John yelled an obscenity as he began turning so he could raise his rifle and cover their rear. The VIP they were supposed to be rescuing named Halley stumbled as she brushed up against him, finally making it around the corner. She was much faster than their pursuers. He yelled for Halley to get up the stairs not taking his attention away from the hallway. She scrambled up the stairs just as the low moaning echoed inside the confined space. John had fought in the Sandbox for years yet nothing was so frightening to him than this enemy. Their slow seemingly methodical, even though they had no thought, movements. He hated them more just as much as they creped him out.
The first one appeared, its hands leading the way grasping at the air. Gray and covered with cuts that didn’t bleed the hands came out of a dirty and bloody shirt. Eventually its entire body was exposed causing John to feel a brief pang of fear which training quickly suppressed but not fully. He stared at the blood that was all over its mouth. As soon as it saw him it moaned. John fired at the same time, his rifle cracked and a moment later the monster’s head exploded. He watched as the thing fell over like a sack of potatoes. The soldier didn’t stay to admire his work turning and sprinting to the stairs.
He climbed a few flights of stairs and found Halley lying on the steps crying. He had no idea why she stopped and he didn’t care. If they didn’t move they would die. John seized her arm, yanked her off the stairs and screamed, “MOVE IT!”
His shout brought her back to reality. She stumbled ahead of him, hands and feet gripping the stairs almost comically but she was going up. John glanced over his shoulder. While he didn’t see anything he could hear them. There were the heavy thumps of someone climbing stairs further back. Multiple moans filled the stairwell letting him know multiple enemies were behind them. He reached into his vest and removed a plastic block. It was labeled, C4. Attaching it to the stairs he set the timer on the bomb and ran. John shook his head at the stupidity of his idea. If he had suggested this back at Bragg his instructors would have chewed him out.
John had just reached the roof door when the bang of the exploding C4 reached him. The stairs shook and a rushing cloud of dust and smoke raced up the stairs. If he was lucky there was now a gap in the stairs. His solution had bought them time but not much. He imagined the damned things would just keep walking into the hole. Eventually they would pile up and repair the stairs with the bodies of their damn comrades. It frustrated him to no end, how could they be so smart while being so stupid!
“Sergeant! Status!” John yelled as he closed with the small group.
Sergeant Anne Simms was popping flares which burned bright in the night. John was taken aback by how bright they were. Part of it came from the fact they had scrambled up to the roof in the dull emergency lighting of the building but it also came from how dark it was around them. Normally the city’s lights should have sparkled around the building. Of course the lights had to be on to do that now it was dark expect for the fires reflecting off the glass faces of the buildings the orange glow adding to the horror of the situation. It saddened him, the greatest city in the world and the only light in it was from the fires. The Empire State building was burning, so was Central Park as the zoomies bombed the enemy hordes walking across it. The Air Force was trying to give time for the evac to occur even though it seemed to John to have turned into a disaster. There was a roar overheard John couldn’t see the aircraft responsible for the noise but he saw their handiwork seconds later as the bridges over the Hudson River exploded in rapid succession.
Manhattan was being sealed off. The bridges blown, tunnels flooded, and finally unauthorized helicopters or boats blown out of the sky or out of the water. They couldn’t let the Blight escape this city.
Sgt. Simms finally answered him. It seemed like hours had gone by when it was only a few moments, “Blackhawk will be here in sixty.”
John nodded when one of his charges screamed. He turned and saw the first of the monsters coming through the door. It looked like they had just piled up in the stairs. Now the Undead had access to the roof. He and Simms fired quickly their first shots hitting the grey skinned monsters in the chests and arms. Of course it didn’t stop them. The rounds blew off limbs and tore flesh but these creatures didn’t care. They just advanced moaning for the living in front of them, ready to tear into them with their teeth. The two soldiers readjusted their aim and took more careful shots. Working together they began dropping the zombies with headshots.
With a roar and the sudden swirl of rotor-wash a UH-60 appeared. Its door gunner began blasting away with a mini-gun. John watched as the enemy was ripped apart by the fire house of orange tracer. The chopper landed and Simms began shoving people into the helo. John was the last to board seeing the mass of undead trip and stumble over their torn apart comrades. They lifted off causing the zombies to reach for the Blackhawk with their arms as they moaned. Some even followed the chopper, falling off the roof once they reached the edge. John grabbed a seat and laid his head back against the panel trying to relax. Suddenly Simms screamed.
Halley was biting her. The VIP civilian was no longer the scared woman John had kicked up the stairs, she was one of them. Simms couldn’t bring her weapon to bear as the zombie bit and ripped into her arm. Before John could react one of the Blackhawk’s crew chiefs aimed a sidearm at the recently turned Halley and blew her brains out. As she slumped against the wounded Simms, the chief shoved the girl’s body out the open door. The other civilians looked on in horror or just blankly stared, too exhausted by the escape to have any emotion. Julie looked at the wounds on her arm and then her pistol in her other hand and cried.
John cursed again, he hated the enemy.
© Copyright 2016 Doctor in Training. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Horror
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