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“Duck, Shaz!” Ryan yelled as he swung his 7 iron, narrowly missing the young woman’s head and removing half of an approaching lurcher’s instead.
Shaz looked up at Ryan. “Thanks!”
“Don’t thank me yet; we need to get out of here alive first!”
Another lurcher entered the room on cue and Shaz spun around to introduce the monster’s left eye to a quickly and precisely aimed hunting knife. She turned back to Ryan with a grin on her pretty face. “Child’s play!”
He pulled her in close and delivered a quick yet lustful kiss. “Let’s move!”
What should have been a quick sweep of what was once an overpriced chain restaurant had turned into an unexpected battle with a horde of lurchers. How the creatures had negotiated their way into the restaurant neither Ryan nor Shaz knew—surprise attacks were becoming disturbingly more frequent. Time for cogitation would have to come later; they needed to escape and fast!
They headed out of the kitchen into the main dining area where more growling and snarling forms were coming their way. Shaz took one aisle and Ryan another as they negotiated their way towards the main entrance of the building. A former kickboxer, Shaz had no problems in handling herself with or without a melee weapon and she made light work of the lurchers that came her way. Ryan, as deadly as ever with his golf club, cut down the undead in his path too.
A partition between their aisles popped up just ahead of the exit. The lurchers were thinning in number.
Ryan was about to launch an attack on the final lurcher in his aisle when he noticed its bulging eyes and violent convulsions. “Oh, fuck!” With agility he didn’t know he possessed, Ryan jumped up onto a nearby table and leapt over the partition to evade a jet of deadly, acidic vomit from what he knew was a spewer. He came down on top of a table in a booth that collapsed as he rolled through unscathed onto padded seating.
He luckily saw that some of the vomit had hit him on the arm of his padded jacket and was eating away at the fabric. He quickly and frenetically pulled the jacket off and threw it onto the floor, lying back and blowing a relieved sigh once he’d done it.
“Feeling a little hot, baby?” Shaz teased.
“You know me; I always feel more comfortable in fewer clothes,” he quipped back.
Shaz helped Ryan to his feet and they continued out of the door. The street around them appeared empty; that didn’t mean it necessarily was. If anything, the silence only piqued Ryan’s suspicions.
“Keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t even blink unless necessary. Kas and the rest of the guys will hopefully be ready now and we can get the fuck outta here!”
They continued tentatively down the street, ensuring to keep their eyes and weapons trained in all directions. They’d each drawn their automatic rifles. Stealth was no longer necessary; it was about getting away as quickly as they could. The undead were nearby, Ryan knew. Where they were and what they were up to was not so palpable.
They carefully edged towards a corner and peered around it; still no lurchers to be seen. It was another hundred metres to the next corner and the street where the cars had been left. Not far, but plenty of scope for an ambush, one that both of them were sure was coming.
“What do you reckon? Leg it?” Ryan asked quietly.
“A brisk jog sounds good to me.”
They smiled uncertainly at one another, held their foreheads together lovingly, and shared another quick kiss. The uncertain smiles became assertive ones and they began their dash through the dark city street.
Sure enough, lurchers and gawkers poured from their hiding spots. Neither of the pair broke stride as they shot from the hip to cut down the gawkers first on the scene. Lurchers reached for them as they ducked and weaved. They rounded the corner and the dark silhouette of the vehicles appeared.
Ryan knew they wouldn’t just be able to climb in the cars and go; he had to try and thin the herd. Unclipping a fragmentation grenade from his belt, he pulled the pin and dropped it behind him. “Speed up!” he called to Shaz.
A few seconds later, the shockwave of a powerful blast sent them both flying forwards. As it happened, the lights of both the vehicles flashed on and the engines fired up; the other guys were waiting for them. Most of the undead had been eradicated by the blast. The pair made short work of the few that remained and clambered into the backseat of the lead vehicle.
The cars wasted no time in setting off as another horde headed their way.
For almost six weeks, Ryan and Kas had been adapting to the way Sharkey’s crew worked. It hadn’t taken them long to fit in; as soon as the crew saw how efficiently the two men worked there was no argument that they were going to be invaluable assets. Not only were they rapidly accepted as colleagues, they were treated as friends.
Ryan, true to form, made a beeline for the females amongst the crew; all of them tough and stoic in their own individual way.
Shaz had caught his eye immediately. Her beauty was undeniable and natural. Her grey eyes were sharp and intelligent. She wore her dark hair in a bob that came down between her ears and jawline. If not for the fact she was irrefutably pretty it could have been suggested she was quite masculine in appearance. She was sinewy in her build, yet even her figure was indelibly female. There was more to her than physical beauty though and Ryan was immediately beguiled.
His initial advances weren’t successful and he egotistically thought she might have been gay having noticed that some of the women were. It was only after she saw how confident he was in handling himself in the field that her resistance seemed to melt; for Shaz, actions always spoke louder than words. His charm may have had a little to do with it too.
Ryan and Kas were coveted by every team leader and some even suggested it was only fair that one of each went with different teams so that their resourcefulness was spread around. The pair insisted that wasn’t going to happen and Sharkey agreed with them. So, they became aligned with the team of a man known as Brick, which just so happened to be the team Shaz was a part of. Brick himself seemed a little dim-witted; that suited Ryan just fine.
With Ryan and Kas a part of their team, they took on the undead in ways like they never had before. Where they’d originally avoid groups of lurchers, within a few weeks, they were wading in with reckless abandon, buoyed by the knowledge they’d gleaned from their new recruits. Nobody asked questions when, one day, Ryan and Brick went into a supermarket together on a supply run and only the former came out. Kas had his suspicions, though he didn’t voice them.
With Brick dead, a new team leader needed to be appointed. Sharkey was happy to leave it to the team to decide for themselves. Eight of the ten wanted Ryan as the leader; however, Ryan surprisingly didn’t even put himself forward. He instead urged Kas to, who won the vote by a landslide.
Everything was going well. Kas led the team by example, Ryan’s relationship with Shaz was blossoming, and Sharkey was delighted with his new recruits and the noticeable change their arrival had caused.
Much like everything else so far during the apocalypse, things had to go wrong at some point…
TO BE CONTINUED
Read ASAS: Consequence–Chapter Six now!