Copyright 2010-2011 by A.P. Fuchs. All rights reserved.
46: Plastic Swords
The blade’s hard plastic tip connected squarely with the zombie’s temple, knocking his undead head to the side. It was enough of a distraction for him that I was able to push the creature to the side, get past him—only to be surrounded by three others: one in front, one to the left and right. I kicked to the right, getting myself some distance from the closest undead. The one on the left grabbed me, her filthy hands and sharp nails digging into my arm. With a quick twist of the waist, I managed to bring the plastic sword across the head of the one in front of me. His skin was so rotted around the neck that the blow was enough to knock his head off his shoulders. Talk about a break.
The light coming in from the door to the shop was mostly covered in shadow, undead bodies blocking the sweet scene of the empty street beyond. The girl who held me on the left pulled my arm close to her mouth. With a shout, I jerked my arm free from her grip, felt a hot sting across my bicep, adrenaline quickly wiping the pain away. Like a madman, I swung the sword left and right, hacking my way through the undead like a safari guide plowing my way through the jungle. Of course, the blade didn’t cut them down, but was sturdy enough to send them a step to the side, buying me enough room to push my way past them to the street beyond.
A gunshot went off in the distance. I whirled around; Jay sprinted toward me, lumbering zombies on his tail, something small and dark in his right hand.
When he caught up to me, he said, “I hate this.” That was all. I think he was my new King of the Understatement.
“We gotta go,” I said.
Jay dipped his head between his knees for a couple seconds, took a deep breath, then straightened. “God be with us.”
We ran down the street, the calls and moans of the dead rising behind us. A skyport was just off to the side down the next street. We headed there and hoped that folks had left a vehicle or two parked inside when the outbreak hit.
Each zombie that came our way, our first goal was simply to avoid them and run past. Except for the two near the skyport. The walls around the light gray, spiral-shaped garage were too high to climb. Two undead blocked the entrance though I doubted they actual realized that’s what they were doing.
Jay and I cautiously approached them and when the dead old geezer with skin that flaked off his face like dry pastry saw me, he raised his arms and came right at me, moving much faster than expected. I wound up my sword, ready to hit him as hard as I could.
A loud CRACK echoed through the air, rocking my insides. The old man’s head burst open at its top in a spray of blood and bone, and he fell to the ground. Another CRACK and a thud and the other undead was down, too. Jay stood by the one at his feet, raised his hand and showed me the gun.
“Where did you get that?” I asked.
“One of the dead had it. He got hold of me and as we wrestled, I noticed he was once an Enforcer. Old school, if he’s still using bullets. Could have been a ceremonial thing, for all I know. Doesn’t matter. I noticed the gun in the holster so fought into him to get my hands on it. Fortunately, it was still loaded. Blew his head off, too.” He said that last bit with a grin that made even me unsettled.
“How many shots left?”
Jay cracked open the old revolver and checked the cylindrical chamber. “Two.”
“Better keep them as last resort, then.”
More undead appeared down the street.
“Come on,” I said.
We jogged into the skyport and began the long, winding ascent through the lot, looking for abandoned zipscars or skyvans. On the third level, we found an old “hauler” tucked into the corner. Haulers were kind of like large skyvans meant for families with too many kids. They were also used as repair vehicles around the city for skylights and hoversigns.
Jay and I approached the vehicle with caution. He held the gun aloft; I had my sword ready, and suddenly felt like a kid trailing his daddy on a hunt with a toy just so he felt like could actually contribute something even though that wasn’t true.
We kept our heads below the back windows, one of us on either side of the rear door. With a slight nod to each other, we quickly peeked into the hauler’s windows.
It was empty. But was it open?
Jay checked the handle. Locked. We each took a side of the hauler and checked the other doors.
We met up again at the vehicle’s rear.
“I need a break,” Jay said.
There was only one thing to do, then. I took the plastic sword and smacked it against the rear window. The sword bounced off.
“Nice,” Jay said.
“Hope this Sword of Omens isn’t trying to tell us anything.”
“A ‘Sword of What’?”
With a quick flick of his arm, Jay used the gun to bust open one of the back windows. He reached in and unlocked the door from the inside.
We got in and closed the door and caught our breath in the dark. After a few minutes, my racing heart finally slowed, and a sharp, heated sting ripped through my arm. I touched the skin and felt fresh blood on my fingers.
“Oh no,” I said quietly.
Jay cleared his throat. “What?”
“They got me.”
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