Part 2: All Teeth No Soul
"Wake up kid, it’s your turn today" Rhaz said shaking Luke awake, he sat up from his bottom bunk. Bright morning light poured through the plastic window of the large dorm tent. Luke wiped morning crust from his eyes “yeah, sure I’ll be out in a sec” he said getting to his feet. The cement ground was freezing, he winced a bit then let out a yawn. “I’ll be outside meet me in front of the fence in five, gotta pull your weight if you want to stay at this camp kid” he said pushing open the flap doors and gingerly walking outside.
Upon walking out Luke noticed two things, one the helipad was empty which meant the chopper was gone. Sgt. Franklin must be on another supply run, and two Martha was doing that thing again which meant her and Rhaz were in for another pointless philosophical debate, which Luke was getting pretty fucking sick of. Luke made his way to the tool shed at the far end of the gated military camp. He pushed open the metal doors which gave a high pitched creek as he stumbled inside. Browsing through an array of weapons he settled on a machete. Walking towards the large chain link fence he made his way over to Martha. A sweet woman in her mid fifties her long grey hair draped over her shoulders as she sat lotus position and quietly chanting a mantra. “Ram, ram, ram” she continued over and over again. She positioned herself directly in front of the fence on the opposite side stood an army of reanimated corpses, hands and fingers prying at the fence trying desperately to get to the woman peacefully meditating in front of them. They’re pale white eyes were open wide and full of rage, they’re teeth gnashed against the metal chain links and they’re strained vocal chords let out raspy groans and angry sounding screams. They’re collective ghostly moans sounded like one big off beat orchestra from Hell.
Luke sat next to the meditating woman “good morning Martha” Luke said gently putting a hand on her shoulder, Martha opened her eye’s breaking meditation, she turned to Luke, a pleasant grin played over her slightly wrinkled face. “Hello darling, did you sleep alright?” She asked genuinely curious. Ever since Luke, Amber & the handful of other survivors arrived at the camp she had been something of a mother figure to them. Always sticking up for the kids if they got into trouble with Rhaz, Sgt. Franklin or the other soldiers. They needed a tender mother figure, a year after what happened on the highway, none of them saw they’re families again. The military base they were flown to became a new home to them, the soldiers became extended family.
"I slept alright" Luke said casting his head down, Martha looked a bit concerned. "Still dreaming of those kids on the bus?" She asked, Luke turned his head away "yeah, but I don’t really want to talk about it", she knew the boy was in pain what did an eighteen year old really know about they’re own limitations after all? "Luke, sweetie from what you told me there was nothing you could have done, you can’t keep holding onto your pain these things weigh on you tremendously, you can’t just block it out you have to open up honey you’re not one of those things, they’re all teeth no soul they don’t feel, its ok to admit that you do. End of the world or not you can’t carry it all yourself" Martha really felt for the kid, she just wrapped her arms around him. "Thanks Martha" Luke looked at the woman tenderly.
Rhaz stepped in and broke the tender moment “Oh what, you too? You guys are really starting to freak me out with all this hippy bullshit” he said squeezing all the joy he could out of antagonizing Martha “the Buddhists would spend hours watching the bodies burn on the Gangues river Rhaz, it encourages humility, something I know you could use a lot more of” she smirked returning to her meditative state. Rhaz turned to Luke “c’mon are we gonna kill some reanimates or what?” Luke got to his feet and nodded, the kid owed the big barrel chested man his life, if he and Mitch, the soldier in the chopper hadn’t thrown down that rope ladder the day the shit hit the fan they would have surely met a brutal end. Rhaz picked a wedgie as he made his way over to the fence a long metal pipe with a jagged edge at the end of it his large clenched fist. He walked up close to the fence and jammed the thing into one of the zombies skulls and repeated the process.
The big hulking black man made his way down the fence jamming his spear into zombies faces they’re eyebrows shot up and they’re eyes rolled back as if he just flipped the off switch on the thing it went slack jawed and collapse to the ground. Luke followed the guy and jammed his machete through the monsters heads. Each time he did he had to swing his head back keeping his brown hair out of his eyes. “So, Martha’s gettin’ to ya with her hippy bullshit huh? Well I’ll tell you what kid, all that eastern philosophy wont do jack for ya when these dead fucks are gunnin for your throat, they’re not gonna sit down and contemplate the universe with you” the big soldier’s chuckled as he rammed his spear through more zombie heads. “We weren’t talking about that” Luke said, almost to himself. The two continued down the fence jabbing reanimates in the head “noticed the choppers gone” Luke said. Rhaz glanced back at the kid “Sgt. Franklin & Romeo went on a supply run, brought Amber with them too” he said as he stuck the pipe through another ones skull, Luke stopped short bewildered.
Glass danced around on the floor as Amber smashed her classic wooden baseball bat through a dusty old vending machine. She grabbed everything she could that hadn’t looked like it went bad and placed it in her backpack. Nothing nutritious just some old snacks she missed. Her walkie talkie squawked at her “Amber, come in Amber” she answered the thing and a stern voice shot back at her “what are you doing?” Asked the voice on the other line. “Oh you know just grabbing some snacks from the ol’ vending machines, pretzels really remind me of a time when undead cannibals weren’t trying to dismember me and everyone I love” she said into the walkie glancing around the dusty old office kitchen. “I hope your not being cute with me girl, get your ass up to the roof now were packing up, Romeo’s keepin watch and he’s tellin me we got a mighty big heard movin down eight ave.” Said Sgt. Franklin his gruff voice alone was enough to get Amber moving, she really didn’t wanna piss the veteran off.
Amber moved quickly through the fifth floor of the dark office building. Bat in hand she pushed open the doors of the small lunch room and into the main office space. Chairs had been flipped over, old computer monitors were smashed. The dark dingy interior of the work place was a bit too unsettling for Amber, being in tight dark spaces made her anxious. Moving into the hallway she made her way to the exit. She pushed it open catching the attention of two reanimates who stood with they’re backs to her on the flight of stairs leading to the roof. They turned around revealing they’re twisted enraged faces. One used to be a janitor from the look of its outfit, the other a businessman. They snarled at the nineteen year old showing they’re black jaggedly chipped teeth. The zombies lunged for the girl. Amber took a step back and brought herself into a battle ready stance, she lifted the bat as if she were about to hit a homer. The first creature came at her arms out and teeth clenched. She swung at it, smashing its head against the wall. Brains exploded from its forehead splattering the dusty white wall with bright red stringy goo. She took another step back stepping on old binders and report sheets that littered the hallway floor. She tossed her jet black hair over her right shoulder, planted her feet and prepared herself for the next one. This creature was a bit more spry. It swung its arms out madly and chomped its jaws releasing a series of wild primal screams. Amber roundhouse kicked the thing sending it tumbling to the ground. She brought the bat over her head and swung it down mercilessly caving in the reanimates distorted face. Blood shot out giving the grungy walls a brand new paint job.
Romeo raised his binoculars getting a Birdseye view of the streets below. Eighth avenue was vacant, a few rusted cars lay overturned & ruble littered the streets. The short Puerto Rican man adjusted his footing on the ledge of the building, clearly heights never put much of a scare in the man. He scratched his bald head and peered back into his binoculars. He scanned the street slowly moving his head to the left. “Fuck me” he mumbled as a horde of eighty possibly ninety ghouls entered his field of vision. They moved at a ghostly pace, the sound of they’re collective moans travelled in the air until it finally reached Romeo’s ears. Even though he had been in the field enough to get used to them, the sound of the creatures still made Romeo uneasy. His fingers tightened around the magnifying device as he gritted his teeth upon the sight of the horde. “Time to head out Serge, the Calvary’s coming. God forbid the chopper conks out we’re gonna be stuck up here with a city full of deadheads surrounding us.” He said hoping off the roofs ledge. Sgt. Franklin cocked his silencer pistol “that’s it I’m going in there, that damn girl probably got herself in trouble” he said making his way across the rooftop to an entrance door leading down flights of stairs, and into the bowls of the building.
The metallic door leading to the buildings stairway swung open and out stepped Amber stuffing the bloodied baseball bat into her backpack. Franklin stopped short, his black trench coat blew in the wind a bit as he planted his feet and sneered at Amber. “Kid, when I radio you to get back to the chopper you shake a fuckin’ leg and get back here, don’t dilly dally around, what if you got cornered huh?” Amber rolled her eyes “relax, I ran into some goblins no biggie” Amber said shrugging him off “Jesus, can’t we stick to one name for these things? So you took a few out huh? Did you remember what I taught you?” He asked folding his arms “never put your back against a wall” Franklin sneered again “and?” Amber shifted her weight to her left foot and folded her arms making it blatantly clear she was annoyed that they were going over this again “only use guns when absolutely necessary, that’s why I have my bat”. Franklin placed his weapon back in its holster, “alright then c’mon the streets are startin to fill up”. The small rag tag team made their way back to the helicopter.
Upon landing Amber noticed Luke waiting for them to exit the chopper a few feet from the helipad. Franklin turned to Amber, a smirk tugging at him “looks like your boyfriends mad” he joked Amber wasn’t amused “he’s not my boyfriend” she slung her backpack over her shoulder and hoped out. “What the Hell Amber? You know how dangerous going into the city is” Luke angrily protested while following her as she made her way back to her tent dorm. A couple soldiers kept watch from twin towers on either end of the camp ground, one smirked when he noticed Luke yelling at Amber he lifted his walkie “hey Amy, looks like the married couple’s fighting again” he chuckled.
"The city must have been swarming with those things, and you only brought two other people with you, I’m sorry but that’s fuckin’ stupid" Amber packed away her bag along with the few things she brought back from her run before firing back at Luke. "Why are we having this conversation, we’re not even together, theirs no us how bout we just both do our own thing" Luke sighed "look, just because were not in a relationship doesn’t mean I don’t care about you, and what does a relationship have to do with anything it’s the apocalypse for God sake." Amber turned and faced the guy "whatever, you lied to me I’m not just going to forget that" she shot back, once she said it a part of her immediately regretted saying it. Luke turned to leave "I wasn’t lying to you" he said leaving Amber alone in the tent.