After hours of deliberation and arguments a new course of action had been ordered. Instead of leaving the underground tunnels, we would back track and head down an abandoned mineshaft. According to the maps, the shaft leads us southbound on the American side of the border. The shaft would end just a mile from a metro park in Michigan. Parks were by far the safest places to be, especially in a group as large as mine. All 53 of us could take turns sleeping, eating and keeping watch and all of us had been trained to survive.
I was no fool; some of us wouldn’t make it. There were always casualties in war. But this was no ordinary war; this was a war against the undead. For some reason I was leading the group while our Sergeants took up the rear. I’m not sure how I was elected, but I was.
We spent the rest of the day heading south until a few slivers of light poked through the slats at the end of the shaft. The group paused and I waved two scouts ahead to take a look. They were squirrely twins, both with red hair and freckles. They worked as one and I watched them carefully navigate the last few meters to the opening of the shaft. Without making a sound they pulled one board away from the opening and carefully took stock of the area. One of them waved at me to come forward. I motioned for the group to stay back as I approached.
“Looks empty,” whispered One.
“A little too empty,” whispered Two.
“Agreed,” I nodded. “Should we send out Recon?”
“Yes,” One answered.
Recon was a clever name for Zombie Fodder. I had learned enough in earlier deliberations to discover who was under that classification. Certainly now One and Two, they were useful.
The first Recon Scout to set foot outside the shaft was a wispy young girl. I couldn’t help but think of myself when I was giving her orders. Had this been another time ago she and I might have been in the same shoes. But as it was I knew my chances of survival would be null if I didn’t have good skills.
“I’ll have your back from here,” I say as I shove her out through a small hole.
Poor thing, she’s scared half to death. I could feel her quaking when I touched her.
She does her best to keep her eyes open as she exits the shaft. I watch her as she does a quick sweep of the surrounding area. When she sees no threat she whistles the “all clear” and I come out. The sun is just beginning to set in the west sending a sky to a brilliant red.
Red skies at night, sailors delight, I think. I sweep the area as well. The land is flat. This is good, aside from the shaft entrance we can see in all directions for miles. I can just make out the bay to the east and the metro park. This will do. If we set up camp with our backs to the water we should be able to see if the enemy is coming.
I wave the rest of the group out and the rest spill out into the darkening landscape. I order to set up camp near the bay and order a few others to find wood for a fire. We will need it for heat and visibility. Of course, the fire could draw the attention of the undead, so I order a few snipers to set up mounds nearby. We only have a few hours of daylight left so we need to hustle.
Who died and put me in charge? When the last of the group exits the shaft I wait for our leaders. But they never come out.
Suddenly I’m terrified. Where are they? Why haven’t they come out? Did we lose them in the mines? My mind races with all the possibilities. I wonder if I should send a few back through to look for them, but change my mind as the sun is quickly going down. We will need all eyes on the horizon. With the two leaders gone it leaves us with 51.
I hunt down the last of the group and ask them what happened to our leaders. They look confused. I’m told they were right behind us. Scarface stopped to take a leak and sent his pack on with a young man with broad shoulders. I learn his name is Patrick. Patrick produces Scarface’s pack saying he never retrieved it. As for my Fearless Leader, no one knows.
The reality sinks in as the sun disappears. I’m the only one left to lead these people. It’s crucial I find my original team and make the best of it. We’ve been trained by the best and it’s time to step it up a notch.