Note: The recipient for this fic had a weak spot for Zombie Apocalypse AUs. Zombies are not uncommon in survival horror, but they're unknown in Fatal Frame.

Alight in that Flame
by Estirose
c 2012

Rei hefted the shotgun grimly, checking the barricade around their neighborhood. She would have preferred shooting things with a camera instead of shooting zombies, but that's what was happening now, and that's what they had to put up with. Her husband Yuu was back at the house, making strategic plans with his friends Mafuyu and Kei.

Her house was getting pretty full - Kei and his nieces had come first, and then Mafuyu and Miku, taking their spare room and then Yuu's old room. Yuu's cousin Misaki was there too, sharing Miku and Mafuyu's room, and she had proven deadly with a gun, so it all worked out. Kei's niece Mayu kept busy with household chores while his other niece Mio kept busy running to get supplies. The teenager could run and hide better than any of them. Given the reports of zombies that wielded poles, little zombies that wielded stakes, zombies whose heads flopped to one side or had abnormally long arms, and even ones in doctors' outfits wielding penlights, Rei was glad that Mio had a finely honed sense of preservation.

Nobody was sure where the zombies had come from, though it was rumored that they had been lead by headless skeletons coming from some place up in the mountains, and then they multiplied rapidly when they found victims. There wasn't much about the place, not even a name, though Yuu and his friends had tried. She had faith that if Yuu said that there was no information, then there really was no information.

"No zombies in the north section," Miku said, coming up to Rei. Rei was glad that Miku and Mafuyu had moved in with them from their flat. It sounded like they'd had some adventures anyway, something to do with virtual reality and an AI ghost who was programmed to think Mafuyu was her long-lost lover. It had given them some experience with crazy things, at least. Though not crazier than what had happened, with zombies rising in every land, from ancient places, forgotten ones. The end of the world had come, and Rei had survived through it, but it wasn't what she dreamed. And at least she wasn't fighting ghosts.

Rei would take zombies any day. At least they exploded. Miku was becoming an expert in making things that caused them to collapse and be still, bait traps that the zombies ate and died, sort of like that poison that one fed ants to make them go away. "Where's Misaki?"

"She told me that she saw some zombies coming from up north." Miku clutched at her chest, which looked kind of silly when one realized that she was toting a gun and poison. But not even a zombie apocalypse could keep her from doing that. "And then she went back to work with Yuu and the others."

Rei nodded. "We'll just have to be ready." There was always the chance that they would join the rambling horde, but Rei intended to live as long as possible until the families could escape.

Hefting her shotgun once more, she watched the shadows move, looking for zombies.


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