8 The guy at the gas station
Judith had just turned 22, she comes from a family of 3 children and grew up in the cozy town of Coatesville.
A town of just 13,000 inhabitants where there was little to see except The National Iron & Steel Heritage Museum.
As a child, she wanted to see something other than this prison from which she had never left and she gave herself the means.
She dreamed of going to university in a big city while her brothers were going to chose the same vocation as her father.
He worked in a helicopter factory, it was the main activity supporting the economy of the city.
5 years ago, the company which owned the factory was bought.
Although the factory didn't close, Judith was afraid that it was only a matter of time and she didn't want to know what was going to happen to her family if her father and brothers were unemployed overnight.
This turned into an additional motivation to go to university so that she would later obtain a job that would allow her to shelter her family from need if the case arose.
Thanks to her relentlessness, she was received at George Washington University in Washington DC in finance and was even entitled to a scholarship covering all of her study expenses.
She may have had disagreements with her family who considered that she almost abandoned them when she left Coatesville, but her place wasn't there and she knew it.
However, that didn't change the fact that they remained united and that they loved each other even from a distance.
Before she started her last year what she feared happened.
It was announced that the factory was going to close by the end of the year, of the 465 positions, it was said that only 70 were going to be kept but elsewhere in the country.
Her father and brothers being adamant about the fact that they don't want to leave Coatesville clung to the idea of preventing the closure.
But being in the finance, she knew well that it was a lost fight.
As a result, the first half of her last year was by far the most stressful.
She was studying all the time, was no longer eating properly and had put her social life on hold. But her efforts paid off.
A huge conglomerate offered her an effective contract as soon as she had her diploma, she hastened to sign it, but she felt dirty.
She was going to be employed by the same kind of company that would put her brothers and father unemployed.
And yet her loved ones were very supportive of her.
Although they hate the fact to only saw her once every 3 months because of her studies, she was their pride, the first person in the family to go to university.
Her brothers surprised her to come and take her home by car themselves.
But it turned into a disaster because they found themselves in a traffic-jam barely 400 yards from a certain bus during a certain event.
Before Heimdall's horn announced the end of the world she and her younger brother Josh were still carelessly laughing at the rejection that their eldest Ewan had taken when he tried to pick up a girl on the campus as soon as he arrived.
A few minutes later, they found themselves with a weapon in their hands having to fight against one of the monsters that had come out of the crater because their car got stuck next to the wooden highway barrier just after they hit it.
The monsters around them had physical similarities to humans.
Two legs, two arms, however, they were taller and more muscular than humans and the fact that parts of their skin were burned and their bodies were everywhere mutilated and deformed limited the resemblance they have with humans.
They didn't seem to have a gender at first, but being naked, an attentive person would have seen that the mutilations went so far as to have removed their sexual organs.
They could barely disregard the madness that was going on around them.
These monsters were pure evil, they killed everyone without making distinctions and weren't satisfied with just this.
They continued to mutilate them even after death as if they wanted them to look like them and while she was fighting she saw one devouring the body of an old man.
Not wanting her brothers to end up the same way, she decided to manage the situation.
She asked Ewan to stop trying to get the car out of the mud on its own so that he came to help Josh and her.
Because as long as they wouldn't kill the monster in front of them it wouldn't let them go like that.
They took care of the monster quickly in 3 against 1.
It was Ewan who had killed it by thrusting his sword into his chest, Judith saw that something seemed to have intrigued him right after he had done it.
But he pulled himself together fast enough that she didn't have to ask him to help them to push the car.
They managed to get the car out of the mud and fled from this massacre in extremis, but they were only temporarily saved from these monsters.
There were always more monsters coming out of the craters, so that for hundreds of yards what they saw was nothing else than a horde of these things running from all sides in search of humans.
She and her brothers came to the conclusion that as soon as these things had killed everyone left here, it would be entirely possible that they would decide to move elsewhere.
Technically it wasn't so serious as a problem, these creatures run fast, certainly, but they were far from the speed of a car.
The problem was that their car couldn't exceed 50 miles/hour and was only slowing down.
Judith understood what the problem was and was cursing their bad luck.
She didn't know when it happened but it was certain.
"One of our fucking tires is flat!"
She believed that she could rest a little after what she had been through, but no!
"Let's see what we can do about it."
They quickly identified which tire had a problem.
Ewan was the one who knew best about cars and he wasn't at all optimistic about their chance to quickly reach Coatesville with a tire in this state.
"With a tire like this, in 10 miles we will have slowed down so much that walking will become more efficient."
They then looked under the trunk and under the hood for a spare tire.
'There had to be no spare tire in this fucking car!'
What were the chances that a car without a spare tire would be sold to their mother?
If Judith started to think about it, she was going to go crazy and something had to be done. Their tire kept deflating as they thought about what to do next.
Josh had an idea.
"There is a gas station 4 or 5 miles from here, we went there with Ewan this morning."
'It's actually a good idea!'
"It's our best option."
They got back in the car and Ewan drove as fast as their flat tire allowed, in the short interval of 5 minutes until the gas station he told them what he had discovered on the system when he had killed the creature.
She recovered some of her faith after hearing that the gods hadn't completely abandoned them.
They ended up seeing in the distance the gas station which Josh was talking about.
But they didn't expect to see a man quietly filling up a jerrycan with 2 corpses a few meters from him, one of which in two parts which from the back looked like a dog.
Josh was enthusiastic.
"Great, he may be able to help us, we can ask him for his spare tire."
Ewan was pragmatic.
"No, from here we can clearly see that we don't have the same tire size, his car is much smaller than ours."
Judith was pessimistic...
"We have no choice, we need to steal his car."
Before getting out of the car, they had agreed among themselves that it would be Judith who will speak to the guy.
Her axe was the most impressive of their 3 weapons and 'fortunately' they hadn't had time to clean them after their fight.
She thought he would panic as soon as he saw 3 people with bloody weapons in their hands.
On the contrary, he didn't seem worried at all.
'The weapon at his waist looks much better than ours, but there are three of us and I wouldn't even give him 10 seconds against Ewan in a one-on-one fight, he will be reasonable.'
"I'm sorry, but give us the keys to your car right away!"
At the end of her sentence, the boy looked her in the eyes with a look that made her regret the monster with which she had fought earlier.
A deep blank look that made her feel like she had made a big mistake just by daring to speak to him. No sooner had he made a gesture than she thought it was over.
she could only calm down when she saw that the gesture he was making was made to uncork the only one of his jerrycans that was empty.
"If you want to steal from someone, next time don't start with 'I'm sorry'...
Her brothers were losing patience, seeing that the guy wasn't going to give in.
They thought she would soon ask them to attack him, but she felt it was a bad idea.
She had understood what had happened here and upon seeing more closely the huge dog cut in half on their ground, she understood that it mustn't really be a dog and that it was this guy who had killed him.
'He killed him without even having a single scratch, while we struggled at 2 against a single monster and we can't say we got out without harm.'
...and of course, I will not give you the keys."
He'd started to put fuel in his jerrycan as if nothing had happened.
If she wasn't taking on the role of the villain in the story and if she wasn't so scared, she would get upset.
Ewan had run out of patience.
"Give us the keys to your fucking car!"
Judith remained frozen in place, she thought that the only reason he hadn't already killed them was that she had been polite and that he was giving them a chance to go away pretending nothing had happened.
But Ewan had just screwed it up!
She was surprised to see that Lazar didn't seem to have heeded what Ewan had said, he was still filling up his Jerrycan quietly.
There followed a silence that was interrupted when Lazar finished filling his jerrycan.
"Looks like you have a flat tire, is that why you want to steal my car?"
Seeing that Ewan was going to speak again, she put her hand in front of his mouth to remind him that at the base it was her who was supposed to communicate with the guy.
"Uh yes, that's right, again sorry."
"You were in the massacre on the highway earlier, weren't you? I don't see you killing people, you're too candid, it's the blood of these monsters on your weapons, right?"
Stealing his car was no longer possible for her.
But perhaps she would be able to convince him to take them to Coatesville if she sympathized with him, after all, he obviously had a lot of fuel she told herself.
"Yes, were you there too?"
"There is no more internet or mobile network I remind you, I wouldn't know that there was a massacre there if I hadn't seen a piece of it. But that doesn't matter, what matters is that I'm going to offer you a deal."