Jesse edged his way around the perimeter of the campsite until he reached the bank where the leantos sat in a row. He crept past the first one which emitted a snore. The second and third set-ups were also in-use, though the residents seemed to be out with the others looking for he and Lucas. When he slowly pushed open the curtain door to the fourth one, he found it empty and climbed in.
It was far too dark for him to try and make it back to his friends that night. He searched himself for any kind of light, but his flashlight attachment was still on his M16. He decided to rest inside the leanto until the first crack of sunlight. He sat in the dark at the rear of his hideout, his assault rifle pointed at the curtain-door. While it would never match any kind of actual firearm, the fully automatic spray would surprise enough to give him an opportunity to run, he hoped. He would aim for the eyes if that curtain opened, and hopefully blind any would-be assailants before they got a shot off.
When the excitement finally settled and he was sure the search for him had been given up on, Jesse relaxed his pose only slightly, and dozed off.
Tony came to with his face in the dirt. He was completely unable to process a thought. He had no clue who he was, where he was, or even what he was. The only thing his brain told him was that he was hungry. Hungry for flesh, he drooled as the scent of his friend filled his nostrils. Any bit of Tony that was left in that body was destroyed by the stake. He grabbed Scott's leg.
"FUCK!" Scott shouted as he felt the hand wrap around his ankle.
He tried to push himself backwards and pull his leg free, whipping his head back and forth scanning the area for some kind of weapon. He knew now this was no vampire. The stake still protruded from Tony's back, yet there was life in him yet. Or un-life. Undeath. His friend was not a demon of the night after all, but a mindless zombie.
Scott knew how to deal with a zombie as well. He had to destroy the brain or sever the head. There was a knife somewhere, but with Tony reeling him in by his leg, Scott was too panicked to remember where.
He kicked hard with his other leg, catching Tony in the face. Scott repeatedly kicked at him trying to loosen the grip on his leg, until Tony's jaw was clearly loosened. One last heel to the face dislodged the jaw, and the skin tore, leaving it hanging by only one side. Tony let out a gurgle and Scott was able to get his leg free.
He stood quickly, grabbing a rock from around the fire on his way up. Tony rose as well, however not so quickly. Scott raised the rock over his head, ready to strike, as his friend once again started towards him. Tony reached both hands out and started towards Scott, jaw still dangling by a thread of flesh. He gurgled out some kind of moan. Scott checked his footing and prepared to bring the rock down to his friend's skull, with every intention of destroying it.
"Die you fucking piece of shit!"
The strength was there. The rock came down with force enough to smash nearly anything, but his aim was off. The stone grazed Tony's head, stripping free a chunk of hair and skin. While a scalping would never be enough to stop the monster, it did knock it off balance and Scott took the opportunity to haul-ass into the woods.
No sooner than he had escaped the light of the campfire, the darkness got the best of him. Scott tripped over something and fell forward hard. His knee hit something. Scott felt the dislocation of his kneecap. He felt the bones around it fracture. He screamed, the wind in the trees carrying his yell through the forest.
The zombie was not far behind. Scott pulled himself up and tried to hop on his one leg, but when he brought down his bad leg by accident, the pain fell him again. He could hear Tony moving through the brush towards him. He had a feeling Tony could see in this dark, or just didn't need to. He pulled himself into a brushy area with his arms, and hoped his friend would pass him by.
The commotion of his pursuer quieted. Scott listened for the moaning or footsteps, but there was nothing. Just his own heart beating rapidly in his chest, and the occasional sound of himself sucking air through his clenched teeth, doing everything in his mind to thwart the pain.
When Tony found him, there was no time to react. The zombie was done fucking around, and fell on Scott, its teeth to his neck.
Scott could feel his flesh being chewed, he tried to push Tony off but without the strength of his legs he was unable. This was it. The end was near for Scott. Vampire Slayer just minutes ago, now he was zombie food.
"Tony," he forced out, weakly. "You fucking suck, man."
Tony chewed through the neck, nearly severing the head, before whatever attention span a zombie might have was disturbed. Someone was yelling at him, and small pellets were bouncing of his body at a great speed. He was being fired upon, but the only reaction his mind would provide was 'more flesh'.
Tony let out a call of the undead, and started towards his assailant.
Mark broke free of the woods and fell onto a tent. He heard people around him startled, and one of them came to help. She lifted him off the tent and helped him over to a chair. He was exhausted from his walk, dizzy from the fading of his buzz, and thirsty as all hell, but he chuckled to himself as he realized he was already in the arms of some girl.
"Are you ok?" She asked. "Hubble, get this kid some water."
Hubble stood up, letting his djembe hit the floor. He pulled a canteen from somewhere under his patchwork shorts, and brought it to the girl.
Mark didn't hesitate a bit, he chugged back the whole canteen and let out a breath of satisfaction as if filled with a gourmet meal. He looked at the people around him, and as the dizziness faded, he heard the music again. The girl was beautiful, like nothing Mark had ever seen. She was tiny, blonde, and just perfect. She wore a gray skirt with an out of control flower print and a wife beater. For a moment, Mark had been stricken by love at first sight. This ended when she helped him to his feet and he noticed brown bushels of hair under her arms.
This caught him by such surprise his reaction was out loud, "Gross."
Hubble spoke. "Where the fuck did you come from, dude? There were still tickets left."
Tickets. Music. Hippies. Mark was at the festival, and the sooner he could convince himself that these were not the dirty, horrible hippies he perceived them as, the sooner he could get on with partying. There had to be a cleanly shaven chick around here somewhere.
They chatted a while, Mark explained to them why he had decided to wander off into the night, and had hoped to end up right where he was. They smoked a joint, passing around a jug full of some homemade liquor. After hearing the story, one of the kids had recognized him.
"Yo you were in that car with the dead kid... we sold you some shit earlier today."
Dead kid. Those two words rang through his mind momentarily as he remembered Tony and his inhuman snore. He was really glad not to be at that campsite anymore.
Lucas did not let up. He emptied a clip into Tony, dropped it and popped in another, spraying his friend with BBs. As Tony started towards him, he yelled to Scott. There was no reply.
Thanks to the night-vision goggles, Lucas was able to see in various shades of green around him. He used his air rifle to lure Tony towards him. When Tony was far enough from Scott, but still far enough from Lucas as well, he backed up behind a tree and slowly crept around the trees towards his injured buddy.
Tony stopped walking forward shortly after Lucas stopped firing. To avoid giving away his position, Lucas pulled a grenade from his vest. He pulled a string on the grenade and lobbed it over Tony's head to the opposite side. Seconds later it popped, its explosion mild and totally unimpressive. It launched BBs in all directions, and Tony turned towards the "blast" and started walking again.
Lucas, as quietly as he could keep himself, made his way over to Scott. It was far too late for him to save his friend. When he put an arm under Scott and tried to lift him, the head stayed on the ground. While not completely detached, it was hanging only by his spinal cord. Lucas let go of Scott and turned his head, suppressing his disgust. He turned back to Tony as he heard the sound of his steps change direction, fired upon him once again, aiming only for his face.
Tony was not slowed by the shots. The weapon was completely ineffective aside from getting his attention. Lucas ducked back into the dark behind a tree, and scanned the monochromatic scene for the campsite. He found it on the other side of Tony. He had one last grenade, and he dropped it at his feet and jumped behind another tree just before it went off.
Confident that this would keep Tony moving in that direction for a moment, Lucas abandoned his stealth and ran for the tents.
The first thing he did was put out the fire. He didn't need the light, and extinguished it in hopes that Tony did.
Lucas rummaged his tent, retrieving a bowie knife and a fanny pack that had some flares in it. There was no doubt that these things would not stop Tony, but his plan had been to defend the camp until Jesse made it back. The thought of Jesse made him wonder where Mark was, and he assumed he was laying somewhere in the forest around the camp, just as dead as Scott.
It was quiet. Tony did not seem to be in pursuit anymore. Lucas imagined him feeding on Scott instead of chasing live prey, and decided to use this time to fortify his defenses. He broke beer bottles around the perimeter, leaving shards of broken glass for his attacker to walk through. He set up various traps with rocks and sticks, tying rope between them as make-shift tripwires.
After acting on every idea he had, he felt satisfied that while none of this shit would stop Tony, it would keep him slowed. Jesse would know what to do, he was a born soldier. Lucas sat with his back to a tree, his rifle raised, and waited for what seemed like forever.