Fire in the Hole

“I just can’t,” I said. “They’re still people.”

My companion chuckled in response, and stood up from the lawn chair he sat in. He walked over to the edge of the concrete balcony and stood next to me by the railing, looking out over the expanses of the wandering dead.

“Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong,” he said. “They’re not. They’re brainless monsters now. Stupid, lifeless pieces of meat that just happen to still walk. And eat. You can’t think of them that as people anymore. As who they used to be.”

I wasn’t sure about him. He seemed so unafraid. What if was some psychopath? Those people would hide it before the spread of the virus. Now they thrived.

He walked over to the cardboard box behind us and started rummaging around.

“What are you doing?”

He didn’t stop digging through the box or look back at me when he responded.

“You can’t tell me that you really still think of them as people after all that you two went through to get here, can you? You never beat the life out of one with a baseball bat, or took one of their heads off with a shovel?”

Having found what he was looking for, he stood up and walked back over to the balcony, holding it in his hand.

“No,” I said. “We just ran. And hid.”

“Well then,” he said, palming the object in his hand and holding it out to me. “It’s a damn good thing you found me here now then, isn’t it?”

It was a grenade.

“Is that… what are you doing?”

“I told you, they aren’t people. You can’t think of them that way anymore.” He pulled the pin with his teeth.

“Holy shit! Are you crazy? Don’t….”

“FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!” He yelled and hucked the grenade down into the masses of zombies below.

I covered my ears and ducked down. The sound of the explosion was immense, deafening. Over the railing I saw chunks of gore fly in the air and fall. The undead screamed. My companion had not moved, he only stood there laughing his hearty laugh.

“You see?” he said. “They aren’t people. The rules are different now, compadre. And it’s time to play by them.”

I stood. He reached behind his back and pulled the pistol from his belt. He pressed the grip into my hand, and it was as cold as death.

“Which is why if you know what’s what, you’ll go into the other room and shoot your daughter before it’s too late.”

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