Eight thirty. The campfire spreads from the floor to the ceiling. Damn. Looks like I've got to blow this joint after all. The party's over and the guests are still ravenous. I toss as many as I can into the fire. Give one the guitar. There are barbecued ribs, grilled flank steaks, and roasted nuts. For a moment they lose all interest in me and chomp on their charred comrades. I guess raw meat isn't all that it's cracked up to be--just try telling that to the Japanese.
The scent of burned flesh draws a fresh batch of customers. I promptly close up shop before the shindig gets out of hand. In doing so, I seal myself into an oven full of feeders.
With few options remaining, I take out a battery-enabled power saw that I lifted off a lumberjack the day before. It's give and take for several minutes as I carve my way through the drywall and feed the flames with additional zombie trimmings.
Since I'm already screwed, why do I try so hard? Good question. Mama always told me that I was too stubborn for my own good. Besides, if each of us killed a hundred feeders, the holocaust would be over. My tally's in the thousands, yet the war rages on.
Can't blame me for trying.
Finally I break through just as a new wave pours in. Burning hands paw at me as I slip into the adjoining apartment. The room is dim and largely vacant. I seal off my exit with a nearby coffee table. Lean on it with all my weight. Take a deep breath. And realize that I'm not alone.
"Die, you bastards," he rips open the front door. With childish glee he squeezes off his shiny semi-automatic. It's an opportune moment. The epitome of convenience. I see an opening and exploit it, slipping in behind him.
This is the one who ferried it across the Potomac. That, and so much more.
I press the barrel of my gun to the back of his head. "Not very bright, Keeley. You're supposed to save your bullets for humans."
"Is that you, mate?" He turns. "I thought you were dead."
"I am dead." I show off the hole in my arm.
"No hard feelings?" He nods.
"No hard feelings." I pull the trigger. I'm a good shot, especially at close range. The shotgun doesn't hurt, either.
A bullet to the brain is absolutely essential when dealing with a human. The initial blast doesn't quite do the job, so I polish him off with a few rounds from his own gun. This one's cranium is extra thick. I should know, I've cracked it before.
"See you around," I offer posthumously.
The name's Burke. As in the name of the mission. The name of the kill.
Wait a minute. Back up.