by Max Barry

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by The Holy Empire of Snoodum. . 9 reads.

Z-Day Account #2

Disclaimer: This dispatch contains descriptions of violence. Reader discretion is advised.

This is a link the Snoodian archives which contains all dispatches.

Mooman and Bob

Z-Day Account #2

Name: Mooman Herac

Family: N/A

Age: 21

Race: White

Sex: Male

Height: 162 cm

Z-Day Account #2

Name: Bob Girec

Family: Brother(24)

Age: 21

Race: White

Sex: Male

Height: 165 cm


I stood over the body on the morgue table, the face had been pounded in by a blunt instrument. The wrists were chaffed, and red and tiny scratches littered the man’s chest, stomach and face. His arms and legs had deep bloody gashes in them. They had scabbed over though feeling the limbs, I could tell the bones had been broken badly. Probably the same blunt instrument that had crushed the head.

‘What’s his name again?’ Bob asked, walking over to the body on the morgue slab.

‘Martir Gekrun, dockworker.’

‘Never did like the docks. Too many alleys and warehouses. It’s not safe when the gangs start to prowl. I wish the police would come out in force down there.’

‘Knowing them, they have some sort of arrangement. The gang probably overstepped the mark on this one. Whoever did it is languishing in The Blood Creek right now.’

‘Yeah, those damn cults operate more like thugs than the religious worshipers they derive from.’

‘Well,’ I said. ‘We know which cult did this particular job.’ I looked down the body. ‘Bloody man-hating queen. Why’d they even let her on the throne?’

‘If I remember, King Drenig had an affair with one of his noble’s daughters. He legitimized the child and she became the Snuffer-Taken.’

‘Ah, yes. King Drenig was a nasty piece of work.’

‘This man’s the work of the Cult of the Snuffer-Taken.’

‘Anyone, who’s anyone knows the signs.’ Bob ran a white gloved finger over one of the deep gashes in the man’s leg. The cult hadn’t even bothered to close Martir’s eyes. ‘What’s interesting is the range of cuts and breakages.’ Bob took a step back as he always does when he’s summarizing an attack. ‘It most likely happened at the start of this man’s shift. He was jumped, knocked unconscious, stripped and tied aloft by the chain. The handkerchiefs rubbed into his wrists here.’ He pointed out the chaffed wrists. ‘He came to and was struggling. Probably gagged. The cult had their way with him, one picked out his knife, custom made for the job.’ Bob’s hand moved to the long deep gashes on the man’s limbs. ‘You can tell by the incision made. Clean, straight. A steady hand and a long time. One of the cultists put on the man’s uniform, dropping the cap low to avoid detection by the other dockworkers.’ Bob stopped, eyes roaming over the body again. ‘Another cult member drew his knife. Again, custom made. Short thin blade. Took his sweet time. The cuts are again clean. Nothing rushed about this job.’

‘And the broken limbs?’

‘I’m getting to that.’ Bob frowned half-heartedly.


‘One of the cult members got a thin metal bar, heavier on one end. Custom made once again. They took the man down, stretched him out on the floor and crushed his bones.’ Bob stepped forwards. ‘They knew where they were going to hit. They’ve used a marker pen much like a surgeon would. ‘

I peered at the mark. ‘I’ll take some to be tested. Maybe we’ll find them in shop CCTV.’

‘The cult left the warehouse. The officer told me his colleague found him chained up again.’

‘What a sick sight that would’ve been.’

‘Bunch of sick women.’

Yes, anyway, I’ll go bring the sample over to forensics.’ I turned away from the body, opened the morgue door and had stepped out when my phone rang. I’d put it on silent.

Attention, all Snoodian citizens. Do NOT be alarmed. Make your way to the nearest shelter or bunker and await further governmental instructions. Take what food and water you can carry along with anything that can be used as a weapon. Do not engage anyone on the street and follow the military personnel without question.

Your’s God-Emperor Snudgeskooge. May we civilize the world with an iron fist.


I’m right here Bob.’

‘What do we do?’

‘Head home, pick up our gear.’ Do a quick radio broadcast in case people didn’t get the text.’

We nodded at one another as I held the door open for Bob. He hurried down the corridor and I locked up the morgue. ‘Mooman, come on!’

I hurried down the hallway, pushing past the doors into the police surveillance rooms and forensic analysis labs. We bolted down the stairs, past the interrogation rooms and the evidence rooms.

Bob turned to go past reception. ‘Bob, we’ll take a police car!’ He turned, running after me as we ran into the car park. Police cruisers were setting off, officers piling in.

‘Nakir!’ I shouted. ‘Officer Nakir!’

A woman turned at my voice. ‘Mooman, Bob. What are you doing here?’

‘No time, let us in!’ Bob shouted from behind me.

Nakir threw open the back door and climbed in stepped to the front and into the driver’s seat. I got into the car and Bob scrambled in after me. Nakir revved the engine and pulled out, speeding down the road, sirens blaring.

‘So, guys, I thought you had the day off.’

‘Yeah well, when Cult Command rings you up, you know it’s gonna be good.’

Nakir looked at me in the rear-view mirror.

‘Now don’t get me wrong,’ I said, smirking. ‘Organic Manipulation Command is invaluable, but the cultists are particularly twisted.’

Bob leaned forwards. ‘I take particular pleasure in providing the evidence and theories that get them all locked away.’

Nakir moved quickly on ‘Right, well, I’ll take us to the nearest bunker then. I’ve got to assist the army with these zombies. Local knowledge and all.’ She turned on the radio. The text message I received earlier was on a loop. Pre-recorded and on every station.

‘Here, I got it.’ I said, taking out my phone and playing the ‘Nakir’ playlist.

She laughed. ‘Hey, how’d you know I like this?’

‘Commonalities help friendships to form. You’re a friend so I thought I’d find out what you liked.’

‘Never knew you liked the same music. You could have told me!’

I smiled once again. ‘Perceived commonalities go almost as far.’

The car went silent until Bob spoke up a few minutes later. ‘Take us to our place. You know where that is right?’

‘Hello, law enforcement here. I keep an eye or six on my friends.’ Nakir snapped. Bob merely nodded as the car rounded the corner, drove for a bit more and came to a screeching halt.

Once I had gotten out and closed the door, Nakir rolled down the window. ‘Just got a call! They need my help now! You can find your own way there!’ The car screamed as it took off. Bob and I made our way to the front door of the flat. I punched in the code and yanked open the door. We took the stairs two at a time. Bob unlocked the door to the flat and ran over to the study, unplugging both the laptops and pocketing the memory sticks. I threw our large binders into a shopping bag and opened another bag under the cabinets, taking all the canned, vacuum packed, pickled and dried foods I could. Zipping that up, I snatched some metal water bottles, filling them up and crushing some water purification tablets in. I shook them both and put them in the netting on the outside of the bag. I put the first aid kit in another bag and threw that to Bob. He caught it, finished downloading all the files we hadn’t had time to earlier and slung his survival pack on his shoulder, putting the first aid kit on his other shoulder and tying the two together with cord. He did up the clips and opened the door. I grabbed my survival kit and the food bag, tying them with cord and snapping the clasps shut around the front. We pulled our coats from the banister, and I held the door as Bob stepped out, hovering anxiously. I locked the front door, slipping the keys in my coat pocket. Bob gave me a nervous smile. ‘It’s finally come.’

‘No time for that broadcast, we just gotta hope everyone got the text. Zombie apocalypse, here we come.’

We clapped each other on the back and Bob set off at a run, thundering down the stairs. I stayed as close as possible while pulling up a map of the area on my phone. ‘The bunker’s five blocks from here!’ I shouted. Bob gave a thumbs up and pulled open the front door. I hadn’t noticed he had grabbed our spears until he thrust one at me.

I took it and led him down the first street. The trees on either side were coated black with the night. I noticed an alleyway to our left. ‘Bob, down here, we can cut out most of the journey.’ Bob nodded, following after me as we descended into the dark, the alley path curving downwards. I stepped carefully now, the sparse lighting making it difficult to see. Under one of the lamps lay a man. He was sitting against the wooden fence as someone crouched over him. The orange light illuminated his face, pale and dead, blood spilling from his neck and stomach, entrails peeking out of the deep gashes. The person crouched over him reached into the man’s stomach, pulling out his intestines.

I levelled my spear and motioned for Bob to do the same. We crept slowly forward, getting within striking distance. The person looked up, her eyes were wide, the flesh had come off her hands and face. Skin was peeling everywhere. Around her mouth was the blood of the man lying against the pole and her nails were long and black. I thrust my spear into her torso, hitting where her heart would be. The zombie shrieked, grabbing the spear and trying to wrest herself free.

I felt something give and my spear thrust further. The screams grew louder, and Bob’s spear appeared to my left, sticking in the woman’s stomach. ‘Let’s lift her up, over that fence.’ Bob said, muscles straining. I followed suit and finally we tipped her over the fence with a thump.

Bob raced in front, ‘Let’s go!’ He shouted. I ran forward just as a dull thump sounded on the other side of the fence.

‘Bob, there could be people in that house!’

‘They would have gone already; the message was broadcast everywhere.’ He surged forward, breaking into the open. The moon moved out from behind a lone cloud. It was comforting and I stopped to salute it. Bob stopped. ‘Come on, Mooman, we don’t want to get eaten! The military is just up ahead.’ Sure enough, a checkpoint had been established, IFV’s blocked the road and soldiers had put up concrete barriers. A command box stood in the middle of it all and a radio hut was pushed up against a storefront, soldiers coming in and out. A group of soldiers approached us, torches fanning the streets as they went. The soldiers pointed their guns up, the glare of the light, catching me off guard. I shielded my eyes.

‘Hey, no need for that!’ I said. The torch beam swept away, and the men closed around us. One of them fell in step with us. ‘Corporal Farrin’ he said, introducing himself. ‘I see you got some supplies. Know anything about what this is?’

I shook my head. ‘Other than a zombie outbreak and a request for everyone to get to a bunker, no.’

The Corporal looked us over. ‘Yeah, other than the initial order to set up these checkpoints, we haven’t found much. Glad you brought some supplies though. The government hasn’t said how long it’ll last.’

‘I’m sure they know what they’re doing.’

‘Oh, no doubt about that, I just want to know myself. The men are getting jittery.’

‘Know what you mean, Bob and I are morticians. It can be frustrating having to wait for forensics to finish up.’

‘You with the local police then?’

‘We are.’

‘Know Captain Norin?’

‘Heard of him yes, he did a case or two down here once. Bit of a hero detective that guy.’

‘Yeah, he’s a friend of mine. Went through conscription together.’ He always beat me at cards.’

Bob looked over, shaking the Corporal’s hand. ‘I got a deck if you wanna play sometime.’

‘Sure, that’ll be great.’

Suddenly, gunfire sounded in the distance. The soldiers all turned to see. A few seconds later, another flash of gunfire could be seen over by one of the shops. The Corporal spoke quickly into his radio. ‘Section O3, we’ll check out some gunfire around the corner. Over.’ He motioned to his men and tapped me on the shoulder. ‘Run to the barricade, tell them what we saw.’ I nodded and the Corporal motioned for his men to set off. They split, three on either side of the street, two going down the middle of it. Bob and I took one look at each other and started running, the stillness of the night shattering with our footfalls. We reached the blockade a few minutes later as a soldier approached. ‘Section O3 is checking out some sounds of gunfire, just yellow flashes now.’

The soldier nodded then pointed us to a police officer. ‘He’ll get you out of here and to a shelter.’ A lieutenant had come over. ‘I heard O3 Section saw something?’

The soldier saluted, afterwards turning to Bob. ‘You two can go.’ Bob and I made our way through the army barricade where the policeman stood at the back amidst some ambulances and police cars. Here paramedics and police officers sat, drinking tea, playing cards and reading. The sound of a book closing drew my attention to a man ‘Ah, you two, must be looking for a way out of here. Get in’ He pointed to the police cruiser, tapping a woman on his left. ‘Haria, let’s go.’ We got in the car and a book was tossed in the back. ‘Orinian Genetics: Background, theories and the changing human genome’. It felt strange being in the car with two clothed police officers so I picked up the book and flicked through it until the car came to a stop. I put the book down and got out of the car. We had come to a train station. A barricade had been set up in front and we passed through the sandbags, machine gun turrets and soldiers milling around. Haria spoke to one of them and she pointed us into the building, motioning to a service door as she peered into the entrance. A soldier was standing by this door too and let us in. A stairway descended, curving downwards to darkness. We went deeper, the police lighting our way with their torches.

A soft glow behind a door alerted me to human presence. There must have been a camera outside as the door opened after a series of heavy bolts were drawn aside. The door was pulled back and open by hydraulics and two people met us with gun barrels. They lowered these on seeing the police officers and we were waved inside.

‘We got to go back’ Haria said, giving us a smile. ‘You’ll be safe here.’ We thanked her and her colleague and were then escorted into the bunker by a dwarfish man, with a long beard which look much like the Jaw People’s of old. He tossed a dice up and down but, seeing us, he pocketed it.

He saw me looking. ‘You noticed.’ He said. ‘Yeah well, I’m a military historian here at the University. I specialize in the Jaw People’s and how both their physical and political environment shaped their army construction, hierarchy and weapon technologies.’

‘Ah, Sorry for staring.’

The man looked at me. ‘If you want to know more, here’s my number.’ He took out a slip of paper and handed it to me. I pocketed it. ‘So, what do you two do?’

‘Morticians.’ Said Bob.

The man thought for a second. ‘We’ll stick you with medical. That’s just through this door and to the left though I suspect you want some rest, food and maybe some company. The necessary facilities are on the second floor. Down that is. Just find the sleeping quarters and take a card each from the desk at the front.’

‘Have you seen my brother?’ Bob asked.

The man fell silent. ‘Kerar Girec? Yeah, he was asking after you. I’ll take you to him.’

‘Thank you.’

The man walked off with Bob, throwing his dice up and down again. I found us a room and settled in for the long haul.

A few months passed and we were let out when a klaxon sounded, and a text popped up.

The Snoodian government wishes to thank everyone for their help with the Zombie eradication efforts and wishes you all a happy and healthy life. The crisis has been dealt with and the cure widely distributed. Thousands of millions survived and not a single zombie remains. If there are any problems, make your way to your nearest local police office and any problem will be sorted.

May we civilize the world with an iron fist.

Bob looked at me. ‘Work tomorrow. We going?’

I smiled. ‘Yeah, we’re going. Check up on everyone and all that.’

‘You worked everything out with Nakir?’

‘Yeah, explained the situation and now we’re good.’

Bob’s smile fell to a more serious look. ‘Just don’t bring her home.’


Bob slung an arm around me as we ascended the stairs.

Thank you for reading my account and I hope you too had the facilities to survive the zombie apocalypse intact.

The Holy Empire of Snoodum