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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    GOING NECRO By Craig Young
    April 17, 2013  Short stories   Tags:   

    Kevin stepped back, pulled his facemask over his chin and moved forward across the ruined highway into the desolate wilderness of post-apocalyptic Auckland. Around him, cars and trucks lay where their owners had abandoned them, jacknifed across the elevated road, windows shattered, some burnt-out wrecks. Ahead of him, part of the route had collapsed. He aimed a grappling hook at the far end and shot it over the precipice. As it caught fast, an inbuilt transmitter checked the density and structural integrity of the remaining highway. Not that there were any zeds left, out this far.

    He checked his flamethrower, roasting a dessicated piece of meat and skeletal remains on a clear patch. Downing a canteen top full of water, he leapt, and his feet impacted on the retractable metal of his access ladder as he dangled momentarily above the deserted factories, carparks and cafes of Otahuhu.

    A solitary zed growled its hunger far below, but it wasn’t a priority. Back when he worked for DRAPE, he would have abseiled down there, put the shitheap out of its misery and not given it any thought. But he was alone out here now, and needed to conserve his resources, and anyway, it was harmless. It lay sprawled impotently on a ramp, trailing intestines, legless, probably meagrely subsisting on birds and small animals that were foolish enough to venture near it. As if by chance, a strong wind blew a tottering chunk of masonry from a wall above down from the remains of the building above it and put the creature out of its wretched condition.

    He rose above the jutting abutement, looking down across the ramp downward, into the desolate ruins of the approaches to Auckland. He drew out his pistol and checked it for precision and accuracy.

    An hour later, he found his destination in the desolation that was Central Auckland’s Vulcan Lane. As the satnav had told him, Bridges was still intact, despite the ruins to either side of the former gay pub fixture. He’d loved the place when he was sowing his wild oats in his twenties before all this, bedding any bloke who caught his fancy, before…

    Don.

    Kevin drew to a halt as the figure lumbered out of the deserted pub, knocking over a rusted metal chair, and his throat constricted. It only wore tattered jeans now, but its body was well-preserved, despite the bloody wound in its side and the shards of bone from its arms poking out. But he knew what its body had been like once upon a time, he’d made love to it enough times.

    Don. It was his husband, still well-preserved despite the fact that they were now on opposite sides of the mortality barrier. He’d thought that he’d lost him on Z Day, when the armed forces evacuated Central Auckland, running back to get something from the bar, unaware of the closing zed as it moved between him and the evac bus. Kevin had screamed and thrust his hand out, but it was far too late. The creature thrust itself forward and ripped into the flesh and bone of Don’s neck and he fell to his knees and then into unconsciousness. With a screech of burning rubber, the bus accelerated away, as Kevin sat watching the chaos as Central Auckland descended into anarchy.

    He had shut down emotionally. He’d joined up, using his rural firearm skills as a hunter before coming out as a member of the Deep Reconnaissance Activity Patrol Echelon, the frontline army detachments that protected Wellington, Dunedin and rural outlier settlements in post-apocalyptic New Zealand from the ravages of zombie attack. As time went on, some of the other DRAPE elite found new reasons for living, new partners, surviving children or other family members, new orphaned offspring who touched their hearts. Not Kevin. And that worried the Republican New Zealand Army’s psychotherapists and counsellors, who’d seen it all too many times. Jigsaw Syndrome.

    Sometimes, a soldier ‘went necro’. It meant that she or he caught sight of a former loved one amidst the zeds and abandoned their duties to go out and seek reunion with the undead ones across the mortality barrier. It usually meant that they either died, or were turned if they had the susceptibility to the thanatovirus within their genes and chromosomes. Kevin had thought it couldn’t happen to him, until one patrol brought back the evidence that Don’s postmortal body was still in existence, lurching around its Central Auckland confines.

    “Kha…kha…” It called to him, and then its clumsy fingers tried to undo its jeans button. At length, they fell from his corpse-slender frame, leaving it oddly naked. Suddenly, Kevin realised what he had to do. Keeping his pistol ready for intrusions from any other zed elsewhere in the vicinity, he started to undress too, pulling off his kevlar vest, then shirt, unzipping his combat boots and pushing down his camo trousers, leaving him as naked as…

    Don.

    Finally, his former (?) lover began to move, lurching across the street, reached him and clumsily embraced him. Strands of ichor trailed down his face from his reddened bloodied eyes and despite the stench, Kevin quaked at the reconciliation. Then he leant his neck aside and whispered to the zombie:

    “Do it, Don. Turn me.”

    Don bit down, hard, and flesh, bone and muscle crunched beneath his onslaught. Kevin gritted his teeth as the pain surged and blood flowed over his naked shoulders and down his back and chest, dripping onto the ground. But as the minutes passed, a growing darkness obliterated Kevin’s former self, taking his name, much of his former identity, former loyalties and his humanity away from him. Five minutes passed as he became one of the nameless, interchangeable undead.

    Not entirely, for many zombies still retain vestigial memories of what they had been. Don did, and so did Kevin. Don’s lips were full of Kevin’s succulent bodily juices as his questing mouth found the new-minted zombies. Then, together, they shambled back to the derelict ruins of the pub and consummated the passion that had led Kevin Burgess to abandon his mind and life in pursuit of what was now an inert and unbeating heart, but still vivid desire that had led him across the mortality barrier.

     

    5 Comments

    1. I always liked the stories that hinted that the zeds would retain some of their memories, even if they couldn’t act on them. Baser instincts if you will. Nicely done.

      Comment by Terry Schultz on April 17, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

    2. There certainly is a rainbow over NZ at the moment. Good story Criag and well done NZ. Very well timed posting for this story too ed.

      Comment by Justin on April 18, 2013 @ 4:28 am

    3. I would love to claim some kind of link, but unfortunately the stories go up in the order they are received/approved, so its purely coincidence.

      Comment by Pete Bevan on April 18, 2013 @ 1:29 pm

    4. AN interesting take ~ well done!

      Comment by JohnT on May 9, 2013 @ 3:38 am

    5. A unique and interesting zombie tale of death and love in the zombie wasteland. Good job.

      Comment by rjspears on May 16, 2013 @ 5:13 am

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