If there were two things Kaikaina was certain about in regards to her brother, it was that first of all, he would have already planned for something as weird as the dead coming back to life and walking the streets. Dex was lame like that. The amount of times she'd left to go out with friends, only to pass him on in the living room watching another dumb apocalypse movie were far too numerous to count. She wished she had a dollar for every time it happened, because then she'd be rich.
Second of all, she was sure that if Dex knew what she was up to, he'd kill her.
And okay, MAYBE she probably should have told him where she was. To be fair, she was old enough to make her own decisions. The whole 'virus bringing people back from the dead' thing had really inconvenienced her vacation time. She really had meant to tell her brother that she wasn't exactly in Hawaii visiting their mother like she said she was going to be, but she'd been distracted during their last phone call. He was saying something about zombies or whatever, it wasn't like she ever paid attention when he went on his tangents. Also there had been a volleyball match at the beach, and who could blame her for not hanging on his every word? Some things were more important than listening to your brother talk about nerd stuff.
But regardless of why she was there, or who knew about it, the fact remained that Kai was in a bit of trouble. Her brother thought she was on an island, safe from the new virus. However, the beach in California she was actually staying at seemed to have quite a problem with infected people roaming around. That volleyball match had been a whole different kind of distracting when they'd started trying to eat other beachgoers. Kai considered herself pretty open-minded, but even she had her limits.
It had occurred to her to try and get to Hawaii after that. If Dex thought she'd be safe there, he obviously knew a little more on the subject than she did. Unfortunately the reason he thought she was safe was because the islands were locked down after the infection started spreading. It made sense, keeping all those gross dead people away from them, but it really put a wrench in her plans.
After being turned down at the airport, Kai figured the next best thing to do was to go back home. At least there she'd have familiar people around, and as nerdy as her brother was, he'd never steered her wrong before. All she had to do was find a ride. Public transport was pretty much out of the question at this point, but there were still plenty of people trying to get out of town.
Of course, not a lot of them were willing to take a hitchhiker along for the ride.
And so she found herself on the roof of a cafe, feet kicking in the air idly as she surveyed the beach. She sipped at a soda, eyes darting at any movement. From far away, it was hard to tell who was infected. Normally, they had gross spidery veins all along their skin, so they were pretty easy to avoid. But trying to find someone from up here that could help her was harder when you couldn't tell a normal person's skin tone from the gray, pallid color the news had said the infected sported. Being colorblind was a hindrance sometimes.
Kai was starting to lose hope that there was anyone left alive on the beach when she heard a scream. It was shrill and panicked, startlingly different than the low moans of the zombies shuffling around the sand. She got to her feet, launching her empty can at a nearby zombie, smirking in satisfaction as the guy fell over in a heap. The scream came from behind the cafe, so Kai wandered across the rooftop, peeking over the opposite edge.
A mop of blonde hair met her gaze, its owner pressed back against the cafe's wall. A group of infected shuffled closer, surrounding the blonde in a semicircle. Another high- pitched noise came from the trapped person, and Kai looked around. The closest thing she found to a weapon was a discarded piece of plywood, but she grabbed it anyway. She took a moment for a deep breath before climbing on the roof's ledge, hopping down onto the dumpster she'd climbed up on before. In the second it took both the blond and the zombies to look her way, she was on the ground and running towards them.
The first swing of the plywood took out the nearest infected, its matted hair covering the majority of its face. It went down hard, and she spun quick on a heel, slamming the wood's edge into the next one's jaw, hearing a sickening crack. It knocked back into a third, both of them stumbling over each other with clumsy limbs. Kai wasted no time, running to the shocked blonde, grabbing him by the wrist and dragging him away from the wall.
He was a little shocked, to say the least. He stared at her with wide blue eyes, even as he let himself be dragged. He was taller than her by a few inches, and a bit skinnier. “You just--”
“I'm a badass, I know, let's go before more come!” Kai huffed, yanking on the other's arm harder. Still the blonde resisted, and she turned to glance at him, to yell at him to move, when she ran directly into something solid. “Oof!”
She bounced back a few steps, nearly falling into the guy she'd just rescued. Expecting more zombies, she raised the plywood, gripping it tight in her fist.
“Just what the hell do you think you're doin'?” a voice snapped at her.
Kai paused, just long enough to look up. Instead of the zombie she'd been expecting, she was met with an older man, scowling at her. He had a shotgun in one hand, the barrel resting against his shoulder. He looked from Kai to the guy behind her.
“Oh. You're not a gross zombie.”
“Good of ya to notice. So what the hell made you dive down here and ruin a perfectly good plan?”
Kai's face wrinkled in confusion. “Plan? I was saving this guy!”
Older dude huffed. “You don't save the bait!” He turned his glare on the blonde behind her. “And why didja just let her almost run off with ya?”
He shrugged. “It was pretty cool, Sarge. She took them out like a pro.”
Kai had to grin at that. She knew how to take care of herself in a fight. She'd been to some pretty seedy bars in her time.
“That's beside the point, Donut! We had a plan, and that plan's been tossed aside! Tossed aside like the dignity of this once great land!”
The blonde, Donut, tilted his head. “Weeeell... It's California. I didn't think it had much dignity to start with.”
Sarge made a thoughtful noise. “Good point.”
Kai watched them both, head moving from one to the other like a spectator in a tennis match. These guys were weird. She was about to tell them as much, but a low moan stopped her. All three of them turned in unison, watching as the pile of downed zombies started to move once again.
“Aw, dammit! She didn't even kill 'em!”
“It was still really cool.”
“Hey, I'm strong, but I'm not strong enough to take off a zombie head with a cheap piece of wood!”
“Alright!” Sarge cocked his shotgun with one arm, taking a step past the other two. “Plan's back in action!”
Donut switched their grip, so he was holding onto Kai's wrist instead of the other way around. “Don't worry, we've got this covered. You can hang out with us for awhile if you want.”
“I'm trying to get outta here,” she replied, watching Sarge stalk forward, aiming the shotgun at the pile of infected that were beginning to untangle themselves.
“We can help with that,” Donut offered a smile. “We kinda just travel all over.”
Kai turned to face the blonde, frowning a bit in consideration. This seemed as good a way out as any. Maybe she could convince them to give her a ride all the way to Texas. “Then I guess I could stick around. I'm Kai.”
“Nice to meet you!” Donut shook her hand, before moving past her. “Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a plan to help with. Then we can leave.”
Kai nodded, gripping her plywood weapon idly as the blonde pulled something out of his jacket pocket. It looked dangerous.
Donut grinned, tossing the grenade in his hand. “Alright, bitches, time for Operation Awesome Tosser!”
“We're not callin' it that!” Sarge snapped.
Kai laughed, watching the pair make quick work of the zombies. The noise had called over more of them, and while Sarge took care of the first three with a few well- aimed shotgun blasts to the head, Donut giggled gleefully, before a grenade, flew through the air and into the group of new arrivals. It was far enough away for the small explosion to do little more than ruffle her hair.
“Okay, that was pretty freakin' cool.”
Once the dust from the explosion cleared, Donut was at her side again. “Time to get outta here. Using those things only makes more show up.”
She led him lead her away, Sarge hurrying after with his shotgun at the ready, watching behind them for any new arrivals. In the parking lot sat a red jeep, which Donut ushered her toward. She scrambled into the back seat, and seconds later, Donut was in the passenger seat. He fished a set of keys out of his jacket, starting the ignition just in time for Sarge to take the driver's seat. He nearly threw his shotgun at Kai before realizing she was in the back seat.
He frowned. “We're takin' along little girls now?”
She stuck her tongue out. “You're old and I hate you.”
“C'mon guys, now's not the time for fighting,” Donut peered out the window. “Now's the time for sliding out the back way before you're noticed.”
Sarge sighed. Kai snickered. Even if her spring break was ruined, at least she wasn't on her own anymore.