Greg looked into the eyes of his fiancée, the woman he had proposed to just two years ago. When he awoke that morning he never would have guessed that he’d be in this situation. Luckily, without electricity, the convenience store’s doors wouldn’t open and somehow the glass on both the windows and door remained intact.
“Come on Greg!” shouted Billy. “We have to go regroup with the others. You pissed. Now let’s go and get away from the damned window!”
“Just give me a second, Bill,” Greg meekly replied.
“Dude,” Billy said as he grabbed Greg’s collar and pulled him within inches of his face. “You’re lucky that I haven’t bashed that fugging store open and spilled the black rot that is her brain all over the magazine rack.”
Greg swung at Billy’s head, missing only because of the reaction time that Billy gained while dodging defensive ends that ran a better 40 than he did. The fist intended for Billy instead collided with the window, causing a loud bang to ring through the nearly silent streets.
“You stupid son of a bitch!” hissed Billy under his breath, suddenly aware of the shuffling sounds that seemed to be closing in.
“Never take that tone when speaking about my fiancée EVER!” retorted Greg, raising his voice at the end, forcing Billy to try to silence the irate graphic designer. As Greg felt the former NFL QB’s arms restraining him, he was painfully reminded that years in an office playing with Photoshop had made his mind sharp, but made his physical build resemble Gollum.
“She’s not your fiancée any more. If her eyes aren’t proof enough, then I’ll break the glass and you can get all the proof you need.”
“Somewhere inside her is still the woman I loved!”
“NO THERE ISN’T! ALL THAT’S IN HER IS THE DESIRE TO RIP THE FLESH OFF OF YOUR BONES AND HOPEFULLY, FOR YOUR SAKE, KILL YOU!” Billy suddenly became aware of Zack approaching, drawn in by the commotion of the lovesick tech geek and the testosterone-rich jock. “GIVE US A GOD DAMNED SECOND, YOU BASATRD!” Billy swung a piece of metal piping he’d been dying to use at the walking corpse’s head, splattering the chunky liquid that was at one time human blood and brain across the window. “THAT’S WHAT’S IN YOUR FUGGING WIFE RIGHT NOW!”
“WE NEVER EVEN GOT MARRIED!” bellowed Greg as he swung his two-by-four at another incoming Z.
“WHATEVER. DOES THAT REALLY MATTER RIGHT NOW? JESUS, WE’RE TRYING TO TALK MAN TO MAN HERE!” Billy bashed another dead-head in the back, sending it stumbling into a light pole and leaving a nice imprint of black goo on the grey pole.
“YES IT MATTERS! THESE BASTARDS RUINED MY FUGGING WEDDING!” howled Greg, kicking a crawler’s forehead in with his steel-toed boots.
“THEN STOP YELLING AT ME AND SEEK YOUR DAMNED REVENGE!”
The rest of the afternoon was a blur of man killing former man until cries of fury turned to cries of terror. Billy looked over his shoulder to see Greg towering over a freshly rekilled Z while another sunk its teeth into his shoulder.
“FRAK YOU!” Billy shouted as he sprinted toward Greg and split the attacking Z’s head open. The carnage resumed.
The rest of the squad found them in time to see Billy and Greg in a final, farewell embrace.
As Greg lay on the ground bleeding, Billy leaned over him and asked the question he always hoped he’d never have to, “Do you want to take the walk, or want me to just take you out now?”
“I’m taking as many of these bastards out as I can, man…” murmured Greg.
Billy noticed them looking on and realized it was time to go. “I expect to see a smile on your dead face and a trail of dead Z’s next time we’re out here…. Have fun.”
It was all he could say to one of the only people left from his previous life. His tears blurred his vision and caused him to swing at a couple signs and fire hydrants. He passed the convenience store where he and Greg had begun their afternoon of slaughter and looked in.
“Hold on a second guys,” Billy said when he saw Lisa wandering between the porn and the frozen foods.
“What the Hell, Bill? We’re tired,” moaned Tom, a former American Eagle manager, but Billy felt the need to allow Greg and his fiancée to be together again. He bashed the window open with the pipe finally freed the undead woman from her convenient prison. As she stumbled toward him, Billy said, “Greg will meet you in hell in a few hours. In the meantime, here’s your wedding present. Sorry, I didn’t have time to wrap it.”
He wiped his pipe clean and looked down at the woman that Greg would have died for before turning to look around the store for anything useful. He loaded a backpack with soap, toothpaste, deodorant, chips, and a Spiderman comic that had droplets of black soaking into it.
On the trip back to the zone, Billy was uncharacteristically quiet. Instead of recapping the day’s events for the squad members who had missed out on what seemed like a good day, judging from the mass of twice deceased bodies that lay scattered in the wake of the two men who had gone for a bathroom break, Billy looked solemnly ahead. Tom and Rose, a former gator wrestler from Florida who had been trapped in Syracuse while fleeing to Canada, looked to each other searching for anything to say. Rose elbowed Tom urging him to say something. “Get that male bonding thing goin’,” she hissed.
Tom looked at Billy and said, “Bill…”
“Tom, when we get back to the airport, I’m leaving it up to you to find Greg’s replacement. We won’t get much killing done if we only have three people. I want to make another run at these bastards tomorrow morning, so find someone tonight.”
“You sure you’re ok, buddy?” Tom asked.
“It’s no use getting attached to anything when the world’s gone to Hell,” Billy said as they neared the gate.
Once they checked in with Clipboard, Billy tossed the chips to a couple kids who were playing Survivors and Zombies and watched them tear into the stale saltiness that they had been denied for so long. Then he opted to settle into his cot with the Spiderman comic, hoping that he’d be able to have only his normal nightmares of interceptions and sacks.