Cherry Vanilla, Part 6

Cherry Vanilla #6

Solo felt the zombie grab his left shoulder. He waited for the bite on his neck to happen. He was prepared to spend the rest of his life a zombie, wandering the streets looking for ice cream that was sugar free and brains. The hand squeezed his shoulder before patting him on the head.

“Solo,” said the supposed zombie.

Solo stood up and turned around slowly to find Travis standing there, completely covered in zombie blood. It was a frightening sight, but it was a lot better than a zombie that knew his name. That was something he just wasn’t ready for. He was happy to see his friend was still alive. Now that the ice cream was gone, he could concentrate on the people he loved.

“I think I killed most of the zombies in this area,” Travis said, wiping remnants of zombie flesh off of his face. “We need to hurry up and get out of here. Did you get the ice cream?”

“No, I missed the rush,” Solo admitted. “I’m sorry I risked our lives for some stupid ice cream.

“I can forgive in time, but right we need to get out of here.” Travis looked down at Neil, who was still looking fearful. “Where’s your work mates?”

“We’re up here!” Becky and Stacy climbed down from the tops of the freezers. “We hoped that zombie couldn’t climb,” Becky said, wiping the dust off her clothes. “Take us out of here.”

“Where’s Jamie?” Stacy asked.

“Aisle 3… Aisle 2… the front lobby,” Solo listed. Travis hit Solo for his insensitivity.

The Walmart employees made their way to the front sliding doors and unlocked them. They thought it best to leave from the front because they had a better view of the now lit parking lot. There was a reduced chance of an ambush, or at least that is what they reasoned.

Solo and Travis pulled the doors open and allowed the employees to pass through. Simultaneously, they all took their name tags off and threw them back inside the store. They quit. Solo and Travis closed the doors and led the way towards The Shelter, a martini bar that probably once was a real shelter.

They were about half way through the parking lot when they started to hear moaning and groaning coming from behind them. Solo looked out onto the street and saw a swarm of zombies parading towards them. They were coming for the all you could eat buffet at the Walmart. Solo wondered if the zombies had some kind of app that allowed them to hunt humans, some kind of shadow network.

“I think the time has come to run,” Solo suggested.

“Agreed,” Travis said.

On the count of three, all five of them booked it for the bar which was only a block or two down the street. The zombies saw that their dinner was getting away and they picked up the pace. Solo and Travis didn’t dare look back to see how close the zombies were gaining on them. They stared straight ahead at the multicoloured marquee of the Shelter. It read, “Happy Zombie Day. Safe haven and $2 You-Call-Its!” Solo hoped that the zombies couldn’t read.

“We’re almost there!” Stacy called out.

This excited Neil. Unfortunately, like Lot’s wife, he turned back to see just how close the zombies were. That was when he tripped at the place where the sidewalk gave way to desert landscaping. He cried out for help, but it was too late. The zombies tackled him and quickly started to devour his man flesh.

“Neil!” Becky screamed! “Neil, no!”

Solo stopped and pulled Becky away from the gruesome scene. The four of them finally made it to The Shelter. They frantically pounded on the door to be let in. Solo looked back and saw that the zombies were making quick work of Neil and were coming for them.

“Come on! Open the door! Open the door!” Solo and Travis shouted.

The lock clicked and the door opened. A man escorted them inside and locked the door behind them. The bar was lit in blood red, it reminded them of the zombies. They saw that there were other survivors gathered at the bar, drinking their cares away, distancing themselves from the carnage that was happening outside. They were watching the news on TV. Apparently, the U.S. Government had developed a gas that would be able to kill the zombies on contact and planes were on their way throughout the country to deliver it. They all breathed a sigh of relief. They just had to survive until then.

Upon entering the bar, Solo immediately started looking for Gwen. “Gwen? Gwen?” He scanned the faces in the room and couldn’t see her. He blamed the red lighting. Panic started to well in his stomach. What if she wasn’t there? What if his quest for ice cream caused her to worry about him and she left on her own to find him?

The bartender looked over at Solo and said, “If you’re looking for Gwen, she’s down in the basement helping other survivors.”

Solo dropped his bloody shovel on the floor and searched for the basement entrance. When he found it, he ran his way down the slim, concrete staircase. “Gwen?”

“Solo?” He heard her voice.

He finally arrived at the bottom of the stairs and saw that he was in a dimly lit room. There were cots laid out with injured people on them. Gwen was acting as a caretaker to them. She looked up from a patient and saw Solo standing there, splattered in so much zombie blood. She stood up and ran to him. She was about to hug him, but thought better of it. She didn’t want what was happening on his clothes happening on hers.

“Solo! It’s about damned time! Where have you been? I sent Travis for you hours ago!” Gwen stood before him unsure of which emotion to display. “I thought that you had been torn apart by the zombies.”

“Almost,” Solo admitted. “I’m so happy to see you! I’m sorry I made you worried. I went to the Walmart looking for you!” He didn’t want to tell her that he was in fact looking for ice cream. He came for the ice cream, but found clarity. “I’m just glad that you’re alright.”

Gwen smiled at him . If he wasn’t so bloody she would have kissed him. Then she got a mischevious look on her face. “I got you something, speaking of Walmart.” She turned her back on him and walked to the end of the room. She picked up a Walmart plastic bag full of items in it. She looked to him as she pulled out a small carton. “I know how much you like sugar free ice cream and when I saw this, I instantly thought it was so you!” She revealed it to be a carton of Blue Bunny sugar free Cherry Vanilla ice cream.

Solo gasped and dropped to his knees. Tears of joy came to his eyes. Next to Gwen, it was the most beautiful he had ever seen. He beckoned to her to bring it near. She approached him cautiously. She handed him the carton and with it, he grabbed her and planted kiss on her lips. “You just fucking made my day!” Gwen wiped the blood from her face. With two of his favourite things in hand, Solo concluded that it was the perfect end to what had truly been a marvelous day.

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