• In the marry month of June, from me home I started,

    left the girls of Tuam, Nearly broken hearted,

    Saluted father dear, kissed me darlin’ mother;

    drink a pint of beer me greif and tears to smother.

    Then off to reap the corn, leave where I was born

    Cut a stout black thorn to banish ghost and goblins

    Brand new pair of brogues rattle o’er the bogs

    Frightened all the dogs on the rocky road to Dublin

    One two three four five

    Hunt the hare and turn’er down the road the rocky road

    And all the way to Dublin, Whack-fo-lol-de-ra…

    The rider quietly sung to himself a song he listened to long ago, now with the internet and I-pod long dead. He slouched in the saddle as his Thoroughbred trotted alongside the long dead interstate. The sight of abandoned cars as far the eye can see, some still occupied with the rotting bodies of people who failed to leave their vehicles behind. The smell of rot, forest and hot road was in the air.

    He hummed the rest of the orthodox celts tune as the clip-clop of hooves served as a constant break to the silence. Lost in thought, he jotted down his mind into the pages of a beat up journal. He wrote about how the first winter was a big break for him and his companion, the walkers where frozen in place and presented no danger at all; However, frozen or not, they still where a huge threat for the careless. He Mentions about a farm he had come across during the days of freeze. It was a mess of a sight: burned down barn and the adjacent Recreational vehicle, the old century house now boarded up for a last stand, bodies everywhere and no human insight. One would think whoever was there months before where held up there to only make a stand against the walking stiffs then have to make a hasty retreat.

    Thankfully, he scrounged what he could and left before they all thawed out. Now with the weather losing the chilling touch, the threat grows larger and the danger emerges from hibernation.

    …It would almost seem like this is a real life verison of I am legend,” he wrote, “With the lack of other people around, it’s flacking amazing that me and Brendal are still among the living.” He paused and looked up at the sky, it was nearly noon and it would be around time to stop for lunch. Looking back down at his book, “on the upside, I don’t really need to carry grain on hand for Brendal is content on grazing the grass near the woods. She is a smart animal, only horse out of a whole stable to survive the outbreak, rescuing her kinda rescues myself in a way. I protect her and she in turns carries me till we can find a safe haven wherever that place may be.” Paused and padded the side of her neck, her ear shifted in response, “either way, we both still be. I only pray we both stay ahead of the undead and stay alive as long we both can.” He grimaced at the thought of being surrounded, his heart twinges at the thought of losing his horse to those things. He very well knows that those things can eat anything living, animals an all.

    Regardless, we are strong fighting team; we have out ran the hordes, braved the weather and survived bandits. I don’t see us parting any time soon. May god continue to watch over us.

    Joshua Richards

    Right as Josh closed his book, the horse stopped in her tracks. Looking at her from the book, “What is it girl?” she then pawed at the ground with a hoof, nodded her head in an uneasy manner. Looking ahead, he spotted them, about five or six of the walkers just milling about among the derelict vehicles. One was standing still between some sedans, a few where shuffling about some car lengths further up and the rest where just acting like crossfaded addicts: Wondering around with glazed eyes, bumping into random objects and projecting random noises whenever they remember to use their lungs.

    Stroking her blond mane, “Easy, I know you don’t like being near them.” He spoke gently, comforting the horse. Her ears folded back and snorted in reply. Josh looked around to see any way around the zeds, sadly, the guardrail was still intact and to many vehicles blocked their way. “I can’t help but say that we need to go through them.” A huff and a quick whine fallowed by another hoof stomp, her tail flicked to the side on impulse. Putting the journal away, “Listen you, I’m here and I can keep those rotters away from us.” He reached to his belt and drew his horseman’s hammer from the frog hanging from his hip. “Besides, It’s been a while since I took a swing at any of those f*ckers, am I right?” Her ears remained folded as a way to say ‘not going to happen’. “Oh don’t give me that sh*t missy! We can run those bastards through if we wanted to!” A quick nod and her ears straightened, “That’s my girl.” He clutched the rain in one hand and tightened the grip around the war hammer.

    “Lets ride...HA!” he heeled and they were off, picking up speed down the improvised corridor between the cars. The first walker noticed the blur of animal and human before something small and metal slammed his head. The hammer’s flat head smashed the walker’s face inward before the body was pitched into the car next to it. The smashing window caught the attention of the remaining five. Another side swing and another doubled over from an impact to the shoulder blade. Brendal galloped by another and witnessed it fall to the ground with a buckled neck. The smallest walker was caught under hoof. Hearing the crunching of bone, Josh knew another was down.

    Jerking on the rains, the horse came to a slow stop and spun around, and two more where closing in fast; a swing into the side of one’s skull and a boot tread into the face of the other. Both fell away before the horse reeled up and a hoof socked a third in the forehead, the kick knocked it to the ground. Josh turned in saddle to see the other walker stagger back to its feet. Seathing the hammer, he drew one of the pistols out. Taking aim, he squeezed a round off. A loud pop and the back of the skull blew outward. The horse side stepped as the last one lunged at them. Josh scored the shot right in the mouth, the shot recoiled the head before it face planted into the pavement. A third shot and it’s rotting brains painted the road.

    Glancing around, he quickly looked around for anymore. As silence filled his ears, he nodded, “Good job Brendy.” He holstered the old colt before padding the thigh, “You did good. We did good.” He smiled before he quickly tugged the rains and the horse went into a walk, continuing their walk down the road. As they got further away, he heard something off to their left, looking over, he eyed several more shuffling out of the tree line. “son of a-“ he reached over and drew the Jorgensen from the saddle scabbard. Flipping the safety off, he raised and fired. The krag snapped and a walker fell to the ground, Brendal stopped startled by the rifle shot. Working the bolt, “Keep moving, we need to stay ahead of them,” he gently nudged her with his heel. With the horse still moving, but now at a light trot, He aimed and popped an arm loose with another shot.

    Working the bolt, he glanced up to notice that there where more than he can shoot. “oh sh*t…” he slung the rifle overhead till it touched his back, the weight of the rifle squished the hat that had hung from a neck string; “Let’s get the f*ck out of here!” he snapped the rains, “RUN!” the horse broke into a gallop and they were off again. He hunched low as the horse raced down the interstate; he glanced to his left and saw more where pouring from the treeline. “He-ya, he-ya! Faster!” he urged. He looked behind him as they both where about a semi-trucks length away from the forming horde.

    “A little bit more and we can stop, just a bit more girl.” He encouraged as they bolted away from them. When the smell of rot was fading away, he tugged on the rains, “Easy now, we clear.” Brendel slowed to a stop. She gave off a short nigh-like-whine as a way to say ‘told you so’. “Oh hush, we made away right?” he dis mounted and stretched, “I noticed a rest stop sign some distance back, we shouldn’t be far from it now.” He took the rains in one hand and started walking. The horse obediently fallowed. He adjusted the rifle to where it was hanging from a shoulder and replaced his hat on his head, “That was fun huh?” he slightly laughed, “Nothing like out runnin’ a horde to get your adrenalin pumping eh?” She responded with a huff then he felt her nudge his shoulder, “yeah, you could be right, was cutin’ it close with the guns, but I didn’t want to hit you trying to hit them with the hammer now.” He glanced up at the horse. A single brown eye looked back at him, “It was better to act on instinct than to take my time.” He admitted, “but it kept us alive and away from them. Right?” another huff and nudge his hat, it fell from his head, “Hey, you little brat!” he stopped, reached down and picked it up. It was slow and stiff getting back up, “ugh, We really do need to stop for a breather, wouldn’t you say?” no reply but the swish of her tail. “yeah, let’s get moving.” He continued walking with the brown pelt horse fallowed alongside him.