“Are you alright?”
It wasn’t quite a question one expected a flesh-eating monster to ask. Sylvia nodded but took a step back from the zombie despite his gentlemanly concern.
“I don’t suppose you have any spells to reverse this?” He pointed towards himself and looked down at a gaping hole on the right side of his jacket. The hole itself was outlined by a mass of dried blood and there was little doubt the poor man’s demise resulted from the wound underneath.
Sylvia shook her head. “Sorry. To be honest, I’m not even sure how the spell I just used managed to do anything.”
“Ah, well.” The zombie shrugged, letting his arms fall against his sides. “Considering my present condition, I believe I’ve had my fill of spells and magic anyhow.”
“Sylvia, stand back!” V’s voice boomed with heroic, albeit delayed, exuberance as he lunged a sword through the zombie’s left shoulder. The man made a slow revolve to face the vampire.
“I’ve had my fill of sword attacks also, thank you!” His voice had a level of annoyance Sylvia was more accustomed to hearing from her parents when she or her siblings acted foolishly. “And it’s quite fortunate for your friend she was in less danger by the time you decided to rescue her.”
“We had your friends to deal with,” argued Bastiick, walking up to join them. “And Vandalarius, that wouldn’t have worked anyway you have to chop the head off a zombie, remember? Stand back, I’ll take care of this one.”
“Stop Bastiick, no one’s chopping his head off!” Sylvia wretched V’s sword free by the handle. As she stood gawking at the filth crusted blade and noticed the zombie now returning his aggravated stare to her, she wondered just how helpful her action had been. “Sorry.”
He glanced down at the new hole in his body and garment, lifting the torn fragments of the jacket to take a brief peek inside. “It’s fine. I suppose that’s a minor inconvenience at this point. So-” he motioned toward the other two men, “-you’re Bastiick, you’re some V-named fellow I can’t pronounce, and you?” he waved the hand in Sylvia’s direction expectantly.
“I’m Sylvia.” She patted the lump of fur that jumped down from the tree to her shoulder. “And this is Obmuj.”
“You have a pet monkey?” The zombie squinted at the shivering animal that would have likely served as an appetizer just a moment ago. “How strange.”
“No stranger I think than zombies and vampires.” Sylvia gave him a nod. “And what might your name be?”
“Seth. And I am, was, in the business of selling items for a blacksmith friend of mine.” He looked down at his first wound. “It appears someone decided to turn some of that merchandise against me, however.”
“Well, dead or not, it’s probably safer for you to travel with others.” Sylvia ignored the fervent shaking heads from V and Bastiick as she continued. “You can travel with us if you like. We’re headed for the East Desert where my uncle lives.”
“East Desert?” Seth winced his face as though he’d suddenly gained the ability to smell again and caught a whiff of himself. “I’m not sure that I’ll accompany you all the way there but I’m actually from a small town in that direction. Before anyone chops my head off, I think I’d like to make it home one last time.”
“Well, we can’t leave just yet, Deigen’s still gone,” V reminded them, searching the road behind them. “Sylvia, that mule of yours must have given him quite a run. Our horses at least stayed put for the most part.”
Bastiick glanced at the overturned wagon laying on the other side of their path. “Speaking of horses and mules, Seth, where’s the ones that used to pull that broken down pile of wood? They couldn’t have just run off.”
“Ah, the horses.” Seth turned his entire body to face the wagon, turning just his head apparently no longer an option. His eyes lowered to a mound of bones and unidentifiable gore loosely hanging off the torn reins. “They were delicious.”