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Cayo Elina 19

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The Café American was doing brisk business later that night. Gus was working the door, keeping an eye on the crowd and looking for trouble. Max had hired him as a bouncer before Gus had even gotten through his pitch about needing a job. As a bouncer Gus carried a club and a machete, the machete was hung on his belt, the club was to be carried at all times. Writing on the chalk boards outside the doors carried a warning that no fighting was allowed and any violators would be barred from coming in again. So far the crowd seemed to be taking the new instructions in stride, Gus hadn’t had to knock any heads yet this evening.

He had hired a local youth to watch over Elina, after conducting a series of interviews with prime candidates, who answered a few basic questions and then watched Gus stare off into space before being dismissed. After three such interviews the fourth young man was slightly nervous, but Gus looked into their future far enough to determine this kid was not going to rape or kill Elina and would do his best to care for her in exchange for a reasonable amount of food. Gus hadn’t gone too far into the future with the kid and made sure to mention this was a contract for a single day and that is might be renewed if things went well tonight.

Gus was standing at the beach doors when the trouble started. He spotted the zombies from across the room, a couple of supers and a shambler came in from the Ocean Court. He caught them out of the corner of his eye as he was a little busy patting down a guy he was pretty sure was in the 14 Coronas.

“Hey!” Max yelled from across the room, “No pets in here!”

The conversation died as everyone, Gus included looked to the trio of zeds making their way across the room.

“He just needs some blood.” The lead super zombie said.

“He’s not getting it here. Take him outside!”

Gus shrugged told the Corona member, “Don’t cause any trouble.”

The ganger put his hand on Gus’s shoulder and leaned in close to whisper, “They got a mob of them out in the street.”

‘Now why would a Corona do me any favors?’ Gus thought, reversing direction to poke his head out the door. ‘Damn my eyesight. The street was almost deserted, he saw the retreating forms of a few people headed away from the Café, but didn’t see any zombies, shamblers or otherwise.

The Corona gestured briefly towards the side street. Gus stepped out as Max continued to argue with the super about his pet.

Rounding the corner Gus almost ran into a super zombie, the girl was leaning forward to peer around the corner and it was only pure reflex that stopped her head from bumping into Gus.

“Whoa. Sorry.” Gus said automatically, stepping sideways. Behind the girl the street was filled with zombies. They were a sad lot, most looked like they had spent a little too much time in the swamp. The smell hit him a moment later and he recoiled from it as if punched in the stomach.

“I know, they’re awful.” The girl said.

“What’s going on?” The girl was young looking and Gus classified her as well on the road to super, she had that look about her, of a junkie sizing her next hit up and Gus happened to be that hit. ‘So a super is controlling her hunger and telling her not to eat. Probably using her to keep these others in line.’

“We’re getting blood tonight.” The pale girl said, licking her lips with the tip of her pink tongue.

“Max doesn’t have that much blood.” Gus said, gesturing with his hands at the mob behind her.

“I know.” The girls face contorted as if she were doing something very hard, “You don’t want to be here.”

Gus tapped his club against the wall of the bar. “I’m the bouncer.”

Shaking her head the girl let out an all too alive sigh as she rolled her eyes, “You don’t want to be here. Go.”

Gus stepped back and headed towards the door of the bar, the Corona had been watching him and there was a small revolver in his hand, pointed at the ground. ‘I knew he had a piece on him.’ Gus thought brushing past him into the bar.

“Max!” he yelled, drawing the bartenders attention, “Can I speak with you?”

Max looked Gus up and down, “Sure.” To the zombies he said, “You stay right there, not a step further!”

Gus approached the bar and saw several people quietly getting up and moving towards the beach door. The Corona glanced outside and shook his head, making a hand gesture towards Gus that Gus didn’t understand.

Max caught it too and said, “Zombies outside.” when Gus was close.

“They have a mob outside on Ocean Court.”

“How many?”

“Lots. All they lack is pitchforks and torches.”

“And Hector just told me they’re out front too.”

“What do we do?”

“Delay them until the cavalry arrives.” Max said.

“There’s cavalry?”

Ignoring him Max turned back to the supers, “What do you want?”

“Food. Food for my friends.”

“I don’t have enough for you and all of your friends.”

“It’s a start. We can take what you have and jump-start a few more of us.”

“What are you offering in trade?”

The super zombie looked at him then through his head back and laughed, “I’m offering not to tear this building apart board by board and maybe you’ll get out of here alive.”

Gus saw Max’s hand move under the counter and he burst into action. The super was caught by surprise but managed to raise his hands defensively as Gus’s club swung towards its head. One of his arms was shattered and the other spun the club from Gus’s hand. The machete in Gus’s off hand sounded like an ax hitting a watermelon as it buried itself in the zombie’s head.

Stunned, Gus just looked at the zombie and said, “I didn’t think that would work.”

The other zombie, a middle aged woman, stared at Gus with horror in her eyes, “What have you done?”

“Get out of here, we don’t want any more trouble. Take them with you…” Even as Gus spoke the slow zombie stumbled towards him. With another swipe of the machete Gus took off its right arm.

“I…I can’t! They were Dave’s!”

Gus realized what he had done as the screaming started when the slow zombies came shambling through the doors.

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