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.
Monday, January 12, 2015
IN THE FLESH: PART TWENTY EIGHT
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
Ryder: Former marine/Former police officer/Suffers from retrograde amnesia/
Searching for clues to his past/Lost his wife and daughter
Mills: Survivor found outside the Starlight Hotel/Lost her boyfriend, George
Verdi, to the Biters/Not afraid to use a gun/No known family
Fox: Former registered nurse/Never married/Lost contact with her family during
the first initial weeks of the outbreak
White: Born and raised in Arkansas/Has never left the state before
Loomis: Originally from Utah/Friends with Reggie/A perpetual fountain of random
facts and useless information
Smith: Doomsday prepper/Lives in a fortified compound with a tremendous arsenal
Langstrom: Former police officer/Originally from Detroit/Transferred to NYPD in
Chen: Runner/Competed in the Olympics/Knows how to use a gun but he prefers a
DeVito: Originally from New York/Not too bright/Afraid to use a gun for fear of
shooting himself or someone else
Greene: First survivor who was taken in by Corey/She is a recovering alcoholic
IN THE FLESH
By Daniel Skye
PART TWENTY EIGHT
NEW FRIENDS, OLD ENEMIES
Day Three Hundred and Ten.
Summertime. The air had grown thicker,
the days felt longer. The sun wasn’t setting as early as it had been before.
That, and the drastic change in temperature were the only clues that summer had
arrived. It was impossible for the group to keep track of the days without a
calendar. It was one of the very few things Corey hadn’t bothered to stock up
The food had gone a long way. And
there was still plenty of food, water, and supplies to go around. They had
enough to last them through the winter, maybe even until next summer.
Going on scavenger hunts through
towns, risking their lives to scrounge up supplies; those days were a thing of
the past. The group had virtually everything they needed right where they were.
They couldn’t ask for anything more.
Corey’s arsenal, and the wrought iron fences that surrounded
the compound, kept the Biters at bay. Eventually they just stopped coming
around. Migrated to other areas and left the group at peace.
Amy Greene had spent weeks resisting the temptation to imbibe.
And she was happy when the men had finished off most of the booze. All that
remained now was a bottle of Tenafly Viper and a bottle of peach schnapps, her
preferred choice of liquor.
But the girls had provided a wonderful distraction in the days
that passed. Taryn Mills taught them how to play cards and Nikki Fox regaled
them with tales of being a nurse.
Taryn also revealed her occupation in confidence to the women.
She had been an exotic dancer in her previous life.
“Your boyfriend was ok with it?” Amy had asked.
“He didn’t know,” Taryn told them. “He thought I was going to
night school. That’s how I explained my nightly absence.”
“And he bought that?” Nikki asked.
“I think he had his suspicions,” she said. “But he never
approached me about it. He never cornered me or showed up at the club.”
“If he was here now, would you tell him the truth?” Amy asked.
“Hell no,” Taryn said. “That would’ve crushed him. I even felt
guilty sleeping with Damien after George died. But I’m sorry, I’m still a
woman. And a woman has needs just like men do.”
“Was he any good?” Nikki couldn’t help but ask.
“Amazing,” Taryn remarked with a grin and a wink.
“I bet that Carson Ryder is a demon in the sack,” Amy ventured
“Yeah, I’ll bet,” Nikki sighed.
* * *
“Will that pickup truck of yours make
it to Texas and back?” Ryder asked Corey outside that day, the sun beating down
on their shoulders.
“She should. I’ve been keeping up with
the oil changes and I check all the fluids regularly, make sure there aren’t
any leaks. The batteries a year old and the starter and the alternator are
practically brand new. Why, you planning a road trip?”
“If a cure does exist, and it is
somewhere in Texas, we can find it. We can utilize and implement it. We can
turn this whole thing around. We can be the ones that saved the world.”
“That sounds like one of those
scenarios that’s too good to be true.”
“Maybe you’re right. But I can’t live
with myself knowing I never tried. I can’t live knowing that somewhere out
there is a miracle that can fix all this and I never even bothered to look for
it. I think we owe this mission to all the other survivors. I think we owe it
to our friends and our family members, to the people that we’ve lost. If we
fail, at least we can say we tried.”
“All right, you twisted my leg
enough,” Corey said. “I’m in.”
“We’ll need one other person. For
backup, in case we run into any trouble out there on the road.”
“Who were you thinking?” Corey asked,
crossing his arms, pondering. “We can’t take any of the girls. Though that
Taryn is one tough cookie. And Dominic can’t shoot a tin can that’s two feet
away. He won’t be any good to us.”
“Paul’s an ex-cop like me, right? I
assume he’d know how to operate a firearm. He’s probably the best choice we
“Ah, I hate asking Paul for favors,”
Corey said, shrugging his shoulders, arms still crossed over his chest. “He’s
already done so much for this community. And he has his bad days, if you haven’t
noticed. Some days he’s pleasant. Other days, he’s a grumpy prick.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed,” Ryder said. “I’ll
talk to him then. Make him understand.”
“What about Luke Chen? He’d come along
if I asked him to.”
“No disrespect to Luke, but I’d feel
safer with Paul. Look, don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to him. He’ll
understand. Trust me on this one.”
* * *
It took some convincing, but Ryder,
being an ex-cop, understood his lingo. He knew just how to approach him. How to
rile that hero inside of him and make him rise to the occasion. How to wake up
this serve-and-protect instincts that every cop possesses.
Remind him that lives are at stake and the fate of the whole
world rests in their hands, and any true cop will step up and do what’s
necessary to preserve their species.
“Let’s do it,” Paul had said, shaking his hand to seal the
deal. It was easy for Ryder to make him understand what was at stake. The world
had changed, but Paul agreed it wasn’t too late to save it. They all deserved a
second chance. And if this cure could provide that second chance, then it was
worth risking their lives for.
Ryder packed two cans of gasoline and his Remington into the
bed of the truck. Corey packed a bag of food, water, and medical supplies. And
he took along two extra pump-action shotguns and three automatic pistols.
“I was going to bring the bazooka but I figured it’d be
overkill,” Corey said to Ryder on the road. There wasn’t enough room for the
three of them in front, so Paul had volunteered to ride in the bed, on the
condition that Ryder would take the bed on the way back from Texas.
“Yeah that would’ve been a bit much,”
“I’m sorry this thing doesn’t have a
CD player,” Corey said. “The guy knocked an extra hundred bucks off the sticker
price if I bought as is, no CD player installed.”
“I’ll live,” Ryder shrugged. “You don’t
have any cassettes?”
“Who has cassettes nowadays? That shit
went out of style in the mid-nineties.”
The 90’s. Ryder remembered the 90’s. Ryder
was starting to piece together his splintered memories, connecting the
fractured pieces like a jigsaw puzzle.
He remembered AOL, dialup modems, passing
trends and fads like pogs and Pokémon and baseball trading cards. He recalled the
panic of Y2K, the Clinton-Lewinksy scandal, conflicts with Iraq and Saddam Hussein,
And he recalled the 2000 election, the
inauguration of George W. Bush. The horror of 9/11. More struggles and conflict
with Iraq. The rising price of gasoline and cigarettes. More taxes. More
conflict over access to oil. And the inevitable war that followed all this
He started to remember the intimate
little details of his relationship with Caroline. And all the little things he
could recall about Charlotte, like being at her dance recitals, taking her to
the movies or out for ice cream on Sunday’s. And the way Charlotte would wrap
her tiny arms around his neck, give his cheek a big wet kiss, and say, “I wuv
He was still carrying their picture in
his back pocket, all bent and creased and faded. It was something he’d never
“You wouldn’t happen to have a
cigarette, would you?” Ryder asked.
“Nah,” Corey said. “Wish I did. I’m
pretty sure when the doomsday clock struck midnight, cigarettes and booze were
the first things to go. I’m surprised you guys have managed to find any liquor
“We’ve been lucky,” Ryder said. “Well,
some of us have.”
Corey tried the radio. Nothing but
static and dead air. They had been on the road four hours before dark came
around. Corey agreed it was in their best interest not to stop and rest. If
they pushed it, they could probably make it to Texas by the morning.
But they did require a stop once on
the interstate when the road became too narrow and cluttered to navigate. They
had to stop to push a few abandoned vehicles to the sides of the road.
Paul put the Chevy in neutral and
steered while Ryder and Smith pushed. Then they repeated the process with the
Prius and the Ford Fusion.
“How long were you a cop?” Ryder asked
Paul, trying to make conversation and pass the time.
“Too fucking long,” Paul said. “I was
a beat cop. Then I did vice before they transferred me to narcotics.”
Something clicked in Ryder’s mind.
Suddenly he realized why Paul’s voice sounded so familiar. Something told he
knew this man before. And something told him they weren’t friends. They were
* * *
Eli Carver and Mr. Jones had found more survivors, more people
who shared their cause. What started as a group of about thirty people grew to
a group of forty people. Then another ten survivors roamed along and the count
was up to fifty.
The group now had sixty members in
total. More survivors meant more mouths to feed, more people to clothe and shelter.
Their small community had already taken up residence in the library, the post
office, the supermarket, and the police station, where the group had additional
guns and ammunition in evidence lockers and gun racks.
Eli found a series of Mossberg’s and
more ammunition locked in a cage inside a police storage unit.
One of their newest members was a
young man, age seventeen. Ronnie Dash was the kid’s name. He’d been with them
about a week and he’d found a box of jelly donuts stashed in the bottom drawer
of one of the desks.
There were six left and they were
almost a year old. He’d taken a bite of one and nearly cracked his teeth. The
donuts had petrified, the jelly filling inside had dried and hardened into a
thick inner crust.
But that didn’t stop him from wolfing
down the first donut. And the second donut. By the time Jones had caught wind
of what Dash had found, the whole box was gone. Dash didn’t leave a crumb
Ronnie Dash was a small town boy from
Oklahoma who never knew his father. He grew up as the man of the house. Mom had
not been easy on him, but she hadn’t been cruel either. The worst she ever did
was force Ronnie to wash dishes, take out the trash, spruce up his bedroom,
finish his homework before watching television.
She was just trying to raise him
right. To teach him about responsibility and hard work. And it paid off. As
Ronnie got older, he’d volunteer to wash the dishes and take out the garbage.
She didn’t even have to ask if his homework was finished or his room was clean.
Ronnie was the best son a mother could
ask for. But he’d been separated from his mom the day the chaos erupted. The
schools in his area had been on lockdown and he was unable to reach her, unable
to protect her.
By the time the police came to escort
the children home, it was already too late. Ronnie came in, saw the trail of
blood. He rushed up the stairs and found his mother in the bathtub, her throat
torn open, a flap of skin dangling under the collar of her blouse.
The Biters had already gotten to her
and she had staggered up the stairs, to the bathroom, tried to stop the
bleeding, but collapsed and tumbled over into the tub. And then, when Ronnie
returned home, she came back.
Ronnie had survived his first
encounter with a zombie. But Jones made sure he wouldn’t survive the next.
Gathering a small group of his
agitated followers, Jones led a march from the police station where Ronnie Dash
and many others had camped through the nights. They walked fifteen blocks, then
Jones stopped and motioned for them to do the same.
“Ronnie Dash, you’ve been charged with
the crime of gluttony,” Mr. Jones said, Eli Carver standing at his side,
gleaming. “How do you plead?”
“Jones, please don’t do this to me,”
Ronnie begged. “Don’t leave me out here by myself. I’m sorry I was greedy. I’m
sorry I didn’t share with the group. I was just so freaking hungry. It’s been
days since we’ve eaten more than a handful of rations. I just couldn’t help
myself. I’m sorry! Please forgive me!”
“How does the jury find the defendant?”
“Guilty!” his followers chanted in
“It’s official,” Jones said. “The defendant
has been found guilty and will be sentenced to death…by exile. Because if the
lack of food doesn’t kill you, the zombies surely will.”
One of his followers had a bundle of
rope and advanced on Ronnie. “You can’t just tie me up and leave me to die out
here!” Ronnie screamed. “It’s inhuman!”
“You’re right,” Jones said, telling
his follower with the rope to back off. “We can’t tie you up and leave you to
die out here. We might need the rope later on for something else. I have a much
better idea…” Jones pulled a knife, a switchblade, from his coat and held it
out for Eli to accept.
A sick, twisted grin spread across his
face when Jones passed him the knife. Several of his followers forced Ronnie
onto his belly, holding him down while he thrashed and screamed, and while Eli
used the switchblade to slice his tendons, ensuring he wouldn’t even be able to
stand on his own two feet again.
“This is the price you pay for
stealing from this group,” Jones said to the rest of his followers as they
walked back to the station, ignoring Ronnie’s pleas.
“We’re running low on food and
supplies,” Eli pointed out on the walk back. “And we’re taking in more
followers every day that share our beliefs. Eventually, we’re going to need
more. More food, more guns, more supplies. More everything. I think I know a
place. It might be just what we’re looking for.”