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Chapter 22 – Zombie PUNCH

Current Location: Confounding Cul-De-Sac

How had the tough zombie gotten so close?

That would have been the question figuratively going through Brent’s head, were it not for the pain that was literally going through his head from being punched in the face by a large glove-clad fist.

Brent blacked out for a brief moment. When his vision returned he found himself lying on the road.

Health 55/100

It was a good thing he had been wearing that motorcycle helmet, or that could have been a lot worse. As it was, his nose was bleeding, likely broken, and a sharp pain coursed through his right arm, which had borne the brunt of the fall judging by how it was underneath his body.

Grrrr…” The tough zombie loomed over him, winding up for another punch.

Fuck. He had to get up! He rolled over onto his front. As the underside of his arm was exposed to the air he felt the sensation of tiny bits of rock and dirt sticking to it, as well as trickles of fluid. So he was bleeding from there too.

Brent pushed himself up to his knees and tried to stand.

That was when the zombie punched him again, a hammerblow into his side, sending him tumbling to the asphalt.

Health 25/100

Augh!” It hurt, but he didn’t black out. Brent scrambled to his feet quickly, before the tough zombie could catch up. That punch hadn’t done as much damage as before, but his health was still dangerously low.

He looked around, trying to assess the situation, but noticed the glass visor of his helmet had cracks all over it, obscuring his vision. If it shattered, bits of glass might get in his eyes. There was no doubt about it, the helmet had to go.

Brent reluctantly removed his head protection, and in an act of desperation threw it at the tough zombie as hard as he could.

The helmet hit the undead’s broad chest, dealing 1 damage, and bounced right off.

It was worth a try. Still, just 1? Was he that weak?

If there was any saving grace, it was that the tough zombie was only using punch attacks. It probably could have bitten him there but it didn’t. Brent didn’t know what he’d do if it had.

He found Reisa standing right next to him. Oh no. If she was here, that meant…

The horde was nearly upon them.

Wait, where was his shotgun? He looked up to see the weapon lying a few feet to the side of where he’d initially fallen.

He had to get past the tough zombie to get it, and he needed the shotgun to deal with the zombie. It felt like an unsolvable paradox.

But it wasn’t, not really. He wasn’t alone, after all. Brent sighed. “Reisa, I’m gonna need you to shoot the big one. Like, now.”

Are you su-”

Yes!” He didn’t know exactly how many pellets had hit the tough one before, so he would just have to hope her arrow would take it down. “Go for the head, uh, if you can,” he added for good measure.

I will.” Reisa spun around, drawing her bowstring back together in the same motion.

She sighted the tough zombie and loosed. Fwip!

The whole process happened almost too fast for Brent’s eyes to follow.

The arrow flew right into the walking corpse’s right eye socket, making a squishy sound as it pierced the head.

The big zombie froze up, and then slumped forward onto the ground with a heavy thud… and a crack?

Brent saw the feathered shaft sticking out from under the head at an odd angle. Well, there was no salvaging that arrow.

The path to his shotgun was clear, but there were also more fast zombies coming in from the side street.

It was fine though, as he would reach the gun first. Brent dashed over, scooped it up, took aim, and-

Click.

Weapon M870 Shotgun (0/5)

What? It was empty? He hadn’t been keeping track of the ammo.

But the fast zombies were still closing in! Brent panicked as he felt around his body, having completely forgotten where he kept the rest of his shotgun shells.

He almost thought to ask Reisa to shoot another arrow, but no, it wasn’t necessary this time. The main street was open.

Being unable to fight, Brent decided he would go with its similar sounding cousin, flight.

It might break aggro on part of the horde, but at this point he had run out of confidence in their ability to carry out this part of the plan.

Run! Run!Brent repeated, already running. Reisa caught up and they finished crossing the side street.

Breaking line of sight apparently wasn’t enough to break aggro, as the fast zombies came around the corner a moment later and continued pursuing them.

Despite the growing threat from behind, Brent forced himself to look ahead to make sure he was going the right way and no obstacles would trip him up.

He saw a humanoid figure peeking out from the open second story window of a nearby house. Another zombie?

No, this one didn’t have bunny ears, and the skin was more yellow than pale.

It was Ray!

Ray!” Brent shouted and ran towards the house.

Brent? Elf chick? What-” Ray’s expression slowly turned to alarm as he glimpsed all the zombies chasing them. “The fuck happened?”

I’ll explain later, kinda busy here!”

Wait, let me get these guys off you.” Ray aimed his gun.

It was a different one from the gray rifle he had before, but Brent didn’t look too closely.

Tak-tak! Tak-tak-tak-tak! Tak-tak!

Okay, gottem.”

Brent turned around to see all the fast zombies now prone on the ground. Some were still moving, but at a slow crawl, nothing compared to their previous pace.

T-thanks,” Brent panted as he slowed down, Reisa actually a couple feet ahead.

Don’t mention it.”

The two of them entered the house’s front yard, stepping onto a tiled stone path surrounded by overgrown grass.

Brent swung the white fence gate closed and secured the metal latch.

Wait!” Ray held up a hand before they could continue. “You stay there, I’ll come down to meet you.”

Huh?” Before they could ask why Ray withdrew from the window.

Moments later, the front door opened. Ray jogged over to them, then crouched down so that the fence completely covered his body. Seeing the sense in this, Reisa crouched down too.

Sorry, I needed to be ready to run. I saved your asses just now, but I really hope you weren’t expecting me to deal with the rest of those,” Ray indicated the pursuing horde behind them, which was now crossing the side street and being joined by all the zombies there.

Yeah, no, we didn’t even expect you to be here.”

This fence won’t hold them for long,” Ray remarked, “Not that many of them.”

Reisa spoke. “Then, shall we not take refuge in yonder house?”

Hell no, that’ll probably end up just like last time,” Ray said, “I don’t know why you guys are here, or why the fuck he’s still standing up. Brent!” He made an attention grabbing cough.

Brent had nearly forgotten how abrasive the man could be.

Yeah, I hear you,” Brent massaged his temples, “It’s just… easier to think here.”

Indeed, just being in the yard instead of in the middle of the street brought him some minor therapeutic relief. It was slightly out of the way, and though his rational mind knew the fence would get torn down by the horde in a matter of seconds, the sight of it was comforting nonetheless.

Great, now get the fuck down! Or do you want them to come after you?” Ray hissed.

Yeah, I do, actually.” Okay, it was time to explain.

Look, we found the portal, the spawner that the zombies are coming from. It’s in the soccer field, and it can be damaged by our guns. Harry and Karisma are going in to destroy it, and we’re pulling aggro- uh, keeping most of the zombies distracted while they do that.“

Come to think of it, what were Harry and Karisma doing? If they were firing Brent would be hearing it even from this distance. Maybe they were playing it really safe.

Ray was silent for a moment as he processed this. “Wow, you guys are really trying to be big damn heroes, huh. That’s… pretty crazy. You’re pretty crazy. Was that you I heard screaming earlier? Something about zombie bitches? Didn’t know you had that in you, kid.”

Uh, yeah, that was me.” Brent looked away. He’d only been so bold as he thought nobody was listening besides the zombies and Reisa, who probably didn’t understand half of what he had said. “We were gonna get back together afterwards and figure out what to do next.”

What brings you back here then, you cur?” Reisa asked. “Did you feel sorry for us?”

Ray scratched his head. “Kind of. I was going to just watch you guys inevitably fail at whatever you were doing and then offer to rescue anyone who survived.”

Wow. Brent wondered how it was possible to be that nice and mean at the same time.

And now?” he asked.

Ray shrugged. “Now? Well, looks like you haven’t failed yet, although that horde is getting damn close and I don’t know what’s happening with the other two.”

Trrrt! Bam! Bam! As if to answer Ray’s concerns, the sound of gunfire began to fill the air.

Brent listened closely. Yep, it was coming from the direction of the portal.

Yes, that’s it! They’re doing it man! They’re MAKING THIS HAPPEN!” He pointed, jumping with excitement at his plan coming to fruition at last.

If only he could be there to see them shooting the portal himself.

Alright dude, calm down,” Ray said, standing up, “That doesn’t change the fact that there are like a hundred of those things about to break down this fence and tear us...”

He trailed off, noticing that the approaching horde had suddenly frozen in place about one house away from them. Every single one of them had stopped moving.

Huh? Brent was positive they could still see him, and he was making tons of noise. So what-

Oh no. He had a pretty good feeling of what was about to happen.

Almost in unison, the zombies all turned around in a complete 180 and started shambling down the street in the other direction.

Or, I guess not. That’s cool.” All the stress seemed to leave Ray’s body, but the opposite transition was happening with Brent, his smile turning upside down.

Wait, no! Stop! Come back!” Brent shouted, as if they could hear him. He frantically raised his shotgun, remembered it was empty, struggled to search for the ammo again, then gave up and pulled out the revolver instead.

Weapon .357 Magnum (6/6)

BANG! He fired into the steadily retreating crowd. He hit one square in the back, dealing 64 damage and causing it to crumple immediately.

Zombies Killed: 16

It was to no avail though, as none of the fallen zombie’s brethren seemed to notice this. They continued to plod onward to the soccer field. Towards Harry and Karisma.

So the zombies prioritized targets that were attacking the portal over everything else. He should have expected something like this.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUU” Brent cursed with helpless rage.

The loudspeaker towers scattered around the neighborhood started to play ominous sounding orchestral music.

Sounds like it’s a good time to leave,” Ray said. “You coming?”

We can’t leave, Harry and Karisma are still there!” Brent shouted.

I hate to break it to you, but they’re not going to make it, dude. Not against all that.” The man waved his hand at the horde. “They’re toast.”

But we can change that!” The current situation bore a lot of similarity to the one that had caused them to split up in the first place. Someone was in trouble, and they were pleading for Ray to help. Only this time, it wasn’t some random stranger. It was people Brent knew, had shared meals and jokes with.

We can save them,” he reiterated.

Ray barked a short laugh. “Really? How?”

Uh…” Brent didn’t have a plan at the moment, but he’d think something up! He just needed more time.

Reisa was glaring daggers at Ray, but she did not volunteer anything.

The man rolled his eyes. “Yeah, that’s what I thought. Peace.” He turned away.

Wait!” He had to do something to prevent another split. For now he’d wing it.

He sucked some air into his chest and marched over to Ray, grabbing his shoulder.

Look, I realized you were trying to tell Harry that he needed to reload before. I’m sorry I cut you off. I don’t know exactly how we can save them from all those zombies, but you’re the guy with military training. If there’s a way to do it, you’d be the one to know. I- we could really use your advice.”

Oh, my advice, huh?” Ray chuckled. He put away his rifle, and held up a finger. “Okay, how about this: I’ll stick around, but all I’m giving you is advice. That’s it. I won’t fire a single shot, or use any of my stuff for this mission. Let’s see how far you get on just advice. Does that sound like a good deal?”

No, in fact it sounded like the worst deal in the history of trade deals. But Brent didn’t have anything else to offer; no bargaining chips or share of the loot.

We should just go,” Reisa urged, “His japes are of no use to us.”

Brent shook his head. He gritted his teeth, and swallowed his pride. “No, it doesn’t sound like a good deal, but I’ll take it. If you’re serious, that is.” He extended a hand.

Brent was tempted to try and maneuver Ray into a situation where he’d have to open fire to defend himself, but no, the man would probably see that coming a mile away.

Or maybe he wouldn’t, as Ray seemed quite surprised at this response. He blinked for a moment. “Uh… Yeah, I guess I am.”

He reached out, but Brent snatched his hand away as he’d just thought of another condition. “And- and if you’re not just gonna say something like ‘you’re screwed’ or ‘just give up’, that doesn’t count as advice.”

Ray raised his hands, as if he’d been caught. “Okay, I won’t screw with you like that, but I make no guarantees. I’ve gotta be realistic here. And I only suggested this because they all seem to be distracted. If even one of them turns around or notices we’re here, I’m out.”

Works for me.” Brent extended his hand again, and they shook on it.

Ray straightened up, and made a motion near his neck like he was adjusting a tie.

We’re agreed then. My consulting services are now at your disposal, sir.”

He was suddenly acting so polite and proper, Brent felt like he was being made fun of again.

Ray just looked at him impassively. “What would you like advice on, sir?”

Yep, still being made fun of. They’d literally been talking about the issue the entire time!

Brent clamped down on the urge to just shout ‘What do you think I want advice on?!’, as that wouldn’t accomplish anything.

Okay, uh. How can we take out all those zombies there, before they get to the portal?”

Well, show me what you’ve got.”

Huh?”

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A note from vauntless

When I was walking around outside today, I noticed some people still have their Christmas trees up. What's the deal with that?

As usual, I'd appreciate it if you read 'n review, favorite 'n follow, or any combination of those and boost this story on TopWebFiction at https://topwebfiction.com/listings/isekai-battle-royale/ if you want to support the story!


When do you usually take down your Christmas tree?
The day after Christmas
0% 0% of votes
After New Years
25% 25% of votes
Uh... now, I guess?
0% 0% of votes
Never. I leave it up all year long, baby!
25% 25% of votes
I don't put up a Christmas tree
50% 50% of votes
Either way is fine for me
0% 0% of votes
Total: 4 vote(s)

About the author

vauntless

Bio: if only I had thorns like a thistle

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