Book: Crucifixion

Previous: Chapter 32
Next: Chapter 34

 

Back on the wall I stared dumbfounded at the sea of infected.  They had reached the base of the wall and were pushing in, the bodies pressed so tightly together they appeared to be a solid mass.  Mounds of bodies from my mortar assault were piled high on the highway, but the infected just flowed over and around them as they moved forward.  As the herd had made contact with the wall it had started spreading out to the sides.  The heaviest concentration had been following the highway and while some had been in the woods to either side most had stuck to the easier path the asphalt afforded.  Now, as they spread, the woods for a hundred yards to either side of the highway was packed with bodies and they were still spreading.  They were also starting to pile on top of each other at the base of the wall and it wouldn’t take much piling up for hands to be able to reach the ten foot high edge of the containers. 

As I was thinking this there were shouts of alarm from several places along the wall as shooters suddenly saw hands reach up and grab the metal rod that ran along the top edge of each container.  Most of them were able to quickly dispatch the infected with shots to the head, but a couple were caught unprepared when females made big leaps, reaching over the edge to grab a hapless shooter and drag him into the churning mass in front of the wall.  Moving right up to the front edge I looked over and then scanned up and down the length of the wall.  The second level was still too far away and we were only minutes away from the infected breaching our defenses and pouring over the wall and into the town.  A female leapt up from below, screaming like a banshee as she tried to grab my leg.  Stepping to the side I kicked her in the face while she was still in the air and her body did a back flip before landing in the herd below.

“Grenades, grenades, grenades!”  I shouted into the radio.  All up and down the line I saw and heard the NCOs passing the order and the sounds of rifle fire sputtered out as each shooter started pulling pins and tossing grenades over the front lip of their container.  The explosions ripped up and down the wall, competing with the thunder but not winning.  As planned, each shooter tossed two grenades then went back to their rifle.  The effects were devastating on the infected bodies that were pressed against the metal containers, but unfortunately when they fell the ranks of infected behind them just used their bodies to gain more height as they clawed and scrambled to reach the people on top. 

The only advantage for us was the herd was pressing in so tight the females couldn’t get a run to leap at the wall and were hampered in even being able to jump straight up.  This didn’t stop them from trying and right next to me one succeeded in leaping high enough to grab a shooter’s arms and start dragging her over the lip.  This was the young girl that had been the first to speak up earlier when I’d asked for volunteers.  She screamed when the female latched onto her arms and started tugging and I dove across her body to anchor her to the top of the container.  Fumbling for my pistol which was trapped between our bodies I felt her slip a few inches on the wet metal, then Dog bounded over me and bit down on one of the infected’s forearms.  I don’t know how strong a German Shepherd’s bite is, but I know it’s strong enough to break the two bones in the forearm and destroy the surrounding muscle.  The female’s hand slipped off the shooter’s arm and Dog moved out of the way as my pistol finally came free and I shot the infected in the head.  The girl scrambled back from the edge, adrenaline fueled panic giving her enough strength to move me with her.

Rolling off her and standing up I raised the radio again and called for the firemen.  This defense had been Gunny James idea, and when he’d proposed it I had liked it immediately.  All up and down the wall firemen carrying red plastic five gallon jugs of gasoline mixed with liquid soap charged up ladders and stepped to the front edge of the wall where they started pouring poor mans’ napalm onto the infected.  Each fireman walked the length of a couple of containers as he poured, soaking the raging bodies below.  One by one as their containers ran out they tossed them back to the town side of the defenses where a crew gathered them and started refilling with gas then more soap.  Waving the shooters back from the edge the firemen pulled out road flares and sparked them with the igniter in the plastic cap before tossing them down onto the napalm soaked infected.  All along the wall fires ignited with a whoosh, the mixture sticking and burning even in the pouring rain. 

Napalm is one of the nastiest and probably most frightening weapons that man has ever devised.  It’s really quite simple, just gasoline and any type of gel that will mix with the gas and cause it to stick to anything it touches while not affecting the flammability of the fuel.  Military grade napalm is a bit more complicated than that, but for our purposes four and half gallons of gas mixed with half a gallon of thick, liquid soap worked perfectly.  Thousands of infected instantly became walking torches, the mix sticking to their clothing and skin and burning so hot that the infected’s flesh started separating from the bone.  The bonus was that as they burned, any other infected they came in contact with had some of the gas rub off and start burning them.  Flames and heavy black smoke shot above the front edge of the wall and all of the defenders had to move to the back edge.  I was glad it was raining and all my people were soaked.  The water helped protect them from the heat of the fire. 

Gunny James’ suggestion had given me another idea and as the front ranks of the infected burned I called for the next wave over the radio.  Moments later to either side of me I heard the two smaller fire trucks crank up their diesel engines.  As I watched they rolled forward, each with a ladder extending over the wall, 30 feet in the air.  Next to each truck sat a trailer with a big plastic tank on it we had appropriated from a landscaping service.  Each tank normally held 200 gallons of weed killer the landscapers would use along the sides of roads, but that had been dumped and the tanks pumped full of gas from a truck stop’s underground tank.  Now each pumper truck’s hose ran to these tanks rather than a fire hydrant and the high pressure nozzles at the tops of the ladders started spraying gasoline across the herd of infected in front of the wall.  Both quickly ran through their supply of gas, the men manning the nozzles on the ladders sparking flares and throwing them in long arcs out into the herd.  First one new fire erupted with a loud whoomp, then the second flare hit and ignited the fuel.  The fire spread throughout the ranks of the infected and soon there was a sea of flames extending from the wall out to nearly 100 yards.  The smell was horrendous.

Despite being on fire and their flesh literally cooking and falling off their skeletons, the infected continued to push forward.  They truly felt no pain nor did they care about mortal wounds.  Despite the number of infected I had fought I felt a thrill of fear and not a little disappointment that not even the instinctual fear of fire still existed in these creatures.  There truly was no way to stop them other than killing them.  I looked up and down the wall and could tell all the men and women manning the defenses were thinking similar thoughts.  Looks of panic and terror were on almost all the faces and that’s when I knew we were about to lose the battle and the town.

Previous: Chapter 32
Next: Chapter 34