24 Chapter Twenty Four - A Flock Of Seagulls

    Although they had been able to secure a fair few supplies, with no inventive chefs, their cans of ready made meals, especially those containing some meat, were dwindling fast.

    They had secured the bulk of the village, all of the smaller properties had been cleared of Zombie occupants and of the larger estates, that they planned to envelope into a mini-base away from more populated areas, one of them turned out to be completely empty.  It had been going through an internal reconstruction, for which brand new bathrooms and a bespoke kitchen had been installed, however all of the floors were either concrete or floorboards and the walls had only gone so far to have cracks filled and were without paint nor wallpaper.

    But while this meant that there had been no occupants in the property to mutate into monsters, there had also been no food nor supplies beyond a bottle of cleaning fluid and toilet paper.  However even then there had been a trove of treasure to be uncovered.

    "Solar panels?"  Patrick's eyes twinkled as he heard that these had been found in the property's ridiculously large garage.  Clearly the owner had been into cars or had other plans for such a massive space.

    "Yeah, but don't get your hopes up," Dexter replied as he sauntered on back to the truck parked on the drive of the property.  "It's not like anyone amongst us can install them."

    Ren Zexian remained silent.  He did not understand why these men were so excited about the strange flat sheets with the linear designs upon the dark, reflective surface.  However, there were many things that he failed to comprehend in this world, such as the 'television set,' which apparently should show images of plays and acts of theatre troupes as well as reports of nonsensical things like the weather.  Why would such a thing be required when the sky revealed much by looking at it and the senses could test the wind to provide word of wet weather or storms?  But all of that was a mute point, the 'television set' did not work for it needed 'electricity', which apparently was like tamed lightning.

    As he was thinking over these things, he did not notice the first tugs upon his poison core first, but his refined sense of danger had him stand up in the moving truck and narrow his eyes, coming to settle on a strange, distant fog.

    "What's wrong?" Dexter asked, glancing around in case of a zombie attack.  Although they had cleared the village of human undead, as well as many animals, it did not stop the odd zombie from wandering in their direction on a whim.  That and the herd were still loose in the grassy fields surrounding them.

    Paul dug around in the front compartment of the truck and opened the window to stick half his body through the opening as he brought a pair of binoculars to his eyes.  He adjusted them until the fog cleared into more component parts.  Migrational bird?  Wait, actually they looked a bit like seagulls.  He let loose a sigh of relief too soon as their gliding patterns seemed a little rough and one bird seemed to fly at an odd angle...

    "Those birds are of the risen dead," Ren Zexian confirmed.

    "Quick, back to the house!" Dexter yelled at Tyler, who wrestled with the clutch and gear stick, cursing the truck as he accelerated.

    "Don't mess up my truck!" Winston warned him, but no one paid attention as they kept one eye on the road and one of the approaching flock.  Fortunately, the drive was not long and the men jumped out of the truck and over the wall of the garden without trouble.  However their scent clearly lingered on the wind and the fog of birds began to sharply descend, eager to rip into fresh meat.  Tyler grabbed little Lucy from where she was digging holes in a vegetable patch, while Aslan growled and barked, before realising the danger and dissolving into smoke.

    Ren Zexian threw a ball of fire at the gulls, as he wrapped an arm around the Nathan and guided him into the house.  The one it hit burst into flames, it's dry skin catching fire immediately and it screamed in frustration as it's wings became useless.  It vanished beyond the garden's boundaries.  They locked the windows and doors, but sensed wisely that this would not deter the gulls, that and there were many windows open in the house.  The powerless men grabbed a weapon and paired up with those with abilities as they rushed to ensure the house was secure, while Nathan and Lucy were sent to hide in the basement.

    Dexter and Ren Zexian then made their way to the flat roof via a bedroom window, the larger man flinching as a zombie flew into a window.  Fortunately, there was no damage to the glass this time.  Small shots of lightning and blasts of fire burst from their finger tips the moment they left the security of the property, aiming at the undead Seagulls.  But these birds were more agile than they looked, it was not easy to aim true each and every time.

    Suddenly two birds fell vertically as if unable to hold themselves aloft and Dexter glanced back to notice a sweating Patrick give him the thumbs up.  At the same time, Ivy vines whipped out from off of the trellis upon the outside wall of the house and caught the falling birds before wringing their necks until their heads fell clean off.  Dexter sighed with relief, thanking which ever deity happened to be listening, that the plants happened to be on their side.

    Aslan too was in the thick of battle, dissolving into fog before solidifying midair to bite down into a bird, before retreating as smoke to the ground and finishing off the zombie birds.

    The number of birds dwindled, but as they did not fear for their lives nor the lives of the rest of the flock, they did not stop throwing themselves forward in attack.  A couple of the Sea gulls even spat minute flames from their beaks, which despite their insignificant size could still catch dry tinder alight.  The mutant plants nearby fell back, shying away from the deadly flames, but the men had little time to see to them as they continued to fight.  Gun shots were heard as one gull managed to find a forgotten open window and shrieked in glee as it flew towards its prey.  After bullets piercing it's wings and tore the foot from it's boney leg, It was bound by a large bubble of water, before Patrick's static body lightly touched the water and rippled through it, temporarily paralysing the undead thing.  It was finished off with a knife slicing off its head.

    Finally, the last bird was killed, electricity blasting through it's brain until bursting, Dexter collapsed in exhaustion and cursing all the while.  Seeing that their leader was unfit for purpose after the battle, the others quickly checked to make sure none of the flock had escaped their sight, before dealing with the small fire outside in the garden and letting Lucy and Nathan out from the basement.  Aslan appeared from thin air to comfort the crying child, while Nathan ran out to check upon his precious garden.

    "Shit, I need a drink," Dexter said as he stumbled on fawn like legs back through the large window into the house.  Ren Zexian helped to steady him, pressing his fingers to a pulse point as he did so.  The man had almost drained his innersea of spiritual energy, but fortunately it was not to a dangerous point.  He would be fine after some rest.

    "Tyler!  Pour me a glass of water?" He asked as he witnessed Tyler trying to breech Aslan's protective range in order to quieten the child with promises of sweets.

    "I can't," Tyler replied.  "I had to use my abilities to captured a gull that broke in and put out fires in the garden."

    "Dammit!" Dexter complained, his voice cracking due to his dry throat.  Nathan, who happened to be sweeping gull corpses and feathers along the patio away from his beloved plants, paused on hearing this.  He came into the house, tapped on a glass which instantly filled with the precious, clear liquid.  "Thanks kid!" Dexter yelled out.  Nathan winced visibly, but turned just to nod in acknowledgement before continuing to clear the garden.

    The man downed the glass of water, which slid down his throat and tasted better than spring mineral water.  With an audible sigh, he placed the glass down, feeling refreshed.  Noticing the fatigue had lifted a bit, he decided to help his men on clear up duties, but he was only able to take a single step before he felt a strange sort of burning in his gut, like he'd drunk a mix of vodka and bubbly soda.

    Ren Zexian noticed the change immediately.  "Quickly," he said and ushered the man into the room known as an 'entertainment room', which no one here used due to that lack of 'electricity' and instructed him to sit.  "You must meditate as I instructed.  Do not miss a step."

    "But..." Dexter protested.  Surely there was no point in doing that cultivation crap now while everyone was so busy?

    "Do it," Ren Zexian demanded in cool tones that called for no arguments.  Dexter huffed and proceeded to meditate.
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