Everything that stands. Part 4.
Will and Luther raced forward to where Nita and Joshua had just been but over the handrail they could see only the dark outlines of the street below. A heavy foot from overhead brought their attentions back to where they were. Countless creatures streamed down the walkway and had almost reached the level above. The fire exit on that floor burst open releasing yet more beings out into the night.
They took off, spiralling down the metallic shaft at a pace that their pursuers had no chance of keeping up with and they were soon at the base of the staircase. A wire mesh fence greeted them with a padlock on the inside keeping the entrance firmly closed.
Will aimed his gun at the lock but Luther put his hand on the weapon and lowered his friends aim. ‘That lock might give us a bit of time.’ Luther said. ‘Let’s go up a level and jump down.’ Will grimaced at the idea but with a nod agreed and the two of them ventured back up one flight. ‘You go first kid and I’ll be right behind you.’ Will nodded in agreement and lowered himself over the side. He landed and instantly took in his surroundings. The alleyway was shrouded in shadows and even after a few moments his eyes would not adjust to the pitch. To his right a dark puddle had formed on the pavement and it slowly leaking towards his feet. The sound of teeth scraping against bone turned his stomach and he dreaded the sight that he knew would hail him just hidden in the darkness. Luther landed next to him and immediately flicked open his lighter to see what had caught Will’s eye.
The flame flickered in the breeze which cast dancing shades of light across the two bodies at their feet. Nita’s right arm had shattered on impact, the Humerus jutted out the top of her shoulder and her legs were spread apart broken at inhuman angles. Joshua laid across the top of her, his legs also a bloody mess and he appeared to be kissing her. As the light enveloped the scene Joshua became aware of his audience and lifted his head. With a sickening rip Nita’s lower lip came with him and he greedily consumed the tender meat. With a devilish grin Joshua crawled over Nita’s corpse and reached out for them. Before Will could react Luther stepped forward and put his laces of his boot through Joshua’s face. The rest was lost to Will in the shadows but the sound of Luther’s boot caving in Joshua’s skull could not be hidden.
‘Luther.’ Will waited for sounds of violence to stop. ‘We need to go.’
Luther stepped over the carnage he had partly created and took a deep breath. ‘Let’s go.’
From the heavens light cascaded down onto them as a break in the cloud cover revealed the Moon in its full glory. The stairwell behind them came alive with the horde that now pressed against the padlocked fence. They backed away from the bulging wire mesh and crept towards the street. Things moved in the far reaches of the alleyway before them, drawn towards the sounds of their fellow beings bashing against their metal cage. Legs shattered beyond repair Nita dragged herself towards them, her half eaten face oozing blood down across her chin giving her the appearance that she was smiling at them. With one last look of pity Will aimed his firearm and pulled the trigger. The bullet caught Nita just above the left eye, shattering the back of her skull and ceasing her movements forever. The two of them spun and ventured out into the city.
The flashing orange light from their goal was easy to follow through the abandoned city streets and they were soon testing the armoured car’s locks. With a pleasing click the driver’s door opened, Will flung it open and glanced inside.
‘I’m gonna need your lighter.’ Will offered a hand for Luther to give him the Zippo.
‘No time.’ Luther pointed to the gathering crowd approaching them. He pulled the passenger driver side door open and climbed into the back. Will followed his example and climbed into the driver seat. Like a snake Luther worked his way up through the hole in the turret on the roof. Will searched around the steering column looking for the keys but they did not hang from their dock, so he began to look around the cabin but the poor light prevented him from seeing the interior.
‘Luther!’ He called back into the rear. ‘I’m gonna need that lighter.’ Will noticed movement ahead and took in the scene in front of him for the first time. Forms had begun to sidle out into the Luna lit road, their shambolic movements slowly starting to unite into an increasing mob. Then the clouds did what they do and took away the natural light, the hellish picture somehow taking on an even more sinister look.
Will reached back and placed a hand on Luther’s leg. ‘I’m gonna need a distraction too.’
Luther’s hand shot down to meet his and thrust the lighter into Will’s. ‘What do you need me to do?’ Luther replied.
‘Shoot everything that stands.’ Will flicked the lighter on and immediately began searching for the keys. Above him violence barked out its automatic cry.
Luther lost all sense of time as the bullets cut apart the first ranks of the Living Dead, then the second row, and the third. Each wave bathed in an orange glow briefly before they fell, the road soon becoming littered with the peppered carcases of so many unfortunate souls. His focus on all that approached his line of sight and yet so many shadows still cast across hidden foes from so many different angles. He aimed at all that he could see but even that was not enough.
So much debris littered the vehicle. Used shells formed a golden blanket across most the seating and floor and continued to spread as more empty cartridges rained down into the back compartment. The flame danced its dance with Will searching through every inch of the large armoured people carrier, his ears ringing as the miniature cannon overhead bellowed its tune. Something caught his eye, he dove down into the metal sea and his hand clasped around what he was probing for. In his excitement his gripped loosened on the lighter, it cartwheeled out of his hand snapping shut as it hit the floor but he disregarded it and jumped into the driver seat. The keys slotted pleasingly into the ignition and with a satisfying choke the engine spluttered into life. Will released the handbrake and floored the automatic accelerator.
Bodies crunched and popped under the transports weight. Figures appeared in front of him and then vanished under the front bumper. He picked up to a steady pace and then let out the breath he had been holding. With this sudden release his ears regained some of their use and told him that the turret had stopped. Will chanced a look over his shoulder and found the empty void of death staring back at him through rotting eye sockets. He ducked to the side to avoid the oncoming teeth and fumbled at his belt buckle to draw his firearm. From the darkness ahead an abandoned car was parked in their path and before Will could react the two automobiles collided. His ribs cracked as they ploughed into the steering wheel, the body behind him adding to the blow before it sailed past him and struck the wind screen head first. Its blood plastered the broken window and the flesh on the skull torn back over its forehead. Its head was stuck in the hole the collision had created yet the creature still reached for him, fingers wrapping around his left arm. With a scream of terror his right arm came up from his lap and the revolver opened up into the back of its head. A second bullet silenced it and before he knew it the chamber sounded empty, the fingers around his arm became loose. Will tried to take a breath but it felt like a paving slab lay across his lungs. He lost consciousness.
A long slow soulless moan brought him back from oblivion.
Blood foamed on his lips and a sharp pain stabbed into his left hand side. Gasping for air realisation hit him and he remembered his current predicament. A forceful shove moved the body draped over his left shoulder onto the passenger seat and he painfully turned to see if Luther was still alive.
The tall West Indian’s legs swung down into the cabin and the confined space rattled to life as used casings scattered under his feet. The friendly smile of Luther greeted him no more, only the tattered leftovers of a face hung from the head, all resemblance of humanity lost in his one remaining eye. Behind him another body fell through the hole, followed by a third. More joined them as they pressed down onto their next meal.