Britechester University, Pleasant House
Caleb felt the reverberations of the bass before his brain registered that he was hearing music. He didn’t know what came after for creatures such as him, but the fact that it included “Hot in Herre” was somewhat depressing. He was not as unchanging as Vlad, but as far music went, he preferred the sixties.
He hadn’t thought dying from venom would be such a slow process. He hadn’t thought he would be dying at all. His only regret was Lilith. Once, he thought he’d found her, rumors of her keeping company with a group of mermaids found their way to his door. But it was never confirmed. If he lived he would…well…it didn’t matter. He wouldn’t li—
Someone reached under his arms and dragged him up. His eyes flashed open, adrenaline flooding his veins, telling him to struggle but his body would not obey. He heard Deacon’s voice.
“You need to throw up.”
Caleb managed a slight shake of his head. What was he talking about? How was he talking? His head was—
Deacon stood. “Oresha Hoh Var Pledge Week. We should definitely party with those dudes next weekend.”
When he realized that standing left Caleb’s limp and partially paralyzed body sliding back towards the ground, he knelt back down and lifted again.
“Sorry dude! My bad, but you really do gotta puke it up. Boot and rally!”
If Caleb could have managed full sentences, he would have pointed out that “Oresha Hoh Var Pledge Week” did not account for how Deacon had regained his head, that “boot and rally” was a nonsense phrase, and that he’d prefer, all things being equal, to be left to die in peace.
Deacon made an apologetic sound and then without warning, stuck two fingers down Caleb’s throat. He held fast even as Caleb flailed in panic, caught somewhere between suffocating and gagging.
Stupid zombie strength.
With no recourse, Caleb braced his forearm on the ground and retched. Body cleansed of a little venom, he struggled to his feet.
Deacon tried to help keep him steady, but Caleb waved him off.
With a happy shrug, the zombie continued talking. “Once, I ate some fire leaf on a dare and the whole team thought I was gonna die until Bastien forced me to puke it up. And now here I am! Good as new!” he paused, “I mean kind of. I’m a zombie, but not because of the fire leaf.”
“You wanna try and catch up with Alice and Vlad? See if they’re okay?”
Caleb dropped to the ground, heaving again as his body emptied out more venom. He rolled over on his back.
“Dead,” he rasped. “They better be dead.”