YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE...MAYBE TWICE!
Forgive my absence, it's been a busy few months. All will be explained one day.
Oh, and Lloyd's dead.... but, as is my habit, I digress...
The day is the Victory at Jubilee Beach. The time is 12:23pm.
We were returning home, high on the victory of our latest and most rewarding battle. With seemingly impossible odds we'd co-ordinated our "lure-and-cure" strategy on a beach, of all places, with the end result being the immensely satisfactory destruction of a few hundred zombies and the sanitation of an entire seaside town, ready for the rehabitation of it's former residents.
Without a single loss to our numbers, and only the mildest of mental breakdowns from one man and his machete, we were now returning to our barn. We were all tired and weary and looking forward to the prospect of lunch and a kip to take us up to the evening's activities.
Unfortunately this fluffy little day dream didn't last long because as we turned the last corner on the track to our barn we could see a small group of dumbfucks, four in fact, ankle deep in our cabbage patch, snarling and clawing at the door that led from the vegetable garden into our stronghold.
What the fuck was going on!?
"..bollocks..." was all Wanker could say, as we all stared at these filthy vandals, mind's racing with possible scenarios.
"Bolo, you see this?". It was Rampage over the two-way.
I thumbed my switch- "Yeah.". And that was all I could say. I was furious at the destruction of our stocks, but more than that, I was confused. For a start, how had a group of only four zeds managed to get through our defences, but more to the point, why had they even bothered?
Then suddenly I was hit with panic. You know, the sort of dead panic that tries to rip your stomach clean in half and spill your stomach contents into the mud- "Nana!? Joy!? NO!!".
They had been here, tending to the vegetables. But where were they now? Had they gone back inside? Had they run for their lives?
Again I couldn't help but think what might have happened. The fence panels were 7 foot high, with two layers of feather board. Not only should they have been strong enough to withstand such a minor attack but anyone inside would have been completely concealed from view. On top of this, Nana and Joy would have known to communicate quietly to avoid alerting any creeps in the vicinity. So what could've possibly incited these four so much that they had broken through the fences and even now, were still trying to break down the door to get in?
I don't know why, and I hoped I was wrong, but I had a feeling that that nasty little turd was to blame somehow.
Either way, just the thought of that sleazy little prick kicked me in to motion.
"Wanker," I said "load up and cover me. I got these boys."
"Righto" said Wanker. Then he asked "You okay?" and I could see the concern in his face, and I couldn't blame him after what had happened that morning. "I'm fine." I assured him, "You're a good friend, Mark." I added, in a rare moment of sentimental anti-machismo.
"Shove it up yer arse." he replied, instantly re-dressing the level of ambient testosterone.
He pulled up to within 30 feet of the small pack of zeds and as he slipped a clip into his rifle I got out of his battered old Volvo with my machete already out of her sheath. As I walked over I could feel the eyes of everybody in the vehicles watching me. Most were nervous, a few were wary, but all were watching to see if I was going to flip out again. Even Gobby was looking a little apprehensive.
I heard the passenger door of the van open and I knew without looking that Rampage had got out... just in case.
I approached the pack I knew that I owed it to all the Leatherheads, but Rampage more than most, to prove to them that my "moment" was well and truly over, and that they didn't have to watch their backs or sleep with their eyes open. So, with three lateral cuts and one thrust all four zeds were cleanly despatched, and I showed no outward signs of lunacy or psychosis. Everybody wins.
But despite my contrived air of calm my sense of urgency was still at it's peak.
I had to find Nana and Joy.
As I ran round to the front of the barn I motioned to Wanker to sweep the perimeter, then I flicked my two-way- "Gobby, Rampage, with me."
Gobby and his mate dismounted their trail bikes as the doors of the van opened, spilling it's human contents into the fresh air and afternoon sun, all of them joining Rampage in front.
I was already at the front door. I should've waited. Inside could've been swarming with re-animated corpses but I had to know if my worst fear (sorry, make that second worst fear) had come to pass.
As I opened the door I heard.... nothing.
The midday sun was streaming through the small, high windows illuminating patches but leaving the corners dark, and as my eyes acclimatised to the dark it was in the furthest corner, in the shadows, that I saw them.
My breath caught in my chest, my legs felt weak, and in that horrific moment the nightmare had happened.
The one person that had kept us sane since somebody's fucking God had struck down mankind, the one angel in all this vile shit that had made us all feel like, not only did we have somewhere to belong, but that we had a reason to live.... was dead.
Nana. She was lying on the floor...
I saw blood, dark blood. Her face and blouse were black with it. She wasn't moving.
My mind was racing as I tried to take in what I was seeing, but the shock had made my body weaker as I half-collapsed, half-leant against the frame of the barn door.
Then near Nana I saw a man. He was laying on his belly, and sitting on his back was this skinny, dirty blood spattered young girl.
The man was moaning in pain from some unseen injury and the girl was panting heavily, almost grunting. She had her fingers wrapped through the man's greasy hair and when he tried to move she lifted his head up a few inches off the floor and slammed it back down onto the concrete, causing him to cry out in muffled agony.
It was Joy! She was sitting on Lloyd's back. Why, I didn't know but I did know that the slimy fucker had done something very, very bad, and because of what he'd done the last thing that I held dear in this shitty, fucked up, mess of a world had been destroyed. Bad thing's were going to happen....
As I stood there Joy must've sensed my presence as, slowly, she turned her head to face me. Her long hair was missing in clumps, I could see that her eyes were black and bloodshot, and her mouth was caked in blood. She was infected!?
Almost crying, I looked back at Nana. Had Joy killed her!? Had she become infected and then murdered the only person in her life that she would've died for!? Dear Nana would have guessed that she was infected and still tended to her, even knowing the inevitable outcome.
But, in my mind something wasn't adding up.
And as I looked back at Joy I watched her face change as she recognized me.
"Bolo!" she cried, and then almost a whimper, "help us..."