Tara thought back to the previous day once again. They had tracked down a van and wanted to use it to drive to Albany. The engine had a problem with it but it was fine as long as it wasn't taxed. When they had driven near a horde of zombies and had to get away in a hurry, they decided to risk the engine and drive through as quickly as possible. But the area they drove through seemed to be an unending deluge of the dead, and when the engine failed, everyone bailed out as quickly as possible and scattered away.
Tara didn't know at first if anyone else had made it out besides the few people she was with now. She met up with three others in her group and they took refuge in a nearby club. Inside was also infested with the dead, but with no way of backtracking, they scurried to a nearby staircase and barricaded themselves on the second floor. The small area they were in was deemed safe for the present, and they waited there for the night, though little sleep was done. All talking had been done in whispers for fear of the dead that were on the second floor as well.
Along with Tara was Sarah, Eric and Jenny. Eric had bestowed himself leader until they could hook up with the rest of the group, something he maintains will still happen. Eric spent most of last night talking over a walkie talkie radio that he had. It was through that Tara learned that the rest of the group had also escaped, though they were still fractured beyond just missing the four in the club.
"Jason and Laura are still missing," Jenny said, sitting next to Tara as she moved away from the window "Everyone else is accounted for." Tara looked to Eric, still chatting away on the radio, then back to Jenny. "I hope Jason's okay," Jenny said. "He's a smart kid," Tara assured "You know he'll find his way back. And maybe he's got Laura with him."
"Neither one are much fighters," Jenny said pessimistically. "They'll make it," Tara said "We'll make it. We're all going to live through this."
"You don't honestly believe that, do you?" Sarah said as she walked over, topless and fixing her brunette hair into a ponytail. "Nice to see you and Eric slept peacefully last night," Jenny said condescendingly. Sarah smirked and rolled her eyes. "We're all as good as dead," she said "Even if we make it out of this particular jam, we're still as good as dead. Might as well enjoy every quiet, and relatively private moment we can get. The dead don't have to be the only ones moaning."
"Get dressed," Eric said as he walked over "We're leaving."
"How?" Tara asked "The way we came is filled with zombies."
"It probably cleared out a bit with all the commotion still happening outside at the time, but that's not the way we're going."
"We going out a window?" Jenny asked.
"Mike has eyes on our building," Eric said "At the other end is a fire escape. That's our way back to the street."
"Did they find another vehicle?" Sarah asked "A van, truck, anything like that?"
"They're not getting us," Eric said "Ammo is low for them and Jason and Laura are still MIA. Our only way out is through our own means. Then we make for the rendezvous Mike told us about before."
"We only have just one gun," Tara said, not liking the plan thus far.
"And I've killed more of these things than anyone," Eric said with a smile "So just one gun is fine so long as I'm around." Eric reached and pulled out his .357 magnum and proudly held it up. "Six shots per load," Jenny reminded him "Not so great if we get swarmed."
"Then don't get swarmed," Eric snapped back "We either leave now or we never get out of here. No use in waiting." The three girls looked to each other nervously. The dressing room they were holed up in offered little in the way of weapons. The options of waiting to die or to follow Eric and possibly dying weren't very enticing.
"Let's go," Eric said, not even caring in anyone else wanted to weigh in. The far end of the dressing room had two doors hugging the corner. One led to a small walk-in closet, the other led to a hallway. Inside that hallway they heard the movement and moaning of at least two zombies. Eric picked up a bag and handed it to Sarah. Inside was all his spare ammo that he didn't have stuffed in his pockets. There was also a knife that Jenny took out and wielded.
Eric unlocked and threw the door open, walking through with his gun leading the way. A lone zombie down the hall turned itself to see the living approach and immediately started for them. Eric wasted no time walking right up to it and shooting it in the head, lighting up the dark hallway and sending an earsplitting boom all around.
Before the body even struck the ground, hungry moans rose up to respond to the gunshot, the promise of a possible meal exciting all the dead inside and outside the club. Realizing the gravity of the situation almost instantly, Eric ushered the group to hurry through the small hallway. Along the way, another zombie was making its way at them. Eric pushed it into the wall before grabbing it by the shoulders and throwing it at the opposing wall. He then dropped his boot several times on its knee, destroying its knee cap. The group rushed by before it could get back up.
The far end of the hall had a door that was suppose to lead to the fire exit. Eric quickly kicked it open thinking it would only contain a few zombies at most. As soon as the door swung away, it revealed over a dozen waiting and hungry ghouls already riled up from the gunshot. Eric panicked and rushed a shot off, missing his target's head entirely and striking the wall on the far side of the room.
Tara didn't need to be a scholar to understand that the four loaded bullets Eric has were woefully insufficient against the incoming hoard. "Go back!" she shouted as Eric screamed "No! We keep going!" and shot one point blank in the face. He grabbed it before it dropped and used it as a shield as he pushed them back at the doorway. "We push through. It's the only way out!" She wanted to help, but all she could manage was to stand still and watch the hopeless struggle.
Jenny ran up to help push and tried stabbing any zombie that stuck its head through, but she couldn't generate enough force to penetrate the skull. "This is suicide," Sarah said as she slowly backed up through the hall, away from what she was sure was about to be a dam breakage of zombie. Eric, who had pushed the dead so far that he was almost into the next room, was now encountering enough resistance that he was forced back, barely able to keep the corpse he was holding in the way of the dead.
Jenny managed to push on zombie's head down to where she could drop her knife right through the back of its skull. Before she could pull it out, reaching hands grabbed at her, forcing her to abandon the knife and retreat backwards. Now alone in his struggle, Eric placed his magnum muzzle in the mouth of a nearby zombie and pulled the trigger, hoping the new corpse would act as a roadblock to the advancing horde. Instead, it became dead weight being pushed on top of him as arms and heads began spilling through the doorway up high.
"Fuck," Eric said to himself as he looked to Tara and Jenny nearby. "This isn't gonna work!" Jenny yelled as Eric gritted his teeth and slowly nodded. Sarah meanwhile had continued her backtrack, refusing to turn her back on the scene playing out. Suddenly, she fell backwards over something and toppled to the ground. "What?" she asked as she looked to what she was top of to see the one-kneed zombie from before.
She screamed as she tried kicking backwards. The zombie grabbed one of her legs and held it down. "No!" she screamed as she tried pulling her leg away as the zombie held her tight and moved one hand up her leg to push her pant leg away and expose her calf. Sarah raised her other leg and began kicking at the zombie's head, but it refused to be deterred as it dropped its head onto her leg and bit in.
Sarah's painful howl was the breaking point for Eric's endeavor, as he slipped out from his collapsing zombie barricade and ran for Sarah. Tara and Jenny were already on their way down the hall as the zombie pulled up from Sarah's leg and chewing on a mouthful of flesh. Tara jumped over the two and reached to pull Sarah away while Jenny grabbed the zombie by the ankles and pulled in the opposite direction.
"Shoot it!" Tara yelled at Eric as he ran up, no indication of stopping. "Leave her!" he yelled as he ran by, the horde from the next room climbing into the hall over the three corpses stuck in the doorframe. "No, please!" Sarah cried out as Eric sped by, not even a glance down in her direction. "You bastard!" Jenny shouted as the combined force of her and Tara pulling finally broke the zombie's grip on Sarah. Tara kept dragging her away as Jenny stepped on and over the zombie as it tried crawling after the girls.
Jenny helped Tara pick Sarah up and follow Eric while the dead chased. They stumbled down the hall, only slightly faster than the hoard chasing. At the end, Eric was through and looking back at them with the door in hand. "Don't close the door!" Jenny yelled as Eric hesitated but couldn't bring himself to close them out. Eric aimed and fired at the hoard as the girls ran passed him. He stepped back and closed the door.
"Gimme something go block the door with!" he yelled as the girls dropped Sarah and grabbed a table and dragged it over. Eric braced the door while Tara and Jenny ran about grabbing any furnishing that wasn't nailed down and tossing it in front of the door. When they were finished, all they had was an awkward pile of furniture, most of which had been used to barricade the staircase entrance from before.
Eric silently reloaded his magnum as Tara sat against the window and helplessly listened to the pounding at the door to the hallway. She turned to hear pounding begin at the door to the stairwell as well. Sarah sat on the floor sobbing as she tried to tie a torn rag from her shirt onto her leg, the blood pouring into a puddle around her. Jenny took a seat next to her and closed her eyes.
"Shit," Eric said as he patted down all his pockets. "What is it?" Tara asked. "The radio," Eric said as he bit his lip "It must've fallen out when I was trying to push through." He turned to punch the wall, exciting the dead at both doors even more as they tried to claw their way through. Neither barricade they set up would hold forever. The doors were old, and were starting to already crack under the relentless assault the dead.
Jenny gave off a heavy sigh and kept her eyes closed. Sarah finished the best she could with her leg and sat crying to herself in the middle of her own blood. Eric swore to himself as he paced about the room, occasionally stopping to try and tweak the barricades on both doors. Tara turned to look out the window. The world outside looked quiet, with the dead silently roaming about right under her. Tara could only wonder how much time was left before one of the doors failed, or how much longer Sarah would last, or how much longer any of them would last with no supplies.