Both women bent over---panting.
This had to be a dream, Funke thought. Her heart had never raced this fast in her life. The stench of blood filled her nostrils.
"We...," the woman said "we...need to get...out of here."
The raucous continued, the large gate trembled like it were about to come off its hinges.
"...I know...you're not supposed to say this...when you meet...someone for the first time," Funke couldn't stop shaking. With a trembling hand, she pointed at the gate. "...but WHAT DE FUCK??"
The sound of her voice seemed to ignite more frenzied animal screams.
They ran into the house.
"What's happening?" Chinyere said scrambling down the stairs with Prince and Samuel behind her. Her eyes nearly popped out of her head when she saw the bloodied woman."WHAT DE FUCK??"
"I already covered that," Funke panted.
"She's part of the show," Prince said coming down the stairs "She has to be. Look at her make up, it's quite convincing."
The woman whose name they'd later learn was Justine stared at him like he were something out of a freak show.
The sounds at the gate suddenly stopped.
A deathly silence passed amongst the four of them.
"What does that mean?" A confused Funke said. "Are they...gone?"
"See?" Prince said with a lot of humour "It was all a prank. Those guys outside were extras, right?"
There was a raging storm behind the woman's eyes. But she managed to compose herself and spoke in a measured tone. "I...my name is... Justine...and until a few hours ago...I was a caterer for the show."
"Oh! So now you want to give us some background story?" Prince chuckled. "this should be fun."
"Shut up, Prince!" Funke was really losing her patience with him.
"You can't talk to me like that!"
"You're being an asshole."
"Big talk for a small time slut." He said.
Funke charged towards him. "What the fuck did you call me?"
Chinyere blocked her path. "You guys shouldn't fight oh!"
His finger jabbed the air in front of the women "Tell that to the domineering bitch!"
Funke lashed out, barely missing his hand as Chinyere held her back.
Justine suddenly screamed. The sound was high-pitched with nearly enough volume to hurt ear drums.
The four of them stared at the strange women with the same flabbergasted expression on their faces.
When Justine stopped, she was out of breath.
Her tattered clothes and blood stained face made her seem like part of some nightmarish vision.
"PEOPLE ARE DEAD!!!"
Chinyere shuddered at the rage in the woman's voice.
Justine tried to catch her breath. "...people I'd... Worked with for years...John was cute...he was cute in the movie-star sort of way...Maybe that's why...I never said yes..."
Justine sounded delirious--like some lunatic ranting on in some crazy monologue.
"...this morning," Justine's contorted. She was about to cry. "...this morning, he said hi...and...and I caught him staring at my ass---."
Prince rolled his eyes "Really?...she went through all this trouble to tell us a fuck-story?...This is bull---!"
"I stabbed him in the eye with a carving knife!"
Justine's confession was like a gunshot in the room.
"...but it wasn't him..." It was hard to tell what emotion was more dominant. Sadness, confusion, fear...or rage. "...he came in today sick with Soot-cough."
"S-Soot-cough?" Samuel said.
"The strange black soot that accumulates on the soles of your feet." Funke said. "B-before we came to the house, there were rumors of people coughing up soot. I actually thought it was bullshit but..."
Her voice trailed off when Justine broke into whimpers. The traumatized woman cover her face with hands so bruised, they looked mutilated. "An hour later...John's cough got worse...he developed a fever then collapsed."
Justine wiped snort or blood from her nose.
"...in less than a minute...he was up again...but...but it wasn't him. He attacked and bit anyone close enough...it was crazy!...he was like a rabid dog. ...there was blood everywhere...people were screaming---."
"And we're supposed to believe this bullshit?"
Justine shook her head. "I don't believe it myself. Before we knew it,...anyone who'd been bitten or scratched went crazy...with black soot coming out of theit eyes---!"
"Bullshit!" Prince stormed into the kitchen area.
Funke watched him go. For a flicker of a moment, Chinyere's eyes caught hers. The busty girl's message was clear, 'Back off! He's mine!' Funke incredulous expression sent a message of its own, 'REALLY??'
"...I--I had to defend myself," Justine went on.
"It was...a nightmare! People... turned on each other...biting, tearing out throats...there was just so much blood..."
Sound of clapping.
"Fantastic story," Prince said returning to the living room."you're a great actress. Just how much is Big Bruce paying you?"
"I don't...believe her either." Chinyere said.
"I--I'm with P-Pri-Prince on th-this!" Samuel said.
Funke's look couldn't have been more incredulous. "Didn't you guys hear those things attack the gate?"
"And what exactly did we hear?" Prince folded his arms with his signature smile again. "A bunch of actors in costumes making animal sounds?"
"Right!" Chinyere said. "The show has many viewers. If there were a problem, don't you think someone would have called the police?"
"Y-yes!" Samuel seemed pleased to be on the same page with Chinyere and Prince.
"During the...Killings." Justine said. "the satellite feed was cut off."
"How convenient," Said Prince.
Funke shook her head,"Your wahala is just too much!"
"You're the one with wahala if you believe this bullshit Zombie' story."Prince leaned into Justine's face. "Big Bruce is just trying to scare us out of the money."
Justine suddenly looked smaller standing next to him. "I'm...I'm not making this up." She covered her face . "We...really need to get out of here!"
Prince threw Chinyere and Samuel a mischievous look. "I say we throw her back outside".
Justine's eyes enlarged. "No...!" She backed away. "y-you can't do that...!"
"You don't have a say in the matter." Prince said coming closer.
Justine's face lit up as if she'd suddenly remembered something. She reached under her blouse and untucked the revolver.
Prince paused. It was his turn to be wide-eyed "Whoa!"
Funke almost jumped out of her own skin at the sight of the gun. It looked so alien in the house.
"YOU LET HER COME IN HERE WITH A GUN?"Chinyere looked like she were about to have a heart-attack.
Like Prince, Funke was on pause. Everything was happening so fast. The small and big voice in her heard were talking on top of each other.
It was hard to make sense of her own thoughts. "I--I didn't know she had it on her!"
"J-just relax." Samuel said backing away.
"I don't think it's a real gun," Prince said.
There was a strange calm in Justine's eyes. She suddenly pointed the gun at him.
"Whoa!" All four of them chorused.
"Don't do anything...stupid, Justine."
But Justine barely heard Funke's voice. Her eyes were trained on Prince. Even her voice sounded calmer. "I've never held a gun before... somehow I got this weapon from a dead security guard."
No one moved.
Funke's eyes caught Chinyere's again. An icy feeling crept up her spine. Chinyere was about to do something stupid.
"I shot three people today,"Justine was saying "somehow, they kept on coming...I don't know what's going on out there, but I know if you touch me, I'll kill you."
Another long silence.
Funke saw it a milliseconds before it happened. "No...!"
But it was too late.
Chinyere charged at Justine, grabbing the weapon, trying to wrestle it away.
The gun-blast was like canon-fire in the house.
Both women crashed into the ground, grunting and writhing. Justine lost her grip. The gun skidded across the floor towards Funke. But both women barely noticed.
Funke and Prince were transfixed. Not because of the combat on the ground, but because of Samuel's haunted look as he fell to the ground with a bullet-hole in his chest.
....to be continued.