Read Infection Z (Book 2) Online

Authors: Ryan Casey

Tags: #Zombies

Infection Z (Book 2) (6 page)

BOOK: Infection Z (Book 2)
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Ten

H
ayden sprinted
as fast as he could down the darkened tunnel away from the oncoming footsteps.

His heart raced. The floor was slippery and damp, so he felt he could lose his balance at any moment. He could hear the gasps of the zombies echoing their way through the rear entrance of the bunker. He didn’t know how far away they were exactly, but he knew there were a lot of them.

And he knew from the frantic patter of their footsteps that they were coming for him, coming for all of them.

“We need to get the hell out of here,” Newbie gasped. “No … no time for messing around and holding onto hope anymore. This place isn’t safe.”

Hayden wanted to shout something at Sarah and Clarice. Wanted to lambast them for not putting the lock on the rear entrance as soon as they’d had the chance. He wanted to, but he couldn’t, because he could hear the echoing groans of the hundred-strong mass of zombies getting closer as they ran into an oncoming storm.

“They … they’re at the fences,” Sarah said. “They’re at the fences. So how are we supposed to get past them?”

Newbie didn’t answer at first. He just kept on sprinting. The footsteps behind them were getting louder, faster. The smell of rot drifted through the tunnel. “I … I don’t know. I don’t know. But we have to try something.”

They ran for what felt like forever before Hayden spotted the tunnel entrance door just up ahead. He felt a momentary relief, but that momentary relief was instantly quashed by the knowledge of what was on the other side.

Zombies. Lots of them.

He hoped they hadn’t got through the fences. Even though he’d heard the sound of metal splitting, he had to hope they hadn’t made it inside the actual bunker complex.

All of them had to hope, for their own sakes.

“There were so many of them,” Clarice said. “I don’t know how the hell you’re expecting us to just run through them—”

“Me neither,” Newbie said sternly. “But we don’t have a choice. Things have changed. It’s die in here versus probably die out there. I’d rather take my chances.”

They sprinted further down the tunnel until the door was in touching distance. A stitch crippled Hayden’s stomach, and he could taste blood from where Newbie had hit him.

He had to accept the truth now. Accept the reality of their situation. The tunnel plan had failed. There was no staying in here. Doing so was suicide.

“We could try the comms room,” Hayden said. “Close the door. Stack up a few desks and stuff against it.”

“And then what?” Clarice asked. “Starve to death inside while the undead settle down in the rest of the bunker?”

Clarice had a point, but Hayden didn’t want to admit that to her. “I just … I don’t want to give this place up. I don’t want—”

Hayden’s voice was interrupted by a shout.

A deep voice behind him.

He swung around and saw Newbie was on the floor. He looked like he’d slipped on the wet ground.

And behind him, the silhouettes of the dead were approaching.

“My … my ankle,” Newbie said. He tried to stand up, but tumbled back down again.

“Shit,” Sarah said. She backed away. “We—we don’t have much time.”

“I just need a hand,” Newbie said. “Just … please. Pull me up.”

Hayden stood still. He stood and watched the dead get closer. He couldn’t explain the voice inside his head that was telling him to run. Whispering in his ear that Newbie was a good distraction, a good bit of bait that would help them escape the tunnel.

“Hayden!” He felt a punch on his arm. Clarice. “Come on. He needs a hand!”

Hayden swallowed a lump in his throat and snapped the tempting thought out of his head. He wanted to run. He wanted to get out of here and away from the oncoming dead.

But he couldn’t. He couldn’t just give up his humanity.

He ran back to Newbie and grabbed his armpits. Newbie winced as he stood, then twisted his foot around on the ground. Hayden swore he heard a click. “Damned thing is always twisting. But … but I’ll be okay.”

“Not if we don’t get the hell out of here fast, you won’t.”

Hayden swung around and supported Newbie as they closed in on the rear exit door. He could hear the echoing cries of the undead getting closer, closing in, readying their worn down teeth to sink into their flesh.

They reached the door. Hayden could hear groaning beyond it.

“We … we can’t just wander out there,” Clarice said. “There might be infected inside.”

Hayden held his breath and grabbed the handle of the door. Behind him, he could hear the running group of zombies nipping at their heels. “But there’s definitely dead in here. So we have to take a chance.”

He lowered the handle.

Please please please
.

He pulled the door open.

His eyes stung at seeing natural light again. But as Newbie, Clarice and Sarah hurried out of the tunnel, Hayden could see one positive—there were no zombies in the bunker. The main door wasn’t even open.

“Close the door, Hayden!” Sarah said.

Hayden turned around. He went to swing the tunnel door shut, and then he saw them in the light.

Rotting.

Blood soaked.

Limbs and torsos pierced with bloody bite marks.

At least a dozen of them, all coming in his direction.

He slammed the door shut. Stepped away from it. He knew it was futile. They’d bang at the door and eventually they’d figure out how to lower the handle. They wouldn’t give up. When all they cared about was human flesh, they wouldn’t ever give up for anything.

Newbie winced as he hobbled over to the window area that looked out at the bunker grounds. Sarah and Clarice both joined him, as Hayden held back and listened to the sound of oncoming footsteps.

“Shit,” Sarah said. “Holy shit.”

Hayden didn’t even want to see what Sarah was cursing about. He didn’t want to accept his inevitable fate.

“We … we might actually have a chance,” Clarice said.

His sister’s voice took Hayden by surprise. He turned and looked at the light piercing through the grey clouds and peeking through the window.

“We need to be fast,” Newbie said. He winced with pain again as he applied more weight to his ankle. “And … and I’m not sure how fast I can go.”

Hayden walked to the window. Kept on holding his breath. Looked outside.

To moderate disappointment, there hadn’t been some kind of cataclysmic event that wiped out every zombie in the bunker grounds. There
were
zombies in the bunker grounds. A lot of them. Tens, maybe hundreds.

But the bulk of the group were drifting to the left of the bunker. Following one another like a colony of ants, working their way around the side of the complex.

There was a gap to the left of the zombies.

A gap that led down into the woods.

A chance to make a break for it.

“I know you don’t want to do this,” Newbie said, looking at Hayden. “And … and I get that. We’re scared. We’re all scared. This world isn’t easy for any of us. But we have to leave here now. We have to leave here, and this is the only chance we’re gonna get. We have to make a break. You see that now, right?”

Hayden did see that. He saw the gap between the rotting bodies. He saw a chance to sprint for his life. Or for his death. Or for whatever fate lay ahead.

He grabbed his sister’s cold hand. Looked at her, his eyes welling up.

“I’m sorry for earlier,” he said.

Clarice smiled shakily. She rubbed her face with her sleeve. “It’s … it’s okay—”

She didn’t finish what she was saying.

A crash hit the tunnel entrance and the door rattled off its hinges.

Eleven

T
he group didn’t have
any more time to deliberate when the tunnel door snapped off its hinges and the crowd of zombies tumbled inside the bunker.

“Quick!” Sarah shouted.

There wasn’t any time to stand around. Hayden ran towards the side door of the bunker, the mallet tightly between his sweaty fingers. He yanked the door open, made sure the others got out before him.

And then he felt something scrape against his arm.

He swung around. A woman with straggly dark hair and a face covered with mud and blood. Her teeth were yellow and rotting, and she smelled unwashed—like she was a mess well before the world went to pot.

She had a raw red bite mark on her right shoulder, the skin around it turning a nasty shade of purple.

Hayden swung the mallet right in the middle of the zombie’s forehead. He heard the bone crack under the immense force, felt cold blood splatter onto his hands.

And then he pulled the mallet out of her head and sprinted outside, no time to deal with her neck.

He slammed the door shut. Her wrist caught inside it. She scratched around with her long, unkempt nails, trying to hold on to something.

So Hayden swung the mallet at her hand.

Still, she kept on struggling, and the force behind the door from the other zombies grew stronger.

“There’s no time,” Sarah said. “Just—just run, Hayden. We need to just run.”

Hayden turned and saw the dozens of undead roaming the bunker grounds start to look in their direction. The vast crowd drifting to the left of the bunker were slowing down too. He couldn’t risk attracting their attention or he’d definitely be dead. Clarice would be dead. All of them would be dead.

He felt a bang against the bunker door. Another set of fingers, one of them chewed down to a bony stump, wedged into the gap.

“We need to go,” Clarice said, starting to jog down the pathway. “They’re right, bro.”

Hayden held his breath. He pressed back against the weight of zombies behind the door. His sister was right. Everyone was right.

They had to go.

He pushed against the door as hard as he could, and then he ran.

He heard the door smack open the second he let go of it but he didn’t have time to wait around. He ran after Clarice, Sarah and Newbie—who was hobbling along at half the speed he usually hit thanks to his twisted ankle. He saw the dozens of zombies drifting towards him, reaching out for him, men women and children, all hungry, all desperate for a taste of their fresh human flesh.

Hayden swung the mallet at the first of the zombies that came at him—a black man probably in his twenties around the same age as Hayden. His white shirt was split, and blood and flesh drooped from a gaping wound on his neck.

Hayden split his skull open, sent him flying to the ground, struggling and shaking to regain his footing.

Hayden kept on running. He didn’t want to turn back because he could feel how close the zombies behind him were. He could hear their cries echoing around his skull. He just had to keep going. Just had to press on. Just had to get the hell out of here, get to safety, get Clarice to safety.

Wherever and whatever safety was.

A tall, skinny man wearing a black priest’s outfit snarled at Hayden as he ran past, getting closer to the bunker gates. His eyes were greyed and clouded over; his front teeth were chipped and cracked.

Hayden swung at the front of his neck, slammed him square in his Adam’s apple. He heard the zombie let out a choking sound, knew he’d be back on his feet again in seconds, but he didn’t have the chance to finish it off.

The group were just metres away from the bunker gate now. Just metres away from getting the hell out of here. And sure—the zombies would chase them and keep on chasing them now they knew they were here. But they could go into the woods. Hide. Hide and hope.

Hayden figured a lot of hoping was going to go down if they survived this.

“Shit. They … they’re turning.”

Sarah’s voice caught Hayden’s attention through the deafening shrieks and pounding footsteps of the zombies. She was looking over to her right at the direction the zombies were heading.

Were
heading being the operative term.

The zombies at the back of the crowd were splitting off and drifting in the group’s direction. They were approaching the open gate. Fast.

“Gonna have to move fast,” Newbie said.

“You keep on saying that like I’m gonna just stop for a breather or something,” Clarice said.

They ran down towards the gate. The dozens of zombies in the bunker grounds were all onto them now, and the ones that had chased them through the tunnel still weren’t giving up.

Sarah pulled open the gate, waved Newbie and Clarice and Hayden through.

“Everyone for themselves out there,” she said, looking at Hayden as he stepped out of the gate and into the terrifying unknown. “We run and if we get split up, we get split up. We survive. That’s the main thing.”

Hayden nodded and looked over his shoulder at the bunker grounds.

He regretted it right away.

The zombies at the front of the pack were just six metres away, and they were running.

“Sarah, you—”

“I’ll let you get a head start. Newbie definitely needs one. Now hurry up and go.”

Hayden frowned. The zombies were so close. So close to reaching her, so close to tearing her apart. “But you’ll … you’ll—”

“I can handle my-pissing-self, alright?” she said. “Now go!”

Hayden didn’t need any extra encouragement.

He turned and he ran as fast as he could in the direction of the trees, in the direction of Newbie and the direction of Clarice.

He heard the gasping drift further behind him, heard Sarah rattling at the fences, goading the zombies to come closer. He didn’t know what she was doing. What she was thinking. But whatever it was seemed to be working.

He ran through the crippling aches in his knees and the dizziness in his head and the thirst and the hunger and everything.

He swung at the zombies that wandered through the trees towards him. He swung, even though his arm was exhausted, even though his body was completely and utterly spent.

He ran and ran and ran.

When he got into the middle of the woods and he hadn’t heard or seen the zombies for a while, he turned and looked back through the trees.

He couldn’t see the bunker. He couldn’t see the safe haven.

And he couldn’t see Sarah.

He felt a hand on his arm.

“Come on,” Newbie said. “We … we need to move.”

Hayden thought of asking about Sarah. Asking what they could do for her. Whether they could go back and help her. Or wait for her, at least.

But then he heard the gasps echo from the other side of the trees and he knew she was gone.

He knew that safety itself was gone.

He turned, put an arm around his sister’s shoulders, and together they ran further into the unknown.

BOOK: Infection Z (Book 2)
9.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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