Posted in Character Stories

Nobody Said There‘d Be Zombies

Cedric should be here by now. I walk around the rundown room, dirt pluming around my sneakers. He told me to wait before I start to investigate. 

Screw waiting. He should have gotten here on time. 

Moving around the dark room, I watch the dim light of the moon reflect in a broken mirror hung on the left wall. Something bad happened here. It’s why we got the call. We’re supposed to investigate and report back to our base. Rumors of a genetically modified individual have swept over the western border. If it’s true, we might be in more trouble than anyone thought. 

There’s an envelope on a table behind the brown couch. Something big moved through this area, knocking the furniture askew. Chairs are overturned in the corner of the room. This table is perfectly fine, though. 

Odd. 

I’ll have to tell Seymour that it’s too obvious.

Picking up the envelope, I rip it open and pull out a postcard of the Eiffel Tower. There’s two words printed on the back. 

BEHIND YOU

Not funny. I glance over my shoulder. There’s nothing there. It looks like there hasn’t been anything in here for a long damn time. 

“Where the hell are you, Cedric?” I whisper under my breath. 

I turn back around. The envelope is gone. I’m alone in this dusty cabin in the middle of nowhere. Outside, a raven caws. 

Real creepy, Seymour. 

I don’t know what I’m supposed to find here. Evidence, Seymour had said. Keep my senses about me and be adaptable. That’s all the skill I’ll need in the new world. 

I move through the living area, stepping around broken bits of glass from the busted windows. Something was trying to get in. All of the glass is shattered in towards the middle of the room. It crunches under my shoes as I glance at the nearest window. Long, gnarled scratches tear through either side of the wall. Something did get in. Something big, something strong, and something likely still here. 

I hate this mission. 

Moving towards the hall, I duck under a bookshelf that’s been tipped across the space. It’s a good thing I’m not claustrophobic. My shoulders scrape across the small area. I can feel the splintered wood against the blue sleeve of my suit. 

It’s all so real. 

More glass and dirt and pictures line the floors over here. Why anyone would frame a picture of a motorcycle and a buffalo in their hall is beyond me. Since that’s not the mystery I’m in charge of solving, I step past it all after only a moment’s hesitation. There’s a single, red tulip placed in front of the door at the end of the hall. Too obvious again. That’s definitely the door I’m supposed to go through.

“You’re going to have to make this more difficult, Seymour,” I murmur aloud, sure that he can hear me through at least one of the wires attached to my body. 

There’s no reply. There never is. Cedric didn’t show and now I’m in charge of dealing with this all alone. 

So not cool. 

A few more steps, I stop in front of the door at the end of the hall and hold my breath, listening for anything on the other side. Nothing. There’s a draft through the entire house. Outside, I can hear the rustle of the leaves on the sycamore trees. 

No point in stalling. I wipe my palms on my pants. I can do this. All by myself. I’m ready. 

There’s a creak behind me. 

Right hand reaching for the door, I freeze. It’s an old, abandoned place in the middle of nowhere. It’s going to make weird sounds. 

Breath caught in my chest, I glance over my shoulder. Nothing. No werewolves or vampires or men. No monsters lurking in the dark hall behind me. 

Chill, Connor. 

Back to the mission and the door I’m supposed to go through, I look forward. I didn’t hear anything, but the door is already open, gaping like an insidious jaw that has unhinged itself in order to make space for me. 

“Hello?”

Every scary movie I’ve ever seen has made a point to say that talking into the darkness is a bad idea, but I can’t help myself. Maybe it’s Cedric. He could have come in through a window. He and Seymour could have planned a prank. They’ve never been able to get one over on me. 

“Guys, this isn’t funny.”

There’s a shuffling noise. Bare feet across the floor. I’m no longer alone. 

“Cedric? You in here?”

I force myself to take a step into the room. It’s dark. A sliver of moonlight spills into the room through the broken window to the left. I can just barely make out a sturdy desk off to that side. There’s a coat rack on its side in the middle of the room. Shredded pieces of paper cover most of the floor. 

This is what I was supposed to discover, but something else got here first. 

There’s a sucking sound behind me. The door slams shut. I whirl around to face whatever is there. 

Nothing. 

Again. 

This doesn’t make sense.

I have to find the answer and get out of here. It has to be on one of these papers. All I need is the name of the doctor and the chemical formula for the mutated creature. 

Easy, Connor. You can do this. 

I don’t get a chance to, though. As I turn around, a dark shape separates itself from the corner. It’s here. 

The monster. The doctor’s mistake. The reason I got signed up for this stupid mission. 

It’s in the damn room. 

It steps forward, arms dangling uselessly at its sides. No shoes cover its feet. I watch it as it crosses the window. 

Not a monster. 

Cedric. 

His skin peels away in random spots, leaving irritated gaps of flesh across his forearms and over the left side of his face. Most of his hair is gone. His mouth is open. Gaping. There’s no teeth. Only fangs. 

“Ced? What is this?”

My friend doesn’t answer. The monster lunges. 

There’s no time to move, to think, to react. He’s across the room one moment and then on top of me the next. My head cracks against the floorboards. Fangs pierce my neck. I can’t scream or cry or beg for mercy as I watch him spit chunks onto the floor next to our entangled bodies. 

Nope. Fuck this. I’m not playing this anymore. 

Reaching up, I yank the headset off and toss it across the room. 

“Hey! That’s expensive, Connor!”

Whirling to face Seymour, I flip him off, my vision flickering between normal and every shade of red. “You said this was supposed to be like an escape room. I had to find the clues and get out. It’s a mystery, not a horror!”

On the other side of the glass, he puts his hands on either side of his head, bushy wisps of his Afro falling over his forehead. “Okay. You should take a deep breath now.”

“Breathe!” I start to pull all of the wires off of my body. “My breathing is fine! I’m not fine with your sick video game.”

I’m going to destroy it. He’s locked in a separate room. There’s nothing in the way of ripping the motherboard out of his computer and smashing it to pieces. 

“Connor, please, man. Gideon paid for all of this. He’s funding my entire project to use virtual reality technology in order to help transition new vampires.” His face is pressed to the glass. “Please, don’t do this. You said you wanted an extreme version.”

I have a keyboard in my hands. I wouldn’t need to break it over my knee. With the strength that comes from the virus, I could crush it in my hands and watch the pieces fall between my fingers. 

Seymour continues to plead. There’s strict rules, though. In order to protect him from new vampires going crazy in these sadistic games, he has no access to me. Until I unlock that door, he’s not getting in here. 

“Connor.”

That wasn’t Seymour. 

I tear my bloodied gaze off of the computer pieces in order to look at Cedric. “Were you in on it?”

He nods. “Thought it would teach you a lesson about snooping when I told you to wait for me.”

The red seeps from my vision as I stare at his smirk. “It was one time.”

He shrugs, his green eyes alight with mischief. “Well, it’ll be never again after this, won’t it?”

“You’re an ass,” I grumble, gingerly setting the keyboard down. 

“Come say it to my face, big guy,” he teases, walking over to the glass door. 

Seymour slumps into a chair on his side of the room as I move to stand across from Cedric. “I’m going to find all of your secret snacks and tell Gideon about how you go out during restricted times.”

His smile never wavers. “Hey. I haven’t threatened to show anyone the footage of you screaming like a wee girl to anyone. Why don’t we sneak out to a movie and call it even instead?”

“Just us?” I ask, my fingers already flipping the lock. 

He shrugs. “You can’t stay mad at Mour, can you?”

Stepping out of the game room, I glare at the nerd lounging across from me. “You can come if you pay for the snacks.”

Throwing his head back, he laughs. “Deal, Connor. Should we go see a comedy? I wouldn’t want to scare the shit out of you in a theater.”

I flip him the bird again and then loop my arm around Cedric’s shoulders, tucking him into my side. “I’m so going to get you back for this,” I whisper, chuckling at the way he shrugs. 

Zombies or not, I think I have something good here.

Author’s Note

I thought this would be the week I couldn’t incorporate my characters.

After a couple days of sheer panic, I settled on telling the story through a video game, so I could answer the prompt as well as give out another minor character and start to show off some of the relationships between the various vampires in this tangled universe. For timeline’s sake, this takes place in the 2010s era inside Gideon’s compound that exists in the underbelly of Washington. There’s so much more that I want to hit on in coming stories, but I hope this was a fun piece to read this week and I can’t wait to come back next week.

Thank you to everyone who stops in to read these posts and be sure to read from my writing partners, Bridgette and Anna:

Bridgette: https://bridgettetales.com/2022/06/18/challenge-week24/

Anna: https://loscotoff.com/week24-lempire-de-la-mort/

Author:

Married. Writer. Dreamer. I have some obsessions with the supernatural, so look out for the upcoming vampires and syrens and more.

3 thoughts on “Nobody Said There‘d Be Zombies

  1. Super clever! I love how you were able to explore the relationship between some of your characters while incorporating zombies. This was a fun read! I’m starting to get a flavor for the role Gideon plays in your world and how everything revolves around the work happening within the compound.

    Also, you are really good at dialogue—a weakness of mine. It really added a lot of energy and humor to this story.

    Keep going! Can’t wait to read more.

    Like

    1. Thank you!
      I honestly spend a lot of time tweaking the dialogue, trying to use the right words for each character and depending on their banter between each other to propel the story. I’m so glad the video game theme worked out and you were able to glimpse just a tiny bit more of Gideon’s role in this world. He’s going to be a very important guy :p

      Liked by 1 person

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