The Legend of El Diablo
Before the war, he was called Patrico Sorentino. But after the initial skirmishes against the zombie hordes, other survivors began to call him El Diablo, an all-singing, all-dancing madman with a gun. His notoriety served him well; as he made his way through the shattered remains of Sydney University with his rag-tag team of survivors (the Last Man from Penrith, the Judge & Miles Thomas), other groups would allow him to pass unhindered through their forts.
“El Diablo!” called the CO of Fort Solitude. “How goes it?”
“Well, my friend,” replied El Diablo, in an unspecified South American accent. “Have you seen any of los muertos vivientes… the undead?”
The CO looked grim. “We have. They’ve been making their way up and down Fisher Road.”
“So the OZ has been revealed, eh?”
“One of them, at least. Reports say that there are at least three, maybe more.”
“Three? Madre di Dios… I picked a helluva day to quit smoking,” said El Diablo, and everyone laughed at his great joke. “Good hunting, my friend.”
As El Diablo’s team passed by another fort, the Judge (the team’s comms op) grabbed his leader’s shoulder. “El Diablo, they’re saying that one of the OZs is a man who wears no shoes.”
Another survivor called down from the fort. “That’s right, he’s called Pat Morrow.”
Pat Morrow! El Diablo paused. Pat Morrow, aka Sergeant Grumps, was a member of the feared Team Discovery Channel, a squad of hard-bitten, no-nonsense soldiers led by Cap’n Cool – El Diablo’s younger brother.
“There must be some mistake,” replied El Diablo. “I know Pat Morrow, I shared a meal with him. There is no way that he can be… one of them.”
“It’s true,” said the survivor. “They released a picture.”
“Show me,” commanded El Diablo, and bounded up the stairs into the fort.
“Hey, hey,” said the survivor, raising his gun. “How do we know you’re clean, El Diablo?”
“Do not be stupid, man, I am El Diablo. Show me the picture.”
Slowly, warily, the survivor held out a photograph. El Diablo’s pulse quickened, and prickles of anxiety formed on the back of his neck; staring back at him were the unmistakeable features of Sergeant Grumps.
“No…” breathed the South American, and in a heartbeat he was on the radio to his brother.
“Cap’n Cool here.”
“Hermano, it is me.”
“Ah, Patrico. What news?”
“Quickly, there isn’t much time. Is Pat Morrow with you?”
“Sergeant Grumps? Of course he is, he’s my most trusted man.”
El Diablo whipped off his trademark Panama hat and ran a hand through his hair. “Hermano, listen to me. You cannot trust Pat Morrow, you hear me? He’s one of them. Isolate him, get your team away from him before he turns on you.”
There was a pause. “You’re being paranoid, Patrico.”
Beside him, the survivor leaned in to El Diablo. “Reports say that they’re on Science Road.”
“Patrico,” called his brother. “I have to go. Good hunting.”
“No!” screamed El Diablo. “You’re on Science Road. How could I know that? How could I know that unless the OZ is with you?!” But there was no reply.
The Last Man from Penrith called up. “Patrico, what’s the situation?”
“What’s the situation? The zombie is on my brother’s squad. That’s the goddamn situation,” replied El Diablo, already cocking his weapon and leaping down the stairs.
“Don’t tell me you’re planning something stupid.”
“Something stupid? My brother is on that squad!”
“Patrico, listen to me…” The Last Man put a hand on El Diablo’s shoulder, but the South American brushed it away angrily, and started running in the direction of Science Road, leaving the rest of his team behind. In his head, he knew he was acting stupidly, irrationally, almost suicidally, but his heart was screaming at him to save his brother.
As he pelted pell mell through the campus, other survivors called out to him.
“What are you doing, El Diablo?”
“I am trying to save my brother!”
At last, after what seemed like a lifetime of running, El Diablo burst out on to Science Road. He blinked in the harsh light, wheezing, and scanned the road. There was no sign of his brother’s squad, and the street seemed oddly, eerily silent and still in the harsh afternoon light.
Across the road, a man stood nonchalant, dressed like a sex pest. El Diablo recognised him instantly as Sam Jenkins.
“Jenkins!” shouted El Diablo. “Have you seen my hermano… my brother? Cap’n Cool?”
“El Diablo,” replied the man, crossing the road and walking slowly towards the South American. “No, he’s not around here. Why are you looking for him?”
“Because one of the OZs is on his squad. I need to find him before it is too late!” cried El Diablo, panic and fear overtaking his words.
“Your brother can take care of himself, he’s a good soldier.”
“No, you do not understand, he… why are you looking at me like that? Madre de dios, what is… what is wrong with your ojos?”
“Your brother can look after himself,” said Jenkins, reaching out for El Diablo, “but for you, the war is over.”
El Diablo started to scream, but he really didn’t scream for very long.