“Julian, I am sorry,” Henry said when they reached the top of the stairs. “Your wife will be fine, I guarantee it.” He finished giving McClaron a contemptuous look. McClaron just looked back as he loaded another cartridge into the chamber of his Springfield and walked out the front door.

“So what’s the plan chief? You have made it clear that we are at your will and mercy.” Henry continued, following McClaron out the front door.

“No,” McClaron said turning. “We are at the mercy of God.”

“Yes, I know, I mean. . .” Henry stumbled over his words. “But did you ever think that maybe Julian over there and his wife might want to live and do not considering going down in a blaze of glory the fitting ending for their lives.”

McClaron just ignored him and walked over to the edge of the porch.

“Mic, I don’t want to die, either.” Henry said raising his gun and pointing it at McClaron’s back. “I mean. . . You can do what you want, but we are leaving.” Henry lowered his gun, knowing that McClaron could stop him at any time he wanted too, whether Henry tried to stop him or not. Henry only hoped that it wouldn’t come to that.

“There,” McClaron said, motion with the tip of his rifle towards the barn. “If you want to leave then that is your only way of escape.”

Henry looked towards the barn. On the far side, with only it’s nose sticking out was a beat-up foam green ’56 Ford. On the near side of the barn was a gas pump. Surrounding both was a swarm of people, aimlessly walking around. They hadn’t spotted McClaron or Henry, they seemed to be systematically looking for something.

When they were done with the barn they would move onto the house, Henry thought. Just as he thought that, one of the creatures pulled the nozzle from the pump and started spraying gasoline onto the ground, intently watching the fluid as it formed a puddle on the ground.

“We got to get over there,” Henry said to McClaron, “before they use up all the gas, then we’ll be stuck here for sure.”

McClaron nodded. “Watch your firing, one spark and you, me, the truck, everything goes up in one big fireball.”

They both ran towards the barn, first firing on the creatures furthest away from the puddle of gasoline and the gas pumps. Once they were noticed the other creatures rushed McClaron and Henry, all in unison, as if they were, in part, connected to one consciences that activated whenever there was trouble.

As a crowd of creatures surrounded McClaron and Henry, Julian walked out the front door, still in a daze over what was happening. As he watched a creature approached McClaron from behind biting him on the neck with a savage bite, ripping away flesh as it did. McClaron immediately dropped to the ground, letting his rifle fall as he tried to stop the bleeding with his hands.

Still standing on the porch, Julian looked in the opposite direction expecting to see more creatures, but he saw none. Nor were there any in the fields in front of the house or any place else. Raising his shotgun with shaking hands Julian walked towards the crowd surrounding Henry and McClaron. Once he was within twenty feet he fired his first barrel and half a dozen creatures dropped from the duck shot, while other rounds could be heard hitting the side of the truck. The second barrel took out everybody as a stray shot ignited the gas on the ground which caused the pumps to explode with a flame that rose thirty feet into the air.

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