Six

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“Please! I need help!”
I froze at the sound of a desperate voice coming from inside the diner. It wasn’t another of the infected who just walked in, it was a woman.
“Someone just attacked me! Hello? I need help!”

The bashing on the door stopped then, and I heard the zombie shuffling away. I felt relieved for a moment, but fear struck me when I realised the danger the woman was now in.
“Oh no. No!” she screamed as the shuffling grew faster. 
The bell rang, she had run back out of the diner, and when it rang again I knew the infected creature was close behind her. Tears welled in my eyes as I heard her screams fade as she ran further down the street.
“We’ve got to get out of here,” I said as I unlocked the door and slowly peered through the gap. “I can’t see the other one. He must have gone, too,” I shivered.
I wanted to run out of the diner and help the poor woman who had unknowingly saved our lives, but I knew it would be futile. Her far-off screams had already grown silent.
Slowly, I stepped out into the diner to look around, but saw no-one. I turned to look back at my friends, who stood frozen in fear.

Suddenly, I felt something plow into my side, sending me flying through the air and skidding along the tiled floor, slamming against the metal side of the fryer.
I could hear Jo screaming my name from the office and heard Wyatt and Ben running into the diner, but it was too late. 
The zombie had me cornered.
My heart raced as it ran towards me, bacon fat hanging out of the corner of its mouth. Its sinister eyes locked on me. 
The look in its eyes sent shivers down my spine. I saw pure festering rage and hunger burning in its pupils. Any trace of humanity had been ripped away, its soul as black as the darkest night.
I wouldn’t let my life end at the hands of this possessed being.

Empowered by my desire to live and full of adrenaline, I jumped to my feet and braced for impact, when I noticed the tray of boiling french fries Wyatt and Ben were cooking earlier sitting in the fryer next to me.
I grabbed hold of the handle with two hands, lifted it from the hot oil and swung it forward, hitting the enraged creature in the face. 
I watched in horror as it stepped backwards, shrieking in pain as the searing hot oil splashed into its eyes, causing its eyelids to bubble and melt away. 
Ben and Wyatt jumped out of the way of the creature as it fell backwards, waving its arms around wildly.
Within seconds, it was up again, running straight towards me once more. 
I screamed and jumped backwards onto the counter, trying to slide over to the other side to reach Wyatt and Ben.

The rancid corpse grabbed my leg and started pulling me towards it, thick drool dripping from its cracked lips as it eagerly awaited the taste of my warm flesh.
Wyatt grabbed hold of my hand, trying to pull me towards him, but I knew the monster was too strong.
I screamed in terror as its contagious mouth stretched open and sunk its teeth into my right leg. 
Frantically, I tried to kick it off of me, but its grip was too strong. 
Searching around for something, anything, I spotted kitchen knives sitting in a wooden holder on the counter, just out of my reach.
Letting go of Wyatt’s hand, I slid as the zombie pulled me closer, a string of saliva dangling from its mouth onto my leg as it prepared to bite down again.
I threw myself sideways and stretched my arm over to the knives, grabbing the handle of the biggest one. I knocked the holder over as I pulled out the knife and grabbed the handle with both hands, letting the hungry beast pull me down over the counter and onto the floor.
It made a chilling screeching sound as it pounced straight for my throat.
I threw my hands forward, stabbing it straight through its still searing eye with the knife.
Its body went limp, its screech quietening into a gurgle, followed by an eerie silence.

Catching my breath, I pushed the zombie off of me with shaking hands. 
“Eva?!” I heard Wyatt yell as he ran around the counter, unable to see me. He skidded around the counter, sliding to the ground next to me.
“I’m ok,” I breathed as I started to pick myself up.
“Thank god,” he sighed as helped me to my feet.
We backed away from the corpse as Jo emerged slowly from the office, cupping her hands over her mouth in shock.
“I saw him bite you,” said Ben.
He stood frozen behind the counter, glaring at me suspiciously.
“She’s fine,” replied Wyatt.
“They said anyone bitten would be infected. I saw him bite you,” he said again, this time moving forward towards me.
“I said she’s fine,” repeated Wyatt as he stood in front of me protectively.
I put my hand on Wyatt’s arm and moved out from behind him to face Ben.
“Really Ben, he’s right. I’m fine. He didn’t even pierce my boot, see?” I held my leg out to show him. 
There were teeth marks on my boot, but nothing more than that. The boots had saved my life.
“Show me your leg,” ordered Ben, unconvinced.
Wyatt stiffened in anger. 
“What are you gonna do, Ben? Kill her?” he yelled.
“If she’s been infected we’ll all die!” Ben yelled back.
I stepped in between them, removed my boot and threw it onto the ground.
“See?” I looked up at Ben, showing him my unharmed leg. “I’m fine. It’s ok. I knew I loved these boots for a reason,” I smiled nervously as I looked over at Jo, trying to lighten the mood.
The men softened again, but tension filled the air.
“We need weapons,” muttered Ben as he walked through the swinging doors into the back room.

I sat down at the counter, trying to calm myself.

My heart raced and my mind frantically tried to process what had just happened, but the rest of my body felt numb. I didn’t know whether to cry or throw up, but either way, I was alive.

For now.

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