“So you have a game plan, right?”
Luke glanced at her then back to the road. “Sure, I have a plan of sorts.”
“Which means no, we’re winging this.” Crossing her arms over her chest she flopped back against the pickup’s seat. They were driving down route twenty six heading for Lowville. Luke had chosen a roundabout route, hitting mostly back roads, and bringing them in closer to the stores. Chloe was on edge, she hadn’t had to face another one of those things since getting to the farm. The few that had stumbled near the house, Rob or Luke had taken out with a rifle before they’d gotten close. Aim for the head, just like in the movies, that’s what the reporter told them.
Chloe glanced out the window as they passed another house, most the houses they’d gone by had looked abandoned, this one’s door was wide open blocked by something that looked like a body. Swallowing, Chloe turned her gaze ahead not wanting to see what the other houses held. They pulled into the Kinney Drugs parking lot and stared at the building. The front doors had been shattered, glass covered the entrance.
“We’ll start here.” Luke handed her his revolver, then turned and took the rifle from the gun rack behind them. Chloe made sure the safety was on then tucked the revolver into her coat pocket, reaching down she picked up a tire iron that was on the floor boards. “I give you a gun and you grab that instead.”
“I’m better at close combat, and guns are noisy. We don’t know if these things can hear, firing a gun might be like ringing a dinner bell.”
“Ok good point, but it’s all I got.”
They climbed out of the truck, and headed for the entrance. Glass crunched under their feet as they entered the store. Shelves were ransacked, displays littered the floor, something that may have been blood or soda covered the floor in front of the coolers. Steeling herself, Chloe grabbed a basket from where they lay.
“Let’s see what’s left.”
Avoiding the coolers, they headed down the next aisle. They found a few cans of beef and barley soup, a loaf of penicillin bread, and a very stale bag of Cheetos. Shaking her head Chloe tossed the Cheetos back on the shelf. “We should check out the restaurants for food.”
“Don’t you think it would be all spoiled?”
“Fresh stuff and meat, but the diner might have stuff for baking. Although the double arches is probably a long shot.”
“Worth a look, I guess. Let’s check the baby aisle and then get out of here.”
Chloe nodded and turned looking for the sign that read baby. A hand snaked out from a knocked over display, grabbing her foot. Letting out a high pitched shriek, Chloe jumped back kicking out as she did. The hand flew across the store, and Chloe landed in Luke’s arms. Under the shelves, the thing thrashed and fought to get up, yet didn’t seem to have the awareness to push the shelves off itself. At one time thing had been a young woman, now her skin was a ghastly greenish yellow and decaying in places. Milky white eyes, fixed on them and her teeth gnashed as she struggled.
Pushing away from Luke, Chloe set down the basket and took a firm hold of the tire iron. Moving closer she angled the flat pointy end toward the things head and in a quick thrust rammed it through the eye. Instantly it stopped moving. Swallowing down the bile in her throat, Chloe yanked the iron back. She turned toward Luke, “I couldn’t leave her that way…”
He nodded, then surprised her by grabbing her free hand and pulling her into a hug. He held her for a moment, then tipped her face up to look at him. “I get it,” he pressed a quick kiss to her lips. “Don’t ever scare me like that again.”
She stared up at him for a second, then smiled. “No promises.”
Luke let her go, and they carefully made their way to the baby aisle. Compared to the food they hit the jackpot. Chloe found several diaper bags, which she transferred the soup to, also diaper rash cream, baby shampoo, soothing bubble bath, pacifiers, bottles, even a breast pump. Some of the stuff Chloe had no idea if it was usable or not she just tossed it in with the rest.
Luke searched the surrounding aisles, as she filled a diaper bag. He came back with a bunch of first aide, dumping it in the bag he said, “Couldn’t find any diapers.”
Grabbing a stack of receiving blankets, Chloe sighed. “We’ll just have to make our own.”
“Anything else while we’re here.”
Chloe glanced up looking at the signs overhead with the aisle names on them. A smile crept over her lips when she read toys. “Yeah.” She grabbed another empty diaper bag, and hefted the full one. Luke grinned at her when he saw where they were headed.
They jammed coloring books, crayons, Barbies, baby dolls and a couple random toys into the bag. Hefting the second bag, Chloe nodded, “ok let’s go. You first since you got the gun.”
Author's Note: Unedited Version