zombiefistThe faceless man’s smile fades and again his face is completely featureless. I try to take some sort of a hold of the hallucinogens coursing through my body to will some sort of a face onto the blank slate. It is useless. Either the man has no face or the drugs have taken such a hold that I am only a passenger. It makes no difference if he is friend or foe; I am about to moved forward in time at the mercy of outside forces.

I try to imagine he is a friend. The infinitesimal part of my consciousness that has a grasp on reality does me the great service of reminding me that I have no friends. Only enemies and temporary allies. Fuck you, brain. No wonder zombies want to eat brains so badly, their whole lives they’ve been governed by a single organ that routinely sends them down idiotic and fruitless paths until they die. What more could you want than to devour the agent of all of man’s follies? We would have done better staying monkeys. Fuck the brain.

The faceless man’s skeleton hand takes my own and he leads me away from the bar. It comforts me. To be holding someone’s hand on the march towards damnation. Where else would he be leading me? A darkened endless corridor stretches out before us as I risk another glance back to the perceived safety of the bar. Six men are being led to the back room, they are already completely nude. I see past the lies in their smiles. Deep into the pit of horror that is just behind their eyes. One of these men is about to die. All bravado is for show. There is no courage here. One will have his dick chewed off and die or turn. Five will promptly forget about their companion’s fate as some diseased whore sucks them off.

One turns to attempt to back out of the game. The rake-thin whore leading him to the back whispers something in his ear, her forked tongue rolls out of her mouth and wraps itself around his neck. He still insists: he really must be going. A giant man foaming at the mouth like a rabid dog approaches and calmly draws a shining golden gun and presses it against the man’s forehead. I don’t need to hear what’s said to make sense of it. He’s got an 83% chance of survival if he plays the game, 0% if he doesn’t. The man swallows hard, the lump in his throat descending like a rat down the gullet of a serpent. The woman unwinds her tongue from his throat, and they march onwards. I turn back to the corridor and so do I.

How can my brain calculate percentages in this state? Clearly the sub-conscious of St-Brigid is still functioning on some level. My only hope is that it’s doing a better job of figuring a way out of this than the conscious mind, which is currently feverishly attempting to keep me alive as the darkness of the hallway fills my lungs and attempts to suffocate me.

In the darkness I lose my grip on the faceless man’s fingers. His bony digits slip through my grasp. I am utterly alone. I feel like I’m being touched, from all sides, grabbing me and manhandling me. These hands all have flesh, none of them are made of bone. None of them belong to the man who brought me here. None of them are my guide. Those boney fingers are the only hope I have; I grope for them in the darkness as I keep gasping for air, trying in vain to expel the smothering darkness from my lungs. I feel it working its why inside of me. The blackness is trying to penetrate my depths, looking for my secrets. What in fuck’s name would this indefatigable blackness want with my secrets?

“Fine,” I mutter, “I’ll give you want you want. What do you want to know? That I played with myself watching my mother fuck an overweight man with a beard when I was 12? Does that work for you?”

“No.”

A voice. I try to place it to the voices I’ve heard throughout my life. The faceless man? The devil at the bar? No. I go further back, too far back. The grunts of the bearded man echo through my skull. The way his head was wet with sweat as his face turned red, as though his thrusting was bringing him to the brink of cardiac arrest. I am consumed by shame at my own actions at the time. I have no feeling in my face but I am sure I am weeping.

The man on the cell phone from the desert.

It has to be.

“What do you have on Conroy?”

“That’s it? No foreplay? Just cut to the chase? Just like Conroy isn’t it? No tact, no subtlety. Just bam! Fuck you in the ass with a white hot poker Vincent Conroy!”

“Who says I work for Conroy?”

“Who says you don’t?”

I hear a groan that could only be that of the undead and I sprint in the opposite direction. I run towards the voice, at least he was alive. Probably. I’m not about to die here. Not at the hands of some fucking wannabe domesticated zombie at any rate. A proper zombie wouldn’t try to fool you by working some befouled job at a shit hole bar in New Bunker. Proper zombies roam the wasteland in packs. Nope, when I die I intend to go at the hands of someone with a plan. Murder for me please, not old age, not disease, not the bite of the undead, not even an accident would do. Old fashioned murder for this journalist. If this voice intends to kill me at least it will be murder. That’s a comfort.

I slam full force into a wall. I stumble unceremoniously to the floor. Feeling must be returning to my face since I am sure I feel the warmth of blood pouring down my face from my undoubtedly broken nose. Familiar skeleton fingers press against the side of my head and claw into my eyes and pull away the blackness. The room lights up and I can see my surroundings for the first time.

The wall in front of me dematerializes into the shape of a man, wiping blood from his knuckles. Another man I have never seen before sits across from me and I realize I’m in a chair. The faceless man stands behind him. I jerk my head about to get a better idea of where I am and realize that I am tied to the chair. I manage to crane my neck enough to see 2 zombies in cages behind me. If I had to guess this was the office of the fellow that runs the show.

“Tio estis iom troa. Tell me St-Brigid, what do you have on Conroy? It got you into this city somehow. Maybe it will be able to get you out of here alive.”

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