Jake’s sledge hammer swung out and knocked another walking corpse back into the mud streaked gully as the sounds of the gunshots faded into the forested hills.
“Three shots means trouble,” Flack said, as he used his rifle to push two zombies back into the gully. The two took three more with them and they all splashed into rain flooded stream below. “Maybe we should use our guns.”
“I’d rather not lose what advantages we have,” Jake called out. “Let’s just try to do this.” He moved into the fray swinging his hammer as quickly as he could. He tried to hold the bank, but noticed that Scent couldn’t guard her section and had to fall back.
When Tops moved back to protect her, he and Flack were forced to retreat or risk be flanked by the undead.
Flack cut through half of one’s neck, but then turned to him and yelled, “I think we have to switch to guns or we’ll be overwhelmed.”
“Son of a bitch,” Jake said, but then drew his pistol and dropped six zombies with well placed shots.
Flack fired his M-4 in small bursts. The drenched zombie’s exploding heads splashed gore over the churning mud. Corpse after corpse fell until the two men had completed their grim task.
Tops and Scent went through the downed undead putting any survivors out of their misery while the two gunman caught their breath. Overhead the raging lead colored clouds showed no signs of breaking up. Jake sighed when the rain grew stronger and walked over to where Flack loaded more bullets into a spent magazine.
“So what now?” the tall road warrior asked him.
“We were tasked with finding Tal and that’s what we’re going to do.” Flack nodded and Jake clasped him on the shoulder. Once the others had collected themselves, the group headed south.
The run in had sobered them and gone were the lighthearted jokes. The good humor was replaced by careful footsteps and nervous glances into the drenched woods. As they traveled the rain picked up and a thin mist rose from the ground. Within minutes the rain muffled all other sounds as the mists brought down their visibility.
Gritting his teeth Jake led them through the obfuscated forest. Their soaked clothes hung heavy from their arms and back. Each footstep became harder as mud stuck to their soles and created slippery paths through the fields.
They found a thick cluster of trees and Jake had the team stop and get their barring.
“I wish he’s fire three more shots,” Scent whispered.
“Maybe we should fire three of our own,” Flack suggested.
“I’d rather hold off,” Jake started, “because—wait, do you guys hear that?”
“Sounds like a drunk gorilla hitting a drum with a broken stick,” Tops suggested.
“It’s coming from this way,” Jake said. “Let’s go.”
A tree covered hill loomed before them and Jake made for it. To their west he could see they had drawn closer to the canyon. This comforted him, more than a little, for at least he knew nothing could head at them from that direction.
The team made it up to the thick cluster of trees and despite the mists they had no trouble seeing the scene unfolding below them. Scent gasped and Jake felt like joining her when he saw Tal and one other person sitting on the branches of a pine tree ten feet above an undulating mass of easily three hundred undead. The zombies swirled and trashed under his friends like an eternal mosh pit of death.
Flack sounded breathless as he said, “We need to go back and get more people.”
But before Jake could replay, he heard Scent cry out. Looking over his shoulder, he saw her backpedaling toward the huge group before them. At first this confused him until he saw the shapes looming up out of the fog.
Another group of undead had come up behind them.
“Shit,” Flack hissed. “Now we’re cut off from camp.”
“Worse than that,” Jake started, “We are stuck between two packs with no easy escape.”
Come back next weekend and continue Jake’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath.
You can explore more of the Eternal Aftermath here!