Clicking one of the luminous yellow magnets to the metal wall, Mark moved on through labyrinthine laboratory. At every junction he would pause, listening to the occasional shuffling footsteps in the distance, consulting the small map and then moving on with purpose.
Four hours earlier he had been ordered by the town’s leadership to enter the lab and find Patrice Lane. He made a face at the thought of her name. She had in turn been tasked by the mayor with some sort of experiment. No one other than the Mayor, Patrice and her loyal ‘assistants’ knew what was going on down in the old military lab, but everyone had seen the assistants bringing stray zombies in from the outlands, beyond the town’s high walls. People had complained initially, worried that the town was playing god with the turned. Dissent had been quelled after power had suddenly surged back through the town’s power grid.
With a new wave of popularity, volunteers were numerous. ‘Hook Squads’ were arranged to patrol the immediate countryside, capturing the wandering dead with cruel barbed staves, dragging undead bodies back to the lab and down into its depths.
And then five hours earlier the power had cut out. Panicked citizens rushed to the mayor’s villa, demanding answers. The mayor marched to the lab, only to find the guards had abandoned their posts and the entrance doors flung open, exposing the dark empty corridors within. Mark had been chosen as the most capable, and armed with a pistol, knife and a bag of luminous tracker magnets he had entered the darkened lab.
He paused, and looked around; from behind he could hear a metallic scraping sound. As the noise grew louder, Mark crouched stood still and peered into the gloom. Ahead stretched a large vaulted room, blackened windows looking down at the dark empty space, where a large undead man lurched. Dragging its shoulder on the wall, off balance, it moved toward him. Mark slowly drew the knife, holding his ground as the zombie reached toward him with bloated fingers. Ducking under its reach Mark swiftly thrust the knife upward, toward its throat, but with a loud clang the knife bounced off, he thrust again, aiming for the eye socket, again the knife skittered away. Recoiling he kicked out at the zombies chest, throwing it to the ground and in one swift movement, drew his flashlight, shining the bright beam down on the zombie as it pulled itself toward him.
Mark groaned. The zombie was covered in crude dark metal plates, each one riveted to different parts of its body. To its head Mark could see a crudely welded helm of metal, vicious bolts anchoring it to its skull. Under its chin a flat metal bar, and in front of its eyes, two round metal circlets, held in place with bloodstained screws. Every weak point had been reinforced by the metal plating.
Mark began to panic and scrabbled for his holstered pistol. As he did so the zombie pushed itself up, wobbling toward him, off balance from a loose plate on its arm, it threw itself on top of its prey. Mark managed to squeeze a round off, dislodging a plate bolted to the armored monstrosities forehead, before its blackened mouth came crashing down, tearing into his nose and brow.
Watching from the observation deck Patrice made a note on her clipboard. Turning to the technician behind she spoke with a hiss “The test is over, get the generators back online, we have more work to do”