Zombie Short Story

Refugee Reunion – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 37

We traveled in silence for awhile. Everyone was exhausted, tired from our gun battle and the general stress of suddenly being thrust into the world of the walking dead. Eventually, Mom, Molly and I put away the food we had acquired from the store. As we worked, Dad and Mom recounted what they had been told by Ben, my father in law. As we finished our task the cabinets were overflowing but we found a place for everything nevertheless. It seemed like a lot of food but I was afraid it wouldn’t last as long as we would like it to. Afterward, I collapsed onto the chair at the kitchen table. Mom headed into the back bedroom to lay down. Jay was sitting on the sofa, his head back, hand over his eyes. I could just make out the salt stain of tears on his cheeks. The day had taken it’s toll on each of us. The adrenaline was gone and the fatigue and reality of the situation was settling in, now that we had some quiet time to reflect on everything. For awhile there was so much happening so fast there was no time to consider the details, to think too much about the loved ones lost, but as Dad piloted the RV up the lone and empty interstate toward my brother’s home we had time to come down, to settle and begin to ponder our situation. Molly was curled up on the opposite side of the sofa from Jay. I stared long and hard at her wondering who she was, how she was feeling how she was going to handle the loss of her family. We were good folks but we all knew each other. Jay and I go back years and then there are my parents. I’ve got lots of people I’m close to and my parents think of Jay like another son, so he has me and them. Then there’s poor Molly. She is with us but in a way she is all alone in this new world. I know she is attached to Jay because of their experiences together earlier but having said that this has all just happened today.

The sun was just beginning to shift in the sky. It was late in the afternoon now and we still had a ways to go. The sun was cutting through the windshield at a sharp angle throwing a lot of light in my direction. I looked toward the sky. The blue crispness was beginning to fade into the orange and reddish hues representative of the close of the day. It was then, as I contemplated the sky and what lay beyond, that I decided it was time to do something I hadn’t done yet today despite all the horrors the day had presented. I spun the chair away from the table, rested my elbows on my knees, bowed my head and began to pray. I suppose I was muttering under my breath which served as enough sound to attract Jay’s attention. “What?” He said, “Are you talking to me?” His muffled inquiry drifting from beneath his hand. I guess when I didn’t respond in a timely fashion he looked out from under his hand. He blinked his eyes, wiping away a few remaining tears from them. “Are you….praying?” He asked with some confusion in his voice. I didn’t answer him immediately but could sense he was waiting. He wasn’t a believer but always respected the fact that I was. In the past I had spoken to him about Christ at least a couple of times. I had done my part but ultimately the conviction comes from the Holy Spirit and I have no way of knowing if that had happened yet other than he hadn’t said anything to me about it. We have always respected one another’s beliefs and never let that interfere with our friendship, he’s my brother and I love him like one, regardless, but I always like to think one day he’ll accept Christ. He waited patiently until I mumbled “Amen” and looked up. “Yeah I was praying.” I said with a smile. “Really?” He replied. “You still think there is a God? After everything we’ve been through today? I mean, it’s the end of the world? And He’s making it happen. He’s letting the dead walk the earth and destroy everything. How could you believe in Him and even want to talk to Him?”

I smiled. “Funny you should ask.” I noticed out of the corner of my eye, Molly had woken up upon hearing Jay’s voice but she chose to remain still, with her eyes open and I could tell she was awaiting my answer. “I think we need God now more than ever. He doesn’t cause bad things to happen, I suppose you could argue He allows them, but this is not His fault. Remember what Dad said awhile ago, this is some kind of man made bomb attack thing gone awry.” “Yeah but He let it happen He let so many people die.” Jay responded. “True, but God doesn’t say we won’t die, we’re human, we’re all gonna die sometime. The real question is have you accepted His son before you do? That determines where you’ll spend eternity. We’re all gonna go, someday, somewhere, somehow. I guess zombies is as good a way as any. Not that I’m in any hurry, mind you.” I said with a smile. “God gives us free will, which is important because He wants us to turn to Him on our own, by our choice, that way it’s genuine, not motivated by worldly benefits. The only true benefit is our salvation which He guarantees if we choose Him.”

Jay smiled. “Still holding on, huh?” “If you’re gonna hold on to something I can’t think of anything better.” I said returning his smile. Dad piped up from the driver’s seat, “You can say that again, WG. ‘The way the truth and the life,’ now, more so than ever it seems.”

Breaking the subject Mom appeared from the rear of the RV inquiring through sleepy eyes and a weak voice, “How much farther?” “Not long now.” Dad replied, “We’re turning off the highway now. Should be about another 20 minutes.” I rose from the chair and approached the front of the cab, patting Jay’s knee as I passed by, shooting him another smile. I sat down in the passenger’s seat next to Dad with a springy thud. Mom followed and stood at the back of my seat, leaning into the space between us. We three stared out at the road ahead as 460 East bound came into view. “I wonder what we’ll find when we get there.” Mom muttered in her weak, still groggy voice. “We’ll have to wait and see, and just have faith.”

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Refugee Reunion – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 36

The air outside the RV was bad. It was a stale smell, the stench of rot, lingering in the breezeless afternoon. We filed out of the RV and Molly, still wiping tears from her face, closed the door behind us. Jay slipped to the rear of the RV, mounted the ladder and ascended to the roof, M4 slung across his back. Dad and I moved carefully to the front of the RV, and awaited the birds-eye scouting report from Jay. Across the street, a lone zombie was struggling up the hill from the store parking lot, trying to get to us. The angle of the slope and the thick vegetation growing there proved too much for him and he was bogged down pretty good. Dad and I watched the area around us carefully. Jay, moved as quietly as possible along the roof of the RV and dropped to one knee behind an AC unit and peered into the parking lot. Leaning over the edge he whispered down to us “Yeah, there are Zombies down there. Maybe 10, no more.” I looked up at him and nodded, giving him a thumbs up. I turned to Dad, “You ready, big guy?” “Sure, why not?” He replied. I grinned slightly and we slipped down the side of the RV and down the entrance drive of the grocery store.

A few zombies on the edge of the parking lot took notice of us and began lumbering our way as fast as their stiff, dead limbs would carry them. Three approached me clustered in a tight pack. I struck the first, stepped back, and struck the second, by then the third was very close and I had to push it away with a hard shove to it’s chest creating the distance I needed to bring the wooden blade thudding down in it’s head. I had dispatched them as swiftly and quietly as I could, their skulls were now cracked open and black ooze ran out onto the asphalt. While crashing the wooden sword down on the head of the last zombie, that had once been a small hispanic man, I heard a shot ring out. I looked over to Dad thinking he may have fired the shot but he was using the buttstock of the M1 to crack a single zombie under the jaw which sent it reeling backwards and ultimately to the ground. Another rifle shot cracked overhead and we both dropped down, scanning the area looking for where it might have come from. Glancing back up the hill I caught sight of Jay atop the RV. He was motioning behind me. I turned to see a headless zombie laid out on it’s back not but a few feet away. I turned back toward Jay and gave him a thumbs up sign. I’d have to remember to thank him when I got back to the RV. He waved me off and Dad and I resumed our trek across the parking lot to the grocery store entrance. A few zombies remained in the mostly empty parking lot but after Jay fired his two shots they had turned their attention in his direction. Arriving at the store’s bricked entrance Dad turned and spoke, “Get a cart, get in there and get canned stuff mostly. Stay away from a lot of perishable stuff.” Dad said. “Got it.” I replied. “I’m gonna head to the pharmacy first, get some of mom’s meds if I can find them.” I finished. “Good thinking, grab some antibiotics too. Might come in handy. Who knows?” He responded, and I nodded in affirmation and we both approached the doors. The lights were on inside, and the doors parted automatically, as they would on any normal day. Strange, I thought, how something that had happened so often in my life now seemed eery and out of place in this new dead-infested world. I followed Dad in and he grabbed a cart and the next set of doors opened.

Without speaking, he headed straight down the aisle of protein bars and vitamins and I turned to the right and headed for the pharmacy. At first I hadn’t noticed but as I moved further in to the interior of the store things didn’t look quite right. Some racks had been turned over and the pharmacy door lock was shattered, broken, as if it had been kicked open. I moved slowly inside the pharmacy office. I set my suburi down just inside the doorway and drew my 1911 from the holster on my hip. My suspicions were correct, someone with less than good intentions had been here already. A pharmacy employee lay on the floor, crimson blood oozing from their now lifeless body, eyes fixed on the ceiling above. This was not a zombie, this was person and they had been murdered. I looked around carefully and began backing out of the pharmacy slowly. As I did the lights throughout the store flickered and went out, popped back on for a moment, then went out, this time for good. “Dad!” I thought, I had to get to Dad, he didn’t know, he’d be exposed. As I came back into the store the emergency lighting kicked on bathing the store in a dim inadequate amount of light and a lone figure emerged from one of the aisles carrying some kind of long gun. “Stop, drop the weapon!” I shouted, presenting my 1911 in a firing position, sights set on the dark shadow approaching. “It’s me! Dad.” His voice was hushed but firm. I lowered my weapon. As he approached he spoke again this time in more of a whisper. “I found some dead folks in the back, store employees,” he paused, “and they weren’t zombies.” “Me too.” I responded, and gestured with a snap of my head over my right shoulder toward the pharmacy. “Let’s move through here together. I don’t think whoever it was is here now but we better not take any chances. You grab the stuff, fill the cart and I’ll cover you. Sound good?” I nodded and placed my 1911 back in it’s holster. We returned to where he had left the cart and resumed collecting food. I grabbed as much as I could, hampered by the darkness but nevertheless the cart began to fill up quick. Dad covered me as best he could as we moved carefully through the aisles. We watched cautiously for the ones who may have killed the store employees thinking they could be anywhere. “That’s about it.” I said gesturing to the now full cart. “Let’s head back to the pharmacy, get Mom’s meds and my suburi.” Dad nodded and we moved through the aisle toward the front of the store. As we neared the front doors we heard what sounded like gunfire erupt from outside, and lots of it.

I drew my pistol and together we pushed the cart forward. The electronic doors wouldn’t open with the power off but they were the standard safety type doors and I pushed the front of the cart hard into their center and the doors gave way and swung open. The next set did the same. We emerged quickly but carefully onto the brick entrance to the store and were immediately met with the image of Jay still on top of the RV but now lying prone firing at an unseen target as it wheeled down the entrance drive and into the parking lot. Mom was at the wheel and Jay’s line of fire was straight ahead but from where we were we couldn’t see what he was shooting at. “Zombies?” I asked. “I don’t think so.” Dad said. We stepped slightly to the right and turned in the direction Jay was shooting. Out in the parking lot was a truck and a small compact car, and behind the two vehicles was what he was shooting at, five men with all manner of guns were shooting at the RV. Over the gunfire I heard one shout, “Yo, they just came out, get their shit!” One of the men broke from the group and ran straight for us, a shotgun wrapped tightly in both hands. He stared straight at us as he ran. “Gimme that cart, mutha fucka!” was all he said. “I don’t think so.” I heard Dad say as he raised his M1. The man didn’t stop advancing and Dad didn’t hesitate. He fired 4 rapid shots into the center mass of the thug’s chest. The man flinched at first, resisting the urge to go down but when the 4th shot hit his chest he slowed to a stumble, stood upright, his legs crossing then he dropped his shotgun. His eyes rolled skyward and he fell to the pavement. At seeing this his fellow thieves turned their attention to me and Dad and began concentrating the bulk of their fire on us. I dropped down and fired my 1911 in their direction running it dry and Dad ran to get behind a large brick post, leaning out only to exchange fire with the assailants. Just as I emptied my magazine, the RV came to a stop in front if us. Despite their anger, the remaining four men disappeared behind the vehicles as the fussilade of bullets got to be too much for them.

Molly had emerged from the RV door when it stopped and started shooting at the thugs as well. One popped up over the trunk of the car trying to get a shot off only to take a .223 round straight to the head. He collapsed backward onto the pavement and didn’t move. “Get the cart to the RV!” Dad shouted as he turned around, back to the brick to reload his M1. I holstered my empty 1911 and pushed the heavy laden cart forward as fast as I could. I went around the back of the RV and approached Molly’s position by the side door. She stepped forward out of the way of the door and I began emptying the cart as fast as I could, hurling the contents into the RV through the opening. She and Jay continued to fire relentlessly and I could hear Jay shouting to Dad to move out of the entryway and get back to the RV. The thugs were succesfully pinned down for the moment and Dad took the opportunity to make a run for it. As soon as he did, one of the thugs appeared from behind a different vehicle several feet away from where he had originally been. He had obviously crawled over to it and his sudden appearance from behind a different location left Jay and Molly at a slight disadvantage as they were focused on keeping the others pinned down. Dad ran for the RV and the thug raised his shotgun. The blast went off but Dad wasn’t hit. The shotgun had fired high into the air. Just as he was about to pull the trigger, a zombie bit down hard on the thug’s shoulder. Blood spurted out and flowed down the man’s arm and chest. He screamed in agony and fell to the ground as a second and third zombie grabbed him, pulled him down and began feasting on his flesh. The other thugs began shooting into the small throng of zombies but too many had emerged from behind them. During the firefight we had all lost track of the undead but they had not lost their unending focus on us. We could hear the screams of the thieves as the zombies tore into their flesh, heedless of the gunshot wounds they were sustaining until finally there were no more shots and no more screams.

Dad had reached the RV and opened the driver’s side door. Mom slipped out of the way into the passenger’s seat. The cart still had food in it and Molly turned, threw the sling of her rifle over her shoulder and began throwing items into the RV as well. Jay came up behind me, passed around me and Molly and stood still watching the approaching undead. “There’s a lot of em and, we don’t have the time. You guys gotta leave the rest and get in, now!” Just as he spoke, I flung the last armful into the RV and drew my 1911. “Molly, get in, you too Jay.” I reloaded the empty gun, snapping a new magazine in the magwell, slamming it home and racking the slide back with authority. I covered the other two as they climbed into the RV and over the groceries scattered aboit on the floor. The first zombie reached the front of the RV and I took aim at it’s head. My front sight was as clear as a spring morning and I pressed the shot off firmly, sending the 230 grain hollow point round through the monster’s skull. I backed up, engaging the thumb safety and stepped up into the RV. Dad slipped the transmission into reverse, and began backing the RV up. The zombies slogged forward, carried on rotting stiff legs and feet. We backed up and turned, facing the exit of the parking lot. Dad drove the unit up the hill and turned onto the main road once again. I stood near the door, 1911 still in hand. Boxes and cans of food at my feet. Looking out the window we passed by the one lone zombie still stuck on the hill. His dry, cracked, gray face sunken by decay followed us as we past and I realized as we drove out of sight, our predicaments were not all that different. Our situation may be just as hopeless as his.

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Outbreak Events

Hey guys. For all those of you wondering if the story will come back, fear not. The dead still walk! I will resume writing chapters soon. The holidays have kept me busy and my mind away from slaying the walking corpses of the virally infected! Hang in there. It’ll be back!

WG

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Trapped – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 5

I let the slat drop slowly and thought to myself, “If I’m going to do this, I need to do it now.” I knew the zombies would not take long to hone in on the location of their moaning brethren, and then I’d have too many on the porch. I backed away from the window and went back to the doorway careful not to step in the stain Jake left there. I looked to my right and there on the floor in the corner lay my Smith 351C. I knelt down and picked it up, pressed the cylinder latch forward and popped the lightweight cylinder free from the frame. I depressed the ejection rod sending the now spent shell casings into my hand. I examined them briefly to see if any were live rounds. None were, and with a turn of my wrist I let them fall free from my palm, they clinked softly as they fell on the floor. I couldn’t recall how many times I had fired at Sarah, but evidently I had emptied the cylinder. I reached into my cargo pocket seeking the loose rounds that I kept there when carrying the Smith. I scooped them out of my pocket and began inserting them one at a time into the empty chambers of the cylinder. Once they were full I closed the cylinder and slipped the little gun into my right front pocket. The zombies outside continued to thump and strike the door. “I guess they heard me over here.” I thought, then I moved as quietly as I could back to the window.

I stared at it again to see if anything moved on the other side. As I did I withdrew the knife clipped in my back pocket. I had recently bought the knife while visiting a friend in NC. It was a sturdy knife, a heavy military style folder. It locked open securely and had a good feel in the hand. I was generally impressed with it and liked how it was designed. I slowly opened the blade and let the latch catch gently so as not to make the loud click so common to that style of knife. It locked open, and I transitioned it to my left hand and returned my attention to the window. Nothing appeared to be in front of it. “I guess they are all still at the door.” I whispered trying to reassure myself. I stepped forward and grasped the cord and began slowly pulling the blinds upward. I lifted them just high enough to clear the latches on the window. I froze there, waiting to see if the sound drew any attention. It hadn’t. I slowly turned the latches, unlocking the window. I knelt down and grasped the window edge and began to lift. The window had not been one we opened very often and the expansion and contraction of the materials had caused the window to stick. As I applied more pressure the window gave way suddenly with a loud pop. I flung the window upward. I knew the sound would draw attention to my new position and instinctively I pulled back. I had lifted the window as high as it would go and I just stared at the screen. I was frozen with fear, waiting to see a hideous disfigured face appear in the opening. “I couldn’t wait like this, if I did they would get in the house, and I’d be overrun.”

Mustering all of my courage and fortitude I rushed the window, knife in my left hand. My right hand retrieved the Smith from my pocket. I dropped to my knees and thrust the knife into the screen and sliced an opening in the material with one clean pass. I ducked my head and plunged out of the window, half of my upper body was now out on the porch. As I had feared, a zombie had heard the sound the window made and was already headed in my direction. It had been a man, short, slim in build, wearing what looked like exercise clothing. He had turned his sullen face to the window and upon seeing me he released a low gutteral moan, harsh and desperate. I brought the Smith up to aim at his head and fired a round. The little 22 magnum caught him low in the mouth, he flinched at the impact, likely from the force of the blow and not any sense of pain. He renewed his gaze on me and growled deeply, quickening his advance on my position. Only about 6 feet of concrete porch separated the two of us. The others at the door turned as well, their heads jerking frantically in search of the new revelation to their left. I readjusted my aim and fired again. This time the round went up through his left eye and a piece of skull and some red matter popped from the top of his head. His body fell to the concrete porch only a foot away from me. The now open skull cap let out a terrible smell; it was indescribable, the odor of decay, of bacterial decomposition but somehow worse, fouler. I shook my head as if to dislodge the odor from my nostrils but to no avail. My eyes began to water. Two more zombies had now turned to face me. They had been 20 somethings only a day ago. A boy and a girl. I remembered them, brother and sister I think. He was shirtless, wearing a pair of shorts, she was dressed in some kind of loungewear popular among their age group. A low on the hips pair of pajamas, short at the ankles and a tank top with lace trim. One thing odd about them, they had no visible wounds. Their clothes were intact, no rips, no blood, not like Scotty and Sarah. I hadn’t noticed if the one I had just dispatched shared the same description, he had come for me too fast. These two glared toward me, eyes empty and black, both rasping and moaning. Their jaws fell open, teeth clashing together hard in a biting motion. I aimed at the male zombie and just as I began to squeeze the trigger, I heard a car coming fast down the road.

At the top of the circle the driver stomped on the brakes. The tires squealed as if crying for mercy, the car spun sideways and then accelerated down into the circle. My attention had been drawn to the vehicle and thankfully so had the zombies. The car skidded to an abrupt stop, the door opened and Dave stepped out of the driver’s side. “Sarah?” he called out. “Dave, get back in the car!” I shouted. He did not acknowledge me at all. The girl zombie had been closer to the steps and she and the two behind her turned their attention to Dave. Dave was lost in his own grief, and couldn’t hear me. “Sarah?” He wept the name, staring blankly at the house as if he already knew her fate. I heard the low growl of the male zombie and quickly refocused on the zombies on the porch. The male was still fixed on me but the other three began their slow exit down the steps toward Dave. I shouted at Dave again but it was no use. He stood by his car, staring at his house, tears in his eyes whimpering his wife’s name, taking slow, hopeless steps forward. I could see his mental state rendered him defenseless. I started to panic and I fired wildly at the departing zombies hoping to somehow stop their advance on Dave. My rounds mostly struck flesh but in my panic I had forgotten to control my fire and shoot for the head. The zombies continued slowly toward Dave, negotiating the steps awkwardly. The zombie that had remained fixated on me had stepped forward, stumbled on the body of his predecessor, and fell on top of the previously dispatched zombie. He was very close to me now. His mouth gaped open, a coarse moan emanating from it. The air escaping from his lungs was foul and I struggled not to pass out from the overwhelming stench. He reached for me with long gray fingers, groping at my arm and chest. My head swam but I brought the Smith to bear on his forehead almost close enough to touch and pulled the trigger. A loud click sounded from the revolver. Nothing. I had expended all of my rounds in my panicked fire. The zombie did not try to stand, he pulled himself forward over the corpse and was almost on me. I leaned back as far as I could to escape his grasp. Dropping the Smith I braced myself with my right hand on the concrete surface. The zombie was clawing his way to me, his mouth open, gnashing his teeth, now only inches from my chest. I brought my left hand, still clutching my knife, through the window as hard as I could and drove it into the zombie’s right temple. The blade sank all the way to the handle. The zombie began to twitch, and I turned the blade with my wrist, twisting it as violently as I could. It’s head fell to the concrete, sliding off my knife, the zombie, finally still. I dropped my head back and breathed deep for a moment, reflecting on how close I came to being bitten. Then I heard Dave whimper Sarah’s name once again.

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Trapped – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 4

I stared at the door briefly, zombies on the other side thumping away at it. The blows seemed subdued, almost unintentional at times and the zombies just sort of slid around on the surface of the door. Occasionally however, one would strike it hard and I realized all that was between me and them was the contractor installed deadbolt, which suddenly seemed terribly inadequate for the job of holding back the undead. “I’ve got to secure this door.” With that thought I turned and rushed around the stairs and to the door leading out into the garage.

I grabbed the knob and abruptly stopped, “What if they were in the garage? But if so, how? The garage door was closed right?” I began to slowly turn the knob, bracing my right hand on the door.
My heart raced wildly as I imagined gaunt, hungry faces with outstretched arms waiting to seize me on the other side. I clenched my eyes shut as hard as I could, as if to squeeze the images out of my mind. I raised my head, opened my eyes and slowly and very quietly opened the door, just a few inches. Forcing my gaze passed the door, I peered into the garage. It was very dark inside. The light switch was located on the wall inside the garage. I would have to slip inside to turn it on. The darkness was a good sign, it meant the door was closed, and likely nothing would be inside. Feeling a bit more comfortable, I opened the door all the way and stepped inside. I flipped on the light to reveal the garage interior, thankfully free of zombies and filled with the now seemingly unimportant clutter of our lives. Christmas decor, bicycles, the lawn mower, etc. “Not going to be mowing grass for awhile,” I thought. Behind me I heard the front door shudder again and I was reminded of why I was there. I stepped to the concrete floor ignoring the three small steps below me and quickly sought out what I needed. There, in the far corner was some scrap wood, 2x2s and 2x6s. As I approached the aluminum door I could hear them outside, moaning and coughing those awful rasps. I grabbed several pieces of wood up into my arms and snagged a box of large wood screws from the tool box. I started back toward the steps and realized I needed the power drill. I went back and grabbed it and with my hands full I clumsily walked all of the items up the small stairs, into the kitchen and over to the front door.

I stopped there holding the wood in my arms and looked up to see those gray, drawn faces looking back at me through the glass windows adjacent to the door. The black lifeless, and evil eyes taking in the vision of my flesh with hungry desire. I bent down and dropped the wood and tool items to the hardwood floor and stood upright looking at the zombies as they gazed in at me. They snarled and snapped at the glass, angry that they couldn’t get to me. The best I could tell there were about five of them on the porch now. “Sorry guys, no free meals today, not here anyway and for that matter no free peaking either.” I slapped at the glass in front of one of their faces. It instantly lunged forward and bit at the glass where my hand struck it, teeth scraping against the outer pane leaving a bloody, wet smear. I withdrew my hand and the zombie seemed to follow it visually back into the house with some desperation, angrier and more eager than before. As I stared back at the creature an idea flashed through my mind and I returned to the garage and retrieved a can of black spray paint. I started shaking the can as I walked back to the first panel of glass. I ripped the top free from the can and began spraying the glass black. It was as if I was erasing them, their tortured faces, little by little disappearing from view. I knew they were still out there but once I finished the second panel at least I couldn’t see them and they couldn’t see me. “Maybe if they can’t see me, they’ll leave,” I thought. “Not likely,” I responded aloud, “If I were that lucky I wouldn’t be in the midst of the zombie apocalypse!”

I turned to the wood lying on the floor, and grabbed two 8 inch pieces of 2×2 and continued my thought, “but I guess it’s not all that bad, at least I’m not a zombie!” I picked up the drill and several screws. I started just below the midline of the door and began to screw in the two pieces of 2×2 horizontally leaving about 3 inches in between them. I then picked up a long piece of 2×6 and placed one end in the middle of the two pieces of wood now firmly held to the door. I then picked up another shorter piece of 2×6 and placed it flat on the floor behind the other end of the long board. I pushed the long board hard against the door and slid the shorter 2×6 against the other edge firmly. With one foot securing the whole apparatus I then screwed the flat 2×6 securely into the hardwood floor effectively creating a wedge pressing against the door holding it solid. “The wife’s not going to like this one bit.” I laughed to myself. “That’s assuming she’s ok somewhere out there.” I couldn’t think about that now, not about her, about Mom and Dad. The next shudder came against the door and thankfully it did not give nearly as much this time. I had some more scrap left over and for good measure I screwed it into the frame above, overlapping the door and then secured another large piece at the foot of the door right into the hardwood. “If they come in through the front door, they’re going to have to earn it.” I thought. I stepped back admiring my work, trying not to cough from the spray paint fumes. “It”ll have to do.” I said as I set the drill on the nearby kitchen table.

I looked toward the closed blinds and decided to risk a peek carefully through the slats. I lifted the corner of one of the white slats and peered across the street to where Alan had been. The zombies congregated on his lawn seemed to have finished their meal and one or two had begun to move away in search of new prey. The ones on my porch still moaned and thumped on the front door. I glanced back at the ones in Alan’s yard and it looked like three lone zombies appeared to be seeking the source of the moaning, heads snapping around in the air. “They can still hear?” I murmured under my breath, “They’ll draw others with those moans if they can. I’ve got to get these damn things off my porch. But how?” I let the slat down slowly and quietly and slipped passed the door into the sitting room. I was heading to the far window and caught a glimpse of my shoes laying in the floor. For a moment it was as if I didn’t recognize them. Such an ordinary item suddenly seemed out of place in this new zombiefied world. I looked down to my sock covered feet and back to my shoes and thought, “Might need those.’ I slipped them on quickly and proceeded to the window. I stood back, away from it at first to see if any shadows passed over it. After several minutes of waiting nothing did, and I approached the window and gently lifted a slat to look out onto the porch. The zombies were concentrated at the door, clustered there moaning and clamoring against one another like teenagers trying to get on the stage with their favorite rock star. “How can I get them away from the door? Maybe I could open the window, slit the screen, lean out and shoot the zombies on the porch before they drew anymore in, but damn that’s risky.” I pondered this idea a moment and concluded, “I don’t have any choice.”

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Trapped – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 3

Scotty’s skull made a popping sound as the round met it’s mark. The 22 Magnum sent a small puff of gray and red mist erupting from the back of his head. His body weight collapsed on itself and stuck in a standing position for a moment before it slowly fell backwards and slumped to the concrete.

A hoarse growl drew my attention to the now approaching Sarah. Upon seeing her, I stumbled back, my heel catching on the entryway of the door and I fell backwards into the house. I thudded hard to the ground, my elbows landing sharply on the wood floor. While falling, I tried to keep my head up to maintain sight of Sarah as she approached. She had reached the foot of the stairs and was hissing, a rough sound deep in her throat. Her hands outstretched grabbing at me, and the hiss changed to a crackling groan that cut the air like nothing I had ever heard. The sound was awkward like she struggled to produce it but it was simply terrifying. There was great eagerness in the sound like she was starving to reach me. I noticed she moved somewhat faster than Scotty had. She tried to step up onto the first step but stumbled and fell on Scotty’s now unmoving corpse. Her head came crashing down on the sharp edge of the brick step. She was still for a moment then raised her head and I saw a deep gash on her forehead, bloodless, it was just red, raw flesh and the white bone of her skull was visible underneath. She stared at me, those black pupils glaring into my face with hungry contempt. She renewed her awful hissing, a crackling moan and abruptly her upper body lunged forward reaching out towards me, her hands clawing through the air. She was only about two feet away from my sock clad feet. I drew my legs back, quickly spread my feet apart, bending my knees. I raised my back holding my revolver in both hands centering it between my knees. I adjusted my aim to bring the front sight to cover her now wretched and horrible visage. I rapidly fired the remaining six rounds. With each impact puffs of reddish brown and gray mist exited the back of her skull. Two or three shots missed high as her head dropped from the path of the bullets and fell with a wet thud to the top step of the porch. Thick fluid began to ooze from the open wounds but quickly stopped. I gazed in disbelief at what I saw and what I had done. I then scrambled backwards and rapidly got to my feet, dropping the empty wheelgun on the wood floor with a clatter.

I stood just inside the doorway, breathing heavily and staring down at Sarah. I heard Alan’s pistol crack several more times and looked over in his direction. He had freed himself from his wife’s pleading grasp and was now firing more intently into the group that had formed in his yard. He was shooting wildly into the group, his wife no longer visible in the window. I took a step forward, one foot on the porch only inches from Sarah’s now shattered skull. “Alan!” I called out, then gesturing with my index finger toward my right temple, “In the head, in the head, they’re Zombies!” Alan stopped shooting and froze. He look up in my direction and dropped his arms to his sides. I gestured again with my finger, “In the head, you have to shoot them in the head!” He was still kneeling on the roof and he stared at me blankly for a moment. Without hesitation he lifted the pistol and stuck it in his mouth and fired a single shot. His head jerked back and his now lifeless body fell slowly forward into the mass of zombies beneath him. They grabbed eagerly for him as his body began it’s descent. Once they caught hold of him they pulled his body to the earth. They fell on the ground around him, and they all tore and gnashed at his flesh. I began to feel sick to my stomach, bile rising in my throat and I shook. Simultaneously I was overwhelmed with sorrow. I stared for a moment at where Alan had been on the roof then more movement became visible to my left.

Some sleepwear clad zombies were making their way from the neighbors yard towards my house. My head scanned slowly over to the right and I saw more zombies trying to negotiate the hill and get into my yard. They were crawling and pulling at the weeds, their clothes catching and snagging in the thorns. One had made it through and was negotiating the slope with some difficulty. The ones in the weeds howled in what seemed like angry frustration and others moaned in some kind of bloodthirsty anticipation. I looked back and forth from the two approaching groups, assessing the threat they posed, and contemplating the reality of what I was seeing. Finally, I drifted back through the entryway, grabbed the door and slammed it shut. I stepped forward, close to the door and flipped the deadbolt closed dropping my head against the door and closing my eyes. I paused there a moment trying to grasp what was happening, what I had done. “Zombies? Really?” “What the hell was going on?” “Did I just watch Alan die? Did I just shoot Scotty and Sarah?” As I rested my head against the door wrestling with the new reality I was being forced to face, the door shuddered under an impact of some kind. I snapped my head up and simultaneously stepped back from the door. They were on the porch. Suddenly a face appeared in the glass to the right. It snarled, bearing its teeth and dragged its gray, gaunt face over the glass trying to peer into the house. It was a man, I didn’t recognize him. He thumped listlessly against the glass and snapped his head back and forth as if trying to see individually through each eye. He moaned a dry, throaty emission as more zombies filled the spaces around the door and joined in the hellish chorus. The entryway became dark as they blotted out the morning light. “So that was it,” I thought, “that was the sound that I woke to this morning, the sound I’ll never be able to wrest from my ears or my dreams.”

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Trapped – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 2

I could feel my heart, pounding, threatening to break free from under my ribcage. Adrenalin began coursing through my system and I shook all over. I knew I needed to calm down, and quick. I felt the effects of tunnel vision and auditory exclusion creeping in on me as the stress mounted. I closed my eyes and began to breath deep. “Calm down, dumbass.” I told myself, “Panic will get you killed.” I opened my eyes and from where I stood I could only see the left side of the entryway, the long thin glass panel flanking the front door. It was smeared with a dark crimson fluid. “Blood?” “From what?” I pondered. Another sharp crack outside and the droaning sound got louder. Fortunately the blinds had been closed, as was part of my evening house securing ritual. I looked back at the blood or whatever it was and another crack rang out. I glanced at the Smith 351C gripped tightly in my now profusely sweating hand and decided seven shots of 22 magnum, while a favorite of mine, was no match for whatever was happening outside. I recalled the 12 ga shotgun under my bed, a Remington 870 HD model, prepped and ready for exactly this kind of home defense type problem. I figured if that was blood and those were in fact gunshots maybe a gang or something had attacked one of our neighbors. “But why was Jake so spooked by that? He’s heard gunfire before.” Anyway, I wasn’t going to face whatever it was out there with my 22 magnum despite my fondness for the little gun. I began to turn and head back up the stairs to retrieve the shotgun and as I did something caught my attention in the sitting room.

A shadow passed over the window closest to the door. I paused, looking quizzically at what appeared to be a short figure on the other side of the window. The blinds were closed and it was hard to make out by just a silhouette, but something was definitely moving. I waited a moment and the figure began to move toward the door. Suddenly it became visible in the glass panel where the blood was smeared. I caught a brief glimpse as the figure passed by the window and slowly drifted toward the steps. “Was that Scotty?” I thought, suddenly alarmed and concerned. Jake let out a weak, terrified whimper, and scurried in a low crawl, tail set deeply under him, out of the sitting room, somewhere out of view. I ignored the dog. “Scotty must be hurt.” I thought. I abandoned thoughts of the shotgun, rushing down the stairs to get to the door. Scotty was my next door neighbors 7 year old boy. He was a mischievous little kid, but he had a good personality and was always friendly and playful. His mother, Sarah was a younger woman who was a stay at home mom. Scotty’s dad, Dave, was a traveling salesman and was often out of town. If I remembered correctly he was out of town right now. As I approached the door I began to wonder where Sarah was, but I thought maybe she had been hurt and Scotty had run over to get help. I reached the door and peered out through the glass. It was Scotty on the porch, one foot resting on the porch the other on the first step. He was looking away from the house and just sort of hung there a moment quartering away from me.

I looked down to grab the door knob and my eyes passed over the crimson stain on the glass. It was blood. Scotty or his mom or both were hurt. “Damn gang members shooting up the neighborhood! Where were the cops?” I whipped open the door and whispered through gritted teeth, “Scotty!” “Are you alright?” The figure’s head snapped upward in a violent jerk. Slowly his head turned, oddly led by his chin. As his face came into full view, my breath caught in my throat and I coughed trying to recover it. I froze. Scotty’s head turned in my general direction but it was as if he couldn’t see me, just searched around for the sound I was making. His once young and bright face, full of color and always wearing a smile was gray and gaunt. His lips were unnaturally drawn back away from his teeth and something that looked like skin hung from his lower canines. His head snapped about in jerking motions. I gasped again, trying to breath, to suck some air into my strained lungs. My chest felt so tight, constricted so much I couldn’t breath. I stepped back into the house just inside the doorway and stared. Scotty was wearing his pajamas, not an unusual practice for him even late into the day. The cartoon character images adorning the faded blue flannel were smeared in blood. The shirt around his midsection was torn away and a gaping wound on the right side of his abdomen was visible, caked with congealed blood matted into the shirt. His turn toward me was complete and he faced me full on now. My eyes drifted up his small frame. His hands held out at his sides in a claw like fashion, blood staining his fingertips. Finally my eyes met what were once his. They appeared enlarged, as the skin of his face had been drawn away. Grayish, white film covered the entirety of his eyes and in the middle, deep, dark, black pupils glared back at me. They were just voids, empty of life and filled with what seemed like evil. I have never seen that much blackness before. Whatever was happening wasn’t a gang related shooting. He let forth a low, throaty, expiration of air, not consistent with his chest cavity. It scratched the air and tore through it like a knife would tear at canvas. He then lurched forward, mouth gaping, hands outstretched. I wasn’t sure what was going on but I knew I didn’t want Scotty, or the thing that had been Scotty in the house. He was not moving fast, awkward lunging moves as if he were pulling himself out of wet sand. He approached to within about three feet and I was frozen, those dark eyes locked on mine, sucking me in, holding me fast. My body trembled with fear, and horror and my breath would simply not return. A sharp crack, louder, now that the door was open snapped me out of my fixation on Scotty. Suddenly my flight or fight response kicked in, and I set my feet and abruptly threw a hard front kick with my right leg striking the approaching Scotty square in the chest. His body, light with his age was thrust back, off the porch and landed hard at the bottom of the steps. His head smacking the concrete beneath him with a deep thunk.

I stepped out onto the porch and stared at him for several seconds and he didn’t move. Another crack and my eyes snapped up in the direction of the sound. Across the street, about 70 yards away, my neighbor, Alan was perched on top of the small roof above his front door entryway. He was holding a handgun and pointing it down over the edge of the roof. His wife was leaning out the adjacent window, crying violently and screaming at him. She clung to his right arm and pulled at him, pleading for him to get back in the house. I couldn’t make out all she was saying, as she was screaming incoherently. Alan was trying to shrug his arm free and he fired another round over the edge of the porch. My eyes followed his gaze to see a large mass of people milling about in his yard, reaching up for him. “What were they doing?” They were all dressed in nightgowns, and pajamas. “This sure as hell aint any kind of gang violence!” I exclaimed under my breath. “Zombies! They’re Zombies, dammit! What the hell? Freakin’ Zombies!” That was all I could hear Alan yelling at his wife. “Zombies? Really?” I thought. Just then out of the corner of my eye I saw movement. I dropped my eyes to see Scotty writhing on the ground in a weak effort to right himself. He slowly rolled and awkwardly thrust his body upward and flung his legs under himself.

Over to my right I saw Sarah, his mother. She stood, motionless in the her front yard. I hadn’t noticed her there before and she may have only just gotten there. She stood still, blood dripping off her left arm. She swayed gently like a branch in a summer breeze, staring blankly into the overcast morning sky. Scotty was back up now. His back was to me and he began to jerk his way around as if to find me once again. His head was snapping in a frantic motion in all directions, his eyes unable to fixate, to see as they once had. He began to turn and almost fell as he moved his head and upper body faster than his legs. He began to groan deep in his throat again. At this Sarah, snapped her head toward him and began to lurch toward our location. I could see her face was drawn as his and her eyes, those once beautiful, brown, doe like eyes were filmy gray and right in their once mahogany center were those black, hellish orbs. She had some kind of wound on her left shoulder no doubt the source of the blood dripping slowly down her arm. Her pajama pants were in tact, but her top was torn around where the wound was and it was twisted on her torso so the bottom of the shirt was pulled upward and her stomach was exposed. Scotty drew my attention back to him again as he had finally turned to face me and his mouth gaped as he began dragging his feet towards me. As I stared at him, I abruptly realized I was still clinging to the Smith 351C. I looked down at it and back at Scotty who was now at the foot of the 3 steps leading up to our porch. He paused and his head sort of fell back as he “looked” up at me. I gazed down at him, his teeth bared and that throaty, airy crackle emanated from his mouth once again. “OK, Zombies it is.” I said as I raised the Smith and sent a single round into Scotty’s forehead.

Categories: Zombie Short Story | 2 Comments

Trapped – An Outbreak Event: Chapter 1

“Man my head hurts. What the hell is that sound?” Those were my first thoughts the morning it all went down. I swung my feet over the side of the bed and rested my palms on the edge of the mattress. I hung my throbbing head listlessly down hoping for some merciful relief from the fog and thumping radiating through my system. I had stayed up a little too late, smoking a cigar on the back deck and drinking bourbon. However, now my head was throbbing from the effects of too much bourbon for an underdeveloped tolerance, and I’m sure the stout cigar I had smoked was not helping. The ashy taste in my mouth was only adding to the ill feeling of the morning. I relax like that very often but enjoyed it nonetheless. I had taken the opportunity as my family had left the previous day for different destinations. My wife took off for her parent’s place at the beach and I was supposed to be travelling behind her later in the weekend. My folks had taken off in their RV to rendezvous somewhere with some friends so I had the house all to myself, except for the dog, Jake. He was a good dog if not a bit crazy.

“What is that damn noise?” I muttered, eyes still closed, as if expecting the dog to answer me. I wondered where he might be, as he wasn’t barking even though he didn’t bark very much anyway, but he was almost always up on the bed flopping or pawing on my chest insistently waiting for me to pet him. Not this morning. I peeled my bloodshot eyes open and he was nowhere in the bedroom. “Jake!” I shouted. No response. He can’t be outside, I thought, I didn’t leave the door open. I was so paranoid about such things. Even though we lived in one of those cookie cutter style neighborhoods I never left my doors unlocked much less open! I always checked them at night before bed even when inebriated. It was such an autonomic task that I performed it diligently and almost without fail.

“Man, what is that noise?” Finally, willing myself to stand I groaned as my feet felt the flat of the floor for the first time in 9 hours. They shot a dull pain up through my legs as the blood flowed down into them and I wobbled slightly. I needed to get to the bathroom and I was in sore need of a drink of water. Lots of water! I stumbled to the sink and turned on the water, slurping clumsily from the faucet. My wife had a habit of leaving cups everywhere she went in the house and thankfully there sat one on the bathroom counter. I grabbed it up, rinsed it out to ensure no hairspray residue was present as she was fond of fogging the place with the stuff. I filled it up and drank it back, and slapped it to the counter, turned and stumbled to the toilet. After flushing I noticed that the sound I had been hearing paused a moment before continuing and as I slowly began to clear the fog from my head the curiosity began to prod at my mind.

“Ok, that’s all done, now what the hell is it?” It sounded like a droning sound like the wind in a bad horror movie, rising and falling then rising again, coupled with the occasional thump here and there. Suddenly there was a loud popping sound. “A gunshot?” I asked out loud, incredulous, with doubtful sarcasm in my voice as this would be ridiculous to expect where I lived. “Fireworks in the morning?” “Neighbor firing up his old clunker car to show a prospective buyer it still runs?” “Okay, time to find out what’s happening,” I muttered to myself. I walked back to my bedside, picked up the cargo pants I wore the day before and slid them on. I sat on the bed a moment, pants around my thighs, contemplating falling back over into the bed and going back to sleep, but then I thought about Jake again and where he could be. I got up and dug a T-shirt from my dresser, one of my favorites, A navy blue one with the CCI ammunition logo on it. I snatched my glasses off the bedside table and set them on over my puffy eyes and scratched my greasy head, thinking a shower would be on top of the list of things to do once I had determined what was going on and where the dog was hold up.

I started for the stairs and once I was out of the bedroom the sound from outside was clearer and I heard another pop, this time it sounded more like a sharp crack. I stopped my advance to the steps and felt a little tingle of doubt wash through me and decided I’d step back in the bedroom and grab my Smith 351C and drop it in my front pocket just in case. As I thought about retrieving it, I dropped my hand to my right front pocket only to find it was still there from the day before. I guess I left it in my pants, no need to secure it in the safe, no one was home but me, and the dog. Which brought my thoughts back to him and why he wasn’t at my feet insistent on being fed and petted and not particularly in that order. “Jake?” Again no response. “Where the hell was he?” I stepped down onto the first step and then the second, my feet still aching from being pressed into service so early. The noises became louder and the droning sound continued. Another sharp crack and I froze.

“That was definitely a gunshot!” I blurted out as if to convince myself. Abruptly the droning began to fade a bit and I decided to slip my hand in my pocket and around the grip of my revolver. I slowly made my way down the solid wall part of the hall steps.
Before my front door came into view I spotted something in the sitting room just to the left of the front door. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, just a mass of something on the edge of the shadows. Then I caught a whiff of ammonia wafting up the stairs. As I stared at the mass I realized it was Jake. His head turned toward me slowly and I called out to him, “Jake! Here boy!” He made no attempt to move, just sat motionless and I could see he was shaking violently. Beneath him and all around him was a dark spot on the carpet, a pool of urine soaking into the carpet. “Jake!” I yelled stiffly, he still refused to move, as if he were spot welded to the ground. His eyes were like nothing I had ever seen. They stared blankly up at me, almost alien in their appearance, wide and terrified, glassy and hopeless. My head tilted in bewildered amazement. I watched him a moment as he turned his head slowly back to the front door, and then like an ice cube sliding on a glass table he drifted slowly back out of view, into the shadow of the sitting room. After witnessing this the hair was standing high on the back of my neck, like it does after you turn the lights out in the house at night right after a scary movie. My ears were pulling backwards at my skull as if they wanted to drag me back into bed and under the covers like a child. Another loud crack startled me out of my state of bewilderment and fear. I was standing frozen about halfway up the staircase. I eased away from the wall and I began to slowly drift my head around the corner. Strangely, I noted my revolver was out of my pocket and in my hand which seemed to have happened unconsciously. I had raised it up and began “slicing the pie” of the wall toward the front door. As my right eye and the front sight of my revolver broke the plane of the wall and the front door just began to come into view I felt my eyes widen to almost painful proportions and the front sight of my Smith began to shake uncontrollably.

Categories: Zombie Short Story | 11 Comments

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