Codex Nekromantia: Section 15

"Pr├ęsentez arme!" Charles-Henri shouted.

Casimir stood behind a line of revenants and watched as they formed three firing lines, their clothes in decaying tatters and their flesh not in much better shape. They held their guns at the ready. A crowd of zombies stood between the revenants and the Constantinople Museum of Natural History. Beyond the Museum was the Lac, sparkling in that afternoon's October sun.

"En joue!"

The first row of revenants kneeled. Several fell over as their femurs fell out of their pelvises, but the majority remained upright and in firing position.

"Feu!" Charles-Henri bellowed, holding the command so long that his voice drowning out the first few cracks of muskets.

A hail of lead balls flew from the front of the firing line while several arms and shoulders flew from the back of the firing line. A forearm bounced off of Casimir's bare shins.

I really need to find some pants, Casimir thought. He still wore the increasingly scandalous paper gown from the hospital.

The musketmen scored many hits. The flying lead burst heads, ripped limbs away and punched bloody holes through torsos. If the zombies had any morale, they would certainly have fled. But they still had their only necessary resource, intact skulls, in abundance.

"Bugger me," Charles-Henri said. He issued another command. The revenants affixed bayonets, broke lines and began to leisurely slaughter the zombies with their makeshift pikes.

"Sometimes, the older techniques are more reliable, eh?" Charles-Henri said, smiling at Casimir and Emblem. "Those firing lines were never as effective as giving my troops the freedom to fight how they saw fit."

"Do you have all of your men and women dug up?" Emblem asked, taking a look around at the assembled revenants who had not joined in the fray.

"Oui," Charles-Henri said. "And our cache has been recovered, although we can save some weight by leaving the lead shot behind."

A few minutes of ripping, crunching and squelching later, the revenants had carved a path to the Museum through the zombie horde. Casimir, with the help of Auguste and Pierre, took the gurney from the back of the ambulance and placed Ravilious onto it. To his disappointment, he did not find any spare uniforms in the back of the ambulance as he had hoped. Auguste and Pierre carried Ravilious while the entire group marched towards the Museum, wrapped in the protective cocoon of musketmen.

Then Emblem fell face-down into a discarded hot dog.

"Emblem!" Charles-Henri roared. He ran to his friend and flipped him over. A small bottle had shattered during the fall, but it had a yellowed label on it.

"Tincture of laudanum. He must have found it in the cache. I should have known," Charles-Henri said. He looked at Casimir and sighed. "So he still hasn't broken his bad habits?"

"I only met him last night," Casimir said, with a shrug.

"I met him, what year is this? Two hundred and fifty years ago. And he had the same problem then."

"How is that possible?" Casimir asked Charles-Henri while the latter gestured for two of his musketmen to carry Emblem.

"If the laudanum and drink could not kill him all those years ago, then time will not succeed, either," Charles-Henri said, shaking his head. "His story is not mine to tell. Come, nous allons au Museum."

Prev # Next