The trio scattered after the first gunshot exploded into the pavement before them. Several rounds followed, but Rollie remained too focused on running to tell if Will or Jack might have gotten hit. He heard no screams and hoped this was a good sign.
He gained the shelter of a series of tan rocks the lined the side of the road. He still hadn’t caught his breath when a loud hiss sounded below him. He jerked back expecting a crippled zombie to be about to assault him, but instead saw a large gila monster racing away from him through the low desert bushes.
“Damn, that would have made a fine meal,” he laughed to himself.
The bullets had stopped and he was about to call out to the others when a new growl sounded and proved to be a far worse problem than a retreating lizard. Three large zombies headed his way. He couldn’t run because the snipper could still be out there, but he noted that the shooter made no effort to drop the zombies.
Rollie’s tight fingers clutched his bat. He readied himself as the first zombie drew into range. A big beer bellied freak dressed only in a ratty pair of boxers. His bat went back and then he cracked it on the head.
Rollie started to panic as the thing’s grubby fingers reached for him, while the other two moved in. He smashed one hand away, breaking two fingers, but knew such tactics wouldn’t save him for long.
Placing his back to the rock wall, he braced himself and raised both legs. With a grunt he placed his feet on both of the big zombie’s thighs and pushed with all his strength. The fat zombie stumbled back and fell. Some luck had found Rollie for beer-belly-boxers took another one down with him.
The third one came at Rollie and he gave it a strong whack to the temple. This time it went down, but the other two were lurching back onto their feet. Rollie went for the closer one, which appeared to be a high school aged boy in a tattered basketball jersey. Rollie hit it on the skull and went he didn’t go down he hit it again and again. It took three smacks, but the teen finally dropped and stopped moving.
That was when boxer shorts crashed into him. A loud growl filled silence of the desert and he grabbed Rollie and slammed him against the rock. Rollie fought back, but the freak might have outweighed him by a hundred pounds. They struggled and Rollie attempted to squirm away. He fell to his knees and made for the road despite the dangers of the shooter.
Stopping just short of where he would be exposed to the gunman, Rollie was about to fight back when the big zombie growled again and grabbed a fistful of his hair. Rollie gave out a yell and the zombie moved forward for a bite. He felt the zombie’s foul breath on his neck and figured he was done and that was when the zombie had his head shot off.
Rollie hurried back behind the boulders, but it was already too late. Will had heard him shout out and had started to run his way. Before Rollie could tell his lover that he was okay, another shot rang out and Will gasped once before he tumbled into the middle of the road.
I hope you enjoyed this part of Rollie’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath. Come back next weekend for the next part of the tale.
The sounds of the large horde of decaying undead faded behind them, but Rollie knew they still followed and would never cease unless the trio eluded them, were devoured, or somehow managed to destroy them. They sprinted down the center of the sand covered road. The three of them dodged through rusted cars and dislodged clumps of cactus with Jack staying in the lead.
Random zombies lurched at them as they passed. Jack would literally hammer any that crossed his path with his sledge, while Will and he struggled to hold their own with their matching metal bats.
So far they had stayed safe enough, but the lack of water and the pounding heat was taking its toll. Rollie gasped for air and felt like his feet belonged to someone else. They passed in a blur beneath him and he just hoped he could continue to bounce over the uneven road long enough to reach the canyon.
“Even if there’s water up there, how’re we going to carry it back through all this hell?” he panted.
Looking over his shoulder, Will said, “At this point finding water will make my day.” He smiled. “I’ll just lounge in the creek until I’m stuck by genius.”
“You’ll get struck with something, if you two don’t keep up,” Jack called back.
Finally he could see the huge parking lot that used to serve the canyon’s visitors. He was surprised by how many cars remained parked there. The place looked like more of a Grateful Dead concert than an abandoned lot. Any thoughts of survivors remaining there were quickly dispelled by the moans of dozens of zombies passing through the vehicles as they headed toward the breathers.
“Blow off the parking lot,” Jack said back at them. “Head around it. We just need to hit that road that leads up the canyon.”
“Why are so many cars there?” Rollie asked when the group gathered together as they crossed a barb wire fence.
Will answered. “With it being one of the only water sources in the area, I’m sure hundreds of people thought to come here.”
“Which means the canyon could be covered with creepers,” Jack said. “Let’s just hope the water’s good.”
“Or even there,” Will added, which earned him a glare from Jack.
The first mile of the old road passed through wild patches of thick cactus. So far Jack had been proved right for dozens of the walking dead barred their way. They had been able to pound their way through, but more and more were collecting in their wake. If those from the parking lot and the horde they had passed before were to catch up they could have nearly a thousand undead on their tail.
At last they made the final turn and were able to see the first twist of the river below.
“It’s fucking dry!” Will wailed in a manner that hurt Rollie’s ears.
“Never might that,” Jack hissed. “There could still be pools above.” A second later the pavement three inches in from of Jack’s right boot exploded as the sound of a gunshot echoed through the hills.
I hope you enjoyed the first part of Rollie’s dangerous journey into the second year of the Eternal Aftermath. Come back next weekend for the next part of the tale.