He nodded, his lips pressed together grimly. “It appears that way.”
I ran back to the room and slipped on a pair of ill-fitting tennis shoes. I’d meant to raid the trailer for more supplies, but I didn’t want to waste time waiting for more zombies to show up. I wasn’t as strong as I should be. Just hitting that zombie with a pan had been hard. My shoulders ached, and my arms felt like jelly.
I grabbed the messenger bag and followed Tatum out of the trailer. We were both warier, so we moved quickly and quietly through the compound, being sure to attract as little attention as possible
The darkness made the trailers a labyrinth for me, and I stayed at Tatum’s heels. That was harder than it sounded, though. I was used to being the fastest person, which was how I’d managed to survive so long being chased by inhuman monsters. What training I’d tried to do inside that room hadn’t been nearly enough.
It wasn’t until we reached the gates that I realized how bad the zombie invasion must’ve been. The holding area between the two doors was a complete massacre. Zombie bodies with their greenish blood splattered everywhere and guts hanging out. Uninfected humans either torn up or shot.
I’m not sure exactly why they were shot, but I could speculate. A few were probably killed in friendly fire because of the chaos of the zombie attack, but I’d guess that most were self-inflicted or done as a mercy killing because they’d been bitten. It’s generally believed that death is a much better alternative than turning into a zombie.
“Holy shit,” I said, staring at the carnage around me. I stopped, both to catch my breath and because it never ceased to shock me what this world had become.
Tatum held up a hand to silence me and shot me a glare. “Quiet. Zombies are crawling all around the perimeter.”
I nodded my understanding and followed him through the mess of corpses. My feet slipped a few times in the goop, but I managed not to fall.
Once we’d made it outside, Tatum took to nearly crawling. I could hear zombies, but I couldn’t see them. Their ragged breath sounded too close for comfort, but they weren’t near enough for me to be able to see.
I mimicked Tatum’s movements exactly, walking low to the ground and moving stealthily away from the quarantine. I barely breathed the whole time, afraid of alerting a zombie.
We were completely submerged in darkness, since the tall quarantine walls blocked out the moonlight. When we got past the shadows, we might have to run for it, but for now, the darkness was on our side. If we couldn’t see the zombies, then they couldn’t see us either.
When we hit the edge of the shadow, Tatum didn’t change his pace, though. He kept up the crouched walk for quite a while after we were away from the quarantine. I wasn’t sure of the distance exactly, but it was far enough that he eventually felt safe moving freely again.
“Where are we going?” I asked softly once we were walking normally.
“A campsite,” Tatum explained and pointed off in the distance. “Not too far from here. They’re waiting for me, then they’re leaving in the morning.”
“What if you didn’t come back tonight?” I asked.
“Then they would still leave in the morning. It’s too dangerous to wait around here for long.”
We didn’t say anything else until we reached the campsite. It was at least a mile away from the quarantine, and my legs and feet ached something terrible by the time we reached it. But it was just as well. My body had to get used to this again.
The “campsite” turned out to be an old army truck with camouflage fabric pulled taut over the bed. It was completely dark, and I wouldn’t have known anyone was there if Tatum hadn’t stopped there.
He rapped gently on the back gate and the barrel of a gun immediately appeared over the top.
“Easy, Boden,” Tatum said and held up his hands. “It’s just me.”
“Who’s with you?” a man demanded, presumably the Boden fellow.
“Remy King.” Tatum pointed back at me. “She’s just girl from the building. She’s totally clean.”
“Neither of you were bitten?” Boden asked.
“No, we’re both fine.”
For a moment, nothing happened. The gun remained pointed at Tatum and me, and we stood outside of the truck. Then the gun retracted, and the back of the truck went down.
“Ladies first,” Tatum said and gestured for me to go.
I climbed up first, sliding past the man holding the gun, though I still hadn’t gotten a good look at him. In the darkness, I could only make out the shapes of people, but I couldn’t really tell who any of them were, if I even knew them.
But it was definitely crowded. Just climbing in, I stepped on someone, who only grunted in response.
“Get some shuteye,” Boden commanded. “We’re heading out first thing in the morning.”
“Are you doing the watch all night?” Tatum asked quietly, but I wasn’t sure if it was so he didn’t wake anybody or because he didn’t want to attract zombies.
“No. Nolita will take over in a few hours,” Boden told him. “Get some rest. You can have watch tomorrow night.”
“I can watch,” I offered, since I really hadn’t been awake that long.
“No,” Boden snapped. “Sleep.”
I thought about pressing him, but I didn’t think he would change his mind.
I tried to find a place to hunker down for the night that wasn’t already occupied by another body, but it was difficult. I finally found a spot, sitting up squished between somebody’s boots and Tatum’s head. Tatum managed to lie down, and he was out almost the instant his head hit the truck bed.