A Texas summer is already horrible. It gets up to one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, with eighty percent relative humidity. Houston and its surrounding areas already smell. Add to this a dry spring, and it gets special. Add to this the living dead and it becomes another thing entirely. The smell is considerable. You probably already know this, but the infection sort of simmered along in the United States, until it reached some sort of borderline. Before this, I had managed to convince mom's half of the family to relocate to Kiowa, Colorado, where my Aunt lived. Thank God Mom et al listened to me for once. None of my family is stupid, but they can be stubborn. Showing them the news, and what it actually meant helped. As for Dad's side, well... Dad was at work when the victims of the first big mob attack were brought in. Thirty four of them died, and within an hour, those same thirty four got back up. Something not many people know: a hospital's morgue is rather small. At Willowbrook, they had space for five corpses. More, if they stacked them inside the drawers. The morgue of a hospital is only intended to hold a body for a few hours, until the medical examiner or funeral home come to take it away. Thirty four is a lot of corpses to have on hand, and when they start getting combative, things get really interesting. Dad lived, and he needed no convincing to take the feds up on their offer to relocate him to a safe zone.

So on one fine day in June, I found myself fleeing Houston with my Father's side of the family. Thanks to his job at the hospital, Dad is classified as Necessary Personnel, which means we get a helo ride out of here to a safe zone. The family is all decked out in our INCH gear, with what approximates a combat load weighing me down. Dad and I have insisted that the rest of the family be prepared for every eventuality, even and boy does it feel stupid to say this, zombies. The feds got a few things right when it came to this evac. Things they allow us to take: useful gear, guns, very small articles of luggage. Things they do not: pets, heirlooms, antiques, or obese relatives. A rule they instituted was if you can't climb into the helicopter under your own power, you will be left behind. They made exceptions for kids and infants, but that was it. No injured, they would be held behind until they were able to move. No wounded, and if the sniffer dogs key on you, you get a ten second head start. Necessary personnel and families only. These policies meant that there were huge crowds of angry people surrounding the LZ, but the helicopters were Army, so nobody was going to be first to try and take one. This didn't stop one of them from pegging me in the side of the head with half a brick, though. Allow me to refer you to the rules I mentioned earlier. I was knocked out before I even hit the deck. I'm sure Dad argued, but I got left anyway. At least I still had my gear.

The soldiers were kind enough to drop me off in a field hospital they had set up. Every municipal hospital in Houston was already heavily infested at this point. This kindness could be considered somewhat double edged. I was now in a field infirmary, semi-conscious, surrounded by people who may or may not be bite victims. There were a few soldiers inside the infirmary watching over us. Ready to provide what help they could to anyone who reanimated. Of course, what this actually means is I'm surrounded by potential ghouls, and the orderlies keeping an eye on me are fully prepared to shoot me in the head. I am coming to terms with the fact that my family has left me in Houston, with no guarantees that I will ever be seen again, to get to the Colorado safe zone. Things being what they are, it gets worse very quickly.

The next thing I am conscious of seeing is another casualty at the station reanimating. It was early in the morning, before dawn, and there was only one orderly in the tent. It caught him unawares. It got him on one of his hands, lunging up from the cot it had died on. No way the orderly could get to the M9 on his belt, not with it chewing on his right hand. One bitten orderly, one fresh ghoul, approximately twenty helpless patients, and me. Well then. They left me my gear, but what can I do?

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