“My god you’re tall,” said a Blackwater guard as he looked up at the tall man.
“We don’t see your type around here,” he added.
“What you don’t see tall black men around here,” John replied, his accent dipped in Creole. “I don’t see men standing over me with your pedigree. You are dark as night, my man. You stand half the height of the city wall behind you.”
“Dark, tall and not happy to be here.” John hissed. “I am a veteran. I fought for the country.”
“You fought as a liar. Vampire trash,” the guard replied.
“Correction, vampire fought in the Battle of Miami and kicked ass.” John growled. His teeth stained. A pair of canines hanging from his top lip.”
“I don’t care what you did. Stand against the wall,” shouted the guard and shoved John backward. John fell hard against the stone wall. Pain shot upward at impact. John lunged at the guard. His arms stretched backward. His wings buried under a heavy black coat. John’s wrist bound by chains.
The guard struck John with a nightstick. The impact of the night stick enraged the vampire. His large, thin jaw dropped and revealed additional weapons in the shape of knife-like teeth. He tried again to unfurl his wings. The guard swung again knocking John unconscious.
John woke up lying upon a wooden trailer moving forward slowly. The side of his head throbbed.
“He’s awake,” said someone above him. “Check to see if he is ok. If it’s really him we can use him to get through this.”
“Are you the Haitian Manhunter?” Asked a younger man. “The Florida Superman?”
John sat up. The large city gate stood behind him. The steel sheet metal walls spread to the left and right and disappeared from sight. On top of the walls sat 50 caliber gun nests, every 20 feet, manned with Blackwater guards.
“I’m not a super hero.” John snapped. He felt the side of his head then took in a long breath. He closed his eyes and repeated the breath. The wagon leapt jostling the passengers. John opened his eyes and looked around again.
“I will help where I can,” John said. He noticed a child near 11 years old. Near the child was, he assumed her mother. The father was unidentifiable or dead, which wasn’t unusual. A complete family unit was unusual these days.
Along the left side of the wagon was a young white man and pair of black men. On the right was the child and her mother, an older man and a man bound with rope.
John stood, walked to the front of the wagon. He shoved the wooden wall blocking the passengers from the driver. The wall wobbled prompting a surprise and an angry protest from the driver.
“Sit down!” Shouted the Blackwater guard. John peered over and looked at the guard. The guard was young and likely inexperienced. A pistol on his side and a shotgun strapped to the tractor. He turned and noticed the crowd marching behind the tractor.
“Do vampires have feelings? Asking for a friend.” Narrator
Michael’s head began to swim then a wave of nausea struck. He heaved and this was followed by a second. His throat screamed as nothing came up. Michael looked down to notice blood on the ground when his body seized and he fell to his side.
Michael woke up strapped to a piece of plywood. The plywood was canted upward and he was moving backward. Michael could see someone above him. A monstrously tall man with a large backpack under a black trench coat. To the right Michael noticed Jacob strapped to a second piece of plywood. Thick leather straps held him securely as his sneakers dragged over the asphalt.
Michael looked himself over and found a large, bandage wrapped around his waste. A large red stain near his wound and a second near his chest. His boots dragging the ground. Behind him was a mob of zombies. Michael began to get a better sense of his surrounding as he continued to wake. The houses had begun to get bigger as he realized they had left his previous street and were now moving toward the center of the city.
“What is this?” He thought. “Broadway? Richie riches used to live here. Now they are all dead or fled to the North. The monster do not like the cold up there. Leave us poor folk to lie and steal and spend eternity in the City of Monsters. Frick’n backwoods justice from here to Buffalo. If that city still exists…”
Michael’s driver suddenly dropped him with a thud and he complained. He watched as the zombies approached. To the left was a large gate. The tall man was struggling to close. To the right was a small army. They fired and Michael’s ears rang. A row of zombie lay motionless. The tall man strained to pull the heavy gate further till a zombie approached and attempted to surprise him.
“Holy crap,” Jacob said as the tall man grasp the zombie and bit into its rotten flesh. The man didn’t chew but seemed to suck from the zombie victim. He then tossed it away, shook and pulled the gate closed like it was a thin sheet of paper. He turned to Jacob and Michael, his face covered in gore.
“Come on, no! This is not happening,” Michael began. “I understand the zombie apocalypse and all and the shit show my brother and I started by stealing from the Governor. I get that the punishment was life behind the walls of the city for me and my family. All that sucks and now my family is dead but this is not going to happen. I’m done. I am not staying here strapped to a wooden barbecue plate waiting to be sucked dry.”
“No Jacob. This is the end for me. I’m not being left a husk of skin and bones.” Michael struggled to free himself but was barely able to move.
“I understand,” said the tall man as he grabbed a towel from a go bag and cleaned up his face. “I should of introduced myself.” He said.
“John Peterson and I am a vampire.”
Jacob woke up first, half buried in dirt and with his brother’s feet in his face. His face felt as if someone has superglued half of it together with rocks and other crap. He looked up at the bottom of the house. The jagged escape hole was covered in debris. Jacob could hear movement above the debris.
“Wake up, Michael.” Jacob said as he shoved his brother.
Michael woke up then winced as the pain from the tear in his side screamed. He looked himself over and found himself and the wound caked in mud.
“The zombies! In the house can they get us?”
“No, apparently the closet collapsed covering our escape.”
“Well, that was easy enough,” Michael said with a weak smile. “The escape that is. What do we do now Jacob. This was your idea.”
“Crawl to the back of the house. There is a way out under the back porch.”
“Sounds easy. Is it?”
“Yea, how’s your side? That nail tore you up.”
“Got some dirt in it. Can’t be bad, right. At least it stopped bleeding. Let’s go.”
Michael started the crawl through the dirt toward the rear of the house.
“So that has been here since we were kids?” Michael asked after a moment.
“Since before dad left.” Jacob replied.
Michael growled. “Ass.”
“Tell me about it. You left it got worse. He beat me, locked me in the closet and forgot about me. I would show up two days later through the front door and he never questioned how. Never was so happy to be beaten and locked up.”
The two men crawled under the kitchen floor listening to the footsteps of the undead searching for a hint of life to chow upon. Michael winced as his dirt covered bandaid fell away and the wound bled.
Michael headed to the left corner and grabbed an aluminum sheet. He attempted to remove it but it resisted. Jacob came up from behind him.
“It’s not the exit. There is a loose piece near the center.” Jacob said and began toward the exit when a loud ripping noise stopped him and he turned.
“What the hell, Michael!”
Light from outside snuck under the house revealing blood on Michael’s hands and upon the ground near his side.
“Dude, you’re losing a lot of blood. We need to get that wrapped up and stopped.”
“I’m not staying under this house to be treated by Doc Brown,” Michael snapped.
“Look, you attracted attention so now we are stuck.”
Outside the covered porch the two men could see them roaming.
“Can they leave us alone for a damn hour. They are always around. I just want a moment to breath without death trolling me from outside a freakin porch.”
The creatures outside the enclosure stopped. They stood for a moment then began to rip the wooden slats from the back porch.
Both men stood and watched. Jacob crawled backward and tapped Michael to do the same. A second then a third slat disappeared revealing a pair of jeans working hard to make a hole. A second set of hands grasp the wooden slats and tore them from the porch. The jeans knelt and revealed a pale, dark-skinned face and a wide unnatural smile.
“Thank the Lord… we have survivors,” said the man.
“I knew I heard something a few days ago but it was in the garage over there,” said a second voice.
“We have a horde on the way. We have minutes,” said a third.
The man with the huge smile reached forward, “We are here to rescue you. Hurry time is short.”
Jacob began forward but Michael hesitated.
Imagine this… standing in the dark is the safest place in a world corrupted by the unimaginable.
The closet smelled of mold. Horrible creatures amassed outside the fragile doors. Michael stood at the left door. He held onto a thin aluminum handle that was screwed into the faux wood with two small screws. He took in long breaths and waited for their unavoidable fate.
“We are screwed.” Michael said after a long while. Jacob did not reply. Michael knew Jacob was on the right side of the closet, but he couldn’t see anything. He could only hear him working on something. An occasional grunt then a crash that shook the entire closet.
“What the hell,” Michael shouted as light crept through the bottom of the closet. Everything within the fragile shelter shuddered.
“I found it!” Jacob shouted.
“You found what, you’re dolly? Your teddy bear… you always break under pressure Jacob always. Remember that morning we went hunting with dad and you had a perfect shot. It was right there… you choked. Remember Joann your first girlfriend…”
Something grabbed Micheal by the throat and he gasp. Seconds ticked by as the darkness took in deep breaths. “Shut up Michael and listen to me,” Jacob said. “Your an adult and I’m an adult. I know you are under stress and you lash out but personally I have had too much death and complaining. Listen. I have a way out. I built a trap door in this closet when we were younger.. ie.. why I would hide in the closet for hours. I wasn’t here. I was with Joann. Do you get it?”
Michael shook himself from Jacob’s grip. “Dude, calm yourself. Fine.” He took a breath and continued. “You’ve had this hole in the floor here all this time. We’ve been adults for 15 years, parents died, you bought the house and you never filled in the hole in the closet?”
“Michael are you coming or what?”
“Yes, dude… get over yourself with this new sense of self… hell. How am I supposed to see anything?”
“Just head this way…” Jacob said followed by a curse. “The hole is too small.”
“Right, size of a twelve year old?” Michael snapped.
“Bend down here and pull up these planks,” Jacob instructed as both men tried to widen the hole within the floor of the closet.
Michael pulled up the first plank with significant effort tossed it to the side then a second. The closet door opened and the smell of death stole away any sort of hope that the two men would make their escape without any trouble.
“Jacob, you are going to have to squeeze that married tub of a body through that hole,” Micheal told him as he jerked on a closet rod. The clothes on the end of the metal rod tumbled into the darkness. The creature appeared within moments. It’s shaded, murderous jaws chomped at the air. Micheal pushed the rod into the zombie’s face collapsing its thin, skeletal face and pushing the rest of it’s body against the closet door. A second stepped into the darkness to reveal a perfect human face. It wasn’t gored or rotten. The only tell would be the blindness that cursed the creatures… if that was even a curse.
Michael stuck the creature in the face, right under the eye and it fell over the other.
“Micheal, I’m in let’s go,” Jacob shouted.
Michael dropped the curtain rod. Using the light from the door he found Jacob’s hand and arm waving from below the closet floor. The hole was just wide enough to fit his thinning waistline but not without some huge difficulties. He sat, with his back to the zombies. Michael leap to the dirt floor then stopped. A sharp pain erupted under his right breast. He looked down but couldn’t see a thing.
“Jacob, something just stabbed me,” he grunted.
Jacob crawled on his hands and looked up. There was barely enough light to make out the shape of a thin nail stretching outward and into Michael’s chest.
“It’s a nail Michael,” Jacob told him.
“Pull it out.”
“I can’t it’s pointed up. You will have to lift yourself back up,” Jacob reply.
Michael growled and cursed and struggled to stand. The distance to the ground was barely as long as he was tall and the effort felt herculean. He pushed his palms into the floor of the closet and pushed. Inch by painful inch he had risen till he could go no further.
“You got to go higher,” Jacob said.
Michael grunted and pushed till he realized that their undead pursuers were close behind him. “Damnit… do something Jacob,” Michael shouted.
“Do what Michael! You need to push up!”
“They are coming and I have my back to them.”
“Push, Michael! Push!”
“I can’t. I got nothing.”
“Damn it,” Jacob cursed and crawled under Michael’s feet.
“Stand on my chest, damnit!” He ordered.
Michael struggled to find Jacob’s chest but stood upon his ribs once he did. Jacob grabbed Michael’s feet and pushed up. He waited till Michael cleared the nail then instructed Michael to hold while Jacob pushed the nail downward.
Jacob barely finished when Michael fell. It was more of a crash as feet and legs tumbled over Jacob’s chest and head.
“Your closet is great and all. Who knows what you did in there… you spent a lot of time in there growing up but I ain’t getting eaten hiding in a closet,” Michael spat.
Jacob smiled, “dude, if you only knew.”
“I do not want to know what you did in the closet, by yourself when you were alone. Change of subject.”
The two zombies, that had tumbled over the bedding blockade, began to stir. They stood upon the mattress. Attempted to move and fell. Three more stepped forward into the bedroom and approached the blockade. The lead zombie paused causing the second to stop suddenly and step to the left. The third slowed then stood and seemed to be listening.
“IQ test,” Michael said while watching the trio attempt to navigate the obstacle.
“Idiot zombies,” Jacob added. The closest zombie snapped at Jacob. Lunging from its prone position.
“F-U Teeth mother–”
“Let’s hide in the closet,” Michael interrupted.
Both men skirted past the fallen zombies and the mess on the floor. Jacob opened the faux walnut closet door. Inside, an arms length of women’s clothing.
“It’s her clothes,” Jacob said. The color in his face disappeared.
“We have to move them,” Michael began to pull handfuls of the clothing from the closet and toss them behind him while Jacob watched.
“No! Not the dresses! You’ll get them all dirty. They will!” Jacob screamed and attempted to stop Michael.
“Jacob stop!” Michael replied. Zombies crawled over the mattress and approached the two men. They were a foot from Jacob when Michael grabbed his brother and threw him into the closet. Jacob inhaled Sharon’s scent as the material overwhelmed him. He fought back and more of the clothing tumbled in all directions. Michael joined his brother inside the cramped, dark room. He attempted to close the closet door but realized that the door was blocked by all the clothing. Michael listened as the closet door behind them rattled. The prone zombies used the closet door to help them stand. Michael tried to close the door a second time with the same results.
“Jacob, can you pause your psychotic break and clear the floor so WE DON’T DIE!” Michael screamed. The zombie’s outside the closet clawed at the closed door and began toward the open door. Jacob recovered and shoved the clothing on out of the way. The door, free of debris, was jerked from Jacob’s hands. The zombie stepped forward and screamed. A guttural noise full of anger. Jacob felt hopeless as the creature lunged forward. It’s hands raised, became trapped within the metal hangers that remained on the curtain rod. The zombie attempted to rip its hands from the trap but became more tangled. Jacob shoved the clothing he stood behind into the zombie. He pushed the creature off its feet and it tumbled backward. Jacob grabbed the closet door and closed it.
Your not going to win an Oscar for best Action scene punching a zombie. In fact it’s the most uncomfortable feeling as solid mass meets gelatin.
Michael swung first. He struck the zombie in the temple. The zombie stared forward, as the right side of its head collapsed. The bone under the rotten flesh stopped Michael’s blow. The pain of the impact forcing Michael’s hand open and he finished the blow with a slap.
The zombie stumbled to the right, opposite direction of Michael’s blow. It crashed into the bedroom wall. Hitting it hard with it’s fragile face. The profile of the creature’s face collapsed. Leaving a soft, gooey center and blood spread upon the wall as it slid down.
Jacob swung next and missed. His fist skated over the zombie’s nose, breaking it easily. Jacob’s elbow followed and struck the zombie in the right eye. The zombie’s head fell backward. The rest of it’s body forward. It’s rubbery arms flailed. The bones shattered from the first attempt with the bat. Jacob and the zombie collided. The zombie’s head snapped forward. It’s right eye hid behind its boney socket. It’s long grimy teeth struck Jacob in the shoulder. Jacob fell on his back. The zombie fell upon him but struck the hardwood floor with its forehead. The noise from the impact echoed through Jacob’s right ear drum. The zombie skull cracked with the first blow. It shattered with the second. Blood sprayed the floor and covered half of Jacob’s face. Jacob wanted to move but his body didn’t. His arms and legs wanted to lay under the creature and think about this a moment. Jacob screamed at Michael as warm, retched smelling liquid dripped upon his T-shirt and jeans. He tried to shove the zombie upward and right but the body didn’t move.
Michael slowly lifted the body and moved it. “Jacob! Shut the hell up.” Michael said in a forced whisper. “There are more and your going to bring them all in.”
“I’m done Michael!” Jacob replied a little more carefully. “I can’t do this shit anymore. My wife died twice everyone else wants to eat me. I’m going to just stop fighting.”
Michael grabbed his brother and lifted him from the ground. “Stand up, boy. We do not have time for this.”
Jacob shoved Michael’s hands away but his knees sank. Michael grabbed Jacob before he fell. “Jacob, now stand on your feet!”
“I’m trying dude.”
Footsteps approached the bedroom door and the blockade. A zombie fell forward the moment it attempted to step through it. A second appeared, paused and fell. A third set of footsteps.
The beginnings of a trap emerge. The room constricted as a pair of zombies approached. One on the right and the other near the center of the room. The two remaining zombies negotiated a pile of bedding in the doorway.
“Bust the window!” Jacob shouted.
“No way, it will attract more from outside. We will never make it through without being mauled,” Michael replied.
Michael peered out the window, into the darkness.
“I can’t see a damn thing.”
“Smash it!” Jacob insisted. He approached the zombie in the center of the room with the bat. He swung and struck the creature in the chest. It heaved a breath. It stumbled, stood for a moment then continued forward. Jacob swung a second time hitting the creature’s shoulder. The bat fell. Jacob’s hands shook.
Michael tapped the window with his own bat putting a small hole in the center of the lower pain. A second tap shattered the rest of the glass. Michael pushed out the outside screen and stuck his head out the window. A pair of arms wrapped themself around Michael’s waist and he took in a panicked breath. Pulled from the window Michael turned and shoved Jacob into the opposite wall. Jacob tumbled into the wall, stuck it and slide to the floor.
“Dude.. no!” Michael warned.
Jacob gasp then replied, “Ass… look.”
Michael turned to find a pair of swollen hands grabbing at the meal that was in the window for a moment.
“Damn…” Michael grumbled. “Frickn monsters. Five years Jacob! We have been in this crap five years. Monster invasion in New York City and now were are all in the soup. Brother…”. He said to Jacob. “We are done.”
Micheal squared up in front of a zombie. He swung at his face and stuck the zombie. It’s face twisted, the zombie didn’t hesitate and stepped forward.
Jacob stood and prepared to attack the other zombie but his bat lay on the floor beside the creature.
Michael swung again and his zombie fell. He banged the gore-covered bat on the floor. Moved to face zombie two, Michael swung and the bat became twisted in the rubbery arms of the reaching zombie. Michael watched the bat cartwheel into the wall. The zombie’s arms fell to its side at the elbow. It moved forward as if it hadn’t just walked into an aluminum fan.
“What the hell, dude?” Jacob grumbled.
“Hey, you did it first.”
“We go melee,” Michael said as his took a boxer stance.
“Like your cleric… what was it’s name Wisconsin. Remember that melee?” Jacob asked.
“This is not a remember D&D moment Jacob!” Michael warned, paused then laughed.
“Wisconsin was a good character name.”
Both men laughed then stood firm waiting for the inevitable.
Neither knew how to fight outside of an occasional scuffle. They managed to scrap out some life within the City of Monsters.
Michael screamed. Thin boney fingers dug into his left arm. Jacob prepared to swing the bat but stopped, afraid to strike Michael. The zombie dug it’s long, sharp nails further into Micheal’s arm. Michael twisted. He grasp the bone-like hand with his right hand and pulled. Pain radiated up his arm and into his shoulder. The nails tore large cuts into his forearm as the muscles in zombie’s hand stretched. The second zombie pushed forward and reached toward Michael. Jacob swung. He struck the zombie and the zombie collapsed.
“Jacob, she has my legs,” Michael shouted as he looked down. Barbara, her face unrecognizable had a hold of his right leg.
“Get her off my leg!!”
”She’s not on your leg. She is dead,” Jacob shot back. Barbara lay in a pool of a thick, dark goo. “She’s not moving.”
Michael pulled the thin fingers from his forearm. He retrieved the bat from the floor and pressed the larger end against the zombie’s chest. He pushed the zombie backward and jerked his ankle from Barbara’s perceived grasp. Jacob grabbed Barbara’s blood soaked dress and pulled her away.
“Michael, your losing it,” Jacob stated. “Seriously thought I would be having the problems in this house.”
The two remaining zombies stepped forward. The couch slid upon the floor. Michael and Jacob stepped back toward a bedroom. More zombies filed in through the back door.
“Michael calm down,” Jacob said. “It’s fine.”
”It’s not fine! This is NOT fine!”
“Take a breath… Barbara is dead. We have to figure out how to get out of this.”
“I felt her grab my ankles! We have to get out of this house,” Michael said while scanning the front room.
Four additional zombies had entered the house behind the two the were still roaming behind the leather divider that was a couch. The front door was on the other side of the room and the kitchen was a no go area. Behind the two men was the main bedroom. A large queen-sized bed sat in the center of the room. A window in the front wall and a closet against the wall right in front of them.
”Maybe, we should hide in the closet.” Michael smiled.
“Dude, not that. Not now. Let’s block this doorway,” Jacob replied.
Both men lifted the large queen mattress from the bed and stuffed it into the doorway.
“Why did you not add a door to your bedroom,” Michael asked.
“We have no kids. We don’t need it.” Jacob replied.
“Until I showed up and saw you two doing the nasty.” Michael laughed. His forearm painted in blood. The men flipped up the frame and pushed it against the doorway. Jacob grabbed a towel from the closet in the right rear of the room and attempted to hand it to Michael.
Michael stood with his back against the mattress and frame. Behind the bedding blockade were three zombies attempting to climb the flimsy wall of fabric and wood.
Jacob tossed the towel at Michael and stood beside him.
“Wrap that up the best you can. When we get out of here I will make you a proper dressing,” Jacob instructed.
“Ah, my brother the medic. It’s been ten years since you left the Army. You think you can still do a proper dressing?” Michael asked.
“Better than you.”
From above Michael’s head a thin, rotten hand reached up and over the wall. It ran its black goo covered hand over the side of Michael’s face. Michael stepped forward, turned and growled. “I am so tired of you monsters touching me! Stop touching me!”
The wall built from bedding began to fall forward. The zombies that managed to climb the mattress tumbled into the room. Jacob stood with his back to the bed frame. He glared at Michael. Michael attempted to readjust the wall but the damage was done and a pair of zombie began to claw their way into the room from the floor.
“There are two more out there!” Jacob screamed.
“It will not matter, if these two take us out,” Michael replied while wrestling with the bed frame to keep the other pair out. He watched the room as one of the two zombies cleared his head and stared forward. A simple sniff of the air alerted the zombie to the men’s presence and it started to move forward. The other zombie followed soon after.
Michael found the bat and held it, larger end farthest away. The zombie stepped forward. Stopped after meeting the resistance created by the bat then continued forward. The thin skin of the monster tore and gore began to cover the bat. The other zombie moved around to the left of the first one. The other zombies attempted to push through the mattress wall.
Excited about this one. Doesn’t look like much now but it is going to be a very busy piece. I will expand my skills with a half dozen subjects.