Turning on the radio was supposed to clarify things. It was supposed to dispel the fog, so the way ahead was revealed and their actions were justified. Instead, Caleb wished the fog would close in again. Ignorance is bliss. What they discovered was an embarrassing chaos, a war zone where everyone, from grunts to generals, was a complete amateur. A fucking mess.
The first few stations totally ignored the crisis, and if you believed them you would head in their direction because they seemed to be completely clear of zombies, infection or insanity. Soon Caleb realised that these stations were on repeat.
“The staff must have cleared out,” he said. “This is last week’s news.” Tam sighed and her hands tightened on the wheel.
A few were off the air completely. Unnerving, especially since they were big stations. Their dependability was a security blanket any day of the year. Now, nothing.
Caleb landed on Eagle-99FM, a mainstream Rounlin station that would usually broadcast chart hits all the way through the afternoon. It was heading on 5pm, rush hour, time for the traffic news. An incredibly high-strung Gene Dobry was chattering like some witch over a cauldron.
“Benny out in Staines County tells us just now that there is a massive wave heading this way but they’re a long way out. Is it possible that security forces can put together a team and get there quickly enough? I don’t know. One serious threat was already put down as we know, that was a force of some hundred to two hundred Infected heading towards Rounlin. This is something larger maybe, but they’re coming from a different direction. I don’t know what I’m doing, is anyone listening? Get down there, we need a batallion down there! I don’t see them moving. I don’t know if they know about this. Maybe they don’t have the manpower, God help us.”
Poor Gene Dobry went on like this unstoppably. He kept going in circles. Rounlin under threat, no sign of the cavalry, waves upon waves, panic and despair. It was not the healthiest mental state to be broadcasting and Caleb wondered why someone wasn’t shutting him up.
“He’s lost his mind,” he said.
“Or,” said Tam, “He’s been up for days and he’s keeping his eyes open with coffee. Sleep deprivation will do it to you.” Caleb figured this was a good appraisal.
What was clear was that Wrecks were forming large groups and heading towards Rounlin from all sides. Some of the armed guards from the METMA centre, possibly backed up by local police, had gone out and shot them all. Now it was happening again, but there was no sign of them being repelled.
Caleb surfed around and after a few false starts, found something called K-POW Bandwagon. It was a local station. Those broadcasting seemed to be a couple of students who had commandeered the equipment.
“What do you think, Bailey?” said one dude in a superbly calm stoner voice that undermined caffeine-head Dobry very nicely.
“Kill those fuckers if you wanna live,” said Bailey, a gruff metal-head. “This thing’s spreading like a fire and everyone’s gotta do their part to put it out. The shit is in the pan, man. As long as there are Living Dead out there, more people are getting turned and the situation gets worse. Get a gun, get an axe and kill, kill, kill.”
The stoner extolled, “While we’re on it people, a shot to the head might not be good enough like in the movies. Reports are more like that the fuckers will keep moving even after a headshot. Even without heads they might still be un-alive. Burn those bastards down.”
“At least stop them moving around,” Bailey complained.
“Thanks for the input though,” said Stonerman. “Keep those calls coming in.”
The next station had shut down their phone lines as the switchboard was locked up. A woman who sounded like she might be out of her head on Xanex was reading the latest government releases over and over while still, stupidly, playing the usual ad breaks in between.
“Infected relatives must not be kept at home,” she said serenely. “For their safety and yours they should be taken for treatment. Do not approach anyone who looks injured or who asks for help. If you are injured, do not attempt to keep it secret. Do not form large groups or posses for purposes of hunting. Do not contact emergency services to report sightings of suspected infected persons.”
Caleb snarled, “The fuck is this shit?” and spun the dial. It didn’t get any better.