I let the slat drop slowly and thought to myself, “If I’m going to do this, I need to do it now.” I knew the zombies would not take long to hone in on the location of their moaning brethren, and then I’d have too many on the porch. I backed away from the window and went back to the doorway careful not to step in the stain Jake left there. I looked to my right and there on the floor in the corner lay my Smith 351C. I knelt down and picked it up, pressed the cylinder latch forward and popped the lightweight cylinder free from the frame. I depressed the ejection rod sending the now spent shell casings into my hand. I examined them briefly to see if any were live rounds. None were, and with a turn of my wrist I let them fall free from my palm, they clinked softly as they fell on the floor. I couldn’t recall how many times I had fired at Sarah, but evidently I had emptied the cylinder. I reached into my cargo pocket seeking the loose rounds that I kept there when carrying the Smith. I scooped them out of my pocket and began inserting them one at a time into the empty chambers of the cylinder. Once they were full I closed the cylinder and slipped the little gun into my right front pocket. The zombies outside continued to thump and strike the door. “I guess they heard me over here.” I thought, then I moved as quietly as I could back to the window.
I stared at it again to see if anything moved on the other side. As I did I withdrew the knife clipped in my back pocket. I had recently bought the knife while visiting a friend in NC. It was a sturdy knife, a heavy military style folder. It locked open securely and had a good feel in the hand. I was generally impressed with it and liked how it was designed. I slowly opened the blade and let the latch catch gently so as not to make the loud click so common to that style of knife. It locked open, and I transitioned it to my left hand and returned my attention to the window. Nothing appeared to be in front of it. “I guess they are all still at the door.” I whispered trying to reassure myself. I stepped forward and grasped the cord and began slowly pulling the blinds upward. I lifted them just high enough to clear the latches on the window. I froze there, waiting to see if the sound drew any attention. It hadn’t. I slowly turned the latches, unlocking the window. I knelt down and grasped the window edge and began to lift. The window had not been one we opened very often and the expansion and contraction of the materials had caused the window to stick. As I applied more pressure the window gave way suddenly with a loud pop. I flung the window upward. I knew the sound would draw attention to my new position and instinctively I pulled back. I had lifted the window as high as it would go and I just stared at the screen. I was frozen with fear, waiting to see a hideous disfigured face appear in the opening. “I couldn’t wait like this, if I did they would get in the house, and I’d be overrun.”
Mustering all of my courage and fortitude I rushed the window, knife in my left hand. My right hand retrieved the Smith from my pocket. I dropped to my knees and thrust the knife into the screen and sliced an opening in the material with one clean pass. I ducked my head and plunged out of the window, half of my upper body was now out on the porch. As I had feared, a zombie had heard the sound the window made and was already headed in my direction. It had been a man, short, slim in build, wearing what looked like exercise clothing. He had turned his sullen face to the window and upon seeing me he released a low gutteral moan, harsh and desperate. I brought the Smith up to aim at his head and fired a round. The little 22 magnum caught him low in the mouth, he flinched at the impact, likely from the force of the blow and not any sense of pain. He renewed his gaze on me and growled deeply, quickening his advance on my position. Only about 6 feet of concrete porch separated the two of us. The others at the door turned as well, their heads jerking frantically in search of the new revelation to their left. I readjusted my aim and fired again. This time the round went up through his left eye and a piece of skull and some red matter popped from the top of his head. His body fell to the concrete porch only a foot away from me. The now open skull cap let out a terrible smell; it was indescribable, the odor of decay, of bacterial decomposition but somehow worse, fouler. I shook my head as if to dislodge the odor from my nostrils but to no avail. My eyes began to water. Two more zombies had now turned to face me. They had been 20 somethings only a day ago. A boy and a girl. I remembered them, brother and sister I think. He was shirtless, wearing a pair of shorts, she was dressed in some kind of loungewear popular among their age group. A low on the hips pair of pajamas, short at the ankles and a tank top with lace trim. One thing odd about them, they had no visible wounds. Their clothes were intact, no rips, no blood, not like Scotty and Sarah. I hadn’t noticed if the one I had just dispatched shared the same description, he had come for me too fast. These two glared toward me, eyes empty and black, both rasping and moaning. Their jaws fell open, teeth clashing together hard in a biting motion. I aimed at the male zombie and just as I began to squeeze the trigger, I heard a car coming fast down the road.
At the top of the circle the driver stomped on the brakes. The tires squealed as if crying for mercy, the car spun sideways and then accelerated down into the circle. My attention had been drawn to the vehicle and thankfully so had the zombies. The car skidded to an abrupt stop, the door opened and Dave stepped out of the driver’s side. “Sarah?” he called out. “Dave, get back in the car!” I shouted. He did not acknowledge me at all. The girl zombie had been closer to the steps and she and the two behind her turned their attention to Dave. Dave was lost in his own grief, and couldn’t hear me. “Sarah?” He wept the name, staring blankly at the house as if he already knew her fate. I heard the low growl of the male zombie and quickly refocused on the zombies on the porch. The male was still fixed on me but the other three began their slow exit down the steps toward Dave. I shouted at Dave again but it was no use. He stood by his car, staring at his house, tears in his eyes whimpering his wife’s name, taking slow, hopeless steps forward. I could see his mental state rendered him defenseless. I started to panic and I fired wildly at the departing zombies hoping to somehow stop their advance on Dave. My rounds mostly struck flesh but in my panic I had forgotten to control my fire and shoot for the head. The zombies continued slowly toward Dave, negotiating the steps awkwardly. The zombie that had remained fixated on me had stepped forward, stumbled on the body of his predecessor, and fell on top of the previously dispatched zombie. He was very close to me now. His mouth gaped open, a coarse moan emanating from it. The air escaping from his lungs was foul and I struggled not to pass out from the overwhelming stench. He reached for me with long gray fingers, groping at my arm and chest. My head swam but I brought the Smith to bear on his forehead almost close enough to touch and pulled the trigger. A loud click sounded from the revolver. Nothing. I had expended all of my rounds in my panicked fire. The zombie did not try to stand, he pulled himself forward over the corpse and was almost on me. I leaned back as far as I could to escape his grasp. Dropping the Smith I braced myself with my right hand on the concrete surface. The zombie was clawing his way to me, his mouth open, gnashing his teeth, now only inches from my chest. I brought my left hand, still clutching my knife, through the window as hard as I could and drove it into the zombie’s right temple. The blade sank all the way to the handle. The zombie began to twitch, and I turned the blade with my wrist, twisting it as violently as I could. It’s head fell to the concrete, sliding off my knife, the zombie, finally still. I dropped my head back and breathed deep for a moment, reflecting on how close I came to being bitten. Then I heard Dave whimper Sarah’s name once again.