11: Bunker Bunk

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Fred was standing in front of the security light at the back door of the lost and found department. He tried to wrangle the keys, shove Hank inside, keep Thorn out, and block the light. It was like a weird game of zombie twister.

"No, no, man. Listen." Fred grabbed Thorn by the shoulders. "I need to play for a little time to gain evidence. If I don't get some proof they'll just say we're crazy.

"They't do that!" Thorn agreed emphatically. "Say-it 'bout me allll-th'time."

"Imagine what it will be like when we can show there is a secret government, old government."

"Ol' government?"

"This group is from before the outbreak. Bunker people."

"Bunker people?"

"Yeah... big bunkers full of old government people who don't want to be zombies, and don't want the people to be zombies either. They think we're monsters." Fred has always been blessed with a good imagination. It was serving up idea he could use to keep Thorn's limited attentional resources distracted. Bunker people were an old myth about prepper populations that could still be hanging on. But no one had ever seen one. Or wanted to.

"Wow. I." Thorn searched for words. "Bunker people?"

There's a good chance he won't remember a damn thing about tonight regardless of what I say. "When I have proof, you'll be the first to know." Fred squeezed Thorn's narrow shoulders. "It was you who opened my eyes to it all, after all. I owe you."

"Oh. Okay. No." Thorn blinked rapidly but failed to focus his eyes.

Then Fred's medical instincts kicked in a bit. "So, try and lay off the carbs a bit, okay? The revolution will not be inebriated." He backed into the hospital building and closed the door, leaving Thorn swaying outside.

"Carbs?" asked Hank.

"A lot of people who went zombie young take this yeast that allows alcohol to ferment inside their stomach. The just need to keep eating carbohydrates to feed the system."

"So, he's like always drunk."

"And getting stupider every day. Even a fungus brain can only be pickled for so long. Lord knows what zombie Korsakoff's looks like, but probably a lot like that." Fred decided against turning on the lights; he could see well enough by the indirect light coming in the louver windows high on the all.

"So, all that stuff you were saying...""

"Pure unadulterated bollocks. I was just making shit up to keep him from looking at you." One of the lesser used keys opened the door to the disused autopsy suit. There was a shower in there, he picked up a spare set of scrubs on the way.

"Wow, you sure know how to lie." Hank was feeling his way along the wall and stumbled noisily over the pamphlet stand sending mimeographed brochures in all directions. Cheerful little flyers like "It's Never too Late to Reintegrate (Your Missing Limbs)", "It's not a Fake Nose; It's a new You!" and the more somber "Living with Fades" fluttered across the room.

Fred sighed, and went to grab Hank by the arm and guide him the rest of the way. He did not miss how the human flinched at his touch, or how warm he felt. "You're lucky security is shit here. I doubt anyone heard that. But I'm not turning on any lights that will show outside the building."

"Sorry, man."

"If you do get caught just say you are from the reservation and got lost or abducted or some shit. But I've got a feeling you'd probably never make it back there, with the black market and all. So, lets just try and figure out where to stash you until we have a better plan."

Once inside the prep room he shut the doors and switched on the light. Only one bulb was working, and it was through the observation window inside the autopsy suite. The examination table and some older equipment were still in there, surrounded by cardboard boxes that they used to store some of the clothing and jewelry that came with the lost body parts. But all the white tiles walls were clean and reflected the light harshly. As the bulb heated up the roof creaked and dust was stirred into the air.

When did I become part of a Saw movie? Fred addressed the human firmly. "I am going in there to take a shower. Because the guy covered in slime gets dibs. Stay out here. I don't care what you do but don't go in there, don't go out there. Just stay right here. Wait." Fred went and grabbed a handful of scrubs in the three available sizes. "See which if these will fit."

"Maybe I should leave the paint on," Hank said, scratching his neck.

"Yeah well, bad news is I think you might be allergic to it and everywhere you;ve been scratching is bleeding – and you know one thing zombies don't have?"

"What?"

It's meant to be a rhetorical quation you overly-mortal moron. "Blood."

"Oh."

"The good news is that you do seem to be immune ot the outbreak. Assuming you wanted to stay human that is."

"Of course," Hank replied with alacrity.

Fred shrugged. "All right, I'll try not to be offended by that."

"Oh, God. Sorry I..."

Fred actually laughed at that. "Sorry, I'm just yanking your chain. We'll get you back to your folks somehow. For now just sit, and stay."

He stepped into the small bathroom that was designed more for decontamination than everyday hygiene. He knew it still worked because Jen would use it sometimes because she lived on the edge of the utilities zone, and sometimes her water went out.

There was a sad dried-up bar of soap and he used up most of it. Washing as quickly as he could. Half-afraid that Hank might burst in and find out her was a innie where he should be an outie.

Priorities, man, he scolded himself.

His inner dog just shrugged unapologetically in reply.

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