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Down In Sweet Water

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Fred finds himself thinking that if he had a nose he'd wrinkle it. It certainly hadn't been his intention to become waterlogged and slimy slogging around Hope Falls' loveliest body of water, but he'd been careless while tooling around the boathouse and had slipped right off the dock.

So that was how he found himself sinking slowly through the murky water of the lake; he was headed fairly quickly for the very depths. The lake had seemed innocuous enough on the surface, but Fred was coming to realize it was deceptively deep as he sunk further still. It was starting to make him nervous. His lack of very strong swimming skills was what had started this whole mess. The original plan that shot into his head upon registering his body hitting the surface of the water was to sink to the bottom and stroll along until he was out. He'd even swapped heads to begin to facilitate this; his stone head sped his descent, but not fast enough for his tastes.

He had begun to over think the entire thing, so when his shoes finally scraped along silt he was grateful. Relief flooded his chest and he scolded himself internally for psyching himself out so badly. That was, until he felt the hand close on his hip. He jolted, spinning around fast enough to throw himself off balance, unused to the weight of his current cranium. Despite the force Fred no doubt exerted while trying to right himself the owner of the hand remained undaunted, and when Fred finally came to a standstill it latched onto his other hip.

This time Fred could focus on the figure in front of him, and he leaned back a bit to do so. His attacker stared back at him as Fred took in what seemed to be an average run-of-the-mill zombie with a concrete block on each foot. It was apparent to Fred that this was a man who was done away with for crossing Pitt, and brought back to life due to the heavy radiation levels in the lake-- and everywhere else locally. Poor bastard. Despite the fright he'd given Fred, the zombie didn't seem to be reacting aggressively.

Or doing anything really except slowly rubbing up his hip and side.

Fred hadn't had anyone touch him like that before and it was getting to him in more ways than one. Not sexually, but he knew enough about himself that that didn't surprise him. However for all his disinterest in sex, he knew he was a very tactile person and he found himself leaning briefly into the emaciated hand with the soft touches before he remembered himself. It was useless attempting to communicate verbally down here so he dropped a friendly pat on the other man's shoulder before attempting to back away. However, the man in front of him was having none of that, his other skeletal hand rising up to lock onto Fred's opposite hip and finding strength in his rotted arms to grip him in place. Fred wiggled his hips uselessly in an attempt to shake him off, his feet slowly kicking up mud and twigs from the lake bed.

The sunlight, diffused as it was in the polluted water, highlighted the decaying skin of his new cuddlebuddy, turning it even more sickly somehow. In light of this nausea-inducing fact Fred grew more aggressive in his attempts to break the hold on him, stopping only when he sensed a disturbance behind him that made him pause. The disturbance in question was a water current that broke slowly over his back, strong enough that he could feel it through his suit. He recognized that this marked the arrival of yet more zombies, but he still twisted what parts of the upper torso he still had control of to stare at the newcomers. The approaching hoard of them was four strong. Fred didn't like his chances, especially if they were even half as strong as their leader.

As if sensing his growing terror the hands on his hips started rubbing again in opposite directions. It was a successful distraction in that Fred's head whipped back to look at the man, disorientating himself in the process. This time though the fingers were purposeful, attempting to ruck his shirt up enough to pull it free from his ragged trousers. By the time the others arrived the leader had succeeded, and the first skin-on-skin contact made Fred jolt. Suddenly there were hands all over him from every which way and Fred felt himself go still, overloaded from conflicting stimuli. The hands settled into place on his body in an array that seemed random to him, but apparently they were meaningful enough to the zombies surrounding him as they communicated silently to each other.

There was a pause that seemed to be the zombies' attempt at giving him time to adjust. Fred recognized that that was strangely polite and settled a bit. After several seconds that time had apparently passed because without warning the hands had begun to move. He found himself overloaded once again and struggled to pick out individual sensations slowly as if on a delay. There were hands on his shoulders rubbing slow circles, the hands that were still at his hips, and hands on each leg reaching under his pant legs to work at the tense muscles of his ankles and calves. He was tense all over really, still braced to flee but unsure how. It wasn't until he processed the hands stroking down his stomach that he shuddered into action, his mind going into overdrive to try to propel himself out of the situation and save himself from his first and last sexual experience.

It occurred to Fred frantically that if he just switched to his normal head he could float to the surface and paddle like hell to escape the lake. He could take them on land if he had to he thought, after all their concrete shoes would make it difficult to maneuver above water. With shaking hands he reached behind him and grabbed the jar housing his brain and eyes. None of the zombies put up a fight as Fred swapped out heads and he began chuckling giddily as he felt himself starting to float upwards... only to jerk to a stop almost immediately.

The zombies' hands were back on him, and roving over him with greater intensity and purpose. With that realization he began flailing around in earnest, hands clutching at his belt buckle. That seemed to give the zombies pause, and were Fred's eyes open he'd have seen them looking at him and around at each other uncertainly. The leader figured out what was going on and reached up to tilt Fred's jar down to face him. Feeling his neck swivel to accommodate the redirection, Fred opened his eyes to stare at the other man. Taking the opening the zombie made deliberate motions to indicate that he and his gang had no intentions of doing anything untoward. Fred stilled.

Skeptical, but momentarily pacified, he consciously made an effort to stop struggling. Sensing the conflict had calmed hands hesitantly snaked around to their former positions and began petting him softer than before-- as if to soothe him. Fred once again unknowingly eased into the touch while around him the zombies crowded closer to resume groping him with vigor. With more careful touching he finally let go and started zoning out under his bizarre volunteer masseurs' eager hands.

Time slipped by much quicker than normal for Fred during the trance he was in so when he next opened his eyes the light in the scummy water around them was considerably darker than before. With a start he realized how much time had passed. Having noticed his distress the zombies' hands slowed and then stopped entirely. Without warning they all stepped back until they were only touching him enough to hold him down and the other four turned to look at the lead zombie. Fred wobbled uncertainly with the loss but quickly righted himself to maintain his dignity. The one in front stepped forward again and tugged Fred forward to press his mottled forehead to the glass of his jar.

They made silent and somewhat awkward eye contact for several moments and then he was floating up and away from his new companions and then he had reached the surface. He briefly considered switching back to the stone head and dropping down to demand answers but then he was kicking weakly back to shore.

Dragging himself onto the grass was more difficult than it should've been. As he walked past the fish cart Suk fixed him with a knowing look.

"Handsy, aren't they?"