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CHAPTER TWELVE
Seven Person Army

The snow was coming down ever so lightly, and the flakes seemed to dance in the air. The sounds of various far off moans made it seem almost haunting and lovely. Of course, the sound of closer moans made it less haunting and more downright creepy as sin. The shambling, decayed bodies, making their way towards Len’s place didn’t help matters any. It was like something out of an old B movie, with the seemingly dead bodies moving towards a place they thought was full of the living, upon which they could feast, instead of something stupid like them knowing kung fu or being fast or having a thought pattern. There were only six of them, so I figured it wasn’t that bad a problem, still it wasn’t something that should be happening in real life, so I was rather confused.

A hand grabbed me from out of a nearby doorway and pulled me inside. I was fully prepared to turn around and fight for my life, but as fate would have it I saw the person to whom the arm belonged before I took my first swing. It was Len. Bunni was there too. She waved.

“If you don’t mind me asking, just what the hell is going on here, Len?” I could tell there was a touch of hysterics in my voice as I said this, but I really wasn’t in the mindset to care all that much.

“Fucking zombie break out, dude. Me and Bunni were just settling down for a not so quiet time, when we heard some scratching at the door. She thought maybe it was like, a cat or something, but let me tell you it sure as hell wasn’t no fucking cat.” He seemed to almost smile as he said this, as though it was just the highlight of his year. “It was a mother fucking zombie, man! Whoops. Better not shout or they’ll know we made it away. Anyhow, I heard about a couple of people being found partially McFucking eaten on the news. They said it was some god damn psycho or something, but we know better now, don’t we?”

Bunni piped up, with a worried tone that I’d never heard her use before. “What about Winter? Isn’t she, you know, like, totally dead too?”

Winter. I had pretty much all but forgotten her handicap by this point in my life, but the situation at hand caused me to remember quick. She had died. She had been hit by a car and died. Then she came back to life. Could it be that the same means or men who revived her had brought about this incident, or was it merely a striking coincidence that she had reanimated and now, as the snow began to melt in various places, the undead were out stalking the living? I told the others that it would probably be best if we went to check on her, since the police would be coming to handle this soon. They had phoned the police, hadn’t they?

“Police? They can’t handle zombies. They won’t even go the rout of believe that those fuckers are walking dead. It’s up to us. I’ve even got this zombie survival guide that I was flipping through.” He nodded as though he had somehow saved us all.

“You have a zombie survival guide on you?”

“Well not on me, it’s back in the… aww shit.”

We hurried away, under protest from Len, and left the scene behind. Bunni had left her cell phone back at her place so we couldn’t call either the police or Winter. I figured somebody else would notice the fact that the rotten bodies of six people were clawing at an old book shop and call somebody to come check it out, so we were in the clear. The news people would most likely chalk it up to some drugged out hobos or something, and Len’s place might get some free publicity. Assuming they didn’t bite more people and cause those people to eventually become zombies as well. I didn’t know if that’s what actually happened, but a virus seemed like a pretty logical thing to me. Maybe Winter just had a certain immunity to the virus or something. Well, I had to make sense of it somehow, didn’t I?

Zombies. Why did it always have to be zombies? What is it about them that seems like it could be so real, and yet so fantastic at the same time? The dead coming back to life seems to be present in every form of mythology known to man. So prevalent is it, in fact, that one wonders whether or not there could be truth behind the subject. Except for me. I don’t wonder about that anymore.

We hurried along the crisp back streets, the moaning becoming nothing more than a far off sound. I hoped in my heart that Winter would not be doing something crazy when we got there, like eating the still living body of Old Lady McCawe, who was just trying to take her groceries back home. How do you explain something like that to the landlord, let alone the authorities? I just wished things could be like they were in some of Len’s old comics. It’s okay, sure I just destroyed half the city with a toxic bomb, but I was under control of an alien when I did that. Oh, all right then. No harm done. Or in this case: Sorry about dining on the innards of one of your favourite patrons, but I was over come with an uncontrollable hunger. I swear it won’t happen again. Well, you see that it doesn’t. Also, would you mind if I borrowed your VCR, because there’s this episode of ER that I’d really like to tape?

Of course in the real world things don’t always work out how you’d like. If they had people would accuse God of cheating somehow, and demand a do-over on their own merits. Me, however, I wouldn’t have minded letting the shot lie where it was about a month ago. Bunni’s building came in sigh and it looked very normal. If you had lived over here, I’m sure you wouldn’t even suspect that any reanimated corpses were probably still trying to break into a home that they thought was the can to a delicious bunch of clams. I felt a chill run through my body, as I realized that’s how things always do look in the movies, just before you die horribly. Why couldn’t this situation be like one of those survival horror video games, so I could carry around a rocket launcher or something, and just destroy the filthy bastards that way? Oh dear, I got carried away. Really, I shouldn’t call some zombies who I know nothing about filthy bastards. I’ve always been against all forms of prejudice, and on top of that the girl whom I still secretly, or at least tried to keep secret, in love with was one of them. I would have bit my tongue had I said it out loud, but luckily for my tongue and me, I hadn’t.

We approached the door, and Len told Bunni to give him the keys so he could enter the building first. We couldn’t tell what was behind there, and he wanted to keep everybody safe. I’m sure Bunni thought it was rather heroic, but we knew that there was trouble out here, and I thought Len probably just wanted to get inside before the rest of us. Either way, he opened the door with no hassle, and we all clambered in. Everything was strikingly normal, from the ugly carpeted steps to the chipped paint lining the halls. We walked along to their room, and gave a knock before doing anything. Len had said it was best to knock first, just in case a zombie was sitting somewhere, and wouldn’t do anything until we walked by. Knocking would stir them up, and bring them to the front, where we could see them. As he opened the door, I kept looking up and down the halls, wondering who was in the other apartments, and what they were doing. What they were thinking. What they were like.

We entered Bunni’s place to find everything in the order that it always was, and a note on the table reading, “Went to the library. Be back at 6.” Bunni checked her watch and noted that it was only 3 now. 3 hours was an awful lot of time to spend in a library, and since she was long gone before we got there, she must have been spending more time. Then Bunni said something funny.

“I told Winter this morning that I was, like, spending the night at Lennies’,” she said, confused. “Why would she leave me a note?”

Conspiracy theories abound, it was not something that she would do. Even when I lived with her she rarely left me any notes saying where she was going or what she was doing. It just never struck her as important. Obviously something was going on here that wasn’t right, but what that was I had no idea. I just wished I were dreaming. It would make things so simple. I, of course, gave this information to my companions who used it to figure out the same thing I had just figured out. And then we all took off for the library.

Yes, the library. All of mankind’s collected knowledge, placed in one neat little package. Also, it happened to be closed since today was a Saturday and they close at 3 on Saturdays. Obviously, since we had no leads as to Winter’s whereabouts, we were pretty much stuck there, looking like idiots. Of course, since everything had been running pretty smoothly up until this point, a limo pulled up so we didn’t have to wait for another clue. The window rolled down, and so we went over to see who it could possibly be that was riding around in a limo and stopping in front of libraries to talk to strange people, and that’s when the gas poured out, and a cloud engulfed us. I’m not sure what happened next, because I was passed out, but it’s safe to say they drove us somewhere in that limo. I’d never ridden in a limousine before but if I ever do again, I hope the next time I am conscious.

I awoke to Len banging his head against my shoulder. He was trying to rouse me, and since his hands were tied up to a chair, this was the only way he could, save yelling in my ear, so I appreciated his efforts. We seemed to be in some sort of research facility, although I would describe it more like a laboratory. Which I just did, by the way. There were computer monitors and charts and graphs, and chemicals everywhere, in those little swirly test tubes and such. It looked like a government owned Frankenstein’s lab. Right down to the dead bodies that lined a row of tables. There wasn’t anybody alive in the room save Len and myself. Bunni must have been taken somewhere else, although we had no idea why, or why the government would leave us tied to a couple chairs in a lab. Len asked what we should do, and the first thing that came to my mind, obviously, was to escape. How we would escape would be the tough question, Len suggested, but apparently he didn’t realize that laboratories always have Bunsen burners. It’s just not a lab if there’s no Bunsen burner. We began to hobble our chairs to the nearest table, but this caused quite a ruckus, and I wasn’t sure if we’d be heard or not. When the door crashed open, however, I was sure. A couple of men in suits entered, followed by another fellow.

“Ahhh... awake, I see.” He was a rather short man, and thin too. Looked about as tough as a wad of gum that’s been chewed for twelve hours straight. He had a shiny, bald head, like my companion, only his was misshapen, and seemed too big for his body. He wore a large goggles and a small moustache, which seemed to compliment his stereotypical lab coat, boot, gloves ensemble. The right side of his mouth seemed to twitch every so often, as he spoke. “So good to have you chaps come around. I’d like to thank you for bringing me that wonderful specimen. I think she’ll do quite nicely if I can… ahem… reprogram her.” He cackled in a way I only thought witches did on spooky Halloween tapes. I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. Luckily for me, Len was impulsive as ever.

“What. The. Fuck?” I never said he was that great at opening conversation. Just impulsive. “I feel like I’m one of Billy Baston’s classmates or something. Only I don’t think Sivana reanimated dead fucking corpses.” Then I shook my head. Of course. It all made sense. This was the freak who brought Winter back from the dead, and those others we saw at the store. But why? And how?

“So you’ve put two and two together eh? What a clever cookie.” The mad scientist, because come on, what else could I call him, chuckled. “I guess now you expect me to detail to you my entire plan, eh? Well forget it. I brought seven people back from the dead, and you two aren’t going to be the next.” He turned to leave, stopping to tell one of the suited men, “Get rid of them.”