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.
Friday, June 27, 2014
IN THE FLESH: PART SIX
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
Carson Ryder: Former
Marine/Has retrograde amnesia/Searching for clues to his past
Damien Albright: Found and
saved Carson/Has no family/Doesn’t seem to care about anything
Kenny Sudrow: Former spa
porter/Happy to be doing something else
Trevor Virden: Former comic
book store owner/His knowledge of useless facts is limitless
Janice Whitfield: Four months
pregnant/Wife of Regis Whitfield
Chuckie Razzano: His only
concern is his Rolex and his hair gel
Chase Crawford: Religious
zealot/Loner/Keeps to himself
Scientist/Worked for the C.D.C./Knows of a cure
Brent Blaze: Mall
survivor/Former police officer
Ally Burton: Mall
survivor/Sister of Eli Burton
Eli Burton: Mall
survivor/Brother of Ally Burton
Vern Sheldon: New ally/Drives
a box truck/Carries a badass flamethrower
Arnold Vesti: Biters got him
Regis Whitfield: Biters got
Devin Morris: Strangled in his
Darren Mays: Shot by Damien
Albright/Claimed that Carson arrested him at one point
Dorchester is about a two hour drive from Cherrywood. It took five days to get
past the roads that were jammed up with abandoned automobiles, not to mention
all the encounters with the Biters that surely slowed them down. Some of the
sectors were virtually impassable, forcing the coalition of survivors to seek
were running on fumes by the time they finally touched base in Dorchester. And
by fumes, I don’t mean gasoline. They had expended so much energy just
traveling a hundred and ten miles. The concept of escaping New York itself
seemed impossible at this rate. They’d all be dead before they reached Jersey.
Ryder scanned his ID, the only remaining clue to his past, and took the wheel
of the van from Trevor Virden. He didn’t know where Newtown Lane was, but he
was hoping his instincts would kick in and guide him to the property, much like
his instincts seemed to take over when he operated a firearm.
couldn’t help but think of Darren Mays’ final words. “You arrested me.” What had he meant by that? Did I used to be
a cop? Did I work for the FBI or the DEA, the ATF? Was I a military police
officer? Who the fuck am I?
he reached the end of Dorchester Avenue, he had two options. If he went left,
he’d be going down Fulton Street. If he made a right, he’d be driving through
Canon Street. Something awoke in his brain, his mind lighting up like a
Christmas tree and ordering him to go right, so he listened and turned the van
onto Canon Street. Four blocks down, they had found Newtown Lane.
Ryder tapped the brakes gently and as the van came to a
halt, Vern Sheldon pulled up behind him in his box truck. 816 Newtown Lane.
That’s where they stopped.
A two-story snout house with a protruding garage that
nearly grazed the sidewalk. Ryder studied the diamond windows. All the ones on
the first floor had been smashed.
He studied the green color of the house, and the tall elm
tree beside it. The tree, the garage, the diamond windows; none of it jogged
“Are you…are you going in?” Kenny Sudrow asked.
“I guess I have to,” Ryder said. “It’s the only way to
know if this is my place for sure.”
“You’re not going alone,” Damien Albright told him,
checking the magazine of his pistol. It still held eight rounds and they had
plenty of ammunition to spare. Still, they tried to remain conservative. So
when Damien tucked the pistol into the waistband of his jeans, he made sure he
was carrying his Bowie knife, too.
Carson took a pistol and a fire axe they had acquired at
the mall. They both exited the van and Carson instructed them to keep the doors
locked until they got back.
“Need some backup?” Brent Blaze had asked. “I can cover
you. I used to be a police officer. And I’ve still got my gun.”
“We’ll be fine,” Damien dismissed him as they walked from
The wooden steps leading up to the porch were dilapidated
and the first step caved as soon as Carson placed his boot over it. They
climbed over the decaying steps and reached solid ground atop the porch.
They didn’t need to knock. The door had been kicked to
splinters some time ago.
* * *
In the van, Chase Crawford had removed the crucifix from
his neck and was grasping it loosely between two fingers, letting it dangle
back and forth as if he was trying to hypnotize a pregnant Janice Whitfield.
Janice stared at the crucifix intently, not because she
was actually being hypnotized or put into a trance. She stared because it was a
symbol of hope. If there was a God, He had guided Janice and her unborn child
this far. She was hopeful He would guide her through to the end.
But Chase didn’t see it that way. Chase saw this plague
as the wrath of the Almighty himself. He believed he was being condemned for
the sins of others.
“Doomed,” Chase muttered. “We’re all doomed.”
“Please don’t start in again,” Kenny said from the front
of the van.
“What do you care?” Chase asked. “What do any of you
care? You’re the ones that brought the wrath of God down upon us. We’ve all
been struck by the vengeful hand of the Lord. And let me tell you something,
when the Lord strikes you, the sting doesn’t go away.”
“So, what you’re saying is we’re all marked for death?”
“Please don’t engage him,” Trevor shouted from the front.
“He’ll drone on and on forever. He’s a fucking broken record.”
“I’m more interested in hearing the story about you and
that black dude in the box truck,” Kenny said to Blaze, leaning over his seat,
eyes toward the back of the van. He was really showing his mental age by using
the word dude.
“There’s not much to tell,” Blaze said, clearing his
throat. He was parched, but he knew they couldn’t be careless with the water
supply. “He was a truck driver and a smalltime dealer. Marijuana. I busted him
years ago. DUI. A week later, the tires of my Mustang were slashed. I never
could prove it was him, but I know it was.”
“We’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and you’re
harboring a grudge over your car tires?” Trevor asked, but it wasn’t really a
question. More of a rhetorical statement. “Let it go. He saved our asses. And
that flamethrower makes him an even better ally.”
“Just be careful he doesn’t use that flamethrower on
you,” Brent said. Trevor didn’t follow up and that statement hung in the air,
making Kenny really wonder. He wondered in a world like this, with no laws, no
rules, was there anyone you could really trust?
* * *
In the house, Carson and Damien did a full sweep of the
first floor. The place looked as if it had been looted. There was a television
unit, but no TV. A wide groove in the carpet where a couch or sofa used to sit.
Spots on the wall where picture frames might’ve hung.
A lone Biter had wandered through the open backdoor and
Carson saw that it didn’t make it past the kitchen as he buried the axe so deep
on its skull, it stuck. He wiggled the axe free and they ascended the stairs to
the second floor.
More signs of destruction, as the rooms had been
ransacked and vandalized. Damien found a picture frame lying face down on the
floor of what he assumed was the master bedroom. It was the biggest room in the
He picked the frame up and flipped it over. The glass was
cracked and the picture had a slight tear in the upper right-hand corner, but
Damien could clearly make out one of the three people in the photo. It was
Carson standing next to a red haired woman with fair skin. Beside the woman was
a little girl with pigtails, no older than nine or ten.
“Carson,” Damien summoned him from the hallway. “You
better take a look at this.”
Carson stepped in from the hall and took the frame from
Damien’s hands. In the photo, he was wearing a blue uniform and a blue cloth
police hat. An NYPD badge was pinned to the front of his uniform. “Is that your
old lady and your daughter?”
“I…I can’t remember,” Carson said. He undid the back and
slid the picture from the frame, folding it and placing it in his back pocket.
He surveyed the rest of the bedroom. There was a metal bedframe with no
only thing that remained besides the bedframe was an oak dresser. Ryder
checked, but every drawer was barren. “I guess this answers one question,”
Carson said as they exited the room. “I did used to be a cop, just like Blaze.”
and a marine. Man, you’re full of surprises.”
this doesn’t explain everything. If I had a wife and daughter, where are they
don’t know, buddy. But if they’re out there, and they’re alive, there’s a good
chance we’ll find him.” When Ryder heard that, he thought of what Janice had
told him when he promised the group would protect her. She said, “You can’t
make promises like that. Not in this world.”
Damien said as they descended the staircase. “I saw a door beside the kitchen.
It was locked, but I’m willing to bet it leads to a basement or a cellar. Maybe
there’s something down there. It couldn’t hurt to check it out. We came all
led the way and motioned with Carson to take care of the door. With one swing
of the axe, the brass knob snapped off, and Damien nudged the door forward. It
was dark, but Carson saw the glow of a flashlight as it beamed across a brick
think we’ve got company,” he alerted Damien.
Damien muttered, yanking his pistol from his waistband. He cocked back the
hammer with his thumb and told Ryder to do the same.
don’t kill the living,” Ryder told him. “We should make that a rule. No more blood
has to be shed.”
only have to kill the ones willing to kill us first. Now take out your gun and
be ready for anything.”
* * *
The box truck had a mesh partition that allowed Vern
Sheldon to communicate with his passengers. Willard Pickman and Ally and Eli
Burton were seated on crates of supplies Vern had attained in his travels.
His trusty flamethrower he always kept in the cab, along
with the .357 Magnum he had stored in the glove box.
there really a miracle waiting in some underground lab or are you just blowing
smoke up our ass?” Vern felt compelled to ask Pickman.
assure you the antivirus is as tangible as the virus itself. The C.D.C. always
had a backup plan. I just can’t understand why that plan hasn’t been put into
effect. The only assumption I could make is that everyone else who knows about
it must be dead already.”
the president, the vice president, they’re all dead?” "It's very likely." "And the president, he was behind all this?"
never said this virus was commissioned by the president. The secretary of
defense was the one who approached us, and if I had to guess, he approached on
his own volition. As far as I know, the president and vice president were in
the dark on this one. I think the S.O.D. planned to use this in a time of warfare.
Maybe it was intended as a weapon, maybe to use against our enemies. But I
don’t think he anticipated an outbreak of this magnitude.”
make it to Texas and this cure does exist, I owe you a beer.”
owe me more than that.”
your story?” Vern asked, directed towards Eli and Ally.
much to tell,” Ally did the talking. “Our dad was a very wealthy man and when
he died, he left us both a large sum of money. Not much good that does us now.”
* * *
Ryder and Albright found the missing mattress in the
basement, along with the sheets, duvet, and pillows. The couch, the kitchen utensils,
even the television had been transported to the basement by two male squatters,
both in their teens. They claimed to have moved in after the sixth day, when
the house had already been abandoned. They made no mention of a red haired
woman and a little girl with pigtails.
squatters were armed. Albright spotted a large machete propped against the wall
and several firearms that lay beside the mattress. And they both had guns
tucked into their waistbands, visible underneath their stained shirts.
how’d you get here?” one of the squatters asked when they were done with their
line of inquiry. “You got a car or a truck?”
the other squatter said. “And supplies? We’ve been living on jars of
preservatives and cans of beets. I swear if I eat another beet, I’ll puke.”
got a van,” Damien said. “But I’m afraid there’s no room, guys.”
Carson said. “Vern could fit two more in the box truck.”
way,” Damien said.
your friend said there’s room, so what’s the problem?”
problem is I don’t trust you,” Damien said frankly.
I can be very persuasive,” the first squatter said, reaching slowly under his
shirt. Damien saw what he was going for and put a stop to that with his pistol.
He didn’t kill him. He just blasted a gaping hole through his hand.
first squatter fell to the floor, writhing, squealing in pain. The second
squatter reached fast for his gun, but Carson was a shade faster and raised his
pistol, firing one deafening shot through his temple.
said no killing the living,” Damien reminded him.
you said only if they don’t try to kill us first.” Carson looked at the
squatter writhing on the floor. “Put him out of his misery. Don’t forget to aim
for the head so he doesn’t come back as one of those Biters.”
* * *
had traded the fire axe for the machete the squatters had left behind. It was
incased in a green sheath and the blade was about eighteen inches long and
razor-sharp. The handle was black and tied to the hilt was a lanyard, a thick
strap that can be used to secure around the wrist.
had his Bowie knife. Vern had his flamethrower. And now Carson had his machete.
they drove on, Damien and Carson dared not speak a word of what happened in the
Thirty-Two, they had escaped Long Island and were heading for the big city. But
again, the roads proved to be treacherous. Several sectors of the city were
rendered virtually impassable by vehicle from the oceans of abandoned cars left
by fleeing motorists.
they navigated their way through the rough terrain, taking detour after detour,
they came upon a mock Georgian style house that was unscathed by the chaos. As
night was rapidly gaining on them, they decided this could be a good place to
set up camp.
pried the backdoor with a crowbar and they all piled in. There was more than
enough room for the entire group to spread out and get some rest. Carson,
Damien, and Brent did a full sweep of the house with their guns to make sure
they were alone.
found no Biters. No squatters. No threats.
they did find was that the stove/oven combination ran on a propane tank that
was still half full, and the mini chest freezer they discovered in the basement
had been running since Day One. It was a wireless, battery operated model. And
the batteries still had life in them.
were steaks, pork chops, racks of ribs. It was like hitting the
in God’s name would’ve left this place behind?” Blaze wondered.
cares?” Damien said. “Their loss is our gain.”
took the meat and poultry out to thaw overnight. Then they all retired to their
separate quarters to catch up on some much needed sleep.
* * *
With the help of Janice Whitfield and Ally Burton, Vern
Sheldon volunteered to prepare a sumptuous feast for the group. He spent the
day frying, roasting, broiling everything the guys had removed from the chest
freezer. The girls had raided the pantry and cabinets and had rounded up every
sauce and seasoning at their disposal.
By nightfall, the entire group was seated at the glass
dining room table. There were eight white fiberglass dining chairs that lined
Damien took a seat at one end of the table and Carson was
going to take the other end, but he graciously offered his seat up to Vern for
all the effort he had put into this meal. Extra folding chairs were carried up
from the basement so that everyone would have a place to sit.
Janice had found candles and holders in the pantry and
placed them at both ends of the table to illuminate the pan-fried chicken,
marinated steak, and mouthwatering pork chops.
At Janice’s request, they all joined hands and said a
prayer of thanks before they dug in. The only one who didn’t join them at the
table was Chase Crawford, who opted to subsist on jars of preservatives.
As Brent Blaze finished the last plate of ribs, he let
out a tremendous belch and covered his mouth a second too late. “Excuse me,” he
“No need to excuse yourself,” Trevor Virden laughed. “Social
etiquette isn’t exactly a requirement in this new world we’ve found ourselves
“So you’re saying the rules don’t apply anymore?”
“With all due respect officer, have you taken a look
outside? What rules are there left to follow?”
“What do you guys miss about the old world?” Kenny Sudrow
asked, changing the subject.
“The internet,” Chuckie Razzano answered first.
“I’d have to say the internet, too,” Ally Burton said. “And
I’d just about kill for a French vanilla latte.”
“I miss horror movies,” Eli Burton said. “It’s sad to
think I’ll never get to see Phantasm Five.”
“I miss comics, fantasy football, video games, Netflix,”
Trevor Virden rambled on.
“All the essential things in life,” Kenny chuckled. “Me,
I miss my family the most.”
“I miss my wife,” Willard Pickman confessed. “I feel
terrible for what I did. And I feel worse for having a hand in all this. I miss
the entire world. I just want things back the way that they were.”
“I wish I had something to miss,” Carson Ryder said,
trying to remember anything from his past life that brought a smile to his
“Since we’ve got nothing to lose here, I’ll be the first
to admit I miss marijuana. I’d do just about anything for a blunt right now.”
Blaze rolled his eyes at Vern Sheldon’s statement.
“I miss my old house,” Janice said. “And television. I
never thought I’d miss it this much, but I’d be satisfied watching a soap opera
marathon at this point. I’d even watch infomercials.”
“What do you miss?” Kenny asked Damien.
Damien thought about it for what seemed like an eternity,
scanning the archives of his mind for anything that brought him joy over the
years. He finally replied with, “Nothing…I don’t miss a single thing about the
“Uh, guys,” Chase called from the spacious living room
that caused an echo to carry through the house. “I hate to break up your party,
but we’ve got company.”
the pane glass windows, Chase could see a mob of Biters slowly creeping towards
the house. The group gathered in the living room, where they saw what the
commotion was all about.
me,” Trevor muttered.
where’s the flamethrower?” Carson asked.
I left it in the cab,” Vern slapped his palm across his head as if to say
must’ve smelled the food,” Pickman surmised.
Biters crept past the lawn, their numbers became visible. It was dark and they
couldn’t see all of them, but Trevor lost count after fifty.
need to find something to barricade the windows,” Brent suggested.
time,” Damien said as the Biters made their way to the front of the face,
pressing their decaying bodies against the glass.
chests bloated and distended. The flesh rotting away from their arms, blackened
skin peeling from their faces. Among this congregation of the dead, Janice spotted
a little girl, the skin missing from the lower half of her face, fully exposing
her jaw and bottom row of her red stained teeth. Janice’s heart sank and she
turned away, clutching at her belly, thinking of the unborn child that was
growing inside of her.
“I don’t think the glass is going to hold them,” Kenny
said, taking a few steps back to prepare himself for the inevitable.
men scrambled for their weapons and extra rounds of ammunition, the glass
couldn’t hold anymore and as it shattered, the mob of Biters began to spill in
To Be Continued With Part
Seven: Death Comes Knocking