Iron Will: standard (rank 1)
“Arise… Arise… Arise… By the powers of the dark I command thee into this realm…ARISE!!!!!...…………. So, did it work?”
“No dude, still dead. I don’t think any amount of your magical crap can—”
My eyes slowly peel open, a groan escapes my throat.
“Holy shit! It’s still moving. Kill it! Kill it!”
I can’t quite see yet. Everything is still kind of numb, but I have the sense that somebody is kicking at the back of my head.
“Ugh, enough, enough,” I moan, “Dammit, enough already, I’m up.”
“Wait, did it just say something?” says a voice.
“Yeah,” says another, “she was moaning about brains; just bash her skull in already.”
I can’t place the voices, but everything’s getting clearer a little bit at a time. I roll onto my side then pick myself off the cold earth. My eyes begin to make sense of the world, picking out blurry shapes and occasional colors. I’m in the pavilion where those undead bastards surrounded me. They’re all dead, like dead-dead. I knew I took some of them down with me, but there’s no way I,
A sharp blow raps me on the skull.
“Ow! What the,”
My arm raises upwards and manages to stop the next strike. I turn around to see two blurred figures behind me, one of whom is now wielding Sheila; my Sheila.
“Quit it!” I yell.
I shove my hand forwards and shove him lightly. He away flies like cardboard. Wow, I must be on some sort of adrenaline rush or something. The two figures begin to take focus as light filters into my hazy vision. Before me stand two men in luminescent spandex. The one gripping the bat is clad in a full body suit, feathered Kato mask, and a flowing cape, all in flamboyant puke-green.
“Can they talk?” he asks the other.
“How the hell should I know?” his friend replies.
This man was in more of a classic black vibe, with patches of white fur striping up the arms and chest of his suit. I think he was supposed to be a skunk.
“Look,” Skunk-man says, “I say we bash first and ask questions later.”
Captain Kermit timidly lifts Sheila; I snatch her out of his hands before he can react.
“Oh lay off me,” I say, “and give me back Sheila.”
“Yes, Sheila.” I say rising the Louisville Slugger, “and what the hell do you two think you’re doing with her? Hitting innocent napping people with their own baseball bats; what’s wrong with you? And why are you here? And why are all the zombies dead? And why am I still here, and why am I numb, and why are you hitting me with things?”
Skunk-man turns to his compatriot.
“So do you want me to handle this, or,”
“No I got it,” the other one says. He then turns to me, “My name’s Doctor Assandra, the Master of Mysticism, Mage of Necromantic arts, and Protector of the Cosmos. And that’s Badger.”
He points to his friend who waves. He still looked more like a skunk to me, but whatever. The one called Doctor Something continued.
“We were sent here by the Sentinels to deal with the zombie problem.”
“Wait,” I say, “you two are with the Sentinels?”
My hand shoots forward and I grab him by the collar. My fist closes around his throat. I shake him hard, I shake him like an act of the vengeful against an unjust vending machine. He gasps for air and futilely attempt to peel my fingernails off his windpipe. I stare into his terrified eyes and shout.
“I have been living in terror for days, eating nothing but peaches, cereal, and beef jerky, while fending off zombies with a crowbar and baseball bat, watching all my friends die, hoping someone would come and rescue us, AND YOU ASSHOLES ARE JUST GETTING HERE NOW?”
“Badger, please,” he wheezes, “I can’t breathe…”
The furry guys pounces on me and tries tugging me off his friend. Nothing happens. I shake Doctor whatever like a damn ragdoll until I get bored and drop him to the floor.
“What kind of god-awful superheroes are you guys?” I yell, “Everybody’s already dead. You show up long after everything is lost, then find the sole survivor and hit her with her own baseball bat!”
“We were just trying to be cautious,” Doc says
“Cautious,” I shout, “Cautious of what? Do I look like a zombie? Do I, Captain Moron?”
“Actually, yeah, sort of.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
He pulls a compact mirror off his utility belt and hands it to me. What kind of superhero carries a compact on his utility belt, I mean just how vain do you have to be when— Holy Shit, I’m green!
My flesh appears slightly rotted and hangs off my cheeks, every inch of it a pallid seaweed green. I touch my face; my fingertips are cold as headstones. Everything is cold, dead, zombified.
The one dressed like a skunk, or possibly a badger, helps his friend to his feet. He then places his hand on my shoulder and puts on a reaffirming smile.
“Don’t worry,” he says, “It ain’t that bad. I mean, you may be green and have no body temperature, but I’d still do ya. Not with lights on, but—”
I remember raising Sheila in both hands, but most of what follows is just sort of a hazy memory. Next thing I know I was in Sentinels custody and scheduled for two weeks of crisis therapy with a focus on anger management.
Dr. Bloom (sorta)
Healing: standard (rank 1)
“…It’s because I’m undead, isn’t it?”
“What? No,” Says the doctor beginning to sweat, “its just, that we are, currently… staffed up at the moment. Yes that’s it, all staffed up, no internships to be had for anyone right now.”
“Really?” I ask, “Because when I called on the phone two hours ago, I was told that you were actively looking for interns.”
“Well we are. We’re always on the lookout, but we’re always fielding a lot of candidates as well, and,”
“I’ve have a 4.0 GPA and a near genius IQ, I think I’m a pretty good candidate.”
“Well yes, but, the other candidates are, well,”
“No, not that,” he says, “Well not just that anyway. There also seems to be the matter of you never actually graduating from Khazan University.”
“Oh, I understand,” I say, “well, you see doctor, believe it or not, it was kind of difficult to study for midterms and all that, when there just so happened to be a mother-fucking zombie apocalypse going on. Oh, and in another funny coincidence, those assholes in the administration gave some bs excuse about not being able to give a God-damn diploma, to anyone who also had a God-damn DEATH CERTIFICATE!”
The doctor stutters unclearly. A few women at the nursing station have stopped to watch our little scene unfold. The Doctor takes a deep breath then begins again.
“Well its just,”
“Well… you’re a walking safety violation. This is a hospital; what if parts of you start falling off?”
“Then I’ll just put them back on,” I say.
“Look,” he says, “maybe I could get you an internship in the morgue, but even then,”
“The morgue? The morgue; is that a joke? Oh right, so just because I’m a dead body, that means I belong in a morgue. How progressive. You know what you are? You Sir, are a racist.”
“Well Ms. Bloom, dead people aren’t really a race,”
“Would you listen to yourself?” I yell loud enough for everyone around to hear, “That is so incredibly bigoted. Do I not count as a person to you? Is that it, Adolf McDoctorFace? Should all of us undead be rounded up and exterminated so we don’t infect your perfect ‘pre-mortem utopia’?”
“Actually, well, yes. Killing zombies might not be a totally bad idea,”
Gasp! I point my undead finger straight in his face.
“Mrs. Bloom, please,”
“Ok that’s it,” he yells, “Security!”
Two big guys in uniforms escort me out of the hospital. And by ‘escort’ I mean ‘struggle to drag me to the curb before I can think of any more names to call this guy’.
A few drops can't kill you,
Berserker: standard (rank 1)
“Out of the graves and into the streets! Out of the graves and into the streets!”
We chant incessantly as our float made its way down Fleet Street. It had been little over a year since I had been first turned. I remember the Halloween festival from that year, I watched the zombies on parade. Freaks, I said before changing the channel. Well one year later and I'm finally comfortable enough with myself to declare that, yes, I am one of those freaks.
Me and another dozen or so fiends were standing atop a giant colorful float that carried a giant paper-mache sculpture of a rotting hand doing the powerfist. A little cliché, but whatever. The float is filled with undead of all kinds, garden variety zombies, a few ghouls like myself (half-zombies), wraiths (creepy-ass mofo’s), dhampirs (die-curious), and a few full-blood vampires (total pricks).
Deep inside my pocket I have a little vial filled with jolly, red, goodness. A few ounces of blood I picked up before the parade. I usually don’t use it unless it’s an emergency…but it is a party after all. Besides a few drops won’t hurt. Just a few drops, nothing more, right?
I secretly raise the vial to my lips and unscrew the top. The scent of fresh blood warms the air. I bring the vial to my cold lips, it goes down smooth and quick. It’s not until the vial’s empty that I realize I might have had a little more than a few drops. Like, waaaay more.
As the float travels down the street, the city morphs into a beautiful playground filled with crimson happiness. I scamper through the bending buildings and talk to various fire hydrants. It was so wonderful, everything is sunshine and Froot Loops. Time has stopped, and I can live in this new world forever. Then I pass out.
When I wake up my body is frozen from the neck down in a block of ice within a police holding cell. My cellmates include a slovenly leprechaun who’s crawled into a whiskey bottle for the night, figuratively and literally, and a succubus who appears to be handcuffed to a very confused stag. Someone pounds on the bars and my head throbs with each tap. I look up, it’s Zach.
“Eh toots,” he says, “How you feeling? You look mighty effed up.”
“Ughhhhh,” I moan, “my head. I will never drink again, ever.”
“You know if I had a nickel for every time you say that,”
“Then you’d just be a slightly richer guy who was still giving me a speech I don’t need to hear right now. Seriously, it feels like my skull’s been filled with napalm and matchheads.”
“Well your night is about to get worse,” he says, “ You got any idea how much property damage you caused on your little bender?”
“Zach I don’t even know where I am, what time it is, or why I’m a corpsicle. However I'm gonna go out on a limb and assume that this was your doing.”
“Standard procedure. After you tossed a cop’s motorcycle at some birds you thought you saw, they were a little afraid to go near you, so they called the Sentinels headquarters, who sent me down to ‘neutralize’ you. I guess they wanted you to, ‘Chill-Out’.”
“Oh God Zach that one was just… awful.”
I look down at the clear block of Ice containing my torso and limbs. Good thing I don’t have a body temp or else this would really suck. Although I feel like frozen crap, I’m still riding the blood high. With the remaining energy I compel my trapped muscles to move and twitch. The ice creaks, cracks, and shatters. The explosion of shards is violent enough to briefly wake the little Irish drunk from his whiskey coma.
I step out of the broken ice block and stretch some of my stiff joints. Seriously Becki, never ever again, I mean it this time, no more…Oh who am I kidding.
A Stretch of...crap I got nothing.
Elongation: standard (rank 1)
I leave the therapist’s office and shut the door behind me. Then I look down the hallway; first one way, then the other. The coast is clear. I sneak over to the ventilation shaft. Peeling off the protective grate I stare down a passageway so cramped no person alive could fit their whole body through it. Luckily I don’t have to fit my whole body.
I pluck off my right hand and send him inside, soon followed by my left. I pop my eye out and lefty picks it up. Righty jumps onto his fingers and snatches at my right ear. He plucks it right off my head.
“All right boys, you know your mission.”
Both of my hands salute with their thumbs, then dash down the shaft. I sit in the hall way and throw my hoodie over my head, while burying my arms in the sleeves so no one will know I am currently missing a few body parts.
Meanwhile Lefty and Righty have found their target and hover over the ceiling shaft above the therapist’s office. My discombobulated sensory organs see and hear all.
My therapist sat in the room reviewing her notes. A secret door opens in the back of the office between what looked like a bookcase. A woman in geisha make-up walks stealthily into the room.
“So,” asks the woman, “How is she?”
“You shouldn’t do that,” the therapist says.
“Secretly watch over my client sessions.”
“She never even knew I was there.”
“I did,” says the therapist.
The young woman in the makeup sits down in the chair across from the doctor. I get a good look at her. Not bad, the Mohawk looks kind of weird through.
“And furthermore,” continues the Therapist, “observing private client sessions without consent is an invasion of privacy.”
“Well maybe Karen,” says the other woman, “But so is reading her mind, then lying about it, so I think you and I are on even footing there.”
What? Oh you lying bitch. I knew it! I knew it, knew it, knew it! They say some things which get drowned out by the sound of a flushing toilet from the overhead second floor bathroom. Righty presses my ear right up against the grate and it comes in more clearly.
“You never answered my question.” the punk geisha says. The doctor shrugs.
“I think she’s fine. She’s too fine. She is absolutely fine and it worries me. No one should be feeling normal after seeing their classmates die around them, and having their own near-death, scratch that, post-death experience. She’s traumatized but she just isn’t dealing with it yet. She’s got a lot of pent up memories that will continue manifesting themselves in angry and violent outbreaks.”
I don’t have violent outbreaks you little,
“I see,” says the other woman, “what do you recommend for her?”
“I want to continue to observe her. Make sure the events of her past don’t come back to haunt her. In a month she may be fine, she may be completely broken. I can’t tell which way this is going to tell.”
The other woman makes some sort of minute facial gesture that comes closest to being a smile.
“Good,” she says, “ Then you won’t mind if I process her paperwork for the Academy.”
“What? No. Kabuki I think that would be a very bad idea. Not just for her, but for everyone else involved in the Academy. This girl could snap at any moment, and to be honest I don’t want her going anywhere near Harvey Knox. That’s like putting a Cobra and a Mongoose into the same basket, then throwing said basket off a cliff.”
“Look, you wanted to observe her. Make sure she stays somewhere we can stop her if something goes wrong. What better place than right here? Besides Knox isn’t that bad if you stay on his good side, or at least out of shouting distance.”
The therapist gets up and begins to pace the room nervously.
“I still don’t think this is a good idea Kabuki. She’s unstable, she’s been through a massive trauma, she’s repressing her emotions, and I she may very well get violent.”
“As I recall, you once said something very similar to Grey Widow about me.”
“And as I recall you soon thereafter went on a killing spree.”
The woman named Kabuki shrugs.
“Well, I got it out of my system didn’t I? Maybe she needs the same thing. We’ll never know if we don’t try… Is there anything else you have? If we’re going to do this, is there anything else I need to know? Hints, secrets, interesting facts you gleaned while perusing her thoughts?”
“A few. She’s a bit of a control freak so she’ll need her own room. She’s a tomboy, and if Knox tries to treat her like ‘the girl’ he’ll only succeed in pissing her off. Also we aught to be careful to how she handles meeting the other trainees; people who have just lost love ones tend to throw themselves into relationships without consideration.”
“Right, so no single guys.”
“Or girls,” adds the doctor. Kabuki laughs a bit.
“You got that by skimming through her thoughts?”
“No,” The doctor replies, “I got that because she spent the whole session ogling my breasts.”
“Oh,” says geisha girl. She turns her blank, white, face towards the doctor. There is a brief pause. The doctor sighs again.
“Kabuki, stop staring at my breasts.”
“I’m not staring at them.”
“You’re thinking about them.”
“Well I’m sorry Karen, but I’m straight and even I have to admit those are pretty impressive.”
Crushing Weapon: standard (rank 1)
“Happy rebirthday day to you! Happy rebirthday day to you! We’re really glad you’re not dead any-more, Happy rebirthday day to you!”
The song was pretty awful, but it was the thought that counts. The guys are all there, wearing those stupid pink party hats. Trickster manically waves his arms like a mad conductor as the others struggle to look like they remember the lines. Zach mumbles awkwardly, while Ryan nods along silently, too cool to care. So cool, and so buff, and so, what was I saying? Oh right, the party.
A chorus of Finns chime in with mouths stuffed with cake, yet mostly they were using the foodstuff as projectiles to attack one another. Then in the back, near the door, stands the old guy. He really wasn’t that old, but he was older than the rest of us. I never met him at the academy; Zach said he was one of the Sentinel vets, name of ‘Whiskey’. Still not sure how I feel about him, but I can worry about that later. It’s my party and I’m going to have fun.
Sure it wasn’t like it was my birthday, and this wasn’t really the first time I’ve been brought back from the dead. I tell ya, first zombies, then giant ghost cats (long story). Next thing I know I’m in Limbo, possessing people till I get stuck inside one of the Finn clones (longer story). But I’m here now, and back in my old body more or less, and its time for a little celebration.
Trickster reaches under the table and retrieves a long rectangular box wrapped in bright red paper and topped with a shiny bow.
“Here,” he says, “We got you something.”
“Oh you guys didn’t have to get me anything… What is it?”
“Well you’ll see—”
I rip and claw at the paper until reaching the edge of the box. It looked like a standard department store box, but felt odd, heavy and odd. I pull off the top and reveal the interior. My eyes go wide and I can feel myself choking up.
“Oh my God, you guys didn’t do this, this is so amazing.”
Inside the box is a sea of bright, frilly tissue paper. Nestled inside these soft waves lies a blood-stained baseball bat, scarred and knotched from past battles. I feel the coarse rubber grip and it takes me back to the night I made my first final stand. I hug it close and know that this is mine. This is Sheila.
“My bat. Its my frickin’ bat! How the hell did you guys get it?”
Ryan leans forward a bit and shrugs.
“Well, we didn’t actually. The Sentinels had it in their custody ever since you put those two guys in the hospital. Then one day after you came back someone just had it sent up from the evidence locker. It was checked out by some one named ‘Karen’… Becki are you crying?”
“What,” I whimper whilst wiping my eyes, “don’t be silly. I’ve must have just got something in my eye when it was rolling around earlier.”
They all half-nod, pretending to accept the excuse. I look deep into Sheila and hold her close. I had killed so many of my own kind with her, I feel ashamed to think of it now. But with the Sentinels behind me and Sheila back in my hands, I know I can change that. I can use my bat powers for good. I shall strike fear into the hearts of the evil. I shall bring justice to a lawless world. I am Vengeance, I am the Night; I-AM-BAT-GIRL!
Just kidding; got you there for a minute, didn’t I? Whatever. Zombie-girl out :P