So far, Devon’s idea to lead the zombies deeper into the cafeteria had not proved fatal. He and the sheriff held the door at the front of the food serving area. They fought back against the quickly massing group of undead, while Fosters and the girls scouted the exit back into the main room.
“It’s working,” Emily hissed at him. “They’re all coming toward you. The left side of the caf, is mostly clear.”
“How about that hallway we need to get to?” He yelled back as his machete cut through half a co-eds neck.
“They’re still coming out, but I think we’d have a chance.”
“Good,” Dells shouted, “Because I don’t think we can hold out here much longer.
“Emily, start across the caf,” Devon ordered. “Get ready Dells. On three, one, two, three!”
And then they ran. Foster and the women had a got head start, but the half dozen zombies in their path quickly slowed them down. The undead on the right side of the cafeteria let out a loud moan and as one mass moved at them. If his group didn’t move fast, they would be cut off by over fifty of the walking dead.
“Don’t fight them, just go.” Devon yelled.
He saw Foster use his bat like a pole and push a Walker into another one that had moved to block their path. Emily would pause to put a bullet through a head, but mostly just ran. Strangely it was Becca that now led the way and she seemed to take great pleasure in swinging her bat into as many faces as she could as they passed through the unturned chairs and gory tables.
Devon and Dells had now caught up to Emily and they rushed through the door that led into the hallway past the cafeteria. Right behind them came dozens of wax faced teens who stretched their arms forward while their mouths snapped open and shut in anxious anticipation of sinking their teeth into warm prey.
There weren’t as many Walkers in this hallway, but it was narrower and harder to just dodge by them. “This way,” Beeca screamed and took off running until she reached a girl in a dress covered with thick black stains. She paused only long enough to smash it in the head and kept going. A zombie wearing a football jersey grabbed her by the hair, from behind , and moved in for a bite until a bullet from Emily’s rifle caused its head to explode in a spray of rotten matter.
“Becca! Slow down,” Dells called as he tried to catch up with her.
The horde was exiting the cafeteria behind them and Devon stopped long enough to block their path with a long folding table and then hurried after the others. He tried to stick close to Emily and guard her back as she picked her targets.
She stopped again to try to make a shot, but the undead were right behind them, so Devon grabbed her arm and rushed her forward. “Come on! I can see the library, let’s go. I just hope that really is where that bastard keeps his weapons or we’re screwed!”
* * *
The courtyard of the makeshift complex went silent as the small convey entered. Mar’s feelings of dread increased as she took in the surroundings. What had once been a large series of apartment complexes had been surrounded by the high walls she had seen from outside. In some places, the apartments themselves made up part of the walls or were used the anchor them. The large parking lot was centered in an area where the walls had been constructed further away from the complexes and new structures had been added. Some looked utilitarian, while others appeared odd and their possible purposes she could only guess at. The most obvious of these new structures and clearly the one that dominated the others was a giant church.
This church had to be five stories tall in some places, but where most churches she had seen were stream-lined and had a logical plan, this one appeared strange and chaotic. Long turrets loomed over walls made from miss matched scraps. It had more doors and windows than any ten normal churches, but what really had her nails digging into the palms of her hands was the symbol painted in red on the front of the structure.
Mar was no expert on such things, but she knew a pentagon when she saw it. It had two of its five point angled toward the sky.
In a way that reminded her of the zombies just beyond the walls, the crowd of people moved in and slowly surrounded their vehicles.
“We’re so screwed,” she whispered.
A feeling a dread built within her soul, as the small convoy approached what Rik and Trent claimed was a safe house. The place looked more like a medieval fortress to her. Huge walls had been constructed from what might have been demolished homes and the like. These haphazard walls stretched twenty feet into the air and were surrounded by several hundred Walkers. Fires burned every hundred feet or so and as the sun dimmed down behind Gate’s Pass, she could see figures moving before this scattered flames.
“Sure doesn’t look like the place is deserted to me,” Mar said, as a chill caused her to shiver uncontrollably.
“That could be a good thing,” Jonathan said. “Looks like a secure spot to me. Don’t worry, people always welcome a doctor.”
“I have a bad feeling.” She grasped his arm. “Please just turn around before it’s too late. If the others want to throw their lives away, that’s their business, but we still have time to escape!”
“Marry, relax, will you. Not everyone is evil. And escape where, I might add,” he said while turning his older face toward her. “We’re going to see this through. Look they’re helping us. Those horns of theirs are herding the zombies to the other side of their fort. We should be able to enter easily.”
“That’s what I’m afraid off.”
* * *
They were finally prepared and as Spencer looked out over the simmering desert, he discovered that it was just soon enough. His eyes squinted against the glare, despite his shades, as he tried to take in the lumbering mass of undead that plotted toward them.
They came by the score, maybe four hundred in all. Their clothes hung in rags that were black with filth. They looked thin to the point where he wondered how they could still be moving. Although some here and there looked well feed and figured that was Hades doing. He wouldn’t put much past that freak.
His eyes shifted back to the quickly constructed trap before him. Two miles past the ranch, a narrow cement bridge spanned a deep canyon. It was just wide enough for Spencer and Brown to have parked two pickup trucks facing each other in the center of the bridge. Over these vehicles that had secured four by eight plywood boards and covered them with motor oil and any other types of grease they could dig up.
When these fly-bags come for us, they will try to climb over these puppies and get a big surprise, he smiled to himself.
All of those people that had remained behind were there with him, including Haeds and Spencer seriously hoped that he would be taken down a notch by being forced to watch his precious ‘family of zombies’ tumble down into the ravine below.
He knew this could still be a difficult battle, ten people versus four hundred Walkers, but it was his sister and Devon that his thoughts kept clinging to, even as the undead army neared.
* * *
They had only made it halfway across the large cafeteria when Devon last pistol ran out of bullets.
“Why the hell are there so many Walkers in here?” Emily yelled, as she fired her rifle close enough to a zombie to be sprayed by its gore, after its head exploded.
“I think he stored his reserves here,” Becca shouted, as her bat cracked into the head of a zombie that couldn’t have been older than fourteen when it died. Despite their efforts, there had to be over thirty undead still lingering within the cafeteria and more poured in from the hallway every few seconds. “My evil shithead brother was always hung up on high school, because he was such a loser here. Even though he’s twenty-four, he never moved past it.”
“Great,” Devon mumbled as he drew his machete. Three girls, who might have been preppy before the years of decay set in, lunged toward him. He fenced forward, stabbing one through its rotten face. Another got to close and a well placed kick sent her tumbling into the third and they both went down. He was able to finish them off before they regained their feet, but others were coming at them from every side.
Officer Dells picked up and table and heaved it into a large group that blocked their path. “Retreat!” Devon yelled. “Fall back. Draw them away from that hallway and we might be able to circle around and make it through.”
“Unless more keep pouring out of there,” the sheriff shouted.
“I guess we better hope they don’t,” he growled, as be led the others toward the kitchen.
* * *
The punker tiffed. “Yeah cuz zombies are so fucking smart.”
“You’ll see, you little prick,” he replied, while straining against the cuffs.
“I should burn your eyes out with my smoke, you butthole. You’re nothing but a wanna be super villain and about the worst one I’ve ever seen. Even the Toad would kick your ass.”
“Oh yeah, I’ll remember that while my family is crewing on your bones.”
Both men fell silent as the horde approached the plywood covered trucks. How well these losers and some to be meat pie’s trap would work was about to be tested and Haeds gritted his teeth as the front of his army started across the bridge.
“You mean you’ve been kept up in that box for years? That seems impossible.”
“Oh, not always, he would take us out to torture us with his horrible ideas and plans,” Becca said.
“I’m not even sure I want to know,” Devon said, while searching the gym for alternative exits. Behind him the sounds of the undead banging against the doors grew.
“And I know I don’t.” Emily said.
Sheriff Dells stepped toward the teen. “Young lady. Now that we’re freed and getting all social, why don’t you hand that gun over to me. I’ll-”
She quickly raised her rifle to point to the center of his forehead. “You’ll get a bullet from me before you’ll get this gun.”
“I got her back on this,” Devon said. “I seriously doubt you’re as good a shot as her anyway, but wasn’t that what we were talking about—getting out of here and finding his weapons.”
Becca hands went to her thin hips. “I was getting to that. My evil ass brother used to try to take us out places like we were his court and he was our king, but mostly the undead made such things unreasonably difficult.”
“There were once many more of us.” Fosters added.
“But anyway,” Becca said, eying Fosters. “One of the things that used to happen at these events would be him presenting his Queen. He brought her here from time to time thinking that we could become friends, which might have been about the only plan he ever had that actually worked. Even if all she ever talked about was killing him.”
“But my point is…she talked about how she was kept in the library, up on the second floor. I think he destroyed the walkway that leads up there or something. So, like here, Anna would be trapped where he left her.”
“Why do I get the feeling we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg of how crazy your brother is?”
“You can say that about a ten thousand times,” the sheriff grumbled.
“Your tale brings up three important issues,” Devon said. “Firstly there are probably still a few zombies guarding this library. Second, why would I leave guns lying around where I’m keeping someone who wants to kill me? And lastly, how do we get to this place?”
Becca still spoke for their potential allies. “I can probably answer all of those. I’m sure they are a few lingering, but he took most of them after you, so who knows for sure. I used to go to school here five years ago, so I know where the flipping library is. There’s an interior way, but I can’t guarantee it isn’t crawling with geeks. And you forget how crazy my brother is. His ego was bad before all this, but now he thinks he’s emperor of the dead or some shit. He might leave guns twenty feet from a shackled girl and Anna was shackled.”
“Alright, let’s hope you’re right. All of you, let’s scrounge you up some weapons and give this a try. If there are any extra firearms it won’t hurt, but we really need bullets more than anything.”
Dells kicked through a storage locker and grabbed the former prisoners each a baseball bat. Once armed, they approached a set of strong oak doors. Becca said, “This leads to the cafeteria and then around to the library. Left—right—right, okay?”
Devon nodded. Dells took a deep breath and threw the door open. A fourteen year old female zombie walked by. Her wrinkled form was dressed in a faded mini skirt and a torn t-shirt that said ‘flirty.’
“Em, try to save our bullets for emergencies if you can.” The zombie was just turning when Devon split her skull with his machete. Two more were between them and the cafeteria while another started shuffling at them from behind.
“I got this one,” Dells yelled and rushed to the one following them. “I’ve waited a long time for this, you bastards!” One violent smash later and the Walker’s head went flying off its body and hit the window with a loud bloody smack.
“Oh damn, Devon,” Emily said. “These are all high school kids.”
“Who cares,” Becca yelled and then charged the closer zombie. Her bat hit it in the head and it when down, but she kept hitting it again and again, long past what would be needed to cause it to expire.
“Forgive my friends,” Fosters said. “We have been trapped for quite some time. In fact…” he suddenly let out a cry and attacked the third zombie with equal vigor.
“These guys are pretty messed up Dev.”
“Yeah, I know, but we got other problems.” The shouting had summoned more Walkers, which appeared around the turn into the cafeteria. Devon drew his desert eagle and only hoped they had enough bullets to see this through. He took aim and the lead zombies head exploded in a jet of rancid gore.