A Marvel Zombies one-shot by Andrew Joshua Talon
Disclaimer: Marvel Zombies is the property of Marvel, as are the characters, worlds and other proper nouns contained within this story. I am not writing this for profit.
- - - - -
I wouldn't call my power precognition, exactly. The future is always in motion, perfectly summed up by a certain green Muppet from an equally obvious sci-fi movie.
It's not really omniscience, either, because if that were the case I'd know everything, and while I know how things might turn out, could turn out if this thread is pulled and that decision is made, it's not a sure thing. It's never a sure thing.
The best way I can describe it is that I know things. Sometimes it's automatic, a warning of big changes on the horizon or that little Gary Ellis is going to trip and fall and scratch his knee.
Sometimes I can get a "read" on the future by wishing hard enough. Again, it's not perfect nor is it exact-It just narrows down the possibilities of what might happen. I'm not even that good at math.
Well, I am. I fall into the habit of self-deprecating humor because it makes me feel more normal, more grounded. It's illogical but so are feelings, and I feel the need to indulge every now and then.
Other times, it's beyond instinct, knowing something with absolute certainty that it terrifies me, just by looking at something.
Just by hearing something.
Maybe even just by looking up into the sky.
Like on that day. Reed Richards described it as the "sky shattering". Two universes touched, like bubbles meeting on a soap bar. Something came through.
The moment I looked up into the sky on that day, I knew the world was going to end.
So I went out, leaving the Xavier Mansion far behind. It was going to be a feeding ground in an hour, give or take a few minutes.
I hailed a cab, ignoring Professor X's telepathic inquiries. He'd be eaten by a zombified She-Hulk, or Wolverine, or Storm, or Cyclops…
The cab driver asked me where I wanted to go. I shrugged and said "Surprise me" (Cheap joke, I know). He chuckled. Raymond Muniz, age 35, two children who even now were going to become chow for the zombie Avengers. Divorced. His wife would be killed in eight hours, nine at the most.
Ray himself, as he preferred to be called, would be subsequently devoured on his way into the city, trying desperately to get to his children at his apartment, visiting him for the weekend.
He dropped me off at a mall. I went in on my old skateboard, ignoring the frightened looking people watching the TVs as their heroes became flesh-eating zombies.
I sat down in the food court and ordered deserts and junk food aplenty. Service was slow-Everyone was too distracted by the news feeds. Finally I got my food-Artery busting bacon cheeseburgers, milkshakes, fries, the works.
I began to eat, ignoring the screams as report came out that the "mutie school" down the road had gone berserk. I savored every bite, every sip.
Sure, I felt a little like Nero would have if the account that he fiddled while Rome burned was accurate (It was, in fact, political propaganda by his opponents), but for the first time in my life, I really didn't know what was going to happen to me.
I could guess, but I just didn't know. For me, this was a big difference. I knew what would happen if I wandered into the path of the zombie Avengers or X-Men or any other heroes or villains in our fantastic, spandex-loving universe. I knew that this world was doomed, its inhabitants would be consumed, the end times were upon us, yadda yadda yadda.
But there was doubt in my future. I could only speculate. I didn't see possibilities; I just saw the death and destruction of everything in this world, and then the universe, and for me…
Nothing. Nada. Zip.
It was almost like being on vacation.
Survivors piled in, just like in a Romero movie. Hoping, praying that the mall would ensure that some of them survived.
Yeah, not even in Hollywood, baby. Which was soon to come under the assault of a zombified Hulk. Om nom nom, indeed.
I stood up after finishing what could quite possibly be my last meal, and went skatingboarding, rolling along outside. I breezed passed the frantic people trying to barricade the doors, ignored their warnings, their screams, and went out into the countryside. I took a deep breath of the autumn air-I couldn't smell the decay or smoke that would soon be sweeping over the land as the cities burned and the zombies feasted.
I began humming "Little Green Bag", from Reservoir Dogs. I had liked that movie, liked it a lot…
- - -
Two hours later I was in the woods of upstate New York, following a little country road.
I hadn't given any real thought to what, exactly, I was doing. What do you do when the world is coming to an end?
I had considered finding some nice boy, girl, or groups thereof to have an orgy with, but the general aura of doom permeating the landscape killed my libido. Not to mention knowing that right now, Reed Richards was infecting his family after finding out She-Hulk had eaten his children. What pleasant images those had been.
I'm not into guro, thank you.
He didn't know how to deal with it except through science, and so that's how he dealt with it. His children were dead, the world was dying, and there was no hope… It was enough to break the man, turn him to madness, madness he defined in perfectly logical and scientific terms.
Quicksilver was going to be bitten by Mystique disguised as his sister in the next five minutes, this I knew. Closer to the event date the more sure I get, the fewer variables there are. Once he was bitten, the rest of the world would fall within a day.
Gone. What God had wrought in seven days (according to Him, anyway) undone in one.
The human race, all our faults and triumphs and successes and failures wiped out. All thanks to a hungry little disease that even now was consuming countless other universes.
It was like some demented author's macabre fantasy given life. "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
I came across a small town, yet untouched. It was cozy, bit of a tourist trap as nearly all small towns in New York were, but held just enough rural charm that I decided there were worse places to spend the end of the world in.
I rolled into a bar, sliding onto the stool, and cheerfully asked the bartender for a margarita. He sneered in a thick New England accent.
"And just what makes you think I'll give ya one, missy?"
"This is the end of the world," I calmly replied, looking at him in that creepy, all-knowing way I've grown so good at. "You're going to be eaten in… Six hours. So you may as well bend the rules a little, right?"
That got me kicked out. Rolling my eyes, I went to another bar, this one with a TV.
I got my margarita, sighing in despair at the fact it was not the best margarita I could have for the end of the world. But really, booze is booze-Who gives a damn about the packaging, literal and figurative?
- - -
Six hours later, I had puked my guts out from too much booze. I suspected that I probably wouldn't get to experience a hangover for myself, even though I knew what it would entail.
I walked to the town square, sitting on the steps of the colonial-era-style town hall, before moving to a railing so I could kick my legs in an annoying fashion. I love that-Makes me think I'm in a musical, just waiting to leap onto stage.
To my pleasant surprise, it wasn't the Hulk who tore through the little town as refugees, what few there were, scrambled into town: They were a number of X-Men. Cyclops, Storm, Ice-Man, Beast-Basically the old crew. Wolverine was off with the Avengers chowing down in Atlanta, Georgia.
The people screamed and panicked, the wind of Storm's weather manipulation powers throwing them together in clusters for the Weather Witch to stun with lightening and then messily devour, the other mutants joining in. It was like a car accident filled with blood, gore and screaming-You couldn't look away.
Not that it would have done me any good, mind you, since I knew what was going on in glorious detail. They wouldn't notice me for a while-Too many tasty humans around to go after a lone, slip of a girl like me-Not until they had to-So I decided to ruminate a bit on things.
The end of the world… Had I fulfilled any life-long dreams?
That would be a no. Then again, I didn't exactly have many of those-When you know stuff, dreaming doesn't serve much of a purpose.
Did I have fun? Some. Not as much as I would have liked. I made up clever commentary for the horrific images of what the heroes were doing to this world. Disemboweling the Blob and eating his innards despite the fecal matter within. Quicksilver eating so much on his metabolism his stomach burst and he was destroyed by a Juggernaut with no desire for rivals. Doctor Doom, Iron Man-Even Thor himself all succumbing to the disease, becoming monsters.
The disease altering itself to affect a Norse God, of all people, was insanely funny to me, and I laughed for about twenty minutes straight. Naturally this made everyone around me move far, far away…
An entire world consumed by a disease whose purpose was malevolent, experience was vast. It had done this countless times before, and would continue to do this to infinite worlds beyond this one. I had to admire it's efficiency, albeit a twisted, oftentimes seemingly illogical efficiency.
I got off the rail, seeing that the X-Men were too busy munching on their buffet to mind me. I gave a jaunty wave and smile to them as I passed. Nightcrawler, the poor man, staring at me as though I was the demon.
"Hold it!" Cyclops barked. "Just what do you think you're doing!"
Fearless Leader. Scott Summers. Even while a flesh-eating zombie, he was still used to being in command. I turned and smiled up at them, heedless of the gore as a continued to roll along.
"I'm enjoying the End of the World. I hope you are too," I said honestly. I turned and pushed away, leaving a dumbfounded group of X-Men behind me. They then turned their attention back to food-The driving force of their hunger overrode all other concerns.
- - -
Five hours after that, I was wandering along a wooded road, running my hands over trees as I passed, knowing every little thing that had occurred over the course of their lives. The people they'd known, the seasons, the disasters-Everything.
I didn't need a flashlight in the night-I knew where every kick pushed me, every pitfall. This was how the world was, now: Covered in shadow and darkness.
Doctor Doom made his last stand, sending a man known as Ash to another world, far from the doom of zombies and into a different kind of mayhem and horror. The population of the world was down to the millions.
It was a grisly, illogical nightmare. Badly written, and yet, here it was. Extinction by zombies. Just what every horror and comic book fan would love to have.
Damn logic, damn common sense, damn anything. This world was ending in one day and that was it. Period.
I suppose it was only slight less ridiculous than Onslaught, which the X-Men generally try to pretend never happened. I don't blame them.
I heard a sound, and braked. I turned around, smiling in a kind of giddy anticipation I had not known ever since my powers manifested. I had no idea who was behind me. I had no idea what was going to happen to me.
My previously mentioned libido almost stirred. Almost. The fact that the person here was no doubt about to devour me was kind of a mood killer.
Yellow eyes glowed in the darkness, fanged teethed bared. A mournful noise arose from the zombie, and I wouldn't have needed my powers to know who it was.
"Hello Kurt," I said quietly. The infamous Nightcrawler came closer. I shrugged.
"You're upset and angry about this… About being a monster. You don't see yourself as a man anymore."
He paused. Another mournful cry. I winced, knowing that his voicebox had been damaged in a struggle with the zombie Absorbing Man.
"Hurts, huh? Not physically, your nerves are dead now, but inside. You wonder if you still have a soul if you're so guilty about all of this." I shrug.
"Even I can't tell you that... It's in the realm of philosophy, which generally just makes my head hurt."
Kurt cocked his head, ears twitching. He's wondering if this is the end of all things, if I know…
"Even if you are destroyed, it doesn't matter. Someone else will get me," I sooth. "I know…"
His eyes ask me one last question. I laugh.
"No, no… I don't want to be a zombie. My abilities wouldn't be much use, besides providing colorful commentary."
He nods. I spread my arms out with a big smile.
"C'mon Nightcrawler… You've surprised me."
"You deserve a bite."
He lunges, and in those last few seconds I finally feel free…
And know that every other Layla Miller in the multiverse feels as free as I do, right now, as they stand under a moonless night on the day the world ends.
- - -
Just some random, dark thoughts I had about Layla Miller. Granted, her powers in the comics do not quite work this way, and Nightcrawler's fate is undetermined in the "Marvel Zombies" verse, but I decided to make my own spin on it.
Just so you know, yes, I do consider the whole thing patently ridiculous. Doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with it now does it? ;)
Anyway, feel free to review if you liked it, or if you didn't. Either way it's feedback, which all authors appreciate. Thank you.