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Chapter 6: Zombie Cannibalism

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: ScribbleHub

After having been separated for so long from the zombie’s main body, the undead energy within the arm was sparse. However, it was still enough to strengthen the arm against damage. When Carmen bit into the flesh, he felt like he was trying to tear off a piece of jerky, only even tougher.

Luckily, that was the only problem he encountered. The arm was from a previous batch of zombies, long destroyed by the Orders. Without a horde collective trying to assimilate Carmen, he swallowed the pieces of flesh he tore off the arm without issue.

No sudden mental attack struck at his mind. Instead, as the flesh separated from the arm and entered his mouth, even before Carmen swallowed, he felt undead power splitting off from the flesh and entering his body.

Carmen closed his eyes, turning his attention inwards his own body, feeling with his entire being the way that his body absorbed the dark energy. He picked out the arm as a test for his theory, and now was the time to verify it.

The energy melded into him, spreading over every inch of his body. His senses grew sharper, and his skin tingled as he grew more sensitive. The meager light passed through his tattered eyelids seemed brighter before, and the wind blowing through the tunnels were louder.

While his nose didn’t work before, it might be different now. It might be his imagination, but he thought he could detect the scent of the damp, musty air.

As for his physical body…Carmen opened and closed his hand, making a first. His grip was a bit stronger, and his fingers a little more nimble. He felt a little lighter on his feet too.

With a single bite, he had grown so much stronger.

Excitement bubbled up in him, momentarily overwhelming his emotional barrier. He almost jumped up and cheered, but he stopped himself in time.

His urge puzzled him. Why did he have the urge to do something so immature? Before, when he was still a knight, he celebrated even the most joyous occasions with a drink of wine.

Ever since he became a commander, he had eschewed such flagrant displays of emotions in order to set an example for his subordinates. Over time, his muted responses became an ingrained habit…

As strange as his response was, it wasn’t something to be worried out. Perhaps becoming a zombie changed some of his natural responses and made him more impulsive.

Carmen decided to save the thinking for later. More importantly, his idea worked. He confirmed he could grow stronger by eating other zombies. It will be difficult at first if the mist attacks him, but it will only be easier as he eats more and more zombies.

He’ll begin by eating the rest of the abandoned arm and completely absorb that power. Although the idea of eating flesh that was once a human’s sickened him, his disgust was overshadowed by his need to grow stronger.

Shoving aside his nausea and drawing upon that feeling of rising power when he absorbed the undead power within that first bite, Carmen tore into the arm, biting into the flesh, his teeth scraping against bone.

Progress was slow since it was hard to chew, but with his zombie strength, he made steady progress. Soon, all of the flesh on the arm had disappeared down his stomach. He didn’t even spare the bones that contacted such a strong concentration of undead magic.

His stomach twisted and turned, protesting the human flesh it contained, but Carmen forced himself to hold down the contents. Undead power from the flesh poured into his body, filling his limbs.

It was like someone was giving him a full body massage. Every muscle in his body relaxed, accepting the makeover it received. It didn’t take long before he drained the zombie flesh of its power.

When the power no longer came out, Carmen could no longer hold back the reactions of his human instincts. His stomach rioted and pushed up, almost as if it was willing to turn itself inside out in order to get rid of the flesh.

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Doubling over, he coughed as pieces of half chewed flesh spewed onto the tunnel floor. There was no stomach acid—zombies had no such thing. They couldn’t digest, and what went in must come out.

When the vomiting fit ended, Carmen collapsed on his side, being sure to stay away from the pile of flesh. Pieces of flesh still clung to his throat, but he did his best to ignore it. The fit drained him of his strength and he didn’t feel like moving.

A sack zombie groaned at him as it stepped over him on its way toward the entrance, but he ignored it.

Despite his weakness, Carmen felt refreshed. The weakness was only on the surface. Strength still flowed within him, like an undercurrent. The strength he possessed now was almost frightening. And he will only keep growing stronger, even if the next time he consumed a zombie the effect won’t be as pronounced.

A grin rose to his mouth, one that Carmen didn’t realize he made.

Stumbling to his feet, Carmen grabbed his full bag of ores, marveling at how easily he lifted it. Wiping his mouth, cleaning himself of evidence of his deed, he walked toward the entrance of the tunnel.

Orlog looked up as a familiar zombie walked out of the entrance of the cave. Her eyes were as full of soul as always. He’d always thought there was something different about that one, ever since he found her clinging to her mother.

Although he’d never admit it to anyone, he was a bit jealous of that female zombie the little zombie was clinging to. Even after both of their deaths, they maintained their bonds.

Compared to them, his bond with his daughter was laughable.

He rarely went home, so he didn’t see his family much. Sometimes, he worried that he’d come home to his daughter no longer recognizing him. Sure, he made a lot more money than his brothers who became craftsmen, but at least they saw their family every day.

Sighing, Orlog took another swig from his wineskin, wiping his eyes to clear the blurry vision.

Today, too, the zombie girl was full of energy. Perhaps even more than usual.

“Haha, there’s no way.” Smacking himself in the face, Orlog shook his head. He needed some water. The wine was messing with his thoughts.

“What is it?”

Orlog looked up. A pretty face stared down at him from beside him. “Sister.”

Sister Fleur, the young acolyte from the local Church branch, here to make sure he didn’t misuse his zombies.

The sister sat down next to him on the bench. “You seem troubled, Mister Orlog. Alcohol isn’t good for you.”

Orlog snorted. “You’ll never take away my wine.”

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Sister Fleur just smiled. “It is your decision. But you did pique my interest. What did you mean by ‘no way?’ Are you obsessing over that zombie girl of yours again?”

“What do you mean obsessing? I’m not obsessing!” Orlog stood up. How dare this woman suggest he had any interest toward an undead, of all things. He had a wife. It wasn’t his fault that the zombie girl looked so unique.

She had long blonde hair that reached her waist, much longer than most of the other female zombies. Despite her long hair, she looked like she had just entered her adolescence.

To say nothing else, she was strange.

“But you were looking at her again. What were you thinking?”

For a moment, Orlog considered ignoring her. But on second thought, no matter how annoying the acolyte was, she was still an official representative of the church. Rubbing his aching head, he closed his eyes and laid back along the length of the bench, resigning himself to another round of mocking laughter.

“It’s probably just my alcohol speaking,” he said, starting with a disclaimer, “but I thought she looked a bit too bouncy for a zombie.”

“Pfft. Bouncy? Mister, you—”

The acolyte’s voice trailed off. Orlog opened one eye, peered at her. She was looking toward the ore sorting hut, following something with her eyes. “What’s wrong, Sister?”

When he received no reply, Orlog grunted and sat up. He followed the sister’s gaze, spotting the zombie girl leaving the hut with a newly deflated sack. Alcohol blurred his vision, and all he could see was the sun shining off of her long hair. The blur and the distance worked together to hide the blemishes of her skin until she looked like a fairy dancing across the field.

He massaged his temples, resolving to lay off the drinks from a few days.

As he was about to lay back down, Sister Fleur stood up, her face pale. “I’m going to head back to the Church for a few days.”

Orlog just waved his hand. “Don’t hurry back.”

Saying so, he stretched out over the bench, placing his cap over his face to shade his eyes from the sun. With so many undead nearby, no predators were willing to come near. In the middle of the forest, there was not a soul to be seen here aside from himself and the acolyte.

Bathing in the sun, warm and safe, Orlog’s mind quickly went blank. By the time he woke up, it was already nightfall. The acolyte was nowhere to be found.

Wincing from his headache, he shrugged with indifference and staggered toward his house where he kept his pitcher of water.

Carmen looked at his bag of ores, almost filled to the brim. But not all of it were rocks containing ore. Almost half of it was worthless junk he mixed in to save time. Now that his bag was full ahead of schedule, he looked around the dark tunnels for his next target.

Further in the mine, he spotted a mining zombie whose sack zombie had finished up. As the sack zombie passed, Carmen grabbed one of its bags. The zombie froze, staring at him as if it couldn’t believe Carmen just stole its bag.

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With smooth and expert movements, Carmen opened its sack and switched out one of its ore bags with one of his own that was filled with rocks. Then he handed the bag back to the zombie.

The zombie stared at the sack in its hand before it slung it over its shoulders and continued its merry way.

As the zombie disappeared around a bend, Carmen turned back to the lone mining zombie at the end of the tunnel. His face slackened for an instant before morphing into a feral grin. His eyes glowed with a savage light. Traces of black mist billowed from his body, obscuring his face for a moment.

When the mist passed, there was no sign of rot on his body.

He broke into a run, a movement that should have been impossible for zombies, and pounced onto the zombie while its back was turned, knocking it over.

They both tumbled to the ground, but Carmen got up first. He jumped onto the zombie, straddling its back and pinned both of its arms to its side. Even though his small body should’ve made it easy for the other zombie to break free with enough leverage, the zombie couldn’t move at all, no matter how much it struggled.

After eating several zombies already, Carmen was much stronger than a normal zombie. He wasn’t quite a zombie knight, as his appearance did not change, but he was already quite close.

Still grinning, Carmen grabbed the zombie’s writhing head with both of his hands and pulled up, twisting as he did so.

With a sickening crack as the backbone popped and the wet squelch of tearing muscles, the head separated from the rest of the body. Dried blood powder scattered as the inactive artery running through the zombie’s neck tore open.

Despite being decapitated, the zombie didn’t stop struggling. If anything, its efforts redoubled as it grasped at the head, seeking to reattach it. The jaws of the zombie continued to open and close.

To a zombie, taking off its head was about as lethal as chopping off an arm or a leg. The only reason it was more important was because the head contained the ears and eyes.

Ignoring the zombie’s struggles, Carmen brought the head to his lips and squeezed. The skull cracked open, its contents spilling all over her. Carmen closed her eyes. As the dried blood and flesh touched her skin, the dark mist from her body reached out and covered the tiny pieces.

By the time the mist disappeared, retreating back into her, the flesh of the broken head was completely dead, without a single speck of undead power.

The zombie stopped struggling. With its connection to its head severed, it no longer had anything to fight for. Instead, mist poured out from the wound on its neck and the ragged flesh quivered as it began to regenerate its head slowly, bit by bit.

The smile on Carmen’s face widened. She shifted her weight so that one of the zombie’s arms broke free, but before it could do anything, she ripped it off in an instant.

The zombie’s black mist seemed to have sensed her then, and poured toward her. In response, black mist flew out from her skin.

As the two mists collided, needle-like spears struck at her mind, but Carmen simply ignored it. Compared to the first time she encountered the mist, when the horde collective had the mist of over a dozen zombies to use as an avenue attack, she only faced one this time.

With the power of several zombies already absorbed, her mental defenses were practically impregnable to a single zombie.

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Instead of being assimilated, her mist spread out and covered the zombie beneath her in a writhing black cocoon, even as she bit into the zombie’s neck.

Time ceased to hold any meaning as the zombie’s struggle weakened, until it finally stopped moving, becoming an ordinary inert corpse.

The mist, a little thicker, flowed back into Carmen’s body as she stood up. She let out a small burp, followed by a raspy voice from her newly regenerated vocal chords. “Thanks for the meal.”

Carmen walked away from the corpse without a single glance back. The smile slowly faded from her face. By the time she reached her filled sack of ores, the smile was gone, replaced by a listless expression.

Carmen’s face, which had seemed so smooth just a minute ago, was once again pockmarked with rot.

Picking up the sack, he staggered up toward the entrance of the mine again.


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