Children's Crusade
Chapter 25

Copyright© 2011 by carioca

Chuck turned over, away from the window, and tried to ignore the moans outside. Bobbi-Jo slept peacefully, her arms round the kid like he was a teddy bear. He didn't know how they managed it, not them or the kids in the other room. They'd just accepted it, like it didn't make any real difference to their lives. One day the most important thing in the world was the ball game, and the next, well, he couldn't say what it was. Every decision was important now. He wished they'd gone back to the school, at least there he could have pretended everything would get back to normal.

He'd had to go with the others, and not just because he was scared to go back alone. There was Bobbi-Jo ... He had to stay with her, just had to. It wasn't just that she was hot, he really liked her. Just being around her made him feel good. She had never put out, not even now, with the world falling apart around them. He kept trying though. He could tell that she wanted to from the way she kidded him. So here he was, sharing a bed with her for the first time, and they had all their clothes on and a kid asleep between them. He reached out and ran his fingers through her hair. The sheets had fallen from the window, and the moonlight streaming in turned her blond hair silver and her skin pale white. She looked like an angel, peaceful, calm, like nothing in the world could touch her. The kid too, he had the same expression, trusting and secure. He moved closer and put his arms around them, trying to feel the same.

He could get used to the position. Somehow, holding her, holding them, it made the end of the world not so important. If he could stay with her, take care of her, that might just make up for everything else.

Finally, he drifted off to sleep.

A wet gurgling scream woke him. He opened his eyes to a room filled with pre-dawn light. Shouts and screams echoed in the other room. Beside him, Bobbi-Jo jerked awake and stared at the door dazedly. After a long moment, she reached for the pistol on the nightstand beside her. Prompted, he grabbed the long barreled .357, it was just like the ones in those old shows his dad liked to watch. Imitating the movie hero, he cocked the weapon and leveled it at the doorway. One of the kids ran in and dived under the bed. A loud pop sounded in the other room, followed by a spine tingling moan of primal hunger. One of the kids backed into the door jamb and fumbled to reload the little rifle in his hands.

Bobbi-Jo leaped up, grabbed the kid and jerked him back. He fell on the floor beside the bed. She raised the pistol one handed and fired, then a bloody hand grabbed her arm. She jerked away, but tripped over the kid on the floor, falling on her back. Tony, the kid who'd been sick, lunged for her. She kicked him and he fell on top of her, fingers clawing for her face, teeth straining to reach her throat. She held his neck with both hands keeping him at arms length.

Chuck snapped off a shot, but it went wild. He didn't even see where it hit, there was no burst of sparks or explosion of dust like on TV. He tried again with no visible result, then in desperation jumped over the bed, shoved the barrel against the side of the kid's head and jerked the trigger. Blood exploded across the room, just like in a video game. If it had been for anyone but Bobbi-Jo, he couldn't have done it. He looked down and saw her scream, but couldn't hear anything. He held out a hand to help her up and she screamed silently and pointed behind him. He whirled and froze.

One of the older kids, a junior, stumbled into the room. His throat was torn out. There was no way he could still be alive, but he moved straight for Chuck, arms out. He couldn't move, couldn't lift the pistol in his hand. Something warm and wet ran down the leg of his jeans. Slowly, ever so slowly, the barrel of the pistol came up. His finger jerked mechanically on the trigger, and a small dark hole appeared in the boy's t-shirt., then another higher up. He lifted the pistol higher still, struggling to hold the shaking pistol on target. He jerked the trigger again, this time the end of the barrel was only a couple of inches from one of the ghoul's dead eyes. The eyeball vanished in a gout of blood and the kid dropped like a puppet with its strings cut.

He kept the revolver pointed at the door, held in two shaking hands. Bobbi-Jo stood up next to him. "Reload," She yelled. He could barely hear hear and didn't understand what she meant, so he just looked at her, confused. "Reload the pistol Chuck, it's empty." He hadn't realized it was empty. He looked at her, she was calm and composed. The .38 in her hands hardly wavered at all. She yelled into the dark living room of the apartment. "Anyone alive in there?"

A scared voice answered. "We're ok, but Rich is hurt bad. Tony bit him."

"Did he bite you?"

"N-no..."

She backed up, pushing Chuck towards the window. "Reload, now." He moved to the other side of the bed and picked up the box of bullets. There were only fourteen left in the box, and there weren't anymore. When those were gone, Froggie had said he could use the ones that came with Bobbi-Jo's gun, but that didn't sound right. The numbers had to be the same, didn't they? Behind him, she spoke up in a louder voice. "Get in here, come on, quick." The kid with the rifle picked up a hand full of scattered bullets, put a new one in, and slid the lever forward. He pointed it at the two kids who came through the door until Bobbi-Jo pushed the barrel up. "Careful with that."

 
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