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Affliction (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 22) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 16:54:00

We dragged Ranger Becker out from under a mound of zombies. She'd shot off their faces with a shotgun and wasn't bitten as far as I could tell. Her partner was dead, his throat ripped out, eyes glazed even by starlight. The head of the zombie who'd killed him was still eating his throat, even though the bits of him were falling straight out of the neck, because the body was gone, lost somewhere in the clearing. The neck had been shot through, spine severed, but that hadn't saved him.

I turned her away from him. 'He's gone, move!' Bush helped me get her moving through the carnage of decapitated zombies and body parts. Any zombie that had made a kill was eating, and other zombies joined them, so in a way even dead they helped the other men. An eating zombie wasn't trying to kill anyone else. I'd never seen this many flesh eaters outside a cemetery. Where the hell had they come from?

I heard the leopard scream over the sound of gunfire and men screaming. It jolted through me as if I'd been shocked. I fought not to reach out to Nathaniel psychically, because it messed with the concentration of both of us for just a second. I blew the head off another zombie. I'd traded for my shotgun, putting the AR back to where it hung in the MOLLE straps on my vest. I didn't have time to be distracted, and maybe he didn't either. I had to trust Ares and Nicky to keep him safe until I could get to them, as they trusted me to keep myself safe.

We had a circle of officers with us now, all of us facing outward, guarding our share of the field. We finally fought our way around the edge of the building, and I could see my men with their backs against the bare rock of the mountain that loomed above them. Nicky and Ares were shooting smoothly. The big leopard was crouched at their feet, snarling. Al, Trooper Horton, and Travers were with them, though one of Travers's arms was hanging useless and bloody. It seemed to be the only injury that they had. Seeing them all standing there loosened the tightness in my chest that I hadn't let myself feel; the relief made me stumble for a second. I shook it off and kept shooting my way toward them.

We waded into the zombies around them. We were winning, and then a cold wind blew across my skin. I had time to yell, 'Vampires!'

The door to the building opened and it wasn't vampires, it was more zombies, and Little Henry Crawford towering above them.