Blood Prom at Zombie Gulch
LOS ANGELES – Near the Corner of Hollywood and Highland
Moaning, it’s entire being ignited with hunger, the zombie lurched forward. Covered in the tattered rags of couture fashion, any semblance of higher function or affinity for clothing were gone. It’s goal hissed between broken teeth and chewed off lips, “braaaaaiiiiinnnssss.” The chilling call was echoed in the still night air.
The ghoul and dozens more like it lurched forward, slowly, but with a primal inevitability. Each shuddering, horrible footfall drove home the point, “you can run, but we’ll never stop.”
The undead horde closed in on a trapped Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman. Like so many on this twisted and burning block of Los Angeles, they would be consumed into the horde.
“Not like this,” Natalie repeated to herself over and over again. She was brandishing a broken chair leg over her head, it’s end already covered in blood and hair.
“I never knew love,” Mila whispered to herself before picking up her crowbar, the business end bent and twisted from caving in so many zombie skulls. Both women wordlessly nodded at each other. If they had to go, they’d go out like lionesses.
The closest zombie raised it’s rotting arms in a hideous embrace and then it’s head exploded in a geyser of brain and skull. More skulls followed in quick succession as more and more reanimated corpses were sent to Zombie Jesus. Walking through the dripping zombie sluice stepped Matt Loman dressed like Keanu in the Matrix, complete with killer shades, that were also nigh-visions goggles, which is why he was wearing them at night.
“Sorry I’m late, ladies. Traffic. You know what the 405’s like,” Matt kept his eyes locked with Natalie and Mila. “Fucking traffic,” he said while shooting a zombie’s head off without even looking at it. “Listen up, babes,” Matt’s voice was level. It was going to take a lot more than shotgunning zombies to get him excited, “there’s transportation and a military escort behind me. I cleared a path, just follow the headless bodies.”
“Thank you,” Mila Kunis managed to say despite being breathless between awe, relief, and white hot lust.
Without warning, four zombies burst through a storefront and lumbered at Matt who, on instinct, took out three of them with headshots.
“Braaaaiiinnss, braiiiiiins…hunger…always the hunger…” the last zombie growled.
“Aw, he’s just hungry,” said Matt who while a special forces badass is also compassionate. “This should help tide you over,” Matt stuffed the shotgun in the zombie’s mouth. “Oh is not to your liking? Well, let me warm it up for you,” he quipped while pulling the trigger. The blood spray on the wall looked exactly like a hand throwing up the devil horns at a concert.
Matt Loman is never compassionate.
THE PENTAGON 20 Minutes Earlier
The War Room was on high alert. On the big screen at the front of the room was a real-time satellite feed of Los Angeles. All around the room aides, assistants, experts, and military leaders were running to and fro, yelling at each other for the latest images, intel, and orders from the President.
The Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff took off his glasses and pinched the top of his nose. The world was ending on his watch. All in all, he was handling it well.
“General Hummel,” a marine snapped a crisp salute, “the Ghost Doctor is here, sir.”
A tall man in a pin-striped suit with black hair that was graying at the temples chuckled, like a kindly professor. “You ROTC boys are still superstitious? Isn’t it time to grow up?”
“You’ll forgive the Corporal and the rest of the men, Dr. Syron. It’s a natural reaction when someone’s official title is High Shaman,” Hummel countered.
“That’s a formal title, leftover from the old days when we were founded by Lincoln. I think you’ll find the Occult Research and Containment Society is quite modern with a similar hierarchy to any other intelligence or military wing.”
Hummel chuckled, “Yep, ORCS is just like the Navy SEALS or the CIA but with potions and totems.”
“And guns,” reminded Syron, “lots of guns. I understand you’re having an episode in Southern California.”
“We have a Category Five Necronic outbreak in one of the most populous cities on Earth. Negligible public transportation system, and the city’s not built to handle the volume of people and vehicles they have now, so evac within seven miles of the epicenter is out of the question,” Hummel gestured to the satellite map, “it’s a goddamn mess.”
“God has nothing to do with this,” Syron said, his eyes never leaving the live video feed.
“We’ve got three slicks filled with Delta boys armed to the teeth and outfitted with suicide collars in case any of them get bit ready to go down and wipe out what we think is the center of this shitstorm.”
“They’ll never get there in time. We have to contain it now, and a team that big will get bogged down.”
“What in the hell do you suggest then,” Hummel nearly yelled.
Syron reached into a briefcase and passed Hummel a folder with the giant words ULTRA CLASSIFIED stamped in the middle, and along the top in small black typeface ‘Codename: Murder Engine.’
Hummel grabbed the file and opened it, his eyes growing wide. “Matt Loman? You want to unleash Matt Loman?” Hummel sighed and looked around the room. It didn’t look good. “All right. Let the monster out of the box.”
“I already did.”
LOS ANGELES – Present
Matt reloaded, bent over to pick up a large square bag that he threw over one shoulder, pulled a grappling gun out of his trenchcoat, and zipped up over a building and out of sight.
“I’m soaked over here,” said Natalie looking over in the direction Matt went.
“I’d wreck that,” replied Mila. “I would ruin that forever.”
“Seriously, we should get hip waders and put down a couple of wet floor signs over here.”
Matt jumped and ziplined across the LA night sky, doing some pretty rad parkour stuff, all while wearing a trenchcoat filled with guns and shouldering the square bag. He back flipped between two buildings headshotting three zombies with his Desert Eagles in the alley below midflip before silently landing into a ninja roll.
Syron’s voice broke in over his earpiece, “Matt judging by the zombie’s movement patterns and the outbreak perimeter, the epicenter is near La Brea.”
“Jesus,” Matt muttered, “the new Chick-Fil-A.”
“Precisely,” Syron continued, “the construction crew must have hit a Rot Pocket, releasing the cloud of spores. Judging by rate of decay and the retention of some cognitive faculties, it’s probably a strain of South American Deathbloom. You’ll need to–”
“One second, Doctor,” Matt interrupted. He was running down the street, Desert Eagle in one hand, katana in the other at a mass of zombies that had gathered around a broken down bus. Matt emptied the handgun, each round exploding a rotting head and then he was among them. His sword flashing in practiced, graceful brutality. Each zombie was cut only once, the head cleaved in half horizontally, or the entire body split vertically. The bus full of Laker Girls seemed to appreciate Matt’s effort.
“Another night, ladies,” Matt said over his shoulder before disappearing up and over a building. “Sorry, Doc. You were saying?”
“You’ll need to burn out the pocket itself to keep it from pumping out more spores, and then release the package we gave you to negate what’s already in the air.”
“What about the infected?”
“Anyone exposed for under an hour, provided they weren’t too chewed up by other infected, should make a recovery. The others will be put down.”
“Who’s in charge of the containment battalion?”
“Mason’s a fucking pyscho,” Matt spat.
“He’ll be in charge of destroying the brains and burning the bodies of zombified women and children. A ‘psycho’ is the right tool for the job.”
Matt stopped at the edge of the roof and looked down on the half-finished fried chicken restaurant. While LA was filled with roaming packs of the undead, this was a nearly solid mass of lumbering hunger.
“I’m here. It’s bad. Can I get some air support?”
“Negative,” replied Syron, “a massive horde overran the perimeter west of you, we’ve got all available helicopters strafing the 405 before we send in the Doom Suits to mop up.”
“All right, guess I’ll do what you hired me for…keep it in the goddamn red.” Matt pulled two MP-5’s each with a barrel clip out and dove into the zombie horde.
Greeted with the rotted eyes and lipless smiles of the damned, Matt responded with bursts of submachine gunfire. Spinning, like a top from Hell, Matt blew away zombies in waves.
The guns were dry. Matt threw them at the two nearest zombies with such force that the heads exploded open as the guns traveled through them and buried themselves into the foreheads of two zombies behind them.
“Shit. That would have been one for the highlight reel,” Matt mused to no one. He pulled out his katana and went back to work. Using a sword on an unending zombie horde was like trying to beat back an ocean.
Matt Loman beat back a fucking ocean.
Covered in gore and leaving a trail of halved heads and partial torsos, Matt stood before the hole from which Hell had come to Earth.
“Quitting time,” he yelled into the abyss. “Smoke ’em if you got ’em,” Matt popped the pins on two phosphorous grenades, “chew on these if you don’t.”
Matt dropped the grenades and not even waiting for the explosion, turned around, unslung the bag, and pulled out a gleaming silver case. Deep in the hole there was the sound of explosions and the inhuman scream of a thousand damned voices cried out.
He opened the case and began to prep the contents. Without looking up he shot two approaching zombies. He grabbed the detonator in one hand and a sword in the other and began to slash his away from the device.
“Doc,” Matt yelled over the sound of steel slicing through bone, “what’s minimum safe distance before detonation?”
“Half a block just to be safe. The initial blast will take up what’s in the atmosphere, almost like a combustion. In and of itself it’s safe, but you’re covered in spores, you may get a chemical burn if too clo-”
“Half a block. Got it.” Matt ran up a car, to get some space from the encroaching zombies, lopping off heads and hands when they got close enough. Finally, after hacking his way through a wall of post-human flesh Matt climbed up onto a fire escape, pulled himself onto a roof, and hit the detonator.
A brilliant burst of gold fire erupted into the sky and burned the air for a few sustained seconds before dying out.
Matt pulled out his shotgun to reload and help the clean-up crews mop out when he noticed a dead body rise. Then another. And another. Previously unzombified corpses pulled themselves upright, taking up the chant of “braiiiiins.”
“Doctor, I’ve still got corpses reanimating,” Matt said.
“We’ve got reports coming in from all over about mass reanimation, hang on.”
“Is there a second pocket?”
“No, scans are green across the board. There are no biological or chemical agents in the air..,” Syron trailed off.
“Magic,” both men said at the same time.
“I fucking hate magic,” Matt added.
“AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA,” maniacal laughter cut through the heavy silence. Floating, surrounded by an ominous dark energy was Lord Abattoir the Necromancer. Dressed in a cloak the seemed alive and in-tune with Abattoir’s mood. Under the cloak was a dark void.
“Doc, it’s Abattoir,” Matt said bringing the stock of the shotgun to his shoulder.
“Mr. Loman, you insult me. A gun? I straddle the line between life and death. I walk between was and is. I’ve seen the other side. What mysteries does a gun hold for me,” Abattoir taunted.
“Aba, I don’t want to kill you. No. I’ve got holy rounds soaked in the Eternal Spring, and blessed by the Pope’s Secret Wife loaded. I’m going to tie you down, and use these to pulp your organs and bones forever,” Matt yelled, racking a round into the chamber.
“Matt, pull back,” Syron advised. “You’re out of your depth. I have a front line Warlock Coven prepping for orbital drop right now. Get out of there.”
“Sorry, Doc, I don’t scare that easy. Abby, you and me, once and for all.”
“Are you sure, it’s kind of a dude-fest if it’s just you and me,” taunted Abbatoir like a smart-ass motherfucker.
“Whatever, dude-fests are your favorite,” Matt countered
“You like those!”
“Fuckin’ come at me, bro!”
“Bro, I’ll be coming at you all day,” Abbatoir bellowed in frustration. Matt had gotten him. “You. Are. A. Worm. I don’t even need this ace in the hole, but, it’s fun.” Abbatoir’s eyes glowed and up floated a tied up Mila Kunis in front of Lord Abbatoir.
“MILA,” Matt roared like a lion, “you son of a bitch, this is between us!”
“Actually, she is.”
Matt paused for a moment in the quiet. The moment passed.
Matt brought the stock to his shoulder and pulled the trigger.
TO BE CONTINUED…
See you guys on Thursday.