Title: Flash Fiction #28
Fandom: The Walking Dead
Word Count: 1171
Characters: Car Zombie (played by the awesomely kick-ass Sonya Thompson)
Author’s Note: We have no idea how Car Zombie came to be but she deserves to have her story told. When we met her in Omaha, she said that she’d tried to think about what her zombie might’ve been doing when she was turned and she said that since she was wearing a cardigan, maybe she was a school teacher. I sorta bastardized that idea. The High Museum of Art really does exist n downtown Atlanta and they really do have Kids’ Days but that’s about as much research as I really did for this one.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Car Zombie or any of the other characters of The Walking Dead – I just like to take them out and play with them from time to time. This is unbeta’d and unedited – all errors are my own. If you see anything that needs correction, please let me know! Concrit is always welcome!
Maggie Buchanan loved her job at the High Museum of Art. There was always something interesting going on – some new show to plan and unveil or an exciting new artist getting their first real shot at distinction. Wednesdays were always her favorite though – Kids’ Day. There was nothing like giving tours to the school groups and watching the little ones have fun creating their own artistic pieces to take home at the end of the day. Hobnobbing with the hip and trendy was ok but, sometimes, you just needed to finger paint with the kiddos.
Today’s group was currently enthralled with the exhibitions in the main gallery but that probably wouldn’t last long. It was a small group; only five children today. She walked toward the group, intending to move them along to the children’s area. Her attention was caught by the television sitting on the corner of the receptionist’s desk. The volume was down but the words “OUTBREAK CAUSES MAYHEM IN DOWNTOWN ATLANTA” scrolling across the bottom of the screen was enough to capture her notice. She walked behind the counter, motioning to the kids’ teacher that she’d be there in just a moment. She turned the volume up just enough to hear the reporter say, “…no one is sure what caused the outbreak but, as you can see behind me, the National Guard has been called out to restore order. At this time, those efforts have proved to be unsuccessful. Everyone is asked to please stay indoors. Do not open your doors to anyone. At this time, we…”
Maggie snapped the television off, the fear in her eyes clearly evident. She walked through the main gallery and down the stairs to the front of the museum. As she opened the door, the scene that greeted her outside was utter chaos. People were running in the streets, screaming in terror. Maggie swore that she saw people biting other people, chasing after them and bringing their victims down like wild animals. Maggie hurriedly closed the door and locked it before running back to the main gallery.
“Miss Carlson, I need to see you for a moment. Children, amuse yourselves for a few minutes and we’ll be right back.” Maggie tried to flash the children a confident smile but she was certain that she hadn’t quite managed it. When they were far enough away from the children, Maggie said in a low voice, “I just saw a report on television that there’s some sort of outbreak in the city. I went to look outside and it’s… well, it’s insane out there. The news is reporting that everyone should stay inside, keep their doors locked, but I really feel like we have to get these children out of here. Their parents will be frantic.” Maggie gestured toward the television; from the footage shown, the National Guard still hadn’t been able to restore order. It was pandemonium out there. Miss Carlson’s eyes widened and her face went pale.
Miss Carlson nodded her agreement as she cast nervous glances toward the door. “The bus is parked on the street; it’s not far from the entrance. I think that, between the two of us, we can get them to the bus and out of here. What about you? Will you be ok once we get out of here? We’ll be happy to take you with us to the school, if you’d like.”
Maggie shook her head. “I’ll be fine, I’m sure. I’ll help you get the children out of here and get to my own car. They have to be our priority though. Let’s go get them ready to leave. It’ll be hard to explain but they really need to stay very quiet and move very fast.”
As Miss Carlson went to talk to the children, Maggie grabbed her keys and began to turn off the lights in the other parts of the museum. Until this was over, she wouldn’t be coming back, she was sure. She intended to get home, lock the doors, and wait it out.
She walked back into the mail gallery in time to catch the end of Miss Carlson’s instructions. “Remember! I need you to stay very quiet and move quickly. Miss Maggie will be going to our bus with us – I need you to stay with us at all times. No matter what you see or hear, you have to move quickly and stay very quiet, ok?” The children’s faces betrayed their fear but Maggie knew that, once they stepped outside and got a glimpse of what waited for them out there, their fear would grow by leaps. All she and Miss Carlson could do was hurry them along and get them to the bus safely and quickly.
She pasted a smile on her face as she joined the group. “Everyone ready?” The children nodded and huddled close together. No matter her smile, they knew that things were not ok. “OK, let’s go then. Remember what Miss Carlson said: be quick and be quiet! Let’s go!” She and Miss Carlson shepherded the children out the door.
The scene that greeted them was like something straight out of a nightmare. Maggie forgot about locking the door behind her; all she could think about was getting the children to the bus and out of harm’s way. “Come on, kids, let’s hurry!”
The children were crying, but they tried very hard to stay as quiet as possible as they ran to the bus. They’d almost made it when one of the children fell and cried out. Her cries caught the attention of one of the outbreak victims; Maggie watched, horrified, as he actually sniffed the air before staggering in their direction.
“Keep going! I’ve got her!” Maggie called to the others as she scooped the little girl up off the ground. Cradling the child in her arms, Maggie ran for the bus as fast as she could. Miss Carlson and the other children had made it to the bus and were climbing aboard when Maggie reached them. She handed her charge off to Miss Carlson as she said, “You get them loaded and get out of here. I’ll distract these things and keep them away from you. Good luck!”
Maggie ran in the opposite direction, hoping to draw as many of the creatures away from the bus as she could. Over her shoulder, she saw the bus pull away from the curb and she smiled in relief. At least the children were safely away.
Caught unaware as she watched the bus, a man, one of the creatures, grabbed Maggie by the arm as she ran by. He pulled her into the back of the car he was sitting in and attacked. She tried to fight him off but he was too strong, crazed by his hunger. His teeth ripped into her flesh, blood ran down her neck and soaked the cardigan she was wearing. As her vision wavered and faded to black, Maggie wished that she’d accepted Miss Carlson’s offer of a ride.