PROLOGUE | Get Off Your Ass {Part 2}

Read Part 1 Here

‘This wasn’t a world for tears’ was going to be my new mantra. Alexis’ new personal credo. My new post-Z life was hell and there were no tears in hell. Tears were a luxury of the past. This world required action and anger. It required purpose and logic. Crying over a guy wasn’t an action that I cared to succumb to again. This wasn’t high school and I wasn’t some teenie-bopper who just got dumped by her beau. I had one job to do. Kill. Fucking. Zombies.

Duke drove the Humvee while I rode along in the passenger seat. Baby and Romeo followed us on motorcycles, the bikes were for a quick getaway and backup. Marquez had spotted the horde from the patrol boat and said they were coming up Highway 90, headed west. About an hour into the drive, we spotted them. They were heading straight for us, packed in tight on the marsh highway. There was no path for them to go but straight. Deviating from the highway would lead them into the marsh that lined the paved road, but in about a mile they would start getting to the camps that lined the road, the camps that led deeper into the neighborhoods, the ones we used for supplies.

We couldn’t tell from our vantage point, but it looked like there had to be at least a  hundred of them.  What were we going to do with all these damn zombies? Behind us was the bridge that crossed the Rigolets. Once they all herded onto that bridge, there wouldn’t be any other way to go but straight forward, straight to the camps and the neighborhoods that surrounded our compound. We couldn’t let them infiltrate that area.

“We’re gonna have to herd them to a secure area. We can’t take them all out like this,” Romeo buzzed over the radio. “It would be suicide.”

Duke cursed from the driver’s seat, “Fucking genius, I’ll just whip a secure area out of my ass.”

“If you don’t have anything to contribute, shut the fuck up, Duke,” Baby radioed.

“The fort!” I shouted into the walkie, ignoring Duke’s ignorant negativity. The fort, Fort Pike to be precise, was the only thing to the west of us that we could use. From what I could remember, the walls were high and it even had a moat.

“What are you talking about?” Duke asked me.

“Fort Pike, that sign we passed back by the marina, there is a fort surrounded by a moat right at the foot of the bridge. We can lead them there and pick them off from above.”

“Is it secure?” Romeo asked.

“Yes, from what I remember, there is only one way in, a small bridge. One of us can lead them in there and then quickly escape to the top level. They would be trapped on the inside, if we secured the main entrance.”

“Damn, girl, this could work,” Baby chimed in over the radio.

“It will work. One of us has to act as bait on the bridge and lure them to Fort Pike. The rest of us should go back to the fort and secure it and then draw them in from the upper levels.” I knew this would work. It had to work. If not, they would go into the water, which could potentially lead them to wash up on our shores, or they would march on through the camps into Venetian Isles rendering us unable to go on supply runs safely.

My adrenaline was pumping. We had this. The events of earlier were the furthest thing from my mind as I volunteered to be the bait. The others were stronger than me and could move boulders and wood to make sure the fort was nailed up tight. This is what I came here to do.

I got on the bike Baby was using and went straight for the stinking mass of rotting corpses. The noise of the bike got them all excited, their moans and shuffling walk increased in intensity. As soon as I was in their line of sight, their moaning reached a fever pitch and their pace increased to almost a run, if you call fast drunken stumbling a run. The dead from the back of the line were now pushing against the front to try and get to me.

I stopped in the middle of the bridge about fifty feet from the first of them. The wind was blowing in my direction so the rotting stench of death hit me full in the face. An underlying smell of piss and rotting fish fought for dominancy, but there was no mistaking the smell of death.

They shuffled madly toward me, their faces eager, mouths open, teeth gnashing, arms outstretched. I watched as one tripped and fell, its dead compadres trampling over the writhing mass of flesh without even a glance down. There was only one thing a zombie could focus on and that was fresh flesh. Right now I was that fresh flesh.

I screamed at the top of my lungs.

“Come get me!” I revved the engine loudly and for shits and giggles did a donut or two. They were in a frenzy. I couldn’t go too fast, or I would lose them, but I wasn’t letting them anywhere near me. I would take off at a fast clip, stop, and rev the engine only to do it again. I was the undead Pied Fucking Piper.

I got to the turn off that led to Fort Pike and gave a silent thank you to the heavens as I heard the shouts of my companions. Baby and Duke were visible from my vantage point. They stood on the upper level of the fort and were making a ruckus. I turned off the main road and revved my engine over and over again. A few minutes later the first of the zombies crested the rise at the turn off and followed.

I screamed a few more shouts of encouragement and the rest of the horde followed along like lemmings. I parked the bike at the foot of the bridge and raced over it and into the fort. Baby and Romeo climbed down from their perch on the wall and we all began yelling to get the Z’s attention and lead them into the central area of the fort.

“In here,” I saw Duke motion me toward an alcove and I ran in behind him. He shut a massive door behind us.

“There are two sections to this fort;, the inner section has an upper parapet with stairs. Baby and Romeo are going to lead them in there. C’mon, let’s go make sure it goes right.” He led me through an arch and up a set of stairs and I blinked at the harsh daylight as we exited the stone structure onto the parapet, which was covered in grass. I looked down into the outer circle and zombies were already streaming in, following Romeo.

Baby had taken up position on the opposite wall and was screaming her head off, leading them in.

“Once the last of them get into the fort, we have to get down and close the doors behind them. I’ll get the doors, you watch my back,” Duke said, and I nodded, staring in amazement as all the Z’s streamed into the stone structure just as we planned. There were a few that didn’t quite make it across the bridge, but we could handle them later.

When the last one crossed into the inner circle, Duke and I rushed down the stairs and he slammed the doors shut and placed a heavy wooden crossbeam across the latch as if we were locking up for an invading army.

I heard a thud and Romeo and Baby jumped from the inner wall to the ground near us. It must have been a good fifteen feet, but they landed like cats on their feet. I would have broken my ankle. I envied their physical abilities.

“There are stairs in there, so they’ll probably make it up to the top of the parapet, so let’s secure this outer door,” Baby said out of breath as she ran over to us. We followed her across the outer chamber to the bridge and it took both Duke and Romeo to close the giant doors.

Baby and I turned and faced the few stragglers that were milling on the lawn, who were now aware of our presence. One was a child zombie, I hated the children. It was a little boy, at least I thought it was, since most of his flesh was missing from his face and his clothes were dirty and blood stained. I slipped the tactical tomahawk I was now using as my go-to zombie killer out of the loop on my belt and slipped off the cover.

Baby’s shoulder brushed mine as we moved as one toward the approaching zombies. I went for the kid first–pull back, swing, chop, repeat. The sharp blade penetrated the soft skull easily and the kiddie-Z fell to the ground. I was on the next one before its body hit the ground. This one was taller so it was a little hard to get a good skull breaking chop in, so I kicked first taking out its kneecap to bring it down to my level. It took two more front kicks to finally break its forward momentum. His skull was split seconds after and I moved on to the next one.

Kill. Fucking. Zombies.

As the last one fell to Baby’s deadly hand, the boys had the fort secured and were looking disappointed that they had missed the fun.

“Now that we got them in there, what do we do with them?” Romeo asked.

“Fuck if I know,” was my reply. “But, damn, that was crazy.”

I felt alive, I felt in control. Zach had done me a favor by sending me out on this run.  It still hurt like shit that Blake left, but I didn’t have the luxury to let it affect me. This wasn’t a world for tears. This wasn’t a world for love. This was a world where the only thing you could do was fight and I liked a good fight.