Room With a View: Hot Down Under
Author:Scott, Kylie

No, no, no. The noise. They’d swarm him.

 

Natalie scrambled to her feet and shot out onto the balcony. Too damn scared for the young man below to worry about the vertigo assailing her. Too busy to freeze up in fear. He couldn’t be here. It was too dangerous. “Angus!”

 

The metal lock on the gate clattered as he pulled it up. Rusty hinges squealed as he kicked the gate open. He stomped into the pool area like some warrior of old and the infected stirred beneath their sun-lounges. A blonde head tangled with dried blood appeared from beneath the green and white striped cushions. The gate clanged shut behind Angus, locking him in.

 

“Angus! No! Get out of here!”

 

He didn’t look up, didn’t acknowledge her. His focus stayed total.

 

The blonde in the dirty yellow bikini struggled to her feet, a low growl emanating from her throat. A middle-aged man with a sunken belly and mangy red boardies followed her.

 

Angus didn’t pause.

 

He aimed the gun, pulled the trigger.

 

Boom!

 

The deafening blast took out the blonde’s head and splattered the middle-aged man with blood and grey matter. Blinded, the infected male stumbled back, moaning, his hands waving urgently in front of his face. Angus fired again and the man flew backward, landing sprawled across the lounges. Eviscerated.

 

Oh, hell. God. There was … there was a sickening amount of blood.

 

Angus looked up at her, victorious. His blue eyes squinted into the midday sun. “Gimme a minute. I’ll climb up.”

 

She blinked stupidly. He’d done it! He’d actually done it.

 

“You’re insane.”

 

His gorgeous face broke into a broad grin and her stomach swan-dived. He was really there. He’d come back for her. She wasn’t alone.

 

But neither was Angus.

 

A third infected stumbled out from beneath a nearby picnic table, its bloody mouth snarling. Angus hadn’t seen the thing yet. Its arms were outstretched, reaching for him.

 

“Behind you!”

 

Angus spun and the infected fell upon him, taking them both down. His shotgun clattered to the side, out of reach. The two bodies struggled on the ground directly beneath her, four stories down. Angus gripped the thing’s shoulders, wrestling with it, trying to push it off. The infected’s head twisted and jerked, yellow teeth snapping.

 

“Angus!” She strangled the railing, panic rattling her bones. She was going to wet herself. It was so far down. It was. But she had to help him, had to do something.

 

But what?

 

The only weapons she had were a set of steak knives and they weren’t going to cut it.

 

What to use? There were pot plants. Two of them. Heavy, ugly, ornamental things, cluttering up the balcony.

 

If she could just lift one.

 

Her sweaty hands slipped on the glaze, baked hot from the sun. She could do this. Natalie scrubbed her hands on her shorts, drying them. Tried again. Her back strained, shoulders protesting. It was bloody heavy. Slowly, she lifted it. Not dropping it. Not yet.

 

“Throw him off, Angus! Get him off you!”

 

There was a flash of blue eyes from below. Angus kept moving, struggling, but she couldn’t see … oh, shit. Angus was strong. He was fast. He could do this. He could. She’d never been big on faith. But she had faith in him.

 

Angus gave a grunt and a heave and the infected flew backwards. Angus rolled to the side, scrunched up into a ball.

 

Now.

 

Natalie pushed the pot off the railing. Gravity took over and it plummeted straight down. The infected was rising slowly from the ground, ready to attack Angus again. The pot smashed into its shoulder and the thing tumbled back onto the pavement, arm dangling crookedly and a low moan coming from its mouth.

 

Angus wasted no time. He leapt to his feet, grabbed the shotgun and reversed it. Rammed the stock into the thing’s face. Bone splintered and cracked. It didn’t move again.

 

Thank God.

 

Other infected had gathered below. They stood rattling the fence, wanting in. The chorus of moaning grew louder by the minute. Angus had a hell of an audience assembling, straining against the barrier, bloody hands reaching out to grab him. The glare of the sun obviously forgotten in their hunger.

 

“Hurry,” she hissed. Loudly. “Get up here.”

 

Angus nodded and shoved the shotgun into his pack. Pulled up a deck chair and stepped onto it, stretching, reaching up for the first-floor balcony. He started to climb. He was moving. He was safe. It would all be okay.

 

But the ground loomed below and blood surged hot inside Natalie’s head, drowning out everything like a bass drum beating loud behind her ears. She staggered back from the railing, legs like water. Throat shut tight and her shoulders up to her ears.

 

It was so high. The balcony was bad.

 

Really. Just. Bad.

 

She stumbled inside, sat her butt back on the thick carpeting before she fell down. Breathing deep. Waiting.