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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-07-10, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Default I Am Among The Dead

I Am Among The Dead' and 'I Am Leaving The Dead' are both on this same thread. Zombies, Terror and Dispair are faced by one man... the lone survivor in a world gone mad.

The air held the scent of plague, ash, smoke, tar, death and the taint of chaos. The “End of days,” as some had called it, had come and gone. What was before would never be again. The city still smoldered with the remembrance of the flames that had consumed it, its torment evidenced by the mutilated skeletons of charred wood, melted plas-create, shattered souls and darkened eyes that were once windows of precious design.

At first the sky had faded from a vivid blue to a light gray to an ashen mix of speckled night and fluttered pink to finally… the deadness of the blackest night on the coldest star in the most lifeless galaxy.

At first no one took notice of the sick-sweet smell of the fog that traveled through the streets, around corners, into homes and finally into the lungs of the civil sleepers. No one took notice until it was too late.

How long has it been now? It seems like an eternity, but the last time I checked the calendar I found that the only time that had passed was one year, eleven days and ten nights. No one still lives on the planet or so it seems. I think I’m the only one…the only one still in my right mind, still…frack!

There’s nothing left any more to eat except canned goods or packaged grain that has to be crushed, mixed with water and blended with any spices that I am able to find. I dare not light a fire for fear that they will notice. Oh, Emperor! It’s so frakking cold at night. Fek...I miss my wife so much. I …Emperor Frack it! I miss my children.

I think I’m the only one left. The vox-transponder finally fell silent last week. Now all it produces is the static of emptiness and the last echoes of civilization.

I remember the last night that I last saw her alive. She was so beautiful, so happy. The children had been sick for the last week and times were tough. We never had enough money and the foundry that I worked in never seemed to let up the demands that were expected of us, but that was the way of things on Tiranus Three.

The children, my two boys…Emperor’s throne! I miss them so. My two boys had recovered from their sickness and I had just received a raise. My wife was excited because of what that would mean to our way of life. The bills would be paid and the debt collectors, (may the warp take them) would finally be off our backs. We would finally have enough food to eat each week so we wouldn’t need to take out a loan or scrimp and save to get more or make things last. She was beautiful as she set there beside the fireplace. The fire’s glow lit up the room and caused her angelic face to seem all that much warmer and alive. We laughed, danced and made love in the fading fires shadows. Things were finally turning around for us. Life would get much better.

It happened at two or three in the morning. I don’t know for sure…I don’t remember. I woke up, it was dark. I had to use the lavatory. I got out of bed and made my way down the stairs and to the basement so I wouldn’t disturb anyone when I flushed. They all slept so lightly…so it seemed. I saw the glow in the darkness as I looked up from the basement. It was green and flowed like fog. My flesh began to crawl and cold sweat poured out of me…My EMPEROR WHY DIDN’T YOU SAVE US?

As the glowing fog began to pour down the stairs and swirl around my feet, the training that I had received years earlier in the guard took over and I knew there would be no hope for any of us if I didn’t take care of myself first. The fog had a rank-sweet smell to it and I screamed my wife’s name but she didn’t answer. She couldn’t answer. If this was a gas I knew she and the boys would already be unconscious.

In the basement closet were the weapons and guard issued survival gear they had given me those short years ago. I pulled the gas mask from its pouch and placed it over my face just as the long arms of death sought to seek out my lungs as well. In a moment the room was totally filled and I could feel the forces of Chaos at work, silently seeking an opening into my body to infect.

Quickly I ran through the mist and the fog swirled around me in waves and swirls. I tried to call out for my wife knowing she could not possibly hear me from behind the mask. Up the stairs and down the hall and into the boys room I ran. They lay so still…so peaceful. As quickly and gently as I could I picked their limp frames from their cradles and rushed them outside.

The whole world glowed and swirled. In helplessness I cried out to the Emperor of mankind but he did not answer. Frantically I ran into the house and moved over to our bed where my wife lay. She was so beautiful…now she is dead.

Tears ran down my face but could not escape the gas mask’s seal. They collected like small pools after the rain in the nooks and crannies. Frantically I pushed her chest and screamed her name, but with no air to breath I knew she was already dead. For a moment the thought screamed in my head for me to take the mask from my face and secure it to hers but the training I had received years ago told me it would do no good. She was dead…there was nothing I could do.

The sun’s first light broke the dawn casting its unrelenting face upon the damned. The fog that had stolen all life from my soul boiled away under the morning warmth and by noon it was all but gone with no trace to remain that it had ever existed…no trace but the dead.

The dead were everywhere, their bodies locked in frozen forms that revealed their last dyeing moments. Terror like our world had never seen and torment like none had ever felt. They died with the knowledge that their families and all that they lived for would be subjected to the same torments they were under and there was nothing they could do about it.

The first few weeks were the hardest. There was no sound at all except the temple bells that chimed every hour on the hour, their echo shattering the silence of the nightmare that had enveloped me. The dogs did not bark, the birds didn’t sing. They didn’t fly overhead. The insects were motionless upon the ground. There was no life. The stench that had permeated the streets of the city had finally begun to fade… or maybe I was finally starting to get used to it.

Sometime in the fourth week the fires began. The earth shook and the towers swayed like a drunken sailors. For a moment I dared to hope. For a moment that dark night my heart leapt within me. Where there was fire there was life. In desperation I ran in the direction of the flames.

All kinds of questions moved through my mind as I ran. Maybe the Emperor had finally sent help. Maybe the world could be saved. Maybe there was still hope for us if the armies of the Emperor descended and…do what? My pace slowed and exhaustion overtook me. There was nothing to save. No one lived in this city and as far as I could tell, our world, the entire world had suffered the same fate as this once great city.

In the distance, on the outskirts of the city smoke rose in billowing clouds of black, grey and green. The smoke was strange to me; it was not natural. Something about it reeked of corruption. Flames of purple and black leapt into the sky and illuminated the night. The flames seemed to dance and the smoke seemed to growl as the consumption of the city began. In the darkness and the glow of the flames the ground began to move.

At first I believed the winds from the fires stirred the dust and debris, but as I watched, the mesmerizing movements around me seemed to move like liquid upon the ground. ‘What is this? What is happening?’ I said out loud. Nobody answered. The flames illuminated the street where I was standing for a brief moment, long enough for me to get a clear view of what moved around me. A bite upon my neck told me I was right.

All thought of the Emperor sending help died as I ran from the swarms of biting insects. The one I had pulled from my neck had pulled a thin layer of flesh away with it. It hurt like fire and mad me dizzy. I vomited upon the ground and the bugs immediately massed upon it. Horrified, I ran. All around me shadows moved and fell and shambled forth. All around me the sounds of the city burning could be heard. In the darkness and the chaotic glow of the flames and smoke I ran. Terror like none I had ever known consumed me. I was like prey seeking the only thing that could help… safety.

The shadows became thicker the farther from the flames I moved. Now it seemed the billows of smoke fallowed me and screamed in an unknown tongue. It made my flesh crawl and my nose bleed. My ears hurt and my mind had trouble focusing. As I turned a corner something slammed into me with enough force to drive me to the ground. Dazed and confused I looked up into the long dead eyes of a mostly decomposed man.

Its hands struck me in the face and ribs and its mouth opened over my face. There was no breath in the man, no sound, no warmth. Quickly it lunged for me and tried to sink its teeth into my cheek but I blocked it with my right forearm under the chin and turned my body to the right at the same time raising my pelvis and flipped the dead thing off of me. As quickly as I could I pulled my foot-long blade from its sheath and stabbed the lifeless body over and over.

No matter how many times I stabbed it it did no good. The corpse continued to lash out with its hands and kick with its feet and vainly lunge at me, mouth open trying to bite. Panicked I stabbed it in the forehead and as suddenly as the attack had begun it ended. The stench of death corrupted me and I could barely breathe because of it. My lungs hurt and exertion caused my heart to beat so fast it felt like it would burst from my chest. After what seemed to be a lifetime I stood to my feet and looked around. ‘What was happening?’ The shadows were thicker now and death moved within them. Shambling figures of unimaginable terror moved all around me seeking to devour my flesh and steal my soul.

Another bite on my neck caused me to cry out and draw attention from the teeming masses of the dead. Quickly I pulled the roach from my neck and took a moment to look at it. It had been dead along time. I squeezed it between my fingers and it turned to dust and fell from my fingers, carried away on the death winds, never to be seen again.

The dead, upon hearing me cry out, moved like a river through the street and from the alleys. At first they shambled and crawled. In the glow of the flames around me they sought my life. I felt like I would die if I moved another step. The bites I had received burned like the fires of hell and the shock of what I was seeing was overwhelming. The dead had come to a semblance of life. As one they began to run.

Where could I go? The walking dead were everywhere. The city burned. Running for my life, it seemed, was the only thing I could do in order to survive. I could hear them behind me, their feet slapping the ground, the sound of wet, decomposed flesh being ripped from the bottoms of their feet as their steps propelled them through the streets. They didn’t notice. They were as dead as my wife and children and yet animated somehow and seeking to rip me into pieces and eat my flesh.

The only thing I could think to do was to hide. Maybe, somehow I could outrun them for long enough to give myself a chance to hide. On Fifth and Temple I stumbled around the corner and caught sight of the Emperor’s Faithful. It was a massive construct etched in gold and brass and slate as black as the smoke and flames that chased me and consumed the city. The windows were fashioned smoked glass and held the likenesses of saints and heroes of the past who had fallen and died in the Emperor’s work, seeking to turn the hearts and thoughts of the lost to the knowledge of his God-like grace and power.

The bells in the tower above gonged and pounded the time for midnight mass and prayer, a time of remembrance for those in the city to remember those lost to the night. The thought was not lost to me as I considered the nightmare I was now living. I ran up the stairs and pulled open the door and flung myself inside. As quickly as I could I placed the iron closer into the lock and secured the heavy wooden doors. Outside I could hear them, scratching and banging upon the door's hard surface. I could smell their stench, their corruption, their death.

The candles had burned out long ago for there was no one to keep them lit or change them as they melted all the way down. The interior, usually so inviting and inspiring was now a cold dark place where no one would ever seek the Emperor’s blessing again. It stank in the temple like death and Chaos. Moving from the door I moved into the temple's halls. Pulling a candle from the golden stand that bore the name, “Emperor’s Glorious Light”, I lit it.

A warm glow illuminated an area of fifteen feet around me. The hall was cold and lifeless and the smell of decomposition was heavy and wet in the air. Alone in the dark with the sounds of a thousand corpses scratching at the walls and doors my terror was palpable. As quickly and quietly as I could I moved to the main chapel’s entrance. On the doors a golden scroll was placed that reminded us all for so many years, that devotion to the Emperor was all that really mattered. ‘The Emperor protects’. If ever those words spoken bore any truth, they were now the embodiment of the lie.

In the hall outside the great chapel entrance I found the first signs there had been life in here the night the fog came and that even now in this once sacred place... I was among the dead. The floor outside the chapel doors was stained where a priest had fallen and lain for the last month. Hair and wet corrupted flesh still clung to the old rose-wood floor along with parchments that had become soaked with body fluids and milky brown-red clotted blood. The body was no longer there.

My body shaking, I opened the door to the chapel and a charnel breath blasted out with the corrupted stink of a flooded graveyard. The flame upon my candle along with its light blew out and darkness engulfed me so black that I could not see my hand in front of my face. The sounds of the dead, their movements, their skin sloughing off as they moved, their clothes and bodies scraping against the pews and walls, echoed in the openness of the great chapel and the darkness that hid their movements.

As quickly as I could I grabbed my lighter and flicked the trigger. In the light that blossomed around me their lifeless, desiccated faces moved, mouths agape; set to rip the flesh from my body. I backed away as fast as I could and turned to run but the former priest was there to block my path, his face flickering in the lighter’s wavering light.

With a scream I pulled the blade from its sheath and stabbed upward as hard as I could. The blade shot up through the corpse-priest’s head, its blade blasting through the top of the skull. The priest fell instantly before me. Hands grasped my jacket and threatened to bring me down. I let them have it and ran as quickly as I could through the hall, back the way I had come.

Fear gripped my heart as the sounds of the dead outside enveloped the sounds of the dead inside. Where could I go? Outside the windows that shone the saints, shadows moved. They were fallowing me. One by one the windows broke and giant shards of glass fell all around me. Some of the shards fell among my pursuers and some died again as their heads were split in half by the falling glass. The bell tower entrance was now within sight. I didn’t know why, but I just had to get there. It was as much a call from within as a place of safety. I opened the door and leapt inside, closed it and locked it. For the moment I knew I was as safe as I could be for the night.

The flames came and the city burned all around me. The chapel caught fire and burned with such intensity the bell tower walls grew black and began to deform. The great wooden door turned to ash as did the dead that had me trapped. The great bell finally collapsed and fell through the top three floors above me before finally becoming lodged and trapped by three thick cross beams that were placed there for that exact purpose. The heat was almost overwhelming but for a small grace. The window that bore the Emperor’s likeness stood beside a fountain that still flowed with fresh water that I was able to emerge myself in. I guess sometimes, the Emperor does protect after all.

The sunrise barely shown through the ash and smoke that still lingered over this once beautiful city. The sun was an orb of yellow mist behind the wall of billowing blackness. I was so tired from the night before and the month since this all began. “The end of all things”, as it turned out was not the end of all things after all. It was just the beginning of the Emperor’s rejection. Truly he has forsaken us. We are all dead.

Slowly I made my way outside and stepped over the burned bones of the once living. Their ashes still swirled in the morning wind and sailed through the streets and alleys in search, as it were, for a place to belong. The dead were still around me but I was quiet. In the morning light and through the smoke they still moved, shambling and stumbling with no purpose but to kill the living.

Quietly and carefully I made my way back to where I had once lived; back to the place where I had buried my wife and children, in the back yard under the starling-tree. Its branches still swayed in the breeze that morning, the morning I buried them. I missed them now more than ever. I just had to be near them again…near the memory of them any way.

The street was drenched in smoke and the walking dead. It was eerie, the way they moved. Stiff and empty with a parody of life but with no breath expanding their lungs. There was no thought of where they had come from or where they were going. They just shambled, purposeless. Slowly I made my way past them until I came to the place I once called home. Entering into the front door, the smell of smoke was still strong. Parts of the house had collapsed and the roof had fallen in toward the back of the house. Tears fell freely down my cheeks creating small ravines as the tears moved through the ash and grime

In the basement my guard issued rifle and las-gun along with my flashlight and canteen and body-armor still lay where it had in the closet. I had not gone back for it…or even back into the house after that night. I had just left. Too many memories were in there. Things and people that would never be mine again. Wonderful years that were only memories now would never come again.

I went down and collected my things and donned my body armor. The places where the bugs had bit me still stung so I checked the bites in the mirror. The skin around the bites were grey and cold. Lifeless. I found a picture of my family and wept with fresh tears as I placed it in the front pocket of my body-armor and left the house.

In the back yard my worst nightmare would never compare with what I found there. My wife and children were covered with the dirt they had been buried in and moving about aimlessly within the confines of the fenced in area. When they noticed me their dead eyes moved, milky puss flowed from them. Their skin reeked of the grave. There was no recognition in those eyes, no sign they knew me. No pain could ever compair.

My boys reached me first and tried to rip the flesh from my bones but their teeth could not break the surface of my body-armor. I wept but could not turn away as their teeth broke and their nails came off. My wife ran from the farthest part of the yard and lunged at me. Without thinking I pulled the las-gun from its holster and fired. Her once angelic face disappeared in an explosion of skin, brain matter and skull fragments. Looking down I knew I didn’t have a choice and killed my children again. Falling to my knees I wept again. I wept until the night descended and the moon shown bleakly through the ashes and the smoke of the still burning city

A year has gone by and still no one has come. I found a working vox-com and sent pleas for help but they were never answered. This is a dead world. Nobody will ever come. I am alone among the dead. The Emperor Protects.


Scroll down for part two... 'I AM LEAVING THE DEAD'

Last edited by Adrian; 02-18-11 at 12:40 AM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-10, 12:19 AM
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Awesome story bud! Kept me reading from beginning to end.

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-10, 03:50 AM
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That was epic... Post some new ones mate... Or post the update soon.. Hahaha....

Oh and rep...

Cheers!...
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-08-10, 02:22 PM
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Your use of imagery throughout was very well done, without using unnecessary verbosity. Your repitition at the beginning and the end were excellently done, and gave me a good a measure of satisfaction, if that makes sense.

My only real critique, and a minor one at that, is to try and vary sentence structure a little more. There are a few chunks that seemed that they could could have improved by some restructuring and comma addition.
Excellent short, Adrian, I know I still owe you a read through on your others!


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-10, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Default I am leaving the dead

This short is the sequel to a story I posted last week called 'I am among the dead. It continues the nightmare of the living dead.

I AM LEAVING THE DEAD

I am sure that in life the man’s skin was a dark black, much like the oil that is…was pumped from the ground. Not now though. In death the man’s skin had become cold, waxy and earth-tone gray. After a few months dead, the man’s skin had gone from ridged to bloated, to a point where the body fluids, propelled by decomposition bled from any opening they could find. The skin was cracked and split and desiccated, falling from the bones and slowly turning back to the dust that it had come from.
The places where the skin had touched the ground were wet with the man’s fluids and the stench would never leave that area.
It was dark, I almost didn’t see him…it. I have to stop thinking of the bodies as him or her or male or female, child or adult. They are all dead. It doesn’t matter if they move or walk or run or crawl or jump, open doors, raise weapons or eat. They are all dead and have been ever since the glowing green fog had come to Tiranus Three, thirteen months ago.

I killed the man again nearly four minutes ago. Like I said, it was dark, I almost didn’t see him. It could have been the last mistake I would have made. The…dead man...had come up behind me in the darkness. I didn’t even suspect it was there until the slimy drool from its gaping mouth fell onto the back of my neck and a hand grabbed my long beard and jerked me about so hard I fell to my knees. That was the only thing that saved me, I think, me falling to my knees.

The dark-skinned corpse still had a hold of my beard as it lunged forward with its face and tried to bite the top of my head, like the living bite into fruit. I dodged to the side and punched it in the gut but the dead thing didn’t even feel it. It tried again and I dodged its attack once more. I jerked back with all the strength I had and ripped free from its strong grip, a large handful of my beard still dangling from its hand.

Blood flowed from my cheek and infection was already starting to set in even as the rotting frame attacking me lashed out with a foot and kicked me in the chest. I flew across the room and tumbled over a wooden desk and fell behind it. Now that I had some space between it and myself I pulled my las-gun from its holster, stood up and blew the frakker’s head apart. It fell instantly and lay still on the cold tiled floor. There would have been a pool of blood and brain splattered and spreading all over the place, but the blood had congealed in the thing’s body long ago.

Gasping, I quickly pulled the med-pack from my gear and covered my wound with an antiseptic jell. It burned bad and caused the corner of my mouth to twitch and my hands to shake, but it beat becoming one of them. I set down at the desk in the darkness and rested for a moment.

My body armor had become filthy and torn in places, the bullet proof canvassing showing through, red and brown with the body fluids of hundreds of kills. I was tired and growing weaker by the day. The water here had become impure and rank with putrescence and the ashes of the dead and the fires that had burned down the city. The only clean water was at the bell tower that used to be the Temple of the Emperor’s Faithful. The canned food and packaged grains were growing stale and slowly succumbing to the world around them. I could feel it in myself too. I wasn’t thinking strait and my nerves were shot. Guess it’s a byproduct of having to live among the dead and having to kill my already dead family.

I had to get off this world. Staying here was no longer an option. If the Emperor of mankind would not send help to me, then I would help myself. As they say…as they used to say, the Emperor helps those who help themselves.

I saw lights in the sky the other night. They descended slowly and lit up the darkness. Their engines sounded like a constant thunder as they passed by overhead. That’s another thing that I miss; the thunder, and along with it the rain. It hasn’t rained here since the fog came and the “End of all things”. I miss my boys and my wife. Tears roll down my face as I think about them. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better if I just blew my own frakking head off and…

They landed last night outside the city. I thought about trying to find out who they are but the last time I thought there was life out there, the city was burning and the dead rose up to eat me. I think I will wait for a few days and find out if they are friend or foe. It’s better to dwell with the enemy you know than to dwell with the enemy you don’t.

The dead have started being territorial. There’s not very many of them anymore. There were millions of them. They covered the land like the sands of the sea. They hunted me for months but I was smarter and faster and stronger, but not now. I watched them develop and grow stronger with each passing day. At first they searched for the living, but with the living having died when the fog came, their need to feed and kill became introverted and they consumed each other. There were no screams or pleas for help. The strongest and smartest among them consumed the weakest and least developed. Now there are only hundreds and hundreds of thousands here.

I weep daily. I heard that time heals all wounds, but that is not true. I had to kill the priest that had said that to me when I was young and my parents had been killed in an accident at the mill. He tried to eat me…I didn’t have a choice. For a moment I smile at the thought. The priest had been as sensitive in death as he had been in life.

I’m tired. The darkness is upon me again and I am dwelling with the dead. I can’t sleep day or night. I’ve been on stems for the last three months. Every time I close my eyes I see them crawling, stalking, running from the shadows to consume me. I pull the shotgun from the holster, pump it and fire into the first two children; their bodies come apart at the waist and fall upon their legs. They fall face first and with a wet crunch, their teeth and noses break on the hard wooden floor. They begin to crawl toward me as the others run, jump over desks and climb along the walls, drool dripping from their lips, flesh tearing from their fingers and feet as they claw, run and grapple for their chance to get at me. I fire and fire again until the shotgun is empty. There is no time to reload and I have to use it as a club.

I scream but can’t wake up! They are upon me, biting, scratching and clawing at me! They seek to tear me down, to topple me from the place where I stand, but I refuse to give in. With a sick crunch I slam the butt of the shotgun into the top of what used to be a little girl’s head, she falls to the floor, lifeless, brains leaking out from the wound.

I am trapped and cannot escape from their grasp. They do not scream or cry or laugh. They are dead! There is no life in them, they do not take in breath or exhale. They are dead! I hate living with the dead but I cannot escape. I kick a little boy in the chest and see my own son as he slams into the boy behind him. I hesitate for a moment. It could not have been ether of my boys…I had to…so long ago.

A school-book slams into the side of my head and a desk chair is flung at me. It hits me in the shoulder and staggers me. They are learning and I have to keep up or I will be their next meal. There is still about twenty of them and they will not relent. God-Emperor, make the dream end. But it does not. With a start I awake from my fugue and realize this is not a dream. I move to the left as a girl with pony tails lunges at me. She is met with a swift kick and falls to the floor and is trampled by the others.

As quickly as I can I make my way to the only door in the school room and make for my escape. As I run through the hall I reload my body fluid and blood jellied shotgun. The halls are thin and the ceiling is low and it deafens me to fire my shotgun in this tight of an area but I have no choice. They are upon me for I am among the dead.

In the confines of the hall the animated corpse children are all gathered in one space and I fire just above their chests. Thirteen heads explode in jellied explosions of bone and brain, hair and skin. A fine mist erupts over them and coats the walls, ceiling and floor even as their small frames fall to the hallway tiles. Five more remain and lunge at me even as I fire again. Their tiny bodies erupt and come apart; bone protrudes from flesh, body fluids leak from a thousand wounds even as they continue to scrape the ground with their fingers in their attempt to consume me.

I vomit heavily into a corner, take the shotgun and spin it around. With the butt of the weapon I purposefully approach each of the moving corpses and bludgeon their tiny heads into paste.

Staggering, I stumble through the halls of the old school and make my way outside into what was once the playground. In front of the slide and swings I sit on a bench, back facing the wall and front facing the playground equipment. I am numb, tired and covered with the blood and waste of the dead. I find that the shotgun is in my hands and the muzzle is against my forehead. I pull the trigger.

Click! I jumped at the sound. The realization that I was still alive hit me and I began to weep. I was alone and…my Emperor I missed my wife.

I am very sure that I stink like the grave. It’s been over a year since I’ve bathed. My beard is long, my hair is long and I have sores all over my body. It is morning and I have to find shelter, the death-birds will be out soon. They fly like living birds and move their heads like living birds, but they are not alive. They eat what flesh they can and never make a sound. They don’t sing. I will never think of birds the same. They terrify me more than the walking dead; them and the insects.

I can escape the birds and the shambling masses but cannot ever outrun the bugs. All of my skin, anywhere they could touch; could get to, has been bitten. If not for the beard and my ability to reason I would look just like the man-thing I killed this morning.

The bugs come in mass, by the thousands, by the millions. They eat anything that moves; nothing escapes them. When they are chasing me the only thing I can do to save myself is to find one of the walking corpses and tackle it, get up as fast as I can and run for my life. The insects swarm the fallen figure on the ground and consume the body. In a few hours the only thing left are the bones and maybe the clothes.

I heard them the other night; the ones who landed about a week ago. They were screaming and firing their weapons. As of yet I don’t know if they are for the Emperor or for Chaos. But I do know they are scared. Why they haven’t left yet I do not know. They must be searching for something. What could have any value on this Emperor forsaken world? Everything is dead.

It rained last night. It started just after dark and lasted until first light. The rain scared me. I had forgotten how cold the rains could be, but it felt good to my worn, scarred flesh. Nothing moved last night because of the rain. I don’t know what it was that kept them at bay but it was a relief to my immortal soul.

In the rain I washed my armor and cleansed my body as much as I could. I had found some soap and had safely tucked it away in a pouch in the pack I carried. It came in handy. I washed my hair and beard and stood stark naked on a rooftop cleaning myself for what seemed like hours. For the first time in months I think, I smiled.

They came last night; thousands of them. I think they can smell me now that I am clean. The insects, the walking dead, even the birds. They all came. I had crept into the temple bell tower and climbed the stairs until I was once again standing in front of the stained glass window that held the likeness of the Emperor of mankind. The fountain that bore the only pure water in the city set before it.

The only clean water on the planet I think, and it was available to me. How blessed I am. Strange that only six days ago I tried to kill myself and now I think of myself as blessed. What a difference clean water, a dance in the rain and the image of the Emperor can do for one who has no hope of the future. It’s not a question but a fact.

For the first time in three months I took a chance and let the stems ware off. I fell asleep in the bell tower, beside the pool of pure water, under the stained glass window that bears the image of the Emperor. For the first time since I can remember, I was not afraid.

I felt cold and stirred in the darkness. Something didn’t feel right. ‘Julie…baby are you alright?’ ‘Honey…it’s dark, I can’t see you. Where are you?’ ‘Julie? Answer me…are you alright?’ Its cold and I know she is here…she has to be. ‘Jonny, Dan… are you there?’ ‘Why don’t you answer me?’ The fog rolls in and I am lost in the inky swirls and its depths.

The sound of footsteps causes me to open my eyes. It is still dark but the sun is starting to come up, its rays alighting the stain glass window just enough for me to make out the area around me. They are woman’s feet and they are bare and bloody and dirty. They are directly in the front of my face.

There are more footsteps moving around me but I cannot see them. I hear my shotgun sliding across the floor as one of the living dead grasps it and drags it across the landing and tosses it down the stairs. Slowly I reach for the knife that is in its sheath strapped to my chest armor, and pull it out. The Emperors fountain area stinks with the smells of rottenness and decay. Green drool bleeds onto my face and I strike with the blade and burry it into the skull of the dead woman, the blade bursting through the back of her head. With a spasm she falls to the old wooden floor and nearly pulls the knife from my battered hands.

Hands reach for me as I roll away from the fountain and place my back against the wall. On the landing there are at least twelve of them and they were all adults back when they were still alive. Now their rotten eyes bleed mucus and putrid tears that stunk of disease and filth. Their hair is long and matted and in their teeth, the flesh of the weaker hang in long strips. Their nails are long and their ears and noses had not stopped growing since they were last in the land of the living.

They moved as a single body, their combined wait slamming into me. I kicked one in the chest and she flew through the air and into the pool of pure water. She fought to escape the blessed water, splashing the clear liquid over the sides. I stabbed another in the cheek but it did not feel it and it struck me in the face hard enough to stagger me.

A hand grabbed my throat and another one grabbed my left shoulder. One grabbed my beard and pulled my head down. I struggled to breathe as I vomit from the rank smell that assails my sinuses. I punch and kick and strike with my blade knowing that to slacken for even a breath would mean my death.

The only thing that keeps me standing is that there are so many of them that are pressing in upon me. They can’t all get to me at the same time because of the wall at my back and because of their being in each other’s way. I use that to my advantage.

The only thing that separates me from them is the fact that I am still living and that I can think faster than they can, although the terror that paralyzes my heart also clouds my mind and keeps me functional only as an animal that is seeking escape.

Another hand grabs my beard and twists my head to the right, at the same time, what had been a large mail lunges for my face, its mouth open and its teeth bared. I stab it in the side of the skull above the ear and it dies a second death even as it is crushed against me by the others. I pull my hand back and strike another between the eyes and it collapses. I stab another on the top of the head and it falls too, congealed brain matter spilling from its ruined cranium.

I can no longer kick or punch and I know there is nothing more for me to do but die even as I lash out again and again with the only weapon I have.

The cadavers attack as one mind and bite any part of me that they can. So far their teeth have not connected with or broken the skin, only my body armor and beard, but it is only a matter of time. I am so tired that I can barely lift my arm. Their advance is frightening and they are as quiet as the grave as they seek to drag me down and eat my flesh.

The sun has risen a little more and shines through the stain glass window causing the image of the Emperor to bleed through and cover the teeming mass of corpses. The water still splashes behind the dead as the body that had fallen in the pool continues to struggle to get out. The death bird’s shadows cross back and forth outside and cause their silhouettes to move back and forth throughout the room. It is strange what you notice when you know you are going to die.

A shot from nowhere and yet from everywhere explodes the window and two corpses that are directly aligned go limp as their heads explode. They are kept from falling by the tight grouping of the others, but I know they are dead. Their heads are gone, the only thing that remains of them are their lower jaws.

The others surge forward and pin me in place against the wall. I cannot move now and can barely take in a breath; they will crush me to death before they eat my flesh. A rib cracks and than another. I scream out in pain, ‘The Emperor Protects!’ and am rewarded by another head popping beside me. I scream out again, ‘The Emperor Protects!’ and another head comes apart. Now I can hear voices from below and above. Shots are being fired and corpses are falling all around me.

In shock I fall upon the rotten, stinking diseased beings and begin to fade. The last thing I see before I blackout are the faces of three guardsmen, weapons raised ready to kill again. One looks down and says, ‘We received your message three months, six days and seven hours ago but could not respond. Planetary receiving was down. It took us this long to get here and to find you. Sir, respond to me if you can.’

Looking up, I smile and say, ‘I am leaving the dead.’

Last edited by Adrian; 01-25-11 at 11:20 PM.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-10, 09:26 PM
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Epic read Adrian, have some rep.

Sometimes i wonder 'Why is that frisbee getting bigger?', and then it hits me.

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If the Imperium found us as we are now, they'd probably declare exterminatus on us purely because of Justin Bieber. Wouldn't want that taint to spread any further than one planet.
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The Imperium is crumbling because they're getting attacked from all angles. Why did the Eldar empire crumble? Because they got bored.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-13-10, 09:35 PM
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You might want to space out the paragraphs. People with poor eyesight have trouble reading stuff that's not double spaced.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-18-10, 09:09 PM
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Another gripping tale bud! I liked it! Will there be more stories in this same vein or is this it?

Good luck and good gaming,

Nate

"If you can't stun them with your tactical brilliance, baffle them with your superior grasp of BS."

"I refuse to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed man."

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Well, seeing as how you capitalize your characters, use proper grammar and punctuation, I'd say you qualify.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 01-13-11, 02:06 PM
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-15-11, 01:30 AM
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Great read! You deserve some rep.

Quote:
We believe there is a higher power, whether Jesus Christ, Buda, or what ever. In our time of darkness we begin to doubt our place in our God's thoughts or if our God really exists at all.
I'm pretty sure Budha isn't a God, or a higher power...


If someone lacks intelligence, than he is not stupid, because one cannot be stupid without intelligence.

If someone reverts to having to complain about your grammar, then you already won.
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