The dead kept coming and coming. The never ending swarm moved in on the troops without remorse. The living were fighting a losing battle against the dead. The entire scene was one of chaos. There were people swinging their rifles at the heads of corpses, then one would get them and about five more would climb on top to get to the living person. They would eat until another person got close enough, then they would go after him. The men would see one of their comrades go down and then watch in fear as he got back up to join the dead.
The dead were being replaced by the recently fallen soldiers almost as fast as they were clambering out of the smoking buildings. The tanks kept firing into the crowd, killing the living and the dead at the same time. I could see them running over the walking corpses through the billowing smoke. The soldiers threw grenades and Molotov Cocktails into the crowd of dead. The ones that caught on fire would stumble out after the living. Half of the time, they would just catch more of the corpses on fire. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to see ten burning ghouls heading in your direction.
The tanks started to form a crude line along the north lane of Franklin Avenue. They all started heading east in close formation through the fire, smoke, and flesh. They easily broke through the mess. The vehicles rumbled along, most of them covered with corpses clinging to the sides, toward highway 35W.
More soldiers came from the middle and back of the battalion. They were more organized and weren’t caught up in the panic of the battle. They fired into the crowd, killing both living and dead. There was no way to tell which were which any more. These fresh soldiers formed a tight line behind the tanks, keeping the dead from the rest of the group. They fired without question, each one a head shot. The moving line kept up with the tanks and allowed the entire group to either move along with the tanks or join the line. They stayed solid and switched out perfectly when they needed to reload.
The dead would occasionally get through, but would be quickly killed without remorse. The line would be reformed where someone would fall. Most of the soldiers that were left made their way behind the moving line of tanks and kept the dead away. They slowly moved along the road. After everyone who was still alive made it along side the tanks, they pulled the last few behind the group to form an almost solid wall of moving metal. The living were still firing among the tanks to keep the dead back.
After about an hour, they made their way to the Franklin Avenue Bridge that crosses over 35W. Once everyone was across, the tanks fired their guns and took it out. The dead poured out onto 35W from the other side, but couldn’t get back up the other side.
After another block, they stopped for a few minutes. The soldiers regrouped in the intersection. There were no dead around and it was quiet for a few minutes. I could see them congregate around the two big black vehicles that somehow made it through. Almost all of the other vehicles were lost in the mess. The tanks were the only ones that could push through. About one third of the huge group was lost in the battle. I could still see some of them fighting the dead back where it started. They didn’t last long.
The tanks were brought to the front of the remaining group. The men lined up once again, ready for battle. They organized faster than I would have expected. These people were broken from the fight, but not quite beaten. I watched in amazement as they continued north along Portland Avenue, directly into downtown. Where of course, there were plenty more dead waiting.
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