Authors: Norman Christof
Who Must Die?
Christa and Chaz waited in the van across the street from the old SUV. The van was of the nondescript family transport variety except for the one-way windows and the slot in the back door for the sniper rifle.
“There has to be a better way to do this,” Christa said. “I thought we’d decided that killing zombies wasn’t the answer anymore.”
“Don’t think of it as killing zombies. Think of it as killing one psychotic madman. That’s what he is. He’s a madman looking to start a war with the murder of thousands of innocents. We can’t control him as he’d just turn us against one another. He’s getting stronger every day, so he can probably control more than one of us at a time. It’s too late in the game to be taking risks. We need him gone. Leekasha is worth saving. She’s the one we want. Unless of course she turns on us as well.”
“You have to start trusting them sometime, Chaz. Remember what Montgomery said.”
“There’s no need to worry. I know why we’re here. It’s a different fight for me now. For the first time in a long time, I have someone to go home to when this is done.”
“I guess this means you won’t be such a grumpy old bastard anymore.” Christa grinned. “I’m glad for you. Chaz. We all need someone to fight for.”
Chaz looked to Christa. “When did you get so wise and grown up?”
“I didn’t really have a choice. It just happened. I had a lot of time to think about the world after I screwed it up so bad.”
“You didn’t screw it up. You were just a little kid back then. Everyone around you was making bad choices. You just did the best you could.”
“Chaz, look, something’s not right.”
Alex was walking towards them down the road.
“What the hell’s he doing?” Chaz got out of the van and walked towards Alex. Christa followed him. “Alex, get back under cover. You’re not supposed to be out in the open. If Andreas finds us like this we’ll all be dead.”
A voice came from behind Chaz. “It’s a little late for that, Colonel.”
Chaz turned and saw Andreas with his right hand around the back of Christa’s neck and his left hand holding Chaz’s sniper rifle. Leekasha stood behind him, her arms folded. She walked to Andreas and whispered a few words to him.
Andreas pushed her away and said, “I told you, this is my decision. These people need to understand who they’re dealing with here.”
Chaz started to speak, but couldn’t get the words out. Andreas was already in his head.
“Hey, Colonel, what’s wrong? You look worried, like you’ve got something on your mind, but just can’t find the words? Don’t worry, there’s no need to speak. I’m pretty good at reading minds, you know. Leekasha tells me I’ll make a great husband.” Andreas flashed him a grin. “I’ve gotten so much better at it since the last time we were together. I’m sure you’re relieved to see us OK, since you left us in that death trap. I would have called to let you know how we were doing so you could stop worrying, but I kind of had my hands full with a little project.”
Andreas was in all their minds simultaneously now. He backed them all up against the van, facing him. Leekasha turned her back on the scene, appearing very uncomfortable.
“Andreas, don’t do this,” Christa said.
Chaz and Alex still couldn’t speak, but Christa’s mind resisted Andreas enough for her to talk.
“This is not why I brought you back, Andreas. There’s a better way. There’s a way for us all to exist peacefully.”
“Really,” Andreas replied. “Is that what the rifle was for? Just a little peaceful persuasion? I’m in their heads even more than yours, little girl. I know what they’d planned for me.” Andreas raised the rifle to hold it in both hands. “That’s not going to happen today. I’ve got something else in mind.”
Then a single shot rang through the air and their minds were their own again. Andreas fell to the ground with a single bullet hole in the back of his head. Leekasha lowered the smoking gun she held clutched in her hand.
“I tried to stop him,” Leekasha said. “I really did, but he wouldn’t listen. He was set in his mind that it was the only way. There was no reasoning with him. He wanted war and change and anarchy. He didn’t care if the whole world burned.”
Christa reached towards Leekasha and took the gun. “We know,” she said. “If you didn’t do it, someone else would have eventually. Maybe not us, but someone. This is better.”
“I know where I’m headed,” Chaz said. “Can I drop you two off anywhere?”
“I don’t really know,” Alex answered. “I’d like to connect with my family again, but after everything that’s happened over the last few years I’m not sure I’d be welcome.”
“Give them time, boy. People can surprise you sometimes. They just need a chance to figure it out for themselves first.”
“What about Caius?” Christa asked.
“I think he’s still figuring things out. He does need the right people around him though, if he’s going to get there. The first step is getting him out of the grip of those nutjobs. Abby and I’ll figure it out. It’s easier to fight for something when you have someone by your side. We’ll spend some time with Shax and make sure she’s going to be OK. She had a connection with Caius, so maybe she can reach him. What about you, Christa?”
“Well, I suppose there’s no need to be hiding out any longer. Leekasha is going to need a lot of help getting things sorted out. I’m pretty sure I can help out in that regard. Dr. Montgomery wanted me to come back for a bit as well.”
“You’re OK with going back there?”
“It’s a different world now, Chaz. Even Montgomery sees things differently. She’s come around. I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to work things out this time.”
They all climbed into the van. “Well then, I guess it’s time for one last road trip together,” Chaz said, closing the door behind him.