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108 Chapter One Hundred and Seven - Blessings and Curses

    The large supermarket chains, before the end, were no longer satisfied with simply supplying food and daily necessities such as toiletries and cleaning products.  They had slowly expanded into other areas providing makeup and perfume, small household electricals and homewares, toys and clothing.  The contents of this lorry highly reflected that and didn't contain food products with the exception of some large bags of dry dog food as well as bird seed, feed for small rodents and bags of wood shavings.

    Otherwise, there were movable metal storage containing medicines, sunscreen, moisturiser and soaps, as well as plastic trays containing trays plastic wrapped pieces of clothing, though they would need to go through it properly to see specifics.  Toys and electronic games were stored in cardboard boxes, unfortunately much of this was useless due to the lack of electricity at this time, but there were also boxes of cushions and fleecy blankets in matching colours, towels and bathroom mats.  They definitely could not say that this stuff lacked use.

    Shaun was carried out of the other truck to seal this one, before Cole started it up to check its fuel situation in order to take the vehicle back as intact.  The tyres lacked some pressure, they worked together with Ren Zexian to rectify this, but it was clear that one of the tyres had a slow puncture.  They could only hope it held for a bit as they slowly trawled back to their base.

    *****

    Meanwhile, all cultivation had been put on pause for those remaining on base as they vigilantly manned the walls.  With the exception of Chang Min and Nathan, those that remained behind were all of primary cultivation or were ordinary people.  Their experience manning this walls was also mixed, with the newcomers having only taken on this duty for a matter of weeks.  Fortunately, the threats were minimal.  Lone wandering zombies provided a moving target for development purposes, small groups could help tighten teamwork and anything more serious was quickly dealt with by Chang Min.

    Just that this morning, Chang Min felt he was about to breakthrough and had to abandon the teams on the wall.

    "Ah, let's just hope nothing serious hits the walls," Jimmy said as he preloaded several metal crossbows as he gazed over the scenic fields, which were heavily filled with wildflowers and yellow grasses.

    "Shut up!" Monika hissed at him.  Arthur also glared at his comrade in arms.

    "What for?" Jimmy complained, pitying himself as he thought that they were ganging up on him again.

    "Just stop talking, crow beak!" Monika demanded.  "Everyone knows that when you say something like that, it's bound to happen!"

    "Too late," Arthur sighed before grabbing several javelins from the metal weapons supplies that Shaun had created for them over the months.  His muscles flexed and stretched as he used his strength to deftly aim at the large, mutant zombie heading towards them.

    "Holy crap!  That doesn't look human!" Jimmy complained as he lifted the first crossbow to shoot at the monstrous form.  The bolt went wide and he found his crossbows snatched from him by Monika who also judged him as useless.

    "Go find help," she ordered him as she began firing the weapons into the undead thing.  Before now, all of the zombies that they had faced could be roughly distinguished based on their original forms, no matter how ugly or disgusting that form had become as it rotted away over time.  But this thing, it had two thick legs, but no feet.  It had two arms, but attached to them were long, sharp claws of bone, there were no palms visible.  It's stomach was bloated and it's neck had collapsed so that it's head was nestled into its collarbones.  For some reason it only faced upward with a wide, open mouth filled with blackened teeth dominating the face and its eyes had sank to the sides of its head and moved around in their sockets freely.  But the most frightening thing had to have been its size; it was almost four metres in height.

    Jimmy leapt off of the wall to dart across the gardens towards where he knew Patrick was patrolling with the brother of the twin pair from the second property, Rohan.  Both had strong abilities and should be the closest over all.

    Monika aimed for the zombie's eyes, but a long tongue flicked out of the open mouth and batted away the bolt.  "Is this thing for **ing real??" She shrieked as she grabbed two of the other already loaded crossbows and shot them both at the same time.  Obviously, her aim was not going to be specific, but one of the bolts sank into its chest, even though the other was deflected by its claws this time.

    Arthur could only grunt in response as he threw another javelin.  This one sank into its thigh, but it did not slow its progress in the slightest.  They threw everything they had prepared at it before retreating back.  The walls were six metres high upon that side, this thing only needed to lift its arms to reach the top and though its bone digits did not look capable of grasping at things, did not mean it couldn't.  Sure enough, the tips of its claws touched the top most bricks before scraping downwards, the horrible sound of the bone on metal and stone reverberating through their eardrums.

    Disorientated, Monika and Arthur were momentarily stunned as they covered their ears.  The sound stopped and there was nothing but the sound of strange slurping noises for several moments.  Monika was tempted to look over the wall, to see what it was doing, but didn't dare at the same time.  She was right not to do so, for suddenly, the bony claws once more appeared over the wall edge, but this time, it gripped onto the area of brick and concrete and pulled hard.  A second later, cracks began to show.

    "Shit, **, **, **, **!" Monika complained as she reached for the knives tucked into her boots ready to defend herself, though she backed further away.  In agreement, Arthur continued to retreat in the opposite direction.  They were both ordinary people, there were limits to what they could do and neither Chang Min nor Ren Zexian were currently around to aid them.

    The cracks grew, but the grasped stone stubbornly held for a full minute longer before giving way.  As soon as the chunk crumbled away, the bony fingers shot back into the small opening it had formed at the top of the wall and began to yank at its surrounding brick, stone and mortar.  The metal should have provided some support, but it folded like hot fudge as the zombie ripped at the walls.  The breach grew larger, the zombie reached in again, but this time a ball of plasma mixed with fire fell onto its digits, not only burning the bone, but sending shocks of lightning down their lengths.  The claws retreated slowly.

    Once more they were subject to a suspended moment, unable to figure out what the monster wanted to do.  Patrick couldn't help himself and peered over the wall to see the zombie peering back at him.  "Eep!" Patrick squealed retreating behind Rohan.  "I thought zombies were ugly anyway, but that is hideous!"

    "Doesn't matter what it looks like," Rohan formed another plasma ball in his palm.  "It has to die."

    Patrick nodded in agreement, but he was clueless on how he could help to stop it.  If it were not already at the wall...?  "Stop it from flailing about!" Monika suggested, showing what she meant by throwing her knife its way.  Its tongue burst from its mouth to deflect the weapon once more.

    Understanding, Patrick didn't take the time to nod in agreement, just focused his abilities about the flailing appendage.  The zombie suddenly found its throat clogged by a weighted chunk of its own body.  Not that such could kill it, it didn't need oxygen after all, so it was just an annoyance.  It quickly struck at the wall once more, flinching as the mess of fire and lightning struck it.  Where the flesh was hit, there was the scent of burning, rotten meat.  Where the bones were caught, it flinched and lost its grasp.

    "Javelin," Arthur suddenly suggested and Rohan threw consecutive bolts at the javelin wedged in its thigh.  The metal conducted the heat and electricity into the flesh, burning it from within.  It lost some stability and collapsed to one side.  But it was stubborn.  Its claws pushed into the metal on the walls, trying to create a place to hold in order to pull itself up.  At that point, Patrick increased the gravity about it to force it down, while Rohan continued to blast it.

    From behind Arthur, the two soldiers rushed to reach them.  Zak was more sensitive to the undead thanks to his training and had caught wind of the large zombie from where he and Theo were patrolling.  Zak had also learned a few new skills from Ren Zexian, namely writing exorcist talismans; though his talent for them were not great if he had to be honest.  He was lucky if he could successfully produce one paper talisman a day and these were only the most basic of scriptures.  It probably didn't help that Ren Zexian could only teach him the theory not show him in practice.

    Injecting his light ability into a talisman, he tossed it down onto the monster.  It was a basic light-fire talisman and as its name suggested, it created fire using the power of light.  It was meant as a weapon against undead; Jiang'shi, ghosts as well as lingering resentment and evil.  They had found it worked on zombies just as well.

    The paper burst into flames the moment it touched the monster.  Unlike when the balls of plasma touched it, the zombie screamed in pain, its shoulder destroyed in the short lived fire, though it continued to smoulder despite the flames going out.  It glared with wicked intentions at Zak, though in truth it could do nothing as the barrage of plasma with added crossbow bolts resumed.

    It died by being burned and blasted into pieces until there was nothing left.  The six defenders collapsed with relief.  Jimmy rejoined them, gasping almost as much as he'd ran from here to there, from there to where he thought the soldiers should be, before returning here alone and finding everyone.  "Is it dead?" Jimmy asked, after sucking in air a few times, seeing them less vigilant than before.

    Monika nodded in response.  "It's dead."

    "Thank ** for that!" He sighed, before waving his hand about.  He looked at the damaged wall, one crack now descended half of its entirety, though the wide gap was around half a metre deep from where it commenced at the top.  "Well, it could have been worse," he muttered, before everyone yelled at him to 'Shut Up!' once more.
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