Zak looked around the treehouse to see what they could use to get away. Pulled up in the doorway was a thick rope with knots about every foot. The girl must have pulled it up after she hid in the treehouse. A small table and two chairs sat in the middle of the small room, along one wall was about a dozen large stuffed animals and dolls, and the girl and her picnic basket sat against the opposite wall.
If only there were three balls, he could get them out that way. “What do you have in the picnic basket?” Zak asked, and moved toward her.
“Nothing! Just my stuff, you leave it alone!” The girl jumped to her feet, eyes blazing, and blocked Zak, who hastily stepped back.
“Whoa, I don’t want your stupid stuff, I’m just looking for three balls. Do you have any in your precious basket?”
“No, I don’t — why do you need three balls?”
“Never mind, I’ll tell you later,” Zak muttered as he walked around wracking his brain for ideas. He leaned out the door and realized why the zombie noise seemed louder — even more zombies had joined the group in the back yard and the table they’d been dragging was almost in place. The treehouse was going to be Zombie Central in just a few minutes if he didn’t figure something out.
He leaned out the window he’d come in and looked up, hoping to find a branch that hung out far enough over the alley so they could leave the way he came in, but the only branches were above the treehouse and he knew there was no way they could swing away from the treehouse.
Glancing toward the house Zak notice a cable stretched from the front corner of the tree house down to the back of the house.
“Is that a zip line?” he asked the girl.
“Yes, but it’s no good because there are so many zombies in the backyard we’d never be able to get out in time.”
Zak felt a surge of hope. “No problem, because we’re not going out that way, but it might make it so we can escape.” He went to the row of dolls and picked up two of the largest. Grabbing some ribbons from the other dolls Zak started tying the two dolls together.
“Wait, those are my favorite…” The girl’s voice trailed off as Zak glared at her.
He finished tying the ribbons and said, “Here’s the plan. We send the dolls down the zip line toward the house and the zombies will think it’s us. They’ll all head for where the dolls land to get a snack and by the time they figure out there are no brains to eat, we’ll have slipped out the back gate.” He smiled in satisfaction.
“What if they don’t follow the dolls to the other side of the yard?”
Zak’s smile slipped a little but he forced it back. “They will. I know zombies.” He grabbed the knotted rope and carried the end toward the back window so he didn’t see the girl roll her eyes. “This isn’t going to be long enough to reach the ground, but it should get us close enough to jump.”
He carried the dolls toward the door of the treehouse. “Be ready, when they head for the house we’re going out the back window. I’ll give you the signal and you drop the rope out the window and get down as fast as you can. Try not to make any noise and as soon as you get down head for the back gate.”
“What about my picnic basket?”
“I don’t think we can take that — it’s going to be hard enough to escape as it is.”
The girl sat down again on top the picnic basket and said, “Okay, you go by yourself. I’m not leaving it here.” She crossed her arms and looked out the window.
“Girls!” Zak thought to himself. “Okay, fine, I’ll carry your basket, just get ready to go, those zombies out there are hungry.” The girl jumped up, moved the picnic basket next to the window, and then grabbed the rope, ready to throw it through the window.
Zak moved to the door of the treehouse with the dolls in front of him and tried to make it look like a couple people were moving together. He put the ends of the ribbon over the cable and tied them together. Then he started screaming, “Help me, help me! I’m afraid!” and the zombie horde looked up at the front of the treehouse.
Stepping back into the door of the treehouse, Zak gave the dolls a shove and they started sliding down the zip line. From the shadows of the treehouse Zak and the girl watched in horror as the zombies didn’t move a muscle. They just looked at the dolls as they zipped over their heads toward the house.
“Oh, this stinks!” Zak’s heart sank.
The dolls hit the back of the house with a thud and just hung there. There was a moment of silence and that’s when the zombies came alive. With loud cries of “Brains! Brains!” they all turned and headed for the dolls at the end of the cable.
“Now!” whispered Zak, and the girl dumped the rope out the back window. She sat on the sill, swiveled around, and started down the rope, pausing just long enough to say, “Bring my basket!”
Zak wondered what was so important about the basket but grabbed it as he headed for the window. He started out and realized he wasn’t sure how to hold the basket with one hand and climb down the rope one-handed.
Flipping the bullwhip off his neck Zak wrapped the end through the handles of the picnic basket and quickly lowered it to the ground. He followed and as he hit the ground he sneaked a peek at the house. The zombies were gathered around dolls so tightly he couldn’t see anything, but just as he’d planned it none of them were paying attention to the escape.
The girl reached the back gate and held it open as Zak ran through. He let the gate close behind him and said, “I told you I had a —“
The gate slammed shut with enough noise to wake the dead. Zak and the girl looked at each other, the girl exasperated, Zak embarrassed, as the zombie noises from inside the backyard headed their way.
“Run!” they both yelled together and fled down the alley.