Braineating XIII:

Dawn Of The Living... Living?

The thing is, once zombies speak, you know the world is officially fucked.

But Casey seemed pretty chill about it. So chill, in fact, his voice didn't sound the least bit meatballistic. A bit raspy, perhaps. "How do you do," he greeted politely.

I tried hard not to look stupider than usual, so instead of staring, I turned to Collin. "Is that thing automatic?" I asked.

Collin, by the way, looked like he was a second away from having a heart attack.

Casey replied, "Nope. Bro, do not get so freaked. They look like nice people."

Butch, I noticed, had stayed quiet. Too quiet. Even for him. WIth Butch, this could only mean:

1) He was planning world domination.

2) He was planning universal domination.

3) He was secretly thinking of a way to murder people with bananas.

4) He was thinking.

All options were equally terrifying, but I figured a talking, sentient zombie wasn't any better. The worst part is, he's probably smarter than the whole Anti-Zombie Squad combined. I turned to Butch, expecting him to thrash again. But no. He stood there, arms crossed, eyeing Casey the way someone would pause in the street to look at badly-done graffiti and go like, "Ah. Nice."

He said, "You. Kid. When were you bitten?"

Collin stepped in front of Casey protectively, but the latter patted his arm reassuringly and turned to Butch, replying, "Yesterday."

Butch nodded. It's like he didn't find the whole situation to be creepy in the least. Maybe the zombie squad had made him immune to 'the hell is this shit' moments. "Have you seen more like you?" he asked.

The boy nodded.

"Where?"

"Shouldn't we go back to the squad or something?" I interjected, "They're probably hungry, and I don't think socializing with talking dead people is a good idea."

They ignored me.

"Y'ALL BULLIES."

They ignored me again. I swore to myself that one day I'd find the hot boy and ride down the sunset in a motorcycle with him, all the while throwing sparkles with brutal metal background music coming from nowhere. And they'd be there, having tea parties with zombies and talking about brain cuisine. But until that day came, I'd have to bear with the current situation.

"Around," Casey shrugged, "Not many. Most of them are the leaders. From the ones who really died, I mean."

Leaders? This was getting hella weird. First, they-the zombies-get fooled by a Thriller dance. Then they eat crap. Then they get Molotov cocktails from Bejeezus knows where. Right now, someone could come and tell me the whole thing happened because a mad scientist drank a potion for immortality, got sick in the stomach, farted and discovered through his magical tootie that the potion had slightly unpleasant side-effects, like trying to eat your family, and I'd believe it.

Instead of listening to them, I zoned off and began to daydream about X-rated stuff.

About thirty seconds later, when I heard something along the lines of, "Let's get going," I remembered there is but one single thing the Squad is great at: fooling victims into joining them.

Oh, crap.

Out of all people, I would have never expected Butch to hijack these poor people's lives. "Eh?" I began, chasing after them, for the threesome had existed the shop already, "Ah? What? How? Are they gonna join? Collin and Casey?"

Butch glared at me. "Problem?"

"Problem!? You're forgetting a tiny little detail: We're the ANTI-Zombie Squad. Anti. As in, no zombies."

"That is really offensive," protested Casey, "What, do you think we cannot feel?"

"YOU'RE NOT EVEN SUPPOSED TO!"

"Enough," Butch snapped, "Duff, shut your trap. Go trigger minorities somewhere else."

It almost felt as though this was an arc made for someone else. Maybe Lucas should've come along instead. Anyway, even if they need a token female for completion's sake, Lucas has more estrogen than me. I watched their backs all the way back to the hotel, feeling strangely left out.

By the time we reached it, the other three were already there. They'd found supplies, apparently. Canned food. Vacuum cleaners. Flamethrowers. In other words, useless crap. If they had the patience and dedication to bring a freaking flamethrower, why didn't they look for a can opener instead?

Butch, however, seemed way too fascinated with the stupid talking zombie and his stupid brother.

To coat this irrational anger up, I ran straight to the hotel's entrance, where the rest of the Squad was just beginning to take the idiotic supplies in. "April!" I called out, "Guess what! We just found the weirdest shit."

The moment I said that, they all looked at each other for some reason.

I decided not to ask.

"Oh yeah?" said Lucas, uncharacteristically sarcastic, "You probably didn't. But, go ahead. What'd you find?"

I opened my eyes wide for effect. "Talking zombies."

They all burst into laughter.

As in on cue, I heard the other half of the squad come around. More like, their footsteps. Out of the three of them, Casey was by far the most talkative. Like his existence wasn't ironic enough already. At least he'd get these asses to stop making fun of me. I'd had enough already.

"How do you do," greeted Casey, oblivious to their laughing.

They stopped. All at once. Wide-eyed.

I grinned, disliking Casey just a bit less.

Collin stopped beside me, looking nervous again. "Are they... are your friends dangerous?" he asked me.

"Mostly to themselves," I replied.

Cue Butch's explanation, "I know it may be shocking, but the kid is harmless. Don't dare do anything stupid now."

I was seriously beginning to question Butch's weirder-than-usual behavior. He's barely shown interest for us before, but now, all of a sudden, it looked as though he'd fallen in love with the zombie kid or something. I glanced at Collin, but he seemed mostly oblivious to this. To his credit, he did have a reason to be freaked, with our group being supposed to destroy zombies and everything.

Come to think about he, he'd mentioned the talking zombies before. Raiding the shop. Killing everyone. Everyone but he and Casey. Well, he didn't seem that crazy anymore.

Finally, the Squad seemed to react.

Lucas asked, "Is he automatic?"

Collin said, "Why does everyone ask that?"

Butch added, "Let's go inside."

We went inside.

Both April and Lucas stayed wary, and with reason. In a way, I was surprised at them even letting Casey walk in. Then again, Butch had unofficially become the leader, and we all seemed prone to stupidly following orders without knowing the reason. That, and I could see the thrill on their faces about new members, regardless of species. Well, mostly April.

Kerberos kept looking at Butch, eyes narrowed.

We hadn't brought supplies, come to think about it.

As if on cue, April said, "We found some foooood!"

I didn't have the heart to tell her that, yes, they'd found food. Canned food. And we kind of didn't have the tools to open them.

Casey walked up to her, extending his hand; she flinched. "I can open it," he volunteered.

"Ah..." she hesitated, glancing at me. I shook my head firmly, but discreetly. Thus, she turned back to the kid and shook her head, not very firmly or discreetly. "No, thank you. I, uh, can open it on my own."

Casey's creepy, yellowed eyes widened. "Really?"

Before April could reply, Butch snatched the can away. "I'll open it," he grumbled. And that was the final word.

Really, up until April called me not shortly after finishing the food (which were beans, and surprisingly tasty) I had been seriously questioning on simply letting Casey pass as a normal occurrence. But then, in the middle of the meal, a collective, rather silly hysteria spread over; Lucas, April and I kept watching Casey, who seemed to be waiting patiently for us to finish eating. He said nothing of this, even though he noticed. Surprisingly, the same went for Butch.

Collin stayed completely silent.

As did Kerberos, but nobody cared.

After we were done and before we planned anything else, April dragged me right out of the room. I raised an eyebrow at her, curious. She hesitated, then crept closer. "So Duffie," she whispered, "What'd you think of the new guys?"

Used to her violating my personal space, I didn't flinch. "They're stupid."

Used to me being unhelpful, she went on, "Because the little one is scary. As in, I don't want to be mean, but I don't think I could sleep under, you know, the same roof as him."

I glanced at her, suddenly interested. "Oh?"

She nodded. "How about you?"

Should I tell her about Butch's weird behavior? About me disliking both he and the little kid? Even Collin is more tolerable, and he tried to kill me. "Well," I mumbled out, "What would you say if we got rid of him later?"