“You really think he is a bad man Father? The way I remember it, the Soldiers helped us during the panic.”
“Trust me, I’ve met this man before, He is as evil as sin itself. I could never forget his face.”
Two dark figures spoke quietly, the only light was that from an old light bulb hanging from a wire above them, it fluttered every so often, the only electricity was coming from an old gas generator. The two were in a basement, dark, dank, and as gloomy as the world outside.
“No, I’m absolutely sure of this one. He is the source of the dead rising, the outbreak, the deaths of millions of people. There is a reason he is here, God lead him to us, so we may purge the world of his evil.” Said the taller of the two figures before stepping towards the darkness of an adjacent wall.
The tall gray haired priest walked more into the light, his left eye had been badly damaged and was no longer able to see more than shadows, the eyelids were split, a long scar traveled from his brow to his cheek. The wound had long healed, leaving nothing but an unsightly reminder of the damage done. Next to him was a young blond girl, aside from the dirt and ragged clothes she could have been mistaken for an angel.
“Why would god want us to kill him? hasn’t enough blood been shed?” The girls voice was that of a siren, a haunting beauty.The man turned and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“I know how you feel child, you just need to trust me on this… He is a bad man, and if we let him go, he will hunt us down and kill everyone here.” Said the priest, trying to assure her that they were not about to end the life of an innocent.
“You don’t have to let me go Marcus.” came a voice from the darkness.
Both the priest and the girl looked to where the voice came from, the lights fluttered brighter for a second. Against the wall was a man, his arms were pinned to the far cement wall. His shirt had been removed, and all across his sculpted and defined body were bruises and cuts clogged with dirt. He was wearing Multicam pants and Military boots. The man spat blood out onto the dirt floor before smiling and almost cheerfully exclaiming.
“I’m going to kill you regardless.”Meaker’s arms bulged as he tensed against his iron shackles, his arms were bigger than most in the zones thighs. However his efforts were for show of force more than to escape, even he knew he couldn’t break free, he had broken the chains in the last attempt to escape, now his wrists were bound right to the wall. He had to be smarter than his enemy.
Marcus, the priest, frowned at Meaker.
“John, you never were one for admitting when the odds were stacked against you. You cannot escape.”
Meaker pulled against the wall straining his muscles.
“The last time you said that Marcus I gave you that nice scar on your face.”
The girl looked at Marcus.
“Is he the man that did that to you father?”
After about a second Marcus turned his attention to the girl.
“Yes he did, its a story for another time my child. We must go make preparations before we cleans him.”
The priest gave her a reassuring smile and lead her towards the stairs, making sure to send a glare towards John before going up the stairs.
Meaker relaxed his muscles; he didn’t need to show that he could break Marcus in half anymore. As far as he knew he was going to have to make his move when they released him to execute him. Meaker rested his head against the wall to rest and regain as much energy as he could, he knew he would need it soon.
Three Days Earlier
Meaker sat slumped against the wall he had been chained to for a week. He was still able to extend his arms full length before the chain was stressed. The basement was completely dark, it had been for hours. Meaker could tell what time it was by the schedule of the generator and guessed he had only five more minutes until they sent Elle down to feed him.
The lights kicked on and the door upstairs opened, followed on Que by the petite girl bringing him a plate of food. The girl was naive enough to stay and talk to John, he guessed she had taken a liking to him, and was prepared to use it as much to his advantage as he could.
Elle brought him the can of spinach and sat down in front of him to open it. As soon as it was open she handed him the can with a smile. Meaker took the can from her faking a smile.
“Spinach again eh?”
Elle frowned. “They make me give it all to you cus none of them like it, I can sneak you a can of peaches if you want? I know you like peaches cus you told me.”
“No, I wouldn’t want you to get in trouble.” Meaker said, while simultaneously thinking what a stupid girl she was.
Elle sat and watched John eat, she had a smile on her face that would warm anyone’s heart, her smile was usually as contagious as solanum.
“I really wish we didn’t have to keep you chained up, its pretty dirty down here, its much nicer upstairs.”
John set the can down and thought for only a second.
“Well you know, You don’t have to.”
“What do you mean?”
Meaker looked into the girls eyes. ” I mean, you can set me free, you can get the keys and help me get out of here.”
Elle crossed her arms. ” and why would I do that? Marcus would kill me.”
John reached out and grabbed her hands gently.
“Then run away with me, I can take you with me to the Airport, there’s lots of other people living there, plenty of food and its safe there. Elle… I need your help, Please.”
Her grip on his hands tightened.
“OK, I’ll do it.” she said with a big smile before prancing back upstairs, no doubt to pack. It almost bothered John that he had lied to such an innocent soul… almost. John looked down at the empty can of Spinach that Elle had left. She normally brought it back upstairs under strict instructions from Marcus to not leave anything John could use. An empty can would more than suffice.
Marcus watched the young girl prance up to her room.
“I don’t like how happy she looks” Marcus said out loud. A man standing next to him nudged him and chuckled.
“heh, I guess now we know that bein a preists got nothin to do with you bein single eh? ha!”
Marcus looked at the man unimpressed.
“Go check on the prisoner.”
The man snorted and dragged himself to the door to the basement, he reached for the knob when Marcus yelled to him.
“Bring two others down with you.”
John looked up at the three with an arrogant grin. John turned around facing the wall so he could be searched. A stocky man walked up to Meaker and started patting his legs down, the man reached down to pick up the can of spinach that was lying next to Meaker’s right foot. As soon as it was a foot off the ground Meaker made his move.
John lifted his right leg kicking the mans hand so that the can would smash into his face causing a circle shaped cut. Immediately after John spun around wrapping the chain attached to his left arm around the mans neck. The other two raised their crowbars but hesitated instead of charge, giving Meaker enough time to use the mans body weight to help break the chain. Meaker punched straight out as hard as he could, causing the chain to rip from the wall and sever the mans head.
The head hit the dirt floor with a wet thud, the two looked at the head and then moved on Meaker. Meaker looked at the chain that still held his right arm to the wall, and then looked back just in time to see a crowbar flying at his face. He ducked quickly feeling the breeze cut through his hair. on his way back up He stretched his free arm out catching one of his attackers in the jaw, the man tumbled back but regained composure quickly. The second attacker lifted his weapon over his head intending to bring it down onto Meakers skull. with no time left John ran back towards the wall, jumped and pushed off with both feet. Ripping the remaining chain out of the wall.
Meaker found himself on one knee and soon after taking a punch to the face, John stumbled back but knew that if he fell over he would be dead. He rolled to his left to meet the second attacker, John stood quickly smashing the top of his head into the mans nose, breaking it. Before the man could even reach up Meaker had punched him in the face so hard his jaw had disconnected.
Meaker was struck in the ribs by the man left standing, the crowbar had punctured the skin but not severely cracked his ribs. Meaker let out a growl of anger more than of pain and responded even faster by grabbing the man by his throat and pushing him to the far wall. In a panic the man grabbed Johns hand, letting the crowbar hang from Johns side. John looked into the mans eyes while he crushed his windpipe under his grip. The man gargled some blood as he died in Johns grip, Although dead Meaker held him for a second before squeezing so hard his thumb punctured through his windpipe.
John dropped the body and turned around, as soon as the adrenaline started to wear off he could feel the crowbar and his right shoulder that had disconnected when he jumped off the wall. Meakers eyes welled up when he slammed his right shoulder into the wall to reset it after a few tries, the crowbar had to be wiggled to become dislodged but it gave him a weapon to use. John plugged the wound with some cloth he tore from his felled opponents. John took one step towards the staircase when he heard the cocking of a shotgun, he looked to see the light flutter and reveal Marcus standing, with a Mossberg shotgun aiming at him.
“You move as as much as a finger and I’m going to blow you away.” Marcus said eerily calm. John looked at the shotgun then at Marcus with a smile.
“Marcus, if I remember correctly weren’t you left eye dominant?”
Marcus knew what was coming and squeezed the trigger. The shotgun went off peppering some of johns right shoulder with a few BB’s while he rolled out of the way. As soon as John had some footing he lunged at Marcus swinging the crowbar down to crush his skull. Marcus in a stroke of luck lifted the shotgun to intercept the crowbar, the end, still covered with fresh blood was inches from Marcus’s good eye. The two power struggled, Johns crowbar moving closer ever so slightly.
“I going to take your other fucking eye Marcus! Then I’m going to burn this building down with all of you inside!”
The blade of the crowbar touched Marcus’ eyelid when ten of his followers overpowered Meaker and began to beat him. Marcus’ heart felt like it was going to explode, He looked up the stairs and saw Elle looking back at him with glossy eyes.
Three days later
Marcus watched while his followers worked diligently to pile a winters worth of wood into a pile. The air was calm and cool on the roof of the building, as the pile grew bigger all failed to notice the crowding dead in the streets below. Elle stood behind Marcus watching the others work, ashamed of how Mechanically John had disposed of the three men days ago. Without remorse, had she not alerted the others he surely would have killed Marcus. Marcus turned to Elle, she was staring at the ground in a deep thought.
“Are you alright Elle?”
She shook her head and looked at him forcing a smile.
“Yes Father I’m fine, It’s just hard to believe that its almost over. After this there will be no more Zombies, no more hunger, no more death.” She couldn’t help but feel her smile fade.
“I cant believe that such a nice man could be so evil though.”
Marcus turned back to watch the pile form.
“The Devil has many facades, The good lord gave me the sight to see the beast. Perhaps he has shielded you from seeing his true nature lest he corrupt your pure heart. The Lord works in mysterious ways, we must trust his judgment, and we must be his instruments to remove Satan’s taint from our earth.”
Marcus closed his eyes, feeling a sense of relief that his nemisis would soon be dead. The pile was nearly finished, an old fashioned burning at the stake. Marcus couldn’t help but feel himself smile.
Meakers eyes opened to the sight of Elle standing in front of him, she had a sad look on her face, in her mind this was the last time she had to speak to him. John looked at her, she couldn’t look him in the eyes. Elle shifted and played with her hair, a nervous habit he had noticed.
“I…They are almost done, they will be coming to get you soon. So I wanted to say a few things before I don’t have a chance to.”
John nodded slowly, really wishing she would have let him sleep.
Elle stammered, unable to come up with anything to say. Looking around the room before finally locking eyes with John. He never saw the kiss coming, it wasn’t even a possibility in his mind. He had no plan, not even a backup plan. Too shocked to move at first Meaker did nothing but stay pinned to the wall, frozen, till he fully grasped the situation.
Elle’s lips were soft, the softest he had ever felt. Even through the terrible conditions she smelled and tasted sweet, in an instant John was hypnotized, and he kissed her back. The seconds took years to pass, the two parted but only centimeters stood between them. Elle sighed, and rested her head against John who was still holding on to the kiss.
“I’m going to miss you…” She whispered holding onto him before running upstairs. John watched her leave, a strange feeling overcoming him, he couldn’t concentrate on the task at hand. Meaker closed his eyes and remembered the kiss till twelve men came down to escort him to the roof.
“And so, The lord has guided our enemy to us. The Lord has brought us the Devil himself so we may remove him from the world. Cleansed by the very hellfire from which he came!”Marcus shouted to his followers.
The many followers of Marcus were on the roof to watch the execution. Cheering Marcus, Damning and cursing Meaker as they walked him over to the wood pile. The guards all had a rifle or shotgun in hand, making an escape difficult. John walked into the center of the pile, though only a couple feet high, it would get what they wanted done. A priest walked out from behind Marcus wielding a torch.
“Not wasting any time I see Marcus.” John commented to himself.
The priest walked to the edge of the pile, the pile was only ten feet in diameter, It was now or never. The priest wearing an all white ceremonial robe tossed the torch. It sailed through the air directly at John, This was it.
He reached out and caught the torch, spin on his heal and in a fluid motion threw the torch at one of the guards impaling the light torch into his left eye. John jumped, pushing off his hind leg sending him just far enough to rip the torch from the dead body.On the pull back Meaker could see movement in his peripheral on his right side, He spun knocking the barrel of the shotgun to the side just before it went off, peppering half of Guard number three and the crowd with BB’s.
Immediately after Meaker thrust the burning torch into the mans gut, half of the lit end still burning and starting to ignite the dying mans clothing. He let out weak cries and pleas for help as he lit on fire. John grabbed the shotgun, turned and sighted on guard number four who was already aiming his way. Johns trigger finger was only half a second faster, the man caught a full shotgun blast in the mid section sending his own bullet off course and missing Meaker by a hair.
Guard number five Lifted his rifle intending to bring the butt down onto Johns skull. John took a step back, the adrenaline made everything seem to move slower. the rifle swung and hit where John had been a second ago, He grabbed the pump for the shotgun with his right hand and thrust his arm outward, smashing the guard in the face with the barrel and using the momentum of pulling his arm back to his side to finish the pump cycle and loading another shell into the chamber. Instead of wasting the shot on the stunned man John swung the shotgun like a baseball bat, knocking him to the edge and tumbling off the roof to his death and the undead below.
The air next to johns ears snapped as a bullet careened past. there were only five guards left, but all were on the other side of the pile and taking up position to fire. He didn’t have time to think, instead John ran across the pile, lunged as he broke the crest of the hill and threw the shotgun like a spear. It hit the middle guard square in the forehead. The man fall back bouncing his head off of the concrete. John caught the shotgun that was still in the air on its bounce back and pumped the round into the guard on his right. The point blank shot blew the man in half.
The wet smack of the body parts was drowned out by Meaker receiving a rifle sweep to the face. His eyes closed and watering from the pain, John continued to spin from the force using the momentum to allow him to do an three sixty spin and crack the butt of his shotgun on the back of the guards head, instant knockout. John shook his head and opened his eyes to see the terrified guard holding a knife ready to throw, but frozen with fear. John rubbed his cheek and dropped the empty shotgun, cracked his neck and picked up a piece of wood from the pile.
The final guard snapped to and pulled back to throw the knife, John intercepted by throwing the plank of wood. The knife sailed through the air. The knife stabbed into the piece of wood, the plank however continued to head towards the guard hitting him in the face. John walked over, pulled the knife out of the wood and slit the mans throat before he had time to recover.
By now most of the followers had run back inside, children were crying and women were screaming. Marcus stood in front of the roof entrance holding a pistol by his side.
“It is so hard to find decent work now a days, even brainwashed they can never perform.”
Marcus said taking a few steps towards John.
“I must say Marcus, you almost had me believing you, although I must admit. Even back in Africa I still wouldnt have imagined you as the boy loving preist type” John remarked cracking his knuckles and readying the knife in his hand.
“I really am going to enjoy watching you die.”
Marcus lifted the pistol at the same time Meaker pulled his arm back to throw the knife. as soon as the knife got past Meaker’s head it was shot right out of Johns hand by Marcus. John looked at the smoking barrel and then at Marcus who was smiling. Marcus began to pull the trigger after adjusting his aim, the hammer pulled back. As if out of no where Elle slammed into Marcus knocking him off the ground. She had in her hands Johns blade that he had made after Yonkers.
Without words she tossed it to John who caught it on the move, running towards Marcus before he could get up. John still had to strap the weapon to his wrist before he could use it. as john reached Marcus he was met with a pistol barrel, on impulse John grabbed Marcus’ wrist and twisted forcing him to drop the gun. A blow to the face bought john enough time to situate the blade and extend it. he knelt down next to Marcus, grabbed him by the collar and placed the razor sharp blade on Marcus’ cheek.
“Where is your God now?”
Marcus just smiled with a bloody lip.
“I’ll hold the gate open for you in hell old friend.”
Marcus slid a push blade into John’s side. Meaker let out a suprised yell that immediatly turned to anger. John took his blade, blaced it on Marcus’ forehead right above his good eye, and slowly ran the blade down all the way to his cheek. Marcus couldnt help but scream in pain. Now blind, Meaker left Marcus on the ground and walked over to Elle. The blade still in his side as to cork the wound somewhat.
“Pack your bags, were leaving.”
John broke down the Barricaded front door. Outside the building was a sea of Undead. He had left his swat shield at the zone before he was captured.
He grabbed Elle by the hand and ran back to the roof, the undead pouring into the building behind them. the two reached the roof, Marcus had dragged himself about ten feet, he was no threat. the body of the guard that lit of fire was still burning, John walked over and used the flame to ignite a torch of his own and tossed it into the building.
“What are you doing?” Elle asked quickly.
“This whole building is going to be full of Z’s we cant save anyone inside, we have to torch the place.” He said pulling her with him.
“well now we are trapped on the roof of a burning building! where are we supposed to go?”
He picked her up and held her in his arms, she weighed practically nothing to him. Elle let out a scream of terror, not expecting Him to jump to the next building. The two landed and continued to run. They headed down to street level, moving through the building till they came out to an empty street. Elle looked back one more time to see the building burning, the blood curdling screams from inside, burning bodies falling from the windows, and even more shambling towards the roof.
Marcus stood unknowingly on the edge of the building, it was a horrifying world for him, all was black. He could feel and hear the building burning, his loyal followers burning or being eaten alive inside, the structural integrity crumbling, and the shifting bodies moving towards him.Marcus shook his head, and was knocked off the roof by a ghoul.
Slater was standing in the Tower watching the fire when Meaker walked up next to him.He looked at Meaker who was sweaty bloody and bruised, and still had all his combat gear.
“Your a tough son of a bitch to kill judging from the story going around the Zone”
Meaker just smiled.
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Most people would have just run instead of collecting their battle rattle first.” Slater said with a grin.
Meaker placed a Cigar in his mouth and lit it. He took a long slow drag. Meaker Inhaled the smoke, closed his eyes as the nicotine hit him, and exhaled slowly.
“I guess that explains why I’m still here and they aren’t.”
Slater chuckled and patted Meaker on the shoulder.
“Glad to have you back John…”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.”