Listen... Do you smell something?
By Nukhan
Featuring Nukhan, zombies

It was another one of those late nights. You know the type, thinking in your head that you've got a few more minutes to spare to help out some poor sap, where the pile of burned wood and canvas can't be as big as it first seems. So you prop up your axe, strap some of that steel and leather to your wolf and tell it to head off away from the half standing building and get some rest.

C'mon, you know, one of those kinds of nights.

Yeah, well, this was just another one in the long line of them. It had started back when the scourge puppeteers first grew a pair. Couldn't sleep, mind wandering in a desert inn and then BOOM, you get a bony claw to the face. It's not something you expect in a goblin town where the guards carry the newest, not yet fully tested weaponry. But there we were, wailing townspeople, dead guards, priests holding up holy symbols hoping something worked against the living dead.

No, not those living dead, but the ones that the Lich King and his minion controlled.

Yeah, you remember the time now. It wasn't too long ago. Well, it had all started then. Things weren't as they always seemed. Cleaving something that wasn't supposed to be living was easy before. But then these came, with faces that almost looked familiar, expressions stuck in whatever manner they had when they went underground, or first began to be eaten by the carrion birds. A voice filled the air where ever folks went, it wasn't right. We were going to make it right.

When things need to be right, and they have to be right, you don't sleep much. So, that's when it all started.

But here I was again, picking up the pieces with a few others. Some kids, some grizzled, all angry. Some old human folk tale was real, and had a vendetta against whatever it was he was angry about. Stories told to kids were actually real. This wasn't some demon or lich or ghost of a dragon that you could see once in a while, that you could take care of. This was a damn human without a head, riding on a flaming horse, wanting everything burned to the ground. Things like this you just can't make up. Always around this time a year he makes his way around and throws pumpkins -- yup, pumpkins -- that explode and just wreck every damned thing we work hard to build in this place.

But tonight was quieter than most nights. The usual guard regiment wasn't as full as most days. The horns weren't answered as fast. The inn got hit hard by the flying pumpkin this night, we just didn't have enough bucket carriers, and we couldn't let the barracks or bunkers go to waste. We can cook and sleep on the ground, but there's no way you're staging an assault on the quillboar in the open.

So now it's late, and we're pissed off at pumpkins so badly we never want to see a basted boar rib pumpkin pie ever again. Blasphemy, right? Wrong. This guy has got to be stopped somehow. So while we're all grumbling and talking about how there was no help tonight, and how we're all gonna stay and help rebuild and lambaste the missing guards tonight, things start smelling weird. It's not like wood and leather canvas anymore. No, it's more like decrepit flesh. Not the clean type you can leave in Alterac. No, it's the type that you get in the Durotar sun. Rotting, smelly, almost melting, flesh.

The winds must have changed or something, because we all started smelling it. There was no report of dead carcasses in the area, and the wolves hadn't been alarmed at anything out of the unusual ordinary. So I put down the plank I'm holding, grab my axe propped up next to what used to be the door, and start walking towards the south gate. Now we can hear things clearer, a grumbling, some low crunching, and a muffled scream. Everyone starts running now, and I mean everyone. Wolves are snarling, sleeping birds screeching and the rats start burrowing. And then we see her. A grunt laying on the ground, in the open, surrounded by some others just clawing and ravaging her. Poor thing never had a chance.

So you start to see red, right? You start to grip that axe like it's going to shatter in your hand. You can't wait to get a hold of these orcs that would do such a thing to a person that would be like your sister if you had one. But then as you're running, screaming, yelling, envisioning everyone's hands and feet falling off at the slice of your axe, you see them, and realize the smell. You slow down just dumbfounded. You don't see orcs anymore. You see the bits of brain and skull in their mouths. You see the entrails hanging from their hands. And you see them shuffle towards you as they hunger for something living.

You just can't make this shit up.