Decker and Harper began firing when the zombies were still some distance away. Lockhart watched Katie shoot three right between the eyes. They collapsed, but they did not stay down. Whatever animated them got them up again.
Boston calmed her spirit as well as she could before she sent a fireball from the end of her wand. The zombie it struck burst into flames, but that did not stop it. It continued to stumble forward until Roland struck it with an explosive arrow. Back at the dawn of history, Roland showed a talent in entertaining the children of the Stick People. He focused on an arrow and shot a magic arrow into the sky that burst like fireworks on the Fourth of July. Now, using that same technique, he was able to blast zombies to pieces, but it was terribly slow work.
“Thanks. I was afraid it would set the building on fire,” Boston admitted. Roland took a moment to explain how to turn her little fire into a firecracker.
Alexis stayed busy popping the heads off zombies and skeletons. Her magic would have been powerfully explosive if attached to a real arrow, but she did not have that option. With her wand alone, about all she could do was blow the zombie heads to pieces. It did not stop them, but it slowed them way down.
Decker noticed what Alexis was doing. He began to concentrate his fire on the zombie necks in an effort to liberate the head. He sent one head bouncing to the ground. A second one leaned heavily to one side but remained attached by some muscle tissue, so the zombie was nearly headless. Neither case caused the zombie to stop moving forward. Decker realized that what they were doing was not working.
“There must be a way to stop these things for good,” Lockhart shouted, having come to the same conclusion as Decker.
“It’s no good. It’s not working,” one of the dwarfs also shouted.
“Why is this equipment not working?” Elder Stow was frustrated.
“Let me see it,” Tara came to him to look it over
“Disarming the people is cheating,” Baga said.
“Right.” Mitra agreed, even as Elder Stow found a spark of life in his weapon.
Outside, Tara’s Shemsu people came to the edge of the village. The zombies had no interest in the village, and the villagers had no desire to assist the giants presumed to be in the great hall. They came because of the sound of gunfire, though they did not know that was what it was, and because it appeared the zombies were not going to attack them. The villagers were content to watch until someone shouted out.
“Tara and the sons of Ahura are trapped in the Great Hall.”
Another man shouted. “Don’t touch the dead. They are diseased.”
That got the villagers moving. The non-Shemsu natives got spears and moved carefully toward the zombies. They clearly heard the word not to touch them, but primarily from behind, they managed to pin a few to the ground. Meanwhile, their Shemsu neighbors had another thing in mind.
The unique telekinetic ability of the Shemsu people was such that the more solid the object, the easier it was to lift. Any attempt to lift a zombie would crush the zombie, or make it fall apart. Some did that, and their efforts were effective, particularly when they managed to toss the zombie or zombie pieces twenty or thirty feet up into the dark, threatening sky, and watch it fall back to the ground where it struck and splattered.
Equally effective were the stones that ranged in size from a person’s head to a man’s mid section. The Shemsu could throw the stones without touching them, and several zombies were crushed in that way. Even so, there were some fifteen zombies and skeletons that made it to the Great Hall, and four from the swamps in the back. The reason there were not more on the back end is because once Elder Stow got his weapon to work, he was able to utterly disintegrate the majority of them.
Lockhart used his shotgun to turn one zombie head to mush, but then he and the other people against the walls had to back away from the windows. Zombie arms were reaching inside looking to scratch and infect who they could, and the zombies began to tear at the openings to make them wide enough to get in.
Suddenly, Lord Veregoth and young Lord Visana both stood, their eyes glazed over like men in a trance. Lord Veregoth made a grab for Tara, but she screamed and scooted under the table. She had Elder Stow’s scanner in her hands and held it tight to her body to keep it safe. Mitra and Baga were right there with their spears to strike Lord Veregoth in the thighs. The giant let out a strange sound of pain and confusion, and fell to his knees.
Decker dropped his ineffective rifle and went for young Visana at the knees. Katie leapt and slammed into the giant’s chest, He fell hard with his back to the dirt and the wind care bursting out of him. Lockhart turned his shotgun around and slammed the butt end into Visana’s temple. It took several strikes before Visana stopped moving. Lockhart hoped he didn’t kill the fellow, but the thought passed quickly as Alexis shouted.
“They are up on the roof!”
Lincoln grabbed the chain from the fan and began to pull. The fan stuck fast, and Katie and Roland quickly came to help. Roland leapt to put his full weight into the chain, and there was a snapping sound. An arm fell to the floor where it continued to grab and clutch at anything that came close. Elder Stow disintegrated the arm with a tight beam, and then grabbed Boston from behind.
“My weapon will surely burn down the building,” Elder Stow said. His anti-gravity belt was working again and he carried Boston up to the rafters. The fan was turning, keeping the zombies out, but beside the fan, one zombie was tearing at the shingles and widening a hole to get inside.
Boston still had her wand, and she tried to think of heat, not fire. It came out like a laser beam, directed at the zombie’s head, and melted the head, but it did not dislodge the body. The body continued to claw at the opening to widen it.
Elder Stow was incredibly strong. Boston felt secure enough in his arms to kick out, to dislodge the zombie from the roof. It worked, but being in shorts allowed the zombie to make a grab for her leg. It did not catch the leg, but scratched it. There was small bit of blood Boston hardly noticed.
“Giant coming to the door,” one of the dwarfs yelled. He had managed a peek out one of the windows and did not like what he saw. While Lincoln continued to pull the chain for the fan, Katie grabbed her rifle and headed for the door, Roland one step behind. Alexis was working on the giant, Visana, to heal him and keep him alive. They did not need a zombie giant inside the building. Mitra and Baga each held an arm of Lord Veregoth. Lockhart held down the giant’s forehead while Veregoth raged and struggled to break free.
Roland grabbed Blinker the dwarf to take his magic and let the magic stream to the latch. He paused after a moment and said the latch would hold, but he could not prevent the giant from knocking down the door. He stationed himself and the two dwarfs to guard the entrance. Katie stood by with her rifle at hand, useless as the rifle seemed to be.
Decker grabbed his rifle and came up to Veregoth. Everyone yelled, “No!” so Decker paused while Alexis spoke. “If you kill him, he will go zombie on us. An enchanted giant we can handle. At least he is not contagious.” Decker nodded and sat on Veregoth’s chest, but kept his rifle in hand.
The giant outside slammed into the door. It cracked, but did not give way. Roland and the dwarfs had a magical shield up to strengthen the door against intrusion. There was another crash, but the door held. Blinker put a hand to his head like he was developing a headache. Dead or not, the giant remained half-titan. A third crash loosened a couple of boards when Tara shouted from under the table.
“Got it!” she yelled.