“Hmm, five more minutes.” Michael “Mike” Tanner said, rolling over on his twin sized mattress and pulling the blanket over his head. It was a Saturday, he had absolutely no desire to be awake before noon. It didn’t feel like noon yet.
“What do you want, Jeff!?” Mike shouted.
Throwing back the covers, Mike sat up in bed and looked at the clock, the bright red digital numbers read, 10:23am.
Nope, it definitely wasn’t noon yet.
Groaning, he shifted his attention to the door, waiting for his roommate, Jeff, to answer him.
Everything was quiet for long enough that Mike started to consider going back to bed. Then the thumping noise came again.
“Grrrah, I’m coming, I’m coming. This better be freaking important, I was up all night raiding in the ice forests…”
Mike didn’t get to finish his complaint.
As he opened the door a crack. Jeff forced his way in, through the gap.
Stumbling back, into the middle of the room, Mike instinctively felt something was wrong.
Jeff was a scrawny guy, athletic looking, but short with a wiry build.
Even unprepared, Mike was twice his size.
It shouldn’t have been so easy for him to push his way into the room.
Sudden bursts of strength do happen. Like a mom lifting a car off her child, or the youngest sibling getting the last piece of pizza. Mike, still half asleep, would normally have dismissed Jeff’s strength, as a similar instance.
At least he would have, if his roommate hadn’t looked so wrong.
Mike had seen him the night before.
He’d looked fine.
Now, his healthy bronzed skin was a desiccated grey. His soft blue eyes were a milky pupil-less white, and a he gave off the faint but distinctive smell of rotting meat.
Frankly, now, Jeff looked like something that had been dead for a week.
Clearly something was wrong with him.
He made Mike feel threatened.
Without taking his eye off Jeff, he reached behind his back for something to use to protect himself. Feeling around on his computer desk he tried to look unconcerned, as he talked to Jeff, “What happened to you man? Are you sick or something?”
Jeff didn’t respond.
He just lunged forward.
Backpedaling into the wall, Mike swung his improvised weapon, the bowling pin shaped lamp he used when he was working late at night.
The lamp connected with Jeff’s shoulder hard enough to knock him a few steps sideways.
The blow didn’t seem to phase Jeff at all.
Grabbing at Mike’s shoulders Jeff leaned in, his mouth gaping open.
Foul, putrid smelling breath hit Mike, full in the face, as he worked his jaws open and closed, trying to bite down on Mike’s neck.
Shoving hard into his chest, Mike bowled Jeff over, and bolted for the door.
He didn’t get far.
Jeff caught at his ankle.
In a panic Mike kicked backwards destroying the smaller man’s nose.
Jeff didn’t react, his grip on Mike’s leg didn’t never loosening for a second.
“What’s wrong with you man?” Mike pleaded, aware that he sounded close to tears.
He was too scared to care.
Jeff wasn’t pulling a prank.
If he he had been he would have broken character when he was hit with the lamp. Or if not then, then having his nose broken would have ended the joke for sure.
Jeff didn’t answer.
His teeth were getting closer and closer to Mike’s hairy leg meat.
An uncomfortable explanation for all of Jeff’s symptoms sprang to Mike’s mind. Everything could be summed up with a single, ridiculous word, zombie.
Mike’s reaction flipped one-hundred-eighty degrees, he couldn’t let himself get bitten.
Slamming the lamp down, again and again, he rained blows on Jeff’s exposed head, his fear taking control as he temporarily lost all restraint.
It was only after the lamp broke apart, the metal base separating from the wooden pin, spiraling off into the corner of the room, that he snapped out of it.
Feeling something on his cheek Mike wiped at it with the back of his hand.
His hand came away bloody.
Shocked he forced himself to look back at Jeff.
The source of the blood was obvious, Jeff’s skull was in pieces all over the room. In his berserk state Mike hadn’t stopped till long after he’d quit moving.
Suddenly it was all too much for him.
Mike ran out his room.
He barely made it to the living room before falling to his knees and heaving the contents of his stomach out onto the coarse blue carpeting.
He’d just killed a man.
Mike didn’t have any time to dwell on that thought before a machine like feminine voice rang out in his mind. As the voice spoke he felt an intensely strange sensation of knowledge flooding into his brain, like he some sort of machine downloading an information file.
Registering Player [Mike]…
Congratulations! You have defeated a [Walking Dead] Lv. 1
Achievement: You have successfully slain a monster and joined the「System」
Calculating Randomized Reward…
Reward: Uncommon Rank Bloodline [Half Orc] + 1000 Credits
Shaking his head, Mike came back to himself, kneeling on his apartment’s living room floor.
Inches from his face a fist sized translucent ball, was filling with a dark red liquid. Mike recognized it as his reward, an uncommon ranked bloodline.
It hovered there in the air until it was completely full, then shuddering once, it shot out, into Mike’s chest, where it disappeared.
A comfortable warmth slowly spread from his chest, throughout his body.
As the warmth spread, it increased in temperature. In moments what had felt comfortable became unbearably painful, as it rampaged through his veins like molten lava.
Mike cried out, falling on his hands. Tears at the corner of his eyes, he clutched at the carpet, as he prayed to every god he’d ever heard of, asking that they let him live through whatever was happening to him.
And then, from one moment to the next, it was over. The heat disappearing like it never existed, causing him to involuntarily shudder in relief.
Mike, still bent over, coughed up a wad of foul smelling, blackish blood onto the carpet.
Wiping his mouth he looked through the doorway of his room, at Jeff’s body.
He hadn’t liked the guy. They were room mates because the college had assigned them to be, not because they were friends. But he’d never wished Jeff was dead. Sure he disliked how OCD Jeff could be and his taste in music had been horrible.
Neither was a reason to kill him.
It took Mike several minutes to realize the panic and guilt of killing Jeff was gone.
He knew that in the moment it had been him or Jeff. He also knew, he should have been freaking out about the whole thing.
Where was his anxiety, his fear of jail?
Why was he okay?
He didn’t really believe the information in his head did he? That somehow the world had become a game. That Jeff had turned into a zombie because his body couldn’t cope with all the sudden changes.
Author : The Steve