Thursday, March 14, 2013

Watching Dead

Here’s some zombiepodcast goodness for one and all:


Watching Dead with Jim an Aron

Their coverage of this past Sunday’s episode “Arrow on the Doorpost” can be found at:

They offer great insights and a special section after the end credits for spoilers so if you don't want to hear any you and just cut off the show at the closing music. More shows are covered at such as Breaking Bad, Downton Abby, Justified, Game of Thrones, and others.

More fiction soon, promise!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Interlude: Day 2, Morning

The mid-morning light poured fitfully through the bay windows as Michael stared bleakly through them into the front yard. A nice, open front yard. A yard with no obstacles, and nice, BIG bay windows of fine glass between him and the outside. Nice, clean, easily shatterable glass that wouldn't hold those freaks out at all. With a deep sigh, he turned to the slim brunette girl standing next to him.

"This isn't going to work Lisa." He began with what he hoped was a judicious tone to his voice. "There's no way we can barricade this window. There's just too much of it and not enough wood. Or supports to brace against, for that matter."

Lisa absently flicked back a strand of her hair that had escaped the ponytail she usually kept it tied in. "Why not? Don't forget the bricks make the approach to the windows tough. Not more than a few people could get to the windows thanks to the terrace." She shrugged her shoulders and turned to the back wall. "And don't forget this big old china cabinet; it'll cover the main window with room to spare."

Michael looked at the huge Waterford cabinet. Its true the thing was massive, and solidly built. It would cover most of the front glass. The step-terraced brickwork would certainly keep all but a handful of zombies from pushing at the glass. He smiled to himself when he thought about his return to the apartment and trying to convince Lisa of the danger waiting not six blocks from them. He'd made a mistake calling them 'Zombies'; but it was too late to change it now. The moment he mentioned the 'Z' word to Lisa and she refused to take his worries seriously. Even with the KTYS TV news reporting riots and assaults, she would only agree that something weird was going on. She didn't like the thought of the walking dead, and refused to give it credence. She was still thinking of human burglars, and Michael knew that only direct experience would change that.

"You know..." he began tentatively. "We could just go into the country, maybe to Helen's old cabin in the woods? Where we do the Medieval Recreation events? We could even..."

She cut him off. I am not going out to BFE. My parents house is far out enough." She gestured around them with her hands. "Besides, mom and dad's place is plenty big, they don't mind us staying, and we're in a good neighborhood; not like those riot areas north of Fifteenth Street."

'Actually' he thought sourly to him 'only your mom doesn't mind us being here.' Lisa's father wasn't a bad sort, but unless it was on talk radio he didn't think it was true. They were beginning to talk about the riots all right, but they blamed it on Communists and Democrats. What was worse, her father refused to stay at home and insisted on going in to work, in downtown Tyson no less. He promised to keep calling in every few hours to the house, but Michael was becoming more and more concerned that he and Lisa might have to go pull him out of the Bank of America building. 'If there's time...' Michael thought sadly. But it would do no good to get Lisa's dad back here if they couldn't make sure this place was secure. "Ok,..." he conceded "Let's move the cabinet over there and see just how much it can cover."

To his surprise, it really did cove most of the class. The thick wood took nails well, and removing the shelves gave some nice treated oak boards to cover the two smaller adjoining windows flanking the main glass. The two then pushed the dining room table flush against the cabinet. Lisa looked triumphantly at Michael and smiled. Michael was still skeptical, though even he couldn’t admit for sure if this was sincere or his own stubborn determination to admit he was wrong.

“Well, it LOOKS decent.” He reluctantly said, his voice giving ample evidence of his uncertainty. “But we still need more reinforcement.”

“Oh please! The only thing we need to worry about is my mom’s irritation at us wrecking the china cabinet.” She tapped experimentally on the boards covering the flanking French-style windows on each side of the main glass. “It’ll be fine.”

Michael admitted defeat with ill grace. “Ok, but if some of those people come through the window I’m going to say I-told-you-so.”

With that the two went to the other windows further in the house. Michael still insisting that further in the country would be better than the suburbs. Lisa, of course, blithely ignored his mood and began pointing out more furniture that could be sacrificed for security.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 3-4 "On the Way Home..."

***This story copyright 2012 to Michael Stewart, All rights Reserved***

Watch out!” Lisa shouted as another shambling form was caught in brake lights, a yellow and red outline of staggering humanity.

The van screeched its tires as the driver careened around the form, avoiding it by briefly rolling into someone’s yard and returning to the street with a noticeable thump.

“I saw him, er…it.” Kaylee said with a thin veneer of confidence over a high-pitched voice. I just figured it wouldn’t make it so far across the road before we passed is all.”

“Ow.” Michael stated in a strangely calm voice, while pulling himself off the boxes of groceries that took up most of the center floor of the van. “Whatever you did Kaylee, please don’t do it again?”

“Look, you want to drive?” she snarled, turning to look in the back seat, and taking her eyes off the highway ahead. Before Michael could reply Lisa snapped, “Keep your eyes on the road, please!”

Kaylee turned around and grumbled over the steering wheel. “You can drive too Lizzie if you don’t like my driving! What do either of you care anyhow? It’s not your van.”

“Um…. because we’re riding in it?” Michael offered, with only a little of his usual sarcasm in the statement. He rubbed his sore back and continued “Not to mention we’re not even supposed to be here! On the streets that is.” He leaned over and tried to take a reasonable tone. “Besides, with this weird plague going around I’m not sure how long it would take an ambulance to make it to us.”

Lisa finished the thought. “Plus, what if those people made it to us before the EMTs did?”

The blonde woman shuddered and replied “Ok, ok, ok. But we don’t want to keep at a crawl either do we?”

“You’re right on that.” Michael remarked while moving to hunch between the two girls in the front of the van. “Go ahead and turn the headlights on. We’re well within the subdivision at this point and I can’t see police lurking around here when there’s more important stuff going on downtown.” He glanced through the windshield, squinting to see through the rain plummeting onto the glass. “Heck, with this crap coming down we could hit someone normal, and we REALLY don’t want that on our conscience. I don’t, anyway.”

As one the two girls nodded, and Kaylee flicked on the lights. The twin white beams cut through the night and rain, illuminating about 20 feet in front of the vehicle. ‘Not great’ Michael thought, ‘but it sure beats two feet of visibility!’

As the van turned a corner, a small figure barreled across one of the lawns and waved frantically at the vehicle. “Huh?” Kaylee said, automatically slowing down the van.

“It’s a little girl.” Lisa said, leaning over Kaylee to better see out the driver’s window. “She’s moving fast, and isn’t infected.”

“How can you be sure?” The driver remarked with uncertainty in her voice. But she slowed the van and cracked the window open an inch to talk with the child.

“Please!” gasped the girl, a brown haired kid of about 8 years old. “You’ve got to help my Mommy and Daddy!” Despite the rain, the child was only wearing pajamas and was barefoot. Yet she seemed not to notice in her anxiety and fear.

“What’s wrong with them?” Kaylee asked, her suspicion giving way slowly to concern. “Are they infected with the, whatever, that’s been going around?”

The girl blinked, and stared at the blonde girl with confusion. “Infecitd? No, daddy’s just sick. Mommy tried to help him but he’s chasing her in the house. Jilly’s back there too, I don’t know where. Please? Help us?”

Michael thought getting involved was a mistake. They needed to get home, get this food in the house and see about reinforcing the place. Despite a flood of reasons why they should just move on home careening through his mind, he heard his own voice say “Yeah, we’ll help. First, get inside here so it’s safe.”

She looked uncertainly at the van. “Mommy said we’re not supposed to get in cars with strangers.”

“We’re not strangers,” Lisa said over Kaylee’s shoulder in a calm and reassuring tone. “We’re going to help you. Strangers don’t do that do they? I’m Lisa, this is Kaylee and Michael is back there. What’s your name?”

“ummm, Maggie,” she said slowly, her hair now plastered to her scalp thanks to the torrent of rain.

“Ok, hello Maggie! We’re not strangers anymore.” Lisa smiled and gestured to the side door of the van. “Now come in out of the rain and tell us what’s going on.”

* * *

With a metallic slam, the van door closed and Michael walked around to the curb. Kaylee was already out and handing her keys to Lisa. The brunette now sat in the driver’s seat and was helping Maggie put on a seat belt in the passenger side of the van.

“Ok, the gas pedal sticks a little in this thing, so punch it whenever you’re going to put on the gas.” The blond girl instructed Lisa. However, she seemed to only be half listening, looking with concern at Michael. “Are you sure you’ll be ok, Mike?”

“Yeah, no big deal.” He tried to sound confident, but imagined Lisa wouldn’t be fooled. “Seriously, if the father is a zomb…er, sick…” He looked uncomfortably at the little girl, but she seemed not to be listening. “…we can just grab her mom and the sister and get out here.”

“If we can.” Kaylee looked across the yard at the open door of the house. The rain wasn’t as loud anymore, but no sounds or movement could be seen from the house and yard. “That house doesn’t look very big, so maybe we can just run in and run out.”

Michael nodded. “That’s the plan. If we have to spend more than 20 minutes looking then odds are they’re not even in the house anymore.” He winked at Lisa and tried his reassuring smile . ‘Maybe it would even work this time!’ he thought to himself.

“If some of those weirdoes show up, just circle the block,” he continued. “They’re not so bright so if you can lead them away and zip back here we shouldn’t have to stay in the yard very long for a pickup.”

“Uh huh…” Lisa muttered. “We’ll try and stay safe. You do the same. Both of you!”

Michael and Kaylee nodded and turned toward the house. He cycled a round into the barrel of the M1 Carbine, and the blonde made an experimental swing of her bat.

“No prob!” Kaylee said brightly, her mood apparently unbowed by the darkness and rain. “This will be a piece of cake!”

*    *

Game 3: On the way home

Scenario: This scenario is from the Two Hour Wargames scenario book for ATZ, Haven. This was originally designed for two police officers responding to a 911 call, but I modified it to use with our merry trio. The only changes were:

*1. The older of the two children (Maggie) will flag down the survivor’s van, thus already attaining one of the scenario goals. A bit of a cheat, but I couldn’t figure out another way to fix this.

*2. I changed the layout of the house to the one in the photo. The first one looked really odd, and I wanted something that I could use my Dwarven Forge in. You’ll also note the very back of the house is stonework…I ran out of wood DF parts!

*3. Unlike the original scenario, I’m allowing zombies to be generated outside the house since Lisa is staying in the van. I imagine this will more than balance getting Maggie as a freebie in turn 1.

Otherwise, the scenario runs as stated.

Time: It is about 3 am, and there is a rainstorm reducing visibility to 9 inches.

Michael approached the doorway with his carbine at waist height, so as to aim it towards whatever his body was facing. Or that’s what they said on the Military Channel anyway. Kaylee was behind him, her earlier bravado giving way to fear. Staying only one step behind Michael, her white-knuckled grip on her bat revealed her tension.

The door was almost completely open, no doubt swung by little Maggie as she rushed out of the house. There were lights on inside but no one in view.

Leaning against the doorjamb, the man raised his weapon to first cover the kitchen open area and then the doorless entry to a hallway. Again, nothing could be seen or heard.

“This is weird.” The blonde woman behind him whispered. “Where is everyone? Do you think the kid was just out of it, thinking there was a problem?”

“Dunno, but I doubt it.” Michael replied. “Stay here and watch the hallway while I check out the kitchen. Yell if you see anyone.”

Kaylee flexed her grip on the baseball bat. “Oh I will, don’t you worry. You’ll know as soon as I do.”

‘So will half the neighborhood’ he thought to himself as he slowly creeped toward the kitchen. Kaylee seemed like a decent enough girl, but they’d only known her for half an hour. She also was a bit bossy and seemed to have a chip on her shoulder. ‘I just hope that doesn’t get her killed. Or us, for that matter.’

With that cheery thought he made his way into the kitchen. It was empty of people, though he did notice a drawer on the floor. Apparently it was a knife drawer, as several were lying scattered about. He also noticed some smeared blood on the floor and refrigerator. Not a lot, but enough to make his skin crawl.

‘Is this the mother’s? The possibly zombified father’s? The kid’s?’ The thoughts made Michael’s flesh creep. Maggie was untouched, so it had to be one of the three. Could it have been a wound on the zombie? Or did someone get bitten? Shaking out of this train of thought, he turned and gave Kaylee a silent “OK” sign and moved to the hallway. Kaylee started to follow, but Michael gestured for her to close the door first. She did, and returned to him with a questioning look.

He whispered, “We don’t want anything coming up behind us, do we?”

“Oh, right.” She blanched and nodded vigorously.

He gestured to the right hallway, which ended at a window with a door on the right. “That looks like a bedroom, go check it out.”

The blonde began to look mulish. “Why me? You’ve got the gun!”

“Because…” Michael sighed, trying to keep their conversation to a whisper. “Because it’s likely not the Master bedroom, it’s too small. So, it’s probably one or both of the little girls’ bedrooms. And I think a little kid is more likely to respond well to someone with a bat than a stranger with a gun.”

“Uh huh…” She whispered in a cynical tone. “And this wouldn’t have anything to do with me being a woman would it?”

Michael shrugged, “Frankly? Yes, and if you get over the non-existent sexist comment and think about this logically you’ll see that it’s a better idea.”

Kaylee grumbled to herself, but moved toward the bedroom door. Michael rolled his eyes heavenward and muttered in return. This was going to get real old, real quick if he had to explain every little thing to her before she’d help.

He continued to look down the hallway to the left, which seemed to open up in a den or something. Lights were still on, but no one was in evidence. Weird…

*    *      *

Kaylee brushed her bangs with a sweep of her hand, holding her bat tightly in the other. The door in front of her was closed, and was decorated with construction paper flowers and hearts. Within two of the hearts were the names Maggie and Jilly. Michael was right, but damn if she would admit it to the jerk. ‘He obviously thinks since he’s the MAN he’ll be in charge. I’m not going for that, and if his girlfriend buys that line from him I’ll just take off.’ She knew guys like him, and they were always trouble. Right now, they had more important things to think about though.

She carefully turned the knob and pushed the door open. Huddling halfway in sight of the interior, she raised her bat and prepared to whack anyone crazy enough to attack. Nobody did, which was a nice change of pace as far as she was concerned.

The room was a stereotypical little girl’s room, with a large princess-style bed on the left side of the area. Toys and some clothes were scattered on the floor, but there was nobody in evidence. She was about to turn back and tell ol’ Mikey that it was clear when she heard a faint noise. Turning, Kaylee scanned the room. Perhaps from the closet?

Moving gingerly toward the closet on the other side of the room, she passed the bed and heard it again. Like a strangled sob? Not the closet….under the bed? Great…right now there could very well be monsters under the bed!

Swallowing nervously, she got down on her knees and pulled up the blanket to see under the bed. Huddled on the far side of the opening and flat against the wall was a small girl, not more than 5 years old. “Hey there,” Kaylee whispered. “Don’t be afraid, we’re here to get you to safety.” The little girl just stared in terror and tried to curl up into an even smaller ball. The blonde again brushed her stray locks away from her face and tried again. “Come on out, we need to go.” Then, inspiration hit her. “You can trust us, Maggie told us to come get you.”

The name of her sister seemed to click something behind the child’s terror-stricken eyes. “M…Mh..Maggie? Sent you?”

“Yes,” Kaylee replied, trying to keep her own voice calm while peeking over her shoulder at the doorway. “But we need to hurry, come on!”

Slowly at first, then with speed the girl wiggled out from under the bed and hugged Kaylee. Kaylee hugged her in return, then did her best to free herself from the child’s surprisingly strong grip. “Ok sweetie, now hold my hand while we go outside ok?”

The child, apparently named Jilly from the decorated door, simply nodded and followed her; though keeping an iron grip on her hand.

*    *      *

Michael saw the two emerge from the bedroom and smiled, thinking it would be a good time for a ‘maternal Instinct’ comment but for once common sense prevailed. “Ok, the den’s apparently dead…er…quiet. So, I’ll cover you from the door and you get her out to the van with Lisa.”

“Ok.” Kaylee replied, apparently more concerned with the girl’s safety than to one-up Michael. Just keep us covered in case one of those things comes around in the yard.”

“Will do.” And with that Kaylee picked the little girl in her arms and sprinted toward the van. Her bat was held awkwardly over her shoulder, and Michael knew she’d never get it up in time to defend herself or her burden. So, he kept one eye outside in the yard and the other at the hallway across the living room.

Nothing bothered the two in their short run across the yard to the waiting van. The rain had even lightened up, only a mist at this point. Lisa unlocked the side door and Kaylee slid it open and set Jilly inside the vehicle near her sister. The two children hugged each other and started to sob again.

“Everything ok in there?” Lisa asked, looking at Kaylee in the rear view mirror.

“So far so good, but we’ve only checked out about half the house so far.” She smiled at Lisa with some of her old confidence returning. “Michael’s just stood around being macho with his gun while I did the real work.”

Lisa snickered. “Michael isn’t that bad. Really!”

“If you say so.” She replied dubiously and turned to leave the van. Moving to close the door, Jilly broke away from her sister and shoved her little hand out at Kaylee. “Whataminit! Take this.”

Kaylee took the small set of keys from the girl. It was one of those models where the key chain fob also turned on and off a car alarm. “What’s this for?”

“I was gonna hide in there once I got less scared.” Jilly said in a small voice. “You could give them to Mommy so she can find a place to hide.”

“Ok, hon.” Kaylee pocketed the keys and grasped the sliding door. But she’ll probably be coming with us. I’ll give her the keys though. Their conversation cut off when the door was slammed shut. Now able to grasp her bat again with her usual manic grip, the blonde turned back toward the house and skidded across the wet grass to the open door. Michael was still at the doorway, posing with his gun like some kind of commando. ‘What-ever!’ she thought to herself. ‘We have to get some things straight if I’m going to stay with this clown.’

*    *      *

Lisa watched Kaylee’s retreating form until she could see both her and Michael silhouetted in the door opening. The lights cut off with the closing of the door, and she sighed. What were they going to do with two little girls if Mike couldn’t find their mother or father? Could CPS take them in, what with everything going on?

Distractedly she glanced back into the rear view mirror to see the two children sitting at the very back seat and chatting about being wet, the yucky mud, anything but the current situation. ‘Can’t suppose I blame them.’ She thought to herself. ‘Would I want to dwell on….?’

Lisa caught movement near the back of the van. She turned the lights back on and saw illuminated in the brake lights three of those horrible sickos. The closest one was the worst, with half his face missing; the cartilage and tendons of his face visible and flexing as he bit repeatedly into the open air.

“Crap!” she put the van into drive and it the gas. As Kaylee warned, she had to pump the pedal hard and so screeched out from the house more loudly than she wanted. ‘That’s ok, that’s ok.’ She reassured herself. ‘More noise means they will follow the van and not go to the house. Like Mike said, I’ll just lead them around the block then zip back here. I’ll pick Michael, Kaylee, and the girl’s mother up; we’ll get back home and wait until all this blows over!’

“Hey, where’s mommy?” Maggie asked, leaning to sit back in the passenger front seat. “Where are Mitchell and Casey?”

“Not to worry dear.” Lisa replied, keeping a calm voice as they slowed at the intersection. The idea seemed to be working, the three infected seemed to be following the van and ignoring the house where Michael and Kaylee went; all the houses actually. “We’re just going to go around the block. We’ll be back in a jiffy.” She tried a reassuring smile to the children, and it seemed to be working. That, and Jilly was rummaging through the food. “Do you have any pop tarts?” the little girl asked, oblivious to the danger outside.

*    *      *

The door to the room creaked as Michael slowly pushed it open with the barrel of the carbine. For a relatively modern interior door it sure made a lot of noise. ‘How very Tales From the Crypt,’ he thought as he squinted in the darkness. As nothing jumped out at him, he stepped into the doorway and reached with his left hand for the light switch. It flickered on, and the room was revealed as an office. A desk with two bookshelves was the total of the furniture decorating the area. Michael leaned over and glanced under the desk. Nobody home, it appeared.

“Great.” Kaylee stage whispered at her squatting companion. “Two doors and we get the one without anyone in it.”

Michael glared up at her and whispered “Shhh! Do you want to draw whatever’s in the house?”

“Sure, if it means we get outta here quicker” Again the blonde swung her bat at the air. “Let’s face it, nobody’s home anymore. Maybe the mother took the guy to the hospital? Or even…”

Her ideas were interrupted by a woman’s scream coming from the other side of the house. Pushing past her, Michael rushed to the other doorway and kicked it open. Kaylee stared for a second, then shook her head and followed.

Michael saw the back of a man, staggering toward a bathroom. He seemed to have forced the door open and a woman was inside begging him to stop it. “Hey!” Michael shouted, bringing his weapon up to his shoulder.

The figure turned around, and stared at Michael with milky eyes. His grayish face was expressionless for a moment, then with a snarl he staggered toward the two in the doorway; unconcerned with the carbine pointed at his head.

“That’s all I needed to see.” With that, Michael fired at the creature at point blank range. The bullet went into the zombie’s right eye, but at an angle and exited out the right temple. Dark red blood spurted from the wound and knocked the thing over to the ground. Michael realized with one look that the creature was still active, and so walked toward the former person and raised the weapon to his shoulder, aiming it at the man’s forehead.

“Leave him alone!” came a scream from the doorway. Michael glanced up just in time to take a baseball bat to the side of his head. The carbine’s stock and his right forearm took some of the blow, but it was still enough to stagger him. With a grunt, he dropped the carbine and fell near the creature. He moaned and held the side of his head in obvious pain.

“You leave my husband alone! He’s sick!” the unhinged woman screamed at her husband’s shooter and raised the bat for another strike.

“Stop it!” Kaylee exploded into action, shouting and using her own baseball bat to knock the woman’s aside. “Your husband’s not just sick, he’s trying to kill you!”

“No! He understands me!” The wife of the undead monster staggered back but retained hold on her own bat. “You want to hurt him too! I won’t let you!” She charged the younger woman with a screech and the melee was joined.

*    *      *

Meanwhile, Lisa was grinding her teeth in frustration. Despite circling the block she returned to the house only to find that the infected had turned around and were walking back toward her first location in front of the little girls’ house. As she pondered what to do, Maggie looked up from her pop tart wrapper and said “Hey, those freaky people are coming back.”

“Yes…” Lisa replied in a forced calm voice. “They are…so, we’re going to go back the other way and try to lead them down the street.”

‘What about mommy and daddy?” Jilly squealed from the back. “They might come out and we’ll be gone!”

Lisa performed a highly illegal U-turn in the street and then glanced in the rear view mirror again to make sure the zombies were moving toward the van. ‘Great,’ she thought to herself. ‘Now Michael has me calling them zombies.’

The return of the van did seem to catch their attention again, so Lisa moved slowly back down the road. This time, she kept the van moving at a crawl to keep their attention. This time she would wait until well down the connecting street before speeding up.

*    *      *

“Stop it!” Ducking behind a TV stand, Kaylee’s shouted attempts at reason were getting nowhere. The lady was obviously nuts! So, with some reluctance she waited for the guy’s wife to overswing again and then lunged in with a solid smack to her head. She’d been aiming for the back of her head but instead she took it full on the side. With a coughing moan she staggered and fell between Michael and what was once her husband. That unfortunate was staggering to his feet. When it saw his wife fall down, he fell upon her and started tearing at her flesh.

Kaylee stood horrified as the man started chewing chunks of meat from his gurgling wife. Michael was still disoriented, but had enough presence of mind to skitter back and fumble with his carbine. Though he did get ahold of it, he couldn’t bring it up to aim at anyone or anything.

So, the blonde shook herself out of her stunned horror and swung the bat as hard as she could down on the zombie’s head. There was a sickening crunch of bone and he fell over the body of his wife. Though one of his legs continued to twitch, he seemed to be out of the fight. Still, Kaylee smashed his head again to be sure, then drug him off the wounded woman beneath him.

She was coughing up blood and bleeding profusely. Jesis!’ Kaylee thought franticly. ‘What do I do?’ As she glanced around for something to staunch the blood flow, the torn woman gave a final cough and collapsed across the floor. She didn’t move, and her eyes stared unblinking, fixed on the ceiling.

“Ohgod” Kaylee said, and tried desperately not to be sick. She looked away, and saw Michael pushing himself to his feet by leaning on the doorjamb with his shoulder and using the carbine as a cane. His eyes looked dilated and he didn’t seem to be able to concentrate on anything in his vision.

“G.g..gotta check on her.” He mumbled, gesturing weakly at the woman on the floor.

 “No way guy,” Kaylee said, glad of something to do other than look at the corpses in front of her. “What we’ve got to do is get you out of here!”

“No…gotta make sure..” Michael swayed and Kaylee caught him under the arm and turned toward the door. “C’mon let’s get going. Nothing left for us around here Mike.”

“But, but….” The man on her shoulder kept trying to speak but seemed to lose track of a thought again. Only when they were in the Den he said. “S-she was bit, she might become…”

A cold hand gripped Kaylee’s chest. That’s right! Anyone bitten by those things just might… She suddenly turned toward the door and Michael nearly fell over with the movement. Absently she put him against the wall and stuck her head back into the bedroom.

Dead eyes met hers from the floor. The woman was starting to sit up, and as her filmed over eyes met Kaylee’s she tried to moan. Instead, only a wet gurgling sound came from her ruin of a throat. This didn’t seem to bother the walking corpse, as the once-protective wife shoved the body of her husband off her legs and started to try to get to her feet.

Kaylee couldn’t deal with another one. Not this soon, and not someone she saw alive not five minutes ago. Nearly leaping out of the doorway, she grabbed the semi-coherent Michael and dashed to a back door.

*    *      *

“This is ridiculous!” Lisa shouted in exasperation. She had driven the van very slowly around the turn. So slowly that a couple of times the creatures nearly caught the van in their grip. But she managed to draw them around and once on the side street parallel to the house she hit the gas and speeded back around. So fast, she nearly hydroplaned on the parallel intersection and had to slow a bit to return to the house her boyfriend was somewhere within.

What awaited her was that same group of zombies once again coming around the corner, backpedaling once again toward the house. In fact, they’d apparently even gained a convert as the small group was now four in number.

“What is this, the local zombie MENSA group?” Remembering her passengers, Lisa kept her language from becoming more colorful and instead decided on a change of plan. This time, they’d drive right past them while they were still at the corner and make the trip a complete circle. Or square. Or whatever. Then repeat the block but this time leading them further down the side street.

Fortunately, the two children seemed to enjoy the speeding up and slowing down of the van. They even squealed with delight at the hydroplaning, blissfully unaware of the danger they had been in. ‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends…’ Lisa thought sardonically as she gripped the steering wheel and aimed the van for the group.

*    *      *

Using her shoulder to open the back door Kaylee dragged the woozy Michael out the door and into the garage. Kaylee had hoped that the door led to the back yard, but no such luck. She did see another door at the far side of the garage, maybe that led outside? Would Lisa notice them in the backyard? ‘Probably not, and if I left her man while I ran to the front to flag down Lisa she’d probably run me over.’ Kaylee thought sourly.

Suddenly the garage was filled with the sound of car honking and alarms going off! Blinking, Kaylee was momentarily surprised. What happened? What would set off the car alarm? Then she remembered, the keys in her pocket. She must’ve hit some button or something while pushing through the backdoor. She dug the keys out of her jeans and quickly deactivated the alarm. “Waitaminute…” She said to herself. “This just might do the trick!”

Gathering up Michael she unlocked the SUV with the remote and pushed him into the passenger door. He stumbled in, unable (or unwilling) to put his gun down so she just locked him into the seatbelt across the thing. She slammed the door and moved around the back of the vehicle to hear a crash against the backdoor. It had swung shut, but now was vibrating in its frame as something hammered at the door. It wasn’t locked, so it would only be a few minutes before that cadaver figured out the doorknob!

Not stopping to investigate if there was any kind of door key on the ring, she fumbled at the car door to get in the driver’s side of the vehicle. Having seem way too many horror movies, she checked the back seat before getting in. Nothing!

As she sat in the seat she heard the deep hammering noise of something at the garage door. It was one of the thin aluminum types and she could see dents forming where fists were banging on the surface. “Great!” she shouted in fury. “What now?” her luck held out though as when she started the SUV the vehicle purred to life immediately. A quick glance at the fuel gauge showed three-quarters of a tank! Now grinning, she put the car into drive and slammed on the accelerator.

The zombie outside the garage had been a utilities employee in life. He’d been killed while checking meter readings in the yard of a delinquent customer. When he rose, he staggered out into the world and did his unthinking best to spread his disease of undeath. One of his victims was Mr. Al Bailey, the former owner of this house. However, he was unaware of this and wouldn’t have cared if he had known. All he knew was there was noise behind this metal wall. Noise meant food, so he hammered his decaying fists against the surface of the barrier. If he could have thought, he might’ve been concerned by the sound of a car engine starting within, and the screech of tires on concrete. But he couldn’t so he didn’t.

It was in this state of blissful ignorance that his unlife was put to an end by a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee rolling over the garage door, which was rolling over him in turn. Kaylee couldn’t hear the noise of the utility worker’s unlife coming to a crunching end, but if she had it would have only added to her whoop of glee as the SUV peeled out of the driveway and into the street.

The rain had almost stopped now, so Lisa could see the SUV barrel out of the garage of the house and speed up towards the van. Only when it was within 20 feet did the driver of the Jeep remember to turn their lights on. The Jeep moved to level the driver’s window with Lisa’s and with some relief she saw a grinning Kaylee at the wheel. Michael was next to her, apparently sliding his arms out of the seatbelt and putting them gingerly to his head.

“Oh my, are you two all right?” Lisa’s statement was to both of them, but Kaylee could see her eyes locked on Michael’s hunched form. “It’s ok,” she answered, “Mikey took a hit to the head but it’s not serious. Let’s go back to your house…I’ll follow.”

“But what about…” Lisa cut off her sentence as she saw Kaylee glance nervously at the back of the van where the two girls continued to chatter away at each other. The blonde looked back at Lisa and mutely shook her head no. Nodding, Lisa rolled up the window and led the way down the street. Back home? Where it was safe? Lisa found herself beginning to wonder if anyplace was safe anymore.

The End –

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Munchies: Day 3

***This story copyright 2012 Mike Stewart, All Rights Reserved***

A drizzle of rain spattered the windshield of the green sedan as it careened over the slick streets of Tyson city. Within, a brunette girl looked uncertainly out the window at the darkness. Did they hide shapes? Was it just her imagination?

She glanced back at the driver, a brown haired young man hunched over the wheel trying to gaze through the misty rain. He cursed under his breath and increased the speed of the wipers, only to turn them off again as the windshield streaked lines of moisture across the view, causing streetlights to reflect in glare in bands and spots of color.

"Why don't you turn the headlights on, Michael?" Lisa suggested tentatively.

"No, we can't," he replied irritably. "According to the police, we shouldn't even be out after dark. You heard the city ordinance, 'Everyone should stay at home until the situation is contained,'" he quoted with sarcasm. " Yeah, right! Easy to say if you've got months of food in the pantry."

"So we just break in a store?" the young woman replied testily. She wiped her hand across her eyes in exasperation. "That's REALLY going to go over well with the police."

"We're going to leave payment," Michael reasoned. "Anyway, we don't have a choice; especially after that firefight at Albertson's this afternoon. No way I'm going to risk that, even with my carbine."

The driver gestured to the small rifle lying in the seat between them. It was an old M1 carbine, of World War II vintage. Michael had told Lisa that it worked just fine, but she'd always disliked guns and even with the current troubles she hadn't changed her mind.

Suddenly, Michael stopped the car at the intersection of Fifth Street and Copeland. The engine idled, and only the spattering of raindrops could be heard in the night. The driver turned his hazel eyes upon his passenger, concern written across his face. "Do you want me to take you back? I can do this myself you know."

"Noooo." She drew out her reply into a deep sigh. "If you're going to do something stupid... again... I ought to be there too." A wry smile appeared on her lips. "After all, you always say you can't do anything without me."

He grinned in reply. "True, but I know you don't like this. It's just safer at night, without those crowds. Besides, Brookshire's is supposed to be open 24 hours right?"

"Yeah, and so is 7-11." She replied archly.

The driver winced and rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Look, Beth forgave me for cutting out on the store. Heck, she said if she'd been there with those sick people she'd have done the same thing! Plus..."

His excuses cut off as both of them noted shambling humanoid shapes staggering out of the darkness towards the car. Only two of them, but Michael decided it was time to get moving again.

*     *      *

As the sedan crossed the intersection Michael was able to take advantage of the streetlights at the corner to better navigate the roadway. Fortunately there was no other traffic so only the rain was a concern. Well, that and the two zombies behind them. Michael knew they were zombies, but the authorities refused to use the 'z' word. Lisa didn't like it either, so he kept calling them sick people. 'Yeah...' he thought to himself. 'Death is an illness. Sure.' He broke his reverie to concentrate on the drive. He slowed the car into a glide that coasted through a brief patch of darkness and turn right into the Brookshire's Grocery parking lot. The front of the building was lit up as usual, but only one vehicle was in the lot, an older conversion van parked with its nose facing away from the store and towards the street.

"Odd." Michael muttered as they closed on the lone vehicle. "You'd think there would be more cars in the lot than this? Even just counting employees, there should be a half dozen at a minimum."

Lisa glanced out the rear window and back again, her black hair tossing across her shoulders. "Michael, this is feeling worse and worse. There are two of those sickos back there at the intersection and I'm sure they saw us."

"Probably, but it will take them a while to get to the store." He shrugged and moved to park the sedan. "We'll just hop in, grab some stuff and we'll just cruise right out of..."

With a cough, the engine promptly died. Momentum carried the sedan to a near-perfect park in front of the store, silently rolling between the yellow lines and bumping softly into the concrete divider.

"Michael...." Lisa began, with a flash of her brown eyes and an edge of tension in her voice. "What was that?"

"Erm.... I don't know." He temporized uncertainly. "The fuel gauge was low, but it wasn't that low. Maybe if I pop the hood I can..."

"NO!" Lisa said with determination, shaking her head vigorously. "We're not going to stand out here in the rain while God knows what comes down the road at us!"

"Ok, ok," Michael replied in a brave attempt at sounding calm. "We'll just go into the store and see what we can find. Perhaps we can get whoever's running the place to call us a tow truck or something."

With that he grabbed his carbine and stepped out of the car, glancing around to make sure there were no threats in range. There were none, nor any people. Outside the car he could see that the glass doors of the store were broken in and some black fluid in a puddle just inside the grocery. With a sigh, he reversed his hold on his rifle and used the butt to clear more of the glass out of the doorway. Unfortunately, he hit the remaining glass too hard and his weapon jammed up against the frame. This sudden jolt caused the rifle to fire, fortunately into the air. Michael winced and looked guiltily around to see if the shot brought anyone or anything. Apparently not, or at least not yet.

Lisa closed her door and dashed up to the walkway to reach the dubious shelter of the storefront. She glanced at the crushed glass, apparently either unaware or ignoring Michael's accidental gunshot.

"Open 24 hours, eh?" She said, trying to look amused but her eyes were anxiously looking inside the front of the grocery. "I thought the interior lights were brighter than that?"

Michael shrugged and stepped inside, careful to avoid the noxious pool of, whatever it was. "Maybe they're starting to have power brownouts. Wouldn't surprise me after those riots in North Tyson."

The young woman quickly joined her companion, and once inside they could see that the lighting wasn't weak at all. The illumination was dim because the store was filling with smoke. No fires could be seen, but the smoke had the telltale odor of burning wood, paper and plastic to it; a miasma that set warning bells off in Michael's mind.

"Awwww, Come On!" Michael shouted in utter frustration. "Now a fire? Give us a break!"

The young man glanced outside the doors- which were still locked even though the glass was shattered out of the doorframe. So Lisa was the first of them to see a large shape moving quickly out of the smoke, directly for them.

"Michael!" She shouted, bringing her freshly sharpened practice rapier into an en garde position. At her shout, he turned around and aimed his rifle directly at the shadow barreling towards them.

Before he could fire or even shout out a warning, the sound of a large box hitting the floor echoed in the entryway, followed quickly by curses in a woman's voice. The duo tried to peer deeper into the gloom, and finally could make out a large box of groceries; mostly cereal, dry goods and cans spilled in front of them. Above this was a young blonde woman of about 20, her blue eyes streaming from the smoke but staring with confusion at them. They stood like that for several seconds, each too surprised to speak. With a glare at the two in her way, the unlikely shopper raised a baseball bat in a threatening manner, her eyes darting back and forth between the sword wielding Lisa and the rifle armed Michael.

"Get out of the way, damnit!" The woman said in a voice high pitched with stress and fear. "The building is on fire!"

"Nooo, really?" Michael said in an exaggerated manner. Lisa gave him a warning look, so he tried again. "Right, and I'll bet you were the arsonist?"

"NO I wasn't!" She said defensively, her words rushing over themselves to get out. "It was one of those things, I thought I got the one here at the door and I guess I did because he's still dead or re-dead or undead or whatever they're saying it is now but I was looking in the back for something better than was left on the shelves and there was another one and it jumped me but I'm not bit or anything 'cuz I jumped out of the way see and I hit him good but he fell into the breaker box and something sparked and he caught fire and then staggered around still trying to get me and he grabbed things and they caught on fire again and again until this started and..."

"Ok, Ok, OK!" Michael broke in to the avalanche of words, lowering his carbine in what he hoped was a reassuring manner. "I'm sure it's not your fault, but the police won't see it that way, not for any of us! Now, is that your van out there?"

Broken out of her stream of consciousness monologue, the blonde blinked as if coming out of a trance. "What? Um, yeah that's my van."

"Good!" Michael replied with some relief. Now if you don't mind maybe we could possibly siphon off some of your gas? Not much!" he hastily amended, as she seemed to be gathering her words for another verbal barrage. "Just a gallon or two to get us back to the house."

"House?" The unwilling arsonist said with concern. "Well, I don't' have a place to stay except that van, and I'm from Houston so I'm going to need every drop I've got to get back there."

"You could come to our place instead?" Lisa offered. "Just for a day or so, until we can get you more gas? That way, we can get back home and you have a place to stay for a bit...until all this blows over?"

"Yeah" Michael agreed. "Besides, from what I've heard on CNN you don't want to go towards Houston. Or Dallas, or any major city right now. The riots here in Tyson are nothing to what they've been suffering."

"Ummmm. Ok." Their new companion said with some relief. "Truth is, I was going back to Houston because I don't know anyone here. A safe place to crash would be great...<cough - cough! >"

"Cool. Now let's get outta this place before we go up with it!"

As Michael stepped outside to watch for trouble, Lisa helped the blonde girl with repacking the box and getting out of the smoky interior. "By the way, my name's Lisa and that's Michael. What's yours?"

"Kailee. Kailee Warner. Nice to meet you," she said with a weak smile, trying to be sociable but obviously feeling awkward.

Michael walked into the parking lot, glancing through the rain towards the intersection south of them. The rain seemed to be letting up, so the streetlights gave enough light to se four or five of the staggering monstrosities gathering into a group and coming their way.

He turned and jogged back to the girls, who were loading the box into the side of the van. "We've got company. Five or more of those folks. We need to move!"

As if on cue, a burst of flame came from the rear-side of the grocery store, a sharp contrast to the night and could probably be seen for a mile. Needing no further encouragement, Kailee dove through the van to the driver's seat. Lisa pulled open the door and slid into the passenger's side front. Michael stepped into the back interior of the van, with seats pushed to the rear to maximize room. There were two other boxes of foodstuffs in the vehicle; which made him feel a little better about the evening's events.

"Michael, this is Kailee. Now, what are we going to do about your car?" Lisa turned to face behind her as Kailee started the van and pulled it out towards the street.

"No big deal." Michael replied with irritation, giving his sedan a parting glare. "I didn't have anything of real use in it. Besides, if the cops ask questions I'll say it was stolen. Easy enough to explain considering how things have been going in the past 48 hours..Oof!"

The half-standing man lunged for a strap on one of the seats as Kailee made a hairpin turn into the street.

Which way are we going?" the blonde shouted, though there was little noise to shout over. Michael imagined it was still nerves; the stress of the past few hours catching up with her.

"Go south, then turn right; to the west. There's too many of those people in the street, so we'll take Copeland back instead. It's a bit roundabout, but if the cops show up maybe we don't want to head straight to your house Lisa."

Her only reply was a nod of silent agreement as the blonde continued her manic drive across the street, avoiding the intersection by hopping up on the curb. She turned right, lightly clipping one of those...zombies? As she dropped the van back onto the street and floored the accelerator, careening at high speed into the darkening night.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Graveyard Shift: Day 1

This story copyright 2012 M. Stewart, All Rights Reserved

     Picture the scene, a typical 7-11 convenience store late at night. The ceiling lights illuminated a shuffling figure staggering out of the back room with a harsh, disturbing glow. Dragging his feet, the hunched figure nearly fell as it grazed the edge of the coffee station, but kept on its single-minded course…towards food. Closer and closer the shambling form came, until it found the sustenance he so craved. With a moan, he lunged toward his desire and sank his teeth deeply into the flesh, savoring the feast.

     “Bzzzzz!” The electric buzzer at the doorway was loud in the nearly empty store, causing the clerk to stop munching his microwaved hot pocket. He looked around the counter, hunting guiltily for a napkin while desperately trying to swallow his greedy bite down his throat. The store clerk was young, in his early 20s with hazel eyes and brownish-blonde hair. Short for his age, he was about five foot eight but squarely built. His face was unremarkable, but carried a friendly look and easy smile, which tended to put people at ease. Which certainly helped him at his current job, though the graveyard shift didn’t often get many customers; especially at a store with no gas pumps and located on an off street from the Tyson City loop.

     Finally finding a paper towel, he quickly made himself presentable and prepared to give the proper, corporate-approved greeting to the quartet entering the store. Which was ‘Hello, welcome to Seven-Eleven! Can I help you’ Though thanks to the excessively large bite he’d taken from his 2am meal it came out more like “Who, Welyum to Sehvn-Leven, Cahn I hlpe youh?”

     Still, Michael did his best to give the correct greeting and keep a smile. A district manager had fired one of his co-workers after a spot-inspection where he came in as a customer and didn’t get the “right” treatment. ‘The last thing I need right now is to be unemployed.’ Michael reflected with depressing thoughts of a late rent check on his mind.

     But to his shock they didn’t ask where the beer was, or the cigarettes, or even a Slurpee. Instead, of the two men and women that rushed into the store the older man glared with hostility toward Michael “Is that your car out there?” he nearly shouted before any further pleasantries from the 7-11 employee manual could be voiced.

     “Er…. um, yeah.” The clerk replied, clearly at a loss. Of course it was his car, there weren’t any others in the parking lot. Did he think I walked to work or something? His train of thought was derailed by the next demand. “Give me your keys, NOW!” he shrieked at Michael, knocking the cigarette display case off the counter with a fist.

     “What?” Michael blinked. This was nuts! He looked at the other 3 people, two women and one guy. The last was holding a towel over his arm, and the obvious red flow of blood was soaking the cloth. Michael turned back to the shouting man, trying his best to sound calm and reasonable.

     “Look, guy… I can see that your friend is hurt. It’s obviously an emergency, but why don’t you call St. Mary’s Hospital for an ambulance? It’s just down the road, and the phone is right here.” He gestured with one arm at the telephone on the counter. With his other hand, the clerk was quietly reaching below the counter for anything he could use as a weapon. His hand fell upon a bottle of Strawberry Hill some teenagers were trying to buy earlier in the evening. ‘Not great,’ he thought, ‘… but it’s better than nothing.'

     As Michael expected, the angry guy didn’t want to hear reason and with a snarl he lunged across the counter shouting, “My bud’s hurt and we’re getting away from those sickos…NOW!” He snatched up a handful of the clerk’s shirt, but this simply gave Michael the opportunity to swing around with the wine bottle and crash it over the side of his attacker’s head.

     At this point, three things happened. First, Michael noticed that the bottle didn’t shatter like in the movies, but instead simply broke a section away and covered both of them in cheap booze. The second thing was that the target of said bottle didn’t fall unconscious (again as in the movies) but instead screamed in pain and released Michael to concentrate on holding his own head; where blood oozed between his fingers. Third, the end result of the action left the 7-11 employee holding two-thirds of a broken bottle, which bore a nasty point and edge along with a spattering of blood on the rough blade. All this combined to cause the two girls to scream and proceed to drag their wounded boyfriends out the door and into the night.

     “Wow…” Michael said out loud in a voice quiet with bemusement. “You don’t see that happening every day do you?” His pride at being able to so easily deter a carjacking faded quickly as he realized the register and the front counter (and floor) was now covered with $4.75 wine and a bit of human blood. Not to mention his own work shirt, which was soaked and rather fragrant. With a sigh, he started to move to the back room to get the cleaning supplies. There might even be a spare work shirt in there since that anal manager fired Billy, come to think of it. After a couple of steps, he stopped and instead turned around and moved to the phone. He’d better call this attack in to the police. Not a 911 call, but if he didn’t report it at all, and his manager found out…he’d be dead for sure!

*          *            *

     With a grunt the lone occupant of the store lifted the mop bucket to the steel utility sink and began emptying the water. He glanced back through the doorway to the now sparkling register area. ‘Well, at least Miller should be pleased things are looking so clean…though with my luck those weirdoes will show back up and try again.’ Michael had dutifully called in the incident to the police and dictated a report over the phone, but the dispatcher seemed distracted and inattentive. That sort of spaced-out ‘you-think-I’m-writing-this-down-and-I-should-be-but-I’m-not’ tone to her voice, which was frankly irritating. If she doesn’t care enough to write it down, why make him go through all the details in the first place? ‘This must be why most beer runs and gas runs aren’t reported to the cops, regardless of store policy’ he grumbled to himself.

     As if reading his mind, the flashing red lights of a police car entered his field of vision and illuminated the parking area. The lights created red bands of color through the front glass panes of the display window; a rather disturbing effect. “Well, well...” Michael said to himself. “Looks like maybe that bimbo took down my details after all.” But no, why would they be coming in with lights flashing? The incident was now over an hour old, and he hadn’t seen the carjackers since. Not only that, the car parked at an angle, with the cruiser’s nose pointing toward the main intersection of Loop 232 and Biloxi Road; pointing nearly the opposite direction of the storefront. ‘What the hell…?’ the confused clerk thought as he abandoned the mop and bucket to wander toward the front doors. It looked like something far more interesting than losers trying to steal a car and getting cheap wine in the head was afoot.

     By the time he made it to the doors, Michael could see that both the police officers were out of their vehicle, one facing the intersection and the other leaning against the hood of the car…with his pistol drawn? Beyond them, he could see what looked like two figures staggering slowly across the intersection, the street lights defining their outlines but little else. Michael could hear the policeman nearer to the figures shouting something to them but the words were muffled through the glass doors. It was obvious however that he too had his pistol out and was in a traditional Weaver firing stance. “This is just getting weirder and weirder!” the clerk said to himself with some bemusement.

     Then things went horribly wrong. The two forms in the intersection seemed to speed up to a lumbering jog as they came at the cops. Both began to fire on them but the advancing attackers seemed to ignore the shots. With a snarl he could hear even in the store, Michael was shocked to see them tackle the first police officer behind the cruiser. He couldn’t see what was going on, but the other cop began to run around the front of the car to assist his partner. Before the officer could reach his comrade, Michael saw out of the corner of his eye another lumbering form come out of the next-door Dairy King parking lot and fall upon the distracted officer. While the first cop and his two attackers were still out of sight of the 7-11’s front door, Michael could see all too clearly that the policeman’s attacker was clawing and biting the trooper, and blood was spurting on the asphalt!

     That broke Michael from his paralysis. With a shout of outrage, he ran back to the register to find the small baseball bat they normally kept for robberies and beer runs. He’d come across it earlier in the back while getting the mop and bucket and decided to put it back under the register. The Manager tried to discourage the clerks from keeping it around, worried more about potential lawsuits to 7-11 instead of little things like his employees being stabbed or shot, but this night was too weird for Michael to worry about that crap. He leaned over and quickly snatched up the bat, turned and ran through the doors onto the front walk.

     And stopped in his tracks. To his horror, he could now see clearly that the attacker from the DK was tearing the policeman apart. Blood was everywhere and intestines were spilled onto the gray asphalt, they’re red and pink a nauseating contrast of color to the parkway. Michael clamped his teeth together and tried to slow his breathing. ‘I won’t be helping anyone if I hurl right now.’ He thought to himself while slowly gaining control of his gorge. So intent was he on this that only now he saw several people running across the loop towards the police car. As they entered the streetlights they were revealed as frantic people from the nearby bar across the way, one of who looked injured and the others were waving and apparently trying to get someone’s attention. Michael figured they saw the flashing lights of the police cruiser and probably thought help was at hand. Only when they crossed the road did they realize that the police were in no shape to help them and they turned and scattered; with most running towards the EDCO grocery store down the street. Their reactions would be funny to Michael if this evening wasn’t so terrifying.

     That paralyzing feeling of terror only grew in Michael as he saw that the blood-covered maniac on this side of the cruiser seemed to tire of the dead cop lying in pieces below him. Still chewing on a strip of tendon, the figure started to get to its feet, looking at Michael with the blank look of a drug addict, a crazy person,….a zombie?

     “Screw this!” Michael said and made a managerial decision. 7-11 insisted that since the clerks were on shift alone that each one must be willing to make decisions to protect the store and the company. So Michael made a decision, but not one that Southland Corporation would probably approve of. He leaped into his own car (fortunately parked next to the front door) and revved the engine. The zombie-like murderer started staggering forward, trying to grab hold of the car’s rear bumper. The now-frantic man slammed the car into reverse, hit the accelerator, and drove over the creature behind the vehicle. With the screech of tires, the sedan barreled out of the parking lot and onto the road. He raced away from the killers down Biloxi Avenue, heading south towards his apartment. He needed to get back home, wake up his girlfriend Lisa, and they could both head out of town to her folks’ place in the ’burbs. ‘Yeah, that’s the ticket,’ his thoughts raced with the accelerating car. When wiped the fear-sweat distractedly from his forehead. ‘Get out of town, get safe… Find a secure place until all this blows over…’

The End…for now?

* * *

Those interested in reading the All Things Zombie battle report for the above story can find it at:

Zombie Chow