There were eleven people camping at that site, and after the stray bullet they split up. Once they had stabilized Lisa and stopped the bleeding, three of them went for help. They were afraid to move her with an injury so close to her spinal cord, so Vince and two other women stayed with her. Four others armed themselves and set off into the woods in search of the thief.
When Lisa had finally fallen asleep, they let her rest. Vince was the cook, and it was time to eat. He stayed close to the camp but made laps around it collecting wood for the fire. The two women had gone down to the bank for water and to quickly wash up.
When Vince walked back towards the center of camp, he dropped his bundle of wood at the sight of his tent shaking violently.
When he reached the tent, he could see some kid inside on top of his wife. He wore a backwards cap, and appeared to have a tent stake through his chest. He was face first in her guts, her intestines wrapped around his hands like loose rope. Blood filled the tent.
Vince yelled and yanked the boy off his wife, pulling a trail of her insides out with him. She was surely dead, and as Vince hauled his arm back to punch the kid, he saw that he had been feeding on his wife. The surprise of this slowed his assault, allowing the kid to grab the swinging arm, which he immediately closed his mouth around.
Vince clubbed the kid over and over with his free hand as the zombie continued to tear flesh up the length of his arm, until Vince was overwhelmed and taken down.
Tony was tearing at Vince's chest, trying to get to his heart when he heard the distinct sound of a woman's gasp. He looked up at the two women, one carrying a bucket of water. Blood poured from his mouth, down his face and the front of his shirt.
He groaned in their direction, and because shock had hesitated their retreat, he was on them in seconds.
The camp was not far now. Jesse was starting to recognize the area and took pride in his sense of direction as he neared his goal.
A smell caught his attention, something awful between the smell of shit and a dead animal. Whatever it was seemed to be just off the path, and he could hear flies buzzing. Curiosity bested him, and he stepped off course to investigate.
It was Scott. His head was almost completely removed, and his face bore a rather annoyed look. He turned his head to curb the vomit. Wrapping a bandanna around his mouth and nose, he moved in to check for a pulse, despite knowing from first sight that Scott was no more.
Somehow he knew Tony had done this.
Lucas had grown extremely impatient, and was pacing around the perimeter of the camp. He heard activity nearby, and dropped behind a tree with the knife in one hand and a readied flare in the other. He was just about to lurch and stab when he realized it was Jesse.
"'Bout time." Lucas said with a wink.
"Fuck you, man. You left me their to rot. They were fucking shooting at me."
Lucas laughed. He had felt a bit of guilt for leaving Jesse behind, but was not about to show it. "Tony is out of control. He killed Scott. I have no clue where the fuck Mark is."
"Long gone if he is smart. I saw Scott back there. We need to wrap him up and get the fuck out of here, I think I shot someone."
"We shot lots of people, fuck it. And I ain't touching that kid. If you lift him up his head will come off."
"No, asshole, I mean I shot a fucking person, sort of. I snagged this rifle from that camp, even got some ammo. Some bastard almost caught me and for a minute I dropped the gun. It went off and shot into a tent, I think it hit someone."
"Fuck. Did they die?"
"I have no idea," Jesse said shaking his head. "Like I said, I am not positive that anyone was even hurt, but I think so. Either way, everyone from that campground is probably not far behind me, and we need to get the fuck out of here."
Lucas was excited. Scared, sure, but mostly excited. There was a lot of action going on, and he wanted a real gun too.
They were scouring the campsite for anything that might identify them when they heard a series of gunshots ring through the air. They were not close enough to be firing at Lucas and Jesse, but somebody, somewhere, was shooting at something.
Tony was shot countless times. The bullets slowed him, but he would not stop. Even at close range the shots were ineffective, but by the time a shooter realized it, it was too late. When Tony was gorging on the flesh of the first shooter he reached, the others lined up shots to empty their rounds into him, but something stopped them.
Out of the corner of their eyes, they saw Lisa get up. She stood, walking towards them much the same as Tony did. Her guts were hanging out, dragging behind her like a fishing net along the ground!
By the time Vince rose, the campers were all out of ammunition.
Jesse and Lucas considered the possible warrants for shots fired. It was their best guess that whoever was looking for them had run into Tony, and maybe they had dropped him. There were a lot of shots, consistently, for quite a few minutes. Then, nothing.
They had to go through everybody's shit, searching through Tony, Scott and Mark's clothes for any identification. Scott had his wallet in another pair of shorts he had left in the tent.
"Lucas, we have to go back to Scott."
Lucas wasn't hearing this. "Fuck that, just burn the shit, let's roll."
Jesse was too paranoid to just dispose of this evidence. Surely, with Scott laying decapitated in the woods, neither Lucas or Jesse should be caught with his stuff. Burning it was an option, but Jesse had watched too many detective shows to be comfortable with that. "This wallet has his ID, a debit card and a fishing license in it. Nevermind the inscription of his father's name on the wallet. We need to stash it on his person, or at least nearby."
"Let me hold the gun." Goddamn Lucas wanted a gun.
"You ain't holdin' shit. You failed miserably at trust, leavin' me back there. Just keep your fucking shit together and lets go."
When they reached Scott, there was almost nothing left of him. The body had been almost completely stripped of meat. There was not much more than a pile of stinking red bones, like the kind you might throw to a dog. He lay upon his torn, blood-soaked clothes.
Lucas covered his mouth and nose. "Jesus fuck! Did Tony do this?"
Jesse doubted it. "That's a lot of meat for one... well... whatever the fuck he is."
Jesse couldn't help but laugh when it was said out loud. Zombie. You've got to be fucking kidding.
When he said the word, a small light came on in Lucas' head, albeit dim. "There's more. That's how this works! They kill you and you rise from the dead as well."
"Maybe. Didn't work for ol' Scott here."
"His head is off. That's how you stop them."
Jesse considered this for a minute, and concluded that Lucas was probably right. If Scott had risen from the dead, his mangled throat would not hold the head on. It would snap the small bit of flesh that held it together and drop to the ground.
Jesse tossed the wallet next to the corpse and stomped it into the bloody soil. "So lets get the fuck out of here then."
He pulled the rifle from his back and pointed it low, emptying its single shot into Scott's skull.
Lucas jumped at the sound of the shot, despite seeing it coming. He was used to guns powered by air, and hadn't expected such a loud blast. He wasn't the only one to hear it.
Not far, Tony and his new friends were alerted by the gunshot and changed direction. Nine putrid, mangled, animated corpses all did an about face and headed towards its source.
Zombies are not particularly stealthy. The only advantage towards silence they have is that they are rather slow, increasing time between sounds. If you were sitting on a picnic blanket, enjoying your wine and cheese, scribbling away at a crossword, you might not hear them coming. Zombie footsteps draw little more attention than those of a turtle.
Jesse was extra aware, however. He knew of the possibility that the killers might still be near. When he fired the shot he immediately reloaded and focused all his sense on listening.
"Take cover," he whispered to Lucas.
When the two of them were behind the tree, they got first sight of the undead menace. But it wasn't just Tony, as he suspected. There were nine of them all together.
Tony strutted in the way a puppet being controlled by a monkey might. He was out in front, the stake still visible, though he was full of bullet holes. In some places you could see right through him.
He was accompanied by eight people. There was a woman who had been torn to shreds in the midsection. She trailed her innards behind her, collecting sticks and dirt and attracting a small pack of rats which stayed close behind her trying to nibble at her fleshy cords when they could.
When Jesse spotted the familiar face of the man he had stolen the rifle from, he knew these were the campers, and Tony had turned them all to his side.
Lucas was beginning to lose his cool. The excitement wasn't as strong as his desire to have a gun. Then, he could shoot these fuckers right now, and be a hero. After this thought, he wondered why Jesse wasn't shooting. Before he could say anything, Jesse performed a rolling maneuver and placed his back against the tree he was using. Lucas chuckled, amused by the silliness of Jesse's tactic.
Jesse whispered, "I can't take them all out with this single fire. They had more guns back at that camp, we need to get there."
"Now you're fuckin' talkin'! Let's get me some guns!"
"Wait for my signal... wait... are they leaving?"
They were. The pack had turned around again. Upon smelling poor, used-up Scott, they were unable to notice anything else. Either that, or something stronger was drawing them in the other direction. They disappeared into the trees, leaving the little rat family to pick at Scott's remains.
Lucas was itching to go fetch some artillary, Jesse could feel his anxiousness.
"We could run for it now, get to the car," Jesse suggested.
"What!? Are you fucking for real? Dude, when are you ever going to have another chance to shoot up some fucking zombies?"
"Just checking. Quiet a minute. "
Jesse listened, trying to determine where they might be headed. They could be after anything, he had seen Tony craving a moose. Then it hit him.
Lucas was just short of running back to the campground the hunters had been at. "What, fuck?"
"That goddamn festival..."
END PART ONE