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Mechanical Failure, Chap. 3a (zombie apocalypse novel in progress)

July 10, 2013


I hopped across the back yard to the house, and peered in through the sliding glass door. Everything looked the same as it always did, and the front window still seemed to be intact. I’ve noticed that zombies don’t usually break in unless they know that someone is inside. That’s a huge plus for the living. Balancing on one foot, I struggled with the heavy door and finally got it open enough for me to slip through. I left it that way and hobbled through the house to do a quick check. The bottom floor was still empty, and I just hoped that the second floor was as well, since I wasn’t going to climb the stairs to find out. I’d been inside many times, scavenging, so I wasn’t too worried since there was no sign of a break-in. Returning to the back door, I closed it but didn’t lock it. I doubted that the dead had the sense to slide the door open. They usually just hit the glass until it broke.

The car keys were hanging on the kitchen wall, for all the good they were going to do me. Since the Thompson’s car hadn’t been started since September, the battery was most likely dead. The only thing that really mattered was whether or not the vehicle had a manual transmission. I quietly entered the garage and worked my way over to the Camry to peek inside. One glimpse of the shifter told me that the car was an automatic, so I wasn’t going to be able to roll it down the hill to start it. I considered giving it a try with the key, just in case there was still some life left in the battery, but I was afraid it might make one of those ‘mostly dead’ car noises. That would be like ringing a dinner bell. Even the sound of the doors unlocking and opening might be enough to earn myself some unwanted attention.

Sighing, I stood and looked around the neatly organized garage as I tried to come up with another way to get out of the mess I was in. After a moment, my eyes lit on a bike that was hanging on the wall. Keeping one hand on the hood of the car, I made my way over and tested the tires and found that they were still full. I was pretty sure that pedaling would be out of the question, but my house was at the top of a street that sloped downward. If I could get the bike outside without being seen, I thought that I could make it down the street and find a vehicle that would run. If not, I’d have to figure out a solution at that time. My options were limited.

Lifting the bike down without making any noise was going to be tricky. Besides the fact that it was too high for me, I couldn’t balance well on one foot. Resuming my investigation of the garage, I saw all kinds of tools and some camping supplies as well as several boxes which could contain just about anything. I actually smiled when I saw the folding step stool. Once it was unfolded and turned around, I was able to use it like a walker. It took a while to silently make my way over to the bike, but once there I put the stool in place. I tried to put weight on my bad foot for just a moment so I could step up, but it wasn’t going to happen. The pain was excruciating. Gritting my teeth until the worst of it passed, I tried to figure out how I was going to get onto the step. I knew that I could jump that high, so I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to hop up onto the step. Placing one hand on the wall, I put my bad foot down, just for balance. I had no intention of putting weight on it. I took a breath and jumped up, but my foot overshot the center of the step and almost slid off the other side. The stool teetered for a moment, and I held my breath, praying that it wouldn’t go over. Once I was sure it was going to remain in place, I shifted my foot back to the center of the step. My hands were sweating as I contemplated the next step. It would be a lot easier to knock the whole thing over this time. If I screwed up, not only would I make a ton of noise, but if my foot slipped between the step and the rail on the way over, I could easily break a leg. Then I’d really be in trouble.

 ~to be continued~

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