I sat staring at Chuck as he lay there unconscious, I knew that he was alive because of the rise and fall of his chest, but I didn’t know what the extent of his injuries were. I wasn’t a doctor. But I was afraid that he was going to die, I wasn’t ready to be alone again, I felt helpless as fuck just sitting there waiting. Hours passed, slowly the sun went down all the while Chuck stayed unconscious. I could see the fires still burning from the warehouse down the street, and from a distance I could hear the yell of the infected who wisely stayed away from the fire. I turned staring at it as it burned, I zoned out feeling numb. This was my fault. I felt so fucking stupid. There wasn’t any guns in that crate, not real ones anyway. How didn’t I notice they were paintball guns? I was so angry, and I felt like I’d really let Chuck down big time. My mind kept replaying the image of Chucks face when he looked in that crate. We risked our lives for nothing. But that wasn’t my first mistake, Chuck saved my ass even before we’d gotten to the back of the warehouse. And now here he was unconscious, I didn’t know if he’d ever wake back up, maybe it’d be better for him if he didn’t. This was all my fault, and now we didn’t have the guns we needed while wasting the ammo to get in and out of the warehouse. I started to feel the weight of helplessness and the deep agony and realization that everyone that I ever knew or loved was dead. It never sunk in before, but now it hit like a ton of bricks. Memories began flooding my head from my childhood, for a brief moment I heard me and mom laughing, images rushed in like the wind, we ran in circles singing ring around the rosies. The sound of the infected’s scream broke my moment of reflection. This time it was further away almost faint. I would give anything for it to be normal again, I’d go to my parents house in Delaware and give them both the biggest hug that would seem like it lasted for hours. Mom, dad… I love you both, and miss you terribly. I didn’t realize that I was crying, and when I did I felt completely foolish. I didn’t have time for this, not now. The reality of life was what it is now. My anger and hatred for the infected became more apparent within the past few minutes, they took everything from me. I realized how large the blaze had become as the warehouse burned, smoke billowing from the flames. I glanced quickly over at the pick up truck my mind working, formulating a plan. I glanced down at Chuck he was still very much out of it. Walking over to the register I grabbed a pen from off the counter and used register paper to leave a note for Chuck in case he woke and I wasn’t here. I scribbled furiously then set the pen down on top of the note. I walked out of the station with the shotgun and diesel fuel tied around my neck in a spray bottle. Jumping into the truck I looked up seeing the night sky, it was one of the clearest I’d seen in some time, maybe ever. So many stars were out filling the night even with the smoke from the warehouse fire coasting along silently. Starting the truck up I let it run a moment then pulled off driving down towards 104. If Chuck woke up he’d read these words that I left in sloppy writing on that register paper that sat on the counter:

I fucked up. Sorry for that. Going over to the jailhouse to get more guns and ammo. You said it would be a better idea than the warehouse anyway. Sure it’s a fucking dumb idea heading over there myself, but we need those guns. I wrote this letter at 9:30 pm, if you wake and I haven’t come back I won’t be back because I’m dead. I left the hand gun, sorry about the truck.

Happy Trails