37 Chapter 36: First Conflict with the Big Bad Boss Part 1
Joshua and his group made their way towards town. This time they had brought along the Carsen brothers while leaving Nathan back at camp. All though Nathan wanted to come along Joshua explained that they needed at least one person to stay behind at camp so they could easily communicate with the base if needed. That left Joshua, the three girls, and the Carsen brothers as the ones to take on the job to scout out the one thing in there way from ending the first phase.
It didn't take as long as they thought it would take to reach the fringe of the purple haze and within moments they were able to tell why. The purple haze was spreading at a much faster pace, a pace that was noticeable to the naked eye unlike before. Though it would probably still take more than a week at the rate it was going to reach the farm it was still a far worse situation than before. The one thing that wasn't similar to what they had seen on the broadcast was the fact that there were no roaming zombies ahead of the haze.
"Looks like our constant clearing of zombies has had its affect." Joshua said as he continued to observe the area.
"Well we did kill thousands of them by this point." Natalie replied. She was still a bit gloomy and that feeling came through strongly with her mental link, but for now she was trying her best to focus on the task at hand.
"It better have made a difference." Madalyn said. "Last time I checked this small town definitely didn't have so many people living in it. Hell most of the people who live within this town's range are too old to even be a part of the first phase, so I highly doubt we'll be running into many zombies if any at all."
"That's true, but with the boss waking up we have no idea what changes that might have on all the creatures in the surrounding." Joshua said before turning away from the town and looking towards his group. "For now we're only here for scouting and finding out about any changes that might have occurred. We're not here to kill the thing yet, but we might test how well it handles some of our simpler offensive strategies."
"Well if that's the case how are we doing this?" Dave said as his brothers started to pay more attention to what was going on.
"We're going to split into two groups." Joshua responded before pointing at the Carsen brothers. "You three and Natalie will be staying outside of the haze and detailing everything that happens out here to us. Of course we will set up some traps for you guys before we head in just in case something goes wrong, but for the most part your goal is to observe the effects the boss is having on the haze from an outside perspective."
"Then I guess we're heading into the haze?" Laura asked calmly. Although she had opened up a bit more to those in front of her along with Nathan she still liked to keep things simple and to the point when it came to situations like these.
"Yes, we'll check on how things are from the inside. We'll probably have to kill quite a few of those creatures while making our way through, but try not to run out of gas dealing with the small fries. We don't want to be running on fumes by the time we reach the big guy in the center of town." Joshua said getting a nod from everyone. "Well then let's get started on setting up the traps before heading inside. I'm not sure how long it will be before something else unexpected happens so let's get this done while we can."
The group spent the next hour or so preparing several traps for defense. They moved several cars into wall like blockades along the road heading out of town. They were spread out so each time they decided to blow one up if a hoard crashed into it they wouldn't cause a chain reaction and force the others to explode ahead of time. They also dug a few holes at key locations and Madalyn would fill them with acid to make them more than just distractions. By the time they had finished with their preparations it had already been over an hour and they didn't want to spend too much time away from camp in case something went wrong.
Now all set Joshua lead Laura and Madalyn into the haze while the others stayed behind the last barricade that they had made. The moment Joshua took his first steps inside their enemy's territory he could see how different things had become. The thickness of the haze was similar to how it was in the center of town even though they had just entered the fringe of it. They could still make out cars and other obstacles in their way when they got close enough, but if they stepped more than ten feet from each other they would start to have trouble keeping within sight.
It took them more than ten minutes of walking alongside the road at a quick pace to finally reach the sign that was at the entrance of town. By that point they had already seen a few of the creatures roaming around in groups, but were easily able to avoid them with distractions. The problem would come when they reached further into town where buildings would hinder their view of their surroundings. Soon they were able to come within view of the gas station and Joshua's truck. The area that used to only have one or two creatures around it now had more than ten shuffling their feet as they aimlessly wandered the area.
'This is getting pretty bad.' Madalyn said through the mental link gaining the other two's attention. 'At this rate will get surrounded easily the further we go in to town.'
'Well then change of plans, we're going to clear out quite a few of them on the way, but without wasting your energy.' Joshua said as he started to think over the layout of the part of town they would have to go through. He quickly came up with some feasible ideas that could either distract several zombies at once or kill them.
'Then how are we going to go about doing that?' Madalyn asked with Laura clearly listening in.
'Will gather a lot of them up as we move closer into town. When we've got enough of them following us will lead them into a large building, set off some of your gas bombs, and then blow the place up. The noise should also work as a way to grab the attention of all the creatures in the nearby area and give us a better chance of making it close enough to inspect the boss.' Joshua explained getting two nods in return. 'Alright no more sneaking around then, will be going in loud from now on.'
As soon as they were ready they moved out at a much faster pace than before. Instead of calmly sneaking around the groups of zombies they made sure to attract as much attention as possible. Group after group of the creatures started to chase after them, but they weren't fast enough to keep up so Joshua kept making noise by clapping to give away their location. By the time they made it all the way to the police station there were hundreds of the creatures following them. Joshua turned the corner to find two buildings that were close enough to each other for him to leap across before telling the girls what they were going to do.
'Alright you guys get to the top of that building while I lure them into this one. When I jump across will continue to leap from roof to roof until we get as close as we can to the mayor's office.' Joshua explained before continuing to clap and attract as much attention as possible. Laura and Madalyn signaled they understood and quickly headed off towards the pointed out building. From time to time Joshua could here screeches from creatures that were held up inside, but he knew that the two of them could handle themselves just fine.
It took a few minutes before the creatures that had been following them showed up, but when they did Joshua moved into action. He slowly started to lead them in a circle to build up as big of a mob as possible before luring them towards the building. The tactic had worked perfectly once before and now it was going just as smoothly this time around. When he entered the building he made sure to break the windows with rocks or other hard object he could find nearby. That not only gave the creatures more ways to get inside, but also attracted even more do to the loud shattering sound.
After getting to the stairs at the end of the first floor he pulled out one of the poison gas grenades that Madalyn had given him. They were designed so that with one twist of the cap holes would appear in the lid allowing the gas to spray out in large amounts. It was a similar idea as with tear gas, but Joshua had to be careful and put on a mask so the gas wouldn't enter his lungs. Although it wouldn't kill him it would definitely make him feel like crap for the next hour or so if he inhaled just a small amount. If he had gotten several lung filled breaths of the stuff he would pass out and be laid out for possibly days depending on how much got into his system.
When the gas started to fill the room several of the creatures had barged through the windows and door in attempt to reach him, but he quickly moved up the stairs to the next floor. When he opened the door he already had his combat knife at the ready as a creature lunged at him. He avoided it before grabbing its arm and slamming it into the wall behind him. He then finished it off with a stab to the back of the head before tossing its body into the hoard of creatures trying to reach him. Quickly moving into the second floor he repeated his actions from the previous floor before making his way to the roof.
Joshua made sure to lock the door behind him before looking over the edge of the building to see how many creatures were in the area. Although several had made their way into the building there were still hundreds surrounding the outside entrance trying to make their way inside. Knowing that was impossible Joshua took another gas container and chunked it into the hoard below. It didn't take long for it to cover most of the area of the mob and soon Joshua could here creatures battering on the door that lead to the roof he was on. Taking one deep breath Joshua ran to the other side of the roof before leaping across to the roof the two girls were waiting for him on.
He looked towards Laura before sending the message through the mental link. 'Light them up.' Laura nodded before creating a small fireball to save energy and sending it through a window into the building. The slight crashing sound of the fireball breaking through the window was quickly followed by a loud explosion that lit up the entire building. The fire didn't just stop there but followed out into the street where the gas container that Joshua had tossed outside was thrown. The green gas quickly caught a flame burning all the creatures huddled outside. Screeches filled the air from the dying abominations and the sounds attracted more and more of them to the area.
'Well let's go before the fire spreads to this building.' Joshua said as he leaped onto the next building in the direction of the mayor's office. His two companions followed close behind making the same leaps he was able to with ease. Clearly the level ups had been doing their job well considering beforehand these two ladies could hardly make it halfway across if they tried to make the same leaps.
It took a while for them to reach the center of town by jumping from roof to roof. Occasionally they had to stop to kill a couple creatures that had somehow made their way on top of the roofs, but for the most part they were able to avoid any more big confrontations. Some times when they stopped to gain a quick rest they could see large swarms of the creatures walking the streets below as they headed in the direction of the flaming building they had left behind. The scene drove home the fact that there were far more of these things than before.
When they finally reached the building nearest the Mayor's office they were able to see their goal, well at least in a way. In front of them was and enormous thick purple cloud that covered the entire area of the building. There weren't many creatures in the area, or at least within view. What they could see in the cloud was a large silhouette that seemed to cast a darker shading than the cloud it was in. This silhouette seemed to be as tall as the three story building that use to be the mayor's office but was now nothing more than a large pile of rubble. Its eyes were closed and it seemed to be sleeping as it breathed in and out at a rather slow pace. Each time it breathed out the cloud would expand a bit and the haze would deepen. This behemoth before them put the small fry back at the factory to shame, but right now Joshua couldn't doubt his self. Now it was time to find out if they could hurt it.