Regina wasted no time. She swam toward the shore with all her might. Behind, she heard a large splash, but she dared not look back. She was halfway to shore when she felt the monster's teeth pull at the bottom of her jeans, tearing a piece of it off. The monster roared at being denied its meal as Regina narrowly escaped, her feet now scraping Deadman's Lake sandy bottom.
She rushed onshore where two ghouls shambled toward her. She raised her blood-caked frying pan and smacked the first one hard on the skull. It fell in a heap as the other lunged toward her. But Regina sidestepped, still panting from exertion, and clobbered it on the back of its head. Regina heard a snap as brains and pus oozed from the toppling zombie.
Regina briefly turned back toward the lake, but several ripples revealed only where the mysterious creature had descended back into the deeps of the dark lake.
Regina forced her tired legs to move into the woods, away from the day camp of the dead. The zombies that were left moaned and followed her into the trees, but their undead gait was much slower than Regina's steady jog. After ten minutes of running and weaving her way through the forest, the moans became distant, almost drowned by the cold wind. Regina paused beside a large oak tree, catching her breath.
In the east, she noticed the gray of dawn's first light, and with it came a wave of utter exhaustion. The horrible sleep she had managed to get in the cold cabin had been too little. She fought back fitful tears as she stared ahead with resolve. She plugged on through the woods, beating aside the underbrush with her handy skillet. Her disheveled blonde hair and fell in front of her eyes, and she could feel zombie blood caked onto her face. She would have to wash that off at first opportunity.
The trees suddenly ended, revealing a little-used country lane. There were no cars in either direction, and more woods rose from the road's other side. To the left, the road disappeared around a bend, while to the right, it skirted up a hill, went around it, and was lost to view. The sun now peeked through some trees, and the first rays of dawn fell on Regina's face. She needed to find a safe place to sleep. She needed food. And eventually, she would need a better weapon and a car.
She suppressed a shiver, still wet from the lake. At least the wind wasn't blowing now. She needed to keep moving to stay warm. Her mind longingly thought of fire and warmth. But for now, it seemed as though all of those things were very far away. But she could at least try for a place to sleep - and if she was lucky, a lighter to start a fire.
From the woods, she could hear the distant moans carry on the wind. She would have to continue moving to maintain her lead. Unfortunately, Regina did not recognize this place, but vaguely knew from the sun's position that the left led east and the right led west. The east would take her toward the highway, and possibly cars, and the right would take her deeper into the wild. While she might be farther from zombies there, she knew she might also be farther from help, food, and other supplies.
What direction should Regina go?
Go left, around the bend and toward the highway
Go right, over the hill and into the wild?
Place your vote and return tomorrow to help Regina make her next decision.
The readers' score: 1 death