The Lie that Destroys
Don’t think that I forgot. You are probably wondering why would I raise the issue of killing my best friend only to drop the subject. Well, a couple of things. I couldn't actually talk about it until after the fact, and well, also because it’s not something I feel comfortable talking about.
After Kevin decided to stay in San Francisco to help Alyssa and the Gunslinger regain control of the city and re-open the ports so that a new supply trade between Vancouver and Hawaii could be re-established, I returned to Japan on the first cargo ship to set sail since the outbreak.
While on board I met a young man named Takahiro Suzuki. He was thirty four and good looking. One of those well-built athletic type. I later learned that he was an avid swimmer. Which probably explains why the sex was so damn amazing. His stamina was oh-my-fucking-god-I-can’t-believe-this-is-my-third-orgasm kind of good.
Needless to say being penned up on a boat for two weeks wasn't a total waste of time.
After returning to my motherland, Takahiro introduced me to his sister Mizuki Suzuki. Mizuki and I hit it off instantly and we stayed friends even after her brother and I broke it off. What can I say, the only thing Takahiro and I had in common was the boat. After that, things went cold fast. But his sister was something else. Mizuki was everything I ever wanted in a friend. A lover. And a partner.
And yesterday I had no choice but to…
It’s so damn hard to say what I did. But I was left no choice. You see, Mizuki had lied to me. It was an unforgivable lie. A lie so dark and twisted that I could hardly believe my beloved Mizuki would be the type to…
I mean, it’s not like I’m an idiot. One of the things that comes with being the leader of a crime organization is that you learn how to read people. And I got damn good at it. It became an instinct to me. Reading people was second nature, and I still beat myself up over the fact that Mizuki, wonderful, happy, bubbly and bright Mizuki turned out to be my goddamn Moriarty.
She blinded me with love. Love used, in this case, as a horrible weapon. My ability to read her through the blind-struck love I felt for her caused me to make one of the greatest mistakes in my new positions as Princess Gangster.
Mizuki was an assassin. She came into my room one night and, as per usual, we made love. After I fell asleep I awoke to hear her having a conversation on the phone. As I aroused myself I made an attempt to reach over for a cigarette but found that I had been zip tied to the bed.
At first I thought it was some sort of prank. I called out her name, but Mizuki simply ignored me. After her conversation she turned toward me and stared at me with cold, unfeeling eyes. Those were not the eyes of Mizuki, but the eyes of a heartless killer.
Then she came over to me, opened a small pouch, and pulled out a syringe with tainted blood. She informed me that it was quite deadly, and that it contained a fast acting strain of the Resurrection virus. I would be sure to turn in a matter of minutes and then she would kill me, untie me, then claim she acted in self-defense.
Her plan was simply to position herself high up in the ranks of the Yakuza and act as an informant for a rival gang of loyalists who simply called themselves the “Banjin” which means “People from the North.”
Their goal is simple enough. They want to re-establish a limited government, so they can vote on distributing food, rebuild communities, and begin living like normal people again. The problem is, they want to include the zombies as “citizens” in this new model. So ideally, some of the distributed food would be going to them. Namely, living people.
That’s right—the Banjin think zombies have rights. And they want to allow for their existence. What’s more, they want to feed you to them. Of course, this I cannot abide. Anyone who views the monsters as anything other than a plague which needs to be eradicated is, in my mind, no better than the monsters themselves.
Unbeknownst to me at the time the Banjin were setting themselves up to infiltrate my organization and then, little by little, dismantle it from the inside.
All this I could have forgiven Mizuki. In fact, I would have gladly run off with her, left Japan, and found some small corner of the globe where the infection had not spread yet and we could have lived happily in a state of solitude.
Of course, now I know it was just all a pipe dream. But my dear Mizuki went ahead and followed out her orders like a good little saboteur and gained my trust only to betray me. Having trapped me, she plunged the syringe full of infected blood into my mother-fucking neck and had to gull to laugh at me—like she had one upped me. As if she had gotten away with it. But there is a distinct difference between gaining advantage and taking advantage.
What Mizuki didn’t know however, was that I was one of the ten percent—one of the ten percent who have a natural immunity to the Resurrection virus. When nothing happened she freaked. When I snapped my bonds as if they were made of paper, she tried to run.
She ran straight to the roof of our forty story condominium that we were living in at the time, and before I had come to she had called in back up. Soon enough the Banjin sent in an S-64 Skycrane helicopter—a weird dragonfly looking machine—which carried a massive intermodal container under its steel belly. The kind that cargo ships carry.
Dashing out of the way, I jumped, tucked, and rolled and narrowly avoided the steel crate as it came crashing down onto the roof. Lodged partway into the rooftop of the building, sweet little Mizuki clambered onto the container and opened its doors. A flood of agitated zombies spewed out of the container and made their way toward me. There were at least a dozen of them.
And they weren't the nice kind either.
They were what we have come to call D-biters. The “D” stands for “dash” because, well, they can fucking run. They’re terrifyingly fast.
As far as we know the undead have evolved into three distinct categories. First there are the zoms, or alternatively called dead-heads, which consist of your classic bumbling, stumbling, nomadic biters. Second are the D-biters, who can chase you down like a cheetah chasing down a gazelle. Deadly as they are terrifying, but they’re easy to detect and so easy enough to avoid. Third are the Alpha-strain. If you run into an alpha, you’re most likely dead. They have the ability to regenerate, or heal, a lot like those of us who are immune to the Resurrection virus. They also morph into a de-evolved lizard like form. Grow wings. And their bites burn like acid.
Don’t ask me how it works. I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with the Omega gene.
Immunity from the contagion depends exclusively on whether or not you have the Omega gene in your DNA. As for the Alphas, there seems to be a small fraction of people, less than 3%, whose Omega gene contains a bizarre mutation that still allows for zombification, but also prompts a retrograde evolution where vestigial traits come back. They look less like zombies than monsters, but the fact which remains is that they can spread the virus.
If the phrase Living Nightmare comes to mind, you’re not alone in that assessment. Even for people like me, immune to the virus, I can guarantee that the things earn the name Living Nightmare, because they are.
If you ever hear somebody boasting they've survived an encounter with a Living Nightmare, you can be certain about one of two things. Either they are a major bad-ass and someone you want on your side, or they are a mother-fucking liar who thinks that big-headed bragging about non-existent feats will give them street cred.
But if there’s one thing I hater almost more than zombies its goddamn liars. Which brings me back to our lovely little Mizuki—a lying snake in the grass.
As her ambush of D-biters came streaming out of the metal container, I set to task slashing the skulls of their undead faces in half. However, this distraction gave Mizuki the time she needed to make her escape.
Betrayed by my best friend and with a broken heart, I set out on a vendetta to find Mizuki and repay her the favor.
It took two months but I finally tracked her down. I discovered where she was hiding by rekindling my relationship with her brother, who—although wasn’t part of the Banjin—still kept in touch with Mizuki. It was only a matter of time before I found out where her base of operations was.
Looks can be deceiving. I learned that the hard way. Sweet innocent Mizuki turned out to be a venomous viper. But she picked the wrong girl to strike at. After all, if I lost my entire empire to such a charlatan, then I wouldn't have the reputation I do. As such, I can’t afford anything other than a razor sharp image and an attitude tougher than steel. Cross me, and I don’t take it lightly.
So like I said, I repaid Mizuki in kind. But instead of dropping one cargo container on her secret lair, I dropped twenty.
Hey, like I said, being the head of my own empire comes with its perks. I have nearly unlimited access to all the technology that remains, and the manpower to dole out tenfold what I receive. In this case, twenty-fold After all, I also pride myself on a certain amount of flair. You can’t be a princess in this day and age without a modicum of style. Because that would be sacrilege.
Needless to say the D-biters decimated the Banjin’s secret base. It was an old bomb bunker in Hokkaido, built as a safeguard for important dignitaries if North Korea ever decided to bomb the hell out of Japan.
But I blew open their concrete doors and let swarms of the undead inside. After that I stood outside and waited for the screams to subside. After silence overcame the facility, I waited for her.
When she stepped out, bloody and bruised, I had my men seal up the doors to contain the monsters. Then it was just me and her.
I remember it well, because it was cold as hell. The snow began to snow just as the sun started to set and there, standing in the twilight hour amid twinkling snowflakes was my precious Mizuki. I’ll never forget the sadness in her eyes.
But I could tell her tears weren’t because of any kind of regret for what she had done. She didn't regret her betrayal. The only thing she regretted was her failure. I would have gladly embraced her in my arms if she had shown even the slightest sign of remorse for her immense betrayal. Would I have ever forgiven her? Probably not. But I would have let her live.
But instead—she mocked me—by crying for her failure instead of saying sorry for breaking my heart.
Bitten in the escape, she stood before me and pleaded for me to put her out of her misery before she turned. Before she lost her mind. Before she became her true self. So I obliged her dying wish.
Sliding my blade through her chest, she gurgled, and as blood began to trickle down her lips we both sank to our knees. Perched upon the newly strewn blanket of snow, I kissed her blood stained lips and then whispered into her ears an emotionless “Goodbye.”
It was the least I could do for a liar and a lover.
My name is Saeko Sakaguchi. I don’t always like having to do the things I do, but I think you’ll find it’s a necessary evil. I wish it wasn't I wish things like love and kindness were still options, but in a fallen world where undead monsters reign supreme, fear is the new Lord. Fear is legion. And you can either cower in subservience before it or rebel against it.
So I choose to continue the fight. If you’re reading this now, count yourself among the lucky. And whatever you do, don’t give into fear. If you do, you may just find yourself on the other end of my blade.
August 23, 2019 (Z.E.)
Tristan Vick is the author of the Bitten Resurrection virus saga as well as the quirky pulp novel The Scarecrow & Lady Kingston: Rough Justice. Princess Gangster is his Resurrection virus spin-off webserial based on the lead character from Bitten 2: Land of the Rising Dead.