“We’re all gonna die!” I screamed, waking to the sound of gunfire.
The Koreans erupted into laughter, then continued firing their guns out the window. My head pounded. A swollen lump where the pilot had cold-cocked me throbbed at my right temple. BANG. BANG. BANG. Every shot was like sushi knives stabbing my eyes.
“Out of the way, Robertson,” Telders said with his mouth half-full of sandwich. It was the first time I’d seen his face since I left the brownstone. He pushed me back into the seat, then stuck his pistol out the window and emptied the clip. “Three down! That’s par!” he yelled.
I groaned. “What the hell are you doing, Telders?”.
“Playing zombie golf,” he said. “What’s it look like?”
I craned my neck to see the familiar features of the Shibuya crossing not five hundred feet below. A mass of undead–tens of thousands of them–were crowded in the intersection, piled on each other, all meat and crooked necks and shoulders.
“Telders, I’ve got HUGE fucking headache right now, so would you mind refraining from shooting guns next to my face?!”
Michael scowled. He reached into his jacket pocket, then handed me a little airplane bottle of Japanese whiskey.
“No thanks,” I said, and tossed it onto the floor.
The Koreans continued to fire as the pilots circled over the crossing.
“Get the one standing on that dog statue!” Telders yelled. The Korean with the NY Yankees hat spun around in his seat and fired his M-60 out the door.
“Hah! Yeah!” Telders cheered. “Nobody stands on Hachiko in my town!”
As Michael was cheering the death of things that were already technically dead, the words “ZOMBIE” and “CAGE” entered my mind, as if they bore some great significance to my current situation. I glanced around the helicopter cabin. A square, steel cage was situated in the port-side corner. A crouched zombie glared at me from within. It reached through the bars with crooked fingers and howled.
I jumped. “What the hell is that thing doing here?!”
Telders looked over his shoulder quizzically. He pointed his thumb at the zombie. “Oh, him?”
He shrugged. “The Koreans want to dissect him once we reach the carrier.”
“Right. Of course. Wait… carrier? What carrier?”
“Carrier, a couple of destroyers, frigates… we’ve got a whole South Korean armada out in Tokyo Bay. They’re all going to join us for the hunt.”
“The hunt for your little friend, Robertson.”
I rolled my eyes. “Oh come on, Telders. I was just bullshitting you about that Spegg business. You’re not seriously planning sailing to Antarctica are you?”
Telders grabbed my shoulder and smiled. “Oh I definitely am, Mikey. And you’re gonna lead me right to the bastard.”
I bit my lip.
Michael grinned and ruffled my hair. “Oh come on, now… it’ll be fun!”
The gunfire stopped. The Koreans chattered for a moment, then the pilot banked left and hit the throttle.
“Looks like they’re out of ammo,” Michael said. He waved his hand at the crowds of undead below. He looked back at me then took my hand and moved it side to side. “Say goodbye to Tokyo, Michael.”
I glared at him, then fell back in my seat and watched Shibuya disappear from sight. As we flew overland toward Tokyo Bay, it became clear just how widespread the the virus was. The infected were everywhere. Every street corner, every roof on every building, every park, every school playground–they had completely taken over. It was a real horror, for sure. But I must admit, it felt a little romantic at the same time. Not the lovey-dovey kind of way of course, but just the raw savagery of it all gave me pause–like a brutal clash between two opposing clans on some misty Scottish highland… the sound of broadswords clattering and horses rearing up as pikes run them through and battle axes severing arms and heads… all the while ghostly bagpipes droning on and on. I felt a little sad that we were leaving, but more excited about what the future would hold.
“There’s our ride,” Michael said, pointing out the window.
The helicopter rolled left and I caught my first glimpse of the fleet of South Korean ships that would lead me back home. The chopper leveled out, setting up for approach, and the pilot made a radio call.
Telders was right. Antarctica was the only safe place from the virus. But at least the infection offered a quick death. The things waiting on the other side of our voyage wouldn’t be so kind.