“Okay, this is getting downright eerie,” Emily said, while wiping her slender wrist across a grimy forehead.
“Yeah, and dangerous too.” As he spoke, Devon picked up a lava rock the size of a roasted turkey and lifted it above his head. A moment later, he tossed it down the slope. It smashed a zombie in the face and it went falling ass over elbow knocking down three others before it came to stop on a pile of jagged boulders.
Emily was the best shot he knew and she proved it again when she fired her rifle into the horde of undead below. Even from their distance, he saw a flash of red when the head exploded. “This just doesn’t make sense,” she said. “Sure these Walkers are stupider than a can of dog food, and would wander away from a fresh bowl of guts if you showed them something shiny, but with all our gunfire they should be turning around and following us. Not chasing after a jeep that left an hour ago.”
She looked over at him. “You don’t think that Haeds can somehow make them follow him?”
“If he could do that, he wouldn’t have had to use that girl for bait. The fact that we can only get about twenty percent of his would-be army to turn and follow us is strange, but it isn’t supernatural.”
“Yep, nothing supernatural about walking dead,” she said, before she let one of her piercing screams disturb the desert stillness.
“Ahhh, damn! Can you warn me before you do one of those, please?”
“See look, even with my piercer only about a hundred zombies have broken off to come after us.”
“Which is more than enough.”
“Yeah, if you were like eighty or something, but hey genius, have you figured out a flaw in your plan? If those guys took our only vehicle, how’re we going to get back? And with four hundred Walkers marching on our ranch it won’t make anything extra easy.”
“I had already considered that.” The first wave of zombies were approaching the crest of the rocky hill upon which they stood. Another well tossed rock sent a few more rolling back down the hill. Their fall snapped arms and legs and left a pile of thrashing bloody zombies below them. “I’m sure we could figure a way to loop around in front of that army and get picked up, but that still begs the question of why would we want to be trapped in a ranch about to face off again hundreds of Walkers.”
“Devon you wouldn’t abandon them!”
He smiled. “No of course not. I had planned to free Tucson of zombies first, but if we were to clean out even a small town that could really give us a chance to stock up before we made any real assault on our city.”
“I’m not sure if I’m following you.” She flung a rock of her own and it took a zombie wearing biker shorts in the top of his head and he expired with a dull moan.
“There are just the two of us. We are already doing our part to help the ranch by luring these hundred dead-heads away. But we need a vehicle. I say we head back to San Miguel and see if we can grab one and maybe check out the place a bit.”
“With these flesh bags following us, we might not have too long to search.” She said, while joining Devon in a constant rock assault on the approaching dead. “And there’re probably plenty of zombies left back there too.”
“Yeah, I know,” but then stopping in mid throw, he said, “but what if that girl isn’t the only prisoner he had?”
She looked at the zombies and then back at him. “You’re right. You didn’t leave us to be abused and tortured in the Ripper jail and who knows, this Haeds could be even worse than them.”
“I was also thinking that he might be keeping them half starved already. If they have to wait while we protect the ranch and then fight through hundreds of undead before we get to them. Well, they probably wouldn’t make it.”
“That is, if they exist at all. He was calling her his queen, that sounds more like a singular title.” She smiled. “Girls notice things like that.”
His cheer dissipated when the first walker cleared the rise. “Come on, San Miguel’s still a good twenty miles from here, we need to get going.”
* * *
Haeds’ eyes flickered open as his consciousness returned.
It took him about two seconds before he began to thrash against his bonds. Where am I? Some place dark and enclosed. Dust filed his nostrils and little light existed.
“Let me out of here!” he screamed. “You can’t do this to me. I’m the king of the dead!”
When rescue was not forthcoming, his rant continued. “I’ll laugh while me friends tear you apart and feast on your flesh. I’ll hold them off to make sure your deaths will be slow. Release me. Bring me my queen.”
Then he remembered her words. She had told the men to kill him. It tore at his heart. How could she? She had never spoken that way to him in the cellar?
Something was wrong and all he knew was that it was their fault and all these murderous breathers were going to pay!