I take a deep breath as I prepare to throw open the steal doors above me. I hear the groans get louder behind us and Sal’s panicked breathing. Gia steps closer to me and I know that she can see the dead coming towards us. I tense my muscles and push as hard as my strength will allow. The door creaks and light bursts in through the crack, I push once more and throw my arms upward. The doors swing open crashing to the ground on impact. The sound resonates through the bunker and I feel Gia push up against me from behind.
“GO!” yells Sal from behind.
I look back, Sal has his back to us and his hunting rifle at the ready. I grab my shotgun from its holder on my leg and ready it as I burst into the sunlight above me.
I scan the perimeter with Gia on my heals and Sal backing out of the bunker behind her. A rare moment of luck hits, there are no dead in the back yard of the bunker. I break into a sprint with Gia and Sal behind me. The stairs have bought us time; the dead have trouble with them. As we approach the chain-link fence that encircles the yard I search for a door, but our lucky moment is over.
I look back at my companions, “Up!” I shout. Steps away from the fence I holster my shotgun and jump at the fence. It reminds me of cop shows I used to watch as a kid, an odd thought to be having while trying to outrun the living dead.
Gia has no problem jumping onto the fence and scrambling to the top. Both of us wait for Sal, one leg thrown across the top. He’s not as spry as he once was. As he nears the top the dead are closing in on the fence, my pulse rises as I watch them reaching for Sal’s hiking boots. I grab his arm and pull him with whatever strength I can muster. Sal’s feet escape the groping hands of the dead by mere centimetres.
Sal clings to the bar at the top of the fence, leg’s dangling just out of reach. I swing my right leg over to join the left and jump from the fence. It’s not exactly a short fence, but the impact wont be too hard on my joints. As soon as I hit the ground I realize Sal wont be able to make the jump, he’ll have to climb. More time out in the open, more time exposed, more time to be found.
Gia follows suit and lands next to me. “Keep watch, I’ll help Sal,” I say to her. She nods and scans our surroundings. Sal awkwardly slides his body along the bar to position his legs on the other side. The dead try to shove their hands through the chain-link, but they’re too clumsy to get more than a finger through. Any cut can spread the infection so I avoid their nails.
Once Sal’s hiking boots reach my hands I help him lower himself. Finally he gets to a height where it wont hurt him to jump down. “Jump,” I tell him. He hesitates, taking in a deep breath. He lets go. The hesitation bothers me; it’s a lack of trust. Frustration wells up inside me, I’ve saved his life countless times now and he still isn’t sure about me. Old men are stubborn, and I always question whether saving him was to any benefit of mine.
I spin and turn my thoughts back to the situation. Food is running low and we need a new place to stay. Woods to our left, highway to our right, and a garage in front of- garage! Military cars and fuel! Have we finally caught a break? How did I not notice the garage when we entered the bunker? It doesn’t matter now, “head for the garage.” I tell the others and take off in a sprint.
I head for the corner of the building to find the doors, my heart in my throat with excitement. I round the corner and almost collide with one of the dead. He swipes at me, I duck and pull out my knife from my belt, severing his Achilles. As he falls backwards I ram the blade into his ear, redundantly killing the dead.
Gia squeaks behind me, before I look up I pray that I have killed the only dead in our way. I turn my head up and see that our luck was dead and walking the moment we stepped out of the bunker.