Haggard breaths pounded in Vincent’s head as he pushed himself around, over, and through the few abandoned cars that littered Broadway, the road he franticly ran down in order to escape the growing mass of cannibalistic whack jobs that were now free of the overpass congestion and gaining on him. He was far too old, far too fat, and far too sick for this shit but something primal drove him onward, something about the way the infected he ran by were chewing on a corpse and how they stopped and rose to give chase when he passed by, something about being a buffet choice did not sit well with him. So Vincent ran, heart slamming against his ribcage, good arm pumping wildly as he mindlessly turned onto Weaver Boulevard, came to a small traffic circle and without a second thought broke left and crashed into a copse of trees and brush that was the edge of Mullen Park. He stumbled through the woods and brush at his breakneck pace for only a moment before a root caught his boot and for the second time in twenty minutes he slammed face first into soil and grass.
This was it, he thought as he lay there just twenty feet into the wood covered lot, the pain in his face and left arm a background pulse overpowered by the stomping feet of thirty or forty of those things that were about to fall upon him as soon as they broke into the tree line. The gnashing, guttural growl grew louder, the awkwardly heavy footfalls rang in his ears, and in the span of a heartbeat he expected teeth and nails to be tearing at his clothing, at his flesh… but the noise receded, the mob had not entered the wood. Instead they had continued up the road, failing to see Vincent make the sudden angular course correction shortly after he turned. Slowly Vincent rolled onto his back, squinting and grimacing with a mental curse as the pain that had been background noise moments earlier came forward to assert itself. Sweat ran from his pores and soaked his clothing as he desperately tried to quietly catch his breath, dirt and loam stuck to him like flies to paper coating his street clothing in the pungent scent of moss, dirt, and with his luck dog shit but with each passing moment Vincent’s constitution, what little remained, returned to him. After a half-hour had passed Vincent managed to gather his feet under him and with the aid of a sturdy pine trunk, lift the bulk of his body up to a standing position. Ever so slowly and carefully he began to make his way through the park away from the road, using every bush, hill, tree, and shrub as cover as he crept along out of sight of any of the infected he could spot.
It took him nearly an hour and a half to haltingly cross the little campus park toward University Heights and nearly another half hour to cross the road and post up on a corner of Robinson Hall. He had come this way for two reason, the first was that it was the exact opposite direction that the herd chasing him earlier had gone, in fact he had only come across one body… that of a young girl, bleeding from the back of the head and Vincent soundly believed there was little he could do for her so he moved on. The second reason was that the majority of the sturdy defensible building that would have any form of phone or internet communication or power all looked to be in this direction. When he slinked forward against the corner of Robinson Hall it suddenly didn’t seem like the best place to be after all. Infected crowded against the front of the library and around a few of the other building, there was even a small group battering their fists bloody trying to beat in some maintenance doors on the back of Robinson Hall. Other whack jobs roamed the open ground, moving towards differing groups of infected that had already collected as if drawn by some kind of magnetism or hive mind. Looking around the Campus from his vantage point Vincent wondered how the hell he was going to get anywhere near the library, a building he had decided to go to because it seemed the most solid and probably had a good many offices with phones and computers that he could try to use to figure out what in the holy hell was happening. As he sat there on his haunches a memory of some his prior dirty deeds came to mind and it was an idea that seemed ideally suited to this situation.
In a handful of minutes Vincent had weaseled his way back down towards the heights, never noticing that one of the bodies around Zeis Hall moved a little differently, more deliberately, than the whack jobs. He made it to the road he had crossed where he found three abandoned cars that he had used as cover earlier when he had crossed from the other direction. Before too long he was behind one of the cars, sitting, and pressed up against it like it would be able to stop anything in the world… security in contact he guessed. Stifling a cough he reached into his tank bag, opened the box of handgun shells used his multi-tool to separate the bullet from one of the casings, and pulled the bandana from his rear pocket. He created a neat little pocket with one of the bandana corners, dumped the gun powder into the pocket and tied it up into a tiny little ball resembling a fishing weight. Vincent went to his front left pocket and pulled out a dented flask, half full by the feel of it which made him unreasonably upset because of what he had to do. Without pause he gulped down half the grain style hooch in three searing pulls and then dumped the rest all over the bandana avoiding the powder. Laying the flask on the ground under the car Vincent crouched and faced the car, popped the gas cap cover open, slowly twisted the gas cap off, and with moderate care fed the bandana with the gunpowder into the gas tank like a sinker and fishing line. After the bandana was affixed as good as it would be Vincent took out his lighter and with an outstretched arm lit the exposed corner. Before the zippo had time to shut in his hands Vincent was again running at a dead sprint back towards Robinson Hall. Just as Vincent was tumbling behind a dumpster, pressing himself between the Hall’s wall and the metal of the dumpster the gunpowder ignited, flames caught what gasoline was left in that cars tank and with a gut pounding thump followed by a gust of hot air the car’s gas tank exploded in a ball of flame and scorched metal.
It only took the whack jobs the span of one breath to turn away from all the bashing and crashing they were doing against the buildings and take off running towards the sound and light of the briefly lived but uproarious explosion. Vincent huddled between the wall and the dumpster watched their ragged feet pass by as they all ran towards the sudden change in the environment. First a few feet, then groups of feet, so many feet and legs as to be indistinguishable passed by but soon the passing of shadowy limbs tapered off, and Vincent slowly counted a full minute without one passing by before he again peaked out from his hiding place. The campus grounds were, as far as he could tell, clear and he couldn’t see any more whack jobs around the library. Looking over his shoulder he could see the flames and the flickering play of light caused by the accumulating bodies around the fire but he couldn’t see over the hill to the actual wreak in order to gauge if it was keeping their attention. He determined that now was as good a time as any though and made his way, at an easy jog, across the open campus to the library.
In less than a minute he was inching his way around the library, gun drawn as he tested each door and window for an opening. Moving along the back side Vincent came to an office window that had been closed but not latched and locked. With a little forceful prying and a good bit of awkward climbing Vincent managed to open the window, press the screen in, essentially tearing it from the screwed in frame, and worm his way into what appeared to be some sort of backroom secretarial office. Closing the window behind him and engaging the throw lever locks, Vincent sank down against the wall, ass to the ground, gun on his knees pointed at the door as a hacking fit overtook him and all the pain and injuries he had gathered in his trip to the library fell upon him at once, the adrenaline seeping out of his system. As Vincent coughed he used the back of his forearm to wipe away the blood from his mouth and beard, looking at the scab colored mess and telling himself, lying to himself, that it was caused by his earlier falls.
Summary: Vincent avoids the highway horde, creeps through Mullen Park coming across Card's ill fated encounter with a young woman, and finally spots the library. Requiring a distraction Vincent sacrifices some gear and most importantly his last alcohol stash in order to detonate the gas tank of a car. With all the whack jobs gathering for a kumbaya moment around the car fire Vincent makes it to the library, sneaks in through a window, and is overcome by is illness, injuries, and general lack of health.