Mar fought with all her strength against the two foul, filthy men that attempted to rape her. Her shouts did nothing to raise her brother or her two former friends from their drugged slumber. The shouting did work up the zombies filling the yard outside of the mansion and their moans and their growling increased in frenzy.
Miles remained on top of her, his body sitting over her hips, while Miles held her hands outstretched over her head and pinned to the floor. She continued to fight, but nothing she did seemed to help. Both men stank and dots of white foam strayed out onto Link’s ratty beard as he looked down at her like a starving wolf. His eyes were mad with hate and lust, and she had never felt more afraid.
With a sick grin, Link tore her shirt in half exposing her chest. “Wow, black lace bra, even during the apocalypse. See,” he laughed, “this is my kind of woman.” He reached down to unhook her bra and when he discovered that its clasp one on her back, her drew a long life off his belt.
“I’d stop struggling if I were you. I’d hate to poke you,” he gave a sick laugh, “at least when I’m not trying to.”
The blade of the knife lowered between her breasts and Mar did stop struggling. He was just moving in to cut the cloth that connected the cups when he made a choking sound.
Mar looked up from the knife to the rapist’s face. At first she wasn’t sure what was happening, but then she saw just the smallest tip of a knife protruding from the center of his throat. This was quickly followed by a thin stream of blood.
Miles yelled something and Mar used the opportunity to pull her hands free. Her body twisted and this time Link went sprawling off her and revealed her brother on his knees behind the collapsing man.
Benny didn’t look good. Despite the intensity of the situation, his eyelids remained half closed and his body trembled. He was still obviously feeling the effects of the drug and Link’s falling body had pulled the knife he’d used out of his hands.
Ignoring Mar, Miles yelled, “you little shit!” and dove at her brother. He tackled Benny to the floor easily and in his current state, Benny could do little to fight back against the tall man.
Miles had already punched her brother in the face by the time Mar had struggled to her feet. Then his hands moved to find her brother’s throat and he started to choke him.
“Get off him, you ASSHOLE!” she screamed and then smashed an empty wine bottle down on the center of his head. It shattered in an explosion of glass
Miles stayed conscious and refused to let her brother go. She heard Benny making sick noises and her fingers fumbled for anything she could use as a weapon. Her hands came away with a huge glass bong and she swung it like a bat and the ceramic bottom connected with the base of Miles head.
He fell over, but she didn’t stop there. She smashed him again and again. She didn’t cease until long after he stopped moving.
She hurried to check on Benny. He lived, but had lost consciousness again.
Miles began to twitch and the last thing she figured she needed was a zombie animating on the secured second floor, so she hurried to drag the body out to the balcony that overlooked the first floor of the mansion.
The area below was filled wall to wall with undead. Her screaming had brought them into the house by the dozens. Their mangled bodies fought with one another as teeth gnashed in frustration.
Her slight form fought to lift Miles to the top of the three foot wall. If proved difficult but she got him up onto the wall. “I hope your still alive so you feel every second of this, you fucker.”
She was just about to push him over, when Link grabbed a fist full of her hair from behind and pulled her away from the wall. He cursed at her, but it came out as a blood soaked gurgle.
Spinning around, he saw that the dying man had retrieved his dagger and lifted it to deliver a killing blow.
Mar drew back her fist and punched him square in the nuts. He let out a gasp and doubled over. His hand released her hair as he did so. She ducked to the side and then with a pain filled yell she pushed him from behind.
Link stumbled forward and his legs hit the wall while his upper body hung over it suspended from the zombies who went berserk under him. “No wait. Please,” he managed to get out.
“Yeah right,” Mar yelled and with a kick sent him toppled over the wall into the hungry mouths below.
Miles body went over before Link had stopped screaming. Never had screams sounds so satisfying to her ears and she wondered about her own sanity for a moment, but then hurried to check on her brother.
Mar wanted to keep from falling into the waiting zombie mouths below only slightly less than she wanted some strange man to touch her, but she allowed him to help her through the open window into the second floor of the house. As soon as her feet had touched the floor, she jerked her arm away.
“Is it safe up here?” she demanded.
The man took off his gas mask. His face was dirty and bearded. “Up here on the second floor, yeah. We destroyed the staircase up here. No geeks can reach us.”
“Okay…wait is it just you?”
“No, my buddy Miles is here too. He’s keeping an eye on the horde moving down the street.” He man tried to smile, but it stayed buried under his bushy beard. “I’m Lincoln, but people call me Link.”
“By people, you mean one guy.” This statement seemed to confuse him and she figured she had a real winner on her hands, but waved Benny forward anyway. “Come on Ben. You guys too, if you have too.” She helped her brother inside, but left the new happy couple for Link to assist.
She was just moving away from the window when Miles entered the room. The man both looked and smelled like a zombie to the point that Mar thought Link had lied about them being able to make it to the second floor, but then the skinny nappy headed man opened his mouth and said simply, “Hi, um are you guys hungry or anything?”
“Yeah,” Mar said, “but give us a minute to catch our breath.”
Miles’ wide eyes looked her up and down in a way that made her feel violated, before he said, “Ah… if you’d like to come with me, we have a living room of sorts over here.”
Mar felt that the only place she’d want to go with this guy was a shower and only if she didn’t have to watch. Still she allowed herself to be led to the master bedroom, which had been converted to a hang out zone. They passed by a balcony that showed the first floor and was shocked to see a few zombies shuffling below.
“Why do you let them in here?”
Link spoke up. “It actually keeps the others away. They peer in, see their own and keep walking.”
“Doesn’t their constant moaning drive you nuts?” She looked Miles’ way as she spoke.
Link shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess you get used to it.”
Some awkward introductions were made, which was followed by an even more awkward attempt at small talk. The pair’s story wasn’t too thrilling. They had survived much as her group had by living off of rich people’s winter homes and had stayed safe by always living on the second level of places with destroyed staircases. They would remain at a home until the supplies ran out and then move on.
As they spoke, Mar had a hard time deciding which of these men were creepier. Miles’ gaunt form hovered where he stood a few yards away from everyone else sat. His bug eyes stared at them over sunken cheeks. She couldn’t help but think that the guy should just become a zombie and get it over with because he seemed more than halfway there.
Link stared at her chest every time he spoke to her, like her face was located between her breasts. She figured that this would be the closest thing to a bonding moment she and Cindy might have for a while, because she was getting the same treatment from these two new men.
Allen looked nervous, but the men didn’t even carry weapons on them and when they busted out with some homemade cactus brandy, he and Cindy were more than happy to take their edge off by helping themselves. Link offered Mar a glass, but she found it far too gross to take more than a token sip, despite Link constant urging for her to have more.
They tried to offer some to her brother, but she put a stop to that. So instead they gave him some cactus jelly, which he was more than happy to devour.
In didn’t take long for Link to discover that Allen and Cindy were an item and for him to find an excuse to sit next to her. She figured everyone stank these days, but this guy took it up a level and with a few hundred zombies moaning up a storm outside, she felt anything but romantic.
Before long, Benny had fallen asleep and she noticed that both Cindy and Allen had passed out of the sofas they slept on.
Miles came over with a bowl full of beats. “Would you like some?”
“Nope, I think I’m okay.” She looked from person to person as Allen began to snore.
Link moved himself a foot closer to her on the sofa. “Come on, you must be starving.”
She felt like she was, but still said, “I told you, we were just chased from our house today. Not like we were living on the road for months or something.”
He put his arm around her shoulders. “So it must get lonely for you seeing Cindy and Allen together.”
“Alright,” she said, while standing up. “I’m not really in the mood for post apocalyptic pick up lines right now.”
Link frowned. “Okay, just help me grab her.” Before his words soaked in, his arms had gone around her waist and he tackled her to the floor. Miles was there seconds later pinning her arms behind her head and onto the floor.
Link’s grimy face glared down at her. “It would’ve been a lot easier if you had just drank our little knockout punch like the others, but maybe this is a good thing because I might enjoy this more because of the fight in you.”
She panicked and struggled with all her strength, but couldn’t break free. When he moved in for a kiss she let loose her first scream.
Mar grabbed her little brother’s hand and looked on in horror as the zombies from the road poured into the opening to the wash.
“Come on, back this way!” Allen yelled and the four of them retreated back the way they came. It only took a hundred feet of jogging before they saw the first pack they had fled from stumbling at them from the south.
Mar didn’t bother to discuss tactics. She hauled her brother along to the west until she came to a six foot high adobe wall. Her breath came in short gasps, but she was able to say, “Benny, I’m going to climb up first and see if it is safe. Then I’ll haul you up.”
He only nodded.
Her upper strength had never been good, but she was able to get her little teenaged body up onto the top of the wall. She was just about to check the yard when a fist grabbed a handful of her long hair. The pain was quickly followed by a moan of hunger. She wanted to pull away, but didn’t want to lose a fistful of her hair.
Looking into the yard she saw far more zombies than it should have held. Easily twenty undead lumbered over to join the one that held her. “Shit, I sure can pick em.”
Drawing the pick out of her belt, she lined the point up to one of the big zombie’s eyes as it moved in for a bite. She wacked at him, but the angle proved awkward and it didn’t drive in enough to take the thing down. In a moment of panic she struggled to brace the back of the pick against the adobe wall. An embarrassingly girlie cry escape her lips as its yellowed teeth moved toward her shoulder, but at the last moment, the pick’s back caught on the wall and the strength of the zombie’s lunge drove the pick deeper into its skull. Its eyes lost all focus as it toppled over, but Mar cursed when it took her weapon with it.
She was about to leap off, when she saw that the others, including Benny, had all climbed up onto the wall. Looking back she saw why. The two groups of undead had converged on their position and they had little choice but to follow her no matter how dangerous it might be.
“Err, come on then,” she said while standing up on the foot wide wall. The zombies within the yard stumbled toward them, but the survivors followed Mar example and soon they were moving along the top of the wall. Some of the zombies broke away to try to cut them off and Mar hurried her speed pushing past the boundaries of safety.
Then she spied something odd before her. A wide plank was balanced on the wall and the other end went into a hole that had been made in the side of the house the wall surrounded. As she approached it looked like if someone balanced on the plank they could make it to the house and climb in through a window on the building’s second floor.
Dealing with other people made her more nervous than the zombies, but as the two packs began to surround the outer walls and the zombies inside the wall homed in on them, she felt she had little choice.
Maybe there isn’t even anyone there, she thought to herself as she led the way onto the plank and toward the house.
The window above the plank loomed open. She hadn’t noticed it before, but the sun was beginning to dip behind the Tucson Mountains to the west and the insides of the house had grown dark. She pushed on anyway.
As she reached the window, a masked figure moved in the darkness. Its sudden appearance startled her and she began to tumble off the plank into the waiting mouths below. But right before she fell, the man’s hand shot out and grabbed her arm.
“Come with me if you want to live.”
Despite her building horror, she rolled her eyes. “Somebody’s seen too many movies.”
When Mar saw her former best friend running through the mansion while the zombies behind her tumbled through a broken window, she didn’t hesitate. In one fluid motion, she jerked her arm free of Allen’s grip, grabbed her brother with her free hand, and dashed out onto the wide back porch.
The sunlight caused her eyes to squint, but despite the chaos, she took a second to toss her shades on. She almost could have grinned when Benny did the same thing, but she didn’t have the time.
At once, the undead lumbered toward her. Instead of fighting, she took off ducking and weaving through them. Some luck stayed with her for they remained dispersed and she was able to make it past their questing fingers. One grabbed Benny’s tie-shirt and was rewarded with a quick spike, from her pick, through its skull.
Of course Allen called after her, but if she wasn’t disinterested already, the moaning of a few hundred zombies crowding into the mansion from the street would have been enough to keep her running. From the sounds of it Allen and Cindy had moved to follow her. She didn’t care. She might be pissed at them and probably would prefer never to lay eyes on either of them again, but at this point she didn’t what them dead, there were too few of them left to want anyone to perish under the dirty claws of the mindless walking corpses.
The mansion in which they stayed was separated from its neighbor, but a dry, cactus studded wash. She blew off heading to a new house and just took the wash north. Dust flew up from under her feet as she raced between the towering saguaros and prickly pear. The zombies grew sparse as she passed house after house.
Once she didn’t see any zombies at all, she took a moment to catch her breath and look behind her.
She saw Allen and Cindy just entering the wash. Allen waved his arm and shouted, “Go, just go!”
Then she gasped when she saw a hundred filth covered forms dump into the wash behind her former friends.
“Shouldn’t we help them?” Benny asked.
Mar voice remained low as she answered. “What could we do? Carry them, fight off a hundred stiffs. It’s all leg work now, little bro.”
Again, despite all she was upset about, she didn’t truly want Allen and Cindy to die, but she wasn’t going to wait up for them either. Mar and her brother took off at a half jog north. The sky stayed cloudless and the hot desert sun already sapped her malnourished strength from her limbs. Her bug-out bag grew heavier with every additional hundred yards they traveled.
It was looking like they might make it. Allen and Cindy were also closing the distance between the two groups while the undead had fallen behind.
But Mar was raised a poor kid in south Tucson. She didn’t know the upper foothills very well. She barely caught herself before the wash spilled down into a gutter. The gutter didn’t concern her, what did was the wide Sunrise Road that loomed before them. Wrecked cars and skeletons lined both sides of the four laned road, but the walking dead also lingered here. She counted at least fifty moving in small packs heading in both directions.
They hadn’t seen them yet, but this changed when Cindy yelled, “Don’t just stand there, keep going!”
As one, the undead turned their way while releasing loud moans. Soon these moans were answered by more zombies and they all began to stumble their way.
“Great job, you dumb a-hole, now our passage north is blocked for half a mile in either direction and we’re sandwich between them and that group behind us.” Mar looked from face to face. No one offered up any ideas and she saw nothing but terror lurking within their eyes.
Check each weekend for another episode in Mar’s fight to survive the Eternal Aftermath
“We gotta run,” Allen said as he hurried into his shirt.
Speaking for the first time, Benny said, “But there are already zombies out there.”
“I could care less about that,” Cindy said. She had slipped into a very impractical dress that was about as opposite a ‘fleeing from zombie garb,’ as you could get. “What about all the things we’ve gathered here? I don’t want to leave it all behind.”
Allen spoke again. “We can get more or come back later when it’s safe.”
But Mar barely listened to him. “Screw these guys,” she hissed under her breath as she led Benny toward the back of the house. They hurried into the room they shared and she tossed Benny his ‘bug-out’ backpack, while she threw her own over her narrow shoulders.
Pausing while her brother grabbed up a few more things, Mar looked around the dim room. The place was a horrible mess with so much gear spread in every direction that a person would be hard pressed to guess what the color of the carpet might be. It stank too, like a hamper full of dirty clothes left in the sun. It looked like The City of Lost Children meets Peter Pan’s storeroom, but it had been home for them for longer than any other place since the Apocalypse began. Casting one last look over her shoulder, as he ushered Benny from the room, she felt in her gut that they would never see it again.
Disregarding the others, Mar and her brother moved toward the back yard. She winced when Allen caught up with them. “What the hell are you doing?”
“Getting the fuck away from you losers. Enjoy your death trap. Try not to get eaten while Cindy sorts through what dresses she’s deciding to bring.”
“What? You can’t just leave on your own.”
“Watch me,” Mar said as she opened the door. Her hasty move almost cost her life for a loud moan sounded as a zombie lurched in through the doorway at her.
She screamed, a little too girly for her tastes, but reacted quickly and drove the point of her pick deep enough into its skull to drop it. Its body was, however, in the doorway and she couldn’t shut the door, so she just opened it wider. More zombies came their way, but none of the other ones had made it onto the wide back porch.
Allen grabbed her by the arm so violently it hurt. “I’m not letting you leave. You’re going to end up getting both you and your brother killed.”
“Staying here is what would kill us, you idiot. Now let go of me or you’ll be getting what I just gave that geek.”
Before Allen could answer, a crashing came from the front of the house and Cindy came running their way. “Run! A zombie fell through the window and now they are all pouring in. Run! RUN!”