It only took ten minutes for Fred’s legs to tire. His lungs struggled to breathe. His heart was pumping far faster than he was comfortable with.
He also remembered that he had left his blood pressure pills behind.
According to Betty, the ride would take about 30 minutes.
He looked over at Carol, she looked to be struggling a little, but she was young, her body would cope and adapt much faster. As he was pondering his terrible physical condition, Carol came to a stop.
She said, “Firstly, this bike riding thing is a terrible idea. Secondly, there are three zombies up ahead. Do we spear them or shoot them with the rifle?”
Fred looked ahead, and sure enough, there they were in the shambling terror, approaching them as fast as they could directly in the middle of the dirt road.
“Spears. They are attracted to sound, and there will be others wandering about.”
Carol said, “Are you going to be up to it? You look like shit.”
He laughed a little, he wanted to deny it or put on some kind of bravado, but he couldn’t be bothered, so he said, “I feel like it too. Let them come to us, that will give us five minutes to catch our breath.”
Carol flipped the stand, readied her spear and took the rifle off her back and leaned it against the bike. Fred followed suit. He had refused to use the rifle and did not want to learn how to use it, but now the zombies were in front of him, he was thinking about changing his mind.
He said, “This time yesterday, I was trapped in my house, too scared to move and even if I could control the terror, going outside was suicide. Now, I am confronting them in the open.”
Carol said, “Yeah, weird. Although, I am still terrified. Somehow though, I feel safer now with this stupid spear that Kevin loves so much, and the gun is nice too. Although I can barely use it so it I next to useless.”
Fred smiled, gripped the spear harder, “Oddly though, I think the spears are far better than bats and crowbars.”
“Yeah, our ancestors used spears a lot, and they did just fine against far more capable predators than zombies.”
One of the zombies had made a lead for itself, if it could have smiled, Fred as sure it would have. Instead, it simply groaned a little more excitedly that then two behind it.
Carol said, “I will take the lead one, then we walk backwards and let the next two come to us and we stake their stupid heads.”
Fred said, “You are not as tame as you look.”
The first zombie, a young man in its previous life, went directly for Carol, and true to her word, she put the spear directly into the face of the zombie and let its momentum skew itself. It collapsed, but when she attempted to pull the spear out, it would not come out.
She let the spear go, took the planned three steps backwards, lifted her other spear from the side of the bike and prepped for the next one. Fred was impressed.
As instructed, the zombies sped towards them, and they both speared their faces and both zombies died immediately.
Fred looked down at them for a moment, seeing their bodies had already begun to rot a little and the related composting smells that come with it. He said, “For the amount of fear they induce, they are surprisingly easy to kill when there are only a few of them. And who knew I would be okay doing this?”
Carol said, “I have no problems at all, first that virus killed my parents, then my brother, then my sister, then my boyfriend. Then I had to kill their zombies. I hate the fucking things. They took the people I love most away from me.” She stood there for a moment then screamed at the zombies, “I fucking hate you.”
Fred stood silently. His chest was squeezing him tightly and he thought he was about to vomit. He said, “I wish I was more like you.”
He stood silently, staring at the ground, avoiding any glance at the zed as he said, “My partner, Phillip, we had been together for ten years. He was a pain in many ways, but we took care of each other. I got RedEye first, and he did what he did best by taking care of me. Then he got it just as I got my energy back. We laughed at how good the virus was to time my recovery with him getting sick. But he died. Then he turned. I had listened to the news talk about securing the sick to the bed, he was attached to the bed. I was safe. But I left him as a zombie. For days I left him there to groan and struggle endlessly against the rope. And I did nothing. When Kevin and Eula drove by, blasting their horn I was going to stay home and die with my love. But, then I thought that Phillip would be pissed off with me. Still, I could not end his zombie. I ran out of the house. I left him there to rot and struggle.”
Carol began to cry, she gave Fred a hug as she said, “Hey, I will go to your place and end his zombie if you want me to.”
Fred cried heavily, “I should do it. But, I would like it if you were with me just in case I can’t do it.”
“Deal. Now, lets stop crying like babies, we are on a manly mission and manly mission takers do not cry like babies.”
Fred gave a little laugh, “You really should not try to be funny.”
Carol said, “Just shut up, get on your bike, we still have twenty minutes of riding to go.”
They got back on their bikes, Fred took the lead and he was feeling surprisingly better.
Until he saw the next mob up the road was at least fifteen zeds. He said, after he saw Coral had seen them as well, “What do we do, turn back or try to beat the zeds to the house? I think we can make it, what do you think?”
Carol started peddling, “Backtracking form a mission is for babies.” She rode ahead as fast as she could. Fred decided she was right, so he dug into the peddles and tried to catch up with her.
As he rode towards the farmhouse gate, he thought he might need to speed up. It looks like it was going to be a close run race to beat the zombies to the gate and they needed enough time to shut the gate behind them.
Carol screamed out just ahead of him, “We are warriors and we kill zombies every day before breakfast.”
Fred, with terror in his veins, lungs bursting and heart pounding, still managed to say to himself, “She is insane.”
Carol made the turn off from the road into the driveway and passed the gate, but the zombies were very close, and Fred was struggling. Carol launched herself off her bike, ran to the gate and yelled out to Fred, “Hurry the fuck up, baby.”
He was not going to make it.