Smith and the girl stepped out onto the street. Smith looked back, didn’t see the runners yet. He looked at the tanker standing right in front of the main gate. The girl was right, it looked like a bomb had gone off.
There were shamblers and runners both, piled up around the tanker. His back was to the gate and he was waiting. His thick, quilted armor was shredded and torn, and Smith could see the bite proof fabric underneath here and there, but he wasn’t bleeding or bitten.
If you could keep your feet and you were wearing enough protection, you could stand and fight the zombies. They weren’t smart, so you generally only had to deal with a handful at a time as they jockeyed for position. If you were strong enough, you could make it work. This tanker was strong enough.
“You got a plan?” the girl said.
“Kick his ass?”
She didn’t have much of a choice. If the tanker got Smith, she didn’t get a key, unless she could take it off the tanker, which seemed…unlikely. The tanker watched them watching him, raised and hand and beckoned. Bring it.
Smith brought it. He started jogging, picking up speed. He watched the tanker brace for it. Smith sprinted, getting as much speed as he could. He jumped. He planted two feet right in the center of the tanker’s massive chest.
The tanker slammed into the wall behind him, and Smith could hear him let out a woof of air. He grabbed Smith ankles with massive hands encased in what were essentially leather mittens.
Smith had anticipated the tanker actually having speed on top of it. What he intended to do was drive the asshole back or down and then get to the gate and get it open before the tanker could recover.
What actually happened was that he slammed the back of his neck and shoulders into the ground so hard the world went white. Everything came back into focus right as the tanker, still holding Smith by the ankles, slammed him into the wall.
Smith dropped to the ground, landing on something that used to be human. He’d felt a rib go when he hit the wall. Maybe two. Blood filled his mouth. He couldn’t move. The tanker lumbered over to him.
“Where’s my key, fucker?” the voice was prehistoric.
The tanker leaned over, ponderous in his armor. The problem with being a tanker was that the armor wasn’t conducive to agility. This fucker was fast, way too fast, but the weight of the armor and the lack of flexibility made it hard for him to get down to Smith. Which was something, anyhow.
The girl’s hands clamped over the tanker’s eyes.
The tanker roared and stood up. He spun and tried to smash her against the wall, but she was gone before he could. He hit the wall and staggered, but he kept his balance. He got his feet under him and came towards Smith.
Smith rolled over, pushed himself to his feet.