Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Monster Bash, Tier 1: Zombie vs. Demon

“Good evening, sports fans, and welcome back to tier one of Monster Bash. Last night’s round saw some incredible action, but who will win tonight’s conflict? Stick around to find out,” I say, as I walk towards the commentator’s desk. “We have a beautiful arena here at Horton-Meier Churchyard, which has been graciously offered to us for these fights. They have a magnificently maintained churchyard, and an Anzac Memorial for those who died during their service, I have to say, my heart goes out to those poor souls . . . ‘lest we forget’.”
I approach the desk where two unimportant characters are looking busy alongside a gorgeous, young woman.
“Once more, I’m joined by Jayalaw at the sidelines to comment on tonight’s fight. Jaya, tonight we see a zombie facing off against a demon . . . I’ve got to say, this one seems like a Curb Stomp battle, does the walking dead stand a chance against this hellspawn?”
“Depends on the type of walking dead,” she responded. “As well as the malevolence and strength of the demon. Most people characterize zombies as walking carnivores or brainwashed slaves for Caribbean magicians, but some in pop culture know how to think. Not all demons are necessarily evil, per se, and quite a few can be benevolent. It’s a real toss up because the interpretations vary widely.”
 “Well, that seems as good a time as any to check our profiles. Let me see here . . .” I reach down and snatch a few papers from one of the two-dimensional side-characters. The nameless cutout doesn’t even speak. “Hmm . . . well, there’s good news and bad news for our zombie contender. Apparently he’s classed as a ‘Romero’, which is to say, he’s a bit of a shambler. Aggressive, nonetheless, but speed will not be in his favour. However, our demon is looking like she’s on a lesser rung of demon hierarchy. A bit of a lesser, barely above an imp, with only a few lashings of dark magic. Ooh, wait . . . hellfire. I dunno, I’m still leaning towards the demon.”
 “Shamblers seem to be resistant to pain, and can only be killed with beheading or a direct shot to the skull. So our demon can’t play with her opponent based on that sort of immunity.”
 “Y’know, you have a fair point. Perhaps I’m being unfair. But y’know, I think the real decider here is whether or not the zombie bite is going to work in his favour. This demon is flesh and blood, So, if she can get turned by the zombie, that’s a T.K.O., that’s out. I guess we’ll just have to find out. Oh, and here come our competitors now!”
On the left side, near the trees, two stage hands were walking a zombie towards the gate. He had green saggy skin and a metal bucket on his head, as well as a wire lasso, much like a dog-catcher would use, tied his neck which they were using to lead him into the churchyard. As they closed the gate behind them, one of the stagehands approached and quickly removed the bucket. The zombie immediately snarled and dove for him, but the stagehand sprinted and the one holding the lasso pole held firm.
 “Ooh, he’s a vicious one! In this corner, we have Donald Vanderbilt, says he used to be a shop assistant, but was bitten and infected over ten years ago. Died at the age of thirty-three, and since then has managed to infect seventeen more people. So watch out, we’ve got a biter.”
On the other side of the field, three stagehands entered with a book, and a small tray. One used a medical bag filled with donated blood to draw a symbol, while another chanted from a book. The third arranged and lit candles as well as several bones, herbs and other small items. The chanting stagehand cried out and the candles seemed to explode with flame and became a firewhirl. In the centre, a red-skinned woman with horns and a spear-tipped tail appeared, with yellow eyes, black hair and nails, and cloaked in what looked like a black and charred bikini.
 “And, showing that she knows how to make an entrance, in this corner, we have . . . uh, Rkk’lugh O’ash’sh kss-Ra? But, she also goes by the name ‘Carver’. Hellspawn of the Fifth Circle for eighty-six years, Sla’ankin underling and a practitioner of infernal arts. I don’t think I understood half of that, and I wrote it. But okay . . .” I stand up and scream “It’s Creep versus Corpse, who will win? Let’s get ready to RUMBLE! Three . . . two . . . one, FIGHT!”

The zombie began shuffling forwards, and Carver chuckled.
 “What folly is this?” she said, looking at the commentators. Then, shaking her head, she strolled along the path towards the zombie. “Alright, let’s bring this to an end . . .”
Carver moved within five metres of the zombie, then stopped. The zombie kept shuffling forwards, and after three seconds it was one metre closer.
 “This is a farce,” said Carver, she took one step back and raised a clawed hand. Her eyes flashed orange as fire ignited from her nails and spread into her palm. Then she punched forward, and a stream of fire burst forth from her hand, and hit the zombie’s feet. She motioned her hand up and down, covering the zombie with flames and smoke. It screamed hoarsely as the flames hit its face. Then Carver dropped her hand and shrugged, looking away from the black smoke.
 “Does this make me champion?” she asked.
Suddenly, a burning zombie leapt out of the smoke and, still smouldering, grabbed her right wrist with both hands, and dug its teeth into her fingers. The demon screamed in pain, her inhuman voice shredding eardrums, a sound like angry nails on a chalkboard.
Swiftly, she punched the zombie in the face and threw him off her, sending him flying into the fence.
 “You festering MAGGOT!” she shrieked, looking at her hand. Rich, red and black blood spilled from her knuckles, “What have you done to me?! Corrupted blood . . .”
Her hand seemed to twitch and rot as she looked at it. Carver frowned angrily as she held her infected hand in front of her face and grabbed her own wrist with her other hand. She took three deep breaths, then clenching her teeth she twisted sharply, crack! The bone snapped. Then, digging her claws into the flesh, the demon ripped the loose, rotten hand off of her arm and dropped it in the dirt beside her. Tears of blood fell from her eyes as she looked at the bleeding, rendered stump of her wrist, then looked through the smoke at the smoking zombie, staggering to its feet. She leapt over the fire and marched towards the shambling corpse.
“Come on, try it one more time!” she roared. “Show me those teeth, I want to see your HUNGER!”
As she came within three metres, the zombie lashed again, but this time, she was ready, she stepped back, and kicked high at the side of his head. A bone cracked, and the zombie fell onto the ground once more. Then, seething with rage, the demon took two steps towards its face, raised a leg high, and slammed it into the zombies head. The decayed head split like a meat watermelon, the zombie’s body  twitched a few times before falling still.

A bell sounded, and I came running forward.
  "Ladies and gentlemen, we have tonight's champion," I cry as I step around the rotting hand and over to the dead zombie. "That was a lot closer than I was expecting. My stomach dropped when he bit your hand there, Carver, but you pulled through in the end. I mean . . . ripping off your own hand? Wow. How does it feel to have won tonight?"
  "That was revolting," said Carver. "But I am proven victorious. What can you offer me for my hand?"
  "If you need medical help, there's an ambulance on standby. And before your next fight, I'm sure the stagehands can patch you up, and we'll need to check the rulebook about finding you a prosthetic or something so you're not handicapped next fight."
Carver started to look a little woozy as more blood spilled from her wrist.
  "Okay, let's double-time that ambulance, guys!" I say, stepping away. "She's been a real trooper this evening, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the Demon!"
Everyone applauds, but the clapping is drowned out by the sound of the ambulance as it crashes through the gate.
  "Come back tomorrow for Round Three! It's going to be a good one, trust me!"

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