Chapter 15

Submitted by Zombieman on Fri, 09/15/2017 - 02:07

The sharp pain in his side made Max want to give up and just stop fighting. It seemed like the knife above him hung in the air for minutes, no more like hours, while he thought over his options. Flashes of childhood memories played through his mind, riding bikes with his friends, shooting out a street light with an air gun. Throwing a Frisbee for his dog two days before it was hit by a car and died. The world was paused, he had time to rethink his whole life, his childhood, his college years, his marriage. Sarah. Dead now, or undead, stuck in the attic of his home. What would become of her? Would she starve without blood and flesh to feed on? What about the kids? The kids brought him back. Without him the kids had no one. There might be a time to sacrifice himself for their lives, but this little ambush was not that time. Anger welled up in him and Max bucked and twisted under the zombie man named Charlie, one thrust of his hips and the zombie flew up high enough to make his stabbing motion turn into a flesh slicing graze. Max grabbed on the zombie's arm as the cut sliced down at him and then pushed the arm backwards into the zed's chest tumbling it off of him. Instead of letting the zombie get away from him, Max did the opposite, wrapping the man's legs in his own and tangling him up so he could not move or stab with his knives effectively. One of the blades opened a cut on the front of his shins and then the other punctured his jeans and went into the floor, when the zombie raised that hand to thrust again the knife slipped out of his hand to land near Max's gun.

Twisting sideways Max tried to flip the zombie over with him, it only partially worked, the zombie rolled a bit sideways, then quickly recovered. Max pulled his legs up out of reach of the zombie's remaining knife and then crawled quickly towards an overstuffed chair in one corner of the living room. Charlie used the break to lunge towards the gun and knife on the floor instead of going after his prey.

Max grabbed one of the table legs from the coffee table and stood up, turning to face his foe. The table leg was still attached to one plank of the coffee table and Max stood up to face the zombie with an awkward makeshift weapon, the zombie, on the other hand, ended up facing Max with a revolver.

“No!” Max shouted raising his club to try and deflect the bullet, he also raised one leg and cringed backwards slightly in a comical effort to make himself a smaller target.

Charlie pulled the trigger on the gun and the hammer fell on an empty chamber, clicking softly in the sultry living room air. Disgusted the zombie threw the gun away from him, it landed in the formal dining room, hitting the table then sliding off of it onto the chair at one end. Snarling, Charlie stalked towards Max. “I will kill you for them. You didn't have to kill them. It was just a baby!”

Max straightened and shook his club, the board fell off, leaving a wicked looking screw sticking of the far end of his weapon. He changed his stance slightly to meet the oncoming zombie and didn't reply to the thing's words.

“What you can't talk? What kind of man kills a baby?”

Max stepped backwards towards the kitchen opening to avoid the zombie's first slash with the knife, and then swung the club, smacking the zombie in the side of the head, where it stuck with the screw piercing the hard bone of Charlie's skull. The screw was not deep enough to kill the thing, but the blow seemed to daze it, which gave Max a chance to run into the kitchen. The woman had shaken her head and shoulders out of the sink and was twitching violently on the floor in front of it, spreading black blood all over the linoleum. Max's first instinct was to run around through the other exit from the kitchen into the dining room and grab his pistol, then he spotted the shotgun where he had left it at the top of the stairs. He veered for the weapon as Charlie bellowed in rage and tore after him from the living room.

“You are fast enough I give you that much...” started Charlie, only to be cut off by the blast from the shotgun as he entered the kitchen. The shot hit him dead center in the stomach, just below the rib cage, the best shot Max could get off in a hurry as he juggled the gun. Charlie went down in a heap, his legs not working anymore. The zombie let out a mournful moan as Max raised the gun and stepped closer. Crawling towards the woman twitching on the floor. “Elaine...” he said touching the zombie woman's leg, then Max shot him in the head spraying blackish grey matter flecked with shards of too white bone and brown hair all over the front of the cabinet doors. A second later Elaine received the same treatment. After checking to make sure that the zombie baby was really dead Max moved to the stairway to check on Stewart. She was lying at the bottom of the stairs, moving slowly, not quite conscious. He went down to her and gently pulled her into the basement away from the stairway, straightening her limbs and looking for damage other than the huge welt on her forehead.

Turning on his radio Max said, “Amelia, Tom?”

“Yeah Max, is everything okay? Are they there yet?” came Tom's voice.

“Here and gone, there is kind of a mess in the kitchen, so come back but keep the kids down by the tire swing okay. I don't sense any more zombies around.”

“You guys okay?” ask Amelia.

“Stewart got hit in the head pretty hard.”

“She all right?”

“She isn't dead. Then she fell down the stairs. Backwards.”

“Oh my God is she okay?” yelled Amelia.

“She isn't dead or bleeding or anything, just not conscious.”

“We'll be right there!” Amelia said.

Max used the few minutes until they arrived to practice sensing how far away they were from him. He noticed that each of them was slightly different and as his friends and family got closer to him they came into sharper focus. Each glowing bright light of energy was unique, he assumed the one in the front on the left hand side was Amelia, she had the van moving fast, which made the person in the car following her Tom. The children seemed to have a more colorful glow about them, except for the one he tagged as Kenny, his swirling pattern was not as bright or colorful as the others.

Funny, Max thought, but I can't see the vehicles at all. He made a mental note to try and identify everyone by their unique glowing form so he could tell who was where when they were out of his normal sight range. His extra perception seemed stronger now too, as if fighting the zombies had made it grow, a thought Max found oddly disturbing.

“Oh...” Stewart moaned as she opened her eyes. Max was startled to see there was bright red blood in whites of her eyes as she stared up at him, “Did we win?”

“'We'?” Max kidded.

“Ugh, we lost. I was afraid of that. So this is what being a zombie feels like. God it feels worse than when I was alive.”

“We won, I mean I won while you took a little nap.”

“What happened?”

“You got hit in the head with a frying pan. Don't you remember?”

Stewart struggled to sit up, Max helped her and held her steady while she raised one hand to softly touch her forehead. “Nope, don't remember much after going upstairs. Damn, not feeling so right.”

Max looked into her eyes, “Your eyes are bleeding.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. What does that mean?”

“Hell if I know. We passed my medical ability when I got bit by the dog.”

“So you remember that. Do you know what the date is?”

Stewart tilted her head sideways and asked, “Do you? C'mon ask me an easy one.”

Max shook his head, “Yeah I can't say what the date is for sure anymore either, I think it is maybe the fourth? Has it been only six days?”

“Could be.” Stewart leaned closer to Max, looking in his eyes. Max didn't back off from her, wondering if something was wrong with him, maybe he took a blow to the head that he didn't remember and she was examining the wound. Her kiss took him by surprise and rocked him back onto his buttocks.

“Wha-what are you doing?” he sputtered.

“Damn, not the reaction I was going for. Is it the eyes? I mean I can't see them, but bloody eyes would be kind of a turn off.”

“No, no! It isn't that, it's just, well. I don't know...”

Upstairs they heard people climbing up the porch steps and Amelia's voice admonishing the kids to go to the tire swing and not inside the house.

“Forget about it Max. C'mon, help me up so I can go get cleaned up in the bathroom before I gross the kids out too.”

Woodenly Max complied, getting to his feet then helping Stewart into the bathroom. Jessica came into the house screaming “Daddy! Oh God! Daddy where are you?”

“Down in the basement Jessica! Down here!” His daughter ran down the stairs and threw herself on Max's back just as he closed the door to the bathroom. Behind her Amelia was on the stairs one hand held to her mouth.

“I tried to keep them outside.”

Max cut her off as he turned around, pulling his sobbing daughter into his arms, “It is okay Amelia, really. No problem.”

“But the dead...”

“They've seen just as bad the last few days, I would rather not have had them see more, but it isn't your fault. Did the boys come in too?”

“No, Tom told Kenny and Seth to go to the tire swing and they went. As far as I know Cory is still in the car and Nick is upstairs on the porch.”

“Dad?” Nick called down the stairs.

“Yeah buddy?”

“You okay?”

“Sure, you can come down if you want to. Amelia could you go check on Stewart? She got hit pretty hard.”

“Is it bad?” Amelia asked.

“Not terrible, just a little gross.”

"Okay, I will check on her and then come back and get you cleaned up too, you are bleeding all over you know."

“Dad!” Nick yelled as he ran across the room to hug his father.

Amelia ducked into the bathroom where Max heard her whispering to Stewart. He took his kids over to the couch and sat them down, Jessica stayed on his lap, arms around his neck and Nick burrowed into him from one side.

“Whoa, whoa, what is all this? I am fine.”

"You're bleeding everywhere!" sobbed his daughter.

She buried her head in his neck and cried. Nick looked at him helplessly and shrugged his shoulders, “We were just worried. We don't want anything to happen to you. I was afraid, we never went away from you since we left home.”

Sitting there with his kids next to him Max pondered for a moment before replying, “I know and don't think that I would risk anything to put you two in danger. Sometimes we have to do things that might be a little dangerous. This wasn't any worse than at the hotel, or when Stewart and Tom went into the hardware store. I had to take a little risk to make sure something bad didn't happen later.”

His daughter pulled back from him, eyes red and wet from crying, snot dribbling out of her nose, she pointed one finger at him accusingly, “You could have made Tom stay instead! You didn't have to stay! Why didn't you make Tom stay!”

“Jessica,” he admonished moving her off of his lap onto the couch next to her brother. Max slid off of the couch onto his knees in front of them, he kept one of each of their hands in his and continued, “You know that would not be right. I know Tom would have done it. Just like I know Amelia would have stayed with Stewart. But it is like this...let's say we have chores to do, like doing the dishes. What if I made you do the dishes every day, all the time and let Nick just play instead of doing his share, would you be happy?”

Jessica shook her little head from side to side, “But this isn't the dishes.”

“No, it is worse, it is a bigger chore and if I don't do my share, then that isn't fair. If I don't do my part other people might get grumpy. If you had to do the dishes every day while Nick played, you would be complaining to me in three days.”

She shook her head, “I like doing the dishes, I will do the dishes for everyone every day if you don't have to go away from me again.”

Max looked at Nick for help. Unfortunately, at only ten years old, he didn't have much to offer. “It wouldn't be fair for dad not to go once in awhile, everyone has to take their turn. Like at the hotel when we stayed up with the adults, I was doing my share. It is important Jess.”

Jessica still wasn't buying into their logic and Max was saved by the bathroom door opening.

“I can't believe we still have power.” Amelia said as she came into the room. Stewart trailed behind her, a wash rag held to her forehead. “We are going to get some ice for that bump on her head and then rig some sort of headband there so her hands are still free. She can keep an eye on the kids while the rest of us clean up the house.”

Max nodded then turned back to his kids, “See? We all have to do our part. I have to go clean up the kitchen and you have to go outside and play on the tire swing, okay?”

Jessica nodded reluctantly, then whispered, “Daddy, there was a baby up there. It was dead.”

“I know honey, I know. You just keep your eyes closed until I get you outside, I will give you a piggy back ride okay?” Max knew all the parenting books Sarah had given him to read might have come in handy now, he didn't really know how to comfort his daughter in this situation. Hell, Max thought ruefully, if any of the parenting books had included a chapter on 'zombie apocalypse,' I probably would have read them to begin with. Instead of offering her some fatherly advice or lying and telling her 'everything would be okay' he just held her tight and trudged up the stairs.

The kids were told firmly to stay outside while Tom, Amelia, and Max cleaned up the mess he had made in the kitchen. The first part of cleaning up involved Amelia bandaging up Max's cuts so he would stop dribbling blood everywhere. Stewart was given a cold cola and sat down in a rocking chair overlooking the swing. The picture would have been serene if not for the pistol belted to her hip and the shotgun she was using to gently rock the chair back and forth.

“This really kind of sucks.” Tom said while mopping the floor a third time. Amelia had loaded the dishwasher with all of the contaminated plates and pan that had been on the counter and was now washing the rest of the utensils and surface areas with a bleach solution.

“I know Tom, I am sorry. It wasn't a good idea. We should have ambushed them in the next house and just come back here.”

“No, no it isn't that, I didn't think of that either, it is just that I don't know how long we can stay here. What if we have to do this every day? Or twice a day? How long before we have a line of zombies at the door banging to get in? Then we are back at MAC Co. under siege.”

“Maybe it won't be that way,” said Max thinking back to the days early on when they had been stuck in the office surrounded by the undead.

“This time, don't leave me if you bail out!” Amelia said with some humor in her voice.

“Never, we are in this until the end, together forever right?” Max said.

“Maybe.” Amelia said.

“Just maybe?”

“Max if it comes down to leaving me again to save the kids, then you leave me to save the kids.” She turned from the stove and looked at him, “I guarantee if I have to leave you to die to save them I will.”

“Oh, this turned serious all of a sudden. I agree though.”

“That goes for me too. But we better not separate on a whim. It better count for something. How long do you think we can stay here Max?”

“Until the zombies come. Then we pack up and go.”

“Anything close by now?” Amelia asked.

Max concentrated, he had been casting out for any wandering zombies periodically while they cleaned up the kitchen. Stewart was on watch from the porch, but she was having some cloudy vision, so Max was keeping an eye on things as well. “Nothing I can sense, nothing close or headed this way.” He didn't add that he could sense to the edge of North Platte now, a good three miles away. Before his little dust up this afternoon, his range had been much more limited.

“Something wrong Max?” Amelia asked.

“No. Well, sort of. You take for granted I am not insane and can sense the dead, that is a leap of faith I think.”

“If you hadn't proved it to me, I wouldn't believe you,” she replied.

“Well, okay, I guess, but now it is like I can 'see' farther. Since the fight, I mean.”

“Why?” asked Tom.

“That is what I am wondering.”

“It is the zombies, you know they can do things we can't, the fast ones like Nancy and that guy Jimbo from your house. They moved so fast! I've only seen Stewart move that quick before.”

“I think I get it from them.” Max confessed, waiting for the two to disagree.

Instead, Amelia just nodded and Tom looked thoughtful. “Could be,” he said, “I thought maybe Stewart was just that fast because, you know, she is a cop.”

“It is getting dark. We need to get the kids in. Is the floor good enough Tom?” asked Amelia, looking at the spotless linoleum.

“I guess. I don't think it will ever be clean to me again.”

“Can you get blankets to hang over the windows? I want to keep any light from attracting, well anything, living or dead to us tonight. And we are going to have to use the kitchen to get the kids fed.” Max said.

“Yeah and my old man had duct tape I the shed too, I will go grab a couple of rolls and tell the kids to come in.” Tom opened a cabinet door and pulled out a long narrow box of aluminum foil, he handed it to Max, “We can do the windows with this first, then put blankets over them too, kind of have a double protection. If we let the kids onto the porch they can look and see if they see any light, it could be a fun job for them while helping us out.”

“Good idea, let's do this,” said Max.

Hours later everyone was sleeping in the basement, with the exception of Stewart and Max, who were up in the kitchen, keeping watch by peeking through slots cut into the aluminum foil and by occasionally walking the porch around the house. Stewart wanted first watch in case her head injury was worse than it appeared, she said she had heard somewhere that sleeping was bad if you had a brain injury. Max wondered if she had ulterior motives, but for the first couple of hours they barely spoke. The silence was not uncomfortable, they had played a few rounds of cards between paroling the porch. Stewart lost more than she won and after the last hand, where she lost somewhere near ten thousand dollars to Max she had given up in frustration. Max rose from the table and went to the back door.

Stewart perked up and asked, “Something?”

“No. Nothing. But I want to go outside on the porch for a bit. You coming?”

“Count me in. You want another pop?”

Max checked his watch, it was a few minutes after midnight, “Sure one more, and I think that will do me until we get Amelia and Tom up. Mountain Dew me.”

Stewart gave him a wry look in the dim light, “Maturity, that is what I see in you.”

They went out onto the porch and sat down on a couple of chairs with a table in between them. The chairs were around the side of the house looking back over towards where the zombie family had come from earlier. The large utility light was still burning over the huge gravel driveway, but from where they sat it was cut off by the corner of the house, casting the whole area in darkness.

“Anything?” Stewart asked, handing Max, his drink.

“No. You just asked me that.”

“I know, but don't you get a longer ranger without any walls in the way?”

“I hadn't thought about it. I guess I do. The town still seems to have a lot of zombies in it.”

“Any people?”

“I haven't looked.”

“Still there were a lot of people here, where did they go?”

“Evacuated, like Tom's parents. Maybe.”

“There were a lot more zombies here too. Most of them moved on. You worried about something?” Stewart asked.

“Yeah. Many, many somethings.”

“Well, what is your top concern right now? Zeds?”

“No, not really. I guess I have faith in my ability to detect them. There are not any close by.”

“So what has you brooding then?”

“I'm not brooding.” Max said, taking a long pull at his can of soda.

“Look it was one quick kiss. I was out of my head, I di...”

“I liked it.”

They sat in silence for twenty or thirty seconds.

“That is good, right?”

“I don't know, my wife died four days ago. I never thought I would be the kind of guy who would jump into bed with another woman this quickly.”

“Who said anything about jumping into bed? What kind of person do you think I am?” Stewart said with mock anger.

“That kind of person. You don't have anything holding you back. I am the one with baggage. On the one hand I want to do what is right for my kids, for my friends, even for Seth and Riley. On the other...”

“Sex.”

“Well yeah.” Max said blushing in the dark.

“You're cute when you blush.”

“Fuck.” He had forgotten that while he seemed to be able to sense the proximity of anyone near them, Stewart seemed to have eyes that could see in the dark.

“Max when we got back to your wife did you make love to her?”

“What kind of question is that?”

She shrugged, “Well, we were holed up in your office for four days, then spent a couple days at your house, then three days on the road that is nine days, at least, without any relief. From a purely biological perspective you have to be getting, well antsy by now. Unless you choked the chicken somewhere along the way?”

“Stewart! Good God! I don't even talk to friends like this!”

“I am just saying, none of us has had much time for privacy in the past week and a half, the 'buddy system' we have sucks for getting some alone time to take care of our other human needs. I supposed I adopted you as a partner before we ever left your office. Now I find myself attracted to you. Maybe it is just the lack of sex that is driving this. Maybe it is something else.”

“Yeah, like what?”

“You ever hear of 'earthquake sex'?”

“Sure, where the sex is so good the earth moves.”

Stewart laughed and asked, “That ever happen to you?”

“Well, no, not really. I mean the earth didn't move or anything.”

“I am not talking 'good sex,' I am talking of a phenomenon where an earthquake causes regular people to get horny and bump their uglies together soon after an earthquake hits them. It is like surviving a horrible catastrophe brings out a zest for living and procreating.”

“I've never been in an earthquake, but you are saying this apocalypse has that affect on us?”

“It is just a thought. I know from experience that any high-adrenaline rush makes me want to have some long, pounding sex afterward. In the last week and a half I've had more close calls than in the rest of my life combined. The pent up frustration is almost painful.”

“Well, I don't really have the same context. This past week I guess I have seen too much sorrow, I don't think I am wired like you, I definitely could live without any more 'Oh my God we are all going to die!' moments.”

“So? Nothing then?”

“I didn't say that. There is something to what you say, but I have to just deal with it. Like I said when we started talking, what kind of man would I be to jump in the sack with a woman four days after my wife dies?”

Stewart waved her hand through the air dismissively, “The regular kind I'd say. I know boys. They attend a funeral in the morning and are on the prowl at the reception an hour later. It is the way you are built.”

“Ha! I've heard of women who are the same way.”

“Well, all I am saying is we are in a dangerous spot and we should take what pleasure we can, when we can.”

Max looked over at her and their eyes locked into place over the table. Slowly he nodded and she smiled across at him, standing she rose and came over to him, where she knelt in front of him, “How are my eyes doing?” she whispered, “Not too gross?”

“No, they've cleared up...” she interrupted him with a kiss, he hesitated a moment then allowed himself to respond with a passion that started to scare him. Squelching down the part of his mind that was trying to protest he gripped Stewart and pulled their bodies together.

Their hands began to roam over each other's bodies like silent serpents, exploring every crevasse, Max ended up with his hands on the sides of Stewarts's head pulling her face into his as continued to kiss, she used her hands to undo his pants and slide them down to his thighs. Drawing back briefly, Stewart stripped off her shirt and sports bra in one swift motion then slammed forward into Max again. Their lovemaking was not slow or leisurely; they crashed together like the tide on the rocks and Max was finished all too soon. Stewart was not, and after allowing him a small interval to recover she insistently pull him back into her and brought herself to a finish that ended in a scream of ecstasy that she tried to muffle. Afterward, they lay side by side on the porch, their clothing wadded up and propped under their heads as pillows. As they lay looking at the corn, the cool night air caressed their bodies.

“Stewart?”

“Yeah Max?”

“You might be right about the earthquake thing.”

She laughed softly, “Max that was just an excuse for something I wanted. You.”

“So what now?”

“What do you mean 'what now'? Now we keep living, get ourselves set up somewhere and just keep going. We just do not stop.”

“This won't change anything?”

Stewart reached over and ran her hand down onto his groin, “Max, this changes everything. But it doesn't change our goals.”

The third time they made love it was a prolonged, slow session without the haste or roughness of the earlier times, however it was just as passionate. As they lay once again in each other arms Max suddenly started.

“Is something there?”

Max nodded, “Someone is out there. In the field. I didn't notice them until now.”

“Fuck.” Stewart rolled over and scrambled to pull on her clothing. Max joined her in the effort, pulling on the light shorts and shirt he had been wearing, but forgoing his shoes for his shotgun. Stewart didn't stop until she had all of her weapons back in place, which took another twenty seconds.

“Where is it?”

Max pointed out towards the road, about halfway between Tom's house and the next neighbor over. “There.”

“Too far for me, I can't see that far, not even with these eyes.”

“It isn't moving. I think there are two more of them back a little ways. Yeah, I am sure of it.”

“What are they doing?”

“Just standing there. Should we go out?”

“No. How far away are they, a half mile?”

“Maybe. That seems about right, didn't Tom say he had neighbors a mile away on each side of his house?”

“Yeah, we better get them up. Then you and I can go out and investigate. I damn sure am not setting up another ambush in a house for them.”

“You go, get the others up, I will keep an eye on things here.”

Stewart turned and strode back into the house while Max watched their visitor with his mind. The thing in the field lifted one of its arms, then dropped it. On impulse, Max did the same thing. The creature did it again. Max repeated it. Then he raised his other arm and the zombie mirrored his action with its arm. The zombie retreated across the road and appeared to sit down just inside the cornfield on the opposite side.

Amelia and Tom came rushing up the stairs with Riley on their heels. Stewart was not behind them, to Max's glance Amelia said, “She had to use the bathroom. Said she didn't want to die with a full bladder.”

“There are three of them out there,” the other two nodded, “I think we are going to go see them. Maybe talk to them this time instead of trying to kill them.”

“Like Jimbo?” asked Amelia.

“Hopefully.”

Stewart came through the doorway as quiet as a ghost and Max explained what had happened with the zombie when she was gone.

“So it was signaling us? I don't like it.”

“Maybe it just wants to talk.”

“Maybe it just wants to lure us in and kill us on the ground it chooses.”

“Not all of them are bad,” said Max.

“No just ninety-nine percent.”

“Here is what I think we should do. Me and you go out.” Max said indicating Stewart with the tip of his shotgun, “and then I go ahead thirty feet or so, but stay far away from him and see what he wants. You will be close enough to cover me and you can see things better in the dark. Plus you are a better shot than I am.”

“I don't like it.”

“Tom, Amelia what do you think?”

“I don't like it. Every single time we ran into super zombies we got into a big fight. Only that one time did Jimbo and that other chick run away.” said Tom.

“Max you think you can talk to this one? If you stayed far enough away so Stewart could cover you, I think that would be okay, like in the center of the road. The zombies couldn't get close without you guys seeing them first. I take it Tom and I get to guard the house?”

“Well, that is what I was thinking...” Max started.

“You guys are babying me.” Amelia said, “Tom and Stewart did the store, you and Stewart laid the ambush. I have fought my way through zombies before, I can hold my own against them.”

“It isn't that, just at night...well Stewart and I have the...I don't even know what to call it, 'talent' maybe or 'abilities' that make us able to handle this particular situation. Tom was just the one who went with Stewart last time. Next time we'll let you and Tom handle the ambush.”

Amelia snorted, “We'll see. I am not that stupid.”

“No, really if you want on the front lines, we will put you there, no problem from me!” said Stewart.

“Okay. Tom and I will stay here, next time I go.”

“Fair enough,” with that Max and Stewart headed down the driveway towards the paved road. When they got to the end of it, Stewart stopped.

“Fucking little manipulator!”

“What?”

“Amelia! We were talking about if we even were going out here to meet these guys and she turned it into an argument about her not going into danger, which sidetracked the whole argument, now look where we are. You and she must be pretty pleased with yourselves!” Max could tell she wasn't angry, if anything she seemed to grudgingly respect what Amelia had done. For Max's part, he hadn't even noticed what had happened.

“I don't think that is what she did, I mean not on purpose.”

“Yeah, look where we were when the vote to go or not was tied. She subverted the democratic process. I tell you what if I get a clear shot at a zombie and it doesn't say exactly the friendly words I want to hear, I am plugging it.”

“Just let me talk to it first if I can.”

The two started walking down the paved road towards the waiting zombie.

“Waving your arms at each other might not mean anything. Or it could be a new age zombie trick to lure in hapless innocents.”

“We are not 'hapless innocents.'”

“I bet everyone thinks that, then...wham! You come to dead with your head deep inside your former best friend's guts.”

“Always the optimist. Okay, you stay here, let me go up another thirty feet or so and call down to it.”

Max proceeded alone down the moonlit county road. He stayed near the dashed lines painted in the middle of the road and kept his shotgun aimed close, but not quite dead on to where the zombie was waiting. Once he reached the zombie's position on the road he turned towards it and called out.