As Paul looked down at his hands while washing them he couldn’t believe the news he was hearing…. “the bodies of the recently dead are returning to life and attacking victims. If you have a recently departed loved one, please turn them over to the national guard stations posted on your television set. If you don’t have time to transport them immediately, for your own safety either separate the head from the body or destroy the brain with blunt force or trauma, such as a blow to the head which breaks the skull or piercing the skull and making contact with the brain. These reanimated creatures have no remorse or recognition of loved ones or friends and will attack and kill on site. Reanimation takes anywhere from 10 – 30 minutes depending on the trauma of the lethal bites inflicted by their attackers. Any deceased person not victim to attack or bite, and having passed of natural causes will not reanimate.” Using the remote, he scanned the networks, but all had come to the emergency broadcast network. His girlfriend, Rebecca was in the center of town at her office on the 45th floor of the Sears Tower and Paul knew getting to her was going to be a monumental task. He continued to listen: “Martial law has been placed on all of Chicago and neighboring cities. Civilians are to lock themselves in their homes or bring themselves to the nearest National guard stations and outposts for their protection”, the broadcaster then warned. “Do not attempt to use the streets or highways for gathering loved ones or family. National guardsmen have been ordered to kill on site. If your using vehicles for transport, attach a white towel on your car’s antenna and or white sock in clear view to let guardsmen know that your not infected”. The world was falling apart. Just yesterday minor outbursts and skirmishes were reported all over Illinois. Today, it was a war zone. As Paul looked out his front window, the streets were empty and devoid of any life. A vacant car sat at a forty five degree angle in the road and a squirrel scurried across the street. As Paul looked closer, he saw two figures hunched over near the car. Opening his window, he shouted to ask them if they needed help… both figures slowly turned and staggered to their feet. Paul’s mouth opened and he gasped. They were the undead, gruesome cannibalistic creatures who were now fixed to his sound and in their basic motor functions, knew that where sound came from meant food. Their skin being blotchy and yellow in color covered in coagulated blood which was on their lips, cheeks, hands and faces. Their eyes were like those of boiled fish covered with a grey film and lifeless. Almost as if a drunk stumbles out of a bar, these two creatures were slowly making their way to the last origin of noise they had heard. They were like comedic in their movement as they staggered forward. All the time they uncoordinatedly moved, they made a low groaning sound. It was almost human like…the creatures continued their slow unsteady walk while keeping their heads up and mouths open. “The reanimated dead must be stopped by blunt trauma to the skull”, the emergency broadcast network person continued on the television as Paul repeated the words to himself. In thinking quick and rationally, Paul grabbed the poker by the fireplace he had used to stoke and break logs apart at winter time. It seemed now ironic how such a simple invention would be helping him fight for his life. As he knew the creatures were already in their slow descent on his home, he opened the door and went outside. His 6 ‘ 2 muscular frame met the first creature with a sickening cracking sound as the poker entered the skull. The creature fell to the ground and was still. The second creature raised it’ s arms and moaned louder as it’s mouth opened exposing teeth that were covered with the blood of the victim it had just attacked by the car. Paul rammed the poker through the creature’s eye and it fell silent. He then slowly and cautiously walked over to the car. The poor victim on the cement was an older woman who had been attacked. She was tattered and torn like a rag doll. As blood trickled out of her mouth, she looked upon Paul and muttered, “Please kill me, it hurts so much, so much“, she gasped. Paul closed his eyes and rammed the poker into her brain. As her body twitched and convulsed, she stopped moving and her eyes stayed open gazing at the orange sky above.
Chapter 2 The origin
Paul knelt down and begin to sob...how could this happen? he had seen the Romero classics and the European works by Argento, so he was well versed in screen zombie battles. He never thought his knowledge of Romero's trilogy would play into help keeping him alive. As he got to his feet, he noticed a figure about 50 yards in front of him. "Great", he thought to himself, another, so thinking quickly he stayed low and crawled to his home and back into the front door locking it. He figured if the zombie had seen him he'd have a good ten minutes with the way the creature moved before it would be at the house's door or windows trying to enter. As he locked all the house doors and made sure the windows were locked as well, he moved the 7" inch portable television into the kitchen with himself and listened to the broadcast. Dr. Roger Mortis was talking about the cause of the massive infection which was responsible for the dead rising. As he spoke he carefully chose his words.. "This is an infection like we have never seen. It invades the blood, killing all natural functions in the body and causing the host to cease life functions. Reanimation is caused by the primal functions in the brain which operate while the victim loses all motor function and intellect. The host is reduced to a hostile and agitated level where it seeks the primitive urges which are dominant in the brain and kept at bay by the large part of the cranium which has ceased to function. These creatures feed on and attack the living. We have been able to determine with the creatures we have caught, that they see human body heat and with the primordal functions in control, attack immediately". Dr. Mortis continued, "if seeing someone bitten or attacked with bites, they must be put down immediately. There is no cure or antidote for the infection. Loved ones will reanimate if bitten and attack. They will not recognize or feel any compassion. They will get up and kill, their victims will get up and kill. This whole situation has gotten out of control because of a lack of understanding how the infection worked. National guard outposts allowed infected people into their buildings and the infected turned and reanimated killing within these safety zones". "Anyone infected or bitten will not be allowed into the new outposts set up in the areas we are about to give", Dr. Mortis continued. If you are not infected, you must have a white handkerchief, sock or something which you can show the guard at the outposts. All people will be inspected for bites and infection before entering outposts. Anyone with signs of infection, will be terminated immediately", he continued. "Thrackkk!", "thump", on Paul's side of the house. Paul ventured to the side window where he heard the noise and looked out, sure enough the same creature was there looking to gain entrance. Paul stayed silent and turned down the television hoping that the creature would lose interest in him. "Thump", "thump", the noise continued. Then the unearthly groan of the reanimated dead was heard. Paul remained calm and went to the other side of the house where a window would offer him good view. He watched this thing hit the house with it's grey hands. Half of the creature's face looked like it had been shaved off... bone and muscle were exposed. Paul just stared in a sort of amazement and the pure simplicity of this zombie seeking food. As he thought to himself, it was so cool how the works of Savini had made these creatures look so life like in the films, “Night of the Living Dead, Dawn and finally Day”. He of course was a purist, so his take on “Land of the Dead”, wasn’t with the admiration he had for the first three. The creature continued to hit the house, “wack, thump, thwack”, as it continued it’s one sighted mission. Paul knew this thing would be like the energizer bunny and continue till it found the cracker jack prize it sought. Paul picked up his cell phone and dialed Rebecca. Lines were busy and out due to emergency the recording said. Paul knew he had to get to Rebecca, so he went upstairs and prepared.
Paul put on four pairs of socks, two wool flannel jackets, two pair of long johns and two pairs of sweat pants. Knowing that the creatures would bite, he figured if he had enough clothes on, that breaking the skin would be harder. He also took two broomsticks and broke them in half. He sharpened their ends to use as spears. He knew that a quick kill meant blunt force to either eye of the zombies which would stop them in their tracks. He took both broomsticks and put them through his sweatpants cd player loops. He then took the poker from the fireplace with the two confirmed kills and put it in his hands. He looked at it with the dried blood on the end of it and gathered his thoughts. He knew this was going to be a difficult task. Kill the creature outside, get in the car with the sock on the antenna, drive to Chicago, almost 30 minutes away, see if Rebecca was still there at the Sears tower. He knew if she wasn’t there he would venture to the nearest outpost to try and find her. As he prepared to meet the creature outside, he heard the whining of an engine. It was getting closer to his home. Then he heard the sounds of “whoooop, whoop”, come from a voice outside. Paul opened the front door to see a monster truck pulling up to his house with four burly gentlemen in the back. The guys jumped down from the truck and immediately impaled the creature Paul had been ready to dispose of. After making sure the zombie was done, they looked up to Paul who was in the doorway. “You infected?”, shouted the beefy toothless bald headed man with the tattoo on his arm. “No”, Paul shot back. “Why the hell you dressed up like winter, son?”, the beefy man asked again raising his shotgun in Paul’s direction. Paul looked at himself and chuckled, “well I was hoping to have an advantage here with these things, I figured the more I wear, the less chance they have of biting me” “less chance of biting you?”, the beefy man replied back. “Yes, less chance”, Paul said again. “Hey boys, look – ee here, we got us a smart one!”, the beefy man exclaimed. Everyone including Paul broke into laughter. “The name is Paul Henderson”, Paul stated while extending his hand. “ The name’s Tobias”, the beefy man shot back grabbing Paul’s hand in his gigantic mitt. “This here is Jimmy, the good looking one is Frosty and that there is Francis”, he added. Paul looked them over. All had been wearing jeans with jean vests and no shirts. The smell of poor hygiene was prevalent. “So, where did you come from?”, Paul asked. “We came from the Bensenville arena where we was sitting ducks”, Tobias stated. He continued, “Before they knew that the infection was caused by bites, they let a whole bunch of wounded in there. Well the wounded soon got up and started killing those around us… there was women and kids being maimed by these things. We all got out and took our own justice, going back in there with shotguns and steel shafts, but there were too many of them. The last time we looked the guardsmen were being ripped to pieces like paper dolls by these things”. Tobias looked at his boots covered in blood and parts of flesh and bone.”We had to kick and punch our way out of there”, he added. These things ain’t strong, but they don’t stop either, we got into Frances’s monster and ran half of them over on the road”, he continued. “We then went about four miles down the 83 and there were over 50 of them in the road where a bus had crashed. We beeped the horn and all these blank faces looked up at us with their mouths filled with human remains. People were on the ground pleading and screaming, but we knew we couldn’t help ‘em. So Frances put on the Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back my Bullets” on the loud system and we ran them sons of bitches over. We came back and we did it again and again and again. Then we got out and finished the ones who weren’t dead” concluded Tobias. “Shit they’s all dead Tobias”, Frosty offered as his first conversation piece “yes they’s all dead”, he shot back at Frosty. “Them things is ugly and they smell like a steak gone bad in the sun”, Frosty added. “Sure do, sheeeit, my dog wouldn’t touch one of them if you barbequed it”, finished Tobias.
Roads lead nowhere
Paul explained to the foursome that Rebecca was in Chicago and that he needed to get to her or at least try to see if she was safe or had perished. He told Tobias and the boys that not trying meant that he would be haunted for his life knowing that the woman he loved he had not valiantly made the effort to recover. Tobias and the boys were unanimous in agreeing to help Paul. They felt they were safer with Paul, because already he was smarter than all four. Paul was an easy person to get along with because he knew that these country bumpkins wanted direction, but they loved killing and finishing these creatures. He knew his involvement wouldn’t be needed when it came to extinguishing zombies. These boys were more than ready. They gathered up some supplies from Paul’s refridgerator and set out in the monster truck to find Rebecca in Chicago. As they turned down the street and onto 83 where the boys had come from, it was like a war zone. Tobias instructed Frosty and Frances to put on their motorcycle helmets and get the “axes” ready. As they drove down the street there was carnage everywhere. Tobias signaled it was time to play “ball”. Frances and Frosty then leaned over the sides and with one arm, hung on the side grip. As they neared the first zombie, Frances swang his axe immediately separating the head of the zombie from it’s body. “it’s a hit!”, exclaimed Tobias while the whooping and yee haws continued. Frosty then swung his axe twice within a few seconds with one arm and eliminated two zombies. Paul just shook his head in amazement. These good ‘ole boys were enjoying this. They were having fun. All of a sudden the monster truck jerked backwards knocking Paul off his feet. As he slowly rose to the pain his shoulder. He saw what was his worst fear. There as far as the eye could see were nothing but zombies. There must have been 200 – 300 hundred of them just standing there and looking at the truck. Seems the creatures realized that food used the road to get to an outpost. So they massed and waited. There was no organization or plan, but like a feeding frenzy, they waited for the next vehicle to feed off it’s occupants. Cars and trucks lay scattered ahead like a used car lot with blood stains and torn clothing on them. The sight was sickening. Tobias, knowing that he had no chance backed the truck up and did an immediate U turn. The creatures followed the truck moaning and groaning at a snail’s pace. Tobias looked through the rear window opening at Paul and the boys and told them, “if it’s like this everywhere, we may never get anywhere alive again”. The truck dodged and hit the smaller vehicles on the 83 going now southbound. Every now and then, the monster truck would toot it’s horn that played “Dixie” and a loud “whhhoooop, whoop”, would be heard and then the crunching sound of a zombie hitting the front of the truck. Tobias looked at the other three and said, “those son’s o bitches pissed me off back there, let’s go back and have a barbeque”. “Whhhoooooop”, hollered Jimmy. “Barbeque?”, asked Paul. “Yes, barbeque”, Tobias answered back. “Down this road is an 18 wheeler full of gas from Shell. We ‘ll take that truck turn it around and drive it straight through those muther fuckers all the time setting off the gas contents…we’ll have us a zombie roast!!!”. “YEA”, the other three chimed in. Paul looked at Tobias and asked who was going to drive the truck. Tobias smiled, took a swig from the Jack Daniels bottle Paul had just noticed and said, “Frances loves to drive them big rigs, we’ll pull up next to him and he’ll hop on as the truck goes into the crowd of those puss bags”. “KABOOM”, went Frosty. After riding for 10 minutes and hitting so many zombies Paul lost count, they pulled up next to the Shell gas truck. As Frances hopped out the side of the monster truck, Tobias, Jimmy and Frosty all did patrol for the undead. Paul helped too. Frances got in the cab and hotwired the control panel. The dark smoke piped out of the cab’s chimneys and the truck slowly jerked forward. All the boys were smiling and even Paul added a grin. Frosty got on back and took a rumpled shirt and dipped it into the gas. He then put the shirt like a wick on the top of the 50 foot tank filled with gas having it lead to the inside of the tank and partially outside. “This here is where it gets good”, Tobias explained to Paul. “Frances has to jump out of the cab about twenty feet before we hit those things and land into the back of the monster. Then Frosty has to light the wick and hop into the back of the monster. I have to slow this sum bitch down so they can do that”, Tobias continued. Paul looked perplexed. “If they don’t and miss?”, added Paul, “Well then, we gots us a big problem don’t we boys!”, added Tobias “Sure do”, added Jimmy. The eighteen wheeler roared down route 83 with Frosty riding on top like a demented surfer. Tobias cranked Lynyrd Skynyrd’s, “That Smell” over the monster truck’s loudsystem. As they neared the strip where the crowd of hundreds of zombies awaited them, Frances tied the steering wheel straight and pushed the gas peddle down the the fire extinguisher. The smoke bellowed out of the pipes and Frances readied by opening the cab door. Tobias pulled the monster over so that Frances could hop out into the back of the truck. He did so successfully. The truck forged ahead. Frosty then lit the shirt and the torch lit up… however he hadn’t known the law of physics with the vapor in the tank area. Like a gas stove lit after a few seconds the flame billowed into Frosty’s face burning him. Frosty screamed and fell backward somehow managing to grab the ladder at the back of the tank. Paul in a sense of heroics, leapt over to the tank and grabbed onto the injured Frosty. Yelling at Tobias to slow down, Paul put Frosty’s arm over his shoulder and cradling him jumped toward the monster. As he hit the side, he felt his insides burn as he tore his stomach muscle wall. Hanging over the side while holding Frosty, Frances and Jimmy worked to pull them inside the back of the truck. First Frosty went, then Paul. Frosty’s face was burned and his skin was flaking and his face swollen. Jimmy handed him the Jack Daniels bottle and he took several large gulps. Paul couldn’t move as the pain in his side was throbbing. As they lay there, the truck slowed down. The sky became a bright orange, red as the loud explosion of the gas tanker hit their ears. The groans and the moans of the undead could be heard. As Frances jumped up and down and yelled “yee haw”, Paul tried to crawl up to see what happened. Frosty immediately offered his hand to help Paul. Looking up, what once was a wall of the undead was nothing but a red sea parted by huge walls of flame. Not only did the explosion eliminate the zombies in front of them, the ones who survived the blast were trapped on the outside as the wall of flames which had parted an open entrance for the monster truck to drive through. As the truck approached it’s entrance to travel through the hordes of undead, Paul looked over the side of the truck at the faces of the undead eerily lit by the wall of flames. They were angrily looking and groaning at the occupants of the truck and the meal that was passing. One brave zombie ventured forward immediately becoming a torch. As the creature fell onto the road burning the others stepped back into the darkness. Tobias hit the “Dixie” horn again and the monster sped ahead.
Chicago is dead
The sky darkened and the Monster sped ahead. From route 83 it hit the highway to Chicago. Tobias attached the sweaty damp sock from his left foot on the antenna of the Monster. The last thing he wanted was the National guard to patrol and shoot them on site. As they neared Chicago, they saw two National guard trucks with safety fence blocking the exit to downtown Chicago. Tobias flipped on the four wheeling lights. As he slowed down, The twenty guardsmen appeared out of nowhere. With M – 16’s. They spoke through a PA. “Stop the vehicle, come out with your hands in the air and walk toward us. If you have infected, hit the horn of your truck once”. The four good ‘ole boys and Paul smiled. They hopped out and walked toward the guards. The guards asked them to immediately strip naked so that they could examine them for bites or infection. All the boys did and began laughing when Paul took his layers of clothes off. As the guardsmen approached Paul, he asked “why are you so bundled up?”, lifting the nuzzle of his M – 16 to Paul’s forehead. Paul responded with the now huge welt and cut on his side from slamming into the truck, “ I thought by wearing all these clothes it would be harder for them to bite me through it”. The guardsman smiled and lowered his rifle. He then asked Paul where his wound came from. Frosty walked forward and immediately asserted, “ he saved my life”. The guardsmen looked over Paul again. He then asked “so, we’ve got a real purple heart here, huh?”, as he said it, Paul knew that the guard was half joking. He also knew that the situation could become dangerous as martial law was in place and these part time soldiers were trying to flex their authority. “I just did what you would of done”, Paul answered. The guardsmen looked at Paul and told him, “get your clothes back on hero, all of them”. “Your like a walking mall”, the guardsman continued. Everyone laughed. As they dressed, they heard the far west side shout, “incoming”. As they looked, a bright light shone toward the hill of the exit and about a good three hundred feet from them. It was two corpses, walking side by side arms raised and mouths open. The guardsmen blew his whistle and the group formed a semi – circle. One of the guardsmen ran toward the embankment where the dead slowly headed toward them. He stood there and whistled loudly. The walking dead changed their direction and began their slow calculated walk toward him. As they neared within fifteen feet, a snapping was heard and the dead disappeared into a pit ten feet below. “Got ‘em”, said the guardsmen. “Got ‘em?”, answered Tobias puzzled. “We trap them and bring them to the Disease control center in the city for the scientists to dissect”, answered the Guardsman. “They are trying to see if there is a way to stop the infection and reverse the process”. Paul knew this was his chance to get downtown. “Is there anyway I can go with those things downtown to where this is?”, he asked. “You want to go downtown?”, the guardsman answered. “Yes, I do”, Paul responded. “Haven’t you been listening to the networks?”, the guardsman offered “We’ve been busy trying to get here”, Paul resumed “Chicago is dead. No one goes in, no one comes out, the infection spread through the trains and through public transport. Anyone alive is probably trapped in a tall building somewhere on a secure floor”, the guardsman continued. “My girl works at the Sears tower and I have to know if she made it”, Paul again answered “You’re a real hero, aren’t you?”, the guardsman responded acting impressed. “We go with with him too”, Tobias stood triumphantly behind Paul with Jimmy, Frosty and Frances. “Well, hell, if you all don’t make it, at least you’ll die together”, the guardsman offered “That’s the way I want it”, added Paul. Tobias then came over and grabbed Paul’s hand. He looked him into the eye and said “Whatever you need from me and my boys, you got us. You saved Frosty, you showed us that you are a man to lead us to where we will end up”. As Tobias looked at the others, he continued, “If we make it, we make it, if we all don’t at least we were helping you try to find your girl and hell since none of us have one, sheee-it! Boy, we ‘re going down the glory road together”. Everyone let loose a loud “whoooooop” together. Paul had found the brothers to help him get through his task to find Rebecca. As he tenderly felt his side and the pain it was giving him, the guardsman offered to have the doctor give him a shot. As the doctor came over and administered the cortisone shot and pain killer, Paul felt a slight naseau, then moment of euphoria. He looked ahead and saw the Sears tower looming in his vision. He would meet his destiny in Chicago and find his love. He knew he wasn’t going to stop until he knew of Rebecca’s whereabouts.
110 floors of death
They lifted the two zombies out of the pit with a lift and wench. As they were being lifted, the boxes they were dropped into had the tops slid off. The creatures were dumped from fifteen feet into the air into the boxes and then the tops were slid over with the chain lock fastened. There was no escape for the undead. The front of the boxes were plexiglass so that the creatures could be watched. They leapt, jumped and clawed the front of the plexiglass. The guardsman told Paul and Tobias that they would keep this up for about ten minutes, then like little children, whimper and slide down to their knees and start banging their heads against the glass. Paul watched with amazement as they did just so. Knowing they were trapped, the creatures reacted like a caged animal and then when realizing there was no escape, resorted to whatever functions worked in their primitive brains. “They act almost human here”, the guard offered. Paul nodded. “This is where they are most dangerous, any agitation and they will become fully active again”, the guardsman continued. “We saw one rip his own arm off in an agitated state and begin beating the inside of the cage with it”, he continued. Paul shook his head as the guardsmen lifted each box from behind as the creatures, startled jumped up and began looking around for a reason why they were moving. The female saw Paul and she instantly became agitated banging herself into the glass and clawing it. She made inhuman sounds from within her larynx. She continues to try to press her out of the box she was trapped in, but her strength was no match for that of the fool proof zombie catcher. The boxes were lifted and put on the transport truck that Paul and Tobias’s clan would follow to the city. As they all got in the monster and pulled up behind the transport, the same guardsman approached them. “Good luck boys”, he said, standing back and saluting Tobias, Paul and the others. “Let’s go get your girl”, Tobias said. The monster truck picked up speed and followed the transport through the fence covered exit. They noticed sandbags on both sides and guardsmen set with machine guns and bazooka’s. They also noticed the well placed fence down the length of the exit that would not allow anything in or out. Paul slummed back into his seat. He thought he may never see Rebecca again…They followed the transport for twelve miles where it ended up going into a maximum security area. The area was well patrolled and it was obvious no infection had entered the facility. Paul imagined what fate awaited the creatures on the transport in the testing area they were enroute to. The monster truck had taken the street to Sears tower. It was peaceful and eerily quiet. Every quarter mile they would see a group of twenty to fifty guardsmen who would let them pass. Obviously the guardsmen had heard of this rag tag bunch of missionaries. As they approached within a mile of the Sears tower, the road was blocked. The guardsmen posted there shined the spotlight on them and told them that this was the end of their trip. Paul got out of the monster and asked why. “It’s death city in there, no one in there is alive and our job is to shoot and kill anyone who comes out or tries to go in”, the guardsman responded. “Well, then I hope your prepared to do your job because we are going in to find my girl, we have to”, Paul retorted. “You didn’t hear me. We have orders to shoot and kill on site anyone going in or out. The risk of infection is too high. This thing is just getting under control”, the guard continued. Paul looking the guard in the eye, took his hand. “My love is in there. I cannot go forward without knowing if she made it. I know what my risks are and I know I may find my demise. But I have to try, please”. The guard looked down at his feet and threw the lit cigarette down, stubbing it out with his boot. “She means that much to you”, he looked at Paul for any hesitation. “Yes, she does, I have to know”, Paul sincerely added The guard then looked over his shoulder and barked “open the gate, these men have clearance”. Slowly the gate opened. Paul grabbed the hand of the guard. “Get in that monster and go before I change my mind”, the guard said, breaking eye contact with Paul. Paul ran to the monster and got in the passenger side. Tobias and the boys let another “whoooooop” loose and the monster chugged ahead. The guard looked at Paul and once again, saluted him. Seems the guardsmen respected Paul for his dedication to his girl and his mission to try and save her. Paul looked over at Tobias and asked for a sip of the Jack Daniels bottle he was nursing. “No, Paul, you’re the leader, you’re the man who we need to get us through this”, Tobias answered. Paul smirked. He had found respect with people and men he would never socialize with in the ordinary world. It took a disaster of biblical proportions to make all men brothers… The monster slowly pulled up to the front of the street lit Sears tower. There was blood and body parts in front of the building. Paul began thinking to himself. In the movies, Romero and Argento’s heroes always prevailed because they were smarter than their attackers. So, he knew, go inside, attract as little attention as possible and see if Rebecca is on the 45th floor. He hopped out. Tobias gave him the keys to the monster. Tobias, Frosty, Frances and Jimmy all suited up to begin their battle with the undead. Rebecca was either here or she had escaped with others to the guardspost the creatures had been transported to a few miles down the road. Paul swallowed hard and felt the twinge of adrenaline sweep through his body. As they entered the building, the sight of the obvious mismatch between human and zombie waged large. Walking forward, they saw the few lurking zombies walking in the lobby. As Tobias lifted his shotgun in their direction, Paul put his hand over the muzzle and had him drop it. “We don’t need to unless we really need to”, Paul offered. “Shee-it”, Tobias piped in, “ I live for killing them mutherfuckers”, he added. “Tobias, if we need to we will, but shooting him is only going to attract the attention of the others in the area”, Paul added “and the last thing we want is forty or fifty of these things coming after us”. “Your right, Paul”, Tobias added while patting him on the shoulder. “I wish I had me the smarts you do”, Tobias finished. Paul and the four mercenaries entered the elevator. They pressed the button for the 45 floor. As the doors closed they heard the continued moans of the undead in the hall. Muzak played in the elevator, “ I was made for lovin’ you”, as the elevator moved upward. Paul and the boys all prepared for battle in case the elevator door opened and the undead were waiting for them. As the elevator slowed and the bell rang, the door opened. The lights glowed as the empty office had no one in sight. Paul and his southern rebels entered the office area where Rebecca had worked. No one in sight, no one in the area. Putting their guns down and weapons, they looked over for any discerning information that would lead them to where any of the office people had gone. Frances decided he was going to take the corner and see if anyone had left a pack of smokes. Before Paul could mouth the words get back to the group, it happened. Two flesh eaters came jumping out of the dark office near the corner and attacked him. One bit his neck, the other his arm causing a flow of blood like a broken dam. They had the startled Frances down on his back as they attacked him, biting and gnawing his exposed areas. Frances was cursing them and with his gun in the free hand, shot the first flesheater in the head. As he kicked the other, it fell backward and then as it tried to sit upright, he picked up his gun and shot it in the face. The creature slumped forward. Frances got up and spit out the red blood from his mouth and looked at Paul, Tobias, Frosty and Jimmy. Taking the gun in his hand. He mouthed, “I’m sorry” putting it to his chin and pulling the trigger. As the explosion went off, his legs gave out and he violently fell to the floor. The flesheater shot in the face got up and opened it’s eyes. Frances had shot it in the lower jaw and it was still reanimated. It began moving forward with no lower jaw or lower face. Tobias stood forward and said “this one’s for Francis”, as he unloaded the shot gun into the corpse’s head. It fell forward hitting the floor in a twisted position.
Just as this happened the other elevator stopped and the door made the familiar ding sound. As it opened, Tobias, Paul, Jimmy and Frosty prepared for the attack of the undead. When no one came forward, They cautiously approached the elevator. There they found a man in a tanktop, dress slacks, shoes and fire axe. He asked them if they were infected. “No, we aren’t infected”, Paul shot back. “Myself and about ten others are all up on the 52nd floor”, he answered. “What are you doing there”, Paul inquired. “We all went to the floor that has the plexiglass reinforced secure area and and the bank vault to wait for help”, he answered. “You got a name”, Tobias fired in, “Yes, I am Jason,”, the man responded. “Well Jason, we got a monster truck downstairs and we can get ya all out of here”, Tobias answered. Jason looked over and said, “When I heard the shooting, I came down to see if help had arrived”, he continued. “That was brave of you”, Tobias half offered. “Well, I’ve been elected the leader of this group, so let’s go upstairs”, he continued. “There’s only one leader we follow and that’s Paul”, Tobias announced. “Well, I’ve been elected as head of the group of survivors upstairs, so I can only say that you’ll all have to do what I ask”, Jason continued. “Bullshit”, shot back Tobias as he loomed over the man he was twice the size of. Paul immediately interjected, “Listen we can all get along here long enough to get these people out of here”. Looking at Jason, he then asked, “So there is ten of you up there, right?”, “ten is correct”, Jason said while staring at Tobias and moving side to side. “You better get this little runt out of my face before I send him running to mama”, Tobias exclaimed. Paul walked over and pulled Jason back. As he did, he turned Jason toward him. “Listen, I need to know if Rebecca Johnson is there with you”, he inquired. “Rebecca?”, Jason shot back almost immediately, “you know Rebecca?, Jason added. He smiled quickly, “she and her boyfriend are upstairs”, “boyfriend”, Paul inquisitively asked, “she has a boyfriend?”, he asked turning almost chalky white. “Yes, her boyfriend Tim, the department manager is up there with her”. Paul sunk to his knees. He risked everything for Rebecca to find she was in the arms of another man. “No fucking way”, Tobias blurted out, “well I’ll be a pile of dogshit in a cantelope patch”, he added. Paul sank to his knees. Tobias immediately went over and put his big arms around him. “I gotcha bro, let’s go get your girl and get out of here”, he added. Jason looking and acting confused, added “is there something going on here I should know of?”, “naw, nothing that you need to be aware of”, Tobias added. Paul staggered to his feet. As he did, he felt that nausea creep over him. He followed Jason, Tobias, Jimmy and Frosty into the elevator. The elevator crept up to the 52nd floor. The doors opened and Jason was greeted by the security guards who worked the bank. They were in combat stance and prepared in case of an undead visit. Jason waved his hand, allowing the guards to relax. As they emptied the elevator, they approached the guarded plexiglass area. Jason punched in his code and the door opened. The guards went back to watching the elevator. Walking into the back area of the bank, Paul saw who he had risked everything for. Rebecca was there. She was standing there with Tim, the boyfriend Paul had just learned about. Rebecca immediately ran into Paul’s surprised and stiff arms. She kissed him and told him she loved him. Paul looked at Tim who nodded approval at him. Whispering in her ear, Paul asked “I thought you and he were together”, Rebecca answered, “sweetie, Tim and I were lovers and today when all of this happened, I just knew I couldn’t be with him not knowing what happened to you”. “I am here for the same reason, Rebecca, I love you and couldn’t go on knowing what happened to you”, Paul intoned. “I know, my love, that’s why I told Tim we were done, over”, Rebecca added. “ I knew in my heart you’d find a way to come get me or save me, my heart kept telling me that over and over”. Rebecca leaned forward and kissed Paul. Paul looked around the room and Tobias was smiling. Suddenly he felt things would be alright. He looked at Tim and Tim came over to shake his hand. “Well, I have finally met a real hero”, Tim added. Paul shrugged and Frosty jumped forward from the back, “he sure is, he saved my life today already”. “Well let’s get this party started and get everyone out of here”, Tobias piped in. “Ok, let me get everyone and we can take the elevator downstairs”, Jason added. Slowly the ten people gathered. Eight people and two security guards. Paul, Tobias, Jimmy and Frosty all entered the elevator. The doors slid shut as the security guards, Tobias, Paul and Jimmy all went to the forefront with the weapons in case of an undead greeting. Jason slid to the back of the elevator. “Real fucking hero”, Tobias chuckled. Chapter 8 till death do us part The elevator slid down and stopped on the main floor. Everyone looked at each other and prepared for the sound of the door opening. As the ding hit, the attack and the surprise of the swiftness and the number of undead took everyone by surprise. At least fifty zombies had gathered to meet their menu selection. The guards were the first to go, being grabbed by the dozens of undead limbs and pulled forward. The dead almost immediately began their unholy feast, the large number of them tore the guards from limb to limb. Screams filled the main floor as the guards died horribly at the hands of the zombies. Paul and Tobias went next, shooting and stabbing as many as they could. Trying to clear a pathway, Tobias and Paul worked furiously as Frosty and Jimmy helped them dismember and exterminate as many of the reanimated corpse’s as possible. As Tim put his arm around Rebecca, he tried make a run for it with Rebecca on the side of the wall of the undead. She screamed as several zombies grabbed her forcing her to the floor. Tim ran down the corridor of the main floor into the darkness. Paul and Tobias acted swiftly exterminating the zombies who had attacked Rebecca and helped her to her feet. As they looked back, Jason and the other three survivors were in the back of the elevator, too scared to move. Dozen’s of corpse’s stumbled into the elevator and swiftly began their feast…..screams permeated everyone’s ears and they softly turned into whimpers as the undead attackers got their victims on the floor and began their meal. Jason, the two women and male survivor who chose to listen to him, lay like sacrificial lambs as the dead ripped their clothes off, tearing their flesh and feasting on their organs and body parts. Their screams and whimpers soon died out as the gorey feast continued. Paul looked at Tobias with Rebecca, Jimmy and Frosty and forged ahead keeping Rebecca in the middle. They hit, shot and stabbed as many of the undead as possible. As they fought into the street, Paul pulled the keys to the Monster truck. He tossed them to Tobias who jumped into the driver side. The engine revved up as the surviving party got into the back of the monster truck. Tobias sped forward hitting the horn that played “Dixie” and let a whoop out. As they drove down the street, a familiar face came running out of a side street. It was Tim, the man who had used Rebecca as a human shield. Tobias stepped on the gas as the monster truck struck and ran him over. Paul looked over shocked and couldn’t believe what he just saw. “She’s all yours for sure now, Paul”, Tobias offered. “Whoooop, whooooop”, he added. The sun was beginning to rise and the glare hit the windshield. Paul had Rebecca in his arms and his new friend Tobias at his side. He looked up and watched the sun tower over the Chicago skyline. He felt at peace and happy… He looked down at Rebecca and saw her eyes make contact with him. His heroics had brought him the love and the woman he desired. Tobias turned on the radio…it continued… “The infection has been identified by the around the clock work of doctors at the Disease control center in Atlanta. While we cannot stop the process of the living dead, we can now identify what reanimates the bodies of the recently deceased. The following outposts have been set up for survivors to go under government protection. Martial law is still in effect and all civilians are to stay off the streets. With understanding that any person is bitten and the needs for extermination, these outposts are only admitting uninfected people. All others will need to be exterminated”. As Paul looked down at Rebecca, he knew the outpost was where they would go together and start their new day together. Tobias looked over smiling and Frosty and Jimmy smiled in the back of the truck. As Paul went to kiss Rebecca, he all too late felt the coldness of her lips as she drove her teeth into his chin, removing a large chunk of flesh. Paul fell backward in the seat as Rebecca exposed the bite mark on her arm and lunged for his throat. She tore another chunk out of his throat. As he looked at Tobias, Paul raised his arm. “Let her finish me”, he gasped “we belong together”. Tobias’s eyes welled up with tears as he pulled over the truck and got out of the cab. He took the half empty bottle of Jack Daniels and sat on the curb with Frosty and Jimmy. They waited. Almost twenty minutes, later Rebecca stumbled out of the truck and growled as she noticed the waiting men. Paul stumbled out behind her. In an awkward motion, he took her hand and she looked at him. Tobias told Jimmy and Frosty to get back in the truck. He walked up to Paul as he looked at Rebecca and pointed the gun at the back of her head. “Till death do you part, buddy”, Tobias said. As he finished the words, Rebecca and Paul both shifted their undead eyes upon him and growled. The gunshot resonated into the early morning air as Paul and Rebecca hit the ground together as they did, Rebecca's body fell on top of Paul's in an almost final embrace. Lifting his Jack Daniels bottle, Tobias put it to his lips and wiped the emotion from his face. He turned his back and got back into the Monster. As he revved up the engine, he looked back at Frosty and Jimmy. "Where to Tobias", Frosty asked "How 'bout Wisconsin, I got a friend there we can check on", he answered. "Sounds good, buddy!", Frosty smiled and replied The monster truck hit the street and accelerated over the crest of the hill. As the guardsmen who let them in quietly conversed with them about missing a few people and the fact that Wisconsin was a bad idea, Tobias let them know that Paul had taught them all that finding the whereabouts of their friends and loved ones was what it was about. The guardsman waved and let Tobias and his crew continue on the road, through the heavily guarded fence which now was almost 15 fifteen feet high. He shook his head as they passed. "Why they want to go to Wisconsin is beyond me, Wisconsin is a war zone and the massively infected are over running the place", he continued to tell his partner on patrol with him. To be continued