HELLS ON EARTH
He didn’t waste time by thinking, he swung around just in time to put his arms out to push on the zombie’s chest, blocking the attempted bite to the back of his neck.
It kept coming forward, its strength surprising Kevin. The zombie just kept coming forward while attempting to grab him and sink its teeth into him. Moving back down the aisle, Kevin did a short sidestep, yanked down on the arm of the zombie, then shoved and flipped it to the ground.
The zombie latched onto his arm, half bringing Kevin down as well, but not enough to finish the job. Kevin took a few steps backward, quickly looked around for a weapon, and saw a pair of skiing poles.
He grabbed one, the zombie was slowly getting back up as Kevin moved in and shunted the pole through its eye and deep into the skull. It shuddered and staggered for a moment, it looked like the head staking had failed when it stopped, looked confused then fell back, dead.
He took a few steps backward to reduce the sudden upwelling of shock. He was brought back from it when the front window of the shop had a single zombie banging against it. Dozens of others were behind it surrounding the tractor with Eula inside the cab. A cab that was beginning to look far more fragile than it seemed while at the farm.
“Shotgun shells, maps, books, knives, first aid kit.”
He looked across the counter at the gun rack, beneath it sat the shells and bullets, in the locked drawers. On the off chance, the zombie was the owner, he went to it to search for keys. The stench of it made him gag instantly, but when he found the keys, he jumped the counter and trialed the keys. It was worthwhile when the shotgun shell drawer opened.
He worked quickly by finding a backpack and then filled it with all the packets of shells. He had no idea which ones he was loading, and he was sure Eula would have been the better person to be doing this job.
If only he could drive a tractor.
The backpack was mostly full and heavy. The next job was a ladder to help with the escape. It occurred to Kevin at that point that he should have swept the entire shop for more zombies even after killing the first one.
He had luck on his side, it would not last, he had to practice routines for next time.
He found a ladder quickly, dragged it beneath the broken skylight, then climbed up with the backpack, then dropped it off before returned to the shop.
Another backpack, he found maps and put them all into it, then knives that were locked up. The keys saved him from having to break the glass. First aid kits were thrown in, then some survival and hunting books.
The shop window was now being banged against by three or four of the zeds. Seeing the glass buckling, Kevin knew it would not take much to smash through it.
As he climbed the ladder for the second time, with plans for a third trip, the front window exploded from a sudden increase in zombie numbers. Eula was revving the engine and blasting the horn, the noise was filling the entire shop as the zombies, eyes locked on a Kevin meal, ignored it all.
He was at the top of the ladder watching the zombies enter three at a time. Then noticed that the tractor was surrounded by multiple dozens of the beasts, many of them banging against the cab. Kevin climbed onto the roof then kicked the ladder down.
When he stood up, he watched as Eula drove the tractor away with at least one hundred zombies surrounding it. As the tractor moved forward, it pushed and rolled over bodies, the zombies were grabbing onto the vehicle as if their life depended on it.
Her driving off was not part of the plan.
Kevin moved to the edge of the roof with the first backpack.
He said to himself, “She will come back. Relax. She will come back.”
He collected the second backpack while he watched Eula driving down the road at a speed that allowed the zombies to follow. And almost the entire mob of about one hundred and thirty did precisely that.
She turned a corner then disappeared along with her zombie rats. As the tractor slowly became quieter, Kevin started to look around to see that a mob of zombies was heading down the road from the freeway. They had walked up the offramp following the noise. They would reach the shop within five minutes.
He squatted down out of sight of them.
“Seven thousand people live here, that leaves seven hundred RedEye survivors. Half die from zombies leaving three hundred odd people, and half of them would have fled. That leaves one hundred and fifty people hiding out in this town. It is worth saving as many as possible. This is worth it.”
He heard the tractor returning from a different road. Eula was not driving slowly this time. She rounded the corner as quickly as the tractor could, plowed through dozens of zombies in transit to him, then parked the trailer right beside where he was standing. She opened the window then screamed at him, “Jump in the trailer now. There are thousands of them on the way.”
As if for dramatic effect, zombies appeared from every street corner and road. The roads in every direction were filling up with them. The tractor was a zombie magnet.
Kevin wasted no time. He threw the backpacks into the trailer then jumped from the roof into the trailer. He landed heavily and awkwardly, rolled forward, and smashed his head against the trailer wall. Blood instantly poured from his head.
He did a quick body check, other than the bleeding head, he was uninjured.
Eula smiled, fear and happiness beamed out of her at the same time. She got the tractor moving as soon as she saw the thumbs up from Kevin. Back on track, got the gear, now to find ten people and save them.
Eula drove the tractor as fast as it would go, which was not fast, but it was enough. Betty had given the directions for the places to start, keeping in mind the mindless following of the undead. While they were on the way, a five-minute trip, Kevin unrolled the sheet with the message written, “Back in twenty, get ready to run.”
They rounded the corner of the street that Betty had selected. Eula immediately blasted the horn as Kevin held the sheet message open for all to read. On the back of the trailer.
Kevin watched every house as closely as possible. He was not disappointed with the result. Every fourth house had a living, breathing human being poking their head out to look.
Kevin smiled and waved.
So far, today had been a good day, and he felt it was about to get much better.
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