Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Jared filled us in on what he knows about the zombie virus(es), which happens to be pretty damn near everything. As it got dark every day, Carly and I went out on scouting missions to try and figure out our situation, what with the Plague Lord Simon seemingly being so close.

Thursday I took Jared across town for a little mission. It was actually only about 20 blocks round trip.

“Do you want take a vehicle?” Carly asked.

“No,” I replied. “We’d be too visible. We can go on foot and blend in the zombies pretty well. It’s not far.”

So we moved up Second Street, weaving around the occasional zombies, shot across Third Street (the busiest, biggest, most open one), and maneuvered between the houses toward the high school. As we approached the pool doors on the east side, we saw a huge work of graffiti on the empty wall: “NOW ITS THE SAME ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE SCHOOL AS ON THE IN-” followed by a large splatter of blood that extended into a smear right to the corner. I don’t think he was done but he got his point across.

I tried one of the doors. Locked. They all were. Obviously. Jared smashed out one of the tiny little windows and pushed the bar on the other side so I could pull the door open. The noise drew a few zombies in the halls toward us. Jared sunk his crowbar into the skull of one while I painted the wall with the brain of the other using my trusty Louisville Slugger. Yeah, the same one.

The room we wanted was not quite on the other side of the building. I scouted ahead a little ways, going down a few short hallways, around a few corners until I came to the first longish hallway. Strangely enough, a little more than half a dozen zombies were milling around in it. I looked past them to the glass wall of the cafeteria and saw even more. Like a lot more. I trotted back to Jared who was still near the exterior door.

“Let’s head down this hallway and check out the situation ahead of it. If it looks OK, we’ll keep going. Otherwise we can double back to this staircase and try the second floor.”

“Whatever you say, man.”

We headed down the first longish hallway toward the cafeteria, pushing away zombies that got too close. We didn’t want to kill any and make a bunch of noise. At the intersection by the cafeteria, we peeked around the right corner to check out the hallway running past the cafeteria’s glass wall and into the lobby.

There was another five or so zombies in that hallway and the lobby looked packed. I don’t know why there were so many in here but whatever. We went left instead, quickly to avoid the zombies seeing us, and ducked into a stairwell. Up the two flights of stairs and onto the second floor where there were far few zombies.

I edged around the corner that turns into the hallway that runs past the music rooms, both decently long and wider than any other, and there were only two. I signaled to Jared and we stealth-ran past them. Jared watched my back while I surveyed the next hallway, which tied for longest with its twin on the first floor. It’s probably at least a city block long.

I looked right, which was the end we were pretty close to and also not the way we were going to go. One zombie. I looked left. Eight or so? The entire length of it. And we didn’t have too far to go to get to the staircase.

We ran as quietly as possible for the stairs on the left. I went down one flight and peeked out into the lobby. Yeah, packed. I went to the other side of the stairs and looked left. The ones in the lobby had kind of spilled out into the hallway. Dammit. That meant we’d have to take the second floor all the way down to the end, come down, and head halfway to the lobby back up the hallway on the first floor to the science room.

I met Jared at the top of the stairs and we made our way carefully down the entire hallway on the second floor. We came to the staircase and there were like five zombies on the modestly-sized landing.

“Dammit,” I whispered. “Let’s hop over railings.”

I planted my ass on the wooden railing, slid to where it wasn’t too high to jump, swung my legs over the concrete divider, and dropped down. Jared, bless his heart, did it almost as gracefully and even managed to kick one of the landing zombies in the face. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to give a shit.

I looked around the corner down the long hallway toward the lobby. Other than the ones that had wondered out of the lobby, there were only a few. We booked it for the science lab.

The door was unlocked. I let Jared in and closed it as quietly as possible. Jared immediately set upon the microscopes and equipment as he pulled his petri dishes from his bag.

“Why didn’t we just break a window?” Jared asked quietly.

“I wouldn’t have known which one to break,” I said. “And now no one outside knows we’re in here.”

“Uh huh. I’m still going to break a window to get out. That was ridiculous.”

“Fair enough.”

I’m not really big on science and stuff so I couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was setting up. But I asked anyway.

“This virus that Simon supposedly made is also supposed to be really easy to modify,” he said.

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. So I’m thinking if I can figure out how it’s constructed, I can make modifications pretty easily. We might be able to use it to our advantage.”

I couldn’t fathom how, but it sounded cool. After a while, he spoke up.

“They don’t have good enough equipment for me to finish this,” he said.

“We could try the community college,” I offered.

“That sounds good.”

And for fuck’s sake, I enjoy telling stories, but I’m getting restless. As far as our trek to the college, we went through the woods, which had very few zombies. Copy and paste the story I just told into your head a second time, with different turns and an equally oddly large number of zombies. I’m not going to tell you Jared’s idea or our plan, you’ll find out soon enough and I can’t have Simon knowing. I have shit to do.