Read Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead Online

Authors: A. P. Fuchs

Tags: #Fiction, #Fantasy, #General, #Action & Adventure, #Horror

Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead (5 page)

BOOK: Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead
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Y
es!
Mick had to make a conscious effort to stay seated and keep his mouth shut. He reminded himself that indicating you won was also against the rules. Sure, you could cheer, boo or hiss during the fight, but the personal outcome of it had to be kept to yourself.

Jack must have caught him grinning. “Good for you.”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Of course you didn’t.” Jack smirked then stared at his Controller for a moment. Mick wondered how the big guy did.

Anna would be happy. Hope so, anyway,
Mick thought. As good as all of this was, though, the night was far from over and there was lots coming up, some of the fights, no doubt, making the past few seem like child’s play.

He stood up and stretched his legs. Jack did the same.

When the two sat down, Mick glanced around for the nachos guy again. What he wouldn’t give for a bite and a drink. His stomach growled and already the inside of his mouth was getting a bit sticky. Guess Sterpanko wanted him to sweat.

Mick tapped his palms against his kneecaps. “So . . . how’d you get into coming here?”

“Me?” Jack said. “Ah, you know, wanted to see what it was all about. Found out I liked watching dead guys get their brains beaten in. Found out I liked making money. Even, weirdly, enjoyed the heart-sinking feeling when you lost it. Yeah, I know, weird, but whatever. Point is, I like the fights. Where else can you come and watch these—I don’t even know what they’re called anymore, these guys that fight them—fighters? Adventurers? Blood-hungry mascots? Psychopaths—whatever—you know? Where else can you come and watch bizarre characters duke it out against guys who once took over this planet?”

“Yeah.”

“Nowhere, that’s where. I have no idea how the guys we watch get involved and, frankly, I don’t care. I’m here for the thrill. And I’m nice and safe here in my seat, too. Just sit and watch and no one—no one being me—gets hurt. All good. Place a few bets, win a few bucks, go home and keep to myself.”

“Where do you live? I mean, what area?” Mick asked.
“The upside of down.”
Mick looked at him, brow scrunched.
“My answer when folks ask me that. Sorry. Nothing personal. Just like my privacy.”
“No worries.”
Jack eyed him for a moment as if to cement his point.

For a second, Mick wondered if Jack was going to ask him where
he
lived. Jack didn’t.

Mick grabbed his Controller and scrolled through the screens until he landed on the just-released details of the next fight. He hated that Blood Bay Arena—namely Sterpanko—only released the who-versus-who just minutes before the next bout. Obviously, it gave the skunk an edge.
He
knew who was fighting. He paid them, after all. The guy—if he wanted, and probably did—could have all kinds of bets running on each fight, the information he had on each fighter giving him a huge advantage over every other patron in Blood Bay Arena tonight and no one could call him on it. Zombie Fight Night wasn’t regulated. It wasn’t like the old days when these types of things were.

The very thought of it made Mick grimace. He hoped he pulled through this evening. Perhaps, if and when this was settled, he could somehow settle things with Sterpanko.

Personally.

He closed his eyes and suppressed the thought. No point getting all worked up over it right now. There was a fight to bet on and he didn’t want to lose.

He wondered how Anna was doing and if she was still mad at him. He could envision her doing one of two things: either sitting at home, watching the fights on TV—despite how much she hated them—or frantically pacing their living room, wondering if he was going to come home alive. Either one would fit her character. Just all depended on her mood, and with her, when she was mad, assumed actions were hard to peg.

Mick studied his Controller and absorbed the details of the next fight. This one should be interesting. One of the fighters was an old hand at combat, and
old
was an understatement. The fighter might not be grandpa-old, but given his lifestyle, well, surely leading the life that he had would have aged him far more than your average person. It was a tough call. Each fighter had their own type of advantages. That’s what made these fights frustrating to bet on: they were more or less evenly matched, but sometimes the show-boating went too far. The fighters got careless and more than money was lost.

Mick took a deep breath and soaked in what he read.

He placed his bet.

“Ready to rock and roll?” Jack said, leaning over to Mick as he finished replacing the Controller in the back of the seat in front of him.

“Ready like always.”
Kind of.

“Then this one should be good.”
“Should be.”
“Hope so.”
“Yeah.”
A couple of minutes later, the arena went dark.

 

 

10

Axiom-man
vs
Zombie

Bet: $100,000

Owing: $791,000

 

 

I
t had been thirty-one years since it all began, his quest against evil and to stand up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves.

Thirty-one years. A long time to be doing what was right, to place oneself on the line day in and day out, by anyone’s reckoning.

But that was what Axiom-man did. It was who he was. The call, the gift from the messenger to use his powers wisely—there was no other option, not even when the world fell apart and the dead rose to conquer the living.

Axiom-man had fought, battled, did everything he could to slow their advance and try and save as many lives as possible. It hadn’t been the first time he had gone up against the undead, but he certainly hoped it would have been the last. Day in, day out. Night in, night out. Sleep—there were times when three or four days would go by before he got any and at his age, sleep was as precious a commodity as air.

He had to be extremely careful. All past encounters with the undead demonstrated that if they took a bite out of him and swallowed his flesh or blood, they inherited his powers. Not right away, but eventually. It was dangerous not just for him, but for all who sat under Blood Bay Arena’s roof.

Even now, standing in the dark inside this dank arena, he felt the subtle tingle of fear encompass his heart. His costume no longer gave him the confidence he needed. Dark blue tights, light blue cape and mask—they used to be a symbol to a city that was crumbling around him. Now . . .

His body wasn’t what it used to be, not with permanent nerve damage throughout one arm and leg on the right side of his body, and not with being blind in his left eye. Years of service, years of pain. Many of the scars were only skin deep whereas others were forever embedded within, contained in a heart never fully to be mended.

He should have saved the world. He could have. He had seen the zombie uprising play out on another world. He could have warned humanity. Could have made preparations, but he did none of that. There was no one on Earth more powerful than him. His strength, his gift of flight, the energy beams he could project forth from his eyes—all tools that should have served humanity as they made their final stand against armies of the undead.

Sure, humanity prevailed, but at what cost? Billions were dead. Axiom-man himself had saved tens of thousands of those. But everyone else? He should have saved them, too, or at least died trying.

He supposed that was why he did this now, fighting, beating up on the undead for sport. Still a chance to punish them for all they stole from not only himself, but from the whole world as well. It was just too bad these fights were not just battles of the undead, but also entertainment. He could use his strength, use his flight, and only use his eye beams to nick his opponent instead of blow them apart.

“Don’t want to make it too easy for ya,” Sterpanko had told him back when he started. The only reason Axiom-man listened was because Sterpanko knew his true identity after an ordeal involving him saving Sterpanko one evening while the dead walked the earth, the battle having torn up his costume so much that most of his face was showing. Well, a photoscan on a cell phone and a few computer searches later and Sterpanko knew it all. To keep the identity a secret, Axiom-man had to put on a good show. By now, keeping his identity a secret wasn’t about protecting those he cared for. Nowadays, it was about protecting himself and the world over. He could only imagine a world that knew who he really was, the people who’d constantly beat down his door whether in an attempt to harness his powers somehow or merely use him to accomplish things they could do on their own. At first Sterpanko had wanted to use his knowledge of his secret identity to get him to fight, but had to switch to Plan B when Axiom-man had gone along with it voluntarily.

The buzzer went off.

The lights went on.

The crowd cheered, the older folks in their seats chanting Axiom-man’s name, many with smiles on their faces. The younger crowd, they just wanted to see blood. They hadn’t been around when being a symbol in a cape meant something.

The iron ring shone bright then slid to the side.
The dead began to rise.
It was a Sprinter.

Axiom-man hated these guys. Shamblers were no big deal unless there was more than one of them. Sprinters, however, well, they presented their own challenges, namely in the areas of speed and just plain all-out ferocity.

The buzzer sounded and the Sprinter’s restraints fell to the floor, clanging against the cement.

Axiom-man almost powered up his eyes on instinct, but remembered the rule he was bound by: no eye beams.

Fine.
He clenched his fists, locked his feet in place and got ready. An instant later the Sprinter shrieked and darted toward him, bloodshot eyes wide and unblinking, fixated on his own. Teeth bared, the creature lunged for him. Axiom-man stood his ground and shot out both fists, summoning all his strength. His knuckles barely felt the impact as his fists plowed through the Sprinter’s chest, embedding themselves in the dry, rotting flesh and bone beneath.

Axiom-man yanked his arms free and flew over the dead man, landing on the other side.

The crowd went wild.

The Sprinter teetered to the side then spun around, swiping its hand in the process. The back of the zombie’s hand caught Axiom-man across the chin, sending the world into a spin. He dropped down to one knee.

“This never used to be this hard,” he muttered. His knees protested as he tried to stand, the arthritis nice and aggravated. He stood anyway.

The zombie pounced on top of him. Axiom-man got his arms around the creature in a bear hug, hoping to squeeze the thing hard enough to at least break more ribs. The problem was, judging by the severe decay all along the zombie’s face and neck, this one had been dead for quite sometime and—
snap, snap, snap
—the ribs broke like kindling and didn’t faze the creature.

The Sprinter opened its mouth wide and made a move for Axiom-man’s neck. He’d been in this position with these things before and knew exactly what to do. He jerked his head to the side, the creature getting a clean bite of air. Next, he shoved a palm beneath the zombie’s chin, forcing its head away. Axiom-man wriggled beneath him and got his own face against the zombie’s chest, his mouth hanging over one of the holes he had punched in it earlier. The inside of the monster stunk of rotten meat and foul fish.

Axiom-man held his breath and used his other hand to sock a new hole into the creature’s body, this time into its kidneys. His fingers met dried flesh; he gripped hard and ripped his hand out, tearing with it what he assumed was the remainder of the kidney that once occupied the space.

“More! More! More! More!” the crowd chanted.

Grunting, Axiom-man floated off his back, taking the creature with him, and slammed it up against the roof of the cage. He flew out from underneath it and let the creature drop to the cement below. Swiftly, he darted back toward the ground, aiming to land on the back of the zombie’s neck and use his heel to separate the creature’s head from its body. Instead, the dead man rolled to the side and Axiom-man’s boot firmly planted into the ground. Fiery pain raced through his foot and up his shin and into his knee. A loud
SNAP
echoed in his ears.

He collapsed, an inferno of pain wracking his right leg.

The Sprinter darted toward him, arms out, and latched onto his shoulders. It brought its head in. Axiom-man raised an arm to block it. The creature bit down onto his right hand and tore it free from his arm.

“Gggrraaaahhhh!” Axiom-man shrieked. Blood spurted from the wound in wild arcs, painting the cement red.

The place went into an uproar and he wasn’t sure if it was over the thrill of seeing blood or over what just happened to him.

Heart racing, body and mind already sinking into shock, the instinct to survive took over. Axiom-man powered up his eyes and readied himself to blast the creature.

The rule,
he thought.
Screw the rule. I’m going to die! I’m going to—
He looked at what was left of his forearm. The creature—if it had ingested his blood, soon enough the thing would have his powers.

He couldn’t let that happen.
He let the energy blast forth from his eyes, cauterizing his wound. The stench of burnt meat and fabric made him gag.
The zombie finished devouring the last of Axiom-man’s hand.

Shaking, Axiom-man knew he couldn’t stand so instead floated to his feet, right foot blazing with pain, right arm limp at his side.

“This could be the last one,” he whispered. “The battle is finally over.”

He flew as fast as he could toward the creature, leading with his left.

BOOK: Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead
13.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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