Fall of the Risen – Week 2 – Clark
It was a long afternoon of pushing. It was only a truck but, if we came back without it, Marshall would be up our asses. Asking to take another vehicle to retrieve the first would have only made things worse.
Jack kept his promise and made me push by myself. For a while, at least. He sat behind the steering wheel whistling and smacking the side of the truck, demanding more speed.
Once he felt he had had enough fun, he jumped out and put his shoulder into the doorframe.
Within the first hour, Jack stopped, turned, and put a finger to his lips. He pointed to three zombies staggering around in the trees just off the road.
“Let’s keep going,” he whispered. “If we’re quiet we can just roll by.”
I stopped and looked at the trio of dead. So few, so slow, so stupid. Sunlight always seemed to give us an edge. Seemed to affect their focus. The night gave gave the advantage over to them, or at least it seemed that way.
I grabbed my machete out of the back of the truck and stepped off the road.
“Why’d I say anything?” Jack asked the sky. “If I kept my mouth shut we would have gone right by them.”
“Nah,” I said, causing the closest zombie to turn his head toward me. “I would have smelled them.”
With a few running steps behind my first swing, I took the closest zombie’s head off at the neck. There was an extra bit of satisfaction watching the headless body crumple to the ground.
The other two noticed me now and began to lurch over. I barked a laugh as one of them tripped over a fallen tree branch.
The one still standing lunged toward me, even though I wasn’t in range. Stupid.
I brought my machete down on top of its head, nearly cleaving the skull in half. With a kick to the chest I pulled my blade free and waited for the third.
It was still pushing itself to its feet, snarling at leaves and twigs. I stepped closer and pointed my machete at it..
“This is what keeps us behind walls?”
Jack still had one foot on the road. He was holding a baseball bat, but didn’t look like he had any intention of using it.
“Come on,” I said. “This one’s yours.”
“Nah. You go ahead.”
The zombie pushed itself erect and reached for me. I shoved my machete through its stomach, planting the tip of my blade in the tree trunk behind it. The zombie was pinned, but continued to claw in my direction.
“Don’t be afraid, Jack. You’ve got this.”
“I’m not afraid. I just not as obsessed about killing them as you suddenly are.” He took a step closer, but just a step.
“Jack. You can do this.”
“Anyone can do it. I’ve got nothing to prove to you.”
“Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself!”
“There’s nothing to—damn!”
I heard the sound of mud squishing behind me and then Jack launched himself forward, bat raised. I threw myself to the side, arms up to block the bat. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten so deep under his skin.
When I hit the ground I had a perfect view of the zombie who had just finished slipping off the end of my machete. It was much softer than I had anticipated. It had seen a lot of water.
It took one step toward me, arms out straight, when Jack’s bat exploded through the skull, raining chunks of skull and rotted brain all over me.
Jack stared down at me, chest heaving. He seemed to consider taking another swing, this time at me. After a moment he lowered the bat and turned back toward the truck.
“Let’s get back.”
My machete was still stuck in the tree. I winced as I grabbed the handle and felt eight kinds of gross ooze between my fingers.
When I got back to the truck we started pushing without another word between us.
It wasn’t long before we came across another pair of zombies. I stopped pushing and stepped off the road, machete in hand.
“Really?” Jack said. “Again?”
He couldn’t understand why I’d risk my life just to kill a few zombies that wouldn’t have noticed us go by. Before I had thought Jack was afraid of them, but as I looked at him I could tell he wasn’t. I don’t know what his objection was, but it wasn’t fear.
“I’ll handle it. You don’t have to come,” I said.
“No,” Jack said, grabbing his bat. “I’ll go.”
I killed one while he took the other. It happened the same way a few more times, without argument, before we finally approached Sisco’s gates.