The scene where Shannon and the others had seen the Marine Hornets flying toward served as a further example of Hell on Earth realized. The destruction wasn’t anything that any of them had expected.
A nightmare painting unfolded before them as they weaved their vehicle around burned out hulks of civilian vehicles. The charred steel bodies still smoldered even after the brief rain storm from the night before. More bodies than they were comfortable with, both charred an uncharred, lay around them in. The undeniably dead lay still on the ground or trapped within their cars, trucks, and SUVs. More blackened and shriveled corpses lay piled up on top of each other at and along the checkpoint entrance. The military had put up concrete dividers and a fence that stretched as far as Shannon could see. The military top brass had either hoped to funnel the people into the checkpoint for scanning or to create a concentrated free fire zone should the situation become desperate. The situation had obviously deteriorated to beyond desperate if the boots on the ground had called in jets for close air support. It was a true scorched earth policy in effect.
Shannon was stunned by the sheer size of the checkpoint. The military must have acted at a moment’s notice because it hadn’t been there the last time Shannon traveled along the road two days earlier. Or had it been three? Shannon had to admit that she was losing count of the days. It may have very well been four.
Large sections of fence were down, and numerous barriers had bodies draped over them. Off to the northeast an even larger portion of bodies lay still in the desert grit. Maybe those that had died had done so trying to flee the dead or the machine gunning soldiers. It was hard to visually separate the previously dead and the new inductees. Bodies were scattered in every conceivable direction and position. The scene almost made Shannon gasp at its scope. She drove them further in.
Burned out tanks and troop carriers blocked the path of escaping vehicles. Those vehicles and their occupants sat smoking or still burning. The stink of burned flesh was overwhelming. Even with the windows up, vents closed and air conditioning off they could smell it.
Shannon stopped the car on the opposite side of the decimated traffic jam. “I’ll check it out,” she said putting the car into park.
Deidre looked to Kelsey and asked for the only belt fed weapon in their arsenal. “Take it,” she said. She pulled the charging handle back, loading a round in the chamber. “It’s only got one setting, full auto, ready to kill. Helfron was nice enough to load it before he died. Careful though. I’m told it’s got a kick. I don’t think it’ll bother you though.”
Shannon took it with a nervous smile, hoping that it was a sign that Deidre was trusting her again, and not that their predicament called for everyone to be armed. Shannon knew the latter to be truer than the former.
She cautiously among the bodies. She was hard pressed to tell the difference between the charred walking dead and the fried to a crisp formerly living. All had been burned at an incredibly high heat.
Her heart beat in her chest like a base drum. She was unaccustomed to such nervousness. More than once her heart skipped a beat when spied people that had fallen while clutching one another. Her active imagination told her that the body doing the clutching had been a non-breather attacking a breather. Some mouths were held in a silent yawning near a throat or limb. Some had been biting when the fire overtook them. She tried her best to not stare at the ones that were in process of being devoured when final death hit.
She couldn’t say why she moved closer to the destroyed military vehicles. We need any ammo that may be left, she thought as her fear increased. She knew it was a lie, and that she was being stupidly curious.
Moving behind the husk of a Humm-Vee, she changed. The smell of cooked long pork and melted rubber and plastic magnified to unbearable levels. She bore through the stomach turning, eye watering stink. Better to be a lycan with a gun than an edgy human, she thought halfway through her transformation.
Once completed the smell of death and over cooked meat made her gag. It was more acute now and she thought about changing back. In for a penny, in for a pound, she thought, stepping from cover into view of the Nova. Deidre threw the door open, and stepped out with her M4 pointed at Shannon.
“It’s me! Shit, Deidre, relax,” shouted Shannon, raising the squad automatic weapon above her head. Deidre nodded and then urged her forward with the rifle’s barrel.
Shannon moved forward once more. She approached the nearest tank. The paint had been burned away, the rubber road pads on its tracks had melted, and its main gun sagged to the ground. It reminded her of a sad looking elephant she had seen at the circus as a child. It was a stupid comparison and she knew it.
Against her better judgment she mounted the tank. The metal was still warm and it groaned in protest to her weight underneath her calloused hands. She reached up to the bustle rack and grabbed onto something that flaked off under her hand. Whatever it was held. She pulled herself up and came face to face with a blackened tank crewman. His helmet was melded to his head and his mouth hung open as if he had spent his last moment asking a stupid question. Revulsion gripped her as she wiped her palm on her t-shirt. The feel and look of the remains reminded her of charred grease from one of the grills at the diner. It was something she could have done without.
Mounting the turret gave her a clearer view of the opposite side of the checkpoint. The jam stretched on for farther than she could see. At least two miles had been turned into bumper-to-bumper scorched wrecks.
Shannon tried not to think of the living that had occupied the vehicles at the moment the Marines had dropped their ordinance. Against her will she thought of the frightened screams as the undead, or possibly worse, grabbing at them while fighter jets dumped flaming finality onto them. Her mind went wild with imagination of their deaths.
The hand that clutched her ankle was thought of as imagination at first until a groaning voice came with it. “Give… me… eats,” it moaned. A scrapping noise accompanied its desires.
At first Shannon looked down at it with curious, uncomprehending eyes. It talked, her overworked mind told her. Goddamned thing had talked.
The inability to understand disappeared as the reaching mouth of a charred tanker neared her ankle. It, the name tape said its name had been DeCoverly, had pulled itself from a turret hatch, tearing the remnants of a uniform and burnt flesh away on jagged piece of metal protruding from the cupola ring. It looked at her with eyeless sockets as it pulled its way out of the cupola. Shannon watched in disbelief and all she could think of for a moment was, how can it see? It has no damned eyes?
She recovered from the thought and fired a burst into the zombie tanker’s head, surprised more at the weapons controllability against the recoil her than at the strength of the dead tanker’s grip. It slid back inside the turret still gripping her ankle.
Her balance disappeared along with the tanker. Shannon toppled backwards onto the tanks engine area. She stood and looked up to the tank.
“Where there’s one, there’s more, dummy,” said Greene. He leaned against the tank’s hull, grinning at her sarcastically. She was about to respond to her perceived insanity when shooting from somewhere close by punctuated the truth in Greene’s words.
“Shannon,” yelled Deidre as gunfire filled the air. “Shannon! We’ve gotta get the hell out of here!”
Shannon rounded a corner near a burned out Stryker vehicle, and ran right into a half burned lycan zombie crawling across her path. It had been an infantryman that was now locked in a permanent halfway transformation.
It stopped moving, and turned its head to her. It stared at her with almost pleading eyes before it began clawing its clawed its way toward her. Shannon took a step back, but paused. Her ears drowned out the gunfire and shouts in the background as she watched it crawl faster.
The right hand had been burned badly and the bones showed through the flesh. “Kill me,” it pleaded with a raspy moan. It stopped and looked up at her with up turned hands, leaving the lycan zombie’s intentions clear. “I’m… so hungry. Wwwwant meeeeat!” It gave a hoarse, pitiful howl and then looked Shannon in eyes. “Dooooo… it.”
Amazement gave way to practicality as the zombie-lycan-soldier’s head disappeared from the SAW’s burst. Her ride was under attack, and sentimentality had no place in her actions at the moment.
Shannon lopped to where she had left the car only to find it gone. Six newly deceased undead lay around where it had been with another eight looming around, looking for what she assumed was a fresh meal.
“Aw, snap,” Shannon said without thinking as she skidded to a stop.
The undead stopped and looked at her. The time to go had come and gone and now she was in another fight of her life. “I miss being the hunter,” she said, looking back toward the roadblock. The shooting had drawn undead from the opposite side and their scent said it was more than the eight she had coming at her.
Her only option was the meager tree line that the city council of the distant Tucson suburb of Woodrow had put up decades earlier. Once she had thought it was stupid to plant trees as a welcome to any city, especially one bordering a desert, but now she thought otherwise. However small it was, it might give her a chance to escape.
Shannon raced into the wooded area. The dead fall crunched under her feet as she fired short bursts into the crowd on the run. The crowd had grown and she briefly spotted a commotion in the back of the coming crowd. “That can’t be good,” she said, quacking her pace. She had no desire to greet what was pushing their way to the front of the shambling zombies.
She’d caught a quick whiff of the faint stink of were-zombies earlier, but had dismissed it as too distant to be worried about. Now she cursed herself as she glanced over her shoulder once more. She’d dumbly disregarded the rule that if you could smell them, they could smell you. “Stupid bint,” she cursed aloud. She swore harder at herself at using such an uncharacteristic turn of phrase as an insult.
Out of the corner of her eye she saw movement. Reflexively she dropped and rolled away from the swipe of a massive clawed hand aimed at her head. She opened up with a prolonged burst from the SAW. Her aim was off slightly, but it was on target enough. The rounds struck the werezombie’s chest and stomach. If it had been a normal zed it would have been torn in two. This guy wasn’t normal, and even though she had hurt it, it was also severely pissed off. Worse still, three uninfected werewolves were rushing through the mass of zombies toward her.
“Fucking Deidre,” she yelled, raising the automatic weapon. She squeezed the trigger, but nothing happened. She’d exhausted the SAW’s ammo belt. She yelled derogatory comments about Deidre once more and threw the SAW at the lead werezombie’s head. It caught it squarely in the forehead. It staggered backwards, grasping blindly at its face for a moment before stumbling over the werezombie she had shot. It looked quizzically at the one it she’d shot. The confused lycan regained its composure and then roared angrily as it kicked the downed werezombie in the head. The uninfected lycan glared balefully at her. “Her” it growled angrily. “We want her! Not this dead rotting piece of meat.” It pointed to her as it spoke.
“Time to go,” Shannon said, dropping to all fours.
As demeaning as she considered it, her retreat demanded running like a dog. Better to be ashamed and alive than proud and dead, she thought increasing her speed with every ounce of energy she could muster.
Shannon sensed their closing on her as she raced from the woods and onto the well-manicured grounds of open land. She stopped one hundred yards outside of the wooded boundaries, startled to see she had run into a park and welcome center of sorts.
“Fuck!” she howled, turning to face her pursuers.
But they weren’t there. Something had distracted them or intervened. The smell of the undead mixing with her pursuers gave Shannon time to contemplate where to go next. The tang of fresh spilled blood mingled with the sweet smell of decay told her she was safe from her attackers. She’d somehow led the lycans chasing her into the ripping hands and greedy mouths of a hoard of the undead. She forced herself to catch her breath and focus on the sounds of wolfish growls against a back drop of groaning zedheads. She heard them fighting for their miserable lives to keep from ending up on the dinner menu. The echoes of pained howls and gurgling opened throats told her that the lycans had lost.
A shadowy figure loomed out of the woods and was joined a moment later by another and then another.
“There’s not enough time to go around,” screamed Greene. “Move, goddamnit. They’re closer than you realize, idiot.”
“You again?” Shannon bemoaned. “Don’t you have a graveyard-” Something that felt like a mental shove motivated her legs, but she refused to move. She stared at the figure of a woman that had emerged from the woods. The scent identified the newcomer as the lycan that had lead the chase.
She’d somehow gotten away from the undead that had attacked her and her compatriots. And she’d gotten infected during the battle with the zombies.
The woman was naked and in human form, as she wandered almost aimlessly from the wooded area. Shannon got low and watched. Her crouching position in the open space would do nothing to hide her from view and her scent was sure to alert the woman if her sight failed to do so. The crouch was more to spring to attack if need be. The woman was alone and the smell of the dead said that the horde was far enough away that an attack was feasible. Shannon wanted to see what would happen before she committed to a fight.
Shannon sniffed the air lightly. She wrinkled her nose as the odor of zombie infection and lycan virus mingled together. “Maybe you’ll be okay,” Shannon muttered absentmindedly. “Maybe the wolf in you will keep the undead shit at bay. You could pass as a human if that’s the case.”
“It’s interesting to say the least,” answered Greene. His response startled Shannon and she almost yelped in surprise.
“Beat it, bit of underdone potato,” answered Shannon. “I haven’t figured out what you are yet, and now’s not the time to start.
“You’re not Scrooge, and I’m ghost. She can’t see me any more than she can hear me. No. I think this one is about to…”
Greene vanished and Shannon looked at the woman in time to see her raise her face to the sky and scream. It was an ululating sound that was equal parts of pain, rage, and hunger.
The woman’s shamble became jog and then a run as she closed the distance between her and Shannon. The zombie infection was indeed active alongside the lycan virus, and both fought for dominate control of the woman. Shannon stood, fur bristling, and hunched at the shoulders as she prepared to meet the woman head on.
The woman was less than seventy feet away and still Shannon watched the two viruses battle for supremacy. Rotting places on the undead woman’s appeared and disappeared as the lycan virus sought to heal the host, while the undead virus turned the flesh grayed and lightened. The undead virus fought just as hard until what came out was a werewolf that was for all intents and purposes a loping, hungry undead beast.
The were-zombie leaped through the air in an attempt to land on Shannon. Shannon sprang from her crouch and met it in the air. The undead werewolf snapped its jaws at Shannon’s throat and shoulders. Fetid saliva dribbled from its mouth. Shannon almost grabbed it by her yawning mouth, but stopped. If she cut her hands on its teeth she knew she’d be just as damned.
Shannon angled her lower body and kneed it in the crotch. It may not have been male, but a crotch shot could drop a female too.
The were-zombie howled in frustration, unheeding of the pain. Shannon cursed her stupidity and by sheer force of will and brute strength forced her opponent onto its back. Quicker than the she-were-zombie could respond, Shannon was on it, pinning its shoulders to the ground with her knees.
“Petulant child,” growled Shannon. She spoke like she was in a Jane Austin novel and not a real-life book titled Shannon Morris’ Fucked Up Life. Thought won out over instinct. Shannon grabbed the were-zombies head and began to repeatedly smash it to into the ground. The undead beast didn’t need to breath, but Shannon swore she heard gurgling from its throat as its pawing at the ground disappeared.
Shannon stood and kicked dirt onto the dead lycan’s face. She watched as the zombie virus won out finally, turning the body into a gray mass that once had been human.
A stirring from the trees caught Shannon’s attention. The other two lycans had survived after all, but not without taking some damage. The first, a gore covered male stared at her, his chest fighting for breath it no longer needed. “There,” it moaned, pointing to her.
Shannon sniffed the air reflexively. These two were undead as well. “Shit,” she screamed in a high-pitched tone. She was unclear if it could see her through its fogging eyes, though she was sure it’s nose and ears still worked perfectly.
She ran full out on all fours for the building. She weaved her way through a blood spattered playground, the smell of fresh spilt blood filled her nose. Humans had been there, and died there. Shannon didn’t want to give any thought to the bloodied equipment.
“I’m almost there,” she said, dodging a platform designed for handicapped children. Her breathe was ragged in her throat, and her chest was afire with exertion. She ran faster than she ever had and fatigue was closing the distance behind the pain. “Almost there, baby,” she said fighting against the wheezing that clawed at her throat. She dodged around three blood stained baby carriages. Don’t think about that, she thought as she leaped over a fourth.
She’d put considerable distance between her and her assailants when the shots came. They zipped past her, causing her to howl approval at what she assumed was someone shooting at the advancing mob behind her. A shot hit her in the leg that had just healed. “Oh for fuck’s sake,” she bellowed hoarsely. So much for thinking positively, she thought as she slid across the dirt face first. Her stressed jeans tore and she howled again in frustration. “Shit fuck fuckity shit shit!”
Dirt flew up around her head and in her face as more firing came from the building before her. Her dirt bath stopped abruptly as the building’s defenders turned their attention to the undead werewolves behind her.
The mushy smacking sound of the rounds hitting numerous undead bodies was nice to hear, though not as nice as her cover behind a merry-go-round. Still exposed Shannon decided to turn human. Human made a lesser target than werewolf, allowing her to witness the action without further exposure.
Occasionally the defenders fired at her when she showed too much of her head, but most of the shooting remained focused on the undead.
Shannon looked behind her. Her heart nearly stopped as she saw that the band of undead was much bigger than earlier. The shooting had drawn more, and though they didn’t seem to notice her, that wouldn’t last long. The undead, human and were-zombies alike, took hits, but kept coming. Constant headshots only happened in movies and TV shows, and training of any kind was difficult to overcome. Mix the dedication to training with fear and you had panicked shooting across the board. The attention the survivors were attracting was too much danger for Shannon’s taste.
“When all else fails, the ridiculous is plausible.” She had a plan, as crazy as it was. She began testing the bolts holding the merry-go-round in place. The bolts were rusty in places, but the merry-go-round’s steel itself was solid. She checked her leg. It was nearly healed, and the copper jacketed bother lay on the ground, glinting with her life’s fluid.
Shannon slid under the merry-go-round and forced the change to her human form as slowly as she could. A slow change was the worst of all transformations, but not as painful as getting shot multiple times.
Her body grew again, forcing the plaything up, against its center axle. Bolts resisted, shrieked, and then popped off. She’d gained the attention of the shooters and the zombies as the far end of the merry-go-round rose into the air. The shooting in her direction increased, but the merry-go-round withstood the impacts. The ringing of the rounds ricocheting off the metal was intense. Shannon forced her thoughts of anything getting through away. “I’m gonna live,” she growled. “I’m not dying in a kiddie play yard.”
With a squeal and cry of rending metal the axle broke free from the base. She gripped the bottom braces and used it as a shield for her retreat. As much as she hated the option, the forest had once again become the only safe place.
The gunfire followed her in, and so did the remaining were-zombies. The undead humans, the new-comers and those that had survived the were-zombie culling, pressed on in their assault on the humans in the building. Shannon had no problem leaving them to each other. She couldn’t blame the people for shooting at her, but a little survivor courtesy wouldn’t have hurt either.
The were-zombies’ healing abilities was severely muted. In the glimpses she got from them, she could see the wounds pulsating in the throes of trying to heal. Shannon didn’t care why or was even interested any longer in learning more about them. The only thing she cared about was living. That fact forced her to realize that to survive was to fight and to fight would allow her to find Deidre and kick her ass for leaving her behind.
She arrived at the opposite side of the destroyed Army roadblock. This time she selected a clear place to make a stand if the worse came to pass. Her choices were plentiful, but none were as good as one of the few undestroyed Abrams tanks sitting abandoned three hundred yards away from the roadblock chokepoint. The three tanks smelled and looked abandoned as they sat facing the traffic blockage.
She lopped closer, listening to her distant pursuers as they bumbled their way along searching for her. With quick caution she sniffed the turret and hull. The soldiers’ death odors fought for dominance against their stink of final fear. Thankfully the stink of lingering undead was absent. And as far as she could tell no new lycans laid in wait for her.
She climbed up the hull toward the turret and stared inside. A partially devoured human soldier laid there, hand raised and draped over some object like his last action had been pleading with God for mercy. She stared at him, focusing on his clean shaven, and young, sad face. Tears had streamed from his eyes in his final moments. They left trails down his cheeks, streaking the dirt on his face. His neck and chest protection had been torn away, and the man underneath had been ravaged. Normally Shannon would be heartbroken for the man, but she wasn’t it. She allowed herself a moment to reflect on the peace of the situation, amid all the gruesomeness. She didn’t reflect for long. The lycans were closer now; growling at each other like dogs quietly arguing over who was alpha.
Shannon had no idea how to start a tank up let alone how to load a main gun or traverse the turret. But she seen a documentary where a Browning M2 machine gun needed to have the charging handle rack twice before use.
She moved to the gun when something grabbed her by her shirt. It was the soldier. His face no longer looked sad and his hand now had a handful of her future instead of reaching for a god too busy to clean up the mess someone had created. And he looked angry as hell. His other hand groped at her until it closed on a handful fur. He was on tight and as Shannon turned and pulled away, he followed her.
“Jesus fucking Christ,” she moaned as she took in the sight of the ragged stumps that were his legs.
“Stop playing with it and kill it, “admonished Greene, sitting cross-legged on the turret. His arm rested on the machine gun by the crew hatch and his face rested in his palm. He looked bored. “If you don’t want me showing up to give commentary then you need to do what needs to be done. Stop dicking around.”
I have got to get rid of you both, she thought.
“Not gonna happen, girl,” answered Greene in the middle of a yawn. “Well, not me at least. Ulp. There he goes, getting a free feel.”
Shannon had allowed herself to get distracted. How could she not have felt the dead man’s grab at her breast? She cursed loudly at the fact that nothing seemed to be operating at normal for her.
She grabbed the back of the zombie soldier’s helmet and yanked it viciously over his face, pulling clumps of scalp away as the skin and helmet came forward. “I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This,” she bellowed, moving the helmet back and forth until it and the head came off in her hand. The body slid a bit before it rolled off the tank.
Shannon looked angrily at the still active head. The zombie’s mouth seemed to be making “Oh” motions. Its eyes moved, looking from her face to its surroundings. Disgusted, Shannon peeled off the helmet, and tossed it aside. With renewed anger she smashed the head face first into the hatchway rim. The skull caved under the assault, ending both of their suffering.
She lowered herself into the turret, giving a final look to the woods. She judged by the rising undead scent that it’d be another five minutes before they found her, plenty of time for her to resume human form one more time.
The change back to human was just as painful quickly as her recent slow change to lycan. It was all the transformation back and forth in so short a time period that caused her body to hurt. “Once this shit storm clears, I’m finding a place to roost for the night,” she mused stripping off her clothes to look at her wounds. Her body was healing, but she felt beat to shit. Sleep was as much a priority as food.
“Five minutes my ass,” she hissed her ears picked up the sounds of shuffling feet and clawing hands against the tank’s thick armor. The zombie mass made it to her position in half of her projected time. She dressed quickly before popping the hatch open. A few that heard the hatch open looked up at her and became excited at the sight of living meat. The majority however moved away from the tank. They knew she was about, but were unable to fully regain her scent.
“Yoo Hooo! Boys and girls!” She waved at them, muttering, “Or whatever you are these days.”
Those further out turned to the sound of her voice and began their awkward charge.
“That’s it. It’s feeding time at the zoo.” She traversed the heavy machine gun and pressed the butterfly trigger. Nothing. She pressed once more and still nothing. “Duh,” she said wearily. She had forgotten about the charging handle. Her tired arms responded sluggishly at pulling it back. It took both hands to do it, and the second pull was harder than the first. She managed it before trying the trigger again. Her entire body reverberated with the satisfying bum-bum-bum of the massive rounds leaving the barrel, and the melodic rattle of empty casings hitting the turret.
The lycan zombies’ heads and upper bodies became dull red spray and chunks of joy as far as Shannon was concerned. Undead lower bodies fell in half running steps to the ground. She knew better, but she fired at their remains just for the fun of it.
She eased off the trigger and looked around. Nothing further came from the tree line or from either side of the road. She waited longer, wondering if she shouldn’t fire into the trees in the hopes of hitting the building on the other side. She knew she could more than likely hit it, but didn’t fire. The thought of families being trapped in the building stopped her. Her anger rose at what had happened, but she kept her thumbs on the wooden grips. Leaving whoever was there alone was a better choice than stupid revenge.
She released her grip on the Browning and moved back down inside the turret. “Well, at least we know what the other guy’s last meal was,” she said, staring at another soldier seated in a splayed fashion in what she assumed was the commander’s position.
“Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten me into.” She kicked the body and tittered. The man had several large chunks of flesh torn from his throat and bite marks decorated his face. It was clear he had spent the last of his energy shooting himself and not his attacker. “Well, up and at ‘em.” She laughed louder and wondered if this was what the onset of insanity felt like. She glanced around at the white interior and its sticky and gummy, red splashes. The patterns the matter made was pretty, and she laughed again at the sight.
With shaking hands she muscled the remains of another crewman toward the open commander’s hatch. Her body cried out at the strain in getting the body out. Normally it wouldn’t have been so hard, but even a werewolf got tired after nonstop running and fighting. The adrenaline rush had left her. Every move was hard and arduous. Finally she got it to the top of the gently sloping turret and climbed out. It was only a matter of pushing his body off the turret to the road. Weary as Shannon was she persevered and dragged the body away from her home for the night.
She went to the other tanks. Most had been riddled with something far bigger than a .50 caliber machine gun, but smaller than a tank’s main gun. The crews were truly and really dead. The heavier rounds had punched through the armor and shredded the crew members. Outside bodies were everywhere and Shannon didn’t waste time in investigating the burnt out remains of military vehicles. The scant few she had searched stank of cooked pork, and worse.
A good number of the dead soldiers manning the roadblock appeared unbitten. “Killed by your own people while trying to get away,” she muttered. “What a waste.”
In the glow of the setting sun she went from body to body, patting them down for anything worthy. She was fortunate to find undamaged ammunition, a few uneaten MRE’s and some protein bars. Water wasn’t a problem as most had full canteens in reserve to the now punctured CamelBak’s.
She gathered a couple Sig and Beretta pistols and magazines and carried them back to the tank that now served as her rest area.
The sun was disappearing behind the horizon, and nothing seemed as safe as a tank. As long as she remained quiet Shannon figured she could hold out the night in the turret.
Shannon settled in, locking the hatch behind her. She ate her meal of beef stroganoff and protein bars, listening to the metal cool in the night air as the darkness arrived. Later she listened to the wind sweep by and the occasional undead footfall scrap by. The sounds gave her peace, oddly enough and she fell into an unusually restful sleep.