Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chapter 17 - Head Games

June 10th, 2008
Apartment Parking Lot

Every zombie in the immediate area was trying desperately to get to Benji. The Fools took full advantage of the distraction and immediately began attacking the closest zombies which had their backs to the group.

The first kill by a Fool went to Beard. He ran forward and buried his hatchet in the skull of the first zombie before wrestling it free and attacking again and again. Directly to his right was Peace who wasted no time with own hatchet, covering Beard's flank. They worked in tandem and very quickly had created a salient into the horde of living dead.

Angel Hair and Rubble formed a similar duo, each wielding a pool cue. Rubble swung his with enough momentum that the thicker end would crack into the enemy skull and drop the foe to the ground. Angel Hair preferred to use the sharpened end of his as a spear, deftly stabbing into select eye sockets between Rubble's attacks to kill those that stumbled too close.

Cowboy went crazy with his bat like a kid in a candy store, wildly smashing any skull within arm's reach. Kamikaze was a bit more select with her machete attacks, carefully lopping off heads and only occasionally grinning like she enjoyed it.

T.Rex hung back with his crowbar, attempting to observe the others in action. He wanted to make sure that he had a good grasp of the Fools in combat for future encounters, if it came to that. He also made sure that nobody needed help or got flanked in a moment of concentration. He earned his first kill when a straggler came from around the side of the neighbor's house. He bobbed well away from the creature's outstretched arm, sidestepped, and brought the curved end of his crowbar down with all of his might onto the zombie's skull. It gave way with a crunch of bone and Ryan couldn't help but grin at the massive offense the group had displayed, including the dead zombie at his feet.

He turned and began to work his way closer to the center of the group, killing enemies that stood between himself and Valerie. Benji, in the meanwhile, had jumped into the fray and was carving a brutal swath of destruction with his chainsaw. He carved through undead flesh like a hot knife through butter, messily decapitating and amputating with medical precision.

"If they knew how to retreat," Ryan shouted over the roar of the saw, "do you think they would have given up by now?"

Benji brought the rotating blades onto a zombie skull, the spray coating Valerie's passenger door with more zombie slurry. "If they knew what was good for them, perhaps!" Benji shouted back. "So what happened to your arm? If it was a bite, Beard would've taken care of you by now, I'm assuming." Benji conversed with ease as he continued to slice and dice creatures in ever-widening arcs around his car.

Ryan grunted as he struck another skull with his crowbar, noting that after nearly a dozen skulls his attacks seemed more fluid and natural. "Oh, just some glass. Nothing to worry about." The wall of zombies separating the Fools from Benji was rapidly dwindling, even if the creatures could not make a sound tactical decision to save their lives.

T.Rex quickly scanned the area and saw the Fools in pairs and individually mopping up patches of zombies in the parking lot. "Hey guys," he shouted to them, "let's start closing in and get the hell out of here!"

On his command the Fools took a careful retreat, and T.Rex was happy to note most of them didn't just break and run, but instead surveyed the situation and then decided. As they returned, Ryan took the shotgun from Benji's back and removed the spent shells. "Left pocket," Benji said as he planted his feet and dispatched another zombie.

T.Rex reached into Benji's bulging front pocket and extracted two fresh shotgun shells and loaded the weapon before replacing it in the holster. The rest of the Fools reached Valerie safely and formed a loose protective semicircle around the passenger side. Beard subtly looked over each Fool for injuries, including accidental bites or scratches.

Benji instructed all the Fools to stow their gear in Val's trunk as he provided cover. He glared menacingly at the few zombies that had come to investigate the noise and his posture dared them to shuffle over to meet their doom. The chainsaw suddenly sputtered violently and then died, and Benji tossed it aside with a shrug.

"You're just going to leave that?" Cowboy said.

Benji replied calmly, "Dead weight, no fuel."

"Wait, are we all supposed to fit in here?" Angel Hair asked.

"Pretend it's a Yaris," Kamikaze said as she climbed into the back seat. She was referencing an earlier outing the year before, where they all attempted to fit into SoG's car

The rest of the Fools stuffed into Valerie any way they could, piling uncomfortably next to and on top of each other. Instead of complaining, they made it into a bizarre game of twister involving all three rear seat belts. Benji and Ryan waited for the other six to pile in before taking the driver and passenger's seat, respectively. Valerie roared to life with the turn of the key and Benji sat there, patiently for a few moments.

There was awkward silence before Beard, muffled under at least three limbs and an armpit said, "I don't mean to be rude, but can we get going already?"

Benji held up five fingers and silently ticked them away to an unknown timer. When the last of his fingers joined his fist, the Fools heard a massive amount of noise behind them. Only three Fools could actually turn behind to see a massive display of fireworks erupt from a dumpster behind Krannert Hall.

"What the...?" Peace trailed off.

"It's a distraction," Benji explained. "The sound and lights will draw zombies that way," he pointed backwards. "While we drive that way," and pointed foward. "On that note, make rockets go now!" he said as he floored the accelerator, and Valerie peeled out of the apartment parking lot, spraying three determined zombies with gravel.

As they drove, they saw Purdue as a disaster zone. Buildings were looted, broken glass and trash lay strewn about and the once vibrant campus was reduced to a shell of its former self. Students were horrible gruesome creatures, and the red brick buildings were dark. The power plant, in the distance, was on fire.

Benji did his best to navigate his way out of Lafayette, avoiding all but the smallest of backroads. Twice they had to find an alternate route around a road clogged with hundreds of wrecked cars, but the ad-hoc armor plating welded onto the car gave them protection from most of the stray zombies they met on the roadways.

Once they had cleared the city limits, they pulled over into an abandoned field of short grass and unpacked the Fools from the rear for a stretch and better ventilation. Benji put on some Beach Boys music to calm their shaking nerves, and Ryan nearly wept at the sweet sounds of technology. It was only once they were away from Purdue that Ryan noticed he was visibly shaking. His bandaged arm felt sore, and he started to get light headed.

Benji, a certified nurse, took notice right away and gently guided Ryan to the car and had him sit in the passenger seat slightly reclined. T.Rex sipped from his water bottle and rested as the other Fools stretched. A few minutes later a low moan was heard on the wind, and Benji motioned the others to cram back into his Pontiac. As they drove along the back roads into the setting sun, Ryan felt very weak. The air conditioner seemed to be only capable of delivering humid air, but he trusted Benji to deliver them to safety as he rested his eyes and slumped against the seatbelt.


"Ryan!" Kamikaze said as she shook his shoulder.

"We have to go get Jenny!" T.Rex shouted into the darkness.

"Shhh! Be quiet, or you'll wake the others. It's midnight, and your turn for watch, okay?"

Ryan woke up on a sleeping bag, confused. He looked around and saw the dark apartment as Angel Hair waited for him in the hallway. To his right was Peace, sleeping soundly, and to his left lay his own pack of equipment, untouched.

Current Word Count: 21,949


  1. To those of you who are sad the whole Benji thing was a dream: join the club. I was trying to keep it from being *too* easy and too obvious.

    To those of you who are reading this not knowing it was a dream...crap. Suggestions on how to word it to make it more obvious are welcome.

    To those of you who read it and are okay with all of this, either you agree that two chapters of dream fakeout was a sound literary choice or you want to see us all turn into zombies.

  2. Damn it. I didn't realize it was a dream, and now I feel stupid.

    I don't think you have to make it more obvious, though? I figured it out by your last paragraph, and I think that's good. It's good old literary trickery. I should've seen it coming, because it was pretty exaggerated... but I could also see you really writing Benji like that!

    Good chapter, though. :) And you're at almost 22,000! Whoa!

  3. It's fine by me as the Fools often appear in my dreams . . . and fantasies.

  4. I for one am glad to know that Ryan dreams about "reach[ing] into Benji's bulging front pocket" to grab "two fresh shotgun shells" before "load[ing]" his "weapon" and putting it "in the holster".

    Also, obviously the "waking up back in the apartment" is the dream, and all the Benji stuff was real. Ryan is obviously retreating into his (comparatively) happy place as he tries to ignore the fact that he's been bitten by a zombie in the fracas and didn't realize it until it was too late. Feeling weak is the first sign of zombification, you know.

  5. “Angel Hair preferred to use the sharpened end of his as a spear, deftly stabbing into select eye sockets between Rubble's attacks to kill those that stumbled too close.” – that’s a pretty formidably strong cue stick to get through the eye, muscle, and cartilage to the brain, and still do damage enough to it the sufficiently destroy said brain. Did I sharpen it? Does it unscrew that way I can pierce with the sharp end and bludgeon with the other if it comes to a 2 hand fighting necessity?

    “"Wait, are we all supposed to fit in here?" Angel Hair asked” – I, being the second smallest and having personally conducted 10 people into a telephone booth, can’t find myself saying this, but no big.

    Was this a dream only? cool