The van was jammed with undead, the sliding door remained open and Nita directed one more woman to push into the squirming mass.
“Nita?” Hugh asked.
“I don't think that one should count, she only has one arm.”
“Shit,” she said, pulling the zombie woman back. Pushing the woman to move west with her mind, Nita looked around for another zombie that might fit in the van. Not seeing one she shrugged her shoulders and tried to slide the van door shut. It took some effort and required Hugh's help. Once closed they stepped back and the van rocked slowly as the undead moved around inside of it. The two of them were at an old farmhouse out in the middle of a bunch of cornfields, zombies were streaming by slowly through the corn, making it ripple like water in a pond.
“It is still a pretty good count, for a van anyway.” Hugh said.
“I dunno, I think I could do better,” from the tone of her voice Nita thought she could do much better.
“Do you think they will eat each other?”
This brought another shrug, “I dunno. It could happen if they get hungry enough. There might be enough energy in there to make one of them almost normal again.”
They took a few more steps back from the gently swaying light blue van. “Nita?”
He gestured towards the van, “Why do you do that?”
“It just makes me happy. I don't know why.”
Red bounded out of a corn field and up to them. He looked over the van and smiled, “Good one Nita! I don't think you could have gotten more in.”
The zombie woman shrugged her shoulders and looked out across the fields.
“What?” Red asked, looking at Hugh, “Did I say something wrong?”
“She thinks she could have done better.”
Red put his arm around Nita's shoulders, “Well practice makes progress, so chalk this one up to experience and do better next time.”
Nita turned her head to look at Red, “Red, why do I do this?”
“You are asking me? I don't know, doesn't it make you feel good?”
“Well yeah, but why does it make me feel good?”
Red thought about it for a minute, the smiled and said, “HellifIknow. I do know one thing though.”
“I am jealous because of it.”
“Yeah love, I don't have anything like it. Hugh here doesn't either. Of the three of us, you are the only one with a hobby. You are the only one that really feels good about things anymore.”
Nita looked dubiously at Red, arching her eyebrows, “Stuffing zombies into cars and vans and semi-trailers is a good hobby?”
“Better than anything I have to do. Who cares 'why' anyway?”
“I do, I guess.”
“Well don't. We have a job to do and if you can have some fun along the way, I say that is great.”
“He didn't get very far, that Max did he?”
All three of them could feel the man named Max about seventy miles away and to the north of them. The trio had managed to divert the zombie horde north instead of continuing straight east, which was hopefully going to mess things up for whoever was calling them. The territory was more challenging off road than it was following the highway and calling the zombies to come after them was far easier than pushing them away had been. Some experimenting behind the horde had proven that they could not draw many zombies back when they tried, but moving sideways at an oblique angle had proven useful. The zombies were making much worse time trying to climb over fences, up scrub-covered hills and through the ponds, lakes and rivers that dotted the region. The horde had come across another double lane highway and Red, Nita and Hugh had called the other zombies to follow them in a more northerly direction.
It was troubling though, that they had been able to change the hordes path but that Max had not moved. He had been in the same place for five days now. Red thought that he, Nita and Hugh had doubled the amount of time it would take for the zombies to pass through Nebraska, but Max wasn't using the time right. Maybe, thought Red, he gave up.
Echoing his thoughts, Hugh asked, “Do you think he gave up Red?”
“No. I have been thinking about this and I think something happened. That Max seemed like the kind who would do a job, even if he didn't want to, if it meant saving people.”
“So what do you think happened.
“I think,” said Red, “That they got into trouble with the humans. Can you guys handle the zombies for awhile?”
“Maybe, but they will start going straight east again when you leave,” said Nita, she and Hugh were just not strong enough to draw the zombies after them for long.
“That is okay, due east of here is open country, more fields, fences, rivers and hills, it will keep them going slow.”
“Then sure, we will be okay. You're gonna go help him aren't you?”
“If I can.”
“Be careful,” she said, they all could tell that there were a large number of others still alive around Max, and also that zombies in that area were disappearing as they approached the town.
“Careful? Of course.” Red said, pretending to be offended.