They came on us fast.
We’d gotten sloppy and strayed too far from the truck; the walkers were cutting us off and we’d have to circle around. I exchanged one look with Michael and Claire and could see they knew it too.
“Go,” I said, raising my shotgun, and they disappeared into the alleyway behind us.
boom. The closest walker’s rotting head turned into a vaporous cloud of gore. boom. And a pair close together were sent flying backward.
I ran into the alley, and suddenly Michael came around the corner at the end, covered with blood, eyes wide, mouth open, screaming. I didn’t hesitate.
boom. The sound reverberated in the alley, deafening me. My ears rang and I watched his head explode in slow motion.
His body fell and I remembered how I’d found him locked in that high school, so many summers ago. I watched the blood pour out of the stump of his neck and I thought about how many times he’d saved my life. I lowered the smoking shotgun and I remembered how we’d found Claire. The ringing in my ears subsided, and I remembered the night he’d told me he loved her.
Claire came around the corner. She stopped and looked down at Michael’s headless body, and when she spoke what had been fear slowly turned into rage.
“There was another one… in the alley…. we shot it…. ran… blood everywhere. ZED!!!” she screamed, in a final crescendo. “He wasn’t infected!”
I could hear the groans of the approaching undead behind me as she raised her rifle; I knew she wasn’t pointing it at them.