I scramble to my feet as the sea of dead walk, twitching, towards me. I push Gia behind me with my free hand as I return my blade to my belt and grab for my shotgun. I aim, but don’t fire yet. The noise attracts them.
The dead advance slowly, this means they haven’t eaten in a while. This also means that their determination will be relentless. Lovely.
Gia is sandwiched between Sal and me as I back up towards the fence. Keeping my eyes on the hoard in front of us I softly say to Sal, “perimeter?” Sal takes a look on all sides.
“Surrounded,” replies Sal with clear fear in his voice. Great. Before the garage front is out of view I notice that the door is askew but not large enough to fit a person, the possibility that it’s empty is unlikely but promising. We need to get in the garage.
“Gia, watch the front.” I feel her pull her gun and aim at the advancing mass. I scan all four sides looking for a thinning in their ranks. I feel panic crawling up my neck, trying to ease into my thoughts, but I push it down. I don’t have time to for that, not now. It’s not just my life I have to worry about, not anymore.
There’s a gap next to the garage side, and a window! Maybe someone up there is on my side for once. It looks to be solid, closed tight. But, a solid smash of my rifle butt should clear it. The window is high, just out of my reach. At 5’6 I’m not exactly short but in this case it makes me just shy of what I need; Sal is a solid 6 feet, he can reach it!
The dead are closing in, we’ve got a few feet between us now, it’s time. “Sal, the window that’s our route. I’ll clear the path you and Gia get in there. I’m right behind you.”
Sal doesn’t wait, he doesn’t hesitate to run after my first shot, I reduce the head of one of the dead to mulch. The others pause for a second, giving Sal a moment to rush in, I shoot three more and a path is clear to the window. I run in behind them and face the crowding mass. I take out one more then I hear the breaking of the window behind me.
Gia is still only 5’2 so Sal pushes her up and through. For an old man he’s retained some muscle, this makes him useful, I knew keeping him around wasn’t the stupidest of ideas. Hope begins to gestate in my mind, we’re almost out. I hear Sal behind me as he scrambles to get himself through the window. I back up against the wall and reload, fast. As I cock my shot gun one tries to lunge at me, his head is gone mid stride. They’re getting closer, I take two more shots. “Sal,” I take another shot, “Sal,” there’s only a foot between me and the semi-circle formed around me, “SAL!”
I feel a hand grab my shoulder, it’s warm, a good sign. I smash the face of one more coming at my with the butt of my shotgun, then turn and hop grabbing the window’s ledge. I jump, but my feet make it half way up to the window. I feel a hand grab my boot, I shake it off then use its head as a step up and dive into the window as Sal pulls at my shoulders to get me in.
I’m flung onto a tower of crates, as I take a deep breath I hear two pops from Gia’s gun. Shit. My adrenaline kicks into gear once more and I swing my head to see what she’s dealing with. The hands of the dead reach at my from the window, but they’re not all tall so only a few try to grab at me, I take a step down from the crate tower and I’m out of reach. Pulling my shotgun to its ready position I scan the garage for the dead, paying attention to little else.
Gia seems to have taken out the only two that found their way in. I didn’t want to stay and find out how they did.
I look around the abandoned garage and a slight flicker of relief, no more than that, a smile forms at the corners of my lips; a hummer that looks to be in good condition sits in the middle of the garage.
Dead hands pound on all four sides of the structure we’re incased in. I don’t hesitate to jump off the crate tower, “Sal find fuel and pack it into the trunk. Gia find anything useful and do the same, fast!”
As the two begin to scurry around the garage I head for the locked cabinet at the far corner of the garage, a gun safe, my favorite. The lock seems to be untouched. I reach into my jacket and pull out my lock picks. Placing my body between the lock and Gia or Sal’s view I have the lock open within seconds. You’d think the military would lock up their equipment better. I pull the door open and find four rifles and ammunition. I toss the ammo into my pack and haul the guns over to the open trunk.
The dead are getting louder, more desperate. I hear the crack of Sal’s rifle and spin to attention. There’s a break in the side wall, they’re getting in. Gia throws a few choice items into the trunk and hops in the back seat. Sal loads up two more canisters of gas and slams the trunk shut. He takes another shot at the dead coming through the gap attempting to fill the hole with bodies. I do the same, one final shot and the hole is half full, how oddly optimistic of me.
I jump into the drivers seat tossing my pack in the back and realize I have no key. I check the sun visor of the car, but no key. I sigh, knowing my next move will be cause for explanation later. I quickly shove my head under the dash and pull out the wires. I begin to fiddle with them until I hear the engine gasping for life. After multiple tries the hummer won’t start. Shit.