“Run!” Hunter yelled.
Darren’s mom scooped up Marcos and started to run back to our bikes, but when groans sounded in that direction, Maria grabbed her arm and pulled her further through the trees to our left. Molly barked and growled. She bared her teeth. Her hackles stood on end.
Victory’s arrow flew into Richard’s dad’s eye and he fell hard to the ground.
“Run, Richard,” Hunter called out as he let loose his own arrow into a charging zombie woman. Richard stood there unmoving. His face was pale as he stared down at his dad’s body.
Darren and Monica grabbed Richard’s arms from either side and pulled him after Darren’s mom. Arthur, Juan and Mackenzie ran closely after them. Molly ran with them. She stayed protectively by Arthur’s side. It had been about a week since the zombie apocalypse began and I hadn’t used my gun yet. I did now.
As Hunter, Victory and I followed the rest of our group, we fired on the chasing zombies. Hunter and Victory used their bows. I used my gun. The loud shot echoed through the trees. It didn’t matter if I was loud now. The zombies already knew we were there.
Monica let go of Richard’s arm as he finally had his faculties back enough to run on his own. Monica readied her own gun and fired into the rushing zombies. Darren readied an arrow, but he was having difficulty aiming it while running. He let the arrow fly, but it landed harmlessly at an on rushing zombie’s feet. I shot that zombie and then quickly fired at another one that was rushing us from behind.
Maria shot an arrow into the zombie that was charging Darren’s mom and Marcos from the side. The zombie stumbled as the arrow hit it’s shoulder. It quickly regained its balance and continued its charge. Darren’s mom stopped just long enough to aim her gun and fire it at the charging zombie while Marcos clung tightly to her neck with tears dripping from his cheeks. The zombie fell to the ground.
Monica, Richard, Darren’s mom and I fired our guns freely. Hunter and Victory killed more zombies with their arrows. Darren and Maria tried shooting the zombies with their bows and arrows, but they rarely hit the head. Those of us with guns ended up killing the zombies they were trying to kill. It wasn’t their fault. They couldn’t really be proficient with a weapon they had only learned to use a few days ago. And we were running. The zombies were running. The entire situation was difficult.
The groans of zombies were all around us except up ahead. Goosebumps formed all along my arms as I ran, as I reloaded my gun. The zombies’ pupils glowed green as the sky grew even darker. Their mouths opened. Spit dripped from their mouths and down their chins. They ran at a speed equal to us and sometimes slightly faster than us. And there were so many. For everyone one we killed, two more took its place. Hunter met my gaze. We weren’t going to make it. There wasn’t a house we could run into to fortify ourselves or a place to hide.
He looked away from me and shot another arrow in a charging zombie. Dark clouds formed overhead at a rapid pace. A cold wind kicked up. Great. Just what we needed, a storm to hinder our movements. Except the wind actually helped Darren’s and Maria’s arrows find their marks into zombie heads instead of the shoulder or torso.
“Keep running,” Mackenzie encouraged. I didn’t realize until then that all three of the children were crying. I knew Marcos was, but didn’t realize Arthur and Juan were too. Molly barked and growled as she ran by Arthur’s side. Mackenzie had a hand on Juan’s and Arthur’s backs encouraging them forward. I couldn’t let her die. Even if it meant I died, her sweet self had to live on. I fired at the nearest zombie. A red hole formed in its forehead. Its momentum took it another step forward before it fell.
“What do we do, Hunter?” Victory asked.
“Keep running,” Hunter called out to everyone.
Juan stumbled. Richard picked him up with one arm and fired at an onrushing zombie.
“It’s too dark,” Maria called from the front.
It was dark. The clouds overhead covered any starlight or moonlight. Trees were just a darker mass among the dark. At least we could tell where the zombie heads were thanks to their glowing, green pupils.
Mackenzie pulled out a flashlight and turned it on. She shined it forward to guide Darren’s mom and Maria. She held Arthur’s hand with her free hand and pulled him with her as Molly ran along beside them. We were all panting, but stopping to rest was not an option.
I fired at another zombie. Hail started to fall from the sky, but it was behind us. It hadn’t caught up to us yet. Quarter sized hail stones pelted the zombies.
Lightning flashed ahead.
“There is a clearing up ahead,” Maria called back to us. “Do we keep running to it, or try to veer off into the trees.”
I didn’t think veering off to the sides was an option with how many snarling zombies crowded in around us.
“Do you see zombies in the clearing?” Hunter called back.
“Then go forward,” Hunter said.
We broke through the treeline and came into an empty field. The cold wind whipped at my face. The hail that rained down on the zombies would hit us soon too and the hail stones were getting larger. They even took a couple of the zombies down. But in that massive sea of zombies running at us, it didn’t make much of a difference. Lightning struck behind us in the middle of the zombies. Several fell from that blast, but there were more to replace them. And it was only a matter of time before that lightning hit us. Especially in this empty field.
I fired my gun and took down another zombie as it closed in on Darren. Arthur stumbled, but Mackenzie kept him upright. I glanced at Hunter, but he wasn’t looking at me. He shot another arrow into the eye of a charging zombie. He and Victory were running dangerously low on arrows.
“Hunter,” I said.
“What?” he said without looking at me.
“Maybe you and I should make a stand to let the others escape.”
“No,” Victory immediately said, but Hunter didn’t say no.
“Okay,” Hunter said. He knew as much as I did that he and I could not survive this horde of zombies, but if it gave a chance for everyone else to get away, I was willing to do it.
“No!” Victory screamed. “We can do this together. We can survive.”
But as I watched the never ending horde of zombies come in closer and closer, I didn’t see how that was possible.
“There’s a house up ahead!” Maria called back to us. Lightning struck into the zombies again. I got a glimpse of the house then. It was huge. A mansion in the middle of nowhere.
“We can make it to the house,” I said. We had to. It was our only hope now.
Hunter turned to look at the house. His steps faltered. “No,” he said. “We can’t!” he yelled to the front of the group.
“Why not?” Victory asked. When she looked at the house, she stopped running completely. Hunter stopped with her and together they turned to face the zombie horde fully.
“What are you doing?” I asked them. I slowed, but didn’t stop running. The others didn’t hesitate as they continued on to the house. Molly ran in front of Arthur. If I didn’t know better, I’d say she was trying to stop him from getting closer to the house. He ran around her.
And then something happened I never would have imagined. The zombies slowed and stopped. They groaned and swiped with their hands as if they could coax us back to them. I slowed as I watched the zombies until I stopped.
“Do not go to that house!” Hunter shouted, but the others didn’t listen. Molly’s barks turned more desperate as she ran in front of Arthur again.
I looked at the house. It was dark and quiet. There weren’t any zombies near it. In fact, it seemed like the zombies refused to go near it. The house didn’t repulse me like the RU in? place did, but there was a dark spot in my stomach that grew as I watched it. Something wasn’t right.
Another lightning strike hit the zombies. More hail pelted the groaning creatures, but the storm stopped there. It didn’t advance to where we were. I looked from the zombies, to Hunter and Victory who held their ground against the zombies, to the house.
The door to the dark house opened before our group reached it. Something streaked out too fast for my eyes to follow, but a moment later two men stood between me and the rest of our group. Molly went ballistic as she hopped between the men and Arthur. She barked louder than before.
Maria finally stopped running when she realized we weren’t following them. The rest of the group stopped and looked at us. Maria’s and Darren’s eyes fell on the two strange men and it was like they were hypnotized. They couldn’t look away from the men even though the men weren’t paying them any attention. They looked at me.
“It seems you could use some help,” the Asian man said to me.
I couldn’t say why, but they were wrong. There was a darkness about them. Something inside me told me they were more dangerous than the zombies. And then I realized that their irises were red. I swallowed and took a step away from them, a step back towards the groaning zombies. The zombies did not move from their spots even as lightning struck them again and hail continued to pelt them.
“We will help you,” the Asian man said.
“Come inside,” the blond one said.
The tone of his voice and the danger that spilled off him made me physically shiver.
The creepy smile that came to his blood red lips didn’t help. “We will protect you,” he said. I took a step away from them and got closer to Hunter’s and Victory’s backs.
“Come inside,” the Asian man said. “Your dragons are welcome too.”
I looked to Hunter to see if he knew what these men were talking about. He and Victory finally turned to us. I gasped as their irises were now the same color of gray as storm clouds. Around both of their eyes, almost imperceptible, were tiny scales. Hunter’s were red. Victory’s were white. The same red and white as the streaks in their hair.
“I knew it!” Owen yelled. “I knew your eyes sometimes turned gray.”
Lightning struck into the zombie horde behind Hunter and Victory and I knew. They controlled the storm.