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A Scary Zombie Story

We thought we’d change things up a little and offer you some great fiction to entertain you, submitted by one of our readers.

Anyone who’s had the misfortune of standing near or in a puddle of blood will tell you that you never forget the smell.  It isn’t quite like a butcher’s shop or the meat department at a grocery store.  It isn’t quite like anything you’ve smelled, though it’s similar.  It’s unsettling, that odor.  Nature meant it to be.  Anytime there’s enough human blood in the air for you to smell it with the relatively dull senses nature gave you, the human nervous system starts to scream that something is very, very wrong.

Dejulio had been to his share of bloody crime scenes.  This was that smell — but something else.  Something… rotten.  He couldn’t quite wrap his mind around it.  He grabbed the nearest person who seemed involved in the melee, a soccer mom in shorts and a bright red blouse.

She snarled at him.

Ramirez was shouting something.

Dejulio couldn’t hear his partner.  He was staring into the bloody face of a woman who… wasn’t a woman at all, but some kind of monster, her fish-dead eyes staring at him with malevolent, inhuman intensity.  What he’d taken for a simple disturbance among drunken festival-goers was a rapidly expanding circle of violence and terror.  There were at least half a dozen people lying on the ground covered in blood, ragged holes ripped in the flesh of their bodies.    As the monster woman lunged at him, Dejulio saw others like her wading into the packed, helpless crowd.  There were too many people; they were pressing against each other with nowhere to go.

He was reaching for his department-issued Smith and Wesson even as the woman sank her teeth deep into his throat.

Gunshots rang out as Ramirez began emptying his .40-caliber into the crowd.

 

 

 

Michael D. Appleton sat in his Jeep Cherokee smoking a cigarette.  It was a big, black, battle-scarred vehicle sitting on high-profile off-road tires and sporting a massive aftermarket brush-guard and bull-bar bumper, with extra lights on both bumper and roof.  Race sponsor stickers dotted the rear side windows; “bullet hole” decals were sprinkled along the body to cover up the worse dents.  Michael sat behind a customized traction-grip steering wheel, a D-cell Maglite mounted in brackets affixed to the roof just above his window.  The powerful CB radio under the dash was turned to low volume.  Inconsequential chatter sputtered from it.

Michael took a long drag from the off-brand bargain cigarette.  Prices had gotten so high he no longer bought named packs.  For the fifth time in five weeks, he told himself he was quitting as soon as he finished the pack.

The Jeep was parked on the street outside Duncan Financial Services.  Inside, Michael’s wife Sandy was finishing the paperwork on a home improvement loan.  The family was adding on to the house again and Sandy’s was the best credit profile.

Michael allowed himself a smile as he took smoke deep into his lungs. Mom was going to love the new sun room.  Dad, he imagined, would at least enjoy the thought of the additional underground, double-walled fiberglass fuel tank.  If there was money left over once supplies and wood were laid in, they’d panel Rick’s room — not that Rick would notice, unless they paneled his computer.

The face looking back at Michael from the rearview mirror was round and covered in stubble — from the stubble on his face that never quite became a beard, to the stubble on his scalp that was three days’ worth of growth since he’d last shaved his head.  While not tall — Michael stood a head shorter than the average American male — he was lean and well-conditioned, working on a six-pack of abdominals over which he was becoming almost vain.  The smoking helped, of course.  It was playing hell with his stamina, but even after a cigarette he could still out-spar Bill.  That wouldn’t be the case for long; Bill learned quickly and would be a real challenge once he got over his natural timidity.

His arm resting on the door panel of the open truck window, Michael closed his eyes and leaned out.  The sun on his face felt good.  Life felt good.  Pessimistic, cautious, even suspicious by nature, Michael couldn’t help but feel all was right with the world, for the moment.

That’s when he heard the gunshots.

 

 

Laughlin, his shoes and clothes splattered with blood, ran for his life.  Crowds of the… the creatures, as he thought of them… were closing in on him from all sides.  He’d fired the Glock dry.  He was running out of directions to flee.  Everywhere he turned there were more of them.  They were turning so fast!  He’d seen the projections, but he hadn’t thought it possible.  Now he was seeing the worst-case scenario with his own eyes.

The chaos of the police shooting into their number was helping. There was so much noise, so much activity, that the reanimates couldn’t key on any one thing.  They didn’t have to; they had plenty of potential victims.  Once they chose to focus on prey, Laughlin new well enough, they would stumble after it until something more appealing or just plain noisier broke their fixation.

Laughlin through himself down a side street and turned into an alleyway, a crawl-space between two older downtown buildings.  If he could just make it to the other side, get clear of downtown, he could at least clear the immediate hot zone.

A crowd of them was waiting for him on the other side.

I should have saved a bullet for myself, he thought.

 

The roar of the Jeep Cherokee cut through the sounds of chaos and gunfire.  Laughlin’s head jerked up and he watched in disbelief as the big black truck smashed through the crowd of reanimates.  Bodies and body parts flew as the Jeep bounced up and over the mass of writhing bodies, shoving still more out of the way.  The massive aftermarket bull-bar and brush guard assembly was smeared with blood, the nose of the Jeep battering aside the stumbling masses as the driver spun the large off-road tires to inflict maximum damage.

The gore-splattered Jeep stopped only feet away from Laughlin.  The man behind the wheel, sporting a shaved head and wearing a small pair of rectangular, blue-reflective sunglasses, opened the driver’s door long enough to yell at him.

“Well?” he yelled.  “Come on, get in!”

Laughlin hustled around to the passenger side, yanked open the door, and threw himself in, the empty Glock still clutched in his hand.  The Jeep was moving again before he’d managed to pull the door shut.

 
 

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