Cutting and prying his way to the roof only let Max know how screwed he really was. There must be over fifty zombies in my yard and who knows who many more inside? Where’s everyone else? I can’t be the only one alive already. I’m safe from them, but what am I going to do, just starve up here?
He sat on the roof and set the sword down, so he could bury his face in his hands. He allowed himself two minutes to wallow in his self-pity while the moaning of the dead became a constant chorus from hell.
“Ergg, this sucks.” He wiped a grimy hand over his wet brow and groaned. After a final deep breath, he said, “Alright, time to buck up.”
He stood up and took in the surroundings. He knew his yard well and there was plenty of gear that could help him, but there wasn’t much he could get from either his house or the yard. Undead swarmed everywhere. Their jaws snapped at the air. Even though he knew the things were mindless, he could swear he saw hate in their eyes. It was as though they hated his existence and wanted to devour it leaving nothing behind.
For his own satisfaction more than anything else, he lay on his stomach, near the edge of the roof, so he could get a few cinder blocks from his make-shift shelves. Max could only grab two safely, but these he happily tossed down onto the center of two of the zombie’s heads. They each when down, but in the time it took him to do all that another dozen had appeared.
“How has the world turned to shit so quickly? Damn!”
He started pacing. The frenzied mob of walking corpses did nothing but grow. On one for his sweeps, he stopped near his western neighbor’s house. The house stood ten feet away. A long jump, but maybe not impossible. There would be enough room for him to get a good running start.
Another thing that appealed to him was the house’s four foot high brick wall. Sure the zombies could pull themselves over, but as long as he didn’t get a broken ankle, he should have enough time to make a break for the alley.
If I blow it, it’s all over, but I don’t feel like spending another minute up here. “A man has to try,” he whispered.
After tossing his sword across, he went to the far end of the roof. He clenched his fists, took a deep breath, and then he was off. His boots tore into the shingles. Below the undead screeched and groaned. Reaching the edge, he lunched himself into the air. No one was more surprised than he when his toe hit the neighbor’s roof and he didn’t even lose his footing on the other side.
But the zombies were already reacting and trying to stream into his neighbor’s yard. The low fence held them back, but it wouldn’t last for long. After tossing his sword off, Max quickly lowered himself to the ground. The first zombie toppled over the wall. It grunted when its face smashed into the dirt below.
Max snatched up his sword and hacked at the back of the thing’s neck. It took two meaty whacks, but the zombie stopped moving. But now another four were crashing onto his side. He fenced one through the eye, but then turned and ran. They stumbled after him as more poured over the wall.
With the help on his free hand, Max vaulted over the wall and took to the alley heading west. A tall zombie loomed up from behind a dumpster. Max swung the sword two handed, acting more like a batter than some medieval knight. A loud crack sounded and the thing went down hard. Max couldn’t be sure if it was dead or not, but just kept running.
He was almost free of the alley when something made him hold up. A cherry red mountain bike leaned against a garage and it wasn’t even locked. Despite the moaning that grew closer every second, Max took the time to climb over the chain link fence and grab the bike.
He let out a cheer as he tore off into the street. One hand held his sword against the handlebars while the other cranked up the gears as high as they could go. A minute later, the moaning had disappeared behind him.
Max tried not to cry out as a half a dozen hands grasped at him. “Damn it,” he cursed out loud. I was a fool to leave my house. What was I thinking? I still have some rice. Now I’m going to pay for it with my life!
It quickly became apparent that with all the limbs crawling at him, there would be no way he could get the door shut. With another stream of violent curses, he left the front door and dashed toward his bedroom. At once, the undead flung the door open and plunged into the house after him.
Max reached his bed room and slammed the door shut. It took a second to lock it and another thirty to toss his dresser and other heavy objects in his side of the door. Before he could even draw a full breath into his tortured lungs, his body jerked at the sound of bloated hands slapping the window. More hands jointed the first, even as the other zombies banged on the outside of the bedroom door.
He searched for a weapon and almost laughed when he spied the old Spanish replica sword he had bought for himself in high school. He snatched it up. “Old school is better than no school.” His mild joy was short lived as the hollow bedroom door began to splinter. Behind him the first crack appeared in the wide pane of glass, which was the only thing separating Max from the gathering horde outside.
He tried not to watch their staggering bodies as they painted grime and viscera across his window. “I don’t have long.”
Looking around the room, he struggled to find anything that could help save him. He tossed the mattress and box spring over the window, but that would only buy him a few seconds. The closet would be about the same. It could be worse than here. I wouldn’t be able to swing my sword in there.
Then it hit him.
Without another wasted second, he hurried into the closet. Soon his sword was stabbing through the dry wall above him. Once he had some holes started, Max tried to use the sword like a pry bar and pull larger chucks away. It worked well, but the going was slow and he could already hear glass shattering.
They came for him.
A foot went up on the doorknob and he lifted himself toward the hole he had created. Hands hurried to finish the job and sent powder and other debris raining down on him. Some got in his eyes, but he didn’t have the time to wipe them clean. He took a second to toss the sword up into the attic and then braced himself.
With a grunt and a gasp, he grabbed at a rafter and pulled himself up. His head broke through, but his left shoulder caught. Beneath him the closet door flung open. Again hands grasped at him.
He screamed and put every ounce of strength he possessed into a final pull. Drywall was torn and fell apart, but somehow his upper body pushed through. Hands grabbed at his shoes and through the swirling dust, he saw two heads moving in for a bite. He screamed again and lunched himself into the dark attic.
He almost couldn’t believe he had made it and inspected himself for bites. He seemed clean. After catching his breath, he looked down through the hole. Below him the zombies crashed against each other like a pool of frenzied sharks.
So great, Max thought to himself. I might be safe for now, but I’m twenty times worse off than before. I’m still half-starved, but now the whole neighborhood knows I’m here and I trapped in this damn attic.
He allowed himself a few minutes of self-pity, but then, with a sigh, started to chip away at the roof of his house with the point of his sword.