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Chapter 6 (v.1) - Chapter Six

Submitted: February 23, 2012

Reads: 64

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Submitted: February 23, 2012





Oh, hello there reader! I see you've finished ACT 1 of my latest story, Inbreak! Good job!

If you've made it this far, you may have some questions, which will be answered in the Frequently Asked Questions section below. We'll also have an interview with the ghost of The Running Man, and other super special treats! Enjoy!


Q:Why is everyone in the story a total jerkwad?

A:Not EVERYONE in the story is a total jerkwad. Sure, The Running Man pushed a guy to his likely death, but he felt really bad about it afterwards! And The First Guy may have been an untrusting idiot, but that we can blame on their society. Besides, The Doctor and The Hiding Woman are pretty nice, if you can excuse The Hiding Woman's bipolar suicidalness and The Doctor’s over eagerness for science.

Q: How did the zombies get into The Human Lands?


Q:Who's this Ivanis Cravalok bloke?

A:Ivanis Cravalok is a sort of folk hero who was said to hold off thousands and thousands of zombies single handidly while The Gate's base was being built. Zombie society sort of adapted him as a movie star, and they got actors to portray him as a fearless zombie hunter who is virtually invincible. This explains why The First Guy thought the zombies would be so easy to kill: the actors who played Ivanis made zombies look like they were gnats. Turns out they weren't and hilarity (also death) ensued.

Q: So why doesn't Ivanis show up and kill all the zombies! It would be such a great twist!

A: Because he was thirty at the time The Gate was being built, and since that was thirty years ago he'd be like sixty, not a prime age for zombie fighting.

Q: Why are all the zombies bunched up on the road!

A: BECAUSE ALL THE HUMANS ARE BUNCHED UP ON THE ROAD! Jeeze, it's not that difficult to understand.

Q: Can you draw each of the main characters crudely with microsoft paint?

A: Can I?


Q: So what is a zombie anyway?

A: You poor, neglected, ignorant thing you. A zombie is an undead creature that eats flesh. It transfers its disease with bites and scratches. They are attracted to noises, headshots are the most effective ways of killing them, and they're slow and straggly. Those are all commonly understood zombie facts. Vampire zombies are a whole 'nother story bro. The one's in Inbreak aren't slow at all, headshots are almost completely useless, suck blood instead of biting flesh, and are way more dangerous! How were they created? ALL WILL BE REVEALED IN ACT 2!

Q: What is this "reflection day" The Running Man talks about?

A: It's a day where all the residents of The Human Lands commemorate the soldiers and those lost in THE GREAT ZOMBIE WAR! It wasn't actually called THE GREAT ZOMBIE WAR though, because it sucked and a lot of people were eaten and shot and blown up and nuked and zombified.

Q: Why didn't you give these people names!? IT'S CONFUSING!!!1111


Interview with The Running Man's ghost

AUTHOR(A): So, Running Man, how does it feel to be dead?

The Running Man (RM) : It sure does suck!

A: Aw, geeze, tough luck. Did you feel you kind of deserved it after the whole "shoving that guy to his death" incident?

RM: Well, maybe a little bit. But that guy was a total jerkwad!

A: Can't argue with that! So, Running Man, we've all been wondering: what are your thoughts on The Hiding Woman?


A: The...uh, the girl who speaks in orange.

RM: WHAT!? WHO!? You really should've given us names! It would be a lot less confusing this way!

A: SHUT UP! It's a part of the story! Besides, you're dodging the question!

RM: Speaking of dodging question, if you're interviewing the dead characters then why isn't the first dude that I pushed to his death here? You know, the one that spoke in purple?

A: Ah- er- well, that's all the time we have for today! Thanks for tuning in to this exclusive interview!

Before we start Act 2, here's the characters again, this time in AMAZING COLOR DEFINITION!



Chapter 5.5


The sun beat down on the porch of my garden as I gazed deep into the sky. It seemed like after that horrible incident all those years ago there hadn't been a single good day like this. I rocked back and forth, scratching my beard, and pondering the days before The Gate and the zombies. It seemed hard to remember now, like the last ten years of building and rebuilding The Gate had been my entire life. And although I hated the fact that we couldn't so much as look at a zombie without being arrested by a Keeper, I understood their fear.

Returning my gaze to my garden, I looked at the little blonde girl playing in the grass. She glanced up at me with her great big blue eyes and gave me a heart melting smile. I'd rescued this girl from certain death when the zombie outbreak started. The poor thing had to see her parents get eaten before her very own eyes at the age of three. "Professor?" she said, looking up at me. "Yes, girl? What is it?"

"I've been thinking a lot about those things that killed my parents lately. You know, the zombies? Right, well, I've been thinking about what would happen if they actually ever managed to... to get through the gate. I know that would never happen-you've told me a thousand times that there would be no chance of a zombie actually making it past The Keepers, but let's say one did. What would I do?"

"Well," I said, "You would need to fight." Her eyes suddenly lit up. "Could you teach me?"

The innocent girl asking how to fight was a bit unsettling at first.

I smiled at her innocence for a moment, and at last said, "Alright. I'll tell you everything I know about fighting. But first, get the chess board." She looked at me quizzically for a second, until leaving the garden. She returned with a small wooden chess set, opened it up, and sat up the pieces. "You think this'll be the first time I beat you?"

"Maybe," I said, examining the board. I had never gone easy on her once during a chess match, because I wanted her to be able to get an actual sense of achievement from my defeat. I couldn't just throw a match away.

"I still don't get how this is going to help me fight," she said as we began playing. After a few moves I began to speak. "Well," I replied, "The first thing you need to do is take a strong lead in the fight by neutralizing your biggest targets." As I said this, I took a knight guarding her King. "But the important thing is to not be too cocky by this lead. You need to always fight at full speed and full power, never letting your guard down, especially against many enemies."

She began making plays I didn't see coming, and soon she had fought back, her pieces overwhelming the board. "Sometimes your best option is to retreat and hide," I said, moving my pieces back to my side of the board and out of harm's way, "And to take advantage of your stealth with a sneak attack." The pieces I had moved back were now in a deathlock position with her last bishop and knight.

"If something goes wrong for you during the fight, you should never give up, because if you do, you're dead." She looked at me with resolve, knowing that if she didn't do anything about the position she was in I would take her king. Then she smiled, in a satisfied fashion, and moved her rook in away from my pieces paths. After a few more moves, she had me cornered. Next turn she would be able to put my king into check and the move after that she would be able to win the game.

"Most importantly, allies are the most integral thing you can have in a fight," I said, rescuing my king from certain death with my castle. She immediately took my castle afterwards. It looked like she would win the game. "And finally, always keep alert, because the thing you don't see could be the thing which topples your plan completely." As I finished this sentence I moved my bishop all the way across the board, getting a checkmate instantly. She stared at me in awe.

"I was so close!" she said. "So freakin’ close! As for the advice, I was expecting something like 'keep your head down' or 'aim for the head'... but thanks anyways!" She packed up the chess set and put it away. "Remember," I said, "We have a biology lesson in a few hours, and some math and physics after that." The girl looked back at me, smiled, and nodded her head.

I nodded back.


Chapter 6

The Gate, 8 hours after Inbreak, 2:40AM, The Keeper

For a moment, I lost myself in the endless horde of zombies that moaned on endlessly in a chorus of broken notes and horrible growls. Or at least, that's what I remember it being like before I put on my suit. The noise cancelling foam on the interior of my helmet prevented me from hearing their horrible clatters, and the filter which was attached to my jaw prevented me from talking. My only remaining sense was my sight, and it was a shame that it needed to be soiled with the constant sight of the putrid undead that clawed at The Gate, clambering over each other with an undying hatred.

I never wanted to be a Keeper you know. Becoming a Keeper is what you do when you can't possibly contribute to the growth of The Human Lands in any other way. I never wanted any of the fame or glory or respect that we were all supposed to get for being one of these "heroes of The Lands"! Sure, it pays well, but I have to work the night shifts, I'm tainted with a zombie stench that never comes off, and I even talk to my fellow Keepers. Not like they'd have anything interesting to say of course. The one to the right of me was a newbie Keeper- he had a white helmet that wrapped around his face, leaving only his eyes vulnerable. An experienced Keeper, such as me, with my thirty years of experience had a similar ensemble, only I had a black helmet instead of a white one. I glanced over just to look on the expression of his face.

His eyes were peeled back in a horrified manner, and at any moment he looked like he could burst out into tears. He was lying down, with a sniper rifle scope in his left eye, whimpering like a baby and continually moving it around. It was all I could do not to laugh- he hadn't even taken a shot yet. Newbie fear, I thought. I remembered my first few days on the job with shocking clarity, and can honestly say I was probably handling it worse than he was. When I was his age- what, seventeen, eighteen?- I was a nervous wreck at even the sight of a zombie. Now I can have one right up to my face, gnashing and clawing at me and I would hardly even flinch. This rookie doesn't even know how safe we are.

We are on an enormous wall that spirals up twenty feet into the air, that's five feet thick, and made of solid, reinforced concrete. Any Firebugs or Firebug zombies that might even get fifty feet away from us is gunned down by a legion of professional snipers. Even if one could blow up near The Gate it wouldn't make a hole large enough to be able to go through.

This guy was obviously going to be training for the FSC, the Firebug Sniper Corps. section of the Keepers. These were the guys that routed out any potential Firebug zombies and dealt with them before they could do any damage to the gates. I was just a grunt, basically. A high class grunt, yes, but still relatively bland and boring compared to some of the other jobs that The Keepers get. What I do is sit on this giant slab of rock, breathing out of my filter mask so that I didn't catch any airborne disease (we didn't know if the disease was airborne, but it didn't hurt to take precautions), shooting down any zombies which are climbing over other zombies' dead bodies to get into The Human Lands.

On top of me and the FSC we also have Keepers that make sure that the amount of dead zombies piling up is disposed of. If we have eighty thousand dead zombies at our door, then the other zombies would climb over the dead ones like stairs. Normally, this might mean that they're intelligent: after all, they're forming a plan to get over the wall. However, they know that this plan is doomed to fail, and the moment they even get a chance to get inside they're mowed down by a spray of bullets. These things have no sense of self-preservation at all.

Because so many pile up, we have another special group of Keepers to dispose of them. Fire's too dangerous because smoke blocks our vision and might climb up the wall, so they actually get to go out into the field and remove zombie corpses. They had far more entertaining jobs than me.

I looked away from the rookie and instead set my eyes on the man crouching to the right of me. While the newbie to the left looked shocked and horrified, the man to the right looked calm, cool and collected. Every three seconds he would fire another round into the zombie horde, sighing occasionally. I felt his boredom. In the thirty years I've worked here, from eighteen to thirty eight, I've never seen any real action.

Whenever The Siren is sounded, it never has to do with zombies. It's either a false alarm, a prank, or a bandit raid, and it's normally not the last two. Activating The Siren as a prank will almost certainly land you in prison for the rest of your life, and bandit raids are so uncommon now we may not even bother having them as a valid reason to activate The Siren.

When The Siren is activated, we as Keepers were supposed to flood to the position it was pressed at. As time went on, and we realized that there was almost no chance of a zombie getting inside with our current fortifications, we eventually cut down so that when The Siren is pressed only a very small group of Keepers would be sent to clear the threat.

In fact, in all my years, I've never even-


My thoughts were interrupted by the beep of The Siren, resonating throughout The Human Lands like a shrill banshee. The noise startled me, and I jumped a little bit. I noticed the other Keepers had reacted about the same. Although only our eyes were visible throughout our heavy armor, I could tell that everyone had startled reactions, the rookie especially. He was shaking now, chanting something over and over again, though I couldn't hear it. The sound of The Siren is the only thing that can pierce the sound cancellation of our helmets.

The weight of what had just happened hit me. Somebody had pressed The Siren. And for once, I was scared.

The Siren had been pressed before, many times, and none of those times had been to do with zombies. But whenever there's a massive robbery or civil war going on, The Keepers take turns solving the problems. Normally, when The Siren is pressed, I would just continue with my job. Unfortunately, it was my turn to go solve the problem.

I swallowed my fear, maintaining a cold resolve, not showing any sign of remorse. I thought about how I was just wondering how great it would be to finally get some action, and here I was about to go march off into a horde of-

Well, probably not. In my many years of being a Keeper I've only heard The Siren been activated on four occasions. This was memorable, even if it was only a false alarm. Suddenly, a crackly noise slowly became audible as the radio built into my helmet slowly turned on. Instead of talking to each other over the blare of the gunfire and zombie groans we have radios for emergency orders instead. "All units from sections K13, K14, K15 and K16 report to your generals for further instructions. I repeat, All units from sections K13, K14, K15 and K16 report to your generals for further instructions."

K13. That was me. Or at least, my group. Divided along the wall we were separated into alphanumeric groups. Groups K7 to K12 were called last time, so I figured the next time The Siren was rung would be my 'lucky' day. I looked to my right and saw the rookie stumble up, nervously groping his weapon, and began to climb down a ladder that lead off of gate. I wonder what he was doing? Probably needed to use the washroom or something.

I looked to my left at my general, the experienced man who probably had a large part in the building of The Gate. He motioned for me to follow him as he too climbed down the ladder, off of The Gate. As I climbed down, I saw nine other Keepers, ones positioned close to myself, climbing down as well.

Four men, including the general, took the lead, while me and four other fully fledged Keepers- all younger than me- walked in the center. The rookie was accompanied with another rookie and two other fully fledged Keepers, who brought up the rear.

We walked for a few minutes until our general took of his filter mask. "Gentlemen," said my general as he put his gun to the side for a second. "It is now safe to take off your filter piece."

The filter piece, a small piece of plastic that helped us breath in fresh air instead of zombie stench, also stopped us from being able to talk. With those out of the way, we were free to converse as we pleased. "Here's the deal," he said, cutting to the chase and explaining the situation, "As we all know, The Siren has been activated. We've heard the beep, we've been trained to recognize it, and we're going to neutralize this problem with no fuss and no muss. Now, we know this is most likely a false alarm-"

Some of the Keepers were nodding, as if some of them remembered all of the false ones we had gotten. "-But this could still be dangerous. If it's not zombies, bandits could possibly threaten us. However, we cannot afford to send all twenty four and a half thousand of us streaming into the suburb where The Siren was activated.

According to orders, The Siren's activation took place in a small suburb close to our position. We will be able to arrive on the scene the fastest and prevent any trouble from being caused. The suburb consists of four towns, and since only one Siren was activated that means that the problem is coming from at least one of those four towns. Since we're practically immune to the average zombie bite or gunshot to our armor, we're only assigning three Keepers to each town, in their respective groups.

Group K16 is going to the town closest to The Gate. Group K15, you'll be headed towards the town right next to that one. K14, you've got the town the second farthest to the gate. K13, you're with me. We'll be going to the town the farthest away from The Gate, and also the town where The Siren was pressed. There's twelve of us and there are four towns, so if three of us go to each town we'll be able to either establish that it's a false alarm or clear out the problem, if there is one.

Remember, we want to do this clean, fast and efficient. Check all civilians for bites, check the video cameras positioned on The Siren to see who pressed it, and make absolutely sure there is no danger before leaving. If there is a danger, then take care of it. We're Keepers, and that's what we do. Remember, you're practically invincible. Your only weak point is your eyes, protect those and you'll be fine. Good luck to you all."

Hold on, I thought. If I was in K13 with the general, and we were in groups of three, then who was the other Keeper coming with me to check out this town out? My question was answered as the general pointed to the white-helmed rookie. "Kid, you're with me as well."

Well, no big problem. Even if there was danger it would be good to have a member of the FSC with us, to snipe of Firebug zombies or long ranged robbers. We still didn't know what to expect, if anything, and chances are my squad composition didn't matter.

Although, I had a knot in my stomach which I couldn't get out. A knot of ominous dread and fear, a knot that told me that there was a danger in the town I was going to- a danger we weren't prepared for.

Still, I was covered in from head to toe in a bullet proof, zombie proof armor. With any luck, that would be enough. We set off towards the town, avoiding the road so as not to arise panic or suspicion from the townsfolk. K16 split off about five minutes after we started walking. Our group of Keepers had been selected due to our proximity of the town, as well as the fact that it was out turn next to investigate. Me, the general, the rookie, and the six other Keepers marched on, occasionally chatting to each other.

I remained silent though, pondering our situation. We moved into a the brush of a dense forest, marching silently along the trees. So far, everything looked normal. I dismissed the possibility of threat, expecting a routine check up on the town, and breathing a sigh of relief. The other Keepers continued to chat, though they all sounded nervous. It seemed that they were just chatting their fear out of them, and why not? This was a stressful situation, and remaining calm was probably the best way around it.

Eventually, K15 split off as well, turning right and going to their respective town for investigation and clearance. The diminishing group of Keepers was unsettling, but we had walkie-talkies to keep in contact, and of course our squad mates. The rookie wasn't looking very good, gulping and breathing heavily, but he continued forcing himself to march along. The general remained completely under control, without a suggestion of worry in his eyes. I found myself in the middle ground, keeping it together, but with a hint of doubt.

After we had reached the second last town on our stop, K14 dispersed too, leaving me alone, save for the general and the rookie. Right after they left however, I saw a flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked around, squinting in the dark. Perhaps I was just tired, I thought. My eyes were no doubt tired from-

There it was again. A flash out of the corner of my eyes, like something darting from tree to tree behind us. "Does anyone else see that?"

"See what?" said the general, following my trail of sight. He looked all around him. "I don't see anything."

This wasn't good for the rookie's nerves however; he immediately started whimpering. "Relax, kid," I said, laughing. "It's probably nothing." No sooner had I finished my sentence then a zombie appeared from behind a nearby tree. The rookie started to scream.

"OH GOD!" he said, "OH GOD I'M NOT READY FOR THIS!" The general struck the rookie across the face, yelling "get a hold of yourself" gruffly. He walked up to the zombies, who was stumbling towards him. "You see this?" he said, as I watched the rookie rub the part of his face where he had been hit, "This is nothing."

He walked up to the zombies, which lunged for the general. It began chewing on the general's armor. The general started to laugh. "See, kid? These things pose no threat to us." I started to get a bit nervous. "Still, be careful with that thing, okay?" The general continued to laugh. "Look at this brute!"

The zombies was chewing harder and harder, licking and scratching the armor. The general , completely unaffected, drew his pistol and pointed it to the zombie's temple. The zombie was chewing so hard that it's teeth had fallen out due to the heavy exterior and plating of our protective covering. The general's armor, now covered with a saliva, completely resisted everything the zombie threw at it.

With a single trigger squeeze, the zombie collapsed to the ground, dead. "Now pull yourself up and let's keep moving. We now know that this wasn't a false alarm. It's time to have some fun!" He holstered the pistol and instead reached for his submachine gun, also holstered around his belt. I did the same, reaching for a rapid firing, two handed weapon, and the only weapon I was carrying with me, besides my hunting knife. The rookie, composing himself, took out his sniper rifle. "I'll try," he whimpered.

Something occurred to me, as we continued to walk. That flash out of the corner of my eye looked like it was running. It couldn't have been that zombie we had just ran into- that one was just a regular stumbling mound of flesh. Thirty seconds after the initial encounter, again I started seeing the flash just out of my view. Whatever it was, it was trailing us. Just as I was about to speak up, it appeared.

Jumping out of a nearby tree, it attacked in a flurry of fangs and slashes. It was a zombie, no doubt about that, but there were many obvious difference. For one, it had razor sharp fangs, not hard enough to piece our armor, but odd nonetheless. Also, it was managing to move much quicker and precise than the other zombies. While the one we had just encountered seemed lethargic and stiff, this one was agile and nimble, leaping effortlessly on the rookie.

It took us all by surprise as the thing leaped on the general, sinking its fangs into his armor. He gave a yelp of alarm, but calmed as he realized the thing wasn't aiming for the face. "Get off!" he said, braining it with the side of his gun. It stumbled backwards, but quickly regained composure, changing its target to the rookie.

This time, it aimed for the face.

The zombie with fangs had somehow recognized that the part of the body that he had bitten was not an acceptable target, and thus reacted accordingly- this thing was not only different from other zombies in that it wasn't lethargic- it had jumped from the general to the rookie like a living human being- but it had somehow recognized that biting our armor would have no effect on us, and even more impossibly, found the weak point in our suits! This zombie had a measure of intelligence!

Everything I knew about zombies was suddenly wrong. We were strictly taught a series of rules about these creatures in schools, and I had never expected those to change. All those years, sitting on The Gate and looking at the things, I had always had questioned the possibility of a super zombie, like in one of those Ivanis Cravalok movies, but never once had I considered that I'd be staring face to face with an actual- and there was no other way to say it- vampire zombie.

The vampire zombie's fangs made contact with the rookie's flesh, digging deep into his cheek. At once, I saw the color drain out of his skin, as if his blood was being funneled into the zombie's fangs. Both me and the general immediately began to help him, rushing towards the zombie. The general grappled with the vampire as I examined the rookie. His head was locked backwards and his eyes stared motionlessly into the night. He was dead.

The vampire zombie freed himself from the general's grip by pushing the general aside, and proceeded to lick the rookie's blood off of his fangs. He gave us a horrible smile as he did so, twisting his features into, for a moment, what resembled a grin, and threw himself at me. His fangs narrowly missed my face as I ducked out of the way.

I felt sick. Watching the kid die was easily one of the most gruesome displays of my life, and that was saying something. I had seen countless zombies been dismembered, burned, and exploded, but this somehow felt wrong in every way. And now, I was his next target. The general and I readied our guns at the vampire zombie before he could lunge for us again, and opened fire.

The spray of our bullets penetrated both his head and his chest, many of the bullets flying straight through his rotting corpse, while other bullets where embedded into his body. We stood there, riddling him with bullets for ten seconds. When we lowered our weapons, waiting for him to tip over and die, we were taken aback for a moment as we realized the bullets had no effect on the zombie: it was still standing!

Normally, a shot to the leg will make a zombie stagger a bit. Five to six shots to the chest will kill it, as will one shot to the head. We had hit this thing everywhere around its body, and yet somehow it still managed to run towards us. For a moment, everything went in slow motion, as the general looked at me, then the zombie, then at me. The general had a horrible, traumatized expression on his face, as the zombie flung itself at him."No!" I yelled, trying to get the vampire zombie off the general. The general was knocked backwards, onto the dirt ground with vampire on top of him. His gun spiraled out of his hands and fell to the ground.

In a flash though, the general's leg bolted up in pain. The vampire zombie held him down and plunged his teeth into the general's face. Not knowing what else to do, I launched myself onto the vampire zombie, who was, in turn, holding the general down. The vampire zombie was knocked off, but in horror I realized I was too late: the general was dead too.

I felt like vomiting, but I knew I couldn't let my guard down. This thing had just killed my two squad mates like gnats, and now it was gunning for me. I tried to remember the motto of a Keeper: "sacrifice all for the sake of a life." These men certainly had made the ultimate sacrifice. But I realized I wasn't about to make mine. Not yet, anyway.

We were in a showdown stance. The vampire zombie stood on the opposite side of the general's dead body as me, eyeing my every move and looking for an opening. If I had a visor to cover my eyes, I would be in no danger, but if he manages to get too close I'll end up like the corpses that used to be members of my squadron.

My mind raced furiously, but was interrupted by the snap of a twig, as the vampire zombie took a step towards me. How was I going to defeat something that could withstand all of my bullets? How could I possibly kill-

All at once I was defenseless against the might of the vampire zombie. I was pushed to the ground and fell over like a log, with the thing on top of me, snarling like the animal it was. It's jaws narrowly missed my face as I pulled my face out of the way.


The horrible gnashing narrowly missed my face once more as I reached for the hunting knife. It would be my only I hope. I just needed to... I just needed to...

Mustering up every ounce of strength I had, I wrestled the zombie off of me, grabbing my knife. Before I could even get up, he was upon me again, but this time I was ready. As he jumped on me I clutched my knife and took a clean, hard swipe at its neck. With a loud SHWIFF as the blade cut through his jugular like butter, his head rolled to the floor. Just like that, it was over.

I got up, panting heavily, and observing the scene of mayhem which lay in my wake: two human corpses; the color drained out of them, a pool of blood gathering where they had died, and a decapitated super zombie; capable of running, leaping, withstanding bullets and sucking blood, like something out of the movies, all sprawled at my feet, with faces of pain and fear etched into their face for all eternity. These men deserved proper burials, but their bodies would be found and taken care of after this ordeal had passed. For now, I had a mission to do.

It felt ridiculous to continue on with my mission after what I had just witnessed, and the danger that I now knew lay ahead of me, but I couldn't simply give up now. My job was to clear out the zombies in the next town over, and save as many civilians as I could, even if I would have to risk my life, or die like the general and the rookie. First, though, I would need to check in on the other squadrons and report what happened.

I pressed a button on the side of my helmet that allowed me to communicate with the others. "This is K13, I repeat, K13. Me and my group were attacked by an abnormal zombie. There are two causalities, the other two membres of my squadron."

A long silence passed, and I wondered if the other teams had suffered the same fate. Then the relief of crackling jolted my senses back into action. "Roger that K13, this is K15's general. We're at the town now and haven't seen any zombies so far, though the townsfolk have reported many sightings of the undead marching through their town. I just checked in with K16, it appears that only one zombie managed to get through and infect three others. We dispatched them and quarantined the bitten for execution after reanimation."

"This is very odd, K16. The zombies didn't get over The Gate, we know that for a fact," I said, thinking about how this situation was possible. "We were attacked by a zombie with fangs, it moved very quickly and killed much more efficiently than the others."

"Roger that, K13. Continue on to your town and clear it out, you shouldn't have many more troubles. Remember our motto: 'sacrifice all-"

"'-For the sake of a life', yeah, I got it, thanks," I said, more than a little agitated. "And K14?"

"The town that they visited had been heavily infected, but townspeople say a mysterious stranger and his companion rode into town on horseback and massacred the zombies, then left without a trace." The other Keeper seemed astonished.

"I don't buy that, but it doesn't matter. Look, if the other three towns have been secured and clarified that there are no more zombies then I need you to come to the town I'm going to, the town that contains The Siren. It appears that where the heart of the horde is."

"Roger that, ETA will be about half an hour, unless we decide to make a detour around the towns to pick off any stray zombies, fleeing survivors, or corpses so that we can bury them. So far there seem to be about ten casualties in the town closest to the gate, twenty causalities in the town I'm in right now, and forty to the town to the left of us. If that trend continues it would look like you're correct in saying most of the zombies are in that town. Get in there, secure as many people as you can, and get a head start. All nine of us will come half an hour later and clean up the job. Okay?"

"Okay," I spat, "Take your time." I reviewed my conversation: in somewhere from half an hour to an hour the nine Keepers from the other towns would be converging to this one. By myself though, I would be invincible, provided there weren't any more vampire zombies around. I had hoped that it was an anomaly, a rare zombie strain that only happens once, and not an actual new breed of zombie.

Either way, my destination would be the town containing The Siren. I walked for about five more minutes until I stumbled upon the road. As the road melted into a dirt path, I saw the infected town. It was a scene of total carnage, swarming with at least twenty zombies in the immediate area, and probably eighty or even ninety in the entire town.

The first thing I did was clamber up a piece of debris. It appeared as if a firebug zombie had exploded near a house, causing it to cave in on itself. It wasn't near the horde of the zombies, who were all clustered near the center of the town as well as The Siren, so I would be able to observe them without being noticed.

Without the rookie or the general, not only would I be without backup and more guns, but the rookie's specialization was firebugs. If a firebug was to explode , it didn't matter how strong my armor was, I would be either cooked inside the suit or my neck would break in the impact. I managed to find an alcove in the debris to look through and began examining the many zombies, particularly their faces.

None, to my relief, had red necks, meaning I would be able to get right into the horde and deal as much damage to them as possible from a close range. My gun was not suitable for sniping so I would need to be able to get close. I also noted none of them had fangs: no vampire zombies in the immediate vicinity would mean that I would only be up against regular zombies: a lot of regular zombies, but still, just regular zombies. I pulled up my gun to my chest and headed out of the debris, straight towards the oncoming zombies.

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