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Last Week’s FFF: Wasteland
This story was set up by author Paul J Willett’s story Beach Road)

My Scars

As she lay in the grass above the abandoned bridge, she followed the distant helicopter with her binoculars. She knew that she had two options. She could either sprint down to the bridge and scream out to it, or let it pass and hope she went unnoticed. The bridge had a gap in the center that was free of cars, and big enough to fit a helicopter. There weren’t any suspension cables or things to impede it’s landing or take off. And with limited access on two sides, and water on the other two, it would be the ideal spot to get picked up.

Just a few months ago, her course of action would have been clear. She would have laid as still as possible and pray that they didn’t see her. They weren’t exactly nice in the first weeks after the virus escaped. But why should they be? They were the ones who had released it. Anyone looking to them for aid was gunned down without a second thought if they were lucky, and experimented on if they weren’t.

It’s possible that they were searching for more test subjects. She knew that they had never expected the virus to be so effective or completely unstoppable. They may have been rounding up anyone they could find in their misguided hopes of finding a cure to something that should have never existed in the first place.

For a moment, she wondered if being their lab rat would really be so bad. She was all alone now. The others in her party had died off weeks ago. Beyond that, food was getting scarcer every day. And the hordes, well, they were getting larger and more difficult to elude. She didn’t know how much longer she could fend for herself. She wasn’t sure that she could survive.

The sound of the helicopter’s blades grew as it approached. It was now or never.

She shifted the pack on her back and readied herself. She looked all around to make sure that she was still alone. She didn’t see any movement. With a couple deep breaths, she was ready. With a runner’s stance, she took off in a sprint. She ran down the step hill, nearly tripping as her foot caught on a mound of lifted earth. She caught her balance, cursed, and continued on.

She made her way to the paved road. She considered waiting here for the helicopter. She caught her breath and looked at the bridge. It was then that she realized that the cars left there weren’t parked randomly. They were staggered in such a way as to leave narrow gaps between each. Easy enough for a person to get through, but it would slow down any predators.

Another thought occurred to her. One that she hadn’t dared let herself think of before. What if the helicopter was there to rescue her? Or, at least anyone who happened by here. What if the days of experimentation and murder were over? What if they had a cure or a town or some semblance of a real life? What if she could be a part of it?

Just passed the first row of cars, was several large trucks. She ran through the zig zag, past the trucks, and through another maze of sedans and SUVs. She came to the clearing. The helicopter was loud now and nearly upon her. She waved her hands all around, stopped, climbed up on a car, and began to wave them again.

The helicopter zipped passed her. She felt her heart sink. She was angry at herself and thought that she never should have let herself get her hopes up. She had the fleeting thought of relief that they hadn’t shot her from the helicopter, then she wondered if it would had been for the best had they.

She was considering her next move, when she heard the helicopter rise in the distance once more. She turned to see that it was coming back. She could have jumped for joy, if it wasn’t for the dark shadow that followed them. She used the binoculars to get a better look.

It was just as she feared. The shadow wasn’t coming from the helicopter. It was a horde, and it was headed directly toward her.

Every instinct told her to run, but she remained firmly planted. True, there was a horde headed her way. But there was a helicopter as well. And while she didn’t know what her fate would be with the people in the helicopter, she was pretty certain of what the horde offered. Still, she had made a decision. She had decided to roll the dice and see what the helicopter had to offer. Now, she just had to hope that they were actually coming back for her, and that they’d make it to her in time.