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Cold Walkers

Chapter 05: Mutated Rabies, Huh?

The next morning, Kimberly and Quinn were studying in the local library, a few books scattered around them at a desk. Quinn sat in a chair with her feet on the table, a book about zombie lore in her lap. Her head nodded forward and her eyelids felt heavy as she tried to concentrate, but the words were swimming together. Kimberly, sitting across from her, had her laptop open and was scrolling through articles on the history of corpse reanimation and flesh eating. A large cup of McDonald’s coffee sat beside her, already empty, and she took the time to lean back in her chair and rub her eyes with a loud yawn.

“Seven in the morning,” she groaned, startling Quinn out of her doze. “They banged on our door at seven in the morning.”

“I’m not sure what I said when I opened the door,” Quinn replied, sitting up and putting her feet down, “But I don’t think it was anything more than swearing.”

“I see nothing wrong with waking up well after lunchtime and investigating,” her partner said, flipping through a book on Haitian vodou and squinting at a chapter title. “We would find this stuff just as easily later in the afternoon.”

Quinn grunted in agreement, peering at the book Kimberly had open and the title. “So this was your theory, right?”

“Yeah,” she replied, turning the book so Quinn could see it. “Sam mentioned a note in their dad’s journal, and it made me think of this. Zombie lore typically traces back to Haitian vodou practices. The modern vodou practitioners will tell you they just use a concoction of drugs and medicinal herbs to suspend animation in a man’s body so he appears dead, or another concoction to hypnotize him and turn him into the practitioner’s slave, essentially. But the deepest roots of their history involved pure vodou magic to do the work.”

“So how does the flesh eating come into play?” Quinn asked, skimming the chapter.

“That, I couldn’t tell you,” Kimberly said, shrugging. “Their practices had nothing to do with creating a race of cannibal undead. At least, not specifically. The Bokor—priest or priestess of their vodou—could do what they wanted with the power, really, though.”

“Mm.” Quinn yawned loudly and the librarian walking by frowned at her. She shot the older woman a scowl before her phone vibrated in her pocket. She flipped it open and said, “Yeah?”

“Hey.” Dean’s voice echoed back over the line. “We’re done here. Want to meet up somewhere for lunch?”

“Lunch?” Quinn checked the clock on the wall, then sighed loudly. “It’s already twelve, are you kidding me?”

“Are you coming or not?”

“Yeah, alright, don’t get your undies in a knot,” she replied, indicating to Kimberly that she should pack up her things. “There’s a café in town with sandwiches and stuff. We can meet there.”

“So what’d you find?” Kimberly asked, taking a bite out of her chicken salad sandwich. “Carlo attacked his mom and they both attacked a small group at their local church, right?”

“Yeah,” Sam replied. “They’re all hospitalized in a quarantine area. The fully ‘transformed’ ones are in solitary rooms. They’re trying to control it, but it’s spreading fast.”

“It’s already moved into Miami and Orlando,” Dean added, slathering his hamburger in ketchup. “People traveling here, getting attacked, going to another city, and spreading it. It’s like a plague.”

Quinn sat down beside Sam with her freshly made panini, watching as Dean shoved the large burger rather zealously into his mouth. “Kimberly found something, though. The theory she mentioned yesterday.”

“Yeah?” Sam raised his eyebrows. “Shoot.”

“So in Haiti, their vodou practices have some ties to the origins of the zombie theory,” Kimberly explained, spinning the straw around in her cup of juice. “Their tamer priests and priestesses just use drugs for their shenanigans, but the hardcore, pure vodou magic… They bring the dead to life and control them, or,” she emphasized, pausing to chew on and swallow another piece of her sandwich, “They capture the soul of a living being and use their now soulless body as a slave to their wishes.”

“Huh.” Dean leaned back in his chair. “So we’re dealing with a witch doctor who uses a bunch of corpses to do his dirty work?”

“Basically,” Quinn replied, stealing a potato chip from Kimberly’s plate. “The problem, though, is the actual ‘chewing on your neighbor for lunch’ bit. There’s nothing in the legends and histories about the vodou slaves actually attacking and biting others.”

“Doesn’t explain how this works into the priest or priestess taking control of whoever is bitten, either,” Sam mused.

Dean wiped off a dribble of mustard from the side of his lip and licked it off his finger, and Quinn wrinkled her nose at him. He grinned childishly at her before venturing, “And how are we gonna find this vodou dude? This is a big city, and apparently since it’s spread to other cities he doesn’t have to be very close to the ones he’s controlling.”

“We should see if we can find Haitian healers or psychics nearby,” Sam mused. “They might be using vodou for their work. You never know.”

“Well,” Kimberly said, “Let’s finish eating first, and then we’ll do some more work— Dean, the waitress can see you.”

“What?” He looked up, offended.

“Your eyes could not have been more glued to her ass, man.”

“Shut up, Sammy.”

Lecavalier skated across the ice with his teammates, running through a few practice routines. The next evening there would be a game against the New York Rangers, and they needed to be in top form before they took the ice against the formidable team. Ryan Malone passed him the puck, which BJ Crombeen just barely missed stealing, and Lecavalier caught it and headed toward the goal that Anders Lindback was guarding. He eyed his teammates, looking for an opening, before noting Cory Conacher off to the side. He passed the puck toward the rookie, knowing he had a good shot at the goal. However, to his dismay, Conacher didn’t react as the puck slid past him and Adam Hall slipped past to steal it and move toward the other end of the ice.

“Conacher, man, what’s up with you?” Lecavalier asked, skating up to him. The boy was pale, and he looked up at Vincent as if snapping out of a trance.

“What?” he said, bemused. Lecavalier sighed, surveying the slumped posture of the hockey player, and called his team to a halt.

“Take a break,” he said. “We’ll get back out here in a minute.” As the others left the ice, Lecavalier put a hand on Conacher’s shoulder.

“How’s your hand?” he asked, and in response Cory pulled his glove off and revealed the bandage.

“It’s okay,” Cory replied. “The doctor said I looked fine, not like the others, so he released me to come here but…”

“But?” Lecavalier pressed, guiding the boy off the ice.

“I don’t feel right, Vinny,” he explained. “My head’s fuzzy. I can’t concentrate.”

The captain pursed his lips. “Well, just take it easy then. You might not get to play tomorrow, if you feel this bad.” The rookie nodded, sighing, and took a seat beside Lindback and Hedman. Hedman grinned and nudged Cory, cracking a joke about him staring off into the distance like he was in love. Lecavalier removed himself to the locker room and unearthed his cellphone from his bag. He hesitated a moment, debating on whether or not they really needed the help. But his gut told him he should call, so he dialed Quinn’s number and put the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” the blonde girl answered. Lecavalier smiled; she had a cute voice.

“Hey, Quinn? It’s Vincent Lecavalier, from—”

“Oh, hello!” she interrupted, and he heard another voice in the background laughing. Probably Kimberly. “Uh, hey, what d’you need?”

“I wasn’t sure if I should call you,” he said, glancing back in the direction of the rink, “But something told me I should. Look, Conacher, he—yesterday, he was bitten by some Walmart employee who looked like one of those weird attackers. The doctor said he was fine, so they let him go, but today—”

“They let him go?” she repeated, her voice rising. “Is he there with you guys? Where are you?”

“At the Forum,” Lecavalier replied. “We’re getting in some practice. Yeah, he’s here, but he’s acting really unusual—”

“Vinny,” she said quickly, and he raised his eyebrows at the nickname, “You need to get him out of there. Get him away from everyone. It’s dangerous.”

“Do you think he’ll turn into—?”

“Probably,” she admitted. “Look, we’ll head over there right now. But you need to get him—”

Whatever she was going to say was drowned out by the alarmed shouting that erupted back out at the rink. Lecavalier rushed out to find Cory and Lindback on the ground, Cory on top of him and gnashing his teeth. Hedman and Stamkos pulled at him desperately, trying to get him off the goalie.

“What’s happening?” Quinn shouted over the cellphone, and Lecavalier brought it back to his ear. “What’s going on, Vinny?”

“It’s Cory,” he said, and grimaced when he saw the blood pooling near Lindback’s arm and the tear in his jersey, evident of a bite. “He— he’s on Lindback, he got him.”

“Got him? Bit him? Vinny?”

Lecavalier abandoned the phone, dropping it on the floor as he helped his teammates pull Conacher off the goalie and pin him against the wall.

“Dude!” Hedman shouted in his face. “Calm down! What’s up with you, man? Oh— what the hell is wrong with your eyes?”

“Turn him to face the wall!” Lecavalier said. “If we don’t keep his face away from everyone he might—” Hedman’s grip slipped as Conacher writhed in their grasp, and the rookie’s teeth sunk down into his neck. Hedman groaned and backed away, pressing down on the wound with his hand. Stamkos stepped in and helped Lecavalier flip Conacher around and press his face into the wall.

“Hedman! You okay?” Lecavalier asked, looking anxiously at the defenseman.

“My neck,” he said, dumbfounded. “He bit my neck.”

Vincent watched Crombeen and Bergeron haul Lindback up and sit him on the bench. He covered the wound in his arm, hissing in pain. The captain of the Lightning felt the control over the situation slipping quickly between his fingers.

“Call an ambulance,” he ordered, and Stamkos rushed to the locker room to fetch his phone.

Meanwhile, Lecavalier’s phone sat on the ground not too far away, still on call. Quinn, Kimberly, Sam, and Dean were crowded into the Impala, speeding toward the Forum as they listened helplessly to the havoc on the other end via speaker dial. Quinn’s hand shook despite her rigid facial expression.

“Dean?” she said quietly, as Kimberly gripped her shoulder for support.

“What?” he replied, glancing at her from the rearview mirror.

“Drive faster.”

Dean hauled a Mossberg shotgun out of the trunk of the Impala as Sam grabbed hold of the old sawed off Ithaca. Kimberly and Quinn exchanged glances as they snagged a few bullets from the Winchesters’ stock and loaded the magazine clips for their pistols.

“These guys are still alive,” Kimberly said uncertainly. “You saw that even with Romero in your hotel room. Try not to kill them.”

Dean frowned. “Don’t try to talk soft about this, Kimmy, they’re zombies.”

“They’re kinda zombies,” she retorted, eyeing him as they rushed into the Forum. “They still have a pulse for now, and they’re important people. Until we can figure out if there’s a way to fix this, we need to keep it under control until the ambulance and police get here to take them to quarantine.”

“It’s just Cory right now who’s dangerous,” Quinn added. “The others should be okay for at least a day.”

The quartet of hunters ignored the objections of the security guards as they entered the building and headed straight for the arena. Other security guards were on the scene, holding Conacher down as the Forum’s first aid practitioner tended to Hedman and Lindback, both who appeared pale and, to say the least, a bit shocked. A nearby guard spotted Sam and Dean with their large, noticeable guns and immediately began to shout protests. They began to bicker with the guards as Lecavalier, who looked up at the sudden shouting, headed over. He eyed the weaponry held by the four of them, eyebrows raised.

“Just in case,” Kimberly said in explanation. “We didn’t know what to expect when we were coming here and your phone cut out.”

“How is everyone?” Quinn asked, looking around him at the injured players. “Hedman was bitten, too?”

“On the neck,” Vincent replied, scratching his head with a tired expression. “Lindback was bit on the arm. Everything just went downhill really quickly. Cory suddenly snapped and Pyatt said he just tackled Lindback to the ground, growling like an animal.”

Kimberly moved past the captain and Quinn to kneel beside the first aid practitioner and get a good look at Lindback and Hedman. It was true—they looked very pale. Wounds were bandaged up and the bleeding halted, but at Lindback’s uncertain glance toward the incapacitated Conacher, Kimberly could tell the real problem wasn’t the physical pain.

“Doing okay?” she ventured, offering a smile at the boys. They turned their attention toward her, and Lindback attempted a smile in return.

“As okay as we can be,” he replied, and Hedman nodded. “What are you guys doing back here for?”

“Your captain called and we answered,” she said, performing a mock salute. “We came to see if we could help in any way. We didn’t know how bad it’d be here after he said someone had been attacked.”

Hedman put a hand on his neck bandages, wincing. “Does anyone know what’s going on? What this is, or if there’s a way to fix it?”

She shook her head with a sigh. “I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors on television now, that everyone thinks it’s—”

“Zombies,” a voice said, and the three of them watched Steven Stamkos sit on the bench beside Lindback. He gave Kimberly a brief smile in greeting. “Everyone is saying it’s a zombie outbreak.”

Hedman rolled his eyes. “It’s probably just a weird mutation of rabies or something. I’m sure they’ll get it figured out soon and fix everyone.”

“You’re just saying that because you don’t want to turn into a cannibal mutant,” Steven said, and Lindback laughed.

“Yeah, you can laugh, pretty boy,” Lindback shot back jokingly. “You get a puck to the face and somehow everyone thinks you’re more handsome than before. Us, though, we’ll be drooling, flesh-eating zombies. Not exactly in the Top 10 Hottest NHL Players list.”

Steven chuckled before turning his attention to Kimberly. “Marty said Vinny called you guys here. It was good of you to come and make sure things are alright.”

“Well, yeah,” she replied, straightening up and leaning against the wall behind her. “Like we told you guys yesterday, we’re pretty invested in these weird attacks so we want to be near the action. Sorry it had to be like this, though.”

The blonde player shrugged and gestured toward Lecavalier, who was still talking to Quinn as ambulance sirens came within hearing distance outside. “Vinny’s taking it harder than most of us. Conacher asked him and Boucher if he could come to practice and play in the game tomorrow. Boucher left it up to him and he said ‘yes,’ so I think he feels like this is his fault.”

Kimberly frowned. “That sucks. Where is Boucher, by the way? Shouldn’t he be here with you guys while you practice?”

Grimacing, Steven replied, “Well, his wife went out to pick up their kids from school one day and came back with a bite on her arm.”

She gaped in reply. “Did someone at the school attack her?”

“No,” he said slowly, “Their son did.”


“He’s been at the hospital with her and their children today. They’re under solitary quarantine, so he can only see her at a distance, from behind a protective wall.” Steven sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “It’s rough.”

Kimberly nodded as EMTs jogged into the room and spoke with Sam and Dean, then the security officers. They bound Conacher up safely, covering his mouth, and led him out of the room as his teammates looked on with a confusing, painful ache heavy in their hearts. St. Louis walked over to the bench and put his hands on Hedman’s and Lindback’s shoulders, saying, “Come on, guys. You have to go too, so they can observe you from a safe area.” Hedman stood, but everyone paused and looked at Lindback when he didn’t move.

“Anders?” Steven ventured, reaching out to him. “Snap out of it, man.”

Kimberly got a quick glance at Lindback’s vacant expression and then lurched forward to grab Steven’s hand, pulling it out of the goalie’s reach, and she pushed him away. Before he could react Lindback turned to look up at them, his eyes a pale, whitish blue shade.

“There’s something wrong,” he said dumbly, looking between the two of them as St. Louis and Hedman backed away. “Something’s…”

“Something’s what?” Kimberly pressed as Quinn and the Winchesters rushed over, staring at him. “What’s happening?”

He grimaced and held his head in his hands as Sam said, “I thought it took nearly a day for the effects to set in.”

“Well obviously that’s changed,” Dean replied. “Hey, goalie, come on man. Tell is something. Is there somebody else trying to get into that head of yours? Do you feel like you’re being controlled? Fever? Chills? Anything?”

“Someone’s in my head. I hear them. I… I feel like I’m dying,” he said simply, before slumping forward and nearly falling off the bench. Stamkos managed to grab him and pull him upright, then immediately let go when Lindback let out a low groan.

“Don’t touch him,” Quinn warned. “Back up, and get away.”

Dean raised his shotgun cautiously. “You still here, man?” The Anders Lindback that looked up at him and growled in reply wasn’t the same as the man that had been sitting on the bench a mere few minutes before. He launched himself forward, reaching out and managing to grab hold of Quinn’s leg. She yelled in surprise and fumbled at her hip to pull out her Ruger, but instead Vincent grabbed hold of her by the waist and kicked Lindback’s arm in his fresh wound. He groaned loudly as fresh blood began to seep through the bandage and the hockey captain took advantage of his distraction to pull Quinn up and out of the way, putting her back on her feet behind him.

“I’m the one with a gun!” she exclaimed, flustered and startled. “Don’t put me behind you!

Security and EMTs quickly worked together to bind up Lindback in the same manner they did Conacher and led him away. Hedman said his goodbyes and followed after them with a security guard keeping a firm grip on his shoulder. The defenseman of the team was feeling rather hopeless as a headache began to grow behind his eyes. The sickness would overcome him soon enough, and he wanted to leave before he hurt anyone the way Conacher had. A somber silence fell over the team once they left.

“Alright, is anybody else in the room a flesh-eating figure skater, or are we good now?” Dean asked, eyeing everyone. Sam rolled his eyes as Kimberly holstered her Glock and frowned at him. “Good. Just checking.”

“Vinny,” St. Louis ventured, “Let’s all just go home. I don’t think anyone’s in the mood for practice anymore, do you?”

Lecavalier nodded. “You’re right. Everyone, go home and rest. Try not to think about what happened too much. Things will be fine.”

“Mutated rabies, huh?” Steven murmured from Kimberly’s side as the team slowly made their way toward the locker room.

Super mutated rabies,” she replied as Ryan Malone walked up and clapped Lecavalier on the shoulder.

“Well I don’t know about you,” he said, eyeing all of them, “But I think I need a drink.”

“Dude,” Dean said, shouldering the shotgun and grinning. “You are speaking my language, man. Post-monster beers, anyone?”


@CanadaHockey Can't*

CatrinaMarie CatrinaMarie

I'm still so sad that this story is over, I was cleaning out my subscriptions and saw this and was like no I can unsubscribe I love it too much! :)

CatrinaMarie CatrinaMarie
haw kuul
drw25 drw25
Omg I am dying stop keeping me in suspense I'm literally crying and plus I leave for a trip tmrw so I can't read till like late friday, there are tears pouring from my eyes
CatrinaMarie CatrinaMarie
Just did! :D
Puck Butt Puck Butt