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LEVEL 13: COLD, KROOL WORLD
The creature’s engine roared, which made no sense. As I lowered my arms, I realized I was standing in a pair of headlights. I stepped out and joy filled me to the brim. A yellow Jeep sat before me. Charles was driving, and Arik rode shotgun. Kiki and Dyonna were in the back.
“What are you doing?” Arik waved. “Get your ass in here, quick!”
I grinned as wide as possible and took Dyonna’s hand. She pulled me into the backseat. I threw my arms around her, then leaned over and hugged Kiki. “I have never been happier to see somewhat sane people!”
“Somewhat?” Arik slumped his shoulders and Kiki giggled. She held her backpack to her chest, and Bubsy peered out with huge eyes.
I patted the zombeast’s head. “Good to see you, too, Bubsy!”
The cat blinked and yawned; catty sarcasm.
A scream of pain came from just within the cannibal’s cave. My heart leaped into my throat. “Drive, now! The Lonely freaks are looking for me, and the tribal idiots just shot Virgil in the face!”
“Man!” Arik punched the glove box. “We came back for that!”
“Well, hot damn.” Charles put the jeep into gear and we reversed. “Looks like were fugitives now.”
Charles floored it and we hit a bump. We went airborne for a second, and Arik screeched. I might have laughed, except that the whole jeep bounced and rocked along the bumpy forest floor. It took strength to stay in my seat.
Kiki hugged my arm, snuggling in her face. “I’m so glad you’re safe! I didn’t want to lose you. These idiots would’ve gotten killed and left me and Bubsy all alone!”
I grinned ear to ear. “No one’s dying today!”
We hit another large bump sending Kiki flying, but I pulled her onto my lap. “Seatbelt!”
“There isn’t one!” She bounced, and I caught her.
“Hold onto me!” I wrapped her in a tighter hug.
Dyonna still wore a scowl plastered on her face. I leaned and punched her arm. “You could look less happy to see me!”
She glared. “This is my happy face.”
“Yeah, work on that.”
The memory of Mog’s words struck me hard. “I have to tell you guys about Bellaire!”
“What’s about it?” Arik turned, but screeched as a tree branch came inches from his head.
“A Lonely One told me you would die there!” The wind battered my voice. “And one named Dante, asked me to destroy G.O.D. Mode; the company Virgil mentioned.
“Why would we do favors for assholes?”
“He wasn’t with the others. He set me free!”
Charles steered hard to the right, and we lurched. “You think the freaks you heard on the radio are G.O.D. Mode?”
I shrugged. “Who knows?”
“We’ll just have to not die.” He made it a simple a task.
Arik ducked, dodging another branch. “It’s never that easy! But I’m sure we’ll be fine if we’re all together.”
“We have a full party.” I reached my hand above Kiki.
She gave me a high five. “Shit yeah! We’re pretty kick-ass!”
Her language wasn’t getting any better, but I laughed. After a few more agonizing bumps, we pulled onto to the road.
I leaned forward. “Where’d you find this jeep?”
“On da edge of da forest.” Dyonna nodded back.
“Luck is on our side!”
She crossed her arms, looking as pissed as ever. “I ain’t found reason to agree.”
I rolled my eyes. She had no shits to give.
Arik looked in the rearview. “There was a weapon cache in an army truck! We were just about to come raise hell when you popped out of the cave!”
I imagined my new friends rushing into Hirool wielding machine guns and firing up the place. Bubsy was even getting into the mess, jumping on the enemies and scratching their eyes out. I couldn’t help but burst into a fit of laughter. I hadn’t experienced such joy since the ZPoc began.
Arik and Kiki exchanged looks, and Charles glanced back. “Are you okay?”
“I’m better than okay. It doesn’t get much better. Happiness is scarce, nowadays! Sunny skies ahead!” I grinned with closed eyes.
“What a damn good day!” Arik reached back, and we fist bumped.
“It’s night, idiot!” Dyonna smacked his head.
Before Arik reacted, Charles slammed the brakes and Kiki launched, but I pulled her back, and our heads conked.
Kiki whimpered. “What the hell?”
“W-We’ve got trouble.” Arik pointed, with a trembling hand.
Charles hung his head. “Big trouble.”
I set Kiki beside me and stood. In front of us roamed hundreds of corpses, shoulder to shoulder. Many looked up, and the herd moved toward us.
I slapped Charles shoulder. “Back into the woods! Go further!”
Charles turned the jeep, and we deserted the scene. Only a hundred yards later, lights came into view, headed in our direction. Charles hit the brakes again and cursed. Six motorcycles stopped just several yards away. On each sat a cannibal, but the biggest hog held the biggest asshat. King Krool. He glared past Charles and Arik and his eyes landed on me.