“You seein’ the same thing, guys?” I hear over the two-way radio. Jason.
“Yeah. Looks like zack is here.” Joseph.
“So, what’s the plan?” Sara.
“ There’s no way we’re turning around. Too much traffic.” I say.
“Well, we gonna walk north or……” Joseph.
“We’re going to drive through.” Jack. I couldn’t believe what he was saying. There was still innocent people in those cars ahead.
“I’ll take the lead. Being in this big ass truck means I can ram cars outta the way.” Jack told us.
“Okay.” I said. I struggle to move my car out of his way. But I do. He slams on the gas, smashing the first car it touches. The rest are easily pushed out of the way. I pull into the newly cleared path. We’re moving slowly, but were getting through. The dead are crowding around our convoy now; one is on my passenger door window, desperately trying to chew his way through the glass. I ignore it. Joseph had to go off-road to avoid most of them. I watch as he speeds by a man, slicing clean through the top of his head with the Musashi. He falls quickly.
Once out of the worst of it, we continue down the road. I spot a group of vehicles ahead blocking the road. Lots of movement. Only one explanation….
“Guys, pull over. We have to clean out that area.” Jack says over the radio.
“Got it.” I say back. We all pull over the shoulder. I grab my shotgun, and step out of my car. Turn to Jack’s rig. I’m gonna need a melee weapon. He’s opening the freight box.
“Hey Jack!” I call out. “Think I can borrow something sharp?”
“I reckon I can hook you up.” He answers in a fake Texan accent. He jumps into the freight box, and goes to the back. I watch as he opens a metal case. He smiles, closes it, and walks to me.
“This’ll do!” He says as he tosses it to me. I catch it. Kinda has a bit of weight to it. Open it up to find a knife, and the handle has brass knuckles attached to it. I look at it with awe.
“It’s a trench knife. Soldiers used it in the first World War. My great gramps got it off of a German.”
I look at him.
“Gave it to me for my fifteenth birthday. It’s yours now.” He told me.
“C’mon, man. I can’t take this.” I tell him. I feel bad for even asking now.
“It’s cool. I really don’t want it. Too much negativity attached to it. Too much blood in it’s history. I was going to give it to Jes, but he said no.” I look down at it. Perfectly clean; not a hint of rust. “It’s yours.”
“Thanks. I’ll take care of it.”
“Take care of it?” He laughs. “Dude, won’t you be bashing heads in with it? Oh! Here’s a pair of gloves…..”
“No, man. Already got a pair in the car. Thanks again, man.” I turn to leave, but he stops me.
“You don’t plan on taking on the Zack down there with that shotgun, do you?” He asks.
“Fuck that! Here….” He steps back into the freight box. I hear some struggling, then a thud. I hurry into the freight box to find him with a steel crate on top of him. He turns to me.
“Help?” I laugh, drop the case to the knife, and lift the crate from his chest. Pretty hefty. I drop it. He doesn’t get up.
“I can have a hand?” I sticks his hand out to me. I grab it, and yank him up. Back on his feet, he brushes himself off, and looks down at a black box. I look down at it. There’s a weird insignia on the surface, with a caption.
“’This Day, This Fight’?” I say.
“This is a World War II U.S. Army G.F.U.T.U uniform.”
“G.F.U.T.U?” I giggled as I said it.
“German Front Undead Tactical Unit. This is the only preserved uniform left in existence. All of them were destroyed with the soldiers that fought the undead in Germany.”
“Undead in Germany? That’s a bit of B.S, huh?” I tell him. He looks at me. Serious. I repeat what he just said in my head. “Wait, you’re not kidding?”
“My grandpa escaped right before his unit was killed. He gave me this to keep it a secret. Told me the story.” I look at the box. Jack bends over, and lifts it off of another steel crate. He sets it down, and opens the crate. Inside there is an M4 with a strap and a backpack beside it. He pulls both out.
“As long as you’re going to be traveling with this group, you will use this. Use the shotgun as a secondary.” He hands me both. I unzip the backpack to find extra clips and a few boxes of ammo.
“What you plan on giving me next, the rest of your arsenal?” I joke. He looks at me.
“The G.F.U.T.U box is secret. No one knows about it.” He is looking deep into my eyes. “You tell anyone with us, and I’ll kill you and everyone else.”
I heart misses a beat. I’m scared.
“I won’t say a word. I promise.” I tell him. He nods, and grabs his rifle, a FAL-SA58. Semi-auto. I know this one very well. We both get out of the freight box. He closes it up, and locks it.
Everyone is in the street, waiting for us.
“You guys ready?” Jack asks.
“Let’s go! I’m ready to kick some zed ass!” Jason says. Sounds really happy.
“Shit!” I mutter.
“What?” Jack asks.
“Forgot the knife.” Jack rolls his eyes.
“Hold on.” He walks back to the truck, unlocks the door to the freight box, opens it halfway, slides in, and slides out with the box in his hand. Closes it, locks it. Walks over to me.
“Here.” He hands it to me. I nod at him, walk over to my car, and open the door. I take the knife out of the case, slide it into the sheath that was also in the box, and throw the box inside the car. Close, lock. Strap the knife to my belt, and walk back to the group.
“Okay, where the hell is Jesse?” Sara asks. Jack’s eyes open wide. He turns and runs to his truck.
“No, no, no, no…..” He repeats while running. He opens the door, and goes for his radio.
“Jesse? Jesse! You there, man?” I hear him say. He gets static. We all speed to the rig.
“Jesse? Bro, you gotta answer.” He asks again. Static. I turn to see Sara cup her hands around her mouth. Jason lowers his M16 in disappointment.
“No.” Jack says silently. “Fuck!” He throws his radio into the cabin of the truck. He sits in the driver seat, hands over his face.
“Hey….” We hear over Jack’s radio. He looks up. Sara hands are out of her eyes.
“You guys still there?” Jesse asks. Jack climbs over the seat. He gets his hands on the radio.
“Yeah, man. Yeah, we’re here. What happened?”
“Got cut off. I’m in a field right now, probably a few miles away from you guys.”
“You alright? No bites?” Jack asks.
“I’m fine, for right now. The Ninja is fine, too. So if I have to make a run for it, I’ve got the speed for it.”
“Ammo? You good for ammo?”
“Yeah. Haven’t fired a round yet. Sword is really bloody, though. Slid right through a really juicy one.”
“Well, stay safe and keep quiet. You think you can get to the main road?”
“Right now? I’m kinda surrounded by trees, so no.”
“Well, we’ll find you. Listen for the horns.” Jack looks at us. We got it. “Stay down, we’ll be there soon.”
“Got it, bro.” Then static.
“Let’s clean this shit up quick. We have to get these vehicles moving.” Jack nods toward the group of Zack ahead, and begins to walk toward them, FAL raised and ready. We follow.
As we close in, a few of them spot us. Jack raises his weapon and dispatches them. I looks like every step we take, they turn toward us. I finally get my chance at one; fat, nasty fucker. I raise the M4 and fire twice. One round rips through his neck, and the other his forehead. Blood spurts, and he drops. Another turns, and I do the same to it. As we close in on the first car, we see a face show up in it. Blood shoots from its mouth, and it helplessly chews at the window. Sara puts it down, shattering the window it was behind.
“Watch the cars. They could be hiding under or inside.” And right after Jack said that, a woman, blood covering her, tackles Jack. I don’t even think, almost instinctively, I draw the trench knife, and give the woman a quick, hard punch. I feel her skull break under the metal rings. She drops. I give Jack my hand. He grabs, and I pull him up. The dead are now in all directions. Then…..
“Help! Please!” We hear it from a car to our left. I turn, and see a girl, maybe seventeen, long brown hair, tank top. Zack are now all over the car, desperately trying to claw themselves in.
“Jack!” I scream to him over the gunfire. “Survivor! In that car!” I point to the car. The driver side widow shatters, and a zed’s arm is inside. I repeatedly into it, scoring a headshot. All of the Zack around the car turn to me. Maybe six of them.
“Cover me, someone!” I stand my ground, aim.
First one: Male. Suit. Bite mark on his neck. Pull the trigger. Dead.
Second one: Male. Bloody muscle shirt and jeans. Bang. He falls to his knees, then face plants the blacktop.
Third one: Male. Young. Shirt torn all to hell, in shorts. Click. No ammo left.
I don’t bother reloading. I strap it to my back, and pull the shotgun from its strap. Dispatch two of them, drop it, pull the knife out, and drive the blade into the last dead’s temple. Slip it out, zed falls, wipe the blade off, and slip it back into its sheath. I reload the M$ quickly, and run to the back doors of the car. I see the girl laying on the seat, curled up, arms over her head. I knock on the window. She quickly looks up, sees me, and unlocks the door. I open it.
“C’mon! I’ll get you out of here!” I tell her over the noise of the fighting. Pretty sure she didn’t even hear me, but I hold my hand out, and she grabs it. I pull her out. As I turn, another zed, torn up face, is walking toward me.
“Cover your ears!” I order. She does, and I put the ugly bastard down. I turn to Jack.
“Jack!” I scream. He turns.
“I’m bringing the girl to my car! That okay?”
“Yeah! Just fuckin’ move!” I turn to the girl. I grab her hand.
“Stay with me! I’m getting you out of here!” She nods, and I walk her past the cars, and up the road. She’s really close to my arm, and her grip has tightened. I ignore it.
Now standing next to my car, I drop the M4 and open the driver side door.
“Get in. Keep your eyes open,” I hand her the M4 and the bag, “and if anything comes to this car that isn’t me or the people down there, shoot it.” Suddenly, she wraps her arms around me, and squeezes. Knocks the breath out of me. I pat her on the back. She looks up at me.
“It’s fine. Just get in the car, and keep safe.” Shit! I remember the rat. “Hold on, not yet.” I lean in, open my bag, and find the rat. It looks up at me. I grab it, and put it against my chest. I lean back out of the car, the girl looking at me with a weird face.
“A rat. Found it…..” I’d rather not tell her where I found it. “Just get in. It’ll be okay.” And she does. I close the door, and walk around the car, into the tree line. I lower it to the ground, and release it. He scurries out of sight. I look up, and see a clearing through the trees. Then, I spot something moving far in that clearing. Jesse……
I begin running past the trees. I’m tripping up a little, but I catch myself. Soon, I’m in the clearing, and staring at Jes.
“Jesse!” I call to him.
“Nathan!” He calls to me. “So it’s you guys making all of the noise?”
“No, a bunch of elves with high caliber guns came out of the trees and started firing!” I tell him. “Of course it’s us!”
“You guys need some help?” He asks.
“Smart ass. Follow me.” I turn.
“No! You follow me!” I turn to see him getting on the Ninja, and starting it. He revs it up.
“Fair enough.” I get on back of it, and grab his shoulders. “You can make it through those trees?”
“Hell yeah!” And we’re moving. He’s now speeding past the trees, nearly missing a few. Slows down a little, and we’re on the road again. He stops, turns the bike off, and flips the kick stand down. We both get off, and are now running toward the others. I pull the trench knife from the sheath, and he pulls his sword from it’s sheath. We both get to the rest at the same time. Everyone turns to us, nods, and goes back to killing. A zed is crawling from under a truck. Smash his head in with my foot. Turn to see Jesse sending his sword into a zed’s eye.
After the dead are dead again, we all walk together to our vehicles. We’re happy to be reunited again.
“Hey Jack. Can I put my Ninja in the freight box?” Jesse asks.
“Sure. Have to open it first.”
“Not an idiot.” Jesse remarks.
Jesse puts his Ninja in the freight box, and rides with Jack, Sara gets in her car, Jason in his truck. I get to my car, and find the girl in the driver seat, asleep, M4 beside her. I sigh, pick her up, open the back passenger door, and lay her down. I close the door, get in, start the engine. We’re back on the road in minutes, Jack leading the way, smashing through the cars blocking the road