Part 2: Burnt Cookies
As told by Donald PenPrince
(For part 1 and what happened before. See:http://www.naijastories.com/2015/11/zombie-warz/ )
Two men conversed as smoke billowed out the side of a burning building, in a hallway, on the thirteenth floor of the senate building. Neither seemed concerned by the fire or the jammed elevators. What could be more important than their lives, one could have wondered seeing them whisper back and forth with little or no concern for the rest of the institution being gradually overrun by zombies. Yes zombies.
A few hours before this, in the faculty of law, after consumption of certain foods from unverified sources, students had started changing into brainless, undead zombie monsters shuffling about and clumsily snatching the life from their fellow students, converting them into a similar state to continue their unholy campaign. The entire school was now in a state of chaos and almost total destruction. It could be assumed that it was those events and its portents those two discussed.
One of the men was old and paunchy but possessed of an aura of command one only assumed after a lifetime of having one’s orders carried out without question. The other was younger, about the same height and having a crafty, calculating look about him and the confident firmness that comes with reckless youth. The older man was likely a high standing official in the school and was talking in lecturing tones to the younger one. Their conversation went along these lines.
“It got out of hand, this institution is ruined. The school entrusted to me, under my watch. The results are beyond even my wildest calculations“ He spoke as if of a disaster yet did not appear to be too distraught, merely surprised at being surprised. He was a man accustomed to control.
The younger man answered back calmly and in subordinate tones
“The results of these things can’t always be anticipated.” He pauses and brings out a handkerchief to stifle a cough. The older man looks around, as if just noticing their environment, then looks back to the younger man expectantly, waiting for the rest of the report. This was a hard man, who would get his due and even the threat of imminent incineration or zombie conversion would not halt that.
Realizing this, the younger man swallowed and continued. “When one works with non professionals, and has to depend on them, unexpected results may be expected. A small matter of dosages not strictly adhered to.” the older man looks like he is about to give a sharp retort then shrugs and says
“well, at least the potency of the substance is confirmed. You have proof?“ The younger man slips a disk out of his pocket and hands it to the older man
“footage via the lounge Cameras.” The disk vanishes into the pocket of the older man’s Agbada.
“The antidote works?”
The old man breathes a sigh of relief. “Without that, this would all be one big horrible, profitless nightmare.”
The younger man produces a blue sulphuric rod and the other man leans forward to take it. The younger man hesitates in putting it in his hands.
“I want a larger percentage when the military pays for this.”
“But the terms have already been negotiated”
the older man counters.
“But it was larger than the contract slated. I couldn’t anticipate all the risks and I lost people in this venture.” “Oh but I’m sure the couple million dollars that’s your share is enough to mitigate the loss.
“I want a ten percent increase.”
The older man’s eyes widen, and he looks about to protest, then looks at the rod in the other’s hand. His eyes narrow at the unspoken implications.
The item in the other’s hand, the antidote is being used as a bargaining chip. His face hardens and he says “this is a sealed deal. Not your past questions you can hike prices on whenever the whim strikes you.”
He appears to consider then says
“but no matter. You can have a six percent increase.” The younger man nods and hands the rod over.
“It glows in reaction to infected subjects you say?”
“And causes a chemical reaction similar to acids eating at human skin“ the younger man affirmed.
“It also prevents one from being infected and is supposed to halt and counteract the effects of the substance on one already infected.
“Yet to be discovered“
As he says this, he slips two daggers from his pockets. They are both glowing blue. The older man looks at sulphuric rod in his hand. It too is glowing a vivid azure blue. They hear footsteps and seconds later, two of the undead zombies the school is overrun with show up, climbing drunkenly up the stairs. The younger man’s thrown daggers take one in the chest, the other in the eye. They fall shriveling into smoking ruins
“Best to kill them from afar, safer too.” The older man nods and the younger continues with a serious expression “it’s been nice doing business with you. I suppose a helicopter will be picking you up. I however must make my less grand and more dangerous exit”
The older man nods
“A change of scenery is in order” he turns to leave. The younger man calls after him.
“Remember my six percent when you are a billion dollars richer chancellor” “Oh I will my dear president. Or is that would be faculty president?
Smoke billowed of the side of a burning building. Chaos reigned, in a faculty that was the bastion of order. The acrid smell of desolation and despair permeated the afternoon air. I drew it all in through my nostrils, passed it around in my lungs, letting it saturate my being, and breathed out resolve. I was weak and knew I couldn’t last much longer. I tested the arm holding my sword zombie slayer. I hefted it slightly. My arm felt stiff and the sword heavy. My shoulder above was wounded and coated with crusts of dried blood where the zombie bat had raked me with its deadly claws.
Behind me cowered the ladies and classmates that had survived the first wave of the zombie attack in the faculty of law lounge. The sky rained ashes and blood. Winged zombies I referred to as zombie bats sailed across, various law and biz ad students in their grips.
It was a macabre day today and an unholy feast the zombies had. One of the flying zombies finished its meal and fixed its beady eyes on us. It dove in on us, having decided we were the next item or meal course in its unlimited course lunch. Lunch has never been a good description for me. Try prince, or sexy, or Dragon even.
I was also not one to give up one, or a flock of attentive ladies to another man, even a flying batish zombie. Never mind that its intentions were not quite amorous. I waited till it sailed closer, then sidestepped smoothly and slid zombie slayer through its left wing, severing it cleanly. I turned evasively but wasn’t fast enough. Some blood spattered on my hair. My beautiful afro I did in next just the week before. Oh well, I always wanted to dye my hair red.
The flying zombie crashed clumsily to the ground in front of one of the girls, Torpeh in year two. She screamed wildly as the thing attempted to rise to its feet. Blade burned blue, zombie flesh sizzled and its attempt was halted by my sword cleaving it in two. Around us, a few other earthbound zombies noticed the commotion with their undead senses and were closing in, eager for a piece of the action. I would give it to them. Ok that sounded sexual. I would have at them. My sword took the arm of one, and I kicked out at another behind me to gain room to finish of a third, and then spun around to take the head off the other (and it’s not what you think pervs)
They were slow and clumsy, these zombies and they sizzled and burned as zombie slayer bit into them. They collapsed at a stab from the blade, never rising again. As I fought them, I noticed that my fatigue disappeared, my arm grew lighter and my wounded shoulder stung less. The sword I wielded, miraculously discovered on the lounge floor glowed a fierce blue.
As I decimated the ranks of shuffling creatures, I thought and calculated. Sidestep and cleave arm, the sword reacted to the creatures, almost like two contrary chemicals meeting. Lean and sever jugular, their flesh melted where the blade touched it. Duck and slash stomach leaving rotten entrails to spill forth. The sword was anathema to them, deliberately designed by someone to be so.
Fighting is like dancing, rhythmic. A series of similar moves carried out, each spinning into the other to make the whole fabric. Till you make a mistake, skip a beat, miss a step. In dancing this can be embarrassing. In fighting, fatal. I overextended my reach and stumbled slightly off balance but a block of stone from one of my companions, Jide aka Pryce the rapper knocked it backwards. I turned to nod my thanks to him and found him backing away from another zombie. A throwing motion sent zombie slayer questing forth, seeking the zombie’s spine. It found it, impaling the undead creature.
I walked down to take hold of zombie slayer’s hilt, stepped on the creature’s back and pulled the sword out. It slid smoothly out like water running down a hill. My last observation, the sword countered the effects of the zombie poison. I placed the sword on my wounded shoulder. It pulsed a violent blue and the wound seemed to drag and burn. I found I had fallen to my knees. When I took it off, I found closed flesh where there had been a wound. Interesting. Dammy helped me back to my feet.
Behind us, an engine revved and came alive. We looked back to see Professor I.O Smith the dean starting a car. He had saved us from being trapped in the lounge which was locked at that time. Here he was helping us get away again. He was a resourceful man. He spun the car around and stopped in front of us. We climbed in the car to make our getaway. Around us, desolation still reigned. It was clear the battle couldn’t be won today.
“We need to find somewhere safe”
the dean called back to the seven of us who survived the lounge attack.
Five sat behind, and two in front, me and Pryce the rapper specifically. “Unilag security of course cannot handle something on this scale”
he says while driving.
“The authorities have been notified but you know this country, slow to respond.”
“When they do respond at all”
He nods, then stepped on the throttle and the SUV sped on.
He took the road behind arts faculty as the one in front of us was full of zombies and the unfolding chaos and ruin their attack had wreaked. As he rounded a sharp bend, a student suddenly appeared in front of us. Not a zombie, but a living student. A girl, dark skinned. I recognized her. Imade a year two student. She was probably trying to get away from the unfolding chaos. I.O Smith I notice isn’t slowing down, perhaps unwilling, perhaps unable to. He would run her over. I couldn’t let that happen. This had nothing to do with the fact that she was lovely, dark skinned and had chatted with me on occasion, engaging me in intelligent conversation. I would totally strive to save anyone in a similar situation even if not possessed of pulchritudinous features and a fascinating mind. And it would be such a shame to be crushed by a car driven by real people after successfully escaping a band of marauding zombies.
I slapped a hand on the steering wheel. Perhaps too eagerly, turning it a second before the car could ram into our lovely damsel and paint the ground with her blood. I’m sure it would have been a pretty painting being that she was a girl possessed of ‘inner beauty.’ Or didn’t inner beauty extend to the color of one’s blood and organs? We didn’t find out thankfully. I had overestimated the force it would take to overturn the car however. I put it down to the excitement of the moment. Though we could blame it on the zombie virus and curious combination with whatever elements were in the sword, making me resistant and perhaps stronger than usual. I did feel stronger than usual.
Whatever it was, my swing on the steering wheel to get it out of Imade’s path was overdone. The car spun wildly off the road and into the bush in the corner, overturning on its side.
A quick survey showed me everyone in the car was fine though. A glance out the window showed me Imade was ok as well, though shaken from her recent brush with death. I tried the door at my side but it was jammed. The hilt of zombie slayer smashed the glass and I kicked the rest out of the way. I and Pryce the rapper climbed out, helping the dean and others out.
Glancing at the car, smoke was coming out of the bonnet. It would take a lot of effort to get the car back on ground and on the road. I looked at the dean and he shook his head ruefully. I had just wrecked our getaway car and we might all die as a result. Least I could do now was obtain her number or bb pin and fix a date for future. We made our way to the road and to my intense bafflement couldn’t find her. Had she run off without even a word of thanks? I scratched my blood spattered afro and tried not to be too disappointed.
I scrutinize my torn clothing and ragged appearance. Oh well perhaps it wouldn’t have gone well. But no, even like this, I’m still looking fairly handsome. I’m sure. Then we hear a jarring scream. A feminine wail follows. I start running in the direction of the wail. Back the way we came. I can finally see the cause of the commotion.
Imade is being dragged by one of the flying zombies. I draw zombie slayer and chase after them flushed and hotly ready to do my heroic duty. She is struggling with the creature and this gives me time to catch up, almost. My swing misses as the flying zombie takes to the air with her.
I watch them in the air. She is bleeding from wounds in several places, likely resulting from her struggle with the creature. Zombie venom would likely be coursing through her, altering her metabolism. My mind races speedily, like a car with nine gears. The airborne zombie shrieks gaily, tauntingly. It maintained a height not too high up, but beyond my reach. So near, yet so far. My racing thoughts come to a grinding halt when it sinks its fangs into her neck.
Dark droplets of blood fall to the ground. I walked forward to catch one on my palm. I closed my hand over it and looked up in fury. A storm, an avalanche of hatred bubbled up in me. I had planned to ask her out sometime. Then a realization hit me and I calmed. There was a time for anger, a time for calm, a time for thought and a time for action. Desperate action sometimes demanded by desperate situations. When the chips were down and the cookies were burnt, it was what you did.
I looked the gleeful creature in the eye, its fangs still glistening with damsel blood. I looked at her, dark, Lovely and fragile. She was unconscious and likely bleeding from an arterial wound. All appeared lost but even if it was so, you didn’t give up. If all was to be lost, then better you be the one to throw it away in your own manner and choosing. Much more satisfying.
I flung my sword straight in the manner one would fling a spear, blade first. The flying zombie had anticipated the move and moved to block the throw with the damsel in its clutches. It had a fiendish and evil grin on its hideous features. I had one on my handsome features too. It had anticipated the move, but not the motive
I take in her lustrous dark and wavy hair and cinnamon coloured skin in that second. Its funny the things you notice in moments of heightened tension. The flying zombie’s grin is wiped off as the sword pierces Imade, passing through her completely and impaling them both, a paradoxical fusion of beauty and ugliness. They both drop.
I do too,
we all fall down.
To Be Continued…