As the undead came at them from both east and south, Emily felt a sick fear bubbling up inside of her. The unliving crashed through the cactus and wait-a-minute brush with fierce disregard for their own bodies. Their moans grew in volume almost as if they had some group think or were members of some malign hive.
Looking down at the still body of Jewels, she said, “Come on, we don’t even have enough bullets to fight all of these freaks off. We gotta grab Jewels and go.”
“But how, Em,” Spencer protested. “You’re thirteen and I’m ten. How are we going to be able to transport a grown woman uphill through the desert?”
“Well we gotta try, don’t we? We can’t just leave her here.”
Spencer didn’t have a comeback for that and went to grab Jewels’ ankles while Emily lifted her up from under her shoulders. They had only moved her thirty feet before Spencer tripped on a rock and all three of them went down.
Emily hoped the impact might somehow jar her Jewels back to consciousness. With Emily’s father fighting the madman that got them all into this mess, she would really have liked having an adult around, even if to only give them advice.
“We have to keep moving,” she said, as the zombies gained ground on them.
“Okay, okay,” Spencer voice had begun to sound frantic as he struggled to lift Jewels up again.
The zombies broke through the brush and grew closer. The siblings could not move as fast as some of them with their burden.
“Em, they’re right behind us.”
“Keep going. If they get too close, we’ll have to stop and waste them. Remember, dad could be showing up to help us at any moment.”
“But where is he? He promised to never leave us and I haven’t even heard any shooting down there for a long time.”
“Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe dad got that shooter.” She said, but then they saved their breath for hiking.
After another three minutes, it became apparent that some of the zombies had broken away from the pack and were getting too close. They had also reached an incline of lava rock that would be putting their strength to new tests.
“Okay, Spence, put her down and get your pistol ready. Let’s see if I can get my broken mag to work.” She had more bullets and two empty magazines, but doubted she’d have time to load them. Her third magazine hadn’t worked before, but she tried it again. It still wasn’t working.
“Damn it, what’s wrong with this thing?” she cursed as a good six zombies limbered closer. Spencer started shooting, but in his agitated state, he’d only dropped one before he finished the rest of his pistol’s magazine.
“Spencer, remember what dad said. One well aimed bullet is better than a quickly spent clip. Take your time. Put those bastards down right.” Having said her piece, she looked over the magazine. She could have punched herself, when she found a small pebble had somehow become attached to the top of it. She pulled it out and jammed the magazine home with a satisfying click.
“Alright, let’s do this!” she said and she put down the rest of the zombies that had drawn near. Others could be seen and she slowed her breathing, took her time, aimed at each one in turn. “One bullet, one kill,” she said under her breath mimicking what her dad had drilled into her.
More came as soon as she shot the next line down. She stayed where she was. With her dad in trouble and everything else, she figured she should thin their ranks while she had the advantage and could do it safely. With their back cleared, it would give the siblings a chance to make it up the incline behind her.
She had cleared out every zombie within her sights, but then three more rose over the hill below them. She took aim, but the rifle clicked empty. “Oh well, let’s get Jewels up this rocky part and then we’ll reload our clips, okay Sp-”
Her words were interrupted by Spencer crying out as Jewels grabbed him by the back of his hair. Emily looked on in horror as the reanimated body of Jewels moved in to take a bite out of her brother’s face. And the first thought that entered her mind was that neither of their guns were loaded.
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