Lyric gave Marcus an encouraging smile as he grabbed the pummel of his saddle to steady himself. “Use your legs to hold on.” She murmured bringing her horse along side his.
“I'm trying.” He gritted out of clenched teeth, as he held onto the saddle with one hand and reins with the other.
She placed a hand on his leg, “Try to let the horse do all the work. Just roll with her.”
Marcus nodded tensely as Indie called, “We're almost there I see the parking lot just ahead.”
They trotted up the road and turned into a gravel parking lot. Indie headed straight for the trail, which was big enough for them to ride side by side. Lyric and Marcus rode behind Indie and Ryan as they made their way up the rocky path. When they were about half way down the trail, Indie held up a hand stopping them. That's when Lyric noticed it was quiet, none of the normal animal sounds. Even the birds had stopped singing. A crunch sounded from their left, then another, like footsteps. Slow uneven footsteps, branches broke and they heard more footsteps. A zombie popped out on the trail several yards ahead of them. It paused and sniffed the air.
Ryan raised his rifle, but Indie stopped him as two more followed. Lyric felt her heart hammer in her chest and she urged her horse to back up. They hadn't been noticed and maybe they could get the hell out of dodge before the creatures knew they were there. Beside her Marcus's horse snickered nervously as the wind shifted bring the smell of decaying meat toward them.
Two more zombies burst out of the woods behind the first and the sound of feet crunch through underbrush magnified. It was a whole group of the undead marching through the woods, heading in the same direction their little spy group had been planning on going. Indie made a small gesture for them to turn around. Lyric was already half way turned and Marcus followed her example as quick and quietly as possible. His horse fought slightly, bumping into Ryan's causing the other beast to snort and shield away.
On the path three desiccated heads shot up and turned in their direction. Staggering steps hesitantly moved in their direction. Marcus gained control turned the animal and bolted down the trail, with Lyric on his tail. She glanced behind to see Indie and Ryan turning their horses as more of the undead poured on to the trial. These didn't stop they lumbered on, sweeping the first three along with them. When they reached the parking lot, Lyric pulled her horse to a stop. The others followed suit, nervously glancing at the trail head.
“Those things we're headed toward Big Moose, weren't they?” Lyric asked, Indie who had the map. Indie nodded, her face set in a worried frown.
“Good let the zombies take care of those trigger happy red-neck.” Ryan grumbled.
“We need to warn them. There are women and kids up there.” Lyric interjected, remembering the little faces. “If we follow the road can we get there before the dead heads do?”
Indie shrugged, “It's longer, but we're faster.”
“We should at least try.”
There was a round of reluctant head nods, and Lyric jerked her mount toward the road. The horses hooves sounded like thunder against the pavement as they rode them hard up the twisted road. Adrenaline pumping, heart pounding, her stomach twisting Lyric wondered what they'd find when they finally got to the town.
They heard the gun fire before they even were in eye sight of the gate and fence that surrounded the town. A howling siren pierced the night air. They were to late. Slowing to a trot Lyric first noticed the deserted gate. The plywood Ira had rammed had been replaced, she noted absently.
“What do we do now?” Ryan asked, eying the gate and fence.
As they exchanged glanced, screams and gun fire erupted from some where down the road farther into the town. Part of her wanted to say fuck it, these ass holes were well armed and could take care of themselves. Another part reminded her of the kids and they fact that these guys were down men. Undecided she looked at Indie, her cousin's gaze was hard and unreadable. It was not a good look for her. Suddenly their eyes met and it shifted to one she'd seen a thousand times, at pageants. Determination.
“We're going to check it out and help if needed. If they have it under control we'll haul ass out of here.” Indie said, turning her horse and barreling straight for a low section of fence. Lyric followed, hoping she didn't take a digger when the horse landed. She didn't but knew she'd be feeling the impact in her tail bone for weeks.
The siren went silent leaving the screams and gunfire to fill the air. Cautiously they plowed forward, bodies both zombie and human littered the area. Slowing Lyric took out her rifle and popped a few of the remaining undead who were gnawing on recently fallen. A group of the creatures converged on the church surrounding the stone structure making escape from the front or back impossible. For now the solid looking wooden door was holding.
Coming up beside Indie, Lyric asked in a whisper. “What do we do know oh great leader?”
Indie jerked her head toward the woods across for the church. “Hide over there and take out as many as we can.”
“We should just go, we don't have enough ammo to take them all out.” Marcus hissed.
Ignoring him, Lyric and Indie slid off there horses and tethered them to the fence of the tennis court before heading into the treeline. Moving quietly they came to the area a crossed from the church. Fanning out slightly they each began taking shots. Lyric felt a sense of elation as the numbers dwindled, until she realized that the door to the church had shattered and the undead were slowly entering. Scream were overwhelmed by the renewed sound of gun fire. The last few zombies either filed into the church or fell. Lyric reloaded, before rushed forward to see what sort of massacre the church held. The gun shots from inside had ceased and Lyric had to wonder if they had taken out the undead, run out of bullets or were just plain dead.
Cautiously she entered the church and had to fight to keep from throwing up. Bodies lay every where, a few of the undead stumbled between the pews. Carefully aiming so as to not waste any more ammunition she shot two and the others fell from the bangs behind her. The muted sound of crying could be heard from somewhere in the back of the church. Indie pointed for Lyric to go down a hall on one side, while Marcus and Ryan moved to the back of the building following the sound. Lyric walked down the short hall on high alert and found a single door. Her heart sped up and she had to wipe her palms on her jeans before she pushed the door open.
Surprise rocked her back a step as she found The Rev standing staring into an empty fireplace. He glanced at her over his should then went back to staring at the blacken stones. “It should've been great. Return America to the super power it had been. Everything was perfect, what went wrong?” His hands tightened into fists at his sides.
Confused and suspecting The Rev had gone off his rocker she asked. “What the hell are you taking about?”
He laughed, a harsh sound with no humor. “We did this.” He raised his arms to encompass the room, then dropped them back to his sides. “Only the strong would survive. Just like Darwin said...” He muttered, glancing at her again. “It would get rid of the leeches and parasites living off handout. Those with more money than sense. Just like God purged the world with a flood we purged it with the dead.”
Author's Note: Unedited Version