“Mitra. Baga. What is it?” Tara asked and tried to calm the young men so they could speak. Boston, Lincoln and Alexis paid attention. Lockhart, Katie and Decker went back to the arrow slit openings in the wall to see if they could see what was happening.
Lord Veregoth, the giant asked his question while Mitra and Baga caught their breath. “What did he mean, the dead will eat the living?” He was still staring at Lord Visana who was laid out, unconscious, across the entrance way where the door could not be closed.
“The dead are rising from their graves,” Mitra said with only a touch of panic in his voice.
“Movement in the graveyard,” Major Decker spoke from the wall at the same time, his eye focused out the narrow opening. Katie and Lockhart went to the side wall to look out on where the graveyard was, and Boston joined them.
“Friends?” Lincoln asked of the young men.
Tara accepted the distraction. “The sons of Ahura, Varun whom we call Baga, and Mitra, his brother.”
“I guessed they were brothers,” Alexis said to the side as Lord Veregoth asked another question.
“What does he mean the dead are rising from their graves?”
“Look for yourself,” Lockhart told the giant and shouted, “Decker.” He grabbed Katie and went to the door to drag ten feet of giant from the entrance in order to get the door closed.
“Maybe we should head for the barn to see if our weapons are there,” Decker suggested.
“No need,” Katie pointed. Roland and a couple of dwarfs were scurrying between the two buildings and they were loaded down with all of their weapons.
“Where is Soma?” Tara asked the boys, like they were one short of their usual gang.
“Probably hiding,” Mitra said.
“He has a crush on Tara,” Baga said with a big grin.
“Safe,” Baga assured her.
“Brihaspabbi is probably off writing some more stupid poetry,” Mitra added. “And has no idea what is happening.”
“Brihaspabbi?” Alexis asked.
“My husband,” Tara said with a roll of her eyes. “We’re separated.”
“But that is not possible,” Lord Veregoth roared from where he was leaning down and had one big eye trained on the graveyard. “The dead don’t get up and walk around.”
“Roland,” Lockhart said. “Help me get the door closed.” The two of them shoved now that Visana was out of the way. The Marines, Captain Harper and Major Decker checked their rifles and Decker offered a thought.
“A flamethrower would be nice.”
“We have Little Fire.” Katie pointed at Boston who grabbed her wand and went back to stare out one of the narrow openings in the wall.
“I can’t quite reach the latch,” Lockhart complained. Roland looked up and Lockhart was about to jump for it when a big hand reached over his head and latched the door.
“But dead people walking around is not possible,” Lord Veregoth complained.
“It is what it is,” Decker offered the bit of philosophy he adopted back when he finally accepted the fact that this was not all an illusion, and Colonel Weber was not within communication range. He took up a position at arrow slit at the back corner of the building. Katie set herself at the window at the front corner.
There were six windows along each side wall, two up front on each side of the door, and four on the back wall. Roland, Boston, Alexis and Lockhart with his shotgun took the four between the Marines. That left Lincoln out, and Elder Stow who was grousing that his equipment was not working
“I can’t get a screen up. My weapon shows no charge, but that can’t be right. Even the sonic device is drained.” Elder Stow sat on the floor and began to take things apart.
“Excuse us, Lady.” The two dwarfs that came with Roland inched up to the window by the door and Katie took a step back. The dwarfs squeezed in and Katie went to kneel beneath Lockhart’s shotgun.
“So people can’t escape out the windows, and zombies can’t squeeze in” Tara explained while she took him to a long chain by the back wall that went up into the rafters, twenty feet above. “This is hot, arid country. There is a big wooden fan in the roof, turned by pulling on this chain. A fresh breeze gets pulled in through these vents when the fan turns.”
“My grandparents had an attic fan,” Lincoln said. “Of course, it was electric.”
“Same idea,” Tara said. “But we live in manual labor land.”
“She’s so smart,” Mitra praised Tara as if she invented the fan, which she may have.
“Tara,” Baga had something else in mind. “You need to tell us what you see.”
Lord Veregoth took a seat at the table and worried his hands. “Yes, woman. You must say what you see.”
Tara nodded, sat where she was, and closed her eyes. She reported. There were thirty or more people crawling out of their graves, which Tara found surprising because she imagined there were not that many they buried that were uneaten by the giants. Some appeared more like skeletons, so she imagined they were buried before her people became prisoners. Tara looked around for a cause. All she could see was an overhead cloudy and dreary day, which was also odd since it did not rain much and it was not the season for rain. “Giants,” she spouted. There were three coming down from the hillside where the giants were buried in all honor. They were decked out in fine clothes and carried their weapons at the ready. Two living giants who overcame their fear of facing the dead went to confront them, and it was a fight. “They are coming out of the swamps below,” Tara said. “A dozen or so.” She opened her eyes. “Lincoln, Lockhart, Katie and Elder Stow take the other wall. You, too, Blinker.” She spoke to one of the dwarfs.
“Baga and Mitra. You could at least have brought spears.”
“We did,” Baga said, and there were two spears leaning up against the wall by the door. No one remembered seeing them from the first, but the mind just glossed over that fact as the boys went to fetch them.
“One of you on each wall,” Tara said. “Lord Veregoth and I will guard the door.”
“Woman!” Veregoth got ready to say something, but paused when Tara’s clothes vanished and were replaced by the armor of the Kairos, complete with weapons.
“Veregoth. I know you are not afraid.”
“It’s impossible, I tell you. The dead don’t get up and walk around.”
Decker interrupted the giant’s complaint. “Incoming,” he shouted.
Be sure to come back next Monday and Tuesday for the concluding chapters of Avalon 3.5, beginning Monday with part 4 of 5, Defending the Hall … against zombies, of course.