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“There is an Apple store two blocks west from your position,” Archangel’s voice came over the radio. “I recommend a better communication device.”

“So you want me to buy a cell phone?” John asked casually.

“I would prefer that you purchased one, but at the moment I’ll overlook the five fingered discount,” Archangel stated rather matter of factly.

“Anything between me and the store?” John asked. He had not returned the gun to his belt and when he moved he stayed close the buildings, as if moving from cover to cover.

“Nothing extra-terrestrial, but there is the slight problem of the undead,” Archangel seemed concerned about mentioning this.

“Undead?”

“The biobomb affected nearly everyone, it killed most, those not affected were abducted, and some of those that the bomb murdered are returning as zombies,” Archangel explained.

“How many weren’t affected?” John asked though he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

“About 15% of the population,” Archangel responded carefully. “I’m working on a theory but without samples to analyze I won’t know for sure.”

“What are you? A scientist?” John asked as he entered the Apple store.

“I’m a watcher, of sorts, my duties were originally of a more an assaulting nature before I was repurposed by the Americans,” Archangel stated and John paused a moment.

“You aren’t American?” John asked, Archangel did not sound like he had an accent of any sort. If John were to place him, he’d would’ve said Midwestern.

“I am German originally.”

“How old were you when you immigrated to the States?”

“Sixty five,” Archangel answered and John had to nod. For an old fogey, Archangel didn’t sound that old, he also didn’t seem that crotchety. Sure Archangel has his quirks but nothing that really bothered John.

“How long have you lived in the U.S.?” John asked casually as he walked to the rear of the store. In the store room would be the phones, everything up front was broken and or a display.

“I do not live in the United States but I have belonged to the Americans for a decade now,” Archangel answered him. Archangel was definitely using odd verbiage, perhaps it was a simple language barrier, though Archangel did not sound German he may not understand all of American slang or how to use it properly.

John was going to shoot the lock off the door but instead searched the pockets of the employees of the Apple store until he found the keys. He chose a black cell phone and an inner ear hands free device.

“Okay, now how are you going to make this work?”

“Just give me the serial numbers of the phone,” Archangel said and John read them from the phone as he powered it on. The phone suddenly had coverage and as John slipped the earpiece into his ear, he heard Archangel, loud and clearly.

“I think what you did is slightly more illegal than my stealing the phone,” John stated to Archangel.

“At this moment it is a necessary evil,” Archangel replied.

“Where to next? Your house?” John asked.

“Very funny, Mr. Doe, you would need a rocket to reach me,” Archangel replied and John made a face. A rocket? Perhaps the old fogey meant plane.

John left the Apple store and had to pause. What he saw made his blood run cold and if he hadn’t been conditioned by battle and by torture, he might have pissed himself. It looked like a zombie but it was oozing green blood from its wounds. It had been a woman once, brunette, maybe even pretty if it weren’t for the corpse skin, and the missing eyeball, the limp breast dangling from a tear in her blouse.

“I’m staring at a zombie,” John whispered.

“Even they give off a faint electrical discharge,” Archangel responded, “I’m trying to attune the frequency so that at least I can make you aware of the undead presence, even if I can only warn you of the aliens in the area.”

“How do I kill it? Like in the movies? Blow to the head? Snap the neck?” John asked, still whispering. The zombie did not seem to have noticed him. He pressed himself against the wall of the building and tried to keep a car between him and it.

Suddenly a woman burst from a nearby building, shrieking. She quickly had the zombie’s attention. It lumbered in her direction. The woman was frozen in fear.

“RUN!” John shouted at her, standing up and raising his pistol. The woman kept screaming. John didn’t dare take a shot, he was concerned he might hit the woman. He zombie was soon upon her and instead of ripping her limb from limb, the zombie just knocked her over and bit her. John couldn’t be sure, exactly what the zombie was doing. He moved around the car and froze himself.

A tentacle was pumping something from the chest of the zombie to the screaming woman who had long since stopped screaming. John had to look away, it was making his stomach churn. He turned back, squeezing off a round into both the zombie and its prey’s head. They collapse on top of each other like ruined lovers.

“What the fuck!” John shouted, putting a hand to his forehead. Nothing had ever prepared him for this.

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