In Chapter 8, the team faces off against the person responsible for the outbreak. The first part of the chapter didn’t get recorded in this episode, so read this first and then listen to the rest of the chapter:
Enemy Temple, Central Jungle of Target Island, 200 Miles West of Hawaii, 1800 hours Local, 26 July 2009, Countdown: 2 years, 5 months, 5 days
Sissy screamed as the snarling gollum leapt at her. She clawed for her MP7 as the hurtling creature crashed onto her, knocking her to the ground. It slammed its wooden club on her prone form. Quentin grasped the gollum’s wrist before it could strike again. Quentin yanked the gollum off of Sissy and slammed it into the tunnel wall. The gollum wasn’t even fazed, but the force of the blow did make it let go of its club. The gollum slipped out of Quentin’s grip and attacked him. Quentin barely had enough time to get his arms in from of his face and body before the gollum raked across him with its claw-like nails. Quentin screamed in pain as the gollum attacked again. He felt the bite.
The tunnel exploded with thunderous sound. The gollum jerked to the side. Collin fired again. And again. And again. Each bullet drove the gollum back a bit more. Collin kept firing until his Glock locked back on an empty magazine. The gollum tried to take advantage of Collin reloading, but Mateo’s first round landed a bare instant after Collin dropped the magazine out of his pistol. Mateo’s fire wasn’t the steady staccato that Collin used to drive the creature off of Quentin. Mateo’s fire was slower. Mateo wasn’t trying to drive the gollum off his teammate. He was trying to shatter the stone talisman the gollum wore around its neck.
“Hold your fire!” Quentin yelled over the gunfire. Mateo dropped his Sig to a ready position. Quentin charged the gollum. A deep guttural roar erupted from Quentin. The warhammer flashed in the tunnel’s faint light. The blow easily shattered the stone talisman before picking up the wiry gollum and flinging it clear out of the tunnel. The gollum crashed into the zombies that were still waiting at the tunnel’s opening. Strangely, the zombies began fleeing as fast as they could from the gollum as it scrambled to its feet. Granted, it was like watching turtles running away from a ferret. The gollum sprinted back into the gollum. Mateo and The Steve opened fire, but the gollum’s zigzagging run threw off their aim. The gollum bounded off the tunnel’s wall at Collin with its arms outstretched. Collin casually brought up his Glock and fired five times. The gollum’s body fell lifelessly at Collin’s feet.
The Steve holstered his weapon and sprinted to Sissy. The team sniper was curled up whimpering. The Steve whispered into Sissy’s ear as plunged a syringe into her. The medic laid Sissy down on to the dirt floor and began splinting her left arm. As The Steve tended to Sissy, Quentin walked over to Mateo. Quentin’s face was pale.
“Matt, the gollum bit me,” Quentin whispered to his team leader.
“Damn. Are you sure?” Mateo asked. Quentin could only nod silently. Mateo fought back sudden grief. The team just lost Jack. That was bad enough. This was every zombie hunter’s worst nightmare. Not getting turned into a zombie. Having to put down your friend before he turned into one.
“Collin,” Mateo said quietly, “Take over for Steve, please.” Collin gave Mateo a level look before nodding. The medic looked up at his name. One look at Quentin’s face was all the explanation that The Steve needed. Mateo, The Steve, and Quentin walked a few yards further into the tunnel. The light was dimmer and the shadows danced around the three men. The Steve said nothing as he pulled out his Kimber.
“NO, NO DISPARA!” shouted a voice in the darkness. The three men spun to the voice. Out of the shadows emerged a disheveled Hispanic man. The man was short and thin, with unkempt black hair and a ragged beard. His clothes were stained and torn. The man took another step closer and began speaking in rapid-fire Spanish. Mateo motioned for The Steve to put his weapon away. The man spoke for a couple minutes before Mateo silenced him.
“He says that his name is Dr. Miguel de Castilla,” Mateo translated, “He says that a bite from a gollum doesn’t turn a man into a zombie.”
“How?” Quentin asked, his voice breaking with sudden hope.
“The gollums are some sort of special warrior for Zeye Pay Toe Tek,” Mateo said, uncertain of the translation. “They were created using some sort of special ritual. They’re some sort of recreated Aztec warrior, not really zombies.”
“Xipe Totec?” Quentin asked, carefully enunciating the name. “Is that what he said?” The man nodded. Even in the dim light of the tunnel, Mateo could see Quentin pale.
“Okay, so who’s this Zippee Totec?” The Steve asked.
“Xipe Totec was an Aztec god,” Quentin explained, “He was known to the people as Our Lord The Flayed One.”
“Flayed?” Mateo asked, “Like what the Romans did to Jesus before crucifying him?” Quentin nodded.
“Xipe Totec was a god of life, death, and rebirth,” Quentin said, “Those statues at the front of the tunnel were of him. This is starting to make sense.” Dr. de Castilla grabbed Mateo and began speaking again.
“Okay, the doctor was an archaeologist working a dig in the Yucatan when someone snatched him,” Mateo said, “He woke up here. Apparently the person in charge of this calls himself Xipe-tzin. This guy snatched a bunch of Aztec specialists and forced them to help create the zombies. The doc escaped yesterday during some consecration ceremony. He thinks all of the others are dead. Killed by Xipe-tzin. He’s scared, but he’ll lead us back to the temple room.” Dr. de Castilla nodded furiously.
“Matt, this sounds exactly like what we’re looking for,” Quentin said, “We’ve got to stop Xipe-tzin.”
“How bad?” Mateo asked.
“End of the world bad,” Quentin said.
Narrator: Kenn Blanchard
Story: Derek Ward
This episode was originally broadcast on the Urban Shooter podcast.
Note: In the early episodes, I hadn’t figured out the numbering scheme. So the part/chapter numbers on the audio may not match the post title.
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