Jake withdrew from the crest of the cliff and shook his head to clear the sight of hundreds of zombies surrounding his friends from his head. Droplets of rain fell away from him like wet dog. As he turned, the wind picked up and dashed a gust of water into his eyes. He struggled for a good grip and his foot slipped. Pebbles ground against his chest as his body slid three feet, but at the last moment his fingers found a thin lip of rock and he arrested his fall.
“Son of a…” he grumbled as he hurried over to his allies.
Flack stood like a wet scarecrow. Only his M4 destroyed the image.
Scent clung to Tops. She might have been crying.
“We’re facing more than before,” he said. He tried to wipe the water from his eyes, but his soaked jacket only made it worse. “Closer to five or six hundred now.”
“Well crap,” Flack said. “We need to head back and get more people.”
“And what, waste hundreds of rounds and probably lose some of us on the way.” He looked from face to face. “Listen we need to cliff hammer them.”
“Cliff what?” Tops asked.
“Like I did before. Try to get their dumb asses to push each other over the cliff.”
“But wasn’t they a ledge the last time you did it?” Flack asked. “There’s nothing like that around here now.”
Jake’s eyes hurried to pierce the fog building around them. A tree rose from the mists. “Maybe that pine can help us.”
“Will they go for you there?” Flack asked. “I thought they wouldn’t kill themselves so easily.”
“No they won’t, but if we could drop a log from the cliff onto that big branch, we can-”
“Wait, what?” Flack Demanded. “You want us to do something from the top of this cliff that’s swarming with undead?”
“The undead are focused on Tal. Hopefully he will see what we’re doing and assist us by making noise. But if we can get a log stretched from the cliff to that tree they might make a go at trying to crawl across.” He meet Flack’s stare. “I’ll have no problem being bait.”
* * *
It took the three men twenty minutes and all of them carrying it, but they were able to get a fifteen foot log up to the ravine where they entered the canyon. Keeping low and to the edge of the cliff, they headed south with their massive burden. Fingers slipped and grunts were contained as the men dug deep and pressed on.
Tal must have guessed what they were doing, and as Jake had hoped, his trapped friend took a few shots at the zombies thrashing below where he sat in the tall tree. That stirred them up and also kept them focused on the two men trapped in the tree and not the three men carrying the log.
They reached the cliff face near the other tree growing out from below the edge. Scent was already up in the tree, but above the branch they hoped to drop the log onto. The men nodded and then drew the log up like they were planting a flag pole. Double checking everything, they tried to lower the log onto the branch as slowly as they could. The process started well, but when they reach about a forty-five degree angle, it slipped from their hands and landed on the branch with a loud crash.
Jake feared the worst, but the branch held. While Scent hurried to secure in it place on the tree end, Tops used rocks to help brace it along the cliff.
“Good work guys,” Jake said. Turning toward Flack, he continued. “Now, my friend, it’s time to open up.”
And that’s what the two men did. Flack’s rifle tore a huge hole in the back of the horde’s ranks, while Jake’s pistol barked out.
It didn’t take the zombies long to start heading their way. “You guys, get out of here!” Jake ordered. “Scent, out of the tree.” After firing off a few more shots, Jake got on the log and started to make for the pine tree.
At once he realized a flaw in his plan, for the log remained slick. He dropped to his hands and knees, but the going was slow. He tired not to look down at the forty foot drop or listen to the approaching zombies as he struggled for every inch.
He had neared his goal, when Scent cried out from below. “Jake look out they have almost reached the log!”
He attempted double time, but then the first zombie stepped on the log behind him. It only lasted a moment before it toppled off to explode like a balloon filled with grey viscera on the rocks below. But even that small moment had almost knocked Jake off the log.
He hurried, but when the next zombie shook the log he almost fell off. Cursing, he hugged the log to his chest and inched forward. The loud moans mixed with his buddies urging him on. More and more zombies reached the log and fell. It was shaking so violently that all he could do was hold on.
Then shooting broke out from below. Flack was wasting the zombies before the log. This gave Jake enough time to reach out and grab a tree branch, seconds later; he was the safest of all of them from his high perch over the canyon.
After getting comfortable, he watched with a sick fasciation as zombies ended their own sad existence by the dozens. It only took thirty minutes for five hundred limping sad forms to perish on the rocks below. He watched their hungry eyes and snapping teeth. Each one sought his death, but only found their own.
A few dozen had kept their focus on Tal and Mooky, but with the combined effort of both teams, they were shot down.
“I can’t believe you saved us at all and certainly not like that,” Tal said as he gave Jake a giant hug.
“Hardly even used a clip,” Flack said.
Tops grin stretched ear to ear. “We sure as hell cliff hammered them, huh Jake?”
He nodded, just happy there had been no additional casualties. “I supposed we did.”
Flack looked at the rest of the team, but then stayed on Jake. “When we get back to Captain Mitchum, I’m going to tell him what happened and what you did, Jake. This is the second time you have used that trick to save us. I’m also going to suggest that we give our a team a name. From here on out, we’ll be known as the Cliffhammers, if that is okay with you.”
Jake allowed himself one of his rare smiles. “Cliffhammers? Yeah, I think I like it.”