Chorley Chronicles - part four

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Danny's foray for food takes an unexpected turn, will his friends come to his rescue?

Some bad language and violence.

Submitted: February 25, 2013

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Submitted: February 25, 2013

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Chapter Four

 

It was turning into another scorching day.  I wished I’d picked up a bottle of water and some food but I’d been anxious to get out of the house.  There were a few ‘people’ in the street, down at the canal end, so I turned right and walked to the top of the road.  The bakery at the end was shut, but there was a small corner shop on the opposite side of the road.  I decided to chance it.  I stood on the pavement opposite for a few minutes, looking for any movement.  The coast looked clear. 

I shouldered my lawn-edging weapon and went in.  There were no lights on in the shop, and I could tell that the fridges were off by the silence.  I almost called out, then decided if the family that ran it had turned, I didn’t really want them knowing I was there.  I grabbed a couple of boxes of cereal bars from the shelf, then went around to the fridge, opening the door and taking out three two litre bottles.  They might slow me down but I didn’t fancy drinking out of the tap.  I knelt down behind the shelves and placed my bounty in the rucksack, taking care not to stab myself with the knife.

Everything safely stowed, I stood up, took a couple of Marathons from the selection of chocolate on display, and put them in my pocket.  I turned to leave.  And very nearly soiled myself. 

The doorway was barred by a monster.  Not a monster like a fictional one, it was actually a monster called Fat Clive.  Ok, his name is really just Clive something, but everyone knew him as Fat Clive, because, well, look, you can work it out for yourself, surely?  He was a regular at the ‘Engine’, and I mean a regular.  He kept the place in profit.  He took the money off the bookies and spent it in the pub.  He sat on two barstools at the end of the bar from the moment it opened to the moment it closed, with his Racing Post unfolded in front of him, only taking the air when it was time to move his carcass across the road to the Turf Accountants – either to place a bet or pick up his winnings.  He never lost.  He also never gave any tips.  And, right now, his carcass was stood in the doorway.

One good thing- he was about the slowest person on earth.  One bad thing- he wasn’t chasing me around the shop.  That was a bad thing because he was barring my exit.  Or was he?  I decided that running away would be the better option, so I ducked under the counter, pushing open the door at the rear of the shop.  Bad choice.  Mr Gill, the shop owner, stood on the other side of the door.  Fuck.  I pulled the door closed, sliding the bolt into place.  The door handle rattled as Mr Gill tried to get through. 

I ducked under the counter, back into the shop.  Clive still stood there.  I wasn’t sure what, if anything, would happen if he got hold of me.  It wasn’t like these zombies chased you around going ‘Braaaains’.  But this wasn’t the time or place to get into a philosophical discussion about a zombie’s motivation. 

I took a couple of steps forward, hoping he’d move towards me, and get stuck between the aisles.  I guessed he’d come in for his Racing Post.  I moved to the newspaper rack and took a copy, holding it out in front of me, hoping he’d take it, give me a cheery nod, and make his way to the pub.  No such luck.  He just stood there.  I dropped the paper to the floor, sat down on the counter, and took a Marathon out of my pocket.  Might as well keep my strength up, I thought.I washed the chocolate bar down with a can of Red Bull, pilfered from the fridge. 

Clive continued to stand there, blocking the exit as well as a considerable amount of sunshine.  I pulled out my phone.  I’d got a message from Chris, well, not really a message, more a string of expletives.  I sent a text to her, hoping she’d read it. ‘Stuck in Gill’s shop, any chance of sum help?’  I hit send, and then started on the second Marathon.  I don’t normally have a sweet tooth, but what better way to kill time than to stuff my face with calories?  I also figured if it was this difficult to get food I’d better stock up when I could.  The door continued to rattle behind me. 

Clive still stood there, his blue jumper stretched to bursting point over his frame. He smelt of beer and pub food, and traces of both stained his clothes.  He was tall, about six four, but he was almost as wide.  Seriously, he completely blocked the door.  I wondered what was out there now, beyond Clive, beyond Chorley.  Strangely, I’d had no compunction about caving Mark’s head in, but I couldn’t bring myself to try my new weapon out on Clive.  He’d kept himself to himself, and he wasn’t doing anything to try to hurt me right now.

I took my phone out again, no messages.  I opened up the browser and clicked on the news link.  Scrolling down and just looking at the headlines, it looked bleak.  The army, those that hadn’t been infected, had been drafted in to the major towns and cities, but they were coming from outside the infection zone and I was right in the middle of it.  Handfuls of survivors were being reported, stories of carnage and devastation made up the rest of the news.  I dialled 112, just on the off-chance.  I got a recorded message, ‘your call is in a queue, and will be deal with as soon as an operator becomes available… your call is in a queue, and will be dealt with as soon…’  I’d try to save the battery. 

I was contemplating eating another Marathon, or moving onto something different, when I heard the screech of tyres from outside, and a car door slamming.  One second Clive was stood in the doorway, the next he toppled forward, like he’d been poleaxed.  Where he had stood, now stood Jason, or Jase as everyone called him, his bleached blonde hair glowing in the sunlight like some Norse god.  A big grin was on his face.  In his hands he held a baseball bat.

“You gonna sit there all day, or are you ready to be rescued?”

I jumped down from the counter, stepping around the pooling liquid escaping from the crater on Clive’s head.  There was no dignified way of getting out, so I stepped onto Clive and walked across him.  Jase handed me the bat, said, “Great, free candy!”, and entered the shop.  I shook my head and walked towards Chris’s car.  She stood by the open driver’s door, looking sheepish.

I put two and two together.  “Finally remembered you’re female?” I said, hoping I’d keep the disappointment from my voice.

“Fuck sake”.  She glared at me. “It ain’t what you think”

I opened the rear door and got in, Jase coming out of the shop via Clive’s back, with two carrier bags laden with food.  Chris got in and slammed her door, glaring at me still in the rear view mirror.  She looked tired.

“Thanks, Chris.  I mean it.  You’re a lifesaver”

Glare.

Jase got in, passing the bags over the seat to me. 

“Is it all chocolate?” I asked.

“No, not all, there’s some crisps and cigarettes there, too.”

“Great.  If we don’t get eaten by zombies we’ll die of rickets.”

He grinned at me.  “No worries, we’ll get proper food from a proper food shop.  These are just emergency rations, snacks”

Chris had started the car, slammed it into gear, and we shot off.  She treated the roads like her own personal race-track.  The roads were busier than they were first thing- no cars, just the undead wandering about, drawn to the sound of the car. 

After ending up with my face against the side window one too many times, I asked her to slow down.  She glared, and took the next corner just that little bit faster.  Taking another corner on two wheels, the Clio bore down on two zombies in the road.  Chris’s eyes locked on mine in the mirror.  At the last second she tweaked the steering, missing one and clipping the second, sending him spinning to the ground.  I watched out of the rear window as he struggled back to his feet.  I felt Chris slow down, almost imperceptibly.  I caught her eye, and gave her a wry smile.

We turned over the canal bridge, onto the Rivington road.

“Where are we going?”

Jase turned in his seat, grinning.

“To the Tower, mate!”


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