June 14th, 2008
A single rifle bullet whipped through the Machine Shop work area in the blink of an eye, impacting the red barrel as intended.
No explosion, no fireball, no zed-clearing blast radius of chemical destruction.
Instead, with a distinctive metallic sound, the projectile merely pierced the drum and the contents began to leak out. A clear liquid slowly poured out of the fresh opening, collecting on the floor at the feet of the horde. The nearby zombies took no notice of the liquid and quickly ignored the barrel.
Every zed inside of the machine shop instantly turned towards the sound of the rifle. Snarling, moaning, and lurching, they stumbled for T.Rex.
As the creatures splashed through the puddle, Ryan slumped his shoulders and stared in a shocked state at the mass of undead coming for him. His rifle pointed at the ground as he witnessed his brilliant idea fail spectacularly. What was I thinking? he chided himself. What is this, some sort of video game? First shoot the red barrels and then make fun of the AI?
The other Fools waited nervously from the shadows, hiding between shelves and behind workbenches. They watched the zeds close in on T.Rex, wondering why he hadn't given any sort of signal. Wondering why he stood there muttering to himself, instead of springing into action.
A tidal wave of desperation washed over Ryan. The true scope of their situation began to sink in at the worst moment, and all the pessimism and worry in his mind paralyzed his body. The zeds closed the gap, arms reaching out for flesh and brains.
The zed closest to T.Rex lunged. There was a flash of light and a deafening bang, and the zombie went limp as a single bullet entered just behind its ear and exited the opposite side near the temple. Grey brain matter sprayed through the air inches in front of T.Rex.
It was this bullet, fired by Beard, that snapped T.Rex from his trance as well as signaled the Foolish offensive. The zeds, oriented towards their rifle toting target, were decimated as Kamikaze, Peace, Beard and Cowboy leaped from their hiding places and began to attack.
Hatchets swung, skulls split, and zeds died in an orgy of violence. In the tight confines of the Machine Shop, the confused creatures were no match for the coordinated attack orchestrated by Beard. In a matter of seconds, close to twenty zombies were dispatched, and the sweaty, tired Fools immediately turned to challenge the next wave advancing.
More zeds approached, their wet feet amplifying the sounds of their staggered steps. The Fools formed a defensive wall, protecting their equipment stacked behind them. As the zombies poured into the Machine Shop, they filled more space than the improv group could defend. Slowly, the creatures pressed the Fools backwards into the rear corner of the shop.
Working in sequence, the Fools did all that they could to rotate the front lines to keep from exhausting any one member. Still swinging, they retreated closer and closer to the back of the Machine Shop. They were all panting, gasping from exertion. Each step brought them closer together and Kamikaze took note, timing her attacks so as to not interfere with the others.
Cowboy swung his baseball bat horizontally with full force and crumpled a zed skull like an aluminum can. The track jacket wearing zombie went down and the other zeds ignored it, trampling the limp body as they reached for the Fools.
"ANGEL HAIR!" T.Rex yelled to the door behind them, narrowly dodging an arm grasping for his shirt. "Please tell me you've got something!" Looking back, he saw they had less than a few yards of space left. The sea of zeds in front of them was so thick he could not see through to the back wall, and he was too short to see over.
In response, the door flew open. Rubble ran out, dragging a large wooden chair. "Move!" he yelled, not pausing as he twisted his body. T.Rex and Cowboy dove out of the way, and Rubble roared as he swung the entire chair at the closest cluster of zombies. The chair splintered as it knocked the zeds backward into the crowd.
Angel Hair scooped up as many bags of equipment as he could with his spindly arms and carried them into the room behind the Fools. "Bring everything in here, quick!" he shouted above the din. Peace and Cowboy flanked Rubble, keeping him safe from an immediate counterattack. The rest of the Fools rushed after Angel Hair, carrying the rest of the equipment.
T.Rex's arms were filled with a duffel bag, obscuring his vision. He was surprised when Kamikaze grabbed his shirt collar and kept him from taking another step forward. He dropped the bag and looked around, confused.
He was standing in an office no bigger than a standard dorm room. To his left, a wooden desk missing a chair. To his right, a ransacked cabinet full of papers and folders. Directly ahead was cork board with information, too dim to read in the darkness.
Ryan looked down and saw an opening in the floor where his duffel should have been.
"Everybody inside," Angel Hair said, standing proudly beside the heavy metal manhole-style covering. "It's a maintenance hatch for the Machine Shop guys to do work in the tunnels."
"Beard, you go first and clear out anything that might be down there," T.Rex said cautiously. I hope there's nothing down there, or at least nothing Beard can't handle. We just might make it, he thought to himself.
Angel Hair vanished into the hatch after Beard and called up for the equipment. As Kamikaze and T.Rex fed the bags into the abyss, Rubble, Peace, and Cowboy were being pushed back closer and closer to the door by the zeds.
T.Rex wiped sweat from his forehead. "C'mon!" he yelled to the trio of Fools outside the room. Kamikaze descended the ladder, her conversation with Angel Hair fading quickly as she disappeared.
Cowboy and Peace turned and dashed in. Rubble, now wielding two halves of a broken pool cue, took out one last zed with a sharp jab through the eye socket before joining them inside the room.
"I'll close up," Peace said, confidently. T.Rex took one last look at his friend before following Rubble and Cowboy underground.
Peace removed a lighter from his pocket and clicked it on, admiring the flame for just a moment before heaving it into the Machine Shop work area, now thick with zeds. He slammed the office door just as the zed crowd reached them.
After locking the door, Peace carefully started down the ladder, dragging the cover back in place above him.
Current Word Count: 36,554