Fighting to Survive
them on. As they slowly crushed
the zombie beneath the table into mush, its bones cracking under
their weight, they did a jovial little dance of death.
    Nerit
let herself down from the bar slowly, cursing in Hebrew, while Travis
helped Katie to her feet.
    Looking
across the room, Katie was overcome by the stench of death and the
gore that was splattered everywhere.
    There
was a loud, sickening popping noise from under the table, and the
zombie ’ s
growls ended.
    Katie
ran into the kitchen and threw up in the sink. She was shaking hard,
her hands trembling, her stomach recoiling at what had just happened,
and her near death.
    “ Well, ” Jenni ’ s
voice said from the other room, “ I ’ m
glad I ’ m
not cleaning up this mess. ”

    4. Words are
Dangerous
    Juan helplessly
stood outside along with everyone else that was not part of the
original entry teams. There was an utter sense of horror and
desperation that gripped them as they listened to the gunfire within
the hotel and the unholy sounds that accompanied it.
    Like
the others, he could not take his eyes off the closed door into the
janitor ’ s
closet. Through the padlocked gate, the painted bluish-gray door,
splashed with dried blood, seemed ominous. What if it cracked open
and those things poured through into the small courtyard? Suddenly,
the wrought iron gate seemed inconsequential.
    His
grip tightened on his gun as he lifted his walkie-talkie to his
mouth. He hesitated, realizing that in the midst of battle the last
thing they needed was him yelling for them to report in.
    Then,
as quickly as the gunshots had erupted, there was silence.
    He
immediately pressed the button, “ What
the fuck happened? ”
    There
was a long pause, static, laughter, and then, finally, Mike ’ s
voice came through the static. “ We
got swarmed, but we ’ re
okay now. I have a feeling that every zombie outside of a locked door
headed our way. ”
    Juan
was about to ask about Jenni when he heard her voice plainly. He felt
the tight knots in his back release. “ Did
we lose anyone? ”
    “ Yeah,
Mark and Wallace. ”
    “ Damn. ”
    “ We ’ re
going to need to start room to room now. Send in the backup teams and
have them meet me in the lobby. Still use caution, there could be
stragglers, ” Mike ’ s
voice said through the static.
    Juan
heard Jenni yell, “ Love
you, babe ” and he smiled slightly.
    “ Okay,
sending them in. Take care of yourselves. ”
    Turning,
he motioned to Bill and Curtis to head in with their teams. Glancing
toward Jason, he gave the boy a slight smile.
    “ Your
Mom ’ s
okay. ”
    “ I
know, ” the teenager said in a quiet, distrustful tone.
    Juan
hesitated, then shrugged. The kid hated him and he knew it, but at
least the boy still had his Mom and he still had his loca.
    He
watched Bill and Curtis ’ team disappear into the building and felt the knots in his back
return.

***
    Ashley
stood quietly to one side as everyone flipped the tables back over
and began the process of making sure the zombies were truly dead.
Caution was the key word, and everyone was very careful. But their
aim had been true and the many dead were finally at peace. During the
fracas, Ashley and Ned had been constantly reloading guns. It wasn ’ t
until toward the end, she had ended up helping brace a table. Now she
stood looking at her fingers and the long scrape across them.
    Nearby,
Jenni used a broken chair leg to bash in the last zombie ’ s
head as a precaution.
    Meanwhile,
Ashley just stared at her hand.
    It
was just a scrape. That ’ s
all it was. Just a scrape.
    ***
    Katie rinsed her
mouth out with water from the faucet. It tasted odd, but Juan had
explained the hotel used well water. Watching the water swirl down
the drain, she ran her wet fingers over her brow and took a steadying
breath.
    Of
course, the kitchen reeked of death, so she threw up again.
    Finally,
she was done. She wiped her mouth again and looked around. There were
buffet bins filled with

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