Man’s Best Friend, Zombie’s Worst Enemy Part 49

“Lost my eye in the sky,” Kramer announced suddenly.

Stacy looked up from her microfiche machine and saw the man put his phone to his ear. “We need extraction.”

The door behind him burst open with a sound like an explosion, and he fell to the ground. The Deerhound had enough time to turn and leap before another shot spun him wildly in the air and laid him out on top of his master. Stacy saw a silhouette in the doorway, a long, furry creature perched on her shoulder. The silhouette raised its gun once more.

Stacy reacted slowly, but Blas knocked her down moments before the next explosion boomed above her. Stacy remained frozen on the floor. The silhouette cursed and muttered “One thousand twenty four times pay,” as she approached, reloading her shotgun. 

The door banged open again and the woman spun and made a wild shot that smashed a window just before a labrador retriever bore her to the ground. A man stepped up, wrenching the shotgun from her hands. She looked up at him, dazed, and he frowned back. “This is not the career for you. Get out of here and apply to grad school.”

Stacy crept underneath the table as the woman rose and stumbled out the door, her confused ferret scurrying behind her. She hoped against hope that this pair didn’t see her. Or smell her.

The man put two fingers to his ear. “Kramer’s dead. Dane Bell is neutralized. No, he was dead when I arrived.” He listened to someone on the other line, then smacked his dog on its yellow butt. “Go find the reporter.”

Oh, God, that’s me. Stacy was barely a yard away. If he was going to shoot her, he’d do it whether she surrendered or ran. Above her, almost imperceptibly, Blas whined. She brought a hand up to the dog’s head. This was his job, to protect her, but she didn’t want to let him go. This might be the last time she saw him alive. She let out a choked whisper. “I love you, Boy.” Then she pulled her knees to her chest, ready to spring out. “Go get ‘em.”

Blas leapt at the labrador and Stacy leapt in the other direction. The chaos was enough for her to get a little distance, and she wove through filing cabinets, old newspaper stacks, and shelves of unidentifiable old electronics, the musty smell growing as she delved deeper into the basement of Building Z.

Her heart seized as she heard dogs snarling and desks and chairs clanking and rattling. But no gunshots.

A voice called after her, “Your dog is safe. Come out with your hands up and he will stay that way. There’s no exit the way you’re going.”

He’s not looking for me. Stacy took the opportunity to catch her breath. What am I going to do? He has to be lying. Fire exits! I can break through a window. Maybe there’s an extraction team on the way? Every interaction with Kramer had been frustratingly vague, so she had no idea whether or not to expect a rescue. Oh God, I can’t leave without Blas. She hadn’t thought this through. She was a stupid kid in over her head, and she was going to die. No, don’t panic.

Stacy heard a book fall on the floor ahead of her. How is he ahead of me!? Does that mean I can escape out the front door? She turned and ran back the way she came, straight into the labrador. It grabbed at her pant leg and growled in a clipped pattern “Grrr… ar ar ar!”

“Good boy!” came the voice ahead of her. She shook her leg viciously, willing the dog to lose its grip, the denim to tear, but nothing happened. She rammed the dog’s head against a metal rack of CDs but it just kept growling in that same crazy pattern. Grr… ar ar ar! As she dragged the dog behind her like a ball and chain. The man emerged from the darkness down the hall and, for the first time, saw her face. His expression darkened and he put his finger to his ear once more.

“We have a code amber. Get Mr. Sable on the line.”

Stacy rammed the dog’s head again, and it yanked her off her feet and she fell hard to the ground. “Get off me!” she shrieked. She heard Blas barking in the distance, rattling against some restraint holding him back. She kicked the dog’s head into the ground again and again, but it seemed capable of withstanding unlimited abuse.

“She may have compromising documents.”

The man listened and his face went empty. “Roger.” Stacy’s last breath caught in her throat as he walked up to stand before her. She closed her eyes, bracing herself for death. Instead, gentle hands pried the dog’s jaws from her pant leg.

She opened her eyes, seeing the man clearly for the first time. He had dark skin and close-cropped thick, curly hair.  A black-gloved hand extended to her. “Estacia Torres. My name is Geoffrey Geoffreys. I’m under orders to bring you to Julia and Keith Sable.”

“Give me my dog,” Stacy blurted.

Geoffrey Geoffreys nodded once. He straightened and sped down the hall. In moments, Blas came bounding as fast as his three legs would take him. Stacy wrapped her arms around him. “What if I don’t want to go to Julia and Keith Sable?”

“Then you’re free to return home. Mr. Sable asked me to tell you that he has the rest of your story. If you want answers, you should come with me.”

Gray Paw Print Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free  & public domain

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By Sam Munk

Science fiction and Fantasy author with a focus on philosophical inquiry and character-driven drama.

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