Friday, December 19, 2014

More from BLEEDING KANSAS: “In the Night Kitchen” Part III

This series of excerpts from Bleeding Kansas begins shortly after the last one ended. The Dark Resurrection is in full effect and nowhere outside this downtown Kansas City hotel is safe. Derek Grace has already lost his wife. His children are 600 miles away in Colorado Springs. He has no weapons, and his one companion is a smug, manipulative corporate hustler who nearly allowed Grace to be overcome by an undead woman, just to watch him struggle. 

Derek Grace has much to think about, and much more to do. First and foremost on the list: a transformation. From desperate middle-aged job seeker into the DEAD SILENCER.

“Her flesh-clotted teeth bared to their blue-black gums”

I’m casting about the room, looking for the—there. The chef’s station.

A heavy, cleated meat tenderizer. A cleaver.

She has animal sense enough to brace one arm against the hot table to hold herself upright as she takes large strides to close the distance between us, her blue-gray hand gliding along the brushed steel of the grill table. But I have two working legs and a righteous fear for my life.

The cleaver is in my left hand, the meat hammer in my right. She rounds the edge of the table. Her arms stretch to take me, her flesh-clotted teeth bared to her blue-black gums as she moans in anticipation of fresh meat. I bring my left arm across my body and swing out.

One arm falls just below the elbow; the other dangles by a strip of flesh. The woman yelps, more in rage than pain, and lunges at me with her legs. My right arm comes up, around, and brings the hammer square between her eyes.

I can’t tell if she’s truly down or just stunned. Recalling the reporter’s admonition that the lower brain must be destroyed I bury the cleaver in the back of her skull where she lies face-down on the floor. If that doesn’t do the job I don’t know what will.

“Unnnnh?” says Officer Dalton, and I’m so glad he spoke up or I wouldn’t have seen him. I pull at the cleaver.

It’s stuck. I step out of the way and end up tripping over the woman’s body. Officer Dalton reaches down for me and I roll away just in time. He falls across the woman, his hand pushing at the blade in the back of the woman’s skull. With a sklutch-squish it bends to one side, prying up a section of bone. Best of all, it’s loose.

I can’t reach it without being grabbed. Dalton’s hands flail and grasp at me across the remains of the woman who turned him. I think of how that Guardsman’s flesh bulged in the grip of that fat woman, of the lampstand in that girl’s hands. Once those things have a hold on you, that’s it. You’re done.

It’s probably what happened to Dalton. No telling what he was doing with this woman in the first place, but it’s a safe bet he didn’t think someone so small had a chance of taking his fat Trained Professional ass down. All she needed was a couple of handfuls of clothing and flesh and her jaws did the rest.

I scramble to my feet. Knives of varying lengths hang from the wall behind the chef’s station but they’re not long or thick enough to sever hands. Not as fast as I need to do it. The world’s largest iron skillet sits to one side. I swipe at it with one hand and nearly dislocate my shoulder. I grab at it two-handed and swing as hard as I can at Dalton’s hands. I hit one; with luck I broke the bones in it.

Like the woman before him, though, mere injury only enrages him. He lunges for me. 

NEXT: “I turn to face the bodies”

There's more where this came from in BLEEDING KANSAS, from SEVERED PRESS.

And THAT story continues in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD.

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UK Kindle and Paperback
Canadian Kindle and Paperback

Coming in 2016: THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD.