I steered the hatchback onto the street of Grant’s house. My foot automatically began to ease off the accelerator when I saw the huge number of zombies in front of Grant’s house and the neighboring houses. We wouldn’t be able to park next door to sneak inside.
My stomach dropped when I realized the chances of my parents surviving – any of our parents – that party was extremely unlikely. I crawled to a stop in the middle of the road far enough from the house that the zombies hadn’t noticed us.
Victory pulled up on the passenger’s side and rolled down the window. Hunter rolled down his window so he could speak with her. Mackenzie seemed to be okay in the passenger seat. I couldn’t see the boys, but there wasn’t any crying so I assumed they were okay. Molly’s head suddenly came between Mackenzie and Victory and I could no longer see my sister.
“What’s the plan?” Victory asked. “I’ll lure them away again.”
“I don’t know, Vicky,” Hunter said. “If the zombies surround the van, I’m afraid you guys won’t be able to get away.”
“We have to,” Victory said. “Our parents are in there.”
I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that our parents wouldn’t be as we hoped.
Monica pulled up on my side and their passenger side window rolled down. “What’s the plan?” she asked across Richard.
I looked at Hunter. He looked at me. “I don’t want to leave the kids alone this time to draw the zombies,” he said.
“So we leave a driver with each of the vehicles and the rest of us will go in while they distract the zombies. They can drive around together to watch each others backs,” I said.
Hunter nodded. “All right,” he said. “Monica can stay in Grant’s car. Darren can drive your car.”
“I want to go in too,” Darren said. “My parents are in there.”
“Mine too,” Maria pointed out.
“The girl should stay with the car,” Darren said.
“What?” Maria and I both asked at the same time.
“You think I’m weak because I’m a girl?” Maria’s voice grew louder.
Hunter and I both shushed her. I looked at the zombies down the street, but none of them had taken note of us yet.
“That’s not what I meant,” Darren said.
“But it’s what you said,” Maria said accusingly.
“We don’t have time to argue,” I said. “Just do rock, paper, scissors.”
They both frowned at me. Hunter scowled at me, but I wasn’t sure why. I thought it was a perfectly reasonable suggestion.
Maria and Darren put their fists together and did rock, paper, scissors. Maria threw rock. Darren did scissors.
“Ha,” she said triumphant in her victory.
“Darren, Monica,” I said, “do either of you know how to shoot a gun?”
Darren shook his head while Monica said, “My dad takes me to the shooting range every two weeks.”
I put the car in park and got out. The others followed me. Darren got into the driver’s seat with a frown on his face. He had to adjust the seat forward since he was shorter than me.
Richard and Grant exited Grant’s car. I leaned in through the passenger window to give Monica the gun. “Only use it in an emergency,” I said. “The sound might attract more zombies.” Monica nodded.
Grant called out to Monica to pop the trunk. Hunter and I both shushed him. I looked at the large congregation of zombies. A few heads were turned our way, but most of the zombies still milled about aimlessly. The few that looked in our direction were very still. I pulled Maria and Richard and moved towards the back of the cars where the zombies couldn’t see us. Hunter followed us.
Grant moved the items in the trunk around and pulled out a lug wrench. Then he shut the trunk quietly. He tested it just to make sure the trunk was really shut. We went around the back of the cars to the van.
Hunter went to the back passenger side door and opened it. Molly licked his face and he patted her on top of her head. He took out one of his kitchen knives and handed it to Richard. I went to the front passenger side window. Mackenzie rolled down her window. I reached in and hugged her.
“Be careful,” I told her.
“You’re the one going inside a house full of zombies,” she said quietly. “You be careful. You have to come back, Lily. No matter what.”
“I will,” I said.
“I mean it,” she said. “If our parents are zombies, you have to leave them and come back to me.”
“Don’t worry, Kenzie,” Victory said. She reached over and squeezed my sister’s hand. “Hunter is with her. They’ll both come back. And in the meantime, I’ll take care of you.”
“I’ll come back,” I said. “I promise.”
Hunter and the others stood behind me now. I turned back to the task at hand. Mackenzie was safer in the van than with me, but I didn’t like leaving her out of my sight.
“Everyone has a weapon now, right?” Hunter asked. We all nodded. My hand gripped the ax handle tightly. He led the way towards the front of the vehicles. I glanced at the group of zombies, but none of them watched us now.
“We’ll move stealthily among the houses until we get to the party house,” Hunter said to us and the drivers. To the drivers – and mostly his sister – he said, “Draw as many zombies as you can, but stay together in a group. Don’t get separated. If the zombies start to surround you or get too close, drive away quickly and then come back to draw them away.”
All three drivers nodded that they understood. The windows on the vehicles went up and Victory led the way. The rest of us who were on foot, ran as quietly as we could to the nearest yard. We peeked around it’s fence and watched.
The three vehicles slowed down in front of the house. The children started shouting at the zombies from the van. Monica and Darren joined them. The zombies in the yards ran in a lumbering rush to the vehicles. There were so many of them.
Victory took off and Monica and Darren quickly followed. They drove down the street in a v formation with the van in the lead. They slowed down slightly when they realized they were losing the zombies. The children continued to shout from the van, but Monica and Darren seemed to be concentrating on driving now. Other zombies joined the large mass that was now trailing behind the vehicles.
We quickly made our way through the empty yards, hiding behind fences to make sure the next yard was clear until we made it to Grant’s house. The front door was open. There were several different pools of blood on the porch, on the grass and down the sidewalk. Bloody handprints were on the front door.
We crept quietly up to the door – Hunter and I in the lead, the three others followed. The yells of the children grew distant. Hunter and I carefully looked through the front door. I was careful not to touch the door frame and the blood that still dripped from it.
There were about a dozen zombies wandering the back of the room. They hadn’t noticed us yet. Off to the side of the living room was an open door. Hunter and I stepped away from the front door and turned to the others.
“Any suggestions?” Hunter whispered.
“There are a lot of zombies in that room to fight,” I whispered, “and there will probably be more in the house.” And my arms and legs ached from all the fighting we had already done.
“The door to that side room is open,” Hunter whispered. “Maybe we could lure them in there.”
“Then we would be trapped in the parlor with them,” Grant whispered harshly.
“I’m assuming there are windows you can crawl out of,” Hunter whispered.
“Let’s check the side yard to make sure it’s zombie free,” I whispered. I didn’t want to get trapped between two groups of zombies.
We made our way quietly to the side of the house. There weren’t any zombies. Some could be seen wandering around the backyard, but they were far away and didn’t take any notice of us.
We looked into the first window. Grant and Hunter were in the lead. I looked over Hunter’s shoulder, Maria was beside me and Richard was on the other side of her.
This room was also filled with zombies.
“Now what do we do?” Richard whispered.
Hunter froze in front of me. I followed the direction of his eyes to see what he was staring at. It was Mr. Sang, Hunter’s dad. Hunter’s zombie dad. I scanned each of the zombie’s faces dreading the possibility that one of them would be my parent.
“There’s a body,” Richard whispered as he pointed. We all followed his finger to the body of a woman lying on the floor in a pool of blood. Her stomach and neck had been ripped open. There were several gashes along her arms and legs. Her face was left untouched. My heart dropped when I recognized the face. Mrs. Sang.
Hunter quickly left the window. He didn’t go far, just far enough he couldn’t see into the window. He put his back against the stone bricks. Tears dripped from his eyes and down his cheeks. He rubbed a hand over his heart as if it hurt.
“Why didn’t she turn?” Maria asked. Richard and I were the only ones who seemed to notice Hunter’s despair. Richard walked in front of Hunter and placed a large, comforting hand on Hunter’s shoulder. I slid my hand in Hunter’s and gave it a gentle squeeze.
Richard and Hunter were no longer in front of the window, but I still was. I looked at Mrs. Sang again searching for any head trauma, but I didn’t see any. There was a pool of dark blood underneath her, but not around her head.
“I don’t see any head wounds,” Maria said. “Maybe we should take her body with us. We could take her to the CDC. Maybe she was immune and they can create a cure.”
“Mom?” Grant suddenly said and then louder he cried out, “Mom!” He pounded on the window to get his zombie mom’s attention.
All the zombies turned to the window.
“Oh my god, you are such an idiot!” Maria yelled at him.
“Run back to the front!” Hunter yelled.
I took Maria’s hand and we ran after Hunter and Richard. Grant’s footsteps followed behind us. There was a loud crash as the zombies burst through the windows. I turned my head to look. Glass shards littered the grass. The zombies didn’t think to climb out of the windows so they just fell face first to the ground. They also didn’t avoid the glass shards still stuck in the glass pane. The shards cut through the zombies, but the zombies didn’t act hurt by the gashes and the blood left in the window panes. Once they fell out, they were quick to get back up and chase after us. The green glow in their pupils was clearer as the night grew darker. Their moans echoed through the night and the zombies from the backyard began to run into the side yard.
We got to the front of the house and ran in through the front door. The last of the zombies that had been in the living room ran into the side room. Hunter ran to it and closed the door just as Maria closed the front door. The zombies pounded loudly on both doors. Moans came from all directions of the house. We huddled together and held our breaths. I readied my ax in front of me.