Chapter 5- Part 1
Indie paused in the kitchen, listening to her parents talk. They rarely ever argued, but she could hear the anger in her mom’s voice.
“Dan, we have to do something. The other moms are worried. Black bears don't attack unprovoked. If Indiana hadn't known what to do, or if she hadn’t told Ryan to get the gun…She could've been mauled or worse. Everyone’s scared, it's time to stop playing survivor man and go down to see what's going on.”
She peeked around the corner to see her dad nod. “You're right, Tera. Ted and I will go down to see what's going on. If it's clear then we'll come back and get everyone.”
“I want to go,” Indie stepped into the room.
“No. We have no idea what's going on down there, the radio has been dead for a while.”
“But we'll need supplies if things aren't any better. No offense but guys aren't all that great at getting everything we need.”
“She has a point, Dan. You suck at getting groceries. We have kids up here and women with certain needs.”
“Fine. I see I'm out numbered but you'll ride with Ryan. Stop at the grocery store to get supplies, then right back, unless we give the all clear. Understood?”
“Wow,” Ryan murmured as they entered Eagle Bay. Cars were smashed into trees, no one was on the road. They pulled into the Big M parking lot, next to Dan's truck. Indie rolled down her window as her dad did the same.
“You two stay here. We're going to drive down to Old Forge and see what we can see. This isn't looking good, so you two go in, stock up on whatever you can find, then turn back.”
Indie nodded, glancing toward the Hard Times Cafe. Several of the windows had been smashed and a car was tipped on its side in the parking lot.
Ryan leaned forward to look passed Indie. “What if we can't find what we need?”
The men exchanged a glance. “Go to our house and clean out the pantry, basement, and office. You have my credit card, money, the radio and guns, right?”
“Okay. Keep us informed of where you are.”
“Will do. Be careful.”
Ryan and Indie climbed out of the truck as their dads drove away. They approached the broken glass doors of the Big M with caution.
“This doesn't look promising,” Indiana muttered, carefully stepping through the shattered glass. Looking around, they saw no other people in the building. “I think we should stick together.”
Ryan nodded, “Those shelves look pretty picked over.”
Indie grabbed a cart. “Well, let’s get what we can.” Pushing the cart down the first aisle, she began grabbing boxes and bags.
After a few aisles, Ryan broke the silence. “You know, I was really impressed by how you handled yourself with the bear. I was scared witless at first, totally forgot I had the gun.”
Indie paused before dropping a box of potato flakes in the cart. “Really?”
“To be honest, so was I. You know how people say they see their lives flash before their eyes? I think I saw that when the bear charged.”
“Was it a good life?”
Stepping over to the shelves, she picked up some canned vegetables. “Actually, it was unfulfilled. I realized there is a lot I still want to do.”
“Like...” Indie trailed off as she raised her finger to lips. From somewhere in the back of the store they heard a soft shuffling. She pulled the twenty-two pistol from the holster at her hip. Ryan raised his eyebrow but followed suit. Leaving the cart, they made their way toward the sound, peering around shelving units until they saw a man. He had the same vacant stare that Ms. Weltner and Mr. Benti had when she'd last seen them. The front of his tee-shirt was covered in blood, but Indie couldn't see any wounds. He moved with a slow shambling gait from the deli to an end shelf, then turned and went back.
She shook her head at Ryan. Dread pooled in her stomach. She didn't want to face another life threatening situation. He nodded and jerked his head back toward their cart. They quietly resumed their mission, loading the cart with anything and everything they could find. As they came out of the last aisle they froze in their tracks. A woman stood weaving back and forth between them and the doors. Her blank face contorted into one of stark rage when she saw them. In a shuffling run she came toward them, arms outstretched.
“Think we can get around her?”
“I'm not sure with the cart.”
A sound like a fire cracker rang out and the front window shattered. The woman lurched forward one more step, then fell face down. Ryan and Indie exchanged a shocked look and hightailed it to the front doors, slowing to cautiously exit the store. Holding his gun, Ryan walked out first with Indie pushing the cart behind, glancing over her shoulder expecting the man from the deli to come running. Beside Ryan's truck stood a man with a rifle.
“You two should be more careful.”
“You killed that woman!” Indie tried to keep a calm voice. She'd never seen a person killed before and was fighting to keep her stomach from revolting. Ryan wrapped an arm around her shoulders as she blinked away tears.
The stranger pushed his hat up and raised his eyebrow, then shook his head. “That woman was already dead, sweetheart. Haven't you seen the news?”
They shook their heads and Ryan replied, “No. Past few weeks we've been up in the woods.”
“The government.” He turned his head and spit. “They finally came clean. The people who were infected and died, actually died. There was no coma. That virus thing, it takes over.”
Indie leaned into Ryan. “What do you mean?”
The man scrubbed his hand over his face. “Think of a person like a computer. This virus comes in wipes the hard drive, then reboots with its own programing. The person is gone, and just the virus is left and its only function is to spread itself to other people.”
Indie shook her head. She wasn't sure which was more surreal, this gruff redneck looking guy talking computers or the whole virus taking over people. Pulling away from Ryan she began putting the supplies in the back of the truck.
“Listen, I know how crazy this sounds. But you listen to the radio or find yourselves a TV then you'll believe me. If any of those things come at you, shoot them. They ain't people anymore. Aim for the head, you need a kill shot to bring them down. Hurting them won't do any good, they don't feel pain.” He started to walk away, then turned back. “And for God's sake, don't let them bite or scratch you, that's how it spreads.”
Ryan climbed up into the bed of the truck and began moving the supplies around so they wouldn't blow out. “So what do you think?”
Indie shook her head. “I think we need to find a TV and I wish your radio worked.” She glanced over her shoulder toward the store. “And I think we need to get out of here before that thing at the back of the store makes its way out here.”