The voice called out at them from the darkness. Brown couldn’t spot its source, but figured it came from somewhere amongst the rocky cliffs that rose to their right.
“I live up here for a whole damn year. I suffer and eke out an existence with almost nothing and you goddamn cowboys lead a whole damn army of flesh eaters right to my doorstep. I should blow your heads off right now!”
“If they don’t know where we are, his yelling is gonna draw them straight toward us,” Trevor hissed.
“Now hold on,” Brown started. “We meant no harm. We have women and children to protect. We’re trying to build a life too. We had no idea we were heading in your direction.”
“Don’t think I don’t know who you are,” the voice called out again. “I’ve seen you down there. Laughing. Riding your horses. Eating well, not a bloody care in the world.”
“Then why didn’t you ever approach us?” Brown asked. “We would have taken you in. We have food to share and can use the extra help.”
The moaning of a hundred throats drew nearer and Trevor spoke up. “I’m not sure this is the time for hand shaking and promises. If we don’t keep going, we’re going lose the horses to these freaks.”
“You ain’t going anywhere but to an early grave, if I don’t say so.”
“I know you don’t want to just shoot us down in cold blood.” Brown made a statement, not a question.
“Maybe if I do, they’ll think they found their quarry and leave me the hell alone.”
“Damn it we got no time for this.” Trevor shouted. “Here they come!”
Before Brown could react, both the horses snorted and pranced with the whites of their eyes showing.
Trevor drew his pistol and began to shoot into the ranks of the closest walking dead. His horse reared and tried to pull away from. This forced him to cease his shooting and grab the reins with both hands.
Brown drew his rifle off his saddle while trying to keep his mount calm. “Listen either cut us down now or help, because I’m not going to risk our horses for a bunch of hot air.”
Having said his piece, Brown took aim and took down the leading four zombies in quick succession, but he knew there were nearly another thousand where those came from. The only thing they had going for them remained that the severe climb up the side of the rugged mountain had caused the horde to become spaced out so that only the first two dozen or so undead had drawn close.
“Son of a bitch,” the older man shouted before taking his own turn at blasting away at the heads of the marching zombies. Rotting grey matter sprayed over boulders and cactus. Limp bodies rolled and tumbled down the rocky slope.
The two cowboys joined in until they had cleared away enough of the undead to buy themselves a couple of minutes.
When the smoke of their firearms cleared, Brown turned to see a grizzled grey bearded man standing not too far off. His clothes looked like little more than rags tied together and every inch of him was filthy enough to make a zombie looked well groomed. “I’m probably going to regret this for the rest of my now severely shortened life, but come on and follow me and get your asses moving. We won’t have much time.”
Brown and Trevor shared a look and then followed the old man into the rocky canyon.
Come back next weekend to see if Brown and his allies can survive the Eternal Aftermath