Just because Henry stayed immune to the zombies’ attentions, didn’t mean they weren’t trying to tear Dells to pieces. Looking ahead, he saw Henry sprinting through the lumbering dead. “Yeah, don’t take a second to make sure I get through okay,” he said out loud, as he cut a line through the heads of four walking corpses that blocked his path.
He tried to follow the youth while he raced toward where his sister was being held by one of the people who had just murdered Dells’ deputy, but the zombies grew thicker. Before long he questioned the wisdom of his plan to follow Henry.
He rifle went empty and he grabbed a magazine, but as he tried to jam it home, two large undead charged him and he was forced to use the rifle lengthwise to keep them at bay. Before he could stop them, they grabbed the rifle and tore it out of his hands.
With a curse, he drew the shotgun off his back and laid into them. He cleared a space, but it wouldn’t be enough. This could be it, but he stayed determined to go down fighting. Hands grasped and clawed. Teeth snapped inches from his face. He figured he was about done and that was when the head of the zombie to his right erupted with the jet of black blood. A second later the one to his left dropped and then two more. Looking back he saw four men on a nearby roof top. Two of them were his missing deputies.
“About time you guys showed up,” he growled under his breath, but he had too much to do to slow down. With their help, he created an opening to charge after Henry.
He saw Becca’s brother had almost made it to the house her capture had pulled her into and that was when a single shot rang out. Henry’s head jerked back and he went down hard.
Dells didn’t even have time to curse before more shots headed his way.
* * *
Hurrying up a steep hill while helping a wounded man that weighed nearly three hundred pounds wasn’t the easiest thing Ned had ever done. It didn’t help that his brother complained every step of the way either.
Looking back, he saw they moved faster than the zombies, if only barely. Upon reaching the crest of the cactus studded hill, Ned turned and fired another burst at the zombies closest to them. He dropped a few, but emptied his magazine.
“This is only bringing us further away from Temple,” he said. “We need to get back to him and stick together. Maybe we should try to circle around.”
“Are you nuts?” Jonny panted. “I’m hurt real bad. I can barely catch my breath.”
Looking around, Ned spied a long saguaro skeleton rib. Picking up the five foot staff, he handed it to his younger brother. “Use this and keep going. I’m going to thin the herd a bit. There is a lot of gunfire going on down there. If we can just waste the ones on our back, we might get clean.”
Not bothering to wait for a reply, Ned jammed a new magazine home and got to work picking his shots. Almost at once he knew this idea wasn’t going to work well. Easily forty zombies had followed them up the hill and he barely had that much ammunition left. He thought about the bullets left in Jonny’s destroyed gun and cursed.
He was just backing up when he heard Jonny cry out and then start cursing. “Son of a Goddamn bitch!”
Rushing to his brother’s side, he saw him beating an already incapacitated zombie with the splintered end of his staff. The zombie looked fresh, like it had only passed over an hour ago, but Ned didn’t register these facts in his conscious mind, for he saw that his brother had been bit on the upper part of his left arm.
He struggled as various emotions tore at his mind. All the while the remaining zombies behind him drew closer.
Check each weekend for another episode in Dells fight to save his town from the Eternal Aftermath