Confident that we could reach the city unscathed, I pushed the Roughriders on. The city worried me though, mostly the damn lights.
Somebody had to have turned the lights on.
Lieutenant Wilfork speculated that people might have been able to rebuild some sort of society in the town. He said it wouldn’t be hard to get the juice back on in a smallish town like White Rock.
I had to admit, Wilfork might have been right. While he considered the technical possibilities of turning the lights back on, I examined the survivability of the place. White Rock could make a fine stronghold. The river—the Olentangy I learned from a roadside sign—forked at the edge of town and the two branches formed a circle around the town, connecting again on the far west side. I could only see three bridges crossing the river. A natural moat, the place certainly had potential.
But as always, our theory had holes in it. If people were alive in White Rock, and they managed to get the juice back on, why would they advertise it during the night? Every dead thing within miles would flock to the glow like crazed bats. Not to mention the living threats—the few humans left could be worse than the zombies, if properly motivated.
July 14th 1147 hours
Much as I expected, the streets of White Rock featured various degrees of litter, from cars turned sideways in the road to dumpsters pushed to the center of the street to forge creative barricades. But no army of undead waiting for us. Nothing with a pulse either.
White Rock wasn’t big, but it would take a while for ten men to comb it. Not wanting to waste a second, I dispatched three teams of three in each direction. I would search alone.
I watched as my as my stalwart Roughriders spread out. I’ve never had children, never saw the reason for it. All the family I needed, the Army provided. I suppose, on some level, I considered those men, the remnants of the once mighty 101st, my children. Pride. Concern. I felt a wealth of both emotions as I watched them scatter. But as most parents do—and claim not to—I had my favorite.
I would find her.
I sent Willfork’s team west towards what looked to be a courthouse. Milliards team went south, and Porcher’s team headed east. I took north, toward the light. I couldn’t see the glow because of the day, but I’d marked the direction the previous night. I knew the lights would be my best chance to find Max; she’d have headed straight for the glow.
July 14th 1203 hours
The lights we saw brightening the night sky turned out to be the lights over the White Rock High School football field. They were dark as I approached. I wondered who turned them on when the daylight failed. An automatic timer was certainly possible, but most football fields didn’t need such gadgets. One game a week, five or six times a year, didn’t warrant automated lights.
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