I run—or at least I do my best to keep up with him.
It’s not that easy, in flip flops, tired—and severely out of shape.
It doesn’t get much easier when a lot more people join us who must have seen my timely flight and chose the same alley as we have.
First one, then ten, then even more people keep streaming past me stumbling along, their panic making them push forward blindly. At least I hope it’s panic, not anyone’s deliberate attempt to make me go down, maybe as an involuntary sacrifice for what is coming after us.
And after us, they are coming.
I hear the screams, of course, but while my focus is forward, it’s easy to pretend that they stay behind. But then I stumble and almost take a knee, and in twisting around, I get a good look at the mouth of the alley.
Well, that explains why the stream of those coming from behind is drying up—no one can get in, with two crazies blocking the mouth of the alley, tearing into anyone and anything getting too close. There are several bodies slumped at their feet, not all completely in one piece.
As surreal as the sight is, my first thought is relief. Relief that with only five more people stumbling past me, nobody is going to push me down again.
Then I realize that I’m last, and that means, as soon as the crazies come after us, I’m first—never a position I want to find myself in, and least of all now.
I stumble back to my feet, trying to reorient myself.
Ahead, there’s an intersection, and about as many people break away left and right as keep going straight. I have no clue where the asshole went, but that’s the least of my worries now.
Another scream cuts through the alley, but this one is different. Before, it was all panic. This is rage, and frustration, and plain hunger, as my addled brain decides.
Fear gives me a much-needed burst of speed, and I hurl myself into the intersection—
—narrowly skipping past the car that’s plowing through it, coming out of nowhere.
A heavy thumping sound, followed by screeching tires and then metal slamming into concrete tell me that whoever was behind me wasn’t so lucky.
Still letting momentum carry me forward, I glance back over my shoulder.
The car must have hit one of the crazies, now wedged between a wall and the ruined front of the car. It’s still moving, trying to tear free. The vehicle partly blocks the alley, but already, three more crazies come vaulting over it, with several shapes further down the alley promising nothing good. Only one of them seems to realize there’s someone slumped behind the wheel. The others stream into the intersection, their heads turning this way and that.
They’re searching for victims.
I don’t want to become one of them!
In the end, the choice which way to go is easy: the street to my left goes downhill, and most of the crazies come out of the alley looking the other two ways.