The mission to rescue Blue Brigade member Moira Jones continues…
A secret self-organized unit within the ZSC received the Urgent call for help from Moira Jones and sprang into action. Although the city is awash with walkers, these brave souls put together a mission plan on hearing Moira’s plight. Exactly what we expect from Zombie Survival Crew members. Below is a brief mission recap, then a continuation of the field reports pouring in.
MISSION: Rescue one Moira Jones from 6th floor of over run hospital.
OBJECTIVE: Search for and rescue Moira Jones and bring to safety.
STRATEGY: Rendezvous with fellow members of the ZSC and use skill sets to bring Moira Jones to safety.
- Norman Reedus – Blue Brigade Commander
- Michael Rooker – Head of Special Forces
- Tiffany, Rebecca, Apryl, Emma, Jessica, and Eve – A ragtag group of ZSC members from different brigades that are going to come together to ensure Moira is rescued and brought to safety. (@MacabreKiss @RebeccaMStarr @FlaneryGrl @Emmabookworm @Jessadorkadon and @Catella_Snape)
The cold wind cut through the thick hoodie, pea-coat, and flannel shirt I wore as I walked along the cracked and crumbled sidewalk. I shivered and ducked my head down in an effort to keep it at bay.
It seemed I was always cold these days. The power in the abandoned library I lived in finally kicked the bucket and at night the cold became unbearable. The daytime wasn’t much better thanks to the heavy gray clouds covering the sky for miles in all directions.
Another problem with clouds, they made everything feel so much more depressing. Sure, the city wasn’t deserted, not yet. Several apartment complexes and quite a few stores had been abandoned when the first outbreak occurred.
But those who stayed…stayed put. No one ventured outside anymore, not for long anyway. The gray clouds were always a kind of symbol of that for me, in a weird way. They had this feeling of expectancy, of waiting. You knew the clouds wanted to break and shower the city with rain, sleet—whatever it was up there—but it kept itself contained. That’s kind of the way things were now.
I touched the grip of my Colt 1911 as if expecting Hell to break out right there. It didn’t. I relaxed a bit and tried to concentrate on keeping my teeth from chattering.
The first outbreak happened a little over three months ago. It sent everyone into a panic. There’d been smaller ones since. Whenever someone dropped dead it was only a matter of time before they began walking around again. Everyone came to expect this, but that didn’t make it any less frightening.
I have it a bit easier than most, though, no family to take care of really. I have a sort of ‘family’ with the Zombie Survival Crew, but no one to be obligated to. I missed that.
See, I’d been living with my little brother and my uncle. Then my brother, Todd, turned. He was one of the first to turn, actually. Just six years old… After that my uncle took off. I don’t know where, and I don’t really care.
Everyone in our apartment building left to go find shelter deeper in the city or find their family and friends. I think we all knew the first outbreak was just the tip of the iceberg.
I left too, taking as much food as I could and a few blankets, and moved into the public library.
To be honest, I’m surprised no one else thought to go there. I mean, the doors are heavy wood, easy to barricade with bookshelves. There’s entertainment, and as a long as you have enough food and warmth, it’d be perfect.
Oh well, guess I’m the only one to think of it.
I headed to the abandoned supermarket just a few blocks down. My canned food supplies were low. If I was lucky, I’d be able to find a few cans that hadn’t been grabbed already.
As I walked, I looked up, brushing back some of my windswept hair out of my face, and saw a group of four coming towards me. I stopped, my hand immediately going to my gun. They stopped. I saw that they were alive.
They reached for their weapons too, and eyed me with suspicion and distrust. I dropped my hand to show them I wouldn’t draw my weapon if they weren’t. They started to move, but kept their hands close to their weapons as they crossed the street, watching me the whole time.
I started walking again, making sure they wouldn’t try anything when I turned my back. Only after I rounded a corner did I relax.
You couldn’t be too careful. It wasn’t just the dead you had to fear; you never knew what other people were planning, either.
The Walkers aren’t really a huge threat in this area, not yet, anyway. It’s only a matter of time. Everyone knows that. You can’t stop people from dying, and you can’t keep them from coming back, either. No matter how many times you heard the broadcasts swearing up and down that a cure is right around the corner. That’s complete bull crap.
Fear ruled the city now.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I spotted the darkened windows of the supermarket up ahead. Half way done with the trip, but I didn’t feel safe. No one felt safe anymore.
I slid my gun out from my belt and switched the safety off, chambering a round. Satisfied, I moved quickly up the sidewalk and to the broken automated doors. I peered inside, quieting my breathing so I could hear better. I didn’t hear anything at all, so I eased inside and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.
I didn’t want to use it the flashlight in my pocket, (a) because I didn’t know how long the batteries would last—and there was a shortage of batteries now ever since the power outages started happening more and more frequently—and (b) I didn’t know if a Walker lurked inside or not.
My eyesight adjusted and I eased my way towards back wall. I’d been in here a few times with better lighting. If there were any canned goods left, they’d be back there.
Trying my best not to make a sound, I started to make my way down the aisle.
I should’ve checked the ground better, I know. My foot hit a basket in the middle of the aisle and it went clattering across the floor.
Gasping, I froze and waited for the echo of metal clattering on the floor to cease. As it died away, another sound made my heart stop, then immediately begin hammering at my ribcage.
Slow, shuffling footsteps came from somewhere in the store.
I whirled around and inhaled deeply, hoping to smell it before it got too close, or I hear it. Whatever it was. I couldn’t stay put, it would be suicide. The smartest thing to do would be to keep moving. I did.
When I estimated I reached the canned goods section, I reached out and started feeling for cans. It didn’t matter what I picked up, I’m not a picky eater. I was just happy when my hand touched the cold aluminum and started snatching up cans, shoving them into the canvas shoulder bag. I tried not to let them clink against the extra ammo clips in there.
Satisfied I grabbed enough for another week or two, I started for the exit.
The moan came from right at my elbow. I whirled. My arm smacked into cold, clammy, rotten flesh.
How could I not notice a walker getting that close? The sound of cans clicking together probably distracted me but that was no excuse. I needed to do better than that.
I aimed my gun at where my arm met dead flesh, then thought better of it. With my other hand I pulled free the Army Scout knife strapped to my leg and swung.
The blade ripped into soft tissue. An angry growl crept from the darkness before a heavy body stumbled against me.
“Get off!” I shouted, shoving it back as hard as I could and swung again, aiming up towards the source of all the moaning.
“GAH!” The walker moaned. The blade dug into thick bone. It hit the skull, but didn’t penetrate to the bone. I quickly jerked it free, a foot against the zombie as leverage, then brought the knife down as hard as I could.
It plowed into the zombie’s skull. A disgusting, cold liquid squirted onto my hand, doubtless blood and brain.
The zombie fell at my feet, dead once and for all. I pulled my knife free, wiped it clean on the nearby shelf, re-sheathed my weapons, and bolted for the door.
I didn’t stop running until I was halfway down the sidewalk.
That was close, I thought. Too close. Pay more attention next time.
Still, it was satisfying to be alive in spite of the gray, gooey slime on my left hand. Best of all, at least seven cans were in my bag. I patted my haul appreciatively.
As I walked, a noise off to my right made me stop. I reached for the blade once again—it’d be best to keep noise to a minimum. A terrier, very dirty looking, padded out of the alley up ahead. I stopped short.
I hadn’t seen an animal in ages, except for crows of course. All of the pets disappeared; either locked in with their owners, run off, or eaten from what I could figure.
“Hey, puppy,” I crooned, offering my hand in a sign of friendliness. “You all alone? Come on, I won’t hurt you.” I inched forward, careful not to look threatening. The dog stopped, ears lifted in alert.
I smooched my lips, begging it come with me. “I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
The dog whimpered then cautiously trotted forward, staying as far away as possible. He sniffed my hand. I tried my luck and slowly uncurled my fingers to touch the rough fur on his head. He backed away. I clicked my tongue. He approached again.
I managed to gently stroke his fur. Slowly, his droopy tail began to sweep back and forth. That’s what I love about dogs. They can go through the worst things and still be willing to love if shown affection.
“There we go,” I murmured approvingly, stroking under his chin when I saw it made his tail wag faster.
“Now just come home with me and we’ll—”
The dog’s head jerked towards the alley. He gave a startled yelp before turning and darting away.
“No, wait!” I called, getting to my feet. “Don’t go!”
A clattering from the alley grabbed my attention. I drew my knife. Doubtless the little dog heard something in the alley before I did.
Another walker appeared from the mouth of the alley, shambling forward unsteadily.
I pulled back and drove my knife into the side of its head, pushing over against the wall. It struggled for a moment, so I twisted the embedded knife, making sure I destroyed the brain, and then jerked it free. The zombie crumpled at my feet. I fought off a wave of nausea.
A woman this time, with dirty, long blond hair. She couldn’t have been dead very long. Her color wasn’t as bad as I’d seen before, it was still a bit pink, though fast changing to gray.
“Mwaaaaaaahh…” The moan came from the alley. I whirled, my knife ready to go into the head of another walker, but I stopped short.
The alley overflowed with walkers. Their voices joined together in a grisly howl of the hunt.
I bolted for the library. I charged through the front doors and slammed them shut and tipped the heavy bookcase barricade in front of them.
In a few minutes the sound of their moans grew louder. The scratch of their nails raked against the wooden doors as they thumped against them in vain.
I started towards my little sleeping spot in the back corner, a good vantage point from which I could see every entrance and exit. Suddenly my pocket vibrated. The musical jingle of a ring tone floated up to me.
I scrambled for it. The phone only ever received calls from other Zombie Survival Crew members—all of which were formidable fighters. If they called, things were dire, indeed.
We’d been lucky so far to maintain a stable connection.
I pulled it free and looked at the caller ID. My eyebrows raised in surprise. Eve!
“Hello?” The line was filled with static, but I could still hear her.
“Emma!” she said in relief. “I thought you would never answer. Are you okay?”
I glanced at the doors. The walkers continued to thump and moan outside.
“Sure,” I said. “Nothing I can’t handle. What’s wrong?”
She paused. I frowned. Whatever it was, it couldn’t be good.
“Eve, what’s wrong?” I asked, a bit worried.
“It—It’s Moira,” she said quietly. My heart skipped a beat.
“What?” My voice rose in panic in spite of my efforts to control it, “What’s happened to Moira?”
“She’s okay,” Eve said hurriedly. “For now. We just got word that her hospital has been overrun with walkers. She’s pinned down and needs help, fast.”
I ran a hand through my hair.
“Thank God.” True, her situation was less than appealing, but as long as she lived, I’d hold out hope.
We agreed to meet at the abandoned hotel close by the hospital.
“Be careful,” Eve said. I smiled. She’d become a surrogate mother and big sister rolled into one.
“I will if you will,” I said. “I’ll be over in just a little while.”
Over in my sleeping area, I reached under my pillow for the rest of the ammo I kept stashed there. And for something else—my sword. I loaded up with the extra ammo, bits of jerky, bandages, an extra knife, and some pain pills and antibiotic ointment I’d been lucky enough to find. I strapped on my sword and headed for the side door, hoping the walkers hadn’t gone around back.
I took a deep breath and kept my sword at the ready, just in case. The bookshelf barricade slid out of the way. I slipped through the door and onto the sidewalk.
Out of the multitude of buildings I picked out the one I knew to be the hospital. It stood quite a hike away and doubtless wouldn’t be an easy trip. But I didn’t care. This was Moira we were talking about, Moira. The strong one, the one we all looked up to and admired.
I swallowed the lump in my throat at thought of how scared she must be. With Eve, Jess, Apryl, Tiffany and Rebecca helping me, there’s no way we’d let anything happen to her.
Hang on, Moira, I thought. Breaking into a jog, I ran still clutching my sword. “Help is on the way.”
“We are going to need more supplies.” I said, looking at the nearly bare shelves.
My mother, little sister, step-dad, and fiancé were staying in my house. All of the doors and windows barricaded.
“I will drive to the store and see if there is anything left.” Unfortunately, people didn’t always take what they absolutely needed. Most of the stuff went whether it was needed or not.
We were down to a few cans of vegetables, a box and a half of cereal, and five bottles of water. That wouldn’t last very long. A trip to the store was in high demand. Not to mention, we needed medical supplies. A couple of band-aids, not even half a tube of Antibiotic ointment, one wrap, and about twenty-five Ibuprofen pills.
I put on my homemade weapons belt and grabbed my cast iron skillet, slipping it in the holster designed for it. Then I grabbed my twin Desert Eagles with silencers, army knife, and three daggers.
As I put on my coat I said, “Come here, Luna”.
Fortunately, I’d taken the time to have Luna properly trained by Sean Patrick Flanery and Donut. She was a zombie killing machine. With her, I felt calmer. I knew she had my back.
Luna and I headed for the door. “Don’t forget your phone!” mom called out and tossed my phone to me.
“Thanks!” I smirked and walked out the door.
Luna and I got into the car and headed to the store. When we got there, there a group of living people stood outside.
The group of men looked like they meant business. One guy held a baseball bat and thumped it against his hand. Another rested his hand on the handle of a machete. Two others stepped forward, holding crowbars. I stopped for a minute and looked over each one of them carefully. Didn’t see any guns. I moved toward the doors.
“Don’t take another step,” the biggest guy warned. “We run this place, and if you want to come in, you’ll need to pay.”
Pay? Right…we’ll see who will pay.
I took another step. “I’m warning you,” he shouted. “You need to give us some weapons if you want to come in here!”
I couldn’t help it. The giggles bubbled up in my stomach. I let out a huge roll of laughter. They were just amusing. Did they not know? Well, of course they had no idea that I was in the Purple Brigade of the Zombie Survival Crew and therefore properly trained to handle any and every situation that might arise.
“What are you laughing at, ho?” asked the smallest guy of them all.
I went from laughing to serious in a millisecond. Oh no he didn’t.
Not taking my eyes off of them, I opened the car door. Luna stepped out. She bared her fangs. Her hackles rose down her back. She stood there and stared at them.
“What was it that you said? I don’t think my dog heard you quite right,” I said taking a few steps closer. Luna stayed in step with me, not taking her eyes off of them.
“I called you a ho,” the little guy said, emphasizing the word.
“That’s what I thought you said.” I smiled.
With one swoop, I pulled the three daggers from their holster and whipped them toward the men. They hit their mark, leaving the little guy standing.
While the three clutched their legs, Luna lunged at the little guy and took him down to the ground.
They writhed on the cold, wet concrete. I smiled and said, “I wouldn’t move if I were you. Luna doesn’t take jokes very well, and that’s all you guys are…a joke.”
I walked into the store and grabbed a few more cans of food, some more medicine, and some dog food.
When I walked back out, the four grown men were sitting with terrified looks on their faces. One of them actually peed himself.
“Keep the daggers,” I said with a grin. “There’s plenty more where they came from. Come on, Luna.”
We got in the car and headed back to the house.
On the way home my phone rang. LK Gardner-Griffie, my commander, informed me that someone was in distress. A fellow member needed help. LK was safe, but couldn’t get out to help anyone at the time.
“I’ll take care of it,” I assured her.
“It’s Moira. She’s trapped in her hospital room, almost out of supplies. All of her caretakers are dead.”
The words stung like a million bees.
“I will get a group together to help her,” I promised.
As soon as I hung up with my commander I called my sister, Eve.
Without even saying hello she asked, “Are you safe? Is everything okay?”
I assured her that I was fine, but told her that we had a problem.
“What is it?” she asked, desperation in her voice.
“It’s Moira, Eve. She sent out a distress call through ZSC. She’s stuck in her hospital, alone, barricaded on the sixth floor. She’s not injured but is running low on food. She needs our help.” Panic rose up inside my chest.
“Alright, let’s meet up at my work then we can head out from there. We can’t leave Moira defenseless like that!” Eve’s voice cracked.
“Okay, see you there.”
I got to the house and unloaded everything and informed everyone that a very sweet young lady needed my help. I said goodbye to everyone and packed a few supplies, my weapons and Luna in the car.
I headed to Eve’s work. She got in the car without a word. We were all business on the way to the hospital.
Eve pulled out her phone to call Emma.
I listened to the conversation. When Eve said we were pulling together a team to go help Moira and asked if Em was in, I gave my best “Hell Yeah, let’s do this’” grin to my sister.
Eve hung up with Emma after telling her where to meet us. She looked over at me and gave me a soft punch in the arm. “You ready for this, Jess?”
I smiled. Luna nudged me; I pat her on the head. “Those walkers don’t stand a chance. Let’s go save Moira.”
We took off for the hospital.
We all gathered in room twelve upon arrival. The stench of death filled the air. The moans of walkers echoed in the distance. Apryl, Jessica, Rebecca, Emma, Eve and I stood discussing strategies. Jessica got a map of the hospital. She wouldn’t tell us how. A knock on the door made us jump. Walkers couldn’t knock! We draw our weapons, ready for a fight. Eve grabbed the door handle and yanked it open after a silent count of three.
We lower our weapons. Michael and Norman stood in the hallway. They’d received our mission and coordinates. We laid out a plan—who’d go where and how we’d work our way through the hospital. The only option was to clear it out in order to reach Moira.
Michael tossed his bag down on the bed and pulled out walkie talkies. We established a safe word when one of us clears a path, “Squirrel”. “Oreo” meant pretty much get your butt to my location I am in need of assistance. We’d reconvene on the sixth floor.
The mission would be tricky but Moira was worth it. Her bravery is ZSC legend. She possesses the courage of an army of millions. We needed to draw on that and go get our girl.
We headed out, ready to stomp walker butt and save our little chick-a-dee.
Standing outside the hospital, the world became quiet—too quiet. Despite our nerves, we needed to go in there. Michael would lead the team of myself, Apryl and Emma. Norman had Eve, Rebecca and Jessica. Once we cleared the first level, we’d break apart once more; Norman and Eve, Michael and I, Apryl and Emma, and Jessica and Rebecca. We all look at each other, say a prayer and charge the hospital
This would be one hell of a night.