Border (Revision)

“Unless you have the proper paperwork, I can’t let you into Canada. There’s a ferry that goes to Juneau, but there’s a very long queue for it.”

“What about our car?” Micah asks.

“The ferries can take cars across, but…” he eyeballs the brothers and their junker. “I don’t think you fellas could afford it.”

The armed guard gestures toward the assigned u-turn route. Micah smiles and rolls up the window before Jerm starts bitching again.

“Well don’t this just beat all. We make it all the way here and the damned Canucks won’t even let us go across.”

“Well, Jerm, you heard the man. We’ll take a look at this ferry.”

Man, we don’t even have any money.”

“Maybe we can cut a deal.”

“Yeah, right…”

“I’m sure he’ll understand our situation. We been driving all across the country just to get here.”

“Not my problem.” The man at the ferry’s ticket booth folds his arms over the counter. “You’re gonna have to turn your car around and find a camp to stay at before nightfall.”

“Take our car, then! It’s a nice vehicle…”

“Just cash to take the ferry. If you need someone to sell your car to, good luck finding someone. Most people just leave their cars stranded out here. The refugees use them for shelter.”

“You want us to live in our car?”

“You see this line behind you? They want to get across to Alaska, too. Some of them got money to pay, even. So, if you’ll just back off and let me do my job.”

Jerm shoots across the steering wheel. “Hey, man! I’m a veteran! I served my country.”

“These ferries are over capacity as it is. I can’t make exceptions. Turn around, please.”

Micah makes a u-turn back away from the wharf.

“They don’t care much for us up here.”

Shoot. Turn this thing around, Micah. I’m gonna fuck up that guy’s smug ugly face. His smugly face. Fucking fairy ferryman. I’ll show him a ferry. Right up his ass. Fuckin’ fairy asshole.”

“Jerm, you’re rambling again.”

“Well I’m pissed off!”

“Look, I’m not too keen on this either. We been driving for days and we’re both tired. It’s getting dark, so I say we buckle down in one of these camps for a night or two and figure things out.”

“Just a night?”

“Well, maybe we can find someone to buy the car. Not like we have much gas left innyway.”

“Yeah… just a night or two. Cool.”

About forty nights later, Micah and Jerm are still parked at the camp. Jerm is pacing back and forth at the edge of one of the local bonfires.

“I’m getting’ so sick of this place. It’s like they’re keepin’ us in a friggin’ concentration camp here or sumthin’.”

“Well, we can try the private vessels again, but you heard what old man Jones said about the ones that go for cheap. A lot of ‘em take yer stuff and dump you in the ocean before you go zombie, so what’s the use of risking gettin’ killed over it?”

“Better than stayin’ here.” Jerm digs an Arkansas outline in the ground with a stick. He sighs and scratches it out.

“Zeds! Zeds!” a voice screams from the darkness.

“What? Zombies?” Jerm and Micah look at each other.

“In the car! Now!”

As soon as they get in, people are knocking on the windows. Fires start outside from barbecues and pitfires being knocked over. Monotonous cricket chirps are drowned out by the screams of dying humans.

“Lock the damn doors! Lock the damn doors! Shit! I don’t think it’s squirrels this time.”

A woman is pressed against their car, trying to fight off a zombie tearing onto her shoulder. She screams like an animal in a slaughterhouse, her body convulsing against the glass, cracking it to the point of almost breaking.

“Dear God, drive. God Almighty, Micah, please drive this thing. Get us out of here.” His eyes don’t leave the woman or the creature biting off her face.

“It’s not starting! There’s no gas in the thing!”

“We had gas, Micah! Just drive!”

“Someone musta siphoned it out one night!”

“You’ve gotta be…! God dammit!”

“We gotta get out.”

“I can’t! They’re swarming!”

“My side, Jerm! My side!”

Micah hops out of the car and runs for Jones’s RV.

“Jones! Open up! It’s Micah!”

Jones’s wife, Ruthie, opens the door. “What’s going on out—?”

“No time, Ruthie. Jerm!”

Micah swings around to see Jerm running right up to the RV, a pack of zombies bubbling up behind him. Galloping out from the trees, a giant grizzly cuts a straight path toward Jeremiah.

Jerm!

The force of the impact sends both bear and man flying ten feet forward. Before they even come to a complete halt, the zombie bear is thrusting its mammoth head from side to side, jerking Micah’s brother around like a rag doll. Micah has small peace of knowing his brother’s back and neck probably broke before the zombie began feeding.

“Ruthie, get inside! Now!”

“What about Adam?”

“Your husband’s dead. We have to go.” Micah latches the door shut behind him. He doesn’t really know if Adam Jones is dead, but he’s not looking to find out, either. A wave of bodies smashes against the RV. For a second, Micah is afraid it will tip over.

Keys, Ruth. I need the keys.” Micah grabs Ruthie by the shoulders. “Keys! We need to go now or we die!” She nods, still in shock. Micah’s still not sure how he’s functioning. He feels like he’s just going through the motions of a human being, turning the key and steering north, fast as he can go.

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