Sister Jasmine Brings the Pain
by Von Carr
2nd Place - Best Story - 2010
2nd Place - Best Interior Art - 2010
Canticle 1: De Profundis
Sister Jasmine was three miles outside the safe zone when she saw her first zombie.
There was only one in sight: a tattered shambler that the disposal patrol must have
somehow missed. She revved the Silver Stallion's motor to draw the zombie's
attention, and waited for the corpse to stumble in range.
"Hey, hey," yelped Einstein, her K9 Antizombie Unit, as it bounced excitedly in
the passenger seat. The robotic dog loved nothing better than a chance to fulfill its
original function. "We're going to get you, deadite!"
The shambler cocked its head. If Sister Jasmine hadn't known better, she would
have sworn it was parsing through the robotic dog's yaps, trying to identify the
words. The thought gave her chills.
"It's looking at us!" the K9 unit said, tail wagging. "Signs of intelligence! Oh boy
"Pray for us now and at the hour of our death," Jasmine muttered as she hit the gas.
Einstein wailed with disappointment as the shambler bounced off the reinforced
"You killed it!" Einstein said. He hopped into the rear seat and leaned up against
the rear window, titanium claws clicking against the glass. "No fair! It could have
been a smart one, too!" Like most of the later models of K9 units, Einstein
dreamed of the day when the Restored UN's fear of zombie tacticians would come
true, and give him more challenging enemies to tear and rend. But Einstein was
also a creature of the moment. "We killed you!" he yelped back at the corpse
twitching on the road. "We killed you good!"
"Eyes on the road, Einstein," the Sister said. "The Lord rewards the vigilant." The
Lord also rewards those who keep their weapons close at hand, she thought.
Zombies were like pre-apocalypse cockroaches. If you saw one, there were
probably a thousand more somewhere nearby.
Where there were zombies, there were also probably wild K9 units, their
programming scrambled during the onslaught of the first robot uprising. And then
there were the natural predators of the wasteland: radioactive ants; intelligent rat
armies; triffids. Even a well-trained nun like Sister Jasmine, armed to the teeth
against the byproducts of natural and supernatural apocalypses, knew better than to
hang around outside the safe zone.
So she kept driving, making a mental note to set the radio to call in a zombie
report. The zombie's look of intelligence might have been illusion, but she didn't
want to take any chances.