At my command, it seemed at first, an explosion lit up the back end of the undead procession. Disintegrated flesh went skyward in a foul spray, the pieces slapping down to the ground in a shower I could only use my forearm to protect against. Ignoring the stench of burnt flesh, I looked up the drone now clear in my view. I wanted to wave at the pilots, wanted to see their faces so I could thank them, shake their hands, put them on camera to tell the nation not to worry because they were on the case, wanted to tell everyone they had our backs even though they were in no danger of contracting the terrible disease themselves.
As I watched with those thoughts running through my head, I looked back to the trail and counted what remained, raising a laugh because now I only had to put down two with each of my shots. I stepped back, waiting for the next launch to even the odds, ready to turn and take cover from the spray of barbecued stink. The whine of the drone’s engine changed as I counted and my heart fluttered, my optimism in danger of draining even before I twisted up to the sky. I saw its grey underbelly as it turned away, its thin wings empty of the missiles which could cut the odds to something more manageable, like one or two for me to despatch.
Pulling in a deep breath, I glanced behind, but turned away at Ryan’s frustration, the jack ripped from the under the van as he released it to stop it from sinking through the grass with each turn of the handle. I closed my eyes, letting my breath free, drawing another though my nose, regretting as I did, but not stopping, stubbornness forcing me to endure the foul air. Opening my eyes, I bit back the surprise as I saw they’d been closing the gap for longer than I thought, the creatures so much closer, two seconds more and they’d be in arms reach. I had to give Ryan time and lots of it, so I ran at a right angle, heading deeper to the moor, watching their heads for a decision, watching what remained of their minds choose who would be on the buffet. I forced the decision, firing off a shot which glanced off the lead creature’s shoulder, increasing the number I would need to kill with each remaining round as its blood sprayed in lumps on its shorter companion, the rest of its individuality destroyed by the raging fires.
I had to slow my backwards walk, the ground unsteady, my first few stumbles too much for my heart to take. A second shot reassured those whose decisions were waning. I am the tastier treat and took out the twice-baked creature, causing its following companion to fall over, giving welcome time to catch my breath.
With one eye on the rising van, I led them further away, my mind turning to the water still in my trainers, the dampness running through my clothes and the rub of harsh fabric on the seams of my skin. What I wouldn’t give for a rest, a cat nap then maybe a shower, or a soak in a bath surrounded by scented candles, drying myself with a fluffy warm towel and stepping into dry clothes not covered in decaying human flesh. I thought of Toni, her smile as she knelt down beside the bath, her fingers dancing on the surface of the water, promising her touch.
I stumbled back, twisting around to see what had caught my foot, my hands wheeling through the air, the pistol heavy until it fell. At first I thought it was a judge’s wig, then I saw its belly wide open, the great rend surrounding a cavity picked clean of the organs which should have been inside, blood and dark gristle clinging to the woollen edges. All this seen before my ass hit the grass, sending a jarring pain shooting up through my spine, freezing my body with panic as I looked to the cloudless blue sky, all too soon interrupted with a blackened, bald head rearing down, its yellowed teeth pocking out from burnt gums, snapping open and closed. My eyes fixed on the pink of its tonsils as the sky blotted out, my hands blind as they swept the ground either side for the gun they just couldn’t find.
Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed, let me know in the comments or Like my Facebook page.
Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.