Last we seen of Chase, he and Kelly were headed toward Cynthiana, hoping to reunite with his sister and a caravan set to depart for Washington D.C. If only things were that simple.
After a series of unfortunate events, it’s now up to Chase’s best friend, Malcolm and a new companion Rasheeda, to find Sanctuary for them all. But with miles of bad road in between them and safety will they all make it in one piece or perish along the way?
Malcolm - Jesse Williams
Rasheeda - Nicole Behairie
Kelly - Cerina Vincent
Chase - Josh Stewart
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
There was an irony to Malcolm's arrival in Cynthiana. Along the way he lost a friend, battled the dead, rescued a distressed woman and survived an axe handle to the head. And for what? To greet what was now a ghost town. An image of his girlfriend popped into his mind. He blinked it away. Thinking about what may have happened to her would do him no good. Instead he took a deep breath and crouched lower, peeking around the edge of an overflowing dumpster. Beyond his vantage point, he spotted the double doors leading into Harrison Memorial Hospital. He dug in his pocket and retrieved his cell phone. Nothing. The battery had long died. He pitched it across the parking lot as hard as he could, watching it crash onto the pavement several feet in front of the hospital doors. He waited. Held his breath and watched. Seconds ticked by and then he spotted it. Moving slow, but swift enough to send a chill through his bones. Tattered clothes, twisted limbs and a blood mask for a face. It descended on the spot where the cell phone lay in pieces. He steadied himself against the dumpster. Eyes trained ahead. Watching as it sniffed around for what he could only assume was its next meal. His heart sank. The creature; once a person, now something else, was joined by another and then another until several of them roamed about. They blocked the path to the hospital doors. He retreated.
Back in the truck, he cradled his head in his hands, exhausted from lack of sleep and the miles of bad road he’d driven to get to his home town. For days he held out hope that things would set right. Cynthiana wasn't just a destination; it was his saving grace. Now, the hope that drove him and fueled his ongoing survival had diminished. He didn’t think he could go on much longer. The soft whistle of a woman snoring sliced through his thoughts. Beside him, Rasheeda slept slouched against the seat. Her dark coils shielded the soft features of her face. He considered leaving her be. For the first time since they met, she looked peaceful. He wanted to lock in the image; not only for her, but for himself. It reminded him of better days. When he didn’t spend every minute looking over his shoulder. When there was more to life than mere survival. As quick as the memory came, it was dismissed by the sound of movement coming from the backseat.
He turned to find Kelly, the woman accompanying his best friend Chase when they met a few days ago outside of Lexington. She absently fiddled with a walkie-talkie they found discarded on the road. Out the corner of his eye, he saw a figure approach from the passenger side window. He touched Kelly’s knee. She jumped. But he quickly put a finger to his lips and motioned for her to get down. Rasheeda mumbled something in her sleep. He used the opportunity to nudge her shoulder. She protested, slapping his hand away. He nudged again. This time, she yawned and stretched her arms above her head until her fingers made contact with the roof. “What?” she asked. In the state she was in, her voice sounded heavy and hoarse. She sat up against the seat and pushed her hair away from her face. The action revealing a pair of prominent brown eyes.
“Don’t move,” he whispered. Her expression froze in confusion and then fear. She nodded in recognition, and then slowly retrieved the gun he kept in the consul. “There’s one outside the window. Just stay cool. I’m gonna get us out of here,” he said while pressing his hand to the keys dangling from the ignition. But as he turned them, the back window shattered and a spray of glass flew across the cab.
Before he could react a flush of scarlet streaked Kelly’s pale cheeks. After that, everything happened in a blur. A muzzle flash and more glass. Rasheeda firing off shots to no avail. He reached for Kelly and almost had her. But there was too many of them. A rush of decaying hands clawed at hair and face tearing away skin. Blood spattered the interior. His heart raced. There were screams, wails, panic and confusion. He fought them off with one arm, knocking the keys out of the ignition.
“I got 'em! Just get the truck started!” Rasheeda yelled. The bullets expended, she took to bashing the creatures with the butt of the gun. He set to work, cursing under his breath and frantically searched the floor beneath him. He ducked and dodged bony arms that grabbed at his clothes as pushed their way into the cab. With a shaky hand and a lot of luck his fingers brushed against the keys. He swiped them from the floor, hearing them jangle as he tried to jab one into the ignition. Shit! It was the wrong one. He tried again. This time he was successful. In the nick of time he started the engine and slammed his foot on the gas pedal. The truck sputtered and jerked forward. He floored it. Whatever salvation Cynthiana offered was long gone. A rush of wind battered his body from the windowless cab. He took a quick glance at Rasheeda. The relief on her face unmistakable. Heavy breathing and moaning from behind him, assured their ordeal was far from over. He Didn’t dare look back. “Kelly? Hang in there. We’re going to get you someplace safe. Everything’s going to be okay,” he reassured her, but his certainty didn't extend far. “Kelly?” She responded with an agonizing moan. It was something. Rasheeda climbed over the seat, joining Kelly in back. “It's not bad, Kelly. It's not bad at all,” he heard her say. Her voice was soothing, and held more confidence than he ever could. They hadn’t lost her yet. Maybe they wouldn’t. He pressed forward; listening as the wails of the dead faded in the distance behind them.
This was originally the first chapter of a nano story I titled Creatures of Habit. I still have plans for a full novella, but it's going to take me time. I liked the idea of incorporating one of the Walking Dead webisode storylines (in this case Cold Storage featuring Chase) with my own original characters. I also wanted to focus on having a male and female lead in this story who are both black. Hope you enjoyed and I'll see you next time.
I've decided to continue add onto this story as I originally planned to. See you next chapter.
To be continued...