Phil fidgeted in his seat as their rusting light blue Lada grumbled along the road. Flicking a dog-end out of the window into the night he rolled up the window and looked around at the rag tag crew he was now running with.
Under the glow of a green chemlight in the back seat sat the two M’s – their most recent additions to the group. Having recently discovered half a pack of cards tucked in the glove compartment they were trying to pass the time with a game of poker but as it had become quickly apparent that the deck boasted just a single ace their early banter had become tired bickering. A couple of weeks ago Phil would have rolled his eyes and called them children but things were different now – since the outbreak.
The assault rifle laying casually across Mark’s knees whilst Martin’s axe gently rattled against his own holstered side arm only emphasised how much had changed these last few weeks. Two weeks ago Martin was a school teacher, teaching computers to eight year olds in the city. When the news channels finally realised that recent disturbances were not the result of fractious youths and something else, more serious, was unfolding before them it was too late for everyone. With the truth came the realisation that the troops they thought were there to help them were instead there to purge the cancer.
The news broke during school hours and the staff could do nothing but lock the doors and hope that someone came for the children. Unfortunately for Martin the infected got there first. Mart would not talk about how he escaped in to the countryside but it was obvious from the haunted look in his eyes that he had experienced his own personal hell.
Mark had found him lying in a barn bleeding out with a pile of dead infected filling the doorway, an axe hammered home in to the skull of one particularly unlucky soul.
It was clear to all of them that Mark was a soldier and, judging from Mart’s recovery, a medic of some sort. Given the anger at the blockades and the number of people who died under a hail of bullets rather than to an undead’s fingernails or teeth no-one had broached the subject – to open that door would be to let in demons more dangerous than those lurking outside. For now they let Mark be, his training had saved them all multiple times and he had the devils own luck when it came to scavenging supplies from the abandoned hamlets they travelled through.
Phil glanced across at the strangest of the crew.
Resolutely ignoring the potential fire fight about to break out in the back seat Doug kept his eyes firmly on the road ahead. The occasional muttering as he changed gear was all that broke his silence – an unnerving abnormality for the one they had nicknamed Preacher for his constant chatter and fortune cookie wisdom. Whether Doug had actually been a man of the cloth was unclear though, if he was, whatever god he once prayed to he had left many miles behind him.
Returning his gaze to the road ahead the car’s flickering headlights were barely cutting through the fog as once again dusk turned in to night once again on Chernarus.
It was nearly three hours before something broke the monotony of the cone of light running along the road – even the M’s were dozing in the back. Phil had no doubt that they would be fully awake at any sign of trouble as no one slept too deeply these days. Off to the right they a row of lights blinked on and off – this was the first signs of electricity they had seen in days and a sight that lifted them both. Leaning back Phil punched the knees of the two M’s bringing them quickly awake and he gestured out the window.
“We got some lights up ahead, might be worth checking out?”
Grim nods from all them all was his only response. They all knew the relative safety the car brought them – a metal suit of armour able to outrun the fastest infected – though they also knew that it’s fuel would not last forever and it was even less likely to feed them.
At the consensus Doug clicked off the headlights, pulled off the road and put them on a direct course with the mystery lights whilst the others checked their guns and clicked off the safety catches in anticipation, their faces against the windows to keep an eye out for trouble.
After a hundred yards the cross country bumps smoothed out and they found themselves gliding a long a relatively flat grassland. Mark tapped Phil on the shoulder and pointed out the window. In the distance another matching set of lights, beyond that yet another, and it was clear they were low to the ground.
As the grass gave way to the familiar hum of rolling along a smooth road it was Mark who decoded the meaning the quickest and barked out “Airfield!”
With a curse Doug threw his hand at the ignition and flicked off the engine, his haste causing the keys to slip from the ignition and to rattle down the dash and between his legs to the floor. Engine off the car glided another thirty feet along the tarmac to a gentle stop, the silhouette of a control tower looming before them.