5 Chapter 4: Giving the Fire Department a Helping Hand
The group silently moved through the purple haze in the direction of Joshua's truck. All three moving as quietly as possible and making sure to avoid anything on the ground that could cause noise and attract trouble. Along the way they would occasionally here some of the creatures' clicking claws hit the pavement as they closed in on them from outside of their hindered range of vision. On each of those occasions Joshua would toss a nearby rock in the opposite direction they were headed to lure them away. After a few similar exchanges his truck came into view and they quickly made their way to it.
As they approached Joshua signaled the two to stay near the truck as he took a quick look around the area. The place was similar to how he had left it, but instead of multiple corpses lying around there was only one. The creatures he had killed earlier had vanished leaving only the marks created from their clawed feet as a sign they were ever there in the first place. The only body left was that of the poor man he had seen die earlier face down on the blood stained pavement.
As he took in the facts he noticed another couple of the abominations shuffling into view from the haze just beyond the dead body. They both seemed to be slowly moving in their direction, but based on how slowly they were moving and the fact they were sniffing around they hadn't yet locked on to them. What surprised him was the fact that they completely ignored the fresh corpse as they shuffled past it even after one of them stepped on it.
'I guess they don't see us as food if they'll just ignore a recently killed body. Then why do they attack us then? Is it something similar to rabies?' Joshua thought to himself as he reached into the back of his truck for a couple of things. A slight gasped sound came from Nathan as he and Madalyn both noticed the creatures coming in their direction. Joshua quickly grasped his spare bat tossed it over to Madalyn while giving the other to Nathan. He found the heaviest hammer out of his tool set and took it with him.
"They're almost here." Madalyn said with a surprising amount of calm. Nathan nodded his head excessively in reply, his entire body was a complete wreck of nervousness.
"Alright, I'll restrain them and have you two each kill one. This will probably be the easiest time to see how well you're able to kill them. Aim for the top or back of their heads, and when their muscles tense up move out of their direct line of sight. Got it?" Joshua explained quietly getting one confident nod and one trembling mess with a smile as a reply.
Joshua quickly made his position known to the creatures by stepping loudly and kicking some small rocks in his way as he moved towards them. His actions were deliberate so that his two companions could sneak around quietly and get into a good position. As the two creatures started to shamble quickly towards Joshua he lowered himself into a lower stance so he could dodge or deflect them easily just as the first creature lunged for him. Side stepping the first one he used his knife to quickly cut the tendons on the back of its legs, he then turned quickly to slam his hammer into a knee of the second one that followed the first.
Standing up Joshua looked over the results as both of the creatures were shrieking in pain they tried and failed to land properly with their ruined legs. He quickly signaled Nathan and Madalyn to finish them off before the noise attracted many more of them to the area. Madalyn had no problem finishing the job as she immediately got into one of the creatures blind spots and swung her bat as hard as she could. It took a few swings to completely take it out, but soon one of the creatures' cries ended.
Nathan on the other hand fumbled his bat for a moment before swinging, he hit on the first try but it was barely hard enough to knock the creatures head to the side. Joshua quickly took the hammer to the creatures other knee to regain its attention while pointing to the back of its head for Nathan's benefit. On the second swing Nathan was clearly doing some damage and after a few more the job was finished.
Madalyn was looking around quietly making sure they didn't draw any more attention to the area while Joshua calmed the young man down. "Good job this time, but seeing as how it takes more than one swing to kill them for you guys make sure to try to take out their legs first. Be more reactionary than me, don't go and try to be a hero without the experience to fight." Joshua explained as Nathan calmed his ragged breathing.
"You don't have to worry about that. I'm definitely not the hero type." Nathan said with an uneasy smile.
"We'll just follow your lead." Madalyn replied.
"Alright let's head further in, we're heading for the fire department first. They should have some gear that will help us out and there might be people there as well." Joshua said as he urged them to lead him in the right direction. They both nodded as Madalyn started showing him the right way while Nathan collected a few rocks to use as distractions along the way.
Walking through the dense haze in complete silence gave off a very tense atmosphere. Occasionally clicking sounds would attract their attention and Nathan would throw one of his rocks off into the distance to lure the fiends away. At one point a loud crashing sound came from off in the distance followed by screams of agony. The sounds made Nathan grow pale and Madalyn stopped leading the way to see if Joshua wanted to help. With a negative shake of the head Joshua signaled for them to keep moving forward. Although he would love to have been able to help everyone, he knew he wasn't some savior of the world.
After another a few encounters along the way in which Nathan lured the creatures away or Joshua took them out if they got to close, they finally arrived in the center of town. Madalyn quietly pointed across the street to show that was where the fire station was located. Even so close they weren't able to make it out, Joshua took this as a sign that the haze was much denser this far into town. He didn't know what effect that would have on the creatures, but he was sure it couldn't be anything good.
As they crossed the street they started to hear sounds of what seemed like shouting between three people along with the ever present clicking of the monsters. "There's more coming on your end Dave!" A man shouted as another voice grunted in confirmation before what sounded like a loud thump followed by a shriek occurred. Getting closer Joshua was able to see three men in firefighting uniforms that looked nearly identical to one another if not for their hair styles. The three seemed to have put up tables and stuffed bags in front of the entrance to the fire station to hold off the creatures as they used fire axes to kill any of the poor bastards that tried to lunge over the barricade.
"There seem to be a lot more of them grouping up here than there were on the edge of town." Joshua said at almost a whisper. The two nodded as they saw eight of the things trying to get through the barricade. Even more of them were dead on the floor with giant gashes in their heads or their heads were completely missing altogether. The three, what Joshua assumed were triplets, were working extremely well together as they rotated between holding up the barricade and killing any of the things that managed to leap onto or over it.
"Are we going to help them?" Nathan asked as he clenched onto his bat with a rare look of determination to help out.
"Yeah you two will lure some of them away by pelting them with rocks. I'll only injure the first few so that you can kill them quickly while I try to clear out the rest with the fire fighters. Make sure to keep an eye out for anymore coming from elsewhere." Joshua said before moving slightly ahead of them to get in position to protect them if too many charged towards them at once.
As soon as Madalyn and Nathan through the rocks they gripped their bats with both hands ready to attack at any moment. After having the rocks thud off the back off a couple of the creatures two loud shrieks came from them as they turned around swinging before heading towards Joshua. Another one seemed to have his attention grabbed as well as it followed the other two.
Joshua quickly rushed in front of them and twisted to the side as one of them lunged for his shoulder. As it passed by he grabbed its leg and spun around and slammed it into its foolish brother who had made the same mistake. With a quick twirl he sent them both careening into the ground in front of his companions who quickly went to bashing their heads in.
The slow poke of the three tensed up as it lunged a little lower for his stomach in attempt to surprise the taller adversary. Unfortunately it was met with a knee to its jaw for its troubles causing the sharp and elongated teeth in its mouth to crack from the force. Joshua followed the blow up by grabbing under its arms, flipping it hard over his shoulders, slamming it harshly into the pavement, and finally caving its skull in with a hard stomp to the top of its head. All of this happened in a few seconds before he swiftly moved on to approach the fire fighters.
"Looks like we got some help." One of the fire fighters said with a bit of a happy smile as he poked his head over the barricade. He quickly slid back down under the barricade as a claw tried to swipe at him.
"Yeah seems like there's less pressure coming from these damn things. Guess our new friend must have taken some of them out." Another one said loud enough to hear over the groaning and screeching of the creatures trying to reach them. One of them finally managed to climb over the make shift wall only to be met with an axe to the face to send it tumbling back over.
"Well that's one more down, seems to be four to go." Another more stoic voice said after pulling the axe back behind the barricade. Joshua quickly smashed his hammer into the back of the head of the closet creature, cracking its skull with the impact. He followed it up spinning into a back handed strike with his dagger into the next one before it could react. As the last two turned their attention towards him they were quickly killed with heavy strikes from axes from behind.
Looking past the falling dead bodies Joshua was able to get a good look at the three men he came to help. They all looked almost like carbon copies of each other, but with slight differences. The one that stood towards the front, hefting his axe on to his shoulder after giving it a quick swing to get all the grime off of it was short haired with a grim look on his face. He had a long well-trimmed beard that went down to hide a large portion of his neck and was a bit broader in the shoulders than the other two.
The one standing to the left had messy hair that was somewhat covered up by a high school baseball cap. His face was clean shaven giving a more clear view of the giant grin he kept. He held his axe with both arms over his shoulders like a kid with a baseball bat. He kept up his wide smile as he gave Joshua a once over as well.
The last brother was clearly the one trying his hardest to stand out from the other two. Although his hair was blond like his two brothers, his was much longer and had red highlights running through it. He had an almost lazy air about him and was the smallest of the three, although he was still in great shape being a firefighter and all. All three brothers stood at heights ranging from six foot tall to six foot and two inches. The childish looking one being the tallest.
As Joshua finished checking the three out both Madalyn and Nathan made their way over to the group. "Thanks for the help." The one in the middle said as he reached his hand out for a handshake. Joshua followed suit and quickly shook hands with the three of them. "My names Dave, the goofball with the shit eating grin is Dillon and the idiot that thinks it's too much effort to breath is Devin. We're the Carsen brothers."
"I'm Joshua and these two are Nathaniel and Madalyn. We saw you guys in trouble and decided to help, although we planned to come here anyways." Joshua said as he introduced his group.
"Let's go inside and talk before more of them show up. Dealing with them is a hassle." Devin said as he hopped over the barricade. Dave nodded and followed suit. The rest followed after with Joshua helping both Madalyn and Nathan get over the barricade without making too much noise. Before heading inside the three fighters started to put some more sand bags on top of the barricade. Joshua helped out for a bit until it was head high for the three firefighters and shoulder high for him.
Going inside the fire station Joshua could quickly tell that all the electronic equipment was out of commission and that there was still plenty of left over gear for him to use in the storage area. He turned around to see the three fire fighters locking the front door behind them and pulling the shutters closed for extra precaution. Even inside the closed off building the ever present purple haze was still around although in far less amounts.
"So how come you lot are coming towards here in the first place?" The ever smiling triplet Dillon asked as he set his axe against the wall. "I mean you would think that civilians would either get out of town, hide, or head for the police station under these circumstances."
"What are you saying were useless?" Dave said as if growling at his brother. Dillon smiled and waved his hands in a placating motion in response. "We're also here to help out in situations like these."
"Oh please brother let's not kid ourselves." Devin replied as he stretched out on a couch in the corner of the front room. "Were trainees who've been training to help out in case of little things for a little town? I don't think we've taken the course on how to handle a zombie apocalypse."
"You think they're, well uh…zombies?" Nathan stammered with a look of disbelief.
"What else could they be? They bite you, they infect you, and then they move onto the next victim. Saw some poor fool earlier get bitten near the police station while getting stuff for the barricade. They didn't eat him they just left the body there after biting him to death." Devin replied.
"I wouldn't call them zombies." Joshua said getting the groups attention. "Zombies are undead, meaning they had to have been living in the first place. These things just pop up out of nowhere like they're being created by this purple fog that showed up. If anything they seem like a sort of human shaped virus that's only purpose is to infect humans."
"You think the people that get bitten will turn into something then?" Devin asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Oh, maybe they'll turn into those slow moving zombies from the games and movies." Dillon said with a cheery voice that seemed quite out of place in the current conversation.
"No I think it will be worse. Seeing as how they don't do anything but grab on and bite their targets, they don't cause much damage to the body." Joshua said with a thoughtful expression. "If their bodies aren't all mangled or torn, and they come back then…"
"Then they won't be limping towards us, but will be sprinting instead." Devin said with a shocked and slightly fearful look in his eyes.
"Exactly, and who's to say they won't grow stronger than normal people as well. They're dead so they won't have to worry so much about damaging their bodies. Hell their natural limiters might even get shut off if there is enough nerve damage and the brain can't regulate how much strength to use. Their muscles might tear apart from the strain, but why would they care about that." Joshua said letting out a sigh.
"None of that matters now. Even if the whole place goes to shit it's our job to help as many people as we can get to safety." Dave said as he glared at his two brothers. "Now we've only got a few minutes before more of those thing start attacking the barricade. If we're going to do something we need to do it now."
"Well if you don't mind you can help us out." Joshua said while heading over towards the supply storage. "We came here to get some gear to help us clear are way towards the mayor's office. I plan on using the intercom system on the third floor to warn everyone to leave the town and get out of the purple haze before using the noise to attract all of these monsters towards the center of town. Then I'll figure out a way to make it out from there."
"Interesting idea, but I don't know if we have all that much here to help you out in your plans. Outside of a fire axe or two most everything else here is useless and not working." Dave said while crossing his arms and giving Joshua a questioning look.
"Oh I don't know about that." Joshua said as he looked over the tools and equipment in the small room. There were a few more axes left over, but what brought a wide grin to his face was something he had been hoping for. "I think you've got exactly what I was looking for."