Friday, December 19, 2014

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

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.

“I turn to face the bodies”

I sidestep. Dalton’s foot catches between the woman’s ankles and he goes down face-first. The muscles in my chest and arms sing as I raise the skillet, dropping the broad black iron on the back of his skull as hard as I can. The shock buzzes clear through my elbows. Between the tile floor and the swift impact of broad, flat, heavy-as-hell iron skillet, his head is…okay, we’re done.

I stand over the stilled bodies, fighting my gag reflex. I’m aware of a terrible shit-and-spoiled-meat odor and it’s not helping my adrenaline hangover. I marvel at how readily I slashed at other humans with sharp blades and swung blunt objects into their skulls.

I barely make it to the sink. The projectile force of my vomit covers the distance for me. I turn on the spigot and work the spray hose to rinse my mouth and clear the sink.

I turn to face the bodies. Of course, they’re not human; this fucked-up instinct to eat living flesh is nasty, fuck them! Still. This came so easy. Not that I’m ungrateful for this opportunity to second guess my own success. Still, rage issues? Was Tanner right?

Tanner. Christ. The only living person I know and he’s running his own game. Lucky me, though, I have a minor gold mine at my feet. Officer Dalton, and his full urban paramilitary battle-rattle, bleeding between my shoes.

The stick? Jesus, that’s hilarious. I think it’s a safe bet everyone who’s surviving this so far—especially the ones who will make it through until morning—has guns. There are plenty of chewed-over National Guardsmen and police to pick over once someone drops their turned carcasses. If I can forget my squeamishness long enough to drop a zombie cop, there’s a good chance someone with no squeamishness to forget is doing it even better.

The Taser? No. The only thing I can really use is the 9mm and the holster. Three rounds in the magazine, but an extra full mag on the belt. Loud, but definitely lethal. I’ve got a flashlight, too. I take the cleaver and hammer to the sink to rinse them off and it occurs to me I might not have access to running water for a while.  Might as well make use of it.

I find the blade sharpener. It’s one of the better ones, as befits a chef who works at a hotel important enough to rate its own police officer. I stuff it in my pocket as I walk around the back of the kitchen, looking for the back door where deliveries are taken. I’m guessing he came in this way, but I can’t be sure, no more than I know what he was doing with that young woman. A rape in progress? Or maybe he really was playing hero to some scared young thing hurt by one of the monsters.

Yeah, right. Seriously, didn’t this Trained Professional see the same things I did on TV, only much worse, and up close and in person? After watching Guardsmen with body armor and M4s go down, what made him think his XXL uniform would shield him?

I’m no detective; I can’t tell if they came through this way. The door is closed, and (should be) locked from the outside. I put my ear against the metal. Cleaver in one hand, hammer in the other, I lift my foot and push the door open at the bar with my leg.

Clear. Even better, the dumpster at the far edge of the loading dock is open. I let the door fall closed. I make sure it’s latched and locked before running back to drag what’s left of Dalton and his lady friend here.

The door braces open with a hinged foot at the bottom, enabling me to half-carry, drag the bodies out and sling them into the dumpster. The dumpster lid leans against the lip of the dock so I don’t have to go down to street level to close it. I find the mop and bucket, fill up the bucket and clean the gore from the tile.

I’d rather not look at the bodies in the lobby, let alone manhandle them outside, but they won’t smell any better come morning and I’m going to want breakfast. I find a luggage dolly and start rolling the bodies two at a time to the dock. Then I find some disinfectant and get the blood and shit up as best I can.

In any event, Tanner doesn’t need to know what I just learned I’m capable of. Not while I’m still trying to make sense of it myself.

God help me, this is actually kind of thrilling.

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

And THAT story continues in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD.

US Kindle and Paperback
UK Kindle and Paperback
Canadian Kindle and Paperback

Coming in 2016: THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD.