Emily saw Heinrich in the distance and quickly cleaned her sword and knife before he arrived. Ashish had gone over to the police huddle even as Lisa returned. The police had some plan going, and they soon scattered out across the campus.
Amina dropped her eyes and spoke softly. “There are tractor trailers three blocks away, but they are empty now and leaving and something is preventing my eye from following them.”
When Heinrich arrived, Amina took one look and went to her knees. Emily paused to lean over her friend and speak. “You stay here and stay safe. That’s an order.” Amina nodded.
“Now what do we do?” Jessica interrupted.
“We get that fire alarm turned off,” Lisa said.
“Sorry,” Jessica said. She was the one who thought to trip the alarm.
“No, that was a good idea” the others all said. “That probably saved a number of lives.”
The fire truck was still on the way, but the fire chief was already there. He just held out the alarm key to any takers. “Inside the front door.” He was not going anywhere near the building once he found out what was going on inside.
“Come on,” Lisa said to Emily. To be honest, she wanted to assess the situation up close, even if they were unable to go in and shut off the alarm.
“Coming?” Emily asked Heinrich.
“I would be honored,” he said with a little bow to Lisa. Lisa frowned, but Emily noticed she did not turn down the man’s help.
They ran up to the door and paused. Emily pointed through the glass door to the fire alarm. Lisa pointed to the main room. Where there had been a dozen, now there were fifty or sixty zombies and more were arriving all the time. There appeared to be no way, but Heinrich calmly opened the door and they were obliged to follow him in. Emily stood on one side, knife and sword in hand. Lisa had her two knives out and stood at the ready. Heinrich did nothing for a second. Then he suddenly raised both hands and something came out of him like a force or a hurricane wind. It was a palatable force. Emily thought it tasted bitter. The nearest zombies were lifted from their feet and flung twenty feet away to crash into others. The whole front end of the main room was suddenly cleared and Lisa had no trouble keying off the alarm. The zombies started to get up right away, but the three did not wait around for them to attack. They were back outside and ran to the walkway in time to see a sight.
Only three of the women were there so far. The others were coming from further off, but two old army trucks came up and parked where their headlights shone into the library. The ROTC, both sophomores and upperclassmen raced out of the back of the trucks, armed and ready. They immediately got into firing formation while Captain Driver stepped over to Emily and the others.
“Hope we’re not late,” he said. Emily wondered instead how they got there so soon, armed and ready the way they were, but she could not worry about that just then. The zombies were beginning to come out the front door. She began to pace behind the firing line and shouted instructions to any who might listen.
“You have to shoot for the heart. Hitting it in the chest will not stop it. Even a perfect shot to the heart will only stun it and slow it down.” She stepped to the front of the line. “They are not as slow as in the movies, and they are strong. They can break your arm or your leg but they will try to snap your neck. They have nails like claws and can shred you and scratch your eyes out. You have to penetrate the heart, but even then, the only way to completely stop them is to cut their heads off. When they get close, you might think hard before you wade into them with your little army knives.” She pulled her sword in front of them. “Good luck,” she said and went back to the others.
Six of the women were there by then making eight altogether with Emily and Lisa. Seven more were on their way, riding in the same van, but that was it, apart from the ROTC crowd and the police who seemed to be very preoccupied. Emily looked and already there were maybe eighty zombies lining up in a ragged line by the library front doors. She did not like their chances even with Heinrich and his magic force or bitter wind or whatever it was. She turned to her friends.
“Maria. Jessica. You might take Amina and find a safer place.”
“If being behind you isn’t safe, I don’t think anywhere in the world would be safer,” Jessica responded.
“No, she is right.” Lisa spoke up. “We assume they want to test what they can do en masse. If we fail to stop them, there is no reason to suppose they will go rampaging throughout the university.”
Captain Driver yelled fire and the troops let off a volley even as Lisa’s phone rang.
“Fire.” The guns went off again as the zombies began to move forward. Twenty of them were knocked down from those twenty-two guns, but even if a few were hit in the heart, it did not stop them from getting up again.
Jessica got Maria’s attention and they ran to the army trucks. The trucks had spotlights attached to the passenger side windows. It took a minute to figure out how to turn them on and direct them up, but then everyone had a clear view of a person on the roof watching over the scene.
“Emily, you need to go up.” Lisa yelled.
“Ladies.” Twelve hands grabbed Emily. Four hands at her knees, four at her middle and four at her shoulders. While they swung her, Lisa spoke quickly. “It is too far for you to jump back down without injury. Good luck. I’ll say one, two, go. Ready? One, two, go!”