The town was desolate and barren. No life stirred on the cracked and wasted street, save the crows circling above. Jason clung to his double-barrel shotgun, silently praying to himself. He motioned to the others to flank the street, and with a nod they took to the sidewalks on either side. Kelly smirked at the garbage littered terrain, and abandon cars. There was a time when she would have enjoyed taking one of them for a spin around the Mojave. Those days are gone.
Thomas crouched at the broken window of the once general goods store. One of the many storefronts that now loom ominously over the single street on both sides. He examined the broken glass and winced at the smell of rotten flesh. He stepped through the display window into the darkness of the building, and cautiously made his way in between the rows of ransacked shelves, readying his fireman’s ax for anything. There was a shuffle in the back, an intimidating disturbance. There it was.
Randall had always been timid, despite always being the biggest. In high school he was the tallest in the whole school, and the strongest. Though he could never find the courage to stand up for himself. Constantly being bullied he would lock himself deep within to hide from his persecutors. These day it wasn’t much different. Despite being six foot eight, nearly two hundred and eighty pounds of raw muscle, courage was not something easily found.
He shouldered his baseball bat. Fear would not stop him today. He moved through the scattered cars behind Kelly. He was taken by her. The way she moved, her tan skin, the long brunette hair pulled back into a pony tail. He had always admired her hazel eyes, but most of all, it was her bravery. Despite her small size she was always plunging into danger, ready to fight for her life and the ones she cared about.
Randall paused. She had stopped to peer into the window of one of the cars. A corpse, once a little girl lie mutilated in the rotted backseat of an old Firebird. Nausea set in with the horror of it all. He turned and looked up. Damned crows, he thought to himself.
Kellys voice rang from behind “Ah shit its one of them!”
Thomas swung his axe at the head of his predator, a mans figure decayed and twisted. A splatter of blood caused him to recoil away and another figure charged. Realizing he was all alone, he turned and ran for the window, hurling himself through, crashing onto the ground. He heard the footsteps closing in on him. He scurried to his feet, One word on his mind. Escape.
James heard the commotion and readied his shotgun. Two shots, that’s all he had left. He would have to make them count. He rushed towards Kelly and Randall, weaving in and out of the abandon vehicle’s. It was time to go.
Randall spun around, bat at the ready. But there was no need. The little girl had come back to life in a prison, trapped by the windows and doors. All she could do was claw at her cage.
Kelly set her m1911 pistol on the girl. Randall grabbed her shoulder
“If theirs more, we don’t want to attract attention. It’s not worth it at the moment.”
James trotted up from behind. “Damn, I hoped this time would be easy. We should go… Where’s Tommy?”
Thomas was running as fast as he could. As soon as he was on his feet he bolted out of the town, not sure if he was being pursued or not, too frightened to look back. New questions surfaced, were his friends still alive, did they need help, were they even aware? No it was too late. His friends were surly lost by now. He had to keep going, until his heart stopped. He had to do what not many else could do these days… survive.
James fired the first shot, followed by Kelly’s two. Randall had taken place in front, bat at the ready. It was in the blink of an eye it appeared, teeth gnashing, hands clawing, fear was gone, replaced by instinct, Randall swung, smashing its head with unrivaled force, sending it crashing to the floor.
James grabbed Kelly, “Go go go now!”
They dashed between the cars and down the street, weaving and dodging rubble and cars along the way. Feet beat in a crescendo of choked cries and hacking shrieks behind them.
Escape, the word itself was hard to imagine as the bodies of more gnarled and rotted once-men flooded the streets behind them, around them, and finally in front of them. Cut off from there escape, there was only one thing to do. Fight.
Randall felt himself withdraw into himself again. Fear crept up from his gut to his heart. Nothing could deter it. Not even the need to fight, to survive. His swings were losing power, his concentration started to break. His head whirled around. More of them. It was hopeless. After after making it through so much, it would end here.
There was a scream, a human scream. He turned to see Kelly swarmed by the undead, fighting without hope of survival. Fear was instantaneously replaced with anger, and he charged, casting caution to the wind. Blow after blow he beat the creatures to bloody pulps, smashing heads, limbs, anything he could hit to take them down. Through the chaos he managed to swing Kelly on his shoulder, Fending off the assault with one hand. He bolted for the nearest building. A dentists office, with a utility ladder to the roof.
Kellys weight was no problem as he scaled the ladder. Finally on the roof he gently placed her on the black rubber floor. He examined her body, and was relieved she was still alive. Gunshots rang from he street, James was still alive. In all the commotion he had forgot his lifelong friend. He glimpsed over the parapet to find James on the roof of the general store.
“You okay?” he called out.
James shook his head. “Been bit, hows Kelly?”
Randall peered over his shoulder. A faint color of blood smudged Kelly’s sleeve. “One sec.” he called out.
He rolled up her right sleeve and was horrified to find a deep bite wound.
He cursed under his breath. “Damn it.”
Randall returned to the parapet. ” Looks like im the only one who didn’t get bit.” he thought for a moment. “Wheres Tommy?”
James laughed. “Little shit made a run for it without us. Got a whole friggen mob of them behind him though.”
“That little bastard.”
“Hey, its too late for me, get outta here. I’ll distract them”
Randall shook his head. “What about Kelly?”
“Shes gone. forget her.”
Randall bit his lip. “No, i wont. looks like your both stuck with me.”
……. no response. James just stood there, staring at the sun.
Kelly coughed as she came to.
Randall rushed over to help her. “Hey, you okay?”
“Do i look okay?” She winced. “I’ve been bit… You need to go, wheres James and Tommy?”
“Gone. Tommy ran and James..” He trailed off.
She screamed in pain. “You have to go, I’m.. I’m changing.”
“No, I’m right here with you…”