Lone Outpost

Desert ValleyThe crackle of gunfire filled the dry desert air around the high walled camp. Spaced sparsely apart the wall guards sat in their chairs, taking careful aim at the immense flood of undead surrounding their small camp and filling the valley as far as the eye could see.

With only two days warning the group had found the three deserted buildings, and begun cutting the surrounding trees down and making them into ramshackle walls. No one had fully believed the runners breathless account of what was coming their way but months of running and fighting had taught them to believe in anything. They believed as the first crested the hill line and stumbled toward the camp, quickly followed by tens, then hundreds, then thousands more.

Mike leaned back in his chair and yelled for more ammo, his hands were leaden from holding the gun and the constant recoil of the rifle. He rubbed his eyes as one of the runner kids ran up the barricade and dropped a single clip next to his feet and swiftly scooped up the empty clips.
“One clip? That’s it?”

“Sorry Mike, Barlo says were down to the last thousand rounds, you have to make the shots count”

Mike growled as the kid ran off, slammed the new clip home and took careful aim into the pressed pack of bodies below him. Holding his breath for the shot he could hear shouts going up behind him over the constant moaning of the zombie horde.

Pulling the trigger and smiling as pieces of brain, hair and skull flew into the dry air; he turned in time to see Leslie struggling to free her leg from the outstretched hand of a zombie as it pulled itself over the barricades lip. As she struggled, hitting it with the butt of her rifle, Mike could see the sea of zombies had risen higher near her section of the wall. He cursed, realizing that she had forgotten her training and had been shooting the closest targets, creating a ramp for the next in line to climb.

Smashing its skull in with the butt of her gun, Mike watched as she struggled to force a new clip in place as another zombie pulled itself up and clamped its jaws down on her leg. “Kill it!” she screamed “Kill it! Kill it with fire!” Mikes eyes widened as one of the runners ran toward the zombie, tore the cap off of a flare, and jammed it into its eye socket. The zombie shuddered and fell back into the horde, lifeless. Mike drew a breath of relief as Leslie, and another shooter held the line as the runner started to push the lifeless bodies away from the wall with an old flag pole.

His relief quickly turned to terror as he saw the first wisps of smoke drift up from below the runner’s feet. The runner immediately let go of the flag pole, screaming for help and ran back toward the center of the camp and scooped up one of the water buckets, but it was too late. Flames, started from the flare, spread along the barricade, igniting the dry clothes of the closely packed horde. As he watched the flames began to spread around and away from the camp, jumping from zombie to zombie and filling the sky with thick black smoke.

Mike turned back to the horde, screamed his rage at what he now knew was inevitable and started to fire wildly into the press of bodies and flames. As the last round tore into a zombie, he jumped up from his chair and ran down toward the center of the camp, arriving in time to see Leslie’s wall collapse from the heat and press of bodies on the other side.

Zombies poured through the opening, flames rising from their bodies and outstretched hands as they made their way toward the small group of survivors. Mike pulled his rifle to his shoulder, took aim and pulled the trigger. The empty ‘click’ rang hollow in his ears as realization he had no escape from the undead, and that he had not saved a round for himself.


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