(Did you miss out on Season 1? Click here to sign up to the Those That Remain email list and get Season 1 – FOR FREE!)
Tyler sat deep in the woods and kept perfectly still. For one, it helped preserve the warmth of his body. But for another reason, it allowed him to be in complete visual control of his surroundings. Before the pandemic, he’d gone out with his cousins once or twice to hunt, but mainly he went to get stoned and drink. He’d never actually shot anything before in his life, but this was different. Largely because there was no weed or alcohol, but also because he was the hunted this time around and not the stoned / intoxicated hunter.
Overnight, Sam and JL had added one wrinkle to the plan of getting the walkers to pursue some other stimulant while the fences were being mended. Tyler had snuck out through a back way off of the farm just after first light and taken a car they’d originally planned on salvaging. They’d given it a little gas and filled it with some of the fireworks Kenny had been saving to use for some inexplicable reason down the road. The plan was for Tyler to light his car on fire and ride away, once he heard the Honda screaming down the highway. Then, he would silently return to the farm via a 10-speed and then reinforce Sam and Tyler’s work on the fence. The hope was that the noise would be a secondary distraction to the escaping Honda for the walkers on the off chance that they had any spark of reason in their brains to return to the farm. Explosions and fireworks would be a temptation the sensory obsessed walkers could not avoid.
On the farm, it was morning and Dusty, Kenny and Jeff sat in their Honda Accord packed and ready for a seek-and-find trip. The morning air was tense and cool but quiet and a light fog descended onto the grounds of the farm and all of these elements worked to lull the walkers into a a sort of sensory paralysis. Their desire to wreak havoc was certainly alive, but it was mitigated among the sluggish factors of the morning. In a few moments,the Honda would be heading to Dale Czarnecki’s house and it was prepared for almost anything. They packed light to ensure plenty of room should they encounter the mother lode, but there was enough in case they found themselves in trouble and needing to stay a few days holed up somewhere.
Conversely, Sam and JL were geared up with materials and the understanding that the day would be long and laborious. If everything went according to plan, they would spend most of it mending fences. While they weren’t sure how successful their plan would be, they were prepared to do as much as they could with whatever ended up happening.
Locked into a deep zen-like state of focus, the first twinkling of activity in the distance captured Tyler’s attention. He could hear the hum of an accelerated motor moving towards him and the murmuring growl of a small army of walkers. He scurried up a tree to see the Honda’s lead stretching at an almost infinite rate over the slow moving horde. But however large the lead got, none of the walkers would stop. The Honda rocketing away represented hope to them and thus they would pursue it despite the impossibility of it catching them. It’s what made the walkers so dangerous. Reason no longer governed their behavior; only hunger.
Tyler shimmied down the the tree and lit several points of kindling he’d secured around the car as well as inside. He mounted his bike and took off. If everything went according to plan, his explosion would draw the walkers deep into the woods and in the exact opposite direction of the farm with no logistical way of retracing their steps.
He was some ways away when he felt the ground jolt in response to the car exploding behind him. The shrill screams of fireworks continued going off at intervals and it all combined to create a strange atmosphere among the entrenched silence that had come to define the world. The loud, triumphant noise of the fireworks, normally reserved for celebration, was now being used to beat back the threat of the Walkers.
Tyler rode ahead eager to get back to the farm. Every few minutes, he’d turn back to gauge the state of what he’d done and make sure nothing had gone awry and as he closed in on the last hundred yard stretch before the farm, something caught his ear. He slowed down and surveyed his surroundings. ‘Was that a horse?’ he wondered to himself. The sound of galloping was unmistakable, but he questioned why there would be a horse around? He continued riding and looking over his shoulder to see if someone or something was trailing him. Seeing nothing, he turned to resume his ride, but instead of seeing the farm up ahead in the distance, all Tyler saw was a shovel on its way to smacking him loudly in the face.
***To Read the Rest, sign up here and get this chapter AND Season 1, for free.***