Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Part XI

          The shooting lights were turning people into Zombies. Orlando didn’t think such a thing was possible. It couldn’t be.
          Fernie remained quiet as they tracked the two remaining Zombies. Most of the Zombies had fled the scene looking for prey elsewhere. Orlando, Ruben and Fernie had tracked and killed all but two. They were easy to locate. Just listen for the screams of their victims.
          Orlando looked back at Ruben who was bringing up the rear. He looked troubled.
          “What’s wrong?” Orlando asked coming to a stop.
          “Keep quiet,” Fernie answered. He looked irritated. “Keep moving. We have a lot to do tonight.”
          Fernie took the lead, Orlando held back waiting for Ruben. “What’s wrong?”
          Keeping his voice low he answered, “Fernie’s injured. He’s favoring his right side.”
          Orlando looked over to where Fernie was waiting for them to catch up. He stood there tall and straight. It didn’t look like Fernie was suffering from any ill effects.
          “It’s subtle but it's there.” Ruben said before looking back over his shoulder in the direction they had come. Something caught and held his gaze.
          “He’s dying; Maxwell injected him with Zombie blood.” Orlando noticed the look on Ruben’s face. His eyes followed to see what had created the change.
          There was something very small coming up along the street. It was rolling. It came to a sudden halt.
          To Orlando, it looked like an old fashioned cannon ball. It began to move again. It rolled out towards the left of them and came around as if it were creating a circle. It began to move faster and faster. The size of the circle was growing wider.
          “What is that?” Orlando asked.
          The cannon ball suddenly halted. It now lay at Orlando’s feet.
          “MOVE!” Fernie shouted from behind them.
          Orlando could hear Fernie running towards him, but he could not move. The cannon ball held him transfixed.
          It shot up at Orlando, hitting the center of his chest and knocking him backwards. He began to fall, although he did not touch the ground beneath him. Darkness overtook him drawing him in until there was nothing more.
         
            When Orlando woke, he found himself in some sort of lab. There was strange equipment and even stranger noises. It took him several moments to clear his head from the darkness.
          He was strapped to a wall. The bindings were tight and he could not move an inch. His eyes darted, trying to look for some sort of escape. The room was very dark. The only source of light emerged from the machines. He did not want to find out what they were for.
          Orlando caught sight of his sword lying on the floor several feet away. Above it rested several knives of different lengths affixed to the wall.
          The door to the lab slowly creaked open. Orlando’s grandfather entered the room. “Why would you come here?” he carefully asked his grandson.
          “Grandpa! Get me down.”
          The door pushed open further and Elodie came rushing into the room. “We have to hurry! I hear them coming!”
          “Elodie!” Orlando nearly growled her name. ‘What where they both doing here?’
          She stopped as she saw Orlando strapped to the wall. She pushed past Orlando’s grandfather and began to release the buckles.
          Orlando watched as his grandfather went back to the door. He was looking out, waiting. Orlando didn’t know what to make of it. He was confused.  “How did you find me here?” He asked the question yet he was afraid of the answer.
          Elodie was quick to answer, “I didn’t trust you guys to come out here on your own. I told your grandfather what I knew and he agreed to help me track you guys.”
          There was noise coming from the other side of the door. Orlando was freed from the restraints.
          His grandfather backed away from the door, waiting.
          The door began to vibrate shooting open and slamming up against the wall.
          “Maxwell!” Orlando’s grandfather shouted.
          Maxwell entered the room. He did not look afraid, instead he looked smug. His hands were concealed in his pockets. A wide smile began to form across his face. Looking at his old friend he said, “You sneak into my home like criminals, Ethan?”
          “What have you done here?” Orlando’s grandfather looked about the room. His eyes filled with such sadness the more they took in. Settling firmly on Maxwell he asked, “What did you have planed for my grandson?”
          Maxwell removed his hands from his pockets, yet Orlando could see he kept something concealed in his right hand.
          Orlando moved closer to his grandfather. He wasn’t sure what Maxwell was going to do.
          “How did you know how to find me?” Maxwell asked Ethan.
          “I know about your old haunts…I know what this place means to you…what your father did here.”
          “Your father turned into a Zombie,” Orlando said his hands at his sides, waiting for Maxwell to play his cards. “You’ve been turning hunters into Zombies.”
          “My father was a scientist. He was a pioneer. He started with an idea and I took his ideas and made them greater.”
          “The shooting lights in the streets were your ideas?” Orlando asked.
          “The lights are one of my creations.”  He moved further into the room. “There is much that I wanted to show you, Orlando. You and Ruben were going to help me achieve so much more.”
          Orlando noticed that Elodie had moved and that she now stood to Maxwell’s side. She was moving in.
          He had to keep Maxwell distracted from her.
          “How could you involve my grandson?” Ethan charged at Maxwell grabbing him by the shoulders.
          Maxwell revealed what he had kept hidden in his right hand. It was a syringe which he stabbed into Ethan’s chest and injected the fluids into his body.
          Ethan fell to the ground and began to convulse. Orlando dropped down beside him and Elodie jumped onto Maxwell’s back.
          Maxwell tried to toss her off, but she clung on. There was a flash of light. It created orange smoke. As it cleared, Orlando could see that both Maxwell and Elodie were gone.
          Orlando could hear footsteps from the outer chamber. Ruben and Fernie rushed into the room. Orlando rose with his fist clenched. Looking at Fernie he said, “I think my grandfather was injected with Zombie blood.”
          Fernie knelt down to check him. “You’re right. He has been.”
          “How did he get here? Was he working with Maxwell?” Ruben asked furiously.
          “Elodie brought him.”
          “Elodie?” A look of fear in his eyes as he asked, “Where is she then?”
          “Maxwell took her.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Part X

            They traveled down the 5 FWY, it was late Orlando wasn’t sure if he was doing the right thing. Nothing seemed to be right any more. The last few days were one surprise after the next. No one was who they claimed to be. Orlando was not even sure if he could trust Ruben. He had just met the guy. He said he got those bruises from a Zombie but he could be lying to him about it. Ruben was working for Maxwell.
          Orlando was not going to worry about it. He would see how things played out once they reached Tijuana. But first he had to make a quick stop. He had to meet Fernie in San Diego; the map that had appeared on the back of Orlando’s bedroom door had an address in the Gaslamp Quarter.
          They rode up to a hotel, the Horton Grand Hotel.
          Ruben looked up at the old building, “Why are we stopping here?”
          Orlando simply said, “We are meeting a friend of mine.”
          “I thought you were in a hurry to get to Tijuana.” Ruben watched as Orlando headed inside the building.
          The lobby had vaulted ceilings, decorated mostly in white with columns along side the lobby’s walls.
          Orlando stopped at the entrance; he spotted Fernie seated in a white wicker chair. Fernie eyes had settled on them, the look in them were unreadable. Fernie rose from his chair and carefully walked over to Orlando and Ruben.
          “You’re one of Maxwell’s hunters,” he held out his hand for him.
          Without hesitation Ruben took his hand to shake, instantly he felt the sensation of sharp pins injected into his hand. He cried out in pain, his knees buckled nearly falling to the floor.
          Fernie ended the connection by pulling his hand away. “Can’t trust just anybody, had to make sure you were clean.”
          “What did you do to him?” Orlando asked mystified.
          Ruben clutched his hand, the sensations were slowly ebbing. “You’re a wizard.” He said accusingly.
          Fernie chose not to answer the question instead he said, “You know,” looking around the place, “Wyatt Earp lived here.”
          Ruben was not ready to let the attack on him go, “What the Hell! I can’t even make a fist!”
          “What did you do?” Orlando asked again.
          “It was a test. He passed.”
          With his other hand Ruben formed a fist and took a swing at Fernie who ducked. Not happy with that Ruben lunged at him taking him to the ground. Orlando stood there deciding not to interfere; he folded his arms in front of his chest.
          He watched as Fernie deflected most of Rubens assaults, yet he did manage to land one near his kidneys.
          With a gust of wind Fernie pushed Ruben away. He landed on his back with a groan.
          “We should get going,” Orlando had enough of this. He wanted to reach Tijuana and face Maxwell. He had a lot to say to him.
          “Yeah, I’m done here.” Ruben rose and headed for the doors.
          Before he made it to the door the three of them were surrounded by blue light. Orlando knew what this light was. Fernie was a wizard, he traveled in the light. He was taking them to where they needed to be. Tijuana, Mexico.
          Opening his eyes Orlando found that they were on a busy street. There was shouting, the smell of fear in the air. Without giving it another thought Orlando ran towards the sounds.
          There were strange colored lights shooting up from the ground the people that the light struck were crying out in pain. Orlando watched as they transformed into Zombies.
          “Don’t let the light hit you!” he shouted at Ruben and Fernie as they reached him.
          The newly transformed Zombies began attacking what was left of the crowd.
          “Use your light!” Orlando shouted at Fernie. “Get the survivors out of here!”
          Fernie did what he could but the numbers of survivors were dwindling down as the numbers of Zombies were rising.
          Ruben drew his sword and ran into the thick of Zombies shouting his battle cry. Orlando ran in after him and took a swing with his fist at the first Zombie he came into contact with. He had left his sword with his Sportster.
          He gave a kick to another one, it was a good thing he wore his Harley boots. A hand clamped down onto his head pulling him backwards. He fell flat on the ground. As he looked up he saw his sword shooting down from the sky straight for him. It was not a sight he was comfortable with. Dodging the fall of the sword he sat up grabbed the hilt as it pierced the ground and with it in his hand he swung at the Zombie. The head sliced right off.
          He had to be careful that the lights that were still shooting out of the ground did not come into contact with him. He sidestepped a light as it shot through the ground. Orlando used his sword as if it were a baseball bat and swung at the light. He hit it dead on. With its new direction the light shot at a Zombie hitting it in the chest. As the light made connect the Zombie began to shake violently. Amazingly it returned to its human form, it sank to the floor knocked out.
          Orlando shouted at Ruben telling him what to do with the shooting lights. A few of the Zombies ran off in search of prey elsewhere.
          Fernie was knelling down beside a victim of a Zombie attack. He was trying to help the wounded. His blue light surrounded all of the injured in a healing fashion. They next were absorbed into the light.
          “What happened? Where did they all go?” Orlando asked.
          Ruben interrupted with his own question, “Dude, what was with the light show?”

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Part IX

         He didn’t know what to do. Did Orlando share with his grandfather what he had learned about Maxwell? What about Ruben? Did he know what Maxwell had been doing all along? Orlando stood in the center of the camp. His hands rested on his hips. He heard Fernie step out of the tent. He did not look up as Fernie said, “He left things here. His notes and some of the magik fix.”
          “I thought he hated Zombies, why would he make them?” Orlando bent down to look into the dying blue flames of the pit. “His own father became a Zombie.”
          “Didn’t you wonder how he became a Zombie?”
          The ‘how’ didn’t matter to Orlando. “Did he get bit or something?”
          “Getting bit doesn’t turn you into a Zombie. It’s this stuff right here.” Fernie held up a vial of magik fix. “You take enough of these thinking all your getting is a nice high when what you’re really doing is dosing your body with Zombie juice.”
          “That stuff has been making everyone into Zombies?” Orlando rose and stepped over to Fernie. Taking the vial from his hand he examined it closely.
          “It comes in many forms. Liquid, pills, whatever you want.”
          “You said he left notes in the tent?”
          Fernie gave Orlando a big smile before saying, “He did.”
          “Where are they?”
          “Have you agreed to help me then?”
          Orlando nodded his head. He was sure, Maxwell had betrayed him. He had told Orlando that it was his job to hunt Zombies to put an end to them. When all along Maxwell had been the one behind them.
          “Good. Meet me in an hour.”
          A blue light exploded throughout the camp. Orlando had to cover his eyes from the intense light. He felt the light enclose over him and within moments fade away. Opening his eyes he saw that he was back in his room. His mother stood at the door with her hand resting on the door knob. She did not seem to realize that any time had past.
          “Go to bed,” she said closing the door shut.
          A diagram appeared on the bedroom door. It was a map of some sort. He traced it with his fingers. Small swirly lines with numbers…Orlando was going to Tijuana, Mexico.
          He was going to need to take a shower first. After his trek in the park he needed it.
          He showered quickly and returned to his room, the light on his cell phone indicated that he had a text message. It was Ruben. He wanted to meet him.
          Orlando agreed.
          They met at a bowling ally down the street from his house. Ruben looked like he had been in a fight. He had a bruise on the right side of his face and blood on his shirt.
          “What happened to you?” Orlando asked as he sat down next to him at the bar.
          “I was hunting, Zombie was pretty big. Didn’t expect it, but I took it down.”
          “How did you find it?”
          “Maxwell put me on the trail. Said he saw it, so I went. After I killed it I gave him a call. He didn’t answer but I knew where I could find him.”
          The bartender approached them and Orlando ordered a coke. He listened as Ruben continued.
          “He didn’t see me; at first I didn’t think anything by it. Then I saw that he was talking to somebody. So I got closer. He had at least two other Zombies. He had them in cages. They were hooked up to tubes and looked like they were knocked out.”
          “How did you know where to find him?”
          “I learned a while ago that whenever I work with someone its best to know as much as you can about them. So I had followed him around for a while. I thought he seemed legit.”
          “I did to. He’s making them you know, he’s making Zombies.”
          Ruben turned to Orlando, “He’s making them out of us.”
          “What?” Orlando was confused.
          “Some of them are hunters.” He pulled a bracelet out of his pocket. “This belonged to a friend of mine.” He dropped it on the counter. It was a gold chain bracelet.
          “Are you sure?” Orlando didn’t want to touch it. He saw red as he looked at it. They had trusted Maxwell. “What’s in Tijuana?”
          Tijuana?”
          “Yeah,” he said waiting.
          “I know he goes there sometimes.”
          “I’m going there, tonight.”
          “Ruben!” They both turned to see who had called his name. She stood at the door. She looked to be about Orlando’s age. “Ruben?” She stepped forward, “What happened to you?”
          Ruben did not look pleased to see her, “Elodie I sent you a text telling you I was going to be late.”
          “Did you press send because I didn’t get it! Look at you, you’re a mess.” She didn’t notice Orlando at first but when she did she asked, “Who are you? I haven’t seen you around.”
          Ruben answered for him, “Orlando this is my sister Elodie.”
          “Your sister?” He asked.
          “Yeah, she’s why I had to leave early back in China Town. I had to pick her up.”
          Orlando couldn’t look away from Elodie she had an intense look about her. It was almost as if she were trying to decide if he could be trusted. Ruben drew her attention back towards him with his statement.
          “I’m heading down to T.J. I should be back in the morning.”
          “What? why?”
          He simply said, “Hunting.”
          Looking back at Orlando squinting her eyes, “with him?”
          “I’m not new at this.” Orlando said. He didn’t like the scrutiny in her eyes.
          “It’s your gamble.” With that said she left the bar.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Part VIII

            Orlando found himself in some sort of park. There were old trains lined up sitting on railroad tracks. Balloons were tied to a post near a caboose. There were several benches and tables scattered about the area in a random pattern. A building had a sign affixed above double doors. ‘Travel Town U.S.A.
          “Hey!” Orlando shouted. ‘Where did Fernie go? Why had he even brought him to this place?’
          A dark shadow began to form before Orlando. The shadow bubbled, pushed out towards Orlando who carefully backed away not sure what it was. The shadow shot down towards the ground formed a dark pool and slowly rose to form Fernie.
          “We can talk here. There is no one around for miles,” Fernie said.
          “Why did you bring me here?” Orlando wanted nothing to do with Fernie. The more time he spent with him the more he thought the guy was some psycho.
          “There were too many interruptions at your house, unless you wanted me to kill your mother?” Fernie questioned with a chuckle in his voice. “I wanted you to see who Maxwell really was. I wanted you to see him in action.”
          With a spin on his heel Fernie turned around giving his back to Orlando. Fernie seemed to be looking at something in the distance.
          Orlalndo only saw hills, there was nothing.
          “He’s up there.” Fernie said.
          “There is nothing here. No one is here. Take me home.” Orlando wasn’t even dressed. He was standing in his pajamas and he was barefoot. How was he going to make his way back home? He didn’t even know where he was.
          Fernie turned back around with an irritated look on his face, “Didn’t you hear what I said? He’s up there!” Fenie strode over to where Orlando stood. “Come see for yourself.”
          “No.”
          “No?” A strange look formed on Fernies face as he stared at Orlando. “No? He repeated.
          “Look, I’m not sure what is wrong with you. Maybe you got into someone’s stash of magik fix. But you need help.”
          “What I needs is for you to believe me.”
          “Why do you care if I believe you or not? What’s it to you?”
          “Take a look,” Fernie raised his hand to Orlando’s face. A yellow light emerged from his finger tips.
          “What are you doing?” Orlando asked as a strange sensation overtook him.
          “Just see.”
          Orlando didn’t want to see. He wanted to return home. Get as far away from Fernie as possible. He pushed Fernie away from him and ran towards the hills.
          He heard Fernie laughing behind him. He had not bothered to follow.
          Orlando ran up the hill, there was a light in the distance. He ran towards it. He thought it would lead to someone who might be able to help him, someone who might at least have a cell phone on them.
          He heard voices as he approached the light. It was a camp ground. A blue fire burned in a pit, in the center of the blue fire was a yellow light that dimmed as Orlando approached. He ducked down behind the bushes.
          Maxwell stood at the far end of the camp. A tent near him, Orlando watched as Maxwell entered the tent. He was talking to someone but Orlando could not see who. The light from the fire pit revealed shadows of the ones who were inside the tent. There were two others in the tent with Maxwell.
          Orlando could not understand what they were speaking. He did not recognize the language. A loud shout of pain emerged from the tent.
          “Hold him down!” Someone shouted in English.
          Orlando watched the tent closely. Before he knew it a large man ran from the tent. He stopped as he approached the blue fire. He held his head in his hands as he fell to his knees. The sounds he made were unlike anything Orlando had heard before. The man began to change. His body stretched and grew. The color of his skin became ashy and taunt. He was becoming a Zombie.
          “Get the collar on him before his change is complete!”
          Orlando did not recognize the other man with Maxwell. He watched as that man reached over the Zombie to fix a collar on him.
          “Put him on the streets tonight.” Maxwell said calmly as the collar activated.
          “He’s not for the fights?” The man asked. He looked disappointed.
          “Do as I tell you!”
          Orlando wanted to emerge from his hiding place he wanted to confront Maxwell. ‘Why was he creating Zombies? He saw Maxwell’s eyes fix on the blue fire.
          “We have to clear out of here!” He shouted.
          “Why?” The man asked as he was moving the Zombie out of camp.
          “There is a yellow light in the flames. He’s watching us.”
          “Who is watching us?” He was confused.
          Turning towards the man Maxwell shouted at him, “Don’t worry about it just clear out of here now!”
          Moving towards the fire pit he tried to put the fire out, it would not go out. Maxwell began to shout around the camp. “There is nothing you can do Fernando! No one will help you. You are just a dying Wizard. How many days do you have left now?” Laughing Maxwell fled the camp.
          “They are gone now.” Fernie appeared near Orlando. “Do you believe me now? Do you finally see?”
          “I do.”
          “Good, because we do not have much time.”
          “He said you were dying?”
          “We are all dying.”
          “What is wrong with you?”
          “He injected me with Zombie blood.”
          That was not what Orlando had expected to hear, “Is there no cure?”
          “My cure will be his death.”
          Orlando did not know what to say. He had gone from believing Fernie was some crazy psycho to now knowing that Maxwell was the psycho.
          Orlando turned to find Fernie watching him, the look in his eyes was uncertainty. Fernie slowly began to speak, “We must end this soon.”

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Part VII

        The house grew quiet as everyone prepared for bed. Orlando was exhausted and fell asleep within moments of his head hitting the pillow. Until a noise in his bedroom jarred him awake. He sat up looking for what created the noise. At first he didn’t see anything. All appeared to be quiet and in its place. Closing his eyes to sleep he felt the mattress shift to the presence of someone else’s weight, Orlando opened his eyes to find a man standing beside his bed resting his foot on the mattress.
          “What?” Orlando asked thinking he must have been dreaming.
          An eerie yellow light surrounded the man who peered down upon him. A wicked smile upon his face, “Catching up on your beauty sleep?” the man asked.
          Sitting up in his bed to create space between himself and the man, Orlando knew this man. He had been the one who killed that guy in front of his house.
          “What are you doing here?” Orlando asked.
          “I saw you that day when I was taking care of some business in front of this house. Which surprised me considering I had spelled the neighborhood to keep away from the front street…how did you manage to bypass my spell?”
          Orlando moved to the far corner of the bed, his back against the wall, “Did you come here to kill me?”
          “No, I’m not going to kill you; I only wondered how a boy like you could manage to bypass my spell. What level of magik are you?”
          “I don’t know. Why should that matter?”
          “It matters because I have been tracking someone.” Noticing that Orlando was bracing himself against the wall the man took a step back from the bed. Introducing himself, “The name’s Fernie its short for Fernando. I’ve traced a friend of yours out here.”
          “A friend of my mine?”
          “Maxwell?”
          With that name said Orlando moved off of his bed to switch on the light. As the light lit up the room Fernie disappeared. A knock sounded at his bedroom door, it was Orlando’s mother, “Are you okay I heard a noise.”
           It took him a moment to answer his mother; he had looked around the room for Fernie. How could he disappear as the light turned on?
          “I’m fine.” He said not opening the door. After a moment he heard his mother move down the hall.
          Fernie reappeared as Orlando switched the light off.
          “Are you a ghost?” Orlando asked. He switched the light back on, saw that he disappeared and reappeared as the light went off.
          “No, I’m a wizard. There are not very many of us left. Which is why I’m hunting Maxwell, he is not who he says he is.”
          “What do you mean? Maxwell is a friend of my grandfather. For all I know you’re some insane lunatic who is here to kill me. Why did you kill that guy on the street?”
          “He was an informant. He gave me some bad information. He’s what you would call a 'rat'.”
          “Maxwell is a wizard isn’t he?”
          Laughing Fernie replied, “He is a mercurial, a high class one. He knows how to manipulate things and people.  He is no friend of yours or your grandfathers.”
          “Why are you hunting Maxwell?”
          “He’s the one who is creating all of this and you are going to help me stop him,” Fernie announced.  
“There is no way I would help a nut job like you. Now get out,” Orlando yelled.
          The man then became enraged. The yellow which surrounded Fernie grew brighter as he advanced on Orlando.
          Orlando’s radio went flying across the room striking Fernie on his head.
          Fernie paused, “How did you manage to do that?”
          Orlando had no idea. The radio just acted on its own.
          Fernie picked up the radio to examine it, “You made it hit me.”
          “No, I don’t know how to do that.”
          Looking at him questionably, “You have no idea what you are, but I bet Maxwell does.” Dropping the radio back on the floor it broke. “He is hunting real wizards.”
          “Why would he?”
          Fernie didn’t respond, he slowly approached Orlando his eyes fixed carefully on him.
          Knocking resounded on his bedroom door, “Orlando what is going on? What broke?”
          “If she comes in here she will die.” Fernie said his threat in his eyes.
          Orlando?” his mother asked concern in her voice. She tried the door knob. She pushed open, turning the light on. The room was empty, a broken radio on the floor.