Spencer’s head jerked back and forth, like a manic on meth. “What the hell? What the hell? This can’t be happening!”
Their group had shrunk from fifty-six to seven in a matter of days. Who knows who’s alive or dead at this point? One thing for sure, Flitch isn’t.
The dwindling team drove in Brown’s Suburban and Mel’s pick up. The two women, Kimberly and Ann, rode behind them. Rollie crunched in the hatch back with the rear window down. If Mel hadn’t been the other driver, he might have refused to leave. The death of his best friend had left him ready to run through two hundred zombies if the chance to kill Haeds was on the other side.
“Is anyone going to address what we’re going to do next?” Kimberly asked, after no one had spoken for a full minute. Under their wheels, the rough desert road dipped into a rocky dry river bed.
“We just need to get away from there, for now,” Brown said. “If we stayed any longer Mel would have gotten himself killed.”
“We can’t just head into Tucson,” Rollie yelled from the back.
“Mitch and the other group did,” Kimberly said. “Couldn’t we go the same place they did or at least try to find them?”
Spencer’s voice had an undercurrent of panic. “But my sister and Devon. If we head off to some random place, they will never find us. They probably need our help.”
The normally silent Ann spoke up. “I hate to tell you this, but your friends are dead. Haeds has a thousand zombies in San Miguel. If just the two of them went there they would have no chance.”
“You don’t know Devon!” Rollie said, his voice rising. “You don’t know what he’s done. He took on a fortified gang and the US military at the same time and won!”
Brown sounded more in control. “Sometimes two well-armed people can do what ten couldn’t”
“No one has answered my question,” Kimberly said. “What are we-”
Ann screamed, “Look out!”
Spencer’s head jerked back toward the road. He had expected a horde of Walkers, maybe a van full of Bangers, anything but what covered the road before them.
Dust rose in huge plum as Brown slammed on the breaks. The bumper came within two feet of the lead cow and she trotted off with a loud bellow.
“Looks like we won’t be going anywhere for a while,” Brown said.
“At least we can have steak.” Spencer managed a half grin.
Brown took a deep breath. “Spike’s right. I could use some sirloin. I say we break it here. We’re still not too far for Devon to find us. The zombie will come for us, but when can just waste a few dozen and drive on a quarter mile and repeat the process.”
“I’m sure Mel will like the idea the wasting Haeds’ army.” Then Rollie added, “And then him.”
“Alright people,” Spencer yelled. “It looks like its guerrilla theater time. Haeds thinks he’s won. Let’s prove to him how wrong that nut-job a-hole is!”
Hades grunted when his body hit the earth on the opposite side of the road block. Having zombies ignoring your presence turned out to not always be a good thing, for dozens of lumbering feet kicked and stepped on him has he struggled to rise. He groaned, his strength almost giving out.
He tried to push himself onto his hands and knees, but with two fingers missing from his left hand, he was forced to bite his lip to keep crying out from the pain. Yet, this had become the lesser of two evils for his queen, his one and only queen, had shot him through the right shoulder. Luckily, the bullet seemed to have passed through, but between the pain and the loose of blood it was all he could do to remain conscious.
And getting constantly smacked by his army wasn’t helping.
At least my brothers are providing me cover, he thought to himself as he attempted to crawl further from the barricade. After minutes of struggling, the zombies started to grow thin, but this also distressed him, for it reminded Haeds of how many of his ‘family’ had already perished from either the bullets of the trespassers or their damn bridge trap.
When he finally made it to his feet, little stood between him and their compound. He stumbled toward it looking little different from the stray zombies he passed.
“I’ll show them. I’ll show all these fuckers,” he growled. “The fools left enough here for me to begin my vengeance, but where should I start?
Looking back the way he had come, he saw his ‘family’ pouring over the barricade that he had thankfully been able to damage. Still, it distressed him to see many of the zombies plunging to their final deaths below the bridge. Between the bullets and the bridge he would not be surprised if more than half of his original four hundred troops had been put down.
The sounds of escaping car engines rose over the constant moans, he laughed when he saw that his enemies had been forced to retreat. “Ha, they might be safe from my zombies for now, but I’m also finally free of those assholes.”
He paused near the remnants of their motor pool.
What should I be doing? Then it hit him. Being the idiots there were, the trespassers had made no attempt to conceal from him that some of their party had entered Haeds’ kingdom. “How dare they try to take what’s mine. These trespassers will be dealt with first. Then I’ll gather the rest of my troops and with a big truck or two, I’ll hurt the rest of these losers down. They will pay for what they have done. Turning my queen against me, stealing from me, killing my family…”
A rage burned through him and his hands became white knuckled fists. Turning his head toward the clouds he screamed loud enough to send the vultures flying off. “THEY WILL PAY!”
* * *
Mar hugged her naked and bruised knees to her chest.
It had happened again.
She had promised herself it would never happen again. She had told herself that she would kill herself before she would let it happen again, but she hadn’t. Looking around the bare grey room that had become her prison, she figured taking her life wouldn’t be possible, unless she banged her head against the wall, but she didn’t have the fortitude to do that to herself.
Besides, I’d probably pass out before I could finish the job and then I would just have a horrible headache when they came for me again.
She cursed the men that suggested that they head here. She cursed Alexander for listening to them. She cursed him again for claiming that he would protect her, when obviously he couldn’t. Lastly, she cursed herself for not following through and killing herself before she let another man touch her against her will.
Another torrent of tears washed down her dirty face. They fell to the grimy floor in cloudy drops.
“Oh God, what will become of us. These religious fruitcakes are scarier than the Rips. At least all they wanted was sex and drugs.” She thought about the others in their small group. What would become of them? Were the men being tortured or just killed?
What about Alexander? Would they free him because of his medical degrees? Will they give him special treatment? There certainly wasn’t any evidence of that happening so far.
She started to cry again, but then the tears caught in throat. She heard something. There it was again. Footsteps down the hall.
Please. Don’t be coming for me. Please. Please. Please.
Then she heard the key moving in the lock.
They were coming for her.
The zombies within the library already converged on the pair. Arms and fingers clawed at them like horrors erupting from a grave. Since all their guns had emptied, there was little Devon and Emily could do other than bash through the undead’s ranks swinging wildly as they went. Devon’s machete led the way, while Emily struggled to keep their snapping jaws away by using her rifle as a club.
Dells, Becca, and Fosters, had cleared a space and held their own under the area where the ramp to the upper level had broken away. “Looks like Haeds must have dynamited the ramp,” Devon panted, as he broke through the last few zombies into the relative safety of where their new allies stood.
Behind them, the walking dead from all over the high school poured into the library. “Crap we gotta move!”
“No kidding,” Dells yelled, as he tipped the large library tables onto their side.
“Okay, Emily, you’re first.”
“Why her?” Dells demanded.
“She’s the best shot. Fosters help me. You two try to keep them off our backs.” Fosters hesitated. “Come on,” Devon shouted. “We only have seconds!”
Fosters rushed over and together the two men lifted Emily toward the jagged edge of the upper level. Her fingers grabbed at a chuck of cement, but it came off in her hand sending dust into Devon’s upturned face. He cursed, but couldn’t spare a hand to wipe the grit free. Behind him, the moans of the zombies grew louder.
“Come on,” Devon said under his breath. Her hands grabbed at the edge of the broken walkway and she was able to stand up—first on their cupped hands and then she scrambled up onto their shoulders. “Get your hands under her feet,” Devon ordered. “Okay, one, two, THREE!”
A zombie had a fistful of his jacket and pulled Devon backward. “Emily grab on!” He managed to get out as a tugging forced him to let go. He watched Fosters struggling, but then he felt his neck being pulled toward a snapping mouth.
He went with the pull, but spun and brought his elbow into the corpse as hard as he could. The zombie lost its grip on his jacket, but there were three more shambling teenager corpses behind the first one and he was yards from here he had placed his machete.
Going low, he kicked the one he had just fought in the solar plexus. It fell over taking another one with it. A thick wooden chair quickly filled his hands. One took a chair leg to the temple. Devon gave him a second smash, harder this time and no one was more surprised than him when the blow caved in the Zombie’s skull. Lucky for me, these Walkers are getting old. The last zombie had the chair heaved at his legs, which sent him stumbling over a pile of spilled books.
But dozens more gathered in the library and would be at them in moments.
Something hit him on the top of the head. Turning back, he saw a rope ladder. “Devon, get up here! I found the gun stash, but I have to reload.”
Dells and Becca were already engaging the second wave of undead. A hundred had to be within the library. Devon hacked down the one he had elbowed in the throat and shouted. “Fosters, go. Grab a gun and get busy.” The teacher scrambled up the ladder in frantic haste.
Devon hacked the one on the book pile before it could regain its feet and then a second was put out of its misery. He had a small reprieve, but it wouldn’t last long. He toppled over two book cases and started to heave chairs into the approaching horde.
“What are you two waiting for? Start up the damn ladder.”
Dells retreated until he and Devon fought back to back. Becca threw them a look and started up the ladder. She was behind them. She should have been safe, but a girl dressed in a black stained cheerleader outfit led a group that had circled around the book stacks and came at them from behind.
A horrid scream stunned the two men, but it was already too late. The pain of the bite had caused Becca ‘s grip to weaken and the three zombies pulled her off the rope ladder. In what could be considered a merciful turn of fate, her head connected with a bookcase and she was unconscious, if not dead, before she hit the floor.
“Becca!” Dells screamed.
Devon grabbed his arm as the ghouls began to feast. Behind them grey matter exploded as Emily and Fosters opened up on the masses below. Since they were firing from above, it only made making the head shot easier. “She’s gone. We owe it to humanity to survive. You’re a sheriff. Keep the rest of us alive!”
With an angry nod, he threw his bat into the face of the closest zombie and then started up the ladder. Devon guarded his back, but between their walls, the well placed shots from above, and the gruesome feast at his feet, Devon made it up the ladder before the horde could grab him. He gave one last look at Becca’s body painting the floor in ugly red strips, tucked his machete through his belt, and climbed over the lip onto the second floor.