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August 6, 2012

I Hraet You (Elseworlds Special Edition)

(We interrupt this chapter of I Hraet You for a chapter of I Hraet You -- a very special guest chapter written by one Konstantine Paradias.  Read on and feel the supreme, overflowing love -- and read to the end for an even lovelier treat.  Of love.)

Trixie’s Audio-capture Log

Day Twenny-Five. I still havn’t managed t’make the damn thing understand my sexy southern drawl. Its mechanical incomprehension baffles me.

We’ve been cooped up inside this bunker too damn long now. Outside, we hear the screechin’ sounds them darn things make, their constant clawin’ at our thick met’l walls, the way they try to chew through the wirin’.

Sum of the other girls are gittin’ antsy, what with that cacoph’ny an’ all. Deirdre’s been tryin’ to amuse ‘em, hasn’t ‘ad much luck.

One a’ the girls threw a tin can o’ soy beans halfway through her act. I tol’ her Hamlet was a bit much, what with them zombie ‘pocalypse goin’ on an’ such, but she woulnd’t lissen. Said “Hamlet’s jes’ what them poor sows need” only she said it more refined-like.

Twenny-five days, twenny-five gals, alla us cooped up in one well-built hole in the ground. Plenty food, plenty water. Not a man in sight.

Wonder how long’s it gonna be ‘fore we turn on each other.

Lloyd’s personal log, written on the back of restaurant menus, gathered from the ruins of Probeagle, written in a scrawled handwriting.

Dearest Augustine,

I am greatly saddened to inform you that our correspondence is nearly at an end, since I am running out of menu parchment with which to write my musings upon and also because this is my very last pencil and I can’t, for the life of me, find a pencil sharpener worth a damn.

Also, because you never write back. This could be mostly attributed to the fact that you are a construct of my imagination but come on, woman, couldn’t you even bother to drop me a line? Not even a hello?

I am currently on my twenty-fifth day of trekking through the ruins of Porbeagle, my city of birth and one true home. I have found that the agents that had hounded me since my escaping the project’s installation have ceased their attempts, most probably because they were eaten by zombies.

I have finally grown accustomed to the loss of my hands and feel completely at home with using my lips and teeth to write. Also, my appetite has returned. My appetite for literature, that is. I have found it so much easier to focus on the classical works that I loved before the end times, under silence’s welcoming silence welcoming caress. At times, the pleading of the hungry dead threatens to break my concentration. For example, at this very moment, one of the shambling creatures has entered my abode and stands behind me, breathing its foul breath upon my neck, thinking itself unnoticed.

Excuse me for a minute.

The creature has perished. I am safe, as long as its rotting brethren have not heard the rumble of my chainsaws.

One moment.

Apparently they have. Dearest Augustine, I am afraid I will have to depart.

Thank you for nothing,
Lloyd Beatrice Hoigleheimmer, Esquire.

*

“Can you hear that?” said the buxom woman they called Evangeline, as she rested with her back to the concrete reinforced door of the bunker.

“Hear what?” said Tanya, a blonde woman with eyes of such a strange and deep hue they looked like bruises on heaven’s cheek.

“Ssh!” said Evangeline, as she heard the endless moaning of their undead tormentors stop for a moment, and then rise to a horrible crescendo.

“Sounds like rumbling” said Tanya, who made out a very clear sound, one she recalled from the snow-capped forests of her home. “No. Not rumbling.”

Evangeline strained her ears, as she heard it too. The growl, the deep, metallic shriek, the sound like a great steel tiger purring as she lay beside her ravaged kill. “Then what the-”

“Revving.” Tanya said, smiling. “Ripcrusher series 2001, stainless steel base, titanium teeth, separate hudraulic pumps, gas-powered.”

“Say what?”

“It’s chainsaws.”

“Chainsaws? Who could be using chainsaws at a time like this? What could he be using them on?”

“You don’t watch movies much, do you?”

*

Lloyd called it ‘Crimson Mist’. Anyone else who found out about it called it ‘Battle Vision’.

He wasn’t clear on how he had acquired this, exactly. The result of the project’s tampering on his broken body? Some fluke of his mind, brought about by his brush with death under the Ferris wheel? Either way, it did not matter. What mattered to Lloyd was that it kicked ass.

The creatures milled around him, claws outstretched, gaping maws opening and closing, bits of flesh dropping from their bodies, falling on the ground with an audible plop. To anyone else, they would seem like a living wall of flesh, a ring of slow death brought about by teeth and claws, punctuated by moaning.

To Lloyd, it was just a series of puppets, each with its own coloring, denoting its strengths and weaknesses. A red bar floated over each one’s head, that ebbed and moved every second, depicting what he called its ‘essence’ and anyone else would call ‘hit points’. At the lowest corner of his vision, he would see a string of symbols, commands that arranged themselves in a linear fashion, constantly shifting, calculating the proper sequence of attacks. At the highest, digits that counted in a seemingly random fashion. Lloyd called it ‘tribulations’. Everyone else would have called it ‘high score’.

His vision locked to a group of zombies, the place where the herd of undead was weakest. Bright halos surrounded their rotting heads. Flashing lights highlighted them against their brothers. Lloyd called it ‘sign of the wicked’. Everyone else would have called it ‘lock-on’.

He jerked his hands, making his twin chainsaws rev. The zombies took a step back, then moved closer. Lloyd knew he only had one shot at this. He squinted close and saw the pattern emerge:

Down, left-down, left, slash, follow through with up, up-left, left, kick-kick, split-kick, stab through number 13-16, use them as leverage to break formation, assume Prowling Tiger Stance.

It wasn’t called Prowling Tiger Stance, but Lloyd like to shout its name out loud when no one was around and do a bit of karate howl in the end. He was halfway through thinking how awesome he looked doing that, when the first zombie reached out to grab his shoulder. Lloyd crouched, then brought his chainsaw up in an arc, slicing the creature in twain, allowing the momentum to somehow carry him into the air, as he twisted like a dervish, blades spinning, severing the tops of half a dozen heads. Halfway through falling, he kicked at one of his undead enemies, the sole of his boot crushing through his jaw and nose twice, before pushing himself in the air and doing a pretty cool split kick, which knocked two more off their feet.

They were halfway through skidding across the asphalt, when Lloyd stretched his left arm and ran the zombie quarterbacks wearing vests number 13 to 16 through, his right hand flailing through the mass of their allies, chopping limbs and heads alike. Switching off his left-hand chainsaw, he whirled the skewered creatures and then released them, letting them tumble into a mess of flesh, bone and hair along with their allies.

Lloyd bent his knees and screamed:
“PROWLING TIGER STANCE!” while whirling his chainsaws around for added effect. He had assumed a pretty cool (by his witness-less standards) pose and was halfway through shouting “WWWWWooooohhhh” when he heard the shot.

The zombie’s brains splattered all over his cape. He saw, through the considerably large exit wound, the distant figure of a woman brandishing a hunting rifle, perched on top of an inconspicuous mound.

“HEY! YOU THERE!” she shouted, her southern drawl lending her voice a wonderful inflection.

“WHY, HELLO MADAM!” Lloyd screamed back, waving his arms.

“YOU BIT?” she screamed back.

“I ASSURE YOU MADAM, I MOST CERTAINLY AM-” the rifle thundered again, splattering another zombie’s brains.

“WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

“I SAID, I MOST ASSURDELY AM-” the rifle thundered again, killing a zombie that looked like it had once been a cheerleader or a stripper catering to a very exclusive clientele.

“I SAID, I MOST ASSUREDLY AM N-” screamed Lloyd, but he noticed that the woman had no intention of letting him finish, what with her rifle raining sure-kill shots at the regrouping zombie crowd every couple of seconds.

“JUST GET OVER HERE, WHY DON’T YOU?” she shouted and Lloyd complied.

He stared at her as she unloaded cartridge upon cartridge at the undead beings, slaying one with every bullet. He marveled at her skill, her bravery, the cut of her jaw, her long, supple neckline, the marvelous shapes of her-

Lloyd suddenly realized that he’d been deprived of female company since the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

He slid down the hatch after his attractive savior and watched the automated doors slam shut, dimming the cacophony of the ravenous hordes outside to something barely over a whisper.

“That was a close call, stranger. Mighty brave of you to rush all them zombies by your lonesome.”

“’Twas but a trifle, madam, I assure you.”

“No, I was the one with the rifle. You had them chainsaws in your hands. Look good on you, have to admit.” She smiled at him in the half-darkness, reaching her hand out. To her dismay, she noticed that Lloyd did not reach back.

“The heck is this? Think you ain’t good enough to shake hands with me?” she grumbled, as the lights turned on. The man blushed and raised his arms, shrugging.

“Afraid not, madam. See, I’m currently indisposed in the…hands department.”

Trixie took a step back. Evangeline, Tanya and half a dozen other girls who had rushed to meet the first living man they’d seen since the apocalypse, stared, screamed, fainted and gasped in unison at the sight:

Chainsaws for hands. The man had chainsaws for hands.

“Lloyd B. Hoigleheimmer, madams.” He took a big bow. “At your service.”

*

Trixie’s audio capture log

Day Thirty.

There’s a man in the bunker.

Dear sweet Jesus, there’s a man in the bunker, hallelujah!

*

Lloyd’s personal journal, written on an actual piece of paper with a decent pen.

Dearest Augustine,

Despite my claims of never bothering with our correspondence again, I could not restrain myself from telling you of the marvels of this bunker.

It’s full of food, has an abundance of stored water and a large library, overstocked with a number of books, most of them classical works of young adult literature for women. I find them very hard to peruse, which gives me more time to busy myself with the women of the bunker.

The women. Oh dear God, Augustine, the women. The harem I so desired since my very first bubonic fluttering, finally at my disposal. A harem like no other (considering the recent destruction of civilized society, therefore eliminating any competition). My life’s work, finally completed.

Boo-ya!

Sincerely yours,
Lloyd B. Hoigleheimmer, Harem Master.

*

Years later, Lloyd stumbled upon his last letter to Augustine, on the eve of the day when the remaining survivors began the reconstruction of Porbeagle. The undead had crumbled and rotted years later, destroyed by the humidity and the change of seasons en masse, faster than he and his chainsaw hands ever could have done.

He read the letter as he sat near the entrance of the collapsed bunker where he had had his harem and sighed, as he remembered the bad old days:

There was Angela, Pamela, Sandra and Rita. And as he reminisced, he knew they’d get sweeter. There was Evangeline, the buxom towering woman. There was Tanya, the knowledgable flower of the North. There was Deirdre and Trixie. There were seventeen more whose names he still recalled fondly.

How had everything turned so sour? How did his personal Heaven crumble and fall thus? When did the ventilation systems fail and the generator which powered the bunker’s life support systems and freezer storages fail? How many days was it before the twenty-six occupants turned on each other?

He was useless then, he recalled. He had no hands, could not help them. He merely dragged his feet, as he watched them turn on each other. His mighty chainsaws for hands could not help them one bit. He starved and thirsted along with them, while the teeming hordes of the not-quite dead kept up their siege.

It wasn’t long before he realized he needed to take action. His plan, to attempt a daring exodus, tore the harem women apart. Some wished to stay put, to make the most out of the safety of the bunker. The others (led by Trixie), wanted to risk it, to take their chances outside.

What had become of Trixie? He wondered, as he climbed down the bunker’s shaft, inside its once accommodating, welcoming embrace. What had become of that valkyrie that had saved him? He remembered how she smelled: like cordite and Trixie. Unlike what the bunker smelled now, like stale fear and hopelessness.

Some of the women had stayed. Evangeline, Sandra, Penelope, to name but a few. They were still here. The dry air had preserved some of their beauty.

There had been a fight. No one was hurt, thankfully. Deirdre was struck when she tried to break up two of the girls, but nothing more than that. He stood there and watched as she licked her split lip, then walked away. Toward him. Toward the man with chainsaws for hands, who had promised them a mad cap exodus as their last resort.

He remembered how it was, when they stepped outside. He remembered the crack of Trixie’s gun, the revving of his chainsaws turning into background noise, the moaning, the screams. He never once turned to look (only that one time, when he saw Elizabeth…no, no time for this).

He was on the second floor now, overlooking the library. They had burned some of the books. Tore others. One of the girls was buried under a pile of cracked paper, a brown stain on the paperback cover that obscured her face. He could not tell who she was. Didn’t want to check.

They had gone through the horde, shooting and slashing their way through. His ‘Crimson Mist’ did not fail him, not even once, guiding him through patterns that slew creature after creature. When it finally switched off, he saw only half a dozen behind him, holding little mementos of the slaughter in their shivering hands.

He recalled the notifications he had ignored at that moment. Shivered at the thought of them. At their laconic recounting of the terror of those lost during the exodus. He was near the dormitories now. They seemed to be in immaculate shape, almost untouched. There was a familiar-shaped lump covered with a sheet over one of the beds. Her name was Tommi. She laughed at even his weakest jokes.

There was a device in one of the rooms, very much like an answering machine. There was a microphone connected to it. Its LED display showed one message, left unheard. He knew whose room it was. Knew whose voice he would hear, upon pressing this button.

He shut his eyes and reached his elbow to touch the big red PLAY button. He remembered Trixie, her drawl drowned out by their moans, never once turning into a shriek, he remembered how she…

“What are you doing in there?” Augustine’s voice behind him made him jump.

“I…um, I was just…”

“The boys have been looking all over for you. Said they wanted to show you a couple spots they think would be safe to spend the night.”

“Tell them I’ll be right over. I just need to-”

“Hear her voice again?”

Lloyd stuttered, blushed, then said: “Yes”

Augustine smiled and nodded. Patient Augustine. Who knew some had found his letters after all? She said “Be quick about it. They aren’t going to agree on anything without their dad’s okay, you know.”

Sweet Augustine, patient flower of the Apocalypse, he called her once. He smiled back.

“Be right over.”

His elbow hovered over the PLAY button for a long while, even after Augustine had made her way outside, even after it had begun to ache and feel sore. He took a deep breath and stepped back. He couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“Goodnight, Trixie.” He said and walked outside, so he could be by her side, by his sons’ side, this day after the end of days.

The LED display kept blinking for a whole season, before it finally flickered and died. Had he pressed it, he would have heard her voice, saying:

Trixie’s Last Audio Log.

He’s a crazy lil’ basterd. But he’s the best crazy lil’ bastard I’ve ever known.

This is Trixie, signin’ off.

***

Well, what did you think?  Positively hraetiful, no?

You may know Master Konstantine from the collaboration we did a while back, but the Cosmic Lord has been more than a little busy on his end.  He's got a blog!  He's got an e-book!  And now, he's got a comic just itching to be read!  So go read any one of those things; they're better than porn!

Clock on the banner to check out the intro to said comic, Aeternum.  Spread the love.




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