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.
Saturday, January 24, 2015
IN THE FLESH: PARTS 31 AND 32
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
Ryder: Ex-police officer/Ex-marine/Lost his wife Caroline, and daughter
Charlotte/The unofficial leader of the group/Dying for a cigarette/Has mixed
feelings about Nikki Fox
Smith: Doomsday prepper/He was expecting and preparing for the zombie apocalypse
for years/Lives in a fortified compound with a tremendous arsenal of weapons
Mills: Survivor found outside the Starlight Hotel/Lost her boyfriend and her
family to the Biters/Former exotic dancer/Not afraid to use a gun
Fox: Former registered nurse/Lost contact with her family during the first
initial weeks of the outbreak/Was married once but hid that fact from the group/She
is secretly in love with Carson Ryder
White: Born and raised in Arkansas/Has never left the state before/He has a
criminal record, but he’s not a violent man and tends to avoid confrontation if
Loomis: Originally from Utah/Friends with Reggie/A perpetual fountain of random
facts and useless information
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/Former used car salesman
Greene: First survivor who was taken in by Corey/She is a recovering alcoholic
who manages with the support of Nikki Fox/Trying to take back control of her
IN THE FLESH
By Daniel Skye
PART THIRTY ONE
THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN
Day Three Hundred and Twelve.
A mass of human remains lie in a
shallow ditch, the bones still smoldering from the makeshift pyre. Eli stood
over the ditch with that sick, twisted grin branded on his face.
Eli Carver, Mr. Jones, and their sixty-plus followers had
migrated from Sherwood to Jacksonville in search of more weapons and supplies
for their imminent invasion. And they had encountered a small colony of
survivors in Jacksonville, all tucked away sleeping in their tents.
Eli did most of the dirty work himself, slitting their throats one-by-one
in their sleep. There was a mother, father, two small children, an elderly
couple that could’ve been the kids’ grandma and grandpa for all Eli knew, and
three other tagalongs crammed into a separate tent. Eli killed them all, and
their sadistic followers helped drag the bodies into that ditch and relieve
them of their weapons.
Jones was the one who poured the gasoline and lit the match.
“What’s our next move?” Eli inquired.
“We travel to Maumelle and pay a visit to your old friends,”
Jones explained. “Give them an ultimatum. We need to make them understand that
our group needs the property more than they do. That we need the food, the
“And you’re willing to let them surrender? To let them hand
over their supplies and just walk away?”
“Of course not,” Jones said. “Even if they surrender, we’re
still going to kill them. I just want to give them the option to defend what’s
theirs. It’s only fair.”
“Just promise me one thing,” Eli said.
“Carson Ryder is mine. No harm shall come to him. Not even a
scratch. No one is to lay a hand on him but me. Deal?”
“Deal,” Jones said and spat into the ditch. “Now let’s get a
move on it. See what other supplies we can find on our way back.”
* * *
Ryder and the group had discussed the
two vials they had managed to rescue from the lab in Texas. The supposed cure
that Willard Pickman had spoken of. The only dilemma was they had no clue where
to begin. No clue how to make use of this alleged antidote.
Then it struck Reggie like a bolt of
lightning. “Drake Sharpe’s drug kit,” he mumbled.
“What about it?” Loomis asked.
“There’s a syringe in the kit,” Reggie
pointed out. “More than one. If we want to test it, we fill a syringe with a
little of that stuff. And then all we have to do is inject one of these suckers
and see if it works.”
“Easier said than done,” Ryder said. “First
we have to catch one of those things and bring it back alive. Who knows how
long the effects take. It could take hours, days.”
“He’s right,” Corey said. “But it
might be our only shot. Reggie, grab some rope from the Quonset hut. Boys, grab
your guns. Let’s go bag us a zombie.”
* * *
Just over the hill of the compound,
beyond the trees, the group found three roamers.
“Take your pick,” Scotty said, rifle
cradled in his arms.
Reggie had his rifle slung over his
shoulder and was eyeing the Biters carefully, who had yet to take notice. They
all wandered in separate directions in search of food, never realizing it was
right under their noses.
The first two were “oldies”, as Kenny
Sudrow used to call them. They showed signs of advanced rot and decay. The
third one was fresher. A recent victim, turned no doubt by the deep scratches
along its bare chest.
Ryder pumped his Remington and aimed
for the heads. He spared the third one so Scotty could distract it while Corey
snuck around back with the rope and tossed the loop around its neck. He pulled
the rope so the loop was taut like a noose around its neck. There was enough
slack in the rope to keep a safe distance as they walked back to the compound.
“It’s just like walking a dog,” Corey
said. “A big, snarling, drooling, bloodthirsty dog.”
“You guys know the name of the first
zombie movie ever made?” Loomis asked. “White Zombie. Made in 1932. Rob Zombie
originally named his band after the film.”
“I’ll file that fact under LIGF,”
Corey said. “For like I give a fuck.”
Back at the compound, Corey tied the
rope to one of the bars of the fence and left the zombie hanging there like a
dog on a leash. Scotty gathered Drake Sharpe’s kit of illegal narcotics and
retrieved one of the empty syringes. He passed it off to Ryder who filled the
syringe with a small amount of the yellow serum from the vial.
“Now here’s the tricky part,” Ryder
said. “Corey, I need you to distract that thing so I can inject it.”
“I have just the thing,” Corey said,
running back to his property and returning with a roll of aluminum foil.
“What’s that?” Ryder asked as they
walked towards the fence.
“Roast beef,” Corey said. “Forgot I
had it in the vegetable crisper and found it two months after the shit hit the
fan. It was rancid, but I decided to save it. I figured it might come in handy.”
“Spoiled roast beef?”
“Hey, you can never know,” Corey said.
“And it looks like I was right to save it after all.”
He unfolded the tinfoil and they approached
the Biter. Corey dropped the roast beef, which at this point had lost all natural
color and was a dreary gray. The Biter dropped to its knees and began devouring
the dried, shriveled meat.
Ryder approached cautiously with the
syringe. He stuck the needle in the side of its neck and pressed down on the
plunger. The liquid drained from the syringe and the Biter immediately dropped
the rancid meat and turned all attention to Ryder.
The rope held it in place as Ryder dropped
the syringe and backed away. “Now we play the waiting game,” Corey said. “Let’s
see what this shit can do.”
The group met again afterwards to
discuss what to do with the vials until the effects kicked in. Ryder was
fearful of keeping the vials on the property. He didn’t want them to end up in
anyone else’s hands. And he didn’t want them destroyed.
So they agreed it was best if the
vials were hidden, buried until further notice. Ryder was the only one who knew
of the location. He buried them somewhere beyond the gates of the property. But
just in case something happened to him in the interim, he made sure to mark the
spot with a C, so the group would know what to look for. He was going to mark
it with an X, but he figured that’d be giving the spot away.
* * *
That night, they sat under the stars
and finished the bottle of Tenafly Viper. It was the only liquor they had left.
Amy Greene joined them, but she didn’t imbibe. Not with Nikki Fox keeping a
watchful eye over her.
“What do you guys miss the most?”
Corey asked. “Me, I’m dying for a steak. Rib eye, filet mignon, porterhouse.
I’d even eat one of those two dollar steaks they sold in bodegas.”
“I miss Sports Center,” Chen said.
“I miss television in general,” Loomis
said. “And movies, video games, fast food, cold beer. But what I miss the most
is women. No offense, ladies.”
“I’d just about kill for a cold beer,”
Reggie said. “And a burger. I never realized how much I took things like
Budweiser and red meat for granted.”
“Baseball,” DeVito said. “I’d give
anything to be sitting out in the crowd at a Yankees games again. One thing I
don’t miss is cops and getting tickets all the time.”
“You do realize I was a cop?” Ryder
asked, and couldn’t help but chuckle a bit.
“I miss my mom and dad,” Amy said.
“And coffee. When I wasn’t drinking, I lived on coffee. I miss walking into
Starbucks and smelling those fresh coffee grinds brewing and treating myself to
a triple foam mocha latte.”
“I miss my job,” Nikki said. “I miss
helping people. It was such a huge part of my life.”
“You’re still helping people,” Amy
“I miss my family, my boyfriend, my
car,” Taryn said. “Just about everything.”
“I miss my wife and daughter,” Ryder
confessed. “Now that I finally remember everything clearly, I miss them more
“Let’s talk about something a little
more cheerful,” Taryn said. “Let’s all get to know each other a little better.”
“We already know each other,” Nikki
“Not who we are now,” Taryn said. “I’m
talking about who we were. Who we really are underneath. I’ll tell you all
something that only a few of you know about me…I used to be an exotic dancer.”
“Like a stripper?” DeVito asked.
“No, a stripper is a whore who takes
her clothes off for money,” Taryn said. “I was a dancer at a very exclusive
club. And I made really good money doing it.”
“I was a used car salesman,” DeVito
said. “We’d buy clunkers, polish them up, and sell them to saps for a few grand
a piece. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it beat mopping up floors for a
living. I don’t think that makes me a bad guy though. I came from a very
religious family. Church on Sunday was mandatory. I attended religion classes
every Tuesday after school. And believe it or not, I flunked my final test and
never received final communion.”
“I can believe it,” Corey muttered.
“I guess I’ll go next,” Chen said. “My
father was very strict. He demanded perfection one hundred percent of the time.
He did more than just encourage my involvement in sporting events. He
practically forced me in that direction. And when I couldn’t cut it at baseball
and couldn’t make the football team, I took up running at his suggestion. I
think in a way he was trying to live vicariously through me. That’s why he always
pushed me to be the best. He wanted me to succeed where he failed.”
“I was married once,” Nikki said. “It
didn’t work out. He was too controlling, too possessive. And in the end, I
realized I was married to my job. And that meant more to me than my husband. So
I filed for divorce and never looked back. I never told anyone because…well, I
never felt comfortable.”
“How come?” Amy asked.
“He used to raise his hands to me,”
Nikki confessed. “That’s why I don’t even like to think about the bastard. But
I put a stop to that long before the divorce. I beat him senseless with one of
his own golf clubs.”
“You go, girl,” Taryn said.
“I saw two goats fucking on the side
of the road in Switzerland once,” Loomis said. “That’s all I’ve got for you.
But seriously, I’m a pretty simple guy. There are no secrets I can share that
will really blow you away. I was never married, never had any kids. Though my
ex-girlfriend had a little pregnancy scare a few years back. I was terrified
when she told me she was late. Thankfully it was just a false alarm. I wasn’t
ready to be a father. I don’t think I ever will be.”
“My license was revoked,” Amy said.
“DWI charge. I hit three street signs, a parking meter, and a mailbox before I
crashed head-on into a tree. The judge showed mercy by giving me probation and
community service instead of jail time. And he made me attend mandatory AA
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a
fireman,” Corey said. “I wanted to be the hero. I wanted to ride on the back of
that shiny red truck and use that big hose to put out the fires. When I was
three, my dad got me this toy fire truck. It had this white ladder and a little
crank on the side so you could make the ladder go up and down. I’d give
anything to have that toy back.”
“Some of you already know a lot about
me,” Ryder said. “I used to be a cop. I was also in the marines. I’m a good man
who has done some bad things in order to survive. But haven’t we all? All you
need to know about me is this…I would die for any of you.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,”
“I was born and raised here in
Arkansas,” Reggie said. “I never traveled, never left the state. My passion
used to be writing, but I never tried getting published. I got in trouble with
the law a few times when I was younger. I used to work with my uncle a lot
because he was the only one who’d hire me. I used to worry about the future day
and night. Now I wish I had a future to worry about.”
“You’re still alive,” Ryder said.
“That means there’s still a future.”
Beyond the gates, a single Biter gazed
through the wrought iron bars, drool hanging from its chin where the skin had
begun to rot and peel.
“Is that the future you’re referring
to?” Reggie asked, motioning toward their uninvited guest.
PART THIRTY TWO
Day Three Hundred and Fourteen.
The group’s patience paid off. For two
days, they let the serum do its work. They watched as the skin regained its
pigment. They saw the flesh healing at a miraculous rate. Hair and skin cells
multiplied. Warm blood began to flow through its veins.
The antidote seemed to jumpstart the
heart and the brain, but left the victim with little to no memory. Carson Ryder
Eventually, their test subject began
to regain his speech.
“What’s your name?” Ryder inquired that
“I don’t remember,” the man said. “Can
you untie this rope?”
“Of course,” Ryder said, cutting the
man loose from the fence. He stretched his sore limbs and took a puzzled glance
around the property.
“Do you remember where you’re from?”
“No,” the man said.
“Do you remember anything? Your
parents? Perhaps a brother or sister? Do you remember where you were born or
where you grew up?”
“No,” the man shook his head. “I’m
sorry. I can’t remember much of anything.”
“This is going to come as quite a
shock to you,” Ryder said. “But you were dead. For how long, I don’t know. But
longer than any man should rightfully be dead and live to tell about it. The
world has…changed. It has become a very dangerous place.”
“What happened?” the man asked. “Where
are all the people? Was there a war? A terrorist attack of some kind?”
“You could say that,” Ryder said. “The
Black Lodgers. A group of international bioterrorists. They released this toxin
into the air. It brought the dead back to life.”
“Zombies?” the man said in disbelief. “I
was a fucking zombie?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Cool,” the man shrugged. “So where
the hell are we?”
“Arkansas,” Ryder said. “Maumelle to
be precise. We’re close to Little Rock, if that means anything to you.”
“It doesn’t. But the name sounds
The first thing Ryder felt was
something warm splatter against his face. The second thing he felt was the
weight of the man’s body when he collapsed at Ryder’s feet.
Ryder, unarmed, turned to the fence
and saw Eli Carver standing outside the bars. But he wasn’t alone. He had Jones
and a small army with him.
By then, the whole group had heard the
shot and gathered outside with Carson to see what they were up against.
“Greetings, old friends,” Eli said. “So
happy to see you again. Lovely place you have here. It’s a shame we’re going to
have to take it away from you.”
“Over our dead bodies,” Ryder said.
“We’ve prepared for that scenario,”
Jones said. “But we’re going to give you one chance to surrender. You have
twenty four hours to decide. Then that gate is coming down and we’re coming
“If you think we’re going to
surrender, you’re dreaming.”
“Then prepare yourselves for the
inevitable: War. We’ll be back in twenty four hours.”
To Be Continued With Part Thirty Three: UNDER