Chapter 05: Reunion Tour

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The lift hummed quietly to a halt. Greg felt whatever tension had momentarily left his body snap back into place. He was almost back to the cells. After a lengthy session of a very lethal game of hide and seek, he'd managed to make it to the lift without being exposed to either the Undead or the Dark Ops troops.

No simple trick. Greg peered out the doors, first one way, and then the other. The corridor he'd come to was void. Good. He slipped out and padded down the corridor, listening intently for anything that might be sneaking up on him. The image of that Stalker refused to vacate his mind, leaving him haunted with the notion that he would never truly be alone ever again. Greg shook himself, came to a corner, and peered around it.

Nothing but more corridor. The entryway to the detention center was just at the other end of it. He stared down the length of the passageway, maybe fifty meters. It would be a hell of a long walk. So what was he waiting for? He took a step around the corner, and then faltered, lingering further. Why this bad feeling?

Something about the hallway spoke to him of ambush. He stared down at the pistol, clutched tight in his pale hand. It trembled slightly. Didn't matter, he fucking need to do this, and now. Greg steeled himself and stepped out into the passageway. He hugged the wall, keeping an eye out for any doors he came to.

For the first half of the trip, they remained closed. Greg let himself believe he could hit his destination without running into any real trouble. Then one of the doors opened and a technician in a blue jumpsuit fell screaming onto the floor. What had once been a soldier, sans helmet, smashed into him and sank its teeth into the tech's neck. The man continued to scream, his voice rising to a mindless, droning shriek that held room only for terror and death.

Even after everything he'd seen, Greg stood paralyzed. A thick spurt of fresh blood sprayed out of the man's neck and across the nearby wall. It looked to Greg as though someone had grabbed a pouch of spare blood and squeezed it until it all erupted out the top. The man stopped screaming and went limp. The zombie continued chewing into his neck, briefly pulling back and coming away with a thick mouthful of stringy red meat.

Greg fought down the urge to vomit and raised his pistol. The zombie snapped its head over and locked eyes with him. Twin pools of obsidian death, like long-collapsed stars in the dead depths of space, froze him back into place. The zombie let out a roar, spittle and black-and-red flecks of gore flying from its razor teeth.

That startled Greg back into action.

This zombie didn't groan, it didn't moan, it fucking roared.

It shot to its feet and rushed towards Greg, a low-pitched scream escaping its ruined, pallid throat, maw opened wide.

Greg fired once, missed. Fired again, grazed the thing's neck. It was coming closer, faster than ever, arms outstretched. Greg steadied his aim, squeezed the trigger once more and this time was rewarded with a spray of black gore and stark white bone fragments. The Undead tumbled to the floor and went into a roll, propelled by its own momentum until it came to rest only an arm's length from Greg's feet.

His hands were still shaking. He knelt, cautiously poking the thing with the barrel of his pistol, rolling it onto its back. What struck him the most was how flat out different this thing looked. Its head had taken on the disturbing appearance of a skull, the skin pulled taut across the bone. The teeth...good lord, the teeth.

They were razor sharp now, more so than they had been back on Dis. They were long, and he had to wonder how this thing managed to chew without ripping its lips and gums to shreds. Somewhere, not distant enough, Greg heard an inhuman howl, a despairing sound that ripped him back to the real world. He stood, pressed on, leaving the wretched abomination behind. They were getting smarter, faster, better at murder.

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