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The Creeper Virus

Finding Grey

Finding Grey

I'm going through my assigned aisle in Costco filling the cart and sending it off to the truck for unloading. My family and the survivors we've taken in have developed a system for cleaning out stores. We take everything that is practicable. Obviously we don’t need giant plasma TVs or surround sound systems, although we do take a few. Four groups of four enter the store. First we divide the sections then split up. Two people load the carts while the other two run them back and forth to the trucks. Our fleet of box trucks stands waiting outside the store. Today we were assigned Costco. I was going down my assigned aisle with my team when I found him. One of my best friends from high school. I started grabbing two pack of sea salt to load into the plastic storage bins when I saw a boot. I grabbed my knife and went on guard. Traveling up the aisle about four feet I swept the remaining packs aside and grabbed the his arm and drug him off the shelf. Immediately I pinned him and held my knife to his throat. I didn’t recognize him until he open his eyes and spoke. There is no man on earth with that voice and those grey blue eyes.

"Red?" he questioned

"Grey, damn I could have killed you, Why didn’t you come out when the warrior team announced our arrival?"

"Um, I didn't want to die." he responded as I let him up.

"The Warriors don’t shoot survivors, only the Creepers."

"I am very confused, Why are you so clean there's no running water anywhere." he furrows his brow and looks me up and down.

"There is clean running water at the Compound, walk with me and I'll tell you about it."

"Can I ride on the cart?" he asks with a goofy James like grin.

"No, I need the space. You can push the cart since my partner got himself killed," I gestured to a dead body at the end of the isle, I say as he walks around the cart. "The compound is the place my family took over when the world went to shit a few months ago. We took over the Medical Academy. Basically there has been no rest since things went to hell. My family immediately went into survival mode. The men secured the wall around the academy and the women began inventorying the supplies."

"so why is a doctor out gathering supplies?" he interrupts

"Because i’m still an apprentice and Costco has a pharmacy. So the warriors come into a place first an announce that we are here and ask that all survivors hiding in here surrender, so we can properly help them, and then the gather teams come in and take everything. We have a fleet of box trucks outside. Teams of four work the isles. Two people unload the shelves and two people run the carts back and forth to the trucks. The trucks leave when they are full and a new one takes its place. My partner down there got too close to a creeper and had to be put down. So now you'll push the cart while I load the stuff into the storage boxes." I say as clamp the lid shut on a box of spices. Sliding the box down toward James I grab another one and begin filling it. Before long we are at the end of the isle the other half of my team is back, drawing weapons on James. I stand in front of him arms raised and say, " Woah, he's a friend calm down. " They lower their weapons and nod. I motion for them to take the cart and for James to take the empty one.

James and I continue down the aisle. I load the boxes and he pushes the cart. "Do you have an questions so far," I ask him as I grab the last tin of coffee of the shelf and close the box, sliding toward the others.

"So how do I become apart of whatever you call yourselves.?" He asks

"Well after we finish the store and we get back to the compound you'll get a full examination and then you'll have to be put in quarantine for three days to ensure that you wont turn, after that you'll be evaluated and placed in a job and or special team, like the warriors. Basically You'll only have contact with me for three days and you'll be in a clean room in the lab. " We round the corner to the pharmacy and I grab a new box. Beginning with the displays we start boxing allergy pills and cold medicine, slowly making our way to the pharmacy. Once the displays are finished we make our way the the pharmacy door and James asks, "Need me to pick the lock?"

"No power, means no locks," I say as i push the door open. I grab a couple of totes and enter the pharmacy with James on my heels, "After the pharmacy is cleared out you and I will go back to the compound and get you cleaned up."

"What do you mean by cleaned up exactly up?" he questions and covers his beard protectively.

"A decontamination shower first, then a hot meal." I pause as he squints at me, "No one is going to shave your beard, calm down." I finished and he lets out a deep breath. I walk over to the far wall and climb up the ladder, beginning with the top shelf I pass down bottles of pills to James who puts them into the tote. Once the off brand and non opioid drugs have been cleared out I tell James he can pick the lock to the back room while I clear out the drawers and other cabinets full of medical supplies. James decides that he done fiddling with the lock an opts to just kick in the door.

"The door is open," he says with sarcastic tone.

"Okay, come put the medical supplies in these cabinets into the storage bins." I order him as I not so gracefully try to get up. I end almost falling over, instead of hitting the ground like I expected I fall right into James’s arms. He embraces me in a warm and very smelly hug. "You are suffocating me with your smelliness," I gasp and he lets go. He shakes his head and goes to do as he was told. I grab a few storage bins and he to the back room. I open the first medicine fridge and examine the contents. since all of the drugs have to be kept in fridges I go back out to the cart and grab a cooler. placing the whole mini fridge in there. I place the other three in there carefully. I begin to open cabinets and pull out bottles of pills and non refrigerated liquids. I discard the open vials of insulin and move on the drawers inside the cabinet. They are full of extra needles and syringes, i put them all in a tote and moved to the next cabinet when I heard a cough behind me. I turned and looked up at James. "My cabinets are empty need help in here," He questions.

"Sure, you can open that fridge and tell me what's inside." I respond.

"That's a freezer, hun." he laughs

"No, Its a blood fridge, now tell me if its blood or plasma, or both"

"Why do you have to be such a sma---ahhhh," He screams, before he could finish.

"What?" I exclaim. As he falls on his behind.

"There's a body in there," he says shakily.

"Oh, perfect, we need more samples in the lab." I respond enthusiastically.

"Only you would get excited over a dead body,"

"Who said it was dead. It's a creeper," i say while shining my light into the specimen’s eyes, "Creepers are not dead they are alive but with minimal brain function. Basically everything is shut down except the need to eat." i explain. As my teams walks in and asks what they can take. "Take the whole fridge and put it in my truck, You two can finish up the last of the pharmacy, I've got to get the specimen in the fridge back to the lab." I direct them to the fridge and show them the boxes that are finished and can be loaded into the box trucks. I point out the cabinets and shelves that still need to be cleaned out. After the team has their instructions and James has recovered from seeing the refrigerated creeper I escort him out of the building and toward my truck. As he inched closer to me I move away and say, "jeez you couldn't find a pond take a bath in, you are riding in the back with the fridge and taking at least two decontamination showers." I cough to further my point. He laughs and shoves me playfully.

"So I ride in the bed of the truck with a fridge with a creeper in it, and you get to ride in the comfy cab and drive us to sanctuary." he says sarcastically.

"relax it's only an 25 min drive, you'll be fine, besides you need to air out," I refute

"I get it I'm smelly,"

"Do you? Do you really understand how awful you smell?" I laugh "Oh, Did you have any personal stuff you wanted to grab," I ask while still laughing.

"No, all my stuff was trash and I all my valuables are in my pockets," He says as he climbs into the bed of my truck. The other members of my team had already secured the fridge. I opened the back passenger door and grabbed a sandwich and bottle of water. I close the door, placing my hand on the edge of the bed and put my foot up on the tire. Hauling myself up, I place the top half of my body on the edge of the bed and hand James his food and water. He gets a big smile on his face when he sees the sandwich. Sandwiches are his favorite food. Opening the plastic wrap, he takes a bite and rolls his eyes in ecstasy. I smile and hop off the tire. Walking around the bed I make my way to the drivers door. Opening the door I climb in and look back toward the back window. I take pity on him and crawl over the console and open the small window over the middle seat in the back of the cab. "Enjoying that sandwich," I say while smirking.

He looks over his shoulder and smiles, wrinkling his nose. "sammich," he says and goes back to scarfing down his food. I climb back into the driver's seat and start the engine. Backing out of the parking space and a driving out to the parking lot, I drive us home.