XOM-B

XOM-B by Jeremy Robinson

Book: XOM-B by Jeremy Robinson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeremy Robinson
cheers and I find it strange that I could revolt at Jimbo’s death, but feel something like elation by hacking a dead man’s head in half. Life is strange, I decide, before stepping forward and swinging at the nearest deathly cool body moving through the smoke.
    There’s a metallic clang and then the body drops.
    I step forward and swing two more times. Three of the walking dead fall.
    My next step takes me over their bodies and into the throng. I swing, back and forth, grunting from the effort. With each violent stroke and clang of metal, more of the dead are drawn toward us.
    The gap I’m creating with each swing shrinks with every step forward. Each swing becomes more difficult as the STOP sign strikes multiple bodies, no longer decapitating them all. Some are simply falling over, which leads to a new problem.
    “Behind us!” Luscious says.
    I spin and swing hard, hoping Luscious has ducked.
    She has. The sign passes over her head and strikes down two zombies rushing up from behind. But they’re not alone. Several more disjointed shadows are closing the gap.
    We need to get out of here. Now.
    “We’re going to run,” I tell Luscious. “Stay right behind me!”
    I only half see her nod. She’s been a good listener so far, and seems to have a grip on her fear for the moment, so I don’t wait for her to fully confirm she’s heard or understood what I’ve said. If I did, we’d be dead.
    I lower the sign in front of me, gripping the end of the post with my right hand and holding it up with the left. Then I charge, ramming the sign into and through one zombie after another, stepping on or around their bodies as I make a last-ditch effort to reach the apartment building.
    Luscious lets out a yelp behind me, but I can hear her running, so I don’t stop or look. I just plow forward, careening through the horde like I did while riding the HoverCycle.
    As we reach the concrete stairway leading up to a set of solid wooden doors, I stop, let Luscious pass and swing out blindly, somehow knowing that the dead will have already closed in. The sign vibrates in my hands as it strikes five zombies, killing the first two and knocking down three more.
    A roiling wind swirls through the street revealing the dead. Only dead. The living have all been killed and reborn as monsters, or have managed to flee the scene. Mostly the first, I think, given the number of fresh-looking bodies lumbering in my direction.
    I swing again, taking down two more.
    Pounding erupts behind me and I glance back to see Luscious punching the door with her fist and shouting, “Open the door! Let us in!”
    Behind a small window in the door is a pair of terrified eyes.
    I swing again, but my aim is low and I sever legs instead of heads. But the legless zombies do a nice job of stumbling those already trying to climb over them. I leap the stairs to the top and try the door handle. Locked.
    I put my shoulder into the door and give it a shove. It doesn’t flex or even wiggle. I might be able to kick the door in, but then what? We’d be pursued to the roof, if we could even find our way there. And I’d be condemning those inside to horrible deaths. I can’t do that.
    I turn back and see a writhing crowd of death condensing around the staircase, trying desperately to reach us.
    “What are we going to do?” Luscious asks.
    I scan the area, looking for possibilities, but find every one of them starts with a single prerequisite. “I’m going to kill them,” I say. “I’m going to kill them all.”
    I stride boldly down the steps, pitch the sign back and swing as hard as I can. Four heads come free from their shoulders. I swing again, pounding through two more zombies, but then something completely unexpected happens. The sign, my blade and protector, snaps free from the post and spins through the air, embedding itself in the forehead of a zombie who snaps back and falls motionless to the ground.
    In that single moment of stunned disbelief, three

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