Sweat dripped from the tips of his eyelashes as he breathed slow and deep in an attempt to bring his heart rate down. Adrenaline led to bad decisions. Those were the kind of decisions he – or anyone else – could ill afford to make.
His peripherals caught sight of the girl crouched next to him. Girl was about right, too. Annalise wasn't yet eighteen years old, though the last six months had gone a long way to giving her a crash course in adulthood. She hadn't talked much about what had happened to her, back when all this began, and he hadn't been with the group long enough to feel comfortable asking any questions that would most definitely be awkward. He wanted to know, for example, how on Earth she got those scars down her arms. He knew for sure it hadn't been a Zed attack. If it had, then she wouldn't be there with him now. She wouldn't be gripping the hilt of her sword tightly enough to make her fingers go white and her scars stand out even more.
She'd found the sword in one of the houses she'd raided. From what little he'd been able to gather she'd been alone then, and he couldn't imagine anything worse than that. Being alone, knowing that death lurked in the guise of a Zed's teeth or fingernails. All it took was for your eyes to stray from the prize for a moment and you were...
“You listening, Ken?” Annalise asked, impatiently, and he immediately realised that wasn't the first time she'd spoken to him.
“Sorry, miles away,” he replied, unable to get the events of the previous day out of his mind. The group had found what they thought to be a suitable, safe location. Easily defensible with panoramic views, meaning that they'd have seen Zed's coming from miles away. They hadn't counted on there being a group already holding up there though, and they hadn't been particularly welcoming. They'd lost three of their group that day, all because they had not accounted for the evilness of their fellow man. “Well, I wish I was.”
“Wishes... Horses...” She was mature for her age, and Ken doubted that wasn't only to do with the fact she was having to survive in a world crawling with zombies. “As far as I can tell there's only two Zeds down there. I keep seeing the same two, shambling around, but that's it.”
“You know there's probably plenty more inside.”
“We don't have a choice, Ken,” said Annalise. “If we drive around this forest aimlessly for much longer we're going to run out of fuel. There's too many kids and people who can't fight to risk that. Plus Di's pregnant.”
“They're all going to have to fight at some point,” he replied, frankly. “Even the kids.”
“Not today,” she replied in a disconcertingly firm tone. “There could be more Zeds down there though. Just because only two are visible doesn't mean anything. They're sneaky bastards.”
“You want to head back and pick up reinforcements?”
“I want to bring everyone down here,” she said. “We're taking this hotel, Ken, even if it means we have to go room by room beheading the undead. There could be food down there. Tinned, non-perishable food. Now I don't know about you but that, coupled with the fact we need somewhere to regroup and get our bearings, is plenty reason enough.”
Annalise sheathed the sword in the holster upon her back and Ken replaced his weapon of choice, a sledgehammer, to the loop he'd made from a leather belt and had attached to his own belt. Both sword and hammer were incredibly effective when it came to putting an end to a Zed's brain functions. That was the only way to kill them – the only way that anyone knew of, anyway.
“Reckon we've only got a couple of hours worth of light,” he said as they made their way down the road, heading towards a position almost a mile away where they'd left the rest of their convoy.
“You're right,” she replied, glancing up at the sky. Clouds were rolling in and the formerly gentle breeze was picking up. Leaves and branches rustled eerily on either side of the road. “We should probably stay put over night. We'll be safe enough in the vehicles providing we keep a rolling, four man watch.”
“Aye,” he replied. “I just hope they've saved us a bite to eat. I'm bloody ravenous.”
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ZEDS (Season One) #ZEDSHorror
Survival is key. The natural instinct and will of man is to survive and without it, mankind will perish and the dead shall inherit the Earth. In a post-apocalyptic, zombie infested world, a group of survivors do what they can - and what they must...