I lost Charles on the bridge. Not in the sense that we got separated but in the way you refer to a close relative when they die. I lost Charles. Like that. 'Cause for sure that's what happened. He died. And he won't be coming back. I always thought it was funny how those stupid people on reality shows seemed to form bonds so quickly, abnormally so. Extreme and unusual situations must call for an escalated sense of intimacy, because I'm feeling the loss. Hard.
As we reached the top of the wreck, we were met by scabrous mass of flesh in a stained magnolia sun dress. The woman--well, she used to be a woman--carried a baby in one arm as she pulled her morbidly obese carcass up the opposite side. She cooed at the thing in vibrato, her moan rattling with loose sputum. Charles tried to maneuver away from her, but she forced the baby ahead of her--well, not really a baby anymore, either. It snapped at the soldier from the zombie's hand like a puppet. A hungry teething puppet. It clamped on to his earlobe before he could slap it away. And I knew in that moment it was over. Charles' eyes changed. One minute horror, the next resolution. He knew. He scrabbled down the rail side of the bridge and tossed himself over. It's not the kind of fall he could survive, or swim away from. If zombies could swim, they'd certainly need functioning limbs.
He didn't scream, all the way down, while I beat the things to stillness with a tire iron. I climbed down the other side and resisted peeking over the rail. There were a few more shambling about but those were slow enough to avoid without too much effort.
I found a motorcycle with a bit of gas left in it. I'm going to try to make it through the city. It doesn't make sense to go back. There's nothing there anyway. Maybe someone made it to the safe house.