‘To bottomless perdition, there to dwell’
For a few seconds he dozed in that wonderful head space between consciousness and unconsciousness. He was warm and well rested, the Egyptian cotton enveloping his form. Then, one by one, each fresh injury made itself apparent. There was a slightly twisted knee here, a bruised and slashed shoulder there, a jaw ache, and a muscular twinge under his shoulder blades. The peaceful feeling left him and he tried to turn over to see if that orientation was more comfortable. As he turned a pain shot through his cheek and he realised the pillow was stuck to his face, a consequence of the weeping graze from his fall from the estate wall. The plasma had formed a crust inter-weaved with the soft fabric of the expensive down pillows.
“Urgh” He groaned, peeling the pillow from his face. It pinged little pricks of pain as it came free, revealing wet open points that he felt dry rapidly in the air conditioned breeze. He lay back, groaned again, and fumbled for the remote control on his table. He was aware his old back ached, a consequence of staying in bed too long. Flicking fingers found the unit and he felt for the shaped button that controlled the blinds. He found it and they slid silently across the wall of the room to reveal the Penthouse window. Light flooded unbidden into the room, and he thought about just going back to sleep but he knew this was impossible. He sat up away from the window, repulsed at his own stench. It was time for a shower. It was then he noticed the narrow angle of the shadows in his bedroom. Brow furrowing, he reached across for his watch, a heavy Tag Heuer. It said eleven fifteen…on Tuesday.
He had been asleep for forty eight hours.
“Fuck.” He muttered to himself in his manicured English accent, before placing and lighting a Marlboro in his mouth. He took long satisfying drags, as the smoke stung his open facial wound.
Where was the nurse he had paid for punctuality and discretion? She was due at nine but obviously hadn’t woken him. Maybe she had been and he hadn’t noticed, but the bandages around his shoulder had not been changed. Certainly not for a day, maybe even two.
The last thing he remembered was parking the seven sixty in the underground car park and half walking, half crawling to the lift. He used his specially made key to discreetly take it directly to the Penthouse. Do not pass Go. Do not collect two hundred quid. Do not have people asking questions.
When he got in he poured a fifteen year old Speyside Malt, stripped down and put a muslin over the shoulder wound. He had telephoned the necessarily expensive Harley Street Doctor who came over, half high on God knows what, and tended to his wounds. The bespectacled little man was jabbering on about “Terrorists at the Airport”. He barely paid attention, but put the TV on when he left. The next thing he remembered was waking up this morning.
Martin rubbed his face with both hands to try and wake himself up. Then he rose, body complaining as it supported his own weight, and went slowly to the bathroom. By the time the shower was hot he had brushed his furry teeth, flossed, been to the toilet and was standing in front of the mirror as steam slowly obscured it.
The job that night had been sloppy, he had been to dinner the night before and drunk too much port. He wasn’t twenty one any more, shit he wasn’t even forty one. By the time he had settled down in the Estate Folly, to watch the guests arrive, he was struggling to keep his eyes open. He nearly missed the mark arriving and, by the time he was crouched ready with the sniper rifle, he hadn’t realised how close the security patrol was when he took the shot. Even with the suppressor they had heard it and came running.
The two security men were young, agile, marine trained, and fearless. He hadn’t shaken the torpor off quickly enough and they had beaten him half unconscious before he even retaliated. However, a few seconds later and with a flesh wound to the shoulder, he had failed to judge the jump from the estate wall well and caught his knee as he landed. There were more security hot on his heels as alarms rang round the dark country roads. The night black seven sixty quietly whisked him away before they could follow.
He stared at his reflection on the mirror. Short professional hair by a west end barber of repute, short grey stubble to match his grey, but thankfully still thick, hair. His dark eyes, thick jaw, and high cheekbones explained why he had been approached by one of the modelling agencies to advertise hair restorer for men over fifty. He had turned down the modelling contract. It was incompatible with his line of work and he didn’t need the money.
He stayed in the shower a long time, massaging and testing the limit of his aches and pains. The warmth seeped into his body, loosening up joints and muscles as it went. Finally he dried himself and assessed the damage. The flesh wound to his shoulder was healing nicely, but would still need a bandages for a few days. He changed the bandage himself. The raw angry wound settled into position, saying hello to the other scars that were its new neighbours. His right knee was walkable, but sore, a multicoloured bruise surrounding it. The graze on his right cheek stung, and would do until it dried of its own accord. The twinge in his jaw had gone, and his back felt better now he was up.
Not bad for an old warhorse, he thought to himself, glossing over the reality that he was getting too old for his line of work.
He decided the best thing to do was to get lunch at the club, so he dressed in a light Saville Row suit of dark, delicate pinstripes, sober blue tie, and charcoal black moleskin over jacket. Black leather gloves completed the look of a banker, or certainly a very rich and well connected gentleman. A look that guaranteed an air of respectability far better then that of a Kings crown. It was a look that made Police deffer to him. He checked himself in the mirror again and left the Penthouse, stopping only to collect his briefcase and Ray Bans on the way. Going to the club was the only time he saw anyone and, given the weeks of planning and execution required for his last job, he felt the rare need to be around people. It wasn’t very often he felt that way, up here in his ‘Fortress of Solitude’, but sometimes he felt he needed to see people just to determine if his voice still worked.
He stepped into the lift, mind elsewhere. A brief walk to the club, lunch and then the paper in the park would see him right. If he walked the right route he could avoid being seen on CCTV, and the other gentlemen at the club were, of course, discreet. As far as his passport was concerned he would be on business in Zurich for the next three days, as he had been all week.
The lift descended to the ground floor, light classical music playing as it went. Martin began to feel calm and in control again. He even started to whistle along with the muzak.
The doors opened to a wall of noise. Across the marble atrium reception the glass doors were blocked with people. The street beyond was crowded with shouting rushing citizens. In the foyer the normal burble of the expensive water feature was drowned out.
“What the hell?” He said to himself when he realised that there was no-one at the desk. The crowd were probably another student demonstration, almost weekly now in their frequency as the government cut services to the bone, in the name of the new God “austerity”.
He stood by the front door waiting for his moment. There were a lot more people than he first thought, so he waited for a gap and forged into the crowd. He tried to move quickly through, but it swept him along rapidly. The people jostled him, and his damaged shoulder, making him wince in pain. He realised there was something wrong with the crowd itself. There were no placards or songs being sung, just a rising tide of incoherent shouts. People also carried rucksacks or pushed shopping carts, shoving them into those who got in the way. Children cried but didn’t get sympathy from parents who carried, or pulled, them along, just an extra yank or shove.
Then he saw it.
The look in the crowds collective eyes. A pot stewed panic ready to boil over. He had seen this look before in Bosnia during the Ethnic cleansing, and in Mogadishu in the early nineties. The look chilled him as the panic around nibbled at his consciousness. This wasn’t a demonstration, it was a mob. Fear gripped him as he surfed the surging crowd, being pulled this way and that. Twice he nearly had his briefcase wrenched from him so he clutched it tightly to his chest. He saw other business men doing the same and in their eyes he saw the reflection of his own fear. He was part of the mob, the herd, and to survive he would have to get clear. He wasn’t part of the herd, he was something else.
His demeanour changed and he charged through the crowd, carving a path towards a set of grey stone steps on one side of the road, that were sectioned off from the main crowd, by means of a set of railings and a gate. The house beyond was a grey city building with some boringly named solicitors. He could see smartly dressed people staring from the window above with a kind of bemused detachment. He had seen that look as well from the soldiers committing all manner of atrocities. It wasn’t that they believed they were better, it was that the herd robbed you of your individuality, and to be set aside from that was to be superior in every aspect.
As he forged through the crowd he knocked over a smartly dressed teenager, who struggled to get up as the marching feet trampled over him, crushed like the white iPod that skittered under the panicked crowd, to be smashed into its component parts until it was unrecognisable. Moving on, Martin realised that he couldn’t reach the steps, the tide swept him away. Frantically he looked for another safe haven and, not seeing one, decided just to get to the edge of the crowd, so that he could take the opportunity as it presented itself.
The sound of shouting and anger filled the air to a crescendo and yet, in the distance, he heard a siren. Part of him wondered if the Police could be here to control the panic, but he knew from experience it would be a lost cause.
Across the street, down an empty side road, he saw the Police car slew round the corner, disappearing and reappearing through the sea of heads that surged on. It accelerated, bouncing off the granite side of an office building, engine whining in the wrong gear as it went. He felt the crowd panic, and crush into him, as those in its path tried to push further into the crowd. A cacophony of screams filled the air as the car ran headlong into the morass, heavily pounding the bodies before it. The crush took the wind from his lungs as he saw the phone box ten feet from his position. He grabbed the hair of the woman in front pulling her down behind him with a scream as she clutched at his hands. It made enough space for him to dive through as her scream stopped abruptly under foot.
“Get out of the way!” He screamed ineffectually as he pushed his way to the phone box. Holding the door he pushed his back out violently to create space for the door to open, and he slid inside.
The muffled sound of screams were broken only by the thump of bodies hitting the side of the box as they were pushed into its safety glass. A sea of unrelentingly, panicking faces, slid past as he heard the sound of his breath loud in the confined space.
What the fuck is going on? he thought as he savoured the oasis he was in. Controlling his thoughts, he quickly slipped his long overcoat off and laid it on the small metal table. He placed the briefcase on it upside down and slid the small secret catch into position . It clicked and sprung open to reveal the two large automatics, and holster, holding spare clips. Struggling in the confined space to fit the holster round his body, he contorted until he had it in position. There were ten clips mounted bandoleer-like onto the black leather holders and he checked off each gun’s safety catch. Putting the automatics in the holsters, he slipped his overcoat back on and closed his eyes. Ignoring the sounds around him, and the familiar smell of blood that seeped past the stench of maturing piss of the phone box. He controlled his breathing, letting his shoulders relax. He found a calm place to regain mastery of his mind, his neck cracking as the muscle tension released. Finally, he paused to savour the control he had over himself, if not the situation. He thought about the cause of the panic for merely a moment, before realising that to escape this he would have to deal with the here and now.
Then he opened his eyes.
A middle aged man, balding and dressed in faded jeans and a bloodstained blue shirt, was frantically trying to open the door against the river of bodies flowing past him. It banged against the frame, as each time he opened it, it was shut firm again by another colliding form. The man looked at him with pleading eyes as Martin stared back at him impassively. Martin took the guns from their holsters and pointed them at the man.
“Fuck off.” He mouthed silently. Instantly the man let go of the handle and the door slammed shut, His pleading eyes carried away into crowd as he was jostled out of sight. Martin leant back against the phone and strained his leg out against the door. He pushed with all his might but each time it opened an inch it was slammed shut again as someone fell against it. The phone box a metaphor for his own isolation. Humanity rushed past outside as he waited inside his own glass world for the next job. He took his phone out. He wanted to call someone to come to his aid, but as he flicked through the numbers he realised that all the contacts were restaurants where he ate alone or with occasional high class escorts, car rental companies, or travel agents. The was one number for a long lost cousin he had seen a few years ago at his wedding. The wedding where he had been invited, not known anyone, spoke briefly and stiltedly to his cousin, then slipped away before the speeches, bored and ill at ease. No one had rang and picked him up on it, in fact, that was probably the last time he had spoken to his cousin. He put the phone back in his pocket.
Panic gnawed at him.
He turned to the lee of the crowd, the empty side of the phone box that had space behind it as the people flowed round. He kicked against the plastic window to no effect. Then he aimed the pistol at it and fired. The glass shattered with criss-cross cracks. The deafening sound of the pistols turned his hearing into a sine wave whine. He kicked silently at the window until it gave way, falling out onto the small patch of clear pavement behind. Crouching, he moved through and stood with his back to the phone box. He considered threatening the crowd with the pistols, but one more source of panic would not help them clear from the crushing onslaught of humanity behind. Decision made. He put the pistols back in their holsters and moved into the morass.
Deliberately, he kept as close to the side as he could. Rather than push through he let himself be moved along at its pace, observing distractedly that laminar flow applied to crowds as well as fluids in pipes. Up ahead, there was another side road on the other side of the street, and he could hear screams from that direction. Panic rippled through the crowd like a wave.
“They’re here!” He heard someone shout, initiating another ripple of panic. Ahead a mother, in her late thirties, clung to the railing and a toy bear, screaming out a name, scanning frantically through the crowd. Her eyes were animalistic in panic. He moved round her.
Looking ahead he could see the road rising to an overpass. He didn’t want to get caught in that choke point, so he scanned frantically for some way out. Above there was a crash of breaking glass. Screams erupted around him and he looked back to see figures pouring out of a second story window, falling like lemmings to the ground. His mind reeled, taken back to the documentaries he had seen about nine eleven, but the building wasn’t on fire. Still they came tumbling out like a stream of bodies. As he was swept away he saw them rise from the ground to start attacking those around, who again fell over each other trying to get away in blind panic.
He grabbed the guy next to him and turned him round to face him.
“What the fuck is going on?” He screamed at the old, long haired man, who was being swept along next to him.
“Zombies, man.” He screamed back, spittle exploding from his mouth. Martin pushed him away in disgust. It didn’t matter, and whatever the threat Martin would deal with it. It was most probably a terrorist attack, a dirty bomb or whatever. It would all be a moot point if he didn’t get out of this crowd.
Ahead, he could see a set of railings as the overpass left the ground. He would have to get over that, and quickly too, as the mob was slowing up. There must be something ahead pushing them back. Martin grabbed the rail and quickly hopped over it hanging on the rail with gloved hands. The drop below was possible, even for a man of his age, however his twisted knee from two nights ago made this difficult. Below was a concrete stairwell winding down to the bottom. The road itself was an access to a scruffy industrial estate. There didn’t seem to be anyone down there at all. He had to hit the small landing square on, so he kind of bounced in his position and jumped, twisting in the air. He had gauged it well and landed with both feet and both hands distributing the weight as he grabbed the rail. His knee complained bitterly, as did his shoulder, even so, he was on the move and down the stairwell to the bottom quickly and efficiently, passing graffiti and litter as he went.
He emerged from the stairwell into the street that ran under the overpass. Looking up and down he saw a variety of car workshops, the sort of place he wouldn’t take the seven sixty. There were body repair workshops and scruffy unmarked units. Graffiti littered every wall and surface, and a couple of abandoned cars lay rotting at the side of the road. This was the London he didn’t see from his Penthouse, but the one he sometimes visited depending on the contract he was given.
He decided that the best thing to do was double back and try and find a way back to his building. He could rest, recuperate and try to determine what was happening. He reckoned he had maybe travelled just over a mile from his place. The difficulty would be getting back up onto the streets. If he could get to the back of his building he could go through the garage and avoid the front. He guessed lunch at the club and a paper in the park was out of the question.
He walked briskly up the road and out from the shadow of the overpass. The noise from above echoed around the enclosed street creating booming screams, and unearthly noises that perturbed him. He walked into the clear and looked up at the cloudy grey sky above the city, just as there was a crump from behind him. Looking back, he saw a couple of figures had fallen from the overpass and were lying on the ground barely ten feet away. It was a fall of maybe seventy feet. He expected the figure to lie prone, but one was making a growling noise. Both were covered in blood and the growling figure crawled towards its colleague lying unconscious on the ground. The crawling figure had broken both its legs, judging by the angle its feet, and it used one working hand to grab onto the smart suit of the prone figure, with a trickle of blood emerging from underneath them both. Curiosity got the better of him and he approached the two figures.
The figure on top was a bruiser, a big man, with amateurish tattoos and an England shirt. As Martin watched, the bruiser grabbed the calf of the businessman and started to chew against his leg. After a short while he was tearing flesh from the corpse and devouring it, greedily, pushing the bits into his mouth and chewing briefly before swallowing. All the time it watched Martin with bloodshot, unblinking eyes. Martin wasn’t shocked by the scene, he had seen worse, done worse, in the field.
Certainly consistent with my hippy friend, he thought. He took a pistol from its holster and aimed it at the figure. It didn’t seem to recognise the significance and carried on devouring the other, all the time eyes fixed on him.
Martin aimed and shot it through the heart. It seemed to jump and wince but carried on eating. Martin aimed once more, this time at the head. He fired, and a wet splatter arced out onto the pavement behind, both figures lay still, except for a gaseous hiss as air escaped from the dead man’s lungs.
Zombies it is, he thought. This was not an enemy he had encountered before. Especially seeing as they were impossible, but he had seen the films. What was significant was that it was imperative he got back to the Penthouse. He was going to need a lot more guns very quickly as the amount of human food in the City thinned and the amount of enemies increased.
Martin walked briskly back in the direction of the Penthouse, as the sound of bodies hitting tarmac behind increased in frequency.
The road ahead made a right turn and he strode towards it, considering getting his smartphone out to check the best route back. It was then that two figures sprinted round the corner towards him. Martin paused as one of them, a car mechanic in dirty overalls, waved his hand frantically at him.
“Go mate! Just fucking go! They’re right behind us!” He screamed. The other was a young man dressed smartly for work, and they sprinted as fast as they could towards him.
Martin began to back up and turn, just as a mass of the creatures emerged from around the corner. They were a mix of people of all walks of life, some running, some shambling and falling into each other. The fastest ones sprinted, howling and growling as they chased their prey with a feral lollop that reminded martin of Chimps chasing down a Collobus monkey. There were hundreds and as Martin began to run as quickly as he could, he was being caught up by the mechanic and companion. Ahead, bodies were dropping from the overpass like rain, forming small piles of corpses on the floor. Martin looked up to see a thinning crowd of people huddled together, as the Dead closed in on them one at a time. They were using anything to defend themselves from the roaring Undead, but it was clear it wouldn’t be enough. On the ground one of the crowd had fallen on a corpse and survived. He reached out to Martin pathetically for help as they approached. He ignored the man and, dodging a falling body of a track-suited woman, went back into shadow of the overpass with the mechanic, and young man, close behind.
Martin’s knee was holding him up and as the mechanic, approached. He could see the crowd gaining on them as they ran. If he stayed on the street he was dead. He frantically started scanning the area for an escape route. He looked behind him and noticed that some of the Dead had stopped to feast on the living that had dropped from the overpass.
The mechanic and the young man were alongside him now, out of breath, running on adrenaline.
“How do we get off this street?” Martin roared.
“There’s an alleyway up there.” The mechanic said, pointing.
“Where does it go?”
“Back up onto the High Street I think.”
Behind them the Dead were closing in as the men tired. There was less than fifty metres between them, and they would be on the group before they got to the alley. Martin scanned the others up and down as he ran, pulled one of the pistols from its holster. Both men’s eyes grew wide in confusion. Martin aimed at the mechanics thigh and pulled the trigger. The mechanic dropped instantly, the young man looked on horrified.
“If I didn’t do that we would all be dead” He said.
Behind them the mechanic swore, and cursed at Martin, until his screams were muffled by a cloak of the feasting Dead.
They reached the alleyway and Martin sprinted up it. It was a second before he realised the young man hadn’t followed him.
Probably the best decision he’s ever made, Martin thought.
He walked briskly up the alley between two industrial units until he came to a long set of steps that ran up the side of a aluminium-clad warehouse, before coming to a right turn. He checked quickly before moving round. He was now in between two tall office buildings, the bright sunlight of the day barely penetrating the dirty space in between. He turned a second corner which took him back towards the front of the buildings. He couldn’t hear anything behind, and so assumed the young man had lead the crowd away from him.
Ahead he saw two figures standing still in the gloom. As he approached they turned and snarled at him, and so, without stopping, he raised his gun and dropped them both with efficient head shots. As they fell he could see the street far ahead. Inhuman figures moved past the entrance to the alley. Martin stopped and saw a blue door into the building on his left. He moved up to it but it wouldn’t open.
He tried kicking it with his good leg but it wouldn’t budge. At the end of the alley a figure stopped and looked quizzically towards him, soon joined by two more. He couldn’t go back, and he couldn’t climb, so he raised the pistol and shot several times at the lock. The wood splintered and shattered around the handle, and, as many of the figures moved inexorably down the alley towards him, he slipped through the door. Inside was a concrete set of stairs. He tried to push the door shut but it wouldn’t latch. He moved up the musty stairwell as quickly as his leg would allow him, his footsteps echoing in the unforgiving surfaces. He had gone up to the second floor when he heard the door below burst open.
Spurred on, he took the steps two at a time, ignoring the increasing pains in his leg. His breath laboured as his age started to betray him, but he had been chased before in dangerous circumstances and adrenaline powered him up flight after flight. About halfway he found a cleaning trolley and tipped it down the steps clattering to the bottom of the flight. Below him he could hear them coming, but they didn’t sound like they were gaining. Further up, he found a metal cabinet containing brooms, mops, and cleaning chemicals. He ripped this off the wall and tipped it onto the stairs.
His legs screamed in agony as he pumped up the stairs hearing the clatters of the dead as they fell over the cleaning trolley. He considered breaking out into the office, but he couldn’t hear anything above, and the offices beyond were an unknown quantity but showed signs of devastation, so he carried on up until he reached a door to the roof. He pushed the safety bar and the door swung open, blinding him with bright sunlight. He pushed the door closed behind him and leant against it, trying to calm his breathing. Next to the door there was a partially dismantled air conditioning unit and a box of tools. He pushed the heavy unit up against the door and fell to the ground.
For a moment all he could hear was the sound of his own breath. In the sky he could see clearing cloud cover from the east, with bright rays of sunlight beaming powerfully through the gaps. To his right the rising skyscrapers of the City of London rose like monoliths, immutable and solid.
As his breathing relaxed the noise hit him. He could hear sirens and screams, gunfire and screeching tyres. He recognised machine guns and helicopters’ blades. He had heard this noise before. He had heard it in Sierra Leone, in Iraq, Congo, and Afghanistan (both times). It was the sound of War, barely a mile from his quiet London Penthouse, as he lay on the roof and listened.
He thought of the council flat in New Cross where he had grown up. Son of a drug abusing Mother and a alcohol abusing Father. He left as soon as he could and joined the Army. He was strong and quick witted. This had served him well as he rose to the join the ranks of the SAS, and after enough time he left the Army and worked for money, after he bored of that he set up himself in business. He changed his accent, his look, his character, to become a high class killer. Silent and unseen he would kill to order for sums of money normally reserved for winners of the lottery. He had left his dirty beginnings behind and yet now, all he wanted was to go back to New Cross, back to the two room flat and see his long-dead Mum. He wanted to smell her, and feel her, touch her, and look onto her eyes so she would tell him everything would be alright.
This is what going into shock feels like, he thought.
He tried to shake the feeling off and sat up. He needed to do something to clear his mind, and so quickly checked his weapons, and available ammo, reloading both pistols.
Finally, he stood up and walked to the edge of the roof looking out across the river Thames and the city. Great beams of sunlight illuminated patches of the city as if God was shining a spotlight on Armageddon.
“Good God.” He said to himself.
Out across the city, plumes of black smoke rose from untended fires. A blaze from a petrol station was spreading rapidly to surrounding buildings in the distance. Across the river he could see troops in tanks manning a barricade, as a mass of zombies assaulted them from all sides. The trooper on the heavy gun ploughing unceasing rounds, ineffectually, into the crowd as he span round. The enemy scrabbled over each other before making it onto the roof to drag the trooper screaming from the top.
Looking away, he saw a red double decker bus hit the embankment at speed, crashing down into the river through a dusty explosion of concrete from the balustrade. The occupants had their bloody palms pressed hard into the glass as it sank below view, desperately trying to escape. Further up the river a tug boat overloaded with people, who were jumping from the bridge above, tilted rapidly over, spilling people into the brown water before it too, started to submerge.
In the distance a low flying Apache helicopter fired its cannon in staccato bursts, with its pilot frantically trying to discriminate between the living and the Dead.
Below him, only a few streets away, he saw two armed Policemen were trying to defend a small group of survivors, who were backed into a corner, surrounded by dotted corpses being consumed by crouching figures. He watched the Police run out of bullets and the group try to run out of sight. The last being a family with young children that couldn’t keep up and were rapidly forced to the ground. He looked away.
To the left, he saw a wide open green park dotted with hundreds of lone, solitary figures, turning at each fresh noise, looking for prey.
He heard a crash of glass to his right and saw figures fall from a tall window of the skyscraper. A single man fell out of view, followed by a stream of grasping figures falling after him to their doom.
Then there was a roar as overhead, barely clearing the tops of the skyscrapers, an enormous passenger jet fell in a shallow angle towards the city. Martin instinctively ducked as it passed over. Laboriously it dropped in height, smoke belching from one of the screaming engines. Finally, a couple of miles away from Martins position, its left wing hit the side of a glass and steel office block, dragging its way through the side of the building. It twisted in the air and fell rapidly towards the streets below. The sound of grinding metal ripped though Martins mind as it crashed to the into buildings, sliding across rooftops until the nose tipped forwards, and it stopped with a crunch. Below, he could see people running away from the crash site only to be engulfed in flame, as a massive explosion ripped through the belly of the aircraft. He could see the shockwave expand from the explosion, shattering all the windows in the vicinity. Then, after few seconds, a wave of sound and energy ripped past him.
Everywhere he looked he saw a fresh horror, and, as he stood there, pistols in hand; A fresh breeze fluttering his tie and overcoat and cooling his sweating body gently in the breeze, he realised, he would not be able to get back to his apartment. His only escape was to get out of the city, and fast.
It was then he heard the banging from behind. The door to the stairwell was being battered rapidly by his pursuers. Getting out of the city was a moot point. He had to get off this roof. He watched the makeshift barricade give, and slide on the gravel. An inch wide chink opened in the door. From his corner vantage point, he looked down two sides of the building. Roads flanked either side, the distance to the next building too far to jump.
The door opened wider, bloody hands grasping through the gap. He could hear their moans and growls. The ones behind stretched through the gaps between the ones in front, desperate to reach Martin.
He looked down each side again for somewhere he could climb. The glass sides offered no purchase and he couldn’t see any sort of window cleaning gantry.
The door finally gave way and the Dead emerged into the sunlight, blinking and shielding their eyes as he had. They saw him and started to sprint in his direction.
He raised his guns, and in a flash remembered the alley into the building. It was barely two metres wide on the far side of the roof! He couldn’t see the building on the other side, so it must be below him, but he had no idea how far.
Guns poised, he sprinted straight at his attackers. He screamed as he ran, guns ringing out as he cleared a path to the far side of the roof. Dead hands grasped clumsily at his coat as he raced past and finally, as each weapon clicked, clicked, its emptiness, he hit the edge of the roof and jumped, with all his strength, into the void.
Thanks to Pete Griffiths for editing this series.
My collection of short Zombie stories “All the Dead are here” is available on Lulu.com and Amazon as a paperback. It is also available on Amazon for the Kindle reader or app. The link is on the right hand side of this page.
If you are interested the inspiration for this series, it is solely down to three songs from the “Sucker Punch Official Sound Track”. In order of preference; “Tomorrow never knows”, “White Rabbit”, and “Army of me”.