The hair on the back of Kylee's neck stands on end as she shuffles as quietly as she can in the dirt. The burnt out shell of a large airliner had made an excellent shelter for the last few days, but sound of her name being carried over the breeze meant it was time to go.
"Kyyyyyyy-leeeeeeeeeeee. Where are you sweetie? Don't you remember your old friend, Tess? Won't you come out of the shadows and say hello? I can smell you. You still smell like fresh meat."
Kylee bites her lip to keep from screaming out. Tess really had been her closest friend before the red haze had taken her like so many others. Was it a tender mercy that she had kept most of her facilities after her transformation? Or was it a curse? Whichever the case, now the waking nightmare that was once her friend was hunting her.
Tess tosses an old oil can into the darkness and howls. "Come over for dinner! Kyyyyyyyy-leeeeeee…"
The sound of tortured moans begins to fill the air. The undead mob that Tess now commands was slowly filling the area around the destroyed airliner. "Fan out and find the fresh meat my children. Mommy is hungry!"
Kylee's heart begins to pound in her ears as lumbering footsteps slowly make their way toward her hiding spot. With a little squeal, she bursts out of the shadows and begins running into the night.
"Fetch her! Fetch her for your mommy!" Tess commands as she stretches out a rotting finger toward the fleeing female. Her minions snap to and begin running on all fours in pursuit.
Kylee's heart feels as though it will burst out of her chest as adrenaline courses through her body. She was putting distance between her and her hunters, but she knew she wouldn't be able to keep this pace up for long.
The unexpected cry for aid catches Kylee off guard and she nearly wets herself. Another set of legs starts sprinting beside her. Even in the dim light of evening, it's obvious that Alesha's face is pale and she's running scared.
"They're everywhere! Do you have a plan? I don't want to die. Do you hear me? I DON'T WANT TO DIE!"
Kylee instantly likes the other woman. Survival instinct was the only thing that had kept her alive for this long too. "Running is my only plan for now! But don't worry, I'll come up with something. I always come up with something! Do you have a gun?"
"No gun!" the other woman screams. "I do have a few rounds of…"
Alesha is cut short as she trips and falls hard in the darkness. "HEEEEEEELP!"
Kylee hopes the darkness is covering the fact that she's rolling her eyes as she screeches to a halt and returns to the other woman. "Come on, get up!"
Alesha bursts into tears as she gasps for breath. "I'm so tired. I can't do this anymore. Just leave me."
Kylee pulls hard on the other woman's arm and she gets up with a little yelp. "You're the first live person I've met in a week. I'm not losing you so quickly after finding you, you hear me?"
Alesha manages a little smile and digs in her pocket. "Do you have a firearm? I've got 5 rounds."
Kylee's eyes widen a little as she fishes around in her leg pocket. "That's perfect! I knew I liked you!" she says with a smile as she begins loading the rounds into her revolver.
"Kyyyyyyyyyyyyy-leeeeeeeeee". A few of Tess's minions come bounding over a small hill in the distance.
"SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP", she screams as she grits her teeth and squeezes off 3 rounds at the approaching figures. Two zombies crumble to the dirt for the last time.
A whistling sound fills the air as something flies over head. A moment later, the small hillside explodes.
Kylee and Alesha scream as the concussive force knocks them over. A few moments later, both women are bathed in the headlights of a large armored vehicle.
"Hey you two," shouts a plucky little woman as she raises up from a small armored hatch. "Are you guys both human still?" Dixie gives the two woman an inquisitive look.
"Yes. Oh yes yes yessssssss," cries Alesha as she shuffles toward the tank on her knees. "Please help us!"
Kylee stands with a smile and shakes her fist at the smoldering ruins of the hill she had just run down. "Yeah! That's what you get! Rest in pieces you… you…" she trails off as the realization that her long-time friend Tess was now finally at rest.
"Come on, girl! Move it!" Dixie commands as she helps Alesha open the armored hatch beside her own. "There will be more where they came from."
Kylee looks back at Dixie, then back to the destroyed hilltop. With a last little nod, she turns and scampers up onto the tank.
"Can you shoot a minigun?" Dixie calls and points to the top of the vehicle. A wide smile spreads across Kylee's face as she eases into the top turret and cocks the automatic weapon. "I'll take that as a yes!" Dixie grins as she disappears back into the armor.
Fifteen minutes later, the tank rumbles to a halt in the middle of an electrical station. Dixie pops up from the armored hatch with a big smile. "I found a couple more, Captain!"
A tall, beautiful woman in full military regalia strides into the headlights. Tracy gives a nod to her two aids. "Help the new survivors."
"Yes sir!" they reply. Kim and Charity approach the tank and help Kylee and Alesha down.
"Any trouble, recruit?" Tracy asks.
Dixie shakes her head. "No sir. I did manage to obliterate a good handful of bounders while plucking these two out of the fire though."
Tracy raises her eyebrows a little. "Bounders, you say? Was there a Revenant with them? Did you take out their mother?"
Dixie thinks a moment before shrugging. "Don't know. Don't know if there even was one."
"There was," Kylee says softly. "Their mother was named Tess. Once upon a time, we were best friends."
Tracy gives a knowing nod. "I understand. Know that your friend has finally been released from the nightmare."
Kylee looks down as her emotions suddenly flare up. She manages to choke back the tears and give a little nod.
The group stands in silence for a moment.
The next instant, the silence is broken as a scout runs into camp. "Commander! Commander!"
Tracy holds up a hand as Jennifer skids to a halt in front of her. "Report!"
Jennifer struggles to catch her breath and points behind her. "Bounders. Bounders, Hulks and Breakers. Lots of them. They're headed this way!"
"Dunno. Maybe five, ten minutes?"
"Sound the alarm!"
An alarm is raised and woman scurry every which way. Dixie grabs Kylee and Alesha by the arms. "Hey you two, I need gunners. What do you say?"
Kylee sets her jaw and starts running back toward the tank. Alesha looks pale and tries to pull away. "I'm… I'm not a warrior. Please. I'm so weak from starvation. I need to rest."
Kim and Charity swoop in and take Alesha by the arms. "We'll take her inside with the other refuges. We've got her. Go."
Light has begun to appear behind the mountains signaling daylight's approach. The outline of large undead creatures begin to outline as they stamped toward the old power station.
"Hulks incoming! Open fire!" Tracy commands as she draws her pistol.
Dozens of automatic weapons illuminate the darkness as hordes of armed women defend themselves. The approaching hulks twitch and jiggle as their flesh is torn by supersonic shards of metal.
Kylee pounds the side of the turret as she hears Dixie trying to get the engine to turn over. "Come on, let's get this show started!"
A ball of green acid splashes down on a group of female soliders beside the armored vehicle. Their screams last but a brief moment before they fall lifeless to the earth.
Tracy squeezes off a few rounds into the darkness. "Breakers! Breakers! Everyone take cover!"
Kylee watches as the hulks pick up toad looking creatures and squeeze them until they pop. Their forced acid projections begin raining down on the old electrical installation.
"Come on!" Kylee screams as she watches dozens of women die before her eyes. As if by command, the tank finally roars to life. "Finally!" Grabbing the controls, she swivels the turret toward the incoming undead army. "Eat steel, you filthy…" The sound of her voice is drown out by the roar of the minigun as it begins cutting down hulks and breakers.
Tracy continues to shout commands as she empties another clip into the shapes moving in the darkness. "Bounders incoming. Hold the line! We must protect the refuges! Hold the…" Tracy is cut off as several bounders leap on top of her and end her life.
Kylee screams again as the body count directly in front of her begins to pile up.
Dixie shouts from the front of the armor. "Hey! You've got three shots with the main gun. Make them count!"
Kylee quickly scans the controls beneath the minigun and finds the main firing mechanism. "Chew on this you…" The sound of the main gun firing drowns out the rest of her sentence. The earth a hundred meters in front of her explodes and several hulks are blown to bits. She roars a second time and watches as another handful of undead are dispatched.
The tank suddenly begins to speed away and she's thrown off balance.
"Keep firing. We're going to be overrun if we stay still," comes Dixie's voice over the headset.
Kylee switches back to the minigun again as hordes of undead surge into the electrical station. The screams of female soldiers and undead alike fill the early morning air.
A blob of acid hits the front of the armor as it races around the outskirts trampling every undead in its path. Kylee hears the armor plating begin to sizzle as even it is not able to fully resist the chemical attack.
Kylee's minigun powers down and refuses to continue spitting death. "I'm out of ammo!" she screams into her headset.
"And we're running low on fuel!" comes Dixie's frantic reply. "We're being overrun. We're going to have to go for reinforcements!"
"Reinforcements? You mean there's more people still alive?"
"Yes, about 30 min from here. I'm not sure if we've got enough fuel left, but we've got to try. Don't worry about the refugees – they're sealed in. The undead don't have the firepower to breach the main installation."
"Fine. Go go go!"
The tank mows down the southern fence as daylight begins peaking over the northern mountains. Hundreds of undead swarm all over the former military strong hold. Kylee watches as they begin to disassemble the remaining electrical towers. "Be safe, Alesha. We'll be back," she whispers.
A whisper on the wind makes the hair on the back of her neck stand up. "Kyyyyyyyy-leeeeeee". The morning light illuminates a familiar looking figure on the far side of the installation.
"No. No, it can't be…" she whimpers. Kylee raises the main gun and fires its final round over the installation at the familiar looking horror. Where the shell lands however is anyone's guess as the tank starts down a steep slope and everything is lost from sight.
An hour later, Kylee and Dixie stagger up to a chain link fence. "We made it," Dixie gasps. "Stupid tank only took us half way."
A camera mounted on top of the fence swivels toward the pair of ladies. A man's voice booms out of a loud speaker. "Who goes there? State your business."
Dixie looks annoyed. "Just let us in, Pablo!"
A trap door opens several yards on the other side of the fence and an armed woman rushes forward. She points a handgun at Kylee and Dixie. "HE'S MINE! YOU TWO GET OUT OF HERE. HE'S MINE, YOU HEAR ME?"
Pablo pokes his head out of the trap door. "Trina, calm down. I don't think these two are out looking for a man to give them babies."
Trina appears shaken and nervously points the gun at first Dixie, and then Kylee. "You can't trust'm. You can't trust any of them. Look at them. They're jealous of me. They're jealous of me and my beautiful man."
"Wow… it's a man. A real man!" Kylee whispers in a hushed voice.
"Quiet!" Dixie whispers back.
"You see that? They're whispering. They're scheming! Let me just shoot'm, OK? I don't trust'm…"
Pablo lowers Trina's gun. "Go back inside now, you hear? Let me handle this."
Trina looks at her man for a moment, then back to the two women clinging to the chain link fence. "Don't trust'm…" she mutters as she disappears back into the hole in the ground.
Pablo walks to the fence and interlinks his fingers with Dixie. "Dixie baby, you're a sight for sore eyes," he says with a grin.
Dixie can't help but blush a little as the handsome man massages her fingers with his own. Kylee clears her throat. "Hey, the electrical station was overrun by undead. Can you help us?"
Pablo turns deadly serious. "The station was overrun? When? What about the refugees that were kept there?"
"We don't know!" Dixie pipes up. "We need to go back and find out. We need back up!"
Pablo seems very far away for a moment. "Alright…" he nods. "Alright. Give me a sec. Wait right there."
A few minutes later, an enormous armored vehicle that resembles a cross between a train and a monster truck rumbles to a stop in front of the ladies. A rope ladder is lowered. "Get in!" he calls.
Thirty minutes later, the metal behemoth rolls into the now destroyed installation.
Dixie scans the landscape. "Where is everyone? No undead. No bodies. Where is everyone?"
Kylee exchanges a worried expression with Pablo as they come to a halt in front of the main doors.
He leaps to the ground and motions for the women to follow.
Dixie examines the front of the building. "Doesn't look like the undead were able to force their way in. In fact… there's no scaring on the door at all. It's like they didn't even try."
Kylee's stomach twists into a knot. "Something isn't right here. Open the doors – we've got to get those people out of there!"
Dixie steps to the keypad on the door and begins punching in a long sequence of letters and numbers. The ground shakes a wee bit as the massive doors begin to slowly slide open. The stench of death assaults Kylee, Dixie and Pablo.
"What… what happened?" Dixie sputters as she covers her nose and mouth.
A familiar voice echoes out of the darkness of the installation. "What happened? Why… dinner happened."
Alesha saunters out into the daylight. She places her hands on her hips and licks the blood from her face.
Kylee's knees feel weak. "No. NO! Alesha, what have you done!?"
The murderous woman tosses back her head and laughs. "Oh don't worry, deary. You'll all be joining them shortly. Right after you say hello to a dear friend of mine."
The hair on the back of Kylee's neck stands up as she feels a figure approach from behind and whisper in her ear.