Monday, April 18, 2016

The Third Series from Zombie Adventure BLEEDING KANSAS, Part IV

Here’s a link to the page with the links to the first two series. The series follow a chronological narrative, but it’s not like you absolutely have to read those first. Our tale opens on the morning of the first full day of the New Weird Order, and Derek Grace knows there’s no safety in the city. He’s not even sure of Tanner, the only other living soul in the luxury hotel they were locked up in while the police and National Guard were overwhelmed outside.

Still, you do what you gotta do, and oftentimes it’s with people you’d rather not be doing it with. Especially when SHTF.

 The interior of the Luxury Tank is dark for all the ruined bodies of once-people slapping and pounding at the glass.”

I press hard on the accelerator and I’m good for the first half of the first block. A man in a suit with his bloodied shirttails hanging comically over his slacks steps out to meet the Tank. He thumps off the left quarter panel, shaking the frame of the SUV as it rolls along the sunny, stinking street.

“Keep straight,” the GPS reminds us. “Prepare to turn right.”

I swerve left but hit two more with the right quarter panel. One spins away, the other goes under the tire. The moaning of the massing dead is like one long sustained shout we can hear even in the nearly airtight cabin of the luxury SUV. We’re halfway through the second block but the mob is thick in front of us now. I can’t see where to turn.

“Turn right, one hundred yards,” the GPS says.

“Don’t slow down,” Tanner says.

If I hit these things full force I’ll trigger the airbags. I cut my speed just enough to bring the ones in front underneath our wheels. The automatic all-wheel drive kicks in, and we’re grinding and squishing and breaking up the bodies beneath what I pray are run-flat tires. We rise up on one corner, then fall. Any given corner sags abruptly as our weight pulverizes select pockets of flesh and bone. We pull up another rise of bodies before plunging nose down again over the uneven terrain of howling corpses.

The interior of the Luxury Tank is dark for all the ruined bodies of once-people slapping and pounding at the glass. I can barely see over the hood for the angry cadavers clawing at the front of the vehicle. I hear the strain like cracking ice in the driver’s side window in the rear. I press on the accelerator. We lurch forward. But only a little. Then we’re pushed back again.

Their moaning and snarling grows louder, humming in our very teeth. The side windows are smeared bloody from the fists pounding on them. It won’t be long.

I floor it.

They back away at the roar of the engine enough for me to lurch forward again. The nose of the vehicle dips as we clear the latest mound of bodies. One of the tires is spinning but the rest are working. This angles us to the left a little.

“Turn right,” scolds the GPS.

I cut the wheels left and right. The snarling once-people back away. One bad boy with a neck tattoo leaps to the hood. I brake hard. He slides back but holds on. I throw the shifter into reverse.

“What are you doing?” says Tanner.

I stomp the pedal again but the crowd behind me is like a wall. All four tires spin uselessly on the crushed flesh beneath us. I hear a sharp crack over our whirring tires. I look back and the window on the other side is crazed with tiny lines. The only thing keeping the rear window intact is all those hunger-mad dead people pressing in from behind. The sheer force and mass of their bodies make it harder for the ones closest to hammer at it with their fists.

“Just get us out of this,” Tanner says. “We’ll shake him when we’re clear.”

“Yes, sir,” I say. I put the shifter back into drive and floor it again. I see what looks to be a slight break to the right and cut the wheel that way.

We jolt away just in time for another loud crack. A wide, jagged shard of the rear window on the driver’s side bows in. An arm thrusts through the gap, working at the wedge of safety glass, peeling it back.


First edition. Available
only in paperback.
AFTERWORD: Crazy as it sounds, there are two editions of Bleeding Kansas, and they differ in more than just their covers. The first edition contains more overtly misanthropic observations from Grace about the people and even the undead around him, some of which apparently hit some reviewers where they live. It also contains the death of a special-needs child that really upset some others. The child dies because Tanner is an asshole, but people blamed Grace, then me, for being fucking heartless, or whatever. Because innocents don’t die in zombie apocalypses, only people who have it coming. Or who can defend themselves. Or whatever.

Second edition, in Kindle
and in paperback.
So I rewrote the book. Six pages fell away as I niced it up for sensitive readers. We slapped a new cover on it and figured we could leave the bitchy reviews behind. Although the reaction to the new version hasn’t been all that bad, it seems we got more positive vibes from those discerning readers who expect a properly violent and nasty apocalypse than not. When I finish the third book in the series (yes, the second is already out) I’ll restore the child’s death and some of the misanthropic snark, in the course of making the Ultimate Version. If the death of special-needs children bothers you, if angry people make you feel uncomfortable, this is the version for you.