Author: Chris Myers PM
Three months after the events of "Polarity," Herman Schultz is slowly adjusting to life as an Avenger. But the emergence of a new strain of zombies threatens to unravel the world he fought so hard to save...Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Supernatural - Shocker - Chapters: 26 - Words: 365,862 - Reviews: 330 - Favs: 223 - Follows: 179 - Updated: 05-02-13 - Published: 05-02-11 - id: 6958790
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A strong hand grabbed me by my armpit, pulling me back to my feet. I kicked the crate out of the way, mainly to clear a path, but also as an outlet for my fear. My savior didn't give me a second to think, though, pulling me along. "Come on, we have to put some distance between us and them!"
I waved him off. "I'm fine, let's just keep moving!" I leapt over the crate and hit the ground running, adrenaline causing me to go from 0-to-oh-sweet-Jesus-run in a heartbeat. Under my mask, I was panting. Even with a more aerodynamic mask, made from fibers there were easy to breathe through, pulling air past my teeth was becoming more and more difficult. In the back of my mind, I thanked the powers above for the hellish training I had been put through the past few months. My lungs were screaming for oxygen, and my thighs were beginning to burn. Six short months before, the five-minute all-out sprint we were engaged in would have killed me after about thirty, maybe forty-five seconds, leaving me panting, easy prey for the horde that was currently after us.
My partner, of course, hadn't even broken a sweat, and his breathing was calm and steady, much like his demeanor. We cleared the corridor, coming to yet another four way junction. In the darkness of my low-light vision, the yellow glowstick, jammed into the top of a crate in the middle of one of the hallways, was a welcome beacon. "Hang a left here," I panted. My colleague easily spun on his heels as I skidded slightly…
The assailant leapt over one of the crates, springing from a spot between the wall and the container. He dove forward, barely clearing the top of the crate. To my special lenses, his eyes glowed from the ambient light, fingernails curled into claws, his teeth stained with a dark ichor. He sprung for my colleague, who had been leading the way, intent on knocking him to the ground and tearing into him.
Even as I brought my hands up to fire off a blast, my colleague had taken care of business. He brought his shield up, slamming the edge into the forehead of the attacker. The crunch of his broken skull reached my ears before I had even put my thumbs on the triggers of my gauntlets. The assailant's lifeless corpse is collapsing onto the crate as, without missing a single beat, my colleague's already off and running, calling for me to keep up.
Damn it. Every time I feel like I can cut the mustard, moments like that make me wonder if I'm still out of my league running with this bunch. My therapist is going to have a field day with this…but it's not my fault being chased by an angry horde is causing me to have a minor self-esteem crisis.
"Herman," he'll say, "you need to realize there's a difference between a moment of worry and long term self-doubt."
"Well," I'll respond, "this was short term self-doubt, mixed with a huge amount of worry, a dash of concern, and a chaser of 'oh-crap-oh-crap-I'm-going-to-die."
Two more turns, and I could see the pale gray daylight beaming through the darkened entrance tube. My low light lenses automatically powered down as the sun, managing to push through the clouds of central Colorado, illuminated a collection of abandoned US Air Force jeeps, transport trucks, and supply crates as we rounded the final corner. The large entrance door was halfway up on the guide tracks, giving us about fifteen feet of clearance. The hum of the generator meant that the door still had power, so closing it would…
I was diving for the floor even as I heard the servos start to turn. I hit concrete, bracing my fall as my colleague whipped his shield up. .50 caliber bullets streaked through the dim light, green tracers like something out of a sci-fi movie bouncing off his shield like the end of a Fourth of July celebration. "Herman! Two turrets, one on either side of the door!"
"On it!" Now, I said those words with confidence. Not a hint of worry, self-doubt, or concern. Assailants jumping out of dark corners and a mob of frothing madmen? Cause for panic. Mechanical turrets spitting out almost 1200 rounds of ammunition a minute, 20 rounds per second? That's something I can wrap my mind around.
I got to my feet, still crouched for a moment as I followed the path of the tracers. Two streams of incoming fire were coming the ceiling. The turrets hung down from opposite corners on either end of the twenty-foot long garage door. Probably activated by whoever also opened the cell doors and unleashed the very thing we were running from.
A second of quick calculation, and I was ready. Both of my fists went out, thumbs already depressing the trigger of my blast gauntlets. Unless you're Chow-Yun Fat or a wannabe gangster, you never go guns akimbo at two different targets. Two things made me break that rule. One, time was of the essence, every second counting.
And two? If you haven't guessed it by now, or if you hadn't read my previous exploits…I'm pretty damn good when it comes to certain things. Managing my self-esteem is not one of those things. Neither is balancing a check book or out drinking my best friend. Destruction of property, though? Especially property that's trying to kill me? I'm tops.
A level two should have done it, but level three was just the right amount of overkill. The air shimmered for an instant at the ends of my quilted hands, before the twin spheres exploded through the air, leaving a cracking wake behind them. I could barely make out the struts and gun barrels before the vibrations slammed into the turrets. The initial impacts knocked the gun barrels off-target and dislodged the ammo belts that fed the weapons before shattering the metal struts and ball bearings that made up its structure. The concrete walls and metal garage door rebounded the excess energy back onto the turret, finishing the ruination. Two seconds, that all it had taken to remove the turrets as a threat.
I wasn't one to rest on my laurels anymore. "Come on," I yelled, my feet crunching on the deformed bullets scattered in front of my colleague, "let's get the hel…"
The impact knocked me off my feet, sending me to the floor. My elbow impacted first, sending a sharp pain up my arm. I could hear my colleague shouting my name as a rough hand managed to push me onto my back. The same hand tried to grab my shoulder, only for the impact plates woven into the outer layer of my uniform to fire off, pushing his hand away. Snarling, however, my attacker leapt down on top of me, straddling my prone form and pinning one arm against my side. His hands slapped at me in a feeble attempt to dig his fingers into me in an attempt to find firm purchase, the contact plates playing an automatic game of keep-away.
One arm was trapped between my ribs and his thigh. My other arm was numb from the impact and refusing to listen to anything I told it. My attacker's mouth dripped some kind of nasty fluid onto my chest as he tried to grab me. And my colleague, instead of trying to help me, had no choice but to spin around at the vanguard for the moaning, snarling, roaring horde was in sight, coming out of the darkness and running in our direction.
Zombies can run now. When the HELL did that happen?