Chapter 20 – Wasted
Current Location: Confounding Cul-De-Sac
Brent Davies just couldn’t catch a break.
He just had to open his big stupid mouth and let everyone know about his little victory, and now half the zombies in town were coming after them.
“Ohcrapohcrapohcrap,” Karisma muttered, “What do we do?”
They should probably start running, but in which direction?
“Uh, back to the hills!” Brent cried, and started to sprint, the others quickly following his lead.
Then he saw a good number of sneaker-clad zombies push their way past their slower brethren to run at the four survivors at an alarming speed.
They wouldn’t make it to the hills at this rate.
“Never mind, they’re too fast!” Brent said as he skidded to a stop. “We have to fight here!”
Harry and Karisma slowed in confusion while Reisa kept running a bit farther.
“Eh, what was that, mate?”
“We have to shoot them now, or they’ll catch up to us!”
Brent pointed the Cricket and started firing into the mass. Click! Click! Click-click!
The damage numbers the shots produced were depressing. 10? 11? What happened to 18? None of the fast zombies were even dying!
With one final click Brent emptied the magazine, his trigger finger aching from the rapid discharge. Still not even a single zombie had fallen.
“Shit!” He put away the pistol and brought out the revolver.
|Weapon||.357 Magnum (6/6)|
Perhaps its higher damage would make it more effective. It wasn’t silenced, but at this point it was time to dispense with stealth. Brent fired his revolver into the mass. Bang! The gun had a powerful kick to it, sending his hands up.
To his pleasant surprise his shot actually hit one of them, a holographic number 60 appearing over its head, after which it collapsed.
|Zombies Killed: 7
Okay, assuming that zombie hadn’t already been wounded that meant their total HP was under 60.
The fast zombies kept on running, with the slower horde approaching behind.
At last the others seemed to understand what he meant, raising their weapons and turning to fight.
“Aha, I get it! Everyone fire at will!” Harry started shooting, and the black disc spun round again.
Chakchakchakchak! Many of the zombies were blasted apart by machine gun rounds as the horde crossed over from the road to the grass.
“Uhh, okay!” Trrrrrt! Karisma added her own gunfire to the mix, producing a much faster and lighter sound, though she was having a harder time controlling her weapon.
Who was more effective at killing the zombies between them? It was really too chaotic to tell.
Brent held his fire though, as he only had 12- no, 11 now- shots for the revolver. He had to be efficient. He didn’t want to waste any of them hitting zombies that Harry or Karisma had already slain.
So he just waited. Reisa had the same idea, judging from her undrawn bowstring.
They didn’t have to wait too long.
Click! Karisma’s gun ran out first, and Harry’s gave out a few seconds later.
It was time for the pinch hitters to swap in.
The fast zombies had all been cut down, and Brent and company had even been able to knock a few off of their slower brethren behind. Brent wanted to shake his head. If they had been able to do this from the start, that guy from before might still be alive.
They needed better coordination.
Brent took aim at a walking corpse. He closed one eye, trying to line up the body with the tiny bit of metal sticking out the top of the revolver. Of course hitting the head would be better, but there was probably no chance of him landing such a small target at this distance.
He pulled the trigger. Bang! The shot missed completely, hitting the ground between two zombies.
Damn, so much for efficiency. They were spread out too much now to be able to just blindly fire into the mass.
Best to wait until- yep, there it was.
In his peripheral vision he spotted another fast zombie coming in from the side.
How did the phrase go? Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes? Too bad the zombie eyes were all white.
Brent waited until the runner drew closer, then opened fire.
Bang! He missed completely.
Bang! Another miss. The zombie was halfway to their position now.
Bang! Miss again.
Brent cursed internally. Was it just a fluke that his first shot had hit at all?
|.357 Magnum (1/6)|
This was his last chance. Brent leveled the revolver one more time, and-
Fwip! In the span of a breath, Reisa had already drawn and fired. Her arrow took the fast zombie through its rotten torso, and it tumbled to the ground.
Ugh. He was just no good with this gun, with any guns really, and his failure had forced Reisa to use up another one of her dwindling arrows.
“Sorry,” Brent said, hanging his head in shame.
“Don’t be,” Reisa responded in a kind tone. “I can’t even use one of those things. Although…”
She looked at the zombie she had killed, unmoving.
“I wasn’t able to hit it in the head this time, but it still seems to have died. Perhaps only a body shot is necessary?”
Brent looked up, and shrugged. “Dunno. I guess these zombies are… built different?”
He thought back to when he had blasted the zombies with his shotgun on the stairs. Had any of the pellets hit the head?
Chakchakchakchak! Trrrt! Harry and Karisma had started firing again. They were certainly taking down the zombies just fine despite not even trying for the head.
Maybe Ray was wrong, and their pre-existing pop culture knowledge was actually making it harder on themselves. Or rather, harder on him, Reisa, and Brent, the ones who didn’t have machine guns.
In any case, they seemed to have the situation well in hand. The horde had been decimated by all the bullets sent their way, and only a few stragglers remained.
“Uh, how about we get a bit closer to finish off the rest,” Brent suggested, “I can’t really hit anything from this distance.”
Karisma nodded. “Yeah, I don’t think I was hitting much either. I wasn’t getting much of those damage number thingies. Let’s be careful though. We’ve seen what happens when you get bitten.”
“P- Reisa got that one with a body shot,” Brent pointed out the body in question. “Headshots aren’t necessary, we just need to deal enough damage and they die.”
He was pretty close to figuring out exactly how much damage was needed. He really wished enemies had a visible HP bar above their heads like in an MMO, but all he could see was his own.
“It’s better to go for the body and hit rather than try for the head and miss. Try to conserve your ammo.” He recalled accidentally using up all his pistol ammo on farming those robots.
“Righto, lemme reload first.” Harry rummaged through his small pack. “Crikey, but you’re right about the ammo! I used up almost all of my blue box bullets just now. I mean, I still have about 20 or so, but that’s not enough to fill up this big gun even halfway.“
Brent took the time to reload his revolver as well. Like the shotgun, he had to slot the rounds in individually.
|.357 Magnum (2/6)|
|.357 Magnum (3/6)|
|.357 Magnum (4/6)|
|.357 Magnum (5/6)|
|.357 Magnum (6/6)|
He then tucked the gun into his pocket and pulled out the shotgun. He sucked with the revolver so it would be his backup weapon.
The four of them advanced on the few remaining zombies, guns blazing, and quickly made short work of the undead. Well, it was the three of them actually. Reisa just kind of hung back and watched.
|Zombies Killed: 8
“Hey, we did it!” Harry held a hand up. “High five, everyone!”
Karisma high-fived back first. “I still have no idea what I’m doing, but yay!”
Brent also returned the gesture. They had indeed taken down a whole horde, and without Ray to boot. Maybe there was hope for them yet.
Harry turned to Reisa, hesitating as she just stared at him instead of immediately following up. “Wait, do princesses not do high fives?”
“No no, uh, they do. I do,” Reisa also fumbled in her response. “I just didn’t expect the offer…”
“That’s fine, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Harry tried to lower his hand, but Reisa’s own quickly shot out to stop him.
“No please, allow me!”
Still keeping his arm in place, the elf slapped Harry’s palm with her other hand.
The whole gesture seemed so artificial and awkward, Brent almost felt embarrassed by proxy.
It was the least graceful thing he had ever seen her do.
For his part, if Harry felt anything was amiss he didn’t show it. “Hey, there you go!” He grinned, and Reisa smiled back a bit too before going to retrieve her arrow.
They basked in their victory for a moment, but it wasn’t over yet. The horde was gone, but there were still a fair number of zombies milling about around the portal.
Back to planning and preparation, then.
Harry now had a total of 3 shots left in the DP-28, so he would be using that “Mozambick” shotgun pistol instead.
Since he wasn’t using it, Brent reloaded the Noisy Cricket and handed it back to Reisa.
“Here. Please use it this time.”
“You did not give me much of a chance,” she protested.
“Oh. Yeah, yeah I guess I didn’t,” Brent admitted sheepishly.
“The street looks clear,” Harry reported. “Shall we mosey on in?”
“Yeah- uh, no, hold on.” Brent needed to give it some thought.
He looked over the neighborhood. “Okay, it might be clear, but our approach still needs to be slow and stealthy for this to work. If we run into any adds on the way, use quiet weapons only to deal with them. Right now that’s just Reisariel’s bow and the Noisy Cricket.” The pistol was good for that, at least. “Wait no, melee weapons work too.”
On that note, he swapped out his shotgun for the baseball bat.
“Yeesh,” Karisma said, taking out the crowbar. “That’s pretty risky.”
“Yeah, I don’t like it either, but it will only be until we get to the portal.”
He resisted the urge to say that hopefully they wouldn’t run into any zombies before then, because that would be jinxing it.
Hm, if something did happen, it might be better for him to have the Cricket so he could shoot simultaneously with Reisa.
He looked at the elf, her beauty practically untouched by the recent battles, and his resolve faltered. He couldn’t bring himself to ask for it. It would be too awkward, especially after he just gave it back to her.
“Anyway, uh, once we get to the soccer field, you two find somewhere to hide,” he pointed at Harry and Karisma, “Somewhere out of the way, and wait. Reisa and I will draw aggro and try to pull all the zombies in the field.”
“All of them? You sure you can handle that?” Harry asked.
To be honest, Brent wasn’t sure.
“We won’t be trying to kill them all. Just lead them away from the portal.”
He’d seen Reisa was a fairly strong runner, and he… well, he could outrun the slow zombies no problem. It was the fast ones they’d have to worry about.
“Then you guys can focus on destroying it. We’ll try to circle around and join back up afterwards, so we can take on the remaining zombies together.”
Harry scratched his head. “I dunno mate, it still seems kind of risky. What if we do all this and it turns out we can’t destroy it? It’d all have been for nothing.”
“Why wouldn’t we be able to destroy it? We just have to shoot it enough times.”
“I mean, we all saw it. That thing is magical as shite, summoning zombos out of nowhere. Maybe bullets don’t work on it and we’ve got to grab a magical wand from somewhere and say ‘skibidi babidi boo’ to make it disappear.” Harry waved his hands around, looking like an orchestra conductor as he described this hypothetical ritual. “It sounds far fetched, I know, but we also just saw a bloke explode into five zombies so anything’s possible at this point.”
“I guess…” Ugh, Harry had to pick now to be cautious and think things through.
Brent had to agree though. He was assuming that the portal destruction would work like it did in an MMO, but these assumptions had been hit and miss so far.
Well, then he was lost. Should they just ditch the plan, and give up?
“It’s fine, we can test it out,” Karisma said, “Those floating damage numbers, they only show up over things that can be killed, right? Like if I shot the ground, or the house, I wouldn’t see anything. So when we get there, we just shoot it once. If no number pops up, or it doesn’t seem to have taken any damage, we can back off before we split up or attract too much attention or whatever.”
That… sounded like an acceptable compromise, and Brent said as much.
“Hm. Yeah, that might work.”
He thought for a bit. “We can even use a stealth weapon to test to stay undetected. Wow, you just singlehandedly saved my plan. Thanks Karisma.”
“That’s our Dr. K for you,” Harry said.
“I told you I’m not a doctor.” She blushed at the compliment. “It’s just basic scientific method. And it doesn’t eliminate the risk entirely, but it’s at like, a more tolerable level, you know?”
“Oh yeah, for sure. I’m all for it.” Harry gave a thumbs up.
Brent raised his baseball bat. “Alright, it’s settled then. Is everyone ready?”
This was mostly directed at Reisa, who hadn’t said anything yet. The elf nodded in response, holding up the pistol.
Brent felt all warm and fuzzy inside. He had a party who listened to him, who communicated with each other, helped make a plan together, and were now ready to go into battle with him. What more could he ask for?
He wanted to point his bat at the portal and shout “CHARGE!” but that wouldn’t be very stealthy.
“Let’s do this,” he said at a moderate volume. He took a step forward, and his party followed.