Gener@tion Z - Prologue
Amidst the array of noise, both peaceful and threatening, that filled the building, the constant flicking of the two pound Queen Elizabeth coin was the loudest sound that could be heard by the man that sat by the door, listening to it echo throughout the church. The man was rugged and his eyelids sagged with restlessness, a thick beard and long hair to his shoulders displaying the unkempt fashion that had spread faster than any trend in London before recently. He was lost in thought, the flipping coin reflecting the ever-changing possibilities and outcomes of his next move, shifting in his mind with each flip. He was brought back into the dark but hopeful reality by the voice of the woman on the opposite end of the doorway.
"Charles," she whispered in his direction with a thick cockney accent. At some point in time, she was a very beautiful dark-skinned woman, now torn apart emotionally by the stress and chaos of the danger they'd been trapped in. A teenager looked past the woman at Charles with worried eyes, his skinny body, shaggy hair, and malnourished face mirroring the woman's. She spoke with a stern voice. "Are you ready?"
Charles flicked the coin one last time, let it land in his palm, and flipped it over onto the back of his opposite hand. The coin was face-up on heads, the indication that he was indeed ready. He turned back to her and nodded, picking up his M14 and cocking it aggressively. With a deep steady breath, he turned towards the handle of the doors and braced himself as the woman did the same.
The doors to the cathedral burst open, knocking several bodies lying against it in the opposite direction. The occupants sprinted across the sidewalk and out onto the street as the Infected began to retaliate. They could have easily passed for zombies themselves; their clothing was ripped and they were covered in sores and cuts from their last few brutal days of survival. Unfortunately, their uninfected scent was unmistakenably distinguishable by the zombies, so the chances of them faking their way through was out of the question, as well as counter-productive, given their current objective. It came down to the three of them. As far as they were concerned, they were the last of their kind, the last sentient beings for the next few thousand miles. The only exception to this was their last hope for refuge: The helicopter hovering just above the bridge a block away from them.
As they emerged out onto the street, they fired into the crowd frantically, resulting in poor accuracy but moderate effectiveness. The streets were covered in trash and bodies after many days of abandonment and the three survivors tried their best to evade them as they charged through the horde of undead.
The humid atmosphere was a contributing factor to their courageous last stand, it's soothing nature providing the confidence to make such a bold move. This was their last chance to make it out. It was do or die. Out of the building on the opposite side of them, an explosion of debris erupted and temporarily incapacitated them, though they didn't lose momentum. Out of the wreckage, a behemoth of a zombie emerged in the stance of a gorilla, its arms brought forward to provide it with mobility. It's skin was tough and reptilian, it's back muscles protruding from its spine upward. It filled the air with a guttoral roar with its rubbery tongue swaying in the air and its teeth protruded by the thousand. The three survivors looked back at it in terror for a brief moment before turning back and continuing across the street, where the bridge and the helicopter above it came into view, its propellers swaying the waters on either side of it.
Charles led the three of them across the bridge with an army of infected accompanied by the mutated hulking creature behind them. Despite the grim situation, none of it could match the ecstacy in knowing that the sight of broken buildings, the scent of rotting flesh, and the fear for their own well-being would finally be left in the distance as soon as they boarded that helicopter. As they began to approach it, the chopper lowered just low enough for them to grab onto its railings and hop aboard.
Charles slowed his run and let the woman and the teenager get ahead of him. He turned slightly and fired at the crowd and the giant mutant that bulldozed its way in their direction, knocking over stagnant cars and light poles as it charged on. He turned back to the helicopter and jumped up just as it began to take off. The pilot knew that if they didn't leave immediately, the monstrous zombie would be within reach and would be able to yank them from the sun-setting sky. Charles struggled to pull himself up into the chopper and with the help of the two that had just boarded, he was pulled inside. Before Charles could nod a sign of thanks, the helicopter lurched aside. Charles leaned over and saw the behemoth being dragged along as it held onto the railings of the helicopter. The chopper was now spinning out of control over the lake off the coast of the bridge with the large mutant holding on for dear life.
Charles gripped his M14 tightly and faced it down the side of the chopper into the behemoth's face, then aimed down his sights and fired, hitting the creature directly at close range. Flakes of skin and bloody fragments spilled from its wounds until it finally released its grip on the helicopter and splashed into the lake below. The water flew high into the air and Charles could feel the sprinkle of moisture hit his skin as he relaxed back inside the helicopter. He turned to the others and smiled as they returned it. They had escaped.
Charles took out his coin, smeared with the blood from the cuts on his fingers he'd gotten after forcing himself into the helicopter. He looked at it intently and then glanced back up at the teenager that sat across from him. With a proud smirk, he flicked the coin in his direction and the teenager caught it awkwardly.
"For you, little brother," he said proudly, with an American accent. "Souvenir."
The teenager smiled brightly and twittled the coin between his fingers, taking it in. Being an american like his brother, he'd never seen a two Pound coin or held one in his hand before.
"How do you feel, Aiden?" Charles asked with a smile. "Marci? How's it feel to finally be out?"
"You of all people should know what it feels like," Aiden replied with energy, putting the coin into his jacket pocket. "You've been in that cesspool longer than any of us."
"I agree," Marci said with little emotion. "We wouldn't be here had it not been for you."
Charles shook his head and dismissed the idea entirely. He turned towards the cockpit and got to his feet car. "Hey, Mr. Pilot," he said calmly. "Where are we headed"-
Charles had been standing right beside the opening of the helicopter door when a large mass of flesh flashed over the entrance and glided inside; the torso of an undead creature. In the blink of an eye, its ribs shot open and embedded themselves into Charles' body, spraying his blood onto the floor of the helicopter's interior. He screamed in pain as the chopper shifted slightly by the brief moment of activity and as quickly as it had come, the zombified creature disappeared, pulling Charles out of sight. Aiden and Marci watched in petrified horror as he was taken away from them.
Aiden rushed from the spot he'd been sitting in and leaned over the side of the opening as he watched his brother get pulled away by what would be later known as the Anemone Zombie. The pilot shouted for him to get away from the opening and close the helicopter door but it fell on deaf ears. Marci, shaken by the sudden violence, jumped up and pulled Aiden from the door, who was screaming hysterically for his brother, now being ruthlessly devoured by an undead creature several miles away. Marci shut the door and held Aiden down, trying to prevent him from entering a mass hysteri but it caused the coin that he'd just put away to fall out of his pocket. As soon as the sound of the bloody coin hitting the metal floor filled his ears, Aiden seemed to immediately calm down. He stared up at the ceiling of the helicopter with a blank expression and Marci began to panic herself.
"Oh, God, I think he's going into shock," she said with wide eyes.
The man who had been accompanying the pilot in the front seat got up and walked toward the back of the helicopter, kneeling down beside Aiden. "I'm a medic, I think I can help him."
As the images began to swirl around inside of Aiden's head, his hand crawled across the metal floor, delicately searching for the bloody coin. As soon as it was under his fingers and in his grasp, his eyes closed and he slowly slipped into darkness.