Vihaan and Sonny stood in front of the bounty they’d collected for the group.
“Two pitchforks, two shovels – we sharpened the edges too – some secateurs, Stanley knives,” said Vihaan, presenting the cache to the group.
“Oh, and we found a couple of pairs of hedge trimmers, which we’ve broken in two and attached to rake poles,” he said, holding one aloft. “As you can see, they’re sharp as anything and the pole gives you a fairly good range.”
“In the sports shed next door,” continued Sonny, “we found some javelins, two sets of cricket stumps – very sharp on the bottom, some cricket bats—”
“There you go,” interrupted Ms Simmons, turning to Vihaan, “you can replace yours already.”
He glared at her before speaking very slowly: “It’s not a Gray Nicholls.”
There was an awkward pause before Sonny resumed. “Oh, and the cricket gear had a lot of very handy protection too – helmets, pads, gloves, forearm protectors, chest protectors, thigh pads, pill guards—”
“What’s a pill guard?” asked Zhang.
Sonny pondered how he should best respond. “It’s a protector for your… erm...”
“Delicates,” said Ms Simmons.
The response left Zhang as confused as before.
“Balls,” said Vihaan, “we also have plenty of cricket balls – good for medium-range attack.”
“So basically,” added Sonny, “we have enough equipment here to protect our bodies from attack and to fight back at short and medium range – even further if we can get good with these javelins.”
“Nice work,” said Ms Simmons, “so what’s the plan now?”
Elizabeth peeked through the blinds to the zombies outside. “We can either bunker down here for the night or make a break for it. We’ve probably got a dozen grunts out there now, but if they don’t shut up who knows how many we’ll be dealing with by dawn. I say we go.”
“Out there?” squealed Sonny. “In the dark? No thanks.”
“Besides, we’re still recovering.” Abby and Zhang are exhausted and the rest of us are battered and bruised,” said Ms Simmons.
“Good call, let’s give it a couple of hours, at least,” added Vihaan.
Elizabeth looked at the rest of the group, astounded. “Really?”
“Look, I know you’re scared,” she added, “I am too. I’m really scared, I have been since it all started.”
“You’re not scared,” said Vihaan, “you kick ass.”
“I kick ass because we don’t have a choice. Like now, we really don’t have a choice. It would be easy to stay here now and hope the problem goes away by morning, but you know it won’t. And it won’t be 12 grunts we’re dealing with, they’ll bring their buddies. It could be 100, it could be 1000 – I sure don’t want to hang around and find out.”
Elizabeth looked at the group. She saw her own thoughts and fears echoed in their expressions. It made the way forward clearer than ever before.
“Don’t you see? This is our moment, this is our line in the sand. We cannot sneak around forever. At some point we have to learn how to stand up and fight for ourselves.”
“Look at us,” said Sonny. “What hope do we have?”
There was a loud rumbling outside – low and distant. Sonny jumped in fright. Elizabeth increased her volume to compensate.
“Is this the same Sonny who pushed Abby over a pile of grunts while we were surrounded on all sides? And Abby – the girl with the kickass boom power. What about Zhang? Holding back a wall of zombies with… I don’t even know what that power was… but it was unbelievable.
The rumbling increased. Elizabeth had to lift her voice with each word just to be heard.
“And Vihaan – sure his aim’s not the best, but he’s there at the front of the action every time. And no one knows how to pick a zombie dance tune like him.”
Elizabeth realised she was almost yelling now; the zombies started thumping on the door with renewed urgency. “As for Ms Simmons, she may not be able to use magic yet, but she understands it, she sees it in us. She can help us learn to control it. She—”
There was a large explosion outside. Seconds later the maintenance shed was showered by debris. The group moved to the windows to take a look. A crater had formed in the middle of the football oval, several metres across. Red light beamed out from its centre. From the edge, zombies climbed over the lip and started across the oval in their direction.
“Oh. My. God,” said Ms Simmons.
“I’ve changed my mind,” said Vihaan, “let’s go now.”
Elizabeth threw two cricket kit bags into the middle of the group. “Suit up now – pads, gloves, helmets – everything you can lay your hands on.”
There was a roar outside, a sound no human, or zombie, was capable of making. Vihaan, still looking out the window, yelled without breaking his view. “Hurry up!”
“What is it?” asked Zhang as she joined him.
Something – alive – a creature, a giant, several metres high, lifted itself out of the crater, slapped its fists on its chest and roared again. Behind it another giant appeared.
Sonny fumbled with the velcro on his cricket pads. Elizabeth stopped working on Abby’s helmet strap. “What’s happening over there, Vihaan?”
“You really don’t want to know.”
“I really do.”
“Well, first the zombies came out – and they don’t seem like normal zombies – then we got giants, and now there are these flying things with horns.”
“What?” screamed Elizabeth as she ran over to the window.
Hovering over the crater, flying way above the four giants now in view, were several flying human-like beings. They appeared to glow with a red hue, but that could’ve been the light from the crater reflecting off their large muscular physiques.
“This is the end,” said Ms Simmons.
“I really need to go to the toilet,” said Sonny.
“Everyone padded up?” asked Elizabeth.
The group nodded their approval.
“OK, grab your weapons. We’re going to hit the grunts at the door and head straight back to base. We don’t stop, we don’t look back. Got it?”
“Got it,” came the collective response.
She gathered everyone into a huddle. “We can do this. Think about how far we’ve come. We’re a kickass fighting machine.
“Elizabeth, should we...”
“I’m not Elizabeth anymore. That was my scared name. I’m Beth, but not the normal spelling. I’m B E A T H – like death, but a better option. I am a zombie killing machine, like you.”
There was a pause as the group let the idea of Beath wash over them.
“I’m Slingshot,” said Vihaan, “no, VJ Slingshot.”
“Nice one,” said Beath as she passed out the stick-mounted hedge cutters.
“I’m Z-hang – I have magic that leaves zombies hanging in mid-air,” said Zhang.
“What about us?” asked Sonny as he gaffer taped a javelin to Abby’s wheelchair.
“Abby’s got to be Boom,” said VJ Slingshot.
“And what about… Rock for you, Sonny,” said Beath.
“Rock! Yeah I like it.”
Abby pressed the Boom button on the choices app.
“I’m Ms Magic,” said Ms Simmons.
There was a pause.
“Yeah… maybe,” said Beath. “Why don’t we workshop that when we get back to base?”
“They’re moving,” said VJ Slingshot, “and some are coming this way.”
“Everyone in position by the door,” said Beath.
The helmeted, padded and armed group got their weapons ready and complied. There was a screaming, piercing noise from the oval, something they hadn’t heard before. It was followed by a series of roars from the giants. The zombies hammered on the door of the maintenance shed again. The ground rumbled, the night sky was lit up in red.
“Boom, Z-Hang, Slings—”
“VJ Slingshot,” corrected Beath, “Rock and, erm, Ms Magic.”
“Yes Beath,” they responded in unison like an army platoon taking orders from their drill sergeant.
“Are you part of a lean, mean, fighting machine?”
“Are you ready to kick some serious apocalyptic ass?”
“OK. On the count of three I open this door. When I do, unleash hell.”
“One, Two, THREE!!!”
…To be continued
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, MattPikeWrite a Review