George Andrew Romero is an American director, writer, editor and actor. He is best known for his ‘Dead’ Series of horror movies featuring a zombie apocalypse theme and commentary on modern society. He wrote this 1979 novelization of his movie Dawn of the Dead with author Susanna Sparrow, who he’d previously worked with on the novelization of his vampire film Martin.
One of the approaching zombies reached Roger’s truck and slammed its hands against the driver’s side window. The man was startled and tried to untangle himself from his cramped position under the big steering wheel. For a terrible moment he was stuck. Other creatures appeared at the passenger side of the cab, where the door was open. One of the zombies grabbed at Roger’s leg. He kicked violently but couldn’t seem to get a good position. He fell lower onto the floor of the cab, his body almost knotted among the controls and the shift sticks.
With a lurch, Peter’s truck started to roll, accelerating slowly. From above, Steve tried to buzz the clutching ghouls, but they didn’t even look up or flinch as the wind generated by the blades whipped through their hair and clothes violently. They were a frightening sight as they clawed and banged at Roger. The trooper’s eyes were wide with fear and revulsion at being at the creatures’ mercy. He kicked and twisted his body to push them away, but he was unable to deliver a solid blow from his pinned position. Blindly, he groped for his rifle on the seat of the truck. Inadvertently, his finger hit the trigger and a shell blasted through the chest of the lead creature. But the ghouls didn’t react and kept clawing and grabbing as if nothing had happened.
Just as a second creature was about to claw his way in, Peter, now moving with a good amount of speed, swung his truck up and crushed it against the side of the cab. Blood splattered all over the truck and trickled to the ground.
Meanwhile, Roger was frantically trying to keep the first zombie’s mouth away. Its gaping hole was filled with rotted and blackened teeth. The two bodies entwined in a wrestler’s hold. Even though the zombie was the weaker of the two, Roger was hampered by the position he was in. He had to channel all his force in an upward direction, thus losing most of its effectiveness.
Peter, who had pulled his truck too far past Roger’s, now slammed his rig into reverse and backed up. This time he managed to get his window in a direct line with the open door on Roger’s cab. He raised his rifle and aimed, but he could not get a clear shot. The zombie had managed to pin Roger against the steering wheel and the blond trooper’s head was directly in Peter’s line of sight. The zombie’s head was positioned behind Roger’s.
‘Get its head up ... get its head up,’ Peter shouted loudly, trying to overcome the noise of the truck engine and the hovering helicopter.
Hearing the sound of a human voice, Roger realized that Peter was outside. He struggled with the creature, in the process dropping his rifle on the floor of the cab. It clanged against his tools. Finally, he managed to get a stranglehold on the creature’s neck. He pushed up with all his might, but he couldn’t budge the ghoul. The zombie’s hands clutched at his face, its fingers pushing on Roger’s eyes, and the pain was unbearable.
In a split second, Peter saw the opportunity to fire at the zombie while it held Roger at arm’s length. The gun gave out a deafening roar. The zombie’s head flew apart. Remnants of blood and brain tissue splattered the inside of the cab and the driver’s window. The gummy stuff flew into Roger’s face, blinding him momentarily. He wiped away the wet matter, cringing when he realized what it was. The zombie fell limp, its dead weight crushing Roger against the controls of the cab. Desperate, blood running all over him, Roger frantically tried to free himself. With a great heave of his body, he pushed the leaden creature out of the cab. His eyes stared in terror and revulsion. Instantly, he brought his sleeve up to wipe the stains from his face, feeling the bits of flesh and blood caked to his skin and even on his lips. His body shook and quivered in disgust.
(C) George A. Romero and Susanna Sparrow, 2012
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