When they reached the gate, they were greeted by the gate keeper. No one knew his name, but they called him Mr. Reynolds and it stuck.
“Going out to die?” he asked when they approached. Kenny was freaked out, but his uncle laughed.
“I don’t think I feel like dying today,” he said.
“Your boy doesn’t look as sure as you do,” Mr. Reynolds observed, looking at Kenny.
“He’ll be just fine,” he uncle answered. Mr. Reynolds shrugged.
“If you say so,” he said, pulling a lever. A long metal bar at the top of the gate began to creak backwards, taking the electrified fence with it. When it was open enough to allow the two to leave, he pulled the lever halfway up, stopping the gate.
“Out with you two,” he said, smiling.
Kenny shivered as he saw Mr. Reynolds old yellowed teeth. He followed his uncle out of the fence and couldn’t help but flinch as the gate shut behind them.
“Here,” he uncle said, handing him a small bottle.
Kenny uncapped it and took a whiff. “Oh damn,” he nearly yelled. His uncle smiled.
“It’s not for smelling. It’s for masking your living scent.” Kenny shuddered as he began applying the gooey substance to his exposed areas, like his face and bare skin on his arms and legs. It nearly made him gag, but he managed to tough it out. He handed the bottle back to his uncle.
“This is the stuff that makes Zombies stink so bad right?” he asked.
“Yep,” his uncle answered. “When people turn, they begin to secrete a new kind of substance from their body and it’s what makes them stink so bad, so when we can, we collect it and save it for when we go out into the Lost World.”
“Smart,” Kenny thought to himself.
“Now come on,” his uncle said. “We’ve got a ways to go to catch up to the others and I do not want to be out after dark.” With that, they began to move down the mountain.
All talking seemed to become unnecessary as they went down the mountain and stepped onto the plains that used to be full of the living dead. They jogged, keeping a brisk pace as they proceeded through the plain.
Kenny wondered about his uncle. He was only a Raider, but Kenny thought that there was much more to him, although he’d never had the courage to ask before. They veered suddenly into the forest and Kenny kept close to his uncle, not wanting to get lost in the forest. His uncle suddenly stopped and held up a fist, a sign to stop. Kenny stopped and they both squatted down, hidden from view by shrubbery.
“There’s a Spec,” Steven whispered. Kenny nodded, but he’d spotted it as well. It was about twenty feet away from them, shuffling around in a circle, moaning and gnashing it’s teeth. Watching the thing made Kenny’s blood boil in rage.
“We should kill it,” he whispered to his uncle.
“We cannot,” was the answer.
Kenny looked at him. “Why not?” he asked. He uncle looked at him. “Because it was once living.”
Kenny shook his head in disgust. “The time that they were living is lo-”
“We will not have this conversation here,” he uncle said firmly, stepping away from the shrubbery and beginning to go around the zombie. Kenny cast one more murderous glance at the zombie and followed suit.
They only jogged for half an hour, but the sun beat down against Kenny’s skin and his throat became dry. He found himself taking more and more sips from his canteen. Before long it was empty, but before he could lament the loss, the house finally came into view. It was a log house that had been built in the middle of the woods. Breathing a sigh of relief, Kenny made to move forward, but his uncle held up a fist.
“Something’s not right,” he said. Kenny looked from him to the house and saw what he meant. First he spotted the guns lying on the ground in front of the door. Then he saw how the door had been knocked down from the inside. Next he saw the blood that stained the door, ground and windows. Not the sick green liquid that poured from the zombies, but bright red human blood.
“Someone tried to escape and died,” Kenny breathed.
His uncle nodded. “Seems like it, but we’ve been by here before and there were no Specs here. I wonder what happened.”
Kenny opened his mouth to say something when a loud whistling cut through the forest. “Damn,” Kenny said, cupping his ears.
“Shit,” his uncle said, He grabbed Kenny’s arm and ran towards the house. Once inside, his uncle took out both of his knives which were massive, each one about as wide as Kenny’s head and sharpened to a very fine point.
“Now listen to me Kenny,” Steven said, going to the back door and making sure that it was locked. He turned back to Kenny. “I need you to run upstairs and scope it out while I fix the door.”
Kenny was bewildered. “Why?” he asked. His uncle moved past him and picked the door off the ground and shoved it back into place before answering. “Someone has set us up Kenny. You know that zombies are attracted to noise right?”
Kenny nodded and then the pieces fell together. The loud whistling noise. The broken doors. The missing group. “Where are a Zombies weak spots again?” he asked, ready to bolt up the stairs.
“The head is the only one,” his uncle said. “Lop it off, or stick your knife into the base of it’s neck, or bash it a couple of times.”
Kenny turned to go. “Kenny.” He turned around. “Please, if you can, refrain from killing them. Lop off their limbs and then tie their mouths shut. Your too young to give in to your hate.”
Kenny stood there, working his mouth, trying to get a response out of it.
“Go!” he said, looking out the window. Kenny turned and rushed up the stairs. He threw open the door and nearly fell back. The missing people in the group lay in pieces on the floor. Blood was splattered everywhere. Kenny hadn’t know the men personally, but he was still shocked. He turned and threw up on the wall next to him. Wiping his mouth, he shook his head and went into the room. He unsheathed his sword and placed it again the body’s neck.
He didn’t want to do it, but he knew it had to be done or it would cost him his life. He couldn’t have them coming back to life and getting him. Besides, they didn’t deserve to come back and be like one of the zombies. Taking a deep shuddering breath, he plunged it in. He felt the blade slice cleanly through the spine. Then, before he had time to feel anything, he repeated the process on the other bodies. After he had done it, he looked down at the blood on his sword, he nearly retched again, but he held it down. He quickly wiped his sword and rushed to the only room that was there. But before he could reach it, the door swung open and a zombie lumbered out.
It reached for Kenny and it was all he could do to put the sword up as it reached for him. It grabbed the blade and Kenny whipped it back with a snarl, sending nine fingers flying through the air in a spray of green blood. Unperturbed by the loss of it’s fingers, the thing lurched forward, managing to pin Kenny to the wall. His sword clattered to the floor and the zombie leaned forward to bite him. Kenny brought up his arm and the zombie bit down on the carpet. Kenny felt the bite, but thanks to the carpet, the teeth could not get through. Using his free hand, he reached for his knife, careful not to let the zombie bite him. He pulled it from it’s sheath and without thinking reached around the zombie, turned the blade and plunged it up into the zombies skull, penetrating it’s brain. The zombie immediately went slack and fell over, as if it’s strings had been cut.
Picking up his sword, Kenny continued into the room. He jumped back almost immediately as he saw a blur of movement from the corner of his eye. Whatever it was crashed into the wall and stuck there. Kenny looked into the room and saw a man huddled in the corner watching him with murderous intent in his eyes. Slowly, Kenny sheathed his sword and stepped towards the man. He reached behind him and unsheathed his smaller knife. The man saw this and jumped forward with surprising speed. Kenny managed to step to the side and the man went past him. Without waiting for him to turn around, Kenny slammed the hilt of his blade onto the man’s temple. The man moaned once and went slack, falling to the floor. Kenny searched the rest of the room, noting that there was a chair in the middle of the room with metal, bloody, straps on it.
“That’s sick,” Kenny thought to himself. When he’d made sure that nothing else was upstairs, he went back downstairs and saw his uncle straining to keep the door in place. He breathed a sigh of relief when he spotted Kenny, but quickly began barking orders.
“I need you to raid the kitchen and the pantry. Use the back that’s in your belt. “Quickly, I don’t know how much longer I can keep them out.” Kenny looked in his belt and found the bag without too much of a problem. He ran into the kitchen and began throwing things into the bag, not even looking at what it was. He ransacked the fridge and the pantry as quick as he could. When he’d finished, he went back to his uncle and nodded.
“Was there a window upstairs big enough for me?” he asked. Again, Kenny just nodded, thinking that if he opened his mouth, he’d throw up.
“Good,” Steven said. “Get upstairs and wait for me there. Now!” Kenny turned and ran back upstairs. When he reached the room, he threw open the window and gasped. At least fifty zombies were outside, pushing against each other and the door, struggling to get inside and rip into the fleshy humans that waited there. Then, there was a crash as his uncle let the door crash down, but Kenny could hardly hear it. He hardly noticed when his uncle grabbed his arm and the man in the other.
“We’re jumping,” he said. “Brace yourself now.” Then, he ran and jumped through the window. Glass shattered as they broke through. They slammed onto the ground and somehow, Kenny managed to keep a hold on the bag of food that he’d been able to grab.
“Kenny!” Steven yelled. Kenny looked at him in a daze. “Don’t you dare do this to me now Kenny!” he yelled grabbing his hand and running. Kenny didn’t remember running at all. He looked over his shoulder. The zombies continued to mob the house, unaware that their pray had escaped him. The sight made him think of what he’d just done and he bent over and threw up on the ground. After that, everything seemed to pass by as if he was in a dream.
He remembered them getting away from the zombies. He remembered his uncle trying to say something to him. He also remembered the gate of Z-less, but after that…was darkness and after what he’d done, he hoped it was death.
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