Episode 10: Warning: Graphic Content
"Ummmm, something seems kind of not right," an anxious Leo tells Anna, who pays no mind and jumps out of their vehicle. Leo steps out but forgets his gun while the others also come to investigate this oddity. Only Laszlo is holding a machine gun but his guard is down.
All Anna knows in that cute little head of hers is that they found someone who somehow made it this far, a survivor from the old world of heartbreaking extremes.
This was strange, though. This elegant-looking Asian lady, wearing an expensive pant suit and designer glasses, and hair looking as if she just came from a salon, couldn’t have made it on her own. The city and burbs are crawling with infected....they're everywhere!
“Drop your weapons! Drop ‘em son of a bitch!”
The order comes from several men brandishing hunting rifles who appear with lightning speed from behind a couple abandoned trucks. They’re pointing straight at the group and have them surround. A stupid trap!
Funny, they don’t look like post-apocalyptic bad guys with their clean dress and golf shirts, slacks and clean shaven faces. Laszlo knows they’ve got the drop on him and drops his gun.
The refined, as well as vain and fickle, lady is clearly in charge of this group and with arms crossed begins ordering her sharp-looking henchmen.
She was probably someone real important back in the old world and it’s looking like that hasn’t changed.
“Hands up, get to the god damn wall there right now. Move it or we’ll shoot you!” one of the cutthroats barks.
Darn it, it’s the heavyset guy with the curly hair, the jerk who shot at Leo. The stunned group don’t know what to make of this as they’re lined up against a wall.
“You don’t have to do this. Wait, just wait….,” says Anna as she begins to try reasoning with her captors.
She’s told to shut up but when Ray also begins pleading their case he gets a butt of a rifle in his midsection. He crumbles to the ground clutching his stomach. These bastards mean business.
When another man with walkie talky emerges, it becomes clear what’s going on. The high-strung, saucer-eyed, potbellied yet scarecrow-thin weasel had been waiting atop a building to spot any survivors and, once seen, the marauders quickly mobilized to snare them.
“I found them Lillian. I did it! Lillian I did good. Look at what we got!” the weasel beams. You just want to punch this little turd in the face!
This Lillian character nods and tells the men, “Take them to the building. Take the vans, take it all, and take them to the building now!”
The little turd adds, "I'm really good, I'm important, I'm so important for you. I keep getting these guys!"
When one of the other brutes tells the shrimp to use his inside voice, the puke responds, "But we're outside!".... good grief.
Leo is dejected, all that work, all their guns and supplies, gone in a stupid trap. Witch! She looks all-business. Leo’s group stands and complies. Their vehicles are driven away and another car appears on the scene. It’s a big, fancy black sedan for the ringleader who is also driven away.
When she’s gone, the unrepentant anal polyps, around eight of them remaining, aren’t finished just yet...not by a longshot! One of the bigger ones approaches a confused and frightened Johnny, smiling.
"This one. This young one for Thomas. Take him now," the big man orders.
Johnny backs off but is grabbed from behind by the man with the curly hair. He’s got Johnny in a powerful hold and the men begin laughing as yet another a car pulls up.
"No, no…..stop…..no……!” screams Johnny.
He kicks and thrashes in futility as the man literally carries him to the waiting SUV with its back door open. Several other men are already inside. He throws Johnny into the back seat and climbs in beside the kid. The vehicle then screeches off.
No, this is not good at all! Sarah throughout the episode screams and begs the goons to leave her brother alone. Laszlo holds onto her and keeps her back. Leo can’t believe this is happening. Insatiable, arrogant and appallingly crude, that gang seems to be the mind boggling new order.
His group is led into the back of a dirty white cube van, the door closing and locked behind them. Their new ride then takes off to a destination in the wasteland that can’t be any good. They van passes row upon row of vacant homes.
“Oh no. What do we do? Why are they doing this? What’s going to happen?” Ned asks. “Who are those guys? Who’s that lady? This sucks!”
Sarah continues to whimper but nobody tries to comfort her. Ray is still hunched over, clutching his stomach and coughing, as Laszlo and Leo stand looking at Anna, waiting for instructions.
“Listen, OK? These bastards. We can’t let them get the drop on us no more. We have to act fast. Remember we have to act fast. Go for their guns, OK?” she exclaims.
It seems like a good enough plan. Problem is, who knows what’s waiting for them at their destination.
Anna holds Leo’s hand but doesn’t want to look him in the face. It’s as if she knows this will be the end. In a short while, the van slows down and halts. What part of the dead city were they taken to and why? Does this woman run the land?
The group hears several voices and a few minutes later the back door opens. Five of those creeps followed them in another vehicle and are pointing their rifles. The man who opens the door shouts a few obscenities and orders them out, and they have no choice but to comply.
Wait a second. Leo knows this place! Yes, this is the same building where he wanted to take a piss outside, where he heard those aweful sounds from within.
The man unlocks and opens the side door and yells at the group to get inside. He then locks the door once they’re in. The trapped group then hears the vehicles depart. Fine, now what? It’s some sort of warehouse. Are they prisoners? Does that evil witch have plans for them?
So far, it’s quiet in here. The floor is almost entirely covered in congealed streams of blood as well as bits of bone, human tissue and other debris.
A few metres away there’s a decaying corpse whose only remains are from the waist-up, ribs exposed and covered with a paper-thin layer of brown rotten skin.
What a horror! Anna scans the area and quickly spots an opening for the group. In a hushed voice she points to a window with a few crates underneath, crates packed like a staircase.
“Shhhh, look, up there. Climb onto that shelf and try to make it to those boxes. We’ll get out that window guys. Hurry…hurry. Grab something, any kind of weapon, and go for those boxes. Hurry, put your skates on!”
As the group begins to move in a tight formation toward the opening that horrible, terrifying guttural sound suddenly begins. From a doorway and from the back of the warehouse, hundreds of carnivorous plague creeps appear. They obviously head toward the group.
Oh no! Ned, nervously grinning, runs off, while Anna grabs Leo by the hand and leads him in another direction. She grabs a pipe from a shelf and Leo gets a hold of a good two-by-four.
For some zany reason, the Boney M song Leo always hated, Brown Girl in the Ring, begins playing in his head at high volume.
"Show me your motion
Tra la la la la
Show me your motion
Tra la la la la..."
They turn around to see the roaming plague monsters behind them, cutting them off from the others. Laszlo runs hand-in-hand with Sarah and picks up a wrench from the floor to begin smashing some soft monstrous heads, black muck exploding everywhere.
He loses his grip and then sight of the girl who ends up tripping over a busted toilet bowl. The skater dude hears her awful, desperate cries. He's next and he knows it. Damn, he should have ditched Leo and went off on his own when he had the chance!
Swinging wildly and also kicking some of the flesh eaters that try to grab a hold of him, he manages to somehow get into a tiny bathroom and lock the door. Now in the dark, and hearing those hungry things trying to force their way in, he knows he's just about out of time, too.
Not much else to do but pull up his shirt and take out the headphones on the old school Walkman attached to his belt. Thankfully, that callous lady’s goons didn’t find it. The skater feels an odd calm, appreciative for this salient chance to soak in an Elvis gospel tune to prepare for the bloody inevitability.
“When darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home”
He makes it through the entire song before they burst in and pull him out, one sinking its discoloured teeth into his elbow.
He screams and pushes it back only to have another bite deep into his shoulder and another into his chest. More wobble toward the feast. He’s overwhelmed by fifty or so and disappears from sight.
Ray, meanwhile, is desperately trying to climb up a shelf but it’s too far from the window. He kicks at the repulsive-smelling dead things that are grabbing at his feet and manages to make it up a few levels. He looks down to see a hundred horrible, decrepit faces looking up at him. They’re indeed aggressive and relentless.
The shelf rack begins to sway and back and forth and all Ray can do is let out a final “Oh no!” before it topples. Time to face that remorseless truth that he was never going to make it, but at least a lush, vivid afterlife awaits. Funny, why does his ex-girlfriend's nasty habit of biting into each piece from a box of chocolates and putting them back suddenly come to mind?
Still holding on, he falls backward into the hungry group and is swarmed. Naturally, there’s that terrible tearing, crunching and slurping sound that comes next.
Trembling, Ned is hiding behind another shelf and peeks out trying to find an even better spot to hide. He moves a few feet down and sees Sarah on her back, shredded. No more grinning.
Three of those things are on their knees around her in a thick dark red pool pulling out organs like prizes from a cereal box.
Another is kneeling by her feet holding up one leg and chowing down.
Ned, who has no time to gasp, turns to his left to see two corpse creatures looking at him just a few feet away. He’s frozen. One of them is missing an eye and has black sludge oozing from that dead socket. It thrusts forward and bites Ned’s throat.
He somehow pushes it back and clutches his wound that’s gushing like a dark red fountain. The second decaying creepo grabs him by the shoulders and falls on top of him. More quickly follow and gorge.
Monsters to the left of me, monsters to the right…….see ya!
Anna and Leo are all that’s left and don’t realize their friends are already being devoured. They move from aisle to aisle swinging their weapons and pushing those things back. All that fierce growling is almost deafening. There’s too many of them.
They get separated by a few feet as a cluster of plague monsters get between them. Leo can only glance in disbelief as one grabs Anna’s head from behind and chomps down.
She screams only for a moment as another bites into the side of her neck, arterial spray reddening the putrid face of the attacker.
She’s dragged down and is pounced by a dozen or so more. This carnage is beyond comprehension.
Leo continues to swing away but loses his weapon, however, makes it to the shelf closest to the window and climbs. He looks back in despair to see where Anna is being eaten, that squishy sound of bloody organs gobbled now forever part of his memory.
He can’t see her but from the middle of the crowd hunched over her in the frenzy, a piece of lung is flung over and lands on the floor.
It’s move or die time, dude!!!!!!!!!!!
That infernal tune still playing in his head, he looks down to see what seems to be a hundred of those grey, disfigured faces, chomping their dirty blackened teeth as they reach up for him, inviting him to join the orgy.
The shelf begins to sway but he manages to get high enough to jump onto one of the boxes before the shelf topples. It’s then a short climb to the top.
Luckily, the window doesn’t have metal grating. He kicks furiously to bust it open and then dives through without investigating what’s on the other side.
Twenty, thirty feet down…down…down ….POOF. He lands on his back on something somewhat pillowy…but then blackness comes from around the edges. Night night Leo. Sleep tight!
Story by Sandor Gyarmati
Comic art by Jess Soares (HouseofBlackArt.com)
Check out our Facebook page too https://www.facebook.com/mapleleafzombies/
We're also on Instagram and Twitter!