Thursday, January 21, 2016

Zombie Love: “Between the Fever-Hot Legs of Her First Meal”


The titular hero of my SAGA of the DEAD SILENCER series is in a very not-so-pleasant headspace as the second novel opens. After the dead have risen to feast on the flesh of the living, Derek Grace returns to Colorado Springs too late for his wife and children. He’s been passing the time at an abandoned farm house near Peyton, Colorado, popping painkillers, drinking scotch, reading, and watching the dead as they pass on the main road beyond.

Other survivors have caught wind of this healthy-looking specimen scavenging through a nearby town, and they arrange to locate his lair and take it over. What follows are Derek Grace’s observations of the aftermath of his first skirmish with these people. Roll clip:

I look over at Deputy Milner as I reach the living room. I leave my suitcase and bag by the front door and cross into the kitchen. I take the scotch from the pantry and pour a glass. I step back into the living room, facing at a discreet distance from the deputy and the remains of the woman between his legs.

“Adam Milner,” I say, swirling the scotch in my glass. “Be it known to all and sundry, you are where you are now because you made poor choices. All you had to do was let me go on my way and you could have had this house, the hot running water, all of it. Instead…well, never mind. For ruining my nap, I sentence you and everyone you know to be eaten alive. Salud.”

I down the glass. Right on cue, Kim’s corpse begins to stir. As she moans into un-life, the ruff-tuff creampuff who was tasing me mere minutes ago squeezes his eyes shut and begins to sob.

Kim awakens to undead heaven, between the fever-hot legs of her first living meal. I accidentally thump the tip of my boot into the foot of the oversized chair and she doesn’t turn around. In the course of pushing herself up from the floor, her cool, dead hand has closed around Deputy Adam Milner’s ankle.

The looks on both their faces—the eternal playground bully served his ultimate comeuppance, Kim’s mindless emotional hunger in full literal expression—yes, there’s the monster face. And suddenly I’m wondering what my own face must look like. Am I a monster, too, for arranging this ghoulish dinner theater? What would Claire think if she saw you now? Or Sybil? Or Jack?

Well, they aren’t here, are they?

Kim chomps into the back of deputy’s leg like it was the world’s largest state fair turkey drumstick. Big yellow dollops of mustard sauce plop into the pooling blood on the floor, but Kim does her mindless cadaver best to slobber up as much as she can with her tongue and lower lip.


No, I’m not enjoying this. That means I’m still okay, right?

Good Lord, what the blue screaming hell have I done?

As excruciating as it is to watch, Kim’s pleasured moaning, her smacking and slurping over Milner’s muffled shrieks take on an even more macabre timbre as I turn away. The timeless sound of an animal consuming live prey—something most of humanity hasn’t heard since the days of the sabre-tooth tigers, but you can’t miss it. Call it genetic memory.

I’m calling it Game Over. Nobody wins, said another great American poet. Ask Caesar.

This scene was the first in a series of epiphanies for Derek Grace, as befits “A Tale of Love and Redemption, of the Living Dead and a Monster Truck.” He does get better, but like the rest of us, he makes one hell of a mess on his way. Enjoy the vicarious thrills of bashing, shooting, and slashing the aggressive, entitled undead, while enjoying the progress of a man who goes from zero to hero in the course of finding his reason to live in the post-apocalypse.

Grace Among the Dead is available in Kindle and paperback from Severed Press.