Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dr. Seuss vs. The Living Dead

From the sticky-red pages of Grace Among the Dead

With a loud hiss Russ releases the brake and we plunge into motion down the tall, terraced hill of Baptist Road towards the Interstate. Down towards a wall of dead attracted by the rattle of a big diesel engine that’s been idling for far longer than it had to.

The cab of the eighteen-wheeler dips into the grade, then bobs up on the level terrace. The way the cab is bouncing on its shocks I can make out the vast shape of the pale mob below, if not their precise numbers. I can only imagine what it feels like in the big silver pickup truck we’ve got lashed and blocked on the flatbed.

I’m about to tell Russ to slow down but there’s another wash of static on the radio: “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish! Archer Squad One, Interference Pattern Alpha, engage.”

Russ downshifts as two large white pickups roar out ahead of us from either side, followed by a red truck and a blue truck racing past left and right. They make their way down to within 40 yards or so ahead of the horde. Then they cut their wheels and point out and away from either side of us.

Russ slows to a stop. We watch as the men in the flatbeds of either truck arise, crossbows at the ready. With a choreographed precision they one-arm vault off either side of their trucks and form a tight line, crossbows raised in front.

You can hear the hungry roar of the white-eyed, scab-faced mob over our idling diesel as they sight the living flesh before them. The men from the trucks calmly form a line even as the surging mass of walking cadavers parts like the Red Sea before us as the walkers gravitate to the lines of fresh meat-on-the-bones closest to them.

Then the arrows fly. I watch as one fat shaft from a compound bow crashes through the head of one and into the face of another behind her. They drop, among so many others with wood in their eyes and cheeks and nasal cavities. The ones behind the fallen roar with frustration as they have to stumble through the piled cadavers to get to their food.

A few fall to their hands and knees and being crawling over the carpet of once-human remains. Their pale, dusty faces are twisted in rage, as if offended by the very idea of something alive and healthy walking their Promised Land. They will tear that life out with their teeth, gulp down the insolence that is living flesh and blood, and shit what’s left to the dirt, a spoor so foul the insects and carrion birds dare not touch it.

Grace Among the Dead: Book Two of The Saga of the Dead Silencer
Copyright © 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken. All rights reserved.