The flames were tearing through the city now, entire city blocks aflame, apartment towers and offices alike belching thick black smoke into the night sky. Brad wiped the soot away from his eyes and looked around the street, shotgun in his right hand, and gripping his left was his son.
“OK, follow me, if we can get to the bridge there’s a car rental place there” he said, moving away from the buildings doorway and out into the street. He had learned quickly over the last few hours to stay well away from the edge of the street.
As the first reports of infected had leaked out onto the local news Brad had paid it little attention. The first quarantined building was on the other side of town and nothing for the general population to worry about. Even as the fire had broken out within the building, captured on camera and beamed across the city, Brad had settled down on the couch with a beer and that mornings newspaper. He had only looked up at the TV when the first burning man had walked out of the building and attacked the nearest firefighter. He had sat there fixated as the walking pillar of fire crossed the street toward another firefighter, ignoring the gunshots and bullets thudding into it from the nearby police. He had watched in morbid fascination, as more human torches exited the building, unhurriedly walking toward the police who had begun to flee the scene or crossing the street, following the crowd of onlookers who had fled back into the opposite building.
The flames had quickly spread after that, matched only in speed by the spread of the infected across the city. Within hours the city was aflame, the streets were clogged with stationary cars, many alight and public transport had come to a complete halt. Brad and his son had gathered up a few supplies and headed out into the glowing night as they had watched the neighboring apartment building go up in flames. Brad shut his eyes and forced the memory from his mind, trying not to picture the figures struggling in the windows across the street, trying to fight back against the attackers that had poured through their apartment doors, seemingly unhurt by bullets and fire alike.
He stepped over another prone body, probably the twentieth jumper he had seen within the past hour and strode down the middle of the street toward the bridge. Approaching the giant structure he could see a blockade of police cars and SWAT vans across all six lanes of the bridges mouth. He waved as a bright spotlight was turned toward him and slowed his walk, holding his arms out away from his body and letting the shotgun dangle from his outstretched finger tips. As he slowly stepped forward the light suddenly swung away from him and lit up a number of people to Brads left. Turning to look at them his stomach turned to stone as the first one stumbled toward him, a female, whose left arm was completely missing and whose clothes and skin was charred and torn away in multiple places.
Panicking Brad pushed his son away from him toward the police line and took aim at the nightmarish figure bearing down on him. He leveled the shotgun and pulled the trigger. The gun roared tearing a huge chunk of the attacker’s torso away. Still she kept coming at him. Brad pumped the shotgun and fired another round, this time hitting her squarely in the chest, knocking her back several paces before she began to lumber toward him. He pumped the gun again and fired another round, snapping her left knee in half and sending her spinning to the ground. Brad looked up as she began pulling herself toward him, to see another disfigured man lurching his way. He squealed, pumped the shotgun, aimed higher, pulled the trigger and watched as the top portion of the man’s skull shattered under the impact, sending a plume of blood and hair into the night air.
Brad stepped backward as the lifeless body crashed in a heap at his feet. With a lunge the crawling woman grabbed his leg, pulled in close and bit down hard on Brad’s boot. With a cry of pain Brad slammed the stock into the her head, ramming it into the hard pavement and leaving broken teeth protruding from his now bleeding foot. He reversed the shotgun, pumped it a final time and fired, point blank, at the base of her skull. The blast tore through the bone, mulching the brain and sent shrapnel in every direction as the buckshot hit the pavement. Brad screamed as hot fragments tore through his leg and already hurt foot.
Limping backwards he spotted more figures moving out of the shadows toward him. He turned and began to limp toward the police line and the silhouetted figure of his son, anxiously waiting for him. As he approached a heavily armed officer approached him “Sir, were you bitten?” he asked.
“Uhh, no, no its just shrapnel from the shotgun” Brad replied back, his voice tinged with fear and his mind racing at what would happen if they suspected he had been bitten.
“Alright, good” responded the officer, his attention already shifting to the oncoming group “Get over the bridge and find a paramedic, they should be able to help you out”
Brad nodded, grabbed his sons arm and began to make his way toward the bridge. As they made their way across they could hear the officer barking orders and gunshots ringing out as they opened fire on the onrushing group.
Half way across the bridge he turned to his son and pulled the small one round pistol from his sock “I want you to have this son. Don’t be afraid to use it, no matter what happens or who you need to use it on. No matter who it is, don’t hesitate. Do you understand?”
The young teenager looked up at his father as he took the pistol offered to him “Yes dad” he replied.