Salford University campus was quiet. It was past time for lectures and study, but still too early for crowds at the students’ union. So no-one noticed six dead men staggering around.
Glenn led them on whenever he could see any of the three towers that told him which way Manchester was. When the landmarks disappeared behind a building, the group would wander in a random direction until one appeared again.
The random motion had taken them to the Irwell first, then along the river’s bank into Peel Park and onto the pale grey and angular white of the campus. Now, it delivered them to Salford Crescent, which would bend around the curve in the river, then send them into Manchester city centre. They wandered toward the flow of traffic, able to understand that there was food in the metal boxes.
Somehow, they had avoided, or been avoided by, any potential meals, and they were starting to get hungry again. The need for blood, flesh and offal made them pause in their journey toward the towers.
Glenn, Carl and Karl stared at the cars passing by, getting confused, and sometimes scared, stares back. Meanwhile, Henry, Rav and Ricky were confused by a bus shelter. They bumped into the glass walls, stepped backwards, then bumped into them again. After doing this a couple of time, they stood under the shelter, staring at the traffic. In particular, they watched the big, tall box that was approaching them. Part of it flashed orange, and it slowed down.
The bus pulled up at the stop, its doors opened, and the driver looked out at his next three passengers. He immediately knew he should have passed them by. The blood on their many wounds was obvious up close, as was the hilt of the knife that stuck out of Henry’s chest.
The driver’s hand went to the switch for the door, but Henry and Rav were inside the vehicle already. The door slammed on Ricky, who struggled and hissed for a moment. They parted again, and he tumbled onto the floor.
To protect against theft and attacks, the driver’s compartment was enclosed. Facing passengers when they stepped on was a section of thick perspex, with just a small slot by the ticket machine. Even Henry’s undead enhanced strength couldn’t break the screen as he lunged for the driver. The plastic flexed, and the driver flinched back from the attack.
Henry pushed at the screen again, but Rav had spotted more tempting food in the seats beyond the driver’s cabin. As the passengers realised something was wrong, and started moving, Rav lurched toward them. Ricky crawled after him.
The driver panicked. He needed to get away, and the only option open to hijm was to drive. The bus started moving, swinging out of the bus lane and scraping along the sides of two cars. Leaving the occupants of the vehicles shaken and surprised, the big vehicle pulled back into its lane and pulled away surprisingly quickly. The driver didn’t know where he was going, but he wanted to get there quickly. Too late, he thought to open the doors again. But Henry had already moved away from him, and was closing on the passengers along with Rav and Ricky.
Car horns sounded disapproval at the erratic way the bus was moving. Glenn, Karl and Carl registered the noise, and looked around in its rough direction. Vaguely aware that some of their number were missing, they displayed the nearest emotion to confusion that they were capable of. The move of their shoulders, almost in unison, might have been a shrug, if they had remembered the motion through their deaths.
They spotted a pedestrian on the other side of the road, who had heard the crash and car horns, and was staring at the receding bus. Glenn stepped off the pavement, in front of a van that only just stopped before hitting him. He didn’t look at the vehicle as the driver shouted at him and hammered the horn. The other three followed him across the road.
Zombies take public transport, vampires lord around in Bentleys. I’m playing the class war angle a bit in this story, but even I didn’t notice what I was doing in this scene until after I’d written it.
Look out for a bunch of shorter chapters for the next few, as I do the last bits of shuffling to get everyone into place for a bunch of big set pieces.