The Keys to Heaven
No one told me about the zombies.
The only thing that would make this flying car ride better was if I had hair for the wind to run through. We were going due west, following Tasha’s weird tracking sense thing. We flew over the Marquesas, and kept going. Past where the cruise with Atherton took us. Then her sense ended. Not in the sense of finding something, but just dying.
We decided to keep going, to see what we would find. Boy, looking back on it, we were not ready. We came upon Fort Jefferson. Part of the Dry Tortugas national park. I’ve been down here 2 years and still haven’t been out there. One legged guys don’t swim as well as you’d think. We saw movement, lights and such at a place and time there shouldn’t be any. So, our flying car, coughing and sputtering, touched down as far away from the lights as we could, on the beach at the far end of the islet.
We get out and after a few minutes of deliberating, we decide to go see what the lights were about. After all, if we can find this guy Klatos, then we’ll be one step closer to . . . whatever we’re supposed to be doing. As quietly as we can, we head for the fort, no talking. We were brave and foolhardy. What couldn’t five children of gods handle in an abandoned fort on a crappy little island?
We reach the entrance to the fort. No movement anymore. No lights in evidence, but it was an almost full moon on a clear night. We had no trouble seeing. Before long we heard a low moan, a chanting. It was coming from the enormous cistern on the grounds. The huge hatch closed, Arthur tried to open it all slick, and ended up not just making a huge amount of noise, but actually breaking the damn thing. I mean, it was almost 300 years old. That’s why we can’t have nice stuff.
Of course, we interrupted something. Looking down, I see a man on an alter, another man over him about to plunge a knife in his chest. I drew and shot as fast as I could but it wasn’t enough to keep him from killing that poor bastard. Dude just sidestepped my bullet. Matrix style. Definitely not just human. Then Brian, that asshole, jumps down into the hole and takes on the 12 or so hooded figures and the guy that dodged my bullet. Not that smart for a guy that knows how to make that good of a cocktail. Then Arthur jumps down after him. What the hell.
Then I hear it. I look up, and its a different kind of moaning. If I haven’t seen every zombie movie ever made, I might not have known what the hell was going on. But two dozen or so lurching, shambling tattered remains of humans were coming for us. Some fast, some slow, all intent. Bullets made almost no difference as they came at us, closing alarmingly fast. Tasha booked it for her car, by which I mean flew away. A much needed escape for everyone. Leaving me and Lila to deal with the fresh hoard of the undead.
Before I can take another shot I’m surrounded by them, ripping and tearing at me. Fending them off as best I can, no end in sight. I hear Lila scream as one finds her. Its too much, I look for an opening and leap over the crowd of them, shouting and throwing rocks to try to draw them away from Lila. Some of them following, but not enough. She’s still inundated as Arthur jumps out of the hatch. I can only guess at what Brain’s doing, or not doing anymore in the cistern.
Trying to draw more off of Lila, Tasha nowhere to be seen, Brian finally gets out of the hole and we all start to run. It’s the only focus. Survival. The familiar hum of the resonance of my leg when I’m really moving, the deep thrum the only thing in my mind. Out of the gate, I see Tasha running for the dock, a boat pulling up fast. Pushing hard for the safety of the sea, everyone behind me. Some creole guy shouting for us to hurry, we all get on the boat and take off.
Not nearly as much style as a flying car, which is left on the beach, might I add, but most welcome after the ordeal in the fort. Getting away from the island, we debate about going back to get the car. Another time. Its a lost cause. Theres a lot of talking, and some of it by me, but I couldn’t tell you what was said. All I could think about was ways to deal with that crap if it ever happened again. Plans forming in my head. Gears working, quicker as the idea forms. Fire. No, white phosphorus.
Its all coming together by the time I’m home. In my shop, safe, things make sense. Total concentration. All there is is the blueprint in my head. Explosive delivery system. Maximizing dispersal. Ignition system. Falling together. White phosphorus grenades.
Fuck those zombies. I’ll be ready next time. For them or anything else.