Title: Death Doll
By: Brian P. White
Publication Date: October 1, 2016
Genre: Horror/Zombie Apocalypse
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Didi always hated the dark. As a child, it was because of monsters. From her teens on, it was horny men. Since the plague, it was because she just couldn’t see a damn thing in it anymore. Everything was enough of a blur without contacts or glasses in the daylight, but in the dark? Nada. If not for Cody, and a night vision device, she would be useless at night.
“Take it easy on her again?” Cody asked as he opened the gym door.
She showed him the slight rip in her long-sleeved shirt. “Not this time. She bashed me good. Almost shish-kebabed my head.”
He grinned and pointed behind her. “You did look a little caved in back there.”
She looked back and found no damage, but she did find him smirking at her. She passed him with her middle finger in his face. She loved the guy to death, but he could be a dick sometimes.
She placed her night scope on her left eye and stepped into the dark street. The green and somewhat sparkly block looked clearer now than in the daytime. If only these things worked in the sunlight, she thought.
Something growled. To her right, four boneheads clawed at the boarded windows of the Garage. They stopped their futile attempts to break in when Cody shut the gym door behind him. They slogged toward him, most likely guided by his scent. Recently deceased. She drew her sword and marched toward them.
“Did she ask again?” he asked.
“Yup,” she said as she cut down the first of the four. “She’s itching for field time.”
“Do you think she’s ready?” he asked.
“She absorbed everything we could teach her.” She cut down two more and let the last one in a tattered dress come to her. “I think she’ll be fine.”
“Are you sure about that?” he pointedly asked.
She beheaded the one in the dress and turned, but she couldn’t see Cody’s face behind his night vision goggles. “She’ll do what needs doing.”
“I hope so. She practically worships you. I’m not sure she could—”
Leaving no room for debate, she interrupted. “Like I said, Cody, she’ll be fine.”
“And like I said, Didi, I hope so,” he said as he passed her.
Didi. Even after two years, she was still getting used to that name. At least it didn’t make her cringe anymore, and it was a lot better than the other names she ever had. Well, almost.
“You okay?” he asked from the corner of the block.
She gave him a smile and followed him. “My usual chipper self.”
“Good.” They rounded the corner together and found a few more boneheads skulking about near the north wall. “What do you think of the new meat?”
Meat, she thought with longing. If only she could sample a bite for one--
She shook the thought from her head as she moved ahead of Cody, not wanting to fall back on bad habits. Focusing on her work and his question, she decapitated each corpse. “Too soon to tell, though I’m wondering about Isaac. I don’t think he’d take the news well.”
A faint pop. Something fell. She thanked God for whoever made silencers. “He may come around. For now, we’ll follow the usual protocol and assess them after we put them to work.”
“I love it when you talk all Soldier-like,” she said as she cut down the last bonehead and headed for the next corner.
He sniggered. “What about everyone else? We’ve got to tell them someday.”
She stopped in her tracks and glared at him the best she could through her night scope. He knew better than to bring that up. “You know what’ll happen.”
“You’ve done so much for these people,” he added. “They’ll have to see.”
She had to shake her head. “I love your optimism, but I wish it applied to the rest of the world. They bitch about us enough as it is, no matter how much we do for them. They’ll never get past it.”
“The Panel did,” Cody said.
“Yeah, but they tried to kill me first. Well, most of them,” she remembered with gratitude, “but this many people would succeed before they realized what happened.”
“They may surprise you,” Cody said as he continued up the block. “Have some faith.”
Didi wanted to share his hope, but she had too much to risk: the people, the home, and especially her place in it.