Arriving at Lambeth Bridge, we discovered our route along the embankment was blocked by the military standing shoulder to shoulder on the far side of the roundabout, guns ready with bayonets fixed. In spite of the fact that they had tank back up even from this distance I could see apprehension in each man’s eyes – I don’t imagine for a second the poor sods ever thought they’d be ranged against their own people. As for tanks, the troops were backed up by half a dozen of them, some of their cannon pointing directly at us and the rest down the road to our right towards some other threat until now unseen by me. I looked in the direction of their barrels and finally saw the problem – to the south and away from the river a mob similar to those pursuing us was making its way towards the intersection.
“Jesus,” Becky exclaimed skidding to a halt next to me.
The three of us drew together as if trying to present a smaller target.
Someone standing on one of the tanks was waving at us and shouting something. Seeing we couldn’t hear he picked up a megaphone and repeated himself.
“Get a move on! You three! If you want to live, get yourselves over the bridge!” He ordered. He pointed towards the far shore and my heart sank. It seemed our destination was about to become increasingly harder to get to.
The Puppet Master had spoken.
We began to move again, the decision as to our next actions already taken out of our hands. I don’t know about you, but I hate it when guns held by nervous people, soldiers or not, are pointed at me. Even this far into the new world disorder I still haven’t become used to it. Looking back I remember that as we ran towards the bridge still hotly followed by our zombie horde I felt my skin prick with the sensation of being targeted by all those soldiers.
“I really don’t like this,” I mumbled to myself over and over again. As if to confirm my thoughts and trepidation the army opened fire before we were clear of their line of fire. Bullets whipped past us and slapped into those zombies closest to us. I distinctly remember one slug fly past my ear – I felt the pressure wave as it passed by, feeling as if someone had hit my ear open-handed. I cried out in shock as much as anything and Becky looked around in surprise.
“I’m okay, babe,” I shouted. “Keep moving!” I put my hand on her back pushing her as we rushed around the corner. The fusillade increased in volume as the tank machine gunners joined in the massacre. We fell to the ground, huddling close into the solid marble walls for our protection.
Peering around the corner onto the Embankment I saw that the army had decimated every one of those poor bastards who had been chasing us. I watched as heads popped and bodies shuddered and were thrown around as the heavy bullets struck home, tearing limbs from them and creating holes in torsos I could see through. From my early terrified observations it seemed that the zombies were capable of taking round after round to their limbs and bodies but a single headshot did the business every time.
Suddenly a buzzing sound erupted from the skies as a drone I’d not noticed previously opened fire using what I assumed to be a chain gun – its death ray ripped through the remaining crowd of zombies. Right now I cannot think of a single simile for what I saw to give you a hint of what it was like. It certainly confirmed my previous belief that drones had always been flying over the Capital!
The one remaining clear memory I have of that day was the odour of excrement as torsos were ripped open and faeces flew around mixed in the human remains. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen or smelled anything quite so awful before or since.
The three of us sat there in stunned silence at what had just taken place, unable to move and certainly not to rationalise the fact that this terrible action had almost certainly saved us for another day. My hands shook involuntarily so I clasped them together so Becky wouldn’t see how unnerved I was by the madness. Thinking back I estimate it was another few minutes before we rallied and began to cross the Lambeth Bridge as previously instructed by the officer with the megaphone. It suddenly dawned on me that if I had lingered another five seconds with that old man we could have been part of that disembodied crowd. Even now I shudder at the memory and a couple of years have passed since then.
Copyright © 2016 David Kingsley Roberts
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places, events, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.