Episode 41: Warning: Graphic Content
Maple Leaf Zombies - A free zombie novel - The Canada apocalypse
"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous," Keron whispers as he holds a wallet-sized photo of his departed grandson.
He wasn't able to protect the boy nor the rest of the family from doom, but he'll do anything possible to help Tim White save these good people here at the temple. Problem is, it'll mean having to resort to doing acts contrary to everything he believes in, as well as squashing what this place is all about. So, he's got a conundrum.
Sitting alone on a bleacher in the gymnasium, where several older boys are playing floor hockey, Keron wonders if this is all some kind of test from god. If it is, he's already failed, but he may have no choice but to keep failing if that means saving these good people. Will he be given absolution afterward?
"You, lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you."
He's soon joined by Suzanne, an older, always cheerful lady who's taken the role of mother protector for the orphans. Sensing he's been feeling sad, another woman, Maia, also enters the gym and sits next to him, trying to reassure the morose Keron that everything will work out in the end.
He smiles, appreciating the effort, but can't shake the sense things are about to get much worse, and he may have to eliminate what's left of his soul for these fine people to have any kind of chance.
Also troubled, Tim White joins them a few minutes later and starts proving Keron correct. They allowed Lieutenant Ford to go out with one of the other men to look for a safer spot further away, somewhere the insane evil at the research centre won't find. He's been gone for a few days, so, White assumes, they've either been killed or, worse, Ford knocked off the other guy and took off.
Even worse, several men had gone out for a supply run yesterday and never returned. Sure, they could have encountered a horde of corpses and are hiding, waiting for the coast to clear, but the other possibility weighs heavy on the FBI man's mind.
"Don't know how much longer we can stay around guys. I mean, we only have a few guns and food is running low. Water too. I'm going out with a couple of others on a scouting mission and will be gone for a few days. Will see what's up north, far away from Hagstrom and that other woman," explains White, reaching into a pocket to get the last of his grape flavoured suckers.
For some reason, Canada keeps coming up as a good idea.
While unwrapping the treat, he informs Keron, "You're in charge of things when I'm away. Everyone here, well, they look up to you. If I'm not back, you'll have to take these people to safety. Can I count on you?"
"It'll be OK. You know you can count on me, my friend, but you'll be back!"
"Jesus, you going way out there? Aren't you scared, Tim?" Maia asks.
"Does a frog have a water-tight ass?" White answers, drawing slight chuckles. Truth is, things are grim. They're almost out of everything, a lot more than he's letting on, especially bullets. There's no choice but to take magnificent risks.
White exits the gym with Keron, providing advice on the precarious evacuation.
"You're going to be back, we'll be all right," Keron assures, prompting White to note, "I will, but there's a chance some of us won't be making it. I'll see if there's somewhere up in Birch Bay, maybe even Canada. There's got to be others out there."
While all this is going on, back up in Canada Leo's new, larger group is cooling its heels at the container storage yard. They've only been able to grab a few useful things on supply runs, but at least not encountering too many plague monsters.
However, it's getting a little soul-sinking that they haven't been able to find other survivors. And we all know how sorrow has no limit.
Standing on top of a pile a rusty containers, and looking out toward the desolate River Road, Leo ponders what the rest of freaks are up to at the monastery. They've got guns, an aquifer providing all the fresh water they'll need, and have even started a working farm.
Damn, if Leo's group only had a few more guns!
But how many of the people there who haven't changed into mutant nutjobs are willingly serving them? Where will they get the freaks their much needed supply of blood? Eventually, they'll run out of people to kidnap and kill......at least one can hope.
The dude knows that they won't be truly safe unless the whole lot of them are dead.....dead, dead, dead!
Burning them out didn't work for Fred and Vic, but what about blowing them up? If they found some mining explosives, they could blast the blood suckers' asses up into their skulls. Ya, that could be a plan.
Standing next to Michael and Fred, Leo discusses his long-term vision, which may indeed involve heading back up to the monastery to destroy it. Michael and Fred, though, have big-time reservations.
"Can't stay here forever, you know that, Leo. A couple of us were scouting out some farms already, maybe we can also use these containers for the wall," Fred suggests. "I think once we get ourselves set up, we'll be all good."
"A farm...." Leo scoffs, "That's a huge undertaking even for a bigger group. Right now, it's all about stockpiling, making sure we have other spots around the city just in case this place falls. The farm will have to wait. Yup, it'll have to wait. "
Climbing up a ladder to join the conversation is Peter, possessed of a stoically handsome face and rangy frame. The former cop immediately chimes in, agreeing with everything Leo’s got to say. Farming? What a silly idea!
Leo turns to Michael, "That police station, the one with the fence around it you found, that'll be a good bug-out spot."
"It's perfect for us, I guess. Someone left supplies, even a bunch of bottled water waiting for us. There’s a couple of plague monsters locked up in the jail cells downstairs but that’s all," Michael replies.
Leo adds, "That's why I've decided to send a bunch of you to stay there, lay claim to it."
"Separate the group?" a surprised Fred asks. "Are you sure about that?"
Leo tells them it's the smart move. If one of their strongholds fails, they'll have a fallback. "Spreading out, man, that's the logical thing. I’m giving the order."
"What about the farm?" Michael inquires. Leo pats him on the shoulder and leaves him standing there.
When Leo's gone off to the crapper and Peter also departs, Michael and Fred remain on the container with their hands in their pockets, concerned about splitting up the group.
They turn around to see several of the children playing soccer on the cracked, hot pavement in the yard.
"So, Fred, you're not telling the whole story about what happened, no? I can tell on Leo's face he knows it too," Michael says.
"Umm, well, that's right. Our group was even bigger but we couldn't bug out everyone in time. The freaks went back to our camp and took a bunch of people, kids, and we didn't fight. We just ran, especially after seeing what they did to that Don guy," Fred answers, dejected. "We just ran."
Meanwhile, in an office, Avril sits with her daughter on a couch, reading a children’s learn-to-spell book. It's dirty and tattered but the little girl doesn't mind. It’s a little joy in an otherwise ugly world.
A surprise visitor enters, looking back to make sure nobody else is around. It’s Seth, a very hot and bothered Seth who removes his cowboy hat and asks to talk to the woman in the next room.
Frustrated, Avril reluctantly agrees, telling the little girl she’ll be right back.
In the next room, Seth looks more like a mound of Silly Putty rather than a strong Leo lieutenant.
“What are you doing here? You can’t be here, my daughter is here. Look, we both know it’s not going to work out. Just go,” complains Avril, her voice hushed.
“Please, just wait….please….we know how we feel about each other,” Seth counters, putting his arms around her waist and expecting a kiss. Avril pushes him back and in a rejecting tone warns, “Look, we made a mistake. I shouldn’t have let that happen. I’m married and love my husband, my kids. Me and you will never be together.”
Desperation on his face, Seth grabs her hand, begging, “I can’t stop thinking about you. You feel it too. I’m sorry about Fred but you feel the same way. Please, we can make this work….just don’t push me away…I’m…”
Avril yanks her hand away and raises her voice, letting Seth know in no uncertain terms he’d better stop having delusions they’d be together.
“You’re crazy. We’re trying to stay alive and this is all you can think about? I don’t want you bothering me or my kids again…leave me, me, alone.”
She storms out but Seth can sense her performance wasn’t genuine. He knows Leo wouldn’t approve of these shenanigans. No matter, Seth concludes, he won’t give up, but he’ll just have to wait until things settle down.
He looks out the window, gazing at the object of his unrequited affection holding the little girl’s hand. She looks back and their eyes lock briefly but that’s all the cowboy will be getting this day. Gutted, he wonders how she can be so cruel. The apocalypse is nothing compared to this. Oh well.
Morose, he also can’t help but think what kind of world will be left for those kids, or for any little tyke still breathing.
The next day Leo has everyone assembled in the middle of the compound for an important announcement. It’s one that catches almost everyone off guard.
“All right, listen up everyone. I’m splitting the group for now. I don’t want to hear any more talk about a farm. You’re getting some guns and some ammo and you’ll be staying at the police station. Staying there until I say so. Seth, you’re in charge of them. Anyone got any issues, you take it up with him….now move it,” Leo orders.
Peter will be second in command at the new camp. Leo tells him to set straight anyone who starts making trouble.
Seth tries to give Avril a knowing glance but she turns around.
A few hours later, a convoy containing half the group heads off for the new spot, leaving Avril and her clueless husband remaining with Leo and his bunch. She wonders what else Leo has in store. Does he even know what he’s bloody doing? Of course. This is part of Leo's planetary revolution, a new society he'll forge and one in which the spilling of blood will be both cleansing and sanctifying.
The following day, as several youngsters play soccer again, despite the air being so thick with stench you can chew it, the dude and Michael are in an office discussing the supply situation with Michelle who’s in charge of keeping inventory.
It’s not looking so hot, she tells them. There’s still some water and a little over two dozen cans of creamed corn and animal shaped pasta left….and that’s all! Let’s not even get into the lack of bullets.
Rubbing his beard, Leo makes the call for Michael and a couple of others to go on another supply hunt. What are they going to say, no?
A few hours after Michael is gone, Leo is back standing on a shipping container, soon joined by Fred who wants Leo to reconsider the farm idea.
“You know anything about farming? How many of you know a damn thing about what it takes to grow crops? Let’s talk about security,” Leo argues. “I don’t want to talk about this damn farm idea anymore!”
Something makes the dude turn around and what he sees gets too deep under his thin skin. It’s Vic the pig, sitting on the ground against a wall with his legs crossed, enjoying his two barley teen girlfriends at his side.
One of them runs her fingers through his greying hair. Fred informs Leo the only reason they hooked up with the horny older fart is that he’s protecting them. Sounds like a real bastard, right?
However, Caligula also proved his metal in helping fight off the freaks from the monastery. Why can’t he find some other way to please himself? This is all unacceptable! He's a sicko, a pervert into lurid things!
Homicidally angry, Leo gives Vic the look of death. Vic notices, responding, glib, "Get a load of him!"
Sure enough, the dude climbs down and marches toward Vic for the inevitable showdown. It’s time to kill this piece of garbage.
“No, wait. Leo, just wait….hold on!” shouts Fred as he tries to catch up.
Never one to shy away from a brawl, Vic sees Leo coming and gets to his feet. Vic may be tough but he’s got an enormous disadvantage with those two fake legs under his knees.
Leo clutches a thick piece of pipe while an intense Vic reaches behind and gets ready to pull out a bad-ass hunting knife.
“You got a problem dweeb? Let’s see how tough you really are!” barks Vic.
Several others gather to watch the duel.
You guessed it….something ALWAYS HAS TO HAPPEN.
Sure enough, suddenly, there’s a loud crashing sound, like metal crunching in a high-speed auto accident. WTF?
Out of nowhere, what seems like a hundred rotting, discoloured plague monsters in tattered, dirty clothing have broken in, grunting and moaning their way toward the centre of the compound. How in the hell did they get through? Here they come….and surprisingly fast!
Vic and Leo, just a few feet apart, are stopped in their tracks and stunned to see what’s headed their way.
Several of the women and children scream as Leo begins to back up, looking at Vic and shouting, “Women and kids…get inside now. Lock the doors! Guys, grab something now!”
Vic’s girlfriends hightail it out of there as the pervert stands side-by-side with Leo to begin stabbing and smashing the invaders. Several other men join the party, doing what they can to bring down as many of the undead as possible.
A few screams of agony can be heard during the battle, clearly an indicator that some of the uninvited, attacking with mind boggling ferocity, are having lunch.
Leo can see one of the men, backed up into a corner and bitten on the side of his head by one hungry corpse, while another digs its fingers into his eye sockets and then licks its fingers. Another ghoul peels the flesh clean off the man’s face like an orange.
“Come on, we can do this!” hollers Leo as he continues to smash away, pushing aside a few plague monsters that try to outflank him.
Fred, desperately looking for his kids, also smashes a few soft skulls as he makes his way toward the office building. Thank god! He sees Avril cowering with his kids behind a trailer. Grabbing hold of one of them by the hand, he leads his family to the front of the unit.
“Just get in, get in and keep the door locked,” he urges, pushing them inside and slamming the door.
As he turns, he’s pressed against the trailer by a large plague monster chomping its teeth, eagerly trying to take a bite into his neck.
Cold putrid chunks suddenly cover the hockey star’s face after Michael slices the monster’s head in two with an axe from behind.
“Come on, we have to join Leo!” yells Michael, grabbing the bewildered Fred by the collar and pushing him back into the unholy battle.
Things are happening way too fast for Fred but he doesn’t get the luxury of a precious minute or so to get his bearings.
He sees a terrified girl all alone and rushes to her aide.
Meanwhile, Leo continues to smash away near a pile of trash but is tackled by a voracious corpse that takes him down to the ground. The thing tries bite, naturally, but its neck is blocked by Leo’s forearm.
Another vile creature appears and gets onto its knees, lifting Leo’s foot and ready for a delicious sample of his ankle.
Is he a goner?
Nope! Vic emerges from the mayhem and plunges his hunting knife deep into the top of the ankle hungry monster’s skull, then he does the same to the thing on top of Leo. The dude pushes the cadaver aside and gives Vic a quick nod.
It doesn’t take long for Leo to return the favour as another plague monster quickly puts its arm around Vic’s neck from behind. Vic stumbles onto his knees but an irate Leo lunges forward and smashes the thing’s head. Afterward, they go off to finish off some more.
It’s all over in a few minutes but the damage is done. Blood and muck covered bodies of the warm bodied and undead lay scattered across the facility. What show!
Out of breath, Leo, his face caked with stinking slime, continues to hold his pipe as he strolls through the area, soon joined by an exhausted Vic who’s holding that impressive knife.
A couple other men are also standing in the compound holding weapons, amazed they’re still living.
Another runs out from a work bay screaming, “My god, my god……the kids…..not the kids!”
His heart sinking, Leo follows him inside and to a back room.
“I told them to get in, lock the doors…I, I…..I though they locked it…those things….they pushed their way in…..oh Jesus no…why?” the tearful man cries, bowing his head.
Leo and Vic take a peek to find a grotesque scene – five ravaged little ones in a massive pool of dark red.
Several destroyed plague monsters cruelly lay next to them. Leo briefly enters, inadvertently stepping on a little hand, but doesn’t want to express any emotion. He just shakes his head and leaves, closing the door and asking how many people are left.
That's weird, he's not too sad about this, Leo notices. "What's happening to me? Oh well."
Hall, holding both his saved children, enters with his despondent wife.
“Ten, there’s just ten of us left. Twenty dead. Just ten left,” Fred answers.
“They pushed their way through a weak spot in the fence, between two containers. It’s like, like they smelled blood and went straight for us,” another survivor adds.
His brow furrowed, Leo heads out, followed by the remainder of his shredded group that’s desperately looking for guidance.
“You see what I was talking about when I split up the group? This could have been a lot worse. More of the dead will be coming. We’ve got to get out of here now. Get our stuff and go. Meet up with the others at the police station. We’ll be safe there.”
“What about our people, Leo? We should bury them, no?” one of the men asks sheepishly.
“No time. They’re gone now. No time for any of that. Do your crying later!” responds Leo, “Pack your things people!”
Leo then turns to Vic, “I don’t want you messing around with those young girls anymore, or anyone like that.”
Vic nods, “Ya, OK. They’re dead anyway, but OK.”
It’s not quite over yet for the dazed group when a thumping can be heard nearby.
Holding his pipe over his shoulder, Leo is told by Fred where the noise is coming from - the trunk of a police car that had been taken from the station.
The others nervously stand behind the dude who’s assessing the situation.
“Oh no, no…….hurry, open the trunk,” Fred urges, “There’s a little girl in there. She was surrounded and, and, and, crying. I got those things away from her and made her hide in the trunk…stay real quiet!”
Leo stands back and slowly opens the thing…..and out pops a little plague monster screeching and howling.
“No, no….what happened? Look at her!” wails Avril.
Glad that Amazing Grace isn't playing in his head, an unruffled Leo takes another couple of steps back and looks at the woman. “Bit, she was bit, obviously. She turned. That’s it. Not meant to live,” he answers calmly. The others turn their heads as the dude winds up to take one last deadly swing for the afternoon.
Immediately after it’s done, a car honks its horn outside the gate. It’s Michael returning from a rather successful supply run, which included gathering toys and games for the kids.
The vehicle also has a newcomer they picked up - a military man from the Seattle area looking for a safe haven for his group.
From the top of a warehouse in the vicinity, meanwhile, Head Snapper and several of his breathtaking biker girls quietly watch, having the sagacity to remain on the stoic sideline.