Her heart was beating in her ears, the gun was heavy in her hands as Sharon crouched behind a desk. They had gotten inside. How had they gotten inside the building? She thought that the doors had been locked and barricaded when it became apparent that it had in fact not been a some twisted joke, but the cold harsh truth of which there had been no escaping at that time. Sharon hadn’t believed it herself until she had looked out the window and seen it with her own eyes.
Zombies. In Los Angeles.
This had to be a dream. Some evil little trick her subconscious was playing on her. She had hoped it might be. After her daughter had stayed with her for a week and practically forced her to watch something called The Walking Dead she was bound to end up with some rather vivid dreams involving the groaning and stumbling undead. But this was reality. She didn’t want to believe it, but it was. Sharon had seen them, crawling and walking through the streets.
The sounds of shots being fired stopped momentarily and Sharon wondered if that was because the officers had won or because they had been taken down. And she seriously hoped that either way she would not need to investigate those shootings when this was all over. It would be a bureaucratic nightmare. She would be chained to her desk for weeks after she had figured out which officers had pulled the trigger.
She froze when she heard the screams. They weren’t very loud, probably from the floor below her, but despite that, Sharon knew these were the screams of people being torn apart. The makers of zombie flicks had been surprisingly accurate with those screams. A few more shots were fired and then silence again. If there were still some of those creatures left they were probably going up, to her floor. Great. That meant she had to get out of here.
Popping her head above the desk she asserted that she was, in fact, still alone. It was a Sunday after all. She had only come to the office to finish up on some paperwork, hoping to reduce the veritable mountain that accumulated on her desk while she had been forced to trail after Major Crimes much their and her chagrin. They were here today too, finishing up their case. She wondered how they were doing on the floor above her. Were they still there or had they fled?
She snuck around to the front of the desk and pulled open the top drawer. Most officers kept an extra magazine in their drawer. She had no idea how many creatures were there, but she wasn’t going to take any risks. Silently moving between the desks, she gathered the few magazines that she found and slipped them in the pockets in her blazer. Four magazines and the one in her gun. Seventy-five bullets, surely that would be enough. For now.
Looking down at her outfit Sharon wished that she’d had the clarity of mind to wear flats instead of three and a half inch Blahniks and trousers instead of a pencil skirt. These clothes didn’t exactly lend themselves for running. Nor did a white shirt seems all that handy when there were gory undead creeping around the building. She sighed and shook her head. She couldn’t believe this was happening.
A sudden groan made her jump and spin on her heels. So the creatures hadn’t been killed off. About a handful were making their way towards her and they were a lot closer than she had hoped. Somewhere she knew she was supposed to be terrified. Undead were stumbling towards her. Instead she was just intrigued and disgusted. The smell was repugnant, worse than the morgue on a bad day and that was saying something.
They looked awful too, like corpses that had been in the water for a few weeks, green, rotting, terrible. Some of them looked as if they were half eaten, with their guts hanging out and half the skin of their face gone. It was gruesome. It was worse when she noticed the blood around their mouths; red and dripping on their clothes. It was still fresh as if they had just eaten. Closing her eyes, Sharon forced away the screams she had heard moments ago and lifted her gun, aiming between the eyes of the closest creature.
She didn’t feel any mercy when she squeezed the trigger and saw the creature sag to the floor. She could only hope that that TV show had been right, that bullet to the brain put them down forever. She didn’t feel like searching for an ax to decapitate them, or even worse, set fire to them. Burning down the building would not be considered a particular successful move on her part even if the intentions had been good.
The remaining four didn’t seem especially bothered by the fact that one of their own was dead on the floor. They just walked on, arms outstretched, teeth bared. She had to avoid those. Teeth and nails, if she wanted to be sure that she didn’t turn into one of those. Firing the gun another time, she pleased to see that it was another perfect hit and it went down just like the other. Three left.
Her heart was pounding. They were awfully close to her. Damn. Sharon took a few steps back until she felt the door against her back. Quickly she pulled the trigger again and missed. It hit one of them in the shoulder but not in head. It groaned and was momentarily distracted before it continued on its path, black blood oozing from its shoulder. Cursing herself, Sharon forced herself to calm down and aim again. She couldn’t miss again.
She almost made a fist pump when she did hit it. Only two more and she could try and get out of this building or help the others. She’d have to be able to do something useful with almost five magazines. She pulled the trigger again and hit the other one straight in the head. She grimaced when its brain splattered all over the floor with a sickening sound. Four down, one to go.
Taking a deep breath she aimed at the last one’s head before she froze. She knew that face. Despite the decay and rotting stench, she knew him. She hadn’t realized it before because he was walking behind the other four, but he was in clear view now and it made her hesitate. Shooting and killing a commanding officer was frowned upon, probably even if said officer had become a zombie. She lowered the gun slightly.
A deathly green did not suit Commander Taylor. And it clashed horribly with his tie.
Her hesitation gave the Commander the time he needed to lunge for her. His hands grabbed her shoulders and forced her hard against the door. Sharon felt all the air momentarily leave her lungs and when she breathed in again all she smelled was death and decay. For someone looking so awful, he had a strong grip and his fingers digging into her shoulders almost brought tears to her eyes. Almost instinctively she pulled the trigger, effectively shooting Taylor in the gut.
The Commander gave gut-wrenching cry and snapped his jaws together, obviously going for her throat. Sharon managed to push his face away as she felt a lukewarm liquid spill over her skirt and legs. Taylor was bleeding all over her clothes. Gavin was going to kill her for ruining a vintage Armani. If Taylor didn’t beat him to the punch and he was doing a very good job at the moment. He kept trying to bite her, spitting blood over her face.
“I apologize for this, Commander,” she said through gritted teeth and worked the gun between their bodies and pressed it underneath Taylor’s chin. She shot up a quick prayer that she wasn’t eliminating her career at the same time and pulled the trigger. Taylor’s head snapped and he sagged against her. Sharon nearly collapsed under his full weight. God, that man was heavy. With a great effort she managed to push him off her and he fell to floor.
She looked down at herself and groaned. It had been a great outfit when she had put it on this morning. Now it was a ruined Armani suit, soaked in nearly black blood, courtesy of one very dead Commander Taylor. It was disgusting and it smelled. Dry-cleaning wasn’t going to save this suit even if she paid them the triple amount.
“Well, that’s just fucking fantastic,” she muttered to herself. She took off her glasses and wiped the blood spatters that had limited her view on a yet untainted part of her skirt. This was a joke, some horribly cosmic joke that she somehow didn’t get. It couldn’t be real, she thought as she stepped over Commander Taylor’s corpse. She had not just shot and killed five of these undead creatures. It was a nightmare and any moment now she was going to wake up.
Maybe she just ought to gather up her stuff and try to get home, see how her part of the city was faring. She had just holstered her gun when she heard gunshots on the floor above her. She rolled her eyes. So a few had made it past her floor and had gone up to Major Crimes. She looked around at the corpses on the floor. Her clothes were already ruined and she was covered in blood. Pursing her lips she started walking for the staircase. Why did she feel the idiotic need to help those people?
“David,” Brenda shrieked when a creature suddenly appeared behind the tall man, grabbed him and bit him in the neck. Horrified she watched him go down, the thing on top of him. Everybody stood frozen for a moment before Brenda lunged for her purse, fumbling around for her gun. Why did her purse had to be so big? She was overcome with relief when her fingers curled around the familiar grip of her gun.
She pulled out her gun and in one smooth motion flicked off the safety, aimed and shot. The bullet embedded itself in the creature’s spine. It released Gabriel’s neck and howled. A second later three other bullets lodged into its body and it collapsed right on top of David. Brenda looked around and saw Flynn, Provenza and Sanchez with their guns pointed at the creature. After a moment of deafening silence, Brenda rushed to David and together with Sanchez she pushed the corpse off his body.
“Are you alright?” she asked, carefully checking the bite mark on his neck. It was bleeding, but it didn’t seem too bad, even the thing had torn out a piece of his skin. And had bled all over him. David grunted and grabbed his shoulder as he pushed himself into a sitting position.
“Yeah, I’m good. Thanks, Chief.” With Sanchez’ help he got up, looking down at his ruined suit. The blood of these things was black and it smelled like death. It horrible, wasting away kind of death, the kind that she knew from caskets being opened after years. She had heard it on the news; zombies in Los Angeles. Ridiculous. She had thought it was a joke gone wrong, until she had heard the shots and the screams. She gave Gabriel a comforting squeeze. At least he was still alive.
“I’d hate to burst your bubble, Chief, but we aren’t done,” Flynn said, nodding towards the hallway. Brenda turned around and saw a few other of the creatures making their way towards them. These were even worse than the one currently lying at her feet. Luckily they weren’t that fast. How that one had managed to sneak up on them was a miracle.
“Oh for heaven’s sake,” she muttered. It was bad enough that she had to wrap her head around the fact that apparently zombies were real. She’d always hated zombie flicks anyway. But now she had to go on a killing spree as well to get rid of them. She shouldn’t have gotten out of bed that morning. “Okay, let’s take them down.”
Simultaneously Flynn, Provenza, Sanchez, Tao and she raised their guns and aimed. There was a moment of silence where they seemed to collectively take a deep breath. Brenda could hear the creatures moving and groaning. Then she pulled the trigger. Immediately the air was filled with sounds of guns being fired repeatedly. It was loud and deafening, but she kept on pulling the trigger.
The bullets hit their targets every time. Brenda could see them slicing through their chests. She could see the creatures move every time they were hit but they on moving albeit it slightly slower than before, if that were possible. What the hell was wrong with these things? What didn’t go down when repeatedly shot in the chest? She stopped firing and looked at her squad.
“Okay. Anybody got an idea of how to kill these things?” she snapped.
“That one seemed to go down just fine,” Provenza commented, kicking the dead thing against the leg.
“Don’t shoot and duck,” a shockingly familiar voice called out from the other side of the hallway. Of all the people in the entire building, of course, that woman had to survive and god forbid come to their rescue. The sound of a gun being fired run through the air and one of the creatures fell down. Brenda immediately ducked with the rest of her team following. With a hidden admiration she saw the creatures fall one by one until they were all down and appeared to stay down.
The all too familiar clacking of stilettos against linoleum rang through the otherwise silent hallway as Captain Raydor made their towards them. When the Captain stepped out of the darkness of the hallway into the light, Brenda nearly gasped. She looked, well, awful. Black blood was smeared all over clothes and in her hair. Smudges of red blood were on her face. The seams on both sides of her skirt were torn, possibly to enhance her movement and she held a gun in both of her hands.
“I know that in the academy they teach to aim for the centre mass, but with these things, you really should aim for the head,” Sharon said calmly before she shot another bullet into one of the creatures’ skulls. She holstered one gun, but kept the other in her hand.
“And who made you the lead expert on zombies?” Provenza sneered. Brenda wanted to hit him on the back of the head. The woman had just gotten rid of all of the creatures that had threatened them and he was trying to piss her off. Sharon narrowed her eyes and looked ready verbally tear Lieutenant Provenza to pieces and rightfully so when something cold wrapped itself around Brenda’s ankle and she let out an undignified yelp.
The thing that had attacked David and had appeared to be very dead had grabbed her ankle and didn’t seem very intent on letting go. She tried to aim at its head, but she was too busy trying to kick it off that she failed. It had an iron grip and its jaw were snapping as if it wanted to eat her foot. A shot rang out and half its brain were splattered on her foot and shoe. Of all the disgusting experiences she’d had in her career, this was definitely the worst.
“That’s why,” Sharon snapped. Brenda looked up to see that the Captain had taken the kill shot. “I’m not an expert, but all in all, I killed thirteen of these in the past fifteen minutes, that’s four here, four in the staircase and five on my floor. One of which was Commander Taylor. Now I ruined a vintage Armani suit and a pair of very good Manolo Blahniks killing these things. So for once, stop badgering me with your disdain. Because right now, I have no problem shooting you between the eyes and calling it an accident.”
“You killed Taylor?” Sanchez asked, unable to keep the small smirk of his face. Despite the seriousness of the situation, Brenda could see why that was amusing. Captain Rulebook shooting the most annoying man in the Los Angeles Police Department, it was somewhat funny. Raydor rolled her eyes and nodded, earning her a few grins from the men of Major Crimes. It was no secret that they all really disliked the man and his ties.
“What used to be him. He’s what’s currently smeared all over me. Now let me see your ankle.” How was she so business-like in the face of all of this? Sharon knelt next to her, placing the gun on the floor, a warm hand gently touching her ankle. Brenda jerked it back, frowning. Sharon pursed her lips and looked up at her. “I have to check if it didn’t break any skin.”
“Fine,” Brenda huffed and held her foot out for Sharon. It surprised her how soft her touch was as her dirty fingers slid over her skin, checking to see if the creature had scratched her without telling her why she was doing it. Her thin fingers were covered with grime and blood. What on earth had she been doing? Sharon gave her a reassuring smile when she looked up at Brenda.
“You’re fine,” Sharon said softly and stood up, the gun back in her hand. Brenda could clearly see the relief written on Sharon’s face and she smiled, just a little. It was good to know that Sharon was on their side and that she was a good shot. And that she was apparently very knowledgeable about zombies and how to deal with them. How had that happened? The Armani-wearing captain didn’t exactly seem like the type of woman to know about such creatures.
“But I’m not,” David said, his hand still covering where the thing had bitten him. Sharon whipped around, her jaw clenched. The relief that been so clear only moments ago was gone. With three long strides she stood in front of him and pulled his hand away.
“Fuck,” Sharon breathed as she carefully prodded the wound. Black blood oozed from the teeth marks and Sharon quickly took a step back, wiping her hands on her already dirty skirt, inadvertently getting some of the blood on her thighs as well.
“Fuck. What do you mean fuck? Captain?” Flynn asked, stepping between David and Sharon, his eyes flashing with anger. He looked as if he was about two seconds away from pistol-whipping the stubborn woman in front of him. Sharon merely shook her head and turned back towards Brenda, a defeated look on her face.
“He’s been bitten. He’ll become one of them. And judging from the blood, it won’t take very long either.” Brenda felt her heart stop for a moment. David, a zombie, one of those awful creatures that seemed intent on eating them. It couldn’t be. This wasn’t true. It was all an awful dream and it just wasn’t true. There was no way.
“No, he’s - -. No,” Brenda stuttered. Zombies and things were all fine, well they weren’t, but she could pretend they were all fine until it affected their own, especially David. He couldn’t become one of those things. Not that his presence in Major Crimes was particularly useful but he didn’t deserve to be turned in one of those things. “He can’t.”
“I’m afraid he will.”
“Says who? You? Just because you’re good at shooting those things in the head doesn’t mean you know anything about them,” Flynn practically shouted. Sharon didn’t even flinch. Her shoulders just slumped a little, like this wasn’t a battle she wanted to fight.
“You’re right. I don’t. I’m basing all my knowledge on a TV show and a few truly bad movies that I’ve seen over the years. So far, however, they have been right. Infections like these are usually spread by bites or scratches. And honestly, how else would explain the fact that it seems to be spreading like wildfire?” Sharon calmly explained. Brenda refused to believe the brunette. David couldn’t turn into one of those things. He couldn’t. She wasn’t going to allow it.
“So…uhm,” David cleared his throat. He had been silent this entire time, processing the information. Brenda could see the tears in his eyes. He had accepted it. “What happens now. With me?”
“There are two options, but they both end the same. I either shoot you now before you change. Or we wait until you’re one of them and then I shoot you. Either way, I’ll put a bullet in your brain.” It was almost as if Sharon was reciting something from her rulebook. She was so cool about it. Not at all as if she was talking about shooting a fellow officer in the head, calmly discussing doing it in front of him.
“Well, jeez, Captain, you didn’t have to be so nice about it,” Provenza commented. Sharon’s nostrils flared and her calm demeanor disappeared in the flash of second. She was fuming and with her heels she was towering over the Lieutenant, forcing the short man to look up at him. It would have been amusing if it weren’t so ill-timed.
“What would you have me do? Break down and cry? Because I could do that if it would make feel better,” she snapped, her voice sharp. Brenda could only watch, mouth agape as the two bicker like children while they are surrounded by the corpses of zombies and David was about to turn into one. She understood the two would always have a power struggle, much like she and Sharon always would have, but now was not the time.
“Stop it. Both of you.” Whatever Provenza had wanted to say, it died on his tongue when Brenda spoke. Sharon had the decency to look ashamed of herself when she realized that this wasn’t the time nor the place to figure out her problems with Provenza.
“David,” she said, forcing the tremor out her voice. It wouldn’t do to show weakness now. From what she could see in the man’s eyes, he needed her to be strong from him. “I think Sha - - Captain Raydor is right. You have to make a choice.”
He looked utterly forlorn, standing against the door of her office, blood slowly seeping into his shirt, a combination of red and black. Sharon was right. His blood was already changing. David looked into her eyes and nodded. Brenda bit her bottom lip and forced a smile on her face. From the corner of her eyes she saw Sharon readying her gun, pushing a new magazine into the magazine. She must have understood the silent conversation between the two of them.
“Now,” he said very clearly. Not a second later Sharon fired her gun.