Safehaven: Chapter 3

“Uhhhh…I can’t say that I’ve got a game strategy for this one, bro! Open to suggestions if you’ve got ’em!” Frye shouted as the three of us tried to concentrate on the immediate threats in front of us as well as the imminent threat coming up behind us!

“We need a turn off! NOW!” I shouted.

“The Chi isn’t built like that, Logan! We get our exits when we get ’em!” Sanchez hollered back.

The giant truck behind us was steadily picking up speed, some of the cars in it’s path being rammed and turned backwards from the impact! Countless people getting hurt in the process. Looking in my rearview mirror, I saw the truck’s grill barreling down on us, and looked forward just in time to violently swerve to the left around a car that had suddenly flipped over on its side! Sanchez and Frye did their best to keep up, but everything was happening so fast that it was hard for us to concentrate.

Looking ahead, I caught sight of something that I…never thought I’d bear witness too in my life. My jaw dropped as I gripped the wheel with both hands and did what I could to dodge what was in front of me.

Frye gasped out loud. “Are those…are those ANIMALS??? What the fuck???”

Two giraffes took a hurried, long legged, stride across the busy freeway! A large grizzly bear and full grown gorillas running parallel to the street! Jesus Christ!

“Lincoln Park Zoo’s been compromised!” Frye screamed, and we all found ourselves not only dodging large animals, but other cars trying to dodge them as well! “This is some crazy shit!!! What the….SHIT!!!” Our car tires continued to squeal with every lean and maneuver, more cars were crashing into each other ahead as that monster of a truck created complete pandemonium behind us.

Trying to maintain my speed without flipping over myself, I looked ahead to see an exit coming up. “Get to the right! North Avenue exit!!! We need to get into the downtown area, pronto!”

“It ain’t going to be any better on the inside, Logan!” Sanchez said. “We should blaze forward to Michigan Ave???”

“We’re not gonna MAKE IT to Michigan Ave!!!” Frye yelled, just before two civilians jumped onto the hood of his car in a panic! “Off!!! Get off!!!” They were doing their best to hold on, but were blocking his entire windshield so he couldn’t see where he was going! “FUCK!!!” A car rammed Frye from the side, smashing him up against the railing on the right side of the road and slowing him down as a bright shower of sparks flew up in every direction. Meanwhile, Sanchez was still trying to force his way over from the left lane to follow me off of the Drive at the North Avenue exit. Someone was directly in my blindspot but I had to give him a bump to get him to back off! He swerved into the side of a sports car and nearly lost control of his vehicle before getting straight again. Thank God! I didn’t want to hurt anybody, but this was a matter of survival at this point. No holds barred!

Sanchez and I saw Frye in trouble. He had been slowed down enough that the truck mauling everything in its path was practically in his backseat! The car crushing him from the side was nearly pushing him over the railing. Sanchez hollered out, “He’s not gonna make it!”

Dammit!!! I tried to think as quickly as possible, and then said, “I’m on it! Give me an assist!”

Sanchez said, “That’s….that’s a fucking TRUCK! A big ass, BIG ASS, TRUCK!!! I hope to God you know what you’re doing!”

“Let’s just say a little improvisation goes a long way!”

“I hope somebody told HIM that!”

Sanchez did everything that he could to force himself over into the right lane, and I tried to watch the people in front of me while simultaneously looking at the mess behind me! More animals were racing across the street towards Lake Michigan, some of them smashing windshields as fists, feet, hooves, and claws, hopped from car to car in an attempt to escape the horrors behind them. The scream of more military choppers roared overhead, straining to get into the city as quickly as humanly possible to suppress the riots while the downtown area was still salvageable! I actually saw plumes of black smoke coming up between the skyscrapers ahead, and I knew that we were already losing whatever battle we started when we raged war on these…’things’!

“I can’t see where I’m going!!!” Frye yelled. “Get OFF!!!”

“I got you!” I said, getting into position.

“This truck is on my ASS, Logan!”

“I TOLD you, I got you! Just hang in there for a few more seconds!” I said.

Frye turned his windshield wipers on…as though that was going to get two adult males to jump off of the hood of his car! Then, a small cluster of monkeys from the zoo jumped on the hood as well, freaking them out and causing them to accidentally roll off to the side into oncoming traffic. I clenched my eyes shut for a moment to avoid seeing the carnage behind me, but had to stay focused. That car was still smashing him against the railing.

Sanchez came swerving in from the left, and we were almost side by side on the street. Just as the truck was a single car length away from Frye, I got into position in front of the car pinning him down, and I slammed HARD on the brakes!

The car beside Frye crashed into the back of me with the force of a charging rhino, crunching the entire front of his engine half way back to his steering wheel! Frye’s car was set free from the collision, and the other car was sent reeling back into the path of the truck following us! I hit the gas just in time to see the other car get rammed by the truck, spin to the side, and then have half the tires roll right OVER him like a tank!

“Fuck! PUNCH IT, Frye!!!” We both tried to pick up as much speed as we could, but that truck was breathing down the back of our necks! Sanchez finally made it over and he slowed down enough to try to use his back bumper to slow it down a bit. I caught on to the plan and did the same, hoping that it wouldn’t roll over us the way it did the other cars in its path.

Frye’s car had taken a lot of damage, but he tried to speed out of harm’s way, with me and Sanchez doing all we could to keep that truck from decimating all three of us. I gritted my teeth and tried to press the break as far down as I could to slow this fucker DOWN, but both Sanchez and I found ourselves unable to do much to keep from being toppled over under the weight of this thing, even if it did ‘fishtail’ back and forth a few times.

Finally, we reached the North Avenue turn off, and Frye’s damaged vehicle veered off to the right and got out of harms way. “He’s out of play! Let’s move!” I said, and both Sanchez and I hit the gas and went FLYING off to the right to get that truck off of our asses and turn off of the drive before we all ended up in a ditch somewhere!

I felt bad for the people who still had to deal with the craziness that we were rapidly escaping from, but I had to stay focused. Had to stay on task. Hold on, Spencer! Daddy’s coming as fast as he can!

“How are you holding up, Frye?” Sanchez asked.

“I’ll make it. I’m banged up pretty bad, but I’m functional.”

“Good news!” I told him. “Because we’re not at the finish line yet!”

Good news, he says. Doesn’t sound all that great to me.”

As we turned towards the heavily populated downtown area…I could clearly see military grade bullet holes in the walls and the concrete of the sidewalks and pavement in front of us. Buildings on fire. Huge holes made by deadly explosions. The whole world was falling apart, and the military was reacting in a way too hostile to be considered a solution. We were reaching a level of simply cutting our losses, civilian casualties be damned. This isn’t going to end well for anybody. I need to get to Spencer and get him OUT of this hysteria before it’s too late.

The city streets were slightly calmer than what we had just experienced, but not by much. In fact, there seemed to be a heavy concentration of infected individuals here that was NOTHING like what I had seen before! Their eyes had turned light grey, their mouths covered with blood, clothes ripped and dirty…soaked in the gore of their victims. My mind simply couldn’t process the entirety of what it was seeing. Had it not been for my determined mission to reach my son, I might have completely lost my sensibilities in terms of what I was seeing.

Police cars were piled up in the intersections, sirens and flashing lights still spinning, many of them had been run into buildings or light poles…officers lying dead outside of their vehicles, their weapons stolen by the people who needed to protect themselves from the massive outbreak. Sanchez, Frye, and I, tried to keep up with our speed as best as we could. The hospital was just on the other side of the city…if only we could get through THIS mess before it crashed and burned and turned into something that we simply couldn’t handle…we might be alright.

Heavy emphasis on might.

I could see ambulances racing by so fast that they were colliding into one another. Soldiers in HAZMAT suits using flamethrowers to burn piles of the dead and infected on the side of the street. Gunshots could be heard from all angles. Civilians, cops, soldiers…it was surreal, trying to navigate around it all without catching a stray bullet myself.

You never think that you would be here to witness the actual apocalypse and the downfall of society in such a short amount of time…but here it is! Right in front of me! It’s still hard to contemplate the severity of it all, but…it was a paradise when compared to the madness we had experienced on Lake Shore Drive.

Sanchez and Frye did their best to keep other vehicles from shifting over into my lane while also trying not to hit the frantic crowd of innocent people running out into the street. We managed to avoid hitting them, but other drivers were not so considerate. Their only goal was getting out of the city in one piece…collateral damage and all.

“What’s the plan, Logan! Give me the play!” Frye shouted.

“Keep straight!” I told them, but the congestion of cars was quickly getting to be too much for us to weave around. Especially at this speed. “Dammit!!! LEFT!!! LEFT!!! We’ll hit up State Street!”

It was a last minute decision, and my quick turn caused the back of my car to slide out to the side, slamming into the side of a delivery truck before getting me straight again! I saw Frye and Sanchez make the turn right behind me, but just past the Chicago theater…the street was FILLED with more people! People fighting off these….these…’things’! They were getting bitten. No…eaten! My heart nearly stopped as I saw splashes of blood being sprayed against my car windows! What the fuck was going on??? How is this REAL???

The cars were so dense in the street that I had to drive over the curb and speed down the sidewalk until I could find a way back onto the street. Broken glass, panicked civilians, blood and carnage…FOCUS! Stay FOCUSED!

Just as the three of us were getting a bit of a break in the chaos, the roar of helicopters suddenly screamed out of the sky behind us, and without warning…MISSLES were fired at the horde of people in front of us! The explosions rocked the entire street, giant holes appearing in the asphalt as the military attempted to slash and burn every enemy in sight!

“JESUS!!!” Frye screamed!

“Turn RIGHT!!! Hit Wabash and head South!!!” I said, and we all hopped up over the curb, crashing through a few newspaper bins and a mailbox to get on the right path and avoid the massive damage caused by the choppers above.

We raced down Wabash at top speed, with the thunder of a runaway train passing on the tracks over our heads! This was a much tighter street, not much room to maneuver on! Taxis mostly, all hurrying out of the city like everybody else. I could still hear the careless bombardment of the city from the helicopters just a block or two over. I had to push harder! We had to be faster!

The engine was wailing as I pushed it to the limit, and we all swerved back and forth to make our way through the cars and random people around us. But as another elevated train passed over us…I heard the sounds of people screaming out loud! I saw bodies raining down on either side of the street as they were pushed or began ‘jumping’ from the crowded train station platforms above! Five, ten, fifteen, people at a time! All trying to avoid being cannibalized by the creatures in their mist. Followed by the heavy gunfire approaching from the North! Helicopters were laying waste to the whole city without remorse…and we were stuck in the MIDDLE of it!

There was nothing we could do. Not for the masses. I can’t remember a time when I felt this helpless.

How we were able to get through the streets with all of this destruction and panic going on was a complete mystery to me…but somehow…we made it. We found our way and had to stop a few city blocks away, due to the bodies and smoldering rubble in the street. It was close enough. We’d have to go the rest of the way on foot.

“Lock and load, gentlemen!” I called out as I saw Sanchez and Frye approaching from the side. I opened up the back and they both stared at my stash of weapons with wide eyes.

“Holy FUCK, Logan! How much shit did you STEAL?” Sanchez gasped.

“I’m just borrowing it.” I said, strapping a few guns and extra ammo to my back. “Besides…it’s the end of the world, right? Might as well be prepared.” I gave Frye a wink and tossed him something to arm himself with. Sanchez shook his head for a moment, but as we heard some heavy gunfire blasting through the city streets not far away from us…followed by the scream of two attack choppers flying overhead, he was quick to dive in and grab a few guns of his own.

“Everything’s going to shit around here!” Sanchez shouted. “You know how much MONEY it’s going to take to repair all this destruction???”

I said, “I don’t think they’re going to worry about that.”

“Not WORRY about it???”

I handed him a few extra clips and said, “Those are military grade, fully stocked, army choppers flying overhead. They’re letting off full rounds in a highly populated area, which means civilian casualties aren’t their main concern any more.” I saw his face go white. “I’ve been given those orders before. I know what they mean. The city of Chicago’s been lost. It’s all about containment now. You, me, and anyone else walking these streets is collateral damage from here on out! I suggest you pack as much ammo as you can carry. We won’t be going back the way we came.”

“You set?” Frye asked him.

His hand trembling slightly from the realization that things just went from bad to worse, he said, “I’m about as set as I can be in all this mess…”

“Alright then, fellas…” I said, “…Safeties off. Stay against the walls of the buildings and low to the ground. Let’s go find my boy!”

 

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