Whipping around, Max drove the hilt of his sword straight into the zombie’s forehead. It didn’t kill it, but it drove it back a few steps and slowed down the other two moving in behind it. After stepping back a pace, Max drew back his sword and stabbed it through the first one’s jaw. It dropped quickly.
A hack through the neck brought down the next one. The last one received the point of his sword through its eye. But killing these zombies stayed the least of his problems.
Behind him he heard the girl scream again.
After concealing himself around a corner, Max stopped to catch his breath. The woman’s screams had one positive effect, they kept the zombies focused on her, but how the hell was he going to be able to help her in a world without working vehicles.
He watched as she struggled to keep the zombies at bay from the top of the overturned ambulance. How did she end up in this fix? Hell, how has she stayed alive all this time?
His eyes scanned the stores and apartments that lined the streets. No businesses offered any help. Then he saw a maintenance shed behind one of the closer apartments. He rushed that way. Again the girl’s screams aided him for he was able to dash through the few zombies that weren’t focused on her. However, his actions drew their attentions and they began to lumber his way.
For some reason the padlock dangled on a chain, leaving the shed door open, which suited him fine until it almost cost him his life. A lone bald head zombie burst out of the shed and grabbed a hold of his shirt. It smelled like a corpse filled with shit and he saw that the man wasn’t bald. Instead he’d been scalped to the bone of his skull.
Max tried to backpedal, but the moans behind him grew closer. The thing went in for a bite, but Max held out his sword, two handed, with the blade aimed at the undead’s jaw. Teeth snapped on his steel, but soon the zombie gagged. Max pushed the zombie into the shed until its back hit the wall. One hard shove later and his sword decapitated the freak from the tongue up.
He had no time to catch his breath a good ten zombies still headed his way. Soon there would be no escape. Then he saw it. An extending steel ladder. He sheathed his sword and then quickly snatched it up.
He couldn’t avoid giving a battle cry as he rushed from the barn and barreled the front of the ladder into the first zombies face. It went down with a broken neck. It proved an awkward weapon, but zombies were awkward fighters and he bashed two more over and rammed a fourth. This was enough for him to break through the accumulating pack and he ran with his new prize toward a building he has scooped out earlier.
* * *
“Hey,” he yelled toward the woman, who was luckily still holding her own. “I’ve got a ladder here. I’m going to drop one end onto the ambulance and when I do, crawl over it to this building.”
She stared at him, not answering and for a moment froze and he saw the zombies gain a foothold on the side of the vehicle.
He dropped the ladder. Some forgotten God must have granted him luck that day for it landed on the side of the ambulance.
But still she didn’t move.
“Come on, please. If they grab a hold of the ladder, I won’t be able to retrieve the ladder and we’ll need it to get out of here.”
She used what might have been a climber’s pick as a weapon. Chestnut hair just touched her shoulders and her petite face gazed at him wide-eyed like Max was the first human she’d ever seen. But when a zombie climbed onto the ambulance behind her, she jumped onto the ladder and jogged across.
It surprised Max how quickly she crossed and with a twist of the ladder he freed it for the hands of a few zombies that clutched at it. Looking over his shoulder, he saw her narrow frame trembling and he wondered when the last time she’d had something to eat. “Please help me pull the ladder back.”
She paused for so long, he didn’t think she would, but then her hands grabbed the far end of the ladder and with her help, he was able to pull it onto the roof of the business they stood on.
Feeling unsure for the first time, he stretched his hand forward and tried to smile, while below him the zombies worked themselves into a frenzy. “Ah, hi, I’m Max.”
She didn’t take his hand. “Jennifer.” After another long pause, she added, “What are you going to do?”
“You mean to escape?” He pointed. “See that building over there?”
“I was going to drop the ladder over to it. I was thinking that if I make a shit-load of noise up front here, you could sneak over there and then I’ll rush over there too. By the time the zombies realize where we are, we could already have jumped into the alley behind the store.” He tried to smile again. “I have a safe place and a little food. We should be able to get there okay.”
His eyes followed her trim body. It stayed hard to guess her age, but he figured she might be a couple of years younger than Max’s twenty-one years of age.
“I go over first?”
“That would be best I think.”
A minute later he had the ladder ready and dropped it to the next building. He watched her scamper across. Once he was sure she had made it, he moved over to begin to bang on the front of the store, but before he reached there, Max heard a loud rattling behind him.
Jerking his head back, he saw that the girl had dumped the ladder off the roof and already sprinted for the drop off into the alley.
“Son of a bitch!”
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