ODIUM III The Dead Saga Excerpt
I reached the first one, side-stepping as it stretched its one bony arm for me. The other arm was barely a nub of bone left jutting out of its socket, yet it still moved. I managed to get behind it and I raised my katana high, slamming it through the back of the deader’s neck before it could turn around. The force of my blow knocked it to its knees but didn’t cut it all the way through, and I grunted as I struggled to wrench the katana free from the thick flesh and bone of its neck. I pressed down, begging the sword not to snap.
Finally the blade cut right through and the head fell from its shoulders with a resounding splat. The body slumped forward with a thud, and thick black gore that smelled like rotten eggs and three-day-old sewage pumped slowly from out of the hole in its neck. The mouth of the head continued to snap, and I slammed my sword through the side of its temple to end the deader’s eternal misery and then I moved on to the next one.
Nova was surrounded by two deaders and the ankle-biter, and I hurried across to help her. I jogged to her side, ignoring my own slow-moving deader, and I stabbed through the ankle-biter’s skull. Ankle-biters were scary, because you never freaking saw them coming. I had drawn the attention of Nova’s two deaders, but she stabbed one in the back of the skull before it could even take a step toward me, and the other followed swiftly afterwards.
I turned back to my one, sidestepping it and letting it follow me until its back was to Nova. She used both knives to hack either side of its neck in one swift movement, and the head popped up into the air like a jumping bean and landed on the ground with a small thud. It was still moving, jaws snapping away as it persistently tried to get to me, and I grimaced. It was possibly once a fairly attractive male. Cloudy blue eyes stared up at me hungrily, its teeth still relatively normal instead of broken and black. Even its skin, though pale and sallow, was still covering a full face, instead of having rotted away in parts, leaving us with a gory view of what lay underneath. I presumed this man had died from injuries other than the more standard facial bites, which were what usually got people killed.
Death brought on the zombie infection, not saliva or blood transference, and a chunk out of the face or neck was almost always a sure killer.
Nova’s boot made contact with the head and sent it flying through the air and into the fields to the left of us. Black blood trailed through the sky in an arc and she whooped and fist-pumped the air.
“Touchdown!” she yelled ridiculously. She raised her hand in an attempt to high five me.
“That’s not cool. You need to go find that head and end it.” I bent down and wiped my blade across the now headless deader’s body, cleaning it free of the gore.
“What? Why?” She bent down and cleaned her knives on a different deader’s back. “You’re just miserable. You’re always miserable, especially when you’re sick,” she huffed.
“You don’t know what I’m like when I’m sick.”
Nova rolled her eyes. “Well you’re sick now, and you’re a moody and miserable, so looks like I was right.”
“Whatever. You can’t leave a dangerous head out in the wild like that. What if someone is walking through here and doesn’t see it? What then? A dangerous head like that could kill someone.” I scowled and stood back up, releasing a hearty sneeze. “Go find the damn head.”
Nova stood back up, giving me a hard glare. “No, you go find the damn head if it’s so important to you.” She turned away and started looking through the pockets of another of the dead bodies at our feet, looking for anything useful. “No one would be stupid enough to walk through a field barefoot anyway. People wear shoes, Nina!” She pocketed several items, not bothering to show me what they were, which only pissed me off more, since we were supposed to be sharing everything.
“That’s a dangerous head, Nova. Go kill it.” I bent back down and started to fumble in my deader’s pockets, finding some gum and a lighter, plus a picture of a pretty woman. The picture did nothing to temper my growing anger. “Do they not deserve any goddamn respect?” I muttered to myself more than her. So I was surprised when Nova replied.
“No, no they don’t. I hate them all and they deserve to die a horrible death.”
My eyes snapped to hers. “You’re being a dick now.”
“Since when did you become a union leader for the Undead Society? These aren’t humans anymore,” she snarled.
* * * * *
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