“What are we going to do?” Monica whispered.
Hunter looked from the left to the right and then looked to me as if I had the answers.
“Maybe we could make a noise to distract them downstairs or something,” I whispered, but I really didn’t want to repeat the process of killing many zombies in between a door and its frame. “Maybe we could somehow lure them into one room and lock them in there.”
Hunter seemed to like that suggestion.
“Let’s go . . .,” he started, but a zombie head turned our way and moaned loudly. Several zombie heads turned in our direction.
“Go back,” Hunter waved Grant and Monica to go back down the stairs.
They turned around and started to run down the stairs together. Maria was close on their heels and Hunter and I followed. There was several feet running behind us, closing in. Moans mingled together in menacing threats.
Monica tripped and tumbled down two stairs before her hand reached out and grabbed onto the baluster to keep her from tumbling all the way down. Grant didn’t hesitate as he leaped over her and continued down the stairs.
Maria bent down and helped Monica up. The moans behind us were closer, close enough that goosebumps formed on the back of my neck. We weren’t going to make it. Hunter and I turned around almost in complete synchronicity.
The stairs were large enough that the zombies could come down two at a time, but that didn’t stop the zombies from behind to push the zombies in front. The front zombies were directly behind us. Hunter stabbed his knife into the temple of the zombie in front of him. I brought my ax down hard through the skull of the zombie in front of me. Normally, the zombie would have the height advantage being higher on the stairs, but she was short and I was tall.
I withdrew my ax as Hunter withdrew his knife. Maria’s and Monica’s footsteps retreated down the stairs behind us. The zombies in front of us dropped to our feet. The zombies directly behind them tripped over their downed bodies. But even as the zombie fell over the one at my feet, reached out, grabbed my leg and tried to bite it with his teeth that were red with blood.
A door slammed somewhere below us, but since Maria’s and Monica’s footsteps just reached the bottom of the stairs, I assumed Grant retreated into a room by himself and shut all of us out.
“Lily!” Maria screamed. “Run!”
But I couldn’t run. I had a zombie attached to my leg. Hunter stabbed the zombie that had tripped in front of him. The zombie that had a hold of my leg bit me. My heart dropped and my only thought was that I let my family down. Then I realized there wasn’t any pain nor could I feel a zombie mouth. I looked down as another zombie tripped and started to crawl towards me over the zombie that was gnawing at my jeans but not breaking the skin.
“Grant!” Monica called out from somewhere below us. “Let us in!”
“Come out and fight, coward!” Maria said instead. I heard her footsteps as she bounded up the stairs.
The next zombie in front of Hunter was once Mark Turner, a defensive lineman on the football team. He didn’t trip over the downed zombies in front of him but instead walked over them to grab Hunter’s arms and tried to bite his arm. Hunter was pushed back several steps.
I couldn’t worry about the zombie biting at my jeans as a fourth zombie walked over the tripped zombies at my feet. I swung my ax sideways into his head and he fell into the zombie that was trying to get at Hunter and the Mark Turner zombie. The ax slipped out of my hands in the process. My pants leg was starting to lift up and the zombie’s teeth was getting dangerously close to my flesh.
The scuffling behind me grew louder, but I couldn’t spare a glance for Hunter and Maria. The second zombie at my feet grabbed onto my other leg and bit at my pants. The fifth, and last zombie in front of me walked on top of the two at my feet and grabbed my shoulders. I tried to take out a spare kitchen knife, but I had to bring my arms up to hold back the head that was trying to gnaw at my face. With two zombies grabbing my legs and one grabbing both my shoulders, I was completely pinned.
My pant leg lifted higher and I could feel the chill as my skin was now exposed. Something wet dripped onto my leg and I didn’t know if it was blood or saliva from the zombie at my feet.
I summoned all my strength to that leg and tried to step back, but the zombie was too strong and my foot shuffled only slightly back. I couldn’t do anything. It was only a matter of time now until they bit me and then I would turn into one of them. But that couldn’t happen. I had to get Mackenzie and our parents to Tanner. I tried again to move my foot, but with the same results. I decided I would take the chance that I could hold back the zombie trying to bite at my face with only one hand as the other went for a knife.
That brief moment my arm dropped, the zombie’s head zoomed in to my face to where I could actually feel cold flesh against my flesh. I brought my arm immediately back up to block him further and I closed my eyes as I tilted my head back and away as far as it would go. I was off balance now and the only things keeping me from tumbling down the stairs were the zombies that held me in place.
The zombie directly in front of me dropped his hands from my shoulders and without him holding me up, my back tilted backwards. The other two zombies held my feet firmly in place, but my top half was falling. My eyes flashed open and I flailed my arms to try and keep my balance. I saw Darren beside the dead zombie in front of me. He retracted scissors from the zombie’s temple and the zombie crumbled on top of the two zombies at my feet.
I fell backwards, but someone warm was behind me holding me up. “I’ve got you,” Maria said.
And then Hunter was there at my feet. He stabbed the heads of the two zombies at my feet in rapid succession. I pulled my feet out of their slack grasps.
“Thank you,” I said to Hunter, “and thank you,” I said to Darren. Darren smiled as I turned to hug Maria. “And thank you,” I said into her curly hair.
She patted my back. “Are you okay? Did they bite you?”
I pulled away. “No. I don’t think so.” I patted my cheeks to be sure and lifted my pant legs to expose my calves. No bite marks.
“You did well,” Hunter said to Darren.
“Thank you,” Darren said, but his eyes scanned over me to make sure I was truly all right. Darren was dressed as a jedi complete with a fake lightsaber at his hip. His medium brown hair was a tousled mess, but it usually was. He had a tendency of pulling at his hair mindlessly when he was anxious. He pushed up his glasses as he wiped the bloody scissors on the back of the zombie’s shirt.
“Are you guys all right?” Monica asked as she came back up the stairs. “Grant locked himself in the study. He won’t come out.”
“We’ll get him in a moment,” Hunter said. “For now, you and Maria need to change into clothes that will protect you from zombie bites.”
“Right,” Monica said. She took Maria’s hand as if the two had been best friends since forever and not just general acquaintances that attended the same high school. I retrieved my ax as the two of them led the way up the stairs and to the door on the right that the zombies had previously been at. It wasn’t the room Darren came from. That room had been on the left and the door was still open.
Monica opened the door. A male screamed from inside. Monica and Maria screamed from the outside. Hunter and I looked at each other and rolled our eyes.
Darren said, “Richard?” and pushed his way passed Monica and Maria.
“Oh, Darren. Thank goodness.” The male voice said.
Hunter and I followed Monica and Maria inside.
“What are you doing inside my room?” Monica asked as the two jedis hugged each other. One 5’7″, skinny with glasses and the other 6’1″ with quite a large belly and black hair that clung to his head.
Hunter walked over to Darren, grabbed his wrist and pulled him away from Richard.
“I didn’t know this was your room,” Richard said. “I just needed some place to hide.”
“Come on, Richard,” Hunter said as he pulled Darren out of the room. “The girls need to change.”
I followed Hunter and the boys. There was no reason for me to stay. I was already changed. We went down the stairs. At some point Hunter let go of Darren’s wrist.
“Are you really all right?” Darren asked me.
“I’m fine,” I said. “Thank you. You saved my life.”
Did Darren just blush? Did this 5’7″ jedi have a crush on my 5’11” self? I hoped not. I wasn’t interested. I already had my unrequited crush. Hunter.
Hunter pounded on the closed door of the room where we had killed all those zombies earlier.
“Open up, Grant,” Hunter said meanly.
“Be quiet,” Grant hushed from the otherside of the door. “You’ll bring the zombies.”
“There are no more zombies inside the house,” Hunter said. “Now open up.”
The door opened just a crack. “Are you sure?”
Hunter gripped the door and ripped it open. Grant fell forward onto the zombies we already killed. He scrambled backwards mortified, but Hunter bent low, grabbed him by the collar and lifted him to his feet.
“If you ever abandon us again,” Hunter practically growled, “I will find you and throw you to the zombies myself. Understand?”
Grant nodded frantically.
We waited at the front door for the girls to come down. We didn’t have to wait too long.
“We’ll all pile into Lily’s car and we’ll drop Grant, Monica and Richard off at Grant’s car,” Hunter said.
“Why Richard?” Darren asked. “He should stay with us.”
“Because I don’t trust Grant, so I want people with him I do trust,” Hunter said. “Speaking of, Grant give Monica your car keys.”
“No way,” Grant said.
“Give her your keys,” Hunter commanded. “I don’t trust you to drive. She will drive. Richard will sit in the front passenger seat and you will sit in the back so you don’t cause problems.”
“This is ridiculous,” Grant said. “No way I’m letting anyone but me drive my car.”
“Then I will take your keys by force and leave you here,” Hunter said.
Grant fished his keys out of his pocket and handed them to Hunter who in turn handed them to Monica.
“We’ll go to Grant’s house next,” Hunter said. “That’s where most of our parents will be. Will all of your parents be at that party or do we need to stop at other places?”
“My parents texted me,” Richard said. “They were heading outside the city. I was supposed to meet them somehow.”
“Give Lily your phone. She can text them where we are going to meet Grace and Tanner. They can meet us there too.”
Richard handed me his phone.
“My parents are at the party,” Darren said.
“Mine too,” Monica said.
“And mine,” Maria said.
“Monica, do you have dried food or canned food and water you can pack to take with us and maybe camping supplies like a tent?” Hunter asked.
“Good. Take everyone and gather up supplies quickly.”
Hunter and I stayed by the front door as the others followed Monica to collect supplies.
I typed a message to Richard’s parents with directions to the diner.
“Are you sure it’s a good idea bringing Grant?” I asked Hunter quietly so the others in the house wouldn’t hear.
“No,” he said, “but we need his car. And I don’t want to start abandoning people if it can be avoided. Do you think we should abandon him?”
“I don’t want to start abandoning people either,” I said, “but he might put us in dangerous situations.”
“He might,” Hunter conceded. “I’ll do what you think is best. If you want to leave him, we’ll leave him.”
“Maybe his parents will be fine and we can just leave him with them,” I said, but with a party that big, the zombie outbreak was sure to have hit it hard.
“And if not?”
I sighed. “We can’t abandon him. I don’t want to be that type of person.”
“Neither do I,” Hunter said.
The others came back with backpacks stuffed with food and water and camping supplies including a tent.
There weren’t any zombies outside. Victory was circling the block slowly to make sure the zombies were following her. We all ran to my car with the supplies and piled in. Maria and Monica had to sit on laps. Maria chose Hunter’s in the front passenger’s seat. Monica chose Grant’s. I drove them around the corner to Grant’s car. Luckily, there weren’t any zombies around.
Monica, Grant and Richard scrambled out with their arms full of the things they brought from Monica’s house. Hunter and Maria got out to help them. They put everything in Grant’s trunk. When they were finished, Maria went in the backseat with Darren.
Grant went for the driver’s door of his car, but after he saw the look Hunter gave him he moved to the backseat. Monica got into the driver’s seat and Richard sat beside her in the passenger’s seat.
“Follow us,” Hunter said to Monica. She nodded as she started up Grant’s car. Hunter got back in the passenger’s side of my car.
We drove back to the main street. Victory saw us and pulled in behind Monica. We sped up and left the zombies behind. I only had one thought on my mind as I hurried to the parent’s Halloween party. I prayed my parents were still alive.