Hollowland / Page 41

Page 41


As I crawled out of the car, a zombie greeted me. One of its ears had been bitten off, and its jaw hung by a piece of skin. It did some weird screechy howl thing right in my face, its breath smelling of death and rotten meat.

To shut it up, I punched it in the face. The skin gave way, and its head snapped back. It didn’t kill it, but it gave me a chance to slip by.

A hairy monstrous beast of a zombie had grabbed onto Harlow’s ankles and pulled her out of the car, presumably so it would be easier to eat her. She rolled onto her back and kicked at his face as hard as she could, and I finally saw the appeal of her combat boots.

Two more zombies came at her, rushing to the sound of her cries, but Ripley dove over her, tearing into one of them. The other one kept coming, and I had to get to it.

The zombie with one ear tried to come at me again, so I punched it even harder, aiming my fist on the soft skin of its cheekbone. It caved underneath my hand, covering my skin with disgusting gelatin that passed for zombie brains. Before I had a chance to vomit, I yanked my hand out and got to my feet.

Sprinting, I went for the zombie going at Harlow’s head. I tackled him in the back, slamming him onto the ground right next to where Harlow lay struggling. I knelt on his back, with his face smashed into the ground, and he wriggled and tried to get out from under me.

I had been hoping that he would be older, and his whole body would cave under my weight, but no such luck. I grabbed his head, my fingers pressing on his dry, patchy scalp, and I twisted it hard, snapping his neck with a sickening crack.

At least six and a half feet tall, the zombie attacking Harlow looked to be half a ton, not counting the grizzly dark hair running all down his arms and back and chest. On top of all that, he didn’t look that old. His skin hadn’t sagged or bloated. The only thing keeping Harlow alive was he was too stupid to think of a better plan than letting her kick him in the face, but eventually, he’d just snap her legs.

He was far too big for me to take down on my own, and Blue was trapped in the car with the only gun, holding zombies off as long as he could. Ripley had taken down another zombie right next to us, and she ripped into the meaty part of its belly.

Ripley still had that chain tied around her neck, since I hadn’t trusted her to let me get close enough to take it off. It might finally come in handy, and I grabbed it.

Holding the chain in my hands, I jumped up and wrapped it around the monster zombie’s neck, choking him. He made a gurgling sound, and I literally hung off him by the chain. After a second, he let Harlow go and stumbled backwards.

The chain yanked on Ripley, and she growled in protest, then jumped at his face. He fell backwards, with me landing roughly underneath him, and Ripley began eating him.

Under the weight of them both, I couldn’t breathe or move. I was going to suffocate under a zombie.

I felt Harlow’s hand, soft and small on my wrist, trying to yank me out. With her pulling, I pushed myself out. I was almost all the way out, except for one of my legs, when Harlow had to let go to fight off a zombie.

Her defense was to squeal, grab a rock, and hit it in the head with it. While that wasn’t exactly how I’d do it, it worked, and the zombie collapsed to the ground. Harlow jumped back to avoid zombie blood, and I got myself the rest of the way out from under the beastly zombie. Ripley looked at me, licked her lips, and ran off to kill something else.

I could hear the gun blasts from the car, and Lazlo yelled something unintelligible. Most of the zombies seemed to be swarming around the station wagon, but they were catching onto the fact that we were here too. A few of them lurched towards us, and I didn’t even have time to catch my breath. Without any weapons, my best bet for survival was preempting their attacks.

We watched as they did that hideous jerky walk. In later stages of the virus, they moved as if they were always on the brink of an epileptic fit.

“We’re gonna die,” Harlow whispered.

“Not yet,” I said.

I rushed for a weaker looking one first. They were generally easier to take down. I punched it in the face, and it stumbled backwards. I wanted it on the ground, though, so I kicked it in the stomach, and that made it fall. I stomped on its head, which gave easily under my foot.

Needing a weapon, I had to be resourceful. I grabbed the zombie’s leg and bent it up at the knee, going against the joint. The bones were weakened, and it snapped quickly. I yanked it off, and finally, I had something to fight with. A leg, from the knee down.

Harlow hadn’t moved, and I stood in front of her. Ripley continued taking out as many zombies as she could, and I didn’t know how things were fairing for Blue and Lazlo. And truthfully, I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t think about them.

My only thought had to be surviving this second, because if I thought of anything  past that, I’d realize how futile it was and simply give up.

“Remy, what are we gonna do?” Harlow asked, almost whimpering.

“We keep fighting.”

Using the bloody leg like a baseball bat, I swung at a zombie coming towards me. I hit him hard enough that his neck snapped, but I knew I wouldn’t be as lucky next time. When another one charged at me, I hit at him, and he swerved, diving at me.

He knocked me backwards onto the ground, his poisonous saliva dripping onto my face. Right before his teeth sunk into my neck, I pulled my legs up and kicked him hard in the stomach, sending him flying off me.

I jumped to my feet and stomped on his chest, but he grabbed my leg, pulling it out from under me, so I fell flat on my back. I tried to get up, but he was on me again, so I slammed my zombie leg weapon into his ribs, trying to get him to back off. It worked, and I was up while I had the chance.

Lazlo screamed, and I stopped. Just for a second, part of me froze, but that was all it took. I felt teeth sinking into my hip, in the soft part of my skin just above my jeans. Searing pain went through me, but for a moment, the world felt completely slow motion.

I looked down, and in the darkness, I could see the zombie clamping onto my side. When I got it off, if I got if off, it would take a chunk out of my flesh, but that didn’t even matter. All I could think about was that this was really it.

All the fighting I had been doing. Everything I had sacrificed. It all ended here, like this, with one weak moment and a zombie latched onto me.

After a bout of self-pity, I was filled with rage. This stupid fucking leech biting me had destroyed everything I had worked for, for myself and my brother. I grabbed onto the back of its head, tangling my fingers deep in its ratty hair. I yanked back as hard as I could, knowing that would make the zombie take even more of my flesh with it.


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