Chapter 37: A Pair of Jokers
“Son of ahh bitch …” Lawson overly annunciates his words pulling his head back from the hole he’d busted through the viewing glass. He’s pacing like the proverbial caged animal. Ian storms angrily back through the massacre he had just created. He skitters about the room in a frenetic rage whirling the small oxygen canister in his hand. He doesn’t know what he is looking for all he knows is he needs something to smash the rest of the glass with. The fog that covered his undead mind collides with a fog of a different sort. The white smoke of hate that first drifted into his mind during his teenage years. This fog confuses him driving a spike into his gut demanding he feed on human flesh. Lawson snarls staring at Warden Gladstone on one side of the room and the fat doctor laying on the other. Neither husk of cooling meat would appease the gnawing in his gut. He knows he can’t immerse himself in his chosen trade of murder until he feeds this new demon that has taken up residence inside of him. “Yesssss …” He hisses stepping over the Warden’s body slapping a socked foot in a wide sticky pool of congealing blood. Lawson steps to the side of the door securing the soundproof room. He taps a bloodied knuckle gently on the white metal door giggling to himself. A clap of metal followed by the sounds of gears ratcheting. “Yes Sir …” A solid looking guard peaks his head in. His eyes process the scene too slowly by the time the shock registers Ian Lawson savagely smashes the tank into the back of the guard’s head. The man hits the ground in a heap his black Kevlar helmet is knocked from his head. Tossing the dented canister to the side Lawson grabs the man dragging him completely into the room. He yanks the guard’s body through the Warden’s blood creating and artistic smear across the white floor. Taking a brief second Lawson pokes his head out the doorway to scrutinize the hallway. He looks up and down the long white corridor he sees no other guards. “Ha … they are short staffed tonight.” He yelps with glee slamming the door shut hearing it lock. The zombie criminal sets about the business at hand finishing off his next victim. He falls to his knees as if he were praying tugging back the black jacket collar around the man’s neck. The dazed guard babbles something incoherently laying in a heap on the floor. Lawson takes his first bite it is utter ecstasy even as he is tearing the muscle and ligaments from the man’s neck. Ian Lawson feels the flesh invigorate him as no drug he has ever ingested has. Bathing in the guard’s warm arterial spray is almost a sexual experience for Lawson. He goes in like a hyena face first for a second hunk of human sushi. As the blood flow abates he sits chewing greedily his entire upper torso covered in crimson. The fog of undead hunger swims away from him as the white smoke of murderous rage retakes his mind with one word. “Hobart …” The killer licks his lips catching a sweet cascading droplet of warm blood. He couldn’t explain it the flesh had no taste and the blood fed not physical hunger but he had never felt more satisfied in his life from a meal. On the guard’s belt he catches a glimpse of something that changes his thoughts from freedom to slaughter. A shiny blood coated set of bronze keys.
“Hey Lawson dude don’t be pissed at me man please.” Hobart speaks through the shattered glass. “I aint know what I was doin’ trust me bro.” The other zombie in the room pleads for forgiveness. Ian Lawson smiles broadly his back to Hobart. “Hobart …” He starts off kneeling down to pluck the keys up. “… You have to be the only person in the world slimy enough to make being a damn zombie an improvement.” Hobart grits his blood stained teeth before disappearing back into the dark void that is the viewing room. Lawson returns to his last victim before deciding whether or not kill Hobart the zombie guard. The sound of glass shattering fills the room as tiny diamond Plexiglas shards pelt Ian from behind. A black folding chair bounces off the gurney in the center of the room. He hears a roar but he can’t pinpoint its direction. Hobart comes flying through the damaged window tackling Ian Lawson to the floor. “Look …. “ Hobart growls from atop the man. “That punk you knew is dead and I took his place.” Hobart bounces Lawson’s head against the titled floor with both hands around his neck. Lawson not to be out done brings up his hand sporting the small oxygen. The small canister pings off Hobart’s head with an echoing crunch. Hobart flies backwards tumbling off his foe from the weight of the blow. Lawson is on his feet seething … “I don’t know what brought you back Hobart ...” He laughs walking up over the squirming zombie. “This time I aims to kill you for good.” He shouts raising the bloodied oxygen tank over his head in both hands. Hobart’s foot lashes out uncoiling into Lawson’s groin like a cobra rupturing one of his testicles. Lawson leaves his feet propelled over the gurney his weapon clanking across the floor. Ian’s limp body plows a path through the blended pool of Warden Gladstone and the dead guard’s blood on the floor. “Hope you didn’t need that bro …” Hobart laughs like a maniac tossing his head back. His hands wander over the pulverized side of his head and Hobart can feel the damage caused by the blow. He feels as though he is running his hand across wet pottery shards on the left side of his face. Lawson is on his socked feet instantly blowing spittle through clenched viscera encrusted teeth. “You gonna suffer boy …” Lawson looks down at his feet at the guard’s corpse seeing a black metal baton on his duty belt. “Dead or alive I’m gonna make you feel pain bitch.” Lawson drops the keys in the blink of an eye he has the baton launching himself at Hobart. “Hey wait!” Hobart screams rolling across the floor to avoid his adversary. Lawson corrects his path before Hobart can speak again the killer is lording over him. “Wait Lawson dammit just wait!”
Hobart’s eyes widen into orange flecked undead circles as he wait for the blow from the baton. “You got Mather’s key bro … you got the head bull’s keys.” Hobart screams raising his hands to block the incoming blow. “You think I give a shit …. I don’t wanna to escape!” Lawson snarls holding the weapon cocked over his head. “Lawson … Lawson listen you jackass.” Hobart blurts from behind his hands his head undulating hoping to avoid being hit. “Mather was the head bull on the block bro we don’t need to escape.” Hobart watches the tension in Ian Lawson’s arms relax. “Lawson you can’t tell me that gnawing hunger aint settin’ back in your gut again bro?” Lawson did feel that fog enveloping him again. He’d used just about every illegal drug on the planet and none left a craving like this hunger. “And?” Lawson says moving over Hobart. “And … Lawson we have just about two hundred meat lockers stocked with human meat and you got the keys.” Lawson’s arms go slack dropping to his waist. He’s not sure but he swears he hungrily licks his bloodied lips while staring absently at door out of the death chamber. Lawson scampers back over to the keys picking them up like a prospector who’s found a nugget of gold. “Bro just down the hall out this door is your old home and four pieces of meat for us to share. Bro that’s not even counting the guard in the booth.” Lawson didn’t like the word “share” never had. The first man he’d ever killed was because he used “that word.” “Let’s go Hobart show me the way boy.” Hobart hops to his feet walking to the door. He holds his hand before Lawson then points at the key ring. “Dude Ian you can’t go out like that.” He scans the blood soaked orange jumpsuit. “If the guard in the booth makes us they can lock everything down then the keys won’t work.” Hobart scans the room “Yes” he exclaims kneeling down next to Mather. He struggles to flip the man’s body over. “Help me strip him Lawson then you can put on his uniform and helmet.” Hobart searches the floor finding the black helmet laying in a corner. The two ghouls set about stripping the cold corpse of its clothes. In a matter of minutes Lawson has covered his conspicuous gore stained prison garb with Mather’s black uniform. “Here …” Hobart offers Lawson the helmet. The career criminal examines the face shield before placing the black helmet on his head. “You know Hobart I feel more natural in those blood stained clothes than I do in this.” Ian flicks the collar of the clothes he’d taken off his victim. “These rags make my skin crawl.” He slaps the face mask down defiantly. “Wow you really are fucked up bro.” Hobart snorts as he places the key in the door turning it.
From behind them they hear a clatter in the viewing room. After looking at each other in confusion the pair split up. Lawson swipes his baton off the floor from where he’d dropped it. Then he flips up the face mask on the helmet. Hobart searches the floor for a weapon. He can only find the oxygen tank Lawson had used to bash his skull in. They move low across the floor like a pair of undead cat burglars. Lawson and Hobart find themselves underneath the jagged hole smashed in the two way glass. Hobart signals Lawson counting to three on his fingers. They vault up weapons at the ready and come face to face with a slender short older man whose blond hair is caked with blood. “Hey I killed that dude bro.” Hobart says clearly puzzled he scratches his head. The man moans softly which escapes through a hole torn through his right cheek. The zombies bumps carelessly into the wall ignoring the pair. From the darkness of the viewing room a second moan rises. Two zombies shuffle into sight coming up behind the first. “I killed them too man seriously.” Hobart remarks looking at Lawson. “That was Jenkins ….” He points through the hole at a tall black man outfitted in what was once his dress uniform. The kind they only wore when the guards had visitors or on special occasion an execution for example. “And that dude there chick there she was like on TV or some shit. She came to see you get executed tonight.” He motions towards the woman in the grey pants business suit that Hobart had been chewing on. “I guess you proved her wrong huh?” Lawson slaps his forehead bewildered by the man’s stupidity. “Dumbass don’t you see you were infected, you kill’em and they came back as zombies.” Lawson leans in tapping an index finger into Hobart’s forehead. Hobart blinks with each jab but he musters the courage to speak. “Why aint they like us then smart like me and you bro?” Lawson scoffs shaking his head. “Smart like me boy the best you could ever hope for is dull and aware.” They watch the three walking corpses aimlessly bounce off the wall attracted to the light like moths. “I can only guess Hobart that has somethin’ to do with you and how you got infected.” Lawson offers up not really caring how they came to be different than the other zombies. His primary concern was using this gift of a tortured Earth bound afterlife to his advantage. “I got bit by this motherfucker on the way home last night. He was like slow like these ones here.” Hobart rubs his chin. “Then when I woke up this afternoon to come to work I felt like reheated dog shit. I barely made it to work last thing I remember is blacking out just inside the front gate.” Hobart snaps his fingers as if an idea and inadvertently found its way into his thick skull. “Next thing I know bro I was walkin’ round in a fog with cotton I my brain trying to eat folks. Another moan draws their attention back to the death chamber. Warden Gladstone sits upright his glazed over milky orange eyes staring off in the distance. The remains of his internal organs a half-eaten heart, part of a lung and some over cooked pasta looking trails of intestines slide out slapping the floor like wet mop. A tray of medical supplies topples to the floor across the room. Doctor Luta struggles to his feet all grace of a garage bag filled with mashed potatoes. “Hey … hey bro…” Hobart smiles his crooked grin irritates Lawson. “You wanna have like a zombie smack down yours verses mine?” He holds his hand up for a high five. “Hey you want me to beat the other side of you fuckin’ head in?” Lawson chirps sarcastically. “Um … nooooo.” Is the only thing Hobart can think to say in response. “Then shut your stupid ass mouth Hobart.” Lawson grabs Hobart by the collar pulling him to the door. They pass by Mather dragging his thick body off the cold tile floor. “We will leave them here Hobart til we see if we can use them. Otherwise I aint sharin’ none of my warm flesh with these sorry bastards.”
The two zombies walk briskly down the empty grey hall. Walking in unison the only sound is their boot steps slapping the cement floor. They have wiped away as much visible blood as possible. Lawson and Hobart use the keys to enter the locked door at the end of the hallway. “Keep your head down Lawson.” Hobart whispers as they make their way across a short catwalk. “There are cameras trained on us.” Hobart unclips the keys from his belt facing the door to the back of the guard’s booth that looks over death row. Hobart readies himself nodding to Lawson who stands behind him brimming with anticipation. Hobart opens the door like a butler ushering Lawson into the cramped booth. “Hey are …..” The female guard sitting at the control panel spins in her chair. The young dark haired female is pinned in place as she meets the face of death. “I’m home honey…“ Lawson sings burring his face in the woman neck inhaling a torn chunk of flesh. Lawson savors his prize wiping the blood from his lips. “Move ….” Hobart brushes past his partner seeking the still warm body like a drug addict. The woman in the chair twitches uncontrollably as thick crimson blood bubbles up from her nose and mouth. He rips her shirt up exposing her stomach. “I like the stringy parts.” He remarks watching the woman’s chest heave as the life pumped from her body. Hobart tears into the stricken woman’s stomach cavity with his teeth. Together the two zombies go at the woman’s body like maggots burrowing deep into rotted meat. “Hobart get up off your knees bitch.” Lawson jokes with the former guard turned cannibal killer. Lawson stares out of the booth down the short hall lined with three cells on either side. The white light cast by the overhead fluorescent makes the cellblock appear bland like the basement of a bank. “One way and one way out.” Hobart marvels eating a hunk of meat out of the palm of his hand. “Closest thing to family I ever had resides in four of those cells down there.” Lawson laments out loud. He reads the fairly simple control panel standing in the dead guards entrails. “Sooooooo …” Hobart waves his hand like a bad Las Vegas magician. Lawson slowly lowers the mask on his helmet. “So if I killed the woman who gave birth to me when I was alive.” He flips the switch marked “lights” bathing the whole unit in darkness. “Then the contents of the septic warehouse aint gonna make it through the night.” Lawson holds his fingers before his face. “My … my … Hobart have you noticed the extra added gift our new condition has done given us?” Hobart gestures his understanding with a head nod. The two zombies seem giddy as they realize how well they can now see in the dark. “We take’em one at a time right partner?” Hobart speaks up from behind Ian. Hobart reaches past Lawson who stands like a king surveying his land. To the right a metal clicks echoes from within the door leading onto death row. Once again Hobart pulls the door open but this time both men proceed through side by side. The walk down the three metal steps in tandem and move down the hall their faces obscured by shadows. “A who dat?” A voice call from a cell as they pass by. They pass silently as if they were sizing up lobsters in a restaurant tank. The other men are quite as if they know something is amiss. The dark doesn’t frighten any of these men locked in their cells awaiting death. In fact they are the reason others have grown accustomed to fearing the dark. Waiting on death has granted each of these killers a certain sense of peace. Tonight in this section of this prison two demons came to each condemned man. First they pulled the peace from their petty little worlds. Then they pulled flesh from their bones.
An evil man has found his way back from the dead and he has brought along a friend. This can't possibly bode well for the James family.
We will see you all back the week of August 18th for Chapter 38!
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