A Resident Evil-inspired holiday fan story, starring Barry Burton.
By Chris Morse
Barry had spent the last couple years as an advisor for the Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance, otherwise known as the BSAA, but his time fighting bioweapons and those who would use them to do harm to the world was slowly winding down. His sights were set on Canada, where he planned on returning home to be a true family man once more. The Burton family had been through a lot over the years, most recently a close-call involving Barry’s daughter, Moira, that brought the two closer together than ever. This incident also led to the adoption of Natalia, a child rescued from the island of Sushestvovanie, adding yet another young lady to the group of girls he cherished so much. He still had a few months to go before it was time to move on and settle down back at home, but the holidays were fast approaching and to Barry that meant one thing: family.
“Sorry, but it’s Christmas time and my girls need me,” he said with a sense of duty as he hung up the BSAA cellphone and prepared to board his flight home, ignoring whatever bioterrorism disaster happened to be on the other end of the line this time. Not today.
One flight and a few days later, it was finally time to see the girls. Barry straightened out his Christmas sweater, snugged tightly underneath his trademark vest, and hoisted a heavy black trash bag over his shoulder. His Santa hat bobbed back and forth as he walked up to his house and, before he could ring the doorbell, his wife Kathy opened the door to greet him with a delighted grin. Inside, Barry set down his bag of gifts by the Christmas tree and caught up with the rest of the family. Moira, Polly, and Natalia were all thrilled to see their father and settled in for what was slated to be a comfortable evening together for the holidays.
Barry sat in his favorite recliner as his girls opened their gifts by the fireplace, which was adorned with stockings and other colorful decorations. Hugs were exchanged back and forth and everything felt right in the world, if only for one day, as the Christmas lights flickered through the window from outside. Moments later, the pleasant melody of holiday music in the Burton residence was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. “Wasn’t expecting any more guests tonight,” he said quietly, lifting himself from his chair with a grunt. Barry marched up to the door and answered it to find a courier dropping off a delivery, perhaps a last-minute gift.
“Merry Christmas to you too, and Happy New Year!” he heartily shouted down the driveway as he closed the front door, clutching the plain-looking package in one hand. “That’s strange,” Barry said, “This is addressed to me with only the initials C.R. written on it.” He set the package down on the end table, running his fingers through his beard in thought. “Are you okay, dad?” asked Moira. Natalia curiously looked on as he pondered for a moment.
“Yes, honey. I’m f—“ Barry was cut off mid-sentence as a loud bang was heard from behind the house. “Stay here, girls,” he directed as he went to the back door to see what the commotion was. The Burton residence was situated close to the woods, typically providing a nice, quiet environment that was perfect for the kind of family-oriented rest and relaxation Barry lived for, but something was off tonight. He looked through the window towards the trees and began to see some familiar figures shuffling out from the forest. One of them uttered out a groan as Barry caught a glimpse of the first of the living dead heading towards his house.
Barry stormed back to his living room, “Damn it, I’m not going to let a bunch of undead freaks ruin Christmas with my girls, but first, I’m opening my box.” The Burton girls looked at each other in confusion as he began to carefully open the delivery he received earlier. The group of zombies had closed in on the house and began to bang on the back door, groaning with an insatiable thirst for living flesh. Polly exclaimed in a panic, “What’s going on out there?!” The rest of the family echoed the same sentiment as the situation began to feel more and more urgent, but Barry was still taking his time while opening his package. “Girls, you never know when you have to return an item, so it’s important to take care of the box,” he lectured. “Dad! Just open it and tell us what’s going on,” Moira burst out as her father finally pulled a neatly-handwritten note from the newspaper-filled package.
I know you’ve been thinking about life and retirement, but I wanted to give you a little reminder of what’s important. What it means to protect your family. Your purpose. I thought you might need this, don’t ask why or how. Merry Christmas!
P.S. Chris said Raccoon City used to be nice this time of year. I found this old photograph and it made me think of you. You’re the mountain man, you keep it!
With a nod, Barry lifted removed the rest of the paper from the box, still ignoring the loud sounds of the pack of intruders out back, to reveal a polished .44 magnum with his name engraved in the grip alongside a small box of ammunition and a photograph. On the picture, he noted the beautiful Arklay Mountain scenery, highlighted with small patches of the forest’s trademark red and green herbs. He then took the gun out and admired it for a moment before speaking up, “Don’t worry, young ladies. I have this under control,” he said with a smile. His girls were more than capable of defending themselves and protecting each other, but this duty was his tonight. That was his gift, to be the protector. Not because he had to be, but because he wanted to be. It was his purpose to fulfill.
“I’ll be back shortly, girls, and I’d love to have some eggnog when I’m finished,” Barry announced as he loaded up his new magnum and headed outside to deal with the situation. He marched around the house, carefully avoiding the excessive amount of holiday decorations set up on his lawn, and set his sight on the first zombie, quickly putting it down with one bullet to the head. “Eat lead, you flesh-eating prick! Who’s next?!” He shoved another that was close by and lined up the perfect shot, taking out two-for-one with their blood spraying all over his clothes. “You sons of bitches are ruining my favorite sweater!” he yelled with a fiery rage. Despite all the chaos, the blood-soaked house still maintained its Christmas spirit as the colorful lights draped around it continued to flash and dance on cue.
Shot after shot echoed through the evening as Barry’s favorite holiday songs blared from the house, jingle bells, jingle bells. The music and shots were interrupted only by the occasional one-liners he couldn’t resist using. “How’s that for brains?! You seem to be missing yours now!” Another shot. Jingle all the way. More blood began to cover him and his small backyard nativity scene. Oh, what fun. “Looks like you’ve sprung a leak!” It is to ride. He kicked the next and took out one more. “Hope you’ve got good insurance!” On a one-horse open sleigh. Quick, careful reloads provided the only breaks in action among the gunshots, quips, and Christmas tunes. Barry took out one last zombie and looked around the yard at the damage, “Wow, what a darned holiday mess! Nothing my power washer can’t handle in the morning, though. Bright and early.”
He trudged back inside and carefully took off his boots at the door, setting his blood-soaked Santa hat down on the nearby countertop and then locking his gun safely in the cabinet. Kathy and his daughters rushed in to check on him as he met them with a smile. Polly was still nervous, in awe of how well Natalia was keeping it together, somewhat blissfully unaware of everything her adopted sister went through back on the island. “Now who wants some eggnog?” Barry asked with a laugh, instantly lightening up the mood. Moira raised one eyebrow, “Shouldn’t you get yourself cleaned up first?”
He wasted no time to respond, “It’s okay, honey. I have this!” as he pulled out another Christmas sweater, identical to the blood-covered one he was already wearing. The Burton family laughed it off as they ushered back into the living room and waited for Barry to rejoin them. Moments later, he turned up the holiday music just a little bit louder before settling back into his chair as the evening’s festivities continued late into the night.
Shortly after midnight, the whole family had dozed off, with the exception of Barry, and all was quiet aside from the occasional crackling of the fireplace. Gifts and boxes were left around the Christmas tree as the lights continued to flicker, providing that perfect mood to match his favorite time of year. Barry looked around at his contented family with a loving smile and put the finishing touch on a great evening with a few last words, “Merry Christmas, girls.”