Rewriting Undeath, Chapter 1: Who Writes This Garbage?

“You have got to be fucking kidding me! Why? Why the fuck?! God damn it! There were a million different things you could’ve done John, but you obviously pick the stupidest fucking choice because… Plot?! Who gives a fuck about plot?! Grah~!”

In a basement somewhere in Baltimore, there was a not-so-young man, screaming at his computer screen. He was watching the season finale of a show called “The Shambling Undead”. A series based off of a comic book, which he also rage-quit, but far sooner. In the comics, the author often had the main characters being raped and tortured, for no particular reason.

On the other hand, the television series at least cared a little bit about their audience’s feelings for the characters. Many of the characters that were raped and tortured, were simply humiliated or killed off. However, there was always a limit. Until now.

“How the fuck can they just kill off Andrew and Selina like that?! Why the hell did the supposedly badass survivors suddenly surrender, just because a few of their friends were captured?! They should’ve just kept fighting it out! Even if half of em died in battle, it would’ve been better than this execution bullshit! Fuck! I quit! I’m not watching this show anymore! I no longer give a damn about what happens next!”

Even though he said that, he still continued to the next episode, but regretted it even more. They just drew out the execution, with the antagonist taunting and making fun of John as they drove around for a few hours. He forced John to fight some zombies with his bare hands, and for most of the episode, the main character was crying like a baby and having a mental breakdown.

“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me… Okay, I quit for real this time. This is absolute garbage. Who even writes this shit anyway?”

The pale-skinned man let out a sign and paced around his room, wearing nothing but a baggy white t-shirt and black boxers. His black hair was recently cut so short that it was practically sticking straight up, while his facial hair was a scraggly thick mess. He was supposed to trim it, but forgot, at least three times.

Michael Cinagra was an author. He wrote numerous webnovels, including several zombie apocalypse stories. However, none of them had ever become successful. And none of his stories had ever been as popular as “The Shambling Undead” or other similar television adaptations of comic books.

“Hah~, this is even worse than that time Marquis got randomly bitten by an undead kid while exploring a gas station. For fuck’s sake, he killed hundreds of zombies before that, and yet he gets insta-killed by what was essentially a little scratch on his arm?! For that matter, if they’re all infected already, then why does it even matter if they get a scratch or bite at this point? They should have built up an immunity to a certain extent. Also, sometimes the zombies can break down metal walls, while other times they’re so frail they can’t move at all…”

He was so angry and disappointed that he almost started writing a fanfiction of the show, but eventually he just sighed and grumbled: “I kinda wish I was in that world. But at the same time, I definitely wouldn’t survive that level of shitty hygiene… For that matter, how the hell do these assholes live through eating with the knives they kill shamblers with, yet they die instantly if they get bitten?”

It was a warm summer night, so he had the basement window as open as possible. It was a dark, stormy night, but until that moment, the rain wasn’t entering through the screen at all. However, once it started, he immediately stopped complaining and went over to slide the window shut.

*Craaack~!*

Aside from the blinding light and that incredibly loud noise, Michael couldn’t see or hear anything for a while after that. It felt like his face and left leg were on fire for a minute, but that eventually faded.

What felt like an eternity or perhaps an instant passed, then he opened his eyes again and was standing in a dreary dark and damp cellar. Not the basement he was familiar with, but an old, dusty wine cellar somewhere.

“Okay then… This is awkward. Did I get kidnapped? Or maybe I’m in a coma after getting struck by lightning, like a certain cartoon character…”

As he was rambling to himself, Michael looked around the room and noticed that there were no stairs leading up. Just a bunch of broken and rotted old wine barrels, along with similarly destroyed bottles of unrecognizable brands.

“Oh shit, is this some kinda weird purgatory? Did I die?” He grumbled, realizing that he was trapped. The walls were rotten wood panels, but once he ripped them away, he could see bricks. The ceiling was only about a foot above his head, and he was fairly short. He stood on a somewhat intact wine barrel and started to dig at the floorboards, but a massive amount of sand began pouring down onto his head the moment he broke one of them.

“Ugh, oh you gotta be fucking kidding me!” He jumped out of the way, but that one bit of damage must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, because the other surrounding floorboards creaked and broke away, until the whole ceiling collapsed down towards his head.

At that moment however, everything stopped… Or at the very least, his perception of time had sped up so fast that it seemed as if the sands had stopped flowing, until it all started to reverse. From Michael’s perspective, everything was moving in slow-motion, but backwards, including his own body.

Until he was standing back in the center of the room once again, and all the damage he did to the walls and ceiling had vanished. It was as if everything he just experienced was an illusion. For that matter, the whole situation felt unreal from the beginning. Like a dream or hallucination. Who would build a wine cellar without any entrance or exit? Even if it decayed over time, there would be evidence of it existing in the first place.

“Phew~! Now what?” He wandered around the room, moving the barrels and pieces of junk out of the way. His t-shirt and boxers were relatively intact at first, but as time passed, they eventually became tattered and broken. On the other hand, Michael’s body didn’t seem to age or wither, regardless of the fact that he didn’t eat or drink anything for what seemed like years. His hair didn’t grow any longer either.

“Okay, I’ve had bad dreams, but this is by far the fucking worst.”

After what seemed like a decade, the naked man finally gave up trying to find a way out of the impossible room. It wasn’t just the ceiling. If he dug into the concrete floor, water would come up and flood the room. When removed a brick from the wall, there would be a flood of dirt pouring through. Which obviously destroyed the entire wall as well. He also tried to just ‘die’ several times, but he couldn’t. ‘Time’ wouldn’t allow it.

Michael bashed his head onto the floor, but he couldn’t even get a cut or bruise, much less sustain enough damage to die or pass out. The broken glass on the floor didn’t hurt his feet at all. He could even chew it up and eat it, which he actually did several times.

“On the positive side, at least I don’t have OCD anymore… Hahaha, hahaha~, hahaha-ah~! Why the fuck am I alive?! Just let me die!” His hysterical laughter quickly turned into tears. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to survive so long in almost complete darkness for a decade.

That’s when he heard a loud *Bang!* and felt a sharp pain on the back of his head. It was at that moment that he blinked and looked around in confusion. A guttural groan emerged from his throat, as he turned towards a man who appeared vaguely familiar. He was wearing a riot helmet, but it didn’t cover his face.

“John Cain?” Michael murmured in confusion as the man pulled the trigger of the revolver he was holding again, and a .45 caliber hollow-point bullet flew out in slow motion. As he watched that, instead of avoiding the round, which he couldn’t do, he complained: “You’re supposed to be a fucking Ex-Marine, and you’re stupid enough to use a hollow point against the back of someone’s head?! How the fuck did you even manage to survive all those years in a zombie Apocalypse?!”

As soon as the bullet was about to enter his left eye-socket, Michael looked around and the scenery changed again. He was back in that dusty and dark wine cellar, but he finally noticed something weird, for the first time in what seemed like ten years: “If there’s no light source, then how can I see anything right now?”

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