Other than the minimal sounds of the four survivors, and some classic rock playing over the store speaker system, the building was quiet. They continued scavenging in silence for many minutes. Their focus was on creating as little noise as possible anticipating a potential fight on anyone else that might decide to raid this spot.
Jed and Franklin stayed towards the front of the store, able to look out and see the vehicle they had brought to load up, and warn everyone if a threat was incoming. Dom and Mason would bring their bags of items to the storefront, drop them, and grab the empty ones that had been dumped out into the cargo hold of the vehicle.
“Last one,” Dominic told the two men on lookout, who were chosen for that duty simply because they had the better weaponry.
“I’ll make one final sweep of the tools,” said Mason who had decided food was no longer a priority. He was right. For the small group they had, even including the four remaining at the distributor’s warehouse, they had plenty to eat comfortably for several weeks.” Dom,” Mason said as they began walking in different directions, “Think you can some some Vaseline?”
With a quick chuckle and smile, Dom answers his friend, “I’m not falling for that again.”
Mo laughs to himself, “Seriously. As much as you can find. I have an idea. Ammonium chloride and borax, too. Don’t spend a lot of time on them, but if you see either, grab what you can.”
“Where should they be,” he asked while retreating, realizing they were wasting time.
“Just find the borax. If they have ammonium chloride, it’ll be over here,” Mason didn’t make a motion in any direction, but simply turned to walk away.
Before Mason could get too far, Dom said in a light, but aggressive tone, “Barbed wire.”
Mason threw his chin in the air, making a show of a nod of understanding, and set about looking for things on his mental shopping list.
Several moments passed as the four men diligently went about their assigned tasks. As they began to wrap up to leave, nearby gunshots rang out. Jed came to alert first, “Over there.” He had no need to motion in the direction of the gunfire, but did so anyway.
Franklin turned his attention appropriately, looking beyond the nearby intersection southwest of the parking lot. The shots continued. Sometimes in rapid succession, and other times a single erratic shot. It was difficult to distinguish if this was a firefight between people, or if the living were fending off a large group of zombies. The Corporal hoped it was the latter, but already knew first hand that survivors had already begun eliminating one another.
“We gotta go,” Corporal Monroe said with alarm as Dominic and Mason reached the front doors. “We’ll have to come back if we want anything else from here, but…”
Jed cut him off, “That’s a fight we don’t want.”
Mo jumped meeting the wheel, fired up the engine, and put it into gear. He was ready to smash the pedal, but found himself the only one in the vehicle. “What the f…,” he said, trailing off.
Outside, he observed the other three me from the side mirror. Each man held a hand out flat, palm up in front of them, and the other in a fist. Three consecutive times, they each raised their fist, methodically slamming it into their palm. On the fourth time, each of them made shape. Dom and Franklin held their hand out flat while Jed held out two fingers split wide. “Fuck off,” he yelled with excitement, and turned toward the front passenger door.
With an uncontrollable grin, he reach to the gun strapped to his back, whipped it around to a ready position, and, with the grin giving way to a serious expression, said, “I got shotgun.”to