Fighting to Survive
huddled behind the tables.
With three people running in desperate haste toward them and blocking
their view, Nerit took a majority of the shots.
    Jenni
aimed for the zombies furthest from the running humans and fired off
a few shots. She could feel the tension growing steadily as the room
slowly filled.
    Katarina
managed to get up and run again, but four more zombies grabbed hold
of her denim jacket. She twisted, yanked, and squirmed her way out of
the jacket and broke free, running again.
    Jenni
heard a man ’ s
scream and barely saw one of the men, whose name she did not
remember, go down. Gunshots rang out steadily, but the man kept
screaming.
    “ Nerit! ” Mike ’ s
voice was an order.
    Another
shot, then the man stopped screaming.
    Katarina
reached the tables and squirmed behind them. She quickly turned to
fire at a zombie in hot pursuit.
    There
was no sign of the other man. He had gone down so silently, no one
had noticed. The room was now clogged with the undead. They were
tripping over their dead comrades and falling over chairs and tables.
The most agile had pursued Katarina, but as they had drawn near the
barricade, they had gone down in a hail of bullets.
    Jenni
kept firing, aiming as much as she could, but she was terrified and
that terror made some of her shots go wide.
    Her
gun clicked empty, and Mike shouted at her, “ Reload. ”
    She
almost burst out laughing.

    3. The Madness of
War
    Katie found herself
wedged behind a table with her back against the wall with Travis
beside her and Nerit standing on the bar behind them. She hated being
stuck in the corner.
    The
gun kept jerking in her hands. Her fingers ached as she tried to aim
true and take the heads off as many of the zombies as possible. There
had been estimates that only twenty people were in the hotel. That
estimate had been seriously low. At least a dozen lay dead on the
ground and maybe thirty were still moving around and trying to get to
the living flesh.
    A
zombie pushed his way past a nearby table and charged at the
barricade. He hit the table Katie was behind and it started to tip.
Pressing her back against the wall and bracing the table with one
foot, she aimed at his head as he snarled, reaching for her. Pulling
the trigger, she was already flinching, knowing blood and gore would
splatter her.
    “ Gross, ” she muttered as wiped brains off her face, and aimed at the next one
rushing toward them.
    Next
to her, Travis was busy reloading someone else ’ s
gun for them. Jenni was screaming at the zombies as she fired.
Nerit was cold and calculating above them as she systematically
eliminated the quickest of the undead, leaving the slower, more
mutilated ones staggering toward the tables.
    “ Gawddammit!
Why are there so many? ” Felix exclaimed.
    Beside
him, Shane didn't answer as he shoved the end of his rifle into a
snarling zombie mouth and fired.
    Four
zombies hit the barricade at the same time and some people had to
stop firing so they could brace it. Nerit was in the midst of
reloading so Travis picked up a heavy candlestick and brought it down
hard on the head of one of the female zombies snarling at them.
    Katie
screamed as something grabbed her leg. She looked down to see the
hand of a zombie gripping her ankle. It had reached through the gap
between the table and wall. Its growling face was barely visible.
With surprising strength, it tugged on her, sending her tumbling
backward into the bar.
    Travis
brought the candlestick down hard on the head of another zombie as
more hit the barricades. Now only a few people were firing into the
crowd of zombies. The others tried to keep the tables from toppling
over and allowing the zombies through. The room was filled with the
screams of the humans and the growls of the zombies.
    It
seemed everyone was shouting at once: Mike ordering people to hold
the tables in place, Katarina screaming that her table was slipping,
Nerit telling everyone to be calm, Felix and Shane were shouting as
several

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