HCC: Modern Zombies
drtimphd at gmail.com
Sun Feb 20 22:33:30 PST 2011
"You hear that?"
Billy Jack Joe Bob Willie Nelson had heard something, he didn't know
what. He turned and faced the man behind him, clutching at his gun, a
scared look in his eyes. He'd heard it, Nelson could tell that Ray
Charles Nelson Reilly had really heard the mystery noise.
"I didn't hear nothing, you didn't either if you know whats good for
you!" Reilly boots at Nelson. As Reilly does this, the mystery noise
sounds again. Nelson bolts at the noise, screaming like a banshee.
"Nelson! Get back here, you hear!"
Nelson doesn't hear, his shrieking drawing a horde of the brain-
eaters from their lair. They have at Nelson, who manages to get a
wild shot off, in Reilly's direction. Reilly ducks behind some cover,
the shot from Nelson's weapon ricocheting near his head. He doesn't
think any of the horde noticed him, and quickly makes his retreat.
"Screw this," he mutters under his breath, "Who needs some secret
serum now? We've got this plague on it's death bed!"
Well, thinks Reilly, they've got Nelson on his. He sneaks one last
peek. No, they've got him just about eaten is what! Hungry devils!
Reilly exits the warehouse they'd been in. There, just beyond some
pallets, two zombies lurking about. They're fighting over something,
entrails it looks like. Who else has been out here? He couldn't
think of any other operations in the area, but took this as a sign. A
sign to avenge Nelson's death. He checks his surroundings to make
sure he is alone. Fine. He pulls out a silencer, attaching it to his
weapon. He steadies, aims and fires at one. A miss! He could just
about kick himself! He takes another shot. Another miss, hitting the
zombie to the right in the arm. It dangles there, nearly off from the
decay. The zombie on the left swats at the arm a few times, giving a
moan in response to his former adversaries injury. On a whim, Reilly
takes the moaner out. Really, you don't want to attract attention.
He readies himself in aiming at the remaining zombie threat.
A hand clamps on his shoulder, monstrous strong. Reilly immediately
turns and pulls the trigger. A misfire! Oh!, of all the luck!
Another zombie rips the gun out of his hands. Reilly squeezes his
eyes closed as the lead zombie dives in to take a bite out of his
brain matter. He waits there a few moments, nothing happening.
Reilly carefully opens his eyes. What was going on here? They were
looking over him and his weapons quite carefully. The one that held
his weapon even had the remaining ammo out of it. Reilly couldn't get
himself to say anything; he did cry, and let loose a few rounds in his
pants. Thank God they smelled worse than he did.
Jesus Christ! One of them talked! Oh my God! Reilly was surprised
at he zombie's word, they looked even more surprised at him.
"You never heard a zombie talk before?" the Gun Zombie asks. Reilly
quickly shakes his head. Gun Zombie snickers at Reilly. "Huh. Well,
they only thing I ever heard a person say was 'shoot it in the head'!"
Gun Zombie says, pointing Reilly's own weapon at him. The other
zombie grabs at the gun, shaking his head.
"Thank you," Reilly whimpers. He gets a boot to the gut in response
from the zombie that saved his life.
"Quit sniveling and get up," Gun Zombie orders. Reilly quickly obeys
the command. A horrifying thought comes to mind, he letting his
captors know it.
"If we leave, those meat bags-- those undead-- they'll sniff me out
quick. I'd rather you kill me now; shoot me or eat my brains-"
Gun Zombie cuts Reilly off there. "You stupid man! We don't need to
eat brains anymore-"
Gun Zombie is quickly silenced by Commander Zombie, who lifts a
finger to his lips, then says frustrated: "You get to have all the
Reilly laughs. "Throckmartin?! HA!"
"It's a family name," Throckmartin replies embarrassedly. He gives a
nudge to Reilly, who continues with his laughing. "I like my name!
"What's wrong with it? I bet yours is something really, really
To which Reilly stops his laughing, looking at Throckmartin deadly
serious. "You got a problem with my name?" Before things get blown
too far out of hand, Commander Zombie steps between the two.
"If it makes you feel any better, my name is Terry. How's that for a
name? You," Commander Terry grabs at Reilly, "If you don't know yet
that we wont eat your brains, I'd shudder to think about how mentally
composed your survival group is. Throckmartin, I'd be rid of you
quick as sin if you weren't my only friend. What is your name guy?"
He hesitates a moment. "Reilly," he grunts.
"Reilly," Commander Terry continues, "We're going to give you as much
protection as we can. You go back to your group. Never come back
again, do you understand?"
Reilly nods hesitantly. "I understand you, but I don't know if my CO
back at camp will understand. He wanted some brew that was in that
warehouse. He wanted it real, real bad. He said it could end this
Zombie Plague once and for all. You two know anything about it?"
Reilly says this last looking at Throckmartin, who can't look directly
Commander Terry understands from the earlier exchange and he and
Throckmartin's miracle speech and attitudes, that the cat has been let
out of the bag. "Reilly, we took the stuff."
"Quiet Terry! Don't tell him," begs Throckmartin. He begins pacing
back and forth, realizing there was nothing he could do to stop
Commander Terry. There was the gun, but to kill what was going to be
his first, last and only friend in this life as a zombie? Heaven's
"We took the stuff," Commander Terry continues, sometimes looking
confused, "Without really knowing it. I suppose we were rampaging
around, looking for brains-- or something-- to satisfy our urges for
brains. We must have ingested the stuff. It was bluish, I vaguely
remember; I think it was some genius serum that was found to do this
to us. A bit late in the game now, but a win is a win, right?"
Commander Terry gives a cautious laugh.
Reilly nods. A win is a win, whether you come back with a genius
serum and two operatives or one operative and knowledge that the serum
actually worked. Reilly pointed out the direction of his camp.
Commander Terry nods.
"Throckmartin, we're going to protect Reilly as long as we can. How
many rounds do you have?" Though, to himself, he surmises it wouldn't
really matter, so long as he and Throckmartin could fend off any
"I've got enough, Terry," Throckmartin replies stoically.
"You ready?" Commander Terry looks to Reilly.
"As ready as I'll ever be," Reilly nods, leading the way. There
aren't many zombies in their way. Most had flocked to the noise of
Nelson's misguided screaming and shooting. Throckmartin aims at a
few, but doesn't shoot. Some he shoves down to the ground, others he
flings out of the way. Commander Terry acts as point, searching out
potential trouble. He sees no immediate threats.
"How far is your camp?" Commander Terry asks.
"About ten miles," Reilly replies, pointing forward once again.
"About fifty of us. Some come in, others leave. A fairly constant
flow, since we seem to finally be winning the war."
Throckmartin grunts while Commander Terry hesitantly nods. Dead or
not, Reilly could see the worry that had surfaced on their faces.
There is silence for much of the night. Reilly didn't need to know
much more about the serum. He didn't know if he cared to hear about
Commander Terry or Throckmartin's lives before they were zombies.
They may have attracted more zombies if they had. Their progress was
relatively unmarred by any major attack.
After a long silence: "Sentries are posted a ways out, so you might
want to pull off a little ways before. I'm sure I'll be fine."
Commander Terry nods. Throckmartin however, responds differently.
He hugs at Reilly, he cringing at the squishy, smelly mass wrapping
itself around him. "I'm sorry, but you're the only person that didn't
want to shoot me in the head! I'm sorry! I'll try and pull myself
together," he says with great emotion, pulling in one of his eyes up
by its stalk and squishing it back into the socket. He ambles off to
a large nearby tree, still very emotional.
Reilly turns to Commander Terry and salutes him. Commander Terry
returns the salute. "I was never in the service. I had a bad heart.
That's what killed me, right at the very start of this madness. A
heart attack, after seeing my girlfriend bit, then, then come back.
Betsey was her name," Terry smiles, recalling his time with her. "She
was old-fashioned. We were going to go to Las Vegas, or thereabouts
during the crisis, and get married after. I couldn't do anything for
Betsey. But maybe I've done something for you, Reilly, to deserve
that salute," Terry salutes Reilly again, Terry himself becoming
emotional now, "Thank you, Reilly."
Reilly salutes Terry again, shaking his hand. Commander Terry gave
him a pouch. "The serum. Thank you, Commander Terry. Good luck."
Commander Terry grabs up Throckmartin. They give a final wave to
Reilly, before disappearing into a rising mist. Strange, strange,
strange, was all Reilly could think of the encounter. He turned,
getting a laugh out of it all, and finally headed for home.
"A fanciful story-- for a crazy!"
It was the Commanding Officer of the camp, General Offerman who was
berating Reilly now. Really, Reilly felt kind of special; to be loved
so much by Offerman like this. Reilly smiled.
"I tell you again, General Offerman, my story-- not really a story--
is true. Those zombies, Commander Terry and Throckmartin, are very
real. I'm sure if you sent out a few sentries, you'd find the both of
"You know that we don't have the men for that, Reilly!" One of
General Offerman's lieutenants, a man by the name of Zellig blurted
out. Offerman quieted Zellig, motioning the guards to enter the small
"Zellig, take Reilly to the Pits. He's gone nuts-o. Put him in with
his zombie friends. HA!"
Zellig and the two guards salute General Offerman, then go about
their task with smiles on their faces. It's not a far trip, just a
few paces from the barracks where Reilly was being interrogated. The
guards rough him up, with Zellig kicking him down into the pit.
Reilly lands with a gush of air escaping his lungs. Zellig spits at
"Rot, you crazy zombie lover!" Zellig spits again for good measure,
slamming the door shut on Reilly and the Pits for what could have been
the last time, for all he knew.
Reilly laughs and laughs some more. There are zombies down here. He
can feel them. Yet they don't attack him. Maybe it was Commander
Terry and Throckmartin in his aid? No, there is only one zombie.
It's backed into a corner, seemingly afraid of Reilly. A woman.
Reilly laughs again, this time at the thought running through his
mind. "Betsey! Hahaha!"
The thought escapes his lips, and the zombie woman reacts to it by
taking a cautious step forward. No. No! How much of a coincidence
could it have been? She takes another few hesitant steps forward.
She is naked, and Reilly averts his eyes at her sight. She lurches
forward now, hungry for his brains. Reilly easily pushes her away.
Again she lurches forward, and again he pushes away. "I knew Terry,"
Reilly says weakly, "I knew Terry, Betsey. He was so sad at your
passing. You broke his heart. He died of a broken heart, Betsey!"
Reilly pushed Betsey to the floor. It took her awhile to get up. In
that time, he took out the pouch from his pocket. Neither Offerman or
Zellig had wished to look at it. Reilly took out the vial, sure
enough, of a bluish fluid. He held it up to the flickering light that
was above him, to the side of the Pit's opening. A clear bluish
liquid; so easy to end this Zombie Plague, in a sense, yet Offerman
wouldn't take it, not even for the world.
"I knew Terry," Reilly said, knocking Betsey back, "He'd want you to
have this, because he doesn't have that many friends now."
Reilly forces some of the liquid on Betsey, she not liking it too
well. She falls, seemingly unconscious. A few hours later she rises,
covering herself. Reilly laughs, sitting underneath the flickering
"Who are you? What am I doing here?" Betsey asks frightened.
"Don't worry, Betsey. I know Terry-"
"Is he safe?!" she demands.
"As safe as can be, I suppose," Reilly holds up the vial. "He gave
this to me the last I saw of him. I gave some of it to you. It
rescued you and Terry. Now, when I die, I want you to give it to me."
"I don't know what's going on! What's going on?"
"I don't know," Reilly laughs, "I suppose we'll have to cross that
bridge when we get there. When I die-" he taps at the vial. Betsey
takes a few steps back. She is afraid for her life. “Give this to
me, as quick as you can, before I come back."
“You can't come back if you're dead. You can't! You can't!" Betsey
screams hysterically. Reilly laughs too, making the situation that
much worse. "How, how do you know Terry?"
"I knew him, because I thought he was going to eat my brains. He
didn't though, and I'm stuck here in the Pits. With you Betsey,
probably forever. No one as far as I know has ever gotten out,"
Reilly sighs deeply, "But, then again, I don't know of any of the
zombies in the Pits being on the receiving end of this or any other
Betsey looks at him and the vial suspiciously. What was all this
talk of zombies anyway? They're in the movies, they're not real!
We're real, she thinks, humans! Humans, not zombies! She rushes
forward; the man in front of her cringing. She doesn't rush him, she
looks at the door above them. This was a basement once, one could see
that the stairway had been removed at some point in time. She looked
to the man sitting under the flickering light. Even if she got onto
his shoulders, they'd still be a foot or so short of even a finger
hold. She sighs.
"What's your name?" she asks after a few moments of cooling off.
"The name is Reilly, Betsey. It's nice to meet you. Let's be
friends." Friends, Betsey laughs. Yes, lets. We're going to be here
for a long time. Reilly holds up the vial again, Betsey giving a
slight nod. He passes the pouch to Betsey. She recognizes it
underneath the light. Terry had given it to her, of course, back then
it contained her engagement ring. She sighed, holding it to her
chest. Reilly started to laugh then cry hysterically as the light at
the bottom of the Pit flickered out the last time.
7.1.2009 by Tim Munn
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