Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beyond the Sea

Four days ago it was a dot on the horizon. Two days later the true horror of what Mark and Chris were looking at was revealed with the rising of the morning sun. Today there wasn't any need to use the binoculars.

Chris pushed his bare feet in the sand enjoying the warmth while listening to the crashing surf with closed eyes.

Mark shifted to a more comfortable position on the craggy rock watching as the ocean currents pushed the massive cruise ship closer and closer to shore. Twelve decks and by Marks best guess over nine hundred feet long, the pearl white ship hardly rocked with the twenty foot waves that slapped into its side.

The day before the men had spent hours scanning the ship with their binoculars looking for any movement on the ship and had just about given up when Chris spotted a lone figure. He couldn't tell if it was a human or undead. Too far away. This morning they searched its decks again, squinting against the sunlight bouncing off the ships white surface. This time they spotted a few lone figures and could easily tell there were no true living people onboard. The question remained, how many were on that ship. In time their answer would be given because the sea was pushing the ship towards the unyielding rocks lining the shore where they would peel open the steel hull of the ship like tissue paper spilling out whatever was on that ship only a short distance from land. A living human being would never survive it, but that's not why Mark and Chris were here. This wasn't a rescue mission.

They had spent the last two months clearing this area of undead and wanted to keep it that way.

The plan was to wait until the ship got to the rocks, about 50 yards away, and then fire off a shot. That would bring the few straggler gooey’s up on deck. Even with the ship moving it would still be easy enough for Mark and Chris to shoot them.

Chris woke from his nap from a nudge in his ribs from Marks shoe. Chris blinked through the bright light to look at the ship. Mark walked back to the rocks while Chris made sure to dust the grains of sand before getting his rifle. He unzipped the tattered case and took out his M1A. He didn't bother to check the chamber. Everything the men carried was loaded. Always.

He met up with Mark who looked like he hadn't moved from his original spot, if fact he looked like he'd been sitting there for years.

Chris noticed the ship was listing badly towards them. Up close like this it was hard to believe that men could build something so gigantic. It was close enough to them now that they couldn't look at it end to end without having to swivel their heads.

"You ready?"

Chris answered by flipping open the lens covers on his rifle scope. "What kind of sandwiches did we bring for lunch?"

"Meatloaf," said Mark. "I think."

Chris shouldered his Springfield Scout and adjusted the zoom on his scope as he waited for Mark to fire the shot to attract the gooey’s. "Oh good. I like meatloaf."

Mark waited for the massive ship to meet the rocks. The ship came up just before the rocky shoreline and seemed to balk at the last moment as if holding back from its inevitable end. Then a large wave picked it up and dropped it onto rocks just below the surface of the water. With a agonized groan the rocks bit into the steel hull. Another wave lifted it up and threw it further into the maw of rocks with a thunderous screeching wail of shredding steel.

Even though he knew it was coming Chris still jumped a little when Mark fired the 'dinner bell' shot. A moment later a gooey appeared on deck. How it kept its footing on the rocking ship was a mild curiosity. Chris timed his shot with the swell of the wave and squeezed the trigger. The gooey's head looked like someone had blown a puff of air on dust when the bullet hit.

"Nice," commented Mark as he waited for a target to shoot.

He didn't have to wait long as a couple more gooey’s came into view. The wind had shifted and clearly had blown the men’s sent across the water, because the gooey’s turned in their direction. Over the rumble of the surf and grinding of the ship on the rocks Mark and Chris could clearly hear the gooey’s start moaning.
Normally one of the two men would have turned to watch their backs in case the moaning called other goo’s from the woods, but they had been cleaned out long ago.

Chris shouldered his rifle again, "You taking the one on the right or left?"



Chris smiled through his scope. "You missed."

"What are you talking about? I dropped him."

"Then you weren't aiming at the one on the left because he's still there. I'm zoomed in right on his ugly mug."

"You're looking at the wrong left," said Mark in that way that told Chris something was wrong.

He brought the rifle down and forgot all about lunch. The decks were swarming with undead and more were coming up from the bowels of the ship like a festering wound. They were clambering over each other all pressing against the rails of the ship.

"There must be hundreds," said Chris with dread and hopelessness filling his voice.

The ship was already tilting towards the shore with the waves pushing it, but now the combined weight of hundreds of undead all on one side it was tipping the ship further and further over. Any moment it would literally spill it's decaying cargo all across the shore in a surging mass of mindless death.

"I think we better get going," said Mark. "Time to find a new home."

Chris stood transfixed by the nearing tidal wave of gooey’s until Mark brought him out of it with a nudge.

"Huh?" said Chris. "Oh right, yeah we better get moving."

"Don't forget to bring the lunch," said Mark.

Authors note
This story takes place months into the outbreak. The two characters aren't yet jaded, but have seen their fill that there's a certain fatalism coloring their actions. I tried to make the energy level low key, but build the plot from curiosity to realization to menace.
I hope you enjoy it. 

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