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.”

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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.”

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.

Midnight Snack

“Outside, Kali suddenly heard movement. This was not the shuffle-shuffle of zombies. It was a single individual with quiet steps.”
The quiet steps were then followed by several others, they seemed to appear from nowhere. Like they had jumped from outside of ear-shot to in front of the garage. Kali could hear the muffled whispers of people talking.
“Where did they go,” said one voice, sounding like a boy slightly older then Kali.
“We have to find them, Aaron is already pissed we wasted another day getting off on zombie blood, said another.
Kali’s heart jumped when the young boy mentioned the garage but the others, sounded like four others, dismissed it and then leapt onto the house. The windows on the second-story were unblocked and Kali heard the windows breaking and laughter followed by screaming. Kali stood, her eyes barely reaching the high windows on the garage door, could see several figures with wings walking around upon the house. It was likely the vampire-looking creatures they had came across earlier but they sounded and looked very much unsure of themselves unlike the vampires in movies. They paced outside the busted second-story windows as women screamed inside the house. Kali looked over, with hopes that Erik heard the commotion but he was still asleep and the nurse still lay bloody on the concrete floor. Kali looked out the window again only to crouch quickly when a figure leapt up to look in from the other side. “Hopefully,” she thought, “he didn’t see her.”
“Hey, guys I think I found her,” said the young voice to the others on the roof.
“Doesn’t matter, ” said one of the others, “we have fresh meals all in this house. Tony says its a safe house. Let’s go.”
“..but guys,” the young voice protested.
“Come on, dumbass. If you did find her they won’t go very far. Their stuck in a garage.”
“Fine but its your ass.” Kali watched as a young man, not too much older then her leapt from the ground and onto the first-story roof of the house. He then disappeared threw the broken window. The others followed and Kali had to wake Erik.