Read Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) Online

Authors: Jay Brenham

Tags: #Zombies

Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) (7 page)

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
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Matt smiled for the first time all day. “Twenty-five years old? You probably get to stay up until ten now”

“Sometimes 10:30.” Jenna kept a straight face.

A scuffing noise made Matt look toward the window. It sounded close.

“We should get that classroom with the broken window blocked off,” he said. “It’s the only point where the building looks different. It’s bound to attract some attention and we don’t want the infected to be able to access the building.”

“Yeah but the door opens
into
the classroom,” Taylor said. “We can’’t even barricade it.”

Matt thought for a minute. “Do you have any pennies?”

Taylor and Eric shook their heads.

“I think I do,” Jenna said, reaching into her bag. She pulled out a small change purse and tossed it to Matt.

“Thanks.” Matt turned to Eric. “Can you stay here with Jenna while Taylor and I go take care of the door?”

“Not without a weapon.”

“Not gonna happen, Eric,” Taylor said. “It’s just not. I’’m not going to leave a man I don’t know—not to mention someone who’s just experienced a huge amount of trauma——alone with a woman taking care of a newborn.”

Matt could tell from Taylor’s tone that he wouldn’t budge. And when he phrased it like that, Matt had to admit Taylor made a good point.

“Alright, everyone stick together then,” Matt said. “This won’t be noisy enough to make the baby cry.”

“How are pennies going to help us lock the door?” Taylor asked as they headed toward the room with the broken window.

“Didn’t you ever penny one of your friends into their room?”

“Judging by the fact that I have
no idea
what you’re talking about, I would say I didn’t.”

Matt grinned. “I learned how to do it at camp when I was younger. We used it to prank each other. You put pressure on the door and slide pennies into the slot between the door and the door-jamb. Once you have a stack of pennies above the lock and another directly under it, there’s enough pressure on the latch that no one can open the door from the inside. But at the camp, the doors were pretty flimsy, so it was easy to get pennies between the door and the jamb. These doors are made of thick wood. It’ll be harder to make space for the pennies.”

Taylor looked skeptical. “You think this will actually work?”

“I know it will, unless we can’t find something to pry the door with.”

They walked down the hallway until they found a janitor’s closet. After looking through mops and cleaning chemicals, Matt finally found a small utility bar inside a drawer. It was metal, with a curved head for pulling nails at one end and a tapered edge on the other.

“Just what we need,” Matt said, raising the bar triumphantly.

Once they got back to the classroom with the broken window, Matt closed the door and wedged the thin end of the bar between the door and the jamb, right below the handle.

“Pull back on the bar,” he said to Taylor. “I’ll stack the pennies between the door and the jamb.”

“Alright, just tell me when.”

“When.”

Taylor pulled back hard. The door was sturdy and didn’t want to budge. That would be an asset if it came time to testing Matt’s old camp trick against infected attackers. Matt stacked as many of the pennies as he could and slid them in the space between the door and the jamb, just above the lock. Then he had Taylor do the same thing again, this time with the bar repositioned beneath the handle.

Matt tried to jiggle the door handle. It didn’t move. “Give it a try,” he said to Taylor, stepping out of the way. More out of disbelief than anything else, Jenna, Eric, and Taylor tried the door. No one could get it open.

They must have made some noise because an infected man wearing a white and black baseball t-shirt stuck his head through the window, his eyes darting rapidly. A minute later he vaulted through the opening, landing in a predatory crouch. Matt could see him through the door, which had a window set in the middle, but he ducked around the corner before he was spotted, motioning for everyone to be quiet.

Jenna ran down the hall to the room they’d been in earlier. Matt, Taylor, and Eric stayed put. Taylor stood a few feet from the door, gun up, just in case the man made it through. They heard the muffled thumps as the infected pushed furniture around. Finally, he tried the door handle. The handle didn’t turn but the infected man kept trying.

“It’ll hold,” Matt whispered.

“I’ll relax once those pennies prove themselves. I’m not gonna put my life in the hands of a prank,” Taylor shot back, also in a whisper.

Matt didn’t reply. Obviously Eric wasn’t the only one Taylor didn’t trust, but he wasn’t offended. The way Taylor operated was smart: he only risked himself when he had some control of the situation or if he had no other choice. In the hospital, he’d been willing to put his life on the line to make sure those babies got with their parents but he wasn’t going to trust an unknown man with a knife or some flimsy pennies if he didn’t have to.

Something hit the door and all three of them jumped. They could hear the sound of a chair hitting the small rectangular pane of glass until it shattered. Because they were around the corner Matt couldn’t see what was happening but he heard the infected reach through the window and paw at the door handle.

They stood there for almost ten minutes waiting for the infected to break through but it never happened. The pennies held. It may have been a prank, but it was a prank that worked.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

 

The classroom got darker as the sun started to go down. Taylor checked his watch nervously. It had been over an hour, closer to two, and Steve should have been there by now.

When he wasn’t checking his watch, he sat completely still, jaw clenched. Matt had only known Taylor for a few hours, but he could tell a few things about the man: he could be trusted; he was honest; he was a survivor; and he was concerned about his friend Steve.

“Why did you become a cop?” Matt asked, hoping to ease the tension in the room.

Taylor seemed to shake himself, bringing his attention back to the present. “I’m not sure, really. I was in the military and I got preference points on the test to become a cop. It seemed like a natural career progression at the time.””

“You’re real cool under pressure and don’t take no shit. I bet you were infantry. Marines or Rangers,” Eric offered.

Taylor gave a little chuckle. “No, nothing like that. I was in the Navy.”

“A fucking SEAL! I knew it! It’s that cold ass attitude you have. When that mother fucker came into the classroom, you were ready to pop him. I fucking knew you must’ve been special operations or something. The way you waited to see if he got through, that was smart. Your every day grunt wouldn’t have done that. They would have smoked him and then every infected in town would know where we were.”

Taylor’s smile widened. “Nope, I wasn’t a Navy SEAL. Never even thought about it. I was a Corpsman. I worked in the sick bay of a ship, handing out cold medicine and Motrin. Nothing special.”

Looking disappointed, Eric closed his mouth. Then a knowing smile slid over his face. “But now you’re a cop. You’re probably SWAT or something.”

Taylor shook his head. “I hate to disappoint you, Eric, but I’m just a normal cop. Do I like guns? Yeah. Do I like to shoot? Fuck yeah, and I’m pretty good at it, too. But I’ve never been the sort of person who defines myself through my job. I always cared more about spending time with my family than spending more time on the job trying to be on the SWAT team.”

“A fucking family man? For God’s sake, I would’ve been better off out there alone than with Deputy Dad.”

“You’re more than welcome to leave,” Taylor said coolly. “You came running to us, remember? I won’t pretend to be something I’m not and I won’t stop you from leaving. I’ve been a patrol cop my entire career. And I’ve never shot anyone until today.”

Matt raised his eyebrows. Taylor had seemed so calm after he shot those people, much calmer than
Matt
had felt after the killing he’d done.

Eric glanced at the door but made no move to leave. At the same moment, they heard the squeal of tires and the sound of a car hitting something. People began screaming, the sound so loud it could be heard above the gunshots that punctuated it. As one, they looked in the direction of the noise. From the window they could see a few straggling infected people, loping toward the sound of the crash. The sound of gunfire seemed to get closer and suddenly a medium height man with black hair and a bullet proof vest came over the wooden fence in a yard across the street. He started toward the dumpsters, where they’d parked the patrol car earlier. He had a small black bag slung over his shoulder and an AR-15 that looked nearly identical to Taylor’s weapon.

Taylor’s chair fell to the floor with a thump; he was already halfway to the door.

He paused, one foot out the door and an agitated expression on his face. “That’s Steve. Be ready at the front entrance. I’ll pull the car around.” He tossed Eric his knives and was gone.

Matt glanced back at the window. A number of infected people were running at Steve. They were all dressed like Eric, their faces painted in exaggerated white and black smiles. A serious looking clown with hair in tiny rubber-banded bundles came from Steve’s left side and tackled him to the ground. Instead of fighting against the tackle, Steve rolled and came up on his feet. He shouldered his gun and put two rounds through the chest of the infected clown before he could get to his feet. Three more infected clowns came from Steve’s other side. There were three gunshots and all three fell to the ground.

Steve whirled, continuing toward the dumpsters where he was supposed to meet Taylor. He looked completely unfazed by what had just happened.

The fence that Steve had climbed shook as the infected collected against it, until finally its posts cracked and gave way under the pressure. A plume of dust rose into the air as the fence smacked into the sun-baked ground. A few infected stumbled and went down, but the mob of infected continued moving forward, trampling them without hesitation.

Matt heard the exact moment when Taylor, shooting as he ran, came around the side of the building. Steve turned toward the sound of gunshots and started running toward Taylor. Instead of taking the time to point Steve in the direction of the car, Taylor just started walking towards to it, emptying his magazines into the infected as he went.

Suddenly Taylor’s weapon fell silent. “I’m out,” he yelled to Steve.

Like a football player throwing a lateral pass, Steve tossed Taylor the black bag he was carrying. Taylor slid one magazine out of the bag and into his gun and put two more in his pocket, while the steady pop of Steve’s gun kept the infected engaged. As soon as his weapon was loaded, Taylor tossed the bag back to Steve, who also reloaded while Taylor began shooting again. They moved as a team toward the car, alternating their fire in order to keep the infected back.

Despite their heavy firepower, Matt could see that they would eventually be overrun if someone didn’t get the patrol car around to the front of the building.

“We need to move,” he said to Eric and Jenna. He was standing but he didn’t remember getting out of his chair.

The door they’d closed with the pennies was still shut, but the next classroom door was open. There were shards of glass lying on the floor from where Taylor had broken the window to get outside. Matt pulled himself carefully through the window and started running for Taylor.

Matt felt something tug at the back of his shirt and he spun around, his hammer already cocked in one hand. It was the infected man in the baseball shirt; he must have climbed back out of the locked classroom. Matt swung the hammer into the side of the infected man’s face. He heard a crack, and suddenly the man’s jaw was hanging askew, but he kept coming. Blood was pouring from the man’s mouth and face and Matt backpedaled, knowing he needed to keep the infected blood away from the wound on his arm. He couldn’t let himself become so focused on killing the creature that he forgot about the danger of infection.

There was a flash of black as Eric jumped from the broken window and pulled one of the blades from his pockets. He sank it deep into the infected man’s shoulder before the man had time to turn around.

Eric pulled his hand away from the knife handle like it was hot.

“I stabbed someone,” he whispered, a shocked look on his face. He took a few steps backward, as if trying to distance himself from his actions, but the movement only triggered the predatory instincts of the infected man, who lunged after him.

As soon as the infected man turned, Matt swung his hammer at the back of the infected’s head, driving it into the skull again and again until the man dropped to the ground and stopped moving.

Matt straightened up and pulled his eyes away from the body of the infected man to look at himself. There was blood spattered along his forearms and the front of his shirt.

A noise at the window made him look up. It was Jenna, waiting for someone to take the baby so she could climb out. Eric was standing a short distance away, still looking shocked.

“I’ve gotta get the keys from Taylor,” Matt said. “Their only chance is if I can bring the car around.” Eric took the baby while Jenna jumped out. They headed toward the sound of gunfire. Eric pulled the knife from the infected man as he passed by, wiping the blade on the back of the dead man’s shirt while trying not to look at him.

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
8.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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