“Games my ass!” Came a low southern drawl from across the garbage strewn room, a slight echo ringing from the vault-like walls of our newest prison. Gently probing at the side of my head, I look in turn at each of the others emerging from their metallic tombs within the walls. An African American woman, hunched over with thick corded muscles and a lean figure in a sleeveless black tank top and boasting quite a series of tattoos seemed to be staying as still as possible as she watched us all from her spot, which just happened to be the furthest away from the rest of us.
The man with the southern drawl wore a wrinkled grey suit, one of the sleeves partially torn as if in a struggle, and sporting one eye distinctly more bloodshot than the other. Looking from the thin man with a scraggly beard and a long wrinkled T-shirt bearing some obscure band name to a burly looking biker that was struggling to squeeze his monstrous frame from the rolling gurney of the wall caskets, I could see all of us indeed bore a red splotchy eye.
“Like, what are we going to do?” One girl gushed, hopping from foot to foot while holding her hands in tightly balled fists beneath her chin. A slightly worse for wear purple and maroon cheerleader outfit bearing the words “Otters” in glittery letters covered her rather impressive bust, something I had to tear my eyes away from before she could see me drooling.
Hey, I just spent six years of medical school with my nose in the books, I think I deserve a little pervy time in my life before I’m thirty.
Just not with jailbait.
Not again, at least.
Looking around the room, there are great mounds of scrap iron and broken pieces of wood, great rolls of cable and spools of wire, as well as a blistering hot furnace blasting waves of heat out from a coal powered stove, a metal slab sitting before it with a broad, flat hammer and a pair of tongs. A wooden barrel of water, water I’d dare not drink from, sat beside the barrel next to a great stack of leather squares and a small serrated knife.
“He’s arming us,” the black woman said, walking slowly towards the primitive looking smithy, scooping up the knife and tossing it from hand to hand, as if testing its weight. “We have ten minutes before we get let loose amongst the living dead; so he gave us tools to make ourselves weapons with, if we’re smart.”
“And how would you know this bitch?” Growled the biker, chains rattling at his sides as he brushed himself off, his leather vest bearing a pair of crossed pitchforks.
“Because this is a fight, like with the UFC.” She replied evenly, quickly and deliberately cutting away several long strips of leather from the top square as she spoke, the knife quickly slicing through the half inch tanned hide. “I should know… that’s all I do.”
“You’re a fighter?” The biker asked incredulously with a deep belly laugh, the man in the torn suit smirking at the statement as well. “I just thought you were a rug munching dyke, what with how you look is all.”
“That’s actually me,” I interject, moving to snag a long piece of pipe and shoving it into the biker’s calloused hands, “do me a favor and stick that in the furnace till it’s as fiery as your temper, then hammer it flat. If I’m going to have to fight dead bodies I’m going to need my medical supplies: might as well start with a big scalpel.”
He looks at me for a moment before chuckling and shaking his head. “Sure, why not? Be like working at a chop shop… I knew a few lesbos from those places as well.”
I choose not to respond as he shoves past me towards the furnace, instead focusing on looking for more suitable tools for me to use as weapons. I’m barely five feet tall, and can barely lift the boxes of medical supplies at school… no way will a sword be helpful to me. Picking up a broken piece of metal with a thick slider on it, I see the lanky man move beside me, putting a pale hand on top of a broken door, specifically on the hinges.
“A crossbow…” He muttered to himself before looking at what I was holding. “I can make a crossbow with that, if you’re willing to part with it.”
I hand it to him happily, smiling at the idea of having a weapon that can be used at range. “I’m going to start trying to put together a medical kit for us from all of this; do you think you could make me one as well?”
“For the Medic? Anything.” The lanky man said with a smile, holding out his hand to me, which I gladly took and pumped a few times. “I guess I’ll be the Geek then. Hey fight-lady!”
“Since this is being broadcast live, I’d rather not use my name, so just gonna call you Soldier alright?” He said with a wry grin I didn’t quite grasp. “The big dude can be Tank, and we can call him the Suit.” He finished, pointing a thumb over his shoulder at the business man rummaging through a pile of misshapen metal bars.
“Oh! Oh! What about me?” The cheerleader asked, holding her hand up and waving it frantically.
“She can call me daddy,” Tank chuckled in between hammering the now red-hot end of the metal pipe, slowly creating a long sharpened edge. Soldier chuckles a little as well as she wraps the leather around her forearms and over her biceps, her stomach and chest, and her neck. She begins cutting more after pinning the leather there with rusty nails.
I merely shake my head as I begin rooting about, grabbing an old leather briefcase and filling it with the cleanest rags I can find, a sharpened razor (which I heat over the coals for a few moments to disinfect after washing it off in the water barrel) and a good deal of the twine, along with a large hairpin that I had Tank bend to make an impromptu needle that, while terrifying, could serve as a means to save a life if someone needed some stitches fast. Geek and the newly dubbed Scout are busy creating two small crossbows from the twine and the misshapen bits of metal, Scout sharpening bits of wood into arrows while Geek assembles the crossbows.
Just as I fish out of the pile a six-foot piece of what was once a flagpole, the intercom above us begins to crackle anew. “Greetings warriors! It’s time to play!” The dear Doctor said in a sing-song voice. “I can see you’ve organized rather quickly, which is a nice change of pace from the usual groups I have. Luckily the other team has been just as busy.”
“Fuck ‘em.” Suit says shouldering a chipped fireman’s axe he’d dredged up from the trash.
“But once this recording is over with, the doors will open and you’ll have to race against time, the other team and my island of experiments to get to the boat first! I truly hope you are ready to go the distance, as they say!” And with that a loud whirring of gears sounded throughout the walls as a section of wall literally split down the middle, revealing a push door that would allow us to push our way out, but not reseal them once we’ve left.
Choices… god, I hate choices…