His legs were cramping again as he raised his head from the road below him. He had been staring at the ground as he walked, a terrible habit they had tried to break him from in the Marines but having obviously failed. The woods were thick on either side of Sunforest Road, and the path itself was rather weathered looking. The state hadn’t made it a point to improve it much over the years. Maybe he should have asked before he left Blueridge that morning.
Birds sang as he trekked along the road, his boots clacking over and over on the six inch shoulder of the road as he tried to avoid the dampened grass. It was trying to rain this morning, just a little, something he should have paid closer attention to on the Weather Channel but had failed to do so. He was getting soaked. No matter though. He had traveled a long way in the hours since he had started, and ahead he could see an opening in the trail like the road met a common or town. That was good news. He wasn’t sure what was neighboring Blueridge in this direction, but he could always just hunker down and explore a new town until the bad weather was over.
The last quarter mile was over quicker than Nate had expected. His eyes squinted as he looked around at an old town, obviously in a state of decay similar to the road, seemingly abandoned. Dogs wandered the streets ahead, some of them looking at him with that look in their eyes, like they were going to be trouble. He untucked his shirt. The .45cal was stuck in a belt holster that placed it down the front of his leg, and he wanted to make sure that if the dogs gave him trouble, he’d be ready. He hoped they didn’t. The poor weather had his shoulder aching worse than usual, just another thing to cloud his mind along with his whimpering legs.
Dead buildings lined the sides of what had become Main Street for quite some distance ahead of him, ending with one large building ahead of him. Something seemed…wrong. Grossly wrong. Nate monitored the windows of the buildings around him, watching for any signs of life that may spring up.
Nothing popped up. Nothing except a couple of dogs at the intersection of the road ahead.
Getting closer to the canines, Nate could see right off the bat that there was something a little off about them. One, a shaggy brown cur of about average size that was losing its fur in patches, slowly approached him in a circling pattern, a little drool dripping from the corner of its mouth as it did so. The dogs eyes were glazed over in a crazed fashion, something that really made Nate uncomfortable. A low growl crept up the creatures throat as it approached him, and so Nate did the first thing that came to mind; he kicked it square in the muzzle.
The dog yelped as it flipped over backwards, landing with a meaty thud on one of its sides before rolling up to its feet and darting off. Something about the encounter left him a little…perplexed. Uneasy. Maybe that was the whole damned town though. He had just kicked the shit out of a dog on what should have been a busy street, and no one anywhere was bitching at him.
”Hello!” He shouted, looking around as he did so, the late morning now turning afternoon mist slowly fading away. ”Anyone here? Hello!”
He didn’t like this. Not a bit. Maybe he should have gone the other direction when leaving Blueridge after all…