Chapter 3: Between a Shop and a Hard Place

I feared the worst as I was jolted backwards and a voice yelled, “Get in!” I saw Caleb rush towards me but lowered his stick as he raced past me. Why wasn’t he helping me, I cringed as I looked up expecting the end when a familiar face greeted me; it was Ben. The door to the shop was being held open by Quinn who I suppose had managed to get Ben’s attention, and Caleb was rushing past as Ben pulled me by my jacket collar into his store. He let go once I passed the door’s threshold and collapsed letting the fear leave my body in long deep breaths. I could hear the door slam shut and a click as the lock was re-initiated, I sat up.

“Why didn’t you radio me!?” Ben asked his hands flailing around in frustration.

“What radio?” I was confused.

“The incredibly expensive walky-talky I got for this exact reason!” Ben continued to shout but I still sat there confused. “The one in the cabinet above the stove in the apartment, I set it on the right channel and everything so that you’d be able to contact me while I’m in here in case the doors are locked!” Suddenly it came to me, it was a part of the plan Ben had recently added that I had totally forgotten about. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a terrible memory, and Ben never shared the information with the others because it was a somewhat complicated piece of equipment that he didn’t want to waste time re-explaining to the other guys.

“Oh yeah,” was all I could manage. Ben sighed with frustration and went back to prepping the guns. I looked around the shop; cabinets, shelves, and drawers all opened to the fullest extent and most of them absolutely bare. Those that weren’t empty featured only a few wood-chippings or empty ammunition boxes. One shelf remained completely stocked though; it was the non-lethal section that held the pepper-spray and Tasers. I looked over at Ben who was leaned over the counter, the one he as an owner typically stood behind while running the store, which was totally covered in guns and boxes of ammunition. He would set a gun in front of him with a pack on ammo directly under the butt of the gun, then removing the clip he would fill the magazine with the ammo form the previously mentioned box until the box was either empty of the magazine was full, then slapping that clip back into the gun he would set it on the massive pile of other firearms he had already made it through and move onto the next one following the same process as before.

“So what’s the plan from here?” Caleb asked always being the curious one. He sat eagerly on a display case while Quinn looked through the various munitions testing the sights and weights of the guns.

“Hard to say since we don’t know where Michael is at.” Ben stated not even for a second taking his eyes off of his process. “We could just wait here for him to show up, that is hoping that he thinks to come here and not try to leave town with everyone else.”

“Where IS everyone else,” I asked finally getting up off the floor and moving my way towards Ben and his work.

“As soon as the news went out for the first time this morning there was a large but very brief panic. Families immediately left to find a safer place and to seek out other loved ones, while others took the opportunity to grab some free stuff and run.” Ben relayed the facts to us like Captain Ahab did when telling the crew how the great white whale stole his leg.

“Wait so if this all was happening this morning why didn’t you call us sooner.” I asked with a hint of annoyance about not being informed of a world-wide happening sooner.
“I was busy!” Ben states, setting the gun he was loading down and finally looking up from his work. “First there were a bunch of people rushing into my store to buy, and in some cases attempt to steal, my guns. I sold some stock and to quell the masses started handing out my backroom reserves of the non-lethal stuff hoping that would get them out so I could lock up and wait for you guys. It worked on some but others were smart enough to realize that pepper spray won’t hurt zombies and were pushy about getting a gun. I didn’t want to sell anymore because for one I was out of crappy stuff I didn’t mind getting rid of and also because money isn’t going to be very useful once everything goes to hell so I told the people to go bring me useful things like knives or food or else there would be no sale. This got rid of almost everyone but then I had to deal with some thieves.”

“How’d you do that?” Caleb asked innocently.

“Take a look out back behind the shop,” Ben chuckled.  Caleb winced wishing he hadn’t asked that question.

“Anyways that’s the gist of it now we need to decide what to do from here,” Ben states finishing the last of the guns in his pile. He also had another pile off to the side full of bows and arrows, and a small pile even further down on the cabinet of knives.

“Well the main thing is finding Michael,” I state in all seriousness. The others nod in agreement and stare at me waiting for more information. “We can’t contact him through cell phone and the internet is down as well.”

“Not that it would really help if we DID have internet,” Quinn chuckles. “Since Michael got rid of his iDentityBook account.” We all chuckled, Michael was very specific about his social media and which ones he would and wouldn’t use, iDentityBook was one nearly everyone in today’s society was using but Michael, possibly in an attempt to seem hipster, had chosen to stop using the tool.

“Wait,” Caleb hopped up and raised his finger to illustrate that an idea had entered his head. “He’s probably at the gym!” Everyone’s eyes lit up at the same time this was a really good point Michael was always working out, since it was practically his job, so where else would he be but at the gym. The gym was a big place and in fact was a big feature to the city we lived in, people from nearby towns and cities actually drove all the way down here to go there and work out because of the physical health programs they offered, the equipment, and the smoothie bar. The only issue for us was that it was a ways away, and judging by the occasional thud from the window we could easily guess that the zombies from earlier managed to make it to the shop and weren’t planning on leaving.

“Ok so we go check the gym, but how do we get out of here?” I ask looking to each person for answers.

“Well we can always take the back door to avoid the ones out front,” Ben says pointing to the back of his shop. “The only tough part is getting to a car without running into the zombies.”

“We have all the guns and ammo we could possibly need why is it such a problem?” Quinn asks speaking for the first time since we made it inside.

“Quinn makes a good point; we can go out the back door shoot down what’s immediately in our way and then take the car from there.” Ben planned. We all nodded and Ben started packing away his guns. “We only have to take what we need now and we’ll come back for the rest once we get Michael.” Ben stated strapping three holsters to his belt; two on each side and one in the back each carrying a handgun in each. Quinn loaded up with two shotguns slung across his chest and one in his hand making him look like a suburban Rambo. He was about to shove an extra handgun in his pocket when Ben stopped him and pointed out how he should be plenty prepared with what he was already carrying.

Caleb and I took a couple hand guns each which we both strapped to our ankles. I can only speak for myself but I hate being weighed down by guns, my forte is melee and that’s what I’ll stick with the guns are simply for emergencies. Once we were packed and Ben had grabbed a bag with some things he decided were a good idea to bring along we were set. Ben pulled out his keys and we lined up at the door waiting anxiously for him to twist the key and turn the knob releasing us into the unknown alleyway behind his shop knowing that there could be any number of zombies waiting for us on the other side.

“You guys ready?” Ben asks flirtatiously knowing how nervous we are. We each give him the “hurry up and just open it already” look before he chuckles to himself and opens the door.

2 thoughts on “Chapter 3: Between a Shop and a Hard Place”

  1. So fun fact Ben has always wanted a gun shop, or at least last I heard that was one of his dreams to someday get into that business. I remember many times going to the Scheels in the mall and him touring me around the gun section explaining each and every gun there. I always liked pulling him over to the knives/swords area which he was very knowledgeable of as well.

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    1. Skyler is correct, it is a dream of mine! And yes I did drag him trough the guns (on more then one occasion), but he was always a good sport about it (and he knew after we went there he could drag me anywhere else in the mall)! Haha!! I miss doing that stuff with Ya man!

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