A helicopter appeared over the jagged Yūbari mountains as Telders ushered me around the base of the temple. We stopped in a dry rice field on the opposite side.
“Check it out,” Michael said. An undead wearing nothing more than a pair of tighty whities and a New York Yankees baseball cap was stumbling around in the field. Michael racked his shotgun. “This one doesn’t even seem to know we’re here.”
Telders raised the shotgun.
“Wait,” I said. “What’s he after?”
The zombie had shambled over to a patch of rice. It moaned a bit, then reached down and pulled out a dirty chunk of flesh out of the muck.
“What is that?” Telders said.
I shook my head.
The undead licked the bit of flesh, as if to clean it, then pressed it against his head.
I swallowed. “I think that’s his ear.”
Whatever it was, it slid off his face and dropped into the field. The zombie moaned despairingly, then rummaged after it.
“Ugh,” Telders said. “This is pathetic.” He raised his gun again.
I held up my hand. “Hold on. Let him be. He’s not hurting anyone.”
“Shut it, Robertson.” Telders took aim.
“He’s just lost his ear, man. Don’t kill him.”
“What, you want me to wait until he finds his ear before I put this bastard down?”
“I dunno,” I shrugged. “Look at him. He’s different. Have you ever seen one of them act like that?”
“He’s not a ‘he’, Robertson. He’s–it’s–a savage undead who will spread this disease to every living thing it can get its gaping maw on.”
The sound of the helicopter was growing louder. Telders looked to the sky. “We gotta go. I’m putting this thing out of its misery.”
“No!” I tried to grab the shotgun out of Telder’s hands, but he was too quick. He turned it on me. “You got a real suspicious attitude toward these monsters, Robertson.”
I raised my hands. “It’s not that. It just feels wrong, killing this one.”
The zombie howled. Michael and I both turned our heads at the same time. Arms flailing, the thing shot toward us.
“Still feel wrong, asshole?” Telders asked.
“Not as much.”
Michael raised the shotgun, but before he could fire, a sudden rat-a-tat erupted from the skies. A torrent of gunfire ripped into zombie, spraying putrid, black tissue all over everything.
Michael looked to the sky, his mask dripping with goo, and extended his middle finger at a smiling gunner perched in the open door of the helicopter. The gunner waved.
“Fucking North Koreans,” Telders muttered.