You know what? For a smart guy, I’m pretty fucking stupid. I’m not a big believer in the afterlife or heaven or God or anything like that. But one thing I do believe in is karma. I’ve just experienced it too much to ignore it. My whole life has been one long chain of spiritual cause and effect events. I should know better than to jinx myself by saying, “At least I’m still moving.”
The truck sputters, sputters, lurches, and dies. I try to turn the ignition as the truck slowly comes to a stop, but it does nothing. I crank and crank and crank, hearing the battery get weaker and weaker.
“What the fuck?” I say. “What’s wrong now, you piece of shit? Huh? You need a binky? Baby need its fucking binky?”
I look at the dashboard and slap my forehead.
No, baby needs to be fed.
“Out. Of. Fucking. Gas,” I say, “or diesel. Whatever.”
I can see the mini-herd (mega-horde?) behind me, maybe ten yards back and getting closer. I take inventory of my weapons: The Bitch. I count again and come up with the same number. One. Nothing I can do about that.
“Better roll ‘em up, kids,” I snicker with nervous laughter as I roll the windows up tight. I lock the doors for good measure. Not that a Z could open the doors, they can’t work latches, but it makes me feel better.
Dead hands begin to slap against the sides of the truck, and pretty soon I feel the weight of them pressing in. Their bodies, their constant shambling movement, slowly rock the dump truck from side to side. Not a lot. Not like kids jumping on the bumper of a car, but enough that I know there’s trouble in River City. That starts with T and rhymes with Z, and stands for, uh, well, Zs.
The slapping gets louder. Then the moans, the groans. And that wet sound that happens when their flesh gets stuck on something and rips right off the bone. I hate that sound. That sound is the worst.
I can see them in the mirror, getting closer to the cab, their mouths hanging open, congealed bloody drool dripping from their lips and chins. Those that have lips and chins, at least. Some don’t even have lower jaws and the viscous fluids just drop from their palates. Flaps of flesh hang in random strips from faces, necks, shoulders, arms, breasts, and bellies.
Hey, a cheerleader! I can’t wait to tell Stella I saw an undead cheerleader. She’s always hated cheerleaders. Like I hate clowns. Well, maybe not exactly like I hate clowns.
The slapping! Ugh, I want it just to stop. I try to keep the Stella train of thought going, try to think of the kids, home, the neighborhood. I even try to envision what the next HOA meeting will be like. “Hey, guys! Guess what? We have more neighbors! And they aren’t really into the HOA covenants. In fact, they aren’t into letting us live! Whatcha think of that, huh? Huh? Guys?”
The face that appears at my window is scorched from the scalp down to the eye sockets. It looks like someone set its hair on fire, but the thing got lucky and dunked itself in a toilet or something. Really weird. Then I have to wonder, looking at the burn pattern, if that isn’t what happened. And the way the skin looks, I then have to wonder if the poor soul was alive when the burning and the dunking happened.
“Go away please,” I mouth. I don’t say it out loud. Voices, living real voices, tend to get them wound up, stir that hunger and shit.
The face is pushed aside as more and more Zs get to the window. Scorch Scalp decides to move to the front of the truck and climb on. Hmmm, it’s actually climbing onto the hood. That shows some athleticism. Maybe he died when a hazing went wrong? “Welcome to the lacrosse team! Now we burn your hair off! Oh, shit, and you’re coming back from the dead? Eeeeeeek!”
Ah, man, Scorch Scalp isn’t wearing pants. Or underwear. Don’t puke, don’t puke.
It sees me and pushes right up against the windshield. Scorch Scalp hisses, showing his teeth…and the meat stuck in them. He’s fed recently. Like really recently. Jesus. Do you think that makes them stronger? More agile? Like a flesh battery recharge? Fuck, I hope not.
Slap! Slap! SLAPSLAPSLAPSLAP!
“Stop it!” I cry, then clamp my hand over my mouth. What the fuck was I thinking? Why? Why did I do that?
The Zs like it, though. It seems to energize them, give them new hope that they can crack this cab like a walnut and pick the tasty nut meat (me) out and have a tasty treat. The slapping is now banging. The windows don’t look as strong as they did just seconds ago. And look! Scorch Scalp has a buddy! Oh, two buddies? Sure there’s room, why not. Three? Four? Five, six, seven? Fuck…
Slapping to banging to…cracking?
Shit, the passenger window is breaking. I stare at the spider cracks that are slowly spreading as hand after undead hand slams against the safety glass. Safety glass? Not feeling so safe, thank you! The cracks spread more, not so slow. Not slow at all. Pretty fast, actually. Huh. I think this shit is going to-
“FUCK!” I scream as the glass crumbles inward. I kick and kick and kick at the hands that reach for me. I jam The Bitch at the hands, stabbing, gouging, and trying to shred them. “Stay back! Fuck off! Fuck you! FUCK YOU!”
The hands keep reaching, but there are so many of them attached to so many bodies that they clog the window. They can’t get bodies in. And bodies are where the teeth are. Okay, okay, this could be fine.
I slowly turn my head and see the split in the windshield. The Putrescent Seven will not have a problem getting through that window when the glass goes. Not going to get clogged there.
A hand grabs my foot and I scream. I don’t yell like a man or below in a deep voice. I scream in a high-pitched way only dogs can hear. I’d say I scream like a little girl, but that would be an insult to the marvelous screaming ability that little girls have. My scream can only be described as a supersonic attempt at shattering every piece of glass in the world.
Speaking of shattering glass… There goes the driver’s side window and here come the Z hands. Not to be confused with jazz hands. Those are kinda fun. Who doesn’t love a little song and dance in the apocalypse?
Aaaaaaaaaah! The hands that grab my head are wet! Slimy wet! Like a dog bone left out in the rain after a day of gnawing. Not jazz hands! NOT JAZZ HANDS! Skin sloughs off in my hair as I jerk away. Oh, but I can’t jerk too far since there are those supersonic scream inducing hands on the other side of the cab. So I settle in the middle, turning from side to side, smashing what I can with The Bitch. Soon the cab is covered with the oozing drippings of a thousand spike wounds. I keep bashing and smashing with The Bitch, but I’m not really helping my cause. I’m just creating more of a mess. The Zs don’t give a shit if I prick their fingers with my mighty spikes.
Back and forth, back and forth; smash and bash; spike and drip.
The windshield. The fucking windshield! Aren’t dump trucks supposed to have windshields made of like super glass? Indestructible glass that can stop a boulder at sixty miles an hour? I mean, dump trucks are around nothing but construction work. Can’t they stop falling girders and shit?
Oh shit, oh fuck, oh shit, oh fuck…oh shit.
The windshield is buckling under the weight of the Zs on the hood and I can see more climbing up and joining them. Great.
All I can do is close my eyes and pray I hear gunshots. Come on, Stuart. You were running pretty fast. You have to have gotten to the gate by now. But then, there was that dark stain on his back. Oh, shit, did he fucking keel over and die before getting to the gate? Did a Z catch him in his weakened state? Oh, shit. Please let there be gunshots. Please, I have never wanted to hear the sound of gunpowder igniting so much in my life.
But as I hear the windshield start to give, the sucking sound of the seal giving way around the frame, the crackcrackcrack of the glass crumpling under the weight of the Zs, all I can think about, besides the fact I’ll never see my family again (which I really try not to think about), is that I’m going to fucking die wearing bright pink yoga pants and a purple shirt with a mother fucking glittery butterfly.
* * * * *
The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
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