Title: Prometheus Risen
Crazed Axeman - March 5, 2007 02:47 AM (GMT)
By Collin Hayward
Chapter 1: Murder by a Dead Man
Dan Shapiro’s running feet sounded loudly on the cobblestones of the empty Philadelphia street. He splashed through a puddle, soaking his legs with dirty water, yet he did not look down. He could hear the footsteps on the cobbles, it was still following him. His lungs burned with exhaustion as he ran. Frantically he looked around. He was in the Historic District; an area not often traveled at this hour. His legs were cramping, he could not run much further. He saw an open doorway into a building, seeing his possible salvation, he ducked inside.
He pressed his back to the wall and tried to catch his breath, which came in ragged gasps. He heard the footsteps outside drawing nearer. Frightened, he fished into his pocket and produced a handgun, a small .22 commonly known as a “Saturday Night Special.” As he stood there, his small pistol clutched in his sweaty hands, he wondered how it had come to this. He looked at his pistol and sneered. He was no fighter, he was a medical student. He wished that he had never found out about the Society. As he stood there in the dark basement, he resolved not to die without bringing the Society down with him. He looked around for something to write with, but found nothing. He reached into his pocket and produced a small pen knife. He pricked his finger and began to write on the wall. ‘Society of the S-’, then the door exploded inward.
Shapiro tried to bring his pistol to bear, but he could not. Before he could train his weapon on his assailant, its cold, clammy, hands had closed on his throat. While one hand clenched his throat in a vice-like grip, the other wrung the pistol from his hand. He tried frantically to breath. He felt as though someone was standing on his chest. His attacker raised his hand and Shapiro found his legs frantically kicking a few inches above the floor. The furious barrage of kicks on his shins did not faze his attacker. He could not feel his arms or legs, and as a med student, he knew that his blood flow was being cut off. His kicks began to weaken and blackness began to infringe on his vision. Then there was a crunch as his windpipe caved in and everything went black. His assailant let his body crumple to the ground.
The knock on Police Chief McGillicuddy’s door was loud and harsh. The big, gruff, Irish Police Chief looked up from his computer screen.
“Come in.” he barked.
A police captain entered briskly. He dropped a crime scene report on Chief McGillicuddy’s desk. The Police Chief picked it up and looked at it.
“That makes three, sir.” The Captain said. “This is getting out of hand.”
“I realize that, Brown, do you have any leads?”
“Well, sir, we are pretty sure that all of these murders were committed by the same person or persons. All three have the same modus operandi. All of the victim are from the college, as a matter of fact, they were all in the same fraternity.”
“Yes, I am aware.” The Chief remarked dryly. “Do you have anything else?”
“Well, sir, we do, but this is where it gets complicated. We have found the same set of prints at two of the scenes, and a probable match at the third.”
“-But they don’t match anything in our database.” The Chief finished for him.
“No, sir, that’s not the problem.” The Captain explained. “Sir, the prints belong to Jose Miguel Castillo, a local construction worker, but… Mr. Castillo died two weeks ago, two days before the murders began.” The Captain finished in a rush.
“Damn it!” exclaimed the Police Chief. “Why didn’t you mention this earlier.”
The Captain didn’t get a chance to answer. Chief McGillicuddy was already on the phone.
Zombiekillerninja - March 6, 2007 12:23 AM (GMT)
That chief's name is familiar...
Crazed Axeman - March 6, 2007 01:53 AM (GMT)
It's commonly used as a generic Irish last name.
Samuraignoll - March 8, 2007 07:57 AM (GMT)
KenshinZ - March 10, 2007 10:32 PM (GMT)
The opening segmewnt actually scared me...
Crazed Axeman - March 11, 2007 08:27 PM (GMT)
Chapter 2: Suspects
Chief McGillicuddy’s door opened softly. A tall, thin man entered. His head was shaved and he sported a red goatee. He wore a long, worn, brown leather duster. Even under the heavy coat, the Police Chief could make out the distinct shape of a holstered handgun. He was followed by two men and two women, all clad in black trench coats.
“Hello, Chief.” The tall man said. “My name is the Crazed Axeman; this is the Fuhrermeister, the Celtic Killer, Kiwi, and Muse.” He said, indicating each of his companions in turn. “We’re from the ZIA and we’re here to help you with your problem.”
“All of the murders seem to have been committed by the same person; Juan Miguel Castillo, but he died two weeks ago. A few days later, the first killings began.”
“Any connection between the victims?” asked Muse.
“As a matter of fact, they were all members of the same fraternity at Drexel.”
“Which fraternity?” asked the Fuhrermeister.
“Sigma Lambda Omega.” The Chief replied.
“Thank you.” Said Kiwi as they left.
The team left the building and walked towards the bar where the rest of their team waited. As they entered, a muscular, shaven-headed man waved them to a table at the corner of the bar. It was the Deathfiend.
“So, what do you think?” he asked.
“Shit, man, I dunno.” Replied the Celtic Killer. “Doesn’t sound like any stenches to me.”
“It didn’t in Barnham, either.” The Axeman reminded him gravely. “I don’t know what’s going on either, but I think we should check the frat house.”
Half an hour later, the Axeman knocked on the front door of the frat house with the Fuhrermeister by his side. On the second knock, a pale, dark headed man answered the door. He looked as though he had not stepped outside in years. He was painfully thin and had dark bags under his eyes.
“Who are you?” he asked, not allowing them inside.
“Federal Marshals.” The Axeman answered, pulling a forged badge from his pocket. “We’d like to take a look around.”
“Is this about my brother?” the man at the door asked.
“Who are you?” the Fuhrermeister asked.
“I’m Mark Shapiro. My brother was killed last night.” He opened the door and let the two men in.
“So, Mark, do you have any idea who might have killed your brother?” the Axeman asked, his voice sympathetic.
“Well, umm, no.” the pale man mumbled unconvincingly.
“I think that you know something.” The Fuhrermeister accused.
“Listen, man, I’m scared. He’s had three people killed already. He’d kill me in a heartbeat if I told you anything.”
“You don’t need to be afraid.” The Axeman said. “Just tell us who and we’ll take him into custody.”
“Alright.” He said, his eyes moist with fear and his voice a hushed whisper. “His name is Mike Wilfred. His room is upstairs. He made us join this society. It was called the Society of the Scientific Afterlife. We started off debating whether it was possible to reanimate the dead. Then everything started spiraling downhill. One of our buddies, Jim MacNamera, got all messed up in a car crash. So then Mike slipped him this powder stuff, and he died. Then everything got really weird. He went and dug him up and he was alive and… and I don’t know. He works at the hospital and he started slipping it to these people who were really sick and then he started to bring them back. Then he tried to bring back someone who was dead before he gave them the powder. Well, this was when we found out about the people he’d killed with the powder. All of us said that we were out. And he said that we couldn’t see his genius and the next day Jimmy Clarke was killed. Then a few days later, Nick Duncan was killed.” At this point his voice was beginning to quaver with emotion. “Then last night I found out about Phil. If I try to do anything, he’s going to kill me.”
“Where is he?” the Fuhrermeister asked.
“He’s upstairs in his room. It’s the first door on the left.”
The Axeman and the Fuhrermeister crept up the stairs. The Fuhrermeister tried to turn the knob on the door. It was locked. The Fuhrermeister knocked sharply on the door.
“Mr. Willard, Federal Marshals, please open the door.”
There was no response. He stepped to the side and pulled his Springfield .45 and knocked again.
“Mr. Willard, Federal Marshals, open the door now or we will have no choice but to break it down.”
There was still no reply. He nodded to the Axeman who had already drawn his Colt Python Elite.
“Mr. Willard, open the door.”
When there was no response, the Axeman slammed through the door with his shoulder, followed by the Fuhrermeister. A surprised young student sat bolt up right in bed, the headphones from his Ipod falling from his ears, releasing the sound of insipid British pseudo-rock into the room. The short, pudgy man brushed some of his mop of hair out of his eyes, but showed no signs of aggression. Both the Axeman and the Fuhrermeister lowered their weapons. The Axeman crossed the room to the bed and turned the hapless young student over, and cuffed him behind his back. He then roughly lifted him and half dragged him from the room.
“Mr. Willard, you are under arrest.”
“You didn’t read me my Miranda Rights.” Willard whined.
The Axeman looked around the room. On the desk, a pile of pre-law books were roughly stacked. Reams of paper were scattered everywhere. A picture of Che Guevara looked down from the wall, next to a large peace sign. The Axeman smirked at the irony.
“Ohh, I think he’s gonna sue us.” The Fuhrermeister mocked.
“Listen, we know what you’ve been doing.” The Axeman growled menacingly into the man’s ear as he walked him towards his Chevy Cavalier. “We know about the bodies, and the reanimations, and the murders.”
“What are you talking about.” He whimpered. “I didn’t do any of those things. It was all Mark.”
“What?” the Axeman asked, stopping abruptly.
“It was Mark all along.”
"Then what's this?" asked the Fuhrermeister, holding a bag of coarse, white powder.
“Dude, that’s not mine. He must have- aaahhhh!” he let out a terrified scream as a figure bounded towards them. The Axeman and the Fuhrermeister both went for their pistols, but before either of them could clear the holsters, a thunderous boom split the air and the running figure slammed into the ground. Behind it, Zen Buddakhan holstered his Thunder 5 .410 revolver, its smoke mingling with that of his Cuban cigar.
KenshinZ - March 11, 2007 10:14 PM (GMT)
Getting right to the point, Isee.
Crazed Axeman - March 13, 2007 01:24 AM (GMT)
Chapter 3: Explanations
“What the hell is going on!” screamed Willard. “You just shot Jim.”
“That’s Jim McNamara?” the Axeman asked, indicating the corpse lying on the pavement.
“It was, until he just shot him.” Willard exclaimed, wildly gesticulating at Zen.
“You mean until you zombified him.” The Fuhrermeister pressed.
“I’m telling you, Mark Shapiro was behind the whole thing. He made us all join this society. We made a blood promise to keep it a secret, but then people started dying…” he broke off, sobbing. “Listen, I can prove it was him. He’ll be in his lab tonight. I can tell you where it is and you can go in and arrest him, Okay?”
“If you’re lying to us, no one will ever find your body.” The Axeman warned.
“I’m not lying… and who’re they.” He asked, pointing with his head, as he was still handcuffed.
“What exactly are you doing here, sir?” the Axeman asked the deputy chief of the ZIA.
Zen indicated the woman behind him. The Axeman hadn’t really paid her much attention before, as Zen always seemed to have an entourage of women with him.
“This is Athena. She’s just out of Fast Recon School and I was on my way down to see how the investigation was going, so I gave her a ride.” He explained.
“Alright then.” The Axeman said. “Let’s get this cleaned up. Fuhrermeister, help me bag this body and get it in the trunk. Zen, Athena, would you mind, watching the prisoner. The two STUDs lifted the corpse and carried it over to the trunk. The Axeman managed to pull a hand free and open the trunk with his remote. He fumbled it open and dumped the body in. The Axeman then reached into the trunk and pulled out a gallon jug of white flakes which he handed to his partner.
“Ahh, Lye, never leave home without it.” The Fuhrermeister quipped.
“Sprinkle some of that on the blood stain.” The Axeman said, then he walked towards Zen, Athena, and Willard. “Athena, take Willard and put him in the back. Sir, why don’t you get in up front. We’re only a few blocks away from our temporary command center. We’re set up in a little motel room.”
“Hey! I found this on the body. There’s still blood in the blood groove” The Fuhrermeister yelled, holding up a long straight knife in rubber gloved hands.
The Axeman tossed him a box of evidence bags, then climbed into the car. The Fuhrermeister squeezed his lanky form into the back seat beside Willard and the car drove off. Less than fifteen minutes later, it stopped at a cheap motel. The Praetorian and Cherokee came out to greet them. After a brief explanation, Cherokee helped Zen and Athena shuffled Willard up the stairs and into room and the Praetorian helped the Axeman carry the body inside, while the Fuhrermeister drove the knife over to the police station.
The body landed on the motel room floor with a wet thump. The motel room was small and cramped, and it was clear that the entire ten man team had been living and working out of it. Both beds had had the mattresses removed, and it was clear that people had been sleeping on the mattresses and the box springs as well as in the chair in the corner. The bathtub also had blankets and a pillow inside it. He tossed Tech the bag of white powder the Fuhrermeister had pulled out of Willard’s room.
“Tech. I can you analyze that and find out what it is?”
“I can try.” Said Tech, already fishing out his instruments.
“Alright, while you’re at it, try to figure out what is going on with him.” The Axeman said, pointing at the body bag.
“I’m on it.” Tech said, carefully unwrapping an airtight container and rigging up cables to his laptop. He used a surgical spatula to scoop some into the plastic container. Soon results began to scroll across the screen.
“Alright,” he said. “I’m getting traces of… human bone, a handful of toxic substances usually found in toads, some traces of material which matches the DNA of the Chinese Praying Mantis, and something called Tetrodoxin. That might explain all this.”
“Because… Tetrodoxin is a neural poison… which can cause a victim to appear dead, only to revive a few hours later.” The Axeman hazarded, becoming more confident in his answer as he spoke.
“Exactly, that’s how the Voodoo zombie phenomenon is possible.” Tech explained. “And as soon as I get a chance to autopsy the body over there, I’m pretty sure that that is exactly what we’re up against.”
“Willard, how many of these things are out there?” the Axeman asked.
“They’re all at the lab.” Willard said. “I don’t know exactly how many, but I know of eight, it might be as high as fifteen.”
“Alright, that’s a wide margin.” The Axeman said, loading a pistol grip Mossberg shotgun. “Willard, do you know how to use a pistol?”
“A pistol?” Willard cried, incredulous. “Why should I have to use a pistol?”
“Because these things are severely brain damaged, and may be highly aggressive.”
“Hey!” Tech said, standing up from the only freshly begun autopsy. “This is definitely Strain Hotel, but if Shapiro succeeded in doing what he implied, then we might well be facing a Strain Foxtrot. It’ll be big and strong if he’s been the one killing the other Society members and quite possibly sentient.”
“It’s quite possible that we might be facing something a lot closer to Mary Shelly than to George Romero.”
“Mmm…” the Axeman contemplated. “Alright, we go in tonight. Let’s load up for bear.”
KenshinZ - March 13, 2007 03:23 AM (GMT)
Less in number, but stronger and faster....hmmm.
Crazed Axeman - March 14, 2007 01:46 AM (GMT)
Chapter 4: The Raid
The STUD agents stood in front of the science building which was allegedly being used as a zombie lab. The Axeman tried the door, but it was locked. Silently, he waved the Praetorian forward. The thin, short man fished a small breaching charge from his pack. The small piece of shaped C4 plastique was only about the size of a large super ball. When the Axeman nodded, the Praetorian depressed the plunger and the doors blew open with a muffled cough. One of the doors had a large crack running through it while the other hung drunkenly from its frame. The STUDs entered, their weapons drawn. It was clear the explosion would draw the zombies. Out of nowhere, a ghoul sprang upon Kiwi from a darkened passageway. The Axeman raised his weapon to fire, but as he squeezed the trigger, Willard knocked his arm to the side. The Axeman wheeled and struck Willard with in the face with his revolver. At the same time Athena, the new agent, raised her Uzi and fired. The rounds tore through the voodoo zombie’s chest. It toppled backwards and lay still.
“If you ever, ever, put my people in danger again,” the Axeman growled at the stunned Willard. “I will not hesitate to put a bullet through your head.”
“I’m… I’m sorry.” Willard sobbed. “But…but, its not their fault, you… you can’t shoot them.”
“I can do whatever the hell I want!” the Axeman snarled, pressing the barrel of his revolver into Willard’s head hard enough to make him wince. “I could kill you right now if I wanted to! Do you understand me?” then he turned to the new agent, who was helping Kiwi to her feet. “Athena, nicely done. Good work, now let’s move.”
As the STUDs advanced down the hall, Willard pointed to a door. The Axeman opened it to reveal a flight of stairs down into the basement. As soon as the STUDs entered the basement ghouls appeared from every door and passageway. The STUDs opened fire into the pack. The Axeman unslung his shotgun and fired. One of the ghouls pitched forward, with viscera blowing out of its back. The Axeman emptied his shotgun, but the ghouls kept coming. As the Axeman was trying to reload, the ghouls were only a few feet away and closing. Before the zombies could reach him, the Deathfiend unleashed a torrent of lead from his M249 SAW. Even with this heavy firepower, the ghouls eventually grew close enough to render the STUD’s firearms ineffective. The Axeman pulled a hatchet from under his duster and swung it. One ghoul fell as the hatchet bit deep into its neck. The Axeman then slammed his hatchet down through the crown of one ghoul’s head, then dropped to a knee and swung, disemboweling another. The Axeman stood and looked around. After nearly a minute of frantic fighting, the floor was covered with corpses.
“Eight to fifteen?” the Axeman asked incredulously. “This is closer to 40. Are you trying to get us killed?”
“Sorry,” Willard whimpered. “We’re almost there. His lab is right through there; in the boiler room.”
Lian - March 14, 2007 08:03 AM (GMT)
Crazed Axeman - March 15, 2007 10:58 PM (GMT)
Chapter 5: Identities
The Axeman tried the door to the boiler room. As he had expected, it was locked. He stepped to the side and raised his shotgun, aiming at the lock. A harsh blast blew the door open. The Axeman kicked it out of his way as he jacked the slide on his shotgun and entered the room. Shapiro leered at him from a raised platform, a lighter in his hand.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Shapiro cautioned. “If I light this fuse, the boiler blows, and the whole building goes up with it.”
“Alright, alright,” the Axeman said softly. “Just calm down, set down the lighter, and come with us. We don’t want to hurt you.”
“Like Hell I will!” Shapiro yelled back. “I won’t let my work fall into your hands!”
“Your work is dead.” The Celtic Killer said flatly. “They’re all out in the hallway. We killed them.”
“That’s where you’re wrong!” Shapiro countered, then spoke into the darkness. “Come Out!”
Out of the darkness stepped a large, muscular, figure. As he stepped into the dim light, the Axeman recognized him. His hair was disheveled, his eyes were glazed, he was pale, and his lips were blackened, but he was undeniably Jose Miguel Castillo. The dead man stepped behind Shapiro.
“Kill them!” The thin student ordered, pointing at the STUDs.
The Axeman readied his shotgun, but he was in a quandary. If he was attacked and he fired his weapon, it might inspire Shapiro to light the fuse. Before the Axeman had to resolve this dilemma, it solved itself.
“No.” rasped Castillo’s corpse.
For a second, everyone was too shocked to act. The Axeman had never heard a zombie make a conscious decision. Apparently, neither had Shapiro. He was too surprised to react when the ghoul reached out and snapped his neck with a single powerful motion.
“Why?” asked the Axeman.
“I…was tired of…killing.” The ghoul rasped. “They… made me… kill. I don’t…want to kill…anymore.”
“Who’s they?” the Axeman asked.
A single crisp shot split the air in a room so silent a pin dropping wouldn’t have gone unnoticed. The ghoul dropped to its knees, a single bullet hole between its eyes. Behind the Axeman, Willard held a still smoking snub-nose revolver.
Before the STUDs could react, Willard had sprinted across the room faster than the Axeman would have expected. He held the lighter with one hand and his .38 with the other.
“You will never have my work!” Willard yelled, his voice much more decisive than the quaver it had been.
“I thought that Shapiro had done this?” the Deathfiend asked.
“Shapiro?!” Willard scoffed. “He may have been my blood brother, but he was a thug. I did all of this, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take it from me! That’s what all of my so-called friends tried to do. They didn’t recognize genius when they saw it!” He yelled, flipping open the lighter. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” He cautioned, as the Axeman lowered his shotgun and raised his .357 magnum.
“Why not?” the Axeman asked, as cool as ice despite the risk of his imminent demise.
“Because, if I so much as twitch, then I light this and the fuse gets lit. It’ll burn quick, so you won’t even have time to stop it before it blows.”
“All I need to do is split your cut your brain off at the stem and you won’t even flinch.” The Axeman said emotionlessly, as he lined up his shot.
“That’s a one in a million sho-” Willard fell backwards as the bullet blew through his open mouth and out the back of his head. He didn’t so much as twitch.
After the Society of the Scientific Afterlife met its demise, the Axeman was finally transferred back to STUD and given command of the STUD team he had been working with since the New York Vampire Outbreak.
KenshinZ - March 16, 2007 04:46 AM (GMT)
Ahhh...so good but so short!
Crazed Axeman - March 16, 2007 10:55 AM (GMT)
This was just written to sort of fill in the middle of Book 1, between Children of the Night and the Darkness.
Lian - March 16, 2007 12:01 PM (GMT)
Think that's the shortest Epilogue you've ever wrote.
Crazed Axeman - March 16, 2007 09:26 PM (GMT)
I just needed to state that he got back into the field. So I figured short and sweet was the way to go.