Tom thrust the point of his sword through the eye socket of the nearest zombie. He twisted it, then moved it from side to side. As he yanked the blade back out again, the zombie crumpled.
He would never have expected it to be so easy to destroy the once-human shells Especially not with a sword. Years of video games had conditioned him to think he would be shooting them, if such a situation ever arose.
The zombie was pushed forward as it fell, draping limply over the table barricade. The one behind it strained wizened hands toward Tom. He dodged them, then used the body over the table to boost himself up and swing the sword down even harder. The zombie skull was cleaved in two, and it, too collapsed.
The barricade was holding the zombies back. But, as more and more of them were felled, they were backing up out of reach. And the ones at the back of the queue were flowing around the sides of the bottleneck, threatening to encircle them.
Tom needed more room to properly swing the sword as well. He backed away from the table, and turned to one of the pincers. A sweeping strike severed the arms of the nearest zombie at the elbows, then he found himself making a return strike to take off its head.
Danielle and Siobhan had recognised the same problem with space to strike. They moved away from the table into gaps where they could strike and slash more easily.
The vampires were on the edges of the fray, picking off zombies from the overflow. They had obviously learnt suitable moves as they fought their way up the stairs. They would deliver a punch to the side of the head or back of the neck, or grab hair and twist until something broke. Then they would throw the limp body away, sliding them into piles in the corners of the wide open room.
Siobhan ran her sword through the arm and chest of a zombie, pinning them together and opening up the side of its head for a punch from the dagger protruding from her fist. For a horrible moment, as the ghoul started to crumple, both her blades were jammed inside its body as other dead hands reached out for her.
Kicking hard into the collapsing zombies midriff, Siobhan yanked both blades from its body. Turning the resulting stagger into a spin, she brought the fist dagger up into the new zombie’s forearm, reversed her motion, and jammed the sword straight up under its jaw and into its head. The point jabbed out of the top of its head, but both blades came free more easily this time.
The dance of slicing, stabbing and punching took Siobhan close to Esmerelda. There was a moment when they realised they were fighting together and flashed scowls at each other, but they quickly returned to the task at hand.
Tom’s cutting and jabbing brought him around in a circle, so that he was back at the table barricade again. He eyed the crossbow, nearly within arm’s reach, and thought about grabbing it. The crowd of zombies was finally thinning out, but he might get another chance to take out two or three with one shot again. He moved until a foot was under the frame, ready to kick it up and grab it.
Danielle’s sword seemed to slip through everything in its way. It was guiding her swings, so that it found paths of least resistance through joints rather than bones, but was still unnaturally sharp. Combined with moves she hadn’t tried since a pre-teen obsession with rhythmic gymnastics, she moved with smooth violence through the undead. Her feet ran a short distance up the wall beside the elevator doors, and she did a twist and flip to land with style on the marble floor.
Unfortunately, this section was wet and slippery with zombie gore, and her graceful landing became a clumsy tumble as her feet slid out from under her. She rolled sideways, toward a pair of waiting zombies. Not only did she avoid impaling herself on her own sword, she managed to turn her fall into a sweeping cut that severed the nearest zombie’s right leg at the knee.
As the zombie tumbled, she dived through the gap between it and its companion, rolled onto her feet and swept the blade back around to remove the head of the second zombie. The first one had barely registered that it had fallen, and was struggling to push itself back up. With the area around her clear now, Danielle had the time to step onto the zombie’s back and jam the katana down through the back of its skull.
Danielle made a disappointed grunt as she discovered that the blade had gone on to wedge itself in the narrow gap between two of the marble tiles. It would come loose, just not immediately. She was about to grasp it with both hands and pull it up, when there was a ping and the elevator door, right behind her, opened.
“Beardsplitters! Cockscabs!” the bizarre, grotesque thing that stumbled from the lift bellowed. Large chunks of flesh had been torn and bitten from its arms, neck and cheeks, revealing the bone underneath. Blood seeped from all the wounds, and soaked into what was left of its clothes.
Marvin couldn’t die of the wounds they had inflicted, so the zombies had kept on eating him. Now, what was left of him had finally managed to pull away from them, and stagger out. The pain he felt had driven him quite mad.
Danielle gave a tug at her sword. When it didn’t break free, she stepped away from it, retreating from the walking skeleton. Marvin spotted her, and moved faster than should be possible, to grab her by the shoulders as she tried to reach for the shorter blades strapped across her back.
Tom saw what was happening, and everything slowed down for him. There was a zombie on his left, closing on him. The crossbow was on top of his right foot, ready to kick up and grab. He tossed the sword up and across from his left hand, and brought his foot up quickly.
Blade and bow hung in the air for a magical moment. He caught the pistol-like grip of the crossbow in his right hand just as the transfer of the blade to his left was completed. Somehow- it could only be the magic in the weapon- the bow was perfectly aimed. He pulled the trigger.
The recoil as the bolt left the bow was strong, twisting the weapon out of his hands and bending his thumb back painfully. It didn’t register, though, he was too busy turning the sword and putting his weight behind it. The blade passed between the zombies grasping hands, and through its open, hungry lips. With a last minute twist, it passed between two vertebrae, and severed nerves. The zombie stopped moving. Its arms held in place for a brief moment, then dropped to its sides as it tumbled.
The crossbow bolt went all the way through Marvin’s head, so the metal tip poked out of his left ear, whilst the feathered base stuck out of his right. Danielle got an elbow against his throat and pushed him back. Somehow, he still stood. His eyes moved up, down, left and right, as he tried to see what the problem was. Slowly, he realised he was dying. “Oh, fuckfarts.” he croaked, before falling forwards.
The crossbow clattered to the floor. Tom spun on his heel, letting his sword go with his left hand, but almost immediately grabbing it again with his right. He twisted it, separating the vertebrae, and pulled it sideways. The zombie’s head fell to the other side, attached to the body by a strip of flesh, and the body tumbled.
Tom was faced by another seven zombies. He would have to cut his way through them before he could turn again and join Danielle’s fight. He hoped he had given her enough space to go back on the offensive.
Marvin’s dead weight pushed Danielle backwards. She pushed his body aside, when she managed to get some leverage. But the move had her down on one knee, the only way to keep her balance. Finally, though, she could reach back and draw the short swords from the scabbards on her back. She held them crossed before her body, pointing forwards and upwards.
There were six zombies behind Marvin. They seemed strangely reticent about moving toward Danielle. It was like they were actually thinking about the situation, maybe planning.
Danielle took advantage of the group’s pause. She forced herself up, sweeping the blades so that they cut like scissors, easily decapitating the nearest zombie. As the body fell backwards and the head bounced across the floor, she skipped back into a defensive posture.
The five zombies formed a line, a wall blocking Danielle from her longer sword and the three skirmishes in the rest of the room. They stood outside the reach of her short swords.
The middle zombie cocked its head and studied Danielle. It raised its right hand, but not to grasp at her. Rather, it pointed, and said, “You Terry sister. I eat.”
The five closed on Danielle. The one who had spoken hung back as the others flanked her. Confusion at being recognised by a talking dead man was buried by anger at her situation. She could maybe take out two of them with the short swords, but that would take her in close to the other three. She might not be able to get away from them. If she could get the talking one, that would give her a little satisfaction. Not enough to make up for what the others would do to her, but some.
It was strange that this small bunch of zombies seemed capable of basic reasoning. Was it because they had eaten a vampire, Danielle wondered. She didn’t have time to think much more, as the swords were talking to her, telling her the best next move.
With the katana, there had been a feeling of being guided in her movements. She had found herself making moves that she would have thought impossible, as it fed the experience and skill of previous wielders into her. The short swords were different. If she were to describe the feeling, the word she’d use would be angry.
The swords desired blood. Or whatever passed for it in undead bodies. They wanted to leap at the five zombies, to slash and stab. Danielle took a short step forward, watching the reaction of the dead people. They flinched back, raising defensive hands. None had done that before. She stepped back again.
It was as if she was having a conversation with whatever spirit haunted the blades. They wanted to dive right in, but had to listen to her when she demanded better tactics. She saw a blur of possible moves, all playing out at once as she and her weapons worked out which would be most successful. Three possible paths were the best options. She picked one.
Danielle moved to her left, and all five zombies responded, moving toward where she seemed to be headed. But it was a feint. With her weight all over her left foot, she pushed back sharply, moving even faster to her right.
The blade in her left hand shot straight up, under the jaw of the zombie at the end of the line. It went straight up through his skull, punching out at the top. The woman to his right started turning to the attack, but too slowly. Danielle used the dead weight of the tumbling zombie as an anchor, soaking up her momentum, and helping another change of direction. The sword in her right hand came across horizontally, jamming into the side of the female zombie’s skull, punching through just above the ear.
Danielle tugged the blades, trying to work them loose from smashed skulls. They were jammed in more tightly than she had expected, and the three remaining zombies were reacting to her move. She had an open path to the katana now, she could let the short swords go and give it the strong tug it needed to be freed.
The thought came too late. The zombie that had spoken grabbed her right wrist before she released the swords and started moving. She put a foot against the zombie with her left hand blade in it, pushing, but it was pulling out too slowly.
“Eat now.” the zombie said, pulling Danielle toward it. The other two were closing in from either side as well. The anger of the blades surged through her, but she could see no way that this wasn’t the end.
“No!” a familiar voice cried out. There was fast movement behind the talking zombie, who reacted to the cry with a confused flick of the head.
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.