Saturday, January 31, 2015

Going to Ground in the Zombie Apocalypse

I actually have given a Safety in the Apocalypse lecture to my children, back when they were 11 and 8, respectively, in the car while on the way home from watching Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. While I enjoyed that film, it’s always irritated me that the plotlines of such films depend upon people doing the most counter-intuitive things in calamities that involve so much death and mayhem. 

Like, say, a zombie apocalypse. In this clip, our hero Derek Grace has just finished reading the note his daughter left for him. He took over a week to get home after civilization fell to the undead, and therefore missed connecting with his children. Still:


A big smiley face was drawn next to the “THEY’RE HERE!” on my daughter’s note, so she wasn’t talking about the dead. Still, it makes me sick to think they waited as long as they did. At least they got out. I hope.

As for my advice to get away from the people, that was from years ago, after we were all shaken up by that summer’s blockbuster hit about an alien invasion. I told my children on the way home from the theater, and reiterated the lesson with every disaster movie we saw afterwards: whether it’s aliens or plague or Godzilla, get away from the population centers. Don’t be like the idiots in these movies. If people are getting killed, you go to where the people aren’t. Under no circumstances are you to waste valuable energy and resources on futile quests to find anyone. Get to safety, and for God’s sake, stay there. 

So here’s hoping they made it to the farm outside of Pueblo. Me, I’m 20 miles from what used to be home. That place I’d feared we’d either be forced out of by foreclosure, or merely trapped forever. From where my wife couldn’t kiss me goodbye, because we couldn’t afford me getting sick and missing the interview. From where she died alone on a crowded emergency room apron because the police pulled their guns on our boy. 

Away from Colorado Springs and on the edge of high plains ranch country, where the people aren’t—for the most part, anyway. 


As we learn later, you may be safer in the country, but you’re never 100% safe in the zombie apocalypse. The story continues in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, available in Kindle and paperback from Severed Press

This is more than a tale of mere survival, though. It’s about love and redemption, and a flame-throwing monster truck. Plus, some of the meanest, ugliest zombie kills I’ve ever written, at least until I finish the third book in the series. For connoisseurs of fine zombie dining, GRACE AMONG THE DEAD is what is known as “primo stuff.” If you only see three reviews on the Amazon page, it’s because I don’t beg for those things, and the haters are gonna hate. You’ve seen what I put up here on my blog. I write, you decide. Read the entire first chapter here.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nine Ways to Die: Links to All the Recent Zombie Stuff

State of the Apocalypse, Towards the End of the First Month of A.D. 2015



Is that a jam jar you just threw against the wall,
or are you just happy to see me?
I used to have a regular page linked on the bar below my blog banner which featured links to all the zombie-related posts on this site. Hardly anyone used it. What seems to work best is the immediacy of putting up a post and promoting it to new audiences on Twitter.

The following are links to the excerpts from my novels and deleted scenes as posted in January, in descending order of popularity, based on the numbers Google is giving me (yeah, I know):


The Third Series from Zombie Apocalypse Adventure BLEEDING KANSAS: Escape from Dead City

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD

Deleted Scenes from the Zompocalypse: Too Gruesome for GRACE AMONG THE DEAD?

Essential Existential Decisions in the Zombie Apocalypse

A Zombie Apocalypse Does Keep One Occupied

More Fun with Zombies and Monster Trucks

“Please Don’t Leave Your Dead Children Unattended”

How to Make a Zombie Gas Bomb

The Good News About the Zombie Apocalypse: These People Die!


I’ve got links to my books at the ends of most of these posts; I’ll let the excerpts and deleted scenes sell them for me. I’m proud to note that my zombie fiction is a lot better written than most. Here are nine ways you can see for yourself.
Rave on!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How the Zombie Apocalypse Began for Derek Grace

What’s neat about the following passage (for me, anyway) is that it describes the premise of BLEEDING KANSAS so succinctly—which had to be done anyway in the second chapter of my second book, GRACE AMONG THE DEAD:


I was away in Kansas City for a job interview as that “early summer cold” began sweeping the globe. (I imagine it was a plain cold in the Southern Hemisphere.) Despite its pandemic nature, most had it easy, just sniffles and coughing.

A few took it hard. My wife, Claire, was one. She was laid out in bed, almost too weak to walk to the bathroom when I left her. We needed that damn job, though, so I left her in the care of my teenage children and flew out. Upon my arrival at the company, 600 miles from my home, I would learn my would-be boss and interviewer had called in sick that same morning. 

Within 48 hours, even those who had it easy went from not-so-bad to worse. Infrastructure support and basic services began shutting down as the early summer cold rebranded as the Final Flu, and the mass die-off began. 

I was locked up in a hotel in a city under martial law as the former flu sufferers clambered out of their mass graves to eat everything warm and alive. The police and National Guard failed, fell, or fled. So I drove, flew, and hacked my way across the Sunflower State to get back to my family in Colorado.

Things came up.


And there you have it. Looking for a tale of love and redemption, of the living dead and a monster truck? It’s all here in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, available in Kindle and paperback from Severed Press. Save some time and buy both books in the series while waiting for the worlds-shattering conclusion, THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to Make a Zombie Gas Bomb

More fun with deleted scenes from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD


This deleted scene goes way the hell back, when Derek Grace was Derek Whitman and Pastor Bryce, although having the same name, was a completely different character. The mythology about the Final Flu still stands, though, especially in regards to bloated gas-bomb walkers. Derek Grace explains this to Pastor Bryce at their first meeting at Bryce’s office:



“The Final Flu bacterium overwhelms and kills the bacteria that cause normal decomposition. That’s why we still have so many of these former, living humans stumbling around instead of slime-encrusted skeletons. Of course, they’re still reeking of something, which is why you smell them. Mainly the Final Flu bacteria within them feeding on the living flesh they eat.”

“Zombie farts. Huh. My inner ten-year-old is beside himself.”

“If he likes the really gross stuff, he’s in for a treat. Of course, we know the dead do pass what they eat, eventually. Which is why it’s sort of a good thing most of their pants are rotted off the backs of them from their initial voiding at time of death. Sort of. 

“Anyway, one of them might wolf down a chunk of flesh with the bone still in it or something. Maybe they’ll bite off a piece of clothing, or a shoe, like the one that bit into my boot today.”

“Oh yes, I heard about that. How’s your new boots, by the way?”

“Great, thanks. But you see what happens, right?”

“Yes. Their alimentary tract gets blocked.”

“While the bacteria attached to the rotting meat within continues to produce gas.”

“I suppose I should count my blessings, that of all the things I’ve seen since the onset of the Final Flu, I’ve never seen that.”

“Look around any large mob of them you’ll see one that looks like he or she might be morbidly obese. Except, of course, there aren’t any rolls of fat. They’re smooth all the way around. They’re also completely naked because they’ve swollen out of their clothes. Another reason you don’t see too many of them it’s because they have to burst, eventually. More often it’s a naked walker coming at you with its guts hanging out and the skin around the tear hanging down like an oversized sheet.”

“I’ll admit I don’t get out much. Even with all the reports I get from the field it’s easy to forget how nasty these things are. I’m hearing they’re almost all naked now, the way their clothes are rotting off of them.”

“Not quite, but getting there.”


There’s more where this came from in either one of my two books in the SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER. Just sayin’. BLEEDING KANSAS, in particular, is free with Kindle Unlimited.

Essential Existential Decisions in the Zombie Apocalypse

From Severed Press.
...well, not all that essential, truth be told. These are more deleted passages from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. It’s obvious why I had to cut them, especially in light of all the complaints I’ve gotten about Derek Grace not being a cuddly, kum-ba-yah saint riding a snow-white steed to Save Humanity, ‘cause, gosh, we’re all really worth it.

I still like this passage though, as it examines a basic question one should ask oneself in the event of a zombie apocalypse. Frankly, I think there would be a lot of suicides should one go down in real life. 

Even for the most enthusiastic, the rise of the dead to feast on the flesh of the living would be fun for the entire time it would take for you to permanently mash in the heads of everyone who ever annoyed you. After that, it’s a hellscape. You’re always on the run to survive, not only from the hungry dead, but the kind of living people mean and morally debased enough to thrive in such an environment.

You sure you really want to do this?



So it comes back to this, that most basic of questions: To be, or not to be.

Survival imposes terms I’m not sure I care to accept: for one, the challenge of living in a world where the survivors are worse than the cannibal corpse apex predators trying to tear the meat from my bones. Where the electricity is down but I still fear being tracked by my cell phone. Where taking in a frightened woman brings her savage entourage in to disrupt and destroy all safety and advantage those same fools might have enjoyed for themselves, if only it wasn’t so important to their self-esteem that someone else be subjugated, hurt, terrorized and killed.

I survived a month of peace and quiet, and in one day I have all of the Great Existential Questions of Our Current Crisis slapped across my face like a large, rotten fish: Why am I even bothering? Do I really hope to see my children again someday? If so, for what? So I can fail them again, as I did when the bottom fell out of the job market? My son Jack knows more about weapons and defense than I ever will. All I know is from him and the books I took from his bedroom before leaving.


*****
Seriously, you want some of this?

Like before, it’s a matter of making Correct Choices. Like before, you can’t afford to get sick, get hurt, or get jumped by bandits. The Nietzschean/Ayn Randian Superman doesn’t get colds or break his leg. Not so much as a bruise.

On the other hand, Superman now has a Golden Ticket to kill anyone and everyone who so much as interrupts his nap. Before, only the wealthy and powerful enjoyed this privilege. Now every man’s a king. All he needs is the spleen to make it happen.

No, scratch that. You don’t even need the rage. I’d probably be a lot more efficient if I was a stone sociopath, not caring one way or the other save for the simple pleasure of being in control. Some might say that’s worse. 

They’d be full of shit, too. Either way, a drunken teenage firebug gets his hands hacked off with an African machete and thrown into a mob of hungry, shit-stinking cadavers. A cop gets tied up with a fresh corpse dumped between his legs so he can serve as the thing’s first meal upon awakening. I even poured barbecue sauce on that son of a bitch because I thought it was important he understood how much I hated him.

Anger and hatred fuel me like the Earth’s yellow sun fuels the comic book Superman’s superpowers. Among the many, idle, quiet moments at the farm, I’d sometimes wondered when I might run out of rage and just let myself fall. 

Based on what happened today, I reckon I don’t have much to worry about.



Derek Grace is describing a scene that unfolds in full gruesome detail in the first act of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, “A Tale of Love and Redemption, of the Living Dead and a Monster Truck.”  Check out the first chapter leading up to that goat-fuck at the farm house, serialized here.

Another deleted scene, with zombies, can be found here.

For the absolute finest in zombie apocalypse hellscapes, you can’t go wrong with the books in my SAGA  OF THE DEAD SILENCER series.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

More Fun with Zombies and Monster Trucks

Another clip from the forthcoming THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD, Book 3 in the SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER:


In a haze of tumbling limbs, squirting, stinking dead blood, gaping mouths widened with the swift caress of my blade, I find myself in a clear space. Agnes has made a point of clearing this side by rolling back and forth across it, and I find myself slipping on the crushed remains carpeting the ground here.

“Sir! Sir!

I look up in time to see that the crowd has finally detached from Elyssa’s SUV, and are coming for the panting, tired guy trying to find a non-flesh-slimed spot of grass to stand on. The ones on the side closest on the other vehicles are turning away, too.

Good. Now the convoy can move. Except it’s waiting for Agnes, who’s still busy with all the ghouls pouring out of the trees on either side of the road. She’s coming towards me now, and it’s all I can do to navigate the slippery parts away from the mob advancing from our trucks, and the ones still coming from the other side.

Ethan and his people are doing a fine job exploding the skulls of the dead closest to them. There are so many, though. As the Xenocider/Mom’s Taxi pulls alongside the rope ladder falls and I find myself racing the corpses for a first grasp at the rungs. 


I grab a rung and climb as fast as I can on the twisty, shaky ladder. I’m almost jarred loose as the ladder is yanked abruptly at the bottom by an extraordinarily nimble woman in the remains of black power suit. With her natural rigor-mortis-strong death grip, she has no problems holding on. Or grabbing at my leg.

I pull myself up one more rung. I hardly have time to adjust my grip as I pull my panga. Her face contorts into a hiss I can almost hear over the sound of the engine; her yellow mummified arm reaches out as I lean back and swing down.

That reaching, grasping arm spins away into the cloud of dust surrounding the Xenocider’s right rear tire. With a strength borne of pure animal rage, the woman launches herself at me. My stroke bisects her eyes on the horizontal. For a moment I fear sticking the blade in her skull but she falls away, her one arm still reaching and grasping, her gore-blackened teeth and gums the last thing I see before the dust takes them, too.

I reach down and pull at the ladder below me. I’m already worn out from fighting that dead woman and I’d rather not have to deal with one more, let alone the three we’ve already passed over since I pulled up the ladder behind me. 

It’s only, what? Six more rungs up? It feels like six days and nights before I pull myself into the cockpit, my wife yelling into my ear, “You know, it’d be a lot easier if I could just turn loose with this flame cannon.”


Derek and Agnes acquire the Xenocider in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, “A Tale of Love and Redemption, of the Living Dead and a Monster Truck.” Available in Kindle and in paperback from Severed Press.

Catch the beginning of Derek Grace’s adventures in the emergent Dark Resurrection in BLEEDING KANSAS, available in Bitter Dark, Dark, and Bitter Dark Translated into German.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Apocalypse Is Always Greener on the Other Side

This is one of those “memes” (more precisely, “image macros”) that I found somewhere on the Internet late at night. I know not where, nor to whom this image belongs. I thought it was funny, so I posted it to my Facebook page with the caption, “All right, Keanu, that’s enough Colorado collard greens for you.”


Upon further reflection of this macro, however, the general idea reveals a dark truth. Given all that’s going on, this is a human apocalypse. We made nearly everything else go extinct, why not zombies? Prehistoric man, with zero technology, made short work of saber-toothed tigers and the wooly mammoth.

Really, one does wonder if—despite having so much to eat—zombies would stand a chance.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Zombie Apocalypse Does Keep One Occupied

Some of you, especially my Twitter friends, have been wondering what’s up with that horror blog I was talking about a week ago. Well, stuff came up.

Pages and pages of stuff. Good stuff, too. Really good stuff.


Like this, from page 76 of my third DEAD SILENCER novel in progress, THE WRONG KIND OF DEAD. The “Xenocider” mentioned is the 15-foot-tall monster truck acquired by Derek Grace and his wife Agnes in GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. In the following clip, Derek and Agnes are using it to lead their camp away from an oncoming zombie horde, but Derek has to get out and fight so their convoy can move. We’ll let him tell the story from here:



I jump to the ground and look quickly around. They’re coming in from all sides. I’ve already got six undead homing in on me just outside the wheels of the truck. I run out from under the front of the Xenocider. Once Agnes has me in sight she backs up the truck, then angles around to the left to crush the incoming undead on that flank.

Good God, these monsters are even uglier up close and personal. The flesh remaining on them has leathered, dried, and cracked in the high, arid climate. It was shocking enough watching them go after those bears down the mountain, but to be right here with them.... Once again, these aren’t dumb, shambling things looking for easy meat. These are aggressive creatures who won’t stop coming after you until they are physically disabled from doing so.

A woman in the rags of a dress raises her arms at me and a quick swing of my newly sharpened blade sends them tumbling effortlessly to the pine straw. I have just enough time on the backswing to take her head off, though, because she won’t stop coming. In the seconds I’ve spent taking her out three more are closing in. I sprint towards Elyssa’s SUV, the three joined by four more crossing the street towards me.

I’m yelling at the dead surging three deep around the SUV but no one turns towards me. I had thought the presence of fresh meat would draw them off but they are very focused on the people inside. Brother Christopher and Ethan are ashen-faced, hands gripped about their AR-15s. Elyssa waves merrily at me through the windshield. I can’t see Teresa or Danielle, but I doubt they share Elyssa’s confidence in my abilities.

A quick glance around, and I know I don’t have much time. I can only hope I don’t dull my blade before I run out of dead people to decapitate.


I made it to page 100 last night. I'm very close to putting Act I to bed.

So, that's what I've been up to.

Horror on, my friends. I've got two books of zombie fighting craziness for further reading. In case anyone...you know. Wants to read a primo zombie tale. Meanwhile, I've got to keep typing while this movie is playing loud and uninterrupted in the IMAX of my head.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Good News About the Zombie Apocalypse: These People Die!

More adventures in deleted scenes from BLEEDING KANSAS



Bleeding Kansas is an angry book. It started life even angrier. So angry, I had to cut passages like this. And STILL the pussies complained.

Honestly, who’s going to miss these people? 
The smug suburban mom who got my son suspended from school for defending himself (and roundly thumping) her bully child and his sidekick. The smirking cop who knows the four-point ticket he’s writing for your being inches over the line at the intersection will financially cripple you, threatening you with worse as the color runs from your face. I see the scrawny teenage slacker who thinks throwing his trash in the street and spray-painting buildings are legitimate acts of self-expression. There’s even a trio of well-dressed professionals congregating towards the middle, and looking very much out of place. I almost laugh to see them looking so wide-eyed and lost without their smartphones.
I thought part of the appeal of zombie apocalypses was imagining all the people who had screwed you over turned into the undead. Not only do they suffer as they die, you have license—nay, an obligation—to cleave their skulls.
These are NOT nice people.

I suppose that was my sick fixation. I must admit, if the wimps complained, it's because I left a few acid observations about certain types one meets in the course of one's journey through life, and I think some of them hit home.

Hey, I'm no prize myself. Does that help? I'm so unfit for human society I deliberately keep myself in my basement. Do humanity a favor, and see to it I stay here. Buy my books!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Was This Too Much?

I wonder. Consider this paragraph from the last part of my latest series of clips from Grace Among the Dead (read from the beginning here):
Through a blue curtain of smoking rubber, I steer us back into the eastbound lanes, among a  crowd of death-shriveled faces and dry, blank eyes white with dust. The former citizens of Falcon, Colorado, stand frozen in their tracks, like some strange and ugly municipal art project. Only their heads move as their undead senses follow our progress. 
It’s a lovely, haunting image. But what bothers me is the line, “like some strange and ugly municipal art project.” Most municipal art is strange and ugly, piles of twisted metal, etc. Which would make “strange and ugly municipal art project” redundant. Part of me believes I should either call the scene straight-up strange and ugly, or just say they look like municipal art project.

I dunno. I’ll tell you something I found interesting, though—when I Googled “ugly municipal art” I got nothing but links to municipal art organizations. Googling “images of ugly municipal art yielded the same thing. Curiously, I was unable to find any examples of hideous “sculptures.”

Most sane and normal people despise public art for the hideous, uninspired messes they are. Hell, a mob of flesh-eating zombies standing stock-still and following you with their eyes would be an improvement. I’m convinced these search results are rigged.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, Part 6


Click here for Part 5.

Click here for Part 4.

Click here for Part 3.


Click here for Part 2.


Click here for Part 1. 


All right, zombie fans, let’s tuck into another series of excerpts, this time from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. This first chapter, “Drugstore Cowpunching,” opens with straight-up zombie-fighting action and carries on straight into the next complication.  


As Frank Zappa said in Joe’s Garage, “You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.”


“Pretty Holly Half-a-Face”

I could rack the slide for effect like they used to do in the movies and I’m sure it would be the only thing she’d hear, too, despite all the slapping and thumping about the truck. All she needs to hear, though, is this:

“You do not climb into my truck unasked and tell me what to do.”

“I—”

“Shut up. I’ll be fighting for my life against mobs of walkers you’ll bring straight to us because you can’t stay quiet and you can’t stay still.”

“I…I’ll be good,” she says.

“To apologize is to lay the foundation for a future offense,” I say, quoting Ambrose Bierce. “I’ll make a deal with you. Don’t ask questions. Don’t talk. I’ll take you to where I’m staying and we’ll get you something to eat. After that, we’ll decide on where you go.”

She sinks back into her seat as I holster my Glock. I make my turn back towards Colorado Springs, but once it’s clear I’m going the same way I did with the last bunch, a low, angry, growling rises from all around the truck.

Pretty Holly Half-a-Face drops off halfway through the turn. I feel a lightening of the frame. In the mirrors, I see two more letting go, trying to land as gingerly as their reanimated reflexes will allow. 

I drive faster down the three-lane westbound before I hit the brakes. The swerve goes harder than I like, and for a gut-freezing moment I fear the truck will go over on its side, if not flip outright. The stinky once-people are thrown clear, though. Every last one, and we’re still on four wheels. Life is good.

Through a blue curtain of smoking rubber, I steer us back into the eastbound lanes, among a  crowd of death-shriveled faces and dry, blank eyes white with dust. The former citizens of Falcon, Colorado, stand frozen in their tracks, like some strange and ugly municipal art project. Only their heads move as their undead senses follow our progress. 

I spare a glance towards my stowaway as I turn left down US 24. “Thirteen the first trip,” she says quietly.

“Did you have your eyes squeezed shut for the second trip?” I say as we speed away from Falcon. “Or were you mad at me because I had to point a gun at you?”

“You got an even 20, including the one running alongside the truck, and the two before you made your turn.”

“Great.” I wasn’t planning on ganking so many ghouls today. I just wanted a few things from town.

A stray survivor wasn’t on my shopping list, though. For right now, let’s get the hell out of here so I can figure this out.


THE END for now, but there's more where this came from in either one of my two novels in THE SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER series. 


Grace Among the Dead Copyright © 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.
All rights reserved.

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, Part 5


Click here for Part 4.

Click here for Part 3.

Click here for Part 2.

Click here for Part 1. 

All right, zombie fans, let’s tuck into another series of excerpts, this time from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. This first chapter, “Drugstore Cowpunching,” opens with straight-up zombie-fighting action and carries on straight into the next complication.  

As Frank Zappa said in Joe’s Garage, “You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.”


“I wonder if they got their faces chewed off for their trouble”

I stop the truck and jump out. I walk back and pull down the tailgate. A teenage boy kicks and thrashes, the old blood stiff on what’s left of a designer-brand shirt. His parents put some money into his wardrobe. I wonder if they got their faces chewed off for their trouble. The boy’s mouth has the usual telltale scabbing about it; he’s been eating someone.

He won’t be reaching out for me, though. He’s dislocated his shoulders holding on to the lip of the flatbed. That death grip apparently works against them sometimes.

I step back and he kicks and snaps after me. He worms over the tailgate and faceplants to the asphalt. He lifts his damaged face up from the pavement by his neck and gnashes broken teeth at me. 

I slam the tailgate shut and nudge the boy’s head with my boot so it’s in line with my left rear tire. I climb into my truck and shift into reverse. I hardly feel the bump as I put the truck into drive and roll over it again on my way towards town.

I see lines of walkers coming in from the surrounding fields. “Where do you want me to drop you off?” I say, steering around the crash in the intersection. A gray woman in a tattered bathrobe lurks behind the minivan, but she backs away as I approach.

“What? No!”

“Well, not here, obviously.” The dead for miles around heard the banshee screech of tires when I slung the last of the locals from the flatbed. The early arrivals are stepping off the curb and crowding into the road.

So far, they’re hesitant to step directly in front of the truck. One tries to stumble-run alongside. I slow to match his speed, and then swing my door open on him. He flips to the side in a neat arc. He might cartwheel on his outstretched arms and legs if he had better motor control. He doesn’t.

“You’re not going to put me out here, are you?” I can hear the near-panic in her voice.

“So, what you’re saying is you’ve got no one around here. Is that it?” 

“I…I have some things in a place. Somewhere. It’s—”

“Where is it?”

“No! You can’t drop me off!”

I stomp the brake, slamming us forward against our seat belts. Even so, we’re pushed forward a smidge as the parade of former citizens behind us bark their kneecaps on the bumper and slam their heads into the tailgate. Loud, piteous moans erupt behind us as the fallen are trampled by their brothers and sisters bringing up the rear, using their bodies to step up into the flatbed.

My stowaway squares her back between the seat and the doorframe. She ignores the slapping on her window from the once-pretty lady missing half of her face (maybe if she smiled?), who has climbed up to the booster rail on her side.

“It’s not human,” the woman says. “You can’t put a defenseless—”

Now her big, watery brown eyes are all about the flat black barrel of my Glock. 


NEXT: “Pretty Holly Half-a-Face”


Grace Among the Dead Copyright © 2014-2015 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.
All rights reserved.

###

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, Part 4


Click here for Part 3.

Click here for Part 2.

Click here for Part 1. 

All right, zombie fans, let’s tuck into another series of excerpts, this time from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. This first chapter, “Drugstore Cowpunching,” opens with straight-up zombie-fighting action and carries on straight into the next complication.  

As Frank Zappa said in Joe’s Garage, “You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.”


“Leaning forward, trying to hold on, trying to get at all the living, breathing meaty goodness in the cab”

I drive out of the parking lot with maybe 18 or 20 rotters clinging around the truck and in the flatbed. You can feel them weighing down the chassis. If this was an ordinary car we’d be so much tenderized meat pulled through busted safety glass. 

A young man in a wife-beater and board shorts falls away from the front grille. I don’t feel anything under the tires, so he misses getting run over. The bug-eyed woman at the passenger side beating on the window and making, “Ah-OOOH! Ah-OOOH!” noises is flicked off as I bang through one of the deeper potholes on this crumbling street.

The rest are hanging tough. Good for them. I turn right. The road looks clear, but that’s going to last one minute, two at best, before the inhabitants of the neighborhoods to either side come pouring out at the sound of the engine.

I bring the truck up to 50 mph, careful not to pull away so fast that the ones in the flatbed fall back. No, I want them all leaning forward, trying to hold on, trying to get at all the living, breathing meaty goodness in the cab. I’m up to 65 before I hit the brakes. Not too hard, this thing is too easy to flip. Just enough to send these ugly wastes of skin sailing over the cab. 

Once I’m sure we’ve slowed enough, I cut the wheel to send the ones who slammed into the back window tumbling over the side. Their heads crack on the wide asphalt and they’re done. Assholes in suits, assholes in T-shirts and jeans, at least one dress. No, make that two. Plus a pantsuit.

“How many?” I ask my new companion.

“Nine down for sure. I see five others. They’re…crawling.”

“Good.”

The impact breaks bones in every one of them. The ones that miss splitting open their skulls in the westbound lanes have one or no legs to walk with. Most don’t even have intact arms with which to pull themselves along. They twitch furiously, their broken, useless limbs hanging limp besides their torn bodies.

I turn the truck back towards Falcon, aiming the big tires at the heads of the floppers and crawlers. Sklutch-snap, sklutch-snap. Poppin’ bubblewrap. I’ve got to make two more turnarounds in the road to get them all. 

My new companion makes a sound. “I…” she says.

“What?”

“I….”

“Speak up, dammit!”

“I think—no, there’s one still in the back. There!”

I glance at the rearview. “Son of a bitch.” 


NEXT: “I wonder if they got their faces chewed off for their trouble”



Grace Among the Dead Copyright © 2014-2015 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.
All rights reserved.

###

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, Part 3


Click here for Part 2.

Click here for Part 1. 

All right, zombie fans, let’s tuck into another series of excerpts, this time from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. This first chapter, “Drugstore Cowpunching,” opens with straight-up zombie-fighting action and carries on straight into the next complication. 

As Frank Zappa said in Joe’s Garage, “You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.”


“I can hear the shuffling, scraping approach of the others”

This pisses me off just as much as if he was alive and begging cigarettes and change instead of gobstopping mouthfuls of soft tissue from around my collarbone. Seriously, get your booger hooks off my goddamned truck! 

I jog up to it. It moans loudly as it senses my approach. I slash and hit it in two clean motions. 

I leap to the chrome runner and pull at the passenger door. I’m sure I didn’t lock this. I thumb the button on my remote and yank the door open.

“Please?” says the woman from the floor in front of the seat.

“Goddamn it!” I can hear the shuffling, scraping approach of the others. I slam the door and run around to the driver’s side. 

I pull myself up into the cab and start the engine. “Sit up and put on your seat belt now!” I’ve already got the truck in reverse so I can bump the walkers shambling up behind us. I roll over them twice before spinning a tire on one. I’ve got more coming in from the front. Five, now seven. Twelve.

I plow into the thickest part of the ghouls, knocking them down upon one another before reversing into another three following too closely. There’s some bumping and dipping in the back. An  industrious Bubba in crusty, gore-blackened overalls has clambered up into the flatbed. The woman next to me shrieks.

“Do that again and I swear to God I’ll feed you to them.”

Her eyes bulge, brimming with tears. “I’m…I’m sorry,” she says.

“Don’t be sorry. Be quiet.” I turn around to see more raggedy, chewed-over once-people pulling themselves into the flatbed. I let my foot off the brake, coaxing the truck over the ones I knocked over. I reverse again to make those on the tailgate fall face-forward into the flatbed. I stop to let some more climb up. No one wants to miss the lunch wagon.

“Your eyes still open?” I ask my stowaway.

She whimpers.

“Good. Make yourself useful and count the ones I finish off.”


NEXT: “Leaning forward, trying to hold on, trying to get at all the living, breathing, meaty goodness in the cab”


Grace Among the Dead Copyright © 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.
All rights reserved.

Zombie Fighting Goodness: Chapter 1 of GRACE AMONG THE DEAD, Part 2


Click here for Part 1. 

All right, zombie fans, let’s tuck into another series of excerpts, this time from GRACE AMONG THE DEAD. This first chapter, “Drugstore Cowpunching,” opens with straight-up zombie-fighting action and carries on straight into the next complication. 

As Frank Zappa said in Joe’s Garage, “You’ll love it. It’s a way of life.”


“As the corpse gravy begins to gurgle over his neck stump”

I switch hands with the panga and the hammer, slicing through the arms of the first office stooge and chopping into the neck of the second. I switch the hammer to my right hand and fling it across his temple. His head tumbles away, smacking wetly upon the floor. As the corpse gravy begins to gurgle over his neck stump I’m making a neat crater between the eyes of his buddy. He’s been bellowing something fierce since I sliced off his hands. No telling how many others have heard him. 

I turn back to the inventory. I find half a tray of Percocet. Whoever got here before me got the popular stuff. Gotta admit, nothing Big Pharma offered back in the day could give you such a good, clean happy-to-be-alive buzz like a Vike and a beer.

Beer is no longer an option, of course. At least I have something so this arm won’t keep me up all night. I grab some antibiotics on the way out, hoping I won’t have to use them, because they’re probably no good anyway. Pretty soon none of these pills will be any good. Sucks to be us.

While bagging my groceries in Zip-Locks and dropping them into the pockets of my hunting vest, I see another woman and her two orbiters groping at the pharmacy drive-through window. The loud clunka-clunka of one pulling at the emergency exit door will draw even more of Falcon’s former citizens here. 

I’ve gotten everything I need here, so I leave through the front. Stepping into the blazing, sunlit parking lot, I marvel at how often I’m able to leave the way I come in most places these days. I suppose that’s something.

Hot as it is, I’m guessing it’s already July. Unless they’re sure of someone to eat, the dead tend to sit out the hottest part of the day in the shade. Which means I have no trouble making my way back to the Big Yellow Truck. That is, until I actually get there to find your standard-issue mentally ill homeless thing in an army jacket and a Charles Manson beard pawing at the passenger side door. 


NEXT: “I can hear the shuffling, scraping approach of the others”


Grace Among the Dead Copyright © 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken.
All rights reserved.