A collection of horror, mystery, and science fiction tales, with contributions from fellow writers, James Darko and Dexter Lynch. If you wish to contribute, I'd be happy to showcase your writing. Just send me a message. The stories are free to read and always will be. Some are better than others (I'm speaking only for myself), but I can't give all my best ideas away for free, ha ha. Feel free to share any stories, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
IN THE FLESH: PART FIVE
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
FOR A CURE
A proper burial was arranged for Devin Morris in Arnold
Vesti’s yard. Damien was the one who put a bullet in Devin’s head after he was
already dead. They had to make sure he didn’t come back as one of those things.
As for who really killed Devin, that was a mystery waiting to be solved.
“Squeak” Sudrow, Trevor Virden, Carson Ryder, and Damien Albright took turns
digging the hole. The group didn’t want to spare the extra blanket, but Kenny
insisted it was appropriate to wrap the body in something to make up for the
lack of a casket. Once Devin’s body was shrouded by a blue quilt, Kenny, Tyler,
Carson, and Damien gently lowered him into the ground.
Kenny acted as the priest and said a few words over
Devin’s grave. Then a prolonged moment of silence followed to acknowledge the
loss of Devin and Arnold Vesti. Kenny started shoveling the dirt in, but he was
clearly distraught and Carson saw this and selflessly volunteered to take over
Trevor had a tear forming in the corner of his eye and
wiped it away before anyone could spot it. He didn’t want to appear weak in the
eyes of his comrades.
When Devin was finally buried, accusation ran wild.
Chuckie Razzano was briefly accused by Trevor, but the group agreed Razzano was
too self-involved and more concerned with his Rolex, dead cellular phone, and
hair gel. In the end, it was Regis Whitfield, Janice’s abusive husband, who
fell under suspicion.
“You think I killed him?” Regis asked. His voice was
quivering a bit. He was actually stricken by the accusation. He was hurt that
the group honestly believed he was capable of murder.
“I think if you’re capable of slapping your pregnant wife
around, you’re capable of anything else that floats through that sick, twisted
mind of yours,” Damien said.
“The truth is,” Carson added, “None of us feel safe with
you around. We took a vote and we decided you’re out.”
“You see, democracy does work sometimes,” Tyler quipped.
“So that’s it?” Regis asked, hopelessness in his voice.
“You’re just gonna send me out there unarmed with no supplies? You’re just
gonna feed me to the lions?”
“They’re not lions, they’re zombies,” Chuckie corrected
him. He was still fiddling with his mobile phone, popping the battery and SIM
card in and out in a forlorn attempt to get the thing working again. Even if he
got the battery functioning for five or ten minutes, just long enough to play
one app on his phone, he’d be satisfied.
“And we’re not sending you out there empty-handed,” Kenny
said. “We’re not animals. Damien is going to give you a spare pistol and few
extra rounds of ammo. There’s a bag I packed for you with food and supplies.
That should hold you over until you find a new place to hang your hat.”
“Would somebody please help me here,” Regis begged.
“You,” he pointed to Chase Crawford. “Say something, for Christ’s sake.”
“Don’t you dare take the Lord’s name in vain,” Chase
chastised him. He was the only member of the group who didn’t have much to say
about this latest development. He didn’t know Devin Morris the way Tyler and
Kenny did. And he didn’t know the Whitfield’s, he only knew of them after they
wound up the shelter together. So Chase sat on his cot, still rubbing his
crucifix between his thumb and forefinger as if it was his good luck charm. His
secret weapon to ward off the evil presence that encompassed him.
Regis ascended the ladder of the bomb shelter and took the walk of shame,
Janice Whitfield couldn’t help but shed a tear. He was a savage brute, but he was
still her husband, the father of her unborn child.
better off without him,” Carson tried to console her. “You have all of us to
look after you. I can promise no one will ever hurt you again.”
can’t make promises like that,” she said. “Not in this world.”
* * *
Twenty-Five, all power and electricity had been lost. With no lights, no power,
no method of communication with the outside world, we had been plunged back
into the dark ages of civilization. We were back to the days of utilizing smoke
signals to convey messages.
group relied on candles and flashlights to see and navigate their way around
the shelter. But they could see it was time to move on. The shelter had kept
them warm, dry, and safe for more than two weeks. But all them cramped in there
wasn’t going to work forever. Winter was rapidly approaching and they had to
move forward and find a new means of shelter if they were going to survive.
still had the keys to Arnold Vesti’s van. And they had collected more than
enough gasoline and supplies to carry them wherever they needed to travel. The
van was parked in Arnold’s garage, and he assured them it would hold up to
eight passengers, and all the supplies they could drag along with them.
Regis out of the picture, that left seven of them: Carson Ryder, Damien
Albright, Kenny “Squeak” Sudrow, Tyler Virden, Chuckie Razzano, Chase Crawford,
and Janice Whitfield.
figured they could pass through Dorchester and visit his old house, see if they
could find more answers to his forgotten past.
the van was loaded, they piled in and Kenny volunteered to take the first shift
behind the wheel.
Squeak,” Trevor laughed as he climbed into the shotgun seat and buckled his
it up now because you’ve got the next shift,” Kenny informed him.
drove down the road and made a left onto Cherrywood Avenue. They passed the
McDonald’s where a new horde of Biters had gathered, their rotting faces
pressed against the windows.
didn’t bother to stop. No sense in wasting
ammunition, he thought. He just kept driving until he reached the corner of
Jerusalem and made a sharp right.
cruised past the mall, where a huge sign that was strung from the roof read
HELP, SURVIVORS INSIDE.
pulled into the virtually vacant lot. Only a few abandoned automobiles
remained. He drove around to the loading dock, as he figured the front doors
would be problematic. They busted the padlock of the loading door with a
crowbar and Carson removed the chain. He rolled the door up and they entered cautiously.
Crawford had opted to stay behind in the van. They didn’t see the harm as Kenny
had pocketed the keys when they exited the vehicle.
made their way up from the basement and did a full sweep of the first floor.
Chuckie Razzano made a detour to a shoe kiosk to treat himself to a free pair
of Nikes. Carson instinctually snatched a pack of cigarettes from a stationary
store kiosk. He did it without even thinking twice.
didn’t have any smokes on him when Damien found him. And he hadn’t craved a
smoke the entire time he spent in the bomb shelter. But something about that
red and white Marlboro pack just grabbed his eye.
Am I a smoker? Carson
wondered. I guess I’ll find out if I
smoke one of these and don’t hurl.
pocketed the cigarettes and they moved up to the mezzanine level. They found
the abandoned popcorn machine. A pitiful handful of kernels remained at the
young girl popped out from a cellular phone kiosk and raised her hands when she
saw the guns. They lowered their firearms to show her they meant no harm.
all right, we’re here to help,” Kenny assured her. “What’s your name?”
Burton,” the girl said, lowering her arms and breathing a sigh of relief.
there others?” Trevor asked.
in the food court.”
the way,” Carson said with a tone that made it sound more like a polite request
than an angry demand. She led them up another floor to the food court, where
the other survivors awaited.
Pickman, Brent Blaze, Eli Burton, and Darren Mays.
had discarded his uniform and was sporting new clothes he snagged at Marcy’s
Department Store, but he still had his badge pinned to his shirt to indicate he
was a man of the law.
and order. These were the things Brent had refused to give up on. Brent knew a
world without some form of law and order, without some kinds of rules and
boundaries, was not a world at all. That would be anarchy, pure and simple. And
anarchy was one thing Brent wouldn’t tolerate. Not while he still had a breath
in his body. But Brent hadn’t seen the outside world in almost twenty-five
days. He had no clue how bad it really was.
Pickman was an older man who practically had the words egg-head stamped across
his face. His grey hair was combed over to conceal his bald spot. A livid scar
was visible below his right eye. It was a scar he seemed wear as a badge of
pride, much like Brent wore his badge.
had the look of a problem child. Dressed from head to toe in black, metal
studded bracelets wrapped around both wrists, a studded belt looped around his
waist. But he didn’t say boo. He just smiled and nodded politely.
Carson didn’t know why, but Darren Mays looked painfully familiar.
* * *
The backdoors of the van swung open and Janice gasped at
the sight of her husband and the pistol Damien had parted with.
“Hi, honey, miss me?” Regis asked.
“I-I don’t, what, I mean how did you, how did you get
here?” Janice was stunned, terrified. And Crawford was no help, he just sat
aghast, both hands pressed against his sides.
“That night that grumpy old bastard Vesti kicked the
bucket, I heard them talking about the old man’s van. So I snuck into his house
one night through the basement window, strapped myself to the bottom of the van
right before you guys took off. I was gonna wait until we got a little further
down the road before I made my presence known. But I figure now is just as good
“The group will be back any minute,” Janice blurted out.
It was all she could think to say.
“I don’t think so,” Regis shook his head. “They left the
loading door open. A whole friggin’ horde of zombies just wandered right in.
Your new friends are about to become the main course.”
Regis raised the gun and Janice gasped again. “Regis…look
“I don’t think so sweetheart,” Regis chuckled. An
obnoxious grin had spread across his face. He was reveling in the look of
terror etched across his wife’s face. “I’m not falling for that one.”
“Regis, you need to turn around right now.”
A lone Biter crept up slowly, its hand stretched out in
front, eyes set on Regis. He cocked his head to the side and peered over his
shoulder. He turned briskly and fired a single shot into the Biter’s chest.
It recoiled violently like a rattlesnake and lunged
forward as the aforementioned reptile would. A second shot was missed and gun
clanged on the ground as the Biter’s mangled teeth drilled into his neck. The
zombie dug in and pulled away, the skin of Regis’ neck peeling back like a
strip of torn wallpaper.
crashed to the ground with a heavy thud and Janice snapped the backdoors of the
van shut and prayed the group would return safe and sound. Chase prayed with
her, albeit silently.
* * *
Carson, Damien, Kenny, and Trevor held a brief private
meeting to discuss what to do with the new survivors. They didn’t bother to
include Chuckie in the discussion. He was too wrapped up in his spanking new
Nike Airs and fitted baseball cap. He had even snagged an extra bottle of hair
gel he found left over in one of the cosmetic kiosks.
“They’re not our problem,” Damien was adamant. “We have
our own people to look out for.”
“I know how you feel about family,” Kenny said. “But put
your personal feelings aside for a moment. These are living people. They’re not
infected. They didn’t do anything to deserve this anymore than we did.”
“May I remind you we have a van that fits eight people
and we already have seven?”
“He raises a valid point,” Trevor said, hating to side
with Damien. But he knew the man was right.
“I saw a few cars on our way in. I know how to hotwire
vehicles. We can get them a ride of their own and have them follow us out of
“That’s your plan?” Trevor asked.
“It’s better than just saying fuck ’em and leaving them
to die here.”
Kenny informed the new members of the group of his plan
and they descended the stairs to the first floor. There, they were greeted by a
mob of Biters. They staggered forward, none of them straying from the pack.
They all seemed to move in unison towards their main objective.
Trevor lost count at fifty, but he figured there had to
be more than two hundred of them.
“Is there another way out?” Damien asked.
“The front doors are boarded and barricaded. It’ll take
us forever to get them opened,” Brent told him.
“No side doors or emergency exits?”
“They’re all sealed shut.”
“We don’t have enough ammo to take them all out,” Carson
stated the obvious.
The Biters crept closer and closer, their mouths gaping,
blood stained teeth protruding from their black rotted gums. Ally Burton was
clutching at her brother’s arm and she couldn’t stop the tears from flowing.
Carson removed the cellophane from the cigarette pack and
plucked one Marlboro between his lips. He used a pack of matches to light it
and offered one to Damien, who accepted and used Carson’s cigarette to light
“I never got to go to Comic-Con,” Trevor sighed.
“I never got to fuck Kathleen Tighe,” Kenny confessed
“I never got to see Paris,” Damien quipped. Even in the
face of imminent death, he had to be an ass.
“Get back!” a loud, booming voice commanded. And
suddenly, a wave of orange flames hit the mob of Biters and they parted like
the Red Sea.
A tall, lean black man stood at the entrance to the
basement, a flamethrower strapped to his back.
“Are you coming or not?” he asked.
Their backs and chests aflame, the Biters stumbled around
with no method of extinguishing the flames. Their erratic movements only served
to help the fire spread through the mall, as several kiosks quickly caught
The group moved as fast as they could past the horde of
burning zombies. They bolted to the basement and made their way through the
loading door and found Regis’s body sprawled out past the dock.
“What happened?” Carson asked when he opened the
backdoors of the van.
“Son of a bitch strapped himself under the van to follow
us here. He was going to kill me, probably Chase too when one of those things
“I’m sorry,” Carson said.
“Don’t be,” she muttered. “Piece of shit got what he
deserved.” Carson was happy to hear her finally talking sense.
Beyond the van, Kenny saw the box truck. Yours?” he asked
the man who just saved their collective asses.
“That’s me,” the man with the flamethrower nodded. Brent
Blaze shot him a horrid look of contempt.
“I’m Kenny Sudrow. People call me Squeak sometimes.”
“You know that guy?” Kenny asked in regards to Brent.
I know him, but I don’t know his name. You white people all look alike to me.”
Vern chuckled to indicate he was joking and Kenny chuckled along with him.
guys,” Brent shouted out. “This man has something you all need to hear.”
stepped aside and opened the floor for Willard Pickman. Pickman cleared his
throat and ironed out his ruffled shirt with his hands. Kenny imagined him
approaching a podium and bit his upper lip to stop himself from laughing.
name is Willard Pickman. I’m a scientist. Until recently, I was employed by the
Center for Diseases Control. The C.D.C. was the ones who engineered this virus
on the orders of the Secretary of Defense. It’s my belief that the S.O.D.
intended to use this virus as a weapon in combat. It’s also my belief that the
release of this virus was not accidental. It was quite deliberate.”
the good news?” Damien asked bitterly.
good news is there’s still hope. In addition to engineering the virus, the
C.D.C. also manufactured a cure. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s
in an underground base in Texas.”
Chuckie Razzano groaned.
Chance, Texas to be precise.”
heard of it,” Damien said.
has. It’s not listed on any maps. It’s a ghost town. But if there’s any hope of
humanities survival, it’s in that underground base.”
anybody know the quickest way to Texas?” Trevor asked rhetorically.
decided that Ally and Eli Burton, Willard Pickman, and Darren Mays would travel
with Vern Sheldon. Brent asked if he could tag along in the van and Kenny
But, before they could head out, Darren Mays–a 6’3,
three-hundred-and-fifty pound former linebacker–charged at Carson Ryder with a
knife hidden in his boots.
Damien was faster though and drew his pistol, firing a
single bullet in Darren’s gut. He wasn’t going to kill him before they got
“What was that about, you little punk?” Carson asked. “What
did I ever do to you?”
“You…” Darren coughed up blood. The bullet had struck one
of his organs and he was bleeding internally. “You arrested me,” he said right
before he died.