Laundry Day
A Round Robin Collaboration/Battle between Zakiyah and DNash

Round 4 - DNash

The dead lizardman stopped, and Roxton confidently aimed at another. Then the first corpse began moving toward them once more. "What the devil?" He refocused on the nearest attacker and fired again. This time he was rewarded with a wet thump as the corpse collapsed into the mud at the edge of the pond.

Unfortunately, there were several more close behind him. "I could use some help here," the hunter said through clenched teeth.

Challenger picked up the rifle that had been lying ready near his auto-washing tub while Roxton quickly reloaded. Marguerite pulled out her pistol and took aim, unloading three rounds into the nearest decaying creature, sending it to the ground. Malone, too, reached for his gun only to remember he'd left it in the Treehouse. He cursed internally; he should have learned by now that even something as benign as laundry wasn't safe to do unarmed.

Veronica realized the reporter's predicament and stepped between him and the lizardmen, her knife drawn and poised to throw. "Get back!" she shouted at everyone, giving Malone an encouraging shove.

He stumbled and almost managed to keep his footing. Staggering and slipping in the damp grass he finally fell, his elbow hitting the tub with a resounding crack. His yelp of pain was drowned out by the noise that suddenly erupted from the tub.

Startled, everyone took a split second to glance toward the sound…including the decaying lizardmen. The animate corpses began to shake, gobbets of putrefying flesh falling from them as they shook. One by one, they fell and were still.

The adventurers stood in stunned silence, the only sound the racket of the tub.

Roxton was the first to look away from the gruesome sight. "Challenger!" he shouted. The older man caught the sound of his name and looked over at him. Roxton pointed to the tub. "Turn that thing off!"

Challenger nodded, grabbed the lever on the tub, and pulled. The machine thunked to a halt, leaving the valley in heavy silence. No birds or insects filled the sudden gap. They had all hidden or fled, scared off by the clamor.

"What the hell was that all about?" demanded Marguerite, finally turning from the pond and holstering her gun.

Any answer was delayed by Veronica's exclamation. "Malone!"

The young man was just sitting up beside the tub, cradling one arm against his chest. Veronica tucked her knife away and knelt beside him.

"I'm all right," he said, although his expression belied his words. He climbed to his feet, leaning on the blonde's offered arm. "What happened?"

"That's what I want to know," said Marguerite.

"I think we should discuss this back at the Treehouse," suggested Veronica, giving the heaped, decaying bodies of the lizardmen a wary look. "We don't know what animated them, and we don't know what stopped them. I say we take cover before anything has the chance to wake them up again. And the stench is bound to draw scavengers."

"If we're lucky," Challenger said, drawing puzzled looks from his companions. "That's not the normal smell of death. I wouldn't count on scavengers to clean up this particular mess."

"Lovely," snarled Marguerite. "And what do you propose we do about it?"

"I propose we listen to Veronica. We can discuss this back at the Treehouse."

"Works for me," put in Malone. He was taking slow deliberate breaths, trying to ignore the pain still slicing through his arm. His face was pale, and Veronica looked at him anxiously.

"Let's go," she said.

Continued in Round 5
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