December 24th, 2016, 11:49pm
"Go! Go! Go!" Thomas swings the broken shotgun connecting with the skull of the nearest rotting corpse reaching out to grab him. The blow knocks the ghoul back but it staggers forward. Thomas takes the opportunity to get through the open door slamming it shut behind him. "Grab that bookcase get it over here." Two of the adults inside drag it in front of the door. "We gotta cover these windows. Find anything you can. Put more in front of the door." The three adults grab everything not nailed down and pile it in front of the door and windows. "I'll see if there is another way out of here." Thomas goes off into a side room. He comes back a moment later the look on his face tells the adults all they need to know. A little boy, 7 years old reaches for his hand, "Daddy?" The one word says everything. The questioning pleading frightened tone speaks volumes. Thomas reaches down pulling his son into his arms, "It'll be okay Adam. I promise." He knows he's lying. He knows it's only a matter of time before everything comes crashing down and the ravenous maws of the undead feast on their flesh. He also knows he won't let his little ones be their victims. He walks over to the other children. His children. The three stand close together tears streaming from their eyes.
He stoops down. They run to him. He holds all four close. His daughter Jenny. Little Mikey and Michelle. Twins he found hiding under a bed in a house early on. Michelle pointed a pistol at him. She squeezed the trigger. The hammer clicked empty. They were 4 at the time. He wasn't technically their father but they became his kids as he devoted his whole being to protecting them. They, along with his 2 little ones were his whole world. Thankfully he found help along the way; Abner the big biker tattoos up and down his arms, Lisa the teenage girl who held her own better then most, and Sindy the grandmother. Now here they were.
We huddled in the corner resigned to our fate. For years we struggled and fought to survive but on this night our time had come. Our ammunition was long gone. Our firearms nothing more then piles of bent and twisted steel and plastic. When the last round was fired we had resorted to using our rifles and pistols as bludgeons. You ever hit someone with a gun? You used to see it in the movies a lot. A quick crack to the head and down went the bad guy. Turns out it's not so easy. The skull is designed to protect the brain. You have to bash over and over again to destroy the gray matter. It takes a toll on your weapon. Eventually they break.
We fought the undead off long enough to make it into a building. Somehow we got the door closed and barricaded then worked on the covering the windows. It was haphazard and we all knew it wouldn't hold. That we were just delaying the inevitable but the kids were worth it. "Let's move to a different room." Thomas led the group to a second floor bedroom. The sounds were quieter now but ever relentless. The other three adults grabbed what they could and tossed it on the stairs. Anything to slow down what would soon be happening.
"Hey it's Christmas Eve." Thomas said looking at the kids as Sindy, Abner, and Lisa walked in. Even with the banging of the undead the mention of Christmas got the little ones' attention.
"Let's see what we have here." Sindy said reaching into her backpack. The children watched wiping tears from their eyes. She pulled 4 small packages wrapped in old newspaper tied with bits of string. She handed one to each child. "Go ahead. Open them. I don't think Santa will mind." They did excitedly. For weeks the adults had searched for a few items that might comfort the kids and make Christmas more bearable. A doll. A small dump truck. An old action figure. A stuffed bear. They found them and did their best to clean them up. Each child lit up seeing their new toy. They didn't care about the scratches chipped paint or small tears. They were just kids being kids.
The adults watched tears in their eyes. "Thomas?" Lisa's voice was a tense whisper. Thomas looked at her. "I know." Quietly they all pulled small knives out placing them on the bed. "Not yet. Let them play." They watched the kids each lovingly playing like there was no such thing as monsters. The sound of shattering glass drew the adults attention but not the kids. Sindy' hand slid toward her blade. Thomas put his hand on hers. "Not yet." Tears rolled down his cheeks. They had talked about this eventuality and knew what had to be done. The zombies would not kill the children. "Please. Not yet. Please." She pulled her hand away nodding.
"Look Daddy. It's snowing." Little Adam held his dump truck and pointed out the window. "Do you think Santa's still out there?" Thomas went to the boy, he knew he didn't believe in Santana anymore and was just asking for the littler kids. "I bet he is." Michelle put her hand in his "Do you think he's scared of the monsters?" She looks at him eyes big and full of wonder. "I don't think so. He can fly in his sleigh."
"I wish I could fly." Mikey said finding a place to sit in Thomas' lap. "Me too buddy." Jenny crawled on too. He kissed the tops of each of their heads holding them as close as he could.
Without warning there was a noise on the roof. A clatter. The sound of bells. "What the..." Abner looks up.
"It almost sounds like... hooves." Lisa says following the sounds above her.
Thud. Thud. Thud. "That sounds like footsteps." Sindy whispers. Thump. The sound reverberates in the room. Thump. Thump. Thump. The footsteps go back across the roof. The hoofbeats start again followed by a quick dragging sound. Then it's gone. As they all stare at the ceiling above them they hear it echoing in the distance. "Ho! Ho! Ho!"
"I'm going to check it out." Abner finds his way to the roof. When he gets there he is in disbelief and shock. A large red bag sits in the middle of the flat rooftop overflowing from it he sees the muzzles of rifles and shotguns. Rushing over he looks inside; body armor covered in magazine pouches stuffed with fully loaded magazines. Shotguns of various sizes and styles fully loaded. Rifles locked and loaded. Chainsaws fueled and ready to go. An arsenal worthy of an army dropped on the roof. It takes several trips to get it all back inside. Each adult putting on body armor and grabbing weapons. "It's a Christmas miracle." Thomas whispers. "Let's put these undead down for good."