What is this about?

Strange Heat

“What happened.”

“Jude’s dead. They all are.”

“Dammit!”

“But it was weird at first. To see them just standing there, twenty at least. They’d come around the bend and seen Jude out in front of the cave. They were watching him. Hungering for him, but didn’t attack. Just stood there, shuffling and drooling and moaning and hissing the way they do.”

“Undead motherfuckers!”

Yeah, but there was something diffferent. It was almost as if these were afraid.”

“Of what?”

“Jude, I think.”

“That’s crazy!”

“Maybe. But I’ll tell you they had reason to be. He just stood there with the long swords crossed in front of him like he wasn’t afraid. Like he was fucking zenmaster invincible. Took out nine before they even got a hand on him. I picked off five more with the rifle. Would’ve gotten more but…”

“But what?”

“But the gun fucking jammed all right?”

“Take it easy. Tell me what else.”

“Those that were left got into the cave. I got the gun fixed and put ’em all down when they came out, but Denny, Sarah… Morgan.”

“Gone?”

“All gone.”

“How’d you escape?”

“Jude sent up on the ridge before they came. Told me not to give away my position ’til the dance started.”

“The dance?”

“That’s what he calls — called — it whenever they attacked.”

“Right.”

“But Jude was awesome, man. Just stood there like no one was getting past him and didn’t give a shit or an inch. Absolutely no fear. Zero. None would come by themselves so they worked themselves up into a frenzy until they charge as a group. And when they did Jude let out this roar came at them. And I swear — I swear! — that spooked ’em. Even if it was just for a sec. Never seen it before but I saw it there.”

“But why? How?”

“I’m tellin’ you. Fuckin’ Jude, man!” Fuckin’ Jude.”