Chapter Two: Camp Charlie
Isaac Smith and Jayson Rodriguez stood guard in Tower 6. The tower stood a lonely vigil on the southernmost point of the camp. Two hundred yards of open terrain ended with a sheer rockface of a cliff.
Higher-ups had decided multiple towers would waste resources needed elsewhere for such a destitute area. No guard ever had seen a Lurker when in Tower 6. It was a boring assignment, and everyone knew it.
Isaac Smith stood behind the 240-B machine gun and kept an eye out for hostiles. He knew none came this far south. Where would they go? Lurkers could not climb the sheer face of the cliff before the bullets from the machine gun ripped them in half.
Smith took the first four hours of their eight-hour shift and stood guard. Rodriguez swapped positions with him at noon and pulled the next four hours. Both Smith and Rodriguez were veterans of this apocalyptic wasteland. They’d fought during the push-back.
At four p.m. the next crew arrived. Smith and Rodriguez would return at midnight. For the next eight hours all seemed normal. Smith and Rodriguez returned. At 0300, Smith peered through the thermal scope toward the base of the cliff face.
“Rod, do you see what I see?”
“Is it a Lurker?”
“I don’t know, man. It’s moving, and I think there’s more than one of them.”
Rodriguez stood and moved behind the weapon. He squinted and looked where Smith directed him.
“Holy crap, bro. That’s a Lurker.”
“What do we do? Kill it?”
“Nah, man. We can report it in the morning. Let it go.”
Smith took over at the weapon and yawned. He squinted and looked again. The Lurker had disappeared. Then, it popped up closer to the tower. He pulled the weapon into his shoulder and fired a ten-round burst. The bullets slammed into the Lurker ripping it to shreds. Rodriguez was leaned against the flimsy wall sound asleep when Smith opened fire. He fell from the tower and crashed into the ground next to the wall.
Smith heard an inhuman scream and turned. Lurkers had tunneled from the outside into the camp. Rodriguez screamed as he tried to fight them off, clawing for his sidearm.
“No,” Smith yelled. “God, no!”
He opened fire with the 240-B. It roared as he shed lead into the horde of mutants. Unheard behind him was the Alpha. The beast opened his mouth and roared. Smith turned, his face white with fear, his mouth agape, and his last thought frozen for all time in his mind.
Dear God, please help me.