He body-checked me into the bar. The same one my motorcycle was hidden behind. The hit threatened to knock the wind out of my lungs, and that would have been the death of me.
Hardened, thickened, and elongated, zombie fingernails ripped into my bare back. He wasn’t about to let go of me unless I cut his hands off. I reserved that as an option, but it quickly went out the window when he lifted me off the ground and threw me at the chair I’d been sitting in.
Allow me to state that whoever built that chair, did it for longevity. Under that decaying fabric was a solid frame, because the chair tipped over when I hit it, but didn’t shatter. My ribs took a lot of the impact, and probably a few of them cracked.
I say “probably” because I could still move, and use my arm. It hurt like merry hell, though. The gods were kind, because in all the mess, I never lost my grip on the sword. I wouldn’t stand a chance, unarmed, against one of them.
When I lifted my head off the musty, damp, carpet, I saw him warily approaching me. My little show, dispatching two of his cronies (with their assistance), made him reevaluate me as an opponent. At least I like to think it did.
It took me a minute to get to my knees. He actually waited.
“Did that bitch send you to kill him?”
“What?” I asked.
“Louise. Did she send you?”
It was a classic Catch-22. If I told them, I would probably have a dead client in short order. No client: no reward.
“Who the fuck is that?” I tried to sound convincing.
“You expect me to believe that you ride around just looking for people to kill? I might be back from the dead, but I’m not a fucking idiot!”
“Asshole, you’re not ‘people’ anymore! You were dead. You came back, and now you eat people to stay alive. You’re a goddamned zombie!” I yelled back at him, hoping that being angry would make him leave the issue of my client alone.
“I think. I eat. I breathe. I shit. I’m still a person, and you are a murdering little fucker who needs to die.” He cracked his knuckles. “I don’t care if it was that cunt, Louise, who sent you. I’m going to shred you like cabbage!”
I got to my knees, sword extended parallel to my body. He was going to rush me again, and from that position I had a few choices of how to deal with his attack.
Aikido first. Sword second. Not that there is a whole lot of difference when you boil it down. Aikido is derived from Kenjitsu—combat swordwork—and the katas for suwari waza (kneeling position) look much the same in both disciplines.
He had two choices with me kneeling: come in really low to grapple, or just kite in and break my neck. I couldn’t remotely predict which one it would be, but I saw his eyelid twitch, and I couldn’t afford the luxury of thinking anymore.
The only way anyone can beat a faster opponent is by moving at virtually the same time they move. In an ideal world, you want to move right before they make the decision to attack. This is harder to do with the undead, or reliving, or whatever you want to call them, because they’re just that much faster…unless your offending zombie is being a drama queen.
Please understand. I love it when a zombie tries to sell the drama. It has saved my life on more than one occasion. It kept me alive that day.
I lifted my leg and turned on the point of my other knee, right into his attack. My blade came up, and I used the momentum of my turn to power the strike.
The point tagged his collarbone, and continued downward as he ran up against the edge. He toppled over my arms and my knee, a boneless weight, and spilled his organs on the rug.
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