jashyr: skull (horror)
[personal profile] jashyr
Title: You Don't Have to be Crazy Dead to Work Here (But It Helps).
Part: 19/22
Author: Jashyr
Genre: Horror/Black Comedy
Word Count: 50,000
Disclaimer: These characters are mine. They live in my head and make me do crazy things like entering NaNoWriMo...
Rating: PG-13? Probably.
Warnings: Some gore. Written for NaNoWriMo last year and while it has been re-edited the punctuation police are still looking at it suspiciously.

Chapter Nineteen

Where No Sane Person Has Gone Before

Accompanied by Lee, Dr Perez nervously entered the Holt offices by the side firedoor. With blood all over the floors it looked like a complete massacre had taken place and he didn’t want to be part of the clean up statistics. “Are you sure there are no more of the undead still walking around this place?” he asked quietly.

“Quite sure, sir,” replied Lee. “Mr Frazier has radioed in that the entire building has been swept and no more moving bodies have been found. The ones that had previously been found whole have now been decapitated. The power coming back on made that job considerably easier.”

“How did this happen?”

“I don’t know, sir,” said Lee with a completely straight face. “I get paid specifically not to ask questions, just to clean up the mess.”

“I’m sure you do that just fine.” Perez crouched down to notice scrapes on some of the office chairs. “This is odd. Were the undead employees exhibiting any strange behaviour?”

“Yes, sir,” Lee shuddered a tiny bit. “They were using objects to threaten us. They were using tactics to try to draw us out into less favourable terrain. They were not ‘mindless savages’ as the boss termed them, they were learning.”

Perez looked at him doubtfully but was interrupted as Glen and James strode into the room, Holt breaking into a massive grin. “Ricardo! It’s good to see you! I’m afraid there’s still a mess.”

Perez marched up to him. “What happened here? What kind of catastrophe did you allow to happen? People are dead, James. This will be noticed. How many times did I tell you that we needed to be extra careful with the testing procedure?”

“Relax,” said James looking far too comfortable to be fully registering the enormity of what had happened. “The clean up crew are here to make sure it all goes away. No one who’ll be missed is dead, a couple of families might cry for a bit but I’m sure Glen and the boys can come up with some decent cover stories.” An epiphany hit him. “There was that big warehouse fire earlier on this evening. We could always just set fire to the place and claim it all back on the insurance.” James grinned at him with an insane rictus.

Looking out of the window Lee suddenly muttered, “oh no,” then started heading for the door.

Peering through the glass to see what had shaken his colleague so badly Joe paled visibly and started to run after him.

Dr Perez looked worried and James was just confused. “What’s got into them?” he asked. Perez just grabbed his arm and started running for the firedoor.

****

“What do you mean, you’ve got a plan?” asked Pete as the three of them traipsed back towards the motorway to get a mobile signal. “A plan to leave Shona in the hands of those thugs?”

Raj turned around and clipped him across the ear. “Of course not, but the power’s just come back on. That means I’ll be able to log into the remote console for the phone system in a few minutes. You heard what the security guy said - this isn’t a normal operation. Someone’s doing this without Reapmore’s management knowing about it so if I can get in touch with one of them we might be able to bring down an investigative team. I’d only spoken to a few of the Reapmore employees when I was putting in the cabling for them but they all seemed to be very secretive. A few of them did mention that they were only being brought in under the auspices of the Research And Development team and that they were doing the work for cash on the side. I’m guessing that Reapmore won’t want what we’ve seen leaked to the press so I’m also going to send some quick emails around the place, just for insurance.”

Raj tapped away at his phone for a few minutes before flashing a triumphant grin at the other two. “I’m in and the email system is back up and working. I’ve just transferred tonight’s digital logs from the internal cctv for the front desk, zipped it and sent it to my hotmail account. Now we’ve got collateral. Now for the Reapmore phone number.”

He tapped in the numbers on his mobile and held the phone back up to his ear. A cheery voice answered, “You're through to Reapmore Cryostorage. How may I direct your call?"

“I’d like to speak to Ms Grace Charles, please,” answered Raj.

“I’m afraid Ms Charles’ office hours are nine until five. Are you phoning from a country other than the United Kingdom? It is currently half past ten GMT,” said the voice politely.

“No, you don’t understand. This is about the zombie outbreak at Holt Facilities Management and if I don’t get to speak to her I’ll go speak to the press. Right now.”

The voice turned slightly colder. “If you’ll just wait on the line please, sir. I’ll see if Ms Charles is available to speak to you.” Tinny music blared out Greensleeves as Reapmore reception put Raj on hold.

“So far, so good,” he said to the other two.

The music cut off and a new, sharp female voice on the other end snapped, “Charles. Who are you and what do you want?”

Raj pulled himself up to attention as the commanding voice boomed out and half stammered into the phone, “my name is Raj Sarkar. I’m the network controller for Holt Facilities Management, one of your subsidiary companies.”

“Yes,” snapped Grace, “I know who Holt are.”

“Then you know about the zombie experiment then?” probed Raj.

There was an eerie silence on the other end of the phone until Grace took a slow breath. “Go on,” she urged quietly.

“There’s been a breakout,” said Raj suddenly feeling braver. “Several of the normal employees were in the building when it happened and quite a few of them have been murdered. Three of us only got out by the skin of our teeth. Another employee who survived has been taken into custody by one of your security details. We don’t know how many of the zombies are still in there but we have cctv footage of them and we’ve already set a schedule to email it to the police and journalists if something isn’t done about the situation.” The other two gave him a thumbs up at this.

“Did you see any Reapmore staff in the building?” asked Grace, more subdued now.

“Yes, the Mediterranean guy from Research And Development went in there about five minutes ago.”

“I see,” grated out Grace from between gritted teeth. She took a deep breath and calmed her anger. “Mr. Sarkar, I’m sorry that you have been caught up in this small internal conflict and rest assured that it will be dealt with as soon as possible. I will dispatch a team to investigate this unauthorized and unethical test of company assets. I reward loyalty Mr. Sarkar, don’t ever forget that.” The phone line went dead.

“What happened?” asked Kim anxiously.

“She’s basically on the warpath. As soon as I mentioned the guy who got out of the limo her entire demeanour changed. Apparently an investigative team are on their way.”

“Will it be in time to rescue Shona?” asked Pete in a small voice. Turning back towards the industrial estate he gasped in surprise as the tarmac started to glow where the weird gang symbols had been burned in weeks before. As the three of them watched seven people appeared to materialise out of thin air in the centre of the symbols. Five of them were in the same paramilitary style uniforms as the ones that the Land Rover's occupant had been wearing but the other two were impeccably dressed. A man radiating calm menace was dressed in a coal black suit that matched his perfect hair and goatee, and he was tugging at the silver pentagram cufflinks which were the only relief from the stark darkness of the outfit. The woman, on the other hand, was dressed in a light grey suit with a powder blue silk shirt and looked like she’d be quite at home on a catwalk, her coiffured blonde hair and five inch heels accentuated her natural height.

The woman stepped forward. “Mr. Sarkar, I presume.”

Raj was struck with her overwhelming presence torn and unsure as to whether to try to shake her hand or not. He settled for bowing formally. “Ms Charles?”

Ms Charles smiled at him and looked over to the other two. “And you are?”

“Pete Robinson, Internal Audit.” Pete followed Raj’s lead and bowed.

“Kimberly Ng, Financial database development.” Kim curtseyed.

Grace looked back towards her colleague. “And they say the youth have no manners these days, Roy. Obviously our loyal employees are far better trained.”

“Umm… with all weird mumbo jumbo stuff going on and the pentacles and things,” Pete mumbled, embarrased, “I have to ask, are you a… witch?”

To everyone’s relief Grace just laughed. "Officially I’m a warlock, not witch. Political correctness gone mad if you ask me."

“Oh,” said Pete desperately fumbling for something to say that wouldn’t get him eviscerated. “It’s nice to know the legal terminology.”

“Of course it is, boy.” Grace turned to scan the industrial estate. “Now which is the Holt building?”

With Raj, Pete and Kim leading the way the small, oddly-matched group marched up the side road until Holt’s car park was in front of them. “This is it ma’am,” said Raj nervously.

“You kids had better stay back,” said one of the men in uniform, his sleeve patched with considerably more service grades than anyone else. “You don’t want to get caught up in any hostilities.”

Gratefully the three of them slunk to one side to watch the proceedings from behind a large, industrial sized wheelie bin as Grace, Roy and the five guards stalked up to the building in time to see the guard lounging in the car suddenly stand to attention, snapping up a salute.

The man with the patches marched up and stood with his nose less than an inch from that of the guard’s. “Mr Hollins, what is the meaning of this unauthorised use of a strike force? Neither I nor Ms Charles were informed of the situation.”

“I’m sorry Mr Miller, sir. I was not informed that this was anything other than a routine operation, sir.” The guard was practically shaking in his boots.

“Status report, Mr Hollins,” snapped Miller, not letting up for a second.

“Glen Frazier commanding, led Joseph Reeves, Matthew Callaghan, Lee Hans and Richard Johnson into the building on a helpdesk report that there was an outbreak of Research And Development test number 216. This was reported as the undead employee trials here at Holt. I’m afraid to say that both Callaghan and Johnson were killed in action. Mr Frazier is currently conducting a search of the building for any more hostiles. We have one witness in custody who may not be the only survivor as a report was phoned into the police concerning ‘armed youths’ on the estate.”

Roy turned back towards the three hiding behind the bin and raised an eyebrow with a questioning look. Raj nodded back at him.

“The prisoner?” asked Miller.

Hollins pointed at a large wriggling sack in the back of the truck. “She’s a firecracker is this one. Apparently took out most of the undead employees in the building with a cattle prod, some household cleaning products and an instruction page from the back of the R&D revivication fact sheets.”

“Let her out,” ordered Grace, her voice slipping into icy fury.

Hollins took his combat knife out of its sheath and cut through the rope securing the top of the sack. A mop of red hair emerged followed by the pale, furious, gagged face of Shona Garrett.

“And the rest of the bonds,” said Grace with a quiet menace that made even Shona stop struggling. Hollins cut through the cable ties on Shona’s wrists and ankles and pulled out the gag. Grace fixed her with an icy stare. “Go sit with your friends and don’t move,” she ordered.

Shona just nodded and half-ran half-stumbled into the arms of Raj, Kim and Pete behind the bin. Silently they hugged her fiercely, not wanting to draw any more attention to themselves.

“And here are your compatriots now,” said Grace to Hollins as Lee and Joe came marching out of the building, firearms holstered and hands empty. They both saluted Ms Charles as Miller stalked towards them.

“Sir, Reeves and Hans reporting for duty.” They both stood at attention.

“Where's Frazier?” queried Miller.

“He’s still inside with Perez and Holt, sir. He murdered Rich. I don’t think any of us were along as anything except bait, sir,” answered Lee, pale and sweating.

“Is that so?” asked Grace, still furious and causing the two security guards to step back involuntarily.

As she walked towards them there was the sound of a hugely powerful engine revving from the back of the building and James Holt’s bright yellow Ferrari burst out from around the building, nearly knocking over several of the security detail. As the car passed them the four huddled friends could see the Reapmore scientist driving with Holt hanging on for dear life. The Ferrari crashed through the chain link fence surrounding the industrial estate and sped across the rain soaked heather on a direct path towards the motorway junction.

From around the same corner as the car, the black clad figure of Glen Frazier came running down shouting, “Wait for me!”

As one the uniformed security detail raised their guns and pointed them at him as he suddenly realised he was not alone in the car park. Joe and Lee also turned and raised their sub machine guns to catch him in their sights. He stopped dead and considered running for a nanosecond before slowly raising his hands, a very worried look on his face.

“Bring THAT over here,” ordered Grace.

Anxious to get back in Ms Charles’ good books Lee and Joe ran over to grab Glen under each arm and frog march him over to the centre of the car park. While he was being brought across, Miller had a quiet word with two of his goons who grabbed the land rover car keys from Hollins and set off in the 4x4 to follow the Ferrari’s tracks.

Frazier was shaking as he was dragged over by his former teammates and hadn’t taken his eyes from Ms Charles’. “Speak!” she commanded but he stayed silent, knowing that he could only make his situation worse.

“Rah nabi gumur ilu, ha luhummu sa gal. Gal sa luhummu ha, ilu gumur nabi rah,” she chanted, Frazier’s eyes widening as he knew he'd heard this curse before. Coughing violently he started to retch up salt water, filled with seaweed, a number of small fish and a tiny jellyfish that shivered in the cold October night.

“Ten out of ten for self control, one out of ten for intelligence,” remarked Grace as Frazier convulsed on the ground. “You two,” she pointed at Lee and Joe, “bring the corpse, we’re going back to HQ. You four,” she said pointing at the friends quaking behind the bin, “are coming with us as well.”

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Jashyr

September 2010

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