Characters: Dean. Well, just Dean. For now.
Genre: H/C, AU
Rating: PG 13
Spoilers: Upto Season 5.
Warnings: Graphic violence, zombies, general zombie crap, BRAINS. (Also, BIRDS)
Disclaimer: Wish I owned this but I don't.
Summary: A day ago, or maybe a week, or maybe it’s a year— who was keeping tabs anymore?—he didn’t know things about guns, nor words, nor anything. No name, no aim, no consciousness.
The world wasn’t always like this.
This happened only a week ago. Or a month.
Or maybe it’s always been like this, really, always the same under the pretty gilded surface.
Blood and glass and flesh and bone and hunger, hunger, hunger.
The Apocalypse has already blown through this town.
It’s evident by the smoke, the smell, the half-a-dozen crucifixes sticking out from amidst what used to be neat rows of cookie-cutter houses. The carrion birds have gotten here before them; the sound of their wings carries through the air and reaches his ears even through the host of other things- scents, feelings, colour- competing for his attention. It’s a sound that dismays him, dismays everyone, sends a crimson reel of hunger rapidly unspooling within his gut.
Like dangling a fucking cheeseburger in my face and then replacing it with salad, he thinks. Doesn’t mean anything to him, those words. Not anymore, not with the world so raw and primal and sharp, not with the coppery taste of old blood still in his mouth, but he has them and they’re in his head and they won’t go away. They flutter like birds till he grabs them to the forefront of his consciousness and then they dissolve with a taste of ash, of old memories too faded now to matter.
Trust me, says his stomach. Brain tastes much better.
(because he’s a zombie with a humour sense, some things just don’t change)
(and there it is, gents and ladies, another flash card, another useless SAT prep word, zombie, Z-O-M-B-I-E)
From somewhere: a cry.
The sound is everything. And when it starts moving—just a shadow, just a shadow right there, in the midst of that park with three bodies twisted around the jungle gym, half-bodies minus their heads, someone’s leftovers— when it starts moving, the wind picks up its scent, and the whole world is dancing, blurring with that smelland it’s human.
The first moment is confusion, always confusion, always figuring out that he is not rooted to the ground, he haslegs, legs are for moving, he has to move, eat.
The second is the realization that this is a competition—his pack is moving, snarling, foaming, a tangle of limbs, a wild dance of snapping teeth and tearing flesh.
There are maybe twenty of them.
He grabs for a woman with filthy, matted blond hair, twists her neck and feels her bones snap, and she’s screeching and kicking while he goes for another one, a man, ripping his head straight off while the woman sinks her teeth into his hand. He snarls and pushes her, blindly shoves her into another person-- zombie,whatever-- and goes down on his knees, because one of them has just climbed onto his back, teeth snapping and clacking near his neck, and he thinks—thinks for a moment with such frightening clarity that it nearly blinds him—damn it, you son of a bitch, that’s MY meal.
And he hurls the zombie off him—the thud is sickening, that one was barely put-together, all strings of meat on yellowing bones—and then he’s running.
The moon is pink and the sky is red and he never notices because hunger is what matters.
There’s a man protecting the girl and they’re hiding in an abandoned gas station.
Four of them splash through the puddles, moaning at the prospect of food, blinded by hunger and get shot through their foreheads. The birds overhead scatter with mutinous cawing, dropping whatever meat they’d been pecking on like grotesque rain, but he’s not interested in scraps.
He waits. Waits for the silence to fall, for any shuffling zombies to stop, process the shots, keep processing the new information while standing there like trees, drooling, waiting for the next wind, the next batch of eu de Homo to hit them. But he’s here, waiting for the man and girl to come out.
See. Smarter than your average zombie.
(and this next thing he does is only going to make him smarter, sharper, make him remember things)
He waits. Knows that they HAVE to come out.
And come out they do. Silently, the man holding a hand over the girl’s mouth, the girl’s frightened eyes swan-black and darting everywhere.
“Watch out,” he hears the man say, the words elongating and distorting into a harmony of odd consonants and odder vowels, losing shape in his mind, “don’t step on the puddles....infected...the virus...”
And then the man stops, sees him, freezes.
He hears a familiar sound, a click, and has another flash of clarity (a gun, that’s a gun being loaded) and then the man is lowering his gun (stupid, stupid is what they all die of), squinting into the shadows, saying, “You’re that hunter kid, right? Winchester?”
The last radio station on earth broadcasts from a farm in Iowa. The radio jockey is manically cheerful and has two catchphrases he uses at least twice every thirty minutes. “They eat us alive, bitches” is one. “FUBAR is our middle name now” is the other. He keeps playing evangelical songs, as if maybe God will tune in. It’s not like God’s gonna have to choose between stations anyway.
What he knows is this.
A day ago, or maybe a week, or maybe it’s a year— who was keeping tabs anymore?—he didn’t know things about guns, nor words, nor anything. No name, no aim, no consciousness.
There was an endless chasm where his brain was, and there were things in the chasm screaming for food. And so he fed it. And with each feeding, the chasm became smaller, smaller—a gulf now, a crack, just a gap— and through the gap sometimes coherent stuff got out, words like monster and wrong and zombie. And he was fine with the words, words were good, words made him stronger and smarter than the others, if only it were ALL words, just words and no emotions.
He’s not even done with the girl before it hits him—like a fucking truck full of fucking concrete—that’s a human girl, dude, and you’re chewing on her brain—
And it’s gone again, gone in a second like lightning, but he’s up and shuffling away, wondering where’s he’s going, why he’s going wherever the fuck he’s going, what’s up with all the monster birds swooping to scavenge all he’s left behind.
Other things are slipping through too—this from the man, the man who smelled of sweat and gunpowder and faintly of gasoline—other things about people with too many guns and hard-edged gazes and brittle grips on sanity, and the name: the name Winchester.
Like the rifle, a memory chimes in. He’s leaning over a counter in some other life, the dead man is standing in front of him cleaning a gun, his name so vague (Klaus? Carl?) and he’s saying the words: Winchester. Like the rifle?
Yeah, he tells dead-man-Klaus-or-Karl.
(he’s smiling, he’s shaking hands, hullo, hullo)
(so this is a memory, and memories come from brains, brains are good for memories)
(he’s pushing someone else towards the counter, smacking the back of their head to make them look up from a thick leather journal)
...I’m Dean and this is...
Two shots ring out into the silence— awful, loud, everything is so loud in this world— and he’s so slow, food makes them all slow, but he twists off the road and into the woods, slipping on black blood, stumbling, falling, sliding down a slope. Twigs and sticks and stones and branches and centuries, centuries later, he slides to a stop and just lies there.
There’s no pain, though both bullets (bullets, know what a bullet is now, what a frigging genius) are lodged somewhere in his body. One in his leg, because his calf is a geyser of blood. The other in his hip, and when he stands, he has to walk funny to get anywhere.
...we gotta sew that up......blood poisoning, septicaemia, you could die, Dean....
Shut up, he tells the voice in his head.
The tabloids, before they stopped circulating because zombies didn’t remember how to write, called it The Lure.
The Undead wandered everywhere, feeding and infecting and feeding again, but like a group of cannibal trucks set to fucking auto drive or something they inevitably followed The Lure.
Maybe they were looking for something .
Or maybe something was looking for them