Note: This story jumps between the POV of both Jo and Meg. The change in POV is shown with a line between paragraphs.

I tried to make this as suitable as I could. The original version was rated MA but I've edited it so this version will probably linger an inch away from being M. This is my first story on this site so I'm still trying to get my head around ratings n shit |:
I don't own Burst Angel but I wouldn't mind it if I did.
Reviews would be greatly appreciated. Thanks beautiful. (;

Step One: Blackout

"Blood foaming at her nose."

"Flesh splitting in her toes!"

"She's despised where she goes?"

"An angel no one knows."

The voices are coming from somewhere within the coloured smoke that surrounds me. It's red, then its orange, then its yellow. I can't see more than a few metres in any direction ... but that's okay.

"The thick smoke makes her blind."

"So soon heaven will find …"

"That an angel lost its mind –"

Before they can say anything else, I whip around fast and shoot one directly in the face; the blood sprays all over my jacket. With no time to think, I quickly target two more which have appeared out of the smoke and send bullets directly through their eyes. They drop like sacks of sand but a third one leaps effortlessly over their bodies. His rotten face is contorted as he flies through the air towards me like a shadow. But within that split-second, I draw back my arm and manage to hook him with my fist, right in the temple. The impact breaks his skull like a piñata.

The world goes silent. All I can hear is my own breathing as I stare down at the mess I've made, which falls in a heap at my feet. "Shut up, damn it."

Zombies. And those were only a few of them. This whole factory is crawling with them, like fleas on a dog.

I spin my Desert Eagles around my fingers like drumsticks. The smoke is clearing up already, showing the massive black metal room. Old conveyer belts that don't work anymore are all over the place. Perhaps ten zombies stand on the highest one. They're drooling at me; their rotting flesh is riddled with flies and wriggling maggots. Each one has a pair of ominous eyes which glow red like headlights.

I shrug. "Come on."

They all look at each other, dumbfounded. One even scratches the patch of bone on its forehead. They seem to be clueless now that the smoke from the valves has disappeared giving me a crystal clear shot at them all.

"I'll wait here then."

I pull out my tobacco pouch and roll a cigarette, feeling sort of disappointed. Easy fights are not fun fights. I could just shoot them all now but that would be far from satisfying. I'd rather just play games. Violence, adrenaline, blood; that's what I want.

As I light up and draw-in some of the reassuring smoke there's a clunk sounding from a door behind me. I peer over my shoulder.

A zombie falls out through the door, face-planting the ground. As it gradually gets to its feet I can see that it's a tall boy with a tattered bowtie and a broken pair of glasses perched crookedly at the end of his nose. He uses one of his fleshless hands to rearrange the collar of his shirt and dust off his trousers but the tumble to the ground has broken off the other hand leaving only a stump. "Oh my," he says, while examining it with his glowing eyes.

The severed hand drags itself over the ground towards me. I stare at him.

The zombie-boy almost looks embarrassed as he surveys the other ten zombies on the conveyer belt (all of them seem embarrassed as well, some hiding behind their fingers). He then rubs his nose awkwardly with his good hand, oblivious to the fact that I'm there, until I load a Desert Eagle in his direction.

"Oh my," he repeats, blinking in surprise. "Fancy that."

I continue to stare at him.

"You must be the rather pretentious individual who has been wrecking trouble in our homestead? Well, I would kindly shake your hand if you fair enough to shake mine. It's available only two feet in front of you but take care of the excess pus and bone marrow."

I tighten my lips and skip my gaze between the zombie-boy and the twitching hand that is crawling in random circles on the ground. There is a heavy silence. I'm in a situation I would not have predicted to be in.

"Are you trying to be funny," I say. It's more of a statement than a question.

"Of course not, I am funny. I am also Oliver Flewip … and you are?"

I clench my jaw and shoot the severed hand on the ground. Bang. Fingers fly off like confetti.

"Well, honestly," the zombie-boy says with a huff, "that was uncalled for. I could've conjured up a way to reattach that, you know."

I growl and point the pistol back at him, aiming right between his glasses. "Tell me why such a sad piece of work like you is standing in front of someone like me without a bullet through your damn brain."

The zombie's lipless mouth sags at the corners as if he's offended. "I most definitely am not a 'sad piece of work' thank you. I'm quite content and, if I might also add, charmingly witty."

Suddenly a tremendous weight slams into me from above and the ground rises up to meet my head. The air is knocked from my lungs and there's an overbearing smell of rotting meat. I struggle; several bodies are crushing into my back at once, pinning down my arms and legs. There's heavy panting in my ear and agony continues to explode all over me, slowing my thoughts. All I know is that my Desert Eagle is no longer in my hand.

There's a voice saying, "Quick, immobilize her!" but I don't care. I'm not prepared to waste time, only zombies.

Pushing my chest up off the ground, I elbow whatever is holding my right arm and roll to that side, catching one zombie in the face with my inner foot. I then throw my knuckles into another one's throat and hastily jump up, tucking in my knees until I flip backwards and land standing on the shoulders of another.

The zombie leers left and right like a ship at sea, trying to keep on its feet. I snarl and pull out my other Desert Eagle, blasting three other ones that are charging in my direction before shooting the one I'm standing on through the top of the head. Its body quivers before collapsing face first to the floor.

I whip around, prepared to kill the remaining of the 'living dead' before I notice the glint of metal on my arm. There's a rusty needle in my wrist, empty of whatever fluid it had previously contained. Shit, I think, pulling it out the moment I see, but it's too late.

Six maggot-eaten zombies stand around me – their skull-like faces are laughing. I wince as icy pain pierces all of my muscles, sending me to my knees. Energy is being sapped from every inch of my skin. Beads of sweat bud on my forehead. I clench my teeth, forcing myself to fight the drug which spreads throughout my system but I can't. In less than a minute my body fails and I fall to the ground. I'm now staring at the feet of the closest zombie, watching something wriggle between the holes in his toes as the living dead all fill the factory with more booming laughter. I can't do so much as move my fingers or talk. All I can do is breathe and see.

"Not so tough now, angel girl? You're looking a little wasted," one zombie says smugly.

"What should we do with her? Cut her? Eat her? Torture her?" asks another.

"Let's just do things."

A voice from far away clears its throat and I realize it's coming from the zombie-boy. He walks around into my line of sight, nervously adjusting his broken glasses with his remaining hand and straightening his bow tie.

"Might I intrude upon your achievement here, boys, and suggest you present this girl to the one who would be most intrigued with her incapable situation?"

There's a series of annoyed growls from the older, bigger zombies. "What are you talking about, kid?" demands one of them.

"Evidently I mean to say you should bring her to Leather Jack." The other zombies, having heard the name and understanding now, reply with enthusiastic grunts. Oliver Flewip looks down at me and nods in acknowledgement. "I'm sorry, she-without-a-name-only-a-gun-and-bad-intentions, but it's the least I could do for you after you obliterated my hand." He smiles, showing his rotting gums. "I'm sure that now you are off your high horse you might manage to learn a bit about zombies with non-zombified minds?"

I'm going to slit your throat. I manage to grind my teeth as I try to lift my head but it's useless. This isn't good. I have no idea what drug I've been injected with but being unable to move is not a nice feeling. I actually feel worry worming its way through my stomach. As the zombies begin to clap me in irons, I can't help but think that there is no worse feeling than being helpless. There is no worse feeling than having no control. Leather Jack will never have power over me.

I don't wanna die so you're going to have to.


"What is wrong with you?"

The manacles are now beginning to break the skin on my wrists. I look up, my heart pattering in my throat as streaks of blood run down my arm. I swallow hard, my cheeks burning up. I don't want to cry, but I don't think I'll be able to help myself.

A pair of zombies had cornered me downtown a few hours ago. They had managed to daze me somehow and before I knew it I found myself here in a dark, metal room which smells of smoke and ash. My guess is, from the material of the room, that I'm in the old factory that was once used to melt down metal products. A pang of fear strikes me. What if they melt me down in here? I gaze back up at my arms, my hair feels hot against my neck. The thought of dying in here is horrific and real. I've always told myself I'll be ready for it when the time comes, but I'm not. All I do is go through the people I've loved once upon a time, wishing I could see them.

There are two zombies in here, lounging on patchy sofa and betting piles of remains through a card game. There's noses, tongues and toenails. Both of the zombies have red blazing eyes and thick manes of wild hair. While they gamble wholeheartedly, the smell of them is making me feel lightheaded. Why do I have to end up in these situations?

I hear footsteps and glance upwards; I feel the colour drain from my face. If I experience change in here of any sort I know it won't be good change. To my disbelief the zombie that enters the room is unlike any of the other ones. He's a teenage boy and he's actually wearing a pair of reading glasses.

"Pardon me," he says courteously. The zombies that have been guarding me look up over their handfuls of cards, eyeing the intruder like he's something as random and bizarre as pop tart urine. "Would you kindly fill me in? I'm currently searching for the most promising Mr. Leather Jack. Could you two help a brother out and tell me where he might reside?"

The two older zombies exchange glances with each other. "Who are you?" one growls in a guttural voice.

"I'm new," replies the boy, anxiously fiddling with the cuff of his sleeve. "Oliver Flewip. It's a pleasure and a half to meet you both."

The guard zombies look disgusted and go back to their card game, completely ignoring Oliver's existence.

"Yes, hello? I haven't left yet," he says, crossing his arms. "I am quite spectacularly diligent for a zombie, were either of you aware of that? No? Wonderful. I'll just have to inform Mr L.J that you two were not being very productive after I show him the Angel I have come to capture. Ciao bella."

Oliver spins on his heels and begins to walk out of the room. The guard zombies immediately leap to their feet, the cards billowing around them in a cloud as they brandish their weapons. "What did you say?" one exclaimed.

"You heard me," Oliver says, pausing at the doorway. "I have her right now." The boy then notices me and blinks. "Is there room for one more or is this one taking up all the space?"

"Pardon?" I snap. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"You can communicate?" Oliver asks, raising one of his half-chewed-away eyebrows. "That's rather exceptional, seeing as everyone else in here seems to prefer sheltering their words. I expect I have found someone to chat to? I'll hold you up on that. In the meantime, enjoy your roommate."

The young zombie then vanishes from the room and in his place comes a pack of six others all full-sized and bulky. I watch, my lips trembling, as they carry a figure bound completely in black material to my end of the room where its dark and littered with shackles. I crane my neck, trying to see, but as they put the figure down they crowd around. There are several chinking noises accompanied with the sound of tearing fabric. It takes perhaps two minutes for them to shred the black material and chain the stranger up to their liking. It's only when the last one leaves that I can see who it is.

The moment I do, my heart begins to patter in my throat again.

It's a girl.