Daniels seemed startled by my reaction. He’d been walking down the stairs, but he paused and scrunched up his eyebrows.
“I just … if he’s going with us, I thought he’d be with you,” Daniels clarified.
“He’s in a loft,” I said. “I left him and the girl there when I went to find you. No need for them to face zombies unless they had to.”
“Let’s go get them and get out of here,” Boden said once everybody had come downstairs.
“There’s just one thing,” I said, stopping him as he walked toward the front door. “The building they’re in is surrounded by zombies.”
He sighed. “Of course it is.”
“Fine,” Nolita said. “You go get them and meet us back here.”
“I don’t think I can get them out by myself,” I admitted. “Especially not with the food.”
Nolita had pressed her lips into a tight line, and they twitched when I mentioned food. She might not be willing to risk anything for me or my family, but she needed food to survive, just like the rest of us.
“You say there’s a little girl?” Bishop asked.
I nodded. “Stella and my little brother Max. They’re both just kids.”
“All right.” She nodded once. “I’ll go and help you get them.”
“I’ll go, too,” Boden said. He took off his duffel bag and dropped it to the floor. “The rest of you stay here. If we’re not back in a few hours, then go on without us.”
Bishop gave Teddy a reassuring smile as she handed him her bag. “We will be back. Just hang tight.”
I led Boden and Bishop back the way Max had taught me. When we got to Main Street, we hid beside the closest building we could, peering around the corner so we could watch the store where Max and Stella were staying.
A small cluster of zombies had gathered, but I would guess it wasn’t more than a dozen. I’d faced a lot more than that and come out on top, so I figured that we could handle this. A couple of the zombies had begun to fight amongst themselves, tearing at each other’s clothes and flesh.
“They’re hungry,” Bishop whispered, noticing the same behavior I had.
“I have a few rounds left, but we really are running out of ammo,” Boden said. “I might not even have enough to shoot all the zombies here.”
I stared at the zombies for a minute when it occurred to me. “I have a plan.”
“What is it?” Boden asked.
“Cover me,” I said, then ran out toward the zombies.
The first zombie that charged at me, I stabbed right in the chest with the broomstick. It was an older zombie, so his chest and bones gave in easily as I drove the stake through his heart.
Right before the next zombie was upon me, I ducked down. It ran right into me, its legs slamming into my head, and I stood up, sending it flying head over feet. It landed on the ground, its face pressed against the concrete, and I stomped on the back of its head, crushing its skull into the street.
I heard the bang of the gun going off and felt the spray of zombie blood on my back. I turned around to see a zombie with its head blown off collapsed on the ground, and it was safe to assume that Boden had shot it.
Two more zombies were racing at me, and I had no weapons. I simply dodged one and pushed the other one out of the way. They both chased after me, and I ran until I was in front of the store.
A zombie stood directly below the M, and I kicked it in the stomach. It bent forward and collapsed to the ground on its knees. I jumped onto its back and then jumped up so I could grab onto the M.
Even as my fingers were grabbing hold of the sign, I could feel the other zombies latching onto my legs. Their fingers dug into my flesh, and when I tried to kick them back, they pulled off one of my shoes.
I swung back and forth, trying to free myself, and the sign groaned loudly above me. My pants were starting to slip off my waist. When a zombie tried to bite my foot, I managed to kick in the roof of its mouth, but things weren’t going well.
Then the sign finally began to fall. The metal screeched as it snapped, and the M began to swing forward, taking me and several zombies with it. The M moved like a pendulum as it came free, so by the time the S finally came loose, we had started to swing up higher in the air.
I let go, falling to the sidewalk. I scraped up my arms when I landed, and I rolled out of the way, pressing myself to the brick of the building. A zombie was still hanging onto me, but most of the zombies were hanging onto each other, in one mass.
The sign crashed to the ground, smashing the zombies beneath them. Even though the zombie still hung onto my leg, his body had been crushed under the metal. That didn’t stop his head from moving though, and he tried to sink his teeth into my calf.
I rolled onto my back and kicked him in the face with my shoed foot. He kept gnashing at me, so I kept kicking him until he finally stopped moving.
While the sign had managed to take out most of the zombies, one of them was still lurching toward me. I was scrambling to my feet when Boden shot it, and it fell to the ground.
Boden and Bishop had come out of hiding, and they walked across the street toward me. Boden still had his gun raised, in case another zombie came out of the woodwork.
“Is that all of them?” Boden asked.
“I think so.” I picked up my shoe that a zombie had pulled off and slipped it back on.
He lowered his gun when he reached me. “That was really stupid, you know. If that sign hadn’t fallen, they would’ve ripped you to shreds.”