I ran to the market, leaving Dwayne behind as he'd told me to. When I got within sight, I could see the place was a wreck. There was debris everywhere, and men were all over the place. Raiders. The same raiders I'd scared off that morning. I knew they were the same ones. I quickly grabbed one that passed by me in a headlock from behind, then kicked his knees out from under him and finally snapped his neck by twisting his head sharply to the side, hearing a satisying crack. I took his gun - a small machine pistol - and went inside. I heard screaming from the back.
Amy. I charged into the back, wondering why she was back there in the first place when I'd told her not to go there, and found her cornered between my newest test subject - now fully awake and struggling against his bonds to the table - and another raider, carrying a hunting rifle. I stayed back, watching quietly, waiting for an opening to strike. Suddenly, the raider raised his rifle and fired a single shot through Amy's chest.
"NO!" I shouted, lunging forward and slashing his throat with my machete, which had been in a sheath slung across my back. He dropped to the ground and I rushed to Amy's side, hoping to save her, but it was too late. The bullet had gone straight through her heart. The man had gotten damn lucky. And then he'd paid for it. I would make them all pay for this. I rose to my feet slowly, dropping my sawed-off and carbine and taking Amy's shotgun from the ground. I walked slowly and deliberately to the front of the supermarket and began slaughtering raiders. I took one and chopped into the back of his neck with my machete, and I shot another one down with Amy's shotgun. Then, I saw the boss - the new boss, the one who had killed the other scumbag - walking towards me. I stopped him with my new machine pistol held up to his forehead. I got behind him and marched him to the courtyard of the store, then put a round through him. I was going to leave him there, too - no proper burial for that son of a bitch.
"Listen up," I shouted, loud enough that every last raider stopped to stare at me. "Either you get the hell off MY property, or I'll put a bullet through all of your your heads!" I paused, giving them time to consider this very sincere threat. I picked up the leader by the hair and held him there for all to see while I continued, "You've got one minute! Clear out or you all die!"
Most of them ran, some grabbing a motorcycle or whatever they'd driven to get here. A few stayed, staring defiantly at me.
"I see," I said, "Some of you think you can beat me, do you? Well, let me ask you this; can any of YOU capture a live zombie and live to tell the tale?" I paused again, this time waiting for some wise guy to speak up and say he could take me. Silence. "Didn't think so," I finished, and most of them scattered.
Still, one remained: a man probably in his late thirties or early forties, sporting a mustache and beard, leather jacket and bandana, carrying an Uzi. He let the Uzi rest on the sling he was wearing and raised a cigarette lighter. Only then did I look where we were both standing: a trail of gasoline ran underneath my feet and continued in some shape I couldn't make out around the parking lot. The man ignited the lighter, dropped it, and then took off on a motorcycle. I quickly ran clear of the flames, just before the spot where I'd stood was engulfed in them. I huddled against the wall of the building, feeling completely numb and defeated. I knew there was work to do - we had to give Amy the same burial we'd given Greg, and we should find out what the shape of the gasoline formation was for clues to who these people were. I just couldn't motivate myself to get up and do these things. I considered putting the machine pistol up to my head and pulling the trigger.
These thoughts were disturbed by the sound of footsteps approaching me. I looked up and saw Dwayne walking in my direction. I quickly stood, not wanting to show my pain and fear, and he asked me what happened. All I could bring myself to say was, "Raiders."
Understanding dawned across his face then, and he said, "Where's Amy?"
I walked to the back and showed him Amy's body, the raider's body. He obviously saw the zombie, too, but he didn't say anything.
"Look," he said carefully, obviously trying to pull me gently from my state of shock, "We should go see what the shape of the fire is, work out what kind of message they wanted to leave."
"You're right." We walked up to the roof and surveyed the scene. What we saw was amazing: the design drawn in flames below us was a skull with a halo and angelic wings. Below this the letters AoD were burning bright.