It hurt like hell, but I was too pissed to care. Pulling it by the hair, I got the zombie back down on the ground. I put my foot on its chest to weight it, and then I kept pulling on the hair. It made that awful rattling sound, which would only attract more of its friends.
But I didn’t care. If I was going to die today, I would take as many of them with me as I could.
With one final, strong tug, I ripped off the zombie’s head. There was a satisfaction in that, until I realized I was holding a head in my hand, and I dropped it on the ground. It made a splat and bounced, with dirt already sticking to the bloody stump of a neck. I stood up and took a step back, staring at the scene in front of me.
“Remy, they’re still coming!” Harlow shouted, snapping me out of it.
For the first time in a long time, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should fight or if I should tell her to run. We were in the dark in the middle of nowhere, and I hadn’t heard a gun in a while, so Blue and Lazlo might be dead.
Harlow might be the only one really alive here, and I had no idea how to keep her that way.
Light flooded everything, blinding me, and I held up my arm to shade my eyes. Bright white headlights appeared out of nowhere, and they bounced towards us in a hurry. A static voice bellowed something over a loudspeaker I couldn’t understand, and guns started firing, rapidly and loudly.
Instinctively, I rushed towards Harlow and shielded her with my body. The light made it impossible for me to see anything, but I could hear the zombies roaring maniacally. The shooting stopped, and when I looked up, two soldiers were running over to us.
“Come on! Get in the truck!” A soldier barked and waved us toward the headlights. “We can’t hold them off much longer!”
Soldiers decked out in full camouflage uniform with helmets and weapons were here, rescuing us. Harlow ran right away, letting one of the soldiers lead her to the truck, but I just blinked at him.
“Are you from the quarantine?” I asked numbly.
“Yes, now get in the truck!” he shouted at me. When I didn’t move, he grabbed my arm and started dragging me.
“Is that a lion?” another soldier asked as we reached the truck.
“Leave her alone!” I yelled, suddenly afraid that they might hurt her. “She kills zombies!” The soldier pulling me looked at me funny, then yanked me along
At the back of the truck, I stopped and wouldn’t go any further. It was one of those army trucks with the flatbed in back with a green canvas top. The soldier trying to rescue me couldn’t be much older than I was, and he looked more confused than irritated by my display. The name sown in his shirt read Pvt. Tatum.
“Is my brother there? A little boy?” I had to speak loudly to be heard over the engine of the truck and the sound of gunfire. A few other soldiers were on the ground, shooting at the never ending supply of zombies. “At the quarantine. I have to find him.”
“You’ll have to get on the truck to find out!” Tatum yelled and motioned to the truck.
“Remy! Just get on the damn truck!” Lazlo shouted, startling me. I was even more surprised by how happy I was to hear his voice and know he’d made it.
Much to Tatum’s relief, I climbed onto the truck. Bench seats ran along both sides, and three soldiers were sitting on one side, along with a cache of weapons on the floor. Blue, Lazlo, and Harlow sat along the other bench, wrapped in blankets, the heavy duty kind they used for moving. As soon as I got in, a soldier put one on me and pushed me down so I’d sit next to Harlow.
Tatum yelled something to the other men on the ground, and he jumped in the truck. Within seconds, everyone had loaded inside, and we drove away. I pulled the blanket more tightly around me, thankful for the thickness that would hide the blood sleeping through.
I was covered in zombie blood, which wasn’t surprising, but I was covered in my own blood too. I didn’t want anyone to know that I’d been bitten, that I had to be infected.
“I’m looking for my brother,” I repeated, talking to Tatum. He sat across the aisle from me, and he seemed to have some authority. “My name is Remy King, and his name is Max King. He’s probably in the medical ward. I have to see him.”
“I don’t know anything about it.” Tatum kept his steel blue eyes fixed on some point behind me. “We’re almost to the quarantine. That’s why the zombies are so bad.”
“What do you mean?” Blue asked, leaning forward so he could hear.
“The zombies are attracted to people.” Tatum turned to Blue when he spoke. “The larger the group of people, the stronger the attraction. Zombies have been congregating around here so bad we’ve given up trying to kill them all. We just keep them locked out.”
“Is that safe?” Harlow asked nervously. “The quarantine won’t get broken in?”
“No, this place is secure,” Tatum assured her with a brash smile.
“I need to see my brother,” I interrupted their conversation. Tatum’s smile disappeared, and he wouldn’t even answer me this time. “I need to see him! Is he there? If he’s not there, then you need to tell me now!”
“Remy!” Lazlo said, looking over at me. “Calm down! We’re okay, and we’re almost there! You’ll have plenty of time to find out.”
Swallowing hard, I looked down at the floor and didn’t say anything. I didn’t have time anymore. If Max was here, I had to see him while I was still coherent, so I could at least say goodbye to him.
If he wasn’t here, then I didn’t even want go in with them. I didn’t want to risk infecting anyone if I didn’t have to. But if there was any chance of seeing my brother, I had to take it.
The truck stopped, and a soldier explained that we were stopping at the main gate to the quarantine. A man came around the back of the truck, shining a flashlight inside and asked what they’d found. Tatum reported four injured civilians in a zombie pit. The man with the flashlight waved us on, and the truck moved again.
We stopped almost immediately, and I saw the gate from the back of the truck. It was giant and metal, at least twenty feet tall, if not more. Brick walls ran along on either side of it, and when Tatum ushered us off the truck, I realized that we had only gone in the first set of doors. An identical gate stood on the other side, still closed.
“What’s going on?” I asked nervously. Tatum, rather smartly sensing my opposition, grabbed my arm and led me along. “Where are you taking us?”