Natalie raced into view of the farm where she could make out all of the defenses set along the fence and the two people keeping watch in the wooden towers they had built. She was relieved to see that she had made it back in time to spare sense she couldn't hear any zombies screaming in the distance. The two guards noticed her approach and waived to her before one of them came down to open the gate.
"You're back early today huh? Where's Joshua and Laura?" The guy asked with a look of confusion on his face.
"They're busy... dealing with a huge problem... we have coming our way." Natalie managed to speak out as her breathing was still rather ragged from the long run. "We need to get everyone together and prepare to defend the base."
"What's going on?" Natalie noticed Dave coming from around the gate entrance after having heard a bit of the conversation. Soon she could also see Thomas running over from the distance from another patrol post.
"We've got a hoard of zombies headed this way. Those three delinquents managed to sneak out and get themselves into trouble. We saw them running away from at least five hundred or so zombies and they were headed in this direction." Natalie said causing the others all to turn pale at the news.
"Then where is Joshua? We could use him at a time like this." Dave said as he waived the other guy that had been there listening off. Natalie noticed it was the signal to tell others to gather and sighed in relief that Dave was around to believe her.
"He had Laura hang back to set up a trap while he lured over half the zombies away, so we should have around two hundred zombies knocking on our door step in about ten minutes if Jacob ends up making it all the way back here." Natalie said as they both entered the gate and closed it behind them. Thomas approached the two with a worried expression, but Natalie ignored him before looking back towards Dave. "You guys get ready and fill everyone in on what's going on. I have something to check up on before this all starts."
"Alright, I'll get everyone together. You're the best archer here so you'll definitely be up on one of the towers to get in some good shots." Dave said before heading off to give the perimeter a final check while letting those on watch duty know what was happening. Natalie on the other hand rushed off towards the mansion leaving Thomas alone staring at her back as she left. When she got inside the mansion people were already on the move and gearing up to prepare to defend the base. Natalie smiled at the fact that they were already so quick and knew it was probably from the habits Joshua had been drilling into people over the past couple of weeks.
After finding her way to the basement she rushed down the stairs and turned on the light in the room. It wasn't too hard to find Nathan as there were only a few lockers in the room and his muffled screams could be heard the second she entered. Natalie rushed over to the locker and unlocked it letting a squirming Nathan fall out on to the floor. His arms were tied behind his back and his mouth was covered in tape, but she almost broke out in laughter at the comical look he gave her. It was as if his eyes were asking her why she had let him fall out like that. His body was still covered in sweat and he looked even sicker than when they had left. Of course the bruises all over his body may have something to do with that.
"All right quit squirming around." Natalie said as she leaned down to untie him and uncover his mouth. "Now that you're safe you need to head back to your room and get some rest. After everything's blown over I'll come and help patch up your bruises."
"I want to help as well…" Nathan started to say, but broke out into a coughing fit half way through.
"Not until after you start feeling better. The last thing people need to see right now is you passing out near a hoard of zombies trying to break through the fence line." Natalie said as she helped him to his feet and up the stairs out of the basement.
"I just don't want to feel like…like I'm not doing anything." Nathan said as he sadly looked down at his feet.
Natalie noticed his attitude and lifted his face up by the chin so his eyes were forced to look towards her. "Now I'll have none of that moping. You are a part of the team and I'm sure Joshua has probably already tried to drill this into that big brain of yours. If you went out there and got hurt then not only would that bring us down, but what would your mother and sister think if we all came back without you." Her voice came out calm but assertive causing Nathan to take in her words. "Right now all you need to do is get healthy so you can help us out in the long run. This is just the first of many times will be encountering dangerous situations and you're going to help us figure out how to deal with them in the future."
"Alright fine, I understand." Nathan said with a small smile before having another coughing fit.
Natalie brought him to his room and helped him get back in bed before covering him in the bed sheets like any good mother would. She headed towards the door, but stopped for a moment to tell Nathan one last thing. "I'll check up on you after we've stopped the zombies, but if they breakthrough the defenses I'll send you a warning through the mental link. For now just get some sleep." She got a small nod in reply before heading out the door.
She quickly exited the mansion after grabbing an extra quiver of arrows. When she arrived on the scene everyone was already outside with a good twenty people holding bows while the rest had long wooden spears to poke through the bars in the gate or some of the holes along the fence. Joshua had explained that having space to poke through the fence would be important in situations like this so they had already made positions along the fence for poking through. All the men with bows stood a good thirty or so feet away from the fence where they would shoot up and over at an angle to where the arrows would rain down on the ditch line outside.
When she turned to look at the two towers one had both Dillon and Devin standing on it at the ready to fire down on any zombies that made it past the first line of defense. The other had Thomas standing waiting on his own for the engagement. Natalie was annoyed at the fact that she would have to fight while being next to him, but knew he was one of the best hunters in the group and was probably the next best with a bow besides her available. She sucked in her frustrations and headed over to climb up into her position and await the mob that would be coming soon.
As she got onto the wooden tower and took her place beside Thomas she set her extra quiver of arrows down on the side next to what looked like some bottles of alcohol with towels stuck into the top. For a moment things were quiet as she inspected her equipment and awaited the upcoming battle, but soon Thomas interrupted the silence. "I'm sorry for not telling you about what happened with Madalyn." He said before pausing for a response. When none came he continued. "At the time I was the new head in the police department and was afraid of losing my job if I got involved. I know it was wrong of me, but after working for so long to get a good position, even in a small town like this...I just couldn't bring myself to take the risk."
Natalie took in a deep breath before staring at the man for a moment. The long stare clearly caused him to become uncomfortable which was exactly what she wanted. "I'm not the one you need to apologize to. I'm not the one all of you need to apologize to. She's out there on her own in this dangerous environment fending for herself while all of you are here protected behind this fence." Natalie said as she turned her head back to looking out at the forest and road. "For now just focus on what's happening right now. This isn't the time or place for this conversation."
"That's fine. When I see her again I'll apologize for everything, even if she needs to punch my lights out to let off some steam." Thomas said with a sad smile that made him look ten years older than he was. For the next few minutes things became quiet once again as everyone settled into position waiting for what was coming. Soon sounds of wailing could be heard in the distance coming from the forest to the side of them. Not long after a terrified scream came from that direction that grabbed everyone's attention. The screaming went on for a few moments as the pained wailing made everyone grow tense.
That's when Dave came running over from the sideline of the fence with an angered look on his face. He ran towards the gate to open it for a split moment as two men followed him out and placed two wooden poles outside in front of the gate alongside the ditches. The wooden post were connected by extremely thick barbed wire that could stop most things from running through it. Dave quickly helped the two farmers knock the two post deep into the ground that had already been prepared for them. Then they nailed it together into its wood holsters that were already nailed to the ground ahead of time.
While they were doing this Natalie could see Jacob come bursting out of the forest making a b-line for the gate with a desperate and scared silly look on his face. By the time he reached the gate Dave and the two farmers had already made it back inside and had pulled the shell shocked teenager inside with them before locking the gate back up. Now all the defenses were in place and all they had to do was wait for the nearby screeching hoard to run head first into them.
"Why the hell would you lead them back here you idiot!" One of the farmers that had been outside the gate with Dave yelled at Jacob in anger.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I just didn't know what to do. I lost them. I lost my two best friends." Jacob wailed while covering his face. His actions grabbed the attention of everybody nearby, but his wailing was soon met with a harsh fist to the face as Dave stared down at the young man's now knocked out body. Dave had an expression of pure hatred on his face as he kicked the boy furiously before spitting on his face. It took two of the farmers restraining him to keep him from beating the boy within an inch of his life.
The commotion only lasted for a moment as the wailing of the zombies grew louder as everyone once again turned their attention to the other side of the fence. As the hoard of zombies finally came into view. Many of the zombies were tripping over the traps that were placed in the forest causing the noisemakers to blare allowed. The traps slowed them down, but not for very long as they burst out onto the road and started rushing towards the fence. By the time they had made it onto the road the full number of them could be seen as around two hundreds zombies were making a mad dash in their direction.
When they got close Natalie positioned her arrow at the ready to fire but held off until Dave gave the sign to start. Although he was still angry at Jacob for some reason she didn't know of outside of leading the zombies here, Dave was able to regain his composure and had everyone awaiting his signal. When the zombies had made it to the ditch line and were getting stuck in the mud and barbed wire that's when Joshua made the signal. He had a clear view from the gate and watched as some of the zombies had gotten caught up in the barbed wire trap that he had just placed ahead of the gate. That's when he signaled everyone to fire.
In that moment a hail of twenty or so arrows were shot up into the sky and came pouring down overhead of Natalie on the tower. The arrows landed heavily in the ditches injuring or killing many of the zombies that were trying to crawl their way out. Then everyone line up their next arrows and fired again just a little further hitting more of the zombies that were just about to make their way into the ditch line. They kept doing this in a back in fourth pattern to kill as many zombies as efficiently as possible. This was a strategy that Joshua and Nathan had come up with that was easy for novices at archery to do sense they wouldn't have to aim very much and only had to basically lob the arrows up into the air at two different angles back and forth.
Natalie was surprised at how well it was working as even if some of the arrows missed most of them had either injured a zombie sending it careening back into the ditch or had out right killed a zombie if it fail on top of its head. Although it was working well every once in a while a few of zombies were able to crawl their way out of the ditch and head for the fences. That's when Natalie and the others on the towers came into the picture as they calmly sniped as many of the zombies as they could before they got to the fence line. The few that were able to make it through that barrage made their way towards the gate sense they could see people on the other side. These zombies where easily dispatched with pokes from spears safely behind said gate.
This scene went on for a moment until the ditches in front started to fill up. That's when Thomas and Dillon from the towers both lit up a towel stuffed into the alcohol bottles before tossing them down into the ditches. The fire caught on quickly sense gasoline had already been poured into the ditches ahead of time. The screams of the burning zombies were horrifying as the fire started spreading throughout the hoard of zombies. Thanks to the design of the ditches and the grass in front of the fence line being removed the fire quickly spread in the direction of the road instead of towards the fence. This quickly caught even more of the zombies on fire that were trying to approach the ditches.
This patterned continued for twenty minutes as they slowly but efficiently killed off all the zombies. Every now and then Natalie would see a stray slowpoke zombie pop out of the forest, but she or one of the other archers up on the towers would kill them from afar until the area grew quiet. The group remained silent as they waited for more zombies to appear, but the wailing had come to a stop and the wind blowing was all that could be heard. That's when everyone burst out in cheers at their first successful fight against the zombies came to a close. Even the serious and quick to anger Dave couldn't hold back a smile. The scene was something Natalie could be proud of.