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The roads were bad. Much worse than they had been and good fuel was tough to find. It was even tough to tell if it was good fuel. It all burned, but the vehicles were severely under-powered and knocked and pinged with the bad stuff. Even so the roadway itself was the worst of it.

In the hot, humid climate the vegetation was growing like crazy. Kudzu was everywhere. Creeping across the road from side to side. Climbing the trees. Draped from whatever power lines and poles still remained. So thick in places that it was tough to tell what the vines had covered or climbed in the first place. It was like driving through some futuristic jungle, Mike had thought. And that had made him laugh because it actually was a futuristic jungle.

They came upon a huge mall on the outskirts of another city an hour or so after they had left the biker behind. One of the anchors was a huge national home improvement chain store.

They stopped on the highway and checked out the store from there.

There seemed, at first, to be no dead anywhere near it. Maybe inside, but Mike had doubted that too because of the steep sided ravine that circled the store building.

The store sat on a near island. Behind, and on both sides, a steep sided, red earth ravine plunged down a good fifty feet. The rains, a flash flood, something had taken away all the earth surrounding the store on three sides. Leaving a deep sink hole, with just the area of pavement that fronted the store still whole.

As they came closer they could see that there were several dead in the ravine, some lying down, others pacing back and forth in the prison the ravine made. The sides were soft crumbly red dirt with no way out. As he watched the same zombie tried a half dozen times to crawl up the embankment and out. Five or six feet up she would begin to slide back, ending up in a heap at the bottom each time. It seemed to infuriate her, and the last time she fell she turned and attacked one of the others that had been wandering back and forth.

Her fury was out of control. The other tried to run, but she chased him down and pulled him limb from limb, finally leaving him scrabbling along the ground, entrails dragging along behind him as he crawled.

"Like a trap," Adam said as he came up beside Mike."

"Jesus... I had no idea they were so crazy... So... Strong." Mike said.

"One your size is at least twice your strength." Adam nodded when Mike shook his head, and then turned back to the store. "Good thing is, there isn't likely going to be any inside of the store."

There was a large area of pavement in front of the store that was untouched. More than big enough to drive the trucks across and park on. One part of the concrete slab that the store rested on extended out over the ravine at one end of the building.

They pulled down into the mall and over to the store front.

Fiction & Literature
29 March

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