As the first zombies made it past the avalanche, Jacob said, “Well whatever you twice damned cowboys want to do, you have better figure it out, right quick.”
Brown and Trevor shared a look, but Brown spoke first. “We’d better put some distance between us and that horde.”
“To’won’t be easy with dem horses,” Jacob said, as he moved to lead the way. “Wez about to hit cliff country.”
“Any way we could skirt the rougher cliffs, hopefully toward the north?”
“Can’t say there is.” Jacob started. “Might be able to cut south, but that would dump us right into the biker’s back yard.”
“Or take us closer to Mexico,” Brown added, “which is where this horde came from in the first place.”
“Well what the hell are we going to do?” Trevor asked his voice rising. As he spoke, the first undead passed through the narrow canyon and drew into sight.
Brown looked up at the towering mountains that blocked out half the night sky to the west and north. “We can’t go back the way we came. We’re going to have to go south. We don’t have a choice.”
“Shit-dandy. If I knew today was gonna be this exciting I wouldduh wore my new suit.” Brown doubted Jacob had ever worn a suit in his life, but he let the little man led them on through the rocky cliffs and gullies.
For the first time in hours, the small party started to descend in elevation. Brown and Trevor still lead their horses, but after a rough section, they dropped into a forested area where things grew more level. The going remained slow in the darkness, but some of the worry over the horses becoming hurt lessoned
A small stream divided the valley they had entered. The pair had just started to guide their mounts through the shallow water when Trevor’s horse struggled against him. The men smelled the foul odor a moment later.
“They’s here,” Jacob said, and Brown knew at once what the old man meant.
And then they came. At least twenty of them stumbled out from the trees and boulders. Rags hung from them and battered feet disregarded the sharp rocks as they lunged their way. As the zombies hands pushed through the thorns of the wait-a-minute bushes, their throats opened and the air filled with their growls. Even in the darkness, Brown guessed they were Mexicans, or at least had been while they lived.
Jacob confirmed his thoughts with a shout. “Goddamn wet back zombies. It was bad enough while they were alive, but we ain’t got no border guards now.” As he spoke he backed up until he drew level with the cowboys. “I hope you boys can handle yerselves, cuz I ain’t got no guns.”
As one, both men drew their rifles from off their horses. Brown also drew an extra revolver and tossed it to Jacob. “It only has six shots, but I hate to see a man unarmed these days.”
Having said his piece, Brown focused on this rifle work. Heads exploded with waves of gore. The blasting of gunfire echoed through the canyons, while smoke started to obscure their vision.
Snarling faces came at them through the smoke and darkness. The horses screamed as Brown’s arms jerked left and right as he put down zombie after zombie. Between the trees, darkness, and the increasing obfuscation of the smoke, he couldn’t be sure if more arrived behind the first group, but he had no choice but to fight on or risk his mounts.
Jacob yelled when one appeared in front of him and he shot it in the face at almost blank range.
A zombie came from their right and charged at Trevor. Before he could bring the gun around, it closed. He got the rifle up between them, but the man-monster grabbed the length of it and fought with him. Brown blew the head off of two more, but then the rifle clicked empty. He moved to the side and kicked the zombie that had Trevor’s rifle in the chest. It went stumbling onto its back but took Trever’s rifle with it.
“Son of a bitch,” Brown growled as more came pouring out of the underbrush. “Trevor, take the horses and just go. Jacob, cover him.”
“I only have three shots left.”
“Then use them damn wisely!”
No more arguing came and Trevor and Jacob hurried to take the horses west.
Brown drew his pistol and emptied it as quickly as he could into those closest to him. He had wanted to grab Trevor’s rifle, but when another dozen came pouring at him, he gave up that goal.
After stuffing his pistol into his belt, he kicked one zombie into two more and then used the butt of his rifle to smash another in the face. He backpedaled a few feet and the half-moon appeared from behind a lingering cloud, he saw that at least forty zombies lurched at him through the forest.
Setting his jaw, Brown turned and hurried to catch up to the others. Before he reached them he heard sounds to the north. The other horde had caught up to them. They were in trouble, some serious trouble indeed.
Come back next weekend to see if Brown and his allies can survive the Eternal Aftermath