Me and Earl were living south of Durham on an old train trestle over a creek. We’d built ourselves a little hut about mid-span. The old wooden trestle looked like it hadn’t seen any train traffic for a decade or more before the crap hit the fan, and we didn’t suppose any new trains were likely to start using it. We barricaded and booby-trapped the tracks on either end and climbed up from below. Them flesh-eatin’ rascals can’t climb worth a damn, and they swim like rocks, so we was pretty well protected.
One day we were trying to lash one of the tarps back down when we heard a ruckus from down stream. We looked and seen these three women down there trying to get away from a few biters. These girls musta not known how to swim or they didn’t wanna get their clothes wet or something. Them and the zombies were all scrambling along the bank like idiots. Earl and me was yellin’ to ’em to just get in the creek, but I guess they were too busy squealing and climbing over rocks to pay us any mind.
We came down with a couple ugly sticks and saved ’em, like knights in shining armor. They climbed up to our place and we gave ’em some beans and they shared a can of tuna they had.
Earl and me had talked before about the risks of taking other health nuts in. Earl musta forgot all about that once he seen Brenda. She was in her early 30’s and was pretty in a rough sort of way. The blonde from her last bottle of Clairol was just about visible at the ends of her brown hair. I told her she shoulda cut it short by now, to decrease her grab-ability. She said it aint easy giving up every last bit of the way life used to be, but she’d consider it. It’s a girl thing I guess.
She was on the run from the undead along with her niece Katey and an older neighbor friend named Louise. Katey was pretty skinny like most of us. Her hair had the look of having possibly been last cut with a steak knife. I’m guessing that hairstyle was Brenda tryin’ to keep her kin in pristine, unbit condition. Seems Brenda knew bout keepin hair short for safety, just not her own. Katey kinda looked like a dandelion on account of that hairstyle as she sulked around the trestle just as moody and pissed off as any fourteen year old.
Louise wasn’t a whole lot more talkative than Katey. She just lurked around looking kind of scared all the time. She damn near caught herself an ugly stick upside the head when Earl thought that a Francine Flesh-chomper had somehow made it through the barricades. Soon as she cried out and crouched down, Earl checked his swing. After that, Louise took to clearing her throat a lot. Zombies don’t pay no attention to post-nasal drips, so a sniffle and a cough could go a long way to keep you from getting swung on.
Our little camp got crowded that day, and I made a mental note to give Earl an earful once I had him alone. In the meantime, I tried to be a good host.