Prologue Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Jim's glinty, glinty eyes surveyed the Valley of Godless Ruination. Four hours prior, the love of his life had met a bloody end. In happier times, Jim might have made a meta-joke about someone's bloody end, but these were not happy times. Jonathan
, he thought. You sexy idiot. You sexy criminal.
Jim had no more tears left. Only rage, and an ache in his heart. He knelt and put his palm to the cool dirt. You belong to the earth now, my love
. He saw a rock the size of an Xbox controller. What the fuck did we call it? The Duke?
He no longer had a taste for videogames. That part of him had perished the second Samit had placed his sword on Niero's neck.
“This is your devastation and your final hour.” the assassin had declared. “Only once you have been eradicated will our mission end.” Samit the Silent, he was called. Good Samit the Silent, tactical is he
. Jim remembered the song they sang when their former brother had disappeared. They thought Samit had been kidnapped by the Polygonals. They were wrong, and their carelessness had cost Niero his head.
Tactical is he. Damn it! It says “tactical” in the bloody song
. We should have known
. He frowned the frown of a thousand collapsing stars. Then he remembered The Duke and frowned harder. Then…then he remembered the naming of Microsoft’s third game console and his frown became death itself. He picked up the rock and clenched it in his gloved hand, forcing it to absorb all of his pain; all of his rage. His grip tightened.
Damn you, Samit. Damn you, Niero
. The stone began to glow. Damn you, Microsoft. Damn you for making us scramble to find ways to differentiate between the first Xbox and the Xbox One
. The stone was red hot and steam was rising from it. His glove was melting. The pleather made popping and hissing sounds. He squeezed harder. And you, Jonathan. You sexy criminal. You left me here to finish this alone. You know I’m not strong enough without you. You KNOW!!
The rock exploded in his hand. Whether from the absorbed rage or the force of his grip, he couldn’t tell. His gaze returned to the Valley of Godless Ruination. He knew not what he would find there, but he knew blood would spill upon the dusty ground.
To his left was an ancient corpse, behind him the wrecked Destructzord. The corpse was now merely a pile of bones. The feathered end of an arrow protruded from the dead man’s rib cage. A sword and a whetstone lay beside the fallen warrior. He was killed while sharpening that pitiful sword. Jim withdrew his own steel, thinking of the joke he might have made, long ago, about sliding a shining sword from its scabbard. His own sword was massive, and forged into the shape of a life-sized nude Matt Borealis. It glinted like Jim’s eyes.
He paused to enjoy the shape of the sword. Matt’s curves are as lovely as they are deadly. And Samit will know it, before long
. He picked up the whetstone and continued sharpening Matt Borealis’ curves. He looked yet again at the village in the Valley of Godless Ruination and shrieked in fury.
His phone buzzed. Last Scion had sent him a six-second video. “This one admitted to killing the king,” he said, looking into the camera. Then he pointed the it at a dead body laying on the ground. Jim's phone buzzed again. Another video.
“A news report is saying the Destructzord has been razing cities worldwide. What have you done, Jim?” The video showed a TV with film of the zord burning a building to the ground. He put the phone in his pocket.
Vague, Orwellian images fizzed before his eyes. He saw fire and lasers. He saw buildings melting. He heard himself screaming and felt the Dzord lurch to one side.
Just then a moan came from behind him, causing the dusty ground and burning wreckage to pop back into existence. He turned around and saw a wretched figure shambling toward him.
“Coooooookkiiieeee,” it said. “Ooovvveeeeeeeeeeennn.”
Jim's stomach dropped and the air grew cold. No
. The figure lurched forward, nearly falling. Jim's phone buzzed again. He looked at the screen.
“I have found the assassin,” Last Scion said. “It is probably a trap. Don't come. Will send message if I kill him. If not, I am dead and you are the last Dtoider.” The message looped. Jim dropped the phone and watched the dust swirl around it.
“Coookkiiiiiieeeeeeee...” The figure was nearly on Jim. This is the closest I've ever been to my crumbling cookie
. It no longer looked like Jonathan. It moved as if half its bones had been broken. Its left cheek bone had been smashed in, leaving an enormous bruise over the flattened area. Take me, my love
He felt teeth sink into his neck and he screamed with pleasure as Jonathan tore away a piece of flesh. He was ready to die , but as his soul-mate’s teeth clamped down again, Jim's hand grabbed the Borealis Blade. Before he could tell his hands to stop, they had knocked Jonathan to the ground and sent steel through the undeceased neck.
Jonathan's head rolled away from his body. Jim wailed and fell to his knees. It had all happened so quickly. His muse, his lover, his spirit animal had come back to life for him, but Jim's own body betrayed them both. He stared at the ground in disbelief. His world faded to black.
Last Scion had the crosshairs on Samit's head. The assassin was addressing a crowd of perhaps a hundred men, women, and children. They stood amid smoldering ruins. Their city appeared to have been recently leveled, and if the news reports could be believed, Jim was the cause. The entire world will be on Samit's side now
, he thought. Jim has left craters in a thousand cities
. But none of that mattered anymore. He would kill the assassin and then Jim would allow Last Scion to escape the realm of the living and finally join the Pantheon of the Warriors.
He pulled the trigger and watched Samit's head snap back. It should not have been so easy
. The body crumpled and fell. Last Scion's phone was recording video the incident, which he sent to Jim. The crowd ran screaming but a few people were gesturing in his direction. I must quit this place
Jim's eyes snapped open. He stood up. In his hand he saw a gleaming object. Humans were nearby; he could smell them. A screaming hunger grew more intense with every second. His body carried him toward the flesh.
Last Scion dropped the Dragunov he had lifted off a body. The dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty, dusty ground threw up wisps of thin brown smoke. He pushed open the door and drew his dagger. He preferred the heft of a sword, but was deadly enough with steel of any length.
The air outside smelled of anger, sadness, and drought. He walked past another television showing news footage of the Destructzord razing several cities. The assassin must have a copy of the zord
, he thought but that is our wreckage on the hill
. It didn't matter. He would leave this broken city and implore Jim to take his life. If Jim refused, Last Scion would have to report his failure to the Council. They would decide what punishment to levy.
Jim had not responded in at least two minutes, even though the 3G signal here was strong. Something foul has befallen the large one
. Angry voices drifted toward him from behind. He could barely see the ion smoke in the distance.
He ran up the gentle slope. The voices grew excited and the buildings drifted steadily past him. He heard a crack and felt the air snap by his head. He veered into an alley. Up on a hill, roughly a kilometer away, was the crash site. He was nearly on the outskirts of the smashed and smoking village.
Last Scion let the dagger fall. They will not catch me. Jim must take my life
. His hands were shaking. The voices grew louder. Last Scion turned left between two buildings and felt his shoulder explode with pain. Then a gloved hand was around his throat. The pain was easy enough to ignore.
He saw a nude, shining man streaked with red. The fat one has lost himself
. Jim dragged him to the nearest building and slammed him into the wall. The lion had already determined not to struggle. He looked at the rising sun and felt teeth on his neck. I die as a warrior
. It was a better fate than he deserved, having failed in his duty, but he had already imprinted himself upon The Histories.
The sun burned his eyes, the teeth tore at his neck, and he shot his soul skyward to commune with the gods and elders.
Narrator X - 3rd person omniscient.
Blood rolled down Jim's face. The Last Scion's body had been completely devoured. (Contrary to popular belief, zombies do not hunger for brains. Their goal is always flesh.) A group of villagers found Jim not long after he had finished eating. They put him down easily, as the Borealis Blade was a perfectly crafted instrument of death and arousal. A man named Gamaliel found it and used it to slice Jim's head neatly off.
Local police arrived shortly thereafter and, having been bribed by DRECK representatives to the amount of roughly $50 USD, declared the case closed. The crashed Destructzord, they said, was the same that destroyed a thousand other cities in mere hours. The corpses in the alley had killed each other, and Dtoid entered the history books as a villain to rival Francisco Franco.
Gaming was, of course, thoroughly destroyed. It quickly became a wasteland of free-to-play games, overpriced DLC, microtransactions, and horse armor. No more single player games were ever released, not even Skyrim VS Angry Birds
Nobody in the village ever told any outsiders about the Blade, though they would go on to use it in a series of events that would stir the world and ignite long-dormant liberation struggles.
There were no happy endings for anyone related to the gaming industry. Except, of course, for Zombie Orwell. He had managed to infect both Jonathan Holmes and Jim Sterling, thereby leading to their deaths. The Last Scion's death was a happy accident for which he claimed full credit.
As a result of his masterful hacking of the Dzord cockpit, thousands of world cities burned to the pavement, or to the dust. Millions of lives were snuffed out. He managed to sow all this chaos and doom despite dying the very day Niero was kidnapped. If ever a more impressive feat of post-mortem devastation has been caused in the world of High Literature, this author has not yet encountered it.
Zombie Orwell is dead. Long live Zombie Orwell.
LOOK WHO CAME: