Mar clutched the door handle until her knuckles turned white. Undead lurched at them from every direction as they raced over the cluttered pavement. Half of the SUV Jon drove was already covered with black blood. She yelled when a head smacked the windshield in front of her.
“I don’t like this,” she said. “We shouldn’t be heading back into the city.”
“Mitch knows what he’s doing. You’re safe, honey.”
Honey huh, she thought to herself. This seriously sucks, even when I was a slave to the Rippers, at least they kept me from having to deal with this shit.
“Where’re we supposed to be going anyway?”
“Mitch and some of the others knew about some safe farms northeast of the city. Places that were built up, but then abandoned. They’re far enough out that any zombies that show up, we should be able to deal with.”
Jonathan’s handsome dark face moved left and right as he tried to avoid hitting the walking corpses. He was so nice to her. She would like to think it was because he thought highly of her and not because she was just young and cute and one of the only girls left alive in Tucson. “We might not move in, but it’s good enough for now.”
“How long has it been since someone else has been there? How do we know that it isn’t crawling with zombies or some other group hasn’t moved in?”
“You certainly seem to be on the paranoid side, my dear.”
“Don’t give me any of your psychiatrist crap,” she said. “Being paranoid is the only thing that has kept me alive.”
“You don’t have to worry now, I’ll protect you.”
“Yeah, I’m sure a hundred Rippers living behind razor wire thought they could protect me too.”
“This is different, they were evil. Besides we’re smarter than them.”
They were smart enough to capture you. “So how far is it?” she asked, just trying to distract herself from the gruesome collisions.
“About thirty miles, but we’re taking these northern roads so these Walkers shouldn’t get too bad.”
“What about the others? How will they find us?”
“Marry! This driving isn’t easy. Please try to support me and don’t ask me a million questions right now.”
She hunched forward. He gaze turned toward the window and the jagged angled forms emerging from the gathering gloom. They had no regard for their own safety and would fling themselves at the vehicles, the flesh. I hate them almost as much as I hate myself.
They followed the glowing taillights before them. A car skidded off the road when it ran over a concealed tire rim. It crashed headfirst into a parked car. The zombies were all over them before the group could do anything. She thought they would try to help anyway. They didn’t. The convoy moved on. It made her wonder what she really hated most.
* * *
The pain lingered like a sledge hammer. Haeds had been talking to himself for a while. “How could that asshole have done that to me? He cut off two of my fingers—that shitkicking prick! Well, there’s plenty of things he has two of.” He laughed at his own joke.
“Wait till my family comes, you idiots. You should have left with the cowards when you had the chance. Idiots. Fools. Fuckers! Gods of darkness, how I hate cowboys.” A string of curses escaped his lips while he fought against the ropes that bound him. More ropes held his legs to the chair.
“I could probably escape if I wanted to, you pricks. But why bother? I want to be here when my family is swallowing chunks of your flesh.”
After more mumbling and cursing to himself, Haeds heard the sounds of things banging around outside of the sweltering shack. Could they already be here? No, that’s something else. Besides there’s no way my family could have gotten here this fast.
He tried to listen harder. The wait grew vexing, especially when he had no clue as to what happened on the other side of the dry planks. About half an hour later, he heard maybe two vehicles start up and some shouting, but he couldn’t make out the words. He might have heard someone counting to three.
“What the hell is going on out there? All this not knowing is driving me nuts. They should know better than to do this to me. I’m the new God of this age, the king of the desert, the lord-”
“Of the, oh so, shitty pants,” the teen, Spike, said. “Damn, it smells like crap in here. You must have really shit yourself. I’d let you use the bathroom um…” the annoying boy leaned his face in closer. He hadn’t removed his shades and they were a little big making him look like a hyper fly. “If I didn’t HATE YOUR GUTS!”
“You can’t talk to me like that!”
“I’ll talk to you any damn way I like. Because of you, I haven’t seen my sister for a day. And Devon and I are best friends. If something happens to either one of them, I’ll beat you every day for a year and then I’ll slowly eat your arm off so you’ll know what it feels like, you freak.”
“You talk like that and call me a freak?”
“How old are you, twelve.”
“I’m fifteen now, you piece of—oh hell, you aren’t even worth it.” He turned to go, but called over his shoulder. “I just came in here to let you know we figured out a way to waste your,” he used that asinine finger-quotes gesture, “family.” He reached the door and opened it. Night had claimed the land.
“Soon all your precious zombie pals will be nothing but rotten hamburger. And when we’re done, we’ll check your home town for beer, a-hole.”
The door slammed shut.
“He must be lying. There’s nothing these handful of idiots could do against my main army.” He paused. “Still they’re going to try something. I’ll need to try to stop it any way I can. They’ll be sorry they didn’t try to kill me when they got the chance. Not that they could. I’m a bloody God now. Even zombie bites don’t kill me. Soon I will rule the whole desert. They could have bowed to me and asked for mercy. I would have given it to them. I would have.”
An evil grin spread across his blood splattered face.
“But it’s too late now.”