Zak moved slowly until his eyes were able to get used to the dim light. He kept the juggling balls handy and then wondered if it was so dark that the zombies wouldn’t be affected by them. He decided being as sneaky as possible was the best plan of action.
He checked the rooms near where they’d been kept captive, but didn’t find anyone else, human or zombie. He found stairs that led up and stairs that led down into pitch black, but decided to continue deeper into the ship through the long hallway, checking rooms along the way.
The hallway ended in a T intersection, one branch leading left and one leading right. Zak decided to take the left side, which gradually sloped upwards. Carpet had already been installed on that side, so that would help him stay quiet. As he climbed higher in the sloping hall, he realized he could hear a faint drumming sound.
Boom boom boom…
He reached the top of the sloping hallway which leveled out and turned to the right. Peeking around the corner he spotted just an empty corridor, but no zombies. Maybe they didn’t wander around the upper levels. Down the next hall he could see an opening in the wall. Some kind of doorway.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The rhythmic sound was louder now and underneath it he could hear what almost sounded like chanting. But there were no words; it was just kind of a weird moaning sound in time to the beats.
He edged closer to the opening in the hallway and discovered it was a balcony with a railing that overlooked a huge room. This must be where the gaming room at the casino was going to be built, or maybe it would be a dance hall. Two skylights in the roof shone beams of light that lit the room enough for Zak to see what was happening.
Instead of seeing casino equipment when he peeked down over the edge of the railing, he saw zombies below him. Not just dozens of zombies, but hundreds of them, standing around the floor of the great room.
Around the edges of the room 5-gallon buckets and empty oil drums had been turned upside down and zombies were pounding on them in unison. The other zombies were shuffling slowly in place making the weird chanting noise Zak heard earlier. Almost every zombie in the room was facing the far wall, but Zak couldn’t see what they were looking at. All he could see were giant closed double doors. He scanned the room looking for captives being held, trying to find his parents, but kept wondering about the zombies just staring at the doors.
“Are they waiting for something?” he whispered to himself, just as the drumming began to get faster and the chanting got louder. And then the zombies started stomping their feet in time to the drums.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The double doors in the far end of the room flew open and smashed against the walls. A man and a woman were revealed and the crowd of zombies went wild with more moaning and stomping and waving their arms in the air. As the two stepped into the grand hall Zak realized they were zombies by their shambling walk and the chunks of missing skull he could see even from a distance. That must have been what all the zombies were waiting for.
“Are those the boss zombies?” Zak muttered to himself. He hunkered down a little farther to make sure he wouldn’t be seen over the railing of the balcony, but could still keep an eye on the weird scene unfolding on the floor below him.
The two zombies walked out into the room and the crowd parted to make a path. Every few steps a zombie would shuffle up to them and the two would bite his head and then shove him aside while the the crowd moaned their approval.
“They want to get bitten again? What is going on?” Watching the two zombies walk farther into the room, with the rest of the zombies pressing closer to them, Zak started having a funny feeling in the pit of his stomach. “No, that can’t…”
Finally the two zombies arrived in the center of the room where the light was the strongest and Zak got his first good look at them.
He felt as if he’d been punched. He couldn’t catch his breath and there was a roaring sound in his ears. He recognized the zombies because he’d known them his entire life.
Zak finally found his Mom and Dad, but it was too late. They were not only zombies, but somehow they seemed to be the King and the Queen of the zombies army!
It was only when his zombified Mom and Dad pointed directly at him, and every zombie in the room turned to look up, that he realized he was standing in full view, screaming as loud as he could.
The drumming stopped. The chanting stopped. Zak stared in shock as every zombie in the room looked at him and then his Dad made a sharp moan and the zombies started moving. Heading for the doorways, heading for the stairs along one wall.
Heading straight for Zak!