“Katie, are you okay?” he asked worriedly as Katie pushed past him.
“We’re fine,” Jenni answered as she reappeared next to Katie and dragged the blond into the elevator.
The reverend’s eyes grew wide just as the elevator doors shut cutting Katie off from his view.
Katie whirled around and tried to punch Jenni in the arm, but her hand went through her. “What is going on?”
“Oh, Curtis is the freaking Vigilante and about to kill Travis,’ Jenni answered. Frowning, she kept trying to touch Katie and failing.
“Oh, God!” Katie felt her chest tighten and she gripped Jenni’s wrist tightly.
“Jenni, you have to help me save him! I can’t lose him, too!”
“I know! That is why I’m here,” Jenni poked Katie’s forehead with one finger. She smiled as she managed to touch Katie.
“Okay, okay. They’re on the wall where Curtis was going to meet you.
Curtis was originally going to toss you over the wall as a punishment to Travis. Curtis is way sick in the head.”
“Oh, God. He killed the other people. Curtis killed the other people!”
Jenni nodded. “Oh, yeah. He’s twisted. He would have killed more, too, but me and the other ghosts worked hard to try to stop him.”
“Lydia, Ralph, and some others.” Jenni bounced on her heels as she waited for the elevator to hit the ground floor.
Katie blinked, not sure what to say, and looked toward the doors. She had to save Travis. To lose him would be too much to bear.
The doors slid open onto an empty lobby. Grabbing Katie’s hand, Jenni pulled her from the elevator and across the lobby. Katie ran as fast as she could, desperation clouding her senses. Raw fear gripped her and she ran with her ghostly friend in a mad dash to save her husband.
* * * * * Travis ducked under the first swipe of the knife and slammed into Curtis with his shoulder, knocking the attacker back. Curtis hit the catwalk on his back, the knife clutched tightly in his hand. He scrambled to get up.
Kicking at the younger man, Travis tried aimed for the wrist of the hand holding with the knife. Instead he hit Curtis’ arm, enabling Curtis to grab onto Travis’ leg with his other hand. Trying to keep his balance, Travis grabbed onto the rail next to him as the hungry moans of the zombie grew louder.
Getting some leverage, Curtis managed to get to his knees and drew the knife back to stab Travis.
With a grunt, Travis managed to twist away and staggered back a few feet as the knife cut through empty air.
“Curtis, think this over,” Travis said in a firm voice. “You can’t do this.”
“Oh, cause you’re so damn important?” Curtis laughed and began to close the gap between them.
Travis took another step back to find himself in the dead end. Sliding into a defensive posture, he readied himself for Curtis’ attack.
Curtis drew back his hand and brought the knife down toward Travis.
With a quick swipe of his arm, Travis defected Curtis’ attack and shoved him back hard with both hands. Shocked, the younger man took several steps back.
“I’ve got a wife and a kid. I’m not going over this wall,” Travis said firmly.
Below, the zombie watched them, moaning hungrily, its hands reaching up.
“Yes, you are,” Curtis hissed through clenched teeth, then attacked again.
Again, Travis deflected the attack, shoving the younger man back, but Curtis grabbed onto his t-shirt and dragged Travis with him. Struggling with each other, off balance, and both desperate, they fell against the railing over the grasping hands of the zombie far below.
Managing to plant his elbow in Travis’ throat, Curtis raised the knife over his head. “It’s better for the fort this way,” Curtis hissed.
Katie slammed into Curtis full force, knocking him and Travis off their feet.
Travis had a moment of complete vertigo before he managed to grab the rail as his feet swung over his head and he toppled over the wall. His shoulder popped painfully as the full weight of his body jerked his arm and he almost lost his grip on the rail. Groaning, he reached up to grab the rail with his other hand. He could hear Curtis and Katie wrestling above him and the zombie moaning below.
“Katie, don’t fight him! Get help,” he called out to his wife.
Curtis appeared over him again.
“That’s not going to happen,” Curtis hissed.
The knife glittered as he brought it down to stab Travis’ hand.
Instinctively, Travis tried to jerk away, but only managed to lose his grip with his second hand. The blade sliced easily into the back of his hand and he cried out as he lost his grip and fell.
Despite the sheer terror of the moment, he remembered to tuck his body and roll as he hit the ground. The impact was jarring and he immediately tasted blood as he bit the inside of his mouth.
The moan of the zombie was near and he panicked as he struggled to his feet and tried to catch is breath. He sensed more than felt the creature. He struck out with one foot, catching the beast square in its torso and sending it falling to the ground.
Bracing himself against the wall, he looked around desperately for a weapon. To his relief he saw the knife glittering nearby. He moved swiftly to kick the zombie over as it tried to scramble to its feet. Travis darted to snatch up the knife.
Above him, he could hear the struggle. He looked up to see Katie gazing down at him as Curtis grabbed her from behind.
“Katie, just run! Get help!” Forcing himself to look away from the top of the wall where his wife grappled with Curtis, he reached for the knife.
The low, hungry growl of the zombie made him spin around and he was surprised to see the creature so close. Its gnarled, gray hand reached out to grab him as its teeth snapped together. Circling around it quickly, Travis thanked God for its slowness. He shoved it over as hard as he could. It landed face down and began to claw at the ground. He gave wide berth to the zombie and snatched up the knife.
He fought the urge to look up and see how Katie was doing. He had to kill the zombie before he could even begin to figure out how to get back into the fort and help Katie. The thing was trying to get to its knees and he moved around it and kicked its hip as hard as he could, knocking it over.
Disoriented, the thing writhed on the ground, then its dead eyes found him and it began to try to rise.
A scream from Katie made him look up and the creature grabbed his foot far faster than he would have expected. Its strength startled him and he found himself losing his balance and falling.
Concentrate, dammit, he thought to himself.
Shifting his body weight so he had leverage, he kicked the thing as hard as he could in the face with his boot heel. Its head bobbed back, but immediately, the thing reached for his foot, trying to grip it again. Kicking it again as hard as he could while shoving himself backward, he managed to get to his feet and away from the creature.
It began to try to rise and he rushed forward and planted his foot squarely on its brittle neck. He could feel it give way under his weight as he brought his left hand downward, the knife glittering, and rammed it into the creature’s eye socket. He felt the mush inside give way as the thing continued to grab him. Its teeth champed just inches away from his hand as he leaned all his weight into the knife and felt the knife push further in.
Working the knife back and forth, he finally felt the creature go limp.
Another scream made him look up. Katie dangled from the railing, her blond hair obscuring her face. Curtis was struggling with her, trying to pry her grip lose from the bar.
“Curtis, stop,” Travis shouted angrily, rushing forward, but standing helplessly under his wife. He could see her legs kicking as she tried to get leverage, but she was dangling precariously.
Then it occurred to him that she might be safer with him than up there.
“Katie, drop,” he ordered, preparing to catch her.
Low moans from behind him, made his scalp crawl. Slowly, he turned. At least a dozen zombies were lumbering into the mouth of the alley.
“Don’t drop, Katie!” His voice was harsh and full of fear.
Looking up, he saw her look down toward him, then toward the zombies.
* * * * * Katie struck Curtis as hard as she could as Travis fell from view. Terror unfurled within her as she heard the low moan of the zombie below.
Hissing with anger, she grabbed Curtis’ shirt and tried to knee him.
Stunned by her abrupt movement, he staggered back, but then he seized hold of her with shocking strength. His fingers dug fiercely into her wrists as she tried to draw back from him. Though her haze of fear, she could hear Travis calling out to her. She managed to look down and see him deflect the zombie’s attack below.
Curtis whirled her around and shoved her hard against the rail. It was then she regained her senses enough to fight back. Twisting her wrists inward and down as she tucked her fists in, she broke his hold and shocked him. Shoving him hard with both hands, she saw him stagger back. Quickly she turned to see if Travis was okay. Below, her husband was shouting at her, but she barely heard him over the harsh beating of her own heart. Looking around, she tried to see what she could lower to him to pull him up.