Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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.