Flash: Zombie Stench

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rating: Mature (language)

“Oh … god,” Dick moaned doubling over.

Vinny turned back to look for a second before continuing his visual sweep of the mall. “You okay, man?”

“You didn’t get bit or anything?” Sandi frowned. It was just the three of them now and she hated to have to shoot another friend. The guys were too squeamish, so executions fell to her.

“No, not bit.” Dick panted rapidly a few times before straightening enough to lean against the wall. “God, I shouldn’t have had those chili dogs.”

“First fresh food in days and you complain.” Sandi growled, checking the ammo levels in her pistols during the lull. She frowned before stuffing a couple bullets into her revolver; she didn’t remember firing it. “Whine, whine, whine.”

“This after screaming like a girl?” Dick snapped back.

“The zombie grabbed my boob, before I blew out his brains.” Satisfied everything was fully loaded, Sandi did one last tap check to verify everything was in place before bringing her carbine to ready. “Had to have been a mother-fucking perve in life. First one to go for the double Ds, most go for limbs.”

Vinny went over to his neighbor, running an eye over Dick. Leather jacket was covered in gore; black gloves, heavy jeans, and work boots they picked up yesterday were far from new now. Dick’s face was sweaty and pale, but his lips didn’t have the crusting.

“Vinny, I’m going to need more ammo soon.” Sandi reported as she took over the visual sweep.

Vincent served as the group’s de facto leader since Warren bit it, bit it in more ways than one. A loss since he was the only one in the neighborhood who had been in the military; sure he got kicked out of boot camp on a medical, but at least he walked them through basic weapon training and opened up his armory. Warren had really, really wanted to be part of the military. Vincent was a little shocked by how much fire-power had been located in his little suburban cul-de-sac.

Satisfied Dick would live — and not turn around and kill them — Vincent said. “Granger Mountain replaced the Macy’s a few months back. It’s on the west end.”

Sandi frowned; it was rapidly becoming the day-care worker’s natural expression. “That’s past the food court. If any zombies made it in, …”

“I know.” Vincent’s voice cracked with exhaustion.

Vincent and Dick joined Sandi at the pillar in front of the Hello Kitty store. It had been prime real estate, located at the juncture between an entrance and the main hall of the two-story mall. Across the way was a Barnes and Noble. Looking down the hall, the group could see the retail excess of mostly useless clothes.

They had debated retreating to the mall once their neighborhood had been overrun. They needed a place with supplies. The Super-Walmart was the best choice, if they hadn’t run into horde after horde. Seemed like Wally World was the store of choice for mindless zombies.

 The mall had an ethnic food market and an Aldi. The zombies would have eaten all the easily accessible food, if they were around, but the canned goods would be intact.

Taking the left side, a natural preference since he was left-handed, Vinny announced, “Clear.”

Sandi verified the right side. “Clear.”

“Dick, you know the way?”

“With three teenage daughters? The mall’s a second home.”  Dick moved into point, following the established pattern. As the oldest, and most out-of-shape, of the remaining group, they liked him to set the pace. He was also, surprisingly, the most accurate shot. After Warren and Cass … left … the sniper rifle fell to him.

Manikins moved in the shadows as they quick marched down through the unnaturally empty space. Other than their booted steps, the only sounds echoing were the high-pitched hum of lights and the motorized rumble of the escalator. Grimacing, Richard ran up the ramp between the half-levels. One fight on a staircase had been enough for a lifetime.

Shortly thereafter, the grand hall widened into the food court and, for the first time since entering the mall, sounds of human movement could be heard. They ducked into a short hall immediately before the food court. Sandi, the smallest and most agile of them, poked around the corner while Dick and Vinny checked the narrow passage.

“Fifteen or so, but they are at the McDonalds. Half of them in uniform,” Sandi whispered.

Vinny nodded. They had seen similar grouping behavior. “Most likely with whatever functions as their minds, they chose a familiar place.”

Sandi pulled back completely into the corridor. “If they are in a safe place, they won’t react as fast. We could blow by them quickly.”

“Good plan. Let’s move on three. One … Two …”

“Where the hell are you going Dick?” Sandi hissed through the count.

Dick continued walking down the hall. “I’ve pissed myself twice, damn if I am going to shit myself.”

Vinny turned to see Dick pushing open a door. “What the hell ARE you doing?”

“Taking a god-damn bathroom break.”

Vinny and Sandi stared at each other in shock after Dick disappeared into the restroom.

“Aberrant behavior.” Sandi muttered.

Vinny shook his head. “Usually aggressive, not stupid like this.”

“He has lost it.”

Vinny looked sadly down the mall’s utility passageway; crazy they didn’t need. “Agreed. So on three?”

They broke out, Sandi’s carbine and Vinny’s submachine gun shooting short bursts, running flat out for once, without Dick slowing them down. Turns out Sandi’s visual assessment was accurate, at least as far as she could see. The steakhouse tucked against the food court’s side, around the corner and invisible from the restroom alley, held a much larger group.

The multitude, many having name tags declaring a store and a no longer viable name, flooded the area. Even with the generous use of fire power destroying bodies and with zombies being distracted by the fresh meat, the two were unable to continue. As Vinny slammed in his last magazine, through unspoken agreement, the couple retreated to the last defendable position.

The zombies followed, through no more than two abreast could fit past the public phone. A few bounced off the wall mount, unable to process why they could go no further.

They needed another gun to get out. Vinny and Sandi pushed open the men’s room door.

“Oh shit! What is that?!?” Sandi said, covering her burning nose.

Vinny nearly puked. He had several days of zombie gore on him, and he never smelled anything this vile. The small room reeked.

“Nearly done guys,” came Dick’s bass from second stall. Farting and sounds of something half liquid being ejected followed. The sound was horrifyingly similar to the sound of Cass using the sledge hammer on zombies.

Speaking of zombies, a swinging door is not much of an obstacle, once the zombies knew it was a door. They followed, like the never-stopping horde of mindless creatures they were, they followed.

And stopped.

Mindless does not mean without senses.

Zombies actually have a very good sense of smell.

The zombies gagged.

Not something anyone would want to see, and REALLY not something anyone wanted to hear.

Then the zombies retreated.

Vinny froze in shock.

Sounds of Dick pulling up his jeans filled the silent tiled room.

Sandi yelled. “Dick, whatever you do – DO NOT FLUSH!!!!”

“Sandi, what the fuck are you doing in here?” Dick stepped out of the stall.

Vinny turned on the woman of the group, “And why not flush that putrid shit from hell? We are going to be stuck here for a while.”

Sandi, the bounding twenty-something, curvy, beautiful, perky, relentless blonde, the one which had driven all men nuts during the neighborhood block pool parties in her infinitesimal bikini, the only female to survive the five grueling days and nights since the first zombies came visiting, grabbed Dick by the ears, pulled down him down, and kissed him thoroughly on the lips.

“I love you!” she declared, releasing him. “You get chili dogs FOREVER.”

After that she laid down and curled around her carbine like a teddy bear.

Vinny and Dick stared at her. She, their mascot, their backbone, had gone mad.

Sandi cracked open an eye. “The zombies can’t stand the stench. They don’t understand things change. They are going to wait until we come out.”

The two men heads shook slightly side-to-side trying to follow her reasoning.

“Dudes, we can sleep.”

(words 1,417 – first published 9/17/2013, republished new blog format 7/1/2018)