When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
— Revelation 6:7-8^ NIV
Surprised! Angela was driven to the ground by a Rage Zombie.
She rolled to her back to see a stocky white guy leaping at her! From where she was laying there was little indicating that her attacker was apart of the undead. In fact, he was hot as an oven and strong as an ox; far stronger than any other human she had ever known, even Tom.
The man attacked again, snarling while his teeth snapped at her neck. Angela kicked his face, knocking out most of his teeth and cutting deep gouges with her talons. Despite the serious injury the creature fought on as if he hadn't notice his cheek flapping like a bloody battle standard.
The bizarre creature roared and grabbed her, throwing her across the street as if she were made of helium. The former human shook spasmodically, spraying red frothy junk from his torn away cheek. He snarled and charged in to finish Angela off.
Angela was shocked. The man-monster was charging her again and she thought she was done.
Another roar howled from the sky. It was Goliath who dove and took out the Rage Zombie with a big foot delivered from the ultimate jump kick.
The super zombie sailed down the street to roll on the pavement.
As Angela and Goliath watched the creature was up again in an instant. Instead of attacking Angela, however, it turned on the nearest zombie and ripped at it; throwing the full sized zombie-man. The Rage Zombie continued its relentless and unwarranted assault, grabbing the other zombie under its jaw and tearing its head off.
As Angela and Goliath watched in stunned silence, the Rage Zombie raised the head as his trophy and gave a long shriek in triumph.
"Come!" Goliath cried, pulling Angela to her feet.
Another zombie sensed Goliath's living flesh and charged. Goliath was lucky to see this one just before it attacked and sent the Zombie flying into a nearby wall.
But other undead smelled Goliath and as silent and fast as leopards they rushed in. Angela intercepted the next one, grabbing its leg and using the zombie's own momentum to catapult it head first into the street.
Growling, Goliath and Angela battled their way through the growing legion, only fortunately escaping to a rooftop and relative safety at the last second.
Away from them now, Angela looked down on the sea of zombies gathering at the base of the building. She and Goliath were surrounded by hundreds of them, an ocean of the stinking undead.
Angela turned to Goliath and said, "thank you for coming back."
"Why did that creature attack you," Goliath demanded. "You are a zombie like they are, you were supposed to be safe!"
"He must have been one of those super zombies Demona was talking about," Angela replied as she looked down from the rooftop on the lethal streets below. As much as the undead disgusted her, they also seemed to attract her. She felt a strange pull to jump from that roof and be with her new moldy family. To roam with them, forever hunting living flesh.
Goliath pulled her from the ledge, "what are you thinking!"
"I just lost my train of thought," Angela replied.
"You fell silent for five minutes," Goliath said. "And you looked as if you were going to step off he roof!"
"They call to me, father," Angela admitted.
"Just hang in there," Goliath said. "We will find a cure yet."
It was then that they heard the pops of gunfire echoing through the silent city, a battle raging in the distance.
"How 'bout we save some survivors in the meantime," Angela suggested. "It will help take my mind off of things."
Where Hudson was the gun shots were perfectly loud.
The eleven police and the soldier the ancient gargoyle had under his command used shotguns and high powered rifles on the attacking waves of zombies. They were fighting to give a group of survivors the chance to cross the George Washington Bridge to possible safety in New Jersey.
Guns could be effective on zombies if one knew where to aim. There was no easy way to so called 'kill' a zombie, but one could be crippled.
A well aimed bulled to the teeth would end an average zombie's main form of attack. More effective was a bullet to the lumbar region of its spine, severing it. This would cause a zombie's structure to collapse and greatly reduce its ability to move.
Knowing this, Hudson's guard did grim work on the attacking zombies. The undead made it even easier when they had to climb over the parked cars in order to reach the skirmish line; giving the defenders plenty of time to aim in and deliver an effective shot.
Meanwhile, Hudson and Peters waited at the flanks with swords and axes to finish off zombies that got too close. Hudson tried to keep Bronx out of the fighting, to keep the garbeast from being infected due to his short attack range.
But, there was a reason why guns were a poor choice in combating the undead. Their loud reports were like ringing the dinner bell for hungry zombies and would draw hordes to the battle site.
Attack waves came time and time again, giving only a few moments of rest between each. The defenders had to keep dropping back toward the bridge and guns were overheating. Worse, men were getting tired and their aim was slipping, Hudson and Peters had to finish off more and more zombies.
Hudson bounded forward and chopped the head off an attacking zombie before dividing it in half.
"Peters, what is the time," Hudson cried to his new second in command.
"Only an hour has passed, sir," the soldier cried back.
"Keep fighting, lads. Hold the ground!" Hudson cried. "We must buy more time!"
Another hour would pass and they had stacked up a hundred crippled zombies on I-95. Peters prophecy of stacking the enemy so high the others could not crawl over seemed about to come true.
But, the defenders were growing exhausted.
Sara lingered in the rear while reloading her shotgun, sliding shells into the receiver. She pumped the weapon and waved her hand that had been singed from the hot barrel. She was ready for another wave of zombies she expected to be coming in from the city before her.
Iron strong hands landed on her shoulders from behind and she shrieked! In her fright she pulled the trigger and sent an ounce of lead into the back of a nearby police officer. He roared and rolled on the ground, pelvis instantly shattered.
"They're climbing up from the river!"
Hudson bounded to save Sara as she was dragged off the exit ramp. His talon barely missed her hand as she fell twenty feet and onto a writhing mass of undead emerging from the river below.
Sara shrieked while her arms were pulled off, neck and belly torn open by dirty fingers and chipped teeth.
Hudson watched in silent horror as Sara was gone in moments, in her wake thousands of zombies were emerging en mass from the slimy depths, all trying to climb the supports to the highway above and eat the rest of the defenders.
Another zombie climbed the support pylon near Hudson and the Gargoyle deafly removed its head and threw the rest off the ramp.
Hudson turned and went to Peters who was trying to help the injured man. "How are you?"
The injured man held up a blood coated hand, "god! I was shot in the ass! I can't believe it! Ten years of patrolling the streets and I've never had to draw my weapon. Now I've been shot in the ass!"
Peters gave Hudson a helpless look.
"Package him and rush him to the bridge, Bronx!" Hudson ordered. The garbeast bounded up, happy to be finally included.
"Brian," Peters said to the injured man. "This is going to hurt like hell, but I need you to climb up on Bronx's back. You need to ride him, he will take you to the bridge where we will fix you up."
With Peters and Cory's help, the injured man gave a groaning scream as he climbed on the animal's back.
"We'll come back for you, Hudson," Peters said. "I promise."
Hudson watched as Peters jogged along with Bronx up the carpool lane and vanished toward the bridge.
Hudson turned to see zombies oozing over the guard rails and the remaining defenders were 'circling the wagons,' so to speak; firing wildly in all directions. General Custer came unbidden to Hudson's mind, a great History Channel Documentary, but not good inspiration when it came to this battle.
Acting quickly, Hudson scaled a wall and dove into the fray. He fought the encroaching wave of zombies, chopping and kicking. But for every one zombie he destroyed ten would take his place.
"Come! I will fly all of you to safety," Hudson cried, but he did not see another type of zombie pushing its way through the sea of the others, coming his way.
Rage Zombies forced their way through the crowds, forcing pathways through the regular zombies. One of these predators finally made its way to the defenders.
Hudson had a defender hanging onto his neck and another in his arms preparing to glide them across the river to safety; he would have to come back for the others and attempt to get them across as well; it was quickly becoming their last chance for survival. The Rage Zombie ended Hudson's heroic plans when she screamed, erupting from the crowds of zombies, plowing into Hudson like a linebacker.
Hudson grunted and was thrown to the pavement, his two charges skittered away, dangerously close to the walls of encroaching dead.
Hudson rolled on his back just in time to see the Rage Zombie diving on him like a grotesque professional wrestler.
"Ach! Ye ghoulie!" Hudson cried and drove his feet into it. The wild thing sputtered and growled as it arched through the air and back into the crowds of regular zombies.
Before Hudson could stand another one grabbed him. Growling in rage, fear, and frustration, Hudson jabbed the Viking sword through its head.
Zombies had grabbed one of the officers Hudson was trying to save and were trying to drag him into the sea of them. Roaring, the officer drew his side arm and fired, the heavy bullets plowed through the former humans, but they didn't seem to mind.
Hudson grabbed the man's hand and he held on tight. But one of the zombies bit into his ankle, a loud cracking noise as a bone broke.
The cop screamed and brought the pistol to his temple and pulled the trigger, the zombies had an easier time dragging him away after that.
Hudson jumped, throwing another zombie out of his way. He was determined to save his remaining survivors but could not find them.
The invading zombies were crowding in like a river, like an over flowing ocean, endless waves that crashed over the guard rails. Thousands were coming, all drawn by the smell of blood and the sounds of screams.
Nearby, Peters and Cory packed the casualty's wound and wrapped his pelvis. They looked back from the George Washington Bridge to where Hudson was fighting for his life.
"My god, would you look at that."
Peters watched a great crush of former humans, streaming in from the city, climbing up from the river. A great massive ball of zombies encasing the survivors, if there were any of those left.
"Looks like a damn Raiders game," Cory commented.
"Load up, let's get our guys out," Peters said.
"I haven't heard a gunshot in five minutes, no one's alive down there and neither will we if we go back."
Peters chuckled, "you wanna live forever?"
"Making it to my birthday would be nice," Cory grumbled.
"I'm going back," Peters said. "If anyone's alive I'm going to try and save them. You can run if you like, but I might be successful if you come with me."
Peters smiled one last time and jogged in the direction of the battle with Bronx.
"For Christ's sake," the remaining man muttered. "That sergeant had the right idea by running away from this mess." He eventually jogged after Peters.
There was no escape.
Hudson dropped back with his two remaining survivors as rivers of zombies closed in on all sides.
"Stay here, boy!" Hudson cried to Bronx who was barking and roaring at the attackers. Hudson held the scruff of the garbeast's neck, desperately trying to hold him back, pulling him along, knowing that if Bronx got away he would vanish forever into the zombies.
Hudson was trying car doors, hoping for any chance of safety, retreating wildly down the interstate. The zombies were flooding in after him.
"Hudson!" Peters cried from the outer edge of the zombie sea. "Hudson!"
"Peters!" Hudson panted as he tried the door to a Lincoln Navigator, it was locked fast; Hudson went to the next one. The other survivor trapped with Hudson was shooting wildly to hold Them back.
"Hudson! We're coming in after you!"
"I'm touched," Hudson panted while trying the handle to an ancient Chevy Celebrity. The door opened but a zombie was already sitting inside, lethargically moving to get him. Hudson slammed the door and went to the next. "But you need to get out! We are lost here!"
The gun going off behind Hudson fell silent, "I'm out of ammo!"
"Then run! Help me find a vehicle in which we can shelter!" Hudson growled and went to an Econoline. "Come on! My luck is not this bad!" He cried and tried the handle, it opened!
Hudson threw Bronx inside the big vehicle, the garbeast yelped but that could not be helped. "Get in!" Hudson cried to his survivor.
She needed no convincing and jumped in after Bronx.
Hudson was going to get in himself when something powerful slammed into him. Sputtering with surprised anger Hudson was sent tumbling across the pavement.
The Rage Zombie turned on the lady cop who was leaning out of the van's back door; she recoiled and slammed the door shut.
The super strong former human ignored Hudson and rushed over to the van, scratching its steel side. It then attacked the rear fender, pulling with such strength that it bucked the multi ton vehicle. The fender tore off and the cursed being tossed it aside as if it were a meaningless toy.
"I'm right here, ye devil!" Hudson cried while drawing his sword. His back felt strange, a pulling numbness and flashes of burning pain. He knew he had either sprained or tore something during the fall, but that hardly mattered.
It turned, snarling and sputtering in strange demonic tongues. It was a man once, his face had been dark and handsome, his hair well cared for and spiked in a uniformed fashion. He wore a tie over his professional business shirt and khaki pants that were a little out of style but suited him well.
Hudson wondered if this man ever thought he would become an undead creature who snarled and snapped his teeth while red foam dripped over his lips.
Hudson charged and the creature leapt at him. The big Gargoyle hoped he could take the zombie out with one deft swipe of his sword, but when he tried the creature just slapped it away.
The demon crashed into Hudson and drove him into a nearby car so hard the windows shattered.
"Ach!" Hudson cried when it felt as if his long white hair was tangled and stuck. From the corner of his eye he saw there was a zombie in the car who had grabbed his hair, pulling him in.
Hudson kicked the Rage Zombie away and he quickly used the sword and cut off his trapped hair.
"By the dragon," Hudson whispered when he saw a family of zombies in the car, all reaching to attack him.
As Hudson stumbled the first Rage Zombie attacked again, knocking him off his feet. Hudson sailed in uncontrolled flight for a moment and landed hard on his injured back; he cried out.
The Rage Zombie was on him in a second, its fever blazed eyes boring into his. "It's a Bear Market down two hundred points," the zombie screamed.
Hudson's eyes peeled in white light and he roared! He drove his fist into the side of the creature's head and heard a pop. The Rage Zombie market analyst's head was now at a strange angle, but what it did next was something Hudson did not expect, it laughed.
"Hudson!" Peters voice cried as he drove the rifle's butt into the Rage Zombie's head. The super zombie rolled away and Peters helped Hudson to his feet.
"Get in! Hurry!" The lady cop in the van cried while holding the back door open.
Hudson, Peters, and Cory jumped in the back of the van, but they paused when the Rage Zombie spoke.
It laughed with a strange voice, "I see you, Hudson," the voice sounded clouded and choked, not the same as when it made the strange comment about the 'Bear Market.'
Hudson narrowed his eyes at the thing, "how do you know my name?"
"Your friends mentioned you," the Rage Zombie said. "Angela and Elisa."
"Where are they!" Hudson took a step toward it, he did not notice the thousands of others choking the interstate, hunting for him.
"Hudson, get in!" Peters cried, tugging at Hudson's great bicep.
"The world will belong to me," the Rage Zombie chuckled. "Weeks, months, the human race and all the Gargoyles will be under my control. Come to me now and I will grant you powers you can only imagine. Grotesque enslavement is the only punishment for resistance."
Hudson pointed his sword at it, "you will always find me there to oppose you, even if I am the only one left."
The Rage Zombie laughed as Peters stepped forward and fired a round from his high powered rifle. The bullet tore through the Rage Zombie's belly button and severed its spine. The former analyst instantly collapsed on itself; the laughter silenced.
"Come on!" Peters pulled Hudson away to shelter inside the van, the back door was closed with a fuf sound and locked.
Once inside the dark vehicle they could see out the windows. Zombies were wandering in and around the stone silent van, hundreds if not thousands.
"I didn't know they could talk," Peters whispered. "What do you suppose that zombie was talking about? How did it know you, Hudson?"
Hudson was silent, watching the zombie legion hunt among the silent cars.
"Hudson," the woman cop shoved a bottle in the Gargoyle's hand. Hudson saw it, a plastic container of whiskey. "Seems the people fleeing in this rig packed the important things."
"Maybe they knew we'd need it later," Peters commented. "After we lost most of our team to zombies."
Silent in his despair Hudson took a healthy swig and handed the bottle to Peters.
"We may have gotten lucky," Peters said as he watched the zombies outside. The undead seemed to be disorganized, their cohesion breaking up, not knowing what to do next. It seemed possible that they had lost the scent of the living they searched for.
Hudson was silent, whatever was talking to him earlier knew about Angela. He wasn't sure to what the voice belonged to but he began to fear that he had lost his clan, that they had died at the hands of the undead. He grasped the whiskey again and took a swig before passing it on.
"So what now," Cory asked. "We're trapped in a van surrounded by a million zombies. The sun is going to rise in little over than an hour. Hate to break it to you people but we are going to spend the day in a steel sweat box without water. In a thousand years aliens are going open this van and find our gummy mummies inside and use OUR SKULLS AS ASH TRAYS AS THEY WATCH MOVIES AND LAUGH!"
"Cory," Peters scolded. "We are better off than those who lost their lives today."
Lisa had the bottle and she raised it, "to the glorious dead."
"Here here," Peters answered.
"I'm sorry," Cory said while accepting the bottle. "I guess death isn't the worst thing."
"Hudson, you've been quiet," Peters said.
"Aye," Hudson answered. "I'm worried that my clan has become apart of the glorious dead on this night."
"What was that voice, Hudson," Peters asked. "You know, the one from that zombie?"
"I don't know," Hudson answered. "Satan maybe, maybe something else. But it knew the names of two of my clan and recognized me." When he looked out the van's window he could see the horizon brighten with the first rays of dawn.
"So, what do we do now," Lisa asked.
"I can't be of much help," Hudson replied. "I will be stone soon. If you can make it through the day I will create a diversion so you can escape tonight."
"Hudson, you can't do that…" Peters began, but was interrupted by a strange sound. They fell silent to listen, it sounded like distant voices.
"Ach!" Hudson cried and threw open the back doors.
"Hudson!" Peters cried and tried to stop him.
A pair of zombies instantly tried to attack Hudson, but he kicked them away. The old Gargoyle looked to the sky to see his clan gliding over head.
"Lad!" Hudson cried. "Goliath!"
The Gargoyles turned and Hudson was not sure if he was ever so happy to see his clan. In a moment Hudson and his survivors were ferried away to a much quieter and safer rooftop. Soon later Brooklyn and Lexington were dispatched to find the injured man who had been left on the bridge.
Hudson stepped forward and shook Goliath's wrist, the old warrior's way. "Thank you."
Goliath nodded grimly, "there are thousands more of Them on the way, we must depart."
"I have a hundred survivors across the bridge," Hudson replied. "I lost eight fine warriors in trying to protect them. I would like to continue my work in protecting these survivors."
Demona stepped forward, "they cannot be helped."
"Demona," Hudson muttered.
"If we baby sit every human we come across we will miss our opportunity to end this outbreak," Demona continued.
"Baby sit!" Hudson roared and charged at her, thinking of the eight who had lost their lives in heroic futility in defending strangers so they would have a chance to live.
As much as it made them feel sick to defend Demona, especially after her insensitive comments, Goliath and Broadway held Hudson back.
Goliath sighed, "we will not protect anyone if we do not act decisively. I need you, old friend."
"Fine," Hudson growled. "Can I at least say goodbye to the warriors I fought with?"
Goliath nodded and Hudson turned to the humans. "It was an honor fighting with you fine gentlemen and ladies," he said. "I canna go with you from now on so I wish you good luck and happy hunting."
He shook hands with the survivors, including Peters, and the sad departure was complete.
Hudson turned and returned to his clan, "before this army of the damned showed up I was considering taking my jolly cohort of survivors to Xanatos."
Goliath glanced up to the world's tallest building and could see a light still blazing in the castle.
"He could be the one causing all of this," Demona commented.
"Or he could know the face of our true enemy," Goliath rumbled. "Xanatos has shown care toward his city before."