Chapter 05: A Near Undeath Experience

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The brightness of the early morning sun and the clear blue skies couldn't relieve the nervousness snaking its way up Bruce's spine as he looked down on the zombies filling the parking lot beneath him. They reached up toward him with their rotting hands, mouths hanging open as they strained to lay hold of him.

Bruce and Dillion stood on a scaffolding used by window washers. They'd found it on the roof and had descended to the third floor. Although still a fair distance above the undead crowd, the two members of the living drew the full attention of the walking corpses below.

Bruce held the harpoon gun in his right hand and took careful aim. The gun made a sizable bang when the compressed air fired the sharpened barb toward the roof of the explosives building. The trailing line of cable followed in its wake like a snake fleeing from a descending eagle, uncoiling from the spool on the scaffolding platform to cross the distance between structures.

The harpoon struck the center of the roof and bit deep into the tar and asphalt tiles covering the building, and Dillion quickly took up the slack in the line, drawing it tight.

"Are you sure you want to do this alone?" Dillion asked Bruce again. He'd already questioned him about it over breakfast when they'd been discussing their plan to retrieve the explosives.

"As I said before, we shouldn't risk both of us," Bruce reminded. Having had some time to think about it since their earlier meeting, he'd come up with a few more reasons and spelled them out to Dillion. "Do you know which explosive to get? Can you identify primers, detonators, and fuses?"

"No," Dillion denied.

"I have to be the one to go," Bruce stated flatly. "Because of the angle, I'll need someone over here to pull the bag back up once it's full. Also, we're having to secure one end of the cable to the scaffolding, and I'm not sure how much of a drag it can take without pulling away from the building. If something were to go wrong, and we were forced to evacuate in a hurry, could the line hold both of us at the same time? We might pull the scaffolding away from the building far enough where the cable would dip within reach of the undead."

"Alright," Dillion relented. His tone clearly conveyed his understanding of Bruce's argument but also his distaste for the situation it forced him into. He busied himself with tying off the cable.

Bruce took several deep breaths and tried to slow his racing heart. He knew what needed to be done, but descending a zip line over the heads of a zombie crowd actively trying to ensnare him made it a stress inducing event. He'd had breakfast with his family, but one slip could put him on the breakfast menu for the undead.

It was a challenge for Bruce to not look down at the living dead as his eyes were naturally attracted to movement. He focused his attention on the harpoon lodged in the roof, concentrating on making the proper landing. Sufficient room was available for him to land, but if his momentum was too great, Bruce might tumble off the far side.

Deciding it was best to get moving before the sane part of his mind formulated reasons for him to not go sliding down a thin cable over a horde of undead, Bruce threw a bike chain over the top of the cable and gripped one end in each hand. Stepping off the scaffolding, he began his slide.

The movements of the undead were jerky and uncoordinated as they strained to reach him, swiping and clawing at the air with their hands.

Bruce let go of one end of the bike chain, dropping to the roof of the storage building. He bent his leg while leaning forward and left, rolling and shedding his momentum. The maneuver had the added benefit of allowing him to avoid the end of the harpoon protruding from the asphalt roof covering. The sharpened end had speared through the sheathing, but the opposing end could still impale him if he wasn't careful. He rolled hard across the rough asphalt tiles spread over the roof.

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