Hollowland / Page 35

Page 35


As if materializing in front of us, the dark, lurching shadows appeared in the gray fog.

One of them came into view where I could actually see its eyes, all swollen and yellow. But once I could see it, it could see me. It gave a long, low howl, and then charged toward me, moving at the crazy speed that only a newly turned zombie was capable of. Lazlo fired his gun, and astonishingly, it hit the zombie right in the chest.

Lazlo may have killed one zombie, but we had been spotted.

– 13 –

Harlow couldn’t aim at all, so I positioned myself directly in front of her. When a zombie ran at me, I swung the pipe like a baseball bat. Its head, which should’ve been cracking bone, squished more like a rotting pumpkin two weeks after Halloween. An eyeball shot out, flying into Lazlo’s chest, where it landed with a sickening splat.

Harlow started screaming, and I’d only killed one zombie.

“Get to the car!” I shouted at her.

Lazlo and Blue shot at anything that came our way, but the zombies just kept on coming. I remembered what it had been like at the army quarantine, when there had been an endless supply of zombies that had managed to take out a whole troop of soldiers.

Another zombie lurched towards me, and I jabbed the pipe straight through its chest, slamming it down onto the ground. Its swollen tongue lulled out of its mouth, and it spit foamy saliva at me.

I stood on its stomach to leverage myself when I yanked the pipe out, and its belly squished under my foot. When I did pull the pipe out, an enlarged, greenish heart came attached at the end.

I would’ve taken the time to marvel at how disgusting that was but I heard Lazlo cursing behind me. More importantly, I heard him but not the gun. I whirled around to see Lazlo, trying desperately to reload the gun, as two zombies made their way towards him.

The first of the zombies only had one leg, and the other zombie looked like it was dying, so he had a small window of time. Blue and Harlow had backed off, heading towards the carriage house, and didn’t see how close Lazlo was to being eaten.

I raced over to him with a fat zombie at my heels. I stopped abruptly, shoving the pipe out behind me. The zombie couldn’t think to stop and impaled himself on it. Unfortunately, it only stabbed into his enormous gut, slowing him down but not killing him.

The thing about zombies, and this one in particular, is that they didn’t look fat so much as swollen. Like someone had taken a normal sized person, and then pumped them full of water so their skin stretched like a bloated animal carcass.

From the wound around the pipe, the zombie’s belly drained that weird greenish, sludgy blood, along with some other liquid that reminded me of runny pus. Without thinking about how disgusting the mess would be, I slashed the pipe along his stomach, slicing him open.

It was like popping an overgrown zit. Liquid sloshed out of him, and I jumped back to keep from getting it on me. I’m not sure if the zombie was dead, but he fell to the ground, and for now, that was good enough for me.

When I turned back to Lazlo, the older, dying zombie towered over him. Its face has shriveled beyond gender recognition, its eyes sunken almost completely in. It opened its mouth, preparing to chew off Lazlo’s face, and even though it only had four or five good teeth, they were long and sharp. Lazlo, being a complete genius, was still trying to fix the gun.

I chucked my pipe at the zombie, throwing it like a spear. Had it been human or even a newer zombie, the pipe would’ve cracked the skull and ricocheted off. But because this one was so old, and its bones and muscles had started to gelatinize, the pipe tore through its head. Brain matter, blood, and bits of gooey skull splattered all over Lazlo, who covered his head and cringed.

“Move, you idiot!” I shouted. The one-legged zombie was hopping over to finish the job.

“The gun-” He held out to me, all slick with zombie viscera now.

“If it doesn’t shoot, then hit them with it!”

To demonstrate, and to save our lives, I took it from him and swung at the zombie coming towards us. This one was a lot younger, and it clearly looked like a man. A man who had very recently had his leg torn off from the knee down. So when the butt of the gun came in contact with his head, it did little more than stun him.

I slammed the butt of the gun in his chest, and he lost his balance and fell back onto the ground. He reached out with his yellowed talon-like fingers, but I narrowly dodged them.

When he was on the ground, I flipped the gun, and using the barrel, I drove it into his eye socket. The instant the gun smashed into his brain, the zombie stopped reaching for me. He twitched, then stopped moving completely.

“Thanks,” Lazlo breathed.

“You have to learn how to fight better.”

“Hey, we did pretty good!” He gestured to the seven or eight zombies that he and Blue had managed to shoot. “The gun just jammed or something.”

“If the gun jams, you find another way to kill them.”

I couldn’t see any other zombies around, but I heard a faint death groan. Harlow and Blue had disappeared into the fog. The gun was a complete mess, with brains and goo clogging up the barrel, and it might’ve jammed before that. I left it behind and started hurrying ahead.

“Remy! Lazlo!” Harlow yelled from somewhere ahead of me. “We’re at the car!”

“We’ll find you, but keep quiet!” I shouted back. I didn’t want zombies attracted to the noise she made.

Lazlo and I darted through the trees, narrowly missing several low hanging branches. I heard a tremendous roaring sound, and when I looked back, I saw it.

The zombie wasn’t moving fast yet, but when she cocked her head at me, there was something calculating in her eyes. She was newly turned, so she was strong and fast, and it looked like she still had some brains.

A broken tree stump jutted out across from us, and that was the only weapon I could see. She ran at us, with Lazlo standing in between me and her, so I pushed him out of the way.

I jumped up, barely making it high enough to grab onto the branch above me. The fog had left it slick, and my fingers threatened to slip off as the bark burned and scraped against my skin.

I swung back, then forward, meaning to kick her, but I timed it wrong. She snarled and bit at my foot, and I managed to connect with her head, kicking her solidly in the nose. It started bleeding, and the blood still looked normal.

Thanks to her push, I swung back hard this time. The momentum of the back swing sent me flying forward, my feet pushing heavily into her chest. She flew backwards, landing on the jutting wood from the broken tree.


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