Freedom Lane: The Walking Daq
“We’re in,” Antonio said. “Let’s get to Paulie’s, get this Tony dude, and eat some anchovies.”
Manny started walking south. “Fuck yes.”
The walk to Paulie’s didn’t take long. Luckily, there weren’t many walkers in between Freedom Lane and State Street. They only ran into one slowly shuffling past them as they hid in an alley. He moaned as he blankly stared forward.
“Mutha fucker,” Da’Quarius whispered. “That’s that homo bitch that Helen hates. Harold!”
“Keep it down,” Paulie said. “He’ll hear us.”
“Nah,” Da’Quarius said. “He as deaf as Helen. Watch this.” Da’Quarius left his hiding spot and picked up two trashcan lids. He walked behind walker-Harold and banged them loudly. He didn’t even flinch. “See! He cain’t hear shit!”
“The others will hear you!” Manny said, getting freaked out. “Just kill it!”
“Fine!” Da’Quarius said, dropping the garbage pail lid and picking up a brick. “Break yo’self, Harold!” He brought the brick down, splitting Harold’s balding head. “It’s safe to say dat Helen wasn’t here. She would have bashed dat bitch up herself.”
“Let’s get inside before any others show up,” Paulie said, using his key ring to open the back door.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said. “His walker butt-buddy is probably around here somewhere too.”
The four of them entered Paulie’s Pizza, surveying the damage of the riots that followed the uprising of the walkers. All of the glass was broken, the register was stolen, and all of the drawers and offices were ransacked.
“Some mook made off with my recipe book!” Paulie said, leaving his office. “What’s the world coming to?!”
“Da fuck you need dat for?” Da’Quarius asked.
“In case I want to reopen my business when all of this is over,” Paulie said.
“Dammit, Unca Paulie,” Da’Quarius said. “Almost everyone on earth is probably dead!”
“Those who are left will probably want pizza,” Paulie said. “And nobody will want it if the only one who can make it is one of those filthy greek bastards who thinks their people friggin’ invented it.”
“OH MY GOD!” Antonio shouted from the kitchen. Paulie’s gun was back in his hand as he and Da’Quarius rushed to Antonio and Manny to see what had happened. “What’s wrong?”
Antonio held up a small tin. “Anchovies!” he shouted. Manny started roaring with laughter and Antonio couldn’t hold himself together any longer and started roaring as well.
“Friggin’ stunads,” Paulie said. “I’m going upstairs to find Tony.”
“I’ll come with you,” Da’Quarius said. “You guys yell if dere’s any trouble.”
“Only if there’s trouble,” Paulie added.
“You know what’s crazy?” Antonio asked Manny, completely ignoring Da’Quarius and Paulie. “All my life, I’ve heard about people putting anchovies on pizza, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen them, and we’re in a pizza place! I always thought it was a joke!”
“I dare you to eat one,” Manny said.
“Fuck you,” Antonio replied. “I’m not putting one of these little bastards in my mouth.”
“I’ll eat one if you do,” Manny said. “I’m actually pretty hungry.”
“Me too,” Antonio said. “Let’s rip into this bitch.”
Paulie knocked on the door on the top of the stairs, but there was no answer on the other side. “I’m going in,” he told Da’Quarius. “You stay out here.”
“No way,” Da’Quarius said. “Umma be your back up.”
“Fine,” Paulie said. “What you you have as a weapon?”
Da’Quarius pulled a flathead screwdriver out of his back pocket. “Umma stick this thing into the first walker that tries to bite me.”
“What’s with all that ‘umma’ garbage all the time?” Paulie asked, turning away from Tony’s door. “Can’t you just say ‘I’m going to’ or at least ‘I’m gonna’? It’s been driving me friggin nuts.”
“Alright,” Paulie said. “Let’s go see if Tony is still alive.”
Paulie quietly walked through Tony’s apartment, searching for signs of life. All he saw were discarded pizza boxes and containers of food from downstairs. “This explains who ransacked my place,” he said.
“This is way too much food for dat,” Da’Quarius said. “I think Tony’s been sneakin’ shit up here for a year or two and just not cleanin’ it up. Helen used to make us watch this show called Hoarders…”
“Please don’t talk about Helen,” Paulie said, wincing. “I’m worried sick.”
“I’m sorry,” Da’Quarius said. “So am I. I just hope whatever happened was quick, and she’s not shuffling around as one of them.”
“Stop insinuating that my sister is dead!”
“Who’s there?!” a voice said from the door that led to the roof. “I have a gun up here, you assholes!”
“Shit,” Pauile said. “It’s me, you stunad! Don’t shoot yourself in the leg!”
“Paulie!” Tony said, coming in from the roof. “You’re alive! I’ve been watching from up top, and I didn’t see you guys come in.”
“Fuck yes we’re alive!” Da’Quarius said.
“What’s going on out there?” Tony asked. “I hear gunshots and see smoke. Are those undead mooks still eating everyone?”
“I’m afraid so,” Paulie said. “The kid and I got a couple of my sister’s neighbors, and we’re heading out of the city. There’s too many of them out there.”
“What about your sister?” Tony asked.
“We don’t know,” Paulie said. “I’m hoping to find her on the way out of New Haven, but I don’t like thinking about her and Rose’s chances against these zombies.”
“Walkers,” Da’Quarius corrected.
“I’ll call them what I want!” Paulie exclaimed. “How does not one person call these things zombies?!”
“Alright,” Tony said. “Calm down. I’m coming with you, obviously. Let’s get the others and find a car or something.”
“Finding a car isn’t the hard part,” Paulie said, walking down State Street towards the highway. “It’s finding one the damn looters haven’t flipped.”
“I see one!” Da’Quarius said, pointing towards an old and rusty Ford. “Over dere by da Dunkin Donuts.”
“But there’s a walker right next to it,” Tony said.
“That’s not a walker!” Antonio said. “That’s my girlfriend, Misty. She strips at the Dog Kennel Club. Hey, Misty!”
“Shut your yap!” Pauie snapped. “There might be others around!”
“That’s my brother,” Manny said, proudly. “Always thinking with his dick.”
“She’s definitely a walker, dude,” Tony said.
“Nah,” Antonio said. “She’s a meth-head. I’m going to say hi.” He ran off to go see Misty.
“You better stop him, Manny,” Da’Quarius said. “Dat bitch is definitely dead!”
The others ran towards Antonio as he was attempting to talk to the slow-moving Misty. She moaned and moved in towards him, and Antonio thought she was looking for a hug. He opened his arms when she lunged her head into his chest, taking a huge bite. The two fell to the street together. Antonio started screaming.
“Antonio!” Manny yelled. “No!” He grabbed Misty and pulled her off his brother. She took a mouthful of flesh and muscle with her. Manny slammed her head on the curb a dozen times before Tony and Paulie restrained him.
“Manny?” Antonio asked. “This is such bullshit.”
“I know,” Manny said, sitting next to his brother. “I always told you she was a fucking bitch!”
“Do one thing for me,” Antonio said. “Before I die.”
“Sure,” Manny said. “Anything.”
“My lucky joint is in my shirt pocket,” Antonio said. “Let me smoke it.”
Manny reached into Antonio’s shirt pocket with trembling hand and brought out the joint. He put it in Antonio’s mouth and lit the end. Antonio weakly took a drag from it. When he breathed out, smoke emitted from his bite-wound.
“We don’t have time for this,” Tony said.
“Be quiet,” Paulie whispered harshly. “Let him do this.”
“Manny?” Antonio asked.
“Yeah?” Manny replied.
“Misty is a fuckin cunt,” Antonio said. Then his eyes glazed over and his breathing stopped.
“I’m not letting him turn into a walker,” Manny said. He picked up a rock, and brought it down in a swift motion, smashing his brothers skull. “Rest in peace, brother.” He took the joint, died it out on the street, and put it in his shirt pocket.
“Gross,” Da’Quarius said. “Dat joint was in a dead guy’s mouth!”
Moans were becoming more audible around them. The walkers were coming from everywhere to investigate the ruckus. Getting the car started was now their only option of survival.
Tony and Paulie walked up to the parked car. “OK,” Tony said. “Any of you guys know how to hotwire this thing?”
“Antonio did,” Manny said sullenly. The others turned to look at him. “I’m just fucking with you! I can do it.”
The four rode in silence as Paulie drove the stolen Ford. The highway was blocked by hundreds of broken down cars, so the only way out of New Haven was the streets. They saw a ton of walkers as they drove past, but they ignored them.
“Where are we headed?” Tony asked, breaking the silence.
“Away from here,” Paulie answered. “There’s too many walkers in New Haven to stick around. It would only be a matter of time before we share Antonio’s fate.”
Manny began sobbing from the backseat. Da’Quarius inched away from him. “Dammit,” he said. “He just stopped crying. Don’t get him started again!”
“I’m sorry,” Paulie said. “I’m just still worried about Helen and Rose. I guess we’ll never find them.”
“If they survived,” Tony said.
“Shaddup!” Paulie said, slapping Tony in the face. “Don’t you say such things!”
“Sorry!” Tony said. “I guess it’s OK for you to keep bringing up this mook’s dead brother, though!”
Manny’s sobs intensified.
“Stop talkin’ ’bout Antonio!” Da’Quarius exclaimed. Put his head against the window once again. “Mo’ fucker.”
“Fine,” Paulie said. “Let’s not talk about those who have departed this life. Let’s let the pain and suffering fester inside of us until our grief takes over and eats at us from the inside out.”
A huge sob came some Manny’s mouth.
“Unca Paulie!” Da’Quarius snapped.
“Let the man cry!” Paulie exclaimed. “The man lost a brother today! When we find Helen and Rose…”
“Stop making your sister out to be some sort of super hero,” Tony said. “She was pushing eighty, and her wife wasn’t exactly a spring chicken. Do you really think they made it that far after they left their house? Did they fight off the walkers with their walkers?”
Manny started to laugh in the backseat. “They fought off the walkers with their walkers?” he asked, giggling. “That’s freakin’ hilarious!”
“I said somethin’ like dat earlier too,” Da’Quarius said, smiling. “I said it about Helen and a walker…”
“Look,” Paulie said, swerving to miss a walker in the road and cutting of his nephew’s commentary. “Helen’s likely dead, Rose too, but she was the toughest out of all of us. They might still be out there.”
“Tough is tough,” Tony said. “But I ain’t never seen anything like these things.”
“Yeah,” Paulie said. “Me neither.”
“So where are we heading?” Tony asked. “You’ve been driving for the last ten minutes, so I figure you have some kind of a destination in mind.”
“Well I can’t go south,” Pauile said. “Too many cities. I can’t go north either for the same reason. If I go east we’ll hit the ocean eventually and be in the same situation. West is our only option right now.”
“What’s west?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Trees,” Paulie said, he narrowly missed a fat walker eating a dead cat in the middle of the road. “And probably not as much as these things. I figure we can try a few homes out there and see if we can find a place to stay for a while. Maybe this thing will work itself out.”
“Drive on, leader man,” Tony said, looking out the window. “And get us the fuck out of this shit-hole.”
The Ford began to sputter near the New Haven / Woodbridge town line on Fountain Street. They still had a quarter of a tank of gas, but Tony was able to pinpoint exactly what was wrong with the car. “You picked up a fuckin lemon!” he exclaimed.
“Excuse me,” Paulie said. “It was this car or be eaten. I chose this car.”
“At least we’re far enough away from downtown,” Da’Quarius said. “It seems calmer here. Think we can find another car?”
“Should be easier out here,” Manny said. “They weren’t rioting over here like they were around downtown. I definitely don’t see any other people, though. The walkers must’ve been through here too.”
“They’ve been through everywhere,” Paulie said. “Let’s start walking. Grab what you can for weapons just in case. We’ll duck down one of those side streets and hotwire us another car if we need to.”
“I bet they got a tire iron I can use in the trunk,” Tony said. He ran to the back of the Ford, opened the truck, and came out a crowbar. “Even better! Jackpot!”
Da’Quarius listened. “Stop your yellin’, Tony,” he said. “I hear moanin’. We ain’t alone.”
“Sorry,” Tony said softly before slamming the trunk shut. Everyone jumped at the sound. He just shrugged it off. “Force of habit.”
The hum of moans grew louder as walkers started coming out from behind the houses and from behind broken doors. Their shuffling grew slightly in speed as they approached the small group of tasty morsels. Paulie took the gun from his belt and Da’Quarius took the screwdriver from his pants pocket.
“Dammit, Tony!” Da’Quarius spat. “Get back in the car.”
“No,” Paulie said. “We’d never be able to get out once they surround us.”
“There’s too many to fight off,” Manny said, beginning to panic. “Do we make a run for it?”
“We ain’t got no choice,” Da’Quarius said. “You ready, Unca Paulie?”
“Yeah,” Paulie said. “Keep heading straight towards Woodbridge. Maybe we can find someplace to hide once we’re clear of these mooks.”
The four started running, but more and more walkers poured from the homes and backyards around them. Before too much time had passed, the small group of walkers had swelled to a few dozen. They huffed as they paced themselves. Paulie and Da’Quarius kept checking to see if there were any houses they could hide out until the walkers grew bored enough to move on.
“I can’t go on!” Tony said, huffing. “It’s too much!”
“We barely got two blocks between us and the car!” Da’Quarius said. “You outta shape as fuck, Tony!”
“What do you expect?” Paulie asked. “He’s been living off pizza and subs for God knows how long!”
“Listen to Richard Simmons and Jillian Michaels over here,” Tony said, running out of breath. “I’m gonna have to rest for a bit. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”
“No!” Paulie said. “You can do it. Don’t slow down.”
Tony threw his crowbar, nearly hitting Da’Quarius. “Take that, kid,” he said. “I won’t be needing it.”
“Stay on yo feet!” Da’Quarius shouted, pausing only long enough to pick up the crowbar. “They move slow as fuck. You just have to go another block. We’ll find somewhere to hide out.”
“Keep going,” Tony panted. “I’ll distract them long enough for you guys to get to safety.”
“That’s awesome of you!” Manny said, giving Tony a thumbs up.
“No!” Paulie said. “Get moving, you stunad!”
Tony smiled wanly at Paulie. “You’re the stunad.” He then turned and started fist-fighting the walker hoard that pursued them. “COME ON, YOU BASTARDS!”
“Tony!” Paulie shouted.
“We gotta go!” Da’Quarius said. “Dey already got him.”
“YOU CALL THAT A BITE?!” Tony shouted as the hoard overtook him. “IT FELT LIKE YOUR MOTHER WAS BLOWING ME A KISS!”
“I see a house that’s still intact!” Manny said. “Right around that corner. Let’s hide in there while they’re eating your friend!”
Night fell as Da’Quarius, Paulie, and Manny hid in the home around the corner from where they lost Tony. They didn’t dare turn on a flashlight or light a candle. The walkers that had taken Tony still shuffled around outside, looking for a morsel of desert. Manny sat in an old recliner, watching the shadows made by the moonlight dance on the wall. Da’Quarius sat on the couch near the window, stealing glances outside every now and then to see if the hoard had made their way somewhere else. Paulie sat on the opposite corner of the room in a rocking chair, staring at the floor in front of him. All of them were thinking of those who were lost.
“Are they still out there?” Manny asked after Da’Quarius peeked out from the large window again.
“Yeah,” he said. “Dey’re thinnin’ out, doe.”
“Do you think they know where we are?” Manny asked.
“Nah,” Da’Quarius replied. “Dey ain’t too smart. Da walkers forgot all about us after… When we got to the house.”
“Say it,” Paulie said, looking up from his spot on the rocking chair. “They forgot about us while they were gorging themselves on my best friend!”
“Best friend?” Da’Quarius asked. “You were talkin’ shit to him up until the walkers started eatin’ his ass!”
“I was bustin’ balls!” Paulie said. “It’s what we do!”
“Calm down,” Manny said. “We don’t want them to hear us in here.”
Paulie got up from his chair. “They’re not going to hear…” He stopped talking suddenly. There was a tapping and scratching coming from the ceiling above them.
“I thought you cleared the second floor,” Manny said to Da’Quarius. They had cleared the house to make sure there were no walkers in it before they relaxed.
“I did,” Da’Quarius said. “I checked da closets an’ under the beds an’ everything. It was scary as fuck.”
“Quiet,” Paulie said, pulling the gun from his back. “I’ll go check it out. You guys stay here and leave if I tell you to.”
Paulie left Manny and Da’Quarius in the living room. The silence had only been broken for a little while, but he had enough of those two to last him the rest of the night. He walked up the dark hall to the upstairs. He checked every room, the closets, the bathroom, and under the beds, but he didn’t find any walkers.
“It’s still clear,” Paulie said, coming back down the stairs. “Must be a rat or something in the walls.” There was another scratching above them. “Yeah. I know that sound. That’s definitely a rat. They’ll be running the show once all of the humans are gone.”
“Oh man,” Manny said, looking towards the ceiling. “I fuckin hate those fuckin vermin. I’ll go nuts if one of those rats comes down…”
The ceiling suddenly broke apart above Manny, and an entire family of six raccoons fell on him. He jumped up and flailed, trying to get them off, but their claws and teeth clung onto him harder as he did so. Da’Quarius panicked, hitting Manny and the raccoons with his crowbar, but he was mostly beating Manny senseless.
“Do somthin’, Paulie!” Da’Quarius shouted, backing off of the scared and screaming Manny.
Paulie picked up his gun, and aimed it at the fattest raccoon (which was trying to climb Manny’s back up to his head). He fired his shot, but Manny jerked suddenly when the raccoon bit his ear, moving his shoulder in the way of Paulie’s bullet, The shot rang out in the silent house, as did Manny’s scream.
“YOU ASSHOLE!” Manny shouted. “YOU FUCKIN SHOT ME!”
“Sorry!” Paulie said, tossing his gun to the chair. “You shouldn’t have moved. Give me that crowbar, kid.”
Da’Quarius handed Paulie the crowbar, and Paulie swung it towards Manny. He missed the raccoon again, hitting Manny in the temple. “WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” Manny shouted.
“Dis is fucked!” Da’Quarius said, glancing back out of the window. “The walkers can hear him yelling.”
“Zombies,” Paulie corrected.
Manny started rolling on the ground, like a man on fire, trying to get the family of raccoons off of him. “FUCK THESE THINGS!” he shouted. He got up when the rolling around only made them more agitated, and jumped through the large glass window in the living room with a loud crash. He fell in the bushes below the window, and got to the grass where he rolled around some more. Knowing they were outside of the house, the raccoons ran off in all directions.
“YOU MOTHER FUCKERS!” Manny shouted “Try that shit again and I’ll roast you on my fuckin barbecue! My uncle Berto used to eat coons like you for dinner!”
Manny dusted off his pants and winced with pain as his many raccoon wounds oozed and leaked with blood (not to mention his gunshot wound and bruises from the crowbar). “Dammit,” he said. “Fuck this shit.” He turned to go towards the front door of the house when another set of teeth sunk into the flesh of his already bloody neck.
“Manny!” Da’Quarius shouted before Paulie’s hand blocked his mouth from yelling again. They watched as the walker took a huge chunk of Manny’s throat and followed him to the ground, feasting on dying Manny. Three more were behind it, walking over to share in the buffet of man meat. There was a small boy walker a few feet away, eating a young raccoon like a gray and black cheeseburger.
“We gotta go, kid,” Paulie said, picking his gun up from the couch and putting it in its usual place. More walkers were coming to where they heard the loud ruckus that Manny made. They would surely try to get through the window that Manny smashed trying to get the raccoons off. “Use the back door. Come on.”
The rest of the night found Da’Quarius and Paulie going from backyard to backyard, avoiding the walkers that aimlessly shifted in the streets. Paulie picked up a wooden baseball bat, opting to use that to bash the walker’s heads in rather than draw any more towards them with his gun. They only encountered a few of them (Paulie bashed 3 with the bat and Da’Quarius got two with Tony’s crowbar) as they inched their way towards Woodbridge where Paulie saw salvation. The houses started to thin as they got closer to the town line.
“We still need a car,” Paulie said. “It’s too bad Manny was the one that knew how to hotwire one.”
“Shit,” Da’Quarius said. “I bet we can figure it out between the da two of us. I bet you stole a hundred cars when you was a kid.”
Paulie laughed dryly. After everything that happened since they left his sister’s house on Freedom Lane, it was just the two of them again. It seemed that fate had a funny way of bringing you back.
“I have a better idea,” Paulie said. “We’ll find a home with a car parked in the driveway. The keys will probably be on the kitchen counter.”
“We can do dat,” Da’Quarius said. “We’ll just bust up any walker we find inside.”
Finding a house with a car in the driveway didn’t take long. Da’Quarius and Paulie broke into the house, killed a fat woman walker inside, took her keys from the small table by the door, and drove her blue Prius out of her driveway and back over to Fountain Street, so they can finally make it into Woodbridge and out of New Haven.
Their short celebration was cut short when they encountered a wall of cars and old boards of wood blocking the underpass of Route 15 that would bring them into Woodbridge. There was a large, ominous sign that said: “NO GENTILE OR SCHWOOGIE SHALL ENTER WOODBRIDGE, LAND OF MILK AND HONEY!”
“Damn racist bastards,” Paulie said. “I forgot this area is full of those yamaka-topped assholes. Even after we stopped the Holocaust, they’d still leave us here to die!”
“You stopped the Holocaust?” Da’Quarius asked.
“Not me,” Paulie replied. “Before my time.”
“But your father stopped it?” Da’Quarius asked.
“What’s with the line of questions?!” Paulie exclaimed. “I guess we have to go the other way and see where we come out.”
“I don’t think so,” Da’Quarius said, turning around. “They must have been waitin’ for someone to try and go dis way.”
Paulie turned to see what Da’Quarius saw. They were surrounded by walkers. They were coming out of the trees in droves. “I don’t suppose you could climb that wall of cars?” Paulie asked.
“I might be,” Da’Quarius said. “What about you?”
“Don’t worry about me,” Paulie said. “Get over that wall, avoid the walkers, and avoid the Jews on the other side. They’d probably toss you back over if they caught you.”
Paulie left the car and Da’Quarius followed. “I’m not leavin’ you!” Da’Quarius said, holding his crowbar and following Paulie. “Get back in the car an’ let’s plow dat shit right into those mutha fuckers!”
“This is the end for me, kid,” Paulie said. “Maybe if we had a pickup, but not in this pussy Prius. You need to go on. Tell people what happened here. You might just be the last survivor of New Haven.”
“Go!” Paulie shouted. “Or I’ll put a bullet in your head to stop you from becoming one of them!”
Da’Quarius wanted to say something else, anything else, but he couldn’t. He knew Paulie wouldn’t change his resolve once it was set. Instead of staying and trying to talk him out of his suicidal choice, he turned and ran towards the wall keeping the gentiles and schwoogies out of Woodbridge. He knew Paulie wouldn’t want a long goodbye.
He charged the wall at full speed, jumping onto the mess with his hands and feet looking for holds, but whoever crafted this wall was a step ahead of him. The cars that made up the wall were covered in grease and oil. As soon as he started to climb, he fell on the ground, bumping his head on the street.
“You OK?” Paulie asked, helping his nephew off the ground.
“Yeah,” Da’Quarius said dazed.
“Good,” Paulie said. “I guess we’ll end up fighting these guys to our deaths together.”
“Fine,” Da’Quarius said. “Nothing would make me happier than to bash a few heads in before I get eaten alive.”
Paulie aimed his gun at the nearest one, blowing its head off. He put holes in the foreheads in four others before his gun clicked empty. He threw the useless gun off the road and held up his baseball bat. A walked lunged from his left, and Paulie bashed the side of its head.
Da’Quarius swung his crowbar like a junkyard samurai. The claw broke through the skulls of the walkers, killing them as they attempted their meal. He was having trouble maneuvering around the corpses around them and the greased wall behind him. The fight with the walkers would soon be over.
“You should’a saved a couple ‘a bullets for us,” Da’Quarius said.
“Don’t be morbid,” Paulie said, knocking the jaw of a walker.
“I didn’t say goodbye before I tried to run up the wall,” Da’Quarius said.
“And you won’t say it now,” Paulie said, swinging his bat again.
The two continued to swing, their arms growing tired and their muscles burning. The hoard was too much, and was about to overtake them when there was the crackle sound of machine gun fire. The walkers around them fell about themselves, full of holes. They slowly turned to see where the bullets were coming from, but they were dispatched before they could see.
“You two need a hand?” a familiar voice asked, emanating from the trees.
“Are you shittin’ me?!” Paulie exclaimed, looking at the form coming from the woods. Helen emerged, holding a smoking AK-47 against her shoulder. She had a green helmet on her head and a lit cigar in her mouth.
“Helen!” Da’Quarius yelled. “I knew you were still alive!”
“No you didn’t!” Paulie snapped.
“She doesn’t have to know that,” Da’Quarius whispered. “Is Rose OK?”
“She’s fine,” Helen said. “She’s with the other survivors. We’re starting a new society of peace, love, and zombie-genocide.”
“Walkers,” Da’Quarius corrected.
“You really saved our asses,” Paulie said, looking around at the pile of walker corpses that Helen created.
“I got here just in time,” Helen said, walking towards them. “You stunads were about to become a snack for these assholes.”
Paulie and Da’Quarius laughed along with Helen, but their laughter died when a walker’s head emerged from a pile of leaves near Helen’s foot, taking a huge bite of her ankle. She fell on the ground, and the decrepit walker clawed at her, pulling her down for another bite. The walker had no lower half. Its intestines dragged behind it like filthy tentacles as it climbed onto the fallen Helen.
“NO!” Da’Quarius shouted, running in slow motion with his crowbar towards the dying Helen.
“Da’Quarius!” Helen shouted.
“I’m coming!” Da’Quarius shouted. “I’ll kill that bastard!”
“Da’Quarius!” Helen shouted.
“Da’Quarius!” Helen shouted, trying to push the walker from her. “Wake the hell up already!”
“Wha….?” Da’Quarius said, groggily waking up. He was on the couch in the living room of Freedom Lane.
“It’s about time,” Helen said. “Why the hell are you sleeping on the couch?”
Da’Quarius didn’t answer. He looked around himself. He was just on Fountain Street, fighting off walkers where he and Paulie were blockaded form entering Woodbridge. It didn’t make sense for him to be on the couch of his living room. “Where’s Paulie?” he asked.
“How the hell should I know?” Helen asked. “Paulie’s a grown-ass man. He’s probably still in bed.”
“Are you alright?” Rose asked, sitting next to Da’Quarius, clutching a cup of tea. Her dyed red hair was still in its night cap. “You don’t look so good.”
“It must have been a dream,” Da’Quarius said. “A really bad dream.”
“I knew it was a bad idea for you to stay up and watch that violent show,” Rose said, a look of concern on her face. The events of the night before came back to him as his nightmare faded. He had stayed up late to catch up the last few episodes of The Walking Dead since Mr. Hessman kept spoiling the episodes he hadn’t yet seen during his class. He must have fallen asleep while it was on.
“I’m OK,” Da’Quarius said.
“You sure?” Rose asked. “Do you want me to get you a glass of water or some breakfast?”
“I’ll be alright,” Da’Quarius replied.
“I’m glad you’re OK,” Rose said. “We heard you screaming, and I was worried.”
“My dream was so real,” Da’Quarius said. “Paulie was there and the Garcia brothers and Tony and…”
“We get it, Dorothy,” Helen said, rolling her eyes. “Now get the fuck out of here so I can watch my gameshows.”