DISCLAIMER: CSI and its characters are the property of Jerry Bruckheimer and CBS. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Submitted as part of the Vampires, Ghosts and Zombies challenge.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
City of Sin, New Land of the Undead
The police cruiser crept alongside the curb of the parking lot, stopping just outside the darkened back entrance of the lab. The driver scanned the nearby area, her steely blue eyes looking for any sign of life or un-life, in this case. Satisfied that she'd not been spotted, Sofia pocketed the second set of keys to the vehicle and reached for the shotgun lying next to her on the seat.
Taking a deep breath, she flipped off the headlights and left the engine idling as she stepped out into the uneasy night, fingering the keys in her pocket. The sound of the high pitched beep signaled that the vehicle had been successfully locked, its usually quiet chirp echoing loudly in the parking lot. Sofia froze, expecting the creatures to find the noise noteworthy enough to check out, but when all remained quiet, she eased towards the lab's back entrance, moving to stand against the wall by the door.
The detective peered through the glass of the door, again looking for any kind of movement. The fluorescent lights blinked erratically, their plastic covers strewn left and right. The creatures had definitely past this way. With one more glance at the parking lot, Sofia slowly pushed her way inside, the large shotgun leading the way.
The only sounds greeting her were those of the lights hissing their disapproval at being viciously attacked and left in such an injured state. Sofia gradually made her way down the narrow corridor as the electrical shorts of the fluorescents guided her along the hallway.
Finally, she arrived at the lab nearest the exit, and cautiously, she stepped inside, hoping to find her lover unharmed. She knew she should've just left the city and headed to the mountains when she'd managed to escape the creatures at the station, but she couldn't leave without Sara, or at least, without the knowledge that the Sara she knew and loved was no more.
A shadow caught her eye, and Sofia ducked behind a table, crouching down low and aiming her gun towards the nearby corridor. Moaning sounds drew nearer and nearer, and the detective held her breath until the creature made its way past the lab's entrance, dragging one leg sluggishly behind. Sofia squinted at the grotesque figure, finally able to recognize the creature, and she froze when he suddenly stopped and lifted his head to sniff the air. When he glanced back towards the doorway, her finger tightened on the trigger, ready to blast him into tiny, little pieces.
Several seconds past before the zombie, formerly known as Hodges, turned and headed away from the lab. Sofia released a shaky breath and slowly stood; a touch to her leg had her spinning around and pointing her weapon into the faces of the two women hiding underneath the table behind her.
"Sofia! Don't shoot." Sara whispered loudly, her heart beating ninety to nothing. The excitement of seeing her lover whole and unharmed, coupled with the sudden fear of having the barrel of a shotgun pointed in her face, had the investigator experiencing a myriad of emotions. She slowly stood, reaching for the detective.
The weapon immediately lowered, and Sara was swept up into the arms of her lover as Catherine looked on. The redhead was torn between being grateful that another friend had survived the zombie attack and wanting to stop the sweet reunion and get the hell out of town, after they'd rescued Wendy from the DNA vault, of course.
Sofia pulled away and lightly touched the area around the cut on her lover's forehead. "Are you okay?"
"Um, yeah; just so damned glad to see you." Sara smiled despite the seriousness of the situation. She could hardly believe her lover was standing in front of her, holding her near.
Sofia returned the smile and then glanced at Catherine. "Hey, Catherine, how're you doing?"
"Fine, but we really need to hold this conversation somewhere else."
The detective nodded firmly. "I've got my car right outside the door. It's gassed and ready to go."
"Not without Wendy." Catherine stood and placed her hands on her hips, ready to defend her statement.
Sofia looked to her lover for an explanation. "Um, the three of us were heading towards the secured vault when Cath and I saw Grissom walking down the corridor. We told Wendy to go on ahead and that we'd meet her after we grabbed Grissom."
Glancing around the lab, Sofia asked, "So where is he?"
Catherine and Sara let out a nervous laugh. "Well, Sara caught up to him first, and when he turned around, his eyes were glowing a fluorescent green shade and his face was all creature-like. He tilted his head and looked at us in a typical Grissom fashion, and then he just turned and headed towards his office."
Sara shrugged. "Not much difference between zombie Grissom and human Grissom."
Catherine chuckled. "Anyway, our route to the vault was shut off, and we've been running from the others, trying to work our way back to the DNA lab." The redhead quickly turned the focus back to their next problem, retrieving her lover.
"Okay, let's head for DNA. With each of us armed, I think we should be able to get in and out without too many problems." Sofia looked towards the door.
"Um, Sofia? Catherine and I don't have any weapons. Well, except for a crowbar Catherine grabbed in one of the other labs. I think this is one time when we won't get in trouble for improper use of evidence."
Sofia grinned at her lover. Bending, she lifted her pants leg and removed a 9-millimeter pistol, handing it to Catherine. The redhead immediately pulled back the slide and held the gun in front of her.
"What about me?" Sara wasn't happy being left out of the small arms race.
Lifting her other pants leg, Sofia slid a Glock from its holster and handed it to Sara. "There you go. Now, let's go get Wendy."
With Sofia leading the way, the other two women followed, rotating left and right, and occasionally looking behind them to make sure they hadn't picked up an unwanted zombie or two along the way.
Just around the corner from the lab, Sofia stopped suddenly and moved flush against the wall, motioning Sara and Catherine to follow her lead. The three women stood still as statues, waiting for the male zombie to do something other than stand in front of the DNA lab entrance.
Catherine placed her hand over her mouth to stifle the gasp that threatened to escape. Warrick's beautiful green eyes were now a horrid, milky green, and the former CSI eventually moved around the corner, never noticing the three very alive women. Sofia waited a beat longer before leading her charges into the lab, but when the trio stepped through the entryway, Catherine split from the other two and headed directly for the vault. She rapidly punched in a series of numbers before opening the door, revealing the DNA specialist.
"Where the hell have you been? I've been going nuts waiting for you. Good thing I changed the combination like you suggested. I can't tell you how many times someone tried to access the door. I just kept praying that eventually it would be you." Wendy jumped into Catherine's arms, holding on tightly, thankful that her lover had managed to escape the zombie-like creatures.
Sofia watched the tearful reunion but kept an ear on the nearby hallway. As moaning began to draw near, the detective suggested firmly, "C'mon. Let's get to the car. We can talk about all of this once we're a safe distance away."
Catherine grabbed her lover's hand as Sofia reached under her shirt and pulled out another automatic, handing it to Wendy. Sara's eyebrow went up to her hairline.
"How many weapons do you have?"
The detective just winked and headed towards the door. Sara grabbed hold of Sofia's shirt and followed closely behind as Catherine and Wendy brought up the rear.
The foursome arrived at the rear door, encountering relatively few problems along the way. They'd run into Grissom outside the DNA lab, but just as Sara had said, he looked at them and headed back in the other direction. Catherine had muttered that he wasn't a very social zombie either.
As they made their way to the car, a creature stepped from behind the other side and started towards Catherine; however, a round from the shotgun along with several bullets from three different guns stopped him in his place. Sofia hit the remote in her pocket and the four women jumped into the car and sped away just as several more zombies stepped from the building, moaning and groaning that they'd allowed fresh meat to escape. None of them bothered to come to the aid of the bullet-riddled Hodges zombie.
Sofia expertly maneuvered the vehicle through the stopped cars on the streets, occasionally moving onto the sidewalk when necessary. Her passengers stared in shock at the seething mass of inhumanity. There didn't appear to be a single soul left among the living, and a collective sigh of relief past the women's lips when they finally made it to the freeway.
As they past the city limit sign, Sara was the first to break the silence. "There doesn't seem to be any traffic on the road. Do you think the whole nation is affected?"
Catherine cursed and reached for her cell. "Shit. Lindsey!" After a few tense seconds, the redhead relaxed against her lover. "Linds? Is everything okay where you are? . . . Huh? Oh, it's just that um, Vegas is having a bit of a problem, and I wanted to make sure you and Grandma were okay at the ranch . . . Yeah, um, listen Linds, I have to go now, but I'll call back in about an hour once I figure out what's going on. You and Grandma stick to the ranch, okay? And, Lindsey; tell Grandma to get out the guns. I'll explain later."
The investigator closed the phone, relieved that her family was safe. "We need to find out if this is a widespread attack or if it's confined to the Vegas area."
Sofia nodded her agreement. "Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing. Once we get to my cabin, we can tune into the national media, and I can make a few phone calls. Thank goodness for satellite."
The remainder of the ride was made in silence as Sara took the opportunity to stretch out across the front seat, laying her head in her lover's lap, exhausted. The brunette slowly relaxed and drifted off to sleep as Sofia lightly ran her fingers through her lover's hair. In the back seat, Catherine leaned on Wendy, placing her head snugly on the brunette's shoulder. The two CSIs slept fitfully while their lovers kept a protective watch.
An hour later, Sofia guided the car up a slight incline, parking at the rear of the cabin. The serene waters of the nearby lake provided a calm backdrop, belying the chaos they'd left behind. Sofia gently called to her lover.
"Sara? Time to wake up. We're here."
Dark eyes opened slowly, looking up into loving blue ones. "Any zombies?"
"Nope. Just me, you, Catherine, and Wendy. Unless they've somehow taken over the local fauna, I'd say we're safe."
A moan sounded from the back seat. "Please tell me we're not going to encounter any demon animals. Zombie Hodges was bad enough."
Wendy reassured her lover. "I don't think animals can be affected. At least, they never were on any of the horror movies I've ever watched."
"Oh, I feel so much better knowing Hollywood has the inside track on the ins and outs of zombie-ism." Catherine sat up, looking out the window at their beautiful surroundings.
"Let's unload the trunk and head inside. We'll be able to find out more once we tune into the news." Sofia reached for the door handle as Sara pulled herself up. The three women followed the detective to the rear of the vehicle, each still clutching their guns tightly.
The trunk popped open at the sound of the beep, and the foursome stood behind the car, looking down into the filled space. Sara's eyes almost popped out of her head as she gazed upon the multitude of items.
"Where did you get all this stuff?"
Sofia reached for a box of ammunition. "I raided the station's supply room. I figured I'd need as much firepower as I could get my hands on."
Wendy lifted up a bag of groceries. "And these?"
Chuckling, Sofia handed her box over to Sara and grabbed for the extra shotguns. "I stopped off at the corner supermarket on my way to the lab. It was completely empty. I guess the creatures weren't interested in any snacks. Well, of the non-human kind anyway."
Sara voiced everyone else's thoughts. "You stole food?"
"No. I went through the self-service checkout. I charged it on my credit card."
Catherine snatched up a twelve pack of beer. "I'd have just taken it. I say it's every man for himself. I'm sure the owner doesn't have any need for money anymore." Grabbing another pack, she added, "I certainly like the way you shop, Curtis. Beer is definitely a necessity."
The other women chuckled and started towards the cabin; three trips later, the trunk was empty. Wendy and Sara took over the chores of unloading the items while Sofia and Catherine tried to find out more about the situation.
The radio was filled with reports about the City of Sin being taken over by zombies, and Sofia's friends at the FBI informed her that the problem seemed to be confined to Las Vegas only. The monsters seemed quite happy in the gambling Mecca, and none had tried to venture outside of the city limits. Of course, they didn't take too kindly to human visitors, so now, the problem became what to do with the new population of the undead.
"Well, I guess Vegas would be the perfect choice for a zombie sect of society. I'm sure it won't be long before they'll be clamoring for voting rights and social security. A zombie candidate for president will more than likely be in the making as well."
Sara placed the opened bottles of beer down on the bar for the others. Sofia snatched up a long neck and motioned towards the deck. "If we're going to be talking politics, let's go get comfortable."
Soon, the foursome was comfortably sitting in lounge chairs facing the waters of the lake. Sara and Sofia shared a chaise lounger while Catherine and Wendy sat side by side in separate chairs, holding hands.
"I wonder if Zombie McKeen is going to be as much of an ass as Undersheriff McKeen?" Sofia tended to Sara's cut, placing a salve around the area to keep infection away.
Sara hissed at the sting of the medicine. "Ow. . . I don't know about McKeen, but I'd imagine Zombie Ecklie will be a real improvement."
"Surely, you don't think the government is going to allow the zombies to um, . . . well, live. I mean, they don't think clearly and their behavior is listless and seemingly rote."
Wendy turned toward her colleagues, interested in hearing their views. Catherine was the first to pipe up her opinion. "You're kidding, right? How is their behavior any different from those in power right now? I'd say the zombies would be a step up."
Sofia chuckled. "Maybe that's what they're afraid of."
"Well, I say we stay here for a couple of days and not worry about anything else. We've earned the right to let others handle the situation. We're in a secluded area, have enough food to last for a month, and, thanks to Sofia, we have enough firepower to keep even the most curious of the creatures away." Sara reached for her lover's hand.
Wendy agreed. "Sounds good to me. Catherine, are you okay with Lindsay being with her grandmother for the next few days?"
"Um, she was supposed to stay until the end of the week anyway, so yeah. We could always go join them when we're ready to leave. We'll still be in seclusion on the ranch; it'll just be on a larger scale."
The four women sat in silence, the decision seemingly final. A gentle breeze swept through the trees and across the water, painting a picture of calmness; a far cry from the chaos that was taking place miles away in the city. Sara's voice broke through the quiet.
"You know, it's weird when you think about it. All our friends are still alive, but they aren't. Do you think that perhaps there's a way to reverse the creature effects?"
Wendy stared out at the water, her thoughts focusing on Sara's question. "Their DNA has been drastically altered. I don't know how it could ever be changed back into its original state."
The realist in Sofia added to the mix. "I wouldn't hold out any hope, Sara. But, if there's a possibility, I'm sure it will be looked into. Right now, we're all exhausted so I think the four of us should try to get some sleep. We can discuss things further after we've rested."
Catherine stood and pulled Wendy up with her. "Sofia's right. Let's go to bed."
The DNA specialist smiled at her lover and tugged on their joined hands. "We'll take the bedroom at the end of the hallway."
Sofia and Sara watched the two lovers walk away, whispering as they stepped into the cabin. Sofia smiled. The other two women had a wonderful idea.
"C'mon, Sara. Let's go lie down."
"I'm not really sleepy, Sofia. I'm still a little keyed up."
"Who said anything about sleeping?"
Sara glanced at her lover, seeing the love and devotion being directed her way. Maybe reaffirming their joy and thankfulness for surviving the mini-apocalypse together was just what they needed. Without another word, the two women stood and headed for the bedroom on the opposite end of the cabin from the others.
The zombie problem had been cast aside for the time being. For now, at least, the surviving lovers focused solely on each other.
Low moans and groans slowly filtered through the deadly silence; however, this time, the sounds weren't coming from the undead, they were coming from the living, and very soon, the reverse would be true. It would be the living who'd be coming.
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