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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogger Book Fair: Monster Menagerie Entry #3

Flash Fiction Thrillogy Part 2:
What If? … Whatever (A Marvel Zombies / Væmpires Mashup)
“Logan, don’t do this without us,” Kitty said, although both knew he would. Wolverine, as he was more commonly known, rarely followed advice.
“I’m not waiting for reinforcements,” Wolverine barked. “In the end, I’ll have to do things the hard way. It never fails.”
He powered the headset down, cutting Kitty off.
“Boring conversation, anyway,” he muttered, eyeballing the horde of swarming creatures. The multi-limbed, multi-eyed entities were unpleasant to view and they emitted a vibrating, nerve-grating sound, but it was their ability to vaporize everything they touched that concerned Logan most.
“Any idea what they are?” he asked his partner.
“There isn’t enough data.”
Wolverine bit back a caustic remark. It was always surprising to hear Banner’s voice coming from The Hulk’s mouth, but it was never wise to provoke him. Besides, Hank said the newest development indicated improvement. 
The deadly ocean flowed forward, stretching far and wide.
Logan shrugged. “I guess it’s time for Plan B.”
“I didn’t realize we had a Plan A,” The Hulk said with a baleful stare. “Or that it failed.”
Wolverine stared back.
The Hulk sighed, striding toward the oncoming wave. “What’s Plan B?”
“What else?” Wolverine answered. “Fastball special.”
The Hulk froze, before slowly turning toward Wolverine. “Logan, I’m honored.” His face was somber, but Banner’s voice betrayed a hint of humor.
“Can it, bub,” Wolverine growled, fighting the urge to hit the brute. “I like you better when your only vocabulary is Hulk smash.”
Banner’s laugh filled the air as The Hulk’s gargantuan hands settled around Wolverine. Logan curled up, primed and ready to explode in the kamikaze attack that never failed to redline his thrill-o-meter.
The Hulk reared back, arm cocked—
The ominous, nerve-grating sound disappeared.
The wave of creatures did, too.
The massive fist opened, dumping Wolverine to the ground in an unceremonious, undignified, and uncharacteristic heap. He leaped to his feet; claws extended, senses on high alert, scanning the surroundings for new threats.
That was his intent, at least. Instead, he staggered to his feet, his body betraying more than responding. All he could think about was how hungry he was.
Next to him, The Hulk scratched his head, peeling off strips of decaying flesh.
They were zombies.
“Sunova—” he began, before his jaw unhinged, strangling his words. He snapped it together with a frustrated swipe that nearly beheaded him.
They were in a grass courtyard, alone. A grand building stood before them.
“Caaastle,” The Hulk groaned. “Eaaat.”
“It’s Windsor Castle,” Wolverine countered, ignoring the hunger and praying his jaw remained hinged. “But this certainly ain’t jolly ol’ England.”
He tested the air as they shuffled toward the castle. He smelled blood—lots of it—from somewhere behind the building. He angled toward it, almost leaving a leg behind in the process.
The Hulk followed, drooling.
The sounds of fighting—albeit strangely subdued—reached them as they rounded the corner. Wolverine sniffed again. Most of the blood wasn’t deliciously human. It was …
“Vampires,” he groaned, turning toward his blundering partner. “I hate vampires.” But there was other blood, too. Something … different.
“Preferrr Sabrrretoooth?”
“I’d prefer something with less angst,” Wolverine barked, missing Banner’s voice.  “No witches or wolves, either.”
“Zommmbies,” The Hulk mumbled.
“No zombies. It’s bad enough we’re infected again.”
“Zommmbies,” the brute repeated, lifting a decaying arm to point over Wolverine’s shoulder.
Wolverine turned with drunken grace. In the distance, a pair of teen boys—vampires, from their lack of body heat—stood side-by-side beside a prone form as a sea of shambling creatures crowded toward them.
“Well, I’ll be,” Wolverine started, but The Hulk interrupted.
“Sure, bub. Zombie vampires. Who woulda thunk it?”
He calculated the distance. Given their current state of disrepair, they couldn’t reach the teens in time to assist.
They needed a miracle.
“Fasssballl speciaaal,” The Hulk groaned.
“Your arm’d fall off first,” Wolverine countered. A glance showed him that the teens were overwhelmed, but a plan formed.
He reached over, severing one of The Hulk’s arms at the elbow. Snagging it before it tumbled to the ground, he waved it overhead and bellowed.
“Avengers assemble!”
The rearmost portion of the zombie horde halted, turning toward the sound en masse.
“Come and get it,” he cried, waving furiously. Pieces of dead flesh rained down.
The zombies came. Not all of them, though, and not enough. Wolverine saw the teens fall, waves of undead crashing upon them.
But the cavalry arrived, in the distance—a squad of vampires, led by a stunning, black-haired woman. If the teens held on for another moment, they would be saved.
Satisfied, Wolverine dropped the severed arm and prepared for battle.
The Hulk eyed his lost appendage. He clenched his remaining fist.
“Whaaat ifff … Hulllk smaaash?”
Wolverine nodded. “Whatever, bub.”

The first installment of the thrillogy is part of Shah Wharton’s “Minuscule Morsels of Marvel” event here. The final installment will appear on the Vaempires website as part of the “Flash Fiction Challenge II” event. Check ‘em out—in fact, don’t miss any of the Blogger Book Fair events!

Thomas Winship is the author of the Vaempires book series. You can find his books here and his website here.