The Red Prius

An explosion rung through the early morning air.  Blood from the infected clung to Erik’s face.   The infected lay on the broken concrete and the hood of the old, red Mustang.  The hood is bowed downward and covered in gore. The windshield is broken and bloody.

“God, that’s going to bring down my resale value,” he said with a smile.  Outside the car, to the right he noticed a group of infected fighting their way through the tall grass toward Michigan avenue.  Behind Erik was a simular group struggling to fit through a small space between cars.  Erik remembered the duffle bag and grabbed it along with the bat.  He tossed it over his shoulder and stepped forward toward the others.

The red Prius was fifty feet ahead of him when he heard the scream.  He leapt forward and around another car.  He walked up to the Prius slowly as another scream erupted from the car.  The windows of the Prius were grime-filled like everything else.  He could make out the figure of the young lady in the back seat.  She was swinging her arms and struggling with something.  Sitting near the passenger-side rear door Erik walked around the Prius.  The doors on the passenger-side were closed and locked.  He could see Rebecca fighting with an infected woman.  The woman had turned around but was still restrained by the seatbelt.  Erik banged on the passenger-side window but this only frightened Rebecca and sent her scrambling to the driver’s side.  He banged again and flattened his face against the glass.

“Rebecca, it’s me.  Unlock the doors.  I need to get in.”

Rebecca looked toward Erik.  He wasn’t even sure she recognized him.  She pushed herself against the rear driver’s door.  Erik shouted again.

Rebecca blinked, paused then attempted to crawl toward the rear passenger door but the infected creature grabbed her hair and pulled.  Rebecca freed herself and crawled back to the driver’s side of the small car.  Erik pointed to door behind her and attempted to walk toward her but a tall, infected man stood in front of him.

Erik dropped the duffle and stepped back.  He squatted and pulled the wooden bat from the bag.  Three more infected were very near this one and would be on him in less then a minute.  Erik knelt and swung at the tall creatures legs, connecting and blowing it’s knee sideways.  The creature fell to the left and leaned against another car.  Erik ran around the front of the to the driver’s side rear door.  He pulled the door handle and it opened.  Rebecca fell backward, into his arms.  Erik helped her to her feet and stepped away from the Prius.

She stood silent, staring up at him.  Erik searched for meaning, for a reason she was not moving.  After a long minute he grabbed her by the waist, lifted her and placed her over his shoulder.  He then walked away from the scene.  Rebecca struggled but Erik held on to the young lady till they were far enough.  Jean Claude, stood watching as Erik stepped past him.

“Thanks for you help,” Erik snapped.

“Looked like you had it,” Jean replied.

“Damn it, I forgot the shotgun.”

New Day

Darkness took over as Erik finished the bottle of wine.  Guilt racked thoughts persisted within his head as he looked out a grime covered window.

His wife,  her face painted in fear, stared at him.  The memory of her death haunted him.  The wine, warm and ineffective was now gone.  Erik stared forward out the window and watched as the memories paraded by.  His daughter, a beautiful, talented young woman stepped forward.  Her face fallen and her eyes hollow.  The beauty that once encircled her was now gone, replaced by the infection.

“The Deadwood infection…” he began.  “A bacteria trigger by research into effector proteins that caused anomalies in plants.  Plants!  Not children or wives of researcher but plants.”
“It’s not your fault.”

“It is,” Eric replied to his doppleganger.  “It’s all my fault.  This whole zombie, lockdown, take over the world, new world order, mess is my fault.”

Eric began to fall asleep.  His head switching off and his eyelids falling over his world.  His leather, seat shaped bed, jerked.  Eric looked to the right, cleared the sleep from his eyes and saw an animal grazing near the passenger side door.

“Is that a deer?  A four-legged hunted creature within the walls of the city?  That’s not possible.  This city is surrounded by walls.”

The deer, fawn colored and oblivious to anything around it, chewed on the long grasses beneath it.  There was a long knife within the duffelbag, along with a heavy steel chain.  To the right of the chain was a small shotgun, it’s wooden stock cut short in a hurry.

Erik opened the chamber and found a round buried within the weapon.  He smiled and attempted to open the driver’s door when the deer bolted and disappeared from view.  Seconds later the hood of the old Mustang collapsed under the weight of the creature.  The windshield cracked.  From the left, an infected monster stepped past his window.  Erik froze and waited for it to clear the door.  That monster grabbed a hold of anything it could and bit down.  Blood covered the windshield as Erik watched.

Erik cleared the grim from the Mustang’s driver’s side window and searched for other infected.  Seeing none, he slowly stepped from the driver’s door.  The noise from the door alerted the infected woman, closest to him but she was distracted by the meal they had fought so hard for.  A young and disfigured infected man bolted for Erik as he placed his left foot outside the door.  Erik noticed him and attempted to close the door.  He screamed in pain as he realized his mistake and allowed the door to open to free his foot.  The infected man pounced on the opportunity and pushed open the door.

Erik struggled to close the door but the creature easily beat out any strength he had.  The infected man stepped forward and shoved it’s gruesome face into the Mustang.  Erik fell backward leaving his legs vulnerable.  The creature grabbed a handful of Erik’s thigh just before the shotgun fired a mess of steel bearings from the end of the barrel.  The noise echoed through the steel trap Erik sat within.  The bearings, that didn’t hit the infected man, shot through the car.  Erik hid, as best he could, within the seats. He kicked the monster out and on it’s back.  After the ringing in his ears stopped Erik stepped out into the early morning sun to face a new day.

Do Zombies have Friends?

“Look at you, guiding all the innocence to safety,”  Erik’s doppleganger taunted as the group passed another nest.  “You know they are not innocent, don’t you?  You are not innocent either.”

“Shut up!” Erik shouted out loud as Steve rambled on about accounting to the tall Haitian man named Jean Claude.

“Look at the ragtag group you got here.  Remember the group you came in with…”

“Enough,” Erik looked away and noticed all four of the others were staring at him.

“Yea, what of it.  I have imaginary friends.”

With that said the others walked a little faster heeding corrections Erik made to their forward momentum.

Michigan Avenue, a grass covered throughway of old, split the large grass fields of the city in half.  Nature tried it’s best to erase what it could but what it struggled to remove left a large patch to walk upon.

“This road should help us,” Erik said then added.  “Has anyone seen those other two gentlemen?”

The others nodded then began the long trip toward the worn and overgrown buildings downtown.

The walking infected populated the road ahead, hanging out near the cars like teenagers parked on a Friday night.

“I wonder what they talk about,” Rebecca said.

“Who, the infected?  There’s no conversation going on?”  Erik replied noticing he was left alone with the young girl.

“Look at them, they stand next to each other.  I bet they hang out with their friends.”

“Your dreaming little girl.  The infected have no friends.”

Erica looked back.  Noticed the young lady talking to Erik and called to her.  Rebecca smiled politely and sped up to catch up with her mother.

“It’s getting a bit dark,” Erik said after about an hour.  “We should really hide out for the night.  The cars are not the safest, but it’s all we really have.”

Steve, Erica and Rebecca settled for a Red Prius.  They locked the doors and settled in as much as they could.  Steve and Erica were in the front seat and Rebecca the back.

Erik found an old red Mustang, surprised to see such a prize within the walls of this infected city.  Inside, the vehicle Erik found a black duffel bag, a wooden bat and half a bottle of wine.

Let Us In

An older white man, beard grey and covered in gore pounded on the thick store windows as Erik stood behind it.

“Let us in!” The old man shouted.

There were nine left, a cluster of desperation, as the infected stumbled after them.  Erik watched.  The revolver, he found behind the service desk, floated within a numb grip.  Pointed at the gray strands of hair below the man’s nose.  The old man stopped pounding on the window, looked back and noticed another prisoner was taken down in a gory infected lunge.  He placed his face against the dirty glass, his arms outstretched.

“Kill me!  Just do it!”  He shouted.

Erik squeezed the trigger.  The hammer clicked back.  A noise startled Erik and he fired into the wall on the left.  The old man, stepped back and watched as a group of prisoners stepped into the Corner Store from the back.

“Get out of my store!”  Erik shouted.  “This is my store!”

“Hold up,” replied a tall black man.  “My name is Jean Claude.  We are not hear to hurt you.  We just need a safe place to stay.”

“This is not a safe place,” Erik replied but then paused.  “You have an accent.  What is that, where are you from?”

“Ay, I am Haitian, man.  I moved up here before the infection.  I’m not a threat.  We are not a threat.  We just need a place to stay and then we will move on.”

Erik turned to find the old man had disappeared from the window replaced by several infected, eager to step threw the window.

“They are going to break my window,” Erik replied as the others approached.  “They are…”

Soon, Erik was disarmed and forced to sit.

“Listen here, you crazy nut,” Sean Baker stepped in front of Erik.  “I have had way too much of this.  The threats, the beatings and the intimidation.  I have no problem ending your life.”

“Stop Sean,” shouted Andrew Baker, a carbon copy of the blue eyed, dark skinned, man that held Erik by the collar of his shirt.

“You, all need to stop,” added the old, graying man.  The old man’s voice was slow and careful.  “This man has been trapped in this store for God knows how long.  He is allowed some paranoia and psychosis.  Let’s figure out what we are going to do now.  I’m stuck in this damn place with my granddaughter and her family.  I don’t want to see anymore violence.”

Sean let Erik go and stepped away.  Erik searched the room to see all nine survivors standing around him.  “Did you close and lock the back door?”

The Corner Store

The Corner Store stood within a patch of broken asphalt.  Small islands of tall, starved weeds floating in a sea of black.  Surrounding the Corner Store was a twelve foot concrete wall.  The wall surrounded the city of Ransom.  Ransom, once full of the living, now draped in a walking death.

The wall gate opened and waited.  Two tractors, each pulling a wagon, rumbled into the city.  Upon the wagons stood twenty people, all convicted of crimes outside the walls.  The few infected near the wall began to stumble toward the noise of the tractors.  The tractors stopped and BlackWater guards dismounted from the tractors.  A black SUV pulled up behind the tractors and several more guards stepped out with automatic rifles.  Erik watched as the guards shouted and fired into the air.  The new residents leapt from the wagons.

Some scattered and attempted to distance themselves from the guards.  Several of the runners were stopped by gruesome traps.  Partially paralyzed, infected, monsters that trolled the tall grass near the gate.  They lay in wait for the living to trip and fall over them.  Scenes Erik preferred not to recall from his welcome to the city weeks ago.  The traumatized sat around the wagons and cried.  Soon to be motivated by nervous Blackwater guards with a swift strike to the side of the face.  If they were lucky, an effective threat motivated them.  A group spotted the Corner Store and began to move toward, what seemed to them, safety.  The remaining prisoners, frozen in fear, were shot and left in the drop off zone.  The guards mounted the tractors and SUV and turned around.  They disappeared back to the outside world leaving the prisoners to fend for themselves.

“No…no…no!  This is my place,” Erik shouted, watching a group of twelve heading his direction.

“There is a pistol behind the old service desk,” he muttered.

Gary, what did you do!


“Gary, what are you doing?”  Erik shouts as he shakes the overwhelming feelings of loneliness from his head.  He lifts the bottle of whiskey to his lips and takes a swallow.  The warm liquid burned his throat and Erik waited for the thoughts to begin to fade.

The metal shelves behind the glass doors fell with a crash.  Light from the large front store window illuminated a tall, rotten man standing within the fallen metal columns.

“Gary,” Erik replied with some hesitation.  “What did you do?”

The tall infected man stepped forward and tripped over the shelves.  Erik leapt back and searched for a weapon.  The back of the store was dark but it was a warehouse.  Large steel shelves held dry food, aluminum cans and a broom.  The broom sat against the shelf as Gary began to stand.

“Don’t you move, Gary,” Erik said as he made his way over a mess of busted boxes.  Another crash and Erik realized a second infected creature found the open glass door.

“You have to be kidding me.  You invited Nora to the party.  You are an ass, Gary.”

Nora falls over the metal shelving.  As Erik tumbles himself over the boxes beneath his feet.  He swears as his right hand strike a pile of aluminum cans.  Gary steps forward, growls and lunges.  Erik pulls his feet toward his chest as his hand throbs.

“You stupid, ugly be…”  Erik slides back then under the large steel shelves.  He grabs the broom and it falls forward.  Gary grabs the broom and pulls as Erik pulls back.

“Give me that broom,” Erik insisted.

Gary’s unnatural strength pulled him forward, leaving Erik face down.  Gary growled, grabbed a knot of Erik’s shirt, and bent down.  Erik felt a large object on his left and pulled.  A large wooden pallet fell knocking Gary to his right.  Erik scurried backward before the pallet trapped him on the ground.

Nora, a grotesque vision of rot, shuffled past Gary.  She turned and slid between a wall and the steel shelves.  She zeroed in on Erik and stepped forward.  Erik fought off the infected woman.  Her enhanced strength frightening.  Erik pushed Nora’s hungry hands away.  Avoided another attempt then crawled under the steel shelves.  He tried to push the shelves over Nora but it wouldn’t budge.  A noose of thin skin and bone wrapped it’s gory fingers around Erik’s ankle.

Erik grabbed the steel shelf with his left hand and shoved his right foot down into Gary’s face.  Gary growled but it lasted seconds before his worn, rotten spine snapped.  Anger raged and Erik crushed the infected man’s skull.  Nora grabbed at Erik. He continued the rage, grabbed the broom and thrust it into Nora’s piecemeal chest.  He twisted her body and forced her to the ground.  Erik pushed his booted foot down and crushed her face flat.  He then found a coffee pot and hit her till she stopped moving.

Erik screamed as adrenaline ran through him.  He picked up whatever he could and tossed it.  After a minute he found his way out of the backroom and stood within the store.  Something outside the thick, glass picture window caught his eye.

The Pretender – City of Zombies

 

Eric stared up from the floor.  His head pounded.  Silver racks of milk, solidified within the plastic containers, sat waiting for customers that would never come.  A breath of putrid air rushed past him and escaped into the darkness.  Eric turned his head and the muscles in his body seized.

“What the hell!”

It laid against the glass.  A gore-covered, mutilation of human life.  It’s bare sockets, for eyes, staring through him.  It’s hands, skin barely hanging on the remaining digits, pushing against the grimy glass.

Eric slid away from the abomination and toward the darkness.  His lungs held his breath hostage as he stared at the gore staring back at him.

“Gary!!” Eric laughed.  “You scared the crap out of me.  I literally have it running down my leg.  “That was a good try.” He continued as he stepped back and into the darkness.

“Now where did I put those other pants and that last bottle of whiskey.”

Eric strolled through the back room of the Corner Store till he found a pair of pants hanging over a turned over cart.  Eric pulled his pants down, revealing several large scars, reminders from his childhood.   He replaced his pants and found the last bottle of whiskey.

His right leg shook forcing Eric to hold onto the wall.  The event with Gary frightened him.  “Are you serious with pretending Gary was trying to scare you?”

“What are you doing back?”  Eric said with a growl as a version of himself sat upon a stack of crates.

“You are seriously messed up.”

“I don’t need your advice,” Eric said.

“You have been drunk for three days.  Two infected stroll around outside a simple glass door.  You just found yourself within inches of a horrid creature and you pretend he is your friend.”

Eric stood up and removed the top from the whiskey bottle.

“Well, you killed your entire family.  Stick it up your high and mighty crap,” Eric closed his eyes, took a deep drink of the strong amber liquid and reopened them.  The Eric doppleganger was gone but so was everyone else.  He was alone again.  The backroom was quiet except for Gary banging on the glass door.