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INT. AN AVERAGE DINER

[The typical clatter of dishes, forks, sizzling food and mild conversation pepper the warm yet bustling ambiance of this average diner. MANNY enters, the small bells ringing a welcome as they knock against the glass door.]

  MANNY
Table for one, please.

[Scene cuts to MANNY eating breakfast at a booth and reading a newspaper. Camera shows several shots of patrons staring nervously at MANNY, but trying to do so coyly. MANNY picks up on it, but he is not alarmed.]

[He flips through it for a while. An echoy, narrator-y voice says...]

    MANNY
(internal monologue)
No clues in here.

[MANNY folds the paper up, and gestures to give it to the table of women across the way. They all seem to be in their forties and fifties, and appear to be generally good hearted and sweet. However, his mild gesture alone startles the two closest to them, as they were suspiciously on edge. One of the ladies catches her breath, and gestures a polite decline without speaking. MANNY smiles politely, leans back in his booth, sips his coffee, and wrestles with contemplation.]

    MANNY
(internal monologue)
I can't imagine she would have shown me those visions if there wasn't something for me to do. It sounded as though this world would be threatened as severely as my own. But so far, no leads. No word of imminent war with a nuclear power, or a plague, or rising sea waters. Not even that 'peak oil' thing Irwin was always preaching about.
Do I settle in, try to make contacts, get papers, and start a life? Do I have that much time? Or do I live off the grid, and hope I figure it out by keeping my ear to the ground?.

[Dishes crash. A woman screams. The hustle and bustle dies down, and people rise to find out the source of the commotion. Outside there is a man pounding at the glass window. He strikes not like a man with balled fists, but like an ape or some sort of beast, with a furious overhand palm strike. He is clearly deranged, and is bleeding from the mouth. His clothing is common; a flannel shirt and jeans - fairly similar to the style and sizes that MANNY stole from the department store to clothe himself. The man is older, donning a brown 'horseshoe balding pattern', and at most 160 pounds.]

[A large diner patron goes outside to attend to the madman, and a man who is dressed like the diner manager follows closely behind him. More people rise in the diner, obscuring MANNY's view. Suddenly, many diner patrons scream and yell 'Oh My God'. Women shield the eyes of their children. MANNY rises to action, and runs outside.]

EXT. DINER EXTERIOR

[MANNY turns the corner to find the larger man backpedaling from the madman and cradling his bloodied arm. The madman's face is blood-smeared, and the manager is running to a vehicle. As the big guy passes MANNY, the madman shifts his attention to him as the new closest target.]

[MANNY looks into the man's eyes, and hears his pitiful moan. He winces, disgusted. He mouths like he was about to try to tell him something... but gives up, figuring it futile. The madman's pursuit is slow and staggered, but methodical.]

    MANNY
(yelling inside)
Call the police!! I'll keep him busy!!

[MANNY takes a few steps back to get momentum, then charges forward with a running kick to the assailant's torso. It knocks him off his feet, but he slowly rises. MANNY does it a second time, with the same effect. A third attempt sees a change in MANNY's strategy, as when the ghoul rises this time, MANNY positions himself behind it, and unleashes a powerful punch to its side. MANNY hears ribs snap, but the ghoul does not respond. MANNY narrowly avoids being entangled by the lunatic.]

[MANNY backpedals. The MANAGER returns with an aluminum baseball bat.]

    MANNY
He doesn't feel pain. I cracked a rib and he didn't notice.
    MANAGER
Shit! Holy Shit!
    MANNY
Do you think you can break his knees or ankles with that?
    MANAGER
(gulping)
.... I'll try.

[The MANAGER takes a swing and does little damage, but does get the ghoul's attention. He reverses, panicked. MANNY delivers a swift kick to regain the ghoul's gaze.]

    MANNY
It's ok. Try it again.

[The MANAGER's second swing is harder, and hits the knee directly, however the zombie's gait is unaffected.]

    MANAGER
I can't!!
    MANNY
Toss me the bat! Over his head, like a football pass!

[The MANAGER does so, and MANNY leaps to make the grab. As with the kick, he backs up for room to charge, and wallops the knee. The ghoul falls forward, and grabs MANNY, pulling him down. MANNY kicks frantically to escape the grasp, and scatters to his feet. The zombie does too, his stride hampered, but still upright. MANNY is visibly angered.]

    MANNY
Ok!! You wanna play?!

[MANNY dashes off to the front of the diner, from which they'd begun to drift from since the opening blows of the fight. He picks up the metal outdoor ashtray, which is somewhat smaller than a wireframe trash can, but fairly sturdy. He charges the ghoul, and presses the cigarette recepticle to the ghoul's chest hard, knocking him down again. MANNY quickly gains the foe's back, and locks in a chokehold, then uses his legs to wrap around the ghoul's hips and abdomen. They fall to the ground. MANNY is in control of the madman, who snarls, yelps, and flails to get free.]

[The MANAGER, now backed up by several men, busboys and patron's alike, come into the scene, yards away from the wrestling match.]

    MANAGER
Are you okay?
    MANNY
Yeah, I think so. I think I've got him detained. We called the police, right?
    MANAGER
They are on their way.
    MANNY
Good. God, this guy is strong! His adrenal gland.... (huff) must be in overdrive!

[Five minutes pass. The ghoul is struggling as voraciously in MANNY's grapevined rear naked choke as before.]

    MANNY
I just realized something.
    MANAGER
What?
    MANNY
This guy isn't breathing.
    MANAGER
What do you mean?
    MANNY
I've used this hold plenty of times. His chest might be spasming to get free, but it's not expanding or contracting. He's not drawing breath.
    MANAGER
That's impossible! He's moving!
    MANNY
(sarcastically)
No one is more keenly aware of that than myself, I assure you! Another bad sign... my arms are really getting tired.

[Another few minutes pass. The man who first met the ghoul saunters over to the fight circle. His arm is wrapped in a makeshift bandage comprised of white waiter's shirts, turned moist and red with blood and sweat.]

    MANNY
How are you doing?
    LARGE GUY
I think I'll live. This bastard bit a big chunk outta me though. Can we help?
    MANNY
Right now, I don't see how. Not safely. I'm open to suggestions though. I broke his windpipe just a minute ago.
    LARGE GUY
Jesus Christ.
    MANNY
Amen.

[The crowd pauses to take that in, and relay the information back to the diner.]

    MANNY
Aw hell, guys. I'm slippin. Get back. GET EVERYBODY BACK NOW!!



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