nancefics: (Zombie!verse Frannie (Profiler))
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Things to do in Atlanta when you’re undead (2/5)

Author: Robin Nance

Characters: Frances Malone, Jack of all Trades

Story Type: A little drama, a little humor, and a whole lot of crack

Summary: A student and a serial killer walk into a Zombie Apocalypse. No, really.

Rating/Warnings: R-ish for language, violence and character (un)death

AN & Disclaimer: Not my characters, not my sandbox - I'll tidy up and return them unharmed as soon as I'm done playing. This was started as part of the 2010 Secret Santa Exchange at [livejournal.com profile] profiler_fans and is dedicated to my fabulous friend and fellow zombiephile [livejournal.com profile] serialbathera.


part 1



"I’m serious about not moving. I’m out of surgical suture and this is as good as it gets."

Frances pressed the final butterfly bandage into place against the cut on Jack’s forehead and sat back, surveying her work critically. The wound looked ugly but was fairly superficial, and the bleeding had already stopped.

"Thanks." As soon as the word left his mouth Jack grimaced, his head obviously registering its objections to having been batted around like a ping-pong ball.

"Don’t mention it." Frances grinned to herself, thinking that in fact Jack of all Trades probably didn’t mention gratitude for anything very often. "You should take the morphine, you know. I saw how hard you hit the floor – that headache won’t be going away any time soon."

Jack waved away the bottle of pills she’d pulled from her makeshift medical bag. "Can’t afford to get drowsy. I need to find someone."

"Samantha Waters, I know." Frances had turned away to pack up the medical supplies, but she could feel the surprise and suspicion in the glare he was aiming at her back. "Hate to tell you this, but I don’t think she’s here. I was already up in the command center and the offices."

"I’ll check the rest of the building."

"Honestly, I’ve checked everything but the morgue and there isn’t a sign of --"

"Then I’ll check the fucking morgue. I’ll check every inch of Atlanta if I have to."

Jack hauled himself up to his feet and leaned hard against the sink, staring at his reflection in the dusty mirror. Frances had picked the lobby ladies’ room location partly because he was a little heavy to haul anywhere else in his half-awake state and partly because it was accessible only by a single door, which was now barricaded by a loveseat to discourage unwanted company. She watched his reflection flick several halting glances in her direction before she finally took pity on him – clearly he wasn’t going to be the one to initiate the conversation.

"You can ask the questions, you know. It took me awhile to process everything too."

Jack hesitated another moment before turning back to face her. "Exactly what the fuck were those things in the lobby?"

"They were people, corpses of people anyway. John, George – it really was them. I didn’t recognize the others."

"They were pretty damned animated for corpses." Jack leaned against the sink with crossed arms.

"Yeah, I think that’s kind of the point of the whole zombie thing."

"The zombie thing?"

"Um, zombies? As in --"

"As in brain-eating pulp-fiction 'Day of the Dead' zombies?" Jack’s look was withering. "Oh, sure, I’ve heard of them. I’ve also heard of unicorns and the Easter Bunny. That still doesn’t explain what the hell’s going on here."

"I know how it sounds, but you have to – "

"No, you have to cut the crap, kid, and start explaining. And I want real answers, not some bullshit comic-book fantasy!"

It occurred to her that at one time she would have been terrified to be in a locked room with someone on the FBI’s most-wanted list glaring daggers at her. Now she was just relieved to be facing someone who still had all his organs on the inside. Frances supposed the skepticism was warranted – this was some pretty fantastical shit, to be sure – but his attitude and the "kid" comment pissed her off.

"Sorry to wreck your nice healthy world-view, Jack, but welcome to our big damned fantasy." She stared him down across the room, mimicking his arms-crossed posture as she leaned against the sink on the opposite wall. "Look, I know you’re a lot of things, and I’m not even going there, but I also know you’re not stupid – you know what you saw out there, logical or not. You can call them zombies, undead, or whatever the hell you want. Fact is they’re strong, they’re mobile, they’re surprisingly smart despite the whole rotting-brains thing, and they like to chew on the living. And there are more of them every damned day." She paused for a brief breath, then continued in a quieter tone. "I know it’s a lot to wrap your head around, OK? But you’d better get over it fast, because I’ve been here for three days and far as I can tell you and I are two of the only people left in Atlanta who still have a heartbeat. So lose the asshole part of your skill-set if you want to be helpful here, because our odds kind of suck right now."

As she spoke Jack’s expression morphed slowly from doubtful to somber to just this side of panicky, and Frances was reminded of a day in New York City months earlier when she’d had the same reaction.

As if on cue, her phone vibrated against her belt.

"Because I really need to be dealing with both of you right now," she muttered in Jack’s general direction as she pressed the "answer" button. She was hit almost immediately by a loud torrent of conversation that she quickly interrupted. "Hey. I’m in Atlanta. Uh, pretty shitty, actually, we just got hit by about ten of them but things are OK now…yeah, 'we,' I ran into an old friend. Look, Philip, I’m in the middle of things, I’ll call you later."

Jack stood in place, not moving, still clearly struggling with how to absorb and process everything. Frances sincerely hoped that his past "success" as a killer meant that he wasn’t the type to melt down in a crisis, but she was beginning to have her doubts.

"Jack. If you won’t take the morphine, how about a cigarette?"

That did the trick. Jack’s head popped up and he regarded her with an almost scarily thankful expression as he accepted the crumpled pack of Marlboros.

"God, yes, that I’ll take. I think I dropped mine in the security guard when Grant attacked me. As in literally dropped them into his ribcage. That’s a first, even for me." He snorted briefly in amusement or possibly horror, then ran a hand through his hair, staring at the drying blood smeared on his fingers. "This is all a delusion, isn’t it? I’m going insane."

Frances bit back the sarcastic comment regarding the length of his trip to crazytown, opting to slide slowly down the marble wall until she was seated on the floor. "The whole world is pretty fucking insane right now, so I’m probably not the one to ask," she conceded as she lit her own cigarette. "All I can do is fill you in on what I’ve seen so far, then you be the judge."

Jack sighed and inhaled deeply, stretching out on the floor beside her and closing his eyes.

"I’m going to finish this cigarette, and then I’m going to go find Samantha," he stated, each word shrouded in fatigue and pale smoke. "And in the meantime you can tell me, Frannie Malone, how a nice girl like you ended up in a Zombie Apocalypse like this."



part 3

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