The SuperMart is the huge box store in the middle, and I jog at a neat pace until reaching that area. It maybe empty back here for now, but I still don’t want to get caught. The heat blazes down on me, made worse by the black road and the pale walls of the stores.
All of the doors are dark grey and look heavy and solid from the outside. I go up to one of them, Cassie right by side, and notice something odd.
“It’s open,” Cassie whispers. The grey door is damaged - this wasn’t left open by a fleeing employee – it’s been forced open by someone. I don’t think a zombie could have done this; it had to have been a living human, but then why did they leave it open? Had they gotten it open only to be eaten right after they went inside?
I slip my knife into my hand and whisper to Cassie – “Be careful.”
I slide around the open door and take a step to one side so Cassie can fit inside too. I wait for my eyes to adjust, fearing that there will be a body at my feet and a moaning zombie on the other side. But as the room reveals itself I see only a room full of shelves and boxes. I motion Cassie behind me, and then shut the door as quietly and firmly as I can to try and keep out any zombies that might have followed us. As much as I don’t like having the known way out blocked, I really don’t want to let a zombie in here. As quietly as we can, Cassie and I move some of the boxes in front of the door, so any hungry zombie will have to push very hard to get inside.
I then lead the way out of the room, out through giant plastic strips hanging from the ceiling, through more storage areas, and finally out to the main part of the store. I’m five steps into the store before I stop cold.
The lights are on.
“Delilah,” Cassie whispers at my side.
“I know. The lights are on,” I whisper. “Someone’s here.”
“No shit,” she rolls her eyes.
“You said a cuss word!” I grin at her. I hold my hand down low and she slaps it.
“Let’s go find them,” she says, and takes off running.
“Cassie,” I hiss. “No! They could be dead now. They could be zombies.”
But does she listen? No! She runs through the store, her sneakers slapping on the linoleum so loudly that I’m sure the zombies outside can hear her.
As I race after her I notice the sports section to my left. I take a quick detour, thinking that since I’m bigger and faster than she is that surely I can catch up. I run down one aisle full of hockey gear, do a quick turn and then thankfully get the baseball aisle. I grab a nice aluminum bat, enjoying the feel of it in my hand, then I cock my head to the side to try and figure out which way she’s running.
It sounds like she’s headed to the left, to the far side of the store, so I take off in that direction.
When I catch up to her we’re in the grocery section, and it reeks to high heaven. Fortunately, she’s back to walking.
I shake my bat at her. “Don’t do that again. For God’s sake at least walk next time if you can’t wait for me.”
“What’s that stench?”
“I’m guessing rotting food. Definitely rotting vegetables and fruit – probably the fresh meats as well.” I don’t mention what else it could be. It could be a bunch of the good kind of dead, possibly massacred on the day everything hit, or it could be zombies. If it’s zombies then we’re totally screwed, because this amount of decay means that there would be more of them stuck in here than the amount out in the parking lot.
Cassie makes a gagging sound but thankfully doesn’t throw up. She quickens her pace a bit, hitting the frozen food section a few steps ahead of me, and then stops in her tracks, her mouth falling open.
I follow her eyes and almost walk into her out of surprise.
About halfway down the aisle an adult is sitting on the floor - a living, breathing, human adult, sitting on the floor and surrounded by food.