Blas barked his heavy, sonorous barks, training his one eye on the brown-haired woman. For the first time, she seemed to notice that this dog, big though it was, had one eye, a chunk missing from an ear, and three legs. Stacy watched dumbfounded as the zombie’s eyes sparkled in amusement and her blood-stained mouth quirked upward with a hoarse chuckle. Zombification comes with a reduction in mental faculty, leaving its victims unable to communicate or think complex thoughts. That was what safety class had told her. Maybe this was a fluke? A reaction from deep within the remnants of this woman’s brain?
Blas de Lezo was distracted by none of these philosophical musings. Some people might say dogs were unable to think complex thoughts, but those same people would probably say dogs had four legs and two eyes. Blas was smarter because he had to be. He watched the limping one-footed zombie for the next moment it would stumble. It was coming.
Stacy was just about to wrap her head around the fact that a horde of mindless zombies had not only set a trap but that she, one of the top students at Romero High school, had fallen straight into it, when one-shoe sweater zombie stumbled again, bloody-hair cackler caught him once more, and Blas struck.
In their moment of weakness, the pair were no match for eighty pounds of muscle. Stacy stared as Blas knocked them to the ground and dug his teeth into the woman’s throat, clamping down and tearing out a bloody tube. While she flailed and choked, he went for Sweater’s good leg and, fast as lightning, took out one zombie after another until the wall had a Stacy-sized hole.
“Good boy!” Stacy shouted, dashing forward. As she approached the pile of no longer walking dead, she leapt. In a split second she went from sailing over danger to landing face-first in the leaves. Pain radiated from her nose and she could feel the hot, slick blood dripping down her face. Blas barked, less threatening and more frightened, and Stacy assured him, “I’m fine, boy.”
When she tried to get up, Stacy saw what had caught her foot. Reaching up from the undifferentiated pile of bodies was a pale green hand dotted with orange and purple mold clamped around her pant leg right where it was tucked into her socks. “No!” Stacy screamed, kicking but in a second the arm detached from the pile with help from Blas’s teeth. Now, with a heavy arm still hanging from her leg, Stacy stood.
That was one second that Blas could not spare from guarding the perimeter, though, and confused zombies were on all sides once again. Stacy had to make her own exit now. She pushed out a hand directly against the lipless, grinning face of the zombie in front of her and knocked it over. Then she was off again until another hand, slick with rot and blood and fuzzy with mold, grabbed hers. She tugged back as a zombie with furry purple eyeballs lifted her hand to his mouth and bit down. The zombie lost its balance and managed to do no more than nip at Stacy’s pinky finger before he fell.
“No no no no! Shit shit shit shit!” Seeing the drop of blood welling on her pinky, Stacy forgot everything and tore away, Blas taking out the legs of any zombie who dared to break from the pack to chase her. In moments, Blas walk-hopped alongside her, keeping easy pace since three legs are still more than two, and she let him lead her back to the summit.
There, Stacy opened her fanny pack and withdrew gauze and antiseptic as Blas whined and licked at her finger. Numbers flew through her mind. 70% chance of infection with zombie symptoms from zombie bite. 5% with amputation within six hours. How would she explain this to her parents? How would she live this down at school? People came with congenital missing limbs and everyone still assumed they were hiding zombie bites.
This was about as shallow as a bite could be, Stacy reasoned. The best reporters could stomach a little risk. As she applied the cool, stinging antiseptic and wrapped it in gauze, she told herself that even though there was no data, a shallow bite given first aid immediately must have a better shot. She tried to imagine rolling a twenty-sided die. six or below and I don’t turn into a zombie.
Blas nuzzled her bandaged hand and whined.