Hollowland / Page 14

Page 14


The flaming zombies stood on one side of the kitchen, and they seemed too preoccupied by the fact that they were on fire to really care about me. The other one blocked the only open aisle, and I figured that I had a better chance of getting by him.

I grabbed my garbage bag with one hand, and with the other, I picked up a ladle. Holding onto the spoon end, I waited until the zombie stepped towards me, then I swiped it across his neck.

This ladle had a hook at the end of the handle so it could be hung up, and the hook caught his throat, tearing it completely open. His blood was too thick to spray out, but it startled gurgling. He put his hands over the wound and leaned onto the counter.

I slid past him, moving as quickly as I could. I thought once I got out of the kitchen, I would be home free, but since I was running, the burning zombies decided to give chase.

Carrying a bag filled with heavy water bottles and jars, I found myself jumping and diving over tables as fast balls of fire tore after me. If I tripped on a single fallen chair, I was totally screwed.

Because they were on fire, they at least provided me with enough light to see about a foot in front of me. That was good since I had left the flashlight in the kitchen.

I had a gun, but by the time I got it out and tried to aim, it would be too late. In retrospect, I should’ve pulled it out in the kitchen, but I’m always conserving ammunition. If there were other weapons available, I wanted to use them first.

One of the zombies got tripped up on something or simply just gave up. When I looked back over my shoulder, he was lying on the ground, burning to death the way he was meant to.

That damn Paul Giamatti was persistent, and he should’ve been dead by now, but he only seemed to be gaining speed.

When I rounded a corner and leapt over a slot machine, I saw sunlight shining in, meaning I was getting close to the doorway. That also meant that I was probably getting closer to innocent bystanders, and I didn’t have a plan on how to stop the burning zombie when I got there.

“Run!” I shouted, in case anyone was standing in the entrance.

“Remy?” Harlow asked. I was close enough to where I could see her, and she wasn’t running. She just stood there, staring at me.

“Run, god dammit!” I growled, and she finally darted towards the door.

Lazlo appeared out of nowhere, seemingly stepping from the shadows. He looked surprised, but instead of running, he raised a bulky looking gun, pointing it right at me.

“Wait to get down until I tell you!” Lazlo said, and I didn’t know why, except he was a bad shot and needed us to get really close. I was nearly to him, when he yelled, “Get down!”

I complied, diving at the ground and landing almost at his feet. I heard a weird clacking sound, but it wasn’t like a gun going off.

I closed my eyes tightly, waiting to feel the burning death grip from a zombie, but it never came. Finally, I lifted my head and looked around. The zombie lay a few feet behind me, writhing on the floor and groaning. I got up and watched as he stopped moving.

“What’d you do?” I asked, looking at Lazlo.

“I tased him,” Lazlo nodded to the square gun lying on the carpet. Two cords went from it, connecting it to the burning corpse. “I grabbed a taser off a security guard. What happened to the zombie, anyway? Why is he on fire?”

“Cause I lit him on fire,” I shrugged and brushed dust from my pants.

“Why didn’t you just shoot him? That’s why you have a gun,” Lazlo said, pushing his dark bangs out of his eyes.

“I was saving bullets.” I rubbed the back of my neck and avoided his gaze. “We might not have any for a long time, and… I mean, the zombie looked like Paul Giamatti! How the hell was I supposed to know he’d be so flipping fast?”

“Who’s Paul Giamatti?” Harlow asked.

“Never mind.” I looked over at her. “Why didn’t you run when I told you to?”

“Cause Lazlo was here, and he wasn’t running.” Harlow said it like it made complete sense. As if Lazlo was the voice of reason.

“When I say run, just run! I don’t care what anybody else is doing! You could’ve been killed!”

“If you’re so worried about my safety, maybe you shouldn’t light zombies on fire and then lead them to me,” Harlow shot back.

“I wouldn’t have led him to you if you’d run,” I muttered.

“Is everyone okay?” Blue asked, and I saw the bobbing glow of his flashlight as he rushed towards us from the other side of the casino.

“Yeah, we’re fine,” Lazlo told him, grinning broadly. “Thanks to me.”

“I heard yelling. What happened?” Blue slowed down when he came into the light of the entrance, carrying his own garbage bag full of stuff, and clicked off his flashlight.

“I saved Remy’s life,” Lazlo beamed, and I rolled my eyes and started walking out. “Oh, come on. I totally did.”

“He was gonna die. I just had to run a little bit longer,” I reasoned and carefully stepped through the shattered front doors into the sun, which seemed obscene after the darkness of the casino. “Ripley! Kitty, kitty!”

“You could just say ‘thank you.’” Lazlo stood next to me, but I refused to look at him.

“I could,” I admitted but said nothing more. “Ripley! Come on, girl! Kitty, kitty!”

“Maybe she’s not coming,” Harlow said. She walked over to the SUV and opened the door. “She is a wild animal.”

Blue opened the back of the SUV, setting his trash bag in with our stuff, and he left it open before he got in the driver’s seat. Even Lazlo got in the SUV, but I waited outside, calling Ripley.

I was just about to give up when I heard her roar, and the clanking of her chain. She flew right past me, jumping into the back, and I had to suppress a smile. I shut the door behind her and went around to get inside.

“I don’t know why it’s so hard for you to admit that I saved your life,” Lazlo said almost the instant I got into the passenger seat. “It’s not shameful. I’m sure you’ve saved people’s lives before, and they’ve saved yours. It’s part of life.”

“It’s not hard for me to admit anything,” I said.

I still had the bag of stuff from the casino, and I dug through it. All that running had left me in need of sustenance. I pulled out a jar of cherries and opened it.

“What do you have there?” Lazlo asked.

“Cherries.” I popped one in my mouth, and then held out the jar for anyone to take one. Harlow reached in and grabbed one, and so did Lazlo, but Blue passed because he was driving. “What did you get?”

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