Kim was hot.
She twisted to wipe the sweat from her forehead onto her sleeve. She knew she had done the right thing when she hid, but as the car’s trunk continued to warm in the late day sun she also knew she could not remain in here much longer. She wondered if anyone else had made it. She could still hear Erin’s screams in her mind. Erin was gone, maybe one of them now. One moment she was searching an abandoned car for anything of use, and the next she was hiding in it, listening to those things tear her last remaining friends apart. She blinked a few times, trying to clear more of her sweat from her eyes where it had run, again, stinging.
She listened. It had been a while since she had heard anything. There were no shouts, cries, moans, not even the shuffle of feet along the asphalt outside. Kim squeezed her eyes shut. She would wait two more minutes and then open the trunk. Carefully she twisted to her side and reached out for the emergency release pull, the glow in the dark yellow handle bright in contrast to the darkness of trunk. She started to count down from one hundred twenty.
At seventy eight she gave up waiting and pulled at the release.
Nothing happened. There was no sound of the latch giving way, no bright light as the trunk swung open. She remained, sweaty and hot, trapped in a metal casket.
She pulled again at the release, pressing upwards on the trunk with her other hand, hoping to force it open, but it remained closed and locked. She began to feel light headed. She had to get out and she had to get out now. Kim wrapped both hands around the release and, bracing her feet against the side of the trunk pulled hard. The plastic handle snapped, sending her back into the other side, slamming her head against the metal and forcing her to swear.
“Help!” Kim started to scream and bang her fists onto the trunk’s roof. She had to get out. “Please, someone!”
* * *
Garrett cursed as the walker turned and started to shuffle towards the noise. He eased the bow string back and moved as quietly as he could along the side of the highway. The walking corpse started to pick up speed. Another walker lifted itself from where it had fallen; it had been between two cars, hidden from view. Lurching forward, it joined in the pursuit of the banging and screaming.
He had missed that one on his walk through. All he had seen before was the one walker slapping its hand uselessly against the window of an abandoned car, trying to get at some nose maker inside. Garrett thought that maybe there was a cooler of rotting food that it had confused for human flesh. Either way it would have been an easy shot before it started to move.
The shambling corpses had surrounded the car, and the screaming intensified.. Garrett could not see very well and took a few steps closer. The angle of the embankment cut off his line of sight. He looked over his shoulder at the empty stretch of highway for southbound traffic, and the tree line beyond it.
But, did he know that voice?
Moving up the road he found a minivan and climbed up onto its roof. There were six of them now, the sounds of wet flesh pounding on the metal frame joining with the cries for help.
“Please I don’t want to die,” it cried out. He was sure he knew the voice, now. Garrett scanned the area. If there was anything to scavenge they would have to come back for it. One walker and it would be an arrow to the head. Two walkers, he could manage before they got to him. Three, he might be able to kite one around the cars after he dropped the other two. But six would require something a little louder.
Garrett slipped the arrow back into his hip quiver and pulled an iPod from the strap across his chest. The velcro made a ripping noise, ignored by the corpses as they continued their efforts to tear open the steel cage protecting the screaming woman. He pressed the power key, and while the device came online, slipped from the roof of the minivan. He set the device on the ground and glanced back up at the corpses. They were still making every effort, futile so far, to beat their way into the car. He hit the play button, and then kicked the iPod down the road, under the cars. Without seeing where it had ended its skid along the asphalt, he slipped out towards the road, and pressed his back to a car.
The modified speaker began to belt out a syncopated clapping followed by lyrics that Garrett just plain loved for times like these. “Buddy you're a boy make a big noise, playin' in the street gonna be a big man someday.”
“C’mon,” Garrett muttered as he lifted himself slowly and watched the first of the corpses turn its head towards the noise. The sounds from the trunk stopped as the next lines could be heard. She was smart enough to stay quiet. The first walker started to investigate the noise with the other walkers falling suit blindly. Garrett could hear them shuffling along just on the other side of the car, towards the noise. Gently he stepped, glancing between his goal and the corpses kept their attention. Usually they stayed when the songs switched over, but a few times they had given up during the fades. He reached the trunk, slipped his fingers under the plastic latching handle, and lifted.
The hatch swung up towards him, groaning as the dented metal frames no longer fit perfectly as they should. He watched the walkers as he pushed it up. They had started to pound on another car, trying to find the source of the noise.
He looked down to see Becca Whitmore looking up at him, her hand shielding her from the sudden blast of midday sun. Her tanktop was soaked through with sweat and it clung to her body tightly. Her shorts were filthy but she was every bit as beautiful as he remembered her to be. Five years had not changed a thing about her.