Thursday, May 30, 2013

THE UNDEAD REVOLUTION - Part One


*The Undead Revolution contains graphic violence, sexual situations and very coarse language.
Intended for a mature 18+ audience only.

THE UNDEAD REVOLUTION

Part One



Nothing.
That’s what the world sounds like when everyone you knew is dead.
No cars, no sirens, no jackass on the subway talking too loud on his cell phone, no kids shrieking with laughter as they play in the park, no moms to whisper reassurances and make the Bogey man disappear.
Just a fat lot of fucking nothing.
Until you slip into the infected zones.
Then it’s animal cries and the visceral squelch of rotting corpses moving towards you, shuffling feet and bodies stumbling over one another to sink their teeth in your flesh.
You wanna know what a dead body looks like after it’s been stumbling around outside for weeks, searching for its next meal? It’s not fucking pretty, that’s for sure. Things that should have been on the inside are now on the outside. Guts, organs, muscle, tissue, bones. Brown, sticky ichor that used to be blood, and now resembles something closer to that goopy shit my grandma had the nerve to call Jell-O.
Squelch, squelch, squelch.
The sound alone is enough to make you wanna blow chunks.
The smell?
Let’s just say you can kiss your lunch goodbye. Or any other meal you might have planned on eating that day.
“You want a cigarette?” I ask New Kid.
New Kid mutters something even a dog wouldn’t pick up if it’d been sitting at his feet, if they hadn’t all been eaten, that is.
I bow my head, finger lifted to my ear in the international gesture for, “Speak the fuck up!”
“Is that a no?”
This Kid’s really trying my patience, now. How the fuck did he make it out there on his own?
“Dude they can’t fucking hear you, they’re dead, remember?” I say, and clap him on the back.
No word of a lie, he lurches forward like some dead motherfucker just leapt out of the wall to eat him.
I give him a pointed look.
“They find us through vibration. Something moves? They feel it. Make enough noise, they’ll feel that, too. But they’d have to be standing right on top of you to feel that little lost mouse voice of yours.”
I light my cigarette and thumb the end of my baseball bat. Rosso calls it my nervous tick. Rosso can kiss my ass. I don’t get nervous out here. It’s like everything inside me just stills, goes unnaturally calm.
New kid doesn’t look calm, he looks like he’s about to shit himself.
“Won’t that set off the smoke alarm?” he nods his head in the direction of my cigarette.
“You really think we’re stupid enough to break into a mall and not turn off all the alarms? This isn’t our first time at the rodeo, Kid.”
“Hey Flint, hurry the hell up, would ya? Let’s get the food and get out. We got DEAD motherfuckers to kill.” That’s Rosso. He’s such an asshole. Twenty five and suddenly he’s the world’s wisest man.
Wise-ass is more like it.
He heads up our little organisation, trains the new recruits and gives them dumbass names like Flint, Ratchet, Chubs and Rooster. Still, he took each and every one of us in when the government would have made us appetizers for the dead.
Yes, there’s still a government.
And twenty five percent of America’s pre-apocalyptic population are sitting pretty within the state of the art, maximum security, CDC and DHS approved safe zones.
The dead rose up, and the American army built a huge fuck off fence that kept all the important people in the country safe.
The rest of us were lunch.
“Keep your panties on, Rosso, we’re coming.”
“What’s his deal?” New Kid pipes up, and whadda‘ya know? He actually has a voice. “Why is he always so excited to leave the warehouse?”
I laugh. “You know those obnoxious kids in high school that ran around pretending they were in their own fucked up version of Halo? Drill Sargent wannabes that do nothing but play with their dicks all day and shoot things?”
He nods like he knows what I’m talking about, which makes me realise those assholes weren’t just limited to my piece of shit school in North Dakota, which in turn makes me thank fuck all those gun worshiping dickheads are now dead.
“Well, let’s just say Rosso got left on the wrong side of the fence. But he’s making up for it now as admiral of the ‘we’re so fucking screwed brigade.’”
I glance over at Rosso, who’s goofing off with Rooster like there was a two for one sale at Assholes ‘R’ Us. Jesus. The world has gone to shit and Captain Dickwad is leading a bunch of degenerate kids and calling it the undead revolution. Christ. Someone put a bullet in me.
I glance over at New Kid. He’s too stressed out, jumpier than a rabbit with a firecracker up its ass. I look at Rosso again, pumping his hips against the store window containing three half naked mannequins. “It’s either that, or some dead bitch is giving him oral in the backroom of the mini mart when we’re not looking.”
New kid laughs but it’s a hollow, half-assed sound. I flick the remainder of my cigarette to the ground. Fucking Alpines, who was the genius that slapped nicotine and menthol together? I hope that artsy fucker got eaten.
“Come on, New Kid. It’s time.”
I’m careful not to touch him this time, as I kick off the wall and stalk towards the other dip shits that have decided to go in without waiting for us. Either Rosso is getting sloppy, or he wants dibs on what’s left of the Doritos. Shit, maybe it’s both.
“Hey Newbie, you coming?” I call over my shoulder.
Despite what my stomach is telling me, I don’t make a run for the mini mart in order to wrestle the chips from Rosso. Something is gnawing at the pit of my stomach, and it’s sure as fuck not my hunger.
The sun streams through the skylights above, glinting off the roller door of a Topshop across the mall. A bloody hand print stands out against the metal, below that, the door is bent out of shape, twisted and jutting out at an angle. The opening is covered in blood and bits of zombie. Fuck! How did we not fucking see this?
New Kid hasn’t made a sound since I turned my back on him.
Slowly, so slowly that I’m painfully aware of every hair on my arm catching the breeze and standing to attention, I turn. I turn even though everything inside me tells me not to. I turn even though I know already, without looking, what waits behind me.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Squelch, squelch, squelch.
Fuck!
Some skinny undead bitch is standing right in front of New Kid, her lips pulled back in silent scream. She looks ridiculous; with her skirt so short I can practically see her ass and all that rotting undead flesh. She smells even worse. I raise my bat, eager for a play date with her face, her head swivels toward me, her mouth snapping so hard several of her teeth break apart. It takes me a second to realise why she hasn’t launched herself at me. New Kid has her impaled on the end of his machete.
“Head! How many times do I have to tell you to aim for the fucking head?” I yell at him, though inside I’m mentally high five-ing him. Who knew he had it in him? Not me that’s for fucking sure. Still, he looks waxy and pale and he’s breathing hard like he just ran a marathon, so I decide to cut him some slack. “You okay?”
He nods but he looks like he might blow chunks all over me and Dead Girl. She might go in for that sort of thing, but I don’t wanna be anywhere near New Kid when he unleashes his lunch.
“Hold her steady, okay?”
“What are you going to do?”
“What you should have.” I pull the hunting knife from my belt and step forward, she lunges for me, twisting on the end of New Kid’s machete and stirring up more of the foul stench of rotting organs. New Kid is struggling with her weight as she writhes on the blade, desperate to get to me. He’s so going to hurl. “Don’t you fucking let go.”
He shakes his head, plants his feet and yanks her a little closer to him. Ballsy little fucker.
The closer I get to the girl, the harder her jaw works. She has a sweet mouth, Cupid’s bow, full pouty lips. And though the smell is bad, the decay hasn’t completely set in yet - at least not on the outside - which means that up until a week ago, maybe even a few days, this girl was alive and breathing.
Fuck!
A real live girl, possibly the last one on our side of the fence, and I have to put my knife through her skull because she up and got herself bit.
Life’s a bitch and then you reanimate.
I yank back her blonde ponytail so hard her neck snaps and drive my hunting knife through the tender flesh beneath her chin, driving it up and back through the soft palate, bone, and finally into her brain. I wiggle the knife around, which causes her head to flop around, a bit like those bobble headed dogs taxi drivers keep on their dash. It might have been funny, if it wasn’t such a waste.
One more good twist and the Zombie stills, a dead weight. I yank my knife out, a torrent of brown ichor and blood sprays my arm and face. Dead Girl crumples to the floor, and just as I predicted, New Kid falls to his knees beside her, unable to hold in the chunk eruption any longer.
I step away, turn my attention back to the door where Dead Girl obviously escaped, we need to get inside the mini mart, grab our food and seal off that door. That Topshop has two entrances, one inside the mall, one at the other end of the store, facing the street. We can’t take any chances with a breech like that. They widen that gap? We could be overwhelmed in a matter of seconds.
I glance back down at Dead Girl, the scrap of fabric she called a skirt is twisted up around her hips, exposing her panties and all that smooth pale flesh. She had killer legs, nice rack, too. I look back at the Topshop door and drop to my knees, carefully running my hands over her legs and arms, scanning every inch of her body in the hope that I’ve missed something.
“What the fuck are you doing, man?” New kid sits back on his heels and stares at me in disbelief. “Dude, stop. That’s disgusting.”
“I’m not feeling her up, Dickwad.” I counter. I drop her arm and tear open her t-shirt. Save for one single bite mark on her neck, there’s not a scratch on her. No blood, no chunks of missing flesh. Nothing.
Her skin is cold but it feels relatively normal, it’s the tissue beneath that’s messed up, spongy, it gives a little when you poke at it, like Jell-O. Combine that with the stench of vomit and decay and even my stomach is feeling like it wants to have a chunder party all its own.
Fuck.
I climb to my feet, New Kid’s looking at me like I’ve gone fucking nuts, which may not be that far from the truth . . . I did just get to second base with a zombie. Not at all how I saw this day going when I woke up.
“Get up.” I say and yank the machete from her stomach before handing it to him.
“You think there’s more in here?” He whispers and he’s back to breathing heavy again.
“I need you to warn the others, I’ll keep watch.” Just as the words leave my mouth, there’s screaming coming from inside the mini mart, followed by the sharp report of gunfire.
Chubs is the first to bolt through the automatic doors. Rosso stumbles out after him, clutching his gun. But there’s blood pouring down the length of his arm, dripping off the end of it. I don’t miss the fact that Rooster hasn’t made it back through that door.
“Oh fuck . . . Oh fuck . . . Oh fuck . . .” Chubs is repeating over and over, like it’s a fucking mantra. I turn on Rosso, who is holding his shoulder to staunch the blood and looks as though he’s about keel over. He’s trembling so badly he can hardly hold onto his weapon.
He catches me looking and stiffens. “Don’t even think about it.”
“You’re bitten, man! You’re fucking bitten!”
“It’s nothing.”
A screech sounds from the opposite end of the mall. We all turn to see the hallway filling up with the undead. There’s fifteen, maybe twenty zombies shuffling towards us. They’re hungry, and it sure as fuck isn’t for Doritos. One of them is practically sprinting, smelling Rosso’s blood on the air, he whips his arm out, points and shoots, but the bullet goes wide and ricochets off a stone column.
“Give me the gun.” I demand.
Rosso turns it on me. But he’s swaying on his feet, the infections already taking hold, he knows it, too. His hand is shaking so hard I’m surprised he doesn’t drop the fucking thing.
Survival.
That’s what it comes down to. Not survival of the fittest, or that cycle of life bullshit they tried to feed us in grade school. It’s about being alive at the end of the day. It’s not pretty, and it sure as shit isn’t any fun. But if you’re smart, you do what you have to do to stay alive.
“Give me the gun, Rosso!”
“Why? So you can shoot me?” He smiles, daring me to take another step so he can pull the trigger. But he doesn’t know the first thing about me. The reason I survived this long? It sure as hell isn’t because I let some shithead take away my options.
“Time to clear out, boys.” He says to Chubs and New Kid. Chubs is still muttering that useless fucking two syllable sentence, but one more look at the horde behind us and he snaps to, and starts heading for the opposite end of the mall. New Kid glances back and forth between Rosso and me and then follows after Chubs.
Rosso begins walking backward, arms still outstretched, hands cradling the gun. I start toward the others but he raises the gun a little higher, aiming it right at my head and shoots. The bullet cuts the air beside me. I turn in time to see the first zombie, the sprinter, fall not three feet away with a tidy little hole between the eyes. The others are much slower, tripping themselves up in an effort to get to us. There’s time, but not much.
He turns on his heel and sprints away, but the bite must be taking its toll because all too soon, he is slowing down. There can be no grey area here. You get bitten? You take a bullet to the head. Rosso knows that better than most, since he’s had to put down a good portion of our group.
He knows what’s coming, too. He must see it in my eyes because with one shaking hand he raises the gun toward me. Gripping my bat until my knuckles turn white, I lurch forward, swing the bat into the air and use the momentum to drive it into his face. His cheekbone moulds itself to my bat, the eye socket caves, his eye pops right out of his face, hangs there by the connective tissue. Rosso goes down like a tonne of bricks. A really fucking gruesome tonne of bricks.
His blood is hot and thick, semi-congealed with infection. It drips down the bat and onto my hands, reminding me of the first time I did this to someone still very much alive. He’s not moving right now, but that doesn’t mean he won’t. Five minutes from now, he’ll be just as hungry as that shuffling horde.
Chubs has taken to muttering again, New Kid let out a scream when I hit Rosso, but has since grown quiet.
Immediately, I grab the gun and turn it on the two of them, “You other fuckers want to get eaten today?”
New Kid drops the machete in order to hold his hands up in surrender, that’s his first mistake, right there. How many fucking times did I tell him never to drop his weapon? Chubs is muttering under his breath, looking back and forth between what’s left of Rosso and my baseball bat. “What did you do, man?”
“What had to be done.” I mutter.
“He was like a brother to us, Flint.”
“Now he’s our dead brother.” I point the gun directly at Chubs’ head, just in case he gets cocky and tries something stupid. “Feel free to stick around and welcome him with a brotherly hug when he comes to.”
“You’re an asshole!” He half screams, he’s dangerously close to crying, but it seems he’s too angry for that.
“I’m an asshole that just saved your life.” I bend down and scoop up New Kid’s machete. He flinches away like I’m about to gut him with it, then snatches it out of my hand and curls his fingers around the handle like it’s his salvation. He looks like he might be sick again, his breath is coming sharp and fast and far too shallow for someone about to face off with the undead.
Despite his outburst, Chubs appears calm, but his hands are trembling and he seems to have dropped his weapon inside the mini mart. I slide my baseball bat along the ground toward him. He eyes it like it might jump up of its own accord and start beating him over the head. Still, he picks up the bat, ignoring Rosso’s blood coating the end of it.
I aim the gun at what’s left of Rosso’s head and lodge a bullet firmly in his brain. It’s a shot he’d be proud of, under different circumstances, that is.
I take aim again and pick off three of the zombies at the front of the pack. Some of them stumble over the fallen, but most just keep on coming, just like they always do. I continue to thin out the crowd, but the ammo won’t last forever and I’m not always a sure fire shot.
We’re at a dead end; the only way out of this mall is through the fire exit behind the horde. We boarded up all the other entrances when we cleared this place out. In other words: we’re completely fucking screwed.
 “What’d ya say, boys? You ready to kill some dead things?” I ask as I slip the last clip of ammo in place and continue to fire into the horde.
Survival.

You do what you have to, to stay alive. 



All work of fiction on this site is © Copyright of Carmen Jenner 2013 unless stated otherwise.
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