For one long, agonizing second, I had absolutely no idea what to do. My muscles were frozen in place, my mind was racing but I could not move. Then Cancer’s voice tore through my paralysis and shoved me into action. Before I could really think about it, I was running. I was running away from Cancer, away from the entrance, and I was shouting wildly. I don’t really know what was coming out of my mouth but it must have done the trick. Around me people replicated that second of shock and they, too, copied me.
I wanted to find Robby, I really did, but I knew I had to warn more people and I had to check the perimeter to make sure we hadn’t been hit from other angles.
People were running about now, but they were running with purpose. There wasn’t an awful lot of screaming up this end either.This was what months of practice had given us, we had prepared ourselves for this moment and we all knew that screaming would attract more of the dead. I was shouting orders at nearby people, not stopping to check if they obeyed. I pulled my gun out of the waistband of my trousers, checking to see if it was actually loaded and sprinted towards the back entrance of the wall. Several other people were already there, checking for intrusions, tightening bolts and passing equipment along. Once one section was checked they quickly moved on to the next. We all knew what to do.
‘Joe!’ Someone grabbed my wrist and pulled.
I whirled round. ‘Eloise?!’
‘Where’s Cancer?’ her eyes were manic, darting from me to the wall and back again.
‘Uhh, he’s over there,’ I gestured the way I had come. ‘He might need more help. I gotta go. Where’s Alicia?’
‘She’s with Robby.’
‘Are they both safe?’
Eloise nodded frantically before she ran in the direction I had pointed her.
‘This end is safe!’ someone shouted in a gruff voice. I looked over and saw Adam grab the collar of a guy’s shirt and push him away. ‘Go check over there!’
Before anyone could do anything else, there was the most horrifying crunch and a groan followed by the gut-wrenching sound of metal scraping against metal. I think we all knew secretly what it was but we couldn’t face it until we had seen for ourselves. I looked over and saw a tidal wave of people, some struggling under the debris, several unconscious and others firing bullets in the gaping hole that the wall had been. I didn’t even think, I sprinted over and began firing bullets.
There was so many of them… But the advantage of being in a community like this was that there was so many of us. We were all trained in weaponry and we stood like an impenetrable wall, a human barricade, not letting a single dead soul pass.
Amongst all the noise, one voice stood out to me because of the name it was calling. ‘CANCER!’
I stopped shooting, just for a second, to see a black tuft of hair poking out from underneath some of the wreckage. Eloise had collapsed beside him and was attempting to pull him to safety.
‘Fuck,’ I muttered, abandoning my post. I grabbed his arms, not even stopping to think about the fact he might be dead, and tried hauling him out. His legs were trapped underneath something. He wasn’t budging anytime soon and the zombies were continuing to push onwards. ‘God dammit! Watch him Eloise!’ I jogged back over and re-joined the firing squad.