“The outbreak happened at night so the store was closed.” The blonde 20 year old said as Chris maneuvered the golden Mercedes sprinter van past the Waikele Premium outlets and through a wooden barricade into the larger side of the shopping center.
“The shutters are nearly indestructible by any human means , they are designed to withstand a bus hitting them.” She continued. “The back door has a very secure design, no one could have gotten in.”
Chris nodded; he was a dark skinned young man with black hair and brown eyes, at the beginning of this all he had been very heavy set, but that was slowly changing due to a lack of food. He was wearing a plain shirt that had once been brilliant green and jeans that had seen better days. In the vehicle he was driving sat several more people.
Jayme Fulgencio sat in the first row of seats in the van that once belonged to “Royal Star” and was responsible for them having the vehicle in the first place, figuring out how to hotwire it in only a few minutes. Jayme was tall, standing at over 6ft and had dark brown hair and brown eyes, an Aluminum baseball bat with cement nails through it was at the floor by his feet. Next to Jayme sat his girlfriend Karli, she had been part of the original group that had started out at Genki Sushi in the very shopping center that they were now driving back into, her eyes fell on the structure as it came into view, Jayme’s black Mercedes and Chris’s green Nissan Maxima still sat side by side in parking stalls in front of the restaurant. Karli gave a heavy sigh and pressed her head against the cool glass next to her, she was a normal build, average height for a girl her age and carried Asian influence in appearance complete with black hair.
Across the aisle sat Michael Swords, a heavy set white/Asian fusion with black hair and glasses, he carried the same drawn and tired look as Chris from the now rapid weight loss and violent increase of physical activity, his eyes were also resting on Genki Sushi, in particular the Black 1992 Nissan Maxima they had tried to evacuate in before getting rear ended violently by a Saturn Outlook in full flight, forcing them into a line of parked cars and initiating the first full on sprint that he had performed in a long while. . .funny thing, adrenaline. Next to him was his good friend Michael Arellano, or “Mikie”, a digital media student from LCC, an average man with brown hair and brown eyes under prescription glasses.
Behind him sat a collage friend named “Alex” who they had invited along to the Genki Sushi “gathering” after school. She was also an Asian/White mixture and sat with her head on the window, catching up with some much needed sleep.
Next to her sat the only person in their group that currently had a gun, Jordan Cardenas, a tan skinned well-built man that they had found in Mililani, the next town over. Jordan was wearing full on military style light gear complete with a S&W model 5906 chambered in 9mm that he had taken from a flipped over Honolulu police cruiser in Mililani ravine park. He was also wearing sunglasses and the way he was sitting made it impossible to tell if he was currently asleep or awake.
Behind Jordan and Alex was Michael Chun, a young Asian man that was toying with a yellow satellite phone. They had picked him up on their run through Mililani as well in the ransacked mess that had once been the Walmart location of the town. A short time ago the CB functions of the device had picked up a brief signal that he was trying to regain, moving the control knobs only millimeters at a time. The group had taken to calling him “Chun” to avoid confusion with Michael Swords.
Next they had Sean Ponty, a tall white man that Chris and Michael had known in High school, he carried a homemade weapon fashioned out of a chopped in half dining fly pole fitted with a garden trowel at the end. He had also been in the Mililani Walmart and was now watching as Chun worked the knobs on the satellite phone.
Lastly was a young Asian man named Kevin Lau who was a bit on the shorter side, he had been at Mililani High school when they were looking for survivors there. He was looking at the blackened screen of his smartphone, flipping it over and over in his hands.
“So we’re talking a full inventory then?” Chris asked the blonde woman named “Kelsey” as they shoved through a barricade made out of cones and 2 securitas golf carts.
She nodded and they pulled up to the front of Sports Authority, the shutters were indeed still down over the windows and were undamaged. “If we are the first people here we’ll have shot guns, hand guns, revolvers.”
“Revolvers are hand guns.” Chris corrected.
“Recurve bows and crossbows” Kelsey pressed through.
As the group disembarked the super bus she opened up the front door with her mother’s keys and then put a second key in a keyhole in the base of the Shutter. “Fingers crossed for electricity.” She turned the key and a green light turned on near the keyhole. The shutters began rattling up and the group filed into the store.
“That bitch was good for something in the end” Kelsey muttered as she went over to a wall and commanded the shutters back down again.
“I hope you’re not talking about your mom.” Chris commented, raising an eyebrow.
Kelsey laughed “I didn’t ask for your approval.” She flipped several switches on the wall and the lights in the store came up. “Funny, in all those zombie movies there is never electricity . . . why is that?”
“Power plants need constant and precise maintenance to run.” Kevin said as he rolled open a drinks fridge near the registers and pulled out a bottle of water, he looked around at the group for approval and when no one objected he cracked it open and began drinking it.
“With no one around to operate them it’s only a matter of time before something overheats and then boom.” He passed his free hand through the air in a small arc. “No more power.”
“We should make sure that nothing is in here with us.” Jordan said as he came forward from the back of the group.
“I already told you, the store was closed there is no way anything is in here.” Kelsey retorted.
“We should be sure though.” Alex agreed “Horror movie 101, don’t always assume that you are alone, even when you should be.”
Jayme nodded “You’re the only one with a gun.” He said to Jordan “What do you want to do?”
“We can either circle the store or split up, take sides and meet in the middle at the back.”
“I say we stick together.” Chris chipped in “I mean . . . I like the idea of numbers.”
“I say we split up.” Kelsey countered “We cover more ground faster, if we run into trouble we can just shout it’s a store not an open field. Plus the back is where all the guns are.”
“We’ll get a better idea of what items are still in the store if we split up.” Michael added.
“We can always take inventory later.” Chun pointed out “The longer we stand here and debate and the more noise we make the more likely that something will come out of the shelving and attack us.”
“Flip for it?” Alex offered.
“As in flip a coin?” Chris asked and Alex nodded “We can’t keep doing that to solve issues, we need a leader to make final decisions.”
“We can do that for this issue in particular though.” Sean said “Figure out leaders after we figure out if there is anything here that is going to eat us.”
“I. . .ok, let’s do it.” Chris sighed.
Mikie took a coin out of his pocket “Heads we split up and tails we stay together.”
Several minutes later the group was gathered in the back of the store, it had indeed been empty as Kelsey had suggested, something she had made it a point to remind them of as the 2 parts of the group met back up near the guns.
Everyone was now wearing new clothing from inside Sports Authority, with new running shoes replacing blown out slippers and clean shirts.
The sinks in the store still functioned and most of the group had managed to shower with a water hose used to fill mop buckets in a janitorial closet. The store itself had afforded them many more weapons than they could have ever hoped for, this included the guns and bows that they had expected but also included baseball bats and golf clubs.
Jordan and Jayme had been set on the task of taking inventory of the guns while the others searched for food and supplies.
“This was a good idea.” Jordan said softly to Jayme as he turned a revolver over in his hands.
“I have to question if it was worth putting up with Kelsey though.” Jayme muttered back, opening another box of arrows.
Jordan nodded “I know what you mean, but in the end now I feel like we have a real chance.”
Mikie came up to the glass counter they were standing at and dropped them both off sandwiches, chips and water. “We found some food in the employee break room.” He explained “We decided to make use of it now because everyone really needs to eat.”
“I was thinking about heading over to K Mart.” Jordan said, placing the now loaded revolver in a holster on the counter. “All the food there, it would have been safe behind the shutters just like here right?”
Mikie leaned on the counter and examined a recurve bow “Chris is thinking the same thing, but there are 2 issues with that.”
“Kelsey says that the only reason why Sports Authority has those shutters is because they sell firearms and other things that could be considered weapons, so if she’s right then K Mart could both be ransacked already or infested with undead.”
Jayme nodded “I can see that what is the second issue?”
“The second issue.” Karli cut in, delivering more arrows to the counter “Is that if Kelsey is wrong and K Mart does have shutters we don’t have keys for it.”
“Do you mind?” he asked, lightly tapping the recurve bow with his index finger.
“Not at all,” Jayme said, passing him the bow and several arrows “Chris and I seem to be the most adept with these, I guess it’s carry over from Boy scouts or something but it’s never too late to learn.” Mikie nodded shortly and walked away, over to the archery range Chris and Kelsey had set up in the middle of the store where the clothing racks had all been pushed over to the sides.
“You’re being kind of. . .brusque about this whole thing, Kelsey.” Chris said, crossing his arms.
Kelsey looked at him questioningly as she increased the speed on her treadmill again “Sorry, I’m not familiar with that word.”
“He’s saying you’re being a bitch about it.” Alex explained simply.
Chris cast Alex a slightly irritated look “To put it as bluntly as possible, yes. . .”
“Oh, well” Kelsey cleared her throat “I’m sorry you think that but the way I see it the supermarket is already stripped bare or locked down so we have no hopes of getting inside of it, both situations seem like a very big loss to me.”
“As I’ve said, I know where you are coming from in that regard but we can’t ignore it, this store. . .it has everything in it BUT food.” Chris stressed
“Besides the chips and crap.” Alex added
“Yeah, I mean they’re good but we can’t survive off of them, we’re going to need real food to stay functional.” Chris agreed.
Kelsey sighed and stopped the treadmill, picking up a hydro flask she had filled with tap water and drinking deeply.
“I . . . I know.” She admitted “I see your side of this too, it’s just, it feels safe in here.”
“No one is saying that you need to be the one to run out there.”
“Can I offer a compromise?” Alex asked.
Both Chris and Kelsey turned to her, waiting for her to speak.
“Leonard’s Malasada truck and Laverne’s lunch wagon are literally right at the end of this building, we can scavenge food from those first, I bet in all the chaos no one would have thought about checking those trucks.”
“Everything would be spoiled by now though.” Chris pointed out “Those trucks have refrigeration that runs off of gas generators, they would have died off a long time ago.”
Kelsey nodded “I agree with Chris . . . this time.”
“It was just an idea.” Alex said, leaning back in her chair with a sigh. “K Mart would have a lot of canned product for us to take, there’s no way enough people went through there to strip the place right?”
“That’s the hope.” Chris confirmed.
“In the end we need to do something.”
Kelsey nodded, looking sadly out the windows of the store, obscured greatly by the shutters. “How did this happen?”
“I wish I knew.”