Fall of the Risen – Week 25 – Clark
Within seconds of Gianni hitting the ground, he was swarmed by zombies. Out of sight, but not out of earshot. The screams were something a person never got used to. Gianni was gone, and there was no saving him this time.
Not that I had time. Behind the funnel, Jansen and I were locked in a grapple. Someone was kneeling beside Dave, telling him to stay calm. Ferguson sat off to the side, rocking slightly, and staring at the hand that no longer had a thumb.
“Dawn!” Jack yelled. “They’re coming in.”
Jack was standing at the mouth of the funnel staring at the mass of dead that were slowing filing in. The first one would be through in seconds.
My momentary distraction gave Jansen an opening, which he used to ram a knee into my gut. I would have doubled over if he hadn’t been holding me up. I wanted to pull away, and maybe go puke my guts out, but I held on even as he swung me around and slammed me into the side of the overpass. There wasn’t much air still in my lungs, and that knocked the rest of it out. I gasped.
“Shouldn’t have come back. There’s nothing left here for you.” He punched me in the ribs to accentuate each sentence. “What did you come back for anyway? These people? You think they’re worth it?”
The first zombie cleared the funnel. Dawn stabbed upward under the chin and let it fall just behind her. Jack looked down at the zombie, then at the funnel.
“We need to move it back!” He said.
Dawn and Jack started to pull the funnel backward. Ferguson fought his way to his feet and started to pull with his good hand.
Dave, who had worked his way into a sitting position, directed the security guards who were still awake to help.
Jansen watched all this happen, and I felt his anger rise.
“People are worth it,” I said with a wheeze. “Not you. But most people.”
I reached toward the funnel with one hand and tugged. It wasn’t moving at all because of me, but it pissed Jansen off, and that was good enough.
He gave a cry of rage and shoved me to the ground.
“Stop!” He called out to his security team. They either didn’t hear him or ignored him. He looked down at Dave with disgust on his face. “You’re letting this happen?”
“A good leader knows when he’s beat.”
“How would you know what a good leader would do?”
Jansen put his hands on the funnel and shoved against everyone else. He wasn’t strong enough to move it back the other way, but it was enough to stop it from moving.
“What are you doing?” Jack cried out. “You’re going to get us all killed.”
“It doesn’t matter!”
I stared at Jansen. The man was a waste of a human being. He’d rather die and take everyone on the overpass with him than admit he was wrong.
No one deserved to die at the hands of a zombie, not even Jansen. It was even worse to cause someone else to be killed by the dead. No matter the circumstance, it was just wrong.
I ran at Jansen and put my shoulder into his back, forcing him up and over the funnel wall. He disappeared immediately in a sea of clawing hands and snapping teeth.
The others looked at me, but I had no excuse. In that moment, I was as bad as Jansen.
I grabbed the funnel and started to pull. Everyone joined back in until we had it positioned just on the cusp of the downhill, just like Jack had mentioned a few weeks earlier.
It worked much better. Just like Jack had predicted, our team could just make a kill and let the zombie fall. The slope of the overpass, and gravity, took care of the rest.
Members of the security team joined in, taking turns at the funnel entrance, or sitting and spotting live zombies in the amassing pile below us. Just when that pile threatened to become a real problem, something incredible happened. The people of Sisco opened the inner gate.
These people weren’t used to traveling outside and killing zombies. They were the people that enjoyed the protection of a place like Sisco. They helped grow food, maintained buildings, patched up injuries, or helped to coordinate all the work that the settlement needed. They weren’t warriors, but every single one of them was a survivor.
The gate opened and bodies were dragged away. One by one at first, but soon carts showed up and the bodies disappeared faster. When one of the corpses turned out to still have a little bite left, it was dealt with quickly.
We started to need breaks from what we referred to as ‘the kill floor.’ It was just an hour’s rest and some water, but it reinvigorated us and there always seemed to be another body willing to take a turn.
The night turned into morning, and the morning into afternoon. The dead were still coming, but it was no longer a sea of bodies. It was barely a trickle.
“What’s that?” Jack asked, nodding toward the schlepper.
“Oh, shit! I forgot about Murray.”
We called for replacements on the killing floor and made our way down the overpass, killing the few zombies that turned our way as we went.
I jumped up onto the schlepper and peered down into the small window. It was completely covered in a mix of mud and blood. Jack cleared away any of the dead that took interest in us while I fumbled with the handle and opened the door.
Murray was still inside. Vomit covered his chest and his head lolled to the side, eyes closed.
“Poor old guy,” I said. “His heart just couldn’t take it.”
I reached in and started to pull him out. He screamed and I thought I was going to have my own heart attack.
“Get away from me you soulless bastards!” Murray screamed, hands in front of his face.
He looked at me and Jack, squinting against the afternoon sun. Realization dawned on him that we were live humans and that we had no plans to eat him.
“Did we win?” he asked.
Jack and I laughed as I helped him out of the schlepper’s cockpit. “Come on, Murr. Let me show you my home.”