You may have noticed that Zombies are pretty much the hot trend at the moment and have been for about five years or so. With everything going cannibalistic, a few friends and I decided to create and celebrate International Zombie Day today.
There have been a fair few zombie based movies around in that time, starting with 28 Days later in 2002. Zombieland was, I felt, rather sickening in a hallmark kind of way, Shaun of The Dead was seriously funny, I still love the bit where Shaun and his mate are fighting the zombies in the back garden with vinyls and arguing about which ones to use…
On the TV, Walking Dead is massive, and apparently the Zombie Apocalypse (ZA) is going to take place on 22 nd Dec 2012… people are even preparing for it in Stephen King’s home town –
And the USA’s CDC have written a graphic novella that explains what you need in your kit should there be a ZA or other serious event that shuts the country down.
It is fairly useful, despite being a fiction and the CDC does not believe in the Zombie Apocalypse or that it is even physically possible. However, the suggestions sprinkled through out the novella are worth remembering and the emergency kit list highly useful to have on hand, just in case – after all, you never know when your house might flood or there might be a hurricane that pulls it apart!
Now whether you believe in ZA or not, there is no denying that Zombies make seriously cool monsters to write about. It doesn’t matter where the initial push comes from to turn humans into – Drugs, Disease, Meteorites – it’s what happens to the characters that make the story good.
* * *
Normally the best Zombie books are about the survivors, but in “I’ve Been Deader” by Adam Sifre, the main character is a zombie that can still think, even if he can’t talk!
When it comes to shamblers, there’s no dead like Fred…
Fred’s ruined face stared back at him from a fractured, mold-spotted mirror. There was no denying that he’d seen better days. The remains of breakfast pooled around his feet and a pair of lace panties clung to his shoe, glued there by God knew what. Bits of flesh were stuck between his yellow teeth, along with the sodden remains of a “hand wash only” label. Being a zombie was no picnic.
He wiped his gore-stained hands on a filthy shirt, not sure if was cleaning the hands or the shirt. He felt compelled to pause and take stock of himself. His right eye, now more crater than ball, looked like a crushed egg yolk. His left leg was broken in at least two places. A large splinter of bone poked through the skin above his thigh, fine dark lines etched across the surface like a bad piece of scrimshaw. The open wound on his neck had started leaking again, but at least the fluid was mostly clear now.
No use dwelling on negatives. Time to get to work. He turned away from his reflection and limped out of the men’s room of the Vince Lombardi rest area.
An overly bright morning sun assaulted him as he stepped outside. Fred gave a mental wince, wishing again that he could blink. Sunlight had no adverse effect on the undead, but he had never been a morning person. Today he had to shamble over to Terminal C of Newark Airport, where eight breathers were making their last stand. Zombies were lone hunters and rarely worked together. Every so often, however, a kind of collective broadcast signal went out over the undead grapevine, announcing the newest brain buffet — in a shopping mall, a church, or an airport – with satisfyingly predictable results.
Dozens were already making their way down the New Jersey turnpike. By their mindless, “movie” slow pace, he knew they hadn’t fed. Zombies weren’t exactly Jesse Owens on the best of days, but they tended to move a lot faster with a little brain in the old furnace.
If Fred could breathe, he would have sighed. It looked like hundreds of zombies would be fighting over eight brains and assorted bits. Assuming the breathers were able to take out 10 to 20% of the attacking hoard before being overwhelmed, that still left about ten zombies per breather. With luck, however, he would still be the brainiac of the pack by the time he got there. Having one’s wits about it gave a zombie an edge in the hunt. Depending on the specific virus strain or whatever it was that put the mojo in their mortified flesh, some undead could reason and even remember who they were as breathers. So far Fred hadn’t come across any other “thinkers,” as he called himself, but he couldn’t imagine he was the only one.
By mid-afternoon, he found himself actually enjoying his walk down the turnpike. Most of the fires had burned themselves out and although the air still reeked of burning gasoline, the skies were relatively smoke-free. Even a walking corpse could appreciate a warm, spring day like this one. Fred pulled his lips up in what should have been a grin.
Death, ruin and destruction improved the New Jersey Turnpike.
Not that there wasn’t a black lining to be found around his own little rainbow of a life. Most of the zombies were a few hundred yards down the road, but two lesser undead doggedly tagged alongside of Fred, putting a bit of a damper on things. The virus left them as nothing more than, well, nothing more than zombies. They were about as interesting as slugs and moaned so much that, were Fred alive, he’d be sporting a hell of a migraine.
All in all, however, the day was turning out quite well. He could almost convince himself being undead wasn’t so bad. Sure, it was bad luck that he was 45 years old with a rather large potbelly when he had been bitten by that damned clerk. Being cursed to wander the earth in search of brains was bad enough, but why couldn’t it have happened when he was twenty years younger and thirty pounds lighter?
He was imagining wandering the earth in search of fresh brains as a slimmer, sleeker and younger Fred, when the head of the zombie on his left exploded.
Shit. He limped over to an abandoned Ford Explorer and crouched down, scanning the area for the source of the ambush. The other walking corpse stopped and stared vacantly, a low “Braaaaiiiinnnnsss?” emitting from its drooling mouth. Fred felt a sense of relief when a bullet took the second one through its right eye. Those two had just about gotten on his last dead nerve.
A glint of light in the tall grass by a pond off the side of the road revealed the breather’s position. It looked like there was only the one.
The lone gunman on the grassy shoal, Fred thought, mentally smiling.
He stood up from behind the Explorer, pointed at the area where the gunman was hidden, made the undead scream of discovery – then ducked back down behind the SUV and waited. Several zombies with lesser survival instincts turned off the road and converged on the field. A bullet dropped another one and Fred saw a figure pop up from the tall grass and start running. A collective moan escaped from the zombies and they began to shuffle a little faster. But unless the breather tripped, broke both legs and fell asleep, he’d be fine — for now.
Fred got up and started limping toward Exit 14. It would be another hour or so before he reached the airport. Most of the zombies were still on the road. After taking into account the ones that had left to chase the gunman and Fred’s two undead groupies – now just dead — he figured there would be plenty of brains for everyone when they got there. Fred was… well, he was — I’m happy! As he shambled down the turnpike, he began humming a song that was popular before he was turned. In his mind, it was a happy, catchy tune. But when he hummed it, it sounded a lot like “Braaiinnss . . .”
SO ENDETH CHAPTER ONE
If you want any more of that, you’ll have to pop over to amazon and pick up a copy – it’s available in both e-book and print.
* * *
Of course, being a bit of a Zombie fan myself, I’ve worked with them a fair bit – mostly in the form of destroying someone else’s zombie:
I step back, shedding my cloak. The silver on my dagger and belt, sparkles in the torch light. “Well Gentlemen? Are you man enough to take on an unarmed woman?”
“You’re not unarmed. I can smell what you are.” Dwight growls.
“And either you haven’t bathed since you were defeated or you’re as much a pure Human as I.” Leaping into the air, I somersault over the top of him, faster than most of the crowd can follow. “Of course, I haven’t been Human for a long, long time now.”
Dwight spins and as he takes a swipe at me, I dance backward. “Stand still, Bloodsucker!”
Laughing, I evade every attack with flair, drawing on my martial arts and gymnastics training to make Dwight look as clumsy as possible.
The crowd cheers as I lead him in a circle around Jayradikill who hasn’t moved or said anything since the start of the duel. Curious, I move in close to the silent man. “Jayradikill?”
He raises his head and the stench from his breath almost knocks me out; I back away.
He groans and reaches toward me.
Dwight skids to a stop in front of me, focused on attacking me and not noticing that Jayradikill has started to shuffle softly forward. “I’ve got you now, bitch.”
Either it’s a trick of the light, or he’s starting to change… I glance around, trying to plan my next move. …Huh? We’re not in the arena anymore!
The cheering crowd and slimy dungeon walls have vanished. Around us lie gravestones of varying antiquity, long grass sheathing most of them. The cemetery is surrounded by a forest, conifers scenting the evening air and moss draped oaks cast eerie shadows as the last of the sunset vanishes behind the trees.
Taking advantage of my distraction, Dwight lunges at me.
Thank Caine I jumped out of reflex. I thought hovering in mid air, about six foot above the two males.
“Get down here you-ooooo!” Dwight howls in frustration.
“If I were you, wolfman, I would get away from Jayradikill or he’ll start carving you up for lunch.” I call back, wafting myself a little higher.
Dwight jumps, trying to grab hold of my feet; as he comes back down Jayradikill grabs hold of Dwight’s shirt. “Huh? What the…” he pulls away and his shirt rips like paper in Jayradikill’s grip.
Stumbling, Dwight scrambles over a gravestone. In the twilight, Jayradikill looks up at me and flails his arms. “Geeeeerrrraaagh.”
“Sweet Denmother! He’s a Zombie.” Dwight heads toward a large mausoleum, climbing up onto the roof. He perches there, glaring down at the drooling Undead attempting to climb up. “Must have been out too long to be brought back to being Human properly.”
Resting on another tomb, I listen to the rasping gurgling of Jayradikill’s breathing and look up. High thin clouds scud across the sky and a faint white glow on the eastern horizon suggests the moon is about to rise.
Running swiftly through the spells I can use, I realise I am too low on blood to do much yet. While Dwight is busy trying to crush Jayradikill with pieces of the tomb he is sat on, I slip into the forest, moving softly over the twig littered ground.
“There has to be a large animal around here somewhere I can feed from.” Using what is left of my last feed and stopping my breathing, I cast out an Ethereal net. Dwight shows up immediately, some three hundred metres behind me. I’m not feeding from him. I shudder and cast it again. The shape of a deer, about fifty metres to my left shows up; I begin my Hunt.
* * *
“Wheeeeree sheee gooaarrn?” Jayradikill looks around.
Dwight hefts the stone he has, aware that the moon has risen and he is minutes away from changing. “You can still talk? I didn’t think Zombies had enough brains for that.”
“Brrrraaaiiinnns!” Jayradikill moans and starts trying to climb again.
“Looks like I was wrong.” Dwight shrugs and drops the stone onto the zombie, sending half the creature’s face splattering across the grass.
“Aaarrrrggggh!” Jayradikill shuffles backward out of range.
Dwight glances up at the sky. The clouds have gathered high up and the wind has dropped. The stench of the rotting human below him fills his nose and he coughs. “Phwargh! I have got to get rid of you, Undead.”
“ooogh iiigh eiiigh geehh ooo fffiirrss.” The zombie has shambled around behind him and is slowly scrambling up the ruined back wall of the tomb.
Dwight jumps off the tomb and runs through the tall grass toward the Chapel at the edge of the cemetery; the Zombie follows him. Half way across the full moon emerges from the clouds. “No! Not… now.” he gasps, dropping to the ground, writhing with pain, unable to move much further.
“Goooghh ooo nnooow.” Jayradikill speeds up, obviously hoping to get the werewolf while he is vulnerable.
“That’s not particularly sporting.” I call down from my perch on the Chapel roof.
“Waaggh ooo dooinnngg abbboo ittttgh” Jayradikill spits several teeth out in a spray of blood as Dwight manages to kick him across his ruined face.
“Well, I could let you kill him, then dismember you.” I raise one hand and whisper a bloodspell. A shaft of light appears and solidifies into a transparent sword. “But then you would come after me, so …” Taking the sword I launch myself over the prone, writhing form of the part changed werewolf and slice one arm from the zombie’s body.
Jayradikill stumbles backward and I turn on one heel behind him, removing the other arm. Blood and mucus spray across the grass, dripping down nearby gravestones and matting Dwight’s fur as he scrambles away, panting, from Jayradikill.
Ignoring the weakened werewolf for a few seconds longer, I somersault over the armless zombie, spin in front of him and slice a leg off.
Jayradikill balances on one leg. “ooo ‘ooootttennngh ammmppiiirrrghh!”
“Speak for yourself!” I continue the motion through his other leg. His torso thumps onto the earth as I stand up, flicking gore away. “Any last words?”
“Bbbiiigggtttccchh!” Jayradikill swears at me and I can see his body parts starting to inch their way back towards the torso.
“Oh, no you don’t!” with one last swipe, I cut the thing’s head from the body and mutter another bloodspell. Blue flames flare up around each part and I have to step back from the heat. “That should deal with him.” I mutter and raising my sword, I look around for Dwight.
A rank, animalistic scent tickles my nose and I sneeze, just moments before the werewolf lands on my back, knocking the sword out of my hand.
“Gotcha, Bloodsucker!” Dwight snarls into my ear. “Thanks for the help, but you just signed your own death warrant.”
I step forward. “Just because you’re on my back, doesn’t mean… you’re… going to…stay… there!”
Grabbing his paws with both hands, I bow low, sending the massive rug-like animal flying over my head and into the side of the chapel. A crack appears in the mortar holding the stones together and there’s a creak; a few slates fall from the roof, smashing on the gravestones around Dwight.
I feel at my belt as the walking wolfpelt scrambles up; my fingers find what I am looking for. “You won’t get the better of me, Animal.” Spinning, my silver dagger flies from my fingers, thudding hilt deep into Dwight’s chest.
He laughs and pulls it out, a stream of blood following it. “Nice try, but you’ve been reading too much Human Fiction. Silver doesn’t touch us.”
I shrug. “It was worth a try; I’m always well prepared.”
He charges and I jump, watching him pass underneath me harmlessly.
“Stop doing that!” he growls, spinning.
“But then I wouldn’t get to do this…” Swooping down, I ram a glass bladed throwing knife under his jaw.
Dwight coughs and a stream of silvery liquid dribbles down his jaw. Dropping to one knee, he fumbles at the hilt. “What…” he starts before he falls onto his back, the silvery liquid seeping from the corners of his eyes. He gasps.
“Quicksilver or Mercury, as it is known to Humans, is poisonous when ingested.” I say, landing beside him. “It is the only metal known to be poisonous to Werewolves, especially this particular type. Any last words?”
“Bitch!” Dwight gurgles as the spelled Quicksilver uses his blood and other bodily fluids to multiply.
There is a roar of a crowd as the arena shimmers back into being. By one wall there is a pile of ash. In front of me, Dwight coughs and bubbles.
“And the Winner is…” the Madame watches as Dwight’s mouth fills with Quicksilver and breathes his last. “The Dragon Queen!”
Retrieving my cloak, I sweep it around my shoulders and bow deeply to the House Madam. “I couldn’t have done it without help from Dwight and Jayradikill!”
* * *
I have, however, created them as well. In my latest WIP in fact. The Song of Albion is a science fiction/horror genre slipstream. Set in the far, far future, on an alternative history Earth where Elves and Dragons not only exist, they cohabit, a team of Archaeologists make a discovery that is set to change the face of humankind forever…
Sashelas clapped her hands with delight when Rhia and Ciaran showed her their progress the next morning. “So we can start taking the Nanites into the artefacts?”
Rhia nodded. “Ciaran set up separate containment areas within the chamber, so we can keep the artefacts and the Nanites working on them apart. I don’t want any cross contamination, especially as this design can take on the features of whatever is inside the cases.”
“That’s a useful refinement. There was a text with these artefacts that suggested the contents might be dangerous, so we should be very careful. We’ll be able to study the Nanites rather than whatever is inside, this way.” Sashe smiled and kissed Rhia’s cheek.
“Auntie Sashe! I’m supposed to be working with you.” Rhia giggled.
“Well, if we are going to be colleagues, I insist you call me Sashe, not Auntie Sashe. You make me feel old.”
Ellison watched the exchange with a sour taste in his mouth. She doesn’t let me call her by her first name.
Ciaran arrived from the refectory with their midmorning snack. “I brought your favourite muffins, Rhianwen.”
“Lemon drizzle and Poppy seed!” Sashelas laughed. “You’re still hooked on them?”
Rhia grinned. “You were the one who used make them for me, when I was little.”
“Rhia got me hooked on them as well.” Ciaran admitted as the two women jumped on the lemon iced cakes. “What’s your favourite, Master Ellison? I brought Carrot and Raisin as well as chocolate.”
Ellison forced a smile onto his face. “I’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s vaguely edible. Some of the catering you get on digs can be pretty terrible.”
“That’s true. Remember those Cheese and Broccoli bakes Keller used to insist on making in your first year?” Sashelas shared a grin with Ellison.
“Gaia be saved, yes!” Ellison shuddered. “He never used the right type of cheese.”
The discussion drifted into shop talk and Ciaran knew enough to ask the right questions, so Rhia didn’t even have to try and understand.
Rhia ate her muffin in silence, fascinated by the relationship between her aunt and Master Ellison. I wonder if Sashe knows that Ellison is in love with her. He certainly makes it obvious, and I’m sure I’ve felt a little jealousy from him when Sashe is talking to me or Ciaran.
Once the coffee and cakes had been demolished, Rhia moved back to her task, supervising the Nanites as they took on the characteristics of each of the contents of the cases. I’ve never seen anything like these, but they have to be a biological organism, the Archaeological Biologists are going to have a field day working these Nanites out.
“Nanites are so much fun!” Rhia said out loud.
“Greatest of our inventions to date, I agree.” Sashe said as she continued her work on the text that had accompanied the cases.
“When did the Alfar actually invent Nanites?” Ciaran asked.
“They were around in their basic form before The Return in 70 AD. We used them for scientific studies and medical purposes. It was a Human who came up with the Gravite Design in 75 AD.” The Ligalfar replied, her eyes glued to her screen. “We Alfar have a tendency to design something, and then alter it enough to create the things we want. After that we don’t bother. It was human ingenuity that brought Nanite Design to where it is today.”
They fell into quiet for a few minutes, the only sounds in the lab the tapping of keys and the occasional blurp from the Nanite Chamber Console.
“Ah!” Ellison gasped. “I’ve decoded the third page. It’s a list of what was in the ‘science box’.”
Sashelas whooped, making Ciaran jump. “Excellent! What are they?”
Ellison read the list out, carefully pronouncing the names of the objects. “Six Petri dishes containing Influenza samples.” He turned to Ciaran. “What order did you put them out in?”
“Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple.” The young man answered, pulling his tablet out.
“Classify the artefacts as follows then: Red is H1N1; Orange is H3N2; Yellow is H5N1; Green is H1N2; Blue is H2N3 and Purple is H3N1. What that all means, I have no idea though.” Ellison shrugged as he looked at Sashelas.
“We still need to deconstruct the Influenza samples before we can get Andrews and his team in on them.” Sashelas stumbled over the unfamiliar words. “They’ll have a field day with ancient biological samples.”
Rhia grinned. “That’s what I thought they were, Sashe.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to be an archaeologist, Rhia?” Ciaran asked as he finished the list.
Rhia rolled her eyes and ignored him. “I have a half trillion of altered Nanites, Sashe. Do you want me to contain them?”
“Not just yet. Can you deconstruct the molecular structure so we can be certain that the organisms in the Petri dishes…” Sashelas’ bit her tongue on the ancient words. “…Ow… are definitively biological?”
“Easy enough to do, but it’ll take all night and I won’t be able to do anything else while the deconstruction process is happening.” Rhia’s fingers flew over the keyboard and tablet as she started redesigning.
“Does it need to be supervised?” Sashelas stretched.
“No, not unless you want me to stay the night in here.” Rhia intercepted a look from Ciaran and laughed at the disappointed expression on his face.
“In that case, start the process and lets all get out of here. I’m taking all three of you into Central City for dinner to celebrate the breakthrough.”
“Can I have time to write up my notes first?” Rhia sounded so down that Ellison couldn’t help snorting in derision.
“I’ll see you at The Club in two hours. That should be plenty of time for you to write up your notes and get changed.” Sashe reassured her.
“Formal?” Ciaran blinked.
“Oh yes.” The Doctor glared at Ellison. “And no ordering that disgusting mess again, d’you hear me, Ellison?”
“Yes, Dr. Jertinal.” He grinned at her.
“Right then. Rhia, are you all finished?” she glanced at her niece.
“Just about.” Rhia put a few finishing touches to the design and set the Deconstruction Process going. “Come on Ciaran, let’s go. See you later Sashe!”
Sashe laughed. “Don’t they make a cute couple? How about you, Ellison, finished?”
Ellison yawned. “Not quite. You go ahead and I’ll lock up.”
He finished up what he was doing and logged off his console. Then out of curiosity, he wandered over to the Nanite Chamber Console. Rhia had locked it with a general password to prevent tampering with the programme, but a few keystrokes soon opened it again.
“Now, I really think we ought to contain the altered Nanites before the Deconstruction Nanites start their work.” Ellison muttered, tapping out a few strings of code.
A light flashed on the screen. Ellison ignored it. “Stop that.” He told the comp and turned it off. A few more keys stroked and he was happy. “There we go. I’ve still got it.” he grinned as the containment fields began to narrow around the altered Nanites. Locking the keyboard again, he left the lab, locking the door behind him.
The computer screen flashed up Containment failing. Fix Yes? However, there was no one to tell it what to do, so it let the individual containment fields fail. The altered Nanites swarmed together as the Deconstruction process began. The Deconstruction Nanites surrounded them, enclosing the altered Nanites in an impenetrable bubble, instead of the Petri dishes Rhia had originally specified.
Like most mad scientists, Ellison is seriously warped and after the meal, Rhianwen persuades him to go back to the lab and check on things. That’s my catalyst – a melding of biology and technology.
Ellison was in a frenzy now, his hands grabbing at the young men and women in front of him. Each time he pulled one of them forward and spoke in their faces, they blinked, nodded and moved to join the crowd behind him.
Finally only a tiny group stood against him. Stevenson and four of the group he started with seemed unmoved by Ellison’s speeches.
Ellison dropped his arms. “Hold them.” he commanded.
Quinn, Dextra and several others from his lieutenants moved forward to grasp the arms of the five.
“What would you have us do with them, Master?” Quinn asked.
“They are tainted.” Ellison said, repeating what the voices told him to say. ”They are Halflings, part Alfar or Part Dragon.”
“So what? I have a Svaralfar father. What’s wrong with that?” Stevenson said.
“He admits it.” The crowd behind Ellison hissed. “He is tainted.”
“Yet they are half human and not one drop of that blood must return to the Earth until it is purified.” Ellison grabbed Stevenson’s hair and tilted the boy’s head back hard.
Stevenson cried out in pain.
“It must be purified.” The crowd murmured.
“What should we do, Master?” Dextra relinquished her hold to another lieutenant and stepped to Ellison’s side.
“The only way we can purify the Halfling’s flesh and blood of the taint of Alfar or Dragon is to consume it.” Ellison sighed.
He looked down into Dextra’s eyes, speaking only to her, his breath caressing her face, blowing tendrils of her long white – blonde hair back from her face. “Eat them, my child. We must purify the taint from their flesh by passing it through our pure human bodies before it returns to the earth.”
Dextra took a deep breath and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, the brown had a red circle around the pupil. “Eat them. I understand, Master.” she turned to Stevenson and licked her lips, smiling up at him as she stepped below Ellison’s arm and slid her arms around the young man’s neck.
Ellison released Stevenson’s hair and stepped back, smiling. “Eat them my Brethren! Eat any Halfling you can find! Let not one drop of their tainted blood defile the Earth our Father God created for us!” he screamed.
Dextra snarled and plunged her suddenly sharp canines into Stevenson’s neck, tearing a hole in the side of his neck and drinking the blood that flowed from the wound. The lieutenant on his right did the same with the crook of his elbow and a third began ripping chunks of flesh from Stevenson’s body.
The boy screamed and the sound inflamed the crowd. Those closest to the five victims pounced on them. The rest began to chant “Eat them, Eat them. Cleanse their flesh with ours, Purify their blood!”
Ellison moved away from the cannibalistic carnage and felt better than he had felt for a long time. “And thus shall I lead you back to Eden, my Brethren! Spread the word to all of our race. Kill the Dragons. Eat the Halflings and drive the Alfar back into space. Earth is for Humans!”
I felt that Zombies were the way to go at the time… until I realised that I’d turned Dextra into a Vampire. After that, I added a little more paranormal to the mix (you’ll have to wait and see to find out) but the majority of the humans Ellison comes into contact with become Zombies:
A Holographic visual link had been set up with the warehouse. Rhia was shocked by the condition the Human Students were in. Their clothes were blood spattered and torn, their faces vacant and eyes glowing red. They moved around slowly, murmuring “Purify our precious Human Blood. Kill the Dragons. Eat the Halflings and drive the Alfar back into space…” over and over again in listless voices.
“What makes them like that?” Corlissa asked Mishka.
“We do not know. All attempts by the androids to remove blood and tissue samples from them have ended in disaster.” He pointed at a pile of dismembered androids in one corner.
The only people who seemed to have any life in them were Ellison, Dextra, Quinn and a couple of the staff who stood in a huddle toward the back of the warehouse.
“Have you tried talking to them?” Corlissa’s voice rose and several of the Human students on the display looked straight at her. Rhia’s mother recoiled and Robern caught her before she fell. “Can they hear us?”
“Oh yes. It is, after all, a two way link. This is why we wanted Rhianwen…” Mishka boomed out and every face in the warehouse turned to look at them. “We would like her to go in and talk to them, get them to accept her taking samples.”
Rhia shivered. They look… hungry. Even Dextra and Quinn. Do I really want to go in there?
“Rhianwen Apjenin. Come, join us!” the crowd murmured.
“You see? They are expecting you.” Mishka seemed happy for some reason.
“They look like Zombies.” Ciaran muttered.
Rhia frowned at him. “What are Zombies?”
“Remember those movies we watched, the ones with the characters that ate the people running away?”
Rhia shuddered. “All too vividly.” She turned to look at the Human Students closely. “But those characters were dead and rotting. The students are alive and healthy.”
Where I go from here, I invite you to imagine yourself. Believe me when I tell you, it is not going to be clean or pretty…