Sunday, February 6, 2011

Zombie Snowpocalypse Part VI: The Darkness and The Dawn

Robert: Tomorrow, many of you die. Your futures have been determined. Will you survive?

Conor: One of the scariest texts I’ve ever received, yeah, sure. I’ve prepared for all possibilities. Do not worry about me. I will succeed.
Mada: My guess is yes.
Eliot: Save me buddy. I’m already bleeding to death man.
Brendan: I’m cool either way, I just enjoy reading different people’s interpretations of my character/ability to survive.
Nick: I suspect I will do nothing plot-wise regardless of my fate. Please just leave me somebody to finish the story with on Monday.
Brian: I’m not counting on it.

The group eyed Robert with some concern.

"Ok then...guess we should get goi-"

But before Eliot could finish that sentence, Robert had pulled out a knife and go-to-sleeped him for real, right in the neck, just like he promised he would if he ever went psycho. Committed to the end. The group stood there, mouths agape, speechless.

A dooming silence descended upon the group. Nobody moved as Eliot fell to the ground, tears forming in his eyes as he looked up at the fading paint on Robert’s face. The blood poured out from his neck, dripping down his shoulder blade and coming to rest in a pool by his gasping chest. Eliot lay quiet, eyes blinking, then whimpered suddenly, and the spell was broken. All rushed to his side, crowding him in to comfort his final moments.

All, except two. Robert slashed off his leash with the knife and began to circle the group menacingly, his eyes fixed on a single back. There was purpose in his step, but no one could see that. The roar of the dropped chainsaw allowed his footprints to fall in silence. ‘There will be no more spite,’ he said to himself. ‘It ends here, you bastard; here, I take exactly what is mine.’ With that, Nick turned his head around just in time to see Robert plant the knife deep into the back of Brian, just to the left of his spinal column. Brian fell, face-first, upon Eliot’s.

“Hey look, I lowered both of their ratios,” Robert said with a laugh, but no one could hear him over the screaming. Mada chuckled. Robert gave her one of those chin thrusts that acknowledges appreciation while still asserting dominance.

“Where is Brendan?” Nick said suddenly, lost in the din of chaos.

The two bodies were pulled from each other. Brian, unconscious, was laid face-down while Semas wound a tourniquet out of her gladiator sandals. Eliot lay face-up, coughing, with Mada strewn over him, matching him tear-for-blood-drop.

Eliot whimpered again. His coming end had dawned on him. He began to cry. Brendan’s bandana was tied around his neck.

“I wish,” Eliot choked. “I wish…” he coughed again. “I kind of wish…that…I had.”

“Had what?” Mada said frantically. “I will get you anything.”

“A shirt,” he said feebly. He’d lost over a quart of blood. “It’s freezing, Mada. Hold me.” His lips puckered and he grunted in anticipation.

“Where the hell is a shirt?” Mada said. She looked around frantically. There were few shirts to be found among the group. “There’s no god damned shirts!”

“You can thank Brian for that,” Robert said coolly from the corner of the room, his right leg on the ground and his left leg forming a triangle with the wall he leaned against. Inexplicably he’d found a t-shirt and something to button up partially on top of it. Everything was tucked in sort of halfway, as if done casually and nonchalantly. His aviators were back on and a toothpick danced around his mouth. He looked dangerous again.

All attention shifted to Robert, the homicidal sociopath. Robert, the crazed loner. Robert, the spiteful killer. Robert, the figurehead of survival throughout the journey.

“You’re a monster!” Mada screamed.

“No, Mada, I’m afraid I’m not,” Robert said, casually getting up and strolling across the room as he spoke with occasional hand gestures. “Let’s review, shall we? Was it not I who swore a pact to put someone to sleep by literally stabbing them the moment I went crazy? Was it not also Brian? Was it not also Eliot and Conor?”

“I don’t know!” Mada said. “We have different social groups!”

“Well we did. Ask Brian.” Robert snickered. “Anyway, I’m not your problem, Mada. Your bleeding-out boyfriend is,” he said with a point and an eyebrow gesture. “Neither is Brian. You can thank me for that.” Robert snickered again at his turning-around of the ‘you can thank…’ joke. Robert’s jokes were always good.

“Where’s Brendan?” Nick said again.

“What are you talking about, Robert??” Mada said, exasperated. Her time with her dying lover was short.

“You last saw us at the old chapel,” Robert said. “Brian couldn’t handle my lifestyle. He simply couldn’t. He went insane. He became a dictator, forcing our shirts off at his whim. At rest one night he leashed me, and I’ve been biding my time since. He probably should have taken away my knife.”

At this Mada looked around. Neither Nick nor the new girl were making any move to reprimand Robert. Brian and Eliot were incapacitated. Robert had reassumed his position as leader.

“What do you mean he couldn’t handle your lifestyle?” she asked.

“It’s all a game,” Robert responded. “This is all a game. He couldn’t play.”

“We picked up another,” Robert continued. “Her name is Semas. The poor girl doesn’t speak. We think Brian forced drugs on her; she thinks she’s a warrior princess with Brian as her prince. She’s pretty good with broadswords, though.”

“Ma,” whispered Eliot. His voice was coarse. His lips unpuckered. “Ma.”

Attention shifted again, to the dying Eliot. “I’m sorry,” said Robert as he rushed nonchalantly to his side. “I needed to distract Brian. Knives are shorter than chainsaws. I had to make him drop it first. I tried to aim for a nonlethal area. So, the neck.”

“Ma,” he croaked. “I’m leaving the game. I’m done playing. Take this.” A tiny notebook slipped from his chest pocket into the pool of blood. Mada quickly snatched it up.

“No one…can survive,” Eliot coughed. His eyes were clouding and growing dim. “A knife bite.”

With that he was still. Mada, almost blinded by tears, promised to carry on his memory and thumbed through the notebook.

“It’s a journal,” she said after a minute. “It’s short. ‘…I shot Brendan out of the sky…’ What is this?” she asked, almost pleadingly, before answering her own question. “Oh, God. God, he transcribed his entire acid trip into this notebook.”

“You guys found time for acid?”

“…Birdndan….Chief Illiniwek…Zombie Brian…Conor…” she excerpted. “Knife…knives…‘No one can survive a knife bite.’…You guys, I don’t like this.”

Robert took the journal from Mada, and the remaining group began to read through the contents of the disjointed dream. It was quiet and dark as Robert read the journal like an epitaph or a will; the sun had long since set upon Champaign. Nobody stirred after horrific nightmare after horrific nightmare unfolded. The dream was creepy and haunting, almost prophetic, for the group in its present traumatic state, but it was pure coincidence Eliot had been killed by the knife. It had to be. Besides, Brian was killed by a knife. Conor was already dead. It was simply too unrealistic.

Robert finished. Silence. Everyone was numbed by the recent chaos.

Nick spoke for the third time since arriving at the dorm. “Where. Is. Brendan?

This time he was heard. All heads turned to face him. One by one, those heads became wide-eyed as an apparently minor fact dawned on them. They had all rescued Brendan at the chapel under the assumption that Nick was dead. They had taken him into the helicopter and brought him to safety. They had traveled with him miles and miles to Champaign. They had become as close with him as friends could be. Not once did Brendan ever mention that Nick was alive. Not once.

“Uh…” stumbled Robert. For once, he was at a loss for words.

“Give me a gun,” demanded Nick. He was cold. Prepared.

The group checked its inventory. Brendan’s machine gun had run out of ammo. Eliot’s was missing. Brian carried a chainsaw and Semas a broadsword. Robert was unarmed but for his stained and rusted knife.

“Here,” Mada said, hands trembling and eyes welling again with tears. She handed him the revolver from the chapel. “There’s one bullet left. Go get him.” With that she slumped down against the wall and stared into nothing.

Nick assumed a military cover position outside Mada’s door. Everyone watched in amazement as the gentle man who once stayed out of the way prepared to put a bullet into his friend. Nick bounced slightly on his heels a couple times while taking a deep breath, and made as if about to spring around the corner and take the life of whatever might be in the room, if anything.

“I’m here, Nick,” said a voice. Nick froze. “Mada’s room. I’ve been listening. You have one shot. Are you calm enough to hit? Are you even cold enough to shoot? Has the weather really changed you so much? A little snow enough to turn a friend into a killer? I’ve been watching, Nick. You homeschooled little prick. Everyone thinks you’re smart. Everyone thinks you’re funny. Intellectual humor? Bah! I play with language barriers, Nick. What game do you play? Quips on social networking media? Distant observations on social trends? Observe me now, Nick!”

Two shots from Eliot’s machine gun blasted through the baseboards and into Nick’s left leg. Immediately Nick fell to the ground, the back of his head just above the new holes in the wall.

“It’s my turn for jokes! I’ve tricked you, Nick. Haven’t you seen my Classic Brian posts about my college classmates? I’m observant too. I observed you drop the car into reverse and hit my leg, wounding me just in time for a zombie outbreak. I observed you steal my idea to radio in help. I observed you abandon me for higher ground when the zombies reached the chapel. And I’m observing you come to terms with your final minute of life. How does the leg feel, Nick? Is it cold? Because it’s damn cold outside, and damn it if it isn’t going to be colder in hell!”

Brendan open fired. Nick rolled to the right behind the cinderblock walls and kicked the revolver in front of the open doorway by accident. A flat ray of sunlight peaked over the ruins of Champaign and slipped through Mada’s window into her room. Brendan peered back momentarily to see the sun one final time. At that moment, Mada sprang up from the wall, rolled across the revolver, and shot Brendan right out of the sky. Right in the back of the head.

Ten minutes passed without a word. Everyone silently hoped that if no one moved, nothing else could go wrong. No one else would perish. The dorm was somber and dead. Nothing stirred.

At long last, Robert stood up from his crouch. He peered around the hallway and touched Nick on the shoulder. He walked over and touched Mada as well. Robert was unused to emotions, and his comforting was awkward and really only helpful due to the direness of the situation.

“Feel better, please,” he said.

After allowing a moment for his request to sink in, Robert reinstated order.  

“Alright, first we’re going to need some shirts. It’s really cold out and we don’t really need to impress anyone, because, Nick, we’re really the only choices Mada and Semas have at this point. And I really don’t have a preference because you’re both beautiful, ladies.” Robert winked.

Mada pulled shirts for her and Semas out of her closet, while Nick scoured the girl’s dorm for something large enough for him. In fulfilling his final wish, Mada found a shirt size women’s medium and slipped it over Eliot’s head and onto his body. It fit perfectly. She covered him with a sheet and knew with confidence that her time for mourning would come eventually.

Nick returned, dressed in large girls’ clothes and snow boots. Robert retook inventory: a machine gun, two knives, a broadsword, a chainsaw, an iPod taken from Brendan’s body, bite serum, a leash, and Brian’s Oakleys. Robert awarded Nick the Oakleys for finally becoming an important character, as well as in apology for shooting his left hand at the chapel. Semas held onto her mysteriously-acquired broadsword, Mada took the machine gun and a knife, Nick took the serum and the other knife, and Robert wielded the chainsaw and the iPod.

Nick went over to the body of Brian to see if there was anything he had carried besides the cool new Oakleys Nick was sporting.

“You know, I never could get into The Band,” Robert said, quietly judging Brendan through his iPod. “And what are all these Grateful Dead CDs? They’re a fucking jam band, all you need is one album and you’ve got their whole sound.”

“Oh crap.” Mada was neurotically rooting through the complicated math books on her bed. “I still have all this homework here I forgot to do. Fuck I need to do this.” She stopped, realizing the opportunity for a rebirth among the ruins. “No. Fuck this. No more homework. I’m done with old Mada.” Robert looked up from the iPod and smiled at her, remembering his own recent renewal. “I’m doing what I want now,” she said. “Starting after a quick nap. I’m really tired.”

“No sleeping. Sleeping is giving in,” said Robert citing indie music. “We need a game plan. Do we stay in Champaign? Is it safe enough here? Is it safe enough anywhere? How are we going to eat if we leave?” He barked his orders with authority, and the group started to come to attention. “We need water. We need ammunition and a sniper rifle for longer distance killing. We’re going to need warmer clothes than this; most of our jeans are ruined and we need coats. Most of all, we need a purpose. We all have a reason to stay alive, but we can’t live like this forever, so we need something to—”

“Uhm, Robert,” interrupted Nick. “I think I found something important.” Kneeling next to Brian, he handed Robert a folded, crinkled, worn scrap of paper.

Robert unfolded it slowly. The crinkling of the paper was the only audible noise. He began to read:

“Brian, this is my fault. I messed up. I caused this, and I can’t turn it off. It’s up to you now. I’m not a monster, though; that’s the worst part. I’m not. I just got carried away. They can be stopped, yes, I swear. Your answers lie in Norman. Go there. Save my face. If I could only take it back…. –Conor”

Robert looked at the others. “PS — In the morning when the sun comes up, you’ll know.”

Robert looked back out the window at the rising sun. For the first time, they had a reason to fight. Finally, a purpose. As Robert began folding the paper back up, a small red dot appeared in his matted, unwashed hair. A shot fired, and Robert slumped to the ground, dead.


  1. I hate you. Can't have a single moment of glory in anyone's post but my own. SOME FRIENDS YOU ARE.

    -Figure it the fuck out, jackass

  2. Can you see into my iPod from Missouri or something?

  3. this is really beautiful. i thought i was gonna have a tough time dealing with being killed off. and yet, it seemed peaceful. loving, really. i feel safe. in a way. Great Post.


  4. Robert you are genius. Nice BP reference!

  5. this was an excellent installment. i never think it can get better, then it does. i'm so excited for monday's. except i don't get how they figured out brendan was a bad guy?

  6. yeah I did not force people's shirts off because I was not with Brendan, Mada, and Eliot and I was the only shirtless one in our group, so SUCK IT. it was their fashion choice


  7. Hey Classic stop crying because you turned yourself into a demigod and the next day's writer into a dog. In no way could you have set yourself up for that more.

  8. You guys, I'm still really tired.