Friday, December 12, 2014

As the Dead Begin to Rise in BLEEDING KANSAS, Part IV

THE SETUP: Two men sit at the bar in a luxury hotel in a city on lockdown. Most of the hotel’s guests left while it was still possible to travel, but there are a few still in their rooms, many of them too sick to move. 

The narrator is one Mr. Derek Grace, who will, in time, go from middle-aged job seeker to the Dead Silencer. It’s difficult taking in the end of the world as a whole when your personal life has already crashed and burned. Now he’s stuck at a bar 600 miles from his surviving children, as the dead rise to attack the living. He may be locked inside...but the menace isn't all outside in Bleeding Kansas.

“Goddamn it, shoot the bitch!”

“Can anyone here say his or her name?” Tanner asks.



“All right, then. Good night!”

This gray, big-bellied old man wearing nothing but boxer shorts with his wedding tackle hanging out goes down, a red-black hole misting open between his eyes and exploding out the back of his skull. The man in the soiled and stinking flannel pajamas springs backward, as does the one in the gray track suit. God help us, the next one sweated out his last fever nude, his final death-shit moist about the backs of his thighs. Tanner drops him.

“Okay,” says Tanner, still grinning. “The last one’s yours.”

“What? You’re kidding, right?”

“No. You’re taking her down.”

She’s a slight, bird-boned thing with expensive hair poofed into a cloud behind her head from lying feverish in bed. She dressed in pink silk pajamas but like all God’s children, male and female, rich and poor, she voided her bowels at point of death.

“Look around you!” says Tanner.  “Find something you can use!”

The shit-stench is eye-watering. I don’t see anything around me but various pieces of furniture.

“Come on! She’s just a woman! Not even a big one!”

I pick up the single big upholstered chair—lighter than you’d think, really—and throw it. It knocks the woman onto her back. I pick up the seat cushion, which had flown loose, and put it over the woman’s grunting, snapping face. She bites the cushion. The force of her contracting jaw deforms the cushion from the other side. Like it’s being pulled into a black hole.

Putting all of my weight into my heel I stomp down upon the woman’s head. I feel teeth break, then her jaw. But I can’t quite kill her. I start jumping up and down on her head. I lose my balance and fall backwards.

The pillow tumbles from her face as she rises. Rage flares in her undead eyes, standing one on top of the other as her broken-necked head rests with one ear flat upon her shoulder. Her face is black and blue, her teeth bloodied, but there’s enough of them left to inflict damage.

“Goddamn it, Tanner, shoot the bitch!”

“You sure?”

“Fucking positive!”

“You don’t have to curse.”

“Are you fucking serious?” I roll to my feet, the woman between me and Tanner. I put my heel into her solar plexus and kick her towards him. He’s startled so the first shot misses her head. His second shot drops her.

“Are you all right?” Tanner says over the ringing in our ears.

“You mind telling me the point of this?”

“I was curious to see how you would react in extreme crisis. You handled it in a manner…quite unorthodox.”

“I finally got you to shoot it, didn’t I?”

“Yes, and thanks to your rage issues, it’s not pretty.”

“Whatever works.”

“The question is, should we trust you with a weapon?”

“Is that really up to you?”

“In a sense, yes.”

“In your dreams.”

I look at him, he at me. He holds the Glock up just so. I turn and walk back to the bar. Shoot me in the back while I’m going for a beer. I can think of worse ways to go.

“Okay, let’s stop this!” Tanner says. “We’ll find you a weapon, if only to double our firepower! There’s this one thing, though.”


“Guns seem to attract them.”

I look out the front. The shadows of a dozen or so once-living people lean against the glass by their foreheads. Most of the men are dressed in suits, but barefoot. The women are in nightgowns or simple dresses.  Some have dirt down their fronts where they clambered over the other bodies to get out of their trench. Maybe half have that wide streak of red-brown blood around the mouths and down their middles.

“We need to get out of this lobby,” says Tanner.

“Ya think?”

The story continues in BLEEDING KANSAS, from SEVERED PRESS.

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And THAT story continues in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD.

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Coming in 2017: THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD.