Fight or…

Anyone who visits Las Vegas knows that, sooner or later, your luck runs out. To read Evie and Owen’s postapocalyptic, zombie plagued story, start here.

        Evie’s first bullet drilled through the tweaker’s forehead and he dropped like a stone. She was glad she always loaded the gun before bed as the next one shambled out, his one yellowed eye peering around the room. She didn’t know if he could actually see out of the clouded, oozing lens but the bullet she put into it made the question moot. With a splatter of vitreous fluid and brain matter, he dropped, too. More shadows were shuffling through the yawning black hallway, dim gray shapes in the darkness.
        She could hear Owen grunting as he hacked at the tweakers’ faces and arms as they thrust themselves at the gap in the front door. The bar held—for now. A bullet whizzed by Evie’s ear and took down another tweaker, blasting the top of it’s skull off in a spray of red and fragments of bone–it looked like a female. Jessamy took down three more before Vanessa finally started shooting as well. She missed more than she hit, but the tweakers coming through the hallway were hesitating, confused. Several tripped over the bodies of dead stumblers and bullets ended their clumsy writhing. Evie’s clip was empty, so she thrust the gun into her belt and drew her knives.
        She chanced a look at the front door. Owen’s machete and arms were streaked in blood and sweat poured down his face. There was barely enough room for the two of them at the door but he moved aside as soon as he heard her coming. She could hear the crack and wet thunk of bullets behind her finding their marks and hoped Jessamy and Vanessa had enough ammo—it would have to be enough. She sliced a tweaker’s hand off at the wrist and it howled, staggering back away from the door. The sheer weight of the bodies piling against the door was bending the bar further inwards, widening the gap. Evie stabbed through a tweaker’s jaundiced eye into its brain and felt it twitch before it, too, slumped down.
        “We can’t do this for much longer, the door wont hold,” Owen panted, avoiding a set of snapping, rotten teeth.
        A quick slash relieved the tweaker of her bottom jaw and a terrible sound came from its ruined mouth. They could still feel pain–which was lucky for the uninfected. It didn’t slow them down as badly, but they felt it. Evie grimly dispatched another tweaker, jabbing her knife into the skin at its temple.
        “Got a better idea?” she asked, swiping at the sweat rolling into her eyes.
        “Gregg’s plane. It’ll be here soon,” Owen rhythmically sliced through several more forearms, ignoring the gore that splashed across his arms and chest. “If we can hold them back or drive them off long enough to get outside and get on top of a building…”
        Evie glanced over her shoulder.Jessamy and Vanessa stood almost shoulder to shoulder, angled so no tweakers could run by them. They were picking them off one by one. The stench was beginning to rise–unwashed bodies, blood, and the odor of excrement. It looked like fewer were coming through the doors, but she couldn’t be sure. The wind was blowing drifts of sand and snow over the bodies and through the gap in the door, Evie’s hands were starting to grow numb.
        “Can you tell how many more are out there?” she asked.
        “Not without getting a kiss from one of them,” Owen leaned away from gaunt, clawing fingers and cut through the tweaker’s face, shoving the body back through the door with his machete handle. “And that’s not something I fancy, Evie, love.”
        Evie didn’t have time to answer. The bar rattling in the handles creaked suddenly and they both stepped back. Outside, it seemed that the moans and snarls increased.The squeal of metal against metal shattered the air as the weight against the door increased; Evie grabbed Owen’s arm and pulled him back just as the rusting iron bar broke in half and the doors burst open. She bit back a scream and felt Owen’s forearm flex under her fingers as they backed away. Jessamy and Vanessa had turned at the sound, not noticing one of the tweakers that lurched out of the doorway.
        Owen’s wordless yell was all the warning they had as it grabbed Vanessa’s pack with its grasping fingers. She screamed, trying to get the straps off her shoulders as it clawed towards her. Evie stepped forward, but Owen grabbed her elbow and yanked her back, jarring her shoulder. Two more tweakers burst out of the shadows at Vanessa’s scream. Evie never saw them move that fast before. Jessamy stood frozen and Owen yelled his name three times before he turned a white face to them. Vanessa wasn’t screaming anymore. Her throat was torn out, but they could see her legs and arms twitching. Jessamy spun back around and fired. Her legs went still.
        The front door had collapsed under the weight of the bodies—no more tweakers were visible on the street. Owen drug Evie out, staggering behind him. She heard Jessamy’s feet pounding through the drifting gray sand and snow slush. Her breathing was ragged in her own ears and she concentrated on evening it out, on not falling down, on the pressure of Owen’s hand around her wrist. Anything but the sight of Vanessa’s boots twitching and the sounds of the tweakers gorging.

15 thoughts on “Fight or…

    • It may have been cheating to kill her off but…I did anyway 🙂 technically she saved their lives, so she must have had some redeeming qualities, even if it was only being tasty.

      • She saved their lives? Owen was the one who totally blew off Edgar’s head. Vanessa did diddly squat. Or did I miss some big heroics?

      • Nope, she just got eaten—distracting the tweakers long enough for the rest to escape. So involuntary heroics! Because, let’s face it—she never would have done that intentionally.

      • Ah! Yes. She did. And true. She would definitely not. Oh well.
        Next chick should be older. We need some age contrast I think in addition to gender 😉

        Ahem. Excuse the editor-speak.

      • No, the editor-speak is great! You’ve touched on something I struggle with—it’s hard for me to write older characters in depth since I obviously haven’t made it to that point in my life. I’ll see what I can do!

      • You need to volunteer at a nursing home 🙂 Or just visit and talk with them. That’s what I’ve had editors and writing teachers suggest. You get at least the voice and timber of character down a little.

      • That’s a good point…I could hang out with my grandparents more (haha). I’m sure it’s another thing that just takes practice—I’ll work on it. There may not be enough time to fit another character in this story with where I’m headed, but I will see!

  1. Wow. That was intense. Visceral and bloody and such fantastic pacing. I was literally on the edge of my seat the whole time — I now understand where that phrase comes from, as I was leaning in to the computer screen scrolling down, tense and poised to read it all in one go. I think I stopped breathing for a moment.

    • That makes me so happy! I kept worrying that it was too long and that the tension would get lost, but after I ended on a cliffhanger in the last post, I just couldn’t do it again. This is such a compliment—thanks for reading!

  2. I want to write some things here but I worry that if you use my ideas, it will be spoilers for others, but suffice to say I thought this was brilliant, darling.

  3. It’s the little things you do that are so magic, like: “She bit back a scream and felt Owen’s forearm flex under her fingers as they backed away.” <– That line made me feel it; I know exactly what that flex feels like. I can’t wait for the next installment! Now that I finally have time to catch up, I am glad you’ve left so many goodies laying around!

    • Ack I’m so glad you like that part! I really LOVE descriptions (just in case you hadn’t caught on to that) and I’m always afraid of putting too much in there. But when I can see and imagine it, I want the reader to see it, too!

      I’m glad you have have time to catch up—and that there’s a good amount to keep you occupied. I have the next part after “..Flight” written and I’m itching to post it, but I’m waiting until next week.

  4. Pingback: Tepper’s Mill Part 4 | Terrin Jarrell

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