Carol was screaming at the zombies from the safe position behind the fence in an attempt to distract them away from Fred. They were not falling for it.

Fred was in open ground and clearly was not going to make it. He decided trying for the gate was stupid and he wasn’t sure why he was trying so hard to get to it when jumping the fence was not a huge deal.

He threw on the brakes bringing the bike to skidding halt then jumped off it as quickly as he could. The zombies were close, he had to run to the fence which was a chest high wooden fence designed to keep horses in. It was a relatively easy one to climb over, but Fred was rushing, and his body was reminding him rather loudly that he was not in his twenties or thirties anymore.

Fred ignored his body because the zeds were almost on top of him. He launched himself at the fence crashing into it hard and rough, but he managed to gain a firm hold of it. He climbed as fast as he could, yet the first zombie still managed to grab his foot anyway.

He did not look, he just kicked back hard, felt his foot connecting to a head, then lost balance on top of the fence and fell into the field, safely away from the biting mouths.

He fell onto his back, uncontrolled, and hit the ground hard and awkwardly. The air in his lungs was shunted out, winding him. He felt several rocks puncturing into his back. His head bounced off the ground causing his head to ring loudly.

Carol was running towards him, she bent over to check him for injuries. He could feel the blood leaving his skin, his mind was going blank but he fought the urge to pass out. Instead, he smiled a little, said, “I will be fine, deal with the zeds.” Then vomited up everything onto the ground in front of him and onto Carol’s shoes.

She said, “Shit, you will be cleaning those when we get home.” He humorous words and tone belied the serious concern in her eyes and face. She gave him a quick check to find no obvious serious injuries, then picked up her spear, turned to the zombies then proceeded to spike them.

Fred did not watch her. He was too busy feeling like death to look. But his ears told the story more than clearly enough.

“Die you fucking zombies. Die you bastards. You killed my family you shithead.”

Her voice was full of rage and hate and anger.

He couldn’t blame her. All he could think was how weak he felt, how pathetic he was, to leave his loved one to continue as a zombie. That his body was old and tired before its time. If he was going to keep going, to finish the job of sending Phillip to a better place, he needed to get into shape.

He vomited again.

Carol put her hand on his back, “Job done, no zombies left for now. Are you going to be okay to keep going?”

“Yeah, I am feeling better already. I need to remember to be smarter about physical things from now on.” He forced himself to get up, even though he felt pale and sick. He got to his feet, stood for a moment to ensure he was stable, then said, “Okay, we are in. Shall we take a look in the house first?”

Carol said, “Yeah, I will go first though, and we go slow.”

From the house a young voice called out, “Are you sick?”

They both looked up to see a boy, about twelve years old, standing a safe distance from them, holding and pointing a rifle at them. He looked like he was familiar with the weapon.

Carol said, “We had it and survived it. How about you?”

“Same. Why are you here?”

Fred answered, “We are looking for survivors like you, equipment to safeguard us and supplies to keep us fed and alive. Are you alone?”

The boy looked at them for a while. He was uncertain what to say.

Carol said, “Look, chances are you are by yourself. That your family is in the house as zombies. We have both had to deal with that exact same thing. If you want, we can end the zombies and bury them for you.”

The boy said, “I ended them already. All of them. I can take care of myself.”

Carol said, “Okay, so, what do you want us to do? If you want to come with us, you can. If you want to stay here by yourself, you can. We will do whatever you ask of us.”

“I want you to leave.”

Fred was about to say something, but Carol cut in first, “Okay, that is okay. We will get our bikes and leave.” She looked at Fred to indicate they need to leave, he wanted to argue but listened to her silent words. They turned around then walked back to the gate, Carol picked up her bike.

The boy called out, “Wait. Hang on. I don’t want to stay here by myself. Can I come with you?”

Carol let out a breath of relief. “Yes, you can.”

The boy said, “Then it would be safer using a car or something.”

Fred asked, “Does the farm have a tractor and trailer?”

“Yeah, of course we do.”

“Excellent. It means we can head into Kyneton today to pick up more survivors. But before we do that, we will drop you off?”

“Where are you staying?”

“Betty’s farm.”

The boy smiled. “She is really nice. Bossy though, but nice. Can I get my stuff?”

Carol smiled, “Sure, tell Fred where the tractor is so he can get it ready. I will go with you to get your stuff.”


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