The Wanderers
thirty-nine...
    One of the specters stopped, inclined its head to a side, as if it was smelling the air. It then opened its mouth, pulling back its thin and dried lips, and letting out a blackish blood clot that heavily fell to the ground with a watery sound.
    Aranda stopped, not even daring to breathe. And in that moment, as if in response to his worst nightmare, he found himself with the zombie looking at him. It was as if he was in a movie and there had been a cut, he had not seen the movement; they had taken out the frame.
    He did not give himself any more time: he eliminated the distance that separated him from the padlock with a leap and began to use the chisel on the padlock’s small bar. The zombie bounded towards where he stood, proffering harsh sounds that stemmed from its throat. That seemed to activate the specter that wandered at a short distance, which became agitated, and it began to advance, wildly gesturing with its hands.
    Aranda squeezed hard and the padlock flew to the sand. He pulled at the chain over and over again, but the links seemed to drag themselves through the metal loops. The zombies were jumping over the small railing that separated the promenade from the beach; the second one limited itself to twisting its hips over the rail, clumsily falling headfirst onto the sand. Aranda heard a cracking sound similar to a branch breaking in the quiet of a forest. The blow would have been enough to shatter anyone’s neck, but the specter naturally got back up, with its head glued to the shoulders and the eyes loaded with hate.
    With a final pull, Aranda managed to take the chain off the door. It was dark inside, and he inhaled a mouthful of dust and rarified air when he leaned his head inside. It was a tiny little room with metal shelves full of fishing equipment, nets, lifesavers and cans of what seemed to be paint. And there, meticulously covered by a piece of yellow plastic bubble wrap, a small black off-board with the letters SEA-KING adorning its curved black lines, was hanging from a hook on the wall.
    Aranda rapidly ripped off the plastic and took down the motor. It weighed a ton, which was totally unexpected, so he was about to let it fall to the floor. He embraced it with both hands and pressed it against his chest, curving backwards to help himself with his lumbar muscles. It was so heavy that it reminded him of the huge sacks of salt that his mother had sent to the house for the decalcification machine they had installed, so he calculated that the motor must have weighed at least a hundred pounds. He also noticed, with much satisfaction, the slosh of gasoline in the tank, and with that, another preoccupation disappeared.
    He knew that he could not get to the boat with that much weight, not before the two zombies reached him, so with much effort he put it back on the hook and looked towards the doorway. At that moment, he heard a muted rap against the shack’s wall. They were already there.
    He searched among the things he had around, knowing he barely had a few seconds to find some kind of weapon. Finally, among some big toolboxes, he located a hammer that seemed to be big enough to do what he had planned. He picked it up and turned towards the door in just one movement, and saw that did not have even a second more to spare; occupying the whole doorway was that repulsive being, still dressed in a worn dark gray jacket and its face furrowed with innumerable dried wounds, a few black teeth remaining in its half-opened mouth.
    He had barely a few seconds to regret how he had done it all. He was trapped, locked in a tight space; he had let himself be cornered like an idiot. If the second zombie managed to get in as well, he was sure that he would not be able to make it. Despite that, a visceral, almost primitive impulse, moved him to hurl himself towards the specter and deal it a blunt blow with the hammer, right on the head. The zombie shook as if it had been shocked by an electric charge, and

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