Derrick zipped the duffel bag closed and lifted it onto the center of the stretcher. The gas station didn't have a lot of food in it, but it was more than he'd expected. Especially after they'd found the grocery store looted completely.
"You ready?" Trent asked softly.
"Hell yes," said Derrick. "Let's get this shit back to the truck."
They squatted, one at each end of the stretcher, and lifted it up. Moving quickly and quietly, they went out the front door.
Jimmy was standing by the gas pumps, watching the street. He glanced back at them, but only briefly.
"How's it look?" asked Derrick, when he was close enough to speak quietly.
Jimmy nodded up the street, towards the center of town. "Just shamblers, so far."
Derrick looked at the slowly milling crowd. He recognized the slow, shuffling movements and the occasional lurching stagger. "Oh, no. Shamblers. Run for you life."
Behind him, Trent said: "Or just stroll. Stroll for your life."
"Mosey," corrected Derrick. "Mosey for your life."
"Can't," said Trent. "I'm not from Texas. I'll have to saunter and hope for the best."
Jimmy looked back at them, but didn't object to the banter. "Couple of the outliers are starting to drift this way," he said softly. "Let's get moving."
"Ambling," corrected Derrick automatically. "Let's get ambling."
"Or traipsing," suggested Trent. "Can I traipse?"
"As long as it takes us away from the zombies," said Jimmy, "I don't care what you're doing."
"So, no dawdling?" Derrick shifted his grip on the stretcher and started forward. At that moment he heard footsteps behind them: louder, faster, coming closer.
Jimmy heard them too. He looked back: "Shit. Hunters! Run!"
Derrick risked a glance back as he started to run. The hunters were unmistakable; six of them had broken away from the horde, and were loping towards them. He turned his attention back to running: this would be a bad, bad time to trip. The stretcher tugged at his arms, but Trent was matching his pace smoothly enough.
He hated running. He hated the way his lungs burned. He hated the way his heart pounded and his muscles dragged. He hated the stitch in his side. But most of all, he hated that he didn't have enough breath to suggest sprint, flee, or abscond.