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Authors: Richard Murray,Richard Murray

Killing the Dead (14 page)

BOOK: Killing the Dead
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As the lead zombie reached half dozen paces from where I stood I leapt at him. A sweep of my arm knocked aside his arms as I struck his temple with my hatchet. Bone crunched and a small amount of fluid splashed, as it fell without a sound.

The second was upon me, its hands formed into claws dug painfully into my left arm. I lashed out with my weapon cutting deeply into the side of its neck. A second blow jarred against the spine. A third heavy strike and the spine severed, the zombies head fell to one side and it lost whatever rudimentary control it had over its body.

The whole fight had taken less than a minute and I stood breathing heavily, eyes darting back and forth looking for any other threat. Finding none I turned my attention to the hands clasped painfully to my arm. I prised the fingers apart and inspected my arm. The skin was thankfully unbroken. I would need to get a jacket soon, it was not a good idea to be fighting the undead in a t-shirt.

“That was incredible” said Pat as he walked over to stand beside me. “I really need to get some kind of weapon too”. I flashed him a grin. I had enjoyed it a great deal.

Mike just gave a grunt frowning as he got back into the van. I was rapidly coming to the belief that our friend Mike was a bit of a coward. He had been nowhere to be found when Lily was being attacked in the house and had happily hung back here. It was also painfully clear from the way he was looking at me that he didn’t like my showing him up. I smiled. I could use his ego and cowardice against him.

The pumps were still working and had plenty of fuel available. Once more the fact that we still had power in this area was to our benefit. I left Mike to drive up to the pumps and fill the van and gestured Pat to follow me to check out the building.

The glass doors opened manually and currently stood closed. I banged on the glass a couple of times to see if anything stirred within but all seemed quiet. I pushed open the door and led the way in.

Inside the building was in disarray. Someone had been through already. The till stood open with the money missing. Someone stupid had already been through already then. We checked the aisles. It didn’t take long and the only things we could find were various chocolate bars and sugary junk. I looked behind the counter and found a small box filled with plastic bags. I opened one out and threw in some sweets and chocolate bars for Maggie. The cigarette racks and booze shelves were all empty.

Mike called to us from the van, we climbed back in. Pat took his seat in the passenger side whilst I sat in the back once more.

“We are full and ready to go.” Mike said.

“Village shop first and then supermarket?” I asked the guys.

“Sure. Best to take it slow though, no idea what it will be like in the village proper” Pat said.

I nodded thoughtfully. Even a small village would likely have a couple of thousand people. Someone had also looted the petrol station and could still be around. I sat back against the side of the van barely registering the vibration as the engine came to life. We would need to be wary.

 

 

Chapter 12

The village was a curious mixture of old stone buildings and their newer brick counterparts. Nestled between two large hills, the houses were neat with well tended gardens and streets. It was large enough to warrant two public houses and a supermarket. Few places of business were close by, so the majority of people who lived here would have had to commute to work.

We reached the village centre with no bother. Few zombies were around, those that were in the road had made a few new dents in the front bumper but caused no problems. Mike pulled up outside the village shop that stood opposite a pub with a sign above the door that proudly proclaimed it to be the ‘Black Bull’ public house. I felt a small surge of excitement as I saw the vehicle parked in front of us.

We clambered out of the van and stood in a loose clump in front of the van. Mike wanted to check out the pub but after a brief argument agreed that we would do that last. I pointed to the vehicle and told them we needed to check that out too.

“Why do you want to look at a mobile book van?” Pat asked.

“It’ll have some books I want to look at, besides we can pick a few up for Maggie to keep the poor kid entertained.” I told them. Mike looked disinterested and just shrugged his shoulders. Pat agreed to help me after we had been through the shop.

Hatchet in hand I led the way to the shop. I paused once again at the doorway and tapped loudly on the door. Silence from within. I stepped through the door and immediately saw why. The shops small selection of fresh vegetables, were spread across the floor slowly soaking in the large pool of blood that came from the lady who lay quite dead before the counter.

It seemed a great deal of blood for a zombie. I crouched beside the body. The lady who must have been in her late fifties when alive lay face down on the floor. She had a number of small cuts and bruising about her face. At least two of her fingers were broken and the side of her skull had been caved in by some kind of blunt instrument. She had fought her attackers but I was certain she had not been undead when her skull was crushed.

“No booze or cigarettes. Money is gone too” said Pat from behind the counter. The looters were murderers as well it would seem. We searched the shop for anything we could use. Mike found some canvas bags and we managed to fill them with some canned goods that had been ignored. In the back storeroom I found a couple of large twelve kilo bags of potatoes and some candles. I carried it all out to the van.

We were wary now. The lady in the shop had been dead a short while, likely killed in the last couple of days. The looters were possibly holed up in this village or somewhere close. After a brief consultation Mike went into the pub whilst Pat came to help me with the book mobile as promised.

The book mobiles had been around for years. Run by the local council they ensured outlying villages could have access to a library without actually needing to build one. They were also used to bring the libraries to areas with a high elderly population. The selection would be smaller but I hoped we would find something of use.

A mobile library was the length of a single decker bus. It had no need of windows along the side as the interior was filled floor to ceiling with shelving. A section at the front would contain the driver’s area and a counter and terminal for people to visit and check out any books that they fancied. A door sat approximately half way down the side of the vehicle. Pat and I made for that.

The door was open with bloody swipe marks around the edges. We approached cautiously as Pat gestured that I should be the first to enter since I had the weapon. I couldn’t really fault the logic and would not relinquish the hatchet so I readied myself to enter.

Once again I found myself knocking on the door frame. No sound came from within. I entered swiftly, head swinging painfully from side to side as I tried to check everywhere at once. All was quiet and I released a breath I hadn’t even been aware I was holding.

I called Pat forward and he came inside carrying a few bags from the shop. I directed him to the children’s section at the back of the vehicle and he started pulling books from the shelves for Maggie. I moved quickly through the shelves of the non-fiction side. I pulled any book that I thought would be of use and stuffed it into a bag. In a short time I had two bags packed full of books. I grunted as I lifted them and carried them across to the van were Pat was already moving items around, stacking things neatly.

“You mind going to grab Mike?” Pat asked as he took the bags from me.

“Sure, back in a minute” I said and headed to the pub.

The front door was locked so I followed the path around to the back. As I walked I could hear a voice calling for help. I approached the back of the building carefully, alert for danger. I peered around the corner and saw Mike struggling to hold a door closed, moaning and damaged limbs came from behind the door. Straining against the door Mikes eyes widened as he saw me.

“Help! Quick!” he shouted.

“How many are there?” I asked approaching slowly.

“Four or five, does it fucking matter. Help me!” Mike yelled, voice rising in panic.

I readied my weapon and stepped up behind Mike. I struck the back of his knee with the blunt side of the hatchet and jumped back as Mike screamed and collapsed to the ground. The door opened and a pack of zombies spilled out scrambling over one another to leap on Mike. His scream of shock and pain turned to agony as the first teeth found his flesh.

As three of the zombies feasted, two turned their attention to me. I struck one above the eye, shattering bone and splattering brains and blood across the floor before me. It fell without a sound. The second was faster. It leapt towards me in bounds. I took a swipe and caught it high on the shoulder. It was thrown off balance but recovered quickly.

I swung again and knocked another lunge aside with a blow to the zombies right elbow. The damage was ignored and it just kept on coming. I was starting to think that I had made a mistake when Pat came barrelling around the corner with a brick in each hand. The zombie went down with a final moan as Pat beat it about the head with the bricks.

Mike’s screams had stopped as his throat was torn out and he lay still. The three that had been feasting on his flesh turned their attention to us. Pat screamed in rage as he saw his friend and ran at the undead as he used his strength to good effect. As he distracted them I was free to assault them from the side, I rained blows upon their skulls. Soon all was still.

Pat sat amongst the carnage, beside his friend as tears ran down his cheeks. I leant against the wall as small shudders ran through my body. I wanted to laugh and shout. I had to fight to keep the grin from forming as I tried to look solemn and upset for Mike’s death. I reached out and placed a hand on Pat’s shoulder.

“You should go wait by the van.” I said.

He brushed a hand across his eyes before looking at me. “Why? We need to bury Mike.”

“Mike was killed by zombies. He is going to come back as one of them. You don’t need to see that.” I said. “You go wait by the van and I will deal with it so you don’t have to.”

Pat sniffed and looked down at his friend. He slowly climbed to his feet and mumbled a thank you before leaving me alone with just the dead.

I let the smile come now. I had stuck to my word. I had not killed Mike myself. I glanced around at the zombies and quietly chastised myself. I had been too eager, too sure that I would be able to handle the situation and almost gotten myself killed. I was incredibly tempted to let Mike rise before killing him again but wasn’t sure how long it would take. Instead I settled for leaving him. It would amuse me to know that he was wandering around as a zombie, that stupid arrogant grin wiped off his face.

As I approached the front of the pub and the van I struggled to assume a more sombre expression. I was brought up short as I rounded the corner. Pat knelt on the road, an unfamiliar youth in jeans and a hoody stood beside him with a knife pressed against his throat. A second teen who seemed barely old enough to shave had been hidden pressed against the wall a baseball bat at the ready which he swung at my midriff. I fell to the floor hatchet dropped from my hand as I doubled over in pain gasping for breath.

I felt myself lifted roughly to my knees to face the youth with the knife. He seemed to be the leader. A third man jumped down from the back of the van and spoke to the leader. “Not much in there, some food and kid’s books is all.”

“Better than nothing. Take the car back and tell Jacko we’re coming in with the van” the leader instructed. “We’ll do these two and then head back.” He added. His lackeys laughed and the one from the van trotted off to a silver car at the far end of the street.

“So. Who the fuck are you?” the leader asked as the car headed off towards the opposite end of the village.

“Just passing through my friend. Nothing to concern yourself with” I said as I regained my breath and received a blow to the head from my captor.

“We aren’t your fucking friends” he snarled into my ear.

“Ok. Sure.” I said, head ringing.

“We were just looking for some food” Pat spoke quietly.

“So you were gonna steal our food?” asked the leader.

“We had no idea it was claimed I assure you. If we had then of course we would have left it alone.” I told him raising my hands in what I hoped was a placating gesture.

“Well you did take it so now, we are going to have to punish you” said the leader, a grin stretched across his face. His lackey laughed along. I cocked my head to the side, I was sure I had just heard something beyond the laughter. Realisation dawned. I would need to stall a little.

“I don’t suppose you are recruiting are you?” I asked the leader who just sneered.

“Why the fuck would we want you.” His lackey laughed. “Tell you what though. Tell us where you have been staying and who else is with you and we might kill you quick.”

“What makes you think we live anywhere other than the van?” I asked.

“You are too clean to be living in a van. You wouldn’t need kid’s books if you didn’t have some people stashed somewhere” He said. Clever bastard.

I could hear a scrape on the path behind me. I concentrated on making myself as small as possible. “Well sorry to say boy, but we are not going to tell you anything” I said with a grin.

Leader’s face flushed a deep red and he opened his mouth to speak just as the newly risen Mike fell on my captor from behind, his teeth sank deeply into the youths shoulder ripping through the material of his hoody.

Released from his hold I pushed myself to the side grabbing the baseball bat as it fell from the limp hands of the youth and flinging it towards the leader all in one smooth motion. The bat missed and banged against the side of the van as the gang leader ducked. The knife removed from his throat Pat leapt to his feet and began raining blows about the young leaders head and shoulders in a rage.

The screaming from my captor had been finally silenced. I darted in and grasped my hatchet from where it lay on the floor. “Thanks pal” I said to zombie Mike before burying the hatchet deep into his skull.

BOOK: Killing the Dead
2.08Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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