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Undead Nightmare - Father & Son Edition

There was an eerie silence on the ranch. No birds were singing. The cattle had apparantly broken out of the stable and so had the few horses. The morning fog that had gathered did not exactly give Beechers Hope a warm and welcoming atmosphere, either.

He had just come back from Blackwater, where he had made sure his mother would be safe. The residents that had not left after the last apocalypse-like incident had made a very sturdy safehouse in case anything like the like would happen again. Lucky they had. He had promised her that he would come back to her as soon as he had fetched the equipment his father had left behind.

How he hated to lie to his mother.

This plauge was just like the one his father had spoken about: the one where he himself and his mother fell ill. He was told that a mask had been stolen from an ancient god, and that this mask had to be returned to put an end to this unnatural nonsense. The sooner the better. And since John Marston was not there to do it, it was up to him this time.

He, Jack Marston, would get the job done.

He closed the door to the ranch and walked out. All the guns and equipment his father had used would without a doubt come in handy this time around too, although he was a bit uncertain about the blunderbuss due to the strange smell coming from the barrel.

Dont get bitten. Just blow their brains out.

Fairly simple in theory, but in practice...well, time would certainly tell. He just hoped he would not end up like a drooling cannibal too soon.

Jack mounted his horse, Dahlia, and was about to leave, when a beautiful, black and white horse trotting down the road caught his eye. There was nothing strange about a wild horse entering the ranch and suddenly finding itself trapped, but this one was different: it seemed to be... emitting fog. The very idea was absurd, ofcourse; obviously, he was just seeing things, his imagination running wild. The fact didn't surprise him in the least; it did happen from time to time.

Oh! Now he knew why it looked so different! He had seen this horse before.

He remembered when his father brought it home from Mexico, claiming he was only borrowing it. The beautiful horse had only stayed in the vicinity for a day or two before leaving, Jack only catching a glimpse of it from the window in his room while his father had tried to nurse him and mother back to health. Nevertheless, he would bet anything this was the same one.

The mare was loitering around the grave of his father. Odd behavior for a horse. Unfortunately, time was of the essence. All ready now, he was just about to ride out, when an ungodly screetch rang around the ranch, causing Dahlia to startle so bad she almost threw him off!

"Easy, girl!" Jack yelped, trying to calm her and stay mounted at the same time.

Catching his breath as the horse finnaly relaxed, Jack pulled out his revolver. That was an undead he had heard, and it was close. Up on the hill where his father was buried, the strange mare was winnying in delight and making little playful jumps that, to Jack, seemed quite out of character.

And his jaw dropped.

Jack was horrified by the fact that he could see something he never though he would see. His dear old pa was digging himself out of his grave. The creature halted in its digging and seemed to gather strength before crawling all the way out. The mare neighed and bucked before she trotted over and nudged the hunched over figure. That seemed to pull the undead out of its silent state as another growl echoed around the silent ranch. Jack had kept his eyes on the scene and suddenly gasped out a breath he was not aware he had been holding.

"That just aint right." He mumbled. Make no mistake, Jack was kind of glad to see his pa up and about again, allthough this was not quite what he had in mind. Jack adjusted the hat he had inherited and checked his gun. Full chamber. His revolver pointed to the undead but he would probably not get a good shot from this distance.

Cautiously, Jack signaled Dahlia to move closer, only to be surprised yet again as the undead man approatched the still overjoyed mare and climbed gracefully up in the saddle. At once, the mare began trotting towards the gate of Beechers Hope, and if his undead father had noticed his own son's presence he did not show it.

Jack kept a significant distance while he pondered on the behavior of the dead man that was his father. From what his father had told him, the undead were dumber than bricks. They couldn't climb, or open doors, and most definitivly could not check out their equipment and load their guns like this one seemed to be doing. Curious now, Jack silently commanded his horse to walk faster so he could gain on his father, hearing the displeased noise the corpse made when it finnaly noticed someone was following him.

"Um?...Mister?" he called when he was in hearing distance.

John turned his head to get a good look at his son's face for the first time. Jack tried not to flinch. He really tried. John made his horse stop and Jack did the same, but there was a long silence before Jack opened his mouth in an attempt to speak. Words did not come. He closed it again to ponder exactly what he wanted to say in the first place before attempting something like, "Hi Pa. How was Heaven?" (or the more fitting "How was hell?"). But the only thing that came out was "Ghm..."

The undead he was trying to communicate with looked deeply unimpressed, whitch was a feat in and of itself, considering all the absent and decayed muscles. It crossed its arms impatiently.

Opening his mouth once more, Jack tried again.

"Goddang it Pa...you look terrible"He finnaly forced out.

Its eyebrows shot up at the word "Pa". The undead man leaned closer to take a better look at Jack with his one remaining eye, leaning back in surprise and giving a strangled "Hrgh?" before leaning forward again and coming uncomfertably close, the eye roving up around the younger man`s face. Leaning back in the saddle once more, he seemed bothered. It continued to stare at him, and Jack back at it,noticing that his father hadn't changed all that much. But then again, maybe the one eye that remained had decayed too far to see much at all.

The undead looked... uncomfertable now, if that was possible.

"It's all right, Pa..." Jack figured he was still in some kind of shock to let "all right" get mixed with this situation, because it certainly was not "all right". At least the undead man that should be his father had the decency to look ashamed of himself for sinning so viciously against nature.

Without warning, something seemed to break inside him, and the question Jack had pushed into the back of his head came crashing out as a yell that startled a few bats out of the trees .

"WHY AREN`T YOU LIKE THE OTHER UNDEAD?"

The silence that followed was very unnerving. Jack still had his pistol in hand, clutched to his side, and he knew he was shaking a little. If it was from seeing his father in this state or something else, he was not entirely sure.

"Don't misunderstand me, Pa..but what makes you so special?"

His father gave an answering shrug before a slightly grotesque hand moved to its left breast pocket, Before he looked surprised down where he would usually keep his cigarettes. Instead of the normal twelve pack, however he pulled out a small vial of crystal clear water. Squinting at the bottle and then at his son, he seemed to be asking where it came from.

"It's the bottle of holy water you were given from Mother Superior in Mexico." Jack explained slowly, "Ma and me knew you cherished it, so we figured you would want to be buried with it."

A light seemed to dawn on John's undead features, pointing at the bottle and then himself while making a noise of excited comprehension. Jack tried to understand himself what the bottle had to do with this. From what he understood, the holy water was not a permanent solution to cure a risen undead, but he kept the thought to himself.

"Sure, that could be it." Jack said outloud, and his father seemed to be glad to have gotten his point across.

"Can you speak at all, Pa?" Jack had finnaly simmered down. Now he just sounded tired. This was all too much to think about.

John made some noises and then finnaly shook his head.

Jack couldn't help feeling a little disappointed,"It could be a might hard to communicate like this." He sighed, and John growled in agreement. "You never were too good at charades." he added as he looked around and clearing his throat."Should we get going then?" he suggested hastily after a moment.

His father's head shot up as the word "we" was mentioned, growling and wagging his finger furiously back and forth before pointing at Jack and then firmly at the ground.

Stay put. The message clearly communicated.

Jack shook his head."Ah, no sale partner." He said firmly, "You aint doing this without me. I have grown since you died."

His father did not look convinced.

"I can take a backseat on the action if you want to," Jack proposed, "but you are going to have major difficulties in speaking to anyone and finding out what happened this time...seriously...you are an ugly, ugly man" If Jack guessed correctly the corpse had just snorted in amusement. Encourged, Jack pressed on

"I can help you, Pa. I can." He insisted, and John made eye contact once more without replying for several moments. The silence around was somehow deafening to Jack. Couldn't his father see that he was able to do this? Goddamn it, he wasnt a kid anymore!

His inner ramblings were interrupted as the corpse leaned on the neck on the mare, looking at the gate in front of them. He seemed to sigh before straightened up and faced his son again, who was slightly nervous, awaiting the verdict. He nodded once and turned the mare back towards the ranch. Jack smiled and made Dahlia follow when the corpse waved a hand at him.

Arriving back at the rance, his father unmounted and let the mare walk off.

"I got all your equipment already, so we can go now, if you like." Jack clairified, guessing the reason his father had dismounted.

The senior merely waved at him again to follow him inside. Jack was about to ask why, but burst out laughing instead when he saw the strange gait his father had developed; It was like his whole body wanted to fall to the left.

Laughter dying, Jack jogged to the door, stopping at the threshold on finding his father looking through the Bible, of all things. "Eh?..Isnt that a might to late, Pa?" he asked tentatively, unsure how else to say it.

Glaring, John snapped the book shut and smacked him once on the head with it with such swiftness that by the time he figured what was going on, it was too late.

"Dang it, Pa!" Jack cried, attempting to cover his victimized head to ward off incoming blows.

None came. John opened a page and, with the left finger, tapped at a letter. Catching on quickly as to what his father wanted, he started reading aloud the words or letters his father's finger was running over.

"IS.. THAT.. MY ..HAT"

Jack scowled. Was that the first thing he had to say? Really? "No." he answered a bit curtly, "In your last will you gave it to me. It legally belongs to me now."

"MY HAT"

"Deal with it" Jack spat, irritation growing. John made that noise that resembled a chuckle before spelling out the next line.

"HOW IS ABIGAIL"

Jack looked down, a bit thrown off guard at this sudden change of subject. "Ma had a tough time after your death.I think she's getting better now, though. "He added, as if it would reassure his father somehow. "She's is in Blackwater now." He continued, "Do you want to go see her?"

"NO"

"Why?" he asked, genuinly perplexed.

"REMEMBER ME LIKE I WAS"

Sure, seeing her husband like that could be an experience she would wish she never had. Jack could understand that. After all, his was quite the sight.

The corpse suddenly got a seriously evil looking grimase on as he spelled out the next line

"WHERE IS ROSS?"

AN - Hi, I am just here to write and to get help to improve. Hope it did not give anyone cancer (If i did, I am deeply sorry)

Shout-out to my wonderful beta bkwrm19 who waved her magic wand and made my scribbles look like a story :-* Go check out her fics, she is a wonderful writer.

-Mindless