Diabolus of the Dead
The streets were overflowing with sickened, hungry guests. If they had not caught sight of the prior commotion within the building, then the smell of fresh meat caught their current attention. Linda was shocked to see the hoard on the verge of surrounding them within just moments after exiting the broken doors. Marty, however, paid little mind to them. His eyes were glued onto the lobby entrance where Bernard remained lost in the sea of bloody bodies.
"Marty! What do we do?!" the white woman screamed as she clung tightly to the fighting man.
He flailed around, desperate to get loose of her hold. He smacked her lamp weapon out of her grasp and it rolled a few feet away - right into the lumbering mob. Defenseless and frightened, Linda grabbed hold of her boss with her now-freed arm.
"Let go! Let go of me this instant!" Marty cried, not caring that the woman was only trying to save him.
"Marty, quit it! We'll come back for it later!"
"NO!" he screeched, writhing around in her grip, "I can't just leave him! Are you crazy?!"
"Forget your damn magic stick!" Linda's rising fear began to mix into pure rage at the man's lack of cooperation. She bent down and grasped him tighter around the waist, using all her strength to lift him completely off the ground and carry him away.
A lone guest pushed his way through the crowd, knocking over several weaker guests beside him. It lunged toward the two living beings, bloody jaws parted for a strike. Linda spotted him coming and used the only weapon she had: her tail. She swiped her long white appendage across his legs, tripping him just in time. He smacked hard into the ground and no longer moved.
"Marty, please!" Linda begged her boss a final time. She could no longer hold him up and fight at the same time, so she had no choice but to drop him. Though her voice was filled with anger, tears began to peak into her eyes once again.
Unmoved by his employee's sentiment, Marty shoved against her with all his strength. To his relief, her hold loosened and he fell away. He ignored the woman's surprised cry and took off to the direction of the building. Several slow-moving creatures were no match against his own desperation. He slammed right into them, knocking their distorted bodies to the floor. A domino effect ensued and the hoard of guests all collapsed into a massive, reeking pile.
Focused and determined, Marty hopped onto the body mountain and ran across, stepping over the broken, moaning forms. His claws dug into their flesh and they slung their arms up in attempts to attack. A single arm managed to hit its mark and grabbed the blacorite's ankle with a six-fingered hand.
"Don't touch me you disgusting heap of crap!" he growled, kicking at the limb.
When the digits refused to let go, the blue-striped man continued on his quest, tugging as hard as he could against the pull. A disgusting snap resulted and he felt the resistance fall away, yet something was still holding on tightly.
He kept stomping over the dazed creatures and successfully passed the flailing hoard. He peered down to see a fleshy arm still attached to his leg. Revolted, he tried to kick the thing off. It stayed, however, and only ended up splattering more blood and flesh particles everywhere. Reluctantly, he snatched the arm off himself.
"Yeesh! Someone needs a manicure."
Another loud, gurgled snarl erupted from the streets. A diseased creature, a strange quadruped, dashed out from the hoard and into Marty's direction. It leapt at him, bile streaming down its neck and chest. With a hard flick of his arm, the blacorite whacked the animal across the face with the fleshy appendage he had been holding. It released a painful cry and tumbled to the ground. Marty looked down at the arm-weapon to see it had broken in half to become nothing more than a bloody nub.
He tossed the limb away and set forth to the building entrance. I'm coming Bernard! I won't let these filthy cretins touch you! That's my job!
A clean pathway was set before the man. Apparently the undead beings had their focus on something - or someone - else. He assumed, hoped, rather, that they had found Linda to be a delicious meal. She could give him a decent amount of time to go in, snatch up Bernard, and high-tail it the hell out of there. That was the plan.
He made it to the stained doorway, several sick people still lingering about inside, fighting over the remaining pieces of Cristobal. Coolant and robotic innards were strewn everywhere, and somewhere amongst the mess rested Marty's beloved staff. The thought alone made him sick and enraged.
The man had just taken a step inside when a flash of dark grey crossed in front of him. He jumped back, fists balled in preparation of a fight. Before him stood a fellow blacorite, a female. She was hunched over, her long tail lashing out behind her, with coolant and vomit coating her body. Her form was so distorted that Marty barely recognized her as being one of his very own employees.
"Uh… h-hi! …You!" Marty gestured to the sick woman, an uneasy smile crossing his face. He tried to remember the female's name, but for the life of him could not pin point it. For that matter, he could not even remember her occupation.
Just as he expected, she did not say anything back. Her only reply came in a static-filled growl. She slashed her knife-sharp claws at him, their bloody tips meeting with the chipped glass of the door behind them. Marty dodged out of the way of her attack and ran in the opposite direction.
He felt the woman's presence take chase behind him but he tried to stick to his plan. Find Bernard. Get out. Such a feat grew increasingly difficult as he continued to leap out of the way of nearby guests, keep up his quick pace to avoid his pursuer, and look for the staff at the same time. His system felt hot, his insides burning along with his muscles. This wasn't working.
The man had made a full circle around the building's lobby and saw not a single bit of evidence of Bernard's whereabouts. Other sick guests began to make their way into the building, and Marty knew he would be in a death trap if he kept on.
He was unable to keep up his pace and the many twists and turns, along with his own exhaustion, began to disorient him. He shoved past one last guest but in the process slipped on the growing pool of liquid on the floor. He came crashing down, sliding several feet away. He tried to get to his feet but his legs refused to work. He looked over his shoulder to see the same female blacorite aim her sights at him, claws extended.
"Oh Fu--!" his words were cut off when the woman jumped on top of him, pressing his tired body onto the filthy floor.
Her garbled cries were barely audible as a river of bile excreted from her vented mouth. The thick liquid drained across Marty's chest as he fought to keep her away. He shoved an elbow against her collarbone, desperately attempting to keep the bile from splashing into his own vents. He grabbed hold of her wrists, pushing her flailing claws away from him.
"GET OFF!" he yelled, trying his best to shove her frail form off with his knees, "Get your ugly ass OFF OF ME!"
Despite the fact the woman was rather thin and bony (the way she had been even before contracting the illness) she still remained strong, fighting back with an intense vigor. Her strange dark-yellow stripes began to glow brighter as she exerted the energy toward her victim. Marty was slowly losing the battle. He could barely breath, his chest unable to heave in air while holding off his attacker. The foul odor emitting from her fluids began to choke away the little bit of air he was able to take in. He was growing weaker every second.
A loud scream echoed in the lobby, causing many of the guests to pause what they were doing and perk up their heads. The scream came from no undead being; this scream came from someone very much alive. Alive, and incredibly angry.
Several loud clangs sounded throughout the room, followed by falling bodies and gurgled cries. The commotion was such a distraction that even Marty's attacker ceased her struggling to peer in the direction of the noise. The man tried to take the opportunity to push the female off, but his shivering muscles barely shoved her away before her attention refocused to him. Her empty, black-ringed eyes stared down on him, her paneled mouth creeping back into an almost-grin.
"Nonono! Don't kill me!! Y-you, uh, you have s-such a… pretty face! Y-yes!"
His words meant little to her. She writhed her arm out from his hold and held it high up in the air in preparation for an attack. Marty could do nothing but hold his own arm up over his face to shield himself. Just as the sick female went for the kill, the group of guests positioned beside them collectively fell to the floor with a spray of blood. When the bodies cleared the line of sight, a white figure stood in their place. Red and dark violet stains adorned her once-pure skin. With a dented lamp held tightly in her hand, an enraged Linda locked eyes with the undead predator.
"Let go of him RIGHT NOW!" the rage in her voice was undeniable.
Rushing forward with lamp at the ready, the diseased employee had no time to react. Linda brought the sitting end of the light fixture across the woman's head. A loud crack followed and the creature toppled to Marty's side.
Feeling a great wave of relief pass over him, Marty stared up at his savior. His sense of happiness was short lived when he saw her eyes still flaring and her sensors stuck back against her head.
"H-Heeey, L-Lin-d-da!" he tried to give a smile and an innocent wave.
His smile vanished when the woman bent down and clasped a bloody hand around his throat. Having not yet collected his breath from the struggle, his newly closed airway sent a shock of fear through him.
"What the hell is your problem?!" she screamed into his face, her snout pressing against his, "Why didn't you listen to me?! Do you have a death wish?!"
"Hehe-he, n-no!" the man struggled against her hold, trying to pull her grip away, "I-I didn't--! Uh, I-I j-just--!"
"We're leaving! NOW!" The white woman released her hold of his throat and jerked him to his feet.
She held tightly to his arm and started dragging him forward. Still refusing to leave without his staff, Marty sharply replied, "No! We can't leave without--"
Linda jerked the man towards her and whipped around to face him. Her anger had escalated to such a level that her tear-stained cheeks began to turn a pale violet from the raging coolant within her. "You are going whether you like it or not!"
Aggravated himself at the woman's demands, Marty momentarily pushed aside his fear and lowered his brows to say, "I'd like to see you try!"
The mistake of his words reached him too late. He had no chance to apologize before Linda's fist came soaring towards his face.
* * *
Blackness and silence was all the blacorite remembered. Occasionally he thought he recalled hearing the faint moaning of sickened people and felt his body being moved. The memories eventually ended up fading out again. When his mind finally began to return to a solid consciousness, the first thing he felt was an intense aching in his head. It pounded endlessly, sending sharp pains every few seconds through his temples. He scrunched up his brows to make the pain go away but it did little to help. His senses slowly began to return after awhile. He still heard silence around him, but he could make out the quiet sound of shuffling and what sounded to be whispers. He did not know for certain.
When at last he was able to move his head, he let out a long groan. A voice called his name, but he could not recognize it. He sensed a person leaning over him, its warm form touching his skin. It was then that he remembered the hoard of undead he had just previously left and he fought to open his eyes.
When his vision cleared, he made out a bright pink glow upon a pale face, hovering just inches from his. He let out a startled yelp, his body coming alive once more to jerk in reaction. He found himself unable to move as Linda's form sat straddled across his mid-section.
"Linda, what are you doing?!" he yelled, eyes flying wide as he tried to pull himself away.
Her hold was strong, however, and she put forth a hand to grab hold of his snout. She put a finger to her paneled mouth in a gesture to keep quiet, "Sssh! There's people outside, don't talk too loud!"
Marty agitatedly nodded and she let go. He peered around him to see they were positioned in a dark building, what looked to be the back of a long rows of chairs beside him. In an annoyed and somewhat frightened tone, he asked the woman, "Where the hell are we? And what did you do to me while I was out?!"
Linda smiled, whatever trace of malice once lingering in her face long gone. Even the smears of blood and coolant that once were plastered across her skin had vanished. Only a few stains remained noticeable. Marty wondered for a moment just how long he had been unconscious.
"I didn't do anything to you, Martykins! Well, okay, that's a bit of a fib. I did clean you up a little. You were sort of… revolting," she, almost playfully, stroked a claw across his chest where the mass of bile had once been. In its place was his former clean, black skin.
He gently smacked her hand away and looked up at her with scornful glare, "Oh great, so you practically molested me while I slept. Thanks, that makes me feel so dandy!"
The woman moved from her position on top of him and sat down on the floor, her tail curled around her legs. Her sensors dropped slightly at his accusation, "I most certainly did not! I was tempted, but I can control myself. Besides, it's no fun when you're not awake. You should know this!"
The seriousness of her tone made the blue-striped man twitch. He got to his knees and peered over the back of the seats. He observed the area to find there were more rows of chairs lined throughout the room. A large stage was placed at the opposite end.
"We're in the theater? How did we get here? This place is at least five blocks down from the main headquarters!"
Linda shrugged and her smile returned once again, "It wasn't too hard. I kept to the alleys mostly. A lot of the people started getting spread out the further we went. This street here was almost entirely empty until a couple hours ago. Now a small group of those… things have made their way outside. I think they can smell us or something."
Marty had begun to drown out the female's words, his mind instead working away at forming a new plan for their current situation. Rather, his current situation. Linda quickly noticed the man was no longer paying attention to her, and she reawaked his attention with a swift punch to the shoulder.
"Oww! Was that necessary?!"
The albino leaned forward and clutched his bruised arm. Her face grew stern, the corners of her mouth falling to a frown, "Marty, you need to focus! So far you're the only one I've seen who's not a walking corpse. There is no way I'm going to lose you again! I can't have you running away like you did! You scared the fumes out of me!"
Marty put on a smile and casually waved her concern off, "Don't you worry about me, Pinkie. I'll be fine. I know what I'm doing."
Linda raised a brow at him, unconvinced, "It didn't look like you knew what you were doing when Lamia almost clawed your head off."
"Lamia? So that was her name… riiiight. Yeah, she didn't look too great. Then again, she always looked a bit, um… what's the word? Creepy."
"Hey, don't be like that! Don't you realize she's dead now? Dead, Marty! Have some respect!"
"If you haven't noticed, everyone here is dead. Undead, but still a form of deadness. Cause they're freakin' zombies. So forgive me if I lack a sense of compassion towards them as they attempt to feast upon my magnificent brain."
Linda did not say anything back. She had not considered the sick people to be "zombies". That was just a movie myth, after all, wasn't it? The thought of the touring guests truly being mindless monsters made her shiver. Even worse, the thought of her friends being the same struck her deeply. Cristobal had already been killed, and Lamia a victim of the disease. Who else had fallen to its spread?
She turned back to her boss, who had stood up and was scanning the room for a possible plan of escape. "Hey, after you fell out of the ceiling, you said that someone tried to attack you. Who was it?"
"Harlie," he said the name in disgust, his stripes flaring at the memory, "To think, after all I did for him! He just throws it out and tries to tear me apart! You'd think his mutilated brain would at least recognize me but noooo it couldn't even handle that! Can you imagine?"
"W-Wait, Harbear? He's… he's a zombie?" she put a hand over her mouth in shock. Her sensors fell across her shoulders and her eyes began to fill with wetness.
Marty, who's impatience had begun to heighten already, was not up to hearing more of her sobs. He turned to her and tried to console with the best of his abilities, "No! No more crying! Yeah, it sucks, I'm totally sad about it too. But uh… he lived a good life. He enjoyed every single piece of labor I gave to him. Sure he didn't really show it on the outside, but I knew, deep down, he loved every minute of it."
Linda forced the tears back down and leaned forward to hug Marty's leg. "Oh, Martykins, what are we going to do? I don't want to get eaten by dead people and become a dead person too!"
The man cringed at her touch but did not dare try to kick her away. He, hesitantly, reached down a hand to pat her head. "Yeeeah, uh, it's… okay? You'll be… just fine. I'm sure the zombies will be too… afraid to mess with you. Yeah. Sure. Let's go with that."
Calming down from his reassurance, she kept hugging his leg and gently rubbing her head against his skin with a smile. "I'm so glad I at least have you here. I don't know what I'd do if I was stuck here alone!"
"That's… what I'm here for," he replied, chills running up him as the woman refused to let go.
The crashing of what sounded like equipment suddenly erupted from the other side of the room. Immediately Marty dropped to his knees, hiding himself behind the protective barrier of the seats. Linda peeked her head over the top beside him and they frantically looked around the area to find the source. The clatter rang out again and a scream echoed throughout the empty building - a woman's scream.
"That's a living person," Linda whispered to the man, "Should we go help them?"
Before Marty was able to reply, the curtains along the theater stage began to rustle with movement. Another shriek cried out, followed by the distinctly familiar moans of a sick being. What sounded like a struggle ensued, the screaming sounding louder and casting out across the barren room. The curtains began to shake again and two bodies shoved through it, tearing the velvety red material along with them. They squirmed around for several long moments before a single form managed to find their way out of the mess and onto the center of the stage. A blacorite woman with hot pink stripes.
"Magenta!" Linda's voice rose slightly from her whisper, her tone a mixture of surprise and anger.
The woman grabbed hold of her arm, which was streaming with coolant. She had not managed to escape without harm. She stared down at the mass of tangled curtain, the creature within still fighting to get free. She stared at it angrily, her stripes brightening and brows lowering.
"Disgusting beast!" she yelled at the creature before giving it a sharp kick.
It let out an angered cry and rolled over. It tore a long slit in the curtain's fabric and shot out an arm, grabbing hold of the woman's tail. She shrieked and tried to pull away, but in the process she partially freed the creature from its entrapment. It grabbed hold of the blacorite's long flailing tail and snatch her to the floor. She fell with a loud thump and began to kick and flail wildly. Her clawed feet managed to strike the creature multiple times, creating deep wounds across its face. Its anger boiling over, it snarled and opened its jaws. With a swift movement, it snapped its teeth down on her tail. The crunching of metallic bones was drowned out by the woman's screams of agony. She kicked harder at the creature, desperate to free herself.
With a firm kick with the back of her hock, the guest's jaws were forced to let go. Magenta scrambled to her feet and fled from the stage, dripping coolant along the shiny floorboards. The zombie tried to chase after her but could not get loose from the curtains that entangled it.
Still hiding at the back of the room, Linda nudged Marty's arm with an elbow. "She's been bit. I vote we take her out now."
"Wait… what?" Marty asked, staring at the woman with squinted eyes.
She turned to him, a strange look on her face that made the man's innards lurch. A look of bloodlust, as if she desperately wanted the woman's demise. "That thing bit her! It injected its sickness into her. She's gonna end up like one of them in no time! She's a threat."
The albino released an almost crazed, quiet cackle, one that not even the boss had heard before. He leaned away, wondering deep down if he could run away now without her noticing.
Linda rose to her feet and called out to the injured female, "Hey, over here!"
Magenta, breathing heavily from her fight, peered up at them. For a moment she seemed relieved to hear the voice of another living person, but as soon as she made eye contact with the other pink-striped female her gaze went cold. "Ugh, you of all people managed to make it out? This world really is going down the drain!"
Offended at the remark about his beloved planet, Marty stood up beside Linda and prepared a sharp retort, "Excuse you! I'll have you know I have everything under contr--"
Linda reached her arm around his neck and quickly snatched him against her chest to silence him. With a fake smile still spread on her mouth, the woman went on in her overly-happy, robotic tone, "I see one of them decided to make a tasty snack of you. Poor thing probably has an STD or something now. But hey! Come over here and join us! We have a cure for the illness that you have inevitably contracted!"
The hurt female looked at her arm, streams of coolant dripping down her elbow and onto the floor. She tried to apply pressure to it with her other hand but it continued to pour out. Her tail, now adorned with a fresh open wound, only made her situation worse. She seemed to be considering it, but in the end she replied with a uncaring, "Oh please, where would you find a cure?"
Linda laughed again and pointed at her boss, "Martytart here, of course! He has his little magic stick and stuff! He can make anything! Right, Martsy?"
The man, obviously annoyed, just groaned and waved as if to confirm.
Magenta clearly did not believe it. "Yeah right! If you had a cure you wouldn't be way out here in town amongst these disgusting vermin. I'm not a fool! I want nothing to do with either of you. You can get yourselves eaten for all I care!"
With that, she turned around and ran through a door leading to the backstage.
"Well, that was successful," Marty sarcastically said. He pulled away from Linda's grasp and brushed himself off. "Hmm. I wonder if there is a back entrance? Maybe it hasn't been completely taken over by--hey! Where are you going?!"
Marty turned to see Linda running down the side aisle in chase of the woman. Her sensors were stuck back against her skin. She disappeared into the entrance, the darkness startling her and forcing her to stop. It was pitch black, only her pink lights giving any sort of illumination. She peered around and managed to make out several items along the walls and on the floor; she couldn't tell what they were, though.
A bright light suddenly flicked on, burning her eyes. She rubbed them and turned around to see Marty standing in the doorway, his hand on the light switch. Even he had to shield his eyes from the blinding light after having been in darkness for so long.
"So much for telling me not to leave!" he growled, making his way across the room, examining it.
The backstage was just as anyone would have expected the back of a theater to look like: chairs, backdrops, props, papers, mannequins, outfits, and various other things were strewn about. Linda stared down at the floor and saw the trail of coolant left behind by the woman. Her anger bubbled up inside her again but she shook her head, trying to clear her mind.
No, don't worry about her. There's more important things to focus on. She's not worth it.
A ruckus jolted her back to the present and she looked over to see Marty rummaging through a large open trunk. He pulled out a variety of things, plastic swords, wigs, costume jewelry, an entire script. Nothing seemed to be of use, and Linda could hear the zombie on the stage screaming hungrily as it heard the noise of its next potential victims.
"Stop it! You're making too much noise!" Linda chastised him.
Marty ignored her and kept searching. His stripes brightened and he exclaimed a successful "A-ha!" and pulled out a long metal item. It was flat with the two ends forked and bent in opposite directions: a crowbar. The man held the item in his hands, a wicked smile crossing his face.
"Now I can kick some real zombie tail and get back Bernard and solve this mess!" he flailed the item around, making quick swipes at the air. "Hmm. I need a little… target practice."
Without saying anything more, he turned and ran out of the room, leaving Linda standing in bewilderment. Before following, she scanned the room, looking for a weapon of her own. A decent sized stage lamp caught her eye, its top fix with a large cylindrical bulb container. She picked it up and found it to be a workable weight to be used. She leaned it across her shoulder and took off in Marty's direction.
She exited the room and saw her boss climbing up the stairs to the stage, cautiously holding his crowbar in front of him. The woman came up behind him and the two stopped before the creature on the floor. It remained tightly wrapped up in the curtain, its surface torn to ribbons but still managing to stay strong. The zombie noticed the two before it and began to fight even harder.
Marty tip toed closer, crowbar held tightly in his grip. Linda said nothing as he held the weapon high up over his head, aimed, and brought it down upon the beast's head. His aim was not perfect and it did not result in a fatal blow. Blood spewed out, sending droplets onto the floor and Marty's recently-cleaned body. The zombie cried loudly in a mixture of pain and rage. The man tried again, repositioning his arm and slamming the jagged end of the weapon onto its head a second time. Still he did not hit the mark perfectly and the creature remained alive. At least, as alive as it could have been.
Linda forced herself to keep staring as Marty attacked it one final time, managing to cause the creature to cease at last. "Third time's the charm!" Marty said with a cynical smile. Blood had splattered across his legs and the tip of the crowbar.
He did not bother to turn to Linda before taking off across the stage, sights aimed for another back entrance door. The woman gave the gruesome sight of the dead creature one last glance before running after him.
The two burst through the backstage door and into darkness. Just before them was a crack of light, the word "Exit" glowing in bright red letters just above it. Marty paused before it, peeking out to check if it was safe.
"What do we do now, Martykins?" Linda asked, gripping her own weapon in preparation.
Marty pushed open the door and started his way out, "I don't know about you, but I'm going to take back my world!"