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The Last Rebellion
Commander Andrew stopped suddenly. His grimy face showed pure terror. The cut on his neck never seemed so bloody.
Next to me, Marxus adjusted his glasses, brushed his hair down. A large line of dirt went from his left eye to the bottom of his neck. His scrawny body made even me look big. He held his crossbow with little confidence.
“You ok?” I whispered. Andrew raised a hand, telling us to shut up.
I glanced behind me. The rest of our squad was halted silently behind. Clover, the only girl, shuffled impatiently, her golden curls bouncing along. Copper, Clover’s older brother, stood like a statue, his biceps casting thick shadows on the pavement. Auron, second in command, slung his rifle over his shoulder, and leaned against the wall.
And then there was me, Grover. I don’t know how I got here, how I got mixed up all this.
Andrew turned. “Four of ‘em.” He gestured to Clover, Copper, Marxus, and me. “You four can handle ‘em, right?”
Copper chuckled. “I think we can take them.” We filed out slowly, staying to the walls of the old company. Blood stained the ground, as well as the walls. Corpses lay scattered around, like they were being arranged in a certain order.
Copper halted us, looked around a corner. “Found them.”
Marxus looked at me, eyes watering. He had less business here than I did. Poor kid.
I put my hand on his shoulder and nodded.
This is what you need to know: There are possibly five hundred humans alive. The year is 2750, and the six of us are currently fighting in a war. The war is called The Last Rebellion. We are fighting to save the human race.
And oh yeah, our enemies are zombies.
Copper bolted. Clover, Marxus, and I followed, caught a bit off guard. Four zombies slumped around slowly, looking for scraps and food. Their skin was grey, and most of them were missing body parts: arms, legs, noses especially. Their torsos were small and shrunken, revealing cracked ribs. Their clothes (if they had any on) were torn and molded. They were all fairly bald, their scalps dull and dusty.
Copper came to life, and sprayed the zombies with a shower of bullets. One zombie fell dead immediately, once it had about ten bullets in it’s head. By the way, killing zombies isn’t easy.
Clover’s turn. She pulled two pistols from her belt and shot repeatedly at two zombies, killing neither. She passed the entry to a shed, and I saw a hand pull her back inside. Copper.
I leapt out. Revolver loaded, I focused on a zombie Clover tried to re-kill, and shot it in the chest four times, until it collapsed dead. I only managed to shoot two more into the other zombies before I had to reload, so I zoomed into the shed.
Through the entryway, I saw Marxus load a fire arrow, and launch it into the foot of the unharmed zombie. It sizzled for a few seconds, then exploded, sending the zombie away in fifty pieces. The last zombie was upon him, so he turned and ran for the shed.
When he arrived, Clover shouted. “Marxus! You should’ve killed it! It knows where we’re hiding now!”
“I’m sorry!” Marxus muttered, breathing unsteady. “I didn’t want to get killed.”
“And we really don’t either!” Copper countered. “But if it gets in here, we’re all screwed!”
I looked through the opening. I saw no sign of the zombie. I glanced at Copper and Clover, then back outside. Finally, I said, “It’s gone.”
“What?” Copper asked. He crossed to the entryway and peered out cautiously. Then he said quietly, “All clear.”
He left the shed, and Clover quickly followed. Marxus and I sat.
“Grover…” Marxus murmured. “When will… this all… be over…” he said between breaths.
I glanced out at the darkening sky. “I don’t know, buddy.”
And then suddenly, moaning. Moaning on my left, my right, behind me, ahead of me. Everywhere. It was everywhere.
“Marxus!” I yelped. He looked at me with displeasure. He heard it too. We bolted pass boxes and tools, getting as far from the entry as we could.
“Grover!” I heard my name on the opposite side of me. I whipped around quickly, saw Marxus pointing. I followed his finger. Stairs.
“Go!” I shouted, and pushed past endless debris to follow him.
We ran up the steps as fast as our legs would allow. Marxus fell once, so I grabbed him by his arms and brought him back to his feet. There was a door at the top, and it took both of us pushing on it to break it down. When it was down, we ran until we came to an edge, backed away from the ocean of zombies below. We were on the roof. And there were hundreds of zombies below us.
“Crap.” Marxus whimpered. “I don’t want to die.”
Before you start with the, “zombies eat brains” thing, let me tell you that that is a stereotype. Zombies don’t eat brains. They eat all of your body.
Marxus stepped away from the edge sheepishly.
“It’s ok, I don’t see any Crawlers. They won’t be able to get up here. We just have to wait for the others to come back for us.”
Marxus didn’t look so sure. “Why would they come back for us…” he paused. “For me…”
I ignored him. In the near distance, Copper, Clover, and Auron were coming to the rescue. Andrew was nowhere to be seen.
Through the endless flood of zombies moaning below, I heard Auron shout a command. That was followed by bullets piercing zombies’ softened skulls and bones. Marxus loaded another fire arrow, and launched it into the crowd. Nine or ten zombies became a jig-saw puzzle. I shot a couple zombies from above with my revolver, but only killed one or two.
Copper pointed to a zombie deep in the crowd. It was dressed in a cowboy outfit, and sticking out of it’s back pocket, a map.
Copper was blasting through the zombies before I could react. Copper was never very bright. He just charged into fifty zombies, each one hungrier than the last.
However, the cowboy zombie was escaping, so we didn’t have much of a choice. Copper reached the cowboy, and beat it to the ground, took the map. He held it up to show us, a smile of pride on his face, but it sagged when he saw how many zombies were coming at him.
Marxus and I turned away, but we could still hear the deranged shouts of Copper as he was crowded and consumed. Auron waved us down quickly, and we were down in seconds. The map was in Auron’s hands.
“How’d you get it?” Marxus asked.
“Copper tossed it across the way, before… you know…” We all turned to look at the zombies tearing flesh off of Copper. We’d help, honest, but it was too late.
Clover’s eyes were puffy. Her shoulders sagged. There was no point in trying to talk to her. It would only make her angry.
“Let’s get out of here, before they finish their lunch,” Auron said. Clover coughed, a small raspy cough.
And so we left. Copper’s shouts faded into nothing. Clover’s tears surged like a waterfall. Auron, Marxus, and I said nothing.
Auron waved us this way and that, leading us back to Central Command. It was a small, oval-shaped warehouse, emptied out except for a few machines. There was a large map, covered in wrinkles and holes, taking up one whole wall. The door was sealed with wooden blocks, keeping any zombies out. Instead, we used an underground tunnel to get inside. No zombie had ever discovered the entrance, and I doubt any zombie ever would.
We arrived at Central Command, and Auron lifted the manhole leading to the tunnel. Marxus looked at me, and entered. I knew what he was thinking. Something very bad was going to happen.
Clover entered next, then I followed along slowly. I felt bad for her. Who wouldn’t, right?
We closed in on the place, and were greeted by the smell of death. Then Marxus shouted. We climbed through the tunnel as fast as we could. When we entered, Commander Andrew was sprawled on the floor.
“What happened in here?” Auron shouted, zooming over to Andrew. He felt his neck, to check his pulse. Then he shook his head.
“Look at this,” Marxus said. We turned to him. His finger lead to the map on the wall, now scribbled with red pen or marker. A house on the map was circled over and over again, and an arrow led to a small sentence. It read, “Here it is, the answer.” Other sentences said, “Danger,” and “Get out of here!”
Auron pulled out the map Copper had obtained earlier. He looked it over, and saw the same building was circled on both maps. He nodded.
“So… we go there?” Auron asked himself.
“It’s our best bet,” Clover clarified, sniffling.
Suddenly, the roof collapsed. Dust and debris fell on top of us, crushing our thin bodies. Coughing and hacking, we tried to climb out, but it took several tries before we succeeded.
Clover stood atop the pile. “What could’ve caused this?”
Auron’s voice pierced the silence. “Those!”
Crawlers. Ugly, bare zombies that crawled on all fours. Their long, filthy nails, were only outdone by their disfigured faces. Whenever one was killed, their bodies released a gas like substance, that messed with your senses. If affected, you could taste sound, or feel sight…
They crawled through the opening in the ceiling like a colony of spiders. Likely fifty, they swarmed the place, hissing and croaking.
We blasted ourselves away from them, and tried to reach the exit. Using the secret tunnel would take too long, so we ran straight for the boarded-up doorway. Marxus loaded a fire arrow into his crossbow, aimed, and blasted the boards. It stuck, sizzled, and exploded, leaving a splintery mess. We ran through it, not daring look back.
“Does anybody remember where we’re supposed to go?” Marxus panted.
Auron took out the map, and looked it over quickly. “It’s the Airport… left!”
We made a sudden left, and bolted for a large building, the one that Andrew had circled: The answer. The Airport?
It was obviously decades old, run down and abandoned, but most buildings around here were that way now. A large, white mishmash of what used to be a plane lay in rubble. There were pilot uniforms scattered on the ground in shreds of fabric. And within the airport, through the smashed windows and broken doors, there was a faint, blue light.
“That’s it!” I shouted spontaneously. Everyone looked at me, but didn’t slow down a bit. “Whatever is in there, it must be the cause of The Last Rebellion. I bet it’s controlling the zombies somehow. If we can destroy it, the human race will be saved!”
Auron nodded, but he didn’t look so sure. To elucidate, he mumbled, “But what is it that’s in there?”
Something latched onto my ankle, and I fell onto the ground. Hard. I whipped to see what had happened, but barely had enough time to dodge a deadly bite. The Crawler hissed, and tried to bite at me again, but I pulled my revolver out in shot it in the face. It flew back, and off of me, but it wasn’t dead. I stood, shot it again, and left it for dead. Then I ran for the building.
Marxus was waiting for me. Clover and Auron were out of sight, probably inside. I caught up with him.
“Clover and Auron scouted ahead, but they aren’t going inside without us,” he explained.
I turned back to the massive army of Crawlers coming at us. “How long ‘till we go in?”
Auron leapt at me from out of nowhere. “Now.” He looked at the Crawlers, then back at us. Clover appeared next to me. “It’s up to you three now. I’m going to hold them off as long as I can.”
Clover coughed. I knew she was tired of death.
Auron sighed. “There’s a machine inside, which is indeed controlling all the zombies. However, it will take many bullets to destroy it for good. Now go!”
The three of us turned and ran into complete darkness.
The only light was the machine, glowing a dastardly shade of blue.
Our eyes adjusted some, and we could see the crude silhouette of the contraption. It was probably ten feet tall, shaped like a pyramid. On each of it’s faces, there was an egg shape that seemed to have been cut out. From these holes glowed the radiantly light.
“Shoot it,” Clover commanded. And so we did.
My revolver rang through the silence like a wolf in the night. Clover’s pistols made a metallic sound when they hit the machine. Marxus launched some arrows into it too. Then, when he shot a fire arrow into it, it stuck, and one of the egg-shaped holes exploded.
“What the heck?” He queried. “Did that do it?
Then there was the endless moaning again. All around us.
“Zombies! Hide!” Clover wailed, diving into the depths of the airport. I followed.
Through a crack, we saw the hundreds, no thousands of zombies file inside. Crawlers came in on the walls, Brutes clobbered over other zombies. Pretty soon, we had to stop breathing so we wouldn’t get caught.
Then my eyes widened. Her eyes met mine. We didn’t dare speak a word, but we were both thinking the same thing.
Marxus wasn’t with us. So where was he?
I decided to be the daring one, and peek out at the machine. There he was, atop it, staring wide-eyed down at the zombies. How he got up there, I don’t know, but why was he up there?
Everything seemed to freeze. Time stopped. Marxus stood atop the machine, and readied an arrow. A fire arrow. He aimed it down, into the heart of the machine. And before he pulled the trigger, I swear he winked at me.
That was the end of The Last Rebellion. That was the end of Marxus.
After the explosion, it turned out that Auron had called in a plane to pick the three of us up, but only Clover and I returned. We went back to headquarters, had a party, did a bunch of useless stuff.
So… that’s pretty much it. Nothing more, nothing less. If you want some “aftermath” or something, sorry, but this is it.
Grover Wingrunner signing off.