Chapter 07: Ceaseless

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Greg came awake in the darkness, a hand on his shoulder. He was lying on his back and when he snapped his eyes open, he stared up into the pale, grim face of Cage.

"They've come."

A bolt of terror shot through him. Who? More insane Marines?

"Zombies," Cage added.

"Christ." The terror seeped from him. Zombies he could handle. They were slow, dumb, easy to dispatch.

"What's going on?" Blankets rustled as Kyra sat up.

"We've got zombies inbound."

Cage straightened. He had a pistol in hand. His sniper rifle leaned against the wall next to the window. It still rained outside, Greg realized as he pulled the blankets aside and stood. Lightning split the sky, lighting up everything in a white freeze-frame. Beyond the rain-streaked window, he caught a glimpse of dark, shuffling figures. Greg turned and grabbed for the pistol he'd left loaded on the nightstand.

"How many?"

"At least a dozen. They wandered into camp a minute ago. There's only one entrance into this building. I suggest we prop it open and force them to funnel into it," Cage replied.

Kyra stood and grabbed her own piece. The trio of them, armed with pistols, left the room.

"How can we be sure they'll all come?" Greg shuffled beside Cage.

"They..." Cage hesitated. "They know. They'll come."

He said no more. They made their way down the bleak corridor, towards the front entrance. Greg and Kyra hung back while Cage continued forward. He pressed two buttons on the control panel next to the door. It slid open, letting in the rainfall, the smells of night, and of undead. Greg bristled at the ugly scent, his muscles tensing in grim anticipation. Cage stepped outside, raised his pistol, and fired three times. There were three thumps, muted by distance and rain.

He stepped back in and came to stand with Greg and Kyra. The three waited in morbid silence, pistols pointed at the door. A moment later, the first zombie appeared. A former Marine, armor bloodied and dented, empty eyes staring, unblinking. Greg fired and dropped him, still surprised at his own accuracy as he watched the left eye erupt in a plume of black gore. Another shambling corpse appeared, this one an ex-technician, and was dropped faster by Cage. The corpse thumped to the ground, freed of whatever dark energy still moved it.

Time passed in black, pulpy fragments. The zombies, drawn by the sound of their falling comrades, or of the smell of fresh meat, or whatever it was that drew them, lined up for their daily recommended dosage of lead.

When the last one fell, the trio waited with apprehension. Two minutes passed. There were no more groans, no more shambling bodies.

Cage shifted. "I think that might be it."

"They're blocking the door." Kyra waved a hand toward the pile of dead, stinking bodies.

"Should we move them?" Greg yawned as the adrenaline drained from him.

"Not now. I'll keep watch until dawn. Then we'll handle the corpses."

Cage put his back to the wall and slid down it to sit out the rest of the night. That was that. They went back to the dormitory. Greg and Kyra settled into their respective beds after considering whether or not to lock the door. Cage remained in the corridor outside, so they left it unlocked. Greg made sure to reload the pistol, then flipped the safety on and set it down with a heavy thunk on the nightstand. He yawned as he settled in.

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