“Damn you, I need a jenny here now!” screamed the Ghoul Sergeant into the mic as he talked to Central Ghoul Command. Another patch of dirt exploded nearby, the electric sizzle of an anti-mortar tickling the hairs on the Sergeant’s body as he ducked into the trench. “We need support, now!” he demanded as he watched three ghoul soldiers get electrocuted by another mortar blast, their essence vanishing and their bodies falling slack to the floor.
A shadow appeared on the field and the Sergeant looked up at the undead condor carrying his new generator. The bird was thoroughly rotted, and chunks of flesh rained down in a stream of carrion as ghoul soldiers ran to meet the beast as it landed, delivering the goods.
“Men, we need to get this generator set up right away. Intel says something big is headed our way. Attach one generator line to the anti-mortar unit and the rest to the large caliber anti-turrets.”
The men obeyed, and the ghouls moved like a perfect unit, seeming to accept the barking of orders far better now than when they were alive. Each wore a red helmet with the insignia a rotting hand holing a moldy wheat stalk on it, and of course had the standard anti-rifle, its blue cord twisting its way to the ghouls’ backs where a mini-solar powered generator was attached with shoulder straps.
Anti-guns were the only weapons the undead could use against each other, the blasts they emitted de-organizing the psychic aura that held the dead flesh or bones together. Standard firearms produced little damage to the undead, because unlike the movies, even headshots or complete dismemberment didn’t stop them. The Skeleton Army, run by the skeletal remains of a Kodiak bear, where a prime example of that fact – they didn’t even have brains or other organs meaning conventional weapons were nuisance rather than lethal. Anti-weapons where extremely energy consuming, and usually needed something that generated power instead of just storing it, like a generator and not a battery.
Central Ghoul Command and Skeleton Army had been warring for over one hundred years. Initially they were united as one, purging the world of the armies of the living. Once every living being had been converted to the undead, deep divisions grew in the legions of the undead as they fought to control the planet.
“Sir, we have incoming!” yelled a ghoul soldier right before the static-infused crackling ball of energy hit him, the mortar almost catching him on fire as the anti-energy pulsed through him. His body fell to the ground, a soft, hazy hint of smoke rising up from the body. His death was permanent.
The Sergeant passed angrily in the trench bunker as he fingered through maps and intel reports with grey, rotten fingers. He stopped at one map labeled FRANKENSTEIN LOCATIONS, KNOWN and spread it out on the war-room table. His cracked lips pursed tightly on his cigar as he puffed away on it, hands free, while studying the map’s every detail. Frankenstein was a walking generator; at the start of the war Central Ghoul Command installed a Big Block V-8 engine in the lumbering ghoul’s chest, in addition to covering his massive shoulders with solar panels. Frankenstein was the world’s largest, mobile generator, capable of aiding in combat and self-repair. He was the biggest hero of the war.
“Son of a bitch, if I could get a mobile jenny like that, we might stand a chance,” said the Sergeant to himself, intently starring at the map and cross-referencing it with the map of the bunker’s location. “That bastard is close, too.”
The Sergeant called together his finest men and sent them on a mission to beg Frankenstein’s assistance, since the 8-Foot monstrosity rarely answered radio requests. He knew the intel had to be right, as the skeleton lines wouldn’t be so fortified here unless they were securing a path for something. Word was that something was a mastodon.
There were only a few mastodon skeletons in the world, mostly in old museums frequented by the living, back when they had the planet for themselves and the dead were just oddities. The Skeleton Armies greatest weapon, it seemed, was giant animals. At the Battle of Skull Creek a skeletal blue whale proved to be too much for the ghouls, and not a single fleshy corpse walked away, the giant whale crushing them with its mass, crippling ghoul soldiers until skeleton snipers picked them off one by one.
The aura of the undead was calculated by size. The larger the mass of whatever was reanimated, the more aura it had and the more anti-energy it required to dissipate the psychic force. This made large skeletal creatures the ‘tanks’ of undead warfare.
Frankenstein, lumbering far above your average ghoul, required more anti-energy to take down than a ghoul soldier. This was a combination of size and the fact that he was sown together from multiple bodies, each containing their own aura that stacked on top of the other auras. Frankenstein, essentially, was the ghoul’s version of a tank.
The search team had been dispatched, and the ghoul soldiers remaining in the trenches readied their weaponry. “I think I can see something!” one of them shouted as the Sergeant climbed the watchtower and looked through a scope with his one good eye. Surely enough, on the horizon, formations of skeleton soldiers could be seen marching towards the front lines.
“Look alive gents!” shouted the Sergeant as he ran the outer walls, calling his men to arms and preparing them for defense against the siege.
A distant moan, followed by a faint tremble in the earth, signaled the worst fears of the ghouls – a mastodon was here. Rumored to have been unearthed from the ruins of the Smithsonian, it was probably the last functioning one on the planet. It slowly emerged from the haze of the horizon and appeared to be in the middle of the army, protected on all sides.
A flash of metal about a hundred yards to the east of the skeleton army caused the Sergeant to turn his scope towards the source. If he still had a beating heart, it would have fluttered at the sight of Frankenstein barreling down the field, acting as a moving shield for the Special Forces ghouls behind him.
Frankenstein stormed the skeleton lines, his V-8 engine roaring in his chest, the exhaust flowing out of his mouth in angry black puffs. Fused into his back were four electrical plugs, and blue cords trailed back to the ghoul warriors as they powered up high caliber anti-guns. Frankenstein was continuing to act like a shield, sheltering the men for the small anti-arms fire. The army started to move forward, charging the trenches of the ghoul army.
The towering, stitched ghoul and his team managed to break off an entire unit from the skeleton army, the large caliber guns cutting swaths through their skeletal tanks. Up ahead, the generator in the trench, and its large weaponry, begin to hammer the skeleton army hard from the front, mortars clearing a line of fire to the mastodon.
“Men, fire at the beast, we must take it down!” screamed the Sergeant as a blast of anti-fire screamed through the lines, skewering him in the chest and silencing his orders forever. The men fought on, firing bursts of turret fire into the behemoth, eliciting a bassy moan.
Frankenstein and his men finally caught up to the main fight, and the ghoulish creation grabbed a mastodon leg, ripping it clean off, causing the hulking creature to fall on its rear. Now a stationary target, the mastodon was easy pickings for mortar fire. The skeleton army, now confused, split up, and without their superweapon, either retreated of stormed forward to the lines, meeting their undeath.
With the battle over, the mournful and large ghoul started walking to the west, towards the next battle, without so much as a goodbye. The men watched, red helmets held over their unbeating hearts in salute, as the creature moved on, a walking generator and hero of the ghoul army.
DAVID ANDERSON lives and writes in Mesa, Arizona. His work has appeared in Surreal Grotesque's online magazine, and other ezines like Bizarro Central, Garden Gnome Pulbications, and The Rot Gut County Blog. He can be found in print in 50 Secret Tales of the Whispering Gash: A Queefrotica and Witch!, an anthology from Dynatox Ministries.