Chapter 4: Friends

Bean and Clint peered out from the small woodland beside Evergreen High School.

“Those are military, Man!” Bean said excitedly. “Maybe they have some answers, food, maybe this whole shitstorm is gonna turn around!”

Clint surveyed everything he could see on the school ground. He looked at the camouflage RVs, five of them, they were definately military. Next he scanned the perimeter of the school. Two soldiers carrying M4 rifles stood at the front left of Evergreen High.

“Shit, get back!” Clint said quietly. He peered out the edge of the woodland to look at the soldiers again. They were smoking cigarettes, one looking into the woodland a few hundred feet in front of them, and the other was turned facing the southern direction, opposite them. The soldiers seemed relaxed. They must not have had any action in a while.

“I don’t know, B, if these guys were our friends why would they have men guarding the building? Sure, that fucking virus made people bleed out of their eyes, but this isn’t a zombie apocalypse.”

He’s right, thought Bean. They hadn’t seen any military since the virus spread across the country. Even though military companies had been ordered to quarantine certain areas with road blocks, none had come up as far north as they were. So it was odd that, over a year since the outbreak occurred, five RV’s full of men would be guarding a school with no one in it.

“What should we do, go back and tell the crew?”

“They’re gonna move into our town, it’s next on the highway. We gotta see what they’re up to so we know what we’re in for.” Clint replied, still surveying the building. He was looking at the roof now.

“What the fuck do you think we’re gonna do, man, just roll up and ask them?”

“No, we’re gonna get inside and see what the fuck is going on.”

“What?! It will take us an hour to go get the shotguns and come back, and we only have our pistols now. Do you see what they’re packing?”

“Relax, they’re not gonna see us. This is Big Cat you’re talking to, remember?”

“No, this isn’t Big Cat, asshole. Big Cat is the lady killer. The guy I’m with right now is a reckless shithead who wants to get us killed!”

“Relax!” Clint snapped back in a hushed tone. “I got a fucking plan.”

Shit, thought Bean.

“We’re gonna wait til these guys aren’t looking and run to the RVs, make sure no one’s in them. If they are,” Clint thought for a moment, “well, I figure that out then.”

“That’s your fucking plan?” Bean whispered.

“Shhh! After we clear the RVs we’ll run to that big oak tree and shimmy to the roof. I can get us in from there.”

That’s your fucking plan?!” Bean exclaimed. “You haven’t thought this through at all. You have no exit strategy. You don’t know how many men are in there. You don’t have shit!”

Clint gazed toward the opening in front of Evergreen High and smiled softly. “I got a vision.”

Clint took off for the RVs.

Bean looked both ways and ran after him.“Mother fucker!

Clint reached the first RV and peered through the back window. He saw nothing. Bean got to the RV, squatted with his back against the vehicle and whispered, “I’m gonna fucking kill you!”

The second RV had nothing either. But Clint’s eyes lit up as he approached the driver side door of the third RV. “Bingo,” he smiled. An M4 was sitting in the passenger seat. Look at that baby, thought Clint. He looked around to make sure no one was coming, then tested the door handle. Unlocked. Clint put his hands together and mouthed the words “thank you” as he looked to the sky. As he opened the door, Clint couldn’t believe how beautiful and clean it was; black as night and smooth as a baby’s bottom. Clint’s got a new girl, he thought, as he admired the gun. He leaned in and looked around the cab of the RV. Behind the passenger seat he saw a camouflage pack, so he grabbed it, turned around to show Bean, and closed the door quietly.

“I told you I knew what I was doing.” Clint said confidently, as he showed off his findings.

Bean’s eyes lit up, “Wow, it’s beautiful.”

Clint opened the pack and saw an assortment of supplies: extra socks, a few magazines of ammunition, bandages, and what looked like a granola bar of some sort. He reached in and grabbed an M4 magazine, locking it into the gun. Then he threw the pack to Bean, “We’ll go through the rest later. Let’s keep moving.”

He leaned out from between two of the RVs, looked left, then right, then headed for the tree dead ahead. Bean followed his lead.

Clint reached the tree first, and moved up the branches just like his nickname suggested, with his brand new toy on his back. Bean began climbing. He struggled a bit, but still moved quickly behind Clint. Clint had reached a branch that jutted out towards the roof. He laid down on his belly and began sliding down the branch. As he did, the branch began to bend, and when he could go no further, he stood up and stepped across onto the rooftop effortlessly.

Bean flipped him the bird as he approached the jutting branch. He hated heights, and did his best to imitate Clint, but was more clumsy. When he could go no further, he yelled in a hushed voice, “I’ll never make that jump with this damn pack on! You’re a foot taller than me.”

“Throw it here, then.”

Bean slid the pack off and threw it to Clint. Then he stood up, wobbling. Oh, fuck, he thought, losing his balance a little as he started to move forward.

Once he had regained his balance and made it to the end of the branch, he braced himself before jumping toward the building with all his might. As he sailed through the air, Bean realized he hadn’t jumped far enough. He reached his arms out, and boom! His shins hit the wall beneath him as he grabbed the edge of the rooftop. Clint moved quickly to help him. Bean glared at Clint, gritted his teeth and remarked, “This plan of yours is really testing my limits, you shit,” as Clint pulled him up.

“Live a little.” Clint said as Bean sat down on the rooftop. “I feel like fucking 007.” Clint did the James bond pose. “Cat. Big Cat.” He loved his nickname for some reason.

Bean shook his head. He couldn’t help but laugh.

Once Bean had regained himself, the two young men moved across the roof quickly and quietly, heading back towards the guards below. Clint could see the second story conservatory.

One time, Clint trapped three baby raccoons in one cage; and because he loved and respected his rival school so much, he decided to let them go in the conservatory – that’s how he knew it would be open. He laughed at the memory of the biology teacher discovering her new classmates, as he moved across the rooftop easily.

The two men stopped midway and knelt to catch their breath.

“Okay, we’re going to move into the conservatory. There’s a bathroom inside the biology classroom that’s attached. We’ll go in, climb into the vent and move around that way.”

“Jesus, 007, that might take forever. We don’t even know what we’re looking for.”

“Of course we do. We’re looking for the man in charge. In the military, there’s always a man in charge.”

“And how do we find him?” Bean said, already knowing the answer.

“Again, I haven’t thought that far yet.”

Bean rolled his eyes and shook his head. Clint smiled and slapped him across the face, then stood up and jogged toward the conservatory. “Stop fucking doing that, asshole!” Bean whispered angrily.

As he approached the conservatory, Clint was not expecting what walked out the door. A soldier calmly walked out the glass door, turned around and shut it behind him. This guy must be in a fucking daze, Clint thought. He picked up the pace and ran right at the soldier.

Ahhh!” Clint leapt up into the air as he approached the soldier who was turning around. When the soldier saw the big cat flying at him through the air feet first, he let out a startled gasp and accepted the full force of Clint’s blow.

Wham! Two size-17 boots right to the chest. The soldier flew backwards and hit his head on the glass door, shattering the pane. Clint fell to the ground on his tailbone, rolling around in pain, “Ahhh, shit that hurts.”

Bean ran up to him. “Shit, man, anybody that was outside the building heard that! We’re fucked.” Bean grabbed the soldier’s gun and removed his pack from him. “You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. And no, we’re not.” Clint groaned as he rolled over and struggled to his feet. “Let’s go, keep moving.”

Bean handed Clint the pack he had just taken off the soldier. “Here, man, take his pack.” Bean admired the soldiers M4 as he slid it off the man who lay unconscious, with blood trickling down his face. “This baby’s mine.” Bean smiled at his new piece, happy that Clint wasn’t the only one who was fortunate enough to find a new toy today.

Clint struggled to put the pack on. Then he stood up and opened the door of the conservatory, limping but moving quickly. The conservatory was filled with green plants, a tough environment to maneuver through. The leaves shook lightly as the two men moved through the trees like soldiers in vietnam, Clint leading the way, Bean following his lead and covering the rear. They moved out of the top, glass-covered room, and down into the primary room. There was a large black door that led into a biology classroom. Clint peered through the left side of the window, breathing heavy, his breath fogged up the glass, but he could still see through the window.

A soldier sat smoking, talking to someone across the room. Clint changed to the other side of the door to see who the soldier was talking to. A young, red haired girl was bound by her ankles to a chair. Her hands were zip-tied behind her back and around the chair. Her head hung low, looking at the floor, but Clint could see that her face was wet with tears and beginning to bruise. Rage filled him. All of his tough talk with his friends was nonsense, he truly had deep affection towards women, and always treated them with respect. This had just become personal. Clint decided he was going to hurt this man.

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