I almost broke my hand when I punched the ceiling the first time. I swore loudly and shook my paw vigorously while Jess stood there with a wry expression on her face.
"Looks like you hit a stud," she noted.
I gave her a baleful look. "You think?"
The second time around, I tapped more thoroughly as I looked for the hollow space I wanted. Then, feeling like an idiot, I gave the spot a few test punches. Increasing the strength of the hits each time ended with a small crack I could jam my knife into. Silently thanking my brother for taking me to work with him back when he installed drywall for a living, I began working the blade and widening the crack.
It took a few minutes of awkward, overhead shoving with the knife (that could have doubled for equally awkward sex between virgins) to create a void in the drywall I could work with. Once I was able to fit my hand in the space and pull, the rest was a cake walk. Once the hole was big enough for me to fit through, I sheathed the knife and hauled myself up. One silver lining of the end of the world was that I was in better shape than any time before it, so pulling my body up was not only possible, but easy.
The attic was unfinished, and everywhere by my point of entry was filled with familiar pink insulation. I shuddered at the ridiculous number of spider webs in front of me. Hey, stop laughing. I'll fight a zombie hand to hand, but the idea of a spider ending up on my face...nope. Not even going to think about it.
Thin morning light filtered in through the vents on either end of the attic, just barely enough to see through. I slowly, carefully picked my way across the wooden beams. Falling through wouldn't be immediately fatal, but presumably a hungry zombie would be happy to finish the job. It only took a few seconds to spot the access for the attic about halfway across the space. Of course there wasn't a handy fold-down ladder attached to it, but then my first priority wasn't to climb down. I needed to get the lay of the land first.
I popped the thin wooden panel free and pulled it up, then took a look down inside the house.
"Oh, fuck me," I said entirely too loudly.
Zombies filled the hallway through the hole. Not packed shoulder to shoulder, but enough that three of them were immediately visible. All of them looked up.
"Glad you fuckers can't climb, at least," I muttered. It was true, but only halfway. New Breed could climb, but I doubted the ability of one to find a way up through the access hole. My experience with these smarter, all around better zombies didn't fully discount the possibility, but that same experience told me it would take any New Breed longer to figure out and execute such a plan than I intended to give them.
"What's going on?" Jess asked from behind me. I jumped in surprise, my foot slipping off the edge of the wooden supports and crashing through the ceiling next to the attic access. My left leg collapsed, folding up even as I racked myself on the wood, a lightning bolt of pain and nausea lancing through my body from my groin outward.
"OHFUCKINGWHY," I screamed, almost incoherent from the sudden shock of pain. Below, something tugged at my foot. Something insistent on getting to the tasty meat inside.
Shit. Shit. SHIT.
"Jess, help me," I said, valiantly struggling against my captive foot, trapped left leg, and the thumping pain in my nethers only made worse by the pressure on my right leg as the zombies below tried--so far--unsuccessfully to pull me all the way through the ceiling.
All in all, it wasn't shaping up to be a great morning.