Codex Nekromantia: Section 18

"I guess we're safe from the brooms in that closet!" Casimir shouted over the fray in the kitchen, using the basket from a deep fryer to fend off a zombie.

Branks' mouth snapped open and shut as it pulverized a piece of gum the size of a golf ball. Each blast from his pump-shotgun was a syncopated clap of thunder with the action of his jaw. Chew, boom, chew, boom, chew, boom. Blow a bubble, shove more shells into the breech, start chewing and firing again as the bubble popped. He didn't respond to Casimir.

The revenants, despite being undead themselves, could still be pulled apart by the voracious zombies. Many of Charles-Henri's troops had already been torn to shreds by the tenacious hands clawing at their bodies. Charles-Henri himself wielded a cast iron pan in one hand and his trusty saber in the other. Casimir could see his lungs fluttering in between his ribs and tattered waistcoat as he smashed a zombie off of one of the revenants.

"I'll see you on the other side! A plus tard!" he said to the soldier, who had already been destroyed by the zombie before Charles-Henri could intervene. "Tell Claudette that I said hi!"

Ravilious was still unconscious on his stretcher, which the revenants had carefully laid on top of one of the stainless steel counters. Emblem was unconscious underneath the stainless steel counter, oblivious to the zombies and revenants trodding on him.

"We've got to get out of here!" Casimir said.

"But how? The zombies are too thick and we'd have to go through the zombies!" Charles-Henri called.

Branks leapt on top of the counter.

"I got this," he said. He pulled a long combat knife from his boot, stuck it in his teeth, and sprang over the heads of the zombies. A cluster of them collapsed like dominoes.

"Come on, you dead bastards! Have a snack! You're hungry!"

The crowd of zombies began to thin as the zombies outside of the door began to chase Branks rather than attempt to push their way into the room over the broken forms of their comrades. The gun shots began to get quieter as Branks ran away from the door, his voice getting fainter and fainter until it was gone.

"You're the most boring kind of apocalypse! Why couldn't you have been something interesting, like a dormant volcano beneath the city or a levithan in the lake!?" Branks shouted before his voice was too faint to be heard.

"Raarggghh!" Charles-Henri shouted. With more elbow room, the revenants were able to get their bayonets into position, and with Charles-Henri in the lead they skewered the remaining zombies and used them like battering rams to push a path out into the hall. "Wake them up, mon fils!" he yelled to Casimir.

Casimir dropped the fryer basket and crouched down to Emblem.

"Wake up!" he yelled to Emblem, slapping his stubbily face. When that didn't work, stood up and scanned for something wet. He grabbed the hose for the dishwashing station and turned it to cold.

Emblem sprang to his feet, threw Ravilious over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and followed Charles-Henri out of the room without saying a word to Casimir or even appearing to get his bearings. Casimir stood there, dumbfounded, the hose still in his hand.

"Come on, you silly boy, my men have cleared a path into the Grand Hall!" Charles-Henri said, sticking his head back into the room. Casimir dropped the hose and followed.

He emerged from the kitchen into the small cafeteria area of the Museum basement. It was dimly lit by the emergency spotlights installed in intervals along the wall. The spotlights cast eerie shadows from the racks of chips and tension belts that defined the queues in front of each food stall. Of course, Casimir figured, the shadows should not have been as eerie as the unholy moans that echoed down the stone hallways of the Museum, and the hideous crunching of steel bayonets plunging through skulls, but the unknown monsters that might be lurking in the shadows still terrified him, despite the very known threat of zombies.

Zombies lay in puddles of gore and decaedy that Charles-Henri trod in with his peg leg, but Casimir still wore only hospital socks, so he did his best to dodge the obstacles. Occasionally, one of the zombies would twitch or a decapitated head would wiggle by the motion of its jaw alone, pathetically trying to snap at Casimir's heels. They emerged from the food court into one of the long corridors that ran beneath the Grand Hall. The revenants, their ranks thinned, fought onward up the shallow marble steps that swept up into the Grand Hallway. Emblem had taken the bayonet from one of the fallen revenants and was stabbing it into the skulls of fallen zombies who hadn't had their brains destroyed. Ravilious bounced on his back, still unconscious, and Emblem's eyes were half-closed. He seemed to be sleep-stabbing.

"Hello!" said a voice from the Grand Hallway, echoing down the stairwell. "Is somebody there?"

"Yes!" Casimir yelled. "We're alive!"

A cheer came from above.

"We've barricaded ourselves up on the balcony! We've sent somebody to find ropes so that we can try to get you up here! Be careful, there are a lot of zombies!"

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