Our heroes (?) limp painfully back out onto the zombie-ravaged streets of Sueno Beach. Away from the marina where good old dependable Lucien met his final reward. Our three remaining survivors come face to face with a grim reality. They’re on their last legs – physically, mentally, emotionally, the whole shebang. They have to make their way past hordes of ravenous undead fiends to reach the channel 14 television studios. Duke is in the best shape of the three. Which isn’t saying a lot since he got mauled twice.
Ela and Martialla are fading fast – they lean on each other like drunk hobos and don’t so much walk as they take turns falling forward while the other holds them up. The human body can endure a lot but everyone has their limits. Blood loss, exhaustion, shock, having a zombie shark bite your foot off, these things they all take their toll. Martialla is the worse off of the two. With three deaths in quick succession she’s falling into a spiritual K hole of sorts. Add that to the mind-numbing horror she’s experienced this night to her rapidly worsening physical condition and she’s ready to just lay down and die. If Ela wasn’t there dragging her forward she’d probably do just that.
Ela feels dizzy and nauseated all the time but even with one foot she still forces one foot in front of the . . . well not other, but you know, she keeps going is the point. Seeing Lucien dragged under the water like that rent her heart in two, but it’s only served to harden her resolve to make it out alive. Lucien was nothing if not a survivor, and he’d never want Ela to think about giving up for even a split second. The memory of Lucien’s smiling gay Canadian face spurs her onward. Despite the pain, despite the awfulness, despite the empty feeling in her chest, despite the shooting pain in her footless leg. She’s going to get out of Sueno Beach and that’s that, there’s nothing else for it. They turn down the street, their path illuminated by burning cars. Also lit up by the dancing flames, assorted chewed up human body parts laying strewn about like discarded dog bones.
Ela looks around wearily “Do we even know which way to go to get to this television station?”
Duke shrugs “Does it matter? Have to take the path of least zombie resistance. We’re in no condition to fight.”
Martialla stumbles badly and almost drags Ela down with her “What are we going to do if we get corned?”
“Probably get killed.”
Ela scowls at him “Shut up Duke, we’re going to make it.”
“Actually, now that I think about it we probably won’t get killed right away – we’ll be eaten alive. Eventually we’ll knock off from blood loss or something as they eat us, but unless they bite into the heart or brain it could take a while to die. I’d wager that’s what all the screaming we’ve been hearing tonight has been about. Aside from the general screaming that people would do just at seeing zombies or what have you.”
Ela gives him a death-glare “Shut the fuck up you human cockroach.”
Duke starts to say something back but Martialla laboriously raises her arm and points “Hey look, there are some zombies now.”
Duke looks “Yes, those certainly do seem to be zombies. And unless I’m mistaken they’re not wearing any pants. Aaaaand they’ve got us surrounded.”
Ela does her best to focus but her vision is swimming pretty badly “He’s right, they’re all at least half nude.”
“Well, there is a massage parlor around here somewhere. You know, a ‘massage parlor’, wink-wink, nudge-nudge say no more?”
Martialla raises an eyebrow “How would you know about that Duke?”
Even in the face of oblivion he still manages to look embarrassed “I don’t know about it, I mean I . . . I didn’t say . . . I just heard . . .”
Ela laughs hysterically “We’re under attack by zombie hookers! And their zombie johns! What a way to fucking go!”
Martialla can’t stand anymore, she doesn’t just sit down but lays on the ground “Whatever they are they’re getting pretty close. Are you two going to do something about that? I’m fine with just laying here and accepting the inevitable, but I’d like to know the plan.”
Ela grabs Martialla by the arm and starts dragging her painfully “Nothing is inevitable! Lucien didn’t sacrifice himself so you could lay down and die, Martialla. We can get away in one of these cars.”
Duke yanks the mostly skeletonized body out of the driver’s seat “Yes, yes, capital idea! Just look how well it worked for this fellow. And the keys are still in it, what luck! This is a Toyota Tercel you sons of whores! You’re all in big trouble now!”
Ela slides smoothly into the driver’s seat “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything. I’m a regular driving machine which is what car is too, a literal driving machine. That’s why we get along so well, birds of a feather you know. Get in, get in, get in, we don’t have all night! You know, I won the Ah’hinei’ai time trials in Hawaii back in ought ninety-nine driving a rutabaga powered sportster. The trophy and the prize money were great, but afterwards I went out drinking with Miss Australia nineteen ninety three and we ran into Pierce Brosnan. Can you believe that?”
Duke and Martialla collapse into the back seat and they say simultaneously “No.”
“So Pierce and I get to talking, that accent of his is a nightmare by the way, anyway I can tell you that story later, let’s get this road on the show.”
Zombies are climbing onto the car as Ela carefully puts her seat belt on, adjusts the mirrors, moves her seat back and forth a couple of times, adjusts the mirror again, and then finally turns the key in the ignition and starts the car up. A zombie smashes through the driver’s side window and grabs her by the hair, prompting her to finally mash her stump down on gas. They take off like a shot – zombies flying off the car as the tires squeal and throw smoke. The zombie that grabbed Ela is dragged to the ground and off with a handful of her skin and hair.
Ela has her arm up on the headrest looking out the back window “Cripes! That hurt!”
Martialla peeks up in the backseat “Are we going backwards?”
Duke peeks up carefully as well “It seems so.”
Ela knocks down a row of zombies like a kid in driver’s education murdering cones “Of course we’re going backwards – this is how a trained professional does it. A front end impact will set off the airbags. You know, I was talking to the stunt driver on the set of . . .” She yells and swerves as they run over a mailbox. “Hey, where did that come from?”
Duke’s eyes go wild as Ela slows to a crawl “What are you doing, get us the hell out of here!”
“I’m trying to find the lights, I can’t see anything!”
Martialla waves her onwards wildly “Who cares?! Just go!”
“Oh, that’s a fine attitude for a motorist to have, isn’t it? I don’t know how things work in Moosejaw or Saskatoon or Regina or whatever Canadian shithole you come from but here in the US of A we take safety seriously. It’s that kind of thinking that leads to dozens of automobile related deaths each year. Safety is the watchword of the day when you’re driving my friend, and that’s a fact jack. Who cares? Who cares? Just drive off into the night without lights? Well you’re sure as hell going to care when we slam into a brick wall won’t you? You’ll care so much you’ll be dead! Ah, there we go.” The lights cut on and she takes off again, crunching more zombies. “Hmm, we seem to be getting a lot of grinding, I should ask a mechanic about that.”