Copyright 2013, Emily Goodwin
Brock slowly crawled towards the door. I watched his shadow move behind the shelf. One hand landed on the floor and he leaned his body forward. Then something caught my eye, and I thought it was a bug. My eyes flitted from Brock to the little red dot.
“Stop!” I shouted. Brock froze and flattened himself.
“What?” Brock exclaimed.
“There’s a sight on you,” I whispered.
“Fuck,” Ivan muttered when his gazed fixed on the laser. “They can see us.”
His words sent chills down my spine. I looked at the store front again. Where were the shooters hiding? Were they close?
“What’s behind you?” Hayden asked Brock.
“A room with a table…a break room, maybe? And bathrooms,” Brock explained.
“Any way out?” Hayden asked.
“There is a vent,” Brock said. A moment later something metal clattered to the floor. “I can’t fit, dammit,” he cursed. “It looks like it leads to the side of the building.” He hit the wall in frustration. “I can’t get my shoulders in.” The sound of scuffling echoed through the small diner. “I’m coming back to your side.”
“Not yet. Get back in there,” Hayden told him. “They were aiming for you. And that piece of wood isn’t going to protect you.”
“No,” Brock argued. “I’m not hiding while you fight.”
“Brock,” I pleaded. “I don’t want you to die.”
He picked his head up and looked in our direction. He made a face and pushed himself back, grumbling about how he was joining us the first chance he got.
Jason’s voice over the radio stole my attention and I snapped my head around to stare at the device as if it would allow me to hear better.
“You guys ok?” he asked.
“Janet is dead. We have the others,” Ivan said dryly. “What about you?”
“We got everyone except Jon, Lupe, and Daniel. I think whoever was driving their car got hit; I saw them crash into a fire hydrant. No one got out.”
“How did you get away?” Ivan asked as his eyes scanned the restaurant.
“Wade,” Jason stated, “pulled into an alley. Madison followed. We got out and he led us down the street and into another alley. We went in the back of this store. You got any zombies in there with you?”
“There were a few here. Nothing we couldn’t handle.” A few seconds of silence passed before Jason told us that Wade was back.
“I can see three guys on the roof across from you,” Wade told us. “One has a clear shot inside. There are two guys in the street. Both are wearing body armor. Face and neck are exposed.”
“And at least two more in the lot behind us,” Ivan informed him. “What’s the zombie situation?”
“Streets are starting to fill. Most look like they are in the S3 stage and are moving slow. They don’t pose a threat. It’s the goddamn men out there that are armed to hell I’m worried about. They’ve got you surrounded.”
“Can you take any down?”
“Yes,” Wade said confidently. “Just not from here.”
“Good,” Ivan said softly. Watch yourself.”
“This isn’t my first rodeo,” Wade reminded him. “A fifty cal was my best friend for a couple of years.”
“Things are different now,” Ivan slowly replied. His eyes met Hayden’s in an unspoken question. Hayden moved his head up and down curtly. “But if you can get a clear shot, take it.”
“Alright,” Hayden began and leaned toward us. “If Wade makes just one shot, it will take the focus off of us.” He turned around and inspected the kitchen. To the right were the back door and the walkway to the front of the restaurant. To our left was a swinging door that led into the dining area.
“Scratch that plan,” Wade’s frantic voice spoke, causing me to startle. “We got zombies.”
“How many?” Ivan blurted, his eyes widening.
“Enough,” Wade responded before falling silent.
“Wade?” Ivan spoke and got no response. I looked up and met Hayden’s eyes. Though they mirrored my terror, he forced a smile and gave me an encouraging nod. Moving slowly, he edged toward the swinging door.
Suddenly, there was a loud pop followed by a car alarm going off. The blaring siren screeched throughout the still, empty town.
“Turn it off!” one of the guys yelled over the alarm.
“I don’t know how!” the other screamed back. “I ain’t got the keys!”
Hayden snapped his head up and stared at me; we both remembered how quickly the zombies fled to the ambulance. Brock slid his M16 across the floor and stuck his head out from behind the shelf.
“Go,” Ivan instructed. “Now!”
Taking advantage of the distracting alarm, Brock sprinted back to the kitchen. Ten horribly slow seconds ticked by, each one marked by the Range Rover’s blaring horn.
“Hayden?” Hannah cried, cracking open the freezer.
He waved his hand. “Get back,” he harshly whispered. “Hannah, do not come out!”
She nodded and pulled her head back. The heavy freezer door clicked shut, sending a cloud of dust into the air. Ivan retrieved the keys from his pocket and put his finger over a button. The two men outside were still frantically trying to shut off the alarm.
“Do it,” Brock whispered. “Before they pop the engine and cut something.”
Ivan turned slightly so he could see me. I nodded, agreeing with Brock. He pressed the button, bringing silence to my ringing ears. My breath left me in a ragged huff and my heart continued to pound. A bead of sweat rolled down my neck but I wasn’t going to risk setting down my bow to wipe it away. Hayden scooted his body another few inches.
“We need a visual,” he whispered to me, probably seeing the fear in my eyes as he moved farther away from me. On his hands and knees, he crouched along the counter until he reached the swinging door. Flattening himself on the ground so he wouldn’t knock into the doors, he pulled forward.
Then glass crunched under someone’s foot.