Jed shook like a clockwork toy. “K...K..Ken.” He stammered, his voice caught in a dry throat. There was no way they would hear him over the shrieks of the dead and the screams of the dying. He had no idea how he was going to get out of this. For the second time in the space of a few moments he felt a warm trickle flow down his leg.
|Things weren't looking good.|
Highway to Hell: Part 2
Dennis looked down off the end of the bus. There were far too many of those festering abominations around. "We're not gonna make it, are we." he stated as his shoulders sagged.
"Don't be too sure." Ken replied, pointing down at the moaning horde of undead that shambled towards the fallen in a feeding frenzy. "They're being drawn to what happened." Ken pushed Dennis' chin back towards their direction of travel and held his shoulders firmly. They faced down the Interstate, right out of the city.
"Don't look." he said.
"I can do this." said Dennis as Ken released his grip. Before Ken could stop him Dennis stepped off the back of the bus. Ken watched in astonishment - what was the man thinking? Remarkably Dennis landed with ease and dashed out along the verge. He urged Ken on with a silent wave. Reluctantly, Ken followed him, covering their rear as they headed up beside the highway.
|Reluctantly, Ken followed.|
I always wanted to try that
As Jed watched the zombies around the bus he could see the dead-heads were distracted by the run of bad luck that meant Dennis' lackeys were now on the menu. He grinned as an idea came to mind. He reached into a pocket of his shooting jacket and pulled out two prized possessions. A gift from his brother Emmett, which he had been saving for just such an time.
|Jed watched the zombies around the bus.|
Slinging his assault rifle over his shoulder he held one of the egg-shaped objects, olive green with yellow stencilled text, in each hand. He pulled the pin on the first grenade with his teeth. "This is for Em, you f*uckers!" he cried as he tossed the grenade into the horde by the bus.
He was expecting fireworks, shuffling corpses torn to sheds in a massive blast, limbs everywhere. What he got was a loud pop, sun spots and rush of air thick with the funk of rotting flesh. Must'a been a misfire, he thought, and yanked the pin from the next grenade. The creatures swarmed towards the blast and more followed, joining the crush. The second grenade landed square in the middle of the heaving mass. Bang! The same pop, but this time he was peppered with a fleck of congealed blood. Just one of the walking corpses dropped, motionless.
"Dammit, why won't you die?" he yelled, quickly realising his mistake. They were headed for him now. Jed didn't waste a moment, he dropped down off the bus and darted across to the refuse truck, following the route that the others had taken, into the back of the dumpster and onto the roof of the cab. He paused at the gap over to the mini, dead hands grasping for him. This was gonna be harder than he thought.
|This was gonna be harder than Jed thought.|
Dennis and Ken kept low as they skirted an ambulance. Masses of shamblers stumbled down the interstate. It seemed like they hadn't been spotted but there was a crowd ahead of them, at least a dozen. Ken pointed to the roadblock ahead. It looked like the authorities had completely stopped traffic, some kind of aid station or checkpoint with a sea of temporary buildings and medical tents. Beyond the roadblock it looked clearer, less of the walkers.
|'Head for the compound.' said Ken.|
"Head for the compound." said Ken.
"Damn straight." replied Dennis as he raced off into the crowd zig-zagging as if playing some hellish game of tag.
|Dennis zig-zagged through the zombies in a hellish game of tag.|
"What the..." Ken tried to stop him but was distracted by a movement close by. Out of the car in front of Ken an abomination of a woman stepped, blood an drool dripping from the remains of her jaw. He fired, putting her out of action and the walkers on road turned towards him. They picked up the pace and rushed in. His Remington spat again and again, one down for every shot, but as he took one down, another stumbled forward to take its place. Just as he thought his time was up the crack and zip of rounds passing too close stabbed the air and the dead began to drop.
Ken turned to see Dennis, on the other side of the roadblock, leaning across the hood of an automobile. As the last of the dead fell Dennis waved a big thumbs up, but to Ken's horror he watched as a lone bloated corpse lumbered from the shadows of a tent. Ken grabbed for the radio on his belt, clicked the switch as fast as he could.
"Behind you!" came the static belch as Dennis jumped out of his skin and ducked. The corpulent cadaver crashed into the vehicle, inches from Dennis. As the corpse drunkenly started to rise Dennis reloaded and shot the thing at point blank range in the back of the head.
Out of the Frying Pan
|So many of them.|
He charged along to the end of the bus raging at his situation.
"Stupid f*cking dead-heads" he shouted, dropping the dead with speculative fire as he went. "Yeah! That's it. You like that?"
Jed didn't stall at the end of the bus like Dennis and Ken. He run full-tilt, ready to jump onto the cab of the yellow truck.
|Jed ran full-tilt along the length of the bus.|
It was too far. He landed on the cab but he didn't have the impetus to make all the way. Oh sh*t!
Stars, tons of them and hands too, grabbing, grasping and raking his skin. He snapped out of the concussive fog and pulled himself to his feet as a crowd of dead surrounded him. He let rip on full auto and a haze of blackened blood filled the air as he pushed through the crowd in a desperate charge. On he drove, shooting and thrashing against the clawing hands and gnashing jaws, at the end of the truck one of the things leaped out on him, burying it's teeth into his neck. Jed fought it off, thrusting his rifle into it's maw and blasted it's brains into the stratosphere. He felt the crushing bite of another, then another as a maelstrom of hands pulled him down and piled in on him.
It a final moment of desperation he reached into his jacket and pulled the last of his fragmentation grenades. Against the ripping frenzy of the dead he pulled the pin and let the spoon fly off into the horde. He curled into a ball as they bit and tore at him and held onto the grenade with all he had left.
"I f*cking love you Emmett." he said, as the darkness came.
|The darkness came.|
An unsure reunion
"I owe you one." said Dennis into the radio. The crunch of footsteps on tarmac caught his ear and he wheeled, pistol raised ready to fire. Ken held up his hand and indicated to the gun trained on him.
"We're good." said Ken as Dennis lowered his sidearm.
"Where are the others?" Dennis asked.
The crump of a blast made Dennis jump.
Ken shook his head. He'd watched Jed go down.
"We check this place out and get the hell on out of here."
Outbreak City: 08:45am
Just like our previous ATZ game we had ludicrously bad luck in rolling for zombies at the beginning of the game. Two times in a row we started with just a few zombies short of the maximum. No More Room In Hell is a great set of zombie apocalypse rules. It suits a 'hordes of zombies' style of play and was a welcome change of pace to the All Things Zombie rules. The NMRIH campaign and encounter rules are reminiscent of the D66 Heroquest 'Between Adventures' charts - very flavoursome and there's humour as well as scares.
The 'sheeples' mechanic fits a 'if the zombie apocalypse goes down I'm tripping you first' way of thinking and we realised, much to Jed's detriment, that having plenty of sheeples with you was probably a really good idea, unless you simply wet yourself every time you witnessed them being feasted upon.
In conclusion, we'll certainly be returning to NMRIH for future games.