Tears were streaming down her cheeks. She fired her last shot and in the dim light, I saw her trying to reload, her hands shaking.
It was too dangerous to fire. They were all in front of her, and I couldn’t risk missing them and hitting her. I drew my hunting knife and charged them.
Mike and Jared were taking down those near Carla. Joe moved with me. He also had a knife and we split skulls right and left, trying to get to my daughter. She did reload finally, and her aim was true. She took down six more. My little girl, the zombie killer.
It was close, but not enough. Every time I thought I was getting closer to Anna, I felt a presence behind me and I had to take down another one. I did use my gun then, knowing Joe was on my left and the rest were further away. The floor was slippery with blood and grey matter.
Anna was outnumbered, even with my brother and me doing our best. She was backed up against a window, the moonlight shining down on her. She was out of bullets now. She used the butt of her gun to try to fend them off. I had but an instant to be proud of her, but no time to really think. I had to get to her now.
“Cover me!” I shouted to my brother. I dove in, gun in one hand and knife in the other. All I wanted to do was get between my precious daughter and these fuckers. I would take the hit. I didn’t care. Just save her.
I made it. Within a couple of minutes, I killed about nine of them. I got to the last zombie that separated me and my daughter. I would get this one and reach my daughter.
Anna was out of energy, sobbing, and blindly hitting at anything that came near her.
Together, and with Joe’s help, we took them down. I almost couldn’t believe it when there were no more zombies left to kill.
Anna was brave; I had to give her credit for that. She had used real muscle to fight off these suckers. If she hadn’t been in shape, we wouldn’t have made it.
“I’m so proud of you.” I tried to hold her but she pushed me away. She simply gazed at all the death, the blood and guts and brains that surrounded us. She began shivering.
The rest joined us.
Joe took in Anna’s state. “She’s in shock. We need to lay her down and keep her warm.”
Jared didn’t hesitate. He ran to the center of the great hall, and sprinted back with a couple of jackets. We wrapped them around my daughter. We brought her into the office and barricaded the door once again.
She lay with her head on Jared’s lap. He kept feeding her sips of water until she stopped shaking.
The office was now crowded. It was warm from all of our bodies, but we kept still, recovering from a battle I never would have dreamed of.
Some of us must have slept. I know I dozed fitfully. It didn’t seem like so much time had passed, but finally, I could see a little light coming in from under the door.
Carla always had a plan. “Jack,” she whispered.
“Yeah? You still mad at me?”
She gave a small laugh. “No, of course not. You were right. I was just frightened.”
I took her hand. “What were you going to say?”
“Well, that...I know this might not be the best time...but if it’s safe, and now that we have back up,” referring to Mike and Joe, “We really need to get those bodies out of here. It’s going to start smelling.”
I hadn’t even thought of that.
“She’s right,” Joe agreed. “There’s a small door where you and Anna were fighting last night. We could just pick them up and throw them out that door.”
I didn’t know Anna had awakened.
“I don’t want them in here,” she said bitterly. “I’ll be happy if I never see one of them again. And we have to get our food and stuff.”
We all pitched in. After careful searching, we found the place empty except for the Zombie bodies. Carla covered us all. We propped open the door to find a small walkway with a fifty-foot drop to a slope on the hill. Good enough.
The men, Jared included, heaved the bodies up and out the door and let them fall. It was a dirty business.
For the most part, Anna watched. Then her eyes fell onto one of the bodies. One of them wore a backpack, with what looked like a computer hanging out.
“I’m going to get that,” she said.
“I wish you wouldn’t,” I told her. But she gingerly made her way through the heaps of dead zombies to reach it.
I should have been watching her. We all should have. We were focused on our cleanup work, and Anna wanted that laptop.
She kneeled down and reached for it—
And that’s when a hand shot out and grabbed her leg. She screamed and let go of the backpack. She tried to kick loose, but fell to the ground.
If I had gotten to her a second sooner, I would have made it. But I didn’t.
She shrieked just as the zombie bit into her ear. In pain and terror, blood running down her ear and neck, she cried out, “Daddy!”
“You motherfucker!!” I plunged my knife into his skull and he fell to the ground. He was dead, but I was too late.
Anna had been bitten.