Bitter 33

The toppling zombie’s shadow gave a very clear indication of where it was going to land. Britta started running.

In movies, people ran from falling objects in a straight line to make it look more dramatic. Will they make it or will the falling building collapse on top of them? Very exciting when you’re watching it on a screen, and no problem for the person doing the running when they know they’re going to make it because it says so in the script.

Britta was under no such illusions. She took a ninety degree left and ran to the side. The big zombie was hardly going to change direction mid-fall.

Britta felt the shift as the darkness of shadow she’d only just left reclaimed her.

The zombie had thrown its hands wide apart as it fell, its body a giant cross. Even if she avoided getting crushed under the head or torso, she could still get squashed under the arm. She froze, caught in two minds about which was the safest direction to run in, and was now not moving in any direction, which was easily the worst option. She started running again, this time at an angle that would avoid head and arms, hopefully.

The shadow on the ground moved from side to side. Britta looked over her shoulder to see the zombie flailing its arms as it came crashing down. A large hand made up of zombie bodies mushed together landed beside her. It disintegrated on impact, sending zombie bodies flying in every direction.

The rest of the zombie crashed down. The ground jumped and Britta was knocked off her feet. Zombies burst from the fallen corpse, whizzing through the air and ricocheting off buildings.

Britta was clinging to the ground, arms covering her head. She risked a peek and saw a surprised looking zombie sail by.

Other than a face full of dirt, Britta didn’t seem to be hurt. She checked her health bar and it was still full. She slowly got to her feet and turned around.

Large pieces of rubble and masonry filled the street. The zombie had fragmented when it hit the ground. All the smaller zombies had been shaken free and were now individuals again. And they were getting up.

Britta’s heart sank. Really? It wasn’t over yet?

Groans and moans filled the air as the recently deceased recently deceased staggered around looking for something to attack. Britta looked around for somewhere to hide. The others could take care of them the way they had done before, it was just another wave of low level monsters for them. She, on the other hand, wouldn’t last more than a few seconds.

Britta crouched down thinking that maybe they wouldn’t notice her. The others had already begun the slaughter, it sounded like, and were making enough noise to attract the dead, which was ideal.

One step at a time, Britta began backing away. Her foot hit something behind her. She looked down to find an arm, just an arm, lying on the ground. It grabbed onto her ankle.

Britta screamed. The zombies nearby all turned their heads far more sharply than you would think they would be able to with their decayed, decomposed joints. There was no option but to run. At least she could still get away. She glanced across to Death Alley—not that way.

As she tensed like she was waiting for the sound of an imaginary starter’s pistol, she noticed something different about the zombies. They didn’t move quite so sluggishly as before. In fact, they too seemed to be tensing, crouching a little lower, arms moving to a running position.

Now that she was up and looking, she could see the zombies on the far side, where the other players had gathered, weren’t moving with stiff gaits and stilted motions. They were leaping around like crazed fleas.

These weren’t the classic slow shufflers, these were the hyperspeed zombies from movies directed by guys used to making music videos—all quick cuts and thumping techno. She returned her attention to the three zombies who had their eyes (four between them) on her. One of them smiled at her. Its mouth was full of maggots. Britta ran.

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