The sound of another mystery shotgun blast came from down the way. Floyd was really wishing now that he had stayed in his truck, but he was also more curious than ever to find out who was behind all this madness. He rounded the corner to meet a group of three shamblers creeping along the side of the building. Three blasts from Ol' Faithful and three head explosions later, and Floyd was back on his way between the next two buildings. Two more shotgun blasts rang out before he got there.
Breathing heavily now, Floyd tried to control himself. He poked his head around the corner and saw a lone figure in the fog. Steeling himself for the confrontation, he jumped around the corning wielding Ol' Faithful in front of him when he was hit square in the face with a blinding light.
“Shit!” Floyd screamed, and he ducked back blindly around the corner just as a shotgun blast blew a chunk of red brick from the building wall where he had been.
“What the hell?” a voice called out. “You ain't dead!?”
Floyd couldn't tell if it was a question or a statement, but he answered loudly, “Hell no I ain't dead! And I'd like to stay that way, goddammit!”
The voice sounded young, like an 8-year-old boy, but the figure in the fog was no kid. Skinny, but larger than a child and wearing some kind of battered old football helmet with full face mask. Probably some high school quarterback, back in the day. Suddenly, the kid jumped around the corner, shotgun aimed directly at Floyd's head. Out of instinct, Ol' Faithful raised to meet the attack, but neither one fired.
The two stood there, too shocked to move, each assessing the other for any threat. Introductions were interrupted by nearby moans as five more creatures closed in. Spent shells went flying and the smell of gunpowder filled the air and as one by one, zombie heads were vaporized by precision attacks. When the last headless body hit the ground, all was silent except for the rapid breathing of the two hunters. No more moaning could be heard.
“Come with me!” said the stranger, grabbing Floyd's wrist. Floyd could barely see in the deepening fog and darkness but the stranger obviously knew this area well. He ran to a nearby storm cellar, opened the doors, and practically threw Floyd down the stairs. Suddenly the doors slammed shut and there was total darkness.
Suddenly, a light flipped on, shattering the dark. Floyd had to blink a few times to adjust. Then he got the shock of his life.
“Holy crap! You're a girl!” he exclaimed as he removed his face mask.
“No shit, Sherlock. You figure that out all on your own, did ya?”
She wasn't just a girl. She was a hot girl! What the hell? She spoke with a southern drawl that Floyd couldn't quite place. It certainly wasn't Texas. Tennessee? Georgia, maybe?
She wore short, tight jeans that she had cut off right at the top of the thigh and a t-shirt cut off just below her ample breasts. She removed the football helmet to reveal light blonde hair that was tied into unbraided pigtails. Two fountains of yellow hair tied with rubber bands erupting from the sides of her head. She wore pink cowboy boots – or cowgirl boots – and the stem of a Dum Dum lollipop was sticking out of the side of her mouth.
If it weren't for the size of her chest and the granite gaze in her eyes, Floyd would have thought she was about 15. Whoever she was, she sure knew her way around a shotgun and was far more mature than her years would indicate. In a saner world, she might have been safe at home, playing with dolls or getting all dolled up herself in some fancy dress for the prom, instead of sneaking out after curfew to kill zombies.
“How old are you?” Floyd asked.
“Old enough!” she snapped back. “But don't get any funny ideas or I'll gut you like a fish and cut you into bait!”
Ignoring the mixed metaphor, Floyd knew by the hardened look in her eyes that she wasn't kidding. He began to seriously wonder what he had gotten himself into.
“Hey, no problem!” he insisted, throwing up his hands like he was surrendering. “I'm Floyd. What's your name?”
“Mikki, huh? What is that, short for Michelina or Michelle or somethi-”
Before he could finish his sentence, Mikki was up in his face screaming at him with a large, evil-looking combat knife that she seemed to have pulled out of nowhere pointed at his throat.
“Don't you call me Michelle! Don't you never call me Michelle! You hear me? Iíll cut of your balls, stuff 'em in your mouth and sew up your lips! We clear?”
“We're clear! We're clear!” Floyd stammered. When Mikki retreated, Floyd carried on. “Damn, girl! In case you haven't noticed, we're on the same side here.”
Mikki paused and looked him over carefully before saying, “Maybe. We'll see about that.”
“So what were you doing up there anyway?
“Yeah, shopping! You think cans of food just grow legs and walk their way down here by theyselves?”
“I guess not.” Floyd also guessed that hunting zombies every day hadn't exactly taught her much in the way of social skills, but he wasn't about to say that out loud. “So what's with the flashlight?” he asked, pointing to the shotgun by the door.
“It's a strobe light,” Mikki corrected him. She had taped it to the barrel and rigged a couple of wires down to a pushbutton on the stock. It looked like she had scavenged a doorbell button from somewhere and hooked it up to the light.
“Don't you know zombies hate light?” Floyd asked. “They bust 'em whenever they can.”
“I know a shitload more about zombies than you do, Bubba.”
“It's Floyd, and I seriously doubt that!”
“Oh, really? Deer in the headlights.”
“Say what, now?”
“Deer...in...the...headlights!” Mikki repeated, slowly, explaining it to him like he was five years old. “You know what happens to a deer when it sees the headlights of a car comin', right?”
“Of course I do. They freeze.”
“Exactly! Deer...in...the...headlights! Creepers is attracted to the light because they hate it, but if you slam 'em in the eyes with a bright light, it confuses the hell out of 'em. They freeze up for a bit. More than long enough to get off a well-aimed shot.”
Floyd refused to admit it out loud, but she was right. He had never thought of that. It was positively brilliant, so he did what any self-respecting man would do in his situation: he changed the subject.