"This vacation has dragged on forever" I muttered to myself. Alone in my room, sprawled out on my bed, staring up at my ceiling fan. As it rotated over and over I focused my ears on the sound to settle my nerves. This should serve as white noise in the background to help lull me to sleep. At least it should be. Try as I must I could not calm my mind. Visions of past hunts raced through my head. Familiar faces of living and and dead comrades seemed to be as still portraits on the backside of my eyelids. Screams of the damned that refused to fade away lingered in my mind. But despite all the things from my past that haunted me at that very moment, what was truly terrifying, what was actually keeping me awake the most, was my uncertain future.
My stomach was in knots over it. Why wouldn't this feeling go away? Is something coming? Did something bad already happen? I looked over at my clock to check the time. It was four thirty in the morning. I couldn't take it anymore. Cabin fever has long since set in. I got out of bed, threw on some clothes and decided to walk on down to my towns local safe house. Maybe there are a few other hunters that were also suffering from insomnia. I wouldn't be long, maybe an hour or two. Just long enough to perhaps calm this storm in my head.
It's rather peaceful walking through town during this time. No cars blaring their horns, no people screaming and hollering, the occasional dog barking somewhere in the distance. Usually this peace is more often than not interrupted by the sound of some zombie moaning but thankfully this wasn't one of those times. As I turned the corner onto the street where the safe house was I could tell already that there was someone there. A light on the second floor was on and I could see someone moving past the window. I approached the entrance which was around back and saw one person was on guard. She recognized me as one of the local hunters and let me in. The room was dimly lit and empty. I could hear the sounds of someone walking coming from above me. I decided to try and be social and went upstairs to see who it was.
The hallway was near pitch black except for the light coming through the bottom of the closed door at the end of the hallway. As I slowly crept down the hall I started to smell smoke. It grew stronger the closer I got to the door. There was this strange and ominous feeling coming from the opposite side of the door. I reached for the handle but before I could even grab it there was this deep voice that shouted out from the room. "Stop sneaking around out there and come in already". I responded immediately and opened the door as if the stranger gave me a firm order to follow. when the door swung open I was instantly greeted by a wall of smoke and the smell of cigars.
Inside was just one man. A large man who had his back to me as he stood next to a table. "I don't like it when people sneak around me" he said. I tried to apologize but as I opened my mouth he raised his hand and the air and shushed me. I then heard the crackling of a radio and realized he that had a whole radio set on the table in front of him. Voices could then be heard on the radio, "Go on sir" "They looked sick so some of us went out to see if they needed help" "The door wont hold forever". I didn't know what I was listing in on. The voices sounded scared and frantic. I stepped forward and stood next to the large man with the cigar in his mouth in order to hear better. "Before we knew it…there was just so many of them. We tried to lock the doors but the broke in" "Are you or anyone else hurt?" "They killed a lot of people here. Me and some of the other security guards and a few workers are holding up in an office" "It won't stop bleeding! Why won't it stop bleeding!?" "Please help us!". The conversation stopped after that. "What was that?" I asked as I looked over at the strange man. He took another puff from his cigar and said, "I was listening in on a 911 call from a few towns over. Seems like something big is about to go down" He then leaned over and started to twist some nobs. While still focusing on the radio he muttered, "Hold on. I'm gonna try and tune in on one of the frequency's used by the R.C.C.D. and see if they know about this already".
He suddenly stopped his actions and finally turned to me and said, "Sorry, where are my manners? I'm Ryan" He extended his arm and presented me his hand to shake. I nodded and shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you. I'm also Ryan. Ryan Livermoore. Might if I ask what your last name might be?" He smiled and said, "Just call me Ryan. I'm too tired to teach anyone how to pronounce it properly" He took another puff of his cigar and set it down in an ash try on the table. He then continued to tune the radio to pick up and banter. "So Livermoore, what brings you down here so early in the morning?" He asked in a tired voice. I responded, "Couldn't sleep. Thought I would walk down here to see if something interesting was going on". He sighed and said, "Well I think you found something interesting alright. Pull up a seat and we'll see if we can pick up anything else".
I sat in silence for a short while until a new voice came over the radio. A familiar voice called out, "I believe that there are a large number of hostiles attacking a large building full of civilians. Local police are aware of the siege and are responding with a plethora of units. Probability of law enforcement engaging hostiles is high. Probability of the presence of news reporters is even higher. I need reinforcements down here immediately to quarantine the area. I repeat. I require immediate reinforce…". I shot out of my chair and shouted, "Nick!? That sounded like Nick!" The newly met Ryan leaned back in his chair and light up another cigar. He then said, "This is one of the R.C.C.D. channels. You by chance one of them? That why you know the guy?" I responded "No. I just know the guy. I met him at a college downstate. I don't know where he was sent to though. Do you know where these radio transmissions are coming from?" He said, "If I was a betting man I would say he's talking about the same outbreak at that place we heard about in the 911 call. The town name is Grey Falls". I slowly lowered myself back into my chair while saying, "I hope it's nothing too bad" suddenly the knot in my stomach started to make a comeback. I looked at this Ryan fellow and then at the radio equipment. Perhaps changing the subject a little might settle my stomach. "So Mr. Ryan...why are you here? You usually flip through radio channels at the crack of dawn?" A grin started to creep along his face. "No not usually. Not at ass 'o clock in the morning anyways. I usually get insomnia time to time. Normally it's nothing too severe for me to deal with but this time it felt different. I woke up with this sense of dread. This sickening feeling in my gut that something was up. thought I come down here to help take my mind off it. Then I had the bright idea of tuning through some police and hunter channels to see what was up in the world. then you turned up"
Seems I wasn't the only one who thought something bad was on the horizon. I wonder who else woke up with this feeling. Did my brother? I haven't seen him in some time. I then wondered what he was up to. I had heard that some recruiter had met with him at some point. Was it for that R.C.C.D. group? That same group Ryan had talked about? Now that feeling in my gut was getting worse. I could feel sweat starting to form on my brow. Just then Ryan put out his smoke, stood up and started to walk across the room to the door. "Well Livermoore, it was nice to have some company but I need to get going. Need to make some calls and meet up with some friends of mine. No more sitting around and thinking about it. Time to act".
He opened the door and reached over for a hat that was hung up on the wall beside it. He placed it on his head and spun around to face me. He looked me in the eyes and said, "Been out of this game for far too long. Time sharpen the machete and dive right back in. I get the feeling that you feel the same way about yourself right now. So kid I'll let you get back your story. Give 'em hell" He turned around and closed the door behind him. I could hear him walk down the hallway with purpose in his step. Any feeling of tiredness seemed to have faded away. He was indeed a man on a mission. Now I must follow in that example. No more sitting around waiting for something to happen for the dead wait for no man. A storm was coming fast and I need to prepare.
I left the safe house and headed back for home. I too would also have make some calls and meet with people. I then thought back to that strange cigar smoking man. He certainly had this ominous vibe around him. Almost like he already knows what's going on and what's going to happen. As I reached my home I remembered that hat he placed gently onto his head as if it was a prized possession. It had writing on the front of it. a small patch that boldly said, "Zombie Hunter".