This is the full story of the Highrise Rescue, told over forty consecutive 140-character tweets, and recounted here for your pleasure!
We’re all back at Cissbury Ring, and mostly in one piece. We have four new additions to the camp – of the four kids Kim told us of, only three were there… Seeing as I’m sat by the camp fire I’ll fill you all in now. We got to the site here: 51.233622,-0.579198 late afternoon, thirty-odd undead down. We set up camp in a house over the road from the block of flats Kim had escaped from, in case it all went tits-up. It was a good job we did.
We left the two horses tethered in the driveway with the cart, and headed into the car park of the flats – pretty standard Z-combat formation. Al and Dal went ahead with axe and scimitar, Dawn and I at the rear, my longbow trained on the lower floors of the building at all times. Getting in was easy, we’d made no noise setting up camp, I think Al took a stinker’s head off at some point. The stairwells were filthy. Not old-school piss and needles you understand, but bones and black vomit and the familiar egg-stink of the fetid walkers. We downed four more. Their camp was on the top three floors, & they’d barricaded themselves in pretty well. Trolleys, pallets & barbed wire – Dal found their entrance.
Etiquette meant we should announce ourselves. A little girl was guarding it. I said Kim had sent us to rescue the children, including her. As she began to unlock the door in the false wall they’d built, we heard a man shouting at her, and a scuffle. She yelped, and fell quiet. He demanded to know who we were. I repeated myself, and at that point a shot was fired at us through the wall, catching Dawn in the thigh. She had the medic bag, and after the initial panic she set about treating herself – it was deep but on one side. Dal then went ape-shit.
He’s an Indian guy in his fifties but he’s built like a brick shit-house. He shoulder-barged their flimsy false wall and was through in one. There was screaming and more crashing about, but by the time we got right inside there was the oddest sight – everyone was sat in a circle. Dal was just stood there, as confused as we were. He demanded to know who fired at us. Silence. But I could practically smell the fear.
Kim had told us all about the camp leader, Gus. A nasty piece of work, and he seemed to wield total control over the dozen-or-so survivors. But the kids were crying. It wasn’t a cult-like respect, it was the fear of terrified underlings. He was using them as a shield, hiding. There were six blokes there. He was one of the six, but we never found out which. I said we were taking the kids to a safer place. Silence.
The three children stood up. “I know there’s four kids,” I said. No response. Al and Dal searched the place, but found no-one else. We left. As we did, a much older, late-teenage girl got up and hesitantly followed us. We backed them all out of the hole in the wall, weapons ready. When we were onto the littered landing, a makeshift gate slammed shut over the hole, and Gus – still not showing his face – started ranting. He’d rigged the place with trap-doors and heavy grilles, simple set-ups with rope and chains. Our route was blocked – below us a gate opened.
He must gave corralled the fifty-odd undead in a lobby area or something, releasing their gate with the pull of a rope inside the camp. They started to shuffle and claw their way up to our fresh meat, the kids started screaming, and we were a man down. I had no bow-range. After splitting the skulls of the first few it became clear that a retreat was the most logical solution. Those shiny floors get slippery.
There was a loft hatch in the ceiling. But Al and I had to fend off the stinking bastards with machete and axe, as Dal lifted the kids up. We didn’t even know where they would end up, it wasn’t much of a plan. Dal then joined us, hacking and slicing into the mass of arms and teeth. After an age a fire exit opened behind us – the eldest boy had found the roof and a fire escape and let us out. Dawn went first. I was last. Before I turned away I saw a little girl of ten or so, fresh and lively, covered in black effluent, clambering up the stairs, teeth bared. That bastard Gus was using the camp members he’d let down – the ones who’d sought his shelter – as weapons against those come to save them.
We had to spend the night on the roof. Dal got down to his pants to give the kids his clothes for warmth. A fire was out of the question. This morning we went back into the fire escape -blocked from ground level, obviously- to see that the zombies had dispersed. We ran for it. Onto the corridor, down the stairs, halting every level for Dal who was carrying Dawn, keeping the kids between us. We’d fight where needed. Dal would set Dawn down, she’d spray a fire extinguisher towards the targets, we’d take heads off. Keep moving. More ahead. Then sunlight.
Back over the road we loaded the kids into the cart, then mounted the nags two apiece (me facing backwards, bow drawn). Gus starts shooting. It was a crappy WWII handgun Al reckons, with no accuracy at range. Needless to say we didn’t hang about though. We cracked open the food.
We were all starving, but those poor kids hadn’t eaten in weeks it seemed. We split ours so they could stuff their little grubby faces more. We took pretty much the same route back. Al had to ride all the way, with Dawn (far more experienced on horses) behind him. She was in pain. Anyway she’s felling better after a cuppa and some blackberry flatbread. She dressed her own wounds. The children are eating. I need a beer.
Al’s gone on perimeter shift with the dogs, Dal’s sharpening his scimitar. Feels good to be home. Kim is very happy. I hope Gus gets eaten.
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