Isaac snapped back into reality, although wide-eyed and stunned by recent events.
“Come on! You have to get us out of here!”
His eyes steeled once again, focused on the task at hand.
<”He’s done. His brains cooked when he shot that girl.”> Uleki spat.
He gathered his bearings in the dark and scoured the area for any more rotting ramblers. He brushed aside the seething Hawaiian. “The boat”
he spoke, “won’t wait for us forever. Let’s go.”
He picked his gun up out of the dirt and looked at it for a second, sighing before loading a fresh clip.
Distasteful as it may be, it was still a tool that had to be used. At least until he could find a way off this rock...
* * * * *
Three full clips remained by the time the small group hit the beachhead. With dawn still yet to come, pushed a full clip into Uleki’s chest as it was too dark to risk throwing it.
“Tell him to make it last,”
he told Haliaka, “these last two are mine.”
As if to illustrate a point he put a bullet in two zombies. “Five, four.”
He thought, keeping count of the remaining rounds in his clip.
“Where is it?” Kapali cried, looking out at the moonlit black mat for the boat. Uleki and Isaac swept the beach clean while the unarmed four searched.
“There!” It was Aukai who first saw it, bobbing about 150 yards out.
“How the hell did he see that?”
Isaac thought to himself.
“Into the water!”
the six ran through the fine Hawaiian sand, Uleki and Isaac laying down covering fire for the other four.
Isaac ran past the waddling Aukai to create a clearer path as they approached the water. “You’d better be able to swim, tubbsy, because I don’t think my heart can take dragging you that far.”
Aukai’s only response was a knowing grin, which ironically came across as a rather dopey one.
Isaac ran down to the waterline and turned, picking off any who approached the other four. They chopped up the water like galloping horses, granted Aukai waded into the chop like a Clydesdale, but a horse nonetheless. The Vigilante turned his sights on the water, covering them from the wading dead until the path was clear before striding through the sea himself. He got to hip deep and rising before he was forced to holster the Beretta and dive into the wash himself.
The six swam for the boat and for the second time that night the vigilante found himself terrified of the thought of a hand reaching up to snatch him from the murky depths below.
“There! Five of them, swimming this way! No! Six!” Isaac heard called from the boat up ahead. The weight of his gear started to take toll, but he continued on. Rolling one arm after the other, following the other five. Aukai reached the boat first, several metres in front of the others. It was a good thing too, it took a few strong men several seconds to haul him into the boat. Isaac swam past the young boy Kapali and urged him onwards.
“Not much further. You’re nearly there.”
Uleki had caught up to and was swimming with Kanani. Haliaka reached the boat next and was quickly lifted into the boat. The Vigilante reached the boat next, he imagined there would be a de-briefing report of sorts but had no intentions of wasting time with that until all present were safely on board. He turned to cover the other three, pulling the M1A1 back out for the last time.
Uleki and Kanani reached the back of the boat and were getting assisted by others. The black-clad Guardian kept his eyes glued on the small boy. He was struggling, he’d been alright before when Isaac passed him but was now thrashing at the water far more than maintaining a regular stroke. “Is he just tired or is it something else?”
Isaac thought to himself. “Should I...”
but he didn’t have time to finish his thought. Aukai had already thrown himself off the boat and was swimming strongly to the small boy’s aid.
“Keep him covered!”
Isaac called. “Can we get some lights over here!?”
“Aaaaah!” Kapali wailed. “Something touched me!”
Aukai’s stroke seemed to double in power at the sound of the boy’s cries. He reached Kapali and started dragging him through the water back towards the boat. Isaac’s eyes remained fixed on the pair, cutting through the darkness with the focus of a laser beam. Whether it was an adrenaline surge or a second wind, the boy found it within himself to power through a few more strokes.
Then nightmares broke through reality.
Somewhere beneath the water a rotten hand had grabbed a plump ankle. Aukai didn’t scream at first. There was no time. He fought it off, one kick of powerful swimmer’s legs was enough to thwart off the first attack. But that’s what it was. The first attack. Like a fish taking a first nibble at bait before going the hard bite. Aukai took a half gulp of sea water on that first attack, enough to panic him. Isaac’s focus shifted from covering the boy to the larger man. A decayed limb swung through the pre-dawn air over Aukai’s back as the hand gripped his shoulder, nails or bones dug in hard.
“Noooo!” Aukai howled.
The boy shrieked.
Isaac took aim. He steadied and weighted himself. He took every split second he had, not wanting to miss and shoot the much larger man who was in front of the zombie.
Time froze for seemingly a second, then a small hole opened up as if some kind of cosmic force had just pushed a drawing pin through Aukai’s skull. Blood trickled out and both he and the ghoul sank to the bottom of the ocean.
“No! No-oo! I didn’t...”
then Isaac looked over his left shoulder, where steam rose out of a hot barrel.
“What did you do?!?”
he yelled, grabbing the man by his lapels. The others helped the small boy into the boat.
“Following orders. You’re to be quarantined. No one infected on board.”
Uleki put the gun against the temple of the man.
“No. Not that way! Put it down. Tell him to put it down!”
Uleki understood perfectly, but kept the man at gunpoint.
<”Uleki, no! Put it down!”> Haliaka and Kanani chimed.
<”F***ing haole’s coming here and destroying our lives. Our world. And you don’t even acknowledge that you do it!.”> Uleki growled out ebetween gritted teeth, before finally crossing the language barrier.
“That man never hurt anyone.” Uleki seethed with as much venom as he could muster.
The gun wasn’t lowered. Two more were raised, trained on the angry native young man.
“Tell him to put it down.”
“I did! Put it down! See. You drawing isn’t helping! Everyone put their damn guns down!”
<“Uleki! Please! You’re scaring me!”> That was just Kanani now.
Uleki slowly put the gun down, before turning and punching the man right on the corner of the jaw. He turned and gave the gun back to the Vigilante.
“He-- He hit me.”
“He did. You’re very astute. And lucky...”
The Vigilante grumbled.
“...I’d have knocked your nose off of your face.”