Episode-26: Frozen in Fear
Date: November 26, 3008
Location: The Wolf’s Tail Inn, Henesys
There was something distant yet familiar about her, how her two long blonde bangs swayed carelessly in the breeze, how her ponytail bobbed up and down as she walked, how her emerald eyes stared out in front of her. But he did not know who she was. The foul stench of decaying flesh floated through the air into his nostrils, making them flare out in disgust. And that’s when he realized the ground around him was covered with bodies and stained with blackness.
Glancing over at the woman again, he noticed she had stopped, right in the middle of the killing field. She seemed to have been struck immobile, frozen like a cat. Then, slowly, she turned her face to him, and at that instant, his heart split in two as her eyes met his.
But they were not eyes anymore, just emerald stars glaring into his soul. She had a demented sneer etched upon her face. Her once pure white teeth were now elongated and decaying. What was once her beauty was now the most gruesome sight he had ever seen. And then, he knew who it was.
“No, please no!” he whispered to himself as she advanced, but no one paid any head to his pleas. The wind turned into a hurricane, a tornado of fury that swept around the two of them.
Suddenly, she charged, revealing a long combat knife from underneath her cloak. With a swift thrust, he felt it dig deep into his stomach. Gasping in agony, he fell to the floor with the blade rupturing his spleen and liver; blood flowed like a river from his body, adding another crimson hue to the already stained ground. He looked up one last time at those emerald eyes that he had once loved, and then Nova disappeared forever.
Damiver Lazin’s eyelids screamed open and he sat bolt upright on the bed. Gasping for breath, he wiped away the sweat pouring down his face and looked around. It was still dark outside, and the storm was still beating the hell out of the world. The alarm clock on the inn’s nightstand read 5:24 AM. Twilight.
Something shifted to his right, making Damiver instantly jerk his head towards the commotion. But he soon realized that it was just another human, in fact, his human lying in the bed beside him, snuggled up amidst the white sheets. Nova had never looked so beautiful to him.
He sat there, just breathing for a moment, listening to the monotonous pounds of the rain and the eerie howls of the wind that raged across the city. A flash of lightning revealed the inn room for a split second, before being replaced by a distant rumble of thunder. Damiver had only gotten a few hours of sleep, but for some reason, he felt wide awake. His nightmare had seemed so real, and it hurt so much to think he would ever lose Nova.
Looking back down at her face, he bent over and brushed her bangs away. Damiver smiled to himself then planted his lips upon hers. For a moment, he felt an extreme surge of warmth envelop him, as if she were embracing him. He never wanted for her to let go, but as he pulled away, Damiver felt the coldness close back in around him. There was no escaping reality now.
Putting his feet upon the frozen floor, he walked over to the window and looked out into the flooded street. The streetlights did little to reveal the scene as the drenching rain continued to pound down onto the land. Through the misty orange light, he could see the outer wall of the city. For a moment, he thought he saw something move into the perimeter of the city’s floodlights that pointed outwards into the surrounding forest.
And then he saw it, or rather, them. But something was different. They did not seem to be holding themselves together as if they were to fall apart any moment. The one that stood at the forefront seemed to be rearing back, looking deathly alive. It screamed silently into the rain.
Right before Damiver’s horrified eyes, they sprinted forwards like the Maple Athletes from the Maple Olympics. With amazing speed and agility, they bore down upon the city like a tsunami of death. As they neared, Damiver could see the brief muzzle flashes of the guards before they were instantly torn to pieces to join the undead legion.
Tearing his gaze away from the window, he rushed over to the bed and shook Nova awake, “Nova, they’re here, and they’re running!” Damiver grabbed his combat uniform and suited up. Hastily making his way towards his rifle, Damiver was almost out the door before he realized Nova did not budge.
“Nova?! Come on we have to go now!” Damiver yelled worriedly. Yet, Nova’s body did not budge from the bed. Then, he realized her bed sheets were not rising and falling like the should.
“Nova!” Damiver dropped his rifle on the floor, “NOVA!” Rushing over to the bed, he planted two fingers on her neck. There was a faint, miniscule excuse for a pulse. Cursing under his breath, he rushed back to the door only to be thrown back as the wood crashed down. Mikhail stood in the doorway, his FF-20 Fair Frozen waving menacingly in the air.
“Mikhail! Nova’s not moving!” Damiver yelled as tears started to well up in his eyes as thoughts of the impossible flew through his head.
Mikhail’s eyes shifted from Damiver to Nova’s unconscious body, then yelled down the hall, “Russ! Change of plans! You’re to revive Mrs. Zerra here while we go help. If anything happens to us, you run your ass off. We do the same.” Then, he stormed down the stairs, making a hell of a lot of racket. “Let’s go!” From the sounds of various weapons clacking, Damiver knew the entire squad had woken up already.
Russ rushed into the bedroom and felt Nova’s head. Damiver stood by the window, making nervous glances outside. The black flood had past the secondary wall already, and multiple buildings were already ablaze. He could make out Mikhail leading the rest out towards the fray through the rain, and felt a surprising aura of safety. Somehow, because Mikhail was here, everything was going to be ok. But as Damiver’s eyes shifted back to his lover, his heart instantly sank down into the abyss again.
The medic’s eyes were now closed, and he was now muttering an enchantment as he held Nova’s hand in his own. Russ’s eyebrows were furled in concentration as incoherent words streamed out of his mouth. A dim green light seemed to form around the two bodies, growing brighter by the second.
Suddenly, there was a loud boom, and Russ fell back to the floor, gasping for breath.
“What happened?” Damiver rushed over to help the medic up.
“She’s… something’s in her mind… she’s too powerful…” Russ breathed heavily, trying to bring back his wits.
Damiver’s head jerked up at the sound. For a brief moment, he thought he had imagined it, but then, Nova’s head shifted a millimeter, and Damiver’s heart shot up like a rocket.
“Nova!” He leaned over her body and grabbed hold of her hands.
“Damiver?” Nova groaned groggily, as if awaking from a deep sleep, “What’s wrong?”
Damiver tried to surpress his tears of joy, “Nothing, sweetheart. Nothing at all…” He smiled warmly and helped Nova up. As she dressed into her own combat uniform, a mental picture flashed before Damiver’s mind. The thought of Nova as one of them made Damiver’s teeth chatter.
The three of them scurried down the stairs of the inn. As the dashed through the front door into the pouring rain, Damiver noticed the innkeeper still snoozing on his chair. His feet were still resting upon the counter, oblivious to the imminent danger that lied ahead.
All Damiver could feel was the numbing rain as they splashed through the streets towards the western entrance of the city. Russ tried to call the rest of the squad on the communicator, but could not get a hold of them. As they rounded the corner however, they soon found that to be the least of their worries.
Screams permeated through the air, sickening Damiver to the stomach as the citizens of Henesys were being devoured right before his eyes. It took him a while to realize that Nova had already begun firing away at the creatures’ heads. Damiver raised his own S-16 and through the mounted scope, zeroed in on a zombie’s head. Just as it turned to face him, Damiver squeezed the trigger, sending a single steel cased bullet into its brain. The blood sprayed through the back of his head, staining the red car behind him a shadowy black.
And then, Damiver realized all of the zombies were facing him. The nearest one snarled disgustingly and charged forwards with stunning speed. Damiver, letting his training overcome his brain, raised the rifle to his shoulder and squeezed off another round into its head. As the zombie skidded across the flooded street to a halt at Damiver’s feet, the rest sprung forwards.
They ran like no other, back the way they came from. The three of them were no match for hundreds, maybe even thousands of soulless fiends from hell. Damiver could feel the stench of death and decay catching up to them. It felt like a losing battle. He was looking death in the eye and had lost his mind.
Suddenly, the miracle they had been waiting for crackled in his earpiece, “Russ… ou there? We’re… blockade in th… northern entr… now!” As Mikhail’s voice died, Damiver’s eyes flashed upwards and surprisingly saw the North Main Street sign. Instantly, he pulled Nova left and the three of them sprinted down the street with the undead snapping at their heals.
Damiver swung his rifle behind him and unleashed a flurry of bullets into the zombie lines. He heard them howl in rage above the fury of the wind as some fell to the added chaos and pandemonium. A certain satisfaction of the kill seemed to purr like a Lioner in his heart. So much power was running through his hands, that he almost forget the severity of the situation. Then, his clip clanged empty, and that familiar, never so distant feeling of fear and despair crept back over him.
The lightning slashed across the blackened clouds above like a sword through flesh. The tears the heavens cried were the blood of the souls of thousands of humans that had already fallen prey to the infestation. And then came the thunder, tearing the skies asunder with a practiced bravado. But nothing could ignore the atrocities that ravaged the once tranquil landscape of Henesys.
Damiver’s feet splashed in the water, displacing the coldness as the rain continued to try to drown him out. The horde of zombies behind him screeched in fury as they tried to catch up with their prey. They stumbled over each other, clawed at each other, bit and tore at each other to be the first in line for fresh blood. And Damiver was intent on not letting that happen.
Suddenly, as an intersection in the road materialized into view, Damiver saw faces on the other side of the road. His heart giving a great leap, he urged his muscles to hold up just a few more seconds.
And then, he knew it was all wrong, for the faces on the other side were not warm and welcoming, but distorted and disfigured. Zombies. Dead.
Sh** we’re surrounded… Nova thought into his mind. Damiver’s eyes dilated in horror as he whipped around. They were coming from the east and west as well, blocking all hopes of escaping safely. Time seemed to slow down as Damiver met death’s glare again. This time, he was not so sure he would win the fatal staring contest.
And yet, the mass of decaying flesh dashed through the flooded streets towards their one and only destination. It would be an all out brawl between thousands of zombies for the three of them. Damiver knew this was not going to end well in his favor. They were coming, shortening the distance separating them from their flesh meal with each passing second. Damiver looked into the nearest one’s eyes and everything became numb.
As the sun began to creep away form the black horizon, everything was frozen.