After The Zpocalypse
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
It was the day after the Zombocalypse
struck Indiastan. In the rest of the world, there were nuclear bombs being
readied to go off, cannibal headhunters eating hearts, ice caps melting, rebels
storming presidential palaces, and the like. But in Indiastan there were
High up in a bar on the
top floor of a mall, two people were hiding. They were a man and a woman, and
they were criminals. That was not why they were hiding, because they were that
particular kind of criminal who have no reason to fear the law. They were
hiding from the zombies.
"Damn zombies," the
Cracker said. An expert hacker, he was literally worth his weight in platinum
to those who valued skills like his. He stood looking down at the mall’s
forecourt through the window. "They’re wandering around everywhere."
Gangster’s Moll agreed, round a mouthful of premium whisky mixed with lager.
She was an expert getaway driver, known for running over anyone who wouldn’t
get out of the way. "At leasht we’re in the right plashe for it." She waved a
hand around. "No...shortage of drinksh in thish bar."
"We can’t hang around
here forever, Moll." The Cracker pointed down at the forecourt. "At the rate
the zombies are accumulating, we’re going to be swamped in..." He took out his
cell phone and did some rapid calculations. "...In eleven hours at the
outside," he said.
"Then we have eleven hoursh to finish all theshe drinksh," the Gangster’s Moll began, and then a
sudden thought struck her. "What happens," she said, forgetting to be drunk,
"when they swamp us?"
The Cracker shrugged. "I have no idea, but you’ve seen the movies."
"Yuck." The Moll tossed
off the rest of her whisky-and-lager and ran her fingers through her hair.
"Then we’d better get out of here, right?"
"Very true. But how? And
where do we go?"
The Moll propped her
small chin on her hand and began thinking aloud. "There’s Cockatrice Mall a
couple of kilometres north of here, and then Wyvern Mall on the other side of
the bridge. No, the bridge was closed last I heard, so that’s out. Then there’s
Griffin Mall five kilometres east, and –"
"Moll! What on earth are
you talking about malls for?"
"In the moviesh...shorry,
movies---they always hide in malls. But I see what you mean. Malls aren’t the
besht hiding plashe. Damn movies." She thought for a bit. "Never mind," she
said, "we’ll find somewhere."
"Before we find
somewhere," the Cracker pointed out, "we have to get out of here. How do we do
"Nothing shimpler," the
Moll said. "We walk to the lift and go on down."
"And they’ll be waiting
at the bottom to eat us."
"No, how would they know
we’re coming down? They’re zombies. And if we’re on the lift we at
least aren’t running the risk of being ambushed on the bloody stairs."
The Gangster’s Moll was about to say something more when her satellite phone
went off. The Cracker and the Moll worked for a rather top-line organisation,
which gave its members satellite phones and not cell phones like everyone else.
It was their immediate
boss, the Big Villain, or Billain. "Where are you two?" he
demanded. "I’ve been trying to contact you forever."
"Hiding in a bar in
Phoenix Mall," the Gangster’s Moll said promptly. "You want to come over? Lots
of good boozhe."
"To hell with the booze."
The Billain had many irritating personality traits, one of which was a dislike
for alcohol. "I want you here in the Secret Shelter right away."
"The Secret Shelter?" The
Cracker and the Gangster’s Moll exchanged mystified glances. "Where’s that?"
"That’s a secret," the
Billain snapped. "How would it remain the Secret Shelter if I told you where it
"Well, we do have to get
there, don’t we?"
"You’ve got a point," the
Billain said, apparently surprised. "You said you’re in Phoenix Mall? Right,
you go out along Route Yellow, and then turn on to Route Green at Intersection
Red. Then when you pass Point Purple you turn right on Route Black. And then –"
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