I scrambled away as fast as I could with the severed hand clinging to my ankle. Pus-face crawled after me, though he was slow as any other rotter. Now that I was free, I was in little real danger.
Hacking off the hand had sickened me. I wanted my stomach to settle before I did any more hacking. I couldn’t help Sparkman with pus-face hounding my steps. A bullet to his head might have done the trick, but I wasn’t willing to draw attention with the noise.
It turned out the solution was simple. I climbed inside the Cadillac and, leaving the door open, slid across the seat to the passenger side. When pus-face crawled in after me, I exited and closed the door behind me. I then ran around the car and slammed the driver side door. Gnashing his teeth, the rotter pressed his face and hands against the window, fouling the glass with maggot laced ichor. Problem solved.
I’d learned my lesson and took my time from then on. I moved from the road to the trees. The air was foul. I took advantage of the cover and made my way to a clearing where the water tower resided. Sparkman had not exaggerated her predicament. I estimated no less than two hundred rotters lumbered about the clearing.
“Sparkman’s screwed.” That’s the first thing that went through my head when I saw the situation. She’d told me there were too many rotters to handle on her own. Who did she think I was, Bruce Campbell? Sure, I’d done pretty well with pus-face—though his stupid hand was still latched to my ankle. But two hundred? What’d she expect me to do, whistle Dixie and lead them away like some Pied Piper of the living dead?
Ends up that’s pretty much what happened. What I’d forgotten was the rotters sense of smell. They smell the living as well as the living smell them. Even worse, I didn’t realize what was happening as more and more of the gathering appeared disoriented and turned in my direction. By the time I fully registered my peril, I had a horde of zombies surging my way.
Did I mention I’m out of shape? Well, let me tell you, it’s amazing how fast you can run when two hundred rotters are after your ass—and liver and spleen and intestines and—you get the idea. Problem was I ran out of steam. My side cramped up and hurt like hell. The bruising I’d taken from crashing into the Cadillac protested with every step.
I limped into town and saw my doom. Slow though they are, rotters have the virtue of perseverance. From every direction, the dead were merging my way. Although I‘d avoided them on my way through town, I could only assume they’d caught my scent and followed me at their tortoise pace.
If could not outdistance them, I was screwed. I thought of shutting myself inside one of the cars and blowing my brains out. Lucky for me, I’m too much the coward for that.
I climbed onto the roof of the BMW and unslung the shotgun from my back. I’ve always been a “live and let live” sort of guy, but I was discovering there’s something about the living dead that sort of makes you want to blow them to kingdom come.
If I told you how I held my own until I ran out of ammunition, you’d say I was telling a big-fish story or tooting my own horn, so I won’t.
Screw it. I’m too tired to lie. I was magnificent. I was John Wayne on the ramparts of the Alamo. It was amazing. I knew I was about to die, but it didn’t matter. All my pains evaporated. I literally broke the wood stock of the shotgun when I smashed it into an umpteenth skull.
Blood rained. I have no idea how much of the shit I swallowed. I just know it’s the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.
I’ve been sick for days, running the gammit between fever and chills. I presume it’s from the blood I swallowed.
It was Sparkman who saved me, though the memory of her screaming at me to get on the back of her motorcycle is no more than a colorless blur. She didn’t escape unscathed. Her back is lacerated with deep scratches, and she’s suffered far more than I from infection. Up until today, I didn’t believe she’d pull through. Had I not stockpiled a supply of antibiotics, I’m certain neither of us would. Her name is Shelly, by the way.
On the downside, The Lord of the Rings Online expansion was due to be released about now. Damn. I’d been really looking forward to exploring Rohan. The end of the world really sucks.
I’m too weak to write any more. I need to check on Shelly and get some rest. Hopefully, I’ll feel up to removing this damn hand from my ankle come tomorrow.