Killing Barbara

Featured Story

Preface

The stones fell from the sky. There was no storm, no burning trails in the sky. Nothing to prepare the world for the impact of three stones dropped by God. Each stone granted the user the ability to create life in exchange for a life. A cruel test for a human race with a violent imagination. Each stone decorated its own sphere of influence in its own way. The story below relates to the New York stone only.

The New York stone was dropped somewhere in Central Park. The first, vampire, began as a reluctant cryptid. Prowling at night, careful to patrol and terrorize the forgotten population. With every bite it grew in population till the forgotten could hide no more. The human population in New York struggled to contain the epidemic but ultimately succeeded. The stone continued to grant life for a life and other strange creatures began to appear. The other creatures were destroyed as effectively as they could be by a human race that felt threatened. The stone continued to migrate through the city, state and East coast till landing in the lap of a distressed government worker. His wife, lost to Cancer, rose to her feet and began the infection that would destroy North America. The stone was lost in the chaos.

Jacob and Michael

Five years after the Vampire wars. Zombie extermination turned into zombie containment. Large cities turned into giant prisons that contain the zombie hordes and other undesirables. Jacob and Michael are a pair of unlucky original occupants of the city of Cleary. Both men, desperate to escape their zombie wives, hide in the unattached garage.

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“We can head back into my house. We can lock Sharon and Barbara in a room. At least we have some food in the house.” Jacob said as he stared through a grimy window of the garage door. Standing on a pair of milk crates.  “We should have enough room to run to the back door. There are only a few zombie outside the garage door. The back door is unlocked.”

“No Jacob… What are we going to do? Lock them in the bedroom and listen to them scratch at the door for the rest of our lives? What if they escape? We would still have to kill them.” Michael shot back.

“I know.  We have to do something!  We can’t stay here any longer.  It’s been two days. I am starving.”  Jacob stumbled from the crates.

“We screwed up and left them in the house. What if they were still alive,” Michael snapped. “What if they are dead because we left?”

“Michael they were both bitten and we left them in the house for two days.  They are not alive. They tried to attack us multiple times. Our wives are dead.”

“Miracles happen,” Michael replied.

“Are you from this world?  When is the last time you saw a miracle?  Zombie apocalypse kind of killed any hope of miracles.  Look, I had to strangle Sharon with a metal close hanger. Do you want me to describe what that looked like! Zombie skin, putrid… Barbara is the only one left in the house.  We just need to get to the house, put her down and find something in the cabinets. We still have the girl’s rations.”

“Put her down? She is not a dog. I’m not even hungry,” Michael replied.

“Liar!  You would rather wallow out here in grief till we die of hunger then run into Barbara and face the fact that she is dead. I should just go out this door without you.”

Jacob rattled the garage door handle and banged loud enough to attract the nearest zombie.  Soon the blank stare and pale, naked eyes of a monster stared back’

“Look Michael it’s my neighbor John.  Hi John,” Jacob waved at the creature in the window.  When it didn’t respond he banged on the glass. “Hi John!”

“Stop,” Micheal said.  “You will attract more.”

“Do you think about her? Sharon?  The wife you strangled to death?”  

“Do you wonder if maybe she’s trapped inside her body?  Maybe they would find a cure and you just killed her?”

“She’s not,” Jacob snapped.  “I swear…Michael”. Jacob paused.  “Sharon tried to kill me. She slammed my head against a damn cabinet. Look at their eyes.  No human in there. They’re all dead. Everyone. Sharon is dead.  Barbara is dead.”

Michael walked into the darkness of the garage. He stood at a window at the side of the garage and looked outside.

“Morning should be appearing shortly.  We could wait till morning then go?” He offered.

“Why?  The zombies will hear us in the day and night.  No difference.”

“Fine… What’s your plan?

“I don’t have a plan.  All I know is we can’t stay here.”.

“Fine, I’ll get the door. You bang on the walls near the back of the garage to draw them away from the door.” Michael pushed past Jacob and grabbed the door handle.  Jacob growled but did as he was told. He banged on the back of the garage. When Michael was satisfied enough of the zombies were away from the door. He opened the door.

Jacob followed Michael from the garage.  They followed the house toward the back of the home.  At the first window Jacob stopped and looked inside. Michael continued to the next window and looked inside.

“She was in there.  Her perfect hair drenched in dark clumps of blood.”  He searched till he found Barbara. Her face long and drawn down. Her jaw slack and her arms to her side. She stood staring at a dining room wall.

Jacob watched the other zombies as Michael daydreamed. The zombie were blind, at least that was the assumption. The eyes were pale with a large cancerous colored orb in one or the other. The zombie hearing hadn’t changed from when they were human. Some heard better than others.

Michael watched within the window.  “Barbara,” he whispered.

She moved.  She brought up her right hand and brushed the hair from her face.  The outside world disappeared instantly. Barbara began to dance. She turned.  Her face was hidden behind long beautiful dark hair. She turned and turned again.  For a short time Barbara was alive, till Jacob stepped onto the heel of Michael’s shoe causing pain. Micheal lurched forward and banged his fist upon the glass window.

“My god, why did you have to do that,” Michael shouted. 

“Sorry, we need to go now, my pants are full of crap. I have a really bad feeling.”

“You crapped you’re pants?” Michael asked.

A large zombie approached from the front of the garage. Two more lumbered near them from the driveway.  Michael turned and stared at a face in the window of the home. Barbara, her pale eyes staring hungrily out the window, scratched at the glass.

“Go.. go…” Jacob whispered and motioned for Michael to follow him toward the back of the house.  Michael ripped his gaze from Barbara and followed. The two men walked toward the back of the house, careful not to make any more noise.

Jacob opened the back door and stepped inside.

“I don’t want to do this,” Michael insisted.

“This or die?” Jacob replied.

Michael closed the porch door behind him and searched for a lock.

“What are you doing? That door doesn’t have a lock.”

“What do you mean, doesn’t have a lock?” Micheal growled.  The door was ripped from his grip and a large zombie stood at the entrance.

“Why doesn’t this door have a lock!”

Jacob struggled with the inside door knob.  The large zombie stepped forward toward the men.

Michael shoved the zombie with his foot causing it to stumble backward.

“Get the door open!”

“I’m trying,” replied Jacob as the knob finally turned and the door opened.

The large zombie stepped forward. Jacob disappeared within the doorway followed by Michael. Michael closed the door and locked it. and they both stepped into the kitchen. He turned the security bolt and added the chain.

The large zombie began to bang on the back door.  Michael braced himself against the door until she walked into the kitchen.

Barbara, her jaw broken and head disfigured stepped into the kitchen.

Michael shoved his right foot against the door and looked at Jacob.  “What now, genius!”

“I got this Michael.  I got this.” Jacob stepped forward with a baseball bat but didn’t swing it.  He placed the end of the bat on Barbara’s chest and pushed her back into the dining room.  Attached to the kitchen door was a baby gate. Jacob swung that closed and locked it.

“I forgot we still had the baby gate, nice.” Michael said. “I do not want to kill Barbara, Jacob. I can’t do it.”

“You are going to have too. That gate is not going to stop her and she will kill us both.” Jacob replied.

“I am more worried about the Incredible Hulk right now than I am about Barbara. We need to block this door.”

“We got nothing to block the door,” Jacob replied.

“Are you joking? You talked me into jumping back into this house and you have nothing to block the back door.”

“I have a duffel in the walk in. I will fill that up with food and we can find a way out.” Jacob disappeared into the walk-in. Michael stared forward. His foot still wedged against the door. Barbara stepped forward and growled when she ran into the baby gate. Michael wanted to confront her. Talk to her. Reason with her.

“Who are you reasoning with,” he asked himself. “Barbara or some animal that wants to tear you to pieces.”

“Animal?” He asked. “An animal, at least has some animalistic instinct. It has some sense of intellect. This creature is just out to kill for what? Pleasure, doesn’t seem likely. Look at her face,” Micheal continued to ponder. “It’s blank, emotionless, dead… puppet-like.”

“A puppet? For who? God and his infinite cruelty? Is this some sort of omnipresent revenge plot…”

He watched as Barbara leapt forward almost tumbling over the knee-length gate. The back door shook and pain shot up through his ankle.

“Damn it,” Michael cursed. “Cursed world.”

He turned, grabbed a mop handle. Threw it through the window in the door. The glass shattered. The mop handle struck the zombie in the throat causing it to stumble backward and over the wooden porch railing. Michael growled. He grabbed what was left of the mop and tossed it through the porch. He found the toaster and threw it through the door. The coffee maker…

“Stop,” Jacob said standing nearby. “That coffee maker was a gift.”

“I don’t care,” Michael shouted and the coffee maker shattered when it missed the window and struck the kitchen wall. Michael paced the floor. The porch creaked as zombies, attracted by the noise, begin to step onto the porch.

“Do you really need to have a mental break, Michael… now!” Jacob shouted. “I think you woke up the whole neighborhood. Look there is John.”

“You always have jokes,” Michael shot back as he limped away from the door. “My wife is dead, your wife is dead. Our children long dead and this door is going to break and the neighbor is going to kill us.”

“Why are you not broken up over this? You killed your wife. I am staring at the rotten face of my wife.”

“Right now, you want to ask me that now? We spent three days in a garage alone and you ask me this, now when the world is crashing down on us. You’re an ass Michael.” Jacob frowned. “You think I’m not broken. I haven’t cried over anything since Gregory died. I killed my wife easily with a metal clothes hanger. If that’s not broken I don’t know what else I could be. Can you suck up your crap for a couple moments so we can get out of here. If you will not kill Barbara I will take care if it. We need to get out of this room.

“Touch here I will kill you with a clothes hanger!” Micheal replied, his voice shaking.

“That would require you moving past Barbara and going to the bedroom to get a hanger. At least we would be doing something other than arguing here with John staring at us from the doorway.”

“Your a mad man,” Micheal replied then approached his wife.

Barbara stood at the entrance to the kitchen reaching forward.

“She would be so pissed. She hated this baby gate.”

Micheal stood just outside her reach and stared at her. Her opaque brown eyes stared forward. Her thin face growled as she strained to reach over the gate.

“In the head, Micheal. From the side is the easiest,” Jacob offered. “Hurry up, they are getting this back door open because someone broke the window.”

Micheal pulled a kitchen knife from his pocket and stood with the blade up. He stretched his right hand forward. Barbara grabbed the blade and pulled it from his grip. Micheal struggled to free the knife from Barbara’s hand as the creature growled and swung her arms. Blood trickled down her thin hands as he attempted to free the knife from her grip. She gripped the blade tighter. Blood traced dark lines down the chrome blade. Michael grabbed Barbara’s arm and she drew him closer to her open mouth. Michael let her arm go and stumbled back. He grabbed her arm again and released it.

“Are you going to stab her or dance with her,” Jacob commented. “She has my knife,” Michael replied.

“If she draws your blood you will be without a wife and a friend.” Jacob said then shoved Michael to the side.  He struck Barbara with a kitchen chair, digging a corner leg into the infected woman’s left shoulder. The weight of the chair melted quickly through the rotting muscle.  Barbara fell backward taking the chair with her. Jacob leapt over the baby gate and knelt on the chair.

Barbara pushed upward on the chair with her free right hand. Jacob set his feet on her left side and pushed back.

“Michael please…”

The back door opened with a crash. John and the other zombies stood for a moment then roared forward. Michael leapt over the gate. He stared at his wife trapped beneath the chair. Michael watched as Barbara seemed too care little about the chair in her shoulder and more about attempting to bite his brother Jacob.

Jacob leapt from the chair and grabbed the large living room couch. He pulled and pushed the furniture till it blocked the kitchen doorway. Michael knelt upon the chair and stared down at his wife.

“Twenty years, Barbara. Fifteen of those years locked in marital warfare. Now, look at us. Some creature staring at me from under a chair.”

“Christ, Micheal this isn’t that hard.” Jacob shouted. “This couch is not doing crap. They just knocked over the baby gate.”

“Kill her!” He shouted. “Brother, I am running really short of patience and time.”

Michael stepped from the chair and Barbara attempted to sit up. She lunged in his direction. Michael fell backward. Stood and pressed her to the floor with his boot. He pressed the knife into her soft flesh and waited for her to stop moving.”

“They are moving around the couch,” Jacob said.

Michael stood and faced the mob. Jacob handed him an aluminum bat. Michael swung at the closest zombie and connected with the bat.  The zombie stumbled to the side and knocked over a second.

A zombie pushed through the crowd.  He struck the couch and fell. The couch moved but it held the others back.

“Remember those… fun little movies we used to watch from this couch before we had monsters attacking us every moment of the day.  We were so lazy back then. Relaxing, watching stuff… doing nothing. Oh, and not killing our wives,” Jacob said.

Michael squelched when thin boney fingers dug into his left arm. The daggers had reached upward from the corner of the couch. 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. A second zombie pushed forward and reached toward Michael.  Jacob swung. He struck the zombie and the zombie collapsed.

Michael grasp his arm. Blood traced trails down his pale wrist. Something grabbed his left ankle and Michael froze. He looked down and shouted. “Jacob, she has my legs. “Barbara, her face unrecognizable had a hold of his right leg.

“Get her off my leg!!”

Jacob watched as Barbara sat motionless on the floor three feet from Michael. “She’s not on your leg. She is dead,” Jacob shot back.  “She’s not moving.”

Michael pulled the sharp fingers from his forearm.  He retrieved the bat from the floor.  He shoved the couch against the wall. Jerked his ankle from Barbara’s perceived grasp. Jacob grabbed Barbara’s blood soaked dress and pulled her away.

“Michael, you’re losing it,” Jacob stated. “Seriously thought I would be having the problems in this house.”

The couch slid upon the floor. The zombies began to filter through.

“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.

The front door was on the other side of the room but it led to a certain death 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 far wall.

”Maybe, we should hide in the closet.”  Michael smiled.

“Dude, not that.  Not now. Let’s block this doorway of the bedroom,” 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.

The men flipped up the frame and pushed it against the bedding.  Jacob grabbed a towel from the closet in the right rear of the room.

Michael stood with his back against the mattress and frame. 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.

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.  Jacob struggled to manage his end and Michael’s end fell. Zombies fell over the bed and tumbled into the room.  Jacob glared at Michael. Michael attempted to readjust the wall but the damage was done.

Jacob wrestled with the bed frame to keep the other pair out.  He watched as the two zombies cleared their heads 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 pointed the bat.  A zombie 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.  Jacob struggled to contain the other with the faltering mattress wall. The room constricted as the pair approached. One on the right and the other near the center of the room.

“The window, we can go out the window!” Jacob shouted.

“No way, it will attract more from outside. We will never make it through without being mauled,” Michael replied.

Jacob shoved the mattress a final time followed by Micheal. The men then peered out the window, into the darkness.

“I can’t see a damn thing, it’s still dark.”

“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, 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 and slid 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 we’re 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.”

“Now what!”

“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.”

“Yeah, in memory of the state. Now it is part of the Northeast territory.”

Michael struck another zombie with his fist. The zombie stared forward, as the right side of its head collapsed. 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 its body forward. Its rubbery arms flailed. Jacob and the zombie collided. The zombie’s head snapped forward. It’s right eye hid behind its boney socket. Its 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 ears. 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 lifted the body and moved it.

“Dammit Michael your not the only one that’s done with this crap. My god how much can I put up with. I’m done Michael!” Jacob replied.

“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. We just gotten live.”

Jacob shoved Michael’s hands away but his knees sank. Michael grabbed Jacob before he fell. “Jacob don’t be an idiot, 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.

“The closet…”

“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. 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. A zombie stepped forward and screamed. A guttural noise full of anger. Jacob felt hopeless as the creature lunged forward. Its 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 clothing into the zombie. He pushed the creature and it tumbled backward. Jacob grabbed the closet door and closed it.

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 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. Its shaded, murderous jaws chomped at the air. Micheal pushed the rod into the zombie’s face pushed it 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 that 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. 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 screamed, 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.

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. “We made it. Wake the hell up!”

Jacob shoved Michael again. Michael growled.

“Get the hell up, you lazy, fat tart.”

Michael growled again and Jacob began to shake from the inside out.

“No… no.. no. Michael you stupid ass. You will get the hell up. You will not be dead. Get up!”

Jacob shoved Michael again. Michael stood on his hands and attempted to stand slamming his head upon the floor of the house. Jacob slid backward as fast as he could. Michael turned his head. His face pale and contorted in anger. Michael’s grey eyes turned to Jacob and he begin to crawl.

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.”

Dirt and Grime

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.

Jacob and Michael – Fist-d-Cuff

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.

Narrator

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 closet…”

Jacob and Michael – My legs – part 3

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.

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.

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.”

Creepers

“What do you know of these creepers,” Jean Claude asked as they exited the back of the Corner Store.

“They are some sort of mutation from the original bacterium that made up the infection.  I’m not sure how that happened.”

Jean Claude walked silent, listening.  Erik’s doppleganger began to appear ahead of him in several locations.

“The are small tells within the tall grass.  The creepers make a nest-like circle so the first thing would be to notice an unusual space.”  Erik noticed his doppleganger stood within several of these nests.  He stopped, picked up a small stone from the ground and threw it.  It struck the old man in the back forcing him to stop and turn around.  The young lady, his granddaughter, was closest to nest.

“Are you insane,” shouted the old man.  “What the hell was that for?”

The sudden noise triggered the Creeper and it leaped for the young lady as her mother screamed.  Erik bolted forward, followed by Jean Claude.

“Follow me, closely.”

Erik used his doppleganger as a guide and ran around the nests, within the grass.  He stopped and stood behind the old man and the girls mother.

“Jean, we have to wrestle with the Creeper.  Let’s get behind it.

The Creeper was entangled in the grass forcing both men to grab and pull the tall grasses at the roots.  The young lady struggled and kicked, successfully delaying the creature.  Erik found the creatures legs, broken and useless, and pulled.  The skin and muscle weak stretched.  The Creeper ignored Erik’s attempt to pull it away and tightened it’s grip on the girls legs.

Jean stepped within the nest and stood over the Creeper.  He grabbed the creatures chest and lifted it up.  The Creeper released his grip on the young girl and turned it’s attention to Jean.  Erik dropped the creatures legs and stepped up beside the tall man.  The Creeper struggled but it wasn’t trying to free itself.  It was trying to grab Jean.  It twisted it’s chest and spine.  It swung it’s dirt-covered hands, grabbing at Jean’s head.  It connected at times but never able to hold on.  “Your lucky you have little hair,” Erik commented and searched for anything to end the life of this creature.

A sudden thump did the job as Erik looked up.  The old man had struck the creature with the remains of a wooden plank.  Jean dropped the creature, stepped back then watched as the old man crushed the creatures skull.

“How’s your granddaughter,” Erik asked after the group collectively swallowed an anxious breath.

“Rebecca’s fine,” He said.  His voice shaking.  “Thank you for the help.  I wish you would of hit me with that rock a little sooner.”

Erik smiled.  “So do I.  My name it Erik.”

The old man shook Erik’s hand and introduced himself as Steve.  His eldest daughter as Erica and the young lady as Rebecca.

“Very nice to meet you.  This is Jean Claude.”

“We met,” Steve says.

“Of course,” Erik replied.  “Follow me, I can lead you past all these Creepers.”