October 24, 2020, I wrote a Six titled “Zombies and puppies“. Then came a follow up, “Seven“. Lo and behold there was a 3rd Six in the series, “Event Horizon“. Click on the Six titles to refresh the story in your mind or, read for the first time. Today, may I present a 4th Six about the continuing adventures of Jaya and Seven. And zombie mutants, of course!
Of 2 things I was certain: I would die protecting my dog; my dog would die protecting me.
“What the hell, Seven! What have I told you about not waking me unless it was an emergency”, irritated, it was precious few seconds before I heard the sound of a distant lowing… “I take that back buddy, they’ll be a little extra something in tonight’s dinner for you – c’mon, we got to go!”
The zombies, or “rabids”, seemed to be most active after sundown, right up until the break of dawn when they all but disappeared, leaving us the daylight hours as the most secure time to catch a little shut eye and/or move camp; I’d been asleep only an hour or two, the warmth of an early morning southern sky, a lullaby, allowing me to step over the line of consciousness drawn in the sand that leads to slumber – until that is, I’d felt Seven’s wet nose insistently nudging my neck.
Seven, 1 year and a couple of months – constant companion, lookout sentry and more than once, life saver for both me and Ryan, was still a puppy in many ways, though he increasingly acted “wiser” than his chronological age implies; since that horrifying night of death and bloodshed in the furniture store when fate stepped in to deliver him to us, he’d been nothing short of a wonderous, playful and miraculous gift.
The three of us had been on the move for the better part of the year, road weary, exhausted, irritable with each other, we never made camp anywhere for longer than 2 or 3 weeks so it came as a total surprise when Ryan and I realized we’d been camped outside of McKinney, Texas for well over a month, the two of us both thinking, but not saying out loud, the hope whispering in our ears like a best friend whispering a secret that maybe, just maybe we’d found a safe haven to rest while we made bigger plans for finding other survivors.
One day, with the sun at it’s highest, a fireball in the sky, Ryan left camp on foot to forage for supplies in McKinney while Seven and I took the truck to make a perimeter check a few miles out; when we were finished, we’d pick up Ryan at the park in the center of town and head back to camp but as the truck approached downtown, Seven began a low, menacing growl, it’s increasing intensity a distraction that almost caused me to miss spotting Ryan, loaded down with our supplies, ambushed by a group of rabids who’d come racing out from under cover of the park’s trees.