Coyote- Tommy

“No! I said don’t do that. What the hell!” 
Tommy stepped toward the woman as she attempted to sprint between two pair of outstretched arms. The eager arms trying to find lunch, which was the source of the screaming. Tommy winched as the zombie on the left grasp her ponytail. The woman’s face, joyful she had made it past them, would soon change to horror if Tommy couldn’t help her but he had his own problems. The woman’s screams had attracted a mob of zombies but worse, other prisoners had made the zombies ravenous.

The zombie we’re blind, their eyes covered in a cancerous white film but they felt everything. Tommy had developed a particular set of skills, allowing him to avoid the sun bleached, hungry grasped but he also avoided stupid moves like running between two zombies expected a miracle. 
“Miracles didn’t exist”, Tommy thought as he watched the woman fall backward landing on her ass first, then her back. 
“Miracles were part of that Christian revolution that disappeared once the world changed.” He continued the thought as he crouched low and walked forward, careful to avoid any noise. 

“Some of the Coyotes take a stabbing approach…,” he silently explained to himself, running through a speech he planned to give at the Rail Station downtown
later in the day. 
“… but I prefer the silent, stalking, carefully planned approach. Avoiding conflict, wasted energy and potential surprises. It’s a far smarter approach.” His thought concluded. 
He grabbed the woman by the ankles and pulled. The zombie holding her hair grasp tighter as he as his partner began to bend down. 
“Her screaming doesn’t help.” Tommy said to himself as hope of rescuing this group of prisoners disappeared along with the credits he would receive from the families.

“Five thousand credits per, multiplied by ten, now three… possibly two if I can’t rescue this dumb screaming woman. Hold it together Tommy. You can only do so much.”

Tommy lifted the woman by both ankles and violently pulled her toward him. She slammed her head on the concrete beneath her but the zombie holding her hair lost his hold. Tommy pulled again, careful to be as stealthy as he could. Other zombie stood waiting, listening groping for a clue. 
The woman lie under him. “Shut up!” He said looking into her terrified eyes. The look, familiar always haunting. “Your going to kill us both. Stop screaming.”

The woman stopped screaming, for the moment, and Tommy helped her to her feet. 
“We are 200 yards from Station 1,” Tommy said. “You can do this.” He encouraged her as he pulled a large gauze pad from his bag to stop the bleeding beneath her blond ponytail. He held it to her head for several moment as the two zombie approached from behind. 
The two other survivors, that had listened, stood like statues. Every bone and muscle in their body shook but they stood silently waiting. 
“Let’s go, quietly,” Tommy instructed. 
The four, two woman and two men walked slowly toward Station 1, a run-down restaurant with a large plate glass window in the front

Tommy placed the screaming woman’s hand on the gauze bandage and encouraged her to move forward quietly. She seemed to want to comply this time.

The two zombie behind them, encouraged by the interaction with the woman, approached. Their hunger insatiable. Tommy, was aware and searched for anything to lay in the pairs path. 
A shopping cart, covered in weeds, would work. Tommy suggested the group continue forward carefully and quietly as he veered off the the left to get the shopping cart. 
He freed the cart, in moments. Picked up the cart so it would not make noise and turned. 
All three survivors had began running toward the restaurant. 
Tommy cursed like he had never before. “The ignorance of these people,” he thought as he watched one of the men fall and get brutally beaten up, then eaten. The women ran erratically around the zombies that approached. Skillfully, avoiding the hungry lunges of the predators. 
“The zombie, though would overwhelm them,” Tommy thought. He knew it would happen, because it always did.

The numbers around the women grew till the commotion had drawn all the zombie from around where Tommy stood. He stood alone, behind a shopping cart, watching the entire scene. The tragedy of the inability to listen and check the fear for sake of survival. Tommy was void of fear anymore, reborn to this brutal new world of terror. He walked pass the growing mob of zombie and headed toward the back of Station 1. He approached the back door, withdrew a key and unlocked the door. He opened the door and disappeared.

Coyote Part 2

The Coyote – part 2

Mornings within the walled off, reclusive world are the worst part of an already fucked up life. The smell of decay mixed with body order, sprinkled with a constant moaning.

The moaning was worse then the stench at times. A twisted symphony of pain expressed in guttural “Ohhhhs” all day and night.

Tommy stared at the dangling plaster above his head. The room had seen better days but as was the world.

Zombies milled under his window waiting like dogs hungry for breakfast

“Tommy!” Shouted Mary , the station chief.

“You have a phone call.”

Tommy dressed, grabbed his weapons and walked down the neglected wooden steps to the small cafe on the ground floor.

At the bottom of the stairs was a kitchen. The kitchen was immaculate and cooking on the polished stove was a skillet filled with rice, onions, peas and carrots. On a counter to the left was a dozen beautifully polished red candied apples.

Tommy fingered one of the apples and listened to Mary on the phone.

“I understand, Mr. Carter.”

“Tommy O’Neil is the coyote, yes sir.“

“He’s on the way, sir.”

“Listen, Mr. Carter. We give you our word. We will find your daughter.”

“Don’t do that,” Tommy said as stepped into the cafe lobby. In front of him sat a large plate glass window. Mary sat at a small table. A phone sat in the center.

“Don’t promise anyone anything. I am no superhero.” Mary, a thin woman, eyes that understood the horrors of the world, placed the phone receiver in Tommy’s hand.

“Mr. Carter,” Tommy O’Neal began. He sat the phone on his shoulder and slicked back his hair.

“There are no guarantees in this zoo.” He said. “I lost 8 people just yesterday because they wouldn’t listen. “ This daughter is what 22, 25 and a criminal?”

“14, not possible,” Tommy snapped. “They would not push a 14 year old into this shithole.”

“Snuck in! That is ridiculous. No one would sneak into this place. Are you calling from a radio show, your joking right.”

“Your daughter is dead,” Tommy said. “Yes, it’s true. Your daughter has a 15 minutes time-to-live and that has passed.”

“Your apparent sphere of influence has no bearing. The Maxwell-Carter family may have some pull outside the Zoo, but within these walls we make the rules.”

“The Network can be a very powerful enemy, Mr. Carter. I’m just saying, be careful what you wish for… but honestly how much and why should I care?”

Tommy gently tapped the glass on the whiskey bottle. Mary did her best to ignore him and pretended to work nearby.

“I’ll get it myself,” he whispered and she countered by shaking her head no.”

“500,000 credits?” Tommy said with disgust. “What am I going to do with credits. Toss them at the undead?”

His words trailed off as he noticed an odd zombified creature approach the large restaurant window. He pointed with his free hand.

Mary whispered, “I believe those are called satyrs. Half human, half goat.”

“Looks like a demon,” Tommy replied while covering the receiver.

The satyr had a horn twisting from the left side of his head and a second horn, broken protruding from the right side.

It’s fur showed up in patches over its pale, dead human face. Open wounds tracing exposed compound fractures.

“When did they start putting the Freaks in here?” Tommy said as he swept up the bottle of whiskey and poured a second shot.

Tommy swallowed and Mary took the bottle from him. “Your not finishing this bottle,” she said.

“I am listening to you Mr. Carter. You would like me to rescue your daughter and your daughter just happened to slip into a prison full of zombies… and other monsters… with a stone that has the power to create or take away life. So this is a mission to save the world. Did I get that right?”

“Fuck off, with your goddamn super hero mission. I ain’t no super hero. Do it yourself then.”

“I want something else. I want you to have me released. I want out of this shit hole.”

“How did she get the stone.” Tommy asked. “A family of thieves, I see. That certainly makes this job more interesting and more valuable. The Stones haven’t been free from the Maxwell-Carter family for four years.”

He paused, “Mr. Carter this must be embarrassing for you. You seem that type.”

“No one outside the prison will not do shit for 50,000 credits,” he said, replying to Mr. Carson. “I doubt they would step into this zoo for 100,000 and they are definitely not looking for your daughter in West Ransom. They may take your money though.”

The smell of candied apples drift into his nose.

“Mary, can I get a plate of your awesome fried rice and a candied apple. I love those candied apples.” Tommy said waiting for a response.

“Sure thing, I got you. Anything else?” Mary said.

A glass of water, please.” Mary disappeared into the kitchen of the diner.

“Are you changing your offer for this job, Mr Carson. You have no other options.”

“500,000 credits, guaranteed by the Carter family and Northeast territory… Nice. Where do you believe they were heading.

“That’s a three station hop and some of the most populated areas of the city. Still very likely she is already dead but I promise I will do my best.

“How will you guarantee I get paid? I am on the inside of this hell on earth zoo. The Blackguards are corrupt as hell and I can’t get out.”

“The Garden. Sure. The Network’s central station. I’ll meet you at the top.

Tommy placed the phone on the receiver. “Looks like we have another suicide job, Mary. Can you call…”

“They are on the way, already. Held up at station 11. Will be here in an hour.”

“You are my favorite station chief, Mary and I love your apples. Gawd.” He said as he bit onto the candied dessert.”

Michael and Jacob – Plywood derby

“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.”

“Michael.”

“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.”

You shot me?

The .45 went off. The sound stuck to the walls and shook the building. Jean Claude spun, fell and disappeared.

“You have gone to far,” Sean shouted and attempted to advance.

“Don’t move!”

“What? Are you going to shoot me too?”

“I don’t know, did you hit me. Did you do this!” Erik pointed at his head wound with the weapon.

“Shoot yourself.”

Erik stepped from the counter and toward the two remaining men. The .45 pointed in their direction.

“You’re going to listen to me. Pack your crap and leave.”

“Ok, fine!” Andrew and Sean said in unison.

“Move!” Erik shouted when both men stood motionless.

Both men began to collect what they could, taking time to pick up as many items as they could.

Andrew stood first pointing a pistol then Sean.

“What now!” Sean shouted.

“I can still fire,” Erik replied then stepped forward.

“Back away you suicidal bastard,” Andrew countered and stepped foward.

“Do you know how many we’ve killed? I can put you down easily.”

“And why am I still walking!” Erik took another step.

“I don’t want to kill your dumb ass. Stop moving.”

“Shoot me! Do it!” Erik shouted then repeated it.

Erik positioned the weapon forward. He growled as he began to measure the likelyhood of hitting one of the men.

“The other would likely kill me moments later,” he thought. “I can make this happen.”

He stepped forward and tuned out the shouting. He dropped any hope of life after this encounter. He placed his finger on the trigger when the door in the back of the store exploded open.

Handy work

Erik sat in a lawn chair he found in the tiny camping section. He could not help but stare at the pale remains of partially severed hands and arms tacked to the plywood windows.

“Imagine, if they were human arms and not the infected. It would be cruel and unusual punishment,” he said.

“They are not human,” Jean Claude replied as he sat beside him in a simular looking chair.

“It was supposed to be a cure for Cancer. It was a mutating cell inhibitor. It was not supposed to create new cells. A new nervous system. It moved so fast. It was spectacular until it took my wife…”

A painful thump and Erik’s world went dark.

Minutes later he woke bloody and leaning against the remains of a shelf full of dusty baseball cards.

Jean Claude and the Baker brothers argued near the end of the checkout lane. Erik stood. Took a breath and then walked left toward a dirty counter that used to be the Service Center. Blood fell from the wound on the right side of Erik’s face.

Erik stepped behind the counter. He searched for the .45 he knew was behind the counter. The dusty handgun sat near a stack of boxes. Erik reached for the weapon as his head throbbed.

“This thing is huge,” he thought as he slid the weapon from the shelf.

“Where did Erik, the Horrible go?”

Andrew said.

“I’m not Erik, the Horrible or Erik, the Terrible… I am not an animal,” Erik stood and squeezed the trigger.

Born in Cleveland

Erik shook himself awake after the shove and slowly sat up. He looked around and quickly noticed the large glass window at the front of the store had been boarded up.

“What did you do?” Erik spat. “You are taking away all the light.”

“Old man,” Sean began. “I don’t know how you made it this long. This building has a huge glass window and the back door was wide open. The zombies could of walked right in.”

Erik ignored him and stared at the three new survivors. The Baker brothers were dark skinned and muscular. They stood a foot shorter then Erik at 6’2. The third man was 7 foot tall. His skin was black as coal with a yellow, toothy smile.

“Haitian? Why are you so far North?” Erik asked.

“I was an American, born in Cleveland.” Jean Claude responded. “Before the country broke apart.”

“Yeah, that was crazy…” Erik said then quickly added. “So how many did they add this time?”

“Fifty prisoners this time. It wasn’t a pleasant trip here so we would appreciate you drop the crazy loner act and help finish securing this building. There may be more survivors,” Andrew added.

Erik swallowed hard. He didn’t respond.

“I have a bottle of warm Vodka and a couple other bottles behind the service counter, if you want a drink,” Erik offered.

After several drinks and a couple hours the four men were happy with the security of the small grocery store. They settled in to sleep for the night when the banging started.

Out of Nowhere

The aluminum sheet sliced into the soft tissue just above the zombie’s rotten shoulder. It fell forward forcing the sheet of aluminum through its rotten arteries, severing any life the zombie had in it. The creature fell forward into Erik. Its black putrid blood drenched Erik’s twice washed shirt. Erik screams.

“God, please don’t let me touch the blood… dont… no… please God.”

The zombie grabs Erik’s shirt. Erik twists and turns to free himself. The creature bleeds a thick putrid liquid. Erik shoved the creature forward. It lost its footing and fell. The sheet of aluminum slips from the wound and thunders to the ground.

Erik stumbles backward. He removes his shirt and pants. He skirts back and hides within the darkness. He stares at the motionless creature till his eyes become heavy and he falls asleep.

The sound of hammers, multiple hammers wakes Erik from his sleep. Voices echo.

“This is a stupid place to hide. Have you seen the large picture windows. Dude, find some large sheets of wood or something.”

“Shut up yo.. This is the only thing close we could find. Don’t criticize.”

“Get out!” Erik shouted from the darkness.

“What the hell was that,” said one of the voices.

“There is someone in here, you idiot.” Replied the other.

“Settle it down,” commanded another. The voice is foreign with a heavy French accent.

“It’s likely a survivor.”

“Get out!” Erik repeated forcefully.

“We are not here to harm you, brother. We are here for shelter. We were captured and tossed into the walls of the city. This is the closest safe shelter, replied the French man.

“You’ll see how safe it is when you fall into my traps,” Erik replied.

“What traps,” replied one of others. “Those stupid-ass wires we cut with the weights?”

Erik shoved a sheet of plywood forward. It slipped under the metal shelves, then slid into his ankles. He swore and found himself trapped against the back wall.

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.