Finally we have some official news on the Star Wars Battlefront game to be debuted this April at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. I am super excited for this! As many of you may know I am a huge Star Wars Battlefront fan and if there was one video game to represent my life it would be Star Wars Battlefront II. The game was a huge part of my childhood and teenage years so to see them bringing it back is a huge excitement for me. Check out the full article here at Gamespot.com, check out the teaser trailer showing the creators of the game and what they did to put it together, and feel free to comment about how excited you are for the new game.
“I’m glad you could all make it to this meeting,” I look around at my friends each breathing so heavily you’d wonder if they had been under water for the last hour. They stare back at me with serious looks obviously not appreciating my sense of humor. We stand in a room near the top of the tower a wooden table and sett of chairs in the center and windows on the walls around
“So why are there so many of these things?” Ben asks barely able to make his words out between gasps.
“There are a few ways to bring back the dead but my guess is that there’s a wizard here in this town somewhere that’s covered the town in a necromancy spell.” I reply searching my spellbook for a counter.
“So how do we stop it?” Caleb sits at a wooden table flipping his dagger in the air.
“Well there’s about as many ways to put the dead back in the ground as there are to pull them out which is a lot, but if there’s a wizard somewhere in town right now then we need to take care of him first.”
“Ok so how do we find him?” Ben asks as he sits down across from Caleb.
“Well I could do it pretty easily except I’m all out of mana,” I say as I sit down leaving Michael standing alone. “I could have more but it’ll take an hour or so and we don’t have that kind of time to waste.”
“Here come here,” Caleb reaches his hands out to me. I stare at them, my eyebrow raised in question as I slowly reach my hands out and place them into his.
“Whatchya doing there buddy?” Ben chuckles and nudges Michael who moved next to him to see what was going on. Caleb takes a deep breath an closes his eyes.
“Komucan Majjia,” he whispers. Suddenly a glowing blue ball appears at the top of Caleb’s arm, so bright that you could see it from under his sleeve. It moves down his arm and into his hand heading towards mine. As it touched the tips of my fingers I can feel a cooling sensation, not freezing but rather refreshing. It entered my hand and moved up my arm before fading into my chest, as it does I feel my magic regenerate slightly a pulse of energy flowed throughout my body.
“Woah!” I breathe out a cool wisp of air leaving my mouth leaving a cool sensation on the inside like when you chew mint leaves in the winter and take a sharp breath in.
“Do your thing,” Caleb states kicking his legs back up on the table and leaning back into his chair. I open a window and hold out my hand, I close my eyes ad chant a spell.
“Majjia Quiereku,” I open my eyes and the world is covered in a green tint. I can see into buildings and various colors appear. The spell allows me to seek out anything magic: people or objects with magic properties. Below us are the zombies all glowing blue to signify magic being used on someone or something. In various buildings I can make out glowing colored objects with magical properties, each color representing a magical element the object pertains to. I search around before seeing what I’m looking for: a large glowing purple orb surrounding an entire floor of a building near the center of town. The orb has a dark center with doom-like tentacles jutting out in every direction. Purple was the color of necromancy which meant the source of the magic bringing the dead to life. I close my eyes and close the spell, when I reopen my eyes everything is normal.
“There is a 4-story mansion with a heavy necromantic presence surrounding the third floor, that’s where the wizard is hiding.” I say turning to my colleagues.
“Alright now we just have to get there,” Ben says standing from his seat.
“We can just go through the rooftops to avoid the zombies,” I state simply.
“Not the easiest thing for me,” Michael speaks his first words since we’ve gotten there. He steps out from behind Ben and stands straight as if called to attention by his commanding officer. “I will battle my way through the dead and meet you all there as soon as possible.”
“I have a better idea.”
Moments later the three of us: Ben, Caleb, and I rush across the rooftops of the various houses and other buildings standing up along the streets. My hand is raised in the air and slowly becoming more and more tired, above is Michael hovering weightlessly surrounded by an iridescent blue aura proving the use of magic.
“My mana is almost out!” I shout to my comrades as we leap to the next house-top. The mansion we’re aiming for is only a couple blocks away. I look up to Michael feeling the weight already increasing, a sign that my magic is about to run out. “I’m sorry buddy!” He looks down at me and quickly realizes what I’m about to do, his face drops and is replaced by features of horror as my wrist angles back. He is about to yell something as I throw my arm forward but all that leaves his mouth is a loud ‘AAAHHHHHH!!!’ He flies through the air straight towards the mansion, I’ve never attested to my sense of aim but this throw is looking pretty good. He comes closer and closer to the building; I can no longer hear his screams, not due to distance but rather due to the fact that he has gone totally silent, all his breath has been taken away at the terrifying possibilities at what was about to become. He crashes head-first into a window on the top floor and his body disappears inside.
The three of us leap forward landing on the edge of the roof just in front of the mansion and bend our knees to add a little more to our jump before pushing off the structure and gliding straight towards our desired location, entering one at a time through the conveniently broken window on the top floor.
As we slide inside landing on our knees, we find Michael lying sprawled on the floor with his eyes closed. I kneel next to him to check if he is ok. Suddenly a soft whisper exits his lips.
“I would have preferred walking.” As soon as the words drift out he closes his eyes and blacks out.
“I guess we’ll have to come back for him,” I chuckle looking up at my other two friends who are picking themselves from the floor which is covered with glass and other debris from the smashed window. Over to the corner of the attic-like room is a set of stairs leading downwards to the third floor. Caleb points towards it and the three of us make our way down silently. Whoever was down there probably already heard us but you can never be too cautious. As we make our way down we can see the floor below, Caleb crawls to the ground and peaks in.
“No one I can see,” he whispers and motions for us to follow as he stands up and we walk in. The room is totally empty except for a wooden staff in the center of the floor. The staff stands straight up not protruding into the floor but rather is held up by some kind of magical force. Atop the staff is a glowing purple orb. The top of the staff curves around it in a crescent-like shape holding the orb in a hug. The artifact glows purple and as we approach it I can feel an almost death-like sensation flood over my body.
We stare through the glass door looking in every direction possible for any signs of danger.
“Looks clear to me,” Caleb whispers. I slowly open the door and peak out, still nothing. Then putting my right foot out, and my left foot out, I step onto the wet tile floor. I stand there alone, the others inside the door still awaiting my signal. As I’m about to motion to them I stop, there is a shuffling sound to my right. I turn to look and see the lifeguard station collapsed but moving. I motion for everyone to wait as I make my way towards it, floaties and other swim gear piled alongside it covering whatever was causing the movement. I put the sword I’m currently holding back into its sheath and quickly remove the longest one; with this I have the longest reach. I hold it out in front of me; I am now only two and a half steps away from the moving who-knows-what, I reach out with my weapon and using the tips toss some of the debris into the air. I quickly jump back as the unknown lurches towards me revealing itself. I find myself looking straight at a very muscular lifeguard zombie, a pair of swim-trunks covering his lower half with their brand name reading: “Mr. Swimtastic.”
My friends must have noticed my surprise because only a second later and they are by my side weapons at the ready. I hold out my arms to show them everything is ok and they stop to view the oddity in front of me. The man is trapped under a heavy enough object that he cannot get out and simply reaches for us his eyes glazed back in undead blindness, he cannot see only hear; mindlessly he shifts, occasionally kicking his legs in an attempt to remove the wreckage that rests atop him.
“Hm,” we all hum as we watch the creature struggle.
“What should we do with him?” I ask looking around for ideas. Caleb steps forward and reaches into his jacket and pulls out one of several large and well-sharpened knives.
“I got this,” he claims as he raises the knife high above his head reaching out as much as possible to avoid getting too close to the enemy below. When he decides he is at the right spot he lets go of the blade; we watch as it falls towards the monster’s head. There’s a quick clinking noise as his blade lightly grazes Mr. Swimtastic and then his the floor; the zombie, being attracted to sound, quickly throws his head towards the blade and begins to gnash his teeth in its direction trying to get a bite at his would-be attacker.
“Ha! Try again!” Quinn scoffs at Caleb as his friend stares sadly down at his failure.
“Now I can’t get my knife back,” Caleb lightly cries realizing that reaching for that knife would potentially get him bitten which was the last thing he wanted to do. Suddenly we hear a noise; a loud grinding coming that echoed through the room, bouncing off of every wall. The echo kept us from being able to pinpoint the location of the noise but looking around we knew it obviously wasn’t anything in here.
“C’mon,” Ben shouts rushing back towards the changing rooms.
“Wait what about this guy?” Caleb stands pointing at the undead lifeguard. I stop in my rush to follow Quinn and Ben sword raised above my head and slice down quickly lopping off the monster’s neck and everything attached.
“There,” I shout. Caleb bends to pick up his knife while I return to following the other two, just before leaving I grab a towel off the shelf by the changing room door containing hundreds of towels; I grab one and use it to wipe off my blade before tossing it and heading out of the pool room.
We quickly make our way back through the locker room and into the front lobby.
“I’m guessing it came from upstairs,” Ben shout back to us as we run up to the second floor. There’s no need to be quiet now, any undead in the area had to have heard that sound and are going to be focusing on that rather than us.
As we reach the top of the stairwell we find ourselves on the cardio floor offering ellipticals, stationery bikes, treadmills, and other similar equipment. We take a quick look around and see nothing but the equipment.
“It must be the next floor,” Ben states already spinning around and stepping onto the first step. Suddenly we hear it again, a loud grinding noise.
“Is that a blender?” Caleb asked as we rush up the staircase.
We make it to floor number three, the top floor of the building. Inside we see weight-lifting equipment: bars, lifts, and weights all neatly organized throughout the room. We come around the corner and see something at the far end of the room, the smoothie bar. As we come closer we notice movement behind it, then the noise again.
“Gggrrrrrrr,” we all jump in surprise. The sound WAS a blender and someone behind the bar was operating it. We approached weapons drawn and at the ready awaiting any sudden movement. The person moved quickly, too quickly for a zombie; grabbing a banana, pouring a small amount of protein into the blender in front of him, then spinning around to grab some more fruit causing him to find himself staring right into our eyes.
“You killed him!” I attempt to hide my shouting under a harsh raspy whisper.
“He rushed me!” Caleb Replies. “Plus don’t you notice?”
“There’s no blood,” I slowly look down to view the headless corpse at my feet and realize he’s right, not a drop of blood flows from the body. The head rests face down on the beings back and is still moving in a strange repeating motion. I kick it and it rolls onto the ground. My eyes meet with a horrifying sight as the dull, blank eyes stare back at me and the mouth chomps at me.
“Ahhhh!” I shout jumping back. Caleb drops his knife into its head and it ceases movement. “What the Azorack!”
“It’s undead,” Caleb states emotionlessly and looks up to the rest of the village. “Look.” I tilt my head up and stare in horror to see about a hundred more silently dragging themselves towards us. Caleb and I back away slowly until we find our backs touching the door to the city.
“Hey! What’s going on in there?” Ben’s muffled voice shouts from behind the blockage.
“We figured out why the whole town is so quiet,” I shout in reply looking in every direction for a way out but the truth is that Caleb and I are surrounded.
“Well maybe you could open the door?” Ben shouts back. Oh yeah I totally forgot about that. I look to my left and see a tower stretching up to the top of the wall. Some rops stretched out to the door and a mechanical crank of some kind inside.
“Caleb can you get to the tower?” I ask nervously. But as I turn to look at the rogue he’s already gone. I look the back to the tower where he is already halfway up. I sigh with relief but suck it back in when I look to my front to find the zombies only 10 feet away. I calm my mind and pull out a small booklet from my cloak: my spellbook. I quickly open it up and flip through the nicely organized pages finding the spell I desire.
“Kukaires Nunda!” I say and a wave of invisible energy flies out pushing back the undead and knocking them to the ground. Suddenly the door behind me flies open. Caleb finally made it, and just in time too, the zombies are already picking themselves off the ground. Ben leaps inside and rushes the nearest undead swinging his massive battle axe splitting the monster’s body in half. Michael follows close behind his sword drawn. With every swing of his blade a head flies landing yards away from the rest of the body. A zombie manages its way through the chaos only to receive an arrow to the head by Caleb from the wall. I stand behind by the door and hold out my hand palm-up to a monster.
“Krecootus!” I shout and the creature bursts into hundreds of fleshy bits. I turn to a small group, “Hinobus Ignata!” A fireball leaps from my hand and crashes into the dead igniting them and leaving piles of ashes where they stood within seconds. I take a look around to see the carnage before us yet looking back up the zombies keep on coming. I rush to Ben’s side and narrowly dodge an axe swing as he obliterates the monster in front of him.
“Oh sorry bro, what’s up?” He shouts above the sounds of battle.
“We’re not making a lot of progress!” I shout back. “They keep coming!”
“It’s ok I have plenty more energy!”
“Sure but Caleb will run out of arrows and I’m almost out of Mana!”
“No worries Michael and I can take the rest!”
“But they’re not stopping!”
“Well they have to run out eventually,” Ben slices a zombie in half from the top down and pauses, his axe in the ground, trying to catch his breath. “Alright you’re right I’m getting tired but what can we do?” He picks his axe back up and knocks another zombie to the ground before smashing the head under his weapon.
“There has to be someone or something causing these zombies to spawn!” I explain.
“Alright tell me more!” Ben shouts in exhaustion.
“Ok but we need to take cover!” I look around for somewhere to get away from the dead. About four houses down is a watch tower standing high over the city lined with stone and about six-stories high. Perfect. Michael suddenly appears behind me slowly being pushed back by the onslaught of undead hordes. “Oblitiere,” I shout and three zombies heads implode into nothingness allowing Michael to turn away and look at us.
“What’s the plan?” He asks.
“Follow me!” I shout I’m about to look back to see Caleb’s situation when suddenly an arrow buries itself into a nearby undead, a piece of paper hanging from the shaft. I shout a spell that rips the note from the projectile and lands in my hand.
“Out of arrows, need to move!” the note reads. I look back to see zombies surrounding the structure where Caleb resides. The construction begins to waver as the fiends beat against it. Caleb leaps for the nearest roof and sprints towards us, his arms straight out behind him increasing his aerodynamics.
“Hikux Locasho,” I shout and push a bolt of light out of my hand straight towards the tower where it rests. Caleb sees the spectacle and adjusts his course towards it. “Let’s go!” I yell to my other two companions. I turn to the undead and before my two friends can swing their weapons shout, “Kucaires Pasem!” sending a bolt of high-velocity air straight out pushing the zombies out of the way and creating a perfect pathway to the tower.
“Bring me my wizard!” I can hear Quinn shout from the main hall. I sigh with annoyance, my research isn’t finished yet and I know that within seconds he’s going to send one of his knights in here to fetch me and Azorach knows they won’t take no for an answer.
As predicted my door burst open moments later, in steps a knight clad entirely in his armor. Slowly he reaches up and removes his helmet.
“Ah sir Michael,” I greet seeing the familiar face of one of lord Quinn’s most trusted soldiers. “I’m guessing you’re here to fetch me.”
“Yes I uh…” Michael stops in surprise. “You truly do have magic powers.” He states in amazement. I can tell what he’s thinking; he thinks I can predict things before they happen. Sadly, though, that ability does not fall under my range of magical powers.
“Yes well let’s get this over with quickly,” I say grabbing my cloak on the way to the door. Apparently the “master,” as he has so dubbed himself, gets frustrated when I do not wear the cloak that he claims makes me look more “wizard-ish.” I choose only to wear it so as not to be forced to listen to half-an-hour worth of complaining from him about looking more professional in his presence.
“Right this way,” sings the unusually tall knight as if it was part of a script. The man claimed he had giants blood inside of him and thus giving him his excessive increase of height. As he walks his metal armor clanks annoyingly, you might have been able to pick up on it but I really don’t like it here. Too big a place for one man and an army to simply live and rule over people whose needs are not being met. I don’t like being grouped in with this crowd when all I do is work for the man just like everyone else in this kingdom, only difference is that I’m in the same building as he as opposed to the fields or the mines. If it weren’t for the fact that I needed money to buy supplies to continue my research I’d quit.
It’s only moments before we reach the main hall where Quinn paced around looking furious. Behind him sits his gold throne covered in red velvet padding which he hated sitting in. Say what you want about the guy but I can totally relate with not wanting to sit around in a chair all day no matter how comfortable it looked.
“Oh thank Azorach,” Quinn exclaimed as I stand in front of him unenthusiastically awaiting whatever chore he is going to ask me to do.
“What can I do for you sir?” I ask trying to sound as interested as possibly. He takes a deep breath and I prepare for some long explanation, I might as well have put everything away in my study because I can tell this is going to take a while.
“Alright so here’s the thing,” Quinn begins his hands raised to his chest in preparation to gesture about to help emphasize his upcoming story. “You know the kingdom next door?”
“You mean the kingdom of Jordom? The King’s personal favorite and capital of the entire Jaaron region, as well as the primary weapons manufacturer and supplier of our military?” My tone of sarcasm is almost palpable.
“Yes, yes don’t make it sound so pleasant!” Quinn practically shrieks at me. “Anyways, by King Jaaron’s request a prisoner was moved from the kingdom of Jordom and placed under my care, a warlock going by the name Jonathon. Well in an effort to prank us the lord Jordom slipped the evildoer the key to his shackles and thus the warlock escaped our custody the moment he was brought in. Not only that, but he also managed to kill three of my guards and apparently put a curse on the woman who runs the royal clothing shop here in town causing all the clothes she makes to turn to the most awful shade of dull light blue you’ve ever seen.” He paused and noticed the robes I was wearing, the same ones he forces me to wear in his presence, and the color they exhibited: a dull light blue.
He looks back up and stares at me awaiting my reply.
“Well what would my lord wish for me to do?” I ask.
“I want you and a party of people of my choosing to go find him and bring him to me. ALIVE!” He practically jabs me in the eye with his finger as he shouts the last word, enunciating it to make sure it sinks deep within my brain. I roll my eyes, just what I needed a quest.
“Of course my lord,” I try not to sound too unenthusiastic. “When would you like me to get started?”
“Immediately,” he laughs as if it were obvious, he walks away and sits on his throne. “I’m guessing you’re wondering who I will be sending with you.”
“On pins and needles,” I mumble to myself.
“What was that wizard!?” Quinn shouts not quite hearing my complaint.
“Yes I would very much like to know sir,” I reply.
“Good, guards bring in the weapons maker!” The noble shouts to the back of the room where two of his armored soldiers stand on either side of his throne-room’s heavy wooden doors. They each reach towards each other and grab the handles in the center and swing the doors open revealing a dark figure from behind. In walks a short man but with a beard long enough to make up for his lack in stature. He walks confidently in each step a heavy one.
“It’s about damn time,” the man’s voice drips heavily with a gruff Scottish accent, yet quick and cool enough to make one think he must be a salesman.
“Ah Skyler this here is Ben a half-dwarf,” Quinn introduces. The short man bows to me his beard folding over itself as it hit the ground not far below him. “He is a weapons expert,” he continues.
“Any non-magic weapon you could ever want I’ve got it,” my new acquaintance explains with a smile across his face that one could barely make out if it weren’t for his happy tone. “Course you’re a magic user so I suppose that doesn’t do you much good,” the man jokes.
“Well I could always enchant one,” I suggest.
“Yeah? You can do that?” Ben states in surprise as if he’d never heard of such a thing.
“Sure that’s how all magical weapons are made all you need is a wizard or other magic..”
“Alright you two can we get back to the rest of the group before you end up discussing the creation of the galaxy and the meaning of life or whatnot,” Quinn interrupts hoping to bring the conversation back to himself.
“Your next fellow-quester is…well it’s a little awkward to explain.” Ben and I look at each other confused. Suddenly Michael and another knight enter the room holding a man bound by ropes wearing a hooded cape and mask. “This is Caleb a rogue who recently tried to steal from me and in the process managed to take out six of my guards.”
The man did not struggle but the two knights were very rough with him as they pushed him closer to the front of the room obviously unhappy with the fact they he killed six of their friends.
“Are you sure this is a good idea my-lord?” Ben asks and I nod in agreement. “Are you sure we can handle a convict?”
“Of course!” Quinn laughs as if it were a joke. “Let me tell you how our government system works boys. We lords have three things in this world: money, power, and people who want to take one of those two things from us. These people, once we manage to catch them, typically have a skill they are quite good at, otherwise they are dead by the time we catch them, these are useful skills that we want SO what we do is pay them to use that skill FOR us rather than AGAINST us.” The noble smiles as Ben and I look at each other slightly disturbed at what’s been going on in our politics inner-workings.
“Just watch,” Quinn turns towards his knights. “Michael would you please untie my new friend,” he smiles holding his hand out to the masked figure. Michael angrily pulls out his sword; the criminal does not flinch, and swings down slicing the rope from the man’s body. Suddenly the man, now freed, spins around and disarms Michael taking the knight’s sword for himself. The mystery man quickly kicks Michael to the ground before the knight can even look up leaving him unable to pick himself off the floor due to the heavy armor surrounding his body. The man turns to us and looks as if to jump towards Quinn, I prepare my staff and Ben pulls a mini-cannon from somewhere on his person aiming it at the assailant.
“Woah, Woah, Woah,” Quinn laughs nervously holding up his hands to assure us there was nothing wrong. “Caleb come here,” he motions to the man who walks silently to Quinn’s side. “This is Caleb he is a dark elf who has abandoned the rest of his race to become a mercenary assassin and a thief. I planned out this whole show as a way to impress you but I can assure you there is no need to worry he is completely loyal to me.” Suddenly the sword in the newcomer’s hand is at Quinn’s throat.
“I want you to get one things clear, I am not loyal to you or any other man but myself. I do this job for you simply for the money, got it!” The man’s voice flows smoothly from his mouth, his tongue giving the slightest hiss as he spoke.
“Well I’ll keep that in mind,” Quinn laughed nervously as he cautiously reached up and moved the sword from his neck. Michael was just able to pick himself up off the ground and glared angrily in Caleb’s direction.
“Will this be all m’lord?” Ben asks with a bow.
“Actually I have one more companion I’d like you to bring along,” the noble turns to his knights his hand outstretched towards them. “My captain of the guard Michael,” The knight immediately comes to attention and salutes.
“If I may ask m’lord, wouldn’t it be an unwise decision to let me go with them and leave your lordship unprotected.” Michael stammers as he tries to convince the man to let him stay.
“No, no, no,” Quinn assures. “I will be fine I can protect myself.” I stifle a laugh but a high-pitched cough manages to escape. Quinn shoots me a glare. He motions for Michael to step down and join us in front of him.
“Alright you four,” I realize Quinn is going to give us a sending-off speech and I roll my eyes. “It’s glad to know that even though there are men out there who want to see me dead and take my power from me, that I still have you four good friends to count on. Now go forth and complete this quest and I assure you that you will all return rich men!” Suddenly Quinn’s voice falls to a mumble, “if you make it back at all.”
“Wait what did you say?” But my voice was drowned out as Quinn’s guards hustled us out of the lord’s home.
“May Azorach go with you!” Quinn shouts after us as the big oak doors close behind us.
As we cruised through downtown making our way towards the gym where we hoped our missing friend was hiding out. Quinn lay at Ben and my feet as we rock back and forth to Caleb’s crazy driving. Quinn continued to whine but all we were focused on was the road. Suddenly an idea jumped into my head, I reached forward and hit the power button on the radio and on popped a familiar sound: music. Thankfully the radio stations hadn’t quite gone down yet. We all smiled as the music played on, and chuckled when each song ended and there was awkward dead time where the host was supposed to be inserted.
It wasn’t too long before we reached the gym which was pleasantly empty aside from a handful of cars making it easy for us to find the perfect parking spot. As we neared the front door we saw it, Michael’s car; the silver one with both back handles broken off. He claimed it was because he was just too strong for his own good, we really didn’t care. All of our hopes sprang up when we saw the evidence of Michael’s locale.
Parking the car we paused for 3 minutes looking intently out of each window to make sure nothing was coming, and by nothing I mean zombies. The time passed slowly and to be totally honest I started to get bored.
“Can we go now?” I huffed, sitting back in my seat. Ben slowly leaned back not for a second taking his focus from the window he was looking out.
“Yeah let’s go,” he replied but his mind was in another place. I slowly, and as quietly as possible, opened the door attempting to silence the click as I pulled the handle. It slowly swung open and I stepped out one foot at a time looking both ways as I did and pulling my sword out my short sword a little ways just in case. Nothing, I set the rest of myself on the ground and took three steps forward giving Ben some room to exit. Caleb crept out the front door and pointed his handgun out in case of danger while Quinn grunted as he sat up shotguns hanging by his sides and his hands in his armpits attempting to massage the pain away.
“Ow,” he cried as he pushed himself out of the vehicle. We all turned around and shushed him then quickly returned our focus to the matter at hand. The door was about 10 feet away, automatic doors that should still work, it was too soon for all electricity to have gone out. Sure enough they did and we entered the gym.
The first floor contained the information desk where one could set up their subscription to the gym and work out any other information. Behind that was stairs to get to the rest of the buildings floors; the gym didn’t offer elevators for the sole reason that stairs are better exercise, a clever concept I suppose. Behind the stairs was a brick wall with two open hallways leading left and right; the right one was for the ladies changing room, and the left for the guys because behind that brick wall was the pool.
“What’s the plan?” Caleb asks us as we find ourselves all standing in front of the info desk looking around as if expecting something bad to happen.
“It’s really quiet in here,” Quinn notes still holding his pits but based on his look of amazement it would seem that his pain has since subsided a little.
“Alright here’s what we’ll do..” Ben starts.
“I swear if you think we’re splitting up here and now…” I mutter.
“No no you’re right no splitting up,” Ben assures and we all sigh with relief. There are four floors in all counting the basement which would mean each of us would have to take one and I was definitely not planning on doing that.
“We’ll just take one floor at a time starting here, if anyone hears or see anything do NOT refrain from letting the rest of the group know it could mean life or death.” We all nod in agreement as Ben finishes his speech.
“Oh and one more thing,” he adds as we’re about to turn away. We all look at him intently knowing that whatever words come out of his mouth could lead to the success of this mission. “Be Quiet!” Again we nod and slowly start making our way towards the pool entrance.
“You go first,” Ben whispers motioning to me, causing my heart to leap into my throat.
“Why do I have to go first?” I complain trying to be as quiet as possible in concurrence with Ben’s recently made rule.
“Because you decided to be Mr. Melee and thus have the quietest weapons of us all, if anything comes out of there I don’t want to have to alert anything else around whilst killing it.” It was a valid point and I had no choice but to agree. We slowly made our way towards the wall and I began removing my shortest sword from its sheath, I started o slowly veer to the right but when I looked behind me the other guys were heading left paying no mind to the direction I was subtly moving towards.
“Guys where are you going?” I whisper rather loudly. They turn towards me and start looking around as if confused.
“Well, I mean it’s the guys’ changing room, it’s just habit.” Caleb states matter-of-factly.
“Dude everyone is gone, it’s our big chance to get to go into the girls’ changing room!”
“Yeah but if there’s no girls around here then what’s the point?” Quinn states.
“He makes a good point,” Caleb nods.
“Plus,” Ben starts to add. “Even if there are girls in there they’re probably zombies and I don’t think I wanna see a naked zombie chick to be totally honest.”
“Yeah but I mean it’s worth a shot right?” I ask practically begging for the chance to go inside. “Plus I hear they deck out the girls’ section really well.”
“What do you mean?” Caleb asks. By this point everyone is standing around without a care in the world simply having a conversation as if the world wasn’t ending.
“Like they put nice couches and stuff in them, I don’t know but I WANT to know!” I look around pleading with the others to join me.
“I mean maybe we find some nice smelling shampoo or something,” Quinn chimes in. We all turn to look at him our eyes sending judgment glares his way.
“What the heck, why not,” Ben finally agrees and the rest of the group faces my way. I slowly make my way inside my back against the wall being as sneaky and cautious as possible. I look around the corner; inside are the typical toilet stalls, shower heads, etc all looking just like the guys’ shower room. A mirror sits on the wall directly across from the stalls just above a row of sinks, all the stall doors are conveniently open and thanks to the reflection in the mirror I can see that they are all empty. I stretch my neck to see if there is any other notable detail before proceeding; nothing, no fancy couches or complimentary packets of makeup and conditioner, just a typical changing room.
“Well this is disappointing,” I sigh depressively as I pull away from the wall and walk straight in lowering my sword to waist-height. The others follow, each dropping a hint of their guard as they get a better look inside. We walk through quickly realizing there’s nothing special here and, at the end of the room and around another corner, we find the glass door leading into the pool.
I feared the worst as I was jolted backwards and a voice yelled, “Get in!” I saw Caleb rush towards me but lowered his stick as he raced past me. Why wasn’t he helping me, I cringed as I looked up expecting the end when a familiar face greeted me; it was Ben. The door to the shop was being held open by Quinn who I suppose had managed to get Ben’s attention, and Caleb was rushing past as Ben pulled me by my jacket collar into his store. He let go once I passed the door’s threshold and collapsed letting the fear leave my body in long deep breaths. I could hear the door slam shut and a click as the lock was re-initiated, I sat up.
“Why didn’t you radio me!?” Ben asked his hands flailing around in frustration.
“What radio?” I was confused.
“The incredibly expensive walky-talky I got for this exact reason!” Ben continued to shout but I still sat there confused. “The one in the cabinet above the stove in the apartment, I set it on the right channel and everything so that you’d be able to contact me while I’m in here in case the doors are locked!” Suddenly it came to me, it was a part of the plan Ben had recently added that I had totally forgotten about. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a terrible memory, and Ben never shared the information with the others because it was a somewhat complicated piece of equipment that he didn’t want to waste time re-explaining to the other guys.
“Oh yeah,” was all I could manage. Ben sighed with frustration and went back to prepping the guns. I looked around the shop; cabinets, shelves, and drawers all opened to the fullest extent and most of them absolutely bare. Those that weren’t empty featured only a few wood-chippings or empty ammunition boxes. One shelf remained completely stocked though; it was the non-lethal section that held the pepper-spray and Tasers. I looked over at Ben who was leaned over the counter, the one he as an owner typically stood behind while running the store, which was totally covered in guns and boxes of ammunition. He would set a gun in front of him with a pack on ammo directly under the butt of the gun, then removing the clip he would fill the magazine with the ammo form the previously mentioned box until the box was either empty of the magazine was full, then slapping that clip back into the gun he would set it on the massive pile of other firearms he had already made it through and move onto the next one following the same process as before.
“So what’s the plan from here?” Caleb asked always being the curious one. He sat eagerly on a display case while Quinn looked through the various munitions testing the sights and weights of the guns.
“Hard to say since we don’t know where Michael is at.” Ben stated not even for a second taking his eyes off of his process. “We could just wait here for him to show up, that is hoping that he thinks to come here and not try to leave town with everyone else.”
“Where IS everyone else,” I asked finally getting up off the floor and moving my way towards Ben and his work.
“As soon as the news went out for the first time this morning there was a large but very brief panic. Families immediately left to find a safer place and to seek out other loved ones, while others took the opportunity to grab some free stuff and run.” Ben relayed the facts to us like Captain Ahab did when telling the crew how the great white whale stole his leg.
“Wait so if this all was happening this morning why didn’t you call us sooner.” I asked with a hint of annoyance about not being informed of a world-wide happening sooner.
“I was busy!” Ben states, setting the gun he was loading down and finally looking up from his work. “First there were a bunch of people rushing into my store to buy, and in some cases attempt to steal, my guns. I sold some stock and to quell the masses started handing out my backroom reserves of the non-lethal stuff hoping that would get them out so I could lock up and wait for you guys. It worked on some but others were smart enough to realize that pepper spray won’t hurt zombies and were pushy about getting a gun. I didn’t want to sell anymore because for one I was out of crappy stuff I didn’t mind getting rid of and also because money isn’t going to be very useful once everything goes to hell so I told the people to go bring me useful things like knives or food or else there would be no sale. This got rid of almost everyone but then I had to deal with some thieves.”
“How’d you do that?” Caleb asked innocently.
“Take a look out back behind the shop,” Ben chuckled. Caleb winced wishing he hadn’t asked that question.
“Anyways that’s the gist of it now we need to decide what to do from here,” Ben states finishing the last of the guns in his pile. He also had another pile off to the side full of bows and arrows, and a small pile even further down on the cabinet of knives.
“Well the main thing is finding Michael,” I state in all seriousness. The others nod in agreement and stare at me waiting for more information. “We can’t contact him through cell phone and the internet is down as well.”
“Not that it would really help if we DID have internet,” Quinn chuckles. “Since Michael got rid of his iDentityBook account.” We all chuckled, Michael was very specific about his social media and which ones he would and wouldn’t use, iDentityBook was one nearly everyone in today’s society was using but Michael, possibly in an attempt to seem hipster, had chosen to stop using the tool.
“Wait,” Caleb hopped up and raised his finger to illustrate that an idea had entered his head. “He’s probably at the gym!” Everyone’s eyes lit up at the same time this was a really good point Michael was always working out, since it was practically his job, so where else would he be but at the gym. The gym was a big place and in fact was a big feature to the city we lived in, people from nearby towns and cities actually drove all the way down here to go there and work out because of the physical health programs they offered, the equipment, and the smoothie bar. The only issue for us was that it was a ways away, and judging by the occasional thud from the window we could easily guess that the zombies from earlier managed to make it to the shop and weren’t planning on leaving.
“Ok so we go check the gym, but how do we get out of here?” I ask looking to each person for answers.
“Well we can always take the back door to avoid the ones out front,” Ben says pointing to the back of his shop. “The only tough part is getting to a car without running into the zombies.”
“We have all the guns and ammo we could possibly need why is it such a problem?” Quinn asks speaking for the first time since we made it inside.
“Quinn makes a good point; we can go out the back door shoot down what’s immediately in our way and then take the car from there.” Ben planned. We all nodded and Ben started packing away his guns. “We only have to take what we need now and we’ll come back for the rest once we get Michael.” Ben stated strapping three holsters to his belt; two on each side and one in the back each carrying a handgun in each. Quinn loaded up with two shotguns slung across his chest and one in his hand making him look like a suburban Rambo. He was about to shove an extra handgun in his pocket when Ben stopped him and pointed out how he should be plenty prepared with what he was already carrying.
Caleb and I took a couple hand guns each which we both strapped to our ankles. I can only speak for myself but I hate being weighed down by guns, my forte is melee and that’s what I’ll stick with the guns are simply for emergencies. Once we were packed and Ben had grabbed a bag with some things he decided were a good idea to bring along we were set. Ben pulled out his keys and we lined up at the door waiting anxiously for him to twist the key and turn the knob releasing us into the unknown alleyway behind his shop knowing that there could be any number of zombies waiting for us on the other side.
“You guys ready?” Ben asks flirtatiously knowing how nervous we are. We each give him the “hurry up and just open it already” look before he chuckles to himself and opens the door.
“So what exactly is the plan?” Caleb asked as we drove down one of the many backstreets attempting to avoid as many crowded areas as possible.
“We’re gonna stop by The Gunner, grab Ben and some guns, and then go look for Michael.” I repeat for the tenth time. I turned to look at Quinn to make sure he was doing ok, he was our designated driver because he claimed he was the best at handling a vehicle than the rest of us; we didn’t necessarily agree but we let him have his desire.
Caleb nodded silently as I re-adjusted the swords I had strapped to my belt. It was a collectible samurai set, with the three-differently sized blades, but I always kept them sharp specifically for this day. Caleb carried three large knives and a thick stick he called The Slammer that he had been training with for the last month and a half. Quinn had Alchmophobia, the fear of sharp objects, which in his case was specifically related to knives; being as the only things we had were knives and a couple useless blunt objects at the apartment Quinn decided he would just go without until we got to Ben’s and he could get a gun.
We had attempted to get ahold of Michael multiple times and were continuing every 10 minutes but we couldn’t get anything which made us want to move even faster, and eventually the phones gave out which we were expecting. We sped through seeing few survivors and so far none of the undead of course we were avoided populated areas as much as possible. Finally we took the left at the final intersection that takes us into town, as soon as we did so the apocalypse was evident; windows were smashed and looting was evident. Thankfully we had found out about an hour or two later than most others, because that’s when Caleb’s shift had finished and he was able to come tell us, so we avoided a lot of the initial chaos but that also means we missed out on some of the best loot. When I saw the mess around us my heart dropped a little thinking about what could have happened to Ben’s shop in the craziness, but thinking about how aggressive Ben can be if he’s pushed to it relieved my fears.
We drove a couple blocks before we pulled up alongside Ben’s shop. The sign across the top reading “The Gunner” was the same as always still featuring big teal letters and the businesses character: The Agent, standing next to the ‘r’ in Gunner pulling a massive handgun out of the inside of his tuxedo.
As we hopped out, Caleb and I quickly scanning the area for the undead, I turned to see Quinn putting change into the meter next to our car.
“Dude! What the heck are you doing!?” I whispered harshly trying not to be too loud and potentially attract any living or dead.
“Sorry dude, old habit,” he said realizing what he was doing. We turned towards the shop and I reached for the handle, locked. Of course it’s locked, Ben wouldn’t want looters and of course the zombies. I immediately went for my phone but replaced it into my pocket remembering that phones are useless right now.
“How are we supposed to let him know we’re here,” Quinn huffs with frustration as he begins to pace. I look into the window but no luck; he has the metal anti-theft blinds down. Caleb takes a long stride towards me and starts to slam on the door making a light thudding noise on the bulletproof glass.
“Dude stop!” I shout grabbing his arms and pulling him a couple steps away from the glass.
“What? I’m trying to let him know we’re here!” He shouts. I grab his mouth to quiet him and quickly look around, scanning for any invited danger.
“Dude you’re making more noise out here than you are inside, we don’t want to be stuck out here telling all the zombies that we’re here!” Caleb loosens his muscles and I remove my hand from his mouth.
“Ok my bad, but how are we gonna let him know?” Caleb asks leaning against another car parked in front of our van.
“Beep! Beep! Beep!” the car alarm begins to honk and the entire block of shops and other buildings causes the noise to resonate down the entire street. Caleb jumped off the car landing precariously on one foot nearly falling to the ground. I whipped out my sword and started frantically looking back and forth my blade following my gaze. Suddenly I saw them, about six, zombies coming around the corners of another shop about two blocks down. I quickly looked over my shoulder to make sure there were none behind me before focusing my attention towards the ones ahead of me. They were fairly clean for zombies, must be recently turned and each with only a little noticeable bite mark on either their shoulder or near the lower part of the ankle. They weren’t rotting and neither did they make much noise except for the occasional gargle in the back of their throat, probably their body continuing to reject the fluids that make up the rest of us living breathing people.
Quinn backed to the door and started to frantically beat upon the wood, pulling at the lock hoping maybe the lock would just remove itself. Caleb, after pulling himself from the ground, pulled out his stick and held it in the direction of the oncoming undead. As the dead slowly came closer with nothing else in mind except for reaching us, others would randomly pop out from various open buildings and from around dark street corners and alley-ways; I counted nearly twenty at this point.
Suddenly I felt a hand on my back, in horror I pulled away and fearing a bite attempted to twist myself to avoid being anywhere near any possible head causing me to fall to my knees. The hand was strong though and wouldn’t let go. I was scared, the zombie apocalypse had just started and here I was going to be the first to get bitten what a waste.
“Die, damn it, DIE!” Quinn was screaming at the TV again. His screaming had rudely awakened me and I slowly sat up from my bed rubbing the tired from my eyes. I looked over at the Spider-Man alarm clock my mom had gotten me just before I had started college a few years ago. 4 o’clock. I suppose it was probably about time I got up anyways.
I walked over to the apartment’s only bathroom and closed the door behind me. It’s nice living with all guys because I rarely had to lift the seat. I released my liquid waste into the bowl as I stood patiently waiting for the stream to end. Suddenly, I heard the front door fly open and slam against the wall on the other side. Someone ran in and a second later Quinn started yelling, whoever was out there was messing with the TV and Quinn was pissed. I zipped my pants up and walked out into the hallway. Caleb lay on the floor, Quinn atop him, holding the remote and flipping through the channels on the TV while Quinn attempted to wrestle it out of his hand. Caleb pushed, his hand on Quinn’s face, fighting off his larger opponent his eyes focused on one thing though: the TV. He continued flipping through channels as if his life depended on it and Quinn was simply an unnoticeable obstacle.
“Dude what the h…”
“There! Just watch!” Caleb yelled throwing the remote across the room, pushing Quinn off him, and leaping to his feet all in one motion. I turned to look at what he had managed to accomplish with this whole fiasco. Disappointment weighed upon my face causing my eyebrows to droop in annoyance and my eyes to squint to match, the news. Caleb made all that fuss to watch the news; at least it wasn’t sports news but seriously. Quinn just became more furious and leapt for the remote, Caleb’s fast reflexes let him leap faster and snatched it up Quinn landing on his left shoulder nearly smashing his head into the wall behind them.
“Just listen!” He yelled as he narrowly dodged Quinn’s fist which landed a hard slam onto the carpeted floor. He rolled towards the couch and Quinn and I sat down next to him, as the news reporter talked Quinn sat next to me giving up on his murderous intent.
“…I repeat an outbreak has occurred of the X1Z1 virus which causes the death and then reanimation of anyone infected. Please remain inside and do not attempt to leave your home at all costs.”
“I never understood why they think that’s the best decision,” I stated coolly.
“Dude be serious,” Caleb shouted with intensity in his eyes.”It’s the freaking zombie apocalypse! We’ve been preparing for this our whole lives! All the books…”
“And if you had actually read any of those books you’d know that the first rule is not to panic.” I said trying to calm Caleb down. We both turned to look at Quinn who stared at the TV, his face void of any happiness or positive emotion of any kind.
“Hey bro it’s ok we’re going to make it, we’ll be fine.” I reassured him. He slowly turned his head and looked at me, the horror in his eyes increasing causing them to grow wider.
“It’s not me bro, what about Michael.” As soon as he said it my mouth dropped open, he was right if there was anyone in our group that was less interested in the whole zombie prepping thing it was Michael. He had ignored our packing and planning and warning of his not packing and planning.
“Where did he say he’d be all day?” I asked worrying more and more for his safety every second that went by. Quinn was about to answer when suddenly my phone rang. We all turned to it the same idea running through our heads: I hope it’s Michael.
I pulled it from my pocket and looked at the caller ID; it was Ben, I answered.
“Dude did you hear the news!?” Ben excitedly shouted into the phone.
“Yeah bro, zombie apocalypse,” I confirmed. Ben was the one person that we had the least amount of concern for partially because he owned a gun shop but also because he had military experience and was the most prepared of any of us for a situation like this.
“It’s about time,” Ben replied. I could hear the sound of guns being loaded and cocked in the background.
“Sounds like you’re getting ready.”
“Yep, when you guys coming over?” He asked as if this was all part of his plan, which honestly it probably was.
“Well we were just freaking out because we have no idea where Michael is.” I inform him. I look around at the nervous faces of the other apartment dwellers unsure of what to do. Since Michael was never part of the planning and typically worked from home we never had thought to plan an emergency setup in case he wasn’t around when the virus broke out.
“How about this: you guys grab the car and swing by the store and pick me up, we’ll load up with the rest of the weapons I’ve got, and then we’ll go looking for him.”
“Alright sounds good bro, see you in 20 minutes.” I hung up the phone and turned to the other two both with worried quizzical looks on their faces. “Get your bags guys we’re heading out.”