Farewell to arms, hello to zombies - Finale

14 de Março de 2014, por Mariana Marques - 0sem comentários ainda

They reached the Northern shore the next morning, exhausted and with sore blistered hands. Putting together some of the money they had, the survivors managed to rent a couple of chalets for a week and bought food and drinks. None of them knew exactly what to do after that first settlement, since many had lost families and houses to the war and those who didn’t still couldn’t go back because of the zombies. After talking things through with the manager of the Swiss Bank, who would get money from his grandfather in America, Henry arranged a hotel room for him and Catherine to be alone, close to a hospital.

Their relationship, nevertheless, was never the same again, for even though he always told her he would assume complete responsibility for the child, Catherine seemed distant and unwilling to go on having Henry in her life. 
Weeks became months and after what seemed to be a long time of being apart and together at once, the hour of labor was upon her. They took a carriage to the hospital, and Henry said “Cheer up, Cat. It will all be over soon, I promise.”
It was all going well at first, contractions and dilatation, Catherine´s hidden infection, however, contaminated the baby during labor and Henry realized immediately it was infected, though he had no idea how could it be, as it looked remarkably like a vomited skinned rabbit, and also attempted to bite off his mother´s breast, and without hesitation shot him in the head.

Catherine glared at the dead baby and the gun in Henry´s hands and lurched toward him in a maternal instinct fury and bit his neck. He fell in the hospital floor with half his neck gone already when the doctor shouted “Nurse, emergency kit!” but Ferguson had grabbed it before he demanded it and pointing the deadly kit weapon to Henry, shot him and then “Cat, I never really liked you anyway”, another shot and then another and another… but Catherine just didn’t seem to die the way the undead ordinarily do. Flinching and twitching, ashamed of being discovered to be some kind of mutant and terrified of becoming a subject of experiments, she jumped out of the hospital window and landed gingerly on the ground and skipped very fast with nice long jumps toward the pine wood outside town.

Rumors later came that she was the one responsible for cleansing Italy from the Ugly Bunnies, for a “superstrong heroin” was seen by Italian survivors killing the beasts with guns, knives, rocks, and even her bare hands. After the situation was under control, she was never to be seen again, except by some beggars and country folk who can swear they´ve seen a dismal looking woman´s face for half a second lurking in the rain.



Farewell to arms, hello to zombies - part 4

14 de Março de 2014, por Mariana Marques

In a two-week stay at the Mastroiani, the drinks and food had been rationed but were now scarce. In every few hours, about ten Ugly Bunnies were spotted in the whereabouts of the restaurant and were shot, but now ammunition was running low. There was a meeting one night, only two soldiers were left out to watch the perimeter. Three main ideas were conceived, basically number one was to plunder the surrounding areas, which was definitely dangerous because of hidden zombies and armed civilians fighting for survival, besides the fact that food nearby would eventually end. 

They could find some other restaurant or hotel to stay at or they could flee Italy by boat, even though Lake Maggiore was several miles away. If they were to plunder, they would spend gas, if it ran out they would be stuck there till they starved to death. When the colonel was about to announce the final decision, one of the guards came in breathlessly -“We got to go. Now. Hundreds of zombies showing up in the south road.”

As fast as they could, everyone entered the cars and sped up north. Henry was driving the second ambulance, and crowded though it was, with little time and no permission, he made sudden right turn towards the Hospital to pick up Catherine. After shooting up a few Ugly Bunnies and asking the guards to let him through, he found her. “Come with me, Cat. We are getting out of this fallen apart country.” “Anything you want, darling. Can we take Ferguson?” “If you must…” 

 

As the soldiers pushed the boats into the water and jumped inside, glancing back for zombies and saving their breath for the many hours of rowing ahead, Catherine tried to find the right words to tell Henry she was expecting and began to mutter “Darling, I don´t want you to feel trapped, I don´t want to be any trouble .” “Honey, what are you talking about?” “Darling, I… I… I´m pregnant”. Henry fell silent and thoughtful. Catherine avoided his gaze during the rest of the journey to Switzerland, wondering how badly he hated her now, since he spoke nothing, and how much worse could it become if she told him the rest of the problem. All along no one had known because she had miraculously combined her DNA with the Rabbit Virus in a perfect way, becoming super strong, superfast and looking like herself, not a freak show version of Bugs Bunny, but hiding it all from everyone, especially Henry “…he won´t love me anymore if I am not a meek needy woman”, she had thought to herself once she had realized her new powers. Right then and there, however, they were headed with Ferguson and the other survivors to what seemed to be a brave new world, zombie-free as far as they knew, that and the repetitive calming sounds of the splashing oars and the winter full moon filled her heart with hope.



Farewell to arms, hello to zombies - part 3

20 de Fevereiro de 2014, por Mariana Marques

Inside the hospital, the sick were being searched for suspicious bites and scrapes. In case they did, they were taken out of sight to a dark corner of the hospital´s outer wall and were disposed of. Though crude, these measures had proved necessary, for those infected with the Rabbit Virus might take hours to become a full “Ugly Bunny”, as the soldiers had promptly named the zombies, and before that they seemed to simply have Spanish Influenza. That was how Ferguson had almost been munched, but what she and Henry and no one else in the hospital except Catherine knew was that somebody else could have been killed.

Catherine had been making notes after a patient appeared to have died, when that same patient started to growl and lurched at her so fast she didn’t have time to dodge and got bitten in the loins, but turned around and stuck the pen she was holding into the zombie´s right eye. An easy soft way to the thing´s brain, and it fell, but Catherine was already wounded. She screeched with pain but tried to keep it down, she didn’t want people to know; the infection, bacteria or virus or whatever is already crawling inside me, I have no salvation, they will find me soon and finish me off and I won’t need to fear death or pain and I won’t even be myself just a dreadful ugly-looking no one, with rotting flesh all over my bones, skin all gone and reddish eyes… I´ll be a ghost inside a dead body, still walking , an undead body, I´ll control myself I hope, enough not to kill anyone and then they will take care of me, when they destroy the undead carcass I will find peace and I won´t be ghost anymore just a nothing. Perhaps there will be a heaven, I have never believed it but I have suffered through life and I am suffering still as I die can´t I have a Heaven after this, God can´t I please…

 

She was collapsed on the floor when they found her, and the weird thing is that she was really fine, there was some blood on her back where she was bitten but no bite, not even a scar. Doctor after doctor examined her, not that she would tell them she´d been bitten but they had to be sure she wouldn’t be a menace. She smiled feebly and said it was only some blood from the zombie she killed that stained her coat, and no one could say otherwise and left her alone after all. The pain was gone and she felt great, strong and healthy… even the stress-related headache she had before the attack was gone now. “Maybe I am in Heaven, or dreaming”, she thought as she crossed the room to lie in bed. She realizes she is moving too fast, faster than she could run before, though she had actually only commanded her legs to walk. She grabbed her bedclothes to make sure this was reality, and pulled them gently, or she thought she had been gentle, for it tore noisily from side to side. Surprised and scared of people that might have heard it, she tossed the torn clothing into the trash bin of the corridor after checking there was no one there, hoping no one would pay much attention to its contents.
During the night, she walked to and fro an empty hall to check her own walking speed. Running, she would be invincible in any marathon. She got to the dark garden, fast and seeing easily in darkness and grabbed a twig to snap it in the greenhouse, testing her own strength. Once again, to her surprise, she practically vaporized the twig instead of just breaking it. She cut herself on purpose with the gardener´s spade, lashing really hard the blunt edge against her belly. She felt hardly any pain and the deep cut began healing itself and disappeared two seconds after it was made. Two things crossed her mind then: “why am I so strong, fast, and capable of amazing regeneration and of seeing in the dark? Could the bite have done me good instead of..?” and “Will Henry still love me now that I am not fragile and helpless? I have to pretend I am just like everyone else, or doctors will want to experiment on me … I have to make believe I am the same I ever was, to protect me and the baby. Henry… how will I tell him he´s going to be a father in this messed-up world?”



Farewell to arms, hello to zombies - part 2

20 de Fevereiro de 2014, por Mariana Marques - 0sem comentários ainda

Later, as the unit met in a bomb shelter, since the mess was no longer safe, the ambulance driver Henry, his assistant Aymo, doctor Rinaldi , a catholic priest and a colonel, plus a few others who survived the zombie attack began discussing the information that had come a little too late to headquarters: the Austrians had been working on a new weapon, a biological one, mutated from the rabies virus, which was nick-named Rabbit Virus because the zombies looked like distorted skinned rabbits, except for the long ears, for they had bared elongated front teeth, red eyes and the ability to jump many yards at once, and because of its rabies origins, even though rabbits weren´t carnivores, nor attacked humans, much less changed into “Ugly Bunnies” whoever they bit. 
“They´ve closed the borders so that no one gets out of Italy”. 
“We can´t fight when it starts snowing, the zombies will get hidden in it and will catch us unprepared. I´ve seen this on a trash movie.” 
“We should hide in a gun shop somewhere until this is all over. Or a restaurant, we wouldn´t run out of drink. And food.” “Can I take Catherine with us?” “She´s safe at the hospital, Henry. There are troops guarding it.”
“Let’s get to the Mastroiani, it’s a nice restaurant in the end of the south road. It´s got a second floor, someone could lie at the roof with binoculars to check the perimeter.” “And there is plenty cognac and wine and beer… and food.”
“That´s great. Let’s go.”
They filled the ambulances with everyone and sped up toward south road, and soon found the restaurant. There were already a few ‘Ugly Bunnies” in it but they´d learned that one shot to the head is enough. Soon after they had made themselves home, Henry told the priest he would look for his girlfriend.

Without waiting for permission from the colonel, he took the ambulance and drove to the Rome hospital, which wasn’t far from the Mastroiani. He found her sheltering from the rain in a small greenhouse of the Hospital´s gardens. “Oh Cat I´ve missed you.. Are you all right? Why don´t you go back inside the hospital? Don´t you know it is dangerous to be outside these days?” Catherine looked appalled at the idea of going out at the rain. Looking embarrassed, she said, “I´m scared of the rain, sometimes I see myself...UNDEAD in it.” (“craaaaazy girl”, Henry thought… “if only we weren´t in a war and surrounded by zombies, I´d look for somebody less cuckoo”. ) “oh, darling , I´m so afraid, I´m such a fragile girl, and those disgusting zombies are everywhere. Yesterday one of our patients turned into one of those things when we weren’t looking, we didn’t know he had been bitten, and he almost had Ferguson for lunch. Although, she can take care of herself… not like me.” “Oh, you poor thing, weren’t you terrified?” “yes, I was, hold me darling…”
After hours of being together, Ferguson finally found out where Catherine was and took her in, not after telling Henry to stay away from her and that he wasn’t good enough for Cat.
Back at the restaurant, he lied down in a mattress and tried to sleep wishing not to have nightmares with bunnies. Henry had always put up with Rinaldi´s advances, saying he´d introduce to him his brother Garret, who was gay and had a thing for Italians, which always made Rinaldi giggle awkwardly and skip away rubbing the palms of his hands together. After Rinaldi left one day at he mess, Aymo said: “ you´ve never told me you had brothers…” Henry answers: “I don’t”. Then Rinaldi got syphilis ... and wanted to have sex with Henry anyway. Rinaldi came quietly into the room and sat beside him in the dark, really drunk and ill-looking, grabbed Henry while he still had his eyes closed, Henry started and got spooked , thinking he´s an “Ugly Bunny” and shot him mercilessly. Aymo screams “stop it, he´s no zombie…” “oh-oh”, Henry says. He gives Aymo a ten lire note, saying “don´t tell anyone, ok”. “ok”.



Farewell to arms, hello to zombies - part 1

5 de Fevereiro de 2014, por Mariana Marques - 0sem comentários ainda

It all started with a war. Both sides making bigger, meaner weapons, until it wasn’t enough. Doing bad things to the enemy wasn’t going to win it, they had to make things ugly. With war, came new strategies, weapons, brand new technologies, in physics, chemistry and biology. With war came the zombies. The Italians had lost a battle in the Spring and a large number of soldiers had been held captive by the Austrians. No one hoped to see them again until the end of the war, were it ever to end, by the end of Autumn, though, those troops were coming home, but the war wasn’t over and they wouldn’t be recognized by their peers anymore.

First a stench of rotting flesh filled the air in the battleground, and flies showed up over the enemy´s trench, that seemed to have been quiet for a little too long. Then something that seemed to be a very sick animal crawled out of it, and then another more to the south, and another, and more showed up and suddenly they were jumping onto the Italians. These new soldiers were attacking, not with shells or guns… they were grasping people, scraping and biting, disemboweling bodies with bare hands. The sickening odor came hard on Italian nostrils, and fierce bites that tore apart their limbs. If you were cynical enough, you could say farewell legs, farewell arms… hello zombies.

An ambulance driver was watching the freak show with binoculars. “Aymo, that´s the creepiest thing I´ve ever seen since Fawn of the Dead.” he says to his assistant. To which Aymo replies, “Is it that bad? Don’t you watch “Annoying Orange”?” “Take a look”, and he passes the device. “Oh boy, this is going to become world war Z…”