I slowed down when we reached the house, but didn’t stop completely. There were a lot of teenage zombies in costumes wandering the front yard. How were we supposed to get inside to save Maria?
“Let’s park at the neighbor’s house,” Hunter said as he stared out at the zombies. “The kids can stay in the van and you and I can try to find another way inside other than the front yard.”
I nodded, but he didn’t see me as he was still looking out the window. I parked in the empty driveway of the neighbor’s house. Their driveway was large enough that Victory could pull in beside me. There was a large hedge dividing this neighbor’s house with the party house so we could get out of the car without being seen by zombies.
“You have the gun and the ax?” Hunter asked me.
I grabbed the gun and the bullets. “This will make a lot of noise,” I said.
“Only use it if you have to,” he said.
I nodded and gripped the gun tightly in one hand and the ax in the other. He had his hunting knife strapped to his leg, but he also took a large knife from the block I had brought from my house. He had the bow and arrows in his other hand.
We both got out of the car and closed the doors quietly behind us. The van’s driver side window slid down and Hunter tried to pass the bow and arrows back to Victory. Only Victory and Mackenzie were in the front now. The three boys were strapped safely in the back seats with Molly spread out on all three of their laps. They were thankfully all quiet.
“You might need those,” Victory whispered.
“You are better with them,” Hunter whispered back.
Victory’s expression immediately brightened. “I’m going with you?” she asked excitedly.
“No,” Hunter said and her face fell. “You are the only one who can drive if something happens to me and Lily,” he said. “Unless,” he looked at Mackenzie, “you know how to drive?”
“I’m only twelve,” Kenzie said.
“So am I,” Victory said as if that was no excuse.
“Vicky, Kenzie,” Hunter addressed both of them. “If we don’t come back, you need to take the van and leave. You need to go meet up with Grace and Tanner. You have to protect those boys and Molly in the backseat. Understand?”
The two of them nodded. Hunter turned to me. “Are you ready?”
I nodded, but then thought of something. “Hold on,” I said. I opened the back passenger side door and pulled out extra knives. “For Maria and anyone else we might rescue,” I explained. Hunter nodded. I shut the door quietly and followed Hunter.
He led the way to the hedge. We peeked over it into the side yard. There were about four zombies shambling in the side yard. A lot less than what was in the front, but if they moaned and alerted those in the front of our presence, we would be in trouble. There weren’t any doors that led inside from this side either. There were windows, but they were all shut and probably locked.
Hunter motioned towards the back and I led the way. We peeked over the hedge and looked into the backyard. There was a sliding glass door that was opened, but there were also more zombies back here. Maybe around a dozen. I didn’t want to fight my way through a dozen zombies.
“What are you we going to do?” I mouthed to Hunter.
He thought about it for a moment and then motioned for me to follow him. We made our way back to the driver’s side of the van. Victory rolled down the window.
“We need you to make a diversion,” Hunter told her. “Take the van and go to the front of their house, then yell out your window and drive away. Try to get as many zombies as you can to follow you, but don’t let them get too close.”
Victory nodded. “Be careful,” she said.
“Stay safe,” Mackenzie said to me.
“Don’t worry about us,” I said. “We’ll be fine.” It sounded confident which wasn’t how I felt.
Hunter and I went back to hide behind the hedge. Victory pulled the van out of the driveway and stopped in the middle of the road in front of the party house. She rolled down her window and began to shout, “Hey, zombies. Over here.” She waved her arms out the window.
The zombies in the front and side yard ran straight at her. She didn’t hesitate as she accelerated and slowly went down the street all the while calling out the window. She was driving fast enough to keep a healthy distance between her and them.
Several zombies ran out the open front door to join the others.
“Look,” Hunter whispered to me. He pointed to a second story window of the party house.
Someone was waving frantically at us. It took me a moment in the dark to recognize him. He was a junior, medium brown hair, navy blue rimmed glasses that covered light brown eyes. Hunter signaled him to stay where he was and Darren nodded that he understood.
“He’s the last person I expected to be here,” Hunter whispered to me.
Darren and his small group of friends didn’t usually socialize with other people. I wondered if his friends were here somewhere too. Or if they were zombies.
“I wonder how many other people are trapped inside that house,” I whispered.
“Let’s go see,” Hunter replied. We slowly, quietly made our way around the hedge and into the yard. It was quiet and empty. Victory’s yells could still be heard in the distance as well as a multitude of zombie moans following her.
The living room inside the house was empty. Hunter closed the front door quietly behind us. It wasn’t completely silent in the house. Moans could be heard from upstairs and further in on this level.
A side door opened and Grant’s head peeked out. His expression washed over with relief when he saw me and Hunter in the empty room. Hunter motioned him over. Grant stepped out of the room behind him. He held Monica’s hand and she followed extremely close behind him, almost as if they were one person.
I handed them each a kitchen knife.
“Everyone isn’t going to fit in my car,” I whispered to Hunter.
“Do you have a car?” Hunter whispered to Grant.
Grant nodded. “It’s parked down the street,” he whispered.
“Let’s get out of here.” Monica’s voice started out as a whisper, but ended in a panicked cry.
All three of us shushed her, but the moans in the house changed. Shuffling footsteps began to come our way.
Hunter motioned frantically and the four of us ran back into the room Grant and Monica had just exited. The door slammed loudly behind us. Hunter looked at Grant with a mix of horror, disgust and anger. I imagined my own expression must have looked like that.
“Sorry,” Grant whispered. “It was an accident.” His hand was still on the doorknob. Many hands began to pound on the other side of the door.
“What do we do?” Monica’s voice was almost hysterical.
“We don’t panic,” Hunter whispered harshly to her. He crossed the room and looked out the blinds covering one of the windows. He unlocked the window and opened it. “You two get out and go to your car,” he instructed.
“By ourselves?” Grant scoffed. “You need to come with us.”
“I’m here for Maria,” I said.
“And Darren is upstairs,” Hunter added.
“Leave them,” Grant said easily.
My hand tightened around the handle of the ax.
“You are such an idiot,” Hunter said. He slid the window closed. “Fine, stay with us then. After we get Maria and Darren and whoever else needs our help, we’ll escort you to your car.”
“Thank you,” Monica said obviously missing the disgust and disbelief in Hunter’s voice.
Hunter shook his head and brushed passed them to return to the door. He placed his hand on the door handle and waved me over. When I reached his side he indicated my ax and indicated he would open the door. I nodded my head that I understood and got the ax ready.
He opened the door slightly. Many zombie hands reached in, some tried to pull the door open further. Hunter used all his strength to keep the door from opening all the way.
A zombie face appeared and I smashed my ax into her head ignoring the fact that the zombie in the sexy fairy costume had once been Stacy. I pulled the ax out and blood spurted onto my cheek and onto Hunter’s cheek. I really hoped that this zombie outbreak wasn’t contracted through their blood. I knew it was through their bite, but so far I hadn’t seen any evidence of it being through their blood too. Still, I was very careful not to accidentally lick the blood that was on my lips. I wiped my face roughly on my jacket as Hunter kicked the dead fairy zombie away while still holding onto the door.
Another zombie quickly took her place. I brought my ax into his head too.
“A little help might be nice,” Hunter said pointedly to Grant after I killed the fourth zombie.
“I don’t know what to do,” Grant said.
The fourth zombie fell away, the fifth took his place. A sixth zombie was crawling their way inside. I brought my foot down on his face and held him in place while I dealt with the fifth zombie.
“Come kill this one!” Hunter almost yelled it as he kicked the zombie I held down with my foot. The zombie bit the heel of my shoe.
The seventh zombie was Anna. I froze. My best friend’s mouth was bloody. Her teeth chomped in my direction. Her eyes were wild, unrecognizing. She was dressed as a ghost in a white, tattered dress. The white makeup on her face was smudged and splattered with red blood.
“Anna.” I didn’t really process that I said her name out loud.
The zombie underneath my foot went slack. I looked down to see Monica taking the knife out of the zombie’s temple. She took in a breath, steadied herself and then nodded to me and Hunter. She raised the knife and took a step forward, but I stopped her.
I brought my ax down into Anna’s skull. Wasn’t it better that I, a friend, be the one to release her from this zombie fate? Maybe it didn’t matter to her anymore, but it mattered to me.
I did step aside though and let Monica take care of the eighth and ninth zombies. There wasn’t a tenth. Hunter pushed the door open. The bodies of zombies beyond it shifted as he did. It was only when we saw that the room beyond was clear that Grant stepped forward.
“Let’s hurry and get your friends and get out of here,” he said. He tried to step passed Hunter, but Hunter grabbed his arm and held him back.
“The back door was still open,” Hunter whispered.
Grant easily stepped aside to let Hunter and me lead the way with those words. We left the living room and walked down the hall to the back of the house. We stopped when we saw the back door open and zombies milling about in the backyard.
Hunter motioned for us to stay put. He crept forward until he reached the door. It was at that moment that a zombie walked right in front of the open door. His head swiveled Hunter’s way, but the zombie stopped almost as if it was mesmerized. Then Hunter quickly shut the door and the moaning began from the other side. There were more moans that joined the first and then there was pounding on the back door.
Hunter came back to us. “Let’s hurry,” he said.
“Where’s the bathroom?” I asked Monica. It was her house after all.
“The one on this level is here,” she led the way down another hall and we stopped at a closed door.
I knocked quietly on it and put my ear to the door. “Maria?” I called out softly.
The door immediately opened and Maria hugged me tight. She cried into my shoulder.
“Lily,” she sobbed.
“It’s okay,” I whispered to her. “We are getting you out of here.”
She nodded as she pulled away from my shoulder and I wiped away the tears that had messed up her makeup. I looked down at her costume. Sexy cowgirl.
I turned to Monica. “Do you have any clothes that you and Maria can change into that will provide you with more cover from zombie bites. You know, long sleeves, long pants.”
Monica nodded. “Upstairs.”
“Darren is upstairs,” Hunter said. “Let’s go, but be careful. There might be more zombies up there.”
I handed Maria a kitchen knife.
When we reached the base of the stairs, Monica started to lead the way, but Grant held her back.
“They can go first,” he said indicating me and Hunter. “They seem to know what they are doing.”
Hunter rolled his eyes, but led the way quietly up the stairs. I stepped in beside him.
We reached the top and looked around. Down the hall to the right there were about five zombies wandering around one particular door. On the left was another group of zombies around another door. This wasn’t going to be easy.