Bitter 27

Surprisingly, Britta didn’t feel scared. They were zombies and they looked horrifying, but they also looked like something out of a movie, not real life.

Sure, they had bits of skin hanging off their emaciated faces, and their clothes were tattered and torn, but that only made them as terrifying as a crowd at Glastonbury, watching Bruno Mars and mouthing along to the songs.

They didn’t have weapons. Their limbs looked weak and mangled, and they moved very slowly. Even Britta knew zombies were very low-level monsters. There were a lot of them, but they were easily outmanoeuvred and easily outsmarted. Rather than see it as a wall of death descending on her, Britta saw it more as an opportunity to make easy XP and level up.

She watched the horde shuffling towards her and considered her options. There really had been no reason for everyone to run away so hysterically (other than for dramatic effect); it would take quite some time for them to arrive. Britta didn’t even feel bad about killing them—they were already dead.

They weren’t that convincing as monsters. If they were going to go with such an overused character like a zombie, they could have at least added their own touch, maybe freshened up the concept. These zombies weren’t even trying to break out of the stereotype.

Britta smiled to herself. She was turning into a proper game nerd, critiquing the devs ideas like it mattered. It was just a bunch of monsters to kill. A big bunch. Even though they probably wouldn’t be too hard to take down, even for her, she couldn’t fight so many. They would overwhelm her and then try to eat her. She shuddered. That wouldn’t be pleasant.

What she needed to do was wait inside the post office and let them go past. Then she could pick off a few stragglers at the back. She ran back up the steps and found the door closed and locked. She banged on it but there was no response.

No need to panic. She still had time to come up with an alternative plan. As long as she didn’t let herself get surrounded, she would be fine. And if things got a bit hairy, she could always run away. There didn’t seem to be any of the super-fast zombies that movies sometimes introduced to spice things up. No, these were only the basic model with limited intelligence and a fondness for Bruno Mars.

Britta ran back down the steps and set off towards the other end of the street. She didn’t know if this was a one-off event or a regular thing (Zombie Invasion Friday!) but the other players would probably be gathering to take them on. There would be safety in numbers, if she could find them. And she didn’t mind if they did most of the killing and she only had to deal with one or two.

The horde suddenly seemed a lot closer. Either she wasn’t paying attention or the devs were cheating. She ran a little quicker, although it wasn’t easy with legs as small as hers. Surely she couldn’t be outpaced by a zombie.

Up ahead, she saw a line of players, all armed and dressed for battle. She knew they were players from the blue tags over their heads. There was an assortment of types and races. Most were human, although there were some elves and a thing with a cat’s head.  They all had armour and weapons.

Britta felt a bit of a fraud as she reached them. She had very little to offer in terms of either attack or defence. Not that they should mind; they were probably looking forward to mowing down the zombies with as little interference as possible.

Diana was standing off to one side. Happy to see a familiar face, Britta ran over to stand beside her and took out her dagger.

“That won’t do you any good,” said Diana. “Blades don’t work too good against undead types like these. What you need is a blunt force trauma weapon like this.” She lowered the huge club she’d been resting on her shoulder. “Smash their brains in.”

Britta looked down the line and realised everyone had some sort of heavy duty thumping weapon. Clubs, maces, hammers. Even an actual baseball bat. It made sense. Zombies didn’t bleed or feel pain. Unless she planned to slice them to death, she would need something to slam rather than cut.

“Here,” said Diana, “you can borrow this.” She handed Britta a branch. It still had leaves on it.

Britta took it and nearly fell over. It was large and unwieldy and almost impossible to do any damage with, but at least she could pretend to be a tree and hope nobody noticed her.

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