Apocalypse: Chapter 6

They all stood in the compound; Osas, Shalom, Bolu, Paul, Chris, Aisha and two other girls Osas had come to know as Ify and Ife. The banging on the gate was incessant as the zombies tried to gain entry into the compound.
“Can’t we just shoot all of them? I mean we have the guns.” Chris said, his Igbo accent slightly slurring his speech.
“How many of us have ever fired a gun in our lives? Or even know how to load it.” Osas asked rhetorically.
“I have. Nigerian Defence Academy, I’m trained to.” Paul replied evenly.
“Then what on earth were you looking for in NYSC camp?” Shalom asked accusingly after a slight moment of silence.
“It’s a long story.” Paul returned curtly.
“We’d like to hear it.” He fired back.
“Later guys, we have more pressing issues here,” Osas cut in “Let’s first get past these things trying to eat us, and then we can tackle each other to our heart’s content.”
The banging on the gate intensified and the gate shook.
“I think the noise is drawing more of them.” Bolu said.
“Then we better plan how to get out of here.” Shalom added.
“Can you teach us how to shoot? I know these are AK-47s,” Osas said to Paul, picking up a rifle “The rest of them, I don’t know.”
“Yeah, I don’t know some of them myself but the principle is the same. I’ll teach you guys but we need a concrete plan.”
“We’ll work on that. Show us how to shoot.” He replied.
Paul spent the next 15 minutes showing them how to load a cartridge, insert it into the rifle and shoot without blowing their heads off. He handed them the AK-47s as he claimed they had the least recoil and then proceeded to explain the concept of recoil. In 25 minutes, he was hopeful they’d at least be able to shoot in the general direction of the zombies.
Meanwhile, Shalom formulated a plan that involved two drivers in the two cars ready to speed off, one passenger each and four shooters outside to lay down cover fire and open the gate. The problem was that no one wanted to be a shooter save for Paul and Osas. Shalom was ultimately chosen to drive the Range Rover while Chubby Chris (a name Osas couldn’t get out of his head) was forced to become a shooter. Bolu chose to drive the Murano and Ify volunteered as the last shooter. Ife joined Shalom in the Range while Aisha joined Bolu. After loading the cars with everything they considered useful in the house, everyone got into formation. The cars were re-parked to face the gate with the Range Rover in front. Paul took aim beside the car on one side and Ify took point at the other. Osas and Chubby Chris walked to the gate and unlocked the padlock, ready to open it and run away like deranged mad men escaping institutionalization.
“Are you ready?” Osas asked Chris, hands trembling on the gate.
“We will make it, I believe.”
“So you’re ready?”
“Let’s just open it quickly.”
“So on three-”
“Wait. I will open the gate, drop the bolt thing and run to the car abi?”
“Okay, let’s do it. Let’s do it.” Chris said repeatedly, trying to raise his confidence.
“One, two, three, go!”
Osas unhooked the padlock and flung it away. Next he unhooked the floor bolts simultaneously with Chris and began opening the gate backwards. The first zombie stumbled and was immediately assaulted by a barrage of bullets. Osas froze as he watched the zombie get back up.
“RUN!” Chris shouted at him, bringing him back to reality. He made a dash for the cars and could have sworn he saw a bullet whizz past his head.
The zombies poured into the compound in tens, staggering and moaning. Shalom shouted at Ify, who had dropped her gun in terror, to shoot and that was when things started going south.
The girl turned around in terror to make a dash for the car and tripped. On impact with the ground, she pulled down the trigger and sent an entire clip of bullets flying into the Murano and her skull. Bolu had only just begun moving the car forward when the bullets slammed into the passenger side and the engine, causing it to screech loudly. Aisha got a number of bullets to her arm and stomach while a hysterical Bolu accelerated and swerved wildly, barely missing the Range Rover.
Osas got to Paul and pulled him away just in time to avoid the accelerating car which ultimately slammed into the first of the zombies and stopped dead.
“F**k!” Paul bellowed as he saw Ify’s lifeless body on the ground.
Bolu leapt out of the Murano and fled towards Osas and Paul, who were still shooting at the zombies. Aisha stumbled out of the other side and fell flat, oozing blood and struggling to get back up. Paul jumped into action, and ran towards her, still shooting the zombies. Osas was about to follow him when Shalom reached out and grabbed him.
“Headshots! Shoot them in the head!”
Osas followed Paul, who had now gotten to Aisha, and provided cover fire. He raised his rifle higher hoping to get head shots while Paul carried her away. They crammed themselves into the back seat and Osas joined Ife in front. Paul sat beside the window and stuck his rifle out; shooting at the zombies that ventured too close to the car as it sped off, ramming several zombies.
They finally broke free of the zombie horde and Shalom hit the accelerator fully. The car responded with zeal and soon they were speeding down the large Abuja roads.
“We need to stop the bleeding!” Bolu said finally as Aisha groaned beside her “She’s losing blood and the bullets are in her!”
“Is there a hospital around here?” Chris asked.
“A hospital at this point in time is a death trap. Can you see the bullet?” Shalom asked.
Bolu ripped off Aisha’s shirt.
“Yes, the car must have slowed down the bullet.”
“Good, we’re very fortunate that we kept the weapons in this car and not the other one. Use a knife.”
“We can’t do that in motion. We’ll have to stop.” Osas cut in.
“And we can’t use a cooking knife for that. It’s not sterile.” Bolu added.
“The way I see it, it’s either you use the knife or she lives with bullets in her forever more or she dies.” Shalom said.
Aisha cried as Shalom looked for a suitable place to stop.
“Stop in the middle of the road. It’ll offer us plenty of space to know what’s coming and plan an escape.” Paul suggested.
Shalom obliged and brought the car to a stop. The occupants descended, armed to the teeth, while Osas and Paul laid Aisha on the road. Bolu retrieved the knife and wiped it with tissue paper she found in the car.
“Hold her down. This is going to hurt you, Aisha. I’m sorry.”
Ten scream-filled minutes later and Bolu was done. She had extracted three bullets from Aisha’s hand and one from her stomach, muttering that the girl was lucky no organ was damaged. Bandages were made out of her shirt while someone draped a jacket over her exposed top half.      
They continued the journey in silence. Aisha was propped in the middle of Chris and Bolu, Paul at the extreme end of the back seats. Ife and Osas shared the passenger’s seat in front while Shalom sped along, avoiding the few zombies that awkwardly lumbered onto the road.
“I guess no one wants to talk about Ify.” Paul said finally.
“We really didn’t know her that well. Not that I don’t care, please.” Shalom replied.
“I met her in camp, she finished from OAU,” Chris added after some thought. “She studied Business Administration.”
“There’s nothing anyone could have done to save her. She even almost took Aisha along with her, our most valuable asset at the moment.” Osas finally said.
“I thought the guns were our most valuable assets.” Ife said, her small voice filling the car.
“Well, guns can’t exactly show you the road to Lagos, can they?” Shalom replied with a bit of humour.
“Oh.” Ife said quietly.
Osas noted with regret how the group had quickly gotten over the loss of one its members. While she was not a central figure, he felt they should have at least mourned a little bit. He secretly felt ashamed that he almost felt nothing to suggest pain at Ify’s passing. He dismissed the thought, willing himself to focus on more important issues.
“I thought you never talk.” He said to Ife. She looked at him and then looked away.
“There hasn’t been any reason to since everything began.” She replied, still avoiding eye contact. Osas quietly noted her shyness.
“Ife is crazy once you get to know her,” Aisha said from the back with a strained voice. “In school, she once tackled a lecturer when he-”
“Stop. He was wrong and didn’t want to admit it.” Ife cut in with the hint of a smile on her face.
“Yes. You corrected his description of the molecular structure and formula of Vaska’s complex.”
“Vaska’s what?” Bolu asked?
“Chlorocarbonylbis(triphenylphosphine)iridium(I).” Ife replied absent mindedly.
“Wait,” Osas cut in. “What are we talking about again?”
“Carbonyl Chloride,” Aisha said “The man was trying to frighten us with strange compounds, unfortunately for him, we had a genius with us in class.”
“A genius that made everyone else get a ‘D’ in the course.”
“She, of course, got a ‘B’, but that’s the happiest ‘D’ I ever got in school.” Aisha continued, laughing in pain.
“Take it easy Aisha.” Bolu said.
“The man felt like he knew it all. He then gave unnecessarily difficult questions in the exam.”
“Did you guys know each other in school?” Paul asked.
“Yes, we’re actually very close.” Ife said in her small voice.
“We tried to work Abuja for our NYSC but it didn’t work and we both ended up here.” Aisha crooned from the back.
“Well, if it did, you probably wouldn’t be here at this moment.” Osas replied.
“Thank God for that then.” Ife said.
“Sorry to interrupt you guys but I need you guys to get armed now.” Shalom said coolly.
Osas saw them as soon as Shalom began talking. Five men in the middle of the road, red pieces of cloth tied round their heads. They were armed with locally made guns and dressed in black clothes.
Paul reached for the boot where they had stashed the guns and then handed two AKs to Osas. He kept the black rifle for himself and loaded it.
“Give me one na.” Chubby Chris said.
“Sorry, but the last time we gave you a gun you didn’t use it, and that was for slow moving zombies. You get nothing this time. Stay in the car and be ready to leave us if need be. Only Osas, Shalom and I are going out there.”
Shalom brought the car to a stop hundreds of meters from where the men stood. The men started to approach them in a brisk walk. Paul got down first raising his assault rifle as he approached them. Osas and Shalom joined him, flanking out to make a straight line. The men slowed down on seeing the boys approaching them with obviously more sophisticated weapons.
“We no want wahala,” The tallest man among the five said, a plastic smile plastered onto his face “We just want make una drop us for Lokoja.”
“We no get space for our car.” Osas replied, gun still raised “We get passengers.”
The man laughed a little.
“Shey we no fit manage ni? We go lap each other.”
“Oga, no space dey,” Paul replied curtly. “And this one wey una stand for road, come dey wear black on black, we no sabi who una be. Shey una never see those people wey dey chop people.”
“Na devil dey do those ones, but devil pass devil.” One of the men said from behind.
Their leader glared at him and turned to speak to Osas and co.
“The problem be say, we must to reach Lokoja today, anyhow.”
“Ehn no be this car una go take.” Osas replied.
“Make una no think say because you carry gun anything go happen. No believe am at all.”
“Me I believe say I fit put three of una down before una shoot one bullet.” Paul cut in, almost sounding cocky. Osas hoped that he wasn’t bragging.
Another man among the five got angry and started speaking a strange language rapidly. The rest joined in and they seemed to be arguing among themselves.
“Get ready.” Shalom said.
Out of the corner of his eye, Osas saw one of the men begin to raise his gun. Osas saw it in slow motion as Paul did same and got off a shot before the man could take aim. Then madness ensued.

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