Time could not have gone more slowly if it had been frozen in those few seconds it took for Ruby to almost open the door.
Almost because something interrupted them both. The unmistakable sound of gunfire pierced through the desolate moans of the deceased, ringing out through the air. Once. Twice. A couple more times before it stopped altogether. Ruby cast a glance at Lucie who merely shrugged. The haggard footsteps on the other side of the door seemed to be growing lighter. They were definitely moving, out of the house possibly?
Lucie’s heart, which had been in overdrive, had now slowed down dramatically whilst the relief seeped through her entire body. She wouldn’t have to fight anything, she wouldn’t have to worry just yet. Help would arrive. That was probably the military now, out on the streets clearing up this damn mess.
‘Are we safe?’ she asked impatiently after several minutes of Ruby’s ear pressed close to the door.
Ruby frowned. ‘I’m not sure. They seem to have vanished; something out in the street obviously claimed their attention. Probably some poor bastard getting chowed on as we speak.’
‘Urgh, thanks for the image.’
Ruby gave her a funny look. ‘Do you know what’s going on?’
‘I don’t know, do you?’
She didn’t respond and Lucie nodded, triumphantly. How anybody was to know what was going on was beyond her though. Things like this just didn’t happen. She was hiding in the basement with a girl she’s hated for years from apparently ravenous corpses that have only one motive: to eat you. Zombies, the films called them. But zombies didn’t exist. It was physically impossible for a human body to come back after death, to move their limbs and work their vocal chords (albeit for monotonous moans and snarls) and have the desire to satisfy their hunger which was specifically for human flesh.
‘What the fuck is this?’ Lucie hissed. ‘Just open the bloody door.’ Overcome by this sudden attempt at reckless bravery – or incredible impatience at Ruby’s wariness – Lucie barged past her enemy and practically kicked the door down, bat poised high in the air ready for combat.
An empty hallway greeted them both.
Lucie’s guard heightened considerably and she once again reverted back to the ice cold fear, letting Ruby take the lead.
‘Stick close behind me, we’re gonna - ’
Ruby was cut off suddenly as a figure fell straight onto her from the stairway. Lucie stood, paralyzed. The most awful sounds of hissing ensued and the vilest stench of rotting flesh suddenly filled the once clean air around them. Ruby was struggling to keep the creature from biting her, desperately struggling with one arm whilst trying to reach out for the hammer she had dropped with the other.
‘Lucie! Help me!'
Ruby was only a small girl and this creature had to be have weighed at least two hundred and fifty pounds in its previous life. There was no way she was going to make it.
So Lucie did the only thing she could think of: she ran.
She wasn’t ashamed, she was trying to survive. Besides, she had never particularly liked Ruby and she didn’t ask for her to come barging into her home, attracting the dead in the first place. She grabbed the wall for support, ignoring Ruby’s protests and cries for help and willed her legs to take her forward. The floor was slippery; Lucie didn’t want to know from what exactly.
The front door was in her sight and it had been left wide open, giving view to the shambling corpses shuffling about aimlessly in the street. Lucie let out an involuntary cry of shock, drawing the attention of every single one of them.
Without thinking about what she was doing, she grabbed the keys from the coffee table and ran straight for the driveway, for her car.
She struggled with the keys. Too many of the damn things!
She shoved one into the lock and turned it, almost collapsing with relief when the car responded. She mentally cursed her old-fashioned parents for not equipping her with a car that had damn central locking.
They were so close. There was too many of them. Creatures with limbs missing, ghastly wounds covering their face and neck. One of them was even dragging itself across the concrete towards Lucie, hissing manically whilst its entrails hung limply out of its missing torso.
Something slammed into the car from the side and Lucie screamed at the top of her lungs.
The door opened and something fell inside. For a split second, Lucie's fear was so intense that her vision blurred slightly and she was convinced she was going to pass out from shock. Until she saw who it was.
'You bitch!!' Ruby panted, covered in blood. She pulled the door closed just as one of the figures pressed itself against the glass. 'Hit the fucking accelerator would you?!'
She didn't need to be asked twice; Lucie floored it, knocking several of the zombies to the side and praying to whoever was watching over them that she didn't stall.