January 25 at 9:00 PM
Photo by Sam Mugraby (Photos8.com)
Eight thirty. The campfire spreads from the floor to the ceiling. Damn. Guess I’ll have to blow this joint after all. The party’s over and the guests are ravenous. I toss as many as I can into the fire. Give one the guitar. There are barbecued ribs, grilled flank steaks and roasted nuts. For a moment they lose all interest in me, and chow down on their charred comrades. I guess raw meat isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; just try telling that to the Japanese.
The scent of burning flesh draws a fresh round of customers. I promptly close up shop before the situation gets out of hand. In doing so, I seal myself in with an oven full of feeders.
Few options remaining, I whip out a cordless power saw that I lifted off a dead lumberjack the day before, and go to work. It’s give and take for several moments as I carve my way through the wall, feeding the fire with additional zombie trimmings.
Since I’m already screwed, why bother trying so hard? Good question. Guess you could say I’m serially stubborn, and just foolish enough to believe that I can make it out of this alive. Besides, if each of us killed a hundred feeders, the holocaust would be over. My tally’s already in the thousands, yet the carnage rages on. Can’t blame me for trying.
I break through just as a new horde arrives. Burning hands paw at me as I slip inside the adjacent apartment. The room is large and dim: a SteamVac is propped against the wall, a dozen or so cleaning products scattered across a broken table. I jab the mindless swarm back with the carpet cleaner, and seal off my exit with the splintered walnut planks. I lean against it with all my weight, take a deep breath, and realize that I’m not alone.
“Die, you bastards!” He rips open the front door, and squeezes off several rounds with his shiny Beretta. It’s an opportune moment, the epitome of convenience. I see an opening and exploit it, sneaking in behind him.
This is the one who ferried it across the Potomac. That, and so much more.
I press the barrel of my gun against the back of his head. “Not too bright, Keeley. You’re supposed to save your bullets for humans.”
“Could it really be?” He turns. “Is that you, mate? I thought you were dead.”
“I am dead.” I show off the hole in my arm.
“No hard feelings?” He trembles.
“No hard feelings.” I nod and pull the trigger. I’m a good shot, especially at close range. The shotgun doesn’t hurt, either.
A bullet to the brain is absolutely necessary when dealing with humans. The initial blast doesn’t quite do the job, so I polish him off with a few rounds from his own gun. This one’s cranium is extra thick. I should know; I’ve cracked it before.
“Be seeing you around,” I offer posthumously.
The name’s Burke. As in the name of the mission. The name of the kill.
Wait a minute. Back up.