Zombies. Why did it have to be zombies?

13 June 2007

It's getting worse out there - the building that Lyssa works in has been sealed by the US military to keep the invading forces out. They've got a small stockpile of supplies, but the facility is running on backup power. Environment control will probably be turned off soon, if it hasn't been already.

I'm going to try to fight my way over to that abandoned minivan in the parking lot, fortify it however I can, and do two things: I'm going to make for Hasufin's place to get those texts he mentioned, along with his research, and I'm going to try to make it to the IBM building to pick up Lyssa and anyone else that needs transportation. Thankfully, the leviathans of the suburbs often have full tanks of petrol around here, mostly because they use so much to begin with. Thanks to copy of Chemical Magic by Leonard Ford in my library I've been able to improvise a small number of thermite lances to keep the zombies at bay while the rest of the team I've cobbled together head for the van.

I know, I know, I swore that I'd never mess with the stuff ever again, but this is one of those "put up or shut up" situations, and I'm willing to take the risk. Frankly, I'd prefer burning whole limbs off if the reaction goes out of control rather than have them chewed off by the hungry dead. Finding iron oxide, aluminum, and magnesium around the building were fairly easy, or it is if you know what their industrial uses are. A concentrated source of oxygen, bound up in a readily reactive compound was harder but leave it up to kids doing things their parents won't like to have really good ideas.

I wonder what Orthaevelve is up to right now. I haven't had a chance to congratulate her on passing her EMT exams last week. She's now certified in Virginia. The way things are going this week, about the only thing she'll be able to do to help will be to shoot the shambling things in the head and get away before she gets splattered with their grey matter, or whatever it is they have that passes for it. I should have known that something was amiss right out of the starting gate on Monday night. Two evenings ago, Lyssa and I, along with Mika, Jason, and Laurelinde drove to the 9:30 Club to catch the Skinny Puppy show. Pegritz was too sick and too busy with work to join us.

I hope he's okay up in Pittsburgh.

We had dinner at Leto's in northern Virginia before the show, and then set out for the club around 1900 EDT that day. We only got a little turned around, but weren't actually late because the doors hadn't opened. The line to get in stretched down the front and around the corner, there were so many people lined up.

A part of me wants to say that the opening bands, which the promoters had made a big deal out of not announcing, had something to do with it. They were the unknown quantities, the ones from out of town (I have reason to think), and the ones that were the most suspect.

The first act consisted of a guy on stage with a vestigial Ming the Merciless mustache, a lot of black spandex, a shirt with the name Count von Schl- (I don't know what the last word was, it was in one of those fonts that try very hard to look important and rare but wind up looking like the insides of a bored high school student's notebooks) stencilled across the front, a ragged black satin cape, and tighty-whities.

No, I'm not kidding. A pair of white underpants on the outside of all of that. Combined with the Zorro mask he was wearing, the effect was actually pretty comical. His music, if you can call it that, consisted of a lot of sampled drum loops that covered every genre from industrial to house to horror movie climax music, without any lyrics evident, just a lot of heavy metal "I'll cram the microphone into my mouth and make lots of noise". Well, almost - he also did a cover of I'm Too Sexy by Right Said Fred that left me helpless with laughter. He also knew how to work a stage, I've got to hand it to him: When he wasn't hammering on his laptop or sampler he was bouncing around the stage like a superball thrown down a staircase at the Cathedral of Learning back at Pitt, ranting at the audience incoherently, and proving that while the human voice is an instrument in its own right, instruments can be used in horrifying ways. He was scarily into his act. So much so that.. certain parts of him showed their excitement beyond the shadow of a doubt, and I wish that I could expunge the memories from my brain.

I don't know if it's proper metal etiquette to laugh uncontrollably while someone's on stage performing. I was close enough that he could have taken a flying leap at me and started a brawl if he so chose, but thankfully he didn't.

An electrical storm's come up outside. I might not have time to finish this entry. The Children are running on emergency power as it is, and I don't know how long it'll hold out. Not much longer. Hopefully somebody'll pick up this entry and archive it elsewhere.

In hindsight, my first clue should have been the girl walking around whose legs looked far too thin to support her. I don't mean anorexic thin or heroin addict thin, I mean spindly thin, like broomsticks. Like there was nothing there. She had a look that creeped me right the hell out, too - a ten foot stare in an eight foot room, with bloodshot eyes that didn't seem to focus on anything unless it was moving right in front of her. So far as any of us knew, she wasn't actually bothering anyone, just standing there looking creepy, and later on cleaning house in the mosh pit in the way that people who weigh at most eighty pounds usually don't. Laurelinde and Lyssa nearly got clocked by a bouncer that the girl'd picked up over her head and thrown, but somehow they'd managed to catch the poor sod, check his forward momentum, and set him down by the bar, little the worse for wear.

The second act I've dubbed The Attack of the Cyborg Hamsters (although two of the guys in the audience I spoke with called them Three White Mice) because they got on stage dressed in bloody lab coats and wore helmets shaped like rodents' heads, albeit rodents after significant medical and bionic experimentation. The mask worn by the drummer had a large number of glowy, spinny toys embedded in the eyes and forehead, which made him look very much like a villain from a children's cartoon of the mid-1980's, while the others just had large faux-surgical scars on their gear. I wish I could say that their music was any better than the dude in his underwear but it was worse, if you can believe that. I passed out the rest of my disposable shooter's plugs to some of the people standing around me who were in significant pain from their PA system, my good deed for the night. Their set was about a half-hour long and had absolutely no structure or melody to speak of, only layers of noise and rhythm. Which is okay, if that's the sort of thing that you're into, but it's really not my cup of tea.

The rain's turning the ground to mud. The zombies have stopped advancing because they don't have enough traction to actually go anywhere. We're planning on setting off one of the thermite charges to distract the zombies so we can make a break for the minivan. The owner's got a remote control keyfob, so we can have the doors unlocked and the engine running before we get there.

Skinny Puppy came on last, and brought the house down with their show. Now, I'm not a SP fan, to be honest: I've listened to a little of their work and some of the remixes they've done, and they don't do much for me. Music that makes you want to kill is all well and good, but I prefer mine with a side order of intelligent lyrics that I can hear and don't have to read out of the liner notes after the fact. Maybe I should put some on before we charge out of the apartment, through the last of my wards and toward the car. It couldn't hurt our chances any.

cEvin Key and Oger put on an amazing show. Oger was behind a large white fabric screen for a goodly amount of the show, doing odd things with shadows and props while we could only see his outline and motion. When we finally did see him, he was covered with stage blood and a large number of fluorescent orange hoses or cables of some kind, some of which drove a smoke pistol he carried with him. It was around the end of the first song that a mosh pit broke out and began consuming everyone on the floor indiscriminantly. The five of us were nearly dragged into the pit by an enraged punk looking to join in the fun but we planted ourselves and refused to budge. Rather than join in the fun and games, we sort of directed people around us as best we could if they were headed past the event horizon, but grabbed arms, legs, heads, and whatever else we could reach to haul those in distress away from the carnage. And carnage it was: After the fact, we stood around talking outside and remarked at how violent mosh pits have gotten since the 90's.

In hindsight, some of the injuries weren't blunt force trauma. They were bite marks, similar to those made by an animal that feels no pain as it rips its own teeth from its jaw, along with a mouthful of flesh.

Someone's put up their setlist for this tour on Wikipedia.

By the end of the night we'd barely managed to survive intact, and stumbled for the door and our vehicles. I'd used up the last of my reserves holding everything together on the off chance that things turned into - wait, those are sirens. Police.

Time to go. Lock and load.