The Red Prius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Thanks for you help,” Erik snapped.

“Looked like you had it,” Jean replied.

“Damn it, I forgot the shotgun.”

New Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Zombies have Friends?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let Us In

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

“Let us in!” The old man shouted.

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

“Kill me!  Just do it!”  He shouted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soon, Erik was disarmed and forced to sit.

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

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

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

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

The Corner Store

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

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

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

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

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

The Pretender – City of Zombies

 

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

“What the hell!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are seriously messed up.”

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

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

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

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

 

Mitch and Kyle and the vampire

“There ain’t no rest for the wicked.”

“Isn’t that a song?”

“Hey, so?  We have been plowing through this cave for days.  Didn’t you just say you wanted to rest.”

“You ain’t got anything original?”

“So…”

“Thought so.”

“You know sometimes you are the biggest ass, Mitch.”

“Hey, what can I say… ”

“You can say something other than, ‘What can I say!”

“Shutup.. hey, what’s that over there?”

The cave system sank lower and there was no light, except for the torch Kyle put together.  That said a yellow glow leaked through maybe 50 yards away.

“I don’t want to go that way,” said Kyle.

“Aw.. come on you weiner.  To be honest we really have no other direction to go.  We can’t go back up the cave and we can’t take this way because it’s too small for our overgrown bellies.”

Kyle stepped to the left, leaving Mitch to fuss in the growing darkness.  That was until something moved far in the darkness.

“Why’d you leave me ass?”

Kyle laughed.

Both  men stepped carefully over the fallen stones and small streams of water.  The light expanded till it revealed another torch planted in a crevice in the wall.

“Did you put this here?”  Mitch asked.

“How could I have put that there when I didn’t know it was even here?”

“I don’t know!”

The two men passed the touch and stepped into an antechamber.  A large round room with torches every couple feet.

“Dude, we could set up camp here.”

“Mitch, look.”

Mitch followed several shadows, slowly moving to the left.  He stepped forward and went the opposite direction.   He held tightly to a hammer, spiked on the backside.

The shadows continued moved along the parameter of the antechamber.  Mitch continued following in the opposite direction.

“What are you doing?”  Kyle suddenly shouted.

Mitch paused.  The shadows stopped and he could make out a quiet conversation.

“What the hell is wrong with you!”  Mitch replied quietly.

“Me… what’s wrong with you, idiot.”

“You know…” Mitch began.  His temper flaring.  He stopped when one of the shadows began to rise and disappear.

He could hear the beating of wings above his head.

“Run!”

Both men ran into the center of the round room.  They turned and searched for a doorway.  They could hear several beast hovering over their heads.

Kyle felt the cool breath of one of the beast and turned.  He trust the touch upward.  Fire lite the thin, white hair of a stretched out pale face.  The creature screamed and fell to the ground.  Another screamed and attacked Mitch.

Mitch swung his hammer and missed.  He turned the hammer around and swung again and connected with the spiked end.  The creature squealed and walked away.

“Give me back my hammer you thief.”  Mitch shouted as he instinctively followed the creature.

Kyle stared at the black eyes of the creature as the flames inch up his head.  The creature struggled to dampen out the flames with thin, bony fingers.  Another creature flew into Kyle and grabbed him.  It pulled him upward then let him go.  Kyle hit the ground hard.  Within moments the creature was above him and began to pummel him with its bony fists.

The blows were enormous.  Each connection knocked his head left then right.  He could also hear the rustling of the creatures wings and feel them as they brushed by his left hand.  After a strong right cross Kyle grabbed the right wing.  He bunched the loose, leather-like material in his hand and pulled.

The creature, surprised, fell to the side.  Kyle stood up and without much thought crushed the creature’s skull with his boot.

“Mitch, they have a hell of a punch but I crushed this one with a boot.”

He waited for a response but didn’t receive one.  The touch was near the center of the room.  The other creature had disappeared but he could hear another fighting in the darkness.

“Mitch!”

The View

The pungent smell of death was everywhere.  It burned your nose, not like a flame but like a punch to your brain.  The view, outside the garage, was unreal.  Neighbors standing in the corner of the yard staring at nothing.  Body parts dangling from gnawed bones.  Others following the leader beside the privacy fence in the back yard.

“We can head into my house,” Jacob offered.

“No Sharon is in there and Barbara.”

Jacob took in a deep breath in all the commotion yesterday he had forgot that his wife Barbara had been the first to fall.  They were less than a foot from the exit when Michael’s wife Sharon was ripped from his arms.

“Oh god,” Jacob almost fell to his knees and stepped back into the garage.

“You are not dying in that garage by yourself,” Michael whispered.  “I am not going back in there.  Are you going to follow me or not?”

Jacob looked at his friend.  In two days Michael’s face had aged twenty years.  His blue eyes hidden within the swelling of a black eye and lack of sleep.

“What the hell you looking at?  Let’s go.”

Jacob followed Michael from the garage.  They leapt over to the house and followed the outside wall.  At the first window Jacob stopped and looked inside.  Michael continued to the next window.

She was in there.  Her perfect hair screwed up.  Her face long and drawn down.  Her jaw slack and her arms to her side.  She stood staring at nothing till she saw him in the window.  Something flashed inside her and she began forward.  Jacob felt Michael tug at him but Barbara was coming.

“Maybe she hadn’t been bitten,” he thought.  “Maybe she wasn’t part of this.  Maybe all this will go away with one more look at her.”

“Jacob!”

Michael jerked him to the side just before Barbara appeared at the window.

“Ass!  She was fine,” Jacob shouted then realized what he had done.  He had just alerted ten… maybe twenty infected undead to his location.

Three standing in the driveway woke up suddenly.  Their eyes burst with excitement.  They took one careful step then another.  One of them jolted forward and both men ran toward the front of the house.  They stopped mid-front yard and looked at the view ahead of them.  The population of human corruption stumbling in lines forward and backward.  Lives missing and replaced by a corrosive mental condition called the Darkness.

Ahhhh! Hungry

“Ahhhh!”  Michael screamed, stood against the garage wall and laid his face upon the cold stone.

“Don’t scream, man you will attract more,” Jacob replied.

“Don’t tell me what I already know!”

Jacob stood next to Michael.  “Come on, please dude.  If you lose it what the hell am I going to do.”

Michael sighed but stared at the back of the garage.  He watched the undead remnants of a woman walk slowly past a window.  The woman, no longer human, wore a white wedding dress smeared with darkness, likely blood.  The sight infuriated Michael but he stood perfectly still overtly signaling to Jacob.  Jacob saw the woman and noticed she stopped and stared into the window.  It looked like the woman was curious.  Was she wondering what was inside?

Both men stood statue-still watching as the woman rubbed a nasty hand over the thin glass window but within seconds she had covered the outside of the window in grim.  A minute later she became bored and left.

Michael turned and fell to a sitting position.  Tears fell and welled up for seconds upon the pronounced cheekbones of the 20 year old man.  Jacob stood, silent then turned away struggling to hold back the emotion.

“We’ve been here two days!”  Michael finally said.  “I am hungry as hell.  We can’t stay in here any longer.  Jacob.”  Michael wiped away the tears.  “You are my best friend but if you try to stop me I will kill you.”

“What do you expect me to do, dude?  Stand in your way.  You are a big boy.  I’m just telling you it will be much more painful out there then in here.”

“Starving to death isn’t painful?”

“I don’t know, man, I haven’t gone more than four hours without food.  It feel like I’m starving now.  I have very little energy to do anything.  How are we going to fight what twenty of those things?”

“We have to do something.”  Michael walked across the concrete floor and over to the wooden garage door.”

“I wish I could see through this damn door.”

Jacob stood behind him then banged hard on the door.

“What are you doing?”

Jacob was quiet and listened then said, “If they were close one of them would of smacked the door but it didn’t.  We can try this.  Just far enough to find a house with food.”

Kali and Company part 1

“This used to be New York City,” Steve Summers said to his daughter staring from the wreckage of the

George Washington Bridge.  The city was in shambles.  The towers of steel and glass that made up the city were mangled.  Large black holes spread like a virus over the sky high buildings. There were a few places in the city that still worked.  The few buildings that were not struck with curse of war were lit up at night.  The lights on the Empire State building still lite up at night and this is where Steve needed to be.  These buildings served as stations for the living but swimming in the middle of a sea of death.
The George Washington bridge had be damaged.  A large hole near the center prevented any infected from exiting the city.  The large bomb toppled one of the tall towers supporting the bridge.  The suspension cables laid over the gap making the travel scary but possible.  Any car traffic was parted on the South side of the bridge.  The rest of the trip would have to be made by foot.
Kali trembled as the suspension cable beneath her swung slightly.  Steve noticed.
“Move Kali, we have been through tougher stuff than this,” he said.  His tone was harsh but the intent was not.
“We haven’t crossed a bridge Dad.  Never have,” Kali replied. “Why are we doing this?”
“Don’t question my intentions,” Steve shot back.
Kali tried to turn around to shout back but the cable moved and she stopped.
“Move, Kali!”
Steve’s wife, Andrea warned Steve to be easier on Kali.  Steve grumbled then replied.
“This is not your business, Andrea.”
All three walked across the gap slowly.  The weather was warm and the wind only picked up on occasion.  When it did it was frightening but the three made it across successfully.
A small shack was built on the other side of the gap.  Behind the shack was a tall double wall of razor wire and a small column allowing access to the city.
Steve lead them to the small shack and stepped in.  Metal shelves lined the outside walls.  The shelves held food and survival gear for the trip into the city.  A gruff man, beard sitting upon a glass counter, stood and stared at the family.  Other visitors to the city milled around the small shack buying rucksacks and cans of food and water.
“Go with Kali and buy us some food,” he commanded, not looking at Andrea.
Andrea did as she was told and pulled small backpack from Kali’s back.  She began to fill it with cans of food and water.
Steve stepped up to the grizzly man and pulled out a worn map of the city.
 “Listen to me, old man,” Steve began.  “I’m looking for Lord Adam’s residence.  Can you help me out? “
The grizzly man never cracked a smile.  He opened his mouth to reveal yellow, broken teeth.
“I cannot reveal Lord Adam’s residence to you.  Even if I wanted too and I don’t.”  The old man turned away from Steve.
“Hey!  Don’t turn away from me.”  Steve kept the volume low but forceful enough to make the man stop.