7 Chapter 6: Saving the Hoodie Girl and Planning the Last Step
The hoodie girl's eyes opened in shock as she was tackled from behind by one of the creatures that had come from atop an abandoned car on the street. The force of the tackle caused her to grown as she tried to quickly recollect herself and disengage from the three creatures surrounding her. Unfortunately the one that had knocked her over had also placed itself in a position where it was crouched over her back.
The creature opened its maw wide preparing to bite into her neck when she forced her hand out in front of its face and did something that surprised Joshua, as he could only watch the seen from afar as he rushed over as fast as he could. From her hand came a torrent of flames large enough to engulf the creatures head. It was a quick short burst and disappeared in a flash, but it left the monster screeching in pain with heavy burns steaming on its skin.
She quickly grabbed up the crowbar and swung as hard as she could into the screeching monsters face. The blow punctured through its mouth up into its brain and quickly cut off its wailing. Before she could relax the hastened clicking sound on the pavement warned her to move out of the way. Just as she desperately dived away she could hear one of the creatures slamming into the spot she was just standing at. Unfortunately that wasn't the only one nearby.
Another creature slammed into her front knocking her back onto the ground and pinning her beneath it. It was impossible to know whether by luck or on purpose the creature had dug its clawed fingers into the street pavement, completely trapping the girl's arms to the point where she couldn't reach out towards its face like the last time. Instead of taunting its prey like the last one it immediately charged its mouth towards her neck.
She closed her eyes and tensed up expecting an extreme amount of pain to occur as she got bit in the neck, but as she waited for it nothing came. There was no searing pain, no wailing from the creature as it chowed down on its meal, only a loud thud followed by brief bout of relative silence. When she opened her eyes the first thing she saw was a headless body on top of her as the badly broken off neck oozed out purple liquid. With another loud thud the deformed body was sent sailing off of her and into the nearby crowd of creatures.
"Are you alright?" Joshua asked as he helped her up from the ground. "They didn't bite you did they?"
"No…I'm fine. Thanks." The girl replied quietly as she started to calm down. They both turned to see the hoard starting to turn their attention back towards them as the screams of the other girl had stopped for a while. They started to climb out from the broken down store and head back towards them and the police station.
Joshua looked back and noticed that the barricade that they were stalling for was only halfway put together and if this crowd of creatures were to go over there now it would never get finished in time. "Alright, make sure to stay behind me and within vision of each other. Your job is to kill off any stragglers that get by, but make sure to take on only one or two at a time. No more than that you understand?" Joshua said as he directed his attention back towards the girl. He only got a quick determined nod in response as he prepared to give the others time.
He positioned himself in front of the path of the hoard and smacked his sledgehammer into the ground loudly to make sure to gather as much attention from them as possible. When the first few of the creatures shuffled into range of his reach he swung his sledge hammer killing three of them and knocking another two back into the mass of creatures in the process. A couple lucky ones that avoided the collision tried to lunge at him, but he quickly side stepped their attempts and responded with one elbow a piece to the back of their heads.
Joshua let the hoodie girl finish off the sprawled over creatures as he took another large swing to thin out the herd. He repeated the process a few more times while knocking over or dodging the lucky ones that got the chance to leap towards him. The hoodie girl would then quickly kill the stunned creatures that got past him and the process would start again. The entire time they were slowly being forced back towards the police station as more and more of the creatures would shuffle their way out of the haze and join the herd.
When they started getting to close to the police station Joshua would slowly lure them in another direction making a circle back towards where they were coming from. Along the way more of the creatures would come join the growing herd from outside of broken shops or behind vehicles as if they were being made out of thin air. Every so often one or two of them would come from behind him and the girl would shout to alert him just in case. He'd angle his way around them forcing them to join the growing herd or if they lunged at him he would dunk under and toss them into the group in front.
Every now and then a few stragglers would head back towards the police station due to the small noises from the people there trying to put up the barricade. Whenever that would happen Joshua would immediately shout and slam his hammer into a nearby car or window to get their attention back. The process would limit it to only one or two creatures approaching the police station every time they made the pass by. The Carsen brothers and the head police officer would then make quick work of them before getting back to fixing the barricade.
If the herd started to grow too big Joshua would carefully place a few good swings to thin it back down a bit, but he made sure not to charge forward and get stuck in a bad position. He made a few more slow rounds with the group before he noticed the others were just about finished with the barricade of tables, chairs, desk and other random heavy things from inside the office.
"This will be our last pass by the police station." Joshua told the hoodie girl as he started to plan out what to do next. "This time you head on over to the others and help them kill any stragglers while I'll lure these things away and lose them. Just keep an eye out for me before closing the barricade completely."
"Alright." She replied while huffing a little. The constant bombardment had clearly started to take its toll. Even Joshua was starting to sweat after having to swing the sledge hammer so many times.
"Over here, keep it moving you ugly creeps. Just keep on coming, right this way!" Joshua shouted as he started to make his last turn pass the police office. The girl quickly made her way over towards the others to help them clear out the three or four stragglers that didn't seem to want to follow his constant shouting no matter what. Now that he had no one to watch his back Joshua made sure to stay towards the center of the street away from broken in stores that could lead to a nasty surprise. He made sure to stay away from cars that he couldn't get a good view of to avoid what had happened to the girl earlier.
Even with his best attempts from time to time he had to rely on his quick reflexes and his heightened awareness to avoid the occasional surprise lunge from out of view. He made sure to put his sledge hammer back up and went back to using the axe so he could easily respond to any surprise with a quick short hack. He slowly led the herd away before finding a broken in store far enough away with a back exit. He didn't want to lead them into a store that might have surviving people in it so he made sure it was one that had already been torn apart. It may have been a bigger risk for him, but he didn't want to condemn someone else just to make things easier on his self.
Making his way through the broken store he notice a couple of dead bodies of people that weren't so lucky along with a creature or two trying to make their away around the isles to get towards him. He used the shelves to both keep the creatures in the store separated from him and make a bunch of noise to keep the attention of the hoard outside of the building. He would swing at any glass objects he passed by with his axe to keep the noise up before eventually diving out of the way as the shelves were knocked over by the lunging creatures trying to reach him.
He quickly jumped back up and made his way towards the door at the back of the shop. He swung it closed and locked it before pushing the nearest desk in front of it and knocking over another shelf full of all sorts of glasses and ceramics. The crashing sound worked perfectly, because within seconds he could hear thumping and clawing at the door. He wasted no time and quickly made his way through the broken window at the back of the room. He ran into a couple more creatures attracted by the noise on his side of the store, but the number was few and he was able to avoid them for the most part.
Looping around Joshua took the long route to avoid drawing to much attention to himself. If anything approached him he would go back to using rocks to distract them away from him and the direction he was taking. Soon he made his way back within sight of the police office and noticed the others had finished and cleared out the stragglers. He waived towards them to let them know he was fine without making too much noise and quietly headed over.
"Did you get rid of them?" Dave quietly whispered as Joshua came within distance to hear him.
"Yeah I took them a couple streets over well out of hearing distance. Got them all trying to break through a store over there, but they will go back to aimlessly walking around soon enough." Joshua replied after wiping the sweat off of his face with his shirt.
"Well then lets head inside with the others. I'll close the barricade behind us." Dave said after giving him a quick pat on the arm in appreciation. Joshua nodded in reply before heading inside. Looking around the inside of the office Joshua noticed how barren it was. It seemed like just about everything they could find was used to block the front entrance. There were a group of more people inside then he expected along with the people he had seen from earlier there were a group of what looked like five or six men of different ages standing as far away from the entrance as possible.
Three of them stood out to Joshua as they looked like a group of kids just out of high school, but they all seemed to have the no good trouble maker vibe going for them. The rest of them just looked like farmers that had come in to town for the day. Not too far from them the police girl was quietly sobbing to herself as she was still getting over the loss of her coworker. Her glasses were fogged up from tears and a curl of hair covered up a large portion of her face. Her small frame of around five foot five inches looked like that of a tiny creature as she curled herself into a ball. The rest of the group came over to welcome him back.
"Are you alright?" Nathan asked him with worried eyes while Madalyn also gave him a relieved smile at seeing him return.
"Yeah I bought us a little time, but we can't just wait around for too long. I'm just going to catch a quick breather before heading back out to finish what we came for." Joshua said as he set down on the floor against the wall to calm his racing heart down.
"It's good to see you pull through young man." The older police officer said as he reached out to shake Joshua's hand. "The names Thomas, I guess you could say I'm one of the only elder statesmen of the local police that is still around."
"I'm Joshua or you can just call me Josh for short." Joshua said as he shook his hand.
"My younger coworker over there is Natalie. It's a shame David died, those two were close." The man let out a tired sigh at the thought of losing someone he had known for a while. "So, what exactly is it you plan to do?"
"You still planning on making a move towards the speakers? Even with large hordes of those things roaming around the area?" Dave said as he came back in with his brothers from closing up the barricade.
"Yep the same plan, I'll head over to the mayor's office and use its speakers system on the third floor to tell everyone to get out of town while attracting all the creatures my way at the same time."
"Are you sure young man? It seems like a big risk, you can't be sure that the speakers will even work." Thomas put in his thoughts on the idea.
"If it doesn't work then I'll just find something to make as much noise as possible. When you guys hear it, wait a few minutes before heading out of town. That will give the creatures outside time to head away from here and clear things up for everyone." Joshua said as he started to stand back up and stretch a bit.
"Won't that bring all the attention to you though?" Nathan said with a frown.
"That's the plan. I'll get away via the roof and quickly make my way out of town afterwards." The group stared at him worriedly at his response, but he knew this would be the best way to go about things without risking all of their lives.
"I'll go with you." A quiet voice broke the silence as everyone turned to see the hoodie girl looking towards him waiting for his response.
"What should I call you?" Joshua asked while reaching his hand out for another handshake.
"Laura now when are we going?" She stubbornly tried to stick to her claim while ignoring his hand.
"I'll be going in a few minutes, but you will be helping the others. You might be able to handle yourself fine against one or two of those things hot stuff, but the center of town is probably even worse than the little hoard we had here earlier." When Joshua called her hot stuff she gave him a glare that he'd only seen whenever he ate his little sister's ice cream. He gave her a small shrug to signal he wouldn't bring what he had seen earlier up before she decided to pull him aside for some one on one conversation.
"Are you sure?" She asked after calming down after avoiding the subject with the others.
"I'm sure. You guys might have to help other people along the way so you'll need all the help you can get. Make sure to watch your back and stay away from broken windows. Now rest up I'll be heading out first." Joshua said before smiling towards her, giving Nathan a pat on the shoulder and heading towards the stairs that lead to the roof.