The ax was solid steel, heavy, and the blade looked razor sharp. He took a second to admire it before the door burst in behind him. Stahl staggered in, runners tearing at him. Smith slammed the door behind him and tried to kick the shambler’s body in the way, but it had the consistency of rotten fruit and it was like kicking mud.
He took the steps two at a time, his leg screaming with every step, and he was at the first landing before the door burst open. Runners, no sign of Stahl. The first one in slid in the shambler juice. Smith didn’t wait around to try his luck.
The arrow lead to the third floor. Smith could hear the runners coming up the stairs, that fucking screaming moan echoing up at him. He held the door open with one foot and swung the axe down hard on the handle of the door. The vibrations nearly caused him to drop the ax, even through his gloves. The handle dropped to the floor and Smith stepped through the door.
The first shambler bit his shoulder. This one was evidently fairly fresh, because it actually hurt. It didn’t penetrate, no chance of that, but it hurt. He knocked it clear with an elbow and then slammed the ax into the side of its head. He saw the weird light go out of its eyes as it slammed into the wall.
He yanked the ax, but the thing stayed on it.
He looked over his shoulder and two more shamblers were there, right within arms reach. He let go of the ax and put up his hands. Punchers punch. These were in pretty good shape, as shamblers go. They’d decayed enough that they weren’t able to muster up the kind of speed the runners could, but they were solid enough that he wasn’t going to be able to punch their heads off.
It wouldn’t be for lacking of trying.
He hit the nearest one with a hard right, and he could feel its jaw disintegrate. A hard downward kicked shattered the knee of the other one, and it lurched to the side, suddenly mechanically unstable. He swung the side of his fist into its head and it went down.
He stepped inside the first shambler’s reach and jammed his thumbs into both it’s eyes. They squished like jelly and released with a wet slurp. Another half dozen shamblers were coming down the hall behind it and he pushed that one down to the floor.
The runners were scratching and banging on the door. He wasn’t sure that the handle trick would work to begin with, and he definitely wasn’t sure how long it would hold before the sheer weight of them would knock it down.
He planted one foot on the head of the shambler he’d take out with the ax and got two hands on the ax handle. It was like pulling the ax out of a stump. He got the ax out and looked at the shamblers coming at him.
There were four cameras that he could see, in the hall. This was meant to be a showcase moment. He spun the ax in his hands and smiled. If they wanted slaughter, then he was going to give it to them.