All the air was sucked from the building just as we were rolling to a stop by our convoy. I felt the large SUV moving backwards and my blood began to boil as the pressure in the building dropped. Red poured out of our noses and I tucked myself into a ball. It must have been twenty or thirty seconds that we endured this before air rushed back into the car park and our vehicle was thrust forwards again. There was crying coming from the girls around me, though I could barely hear it over my own. We all sat there for minutes, trying to recover.
Steph was first to move as she forced herself to drive the SUV down deeper into the car park again. We pulled over to the farthest wall from the ramp and sat there for a few more minutes.
As air rushed in and out of the car park again and again, we heard groans and cracks in the concrete around us and the whole structure shook a few times.
“I… I don’t like this. We need to get out of here soon.” Steph was holding her head in her hands and Ruth was trying to clean the blood off Steph’s face, before addressing the mess on her own.
I looked up and nodded at Steph. Elly turned to look out the window at the other cars.
“The others are getting out of their cars; you should go talk to them.”
“Okay, you stay here with the radio in case HQ tries to contact us. And Ruth, honey, you stay too and clean yourself up before getting back on that turret. It’s too dark down here to say we’re safe. Ron and Nea, come with me.” We grabbed our pistols and exited the SUV.
As we walked over to the others, I watched Ruth spinning in the turret again, looking everywhere around her in the darkness.
The other girls didn’t look any better than us. Crusting blood was still on some of their lips and everyone seemed to be nursing a terrible headache like mine.
“We need to get back to HQ, we can’t be out in this storm.” The other girls looked to Steph as she spoke; a few nodded, others looked back where we came or to the cracks in the ceiling above us. I looked at these as well and could not tell if they were years old or caused by the storm.
“Yeah, but how do we know it’s safe to…” The girl who was talking was cut off by the spinning of and gunshots from Ruth’s gun as she blasted the inside of a car I could barely see in a dark corner near her.
We all stopped for a moment to look around for more zombies. A few of us moved around to look in abandoned car windows and the pile of dead zombies that was left from our initial clearing out of the structure. And then the drumming started.
“What was that?” We all looked to the wall next to the SUV we’d left Ruth and Elly in.
The sound wasn’t rhythmic, but it began to get louder and it seemed like more and more hands were pounding on the concrete on the other side of the wall.
“Emmy! Bring the SUV over here!” We started walking back to our car while the rest of our convoy returned to theirs. We saw Elly switch seats when there was a loud slam from the other side of the wall. A massive web of cracks erupted from that spot and snaked their way up the ceiling and towards us before meeting the cracks that we’d been examining earlier. “Shit!”
The next slam sent chunks of the wall flying across the parking lot. I saw the cracks widening as black oozed through the wall and spurted in places onto the floor. The cracks in the ceiling widened as well and big chunks of concrete began to shift. I watched a small creature push itself through a particularly large crack, but the ceiling it was standing on began to move.
“Ruth!” I heard Steph cry before the large slab of concrete freed itself from the ceiling.
I could see Elly look up at the ceiling above her. The look on her face lasted only an instant before the four ton chunk crashed down on the vehicle and she disappeared beneath it.
I turned to look at Tess beside me. She had spoken so plainly and her voice had cut into a gap between gusts of wind. There was no expression on her face, she just stared up at the storm.
“Tess!” I gasped as I stepped back and raised my rifle.
She looked up at the clouds still, and never saw the zombies that stood behind her. They placed their hands on her and began to drag her away. They were not as rabid as any we’d met before, and Tess did not struggle against them as she was enveloped in the horde.
“What.” Captain sputtered as we all stepped back.
“Tess!” I fired on the zombies that were walking towards us. As the first zombie fell, the horde lit up and there were screams and wails as they began to charge at us.
More of the squad began to fire, but I watched one and then another soldier overwhelmed as we all backed up.
“Move! Don’t stop until you reach HQ!”
We all sprinted down the road as more zombies began to appear around us. They tried to run at us but many of them slipped and fell in the slick dark snow. As we reached the corner I heard her scream: Tess’ voice carried over the zombies to us and lasted for what felt like minutes. It started low and built to become a wail before finally crescendoing as an ear-shattering shriek. It remained this way for a few heartbeats before ending suddenly.
I felt tears in my eyes and I put my head down to run away from the sound. I heard the occasional gunshot around me, but my own rifle was bouncing against my back as I ran blindly down the road.
I skated around a bend and tried to keep my balance, but I looked up to see a group of zombies walking out of an alleyway. The front zombies were comprised of soldiers and men and women dressed in an assortment of military clothing and police vests. All of these zombies had weapons strapped to them and rifles dangled over a few of their shoulders. The undead soldiers wore the same uniform as my unit.
This group saw us and began to move quickly after us, their boots more suited to the slippery ground in many cases than the rest of the zombies.
I kept running.