Sky tossed and turned in bed, squirming in discomfort. She groaned and opened her eyes, defeated. The stuff room had become too hot. She sat up, pulled off her sweatshirt, and ruffled her hair.
It was the first time she’d taken it off since he’d died. It was dirty, she was sure it stunk, the sleeves were beginning to become frayed, and the seams were ripping, but she felt almost naked without it covering her torso. She folded it into a neat pile and set it aside.
Fumbling in the dark, she found the light switch and flipped it on. She winced at the bright light and looked down at her body, covered only by cotton underwear. In the light, she looked white as a ghost. Maybe she was pasty after all.
She went to open the windows to allow some cool, nighttime air to drive away the suffocating warmth of the bedroom and stopped cold. The RV wasn’t moving. She quickly rummaged through the nearby closet until she found a pair of black gym shorts and a white tank top, threw them on, and burst out of the room.
“Why are we stopped?” she called. Two faces looked at her. Jamar sat leaning at the table while Kurisu lay flat on the couch. She started to worry. “Where’s Kris and Art?”
“The RV broke down,” Jamar explained.
“What? How? What happened?” Sky moved closer to the others, her bare feet making soft noises on the cool floor.
“Ask the mechanic,” Jamar said, gesturing toward Kurisu. “On second thought, don’t. All I know is it started smoking, and Kurisu can fix it.”
Sky looked back and forth between them and stopped on Kurisu. “So, what are we waiting for?”
“I need the right tools for the job,” Kurisu said. “Arthur said he saw a sign for a rest stop that’s only a few miles ahead. He’s hoping there’ll be some tools there.”
“And he took Kris?” Sky cried, aghast. She glared at Jamar. “Why didn’t he take you?”
Jamar stuck out his bottom lip and cocked his head. “He said he wanted me lookin’ after you two. Someone had to stay with the RV.”
“They could be in danger!” Sky cried. “It’s the middle of the night! Why didn’t they wait until the morning?”
“That’s what I said,” Jamar pointed out. “But no, Arthur thinks we’ll starve to death if we wait too long.”
“What? That’s ridiculous!” Sky stopped when she felt the soft touch of Kurisu on her arm.
“Sky, they’re going to be okay,” Kurisu told her. Something about her big, warm eyes spoke the truth, and Sky calmed down.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me?” Sky collapsed on the chair opposite Jamar and ran her fingers through her hair. What she wouldn’t give for some shampoo.
“You were sound asleep,” Jamar said. “And also half naked.”
Sky flushed. “Yeah… Sorry ‘bout that.”
“Don’t apologize to me,” Jamar laughed. An exaggerated look from his wife shut him up quick.
“So what are we doing then? Twiddling our thumbs ‘til they come back?”
“It’s actually quite nice,” Kurisu said. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back. “It’s so peaceful and quiet.”
It was true. The windows in the RV’s main cabin were wide open, allowing the sounds of the night to roll in. Sky heard crickets and frogs and even the occasional owl hoot.
She also heard moans.
Her body jerked and froze in place. “What was that?”
“What was what?” Jamar said, looking slightly put off. There was another moan, loader this time. “Holy shit.”
“Get the lights!” Kurisu hissed. “They can see and hear us!”
Sky bound across the RV and flicked off the interior lights. She crawled back to her friends, who were crouched beneath the window facing the forest. They stared at each other and waited.
After what felt like minutes with no noises, Sky gathered the courage to peek her head up. She came face to face with a zombie and released a bloodcurdling scream. At the same moment, a loud banging came from the RV door. As her eyes adjusted, she could see the attackers weren’t just a stray zombie or two; a whole horde lurked outside the RV, awaiting their dinner.
“Shut the windows!” Kurisu cried. She started to frantically slide them shut when Jamar stopped her.
“We can’t! They might break ‘em open.”
“What if they climb inside?” Kurisu said.
“They can’t,” Sky answered. “They’re way too stupid and uncoordinated for that.” The banging on the door grew louder. “They can, however, break that door down.”
“Let’s get to the roof and shoot ‘em down!” Jamar opened a pantry and pulled out an assault rifle. With his free hand he tossed two submachine guns to Sky and Kurisu. Without hesitating, he opened the roof hatch and climbed topside. Sky and Kurisu followed.
As she struggled through the hole, she caught sight of what waited for them and gasped. There must’ve been a hundred zombies surrounding the RV on all sides, pushing up against it and rocking it back and forth. Rotting hands reached up and grasped for air, the undead trying to claw for scraps of fresh meat.
Shots rang out as Jamar fired down into the mass of undead in front of the RV. Heads split open and flesh ripped as the bullets rained down on the zombies. Their bodies collapsed against the door, forming a pile of corpses.
Sky squinted in the direction of the forest. Even more were shambling out from behind the trees, and the sound of gunfire wasn’t doing anything to divert them away. They’d be overwhelmed in minutes. “They’re gonna overtake us!” she cried.
“We have to lead them away,” Kurisu said. She held her submachine gun with both hands, the weapon trembling ever so slightly.
Jamar stopped firing and nodded. “I can do it,” he said.
“Do what?” Kurisu asked.
“I can jump down and lead them safely away. I’ll double back and find you.”
“No way,” Sky said. “If you go, we go. We gotta stick together.” Kurisu nodded her agreement.
“Oh yeah?” Jamar spread he hands. “And how do you plan to get past this?”
Sky looked around. The horde surrounded the RV on all sides several feet deep. There was no safe way down. “How do you plan to get past this?” she shot back.
“Like this.” Jamar gave his wife a peck on the forehead and before she could object, Jamar leapt from the roof, clearing the zombies by several feet. A chunk of them turned, distracted by the commotion. Jamar fired a few shots in the air, and more heads turned. He was getting their attention. “This way!” he screamed. “Come get me, ya bastards!” He kept backing up, firing shots in the air to bait more of them along.
“Watch out for runners!” Sky screamed at him. She had no idea if he heard, and he disappeared beyond the trees, most of the herd hot on his trail.
“I can’t believe he did that,” Kurisu whispered when they were almost alone. She sounded defeated.
Sky placed a hand on Kurisu’s shoulder. “It’ll be okay.” She smiled, trying to cheer Kurisu up. It didn’t seem to help. “Let’s take care of the stragglers.”
Kurisu nodded. Together they climbed back into the hole, put their firearms away, and found a bat and a metal pole. Sky put her hand on the RV door and looked at Kurisu. “Ready?”
“Keep it quiet.” Sky pushed the door open and went out swinging, bashing a zombie right in the skull. She broke left, leaving Kurisu to wrap around to the right. There were only a few zombies remaining; considering their slow speed and the openness of the area, Sky had no trouble strategically downing them all.
She met Kurisu on the other side of the RV. Her pole was bloody and she looked shaken, but she was alive. “Get ‘em all?” Sky asked.
“Yeah,” Kurisu said, and she breathed a sigh of relief. “Can we go inside now?”
“You got it.”
Inside, they put away their weapons and quietly climbed into bed together, not bothering to close the windows and being careful not to turn on a single light. Kurisu pulled the blankets up to their chins, and together they listened to the sound of the night, waiting for Jamar’s return.
“He didn’t take a flashlight, did he?” Sky thought aloud.
Kurisu, who was staring at the ceiling with her mouth slightly ajar, shook her head just an inch.
Sky turned to her side put her hand on Kurisu’s shoulder. “Jamar’s gonna be okay.”
“How can you know?” Kurisu asked, still facing the ceiling with unblinking eyes.
“That guy can run like the wind and climb like it’s nobody’s business.”
“He went into a dark forest without a light and dozens of zombies following him.” Kurisu buried her face in her hands. “He tore a tendon two years ago. Doctor said it was because he acted too rashly, did something he wasn’t ready for. I can’t help but think this is the same thing.”
Sky sighed and leaned down to hug Kurisu. Thankfully, she returned the gesture and squeezed Sky tight. “Jamar’s a smart guy,” Sky whispered. “He’ll get out of this. I mean, he just saved our lives.”
Kurisu didn’t respond.
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