Elodie watched unable to move as Fernie began changing into a Zombie. She desperately tried to make eye contact with Orlando. After a moment of willing him to look in her direction, their eyes locked. Taking a hair pin from the folds of her hair, she used the distraction to unlock the collar around her neck. She did not remove it, leaving it on to create the illusion that she was still under Maxwell’s hold.
“Maxwell,” she called out to him so that she could be heard over Fernies agonized shouts. “You’ve lost your mind.”
Maxwell turned to look down at her, a smile upon his lips. As he did so, Elodie flung the hair pin up into his eyes. It glowed a bright gold. Blinding him, she flicked the collar off of her neck and wrapped it around his own.
Maxwell was unable to release the collar. It was clamped on tightly. He shouted at them all.
A Zombie burst out of the small building. He had a long steel bar clutched in his hand. As the Zombie approached, he let out a horrific scream before running into their circle.
Orlando who already had his sword charged for the Zombie, swung it against the steel bar. Both adversaries were held off. The zombie, in one fluid motion, threw his shoulder into Orlando, knocking him off his feet.
As Orlando began to fall, he held up a hand to ward the Zombie back and away. The center of his chest tightened and the feeling coursed down his arm and out of his fingertips. A purple haze then erupted from the tips of his fingers, which surprised Orlando. He had no idea what was taking place. He felt himself being pulled back into a standing position. As he regained his feet, he took a swing at the Zombie with his sword, removing its head from its shoulders.
Maxwell was hunched down in a corner. He was still working on trying to remove the collar from his neck.
“Give us what we need to cure him!” Ruben shouted down at Maxwell.
“What for? You ruined everything. I had buyers for the ‘fix’ I had created coming tonight, but all this racket more than likely scared them off.”
“Do you want to die?” Ruben asked, a crack in his voice.
“Maybe,” he replied, untouched by the question.
Ruben raised his sword.
called out for him to stop. “He’s playing you, Ruben.” Orlando
Ruben did not turn, but he looked over his shoulder. “He is not cooperating!” he said with an edge in his voice.
“He will.” Orlando’s eyes conveyed to Ruben a subtle message to leave Maxwell alone for now. He next bent down by Elodie. “How is he?” he said, asking about Fernie.
Elodie was about to speak, but Fernie answered for her instead. “I am dying. There is nothing that can be done. I have known for a long time that this was going to happen.”
“I’m sure we can make Maxwell give us a cure.” There had to be a cure. Surely his own grandfather, who had also been injected with Zombie blood, was not going to end this way as well, was he?
Fernie seemed to read Orlando’s mind because he next said, “There is one thing that can be done for your grandfather.”
“What is it?”
Fernie struggled to sit up. “I will show you. Help me get up.” Both Elodie and Orlando helped Fernie stand. Once he was standing, he then asked Orlando for his sword.
gave it to him with no question. “There are more Zombies coming.” Orlando
Fernie was right. There were three more that were quickly closing in on them. Somehow Fernie found the courage to push away from Elodie and Orlando in order to run out into the pack of Zombies. Ruben followed him in.
“No, no, no,” Maxwell began to mumble. “Get me out of here!”
“Why? You said you were ready to die,” Orlando reminded him.
“Those are not mindless Zombies!” he shouted, quickly standing. “They are pumped up on a ‘fix’, yet they are aware of everything they are doing. They can think on their own!”
Elodie moved and got directly into Maxwell’s face. “Then hand over the cure. Do it now before they get any closer.”
“Inside my office,” he said, “Second refrigerator on the right.”
“Go get it, Elodie. Try it on my grandfather.” Elodie rushed inside. Orlando pushed Maxwell up against the wall. “If it’s not what you say it is, then I will throw you to the Zombies.”
“It is; It is,” he assured him.
“It’s doing something. Your grandfather is awake.” She held another vial in her hand. “For Fernie,” she said.
There was a rumble. The ground began to shake and break apart. Orlando could hear Fernie’s voice. As the rumbling began to settle, he could not make out the words, but he clearly heard one of the Zombies talking.
“Give us Maxwell, and we will leave.”
“No,” Orlando stepped forward. “Maxwell gave us the cure. Fernie, I told him that if he helped us we would keep him safe from the Zombies.”
“Fine, I’ll give him to them then. I didn’t promise anything,” Ruben quickly said. “He turned hunters into Zombies. Let’s hand him over.”
“What do they want him for?” Orlando questioned. “To make something worse, look at them!” He pointed to the Zombies. “They have evolved!”
“Just makes them harder to kill.”
They didn’t have any more time to argue about it. One of the Zombies took his sword and ran it through Fernie, who stood the closest to them. Seeing Fernie fall, Orlando reached out for him. Fernie solemnly placed his sword into Orlando’s hand.
Ruben swung at the Zombie who had attacked Fernie. The other two Zombies ran past him to Maxwell. Elodie used her orange light to ward them off. The glare worked for a moment. Maxwell, who suddenly decided he didn’t want to die there, tried to flee from the orange surroundings. That was his mistake. One of the pumped up Zombies picked him up with on hand and tossed him to the other one, who caught him and put him over his shoulder. They both ran off.
It took the efforts of both Ruben and Orlando to kill the remaining Zombie. When he was dead, they tried to help Fernie, but it was too late for the old man. His time had ended.
“What just happened?” Elodie asked.
Orlando looked away from Fernie’s body up at her. “Evolved zombies?” he said, not quite sure himself.
The End for now….