Eula drove the tractor carefully. While having glass between them and her felt safe and secure, having nothing gave her the shits.
While the road home was still relatively clear of the zeds, their numbers had grown from the morning. She was feeling uncertain for their future after seeing the masses of them spreading North wards from Melbourne. She knew they would come, it made sense that they would, but not like that.
Not together in groups of thousands.
It was a certainty that their farm, as it was, would not hold them back.
As soon as the monsters found the house, it would be surrounded and overcome. They had to fight hard to keep fifteen of them out.
What hope would they have against thousands walking up the road in unending numbers?
They turned a corner and were approaching the final intersection that would lead them to the farm. Eula saw another tractor and trailer waiting there.
She slowed down until she saw Fred, Carol, and one of the men from the morning. She could tell they had been zombie killing from the dozens of dea zombies scattered about the place.
Eula pulled the tractor up beside them, got out of the broken cab, then walked back to the bus Kevin was driving. He got out of the bus and they embraced.
He said, “I thought you were dead. I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.”
Fred called out from the tractor, “What the hell happened?”
Eula took a step back from Kevin, smiled, took in a deep breath then looked at the bus and tractor with fresh eyes.
The bus, even though it was brand new, had multiple dents, massive scratches all over it and a cracked windscreen. Her tractor was a mess of blood and zombie bits.
The others were getting off the trailer when Fred said, “You found more people. Hey, look, don’t get off yet, we should go to the farm right now because we have no time to waste.”
Fred, true to his word, turned around and got back into his tractor, turned it on and began driving away.
Eula agreed and did the same thing. With ten minutes they were all pulling into the driveway. Everyone was outside having a meal. There were also about thirty dead zombies lining each side of the driveway.
She got out, said hello to everyone with Kevin catching up to walk beside her.
Betty said, “Looking at my tractor, and the bus, and the look on Fred’s face is enough to confirm what we were just talking about. We have to leave, right?”
Eula said, “We were lucky to escape. And yeah, we have to leave. The highway is so full of zombies it is like all of Melbourne is marching up it. They are spreading out, and my guess is they will have followed the tractor noise. They are on the way right now.”
Jeremy said, after he gave his name, “How long?”
Fred answered, “Five, maybe six hours if they walk her directly. And given the numbers, at least some of them will do exactly that.”
Nobody said a word.
Eula was feeling panicked, a feeling she hated yet was becoming close friends with. Having seen the numbers of zeds, their slow, unstoppable walking, she felt that they were a slow moving, creeping death machine.
She said, “Forget the farm. We need to pack up as much food as possible, make more spears, load up the guns and prepare the trailers for battle and escape. The bus can carry those who can’t be on the trailers.”
Betty said, “Pucka Army Base has been on the radio calling people to them. They have about two hundred people already, well defended and equipped. The problem is, on tractors, it will take about four hours to get there and there are highways to cross. I think it is obvious they we need to fill the tractors and that shiny bus up with diesel.”
Jeremy said, “Deanna and I will get the rifles ready but only we use them.”
Carol said, “Fred and I will prepare more spears by sharpening. The kids and newbies can come with us to harden them in the fires.”
Betty said, “Kevin, Eula and Bill, do something with that tractor cab, Eula will be dead before we get halfway with the cab looking like that. Then go to the other tractor and board up the sides of that one as well. Everyone else, we will be loading the trailers with food and supplies and filling the back of the bus up as well. Kevin, how long do we really have?”
Kevin did some calculations in his head then said, “The earliest the big mob will get here is about six hours, but the number of wandering zeds walking these roads right now, we need to post a guard at the front.”
Betty said, “Bill, you are off tractor duty and are on guard duty. Do not shoot them, use your bat, crowbar or spear.”
Bill said, “Crowbar it is then.” He wasted no time picking the one off the porch. With his rifle, crowbar and swagger, he walked to the road and began his duty.
Betty said, “We have to be ready to leave within four hours, so stop standing around.”
Eula saw everyone moving off. The newcomers, straight from at least five days stranded in houses, were slow to react but they moved. Eula called out, “Hey, Betty, can you feed the new people first?”
Betty looked back to Eula, “Yes, of course, how rude of me. New people, follow me, everyone else, you eat in four hours, get to work.”
For the next four hours, work was what they did.
Bill killed three of them in the first hour, by the fourth it was twelve.
The tractors had the cabs repaired and upgraded, engines were checked, and diesel levels checked. They all needed more fuel. Spears were made. Food prepared and, much to everyone’s amusement, Betty produce a huge late afternoon dinner.
Spears were created, clothes, mattresses put up against the bus windows, survival gear and more. Betty had been organizing from within the house, everybody followed instruction.
As the sun as getting low to the horizon, Eula was sitting in her tractor, fitted out with sturdy wooden sides. Fred was taking the lead with Betty sitting with him. Kevin took the rear in the bus and carrying most of the tribe.
Engines were turned on.
Eula, even with the fear within her already heightened, felt in control, felt focused, and felt ready.
Four hours of night driving through zombie infested roads, last week she was being told off for taking a day off work to look after her very sick house mates.
How quickly things have changed.