Note I have now finished the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires. I’m going to keep feeding you the parts, right up to the end, whilst I put it aside for a week or so. Then, with a little distance, I shall begin the process of editing, cleaning up continuity and hammering the clumsy out of the language. This first draft may disappear when the finished version is published, I haven’t decided yet.
The world swirled. The silence was a reassuring pale blue, but when Terry opened his eyes, the light smelt of offal too many days in the sun. He forced a lead-heavy hand to move, and the surface tasted of marshmallow, then gritty salt.
Where was he? How was everything so twisted upside down inside out? He tried closing his eyes again and taking a long breath through his nose. If all his other senses were flipped, what did the room smell of?
Bland choral music, fading into light, tinkling pianos. Then antiseptic. An actual smell. With a queasiness as he felt like he had suddenly moved up to the ceiling, Terry felt his senses sliding back into their normal places.
He landed back on a mattress, wedged against the wall of a small room lined with shelves and cupboards. He sat up, and immediately curled up and retched a dry heave.
On hands and knees, he moved away from the mattress, toward what he now recognised as a door. The more he moved, the better he felt. By the time he reached the door, he merely felt horrendously rough.
Grasping the door handle and a shelf, Terry pulled himself up. He couldn’t quite get to his feet on the first try, and rapped his knees against the floor as he dropped down again. A stabbing pain came and went, just above his brow. He closed his eyes and forced the sensation away.
On the second attempt, Terry got to his feet. He tried letting go of the his hand holds, and very nearly toppled backwards. Holding tight again, he closed his eyes, willing the dizziness away.
Bit by bit, Terry’s balance returned. His head had felt as if it was moving in uneven circles. But they were slowly becoming tighter, homing in on where his brain really was.
With a last, horrible shiver, the vile hangover was over. As his head cleared, memories slotted into place. He had taken a bite out of a man on a bed. There had been an odd taste to the blood, then everything had gone blank.
He remembered the rush of drunkenness from the man under the bridge, and the way it had cleared up so quickly. Had the man on the bed been drugged? That would explain most of what he had just experienced. His body had flushed the drugs in a rush of strangeness, and now the blood that had come with it was making him feel so much better.
There was a small window in the door. Now he could concentrate enough to understand what he was seeing, he studied the room beyond. There was a bed, empty, close to the door, and more, occupied, beyond, lined up along the wall. There was a gap in the row, where the bed by the door had originally been, he guessed.
None of the bodies on the beds was moving, but Terry could see they were still alive. Cables and tubes ran between them and the boxes beside their beds. Drugs, he supposed, whatever it had been that knocked him out. There were no vampires or, more importantly, zombies, in the room.
Terry tried the door handle. It turned down easily, and he heard the click of the bolt moving. He pulled it, but nothing happened, so he pushed, and almost fell through as it opened. Perhaps the drugs weren’t all out of his system.
His first few steps out of the door were careful, in case his balance wasn’t fully restored. Confidence grew with each step, until he was certain of his strides again. His senses were feeding him the right signals again, and back to their enhanced state.
He could smell the stale sweat on the bodies in the room. It wasn’t so strong, they had been washed within the last few days. He imagined that was one of Leech’s jobs. Appropriate for the horrid little man. Almost as strong was the tinge of chemicals, a mixture he couldn’t possibly name, but no doubt the sedatives were in there somewhere. And blood.
It hadn’t been obvious from the little room, but there was a body splayed out on the floor in the empty space of the row of beds. A small puddle of blood had formed under its neck. Terry guessed he had drunk the rest. He resisted the temptation to dip a finger in the pool and taste it. He’d only just recovered from the last time.
There were columns supporting the ceiling, and a white wall blocking off the windows around the outside of the large room. In the middle was a bare concrete block. The central tower, with the lifts and stairs in it, Terry guessed. He had seen enough towers going up, from the various places he had slept, to know that much about their construction.
So, if he wanted to go anywhere, the door would be somewhere in that block. The wall facing him right now was blank, so he wandered around it. There was a door in the next wall. Terry opened it, then quickly closed it again.
A little wash of air had come through the gap, assaulting his nose with the scent of recent death and partial decay. It brought back a flash of memory, seeing Glenn leaping at him and sinking teeth into his arm.
He had known the zombies could get into the building, and now it smelt as if they were coming up the stairs. Slowly, he cracked the door open, just wide enough to squint through with one eye and get his nose into the gap. Standing close, he breathed in again, seeing what he could discern from the air flowing up the stairwell.
The stench was strong. But it wasn’t like the ghouls were close. There was something about it that hinted at violence. Someone was spilling whatever passed for blood in the walking corpses’ bodies. Mistress? Those other vampires? Maybe even the humans he had seen with their swords. Was his sister fighting those creatures? He may only just have met her, but blood was blood. Moreso now than ever before.
Terry turned his ear to the gap. He could just discern thuds and cracks and grunts. And the occasional shout that hinted at excitement. Mistress had made similar sounds when they made love. It shouldn’t have been a revelation that she would enjoy a fight. She was a vampire, after all. She might not be getting any real blood from the creatures she was dispatching, but he could picture her enjoying the physicality of destroying them.
He should go down there and help them. But, even now the blood was doing its job and revitalising him, he still didn’t feel up to the fray. Zombies had already taken chunks out of him, and he didn’t want to give them the chance to eat more. He closed the door.
Maybe he could rush up the stairs to the penthouse. Somehow, that seemed safer than staying here. All those bodies on the beds were just going to invite the zombies in.
He walked to the next corner. On this wall was the door to the elevator. As he approached, he could hear the car moving up the shaft. Was it going to stop on this floor? Who, or what, was inside? He stepped back quickly, until he butted up against a bed. Maybe he should just have gone straight up the stairs after all.
A tall pole, on a cross shaped base, held up the tubes and cables that ran from the comatose woman on the bed to the box of equipment beside it. Terry grabbed the pole, untangled it, and held it the way he imagined a quarter staff should be wielded. He’d fend off any zombies, beat them back or guide them toward a tasty sleeper, then make a run for the stairs.
He could almost feel the air pushing out of the tight gaps in the elevator door as it approached. With a little click-clack, it was at his floor. Then it was moving past it. He hefted the pole, just in case. With a little ping, the elevator stopped a floor up.
Terry tossed the pole away. He was angry at himself for over reacting to the possible danger, but, much more, relieved that it had passed him by. Of course, there was now the possibility of zombies above him as well as below. It was time to climb the stairs.
The noises beyond the door to the stairwell were louder now, though. Terry stood, hand poised over the handle, as he tried to guess how close the fight was. Taking a risk, he opened it and glanced out.
Just in time to see a wave of zombies crest the stairs. They looked lost for a moment, then one of them turned toward the door.
“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Terry backed away quickly. Now what was he going to do?
There were thuds against the other side of the door as the zombies bashed against it. They were too dumb to know how to use the handle, but, sooner or later, one of them would turn it by accident, and they’d be in to eat Terry and all the sleeping people.
The idea came out of that desperate thought. He could let the zombies eat the people in the beds, use them as a distraction. Even better, if they had the same effect on the walking dead as on him, then he could topple a bunch of zombies. Maybe enough to get away.
Terry grabbed the nearest bed and tried pushing it toward the door. It wouldn’t move. He looked at the feet. They had wheels on them, why weren’t they turning? Then he saw the little winged catches on the wheels at the foot of the bed. Brakes, of some sort. It took a couple of experimental kicks to work out how to release them.
The bed moved easily once the brakes were released, and Terry soon had it up against the door. Just in time, as he spotted the handle turning. As he rushed over to the next bed, he heard the clang of the door hitting the obstacle he’d put in its way.
The door bashed against the bed, moving it a little further each time. The clanging sped up as Terry was unlocking the second bed. The zombies had the scent- or however they searched out victims- of the body on the bed. Arms reached through the gap in the door.
Terry pushed the bed hard against the one already by the door. The knock on effect slammed the door and pinched the arms in the gap. Not hard enough to break them or sever them, and their owners no longer recognised pain, so they barely flinched. It was still a satisfying little bit of violence, though. He ran for the next bed.
Grasping, dead arms found the ankle of the nearest sleeper. As he wheeled over the third bed, Terry saw the foot lifted up and pulled into the gap. The body moved dangerously close to the edge of the bed, but was just short of toppling off. A head and shoulders squeezed through the gap. The zombie’s teeth closed over the meat of the calf. The head shook from side to side as she worked at the flesh until it tore off in a big chunk. After taking a few chews, and almost looking satisfied, the zombie woman went limp and dropped the leg.
The unconscious zombie fell forward, pushing through the gap by the force of her weight. More hands reached over the still zombie, seeking the still fresh leg she had taken a bite from.
Terry piled the third bed up behind the others. This time, he paused long enough to put the brakes on again before heading for the fourth bed.
Another two zombies had taken bites from the body and passed out by the time Terry had the fourth bed wedged into the blockade. The only problem was, their weight squeezing through the door was pushing it further open. Another zombie was climbing over them to get at the body on the bed- still, barely alive and tempting.
Terry searched the room. He spotted another of the poles that he had brandished earlier. Gripping the base with one hand, he held it in front of himself like a lance. Dancing around the beds until he found the right spot, he aimed, then drove the end hard into the side of the zombie’s head.
That one was dead. The others would come round sooner or later, and there were still more pushing through from the landing. He would have to fight the standing ones and destroy the fallen ones, but Terry felt confident that he had a defensible position.
The next zombie through the gap ignored the nearest sleeper. Somehow, it knew he had finally died. Terry whacked the side of the zombie’s head, bending the pole rather than doing any real damage. Lesson learnt, he jabbed at the top of the zombie’s head, until he punched a hole through the skull and jammed the pole as deep inside as he could.
The bent pole was clumsy and not much use as a weapon any more. He would have to go and get another one. In the mean time, he wanted the zombies to be distracted, or sedated. He picked up the woman on the fourth bed- marvelling at how light she felt with his vampire strength- moved around, and threw her into the gap of the door.
There only seemed to be four or five zombies left on the other side of the door. They snatched and hungrily snapped at the body they’d been offered, pulling it through the door to take bites then keel over from the drugs. By the time Terry returned with another of the poles, there was no movement on either side of the door.
He listened, and tested the scent of the room and the air flowing through the gap. There were still noises of shuffling, hungry creatures, but they were all up stairs from him. He could smell the gore from the zombies he had incapacitated, and the blood from the bodies they’d eaten. Nothing else seemed to be waiting for him.
Carefully, Terry pulled the last of the beds away from the barricade. It unlocked the whole structure, and the weight of dead and unconscious zombies pushed the door open, knocking one bed over and sending another rolling away. He was proud of himself for not jumping at the movement.
The zombie at the bottom of the pile was beginning to move again. Terry jabbed the pole through its head, twisting it around to be sure. He pulled it out, took a step back, then rammed it into the next one up.
When he had seen off all the zombies he could reach in the pile, Terry stepped back and pushed the remaining beds out of the way. The door opened wider, and the pile collapsed some more, tumbling corpses across the floor.
Wielding the pole, ready to stab at any undamaged skull, Terry stepped over the zombies he’d destroyed. As he was on the threshold, a hand grabbed the back of his leg. He couldn’t understand where it came from. He had destroyed all the zombies inside the room, hadn’t he?
Teeth sank into his calf. Not again! He looked down, and recognised the first of the sleepers he had used in his barricade. Of course, he’d been so stupid.
He couldn’t turn the pole to stab at the newly minted zombie biting his leg. So he rotated it, and slammed the heavy base against the zombie’s head. On the third blow, there was a satisfying crack, and the teeth that had torn his skin relaxed.
Terry roared in anger and pain. So fucking stupid! He pulled his leg from the zombie’s grip, and stepped through the door. There were more drugged up zombies on the landing. He stabbed each of them in the head a couple of times. Finding the sleeper he had tossed to them, he jabbed through her skull four times, just to be sure.
Now he’d had chunks taken out of both legs, an arm and a hand. Maybe at some point, those wounds would add up, and he’d be more zombie than vampire. Not a prospect he relished.
There didn’t seem to be anything moving on the stairs downward. He could head down there and escape, maybe. But he didn’t know any way out of the building but through the garage. There was no promise that it was empty, or that there wouldn’t be more of the things waiting for him outside.
His best hope was to see the tower cleared of zombies and sealed so no more could get in. Then, perhaps, Mistress could cure his wounds.
The sounds of fighting from above briefly rose in intensity. They weren’t coming back down, but it sounded like the fight was getting harder. For Mistress to cure him, she had to still be around. He had to go up, and join the fight. He still wasn’t sure he was up to it, but the zombie massacre at the door had left him more confident.
Pole at the ready, he headed up the stairs.
This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.
Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.