"They're there!" Jake shouts. "I see them!"
He's outpaced us and is now sprinting along a good hundred feet ahead of me and Micah. I want to tell him not to get too far ahead, but I'm too out of breath. Even Micah's beginning to gasp. But Jake's still running like he could go on like this all day.
"There's Ash and Reg!"
Alarm bells ring inside my head. Where's Kelly?
"They've already got their suits on."
Now I'm glad I left mine on.
Micah and I top a small rise and now I can see the others. They haven't noticed us yet. But just as I'm about to warn Jake not to shout, he calls out.
Kelly appears from around the back of the car. The trunk's open and he's already fully geared up, even though we hadn't planned on leaving yet. Then I see the bodies of a dozen zombies scattered about them and can guess what happened.
"Jessie!" He starts running toward us.
I wave him back. "Get the gear!" I yell, but my voice sounds too small. My throat is dry. Out of the corner of my eye, I see movement. The slower zombies that had been tracking us earlier are now emerging from between the buildings where we first entered the row of shops. Directly behind us are the faster ones.
"Get the gear!" Micah echoes, though a lot louder.
The three at the car turn and gather the rest of the equipment. Jake is the first to reach them and he quickly grabs his wetsuit. Micah and I reach them moments later.
Jake's struggling to get his legs in. Reggie screams to let him help. Ashley runs over to Micah with his suit while Kelly comes to me with my mask.
"Hurry up, Jessie!" Kelly shrieks. I want to slap him. What does he think I'm doing?
I'd started pulling my arms into the suit even before I got there. They slip easily on.
Jake's yanking at the second leg, screaming in frustration. His suit doesn't want to go on. I realize it's because his suit is still wet but he's not. He hasn't even broken a sweat. "Get some water!" I scream at Reggie. "Wet down his skin."
The closest zombies are about a hundred feet away now.
I zip my suit up, then shift the gun from my other hand. I aim at the closest zombie and squeeze the trigger. The gun clicks.
"Shit! Where's my mask?" I toss the gun away, but keep the axe.
Kelly hands me my mask, along with his goggles. I push them away. "They're not going to fit me!"
Reggie scrambles back up from the water's edge. He hurries over to Jake with his hands cupped, but the water spills out before he gets him. The two of them start fighting over how to get the suit on Jake. Reggie just starts shoving parts of Jake's body into places inside the wetsuit where they don't belong. Jake's shaking with terror now, useless. Even from where I'm standing I can see that his suit is twisted. He'll never get it zipped up. Reggie tries anyway. He gives the zipper a massive tug and it rips.
"Never mind," I scream. "Get into the water!"
Kelly has taken my axe and run over to the first zombies. He takes two out and is working on a third. They seem to appear out of nowhere, swarming, their moans filling my ears.
He throws the axe at another and sprints back, snatching our backpacks from the ground and hurling them out and over the water. "Let's go!" he yells, as they splash down.
Ashley and Micah are already climbing down the fence. Ash reaches the water first and plunges in, pushing her gear and flippers ahead of her. I snatch my flippers and head for Jake and Reggie, who are still stupidly struggling with the suit.
"No time! Into the goddamn water!"
I grab two more pairs of flippers as Kelly gets their packs. Everything gets hurled over the railing. Reggie kicks at a zombie while pushing at Jake, who's practically sobbing by now and babbling. The zombie gets back up and comes at them again, but it has to push past several of its comrades.
Reggie swings the spare equipment bag at them, bowling them all down.
I grab Jake and yank him away just as another zombie reaches for him. Its blackened fingers close over empty space. Its momentum trips it, but it doesn't stop coming.
"Wrong way!" Jake screams.
"You're going over!"
I grunt and push him over the railing. He flips in mid-air, then splashes into the water.
A hand rakes my back. Instinctively, I step away, even as I reach back, grab, and pull. I use the attacker's own weight against itself. But I realize only too late what I've done as the zombie follows Jake over the railing. I try to pull it back, shouting, "Lookout!" But its arm rips from its socket with a dry popping sound.
There's a splash. Ashley screams. Or maybe it's Jake.
The next zombie lurches at me, but then Kelly launches himself at it and it flies off to one side.
"Go!" he shouts.
"Not without you!"
And we vault the railing.
The surface comes up fast. It's a roiling, chaotic mass of water and air as Jake kicks himself away from the zombie. Micah is slashing at it with his knife. Reggie is swimming over, but without flippers he's moving too slowly. Our gear bags slowly gather against the wall of the overpass, pushed there by the breeze and the waves that everyone's thrashing is making.
"I'll help Jake," Kelly yells. "Get your flippers."
I swim over and find them. I've just managed to get the second one on when there's a splash right beside me. I look up and see a zombie tilting over the railing right over me.
I kick away from the wall just as it falls, narrowly missing me. Then it seems to be raining zombies as more and more of them tumble over the railing in their attempt to reach us. Some sink immediately, while others bob near the surface. They thrash. Their moans turn to gurgles as their throats fill with water.
"Forget the gear," Reggie says. He's got his flippers on now and is swimming Jake's over to him. "We need to go! Now! Look!"
Dozens of the Infected Undead now line the overpass. The line presses forward. A dozen bodies fall and another line takes its place.
"Shit!" Ash screams. "Oh, my fucking god where are they all coming from!"
Jake has finally managed to get the rest of his gear on and has gathered with the others about thirty feet from the overpass. I'm still off to one side, separated from them by twenty or so feet of water and several floating zombies leering at us.
"We need those spare canisters," Reggie roars, holding up his mask, but he doesn't move to get them. Nobody does. To do so would be suicide, since our bags are floating against the overpass. There's no way any of us can reach them. "These still have the used ones!"
"You didn't switch out the canisters?" Jake screams. "What the hell were you doing?"
"Never mind that," Kelly says. "Which bag are they in?"
"We can't!" Micah shouts. He turns to Jake. "You said these last about three hours, right? Well it took us half that to get here. I hope for our sake you're right."
He then shouts over at me to stay put. "We'll meet underwater." Then he instructs Kelly to swim over to me. A minute later, Kelly surfaces a few feet to my right. He grabs my hand.
Micah checks his Link one last time and curses. "Where'd the time go?"
"I don't care," Ashley says. "I'm going now!"
We all nod in agreement. It's now or never.
"But this time," Kelly shouts, "we all stay together."
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