The words hung hollow in the street.
Jonas skidded across the cobblestones to engage the next once-man. Right boot slipped, dropping his guard. His teeth rattle as the bony hand rakes across his face with surprising force. The squire’s vision blurred, making his blood appear purple as it landed on the front of his cloak.
Without stopping to think, Jonas lashed out — the sword’s pommel glanced off the yellowed skull. Skipping backwards, he swung in panic. Forgetting form in exchange for speed, his breath came quick and gasping. The skeleton fell backwards. Jonas heard the chink of steel on cobblestones as he battered its still form. The ribs crunched as he landed a furious kick.
Eight skeletons now. Jonas felt his blood turn to acid. His war cry had drawn them.
One clutched a dead hen, as if caught on the way to market. Another still had enough hair clinging to the skull for him to recognize Mogrin. She had walked the way-path near his father’s farm, taking the cows to pasture. They had shared kisses and some sweaty moments in the field, hidden from view by the tufted hay bales. The acid drained out the bottom of his feet, and left him feeling channeled out and sick.
Mogrin’s yellow hair had gone green and black with decay.
The squire spit blood and rainwater on the cobblestones. He had only been in Gilead for a few …minutes? An hour perhaps?
Gotta get to higher ground — someplace I can fight them and not get surrounded._
His eyes swept the city square wildly. Past two more of the skeletons, a bay window — stained glass, too dark to reveal its design. Jonas stole a quick second to dash more rain from his face, and flung himself at the two rotting townsfolk between him and the church window.