Achilles vs the Zombie Apocalypse

This past Sunday (07/07/2013) Columbia, MO experienced a power outage during the early morning hours–from around 6:00 am until about 7:30 am. My church wasn’t able to fully run through the worship set all week because of the holiday. That continued that morning. But what really happened during that hour to hour-and-a-half? What really went down? The following is the fictionally true account of how I restored power to the city. Tales of a Ginger presents:

Achilles vs. the Zombie Apocalypse

It was an ordinary Sunday morning in July. He had been at a friend’s house playing some old PlayStation 2 and Nintendo Wii the night before. Reid tiredly arose to the sounds of the resurrection of Thor from the Marvel film’s soundtrack. He had an hour to get ready and get to church. He was excited and upbeat, serving in a new place on the tech/media team.

He showered but didn’t shave. A couple days earlier Reid cut his head shaving and wanted time to heal. It was a deep cut with a dull blade. Got dressed–shorts and a polo. Reid was a handsome man, a redheaded god amongst mere mortals. If he still had his red hair it  would be like blaze of auburn glory. He was a cross between Achilles and Dom Draper. So great was his appearance, attitude, and general disposition, that legendary anchorman Ron Burghandy–who makes wolverines purr and Frank Sinatra look like a hobo–is too ashamed of himself to be seen in Reid’s presence.

Reid put his wallet in his back pocket, keys and iPhone in his front pockets. He grabbed his iPad and then walked outside, locking the door behind him. He walked to his car, got in, started it up and left his apartment complex.

He drove down Broadway and turned left onto College Ave. As he drove down College, past the University of Missouri and its hospital, he noticed that none of the stoplights were working. The light to turn onto College worked, but none after that. The stoplight to cross Stadium worked, but as he neared his church he noticed that was the only one. He could sense some  foul evil was afoot.

He pulled into the parking lot and parked his car. As he walked up to the door to go inside he overheard people talking about the power being out.

“So when did the power go out?” said one person.

“What are we going to do about the 8:00 am service?” said another.

A third person said, “Have we called someone in charge?”

Reid looked inside and saw that the church was pitch-black. No power.

Inside there was an eerie calm about the people. But Reid couldn’t shake the feeling that something sinister was lurking nearby. He walked into the broadcast room where the band and members of the tech/media team were waiting. Pleasantries were exchanged. Casual conversation about the lack of electricity continued.

One of the guitarists looked to Reid, a joking smile upon his face, said, “Dude, do you think this is the zombie apocalypse?”

And immediately Reid knew what was that feeling in the back of his neck, that nagging feeling that he couldn’t shake. The dead were rising and this power outage was somehow connected to it. He looked at his phone, the time was 7:05 am. He knew what he had to do. Reid rose from his chair, grabbed his iPad and turned towards the exit, determined to set this right.

He got back into his car and drove out of the parking lot. He looked to his phone and said, “Hermes, where is this evil that I may vanquish it?”

“Searching…” replied Hermes. “Found it. Setting route for you now.”

Reid floored the gas pedal of his car. The stoplights were still out. So he blared his horn and flashed his lights to make sure other cars were allowing him to pass through the intersections. His heart-rate accelerated, his breath became shortened. Another feeling began to well up deep within him: anger. Earlier in the week he had missed the rehearsal for the worship set because no one informed him that it had been moved to a new time. Now, the rehearsal for the morning is ruined. And he has to do a new job without any time to prep. It pissed him off.

He arrived at the power plant. He parked his car and got out. He grabbed his phone and stared at it. He unlocked the phone and found the app on the screen. It was a picture of a shield that was ornately decorated. He pressed the icon.

Then out of nowhere the wind picked up and swirled around Reid. Clouds quickly gathered overhead. The wind swirling around Reid picked up in intensity as the clouds above blackened into a storm. Beneath him flames began to erupt and consume Reid. Suddenly his was caught up in a vortex of flame and wind rising up to the storm clouds.

In Reid’s place was another man. He stood, built like NFL linebacker Patrick Willis or Ray Lewis. He stood clad in the armor of the Myrmidons. His chest-armor encases his abdomen in a protective shell. Grieves cover his forearms. His head is covered by a helmet.  On his left arm was his shield, ornately decorated with contrasting images of life. Attached to the inside of his shield was a small sword. In his right hand he held a spear. The top had a curved leaf-shape the came to a razor-sharp point. At the bottom of the spear was a large, solid ball the functioned as a blunt instrument and counter-balance.

Reid was gone. Risen from beyond the River Styx in his place was the greatest warrior in the history of warfare, Achilles. King of the Myrmidons, killer of Hector of Troy. And he has appeared now to fight this evil.

Achilles opened the door and slowly entered the plant. He didn’t know the layout of this building and didn’t know where to look.

“Hermes, I don’t know what I’m looking for. I need direction,” he called out.

“Follow the main hallway in front of you to the end. Then turn left. The main control room to restore power is at the end,” came the reply.

Achilles moved down the hallway at a determined pace. He needed to stop this madness before it got out of hand. As he moved down the hall he glanced into one of the offices. Inside he saw someone standing there, swaying side-to-side. His skin was pale, dark veins could be seen seeping through the skin. Achilles stopped and lingered. The man occasionally snapped his mouth, as if he was trying to bite something. His eyes sent a chill up Achilles’ spine, pale and void.

Achilles opened the door and said, “Sir, are you well?”

The man did nothing. No reaction at all. This puzzled Achilles. Why wouldn’t he move? Had his worst fears truly come to life?

He approached the man, cautiously, to make sure he was fine. He poked the man, gently, with his spear. Still no reaction. Achilles was getting irritated by this man. He was lifeless, mindless. Merely a physical lump of matter and mass, nothing more.

Achilles poked him again. “Sir, are you well?” he said again, his voice raised.

Once more he poked the man and asked, nearly yelling at him, “Answer me!

This got a reaction. The man looked at Achilles in the eye with a stare so lifeless he could feel death taking a hold of his soul. It grabbed the spear and began to snap at Achilles. Then it let out the shriek of the damned that echoed down the halls. This shriek was met with more shrieks and the sounds of shuffling bodies.

Achilles tried to reclaim his spear by shaking the man off. But it wouldn’t let go. He shook harder with the same result. Outside the office he heard more shuffling, getting louder and louder. Achilles began to feel desperation set in. He needed to get out of this office before he gets trapped.

He pulled the spear in close, dragging the man with him. Then with a deadly blow he kicked the man off the spear. But the man did not stay down. He got back up, slowly, shrieking. Achilles impaled the man with his spear in the abdomen. Again the man did not die. Immediately Achilles pulled the spear out and spun it around in a helicopter-like motion, striking the man in the head with the rounded blunt end of the weapon. Only then did the man fall to the ground, resting in the grasp of death.

Achilles knew what was going on. He stepped out of the office and into the hallway. To his right, crowding the hall, were men and women dressed in suits or coveralls. They all shared that same disposition as the man in the office. Their skin was pale, dark veins near the surface of the skin, eyes pale and void and lifeless.

Achilles sighed, “Zombies. I hate zombies, Hermes. I hate the movies. Why did it have to be zombies?”

Rage surged through Achilles’ body. He stepped towards the zombie hoard, spear held overhead ready for a killing blow. With each step his pace quickened. Battle called to him as someone calling a lover. The hoard surged to meet his advance. With each blow his rage built like volcano ready to eruption. His spear was his lover’s hand, his shield her bosom.

He let go of his conscious self and completely gave himself over to the rage, his lover’s embrace. His body gracefully moved through the hallway. His spear twirled in the air landing blow upon blow upon the zombies. His shield became more than an instrument of defense. It became a second weapon, clearing out swaths of zombies. It was almost an out-of-body experience, as if he could see himself in his dance through the hoard.

It brought back memories of the ancient wars. Entire armies fell by his sword and spear. He remembered his glorious battles on the shores of Troy. He remembered the death of Hector by his hands. Achilles was home again.

He tore through the hallway in mere minutes. He turned left at the end to find more of the hoard. It was as if they were protecting the last door of the hallway. The control room was the end of the hall. It was a single door with a small porthole to see in and out of the room. His objective was in sight, his mission is is nearly complete. Rest is near.

He began his helicopter motion with his spear and stepped into the next hall only to have the spear stab the wall. A look of shock seized Achilles’ face. It was too long. It was useless. This wouldn’t pose a problem normally as he would switch to his sword. But the sword is only two feet in length from tip to the base of the hilt. It draws the zombies in closer, making him easier to bite. But he could not let that stop him. He could not fail here. The world of mortals could not fall on his account.

The spear being too big to use only fueled his rage. He let out a battle cry as he raced down the hall. He flung himself at the oncoming mass of undead flesh. Again he stepped out of himself, letting his body do what it was trained to do. His sword moved with grace and precision. His shield powered its way through the hoard.

He fought his way to the door. He turned his back to the door, replacing his sword in the slot in the shield. He used the shield to hold what was left of the zombies at bay while he reached around behind him and opened the door. In one smooth motion he spun around the door and powered it shut. He used his shield to wedge it shut. He stepped back and caught his breath.

Out of nowhere he felt a bit on his shoulder. He heard the zombie shriek in, what sounded like, delight. He punched the zombie in the face, breaking her hold. She backed up and took stock of herself. Achilles looked at his shoulder. The bite mark was on the armor, didn’t break the surface. He looked up at her and smiled. She missed. And now she was done.

The two opposing forces charged at each other. He grabbed by the throat, picked her up and choke-slammed her to the ground. Her head bounced like basketball and then she went limp.

Achilles stood up looked at the control panel. All he saw was knobs and dials and buttons. The screens were static, no information. He didn’t know what to do.

“Hermes, a little help here,” he said as he walked over to the control station.

“I’m not a computer person, I’m the messenger god. Get the iPad,” came the reply.

“What do you mean?”

“The Oracle can tell us what’s wrong and what to do.”

“Gods, I hate pulling this thing out. It’s so ridiculous,” said Achilles as took off his helmet. He turned the headpiece upside down, and like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat, he pulled an iPad out of the helme, shimmering with golden glory. It was the “iPad of the gods.”

He walked over to the control station. He took the USB cable attached to the iPad and plugged it into the control board. He then unlocked the screen and pressed the icon labeled “Delphi.” A progress bar appeared on the screen below an image of the Delphi temple. When the bar filled up another image appeared. This time text,

“Even Hephaestus cannot rebuild the wall of flame, The father of time are the ones to blame.”

Achilles read the text and studied it. He tried to put together the meaning of the rhyme. He hated this program sometimes. He was a warrior, not a philosopher or poet. Then it hit him.

“Chronos,” he said.

“The mad titan?” responded Hermes.

“No, the mortal terrorist group. They took control of this computer and shut the power plant down.”

“They must have figured out that this plant powers the seal over the one of the seven portals through which the spirit of death can plague the mortal world.”

“Exactly,” agreed Achilles.

“So then, all we need to do is turn the power back on and we stop Chronos. How do we do that?”

“You don’t know?”

“I thought you did.”

Achilles rage began to build again, “You’re the god. You should know!”

Hermes responded, “Don’t shoot me. I’m just a messenger.”

Achilles pounded the station, “Curse you! You are so useless to me… Wait. I’ve got it.”

Achilles went to work on the iPad. He pressed an icon and began scrolling through. Then he pressed a second icon and then a third. Then he heard a build up inside the building. Then a crash of thunder, as if lightning struck the plant. Sparks ignited in the room. And then finally, the generator powered on. And all the systems were normal. The shrieks outside the room were replaced with sounds of bodies collapsing to the floor.

“The power is back!” exclaimed Hermes, “How did you fix it?”

Achilles smiled and replied casually, “I just remembered, there’s an app for that.”


–story developed with Olivia Imler.

~ by hankimler on July 9, 2013.

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