Scraping scratching sound. Grit and the soles of shoes on concrete sidewalks. Kat rose from her face flat position dazed on the ground picking grit out of the indents they’d made in her face. Spitting it out of her mouth. She stumbled forward tripping over her own feet stepping on something soft.
“Ow” A dull voice under her said.
Kat touched her nose and her hand came up with a little bit of blood and she started to well up.
“You’re standing on my hand” Roch screeched looking up at Kat.
“Bitch fuck you, I think my nose is broken!” Kat snapped back as she went through her purse to find a mirror “Had enough of your shi-“.
She was cut off by Roch pulling her feet out from under her. She crumpled to the ground softening her fall with her hands. Flipping over to kick and flail at Roch as she climbed Kat. Hitting her balled fist at any soft target she could find on the way.
By the time she was all the way on top of her they were in a full scale hissy fit. Biting and dull soft angry punches. Hair pulling and scratching and salty language all over the show. Only then interrupted by a screeching groaning sound of metal twisting and bending. They both turned around to find the source of the noise and the quickly growing shadow. As the turned over truck was turned over again right on top of them. Making a popping squelching peanut butter jelly sandwich getting sat on noise. Squeezing out dark red and black blood, spreading underneath the side of the truck.
A light repetitive tinny tapping sound as the small automatic fired inside the truck. punctuated by shotgun blasts punching the sides. A giant monstrous fist tore through the side of the van reaching deep inside. Wrenching the shotgun out of Carpenter’s greasy mitts and snapping it like kindling. Shaking the truck again like a gorilla in a cage made of tinfoil.
Carpenter pulling his head back to avoid it’s gargantuan grip. Coming in within a hairs breadth of his scraggly beard hair. The freakish thing angered by it’s arm length. It started to peel the metal from the side of the truck trying to make the hole bigger.
Jaclyn’s eyes fluttered in her head as consciousness came back. She was lying on her front, the laptop lying on a heap of debris in front of her on the side of the truck which was now the floor.
The screen was flashing and making alert noises like a popup, she crawled towards it. The screen was flashing the words “Launch signal ‘Yes or no’” flashing in red and orange.
Her body felt like a wrung out washcloth, it wasn’t moving right. She strained to pick her weight up onto her elbows and pull herself towards her laptop. She reached out, her breathing laboured, a pain in her side forcing her to collapse onto her face. She spat and breathed out as the stabbing pain robbed her of a breath. Determined, she started to crawl along like a slug using her chin and one arm to propel her along the floor. Her other hand keeping her ribs from shifting, groaning and hissing as she progressed.
With a noticeable effort she pressed enter. The signal launched with a cheesy nineties matrix loading screen.
A video started to play, a fat girl with green hair doing ridiculous dances in front of a webcam. “What the hell is this? This isn’t what we recorded.” It was Juanita twerking and falling over and pulling a dresser onto herself. She stood gasping, then smiled as if she meant to do that.
A bad jump cut later and she was looking into the camera, her face made up like Marilyn Monroe. “I’m Juanita Horker, the new feminist face of Zombie Surivor. I raised a half a million dollars from some beta orbiters on twitter to come here and kill Sunday. And become the new star you deserve, a more inclusive, gender queer plus size zombie killer”.
“Fucking bitc-!“ Her voice became a harsh rasping empty thing. She was interrupted by a tight bursting metal noise. She looked back to see what looked like a silver weathervain sticking out of her back.
A wrenching metal sigh and a slick unplugging as the lance came out of her back. It disappeared through the hole it made in the side of the truck.
The freakish hand of Garylynn retracted suddenly. Carpenter looked over at the Frenchman clicking the now empty mach ten at the wall of the truck panting. Carpenter smiled and signalled with his head.
“Out” The mechanical voice said.
They left the truck feeling like they’d been in there for days. Covering their eyes from the sun, coming out the bus like kids caught playing hookie.
The monstrous thing in front of the truck was just stood there breathing. Seething quietly looking up at the top of the truck.
The Lancer stood above them watching with those smiling eyes. He watched as the Frenchman and Carpenter got out.
“The other one too”
Carpenter let out a breathy laugh and went back into the truck. The silence punctuated by the sound of fumbling and reluctant muffled shouting. Carpenter strained as he lifted the chair Murray was tied to over the stairs. Making a clacking noise as the wheels hit the metal and concrete.
“Can you just untie me?” Murray shouted moving the gag out of his mouth.
“Nah” Carpenter said as he wheeled him out.
“You!” The Lancer pointed at the Frenchman, Carpenter and Murray. They all stopped dead and pointed at their chests like ‘Who me?’
The lancer turned to look away from them and at the opponent he’d picked in their stead. “You can go”.
A gasp of steam, mneumatic creaking like the titanic deciding whether to snap in two or just fall over. A loud reverberating grown from the huge angular box. It was still for a moment. Looming over them not unlike the cheesy pirate ghost ship with it’s ghastly skeleton crew. Only modern and sharp and metal and cold put together with crude rivets and bolts. A construction meant to disposed of housing something strange and unnatural.
It wasn’t a square, more over it was more of an upside down trapezoid shape. With one point reaching out towards them like a beak. The beak snapped and the box started to part with a sealed popping noise like a giant tuppaware box. Funnily enough even from this distance TJ could swear he smelled a gust of some foul old cheese.
Sunday and TJ were grouped together watching the box open. Sunday’s face one of slack boredom, TJ’s of tight trepidation, sweat hitting the ice. His breathing hot in his lungs, the cold pulling him down. Knees shaking and frozen fighting just to stand up straight.
It cracked open wider, it was slow and stopped, jolting like it was made of nineties carwash parts. The metal coming away in parts, scraping and churning up the ice. Letting out nothing but more cold and darkness. Surgical cables jossled in the dark. Something moved like an alligator’s tail covered in shiney scales. Slinking further back into the box away from the light.
TJ squinted, scrunching his face up trying to see into the dense murk inside the box. Without warning a set of lights lit up, six in total, six red eyes in two vertical lines on a dark flat metal face. A tight whirring noise. An explosion of coiled power launched the thing from the box faster than sense could make of it. It didn’t exist, it was too fast to be constructed in that moment. A tornado of sharp metal teeth grinding. Wrending the air with such a vile hungered hatred for physical existence. A molecular woodchipper, a paper shredder meant for a flat earth. The ragnarok in cheese grater form.
“Let’s go before he changes his mind” Carpenter said smiling as he started to push Murray along.
The Frenchman followed him with one eye. The other was on the two monsters squaring up to fight like titans on mount Olympus.
“Err coming” He said as his feet got the message and started after his ‘Prey’.
The Lancer turned to the empty spot the strange men had occupied and let out a mocking gaffaw.
He turned back to the monster before him, an ugly side of the same coin. Scarred and hagered a blonde wig stappled to it’s head. Half off hanging over it’s one good eye, the other eye was an odd defect, a growth of skin lumped over it making it useless. A lobsided cyclops face with a glowing mechanical eye.
The Lancer laughed again and spoke in a deep electronic voice like he was larping “I will put that eye out beast”.
He hopped off the truck and landed on the concrete making a noise like a cat landing on a tin roof. Stillettos on sheet metal, a skeletal clacking that would set human teeth on edge.
He stalked the feminine beast, looking it up and down.
The Lancer sneered at it as it reered up to a shocking ten feet tall and hunched back over to it’s humble eight. Angrily he started tapping at a panel on his arm with the thin metal digits on his new hand.
When he was finished he stood up straighter as his limbs began to extend again. Making him even taller and thinner. Like a stilt walker, jack frost made of metal twigs. The limbs metal strained metal whirring noise but he ignored it and swiped his lance in the air. Striking a pose and smirked with his strange eyes.
“What was that noise?” Sparkles whined as she lay on a inflatable lylow. Next to her a glowing pixie night light. A damp clothe across her unicorn brow and a big play thermometer in her mouth.
“I dunno, I’ll go check it out” Mr Fuzzles said starting to get up from Sparkle’s side.
“No, don’t leave me, I don’t feel good” She said rising to grip his purple furry arm.
He smiled under his costume and made an anguished sighing noise. He brought up his shoulders into a cartoony shrug. “I’ll just go check it out, I’ll be right back.” He said as he put his paw on her hoof and lowered it onto her chest gently. “You just get some rest”.
He got up and dusted himself off and started towards the toy store door. He’d barricaded with some ramshackle shelves and a wall made of giant lego bricks. But he hadn’t made it halfway to the door before he heard a meak voice say “Wait”.
He turned back to see Sparkle sat up on her inflatable Barbie princess lylow. She let out a little tinny cough and said in her diabetes inducing sweet voice “I need to tell you something”.
“You shouldn’t be up, you’re hurt, you should be resting.” He said as he pounced back to her side taking a knee like a brave knight looking for a place to plant a panacea kiss. “What is it?” He said, his heart fluttering.
Sparkles held her hoof to her face and tilted her snout downwards bashfully. “Well, I don’t know any other way of saying this” She sighed and paused for effect.
Fuzzles heart was doing backflips, praying to hear the words running through his head.
“Oh Sparkles, I’ve known since the moment I laid my eyes on you.”
“I’m a dude.” A nasally male voice said in a course Brooklyn accent.
“I love you too, I love you with all my heart… awhut?”
“Yeah, I was meaning to tell you, it just, you know, I got caught up in the moment and then all this crazy stuff happened.”
“Mitch, Mitch Connors.” The man in the sparkly unicorn suit said as he took the head off. Revealing a balding forty-something. With a glass cutter five o’clock shadow and a bulbous red nose.
“Err” Mr Fuzzles said jittering under his suit.
“We can still fool around if you want, I can put the head back on”. He said bursting into a coughing fit. He hawked up a loogie and spat a green gob of bile on a Barbie dream house playset and snorted. “Fuck me man, I feel like shit run over twice.” Mitch’s face was gaunt and sallow. “Been sweating like a peado in a playpen in that fucking thing”. He rubbed the back of his neck screwing up his face and making a pained hissing noise. “What the fuck?” He said as felt something weird back there. He pulled his hand back revealing some strange clear substance mixed with blood on his hand. “Oh fuck me.”