After grabbed a chair and setting it in the far corner of the bedroom, Max went to work on the ceiling with his sword. Once again, plaster and insulation rained down on him, but these barely registered over the moaning of the undead and the cracking of the splintering door.
The men that held him, proved their ignorance by opening fire on the door. These men are more than just evil, Max thought to himself as he continued to chop away at the ceiling that separated him from the attic. These dumbasses are doing more damage to the door then firing blindly into that mob.
“I’m almost through,” he yelled, even if it wasn’t completely true. “Bring the girl over here.”
Since Denny was the only one of the men without a firearm, he dragged the barely covered girl over to where Max worked. Even though he had just complied with Max’s request, he yelled, “You’re in no position to boss me around, boy.”
“Oh yeah,” Max called back and he tore insulation away by the handfuls. “Well, here’s another order for you, grab a damn weapon, you nutjob.”
Denny did what he was asked, without complaint, this time. Max had hoped that this might have given him a chance to rescue the girl before he got back, but the hole was still too small. He had hit a beam and was forced to keep digging around it.
He did have time to ask, “What’s your name?”
“I’m Jill. Thanks for saving me.”
“I haven’t saved you yet,” he grumbled, as a huge piece of dry wall toppled to the floor. Max had wanted to say more, but Denny had already returned with a broken floor lamp.
“Hurry up you piece of shit. You’re going to cost us all our lives!”
“Like this is my fault?” Max started to say, but then Randy let out a scared cry.
The rifleman yelled, “I hope that thing’s open. They’re breaking through!”
Not waiting to see if the hole was big enough, Max leapt up and grabbed the exposed beam. Denny clawed at him, while a string of curses escaped his lips, but Max proved faster and shimmed up through the hole.
Once in the dark attic, he called down. “Give me the girl.”
“Screw that,” Denny yelled. “I’m next. Hold them off boys.”
If he wanted any hope of saving Jill, Max didn’t have much choice but to help the big man through the opening. Denny huge bulk opened the hole wider, but he reached the attic just as Randy began to scream horribly.
“Holy hell,” the man with the rifle yelled and Max could see that the zombies swarmed below.
“Jill, come on!” he called down to her.
She climbed the chair and leapt up toward him. He grabbed her arms, but below other hands grasped her as well. Her eyes met his for a moment—wide and panicked. Then she was pulled away. Her screams quickly replaced Randy’s, whose could no longer be heard.
Max fell back onto the floorboards, stunned. “I failed you. I’m sorry.”
A pair of hands appeared on the beam, and Max thought the worst for a moment, until he realized they belonged to the rifleman. “Help me.” The man repeated like a mantra until his words were replaced with more screams and horde dragged him back into their snapping mouths.
Worried that the chair might help the undead gain their position, Max hazarded a look below. The chair had luckily been knocked on its side and all he would see was a sea of cold hands reaching up toward him. He shivered and retreated back into the darkness.
“So what now genius?” Denny asked.
Max’s words fell like hard steel. “We cut our way to the roof.”
Something woke him. A moment later, he absorbed that a constant shouting had roused him. A second after that, his dilemma came flooding back to him. Feigning he remained unconscious, Max attempted to take in whatever situation confronted him.
The three marauders fired orders and insults back and forth. The girl’s whimpering could barely be heard over the moaning and the racket of meaty fists banging on the master bedroom’s door.
Max’s eye squinted open and he saw that they had at least barricaded the door with both a wide dresser and the bed. But it wouldn’t be enough. Checking his body, he discovered that his hands had been bound behind his back.
“I say we throw this punk to the damn zombies,” Denny yelled. “They will focus on him and we can make our escape.”
“What go through there?” the man with the pistol said. “Are you nuts? I’d take my chance out the window, before that.”
“We’re on the second floor,” The rifleman said. “What good would getting a broken ankle do?”
“I can tell you how I escaped from the last house I was in,” Max called out, “If you promise to let me go.”
Denny charged over and grabbed him by the hair. “You hit me in the nuts, boy! I’m going to feed you to the dead freaks and that’s the only help from you that I will need.”
“What good is that going to do?”
Spittle flew into Max’s face while Denny raged. “It will make me feel a lot better.”
A loud cracking gave everyone pause. The pistol man broke the silence. The man had an unkempt tangle of brown hair and looked like he had quit shaving a week before the apocalypse began. “Den, we need to do something now! I don’t want to feel them biting me.”
“Relax Randy, that’s not going to happen. We just need to hold out a day or two and the army will sweep away this mess.”
“Well,” Max spoke quickly. “If that’s how you feel than my plan is perfect. We will be perfectly safe and easy to spot.”
The rifleman spoke. He wore a cowboy hat that had seen better days and concealed the upper part of his face. “You talking about the roof. How the hell could we get up there?”
They allowed him to sit up and it was hard not to grin when he saw that one of them had grabbed his sword. “Let me use my sword and I’ll have us somewhere safe in a few minutes.” He chanced a glance at the girl. She had only a blanket over her naked body. She eyed him through tortured red rimmed eyes.
“Bullshit!” Denny yelled. “Like we would give you your weapon back.” His palm slapped the top of his head, which caused Max’s broken nose to throb in agony. “And don’t you look at her.”
“We better do something,” The rifleman said. As one, the group saw the first gap appear in the upper part of the door. “You know I don’t have much ammo. We don’t have enough for what’s here and if I start shooting they’ll come from every direction.”
Denny picked up the sword. For a moment Max thought he was going to cut his head off, but instead, he violently cut his bounds. After Max had stood, Denny said, “Here’s your stupid sword, you little prick. I hope you try to do something, because then we’ll shoot you in the guts and you’ll be the first to be eaten alive.”
Max grabbed the sword and said, “Just stay out of my way and try to keep them off my back until I’m done.” Behind him the door cracked loudly and the first hand pushed its way through the gap.
A big man with a rough beard hurried to put on a pair of jeans as he rushed toward Max. Max wanted to flee from the anger he saw there, but the barrel of the pistol jammed into the back of his skull prevented such an option.
Denny kicked first and asked questions second. Even with his foot bare, the blow to Max’s chin sent him tumbling back on the ass, but did distance his head from the gun.
“Who the hell are you, you little prick?”
“Just a guy trying not to be eaten alive.” Past Denny’s wide chest, he saw the slim face of a young girl peer out of the bedroom and mouth, ‘help me.’
He followed Max’s gaze and then shouted, “Get back in that room, bitch!” Turning back to Max, Denny continued to shout, “Why the hell did you pick this house?”
“Cuz it’s big and no zombies were around it, but since you’ve both been shouting, there are now.”
“Don’t give us any lip,” he said and moved to kick Max again. This time Max was ready. He rolled to his left so that big man was positioned between him and the gunman and then lanced out with his fist hitting Denny in the balls. When the man doubled over with a yell, Max pushed him back into the gunman and they both lost their footing and fell against the wall.
“I don’t know who you idiots are, but anyone that rapes a woman for any reason is automatically an asshole.”
They struggled to regain their footing, but Max fell upon them punching and kicking. His hands locked onto the pistol and tore it from the gunman’s hands. “Alright you a-holes. Your yelling has already gotten us into some serious trouble.”
As if in answer to his statement, he heard a snap as a long crack appeared in the plate glass window. He looked toward the noise and heard the girl cry out a warning. Turning back, he was just in time to see the butt of a rifle heading toward his face.
The impact hurt like his nose was torn off, but he only felt it for a moment, because everything went black.