I see my father and Doctor Kilandra now. She aims her pistol at them, and I can hear Doctor Kilandra screaming as she gets shot in her bosom, spraying her blood all over my father. He looks to his side and sees the Mayor aiming his gun at him.

I run out of the building screaming for my father. The Mayor turns around as she fires her pistol. I take my pistol out and shoot as many times as I can in her direction. Her bullet hits my father, and all of mine miss her. I run at her, as she aims, her now pointing at me, pistol. I see her finger on the trigger. All around us the fighting stops. Everyone is looking at us. I see Kerri, as she runs to my father, crying. She grabs Doctor Kilandra, and she flings her lifeless body from my father.

"There's nowhere to run, Jake." The Mayor howls at me in a dark, sinister way. I can see her graying hair, clinging to her face from the sweat of running after me. "There's no more hiding. No more running away. No more surviving. It's your end of the line, pal. Just accept it and drop your weapon." A stray bullet whirs into my left shoulder, and the pistol is forced from my hand. Captain Hoopard is behind me, another gun pointing at the back of my head.

"You really think that I would let anyone defy the Mayor?" He asks me from behind. "I'm loyal to this community. It saved my life in the first few days! I can't let that go easily. Now, drop to your knees with your hand behind your back." I do as he said. The Mayor walks towards me.

"Now. My husband died because of this traitor!" She bellowed to the community. "He is going to pay for his crime, the same way my husband did. By a bullet to the head."

All around, I hear people gasp. I hear a squeaking as the gate opens. The sirens are still going off, and a dozen or more zombies walk through the gate. Kerri is on top of the gate, tears wiped away from her cheeks, and she runs down. I can hear people scream as the zombies shamble inside the gate. Captain Hoopard retches and I hear the vomit hit the cement onto my shoes. I spin around and deck him in the jaw, and he laid knocked out. Kerri runs down the side of the wall, and I see my father waiting for her. He turns around and smiles, I rejoice.

I run towards them, and hear the moaning from behind me. We enter the building with the escape hatch and try to block the doors from the zombies. I can see from the windows that more and more are entering the gates, and many of the militia are shooting towards them now. The door closes, and I can hear the screaming outside still. I hear the glass shattering as the zombies bump into the windows and Kerri lets out a silent scream. I can see from her expression that something was behind me. The Mayor had followed us.

"Jake. Forgive me for this, but I got to get out of here. I want to survive too. I would do anything for the community! You have to believe me!" She cries aloud to me, pleading for her life.

"Believe this, you lying whore." My father rears up, and grabs the huge pistol that he got from Captain Hoopard and shoots her in the forehead. The door breaks down and I see the undead pile into the building. We run to the escape hatch, and the undead tear apart the Mayor's body. My father opens the hatch, and Kerri climbs in first. Crawling into the hatch I grab my dad and he falls out of his wheelchair.

"It won't fit in the crawlspace, just leave it!" I shriek at him. He cries, but nods. I promise to carry him upon my back as we exit. He closes the hatch behind us, and locks it. I hug my father, glad that he's safe. He hugs me back. "How did you survive that bullet?" I whipser into him, quietly sobbing.

"Kilandra jumped up and took the bullet for me, and I played dead, I didn't know that you could see us. I didn't want to hurt you by watching. Kilandra was teh one who knew that I was going to be the Mayor's next target as well. She was knowing that you and I should survive. She had no more family towards the end. She wanted to go out. she's been trying to commit suicide for weeks now. She always couldn't cut deep enough she told me." He hugs me back. He then kisses the top of my head and tells me, "I love you."

"I love you too, Dad." I reply with a smile.

Kerri comes in, and says,"We have to keep going. We don't know how long that hatch will last. We have to slip past the rest of the zombies as well." My father and I break up our hug, and I slide to the side to let him pass me. He gets in front of me, crawling on his hands and arms towards the exit, in a sort of military crawl. I can see the light beyond the small tunnel. But I can also see the massive horde's feets as we reach the end. Kerri stops, and suggests we wait until there is a break in the feet to go. My father agrees. I agree with them. We all lay down on our stomachs, Kerri being the lookout.

I can almost hear the gunshots and the grenade explosions overhead as night comes. I hear Kerri."All clear. Let's go." My father kicks me, laughs, and keeps moving forward in his army crawl, and we start to crawl towards the end of the tunnel once again.

 


Submitted: January 20, 2016

© Copyright 2021 BryanGargan. All rights reserved.

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Book / Young Adult