Friday, November 28, 2008

Nuclear Thanksgiving Part II

Nuclear Thanksgiving Part II

Ellie led us out to a back alley where a number of British convoys lay waiting for us. A number of British and Chinese soldiers stood together conversing. When they spotted us, they began jumping into the vehicles.

"So Ellie," I asked, "what's the deal with the Chinese and British? Why are they cooperating now?"

"Well, after that assault deep into China, the two governments almost began World War Three. When you began sinking Chinese freighters, the Chinese relented, hoping the British could help. In return, the British have allowed our small of commandos here so we can assault the ship. Yes, this assault will be an entirely Chinese operation, with the Brits just here for support. We take care of our own."

We hopped into the vehicle. Cmdr. Jeffries jumped in too. "You think I'd miss this," he asked. "What's with the kid," he said, motioning towards Julia.

"She's an expert in infiltration and commando tactics," responded Ellie quickly, "and an integral part of my team."

Jeffries huffed, and turned around. Julia stuck her tongue out at him.

We hadn't gone more than a half a mile before traffic came to a halt. "What's going on," I asked.

I heard a dull rumbling, like a clap of thunder.

Jeffries listened on his headset. We all had donned combat helmets with earphones. Julia could barely see out of hers, it covered so much of her head. "They're shelling the city," he said. "Mortars, we think. Our snipers can't get an angle on them. The residents are panicking and trying to flee, many on foot."

The convoy stopped completely. Even with our police escort, the gridlock was complete.

"Come on," said Ellie, "let's go on foot. We'll make better time, and it's only a few miles."

We jumped out of our transport. A couple dozen black-clad Chinese followed us. We picked our way through the back streets of London. We came into a park known as Coram's Fields which contained a number of soccer fields and recreational facilities. It also contained a number of mounted policemen who blew whistles at us. We ran a block, but then a SWAT team cornered us with drawn rifles.

"Get down! Down, now!"

"Shit!" cried Ellie. "Come on, this way." We headed for an alley, but another SWAT group ran in and cornered us.

"Hands up, let's see them."

"We're the good guys," I cried. "We're heading towards the attack! We can stop it."

"Shut up." The shoved us up against the wall, and started disarming us.

"What's this," said one man, finding my liquor bottle. "You're no fighters, you're thieves!" He smashed the bottle on the ground. The other men did the same thing with the other packs.

"You idiots," I cried. The man hit me hard in the back of the legs, sending me to my knees.

"Alex," shouted Misty.

Then I heard it. The sound Jeffries had warned me about. A rising wail filled the air. Carrie was about to engage the zombie ray!

Ellie slammed her foot into her captors heel then spun her elbow in his throat. She grabbed his rifle out of the air and let it rip on full automatic into the other SWAT members. "Come on, grab your shit and run for it," she yelled, "fifty seconds!"

We ran down the street as fast as our feet could fly. "There!" We ran into a bar, and Ellie fired her rifle into the ceiling.

"Whisky, now! 30 seconds." The barkeep just stood there so Ellie jumped over the bar and began throwing us bottles. I started chugging mine as fast as I could, Misty and Rod did the same. Fortunately Julia still had her bottle, and she too drank it. I coughed and sputtered and retched but I somehow managed to drink most of it.

The floor felt cold against my head. My ears rang, and my vision swam, the room spun in big circles. Car alarms and horns filled the air. My head felt tight, painful, aching. I looked at the ground and the other people struggling to get up. I felt a rage building inside me. I wanted to hurt someone. I wanted kill, to rip someone apart, feel their blood and bones in my mouth, to tear their flesh apart.

A wave of nausea washed over me and I felt the whole room spin. I tried to get up but I couldn't. "M--m--misty," I mumbled. She lay in front of me, trying to rise, a confused look on her face. I didn't see anyone else on our team. Her face started to contort, she bared her teeth and glared at me, breathing quickly.

"Ahh!" She jumped me, snapping at my throat. I held her arms and then got behind her, holding my arms under hers and behind her neck in a full Nelson.

"Misty, please! It's Alex. Misty, you've got to come out of it! You can fight it!"

She struggled and struggled against me as I called her name. With a great push, she freed herself and faced me. Behind her rose Ellie, a rifle in her hand. Misty jumped and Ellie fired.

"No!" I cried as Misty landed in my arms. "Ellie, what the hell did you do!!" I felt Misty's body convulsing against me. "Misty!"

Ellie shot again, this time over my shoulder. The other patrons of the bar had awakened, and the more sober ones attacked each other. I felt Misty, searching for the bullet hole.

"Alex, I didn't shoot her," cried Ellie. "She's just coming out of it. Now put her down and help me fight!"

I looked at Misty's face, now dull and unfocused. "Alex, Alex," she said quietly. "What's happening?"

I hugged her, then put her down. I had trouble focusing on the attacking zombies. The room still spun, and they seemed to be multiplying into twos. Rod pulled himself off the floor. "Julia's still out," he said.

We shot all the zombies in the bar. Misty had crawled over to Julia to try to revive her. "Julia, baby, come on, get up." The girl stirred, but couldn't seem to wake up fully. I felt close to passing out myself.

"Here," said Ellie, passing us out some pills. "This may not make you sober, but it will wake you up, and counter some of the effects. Hurry up."

Outside, a number of zombies roamed around the streets. They attacked each other, gnawing on each other and beating their heads. I could hear the cracking of bones as they used every ounce of madness in their attack.

Misty coaxed Julia to take the pill. As we stood guard, I started feeling better, and more alert. My head stopped spinning, and I could focus again. Julia got up, and gasped at the sight of all the dead bodies.

"You still ready for this," asked Misty, and Julia nodded.

"I'm not afraid," she said, even though we could all see her trembling. "Let's go." She started leaning hard to the left and Misty propped her up.

We peered out the door. For the moment all the zombies in range seemed occupied. "We've got to move fast," said Ellie, "before they can reload the zombie ray."

We started scampering down the street, stepping around the mutilated bodies and pools of blood. Screams and growls came from all the buildings surrounding us. Piles of damaged and steaming cars littered the street, some with zombies inside beating senselessly against the windows, unable to manipulate a simple door handle. As we approached one car, the window busted open, and the bloodied zombie crawled out on broken arms. It spotted us and started ambling towards us, but Ellie felled it with a single shot to the head.

A thick drizzle settled in on us. "Is the weather always like this," I asked aloud.

"Where do you think I got my name," replied Misty. "Apparently moments after I was born, my dad looked outside and said, 'it sure is misty out there,' and my mom loved it. It wasn't even a name on their short list."

"I'm sorry," I responded.

"Nah, it's better than 'Choon-Hee' which was their original choice. Shit, look up there."

A group of zombies seemed to be milling about.

"Why aren't they attacking anyone," I wondered. "Are they recovering."

A woman began running down the street, somehow not zombified. The group spotted her and began chasing her. She screamed and ran harder, but tripped over a body and went down. Instantly the group pounced on her, and in moments I could see fingers and entrails raining out from her body. Momentarily satisfied, the group stood back up, surveying the street.

"They're forming packs? This is not good," said Ellie. "Come on, before they spot us."

We slipped around a corner, trotting towards the river. Either the pill Ellie handed me began wearing off, or the alcohol continued to flood into my system, because I started feeling a bit drunk again. It became hard to run in a straight line. Julia bumped into me and we both fell down into the wet street.

"Hee hee," she giggled, her eyes a bit glazed. She started speaking in incomprehensible Tagalog, singing something. She wrapped her arms around Rod who helped us up.

"Rod," she started saying, "Rod, Rod, Rod."

"Fight it," said Ellie, not looking so steady herself. "Behind you!"

A group of about 5 zombies charged us. Ellie fired on them, missing our heads by inches. The last one dropped right at our feet. "Dammit," she cried, "I can't fucking shoot straight. We've gotta get sober! And those were all the pills I had."

We began to lean on each other for support, like a group of drunk partiers. Misty started singing, "As I walk through, this wicked world."

"Ssh!" said Ellie.

"Wait...I know this one," I said. "Um..."

Misty continued, "searching for light in the darkness of insanity."

Rod picked it up. "I ask myself, is all hope lost? Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?"

"Guys, knock it off," hissed Ellie.

We all joined in, "And each time I feel like this inside, there's just one thing I want to know: What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love, and Understanding?
What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love, and Understanding?"

The last lines we shouted out into the gathering night. Ellie blasted at oncoming zombies.

"As I walk on, through troubled times, my spirit gets so downhearted sometimes."

We shouted the next lines: "Where are the strong?? Who are the trusted? Where is the harmony? Sweet harmony?"

"Shut the fuck up," screamed Ellie. "Look behind you!"

We turned around to find about thirty zombies closing in on us. We clumsily reach for our weapons, almost knocking each other down. I tried firing but nothing happened. I fiddled with the safety and released it. At about ten feet distance, I emptied my gun into the oncoming screaming mass. In a moment, they all lay down on the ground. Then slowly, they started picking themselves up.

"Head shots," yelled Ellie, firing down the street at another approaching group.

I reloaded my gun, and this time took careful aim, dropping them one at a time. The assault seemed to clear my head a bit.

"Move it," we're about a block away from the river now." We sprinted down the street as the rain increased. The zombie ray had knocked out all power to London, but the suburbs still lit the clouds enough for us to see. Ellie didn't want us to use headlamps.

At last we made the river, and started heading East towards the remains of the Tower bridge. We saw no signs of British or Chinese forces, except some abandoned military vehicles and some corpses that could have been soldiers. Hard to tell in the dim light.

We made decent progress, then we came to the Blackfriars Bridge underpass. Ellie switched on a small light to see through the impenetrable darkness. Julia pressed close to us. We passed through the first one without incident, but under the second bridge we heard some rustling. Ellie held up her hand. "Lights," she whispered, and we turned them on. Surrounding us were dozens of faces, peering out from the dark. Only now do I remember hearing that some zombies just like to lie in wait, springing on unsuspecting prey. As one the horde screamed and jumped out at us. As one we opened fire with everything we had, completely surrounded.

We formed a ring with Julie in the middle. Inside the tunnel, the sound of guns deafened us, and the only light came from the muzzle flashes of our guns. I shot at all the faces I could see. My gun clicked, and I stepped into the ring to reload, coming out again to fire. Still they came, some with missing limbs, some with holes in their heads but not completely dead, most with blood pouring out of their bodies. The carnage was unbelievable. The pavement pooled with their blood.

"This way," shouted Ellie. We walked our little ring East, trying to get out of the tunnel. The way beyond seemed clear. My gun emptied again, but before I could reload, one of the zombies snatched it from me, and I stood face to face with a crazed man reaching for my throat. I whipped out a pistol and shot him between the eyes. One of them jumped towards me. I shot this one too, but his momentum carried him into me and knocked me and Julia down. Rob turned to help us up, but two zombies grabbed his waist and pulled him away. I heard him screaming somewhere in the dark.

"Rod!" screamed Julia. "Rod! Someone help Rod!"

I shot into the darkness, hoping to hit something and save Rod. We shot like crazy, beating off the zombies for a moment, and climbing over the bodies to find Rod. We discovered him crumpled in the corner, bleeding from a dozen places, a knife in his hand.

"You good," I asked him, and he nodded. He screamed when he tried to put weight on his foot.

Ellie knelt down and felt it. "Broken. Come on, help him."

Misty and I put his arms around our shoulders, and carried him out of the tunnel. We hadn't gone fifty yards when Julia screamed. A huge horde of zombies ran towards us, down from White Lion Hill.

"Give me your guns and leave me here," said Rod. I'll fight them off, you run. The river walk looks clear."

It looked like every zombie in the city converged on our position.

"No!" screamed Julia. "We can make it."

Rod sat down painfully, and held Julia's hand. "Julia, I have to. It's the only way. You can't carry me. I'll be alright. I want you to live. Please. Now go, before they spot you."

"Come on, Julia, please," begged Misty. "It's the only way."

Julia tore herself away from Rod. We handed him a pile of everything that could fire a bullet, and ran down the river walk. In a moment, we heard firing from behind us. Rod shot and shot, and then, silence. Only the screams of the zombies filled the night.

Posted: Friday, November 28, 2008 @ 11:19 PM

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