I'm proud of myself.
That's right, three weeks in a row of writing short stories. Thank you Chuck Wendig for the regular challenges, because otherwise I'd probably flail around an fail to come up with an idea.
Speaking of, this week the challenge was to take a list of pop culture items and combine two of them into one story. I went with Star Wars and the Walking Dead. Once again I had fun just thinking about it, I brainstormed all the things I thought were themes of the pop culture items I knew and those two jumped out at me. Almost went with Batman but the vigilantism angle just wasn't working this time.
So yeah, we're back on zombies. That didn't take long now did it?
The main thing I wanted to avoid here was having just a crossover fanfiction. I didn't want to have the Walking Dead survivors find lightsabers and use the Force, or put zombies in space (they've done that, it's called Death Troopers...good book actually.) Instead I tried to combine what I felt some of the themes were, and ended up with a zombie apocalypse ruled by a totalitarian government. Enjoy.
P.S. My word count is rising, I broke 900 this time. XD
“Hey boss, I think he’s coming to.”
You open your eyes to a small concrete room with weak lighting coming from an old camping lamp off to one side. Two people, a man and a woman, are leaning over you as you try to sit up. Ragged clothing and matted hair are the uniform traits. Behind them are shelves with an assortment of what looks like emergency survival gear.
“Where-“ your voice cracks, they hand you a canteen and a flask.
You drink from both.
“Where am I?” you ask.
One of them, the guy, grins, “You’re alive.” He laughs at his own joke.
“Ignore Marcus,” the woman says with a shrug.
“Hey, Mara, come on!”
“Where am I? And who are you people?” you ask.
“We’re with the Underground,” Mara says. “We’re smugglers.”
“And right now we’re smuggling you,” says Marcus. “Congratulations buddy, you just got recruited.”
Turning back to you Mara says, “We pulled you from the wastes. What do you remember?”
At the question, it comes back to you. The walking and the fear. The hunger and the thirst…especially the thirst.
You take another swig from the flask, you’re not nearly drunk enough for this.
“Hey, hey, hey! Easy on that, that’s mine!” Marcus shouts.
“What he means,” Mara interrupts, “is that you’re dehydrated. Stick to the water for now.”
She reaches for the flask and you take one last drink before handing it back.
“Shouldn’t have let me have it in the first place then,” you grumble.
“It was to make my job easier,” she looks down sympathetically.
You follow her gaze and see your leg. You remember twisting it as you fell from the Republic’s Criminal Execution chute, falling outside the city wall and into the wasteland. The splint you made has been removed, it makes a pile of old debris and the remains of your coat in the corner.
“I was waiting for you to wake up before we set it,” she says. “This is going to hurt.”
“Geez Mara, can you work on your bedside manner?” Marcus says.
Mara ignores him. “Here.” She hands you a thick piece of wood. “Bite down on this. Marcus, hold his shoulders down and keep him still.”
You lie back and try to relax, putting the block in your mouth.
Mara counts down, “Three…Two…”
You take a deep breath.
With a wet crunch the twist in your leg is reset and you dig your teeth into the wood as you cry out, the pain making you sweat.
“Crap, give him my flask before he passes out again.” Marcus hands you the flask and you take another drink before giving it back and drinking some water to wash out the foul taste that suddenly fills your mouth.
The pain clears your head, and something nags at the back of your mind but you can’t remember what it is.
“Easy there, man.” Marcus helps you sit up. “We’ve got you.”
Mara is replacing the splint around your leg. She looks up. “How long were you in the wastes?”
“More importantly,” Marcus cuts in. “What did you do to piss off the Republic?”
Your head still hurts, the room is too warm. Taking another drink, you say, “I think I got drunk…tore down some propaganda. Maybe beat up some Enforcers?”
“Yep, that’ll do it!” Marcus laughs.
Mara takes another look at you, waiting for an answer to her question.
You wipe the sweat off your face. You’re still thirsty and you take another drink.
“I don’t think it was that long, it’s a little hazy.” The memory of your exile is still a blur.
“Do you have any other injuries you need me to look at?” she asks.
“No,” you cough. “I’m fine.”
You take another drink while scratching at an itch on your chest.
“Your splint was pretty well put together. This was your coat right?”
“Right.” The room is getting warmer.
Mara holds up the shirt.
“Any idea how it got so bloody?” she asks, with a concerned look.
The silence in the room is stifling. You wrack your brain but you can’t remember anything, the heat is making it hard to think. You swallow water but the taste turns your stomach and you spit it back out.
The water hits the floor flecked with bile and red with blood.
“Oh shit,” Marcus whispers.
The sight of the blood brings your memory back. Limping away from the city wall, trying to move as quickly as you could, knowing you had to find shelter before it got dark.
Before the Corpses came looking.
“I was bitten.” You say, your hand going to your chest. The memory of the bite comes back as you feel the tear in your skin through the fabric.
“Oh shit, shitshitshit!” Marcus is backing away from you, crawling towards the wall. “Mara, Mara we have to dump him.”
“Shut up Marcus, we should have enough meds to help him,” she says.
“He’s already coughing up blood,” Marcus is reaching behind him.
“Marcus, sit down and shut up!” Mara yells at him.
Marcus ignores her and pulls out a pistol, aiming it at you. Before he can fire Mara grabs his arm, wrenching the pistol out of his grip. The two fall back and slam into the far wall and the pistol clatters to the floor.
Your chest itches like it’s on fire. You’re sweating bullets and the room is oppressively hot. You’re thirsty but can’t stand the thought of water.
Your two rescuers keep fighting. The room begins to spin.
You reach for the gun. You know what you have to do.