They came without warning, a never-ending tide of the undead. The military was unable to contain the explosion of the disease. The government packed up and headed west. They told us to evacuate the cities and wished us luck. The military was too busy trying to defeat the enemy to help with evacuations.
Flights and buses were few and far between, but that didn’t stop people from trying to catch a ride. Even if you caught a flight, there weren’t many safe zones left in the world. Jack Walker was one of the lucky ones. He had a seat on the last flight out of Syracuse. It was headed for rural Montana.
Another passenger, Bruce Schick, tried selling his seat to the highest bidder in the crowd that had gathered. He was betting that this wouldn’t be the last flight out of Hancock.
Bored heads looked up around the meeting hall at the center of the two concourses. Once it had been an airport-themed playground, wasted space at the airport to teach children about the wonders of flight through space-filling models. Now, it was the only place big enough to hold full-zone meetings indoors that wasn’t a cargo bay. At least there were some chairs.
“Sara Wilson, Tyresha Wilkins, and James Bigsby, ages 8, 9, and 10, all were caught Thursday by patrolling members of Corpse Corps trying to dig under the fence in order to leave the zone un-escorted. Their parents will now bring them to the front of the hall for their spankings before we adjourn.”
A murmur was heard around the hall. It got louder as children’s wails were heard from three different points in the hall. No one moved.
A voice rang out over the hall. “You can’t do this!”
“Mister Schick, of Maintenance, isn’t it? Sorry, Mister Schick. This one isn’t open for discussion.”
Sergeant Bill Asher wondered why it was that all the civilians treated him like a secretary. He was Captain Slater’s adjutant, and as such, he outranked even the battalion commanders. It didn’t matter much. Let the civvies think whatever they needed to.
“No, you don’t. You’d like to see the captain. Sorry, guys. He’s busy right now.”
“Bill, we insist.”
Okay, if civilians were bad, civilians that had been to college for three years and had two weeks of Corpse Corps action were worse. “Oh! Why didn’t you say so earlier? That makes all the difference. Who should I tell him is calling?” He wondered if the kid would be able to pick up on his sarcasm. “Come on. You know procedure. All requests for meetings with the captain go through your squad leader and battalion lieutenant. Nothing is so urgent that–”
“This is.” The taller man in the back had spoken for the first time.
Bill stared at him in a cold, stony silence. “No, it isn’t. Back to your unit, soldier.”
The door opened and the captain stepped into the room. He looked over the three men standing there.
The one who had not yet spoken said, “Leo, sir. 74th Squad. This is J. J. and he’s Razor.”
The captain nodded. “Yes. I thought you’d be by. You’re here sooner than I expected. You’d better come in.”