Rollie watched his lover as he lay there unmoving in the center of the old road. From where he hid behind a boulder he couldn’t tell if Will had been shot badly or might just be feigning a worse injury in order to not be shot again. For once no zombie moans were heard and after all the flying bullets and fighting of undead, the desert fell into an eerie silence, which nothing seemed willing to break.
For a moment Rollie just panted, trying to gather his breath while he watched the unmoving form of his lover. His gut reaction was to run to his aid, but he’d heard stories about snipers just wounding soldiers in order to lure others out to get shot. He figured that could easily be the case here. So, not knowing what to do, he waited.
He thought he heard a grunt from ahead of him, but couldn’t tell if it came from something living or dead. Moans quickly followed dispelling the brief silence. The pursuing zombies had reached them. He gasped as he saw their bodies fill the horizon to the south.
Their darkened forms blocked the road and flowed into the desert on either side. They would reach him soon and, sniper or no, he would have to leave his cover or suffer a far worse fate than being shot.
Figuring if he had to die, being shot near Will beat being torn to pieces alone, so he left his cover and sprinted toward his lover. Every second he expected the impact of lead slamming into him, but no shot came. He reached Will’s side safely, but with the approaching horde, that safety wouldn’t last long.
“Will, Will are you alright?”
He groaned. “Can’t say that I am, champ.”
Looking down, he saw that Will had taken the bullet in the gut. Two years ago, he might have been saved by a well supplied doctor in an ED, now…such injuries were fatal. Tears welled up blurring his vision. He no longer cared about the sniper or the approaching zombies. His life was over. Having Will around was the only bright light, the only thing that kept him willing to continue through this nightmare the world had become. In the end it wasn’t even a zombie that had killed him. Another human had shot him down for the crime of just wanting a drink of water.
“Its okay buddy, but you know what you have to do.”
“What? What are you talking about?” He grabbed Will under the shoulders and started to drag him away from the looming horde.
Will cried out. “It’s no use. I’m a goner either way. You’re going to have to finish me. I don’t want to die one bite at a time.” He looked up at Rollie. “I’m sorry buddy, but I won’t be here to look after you any more.”
“Don’t say that,” Rollie choked through his tears, but he couldn’t move Will fast enough and the forefront of the zombies drew near.
“Please do it, Rollie. Please, before it is too late.”
“I can’t. I just can’t”
Will tried to smile, but Rollie could tell he was in agony. “You always make me take care of the hard jobs don’t you.” He laughed and blood splattered his lips as he did so. His left hand grabbed Rollie’s shirt and pulled him in closer. “Listen. I want you to survive, but you’re going to have to toughen up. Please, fight on. Find good people. Build a new life.”
Then he savagely kissed him. Rollie tried to kiss him back, but Will pulled away. Will gave him one last smile before plunging his dagger into his own eye. He fell back with a gasp and Rollie lost it.
The first few zombies were about to reach him and Rollie snatched up his bat before yelling, “No! You won’t have him!”
He laid into the undead, smashing one after the other in a berserk frenzy. He fought like he never had before. In less than a minute he had laid ten out, but more came. Many more came.
He had prepared himself to literally go down swinging, when a hand gasped his shoulder. He turned to smash to owner with his bat, but a hand grasped it before he could swing.
“What the hell are you doing? We need to get out of here.” It was Jack and he had a new rifle grasped in his hands.
“Do you think he’d want you to die?” Jack asked, as he yanked Rollie away from the questing hands of the undead.
Rollie didn’t reply, but allowed Jack to lead him north. Looking back he saw that Will had made a final sacrifice for his body occupied the zombies long enough for them to escape.
Wiping away fresh tears, he swore to himself that the people that brought about Will’s death would pay. He didn’t care if it cost him his life. He would make them pay.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of Rollie’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath. Come back next weekend for the next part of the tale.