Eddie’s fist connected with a satisfying crunch and Haley couldn’t keep from smiling. The zombie’s newly-detached lower jaw sailed through the air, flicking bits of rot as it spun, ricocheted off a bench and finally splattered flatly on the stylishly overpriced industrial carpet. She instinctively held her breath and closed her eyes, remembering that kid who swallowed some zombie meat and bam: Insta-Z.

It really wasn’t the best time to close one’s eyes. Haley and Eddie were back-to-back in the waiting room of suburbia’s most suburban medical clinic. The mission should have been easy: in-and-out, scoring some meds. Penicillin. Naproxen. Whatever.

Now here they were, surrounded by yet another rotting hoard, and out of ammo. Not so much as a baseball bat—

“Hey, Doug. Yo, asshole at the keyboard. A little help here,” said my heroine from the page. She reached into the face of the nearest zombie as if it were a bowling ball and lifted. The skull resisted a moment before letting its body tumble backwards onto the growing heap. Haley whipped the skull forward and clocked two more. More zombies scrambled over the re-dead undead. It was hopeless.

“Sorry, Haley. I kinda wrote you into a corner,” I say, and pop a handful of Skittles down the hatch.

“Then write us out of it, fuck-nuts,” said Eddie. Everyone’s favourite anti-hero ripped the arm of his target and jammed the sharpened end under its chin to the brain. Notch one more for the good guys.

“I’m thinking,” I say and get up. It’s snowing outside.

“Think quicker,” growled Haley between punches.

Maybe I should take a break.

“Hey! Where the fuck do you think you’re going?” asked Eddie.

I sit down and the chair groans. “I got an idea. Grab a chair leg and see what you can do with that.”

“You know how hard it is to break a leg off?” Haley kicked another monster, exhausted and exasperated. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

“Try again, shit-heels.” said Eddie, who managed to swing a waiting room chair by its back anyway. The aluminum legs ripped through the neck of one taker and mostly degloved the face of another. The second one wasn’t slowed much. Eddie, off-balance from the swing, stumbled and fell. He twisted the pointy ends of the chair upwards like a mini array of pikes. His assailant impaled itself but the meaty weight of the hoard kept him pinned and out of play.

“Oh, I know. There’s a bat behind the reception. See if you can get to that.”

“That’s stupid,” said Haley. “Why the hell would there be a bat there? It ain’t no bodega.”

“It’s what I got,” I offer. “Take it or leave it.”

Haley stuck her tongue out at me and slipped into the eddy behind Eddie. She jumped over the counter and hit her funny bone on the keyboard tray. Keys flew everywhere like a box of spilled Lego. An image of her and Ben playing with blocks as kids ran through her mind. Simpler times. She missed him and for a moment gave up. Right there in the madness. To hell with the mission. To hell with Eddie. To hell with all this shit-show of an existence.

She pushed it away and her hand found the bat, smooth and heavy.

Haley looked up at me again. “Could I trouble you for some spikes.”

“Sure thing,” I say. “Consider it done.”

She climbed on top of the counter and sat on the edge, feet dangling. Eddie couldn’t be seen under the writhing mass. Haley hefted her new weapon and admired the craftsmanship of its previous owner—maybe one of these bastards. It amused her.

“Haley,” said Eddie from the bottom of the dog pile. His voice was weak, but that was enough. “You gonna help a dude out or do you need some personal time?”

“On my way,” she said and hopped down, brandishing her new toy like a baton. Feeling the weight in each hand, Haley opted to swing southpaw. The spikes sliced cleanly as she made quick work of the baddies.

That’s my girl. I click ‘save’ and close the lid of my laptop. Coffee time.

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