A brief foreword, before you read!
This short story you are going to read is truly just a snippet, that happens before our rising action in Flake City. The action we saw begin yesterday, in Chapter One of Flake City Volume One, begins on a Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The action in this story is from the weekend before, when everything was going bad in the research facility. It is told from Roxy’s perspective, but she is in a rush, and therefore, isn’t as coy as she normally is.
In this story we get a tiny amount of background into the disasters that are occurring outside of Flake City, as well, that do, as we will much later learn, inform much of what Roxy is trying to tell you in her prologue before Flake City. This is a re-post, so if you have been loyally reading the blog you MAY have read it, but it actually was a very early post and incredibly low view numbers, so, it is likely you haven’t read it. Still, i cleaned it up and edited a bit, so, you may want to give it a read anyways. I will be trying to drop more stuff like this, as is becomes more appropriate with Flake City, because, remember, Flake City is part of a bigger story. So, without further adieu, please enjoy this short story.
The girl with multicolored hair raced up the stairs as fast as she could, ignoring the aching in her lungs. Another floor, another blocked door, another flight of stairs. White concrete walls blurred around her as she rounded another corner, finding yet another door blocked. Hoping the barricades held, the girl adjusted her shoulder bag and continued her way up the stairs. Her phone buzzed in her black cargo pants, a certain urgency in the buzzing told her it was probably yet another message encouraging her to somehow be faster than she was.
“Hurry!” The first message said
“If you don’t save him…” The incoming message read. The girl didn’t need to read the rest of the message to know what it said, she had told herself this fact earlier in the day: if Gordo didn’t live – no one in Flake City would.
“Tell me something I don’t fucking know!” The girl snapped, mostly at herself, as she rounded another landing, with another blocked door. Behind this door, however, she could hear sounds of…for lack of a better word, life. Moaning, but not the kind for help, more like a zombie type moan. A groan, a shuffle, the girl peeked out of the window, able to see through a hole in the blocked door, about twenty or so now dead bodies, walking around.
“Oh that seems fair. The whole world is going to shit and somehow, now we get zombies too.” The girl moaned. She ducked away from the door and made her way up more stairs, hoping none of the zombies had seen her. Some banging on the door below her told her maybe they had, but that the barricades that held her inside the stair well, held them outside of the stairwell of this building. The girl had been trying to stay quiet, her black converse not making much noise on the concrete steps but making enough noise to make her aware of how dangerous the situation she found herself in was. The girl had been sent on this little rescue mission to save a friend of a friend, who couldn’t know this friend was even alive, which made it all more complicated.
Gordo had been Amy’s best friend, closer to her then even Kiblah, Luka, or Jake. Gordo had thus been one of Miranda’s first targets, but Gordo had other plans, unbeknownst to Miranda, or Amy, or anyone Gordo knew, Gordo had been selected for a secret mission green lighted by a more secret form of government that had been working with the Flipitine, or “F Class” for some time. Gordo, having the illusion of death, from faking his own death, was kept very safe from Miranda, who had been on a murderous rampage, but because of his military exploits, Gordo was still in this government sanctioned facility. The research facility had fallen under Miranda’s control a week ago, and no one knew anything, other than Gordo had been stuck inside since it all began, with no way to make major contact with the outside world, and without supplies. No one planned on telling Amy just yet that Gordo was somehow alive, because he was still a part of a mission, which now, because of the collapse of normalcy, included the girl as a rescue plan.
At least, this is what everyone thought. Roxy, being always the narrator, knew this wasn’t true. Miranda didn’t even know about Flake City. Roxy had met Miranda before, and knew that while yes, Miranda had started a complicated, and as they always are, incredibly stupid, war, Miranda wouldn’t of, couldn’t of, and more importantly, hadn’t, done this.
Miranda had started a war that now, involved the humans the F Class always tried to protect from magic, it now involved a spirit world no one in F Class or anywhere else understood, or acknowledged, and now, it would seem, involved a zombie outbreak. While Miranda was at the center of this war, she wasn’t alone in the center of it. Miranda was at the center of this war, just like the queen of the Flipitine, Lynnie, the broken elder council which included Amy’s grandparents, Charles and Lillian DelGado, and entities as old as time, like Lilith, the first woman of Eden. While maintaining this war, Miranda still tried to hunt down Kiblah and Amy, who were safely secured in the magic of New Orleans, which Kiblah controlled. The last bastion of safety that stayed out of the war, but in that place, the spiritual battlegrounds had begun.
The whole situation was a muddled mess, and Flake City was now a part of it.
The city wasn’t going to last, however, in it’s usual way anyways, and if they were going to keep the zombies from spilling out, the city had to go into lock down.
Flake City Research and Development was put in this city, because of its isolation, and the city had grown around the facility. The city was blocked by mountains and water on all sides, with one bridge in and out of the little over 100,000 person population city. This was a key reason why the facility was placed here, so this very plan could always be enacted.
Roxy knew she had very little time, however. The facility should have already triggered the city wide lock down, and outside of the city, the F Class clearance military was already clearing the areas around the city. The few businesses in a five mile range would have already been evacuated, the command central at the motel closest to the bridge was being set up. Roxy would be flying someone into that command center, having very recently found herself with more credentials in F class than any stoner weed dealer had ever been given.
Mostly, Roxy had been given these credentials out of necessity, which is average for most people in F Class, many being brought in when they were discovered having magical skill, or perhaps telepathic or telekinetic powers, in the case of some humans.
Roxy was not labeled as magic, nor telepathic, and ironically, even the telepath that would be working on the Flake City project, Martin, couldn’t tell you much about why Roxy was there, or what her skills, magical or otherwise were, other than flying a plane, having very high quality weed, and a possibly magical bag that always seemed to produce what was needed at the time it was needed. Martin, the telepath, couldn’t even tell you what Roxy’s actual name was.
Abdiel Ibarra via Unsplash
The girl was called Roxy, although she never introduced herself as such, and until recently her plane was used nearly exclusively for concert hopping and weed delivery, with the occasional ride for friends and bands. Roxy, a concert girl by trade, who dabbled in selling some weed, was thoroughly unprepared for this sudden life of espionage and legitimacy, but had felt a connection with Amy, and decided to help out, despite understanding and relating with nearly everyone in the war, Roxy was happy to help multiple people, and today, she was helping Amy, although Amy didn’t even know it. Someone else did, and thankfully, they were on Amy’s side, or at least a keep Gordo, and the people of Flake City, alive, side. Roxy would always help anyone, if it didn’t hurt anyone else.
The same, Roxy feared, could not be said of the zombies slowly banging on barricaded doors.
“Can I even be infected?” Roxy mused to herself as she continued up the stairs. She tried checking out the windows at the stairwells, but the thick hordes of zombies made it impossible to see out the windows in the office spaces, and each time one of them saw her in the window, they began trying to remove the barricades, which kept a terrified Roxy moving up.
The stairwell was starting to make Roxy feel slightly sick, and she knew it probably had something to do with the smell, plus the awful closed space feeling of the stairwell, and she worried more for the nice boy she had been sent to save. Gordo had not been a solider, but an intelligent genius, who while he could invent nearly anything, was probably even less suited than Roxy to be on this rescue trip, or in this secret war involving no small amount of magic and spirits.
Roxy found a bucket that, from the smell of it, had been Gordo’s bathroom for a few days, so she hoped she was on the right track. “Gordo?” Roxy whispered, before the sound of zombies scratching outside scared her voice back into her throat. Roxy ran up another flight of stairs, now noticing some dried blood droplets. She knew Gordo had been injured, but he was also safe from any contamination of the zombies from some injection he had been making. Or was it he was already immune? Roxy didn’t know. Lately, Roxy, as the narrator, found herself getting information from several different sources, so she didn’t always know which detail was the truth.
Roxy came to a stop at the top of stairs, when she saw a small pale white boy huddled in the corner. “Gordo?” Roxy whispered, crouching down below the window of the door in the stairwell.
The boy looked up, dark eyes searching for something familiar.
“I don’t know you.” He said finally, pushing some long black hair from his face. He was wrapped in a lab jacket, Roxy could see he was wearing two of them, probably to keep warm in the cold stairwell.
“I’m a friend of Amy’s.” Roxy explained, “No, she doesn’t know you are alive.” She added when she saw the panic in Gordo’s face. “Everyone still thinks you are dead. ‘Cept me, obviously, I’m here to save you.”
“There is no actual escape though. I blocked off the doors, but there is no way in or out.”
Roxy looked at him, cocking her head to the right. “Well, I wasn’t born here, so obviously I got in, it stands to reason we can both get out.”
Gordo considered this and shrugged his arms. “Okay, I guess that is a fair point.”
A banging far below did make Roxy’s face turn white, however. “Okay, but to be safe, let’s get moving eh?” She said helping him to his feet. Roxy hadn’t noticed the few zombies on the roof being particularly active when she snuck past many of them, but once she got into the building, the zombies had started to get more active. More and more sounds were coming from below when Roxy urged the thin boy up the hard-concrete stairs.
“I’m too weak.” He said, dizzily grabbing the banister to the stairs. Roxy dug into her bag and removed a honey packet.
“Suck this down, then this.” Roxy handed him his favorite soda, ice cold, and pushed him up the stairs, “C’mon, we better pray my back up plan works.” Roxy muttered as she looked down the stair well. She could hear shuffling, and groaning, meaning zombies had found a way in. Roxy had broken in on the roof level, but taken a trash shoot down since she couldn’t gain access through the doors, and entered the stairwell on the bottom, which also let her avoid the zombies she had heard would be here. Roxy was hoping the zombies she could here were several floors down, and not yet mastered taking down the barricades that held other zombies back. A few zombies they could avoid, but a horde chasing them would make escape tricky.
Gordo followed her instruction, grateful for the honey, his throat had been sore, and for the shock of sugar in his system from the soda that woke him up. He knew the energy would probably only last an hour, but he hoped to be long gone, one way or another, from this facility by the time the sugar crash took him. Gordo climbed the stairs as quickly as he could, chugging the contents of his soda with the easy expertise of someone who had perfected chugging entire sodas during loading screens of video games, while his shoulder bag banged on his leg.
Roxy followed Gordo, letting him lead to the roof, keeping an eye out behind them. A loud crash told her that another door had fallen, and the increased volume of groaning told her it had to have been a higher up floor, closer to them. Roxy eyed the wall, noting that they only had a few flights of stairs left before they got to the door Roxy had entered in through.
Two flights of stairs, however, was as far as they got before another loud crash came to their ears, this one much closer. Roxy pushed Gordo, “Run!” She hissed quietly as she dug into her bag. She removed a few noise making light up concert baubles she picked up at a recent concert, and tossed them down, hoping to lure the zombies away from them. Gordo climbed, trying to move quickly and silently as they passed two more doors. Once Gordo got to the door he quickly undid his barricade, leaving only the door itself. Roxy put her hands on the door handle, and dug out her plane keys.
“When I open this door,” Roxy began, “You are to run directly to the vehicle you see. I do not care what that vehicle is, or what it looks like, or how practical it is, you RUN to it, you GET IN, and strap in, it’s going to be bumpy.”
Gordo eyed Roxy skeptically as she pushed open the door.
Roxy eyed the space between the door and the plane, seeing several zombies all milling around her plane.
“You can’t take off in a plane!” Gordo said in a panic as the noises from below got closer.
“I said, RUN and GET IN.” Roxy snapped, and shoved Gordo out the door. Nearby zombies all turned to look at them, curious to what they were seeing.
“Well let’s go then!” Roxy said to both the zombies and Gordo. Gordo ran to the plane, Roxy threw a few more light up baubles at zombies. A few lurched towards Gordo, so Roxy threw a few more baubles at the zombies to give Gordo the edge. Not thinking, Roxy dug into her bag, hoping for some perfect thing to distract a zombie, and was mortified when her hand came away with a large bag of brains.
“I hate my bag, ew!” Roxy yelled, digging into the bag and hurling the juicy brains at the zombies. “I have used concert bathrooms that weren’t this gross!” She screamed as she threw more brain over her shoulder and followed Gordo to her plane.
Gordo found the door, and after pushing a zombie out of the way, hopped in the passenger seat of Roxy’s plane. Roxy, tossing one last brain over her shoulder, skidded into a set of zombies, bowling them over before she turned on her toes and jumped over another, and continued racing to the plane. Gordo swung the door open for her, and she dove into it, slamming the door behind her.
“Okay, now for the magic.” Roxy said, turning to Gordo. “Hold onto my bag, and close your eyes.” Roxy said to him as more zombies approached the plane.
“What?” Gordo yelled, now panicking as the plane lurched with the weight of zombies pushing it.
“Just FUCKING DO IT!” Roxy roared, throwing her shoulder bag at him. Gordo, scared, closed his eyes and held onto the black canvas shoulder bag. Gordo heard the roar of engines, and Roxy said “Okay, sorry about that, open your eyes.”
Gordo looked around, seeing they were now in a helicopter, and the propellers were already lifting them from the ground. Roxy carefully and expertly swung up, and after ensuring Gordo was buckled in, shook off the zombies who tried to hang on. They fell several feet to the top of the facility, and Roxy smiled at Gordo.
Calmly, Roxy lit a joint, and handed it to Gordo. “Not a bad rescue, all things considered. Now let’s get back to my concert.” Gordo closed his eyes as he inhaled, not normally a smoker, but after the week he had been having, he enjoyed it.
When Gordo opened his eyes once more, the helicopter had returned to being a plane, making Gordo have many questions regarding the smoke he had inhaled.
Roxy smiled to him, glad to be leaving the zombies behind them. Roxy adjusted her navigation and flew back towards her concert in New Zealand. The plan was simple. She would hide Gordo somewhere safe, return to the states, take the reporter to Flake, drop off some weed to her connects in the city, knowing all too well that they would need it, and get ready for the next, hopefully clever, phase of this big, ridiculous magical war.
In this moment, everyone inside of Flake City was unaware of what was brewing. A delivery boy arrived at the research facility. Doors were opened.
The lock down of Flake City had begun, as Roxy flew away from the facility. The locked doors of Flake City Research and Development, unlocked. Every single door, every single secure entry point, opened, and their contents spilled out. Flake City became a living tomb.
The Government was already hard at work, putting into place very specific jammers, blocking communications, the quarantine plan was underway a full twelve hours before anyone in Flake City had any idea that 99% of them would be zombies within two days.
No one was to know what was happening in Flake City.