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The Last Days
Monday, 10 October 2005
You must survive! - by Francis Allan M. Barangan
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: The Last Days
Carrie is 9 years old and has been living and hiding with her mama since the outbreak of the living dead. Her papa was a police officer who were assigned to a team that was supposed to stop the living dead from their tracks but instead was slaughtered and eaten alive by the walking corpses. Since then, she and her mama were hiding in the basement underneath their two story house which has been filled with food, water and other supplies to last for at least two weeks. Carrie remembers when the living dead finally reached their streets, she can still hear the breaking of windows and their horrific moans as they enter her home. She can still hear the screams of their neighbors who were caught outside and those who did not get down to the basement in time. But Carrie and her mom is safely locked in the basement and they stayed there for three days until the horde of flesh eaters have moved away.

When they opened the door, her mother almost screamed in shock. In their living room lies the body of Andy, the teenaged son of their neighbor. His face is half eaten and his body has been ripped apart. Andy is now a living dead trying to move towards Carrie and her mom although he doesn't have much left to pose a threat to them. Regaining her wits, her mother smashed Andy's head using the butt of the shotgun that Carrie's dad left her. The resulting blow squashed the zombie's head sending pieces of brain matter across the room.

The scene in the streets are much worse. The once clean street are now littered with chewed up body parts and dried blood from the recent attack. The once noisy neigborhood is now silent. Carrie and her mom are the only living people in their neighborhood.

In the days that followed, Carrie's mom taught her everything her husband taught her to survive in the wild. She thought it best that her daughter should know these things now and to prepare her for a world that is more dangerous than the world she grew up with. Carrie listened and tried to understand everything that her mother is teaching her especially the one thing that her mother says is the most important thing she needs to remember. "Carrie, if I'm bitten and I died. Do not mourn me. Do not stay with me. Leave this house and do everything that I taught you. You must survive."

Everyday, her mother keeps telling her those words and Carrie nodded. But in her young age, Carrie couldn't think of leaving her mother. She thinks that whatever comes their way, she and her mother will still be together. Oh so she thinks.

One day their food and water is running very low. Her mother has been spying the old shopping mall which they could see in the distance. She thinks of the big freezers and the food that might still be stored inside. With their supplies running so low, she makes the determination to go out and raid the shopping mall herself. Carrie wanted to go out with her but she thinks that with her daughter in tow, she could be putting both of them in danger. No, she tells Carrie. Lock the door and stay inside, she tells Carrie and promised she won't be long.

Carrie waited inside the house and tried to stay alert of anything that moves outside. From time to time she creeps to the window to see if her mother has returned. Her mother is gone for a long time now and the sun is starting to set. Carrie starts to worry. Is her mother okay? Why isn't she here yet? Those are the questions that have been coming in and out of the little girl's head.

Suddenly she heard a moan coming from outside. Looking out the window she spotted a group of flesh eating corpses lurching on the street. Carrie begun to get nervous and longed to scream in fear. The corpses stops from time to time to sniff the air. Two of the corpses lurched towards a maggot infested body part in the streets. They licked the badly decayed flesh but realizing it is no longer fit to eat, dropped it and took no more notice of it. The zombies slowly marched passed by her house sniffing the air for the smell of fresh meat. Carrie is curled up in fear when in her surprise she heard the voice of her mother outside the door. She looked outside and saw that it is indeed her mother. She opened the locks and opened the door in which her mother hurriedly went inside as silently as possible along with a big sack. When she's finally inside she hugged Carrie and told her she couldn't come at once because she's avoiding the zombies that just passed by their house. But she told Carrie her mission is a success and showed her the food that she was able to get from the shopping mall's supermarket. Steaks, canned goods, softdrinks and a lot of mineral waters. Tonight her mother told her, they dine like queens.

After a few days, Carrie's mom is again thinking of going out for more food. She told Carrie she won't be long and told her to lock the doors like before. Carrie watched her mother went out cautiously and disappeared. Since this is the second time around, Carrie is no longer afraid of being alone thinking her mother will return before the sun sets. And true enough, her mother returned with another large sack of food.

A few days after that Carrie's mom is looking towards the shopping mall in the distance. She seems to be in deep thought. When Carrie asked her what's the matter she told her, "You know what baby? We could leave this house and go to that shopping mall. The mall is much more secured than this house. See this?" she took out a set of keys from her pockets. "I found this inside. These are the keys in the mall. Maybe we can try to leave inside the mall. There's is still so much food inside."

So Carrie's mom laid plans for them to move in the mall. But first she told Carrie that she needs to go out again for some firearms that is on display in the mall. "If we go out now I will be putting you in danger, so I need an extra firearm to protect us until we reached the mall." So Carrie watched her mother went out again after she told her she won't be long. Though this is the third time, Carrie felt that she should have persuaded her mother not to go. She can't explain the feeling but she felt it is not the right time for her to go.

Five hours have passed and the sun is already set. The streets are dark now. Carrie is now very worried. Her mother is gone for so long now. What could have kept her? She's in that state of thinking when she heard two loud knocks from the door. She peeked outside and saw her mother lying on the ground. She hurriedly opened the door and saw her mother in pain. She crawled inside as fast as possible and told Carrie to lock the door and put extra barricades in the window. A zombie attacked her while she was on her way home. She managed to kill it but not before it bit a chunk of flesh from her leg. She lost a lot of blood on her way home and she told Carrie she might not survive the night. She gave her daughter the keys to the mall and told her the mall is already secured. She gave her daughter .38 handgun and gave her instructions on how to use it. She asked Carrie what she should do? Carrie spoke the words she told her to do if something bad happened to her: "If I'm bitten and I died. Do not mourn me. Do not stay with me. Leave this house and do everything that I taught you. You must survive"

"Good." her mother told her then she drew her last breath and died. Carrie cried and cried but there is nothing she could do now. Her mother is dead and soon she will be a zombie. But she couldn't leave her mother. Not now. How will she live? She can't live without her mother with her. Carrie closed the eyes of her mother, pulled a sheet which has been lying around and put it on top of her. She sobbed for a few minutes then all of a sudden she darts up the stairs went to her bed in her room upstairs and sobbed once more until she fell asleep.

Carrie wakes up with the sun in her eyes. The birds are chirping outside and it looks like it's a good morning. She lie on her back and felt her stomach rumbling. She's hungry. While she's thinking of that she heard someone is already awake downstairs. It's her mother she thinks, maybe fixing up breakfast for her and her papa. She's in that state of mind when clutched a set of keys by her bed which reminds her of what transpired the night before. Fear runs thoughout her body as she realizes the movement downstairs could only be caused by her mother waking up as a flesh eating zombie. Like a flash she heard the words that her mother keeps repeating to her in her head. "If I'm bitten and I died. Do not mourn me. Do not stay with me. Leave this house and do everything that I taught you. You must survive" The words keeps playing and playing again in her head as she hears the lumbering footsteps of her mother coming up the stairs and closing in on her room. She clutched the keys and opened the window. Outside her eyes fixed on the large rope that is hanging from their neighbors roof. She heard the door opened behind her. She heard the hiss of a hungry zombie.

She jumped.

She managed to grab hold of the large rope thus slowing down her descent and making her way to the ground easily. She heard the gurgled hiss and moan of the zombie upstairs who eight hours ago was her mother. She doesn't look back at it but just walked on towards the mall that her mother prepared for her. Her mother taught her everything she needs to learn to survive and she will use it. She promised her mother that much and she won't fail her.

She will survive.

Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 5:39 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005 11:30 PM EDT
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Sunday, 12 June 2005
Supreme - by Francis Allan Barangan
Topic: The Last Days
The cleansing of Metropolis.

A nuclear strike was ordered launched which decimates the entire Metropolitan city into mile long strips of glass. Buildings leveled down and the populace, dead and alive where reduced to ashes by the force and intensity of the blast. Nothing human survived.

12 hours ago, a makeshift fortress stood erect in the center of the city. Government soldiers stand their ground at the onslaught of a very powerful undead. The small group of soldiers under the command of James Bartholomew Olsen, a former reporter who later enlists in the government's dwindling armed force to combat the unstoppable assault of the living dead, tried to ward off the attack until their rescue choppers arrived.

In a few minutes the front walls went down revealing a strongly built undead that appears the one responsible in breaching it. Weapons are ablaze but doesn't harm the creature. Incendiary devices were detonated at each point to stall the creature but to no avail. The creature along with hordes of undead mows through.

At last Olsen came face to face with the creature. However, he recognized the creature as the one person who could've turned the tide of the battle. Superman. The man of steel has succumbed to the death plague and has become an undead himself.

Firing his gun at the man of steel, Olsen was rescued by the choppers and was just in time to see the creature rise up again and got swallowed in the blast that leveled all of Metropolis.

Nothing human survived.

- 0 -

Three years has passed.

James Olsen returned to Metropolis to inspect a military underground facility that a few days ago were transmitting information to the Cave. The Cave is a facility located in a mountain that now functions as the seat of government. The primary goal is to find a cure to the death plague that infects 75 per cent of population in the United States alone. However, the underground facility in Metropolis inexplicably stopped sending vital information to the Cave a few days ago. That prompted the new executive chief to order a military inspection hence the presence of James Olsen and his team of assault marines to the site.

They enter into a large hole in the ground that was built as a massive elevator for choppers in the old days. The soldiers went down in a service ladder one by one until they reach the bottom. At the bottom there is a big logo which James knew stands for the Cadmus Project.

The team discovered that an emergency situation triggered power disruptions all through out the facility and the systems initiated code DEFM-12 which activated defense lasers in every corner of the facility. DEFM-12 is only initiated when an outbreak occurred inside the facility. That would mean an outbreak of undead specimens inside the facility. But that occurred three days ago and the lasers would've cut any ghoul walking in the corridors of Cadmus. But just the same, James motioned his men to be cautious.

A computer hacker named Private Jones were able to hack in Cadmus' mainframe and disable the DEFM-12 code. The lasers are disabled and the soldiers were able to get inside. However, the lights are still out so they use night lenses to amplify their vision. James split the group in three where one group goes to the power chamber to try to get the lights on, the other group to the command chamber to re-configure and reboot the security systems and the last group to the lower level research chamber. James went to the last group.

The first group reached the power chamber where they discover burnt powerlines which is the cause of power failures in some areas of the facility. The second group reached the command chamber and initiates a full reboot of its systems. However the full reboot disables some of the locks in the facility. A moan was heard after the locks were disabled.

James and his group reached the research chamber where they saw specimens lined up one by one and seems to be in the process of dissection. Just then, they heard a THOOOM! from the central chamber. Another THOOOM! was heard and it becomes apparent that something is inside that is causing the sound. James and his men moved closer.

The group from the power chamber is just leaving when something grab a man from behind and ripped out the flesh from his neck. Decaying hands shoots out in the darkness and pulled each man down. Their weapons are not even fired as fresh blood is spilled on the dusty floor.

The group from the command chamber has just succeeded rebooting the systems when to their shock, the faces of at least twenty ghouls are staring at them from the thick fiberglass. The ghouls banged and scratched at the glass trying to get the fresh meat inside.

James points his lights to the door of the chamber and he's shocked to see fist marks appearing on every sound. Without warning the door flew open crashing two of his men. A creature of a man was inside the chamber and it is angry as hell.

Sgt. Wilson is near panic as he reaches his commlink to contact James. The ghouls have surrounded the command chamber and is banging on the glass. Though the glass is made of fiber, it won't stand long with the continous banging of the undead.

Olsen fires his semi-automatic and throws a grenade on the creature. However the weapons have little or no effect as the creature stumbles to get near him. Finally there was cornered and the creature grab him by the neck on one hand. James points his light to the creature's face to blind it but to his shock he recognize the creature as... the man of steel.

But how can that be? He saw the man of steel when he is swallowed and consumed by the nuclear explosion in Metropolis three years ago. Could it be that, even though he is re-animated as a living dead, that he still possesses his vaunted invulnerability? That must be it, James thinks. That's the only way he could've survived the explosion.

And what about the facility? The people in this facility must've found him after the explosion and has been researching him for the last three years. That's why his officers are very concerned over the loss of communication. They are using the man of steel as a guinea pig, a lab rat, but they did not know he retained most of his invulnerability or they have become desperate and reckless in the search of the elusive cure? Whatever their reason, he doesn't have time to ponder because his life is now in peril.

Before the ghoul could crush his neck something happened. The face of anger that is clearly displayed on the face of this ghoul subsided into an innocent, childlike look. The ghoul relaxed his grip and stares at the face of Olsen. Could it be that the man of steel still recognizes his onetime friend and partner? It must be, but James isn't waiting to find that out. He ran away from the man of steel as fast as he can. While on his way up he realizes his commlink is blinking. It is Sgt. Wilson and he has bad news. The walking corpses are on the verge of breaking the glass. He's asking James for instructions. James ordered Wilson to activate the facility's self destruct mechanism. "We're dead men already." James told his man.

Sgt. Wilson immediately summoned the self destruct program and activates it just in time before the living dead succeeded in breaking through the glass. The team let out with full fury slicing the ghouls in half with their bullets. But their semi-automatic weapons are not enough, they were taken down after they each blew their heads off with their hand guns.

A series of explosions emanates from the facility. James knew he must move fast enough to get out of the facility before it comes crashing down. He made it through the corridors but not before wrestling with a few undead. With each explosion the facility weakens. James counted twelve explosions. If memory serves there are thirteen explosions with the thirteenth as the most powerful one, equivalent of a small nuclear bomb. Debris is falling down and most of the walls and the ceiling has fallen down. James reached the elevator ramp and begins climbing up the service ladder.

Just then, something burst through the ground and caught James by the leg. It's the ghoulish man of steel! James tried to free his leg but the man of steel has a firm hold on it. The ghoul seems to be trying to communicate with James but James is not interested in talking with it. He knows the big one is coming, the big explosion is gearing up and he must get out of the facility before it does.

James tried kicking its face with his right boot. The ghoul responded by pulling James down to the floor. But he hit his head hard that he lost consciousness. The ghoul lifts James with both hands and stares at his face. It moans, trying to speak, trying to find the words that he longs to say. And when he finds it, this is what he said:


The big one blew! The underground facility was swallowed by flames and was instantly consumed. The service ramp blew with such force that it seems a volcano has erupted in the middle of nowhere. Debris shoots up 200 feet in the air before settling down. Along with the debris is the ghoulish man of steel landing with such force on the ground that he caused small shockwaves that breaks the mile long glass strip, the result of a previous explosion. The ghoul looked down on his arms and is surprised when he realizes he is no longer holding anything. The blast have disintegrated James body that only the invulnerable body of the man of steel remains. The ghoul hollered loudly that his voice echoed on the mountains of St. Curtis. Then he moans, lowering his body to the ground as if in grief for losing Olsen.

A few hours has passed and the ghoul is moving again, seemingly going somewhere but in reality, nowhere. The world is emptier than ever but the re-animated body of the man of steel endures. He walks on equipped with a very faint memory of what he was. When will he rest? Only time will tell.

Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 10 October 2005 5:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, 2 June 2005
Broken Bat (The Prequel - 2) by Francis Allan Barangan
Topic: The Last Days

20 years have passed.

The world echoes with the moans of the living dead. The streets are littered with skeletal remains of older corpses and their victims while rusting old vehicles jampacked together, stood still amidst the gentle morning breeze. In Keystone city where the JLA waged their last battle, only tattered strips of their clothing remained as reminders that titans did walk on earth. But now they are all gone. Defeated and destroyed by hordes of walking decaying corpses that replaced human beings from the top of the food chain.

Amidst the old cities, there is Gotham. A city known far and wide for maniacal criminals and bats. Its sole protector, the Batman is very much alive after all these years. Though many in the old world believes he is not a man but a spirit of vengeance, in truth, he is just as human as everybody else. Perhaps more human now than before. The Batman is over 55 years old now but is surprisingly still strong and agile in mind and body that for two decades he was able to gather surviving human beings and band them together to form a small community which eventually grew large enough and form a strong resistance to the living dead.

The Batman is very instrumental in their success. Bruce armed them, protected them and lead them to form the community they have now. Fifteen years ago, their community started with sixty people. Now they close to half a million people. A large area of Gotham was slowly rebuilt and barricaded while Bruce and his trainees concentrated on keeping the living dead at bay. The rebuilding was finished after five years and from then on, the people of Gotham enjoyed the level of comfort that other inhabitants outside Gotham never had.

As good as life becomes for these people, they slowly descends into politicking and corruption. Bruce was the head of this group. In the early days he is the government. But as time passes by, he relinquished his position to the younger generations but remained as the head protector for the growing community. But as more years go by, he started to lose his influence on these people especially when he returns from month old missions with survivors from other cities.

The new community council does not agree with Bruce's thinking. They want "New Gotham" exclusive for Gothamites only. At the same time, the new head council thinks that a new head protector is needed. They want a head protector that will not clash with the council's decision and one they will be able to control.

Bruce, as always has inside knowledge of what's going through Jyra, a 23 year old rookie protector. Jyra is the younger sister of John, the child that Bruce saved in the streets of Gotham. Bruce took the two siblings and raised them as his own. However as the years pass by, John started to move away from Bruce. John became involved with politics which leads him to a position in the council at an early age of 17. Bruce does not approve of John's ambitions and they clashed on their ideals more often than never. Not long after, John decided to move out to become a man of his own. After a year John was nominated in the position of head council and eventually won that position. Only Jyra remained with her foster father Bruce.

Since a rift has occurred between John and Bruce, John no longer listens to Bruce's suggestions. Worse Jyra confided to John about Bruce's condition to try to rekindle his brother's lost relationship to his foster father. The effect of the drug that Bruce injected in his system 20 years ago that gave him an advantage in his fight with the living dead is starting to take effect in a different way. He is becoming immortal. But only his body is becoming immortal, his mind will bog down in 10 years and all that will be left is a person with no personality, no memory but alive. Bruce confided to Jyra that he shudders at the idea of becoming immortal and that someday, someone will have to do the job of disposing him since he cannot commit suicide. He told Jyra that he want that person to be John.

John is aghast at the thought that he would have to kill Bruce when the time comes and sorely interpreted Bruce's wish as a direct assault on his being. He told Jyra that he won't succumb to Bruce's wishes and that he will make use of this information to remove Bruce as Head Protector of New Gotham for good.

The council convened later that evening wherein they lambasted Bruce by saying his role as head protector is becoming as much a menace to people as the living dead. They threw many questions to psyche Bruce into resigning, but Bruce slams them down and showed them he is also their master when it comes to psychological attacks. Then John stepped forward and announce the information he knew about Bruce's condition. He goes on for 15 minutes and when John has finished, the council voted unanimously that Bruce resigned his position as head protector. Bruce never said a word but stripped himself of the badge of head protector, gave one slight look at John and walked out of the room alone.

A new head protector was chosen on the next day. Bruce was nowhere. That night, the Batman donned his costume and went out the walls of New Gotham. Hundreds of decaying corpses starts to meet him, but when they sensed the unique pheromone in his body, they move away. The Batman is leaving this time for good.

Jyra told John that Bruce has left. Jyra thought that John will try to go after him, but John just smirked and told her it's for the good of New Gotham that he left. Jyra couldn't take this anymore, she gave her brother a tremendous punch in the face that he fell on his back flat on the floor. Jyra then told him that he wouldn't even be alive today if Bruce hadn't rescued him on the streets. Nobody in the council will reach maturity if Bruce did not make the effort of banding and protecting the survivors many years ago. If this is how he and the council chose to repay the man who gave them a chance, then it is no use serving in this council anymore. Jyra ripped her badge and threw it at John who is dumbfounded at what he has heard.

- 0 -

It's been weeks since Bruce has left New Gotham where is travelling for days sometimes even nights. The drug that he injected in his body has strengthened him to the point where he can travel for miles without eating and drinking. He feels a bit tired but that's just it. But Bruce knows that this surge of strength is only temporary. His heightened strength will fade when his mind does. What will happen to him then? An old man devoid of personality but still alive and probably wandering like what he is doing now.

Just then he heard a scream in the distance. It's a woman's scream. His muscles clenched, his legs spring forward and he is running fast towards the direction of the scream. He found a woman surrounded by five ghouls. The woman is shivering in fear as the ghouls close in on her. But before the walking corpses could take a bite, a strong arm shot out from behind and took two ghouls down. A tremendous kick sent two ghouls breaking their backs on the steel pole. A whirl of the batarang takes care of the last ghoul.

The woman stared at the man dressed in the garb of a bat. Bruce offered his hand to the woman, helped her rise up and told her to take care of herself. The woman told him she's out trying to scrounge something for her children to eat but instead was pursued by the ghouls. Bruce reached something in the bag that he's carrying and offered food for the woman. The woman thanked Bruce heartily for the food where Bruce told her he'll accompany her back to their hiding place. The woman asked his name, to which he replies "I'm Bruce". The woman then told him her name. "I'm Clara"

Back at New Gotham, things are not going well. Ever since Bruce left, the living dead have become more agitated than ever and continously bangs the wall with their fists. The new Head Protector is inexperienced as he is young, sent his troops from time to time into the secret tunnel beneath New Gotham to stage a hit and run attack on the ghouls in an attempt to lessen their numbers. The strategy is dumb, everybody knows it, but the Head Protector has the support of the council so nobody says nothing about it.

John is feeling increasingly bad about how he and the council has treated Bruce. His sister Jyra does not see him anymore and John feels very alone. But as Head Council, John could not allow these emotions to dictate his decisions. In short, he is not ready to admit his mistake. So day after day, the council is giving erratic decisions that are costing lives. The living dead is increasing in number and the walls will not hold for long, not with the ghoul's continous banging.

One day, the Head Protector sent another group to the tunnel. When they opened the tunnel, decaying hands threw out and grabbed the nearest man. The man screamed as he is ripped to pieces by at least five corpses. The protectors opened fire! But their assault is in vain since there are more than twenty walking corpses inside the tunnel. They are quickly taken down and eaten.

Bruce motioned Clara to stay down. They've reached the hiding place of Clara and her children, but what they see filled them with horror. The place is crawling with ghouls. Bruce counts six ghouls, he told Clara to stay down until he returns. Bruce sneaks behind the corpses. The ghouls are kneeling to the ground and seemed to be eating something. As Bruce readies for the kill, he is shocked to see the bloodied hand of a child being chewed by one of the ghouls. This sight filled him with tremendous anger that he charges forward and slams the three ghouls to the ground. Bruce now sees the three mangled bodies of children, two boys and a girl lying in a pool of blood. His eyes turned on the ghouls who is walking back to their meal and oblivious of Bruce's presence. Bruce clenches his teeth and slams the head of one of the ghouls.

The people of New Gotham are now panicking. The ghouls are now inside the walled fortress and killing anybody within reach. The protectors are overwhelmed and have retreated three times already as more ghouls flood in through the tunnel.

The council is in disarray. The head protector is dead and the ghouls are closing in on their location. Many people are now dead. John could not believe what he is seeing. After all these years, it took the dead merely weeks to breach through the tunnels. Somehow the ghouls saw where the protectors are coming in and simply followed them. It could also be that the protectors panicked and neglected to lock the door. Whatever the reason, the ghouls are now inside New Gotham and hope is starting to fade.

Jyra approached her brother and told him to use the batsignal that is hooked to the J910 Satellite that is still circling the earth. John told her the situation is already beyond hope. But Jyra told him, there is still hope as long as you believe. "Call our father", Jyra told him.

Bruce broke the neck of the last ghoul and threw it to the ground. He is emotionally exhausted. Three children, dead. How will he tell their mother. Just then he heard Clara scream. With one thought he darts to Clara's location and found a ghoul sinking its teeth in Clara's neck. Bruce reaches for his batarang and made one mean swing which tore the body in two. The ghoul's upper half dropped to the ground, but the ghoul is still concious. Bruce finishes off by crushing its head with his batarang. He goes to Clara and found her dying. Clara asked Bruce about her children. Bruce whispers, "theyll be okay. You'll see." Clara's eyes closes and she breathes her last.

Just then, the sky lights up with a large batsignal. Bruce's heart throbs fast. He knows something bad has happened. He gently laid Clara to the ground and darts off, running as fast as he can.

Bruce runs without stopping. His body has truly increased its metabolism that he doesn't feel tired after hours of running. He covered hills and forests, running through the high-way packed with rusting cars, the weeks that he spent walking from Gotham, he covered in two days. But what a sight it is when he arrived. New Gotham is crawling with ghouls. Bruce hollered to the wallkeeper, but no one peeked nor answered him. He sneaked to the secret tunnel but is horrified to see it wide open.

Bruce is now inside New Gotham, the place is filled with its residents, dead residents who have come back to life as a ghoul, a living dead. Bruce could hardly walk to the council chamber but he knows he must do it. He must know.

Inside the chamber he is greeted by the council, all reanimated as ghouls. In the far corner he recognized a ghoul that is trying to get up.

It's John.

One of his legs is chewed up badly that only the bones are left. His neck is also missing a large chunk of flesh. Bruce steps back and covered his face. Then to his horror, he saw the remains of Jyra on the floor. Her body is ripped wide open and her head has been severed from her body. The sight is too much for Bruce that he storms out of the chamber, screaming in rage. In the middle of the walled fortress he drops to the ground shaking. The ghouls echoes Bruce's screams but took no more notice. New Gotham is dead.

- 0 -

Twelve years have passed.

Heavy rain is falling. A man in dirty black garb with a cape holding a rusted batarang is walking in the highway. He has been walking this way ever since. If one would look at him you would mistake him for a ghoul. But if you look closer, you will see that he is just an old man who have lost his mind completely. He simply walks on, oblivious of the time, the day and purpose. At the end of the road, a ghoul is also walking towards Bruce. The ghoul is very dirty but strongly built and his clothes are almost gone save for a very dirty patch that is partly sticking in his chest. There were bullet wounds in many parts of his body and he seemed to have been burned somehow. The ghoul noticed Bruce and walked towards him with his arm outstretched. However, the ghoul paused for a moment as if seeing a familiar someone. Bruce walks by, bumping the ghoul which tore down the patch that is sticking in its chest but still oblivious of the presence of this ghoul. The ghoul let out a moan as if to call Bruce's attention but Bruce did not respond and continued to walk. The ghoul turned his back on Bruce and walked on the opposite side of the road. The torn patch glides slowly down to the ground where the rain slowly cleansed it, revealing a red letter over a faded yellow background.

It's a letter 'S'.

Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 1:29 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 10 June 2005 6:59 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 31 May 2005
Broken Bat (The Prequel)
Topic: The Last Days
Chaos rules Gotham.

The Batman is caught off-guard by the appearance of walking rotting corpses. The citizens of Gotham city became victims one by one to the living dead while the Batman tries to stem the violence and gore that is happening in his city. The Batman throws everything he has to try to save the people of Gotham but the living dead is unstoppable. Worse, their victims soon rises up and join their ranks which makes it very hard for the Batman and Gotham's police force to keep up. Realizing he is outnumbered the Batman retreats to the Batcave to try to find a solution to this problem. On the way there, he talked with Commissioner Gordon where Jim informed him that half of the city's police force have been taken down by the living dead. The Batman then called Robin and instructed the Boy Wonder to take extreme caution in dealing with these creatures. He also alerted the Justice League and is surprised to hear from J'onn that this event is worldwide.

Donning his civilian identity, Bruce Wayne contacted his top research scientist, Dr. Ellen Bowle and get her to work in finding out the cause of this problem. Bruce learned that Wayne Laboratories was attacked by the living dead early on which gave him the impression that his own research facilities might be conducting experiments without his knowledge. At the same time he has been suspicious of some of Dr. Bowle's activities for quite some time. After giving instructions, Bruce transforms into the Dark Knight and heads off to Wayne Laboratories.

He found Wayne Laboratories littered with dead bodies but no living dead in sight. The Batman enter through a secret passage and went down the level where Dr. Bowle's and the rest of the scientists are having a discussion. The Batman listens for information of treachery, but it seems his scientists are also at a lost. After a few minutes, Bruce is convinced that his scientists did not cause this event. While working his way up he received a horrific message from Tim. Hordes of the living dead have just attacked Gotham's police station and annihilated the whole police force including Commissioner Jim Gordon. The Batman instructed Tim to stay away from the creatures and wait for him to come.

Bruce now realizes the situation has stretched beyond his control. He activates his communicator and sent a distress call to his superpowered allies. But for some reason, his call was not answered. Curious and fearing for the worst, he returned to the Batcave and retrieved a shiny circular device. The device is a standard justice league teleporter which Bruce now uses to teleport himself to the Justice League watch tower. However upon arriving, the Batman realizes nobody is there. He moved to the controls to activate the monitor and is shocked to learn the fate of his comrades. Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, Supergirl, Superboy, Flash... all eaten by the living dead.

As impossible as it may seem, the living dead were able to defeat the world's most powerful metahumans. How they did it defies explanation. But where is Superman? Where is Captain Marvel? He hasten to activate the Justice League locator to determine the location of the two supermen.

The device locates Superman's position in his Fortress of Solitude. Captain Marvel is nowhere. Bruce wonders why Superman is in the north pole when the whole world is in chaos. It doesn't add up, Bruce thinks. Something may have happened to Superman or he would've been fighting alongside his team mates. Suddenly his emergency communicator lights up. Someone is calling him.

It's Tim, Robin.

Bruce picks up the communicator where Robin informed him that the living dead has massacred 90% of Gotham's population, and those victims have already risen up to join the living dead. This happened in only 10 hours. Bruce uses the JLA communications array to call Dr. Bowle to update him of her progress. Ellen, informed him that they've dissected one of the corpse and discovered substantial information about the living dead. But the signal between them is deteriorating that Bruce tells her to continue her research and that he will join her shortly.

Teleporting to the Batcave, Tim called again. This time there's panic in his voice and the moans of the living dead are heard from the background. Before Bruce can respond, communication has been severed. The Batman struggles to establish the link but nothing happened. The communicator must have been dropped and damaged. He hopes that Tim managed to escape his predicament.

Dr. Bowle is surprised when the Batman appeared in their laboratory telling her to update him of the information she has discovered. Before she can react, the Batman removed his mask and revealed to the people in the room that the Batman is no other than their boss, Bruce Wayne. Bruce told them it's no use hiding behind the mask anymore and they need to work together if the world is to have a chance. Dr. Bowle showed Bruce what they discovered. A unknown virus has inhabited the bodies of these people which mutates their DNA. The mutation kills the person but is later revived when the mutation is complete. The reanimated person becomes a living dead which slows decomposition, loses its own personality and is driven only by a primal instinct to feed. Dr. Bowle goes on by saying the living dead is also quite capable of killing metahumans. She found properties in its saliva which could neutralize the shielding properties of a metahuman. A skin sample from superpowered metahumans such as the Martian Manhunter became vulnerable when applied with infected saliva. Bruce told her the fate of the justice league and that only him, Robin and Nightwing are the only members who are still active, though he is not so sure about Nightwing's whereabouts. Dr. Bowle showed her another revelation. The virus has Kryptonian properties.

Just then a menacing laugh was heard on the next room where the rest of the scientists were working on the specimens, then followed by gunshots. Bruce donned the mask then kicked the door open and found the Joker holding a smoking gun.

The scientists are dead.

The Joker aimed the gun at the Batman and tells him how marvelous it is that the world is ending just the same as the Batman. Then the Joker shot at the Batman. The Batman whirls in the air avoiding the bullets that the Joker has just dispatched. Upon landing the Batman threw a batarang, disabling the Joker's hand and dropping his gun. Batman followed with a tremendous combination of punches and kicks which ends with the Joker falling on one of the specimens that are tied up in the examination table. Before the Joker could get up, the corpse opened up its eyes and bit a large chunk of flesh from the Joker's arm. Blood spurted out as the Joker struggles to move away from the corpse all the while cursing it. When he turned his attention to the Batman, he found Bruce holding a large batarang aimed at his throat. The Joker laughs and tells him, he doesn't have the balls to do it. If he has, he would've done it long ago. The Batman responded that this time it is different. You are infected, the Batman tells him then he hurls his batarang. In a second, the Joker's body is slumped to the ground, decapitated.

Bruce turned towards the other room and is surprised when he saw Dr. Bowle on the floor, bleeding. The doctor was hit by a stray bullet that went through her chest. She is dying. However, Ellen clutched Bruce's cape and tells him a bit of a good news. The scientists has discovered something from the walking corpses. The living dead is attracted by the smell of living people but the living dead do not attack each other because they emit a pheromone that only they can detect. That pheromone has been contained by Dr. Ellen in the lab. If it can be replicated, it could be used as a deterrent or a weapon. She urged Bruce to continue the research, then she closed her eyes and died.

Bruce slumped to the floor. So much has happened in the last 12 hours. These walking corpses has taken everything the Batman has worked for all these years and for a moment, the Batman felt helpless and very alone. But Bruce knows he cannot allow these emotions to drag him down. There is a lot of work to do. So the Batman set down on it.

6 months have passed.

Gotham City is a dead city. Decaying corpses walked the shabby streets. Dried blood from earlier victims painted the sidewalks. From the corner of a dark street, a child around 9 years old have strayed away from his hiding place. The child is thin and malnourished due to lack of food and water. His eyes are fixed on the old grocery store at the other end of the street. He has been there before, got most of the things he needed, but hunger pains made him come back and see if there is any food left to scrounge up. The corpses are walking very slowly today and are paced a bit farther apart. He thinks he can make it to the other end before they could give chase. So he bent his knee, gathered his remaining energy... then off he goes!

He streaked past the corpses and zigzagged beween four corpses who starts to give chase. He would've make it if he hadn't slipped and fell down hard on his face. By this time, scores of living dead have surrounded him and there is no way out. No hope for him unless...

A black metallic thing boomerangs in the air and decapitates three corpses. Then a shadowy figure with a large cape descended from above and began beating the hell out of these corpses. The Batman has finally returned to the streets. The corpses should be seeing a big batty lunch, but they don't seem to be interested in Bruce. Instead, most of them are going away from him.

It worked! Bruce thought. He has improved the pheromone that Dr. Bowle extracted from the specimens and injected it to his body. The good doctor was right. The pheromone could be used as a deterrent or a weapon. Unfortunately, he has used the last of Wayne Lab's resources for this one. No way he can make another.

He got the kid back to his hiding place. It's an underground basement where 20 people have called it home. Bruce thinks, there might be others like them in other parts of the city. So it became a mission now for the Batman to find survivors of the undead plague and help them as much as he can. The pheromone that he injected in his body will stay with him as long as he lives and that is a big advantage in fighting the living dead.

In Gotham city, there are a million walking corpses. But there is also a Batman to protect those who survived, no matter how great the odds.

Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 1:29 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 3 October 2005 5:45 AM EDT
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Monday, 21 February 2005
Capital Punishment - by Francis Allan M. Barangan
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: The Last Days
"Shut up, you bitch!"

The foul words emanates from the mouth of a sadistic man who's pointing a knife towards the throat of a young woman. The woman, aged 19 or 20 is seated on a chair with her hands tied behind her back tries unsuccessfully to hold back her cries while the man proceeded in ripping off her clothes. The man, whose age is around 34 to 36, smacked his lips when he saw the woman's exposed glory. His left hand, shaking in delight touches the woman's breast, caressing it at first, then grabbing it hard which made the woman squeal in pain.

Irritated, he grabbed the woman's face, and pulled it towards him. "You better learn to cooperate you bitch or you'll end up rotting under my floor."

`Please..." the woman pleads. "Please don't hurt me..."

"Oh I'll hurt you babe." the man said, his eyes already red in lust. "I'll hurt you so much you better wish you were dead!"

"What... What did I do to you? Why are you doing this to me?"

Without warning, the man's fist slammed the woman's face that she fell back face first on the floor. The blow resulted in the woman coughing out blood. The man grabbed her hair and pulled her bleeding face close to his legs while he struggled to unzip his pants. When he got it done, he took out his meat and wiggled it close to the woman's face. Breathing heavily and obviously delirious in lust, the man squeezed her mouth open.

"Suck this piece of meat you bitch!" the man commanded. The woman still in pain could barely open her mouth, which irritated the man even more. He slapped her face again then he repeated his command to the woman.

"I said suck it bitch!"

The woman opened her mouth in obedience. Blood mixed with saliva filled the woman's mouth as she struggled in fear to obey the man's demand. Instead of getting turned off by this, the man is filled with overwhelming lust as the woman lips touches the head of his meat.

"Ohhh! You don't know how it is bitch. You don't know..." the man said while gyrating his hips. "Bitches like you. Beautiful bitches like you brings only pain and suffering to a man's loving heart. You think you're so perfect, that you do not care what men feel, what I feel!" Then he grabbed the woman's hair and twists it so she is facing upward to him. "You don't know the pain I've suffered! Loving someone, only to end up being fooled! Fooled by women like you!"

The man relaxes his grip for a moment, and then tears flow from his eyes. "They all laughed at me, all of them. I thought I would be happy. Sharing and living a life with someone I love, start a family, see my children grow, grow old and be content. Be content..."

"But bitches like you don't know what love is. So I take matters into my own hand. If I can't have her, nobody can! I own her and nobody is taking her away from me!" Hatred filled his heart once more and he gripped the woman's face pushing his meat deep down her throat.

"You won't do what she'd done to me! Not to me or anybody! I'll kill you! I'll kill you!" then he pushed his meat deeper in her mouth. The woman struggled and gasped for air, but he holds her in a vise.

"Didn't I tell you I'd hurt you? Didn't I?" he screamed while she struggled. Blood flows out of her mouth, in a matter of seconds it was over. Her body goes limp and life is swept away from her.

Breathing heavily, he relaxes his grip. Then he pulled out his meat from the woman's mouth. He sat beside her while he catches his breath.

"You won't do what she'd done to me."

The man stood up and picked up his pants and left the room for the kitchen. In the kitchen he grabbed a can of beer, turned on the radio and sat on the chair with his legs up on the table. The station is broadcasting traditional music, which relaxes him as he drinks his beer. Another gulp of beer and he felt his eyes getting heavier. Feeling sleepy already, he drank the last drop, stretched his arms before finally closing his eyes. Unfortunately for him, he is already asleep when the station that he's listening to interrupted the usual program to bring up disturbing news.

Hours have already passed when he woke up. He realizes it's already dark outside. Then he remembered the body of his latest victim, which he left lying in his room. Partly blaming himself for not taking care of the body sooner, he grabbed an empty sack from the kitchen and proceeded to his room to take care of the body. However when he opened the room, the body is no longer there!

Thinking the woman is still alive; he cursed himself for being so stupid. He stormed down the stairs opened a hidden cabinet downstairs where he retrieved a Colt .45. Thinking this will finish the job once and for all; he grabbed a flashlight and went out the house to look for the woman.

The place is already very dark outside. He flicked his flashlight and pointed the light on the trees to see if she is hiding there. The house is built within a forest, which makes it easy for him to do his crimes here. No people to worry catching him here, he has killed over 12 women for the past six months, hiding their bodies under the floor of his house. All women have been listed as missing but with no witnesses to the crime, the police have no clue where to start.

He moved through the trees and bushes hoping to catch up with her. After a few kilometers from the house, he heard sounds, which made his hair stand up on its end. The sound appeared to be moans not of animals, but of people, and not just two or three but groups of people scattered all around the forest.

For the first time he felt afraid of the forest. Even though he holds a gun in his right hand, he felt vulnerable being the only living person in a dark forest, coupled with unearthly moans that seem getting nearer. He slowly backed away and resolved to go back to the safety of his home. If she is out there, she's very weak, so she might not survive the night after all.

However when he turned around, the form of a decaying man greets him with open arms that he suddenly backed off in fear. The thing gurgled as if to say something to him then lurched slowly towards his direction. He pointed the gun to the thing to stop it from coming nearer.

"Back away fucker! Back away!" he screamed. But before he could squeeze the trigger, another one, a woman this time grabbed him from behind and took a bite out of his shoulder. He screamed in pain and struggled to get the woman off him. He elbowed the woman on the chest sending her head over heels to the ground. Then he pointed the gun at her but before he could squeeze the trigger, the man who he forgets is still lurching forward, grabbed his arm and took a big bite.

"Ahhhh!! Fuck!!" he screamed, then uses his elbow to knock the man down. He fired the gun one, two and three at the body to make sure it is dead. However it didn't twitch and die in pain as he thought it would. It faces him with blank white eyes while chewing a piece of his flesh. Realizing this is no ordinary adversary; he struggled to return back to the house. But pain from his wounds are slowing him down, at the same time he is losing a lot of blood. The people he encountered took a lot of meat from his shoulder and left arm that he's starting to feel nauseous from loss of blood. But he strove on. Determined to reach the safety of his home.

An arm shot up from the bushes, which tripped him that he fell down face first on the ground. Then he felt a striking pain on his right calf. Another decaying creature has its teeth sunk in his calf and is tearing his flesh apart. He screamed while trying to grab the gun, which fell on his side when he tripped. Grabbing the gun, he focused on pointing the gun on the head. He fired, and the creature fell flat on its back.

"What are you?!" he shouted in pain then he struggled to lift himself from the ground. The sounds of moans are closer than before. He grabbed his flashlight, which fell by his side and flicked it open. To his horror, he saw groups of zombies lurching slowly towards his direction. The sight is enough to get his adrenaline pumping that he limped his way as fast as he could, passing through rocks and small waterways. He encountered some of these monsters along the way, which he was able to neutralize by firing on their heads.

At long last, he was able to see the lights coming from the house. He gasped the sound of delight upon seeing the end of his goal. Upon entering the front door, he shut it locked. Then he limped towards the kitchen and locked the backdoor. Sure that the place is locked up, he permits himself a smile as he proceeded to his room to clean his wounds. But before he can do that, a figure lurches towards him in the shadows. He flicked the flashlight on its direction and saw the young woman who he raped and killed a moment ago standing there with her arms outstretched. He screamed in fear upon the sight of the woman, and then he pulled out his gun and fired at her.

"Fucking bitch! Die! Die!" but maybe because he has lost a lot of blood, his aim falters and he failed to shoot the head. But he kept on firing the gun, hitting the woman on the chest, stomach and arms, until he has exhausted all his bullets without touching her head. The woman hissed and slowly lurched towards him. She no longer displays fear like she did before he killed her. All that's left now is the hunger towards the man who violated her.

The man who used to inflict fear on his victims is now experiencing the other way around. He tried to plead with her. Telling her he's sorry that what he has done to her was a mistake. But the woman no longer cares anymore. She is now beyond reason. Only one thing would satisfy her now, and that is his flesh. The man whimpered as he limped back. The zombie's hands are only a few feet a way. He can feel the cold fingers trying to touch him. The breath of death, trying to choke him.

But suddenly the floor rattled and started to break away! The zombie, which is only a few feet away, stopped for a moment and gazed at the wood that is breaking down from below. The man mumbled in fear "Oh no... God help me..."

He knows what it is.

Molded hands shot up from the wooden floor. Out came the man's earlier victims, heavily decayed but not enough to keep them trapped below. They refused to lie still while the others have risen up, and this night, this special night, they would take revenge on the man who took away their lives. What a delight it is to see him shivering in fear for what will happen next. Thirteen walking corpses surrounded him. The house is now a courtroom, this is judgment day, and they are the jurors.

They've made their decision. Capital punishment. Tonight, for the first time in six months, they will feast.


Posted by Francis Allan M. Barangan at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 February 2005 10:18 PM EST
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