Moira Rescue Mission: Part IV

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 following up on earlier reports of the mission’s genesis.

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.

Field Reports:


The Rescue Team

Tiffany’s POV:
     “While I was on the line with her something happened, it sounded like glass breaking and I think something grabbed her. I couldn’t make out much more before the line went dead.”
     Those words from Commander Flanery echoed in my head. Scared for all of us, I questioned if we’d make it in time and even if we did, would we make it back out? I knew I shouldn’t think about stuff like that, we’d made it this far. But what if we were too late?
     I shook my head. “No,” I said to myself. Moira counted on us and we were going to get her to safety, no questions asked.
     Michael and I broke away from the group and made our way through the 5th floor. I took lead. My katana was quieter than Michael’s HK417 chambered 7.62 millimeter. We entered the Burn Unit. The mix of burnt and rotting flesh attacked my nose. I choked. The faint gunshots of the others echoed in the ward as mine and Michael’s boots stomped along the dingy floor.
     Michael yanked me back into a dark corner. I looked over my shoulder. He put a finger to his lips and pointed over my shoulder towards five walkers shambling down a nearby hallway. He motioned for me to take the two on the left. He’d get the three on the right. I nodded. On the count of three, we charged from the hallway, running towards the walkers.
     I thrust one of my katanas forward. It slid through both walkers, pinning them to the wall. They growled, clawed and snapped at me. Singed flesh hung from their bodies. Without a second thought I ran the blade of my second katana through their skulls. I cringed a bit, but it needed to be done.
     I let the bodies hit the floor before pulling my blades free. I shook the blood from them as Michael dropped the last walker with a shot to the head. We looked at each other and nodded. I felt safe knowing Michael had my back.

Orange Brigade

     “You ok, Kid?” Michael asked.
     “Let’s move out.”
     I nodded. Michael took lead. That’s when I heard it, growling and shuffling. I lifted my head to see Michael and I surrounded by walkers. Every direction stood a drooling, rotting corpse. We were trapped.
     I mumbled a few curse words and pressed my back against Michael’s.
     He looked over his shoulder at me. “Ain’t afraid of these bone heads are ya?”
     “Of course not.”
     He fired a shot. I swung my katana, sending flesh and blood splattering everywhere. One walker tried to bite; just as he did I rammed my katana blade into its throat. I swung the other, decapitating another walker. It seemed like there were countless walkers. For every one that dropped, two more took its place. I kept telling myself, think of Moira. She needed us.
     Michael’s gunshots echoed, silencing the skin, heads and blood splattering around us. My clothes were wet with walker blood, but it didn’t matter—I’d swim an ocean full in order to save Moira. Michael and I continued cutting a blood soaked path to the stairway. We were almost at the end. One more floor and we’d meet up with the others.
     Someone grabbed me. I thought it was Michael, until I felt blood trickle down my arm. Crap.
      I tried to jerk my hand away. I didn’t feel any pain from a bite, but that could be my body running on adrenaline. Pulling away, the force caused me to drop one of my katanas. Something grabbed my ankle. Before I knew it I was pulled down. My head smacked the floor.
     Despite being dizzy, I knew I needed to get up. On the floor was the worst position I could be in with a horde of walkers. I rolled over, kicking at the walker who tried to bite my leg. My head throbbed, felt like it may fall off my neck and roll away.
     I grabbed my other katana and swung, slicing through the abdomen of a walker. Blood and gore spilled onto my jeans and down my arm.
     Michael yelled, “Kid! Get up!”
     But I couldn’t. He took a few more shots, then felt him—at least I hoped it was him—grab me by the ankle. Before I knew it, I was being dragged towards the door. I grabbed the pistol from the waist of my pants and fired at a few walkers following us, nailing them in the head.
     Michael dragged me, leaving carnage behind us. He stopped and yanked me to my feet. We turned, shooting the last four remaining walkers as we backed out the door leading to the stairwell. Michael slammed the door shut and I leaned back against it to catch my breath. If it were a cartoon, my heart would’ve been beating three feet out of my chest.
     Michael looked at me. Something warm ran down the side of my face. I touched the top of my head and flinch.
     Michael shined his flashlight on the wound. He fished in his back pocket, pulling out a black and red bandana and wiped the blood off my face to inspect the cut on the right side of my head right along the hairline.
     “Damn kid, they got ya good. You didn’t get bit nowhere, did ya?”
     “No, I’m pretty sure I didn’t.”
     Michael nodded, wrapping the bandana around my head to protect the cut. He asked me how many fingers he was holding up, what’s my name, who he was. Once satisfied, he stepped back. I regrouped, shaking off the dizzy spell and ignoring the pain in my head to get ready to charge up the steps with Michael. I reached for my walkie-talkie first—needed to give a status report.
     “Team Rooker, just left the burn unit. Squirrel!!”
     “Good, Eve and I are on our way up. All’s clear on our end.” Commander Reedus responded.
     “All’s squirrelly over here” Em chimed in.
     “Squirrel!!” Jessica added.
     “Alright then, everyone, let’s get our behinds up to that floor and get our girl.”
     Michael and I charged the steps. I pushed myself onward. I had no choice. Even as the pain in my head increased, Michael kept telling me to move my butt. We reached the top of the stairs, looked at each other and proceeded to kick the doors open.

Who is Being Called to Duty?

From the desk of RC Murphy


Video gaming industry insiders gathered Monday to kick off the four-day Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, in Los Angeles to give the public a sneak peak at what they plan to release console and game-wise during the next year. And like any good geek, yours truly happened to catch some of the news between writing up ZSC mission reports…

Only to set those reports aside and start writing this one.

The game play footage for Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is amazing, loud, bloody, and full of so much action that I couldn’t soak it all up in my first viewing. In the game, the main cast of characters struggles to escort the President of the United States safely through Los Angeles, which is under siege from futuristic, unmanned war machines and more enemy soldiers than you can shake a stick at.

But all that wasn’t what made me pause. A familiar voice came out of the television’s speakers during the game’s video package. A singular voice I heard just a few weeks ago in Dallas, Texas.

We have been unable to confirm if our Special Forces Commander Michael Rooker is indeed the voice I noted in Black Ops 2. He is on a top-secret mission and currently unavailable through normal lines of communication. As soon as we’re given word, we will let you know.

The game will be a great at-home training exercise for developing strategy and survival skills—and if it is indeed, as we suspect, Michael Rooker driving the game play, ZSC members and gamers can look forward to some intense sessions with our Special Forces head.

In the meantime, check out the game play footage and decide for yourself:




Moira Rescue Mission: Part III

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 following up on earlier reports of the mission’s genesis.

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.

Field Reports:


The Rescue Team

Eve’s POV:
     We split off from the group and made our way silently toward the eastern staircase. Aside from the big group we’d encountered when we first entered the building, Norman and I weren’t seeing many walkers. We took down five before we made it to the door that opened into the stairwell.
     “This seems a bit too easy,” Norman said, almost too softly for me to hear. I wasn’t sure if he was talking to me or thinking aloud.
     “You okay, Eve?” I looked over to see him watching me.
     “Yes, I’m fine.” I tossed him a quick glance and added, “I’m worried about Moira. That message from Sean has me a bit freaked out.”
     “Yeah, me too.” Norman stepped forward to peek in the window of the stairwell door.
     He leapt back as a grotesque face slammed against the glass.
     “Damn!” He studied the walker for a moment. We could hear more of them shuffling around behind the door.
     I pulled my hunting knife out of its sheath and held it so that the blade ran along my forearm. My left hand gripped my compound bow. I nocked an arrow—held between my right middle and forefinger, leaving my two other fingers and thumb wrapped tightly around the hilt of my knife. I turned and covered the hallway behind us while he prepped his weapons.
     Norman pulled back the string on his crossbow until he heard it lock. He slid a bolt in place, pulled a silenced 9mm Glock out of his waistband and chambered a round. He grabbed his walkie and announced that we were entering the stairwell.
     “Here goes!” He yanked the door open and stepped to the side as I loosed an arrow into the group amassed there.
     My arrow went through three skulls before lodging into the fourth, not quite penetrating the creature’s brain.
     Norman jumped over the fallen and began working his way through the dozen or so other undead that crowded eagerly toward him.
     I took the flat of my palm and shoved the arrow through the skull of the fourth zombie before sending a second arrow flying to take another out just as it lunged for Norman’s back.
     The base of the stairwell was far too constricted to use our bows practically. We slung them and focused on knife work.
     He gestured to the stairs behind me with a nod of his head and used his hands to signal that he wanted me to go first, he would be right behind me. Fortunately, red tinged emergency lights still lit this area and we were able to make it up the two flights to the third floor.
     Norman studied the map near the door.

Lt Blue Brigade

     “Right. It should be a straight shot past this nurse’s station then we head left and the next set of stairs should be just down this hallway. There are,” he did a quick count of the small rooms off the hallway, “only 12 rooms, six on each side, between us and the stairs. We’ll assume they were all occupied when it all went down. Of course there are 48 rooms total in this wing so we should be prepared for worst case scenario.”
     He reloaded his gun and crossbow as I double checked my guns.
     As he pushed the handle down, the emergency lights failed, throwing us into pitch black.
     “Holy crap!” I whispered. “I can’t see anything!”
     “Here.” I tapped one of the flashlights against his hand and he took it. I swung my bag back around, the other flashlight in my hand.
     I felt breath on the back of my neck; my heart constricted and goosebumps rose all up and down my arms. This breath was cold and it reeked of rotting flesh. I whirled around and smashed my flashlight against its face before tripping on Norman’s shoe. I fell against the railing, my right foot slipped off the edge of the top stair and I tumbled down, coming to a stop on my back a few feet below. My flashlight rolled down to the landing and flickered on spreading an eerie light up the wall.
     I couldn’t breathe and my ankle throbbed.
     I tried to get up and felt sharp pain stab through my ankle. I sucked a breath in through my teeth to keep from crying out. Tears pricked my eyes as I flopped back down.
     Norman rushed down. He came into view on my left side.
     “Are you okay? Are you hurt?”
     “It didn’t bite me.” I wanted that to be very clear. “I hurt my ankle when I fell. I don’t think I can walk on it.”
     He looked down at my ankle and grimaced. I knew it had to be bad.
     “It’s already swollen and bruised. It looks awful.” He carefully lifted my leg.
     “I’ll have to help you walk.” He decided after even the tiniest pressure on the joint made me wince.
     “Norman, there’s no time for that! You need to get to Moira.”
     “I am not leaving you behind. I have to make sure you get back to your little girl!” I could tell from his tone there was no point in arguing.
     “I need a way to stabilize it. A splint or something. All I have is an ace bandage and some gauze in my first aid kit. Then maybe I can put some weight on it.” I tried to pull my toes up which earned me a wave of hot pain that cascaded up my leg from my ankle.
     “Hey!” Norman reached into his back pocket and pulled the map back out. “There’s a medical supplies closet just past the nurse’s station. Think there’s something there we could use?”
     I shrugged and frowned at him. “I don’t think you should go in there by yourself.”
     “Come here.” He helped me to my feet and guided me to the top of the stairs.
     He had me sit against the wall, facing the door. He jogged back down the stairs and grabbed my flashlight.
     “I’ll be right back, okay?” He pointed to my guns, “Keep those handy.”
     I took them both out and rested them on my lap. “Be careful in there.”
     He nodded then slipped through the door.
     The silence in that darkened stairwell was deafening. As I waited, I fought back tears. I worried that he’d get hurt. I worried that we wouldn’t get to Moira in time. I worried that I’d never see Michelle again.
     At one point a walker leaned against the door, which failed to latch behind Norman. I shot it and the four that followed. Their bodies kept the door wide open, but I couldn’t move them.
     I saw a zombie fly backwards, an arrow embedded in its skull and breathed a sigh of relief as Norman came into view.
     He took the bandage from my kit and carefully wrapped my ankle first. He fit a stiff ankle brace over that and then a walking boot before helping me to my feet.
     I took a tentative step and while there was still a great deal of pain, it was manageable.
     “This will work.”
     We entered the cardiac ward. At one point most of these people were someone’s grandparent, husband, wife. Bodies littered the floor as we made our way to the staircase that’d take us to the sixth floor.
     We were nearly there when a walker launched itself from behind a curtain and latched on to Norman’s arm. “Son of a…” He fell backwards, as it snapped at him.
     I limped forward as quickly as I could and drove the blade of my hunting knife to the hilt into the base of its skull.
     Norman panted, his eyes wide. I took hold of his arm and pulled back his sleeve and examined it carefully. There were indentations where the teeth had tried to penetrate, but the skin remained unbroken.
     “Thank God,” I whispered. “I guess you and Daryl don’t share the same luck when it comes to sleeves.”
     “Ha!” He smiled and shook his head.
     I helped him up and we walked over to the door that would lead to Moira. He signaled on the walkie-talkie that our wing was clear and we were heading up the final 3 flights.
     “God, I hope she’s alright,” Norman breathed.
     “Me too.”
     He opened the door and we began our ascent.

Commander Mondays: David Della Rocco

Whoever said nice guys always finish last clearly has never met Orange Brigade’s First Lieutenant David Della Rocco. Loyalty, generosity and compassion are words one might use to describe him. A winning smile and soft-spoken nature are enough to win over even the most critical… but one also cannot deny that a certain amount of mystery surrounds him, leading the imagination to fill in the rest.


David (aka “Rocco”) is an Italian-American comedian and classically trained actor. Hailing from Norwich, Connecticut, he currently resides in Los Angeles alongside many other ZSC commanders, further ensuring the safety of our Western shores in the dark days to come. Best known for his breakout role as the beloved Funny Man Rocco in the Boondock Saints series, David is a member of the Actor’s Studio, and  also an accomplished stage veteran who has appeared in numerous performances, including Glengarry Glen Ross at the Third Street Theatre and Freedom Frogs at the Lee Strasberg Theatre. Rocco has also appeared in Jake’s Corner and the critically acclaimed documentary film Off the Boulevard.


"Every time we have a function and there’s fans around I just really, really enjoy it. I’ll sign autographs and take pictures until my arm falls off. We have really, really great fans and I love them all."

It is a little known fact that Rocco is also a master of disguise, a talent that longtime childhood friend Troy Duffy made use of in 1990’s cult hit The Boondock Saints. The role of the Funny Man was written specifically for him, but this opportunity also allowed him to form early connections with future ZSC Commanders Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery. Another small piece of trivia was revealed during his recent attendance at Blood on the Beach – his preference for the classic architecture of the standard door system over that of the modern convenience of the revolving door.



Look for David Della Rocco in the upcoming film The Black Dove. He will also be appearing at Texas Frightmare Weekend next month, as well as Wizard World events in Philadelphia and Chicago this summer.

Don’t forget to check out our other Fearless Leaders!
Commander in Chief and Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff
Blue Brigade Commander Norman Reedus
Yellow Brigade Commander Jinxie G
Light Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo
Orange Brigade Commander R.C. Murphy
Green Brigade Commander IronE Singleton
Purple Brigade: The Oracle
Yellow Brigade First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery
Red Brigade First Lieutenant Neil Brown Jr.
Purple Brigade First Lieutenant Anthony Michael Hall
Light Blue Brigade First Lieutenant Ted Raimi

Judging Humanity

Judging Humanity

The Walking Dead 211
reviewer: RC Murphy


There are very few moments where yours truly is struck speechless. This week’s episode of The Walking Dead ended on one such moment. A huge round of applause to Greg Nicotero for his efforts directing “Judge, Jury, Executioner”, there were some really beautiful moments captured on screen. As well as some instances that ripped the audience’s heart out, stomped on it, dropped it down a well, and then fed it to a walker. Yeah, this one was emotional on so many levels.

We’re going to start this week with the Shane Issue to make room for the main topic this episode. Right away, we knew Shane would go ballistic if they didn’t off the prisoner. In typical fashion, he tries to worm his way into Andrea’s ear to turn her to his side in the matter. Not that she needed much pushing to get there. Andrea—despite her background as a civil rights lawyer—is all about capital punishment. I’m not too sure how much of that is her being willing to do anything to survive or an attempt to immolate the men in how they deal. Shane’s continued efforts to stage a mutiny to oust Hershel and Rick may fall on deaf ears with Andrea, no matter how much he tries to poison her ear. Also, how long has he been stealing ammunition? Personally, I don’t think Shane plans to stay with the group much longer.

Daryl is likewise pulling away from the group, setting his camp further away from everyone else. He’s also distanced himself even more from Carol, which breaks my heart. I wanted to see what would bloom between those two if given the chance. Daryl displays a moral code in this episode, despite what he’d have us believe about being a hard-as-nails man with no limits or boundaries. His anger at Randall shifts to blind fury after hearing the unspeakable things his crew has done to innocents. Is beating someone associated with rapists right? No. But seeing that Daryl cares about anything at all is reassuring. He’s pulled so far into himself that there wasn’t much left to watch other than a snarling squirrel catcher.

There was all of one happy moment in this episode. We’ve been waiting a few weeks to see how Hershel would change after the attack in the bar. He’s continued down the path allowing Rick to do what he sees fit to protect the farm. However, Hershel also had a change of heart about a much more pleasant matter. In a very touching moment he gave his approval of Glenn and Maggie’s relationship. Won’t lie, I cheered. Go Team Glenn!

Normally I don’t do this, but . . . SPOILER WARNING!! The text blow contains spoilers from episode 211 of The Walking Dead. If you have not seen the episode, what are you waiting for? Go watch! Then come back and finish reading.

The big question—which is literally underlined three times and written in all capital letters on my review notes—Who is to blame for the last moments of the episode?

On one hand you have Carl, who is acting out more and more. Not only did he wander away from camp on his own, but also stole a gun from Daryl. The icing on the cake came when he tried to take on a walker by himself and nearly got eaten. He also said some very nasty things to Carol. Yes, Carl is also mourning Sophia’s loss, but that gives him no right to speak as he did.

However, whenever you see a child misbehaving, you need to look at the parents. Rick is consumed with the idea of doing what is right for everyone. In the process of solving the world’s problems, he’s lost sight of the things closest to him. Carl needs a father more now than ever and between the two men who could be a father figure to him—his actual father and Shane—he spends most of his time with Shane… a man not well known for being a role model, or even all that nice. And forget about Lori being an actual parent. She’s got her nose in everyone else’s business to make sure they’re not all talking about her. Get over yourself and take care of your child, please. Before he gets anyone else in camp killed.

No matter whom you blamed, the group has lost their voice of reason. A loss born out of sheer neglect. Dale fought so hard for so long to remind everyone that they are human despite what happened around them. He assured them that even with walkers knocking down their doors that being a decent person still mattered. Through Dale’s efforts they kept that vital piece of themselves that distinguished the living from the walkers. If they go around executing people for no valid reason, how are they better than the undead?

“The world we know is gone, but keeping our humanity, that’s a choice.” –Dale

Jeffrey DeMunn gave a brilliant performance in this episode. You can tell that he put everything into the role. Dale never slowed, never wavered in his belief that an alternate solution could be found to deal with Randall. What really broke my heart was in the end he won. The kid lives to see another day, but Dale won’t. I’m tearing up again thinking about it—tears of impotent rage aimed at fictional characters and their messed up fates. That is testament to the skill of everyone involved in creating The Walking Dead.

What do you think, who is really to blame for Dale’s death? Let us hear your opinions in the comments below.

Commander Monday – Orange Brigade Commander R.C. Murphy

Keeper of secrets,  slayer of demons, romancer of vampires, destroyer of zombies and things that go bump in the night,  Orange Brigade Commander RC Murphy is as gifted with the pen as she is with the sword, and twice as deadly. An accomplished writer, blogger, student of history, musical theatre and Oreo aficionado, RC Murphy is a creature of extraordinary talent.

"Puppy breath makes the world a better place."

She resides in a dungeon of red satin and lace by day, putting her talents to work in order to best prepare us, the hapless and clueless, for that fateful day when all that goes bump in the night becomes reality. By night she patrols the California coast with a sharp eye on the perimeter and an ear tuned into the undercurrents, listening, watching, and waiting for even the smallest sign that the Z-pocalypse is upon us.

While devoting much of her love for her craft to The Path of a Struggling Writer  some of RC Murphy’s  other published work can be found in the Zombie Survival Crew Anthology: Undead is Not an Option, and she also contributes regular field reports from ZSC Command.

This coming April, RC Murphy will be attending the San Jose Fantasy Festival for book signings and sales alongside other fantasy and paranormal writers, artists and performers April 14th and 15th.

RC Murphy and our Commander in Chief Juliette Terzieff enjoying a rare moment of calm, just before the onslaught begins.

Don’t forget to check out our other Fearless Leaders!
Commander in Chief and Red Brigade Commander Juliette Terzieff
Blue Brigade Commander Norman Reedus
Yellow Brigade Commander Jinxie G
Light Blue Brigade Commander Anthony Guajardo
Green Brigade Commander IronE Singleton
Purple Brigade: The Oracle
Yellow Brigade First Lieutenant Sean Patrick Flanery




For those of you who have been following the plight of Blue Brigade loyalist, Moira Jones, we received another communication from her last night. You may recall she sent the Zombie Survival Crew command a cry for help, and we are proud of our crew, because the response was immediate. Field reports came in and a rescue mission was mounted. Below is the communication record of a call received last night in the command center. While the situation seems dire for our brave crew member, we will not give up hope.

First Lieutenant SEAN FLANERY/Yellow Brigade
MOIRA JONES/Blue Brigade

Signal Acquired – 22:14

FLANERY: ZSC Command, Lieutenant Flanery. State your name and brigade.

JONES: Oh, my gosh! It works! THE PHONE WORKS!


JONES: Hello? Are you…


FLANERY: Name and brigade?


JONES: … me! It’s Moira!

FLANERY: Moira! Thank god. Are you alright?

JONES: I think so, but I need your help!

FLANERY: Commander Reedus and Rooker have put together a retrieval team. They’re on the way to you now. Just hang on.


FLANERY: Moira? Are you okay?


FLANERY: Have you been bitten or scratched?

JONES: No, but…


JONES: … scared.

FLANERY: Say again?

JONES: I said, I’m scared.

FLANERY: Oh kid. That’s okay. Hell, if you weren’t scared I’d be worried about you.

JONES: I wish Donut was here.


FLANERY: She says, “Stay Dixon strong.”

JONES: Will you stay on the phone with me until the rescue team gets here?

FLANERY: Of course, I will, kid. We just need to make sure you’re as safe as possible. Are you in a contained space? Can the walkers get to you where you are?

JONES: I don’t think so. The only way up to the sixth floor now is the stairs and I blocked the door. I don’t think they can get in.

FLANERY: Good. Now what we need to do is…

JONES: Oh no!

FLANERY: Oh no, what?




FLANERY: Moira? Can you hear me?

*smashing glass*



Loss of Signal – 22:30


Moira Rescue Mission: Part II

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.


Emma’s POV:

Purple Brigade

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.
     All clear.
     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.
     The angel.
     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.”

Jessica’s POV:

Zombie Survival Crew

“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.


The Rescue Team

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
     “To Moira!”
     This would be one hell of a night.

Zombie Survival Crew Rescue Mission

This file contains the mission objective for the members of a secret self-organized unit within the ZSC. These members received the Urgent call for help from Moira Jones and have sprung into action.

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.


The Rescue Team

Tiffany’s POV:

I sat perched in an old chair inside an abandoned house. The cold evening air howled. Rain leaked through the roof. I faced the boarded up door, a black handled katana with an eleven-inch blade on my lap and another within reach. My eyes ached. My long black hair lay matted and dirty across my shoulders. The toe of my heavy black leather boot tapped on the floor as I stared at the door. I wasn’t expecting company, but I made sure I was ready should someone decide to “drop by.” I wore all black and my long leather duster jacket. I hid in the shadows, ready to pounce.

Orange Brigade

     I’m a member of the ZSC Orange Brigade. We are the ones always one step ahead. We are the oddballs lurking in the shadows. The ones you are unable to read because we are so full of surprises. We’re the thinkers—the ones who plan ahead, ready for anything. I’ve perfected moving without being seen. It’s how I stayed alive the day the world went crazy and the dead started walking. It’d been a normal day. I was restocking my go bag, you know, just in case. I spotted my neighbor, Ms. Newman wondering around my backyard. She looked beat up, bloody, and lost. I rushed outside to her side. When she turned around reality slapped me in the face. I thought, maybe I was dreaming. Maybe I was seeing things. When Ms. Newman lunged for me, I grabbed a nearby shovel and disposed of her.
     I ran for my house and went for my phone. Sure enough an alert text greeted me. D-Day arrived. I reacted quickly, contacting my fellow brigade members and my brigade buddy. I told them I was safe, alive and on my way to a designated location. A horde of walkers right outside of the city cut me off. They chased me to my present location. I set up camp to wait for them to clear. I contacted other ZSC members. Eve, Rebecca, Em, Jessica and Apryl. Sure they are from different brigades, but we are all fighting for the same cause.
     My phone echoed through darkness and I’m quick to grab it. I hit a couple buttons. It’s my first lieutenant David Della Rocco. He got an urgent message from Blue Commander, Norman Reedus pertaining to brigade member Moira Jones. She was trapped in a hospital over run by walkers. Blue brigade is rallying members for a rescue mission. He reached out to his good friend Rocco for help. Moira didn’t have much time. She was low on resources and needed help ASAP.
     I let Rocco know I’d help and bring reinforcements. Standing, I hurried to collect my supplies, holster my swords to my back. I look over my shoulder and motion to someone. From the shadows stepped another ZSC member, Apryl. I met her right inside the city, she’d been running from a walker. She found the house we hid in. I felt a connection to this girl; we were both oddballs, which made things perfect—we fought off the horde as a cohesive unit.
     “Moira’s in trouble.” I relayed the message to her.
     Apryl nodded and pulled out two Desert Eagle mark XIXs. “Let’s go save Moira!”
     We turned and took a deep breath. For Moira, we’d willingly face whatever waited on the other side of the door.
     I quickly contact Rebecca and tell her the dire situation. I send her the coordinates of where the hospital is and the nearest hotel to the hospital where we’d meet up with everyone else. Then I passed it down the chain to Eve, Em and Jessica.
     “You ready for this?!” I asked Apryl.
     “Heck Yeah! To Moira!”
     I had faith that with all our combined skills, Moira would be safe. One more alert went out to Special Forces—attention one Michael Rooker—we’d need him. I stuff my phone in my pocket and look at Apryl. We kicked the door open and ran into the darkness.

Eve’s POV:

Lt Blue Brigade

The world went to hell so quickly and I was so unprepared. As a member of the ZSC Light Blue brigade I should have known better but I never expected the worst disaster in history to take place so soon! When the call came in from my commander, Anthony, I stood there staring at my phone for a long while.
     A few shots fired close to my house and broke my paralysis.
     I quickly strapped my double thigh holsters on and the calf sheath for my hunting knife. I slid the knife in place and loaded clips into my twin 9mm Taurus 917Cs and fitted silencers onto the end of each barrel.
     I got my daughter and grandma into the car with essential supplies in a matter of minutes. I set my compound bow and quiver on the front passenger seat and moved to open the garage door, one of my silenced twin 9s in hand. I gave grandma a thumbs-up. She nodded and watched me in the rear-view mirror. My grandmother made fun of me on many occasions for what she felt were ridiculous preparations. As I looked into her fear-filled eyes I knew she finally understood.
     I pulled the garage door open in one quick movement and took down the three walkers loitering in front of our house. Grandma pulled out and I hopped in the car. I told her to head to my uncle’s house.
     I spoke with my uncle about supplies and how long we could ration out food before a run would become necessary. Suddenly my phone rang. My sister, Jess. I was relieved to hear her voice.
     “Are you safe? Is everything okay?” Jessica promised she was fine but that we had a problem.
     “It’s Moira, Eve. She sent out a distress call through ZSC. She needs our help.” Jess ran down the situation. Her voice cracked with worry.
     “Alright, let’s meet up at my work then we can head out from there. We can’t leave Moira defenseless like that!” I fought back tears, thinking of her stuck in the hospital alone.
     “Okay, see you there.”
     I explained to my daughter that I needed to go and she’d be safe, asked her to keep an eye on grandma and make sure she stayed out of trouble.
     She gave me a stiff nod, a serious expression on her face. I pulled her into a hug, my tough little girl, and kissed her on the forehead before grabbing my go bag and leaving the house.
     Jessica and I met up, quickly planning a route to the abandoned hotel.
     I put in a call to the last member of our small group…and listened to it ring. And ring. I began to worry she hadn’t received her warning in time.
     “Hello?” Emma’s voice sounded on the other end.
     Oh thank God.
     “Emma! I thought you’d never answer. Are you okay?” My voice trembled. I looked over at Jess who watched the parking lot with focused intensity.
     “Sure.” She hesitated for a moment before adding, “Nothing I can’t handle. What’s wrong?”
     Again the thought of Moira—who’d been through so much and was tougher and sweeter than any young girl I’d ever known—alone and scared brought tears to my eyes. My throat tightened as I tried not to cry.
     “It…” I took a deep breath to steady my voice. “It’s Moira.”
     “What?” Panic came through the phone loud and clear. “What’s happened to Moira?”
     “She’s okay, for now,” I said before Emma could work her way into a full panic. “We just got word that her hospital has been overrun with walkers. She needs help, fast.”
     “Thank God.” I could picture her standing there with a hand over her heart, relieved that Moira lived.
     “Jess, Rebecca, Tiffany, Apryl and I are putting together a rescue team.” Jess threw me a quick glance, a “hell yeah” grin on her face. “We’re going to get her. You in?”
     “You know I am,” she said. I could so hear the implied “DUH!”
     “Good,” I said, smirking at her eagerness. “We’re meeting at the abandoned hotel close by the hospital and formulate a plan of action from there, okay?”
     “Okay.” She paused. “Just give me a minute to take care of something and I’ll be right over.”
     “Be careful.” My chest constricted again at the thought of Emma making her way to our rendezvous by herself. I wished I were there to make sure she stayed safe.
     “I will if you will.” She sounded like she smiled at my overprotective mother hen statement. “I’ll be over in just a little while.”
     We hung up. Jess turned to me. I inhaled deeply and gave her a soft punch on the arm. “You ready for this, Jess?”
     She smiled and patted her dog, Luna on the head. “Those walkers don’t stand a chance. Let’s go.”
     We took off to meet up with the others who’d help us save that brave little girl.

….To Be Continued

Albuquerque or Bust


5 AM in a bus terminal is somewhat like waking up to find yourself smack dab in the middle of the Zombiepocalypse. Rick Grimes, I sympathize with your plight. A handful of fellow travelers wandered into the station, bleary-eyed and looking more zombie than human. Heaven help me, I’ve waited with bated breath to hear them speak. Pretty sure the security guard wouldn’t have been too happy if I used one of the line posts to knock someone’s skull inside out.

Plus, it definitely wouldn’t be the ideal way to start my day. Just sayin’.

I learned my lesson after my last ZSC trip when I went to Dallas Comic Con. Suspect everyone. Has that guy across the way been watching as I report in to Juliette? The woman two seats down seemed awfully interested in what I’m writing… I should put my notebook away before anyone passing by reads. My cover cannot be compromised on this trip!

Noon in Los Angeles. The bus terminal was as busy as I’ve ever seen it. Contrary to what most would think, this is a good thing. I used the crowd to move around unseen by anyone that could be tracking me. It also bought me fifteen minutes to grab lunch. Actually, the salad ended up being breakfast. The ritual of eating poorly or rather, forgetting to eat at all during a con weekend began early.

Around 6 PM my fellow passengers on the bus got really talkative. The guys behind me leaned over and asked that question I dread, “So, where are you heading to?” Me being me, I tell them the truth. Don’t ask me why when I know the UGA could be after me. They’ve been too quiet. I don’t trust quiet . . . . Anyway, I told those around me about the ZSC and what we do. They ended up asking me questions until we arrived in Phoenix where an Amazon—the ZSC’s very own Jinxie G—rescued me.


Jinxie and I went to pick up the rental car. Due to complications, most of Thursday morning and afternoon have been censored . . . .

With Plan B fully checked out, we hit the road four hours behind schedule and with more than a few reservations about the new plan. That was until Jinxie pulled her wallet out to pay for something; a fortune she’d collected at a previous con a few months ago dangled off the bottom:

We took it as a sign to take the risk. Our nerves settled with some laughs and a ton of snarky commentary about bad cell phone reception in the desert, “Can you hear me now? No. You can’t. Because you didn’t drive into the middle of the desert to test your signal!”

The drive was fun, uneventful. We got within two hours of Albuquerque and decided to make a pit stop in what was probably the coldest city in New Mexico! Grants. Eleven degrees, snow on the ground, and Jinxie is wearing flip-flops. Though she did have toe socks on. In the minute it took to run inside the store, we froze. Two people who live in hot climates Do Not Do temperatures under thirty.

Don’t fret; we arrived at Cody and Alfred’s house in Albuquerque before becoming human Popcicles. Juliette arrived earlier that evening. The chaos was already underway as we shivered our way officially into the convention weekend.

Monday-the trip back to AZ:

No one will believe me if I say this, but Jinxie and I were up and on the road by about 10 AM. Shocking, right? Yeah, we didn’t believe it either. Of course, our main motivation ended up being hunting down coffee. But, hey, I won’t argue an early start. And it was a good thing we left early…

The mountain pass that we’d driven through just fine on Thursday transformed into a winter wonderland while we were at the con. We’re not talking a light dusting of snow. Oh no, it’d dropped a good three inches of snow with more coming down as we drove.

Did I mention that we drove THROUGH a cloud, as well? Yeah . . . that was special.

Eventually we started heading back down the mountain. Just like that the snow disappeared. There’s no UGA plot to blame for the random snowstorm, though I’m pretty sure some of the idiots passing us while we carefully drove over the mountain were UGA agents. Or suicidal . . . .

The rest of the trip back became a sightseeing fest since the sun set before I could see anything cool on our way to Albuquerque. By sightseeing I mean Jinxie would point out across the desert and say, “There’s a abandoned mine that way that’s good for disposing bodies and stolen cars. If you look down it in, you can see the pile of cars.” My reaction? Make a note of the location in case I’m in Arizona during the Zombiepocalypse. A girl can never have too many places to get rid of reeking zombie remains.

Tuesday and back to CA:

Very early that morning (by early, I mean before noon, accompanied by death glares from Jinxie), we headed to the bus station. This is the same bus station where last May I observed news reports covering the CDC’s post about preparing for the zombie outbreak. It is also where I determined that bus stations are the worse place to be trapped in when zombies shamble from their graves.

I said my goodbyes to Jinxie and took a moment to regroup. Traveling with a co-commander I can trust is far different than a busload of strangers. One particular stranger kept telling everyone to call him by a different name. I kept my eye on him until I switched buses halfway home.

The remainder of the ride back home was mostly uneventful with only one near miss. I almost disposed of a man after he sat behind me for hours making the most disgusting noises, noises I’ve come to associate with those that have become infected and are in the process of turning into a zombie. The smell didn’t help matters. It wasn’t until he started talking (loudly, I might add) that I stopped thinking about doing my duty as a ZSC commander… and started wishing I could dispose of him simply for being gross and annoying. What? I never claimed to be NICE after a week of travel and convention stress!

I made it home safe, sound, and without blood on my clothes. Another successful Zombie Survival Crew mission.