Johnny tore his eyes away from the pistol and looked at the man that was holding it; another bounty hunter. He was simply huge. His bulging muscles were barely contained in the muscle shirt he wore over his army print cargo pants. He was dark, with a face like thunder. A long scar ran down from his ear down to his neck. Somehow Johnny felt like he knew this guy.
“Who do you work for?” Johnny asked. He was beginning to sweat profusely. The pain from his wound was searing, and he was beginning to feel dizzy.
The bounty hunter gave a mirthless laugh but said nothing. He did nothing else but aim the gun, right at Johnny’s head.
Johnny stumbled back at the sound of his laugh and backed up against a tree. He held on to it for support and looked closer at the hunter.
“Who sent you?” Johnny breathed out, as sweat begun to fall down his face.
The hunter gave another laugh. It echoed in the wood, and even in his pain-induced delirium, he noticed that the sound seemed to trigger the zombies. Despite the situation, Johnny was formulating a plan, planning out an escape route.
“An old friend of ours sent me, Johnny.” His voice was gravelly and deep. Like it was cutting across his throat and struggling to escape the confines of his controlled demeanor.
Johnny thought about those words when suddenly a memory came back to him.
It was summer. Their first summer out of college. Johnny didn’t think they were going to be employed that fast. The kitchen at the local police precinct was small and somewhat grubby but the group of friends didn’t really mind. Daniel Ndulo’s loud voice rang through the air as he laughed gleefully. Johnny was taking his lunch away from the realtor’s office, his work mates were too boring for him and Caleb Matabani had ‘ran away’ from the gym. Johnny was happy; his friends from high school were here with him, sharing the best moments of their lives.
“Hey Daniel,” Johnny asked suddenly, “Are you sure the Chief doesn’t mind us hanging here?”
Daniel laughed. “I’m telling you guys, I’m the future chief of police. They already see it so they respect me.”
All the boys laughed and patted Daniel on the back. Ever since he was a child, law enforcement was his dream. Suddenly Caleb looked serious and said in a hushed voice, “Guys, isn’t that Biggie?”
They all turned and saw a criminal being led outside, to the police service van. They all forgot their laughter and an uncomfortable silence settled over them.
“I can’t believe he was in our class,” Johnny said sadly. “I kinda liked that guy.”
“I caught him,” Daniel said quietly. “My first arrest. He was scary. Enraged, he was high as anything on crystal meth. Violent, almost killed me.”
Everyone looked at Daniel, shocked. “I gave him that nasty cut.”
The three heads snapped to Biggie. Sure enough, there was a huge cut, running down from his ear to his collarbone. The wound was poorly attended to, it seemed to be festering, but Biggie didn’t notice. What he did notice however were the eyes of his three classmates. He jeered at them, as he was rough handled out of the precinct.
“Biggie…? Is that you?” Johnny whispered, awestruck. “Biggie. Who sent you?”
Biggie didn’t say anything more. He just cocked the gun and fired.
The pain went straight through Johnny, numbing his body and shaking his brain. His right arm involuntarily jerked towards his left shoulder, where blood was slowly seeping through his torn scrubs. Somewhere, deep in his foggy brain, he could hear screaming. The sound tore through his senses, tugging at his heart strings. It was so surreal, so earthly and guttural so familiar.
“Johnny!!!” He heard a woman scream his name. Her voice was loud at first, then muffled and loud again. He tried to open his eyes; he hadn’t realized he’d closed them.
Another familiar voice cut through the air.
“Didn’t I say not to kill him?” The man’s voice said harshly.
Biggie grunted angrily. “I follow my own orders, Daniel.”
Johnny’s eyes shot open. Sure enough, Daniel Ndulo, the current chief of police, stood in the woods. He was carrying a woman, who was struggling hard against him, trying to break free. Johnny looked again and noticed it was Madge. His heart ached when he thought about what she must have been through.
“Johnny!” Madge screamed, still trying to break free. Daniel let go of her suddenly and she fell forward.
“Madge!” Johnny screamed too. Madge stood up and ran towards Johnny. Johnny hugged her with his good side and turned her face towards his. Her face was red and swollen, and several bruises were beginning to form. He noticed that her cheeks were tear stained. Johnny hugged her even tighter and gently kissed her forehead.
“Did he do this to you?” He whispered in her ear. She nodded glumly, tears threatening to spill over again.
“Daniel, you bastard!” He yelled across the lot. The chief of police was deep in conversation with Biggie. It seemed they were arguing.
Daniel looked at Johnny, and he walked forward. He was limping painfully. Johnny could see that he had gone through several major surgeries, his arm was still in a heavy sling.
“Jonathan Kitt,” he spat out, “The self-acclaimed hot head. Why are you alive?” He reached Johnny and stood way too close to him for comfort.
Johnny did not back down. He stared Daniel right in his muddy eyes. “Because I’m invincible,” he laughed lamely.
“Did you think I would let you go after you pushed me to my death?” Daniel whispered venomously. “But now, Jonathan, it’s over.”