Karan and Darsh stealthily made their way across to the backdoor, thanking their stars that they did not run into anymore zombies.
As they reached the door, Karan whispered to Darsh,
“Darsh, check the door. I’ll cover you. “
Darsh nodded. Keeping one hand on the doorknob, he held up three fingers. Karan waited for the three-count. Three, Karan readied the bat. Two, Darsh tightened his hold on the knob. One, Darsh swung open the door. The duo held their breaths as the door slowly creaked and opened fully. They tiptoed their way inside and checked out the narrow corridor they were in. Karan flashed the torch on the floor. They followed the beam of light, not making any noise, like to two burglars on a job. Suddenly, they heard the shuffling of feet coming from behind them. The duo stopped in their tracks. Slowly turning around, they shone their beam of light on the floor behind them. The beam revealed a pair of two rotting feet, moving towards them. Soon, the legs attached to the feet revealed themselves, quickly followed by the torso attached to them.
“Karan, you know what’s coming, right?”
“Yes, I do. I think this one should be your debut kill.”
“That’s real gracious of you.”
“I know I’m a nice guy.”
Darsh smirked as he readied the rod. In the next second, the zombie revealed its face. This one had spectacles dangling from its left ear. Darsh did not delay. He swung heard right on the zombie’s face knocking the spectacles and the eyeballs it used to assist, right off the zombie’s face. Darsh followed his first strike, with a couple more strikes to the head, bashing the zombie’s head in. The zombie collapsed in the hallway at the Duo’s feet.
“Good show, Darsh. Your first kill. You made me so proud, you zombie-killer you.”
“Knock it off Karan.” Darsh said, trying hard to suppress a smile of relief. “That was Kevin, no doubt about it.”
“Yep, you are right there. No one else would be caught dead in those ugly frames. Get it, caught dead?”
“It’s a bad time for puns, bro.”
“There is no bad time for puns. Anyway, let’s get back to saving your ladylove. I reckon the master bedroom should be just a few steps ahead.”
“Yes, lead the way.”
The duo took a few silent steps ahead. They noticed a door to their right. Karan tried pushing it open, but stopped the next second, realizing it was locked. Darsh knocked. There was no reply. Knocking again, Darsh said softly-
“Nisha, are you there? We have come to save you.”
Karan rolled his eyes.
They heard the sound of the door getting unlocked from the inside and it swung open. The flashlight revealed the relieved face of Nisha. She grabbed Darsh in an embrace.
“Thank you so much Darsh, you came to save me.”
“How could I leave you like this, Nisha?”
“We can do the Yash Raj dialogues later. Wasn’t Atman with you? Where is he?”
Nisha let Darsh go and pointed towards the bed. Karan shone the flashlight on the bed and there lay Atman – definitely not in a good condition. His body was trembling and his face had gone gaunt. His dilated pupils and heavy breathing only added to the horrible image he formed. Karan walked towards the bed.
“And this why kids, we do not do drugs.”
Darsh followed Karan and stood next to him.
“Karan, I told you this was no time to make jokes.”
“Jokes? No. I thought it was an opportune moment to give a good community message and set an example for our young impressionable readers out there.”
Nisha put her hands on her hips and hissed –
“Guys, we need to think about how to get out.”
“Yes, Nisha. Karan, what do we do about Atman?”
“What is there to do? We’ll leave him like this. Lock him in this room. After all he-”
Karan stopped midsentence as Atman stopped breathing heavily. His body relaxed and he slowly moved his head and turned to face them. His eyes were now fixed at Karan. Ex-Atman-now-zombie groaned as he made an attempt to get out of the bed.
“I suggest we do that now. Let’s go Darsh, Nisha, move out fast.”
Darsh and Nisha did not bother replying. They turned heel and ran out of the room. Karan followed suit. As Karan exited the room, he locked the door behind him. The next moment there was a thud on the door. It was soon followed by a series of thuds coming from the inside, which could only mean zombie-Atman was up from bed and seemed to be hungry.
Darsh turned towards the others- “That thing is causing a lot of noise. We must get out before-“
Darsh never got to complete his sentence as a series of grunts and moans came from their left. Zombie-Nilesh and zombie-Sana had announced their presence.
“Yep, to the back door. Darsh, go ahead with Nisha. I’ll bring up the rear.”
Darsh nodded. Grabbing Nisha’s hand, he bolted towards the backdoor. Karan followed them keeping an eye out for the two zombies hot on their tail. As they exited the backdoor, they heard the distinctive cracking of the master bedroom’s door. Zombie-Atman was out.
“Okay bro, we cannot take on three zombies. We need to hide. At least till we get our breaths back.”
“Agreed, but where are we going to go, Darsh?”
“Guys, we could go to the shed. I remember Vansh saying it is never locked. We could hide there for a while.”
Karan and Darsh nodded, too out of breath to verbally agree with Nisha’s suggestion.
They soon reached the shed. Just as Nisha had said, it wasn’t locked. They trio led themselves in and locked the door behind them.
“Karan, switch the flashlight off”, wheezed Nisha.
“Hey, no hanky-panky here. We are still running for our lives”
“Karan, shut up man.”
Karan sniggered and switched off the flashlight. The three sat in darkness, breathing heavily. After a couple of minutes the trio eased up. Having caught their breaths, they could focus on the situation.
“Okay, let’s review our situation here”, Darsh started.
“Sure, so we stand at three zombies trying to eat our fucking brains. And the only things that stand between them succeeding are our legs, my bat and your rod. Oh, and if things get to bad, we could always let them have this lady here.”
“Karan, I know you do not like me. But, let’s discuss that after we get out of here, alive. I suggest we look around in the shed. Look for things that can help us fight those creatures and escape.”
“Good idea, Nisha.”
“Since we have only one flashlight, Karan can do the searching. I and Darsh will wait here.”
“No, no. The sidekick will not do all the work while the hero enjoys the darkness with his lady. Not happening. Let’s see some of that feminism you support now, Nisha. You go and search. I and Darsh will wait here. We risked our lives for you, anyway.”
“Yea, yea. I’ll do it. You sit with your boyfriend here, Karan. Hold each other’s hands and complain about the situation. I’ll scout for objects.”
“Nisha, come on. You don’t have to do it. You rest, I’ll do it. Karan talks like an idiot all the time.”
“Darsh, I said I’ll do it.”
Darsh could not make out the expression on Nisha’s face in the darkness, but he was sure she did not say that out of concern. Nisha took the flashlight from a grinning Karan and went further inside the shed. Covering the flashlight with her hand, she managed to reduce the intensity of the light so as to not draw attention. Karan and Darsh sat in silence. They could hear constant shuffling and scraping coming from inside the shed. They heard the occasional moan coming from outside the tent, at which point they would grip their weapons tightly and sit alert. After what seemed like hours, but had only been a mere fifteen minutes, Nisha returned with what looked like two machetes, probably used to cut the tall grass and an oil lantern. She reached into her pocket and removed a matchbox.
“This is all I could find.”
Darsh grabbed one of the machetes.
“Nice job, Nisha. This is so much better than my stick.”
Karan tried to grab the other machete, but Nisha was too quick for him.
“Tsk, Tsk. Go find your own weapon.”
Karan shot her a disgusted look.
“No thanks. My trusted bat here is better than that rust-bucket any way.”
Darsh stepped in before Nisha could retort.
“Well, now that we are rested and armed, I think we should head for the main gate, before you both kill each other.”
“All right, lover boy. As you say. You lead the way. I’ll bring up the rear again. Nisha light up that lantern.”
Nisha did not acknowledge. But she proceeded to light the lantern, and with that done, they were ready to step out. The trio realized that with the lantern and the flashlight, there was a high chance of the zombies being attracted towards them. But, it was a risk they were willing to take.
They walked on towards the security booth in the formation Karan had suggested. The occasional moaning of the creatures had stopped. The only sounds they heard were the shuffling of their feet, the crunching of the dirt beneath them, and each other’s breaths. It was all good for some time. But, as soon as they reached the booth, they heard the unmistakable moaning of an undead creature.
Karan shone the flashlight in that direction. Sure enough, it revealed a zombie, with its rotting flesh and wide open mouth. This one had long hair that almost covered its eyes.
“Ah, here’s a pretty one. This one is Sana, no doubt. I can tell by her..”
“Yes, Karan we know about your observation skills. Pervert.”
“Darsh, why don’t you put a leash on your cat here and let me do the killing.”
Nisha snapped back.
“Stand back, Sissy. I’ll take care of this one.”
“Whoa, I finally get to see a cat fight. Lucky for me eh, Darsh?”
“Karan, shut up.”
Nisha stepped next to Darsh. Zombie-Sana started moving towards the trio, moaning and grunting as she approached. Nisha took her hand back, as she got ready to toss her machete.
Karan hissed – “Oi, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
Nisha ignored him and threw the rusted blade at the approaching creature. It lodged itself inside the forehead of the zombie as it fell to the ground. Nisha dusted her shoulder.
Karan and Darsh stood with their mouths open. But, before they could say anything, they heard more moaning from behind them. Karan’s light revealed the two remaining zombies. They seemed to be moving slightly faster than before, spurred on by their increased hunger.
Karan took a few steps back.
“Guys, I think we should make a break for it. There is no one ahead of us. We’ll run towards the entrance gate and get out of here. These creatures look faster than before.”
Nisha grabbed Darsh’s arm.
“For the first time, I agree with Karan. Let’s get out of here Darsh.”
“We can’t. We might escape these creatures. But, other innocents might get targeted by them. We cannot let that happen. We should..”
“We should be the better person” said Karan and Nisha in unison.
“I know this idiot and his idiotic ideologies. Fine, let’s just finish these suckers off. Nisha, when those bozos come close toss the lantern at the left one. As he burns, we’ll take the other one out. Cool?”
As the zombies closed by, the trio readied themselves. A few nervous seconds later, Nisha heard Karan’s shout.
She aimed at the left zombie and tossed the lantern. It hit the mark and zombie-Nilesh looked like a walking bonfire. However, zombie-Atman continued moving towards the trio. He fixed his eyes on Karan, yet again. Karan charged at the walking corpse and gave him a hard knock with the bat. Unbalanced, the undead creature sank to his knees.
“Darsh, finish him.”
“I always wanted to do this.”
Darsh summoned all his contempt and swung hard with his machete at the neck of the zombie. The machete made a deep gash in the neck and blackish blood gushed out of it. Zombie-Atman’s head dangled for a bit, and then finally collapsed.
The trio made their way out of Greenwood Acres, just in time to catch the sun rising.
“Wow, what a night.”
“Bro, let’s not talk about it for now, shall we?”
“Yes, Darsh. I really wanna get home to a hot shower and a meal.”
“I agree with Nisha now, at least the food part.”
“Right, then. I have signal now. I could call for an Ola or Uber cab.”
“Bro, why? They do not pay this blog. Stop publicizing them.”
“Don’t worry guys. I’ll call up my driver and he’ll pick us up in no time.”
That night, Darsh’s bedroom.
“Yes Nisha, tell me.”
“Hi Darsh, I just called to say thank you for coming back. If you had not come, I would probably have been dead or worse- undead.”
“It’s all right Nisha. There was no way I was going to not come.”
“Well, there is also another thing. Yesterday, in the bedroom, Atman and I were indeed making out. I’m so sorry.”
Darsh heard a series of coughs.
“Well, let that be now. Are you okay?”
“Yes, I am. I just have a bad throat case.”