Me Took (Extract 1)

Shot through the head he trembled like a spastic limb, cut loose from the control of his master, another corpse that finally realised it was dead. The personality shifted into the maggot in his eyeball and left him like it were leaving an apple. Exodus meant finding some other corpse to occupy — never exactly the Promised Land but it was as close as a zombie ever got to being Christ-like or Lazarus if that was too lofty an ambition.

Fahrenheit was a killer of things supernatural. Some might have thought this would make him a really interesting guy to be around but he was one of the worst conversationalists in the history of human speech. Words seemed to fall from his mouth in a jumble no matter how much effort he put into organising them semantically and syntactically beforehand. Killing things was about all he was really good for — he was as much a machine as the gun he was firing.

Since the plague had leapt up from the avian species it had dominated for almost ten years previous, decimating all the wildfowl and domestic birds, earning it the name Headless Chicken, the number of zombies seemed to have grown exponentially. It was strange to think that someone had worked out a way to tap into the brain frequencies of the recently undead and actually become a zombie lord. Still, it was no stranger than the fact that there were actually zombies.

Mandrake Eldritch was pretty close to death himself by all accounts — he was looking to the resurrection of the zombies as holding the key to his own intricate problem with mortality. He had been raiding scientific institutes that were researching anything from particle physics to stem-cells, to DNA sequences. To put it plainly Eldritch was clutching at straws.

At least there was one good thing about the kind of egotistical criminal maniacs of the type that Eldritch was — you didn’t have to go looking for the bastards because they craved the spotlight. Eldritch constantly sought to set himself up on centre stage in the world’s affairs and controlling the zombie horde seemed a perfect away to do that. Whereas before he had been just a decrepit old man now he was someone important. Fahrenheit would be happy to put an end to the miserable old fucker’s life.

One zombie did not a mission make. It was boring when there weren’t more of the critters to despatch and some of that boredom originated in the fact that it meant he had to do the thing solo. If there was a whole nest of the buggers then they would send Corday out with him. Corday was funny — a real stand-up. sure, when he had first discovered that he was being partnered by a woman he wasn’t happy, but the misogynist had been beaten out of him by being saved by this woman on more than one occasion where his inattention to detail had got him stuck in some serious shit. He radioed in his success and made his way over to the ATV. He poked his index finger in the lock and it scanned him and allowed entrance. He set it on autopilot and moved into the back to go and have a piss — his appointment with the undead had been moved forward by the inconsiderate grave haunter and he had been caught short.

It was a twenty minute drive, ten minutes to get through security, and fifteen minutes to pass through the decontamination process. When all that rigmarole had been gone through, Fahrenheit made his way to the briefing room for a hastily scheduled meeting.

‘Hey, John, how goes it?’
‘Fine, Fahrenheit,’ he paused ‘well, actually, pretty shitty. Eldritch sent his army tearing through a cancer research facility — not one single person left alive.’
‘What was he after?’
‘That’s what this meeting’s about.’
‘Oh, ok.’

Fahrenheit spotted Corday across the room — she held up a polystyrene cup which he supposed to contain his preferred blend of latte with some cheap whiskey swirling through it. He pushed his way through the group that had assembled; all the techs with their electronic notepads and such. He sat down next to her and inhaled sharply, disguising the act as being the result of the brisk walk over to the seat. She knew he liked her scent — that was why she wore it, because she knew it drove him wild and that amused her. She gave him his coffee.

The screen behind Commander Bruce clicked on and images of the facility that had just been attacked began to spool in an endless barrage of gore. Not one of them blinked, so inured had they become to this kind of shit since Eldritch had appeared. Fahrenheit swallowed his coffee in careless gulps. Corday watched him. They both listened to Bruce.

‘It appears that Eldritch was after some viral technology which has been developed that corrects the programming of damaged cells — he believes that he might be able to re-program his body so that he doesn’t get any older. He thinks he has found the elixir of youth. What he has stolen may represent a cure for cancer — needless to say we must get it back. Fahrenheit and Corday are to be in charge of this mission and they will have as much back-up as they require — at the moment we don’t know what that will be, so as soon as you are called on you must drop what you are doing and respond.’
Fahrenheit turned to Corday: ‘looks like our plans for the weekend have changed.’
‘What plans?’
‘For dinner.’
‘Oh, so you thought I was being serious? Silly boy. Anyway, let’s go get the briefing notes.’
‘Waste of bloody time — it’ll be the same shit we always have to do: go kill some zombies and rescue the object.’
‘Yes, but …’
‘What, I need to swot up on cancer cells?’
‘Bollocks. You get my copy; I’m going for a drink.’

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