Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chapter 18: Homecoming

Chapter 18: Homecoming

Anne James rolls her eyes at her husband while she cradles Bianca’s head in her lap. The woman whom she'd just revived using some very rusty CPR skills bark a series of raw coughs that end in harsh wheezing. The woman’s face is a mix of soot streaks and thick white foamy saliva. "Honey focus on helping Chip drive instead of gloating about the zombie apocalypse." Anne chides her husband he turns back to face their son. The boy has the steering wheel in a death grip they haven't reached the end of the block yet and he's already sweating profusely. "Turn left Junior." Ben instructs his eldest child. "Ben baby we have to go by my parents please." Ben does an about face back in time to hear B shout "Granddad!" with glee. "OK Baby doll." He tells her spinning back in his seat. Ben’s breathing trails off his thoughts carry him far from the van to the faces of his relatives. His brother, his sisters and on the list goes people whom he loved and cherished but people he knew he’d never see alive again. He catches the lone tear teetering on his right eyelid where his son can’t see it. Absently he flicks it off his face like a summer bug. Ben is pained by the hurt of his parent’s deaths but glad they aren’t alive to see the world now at the same time.

Ben grows worried as they slowly weave past cars on the deserted street. Up ahead in the distance he can see a cluster of zombies meandering down the street. The zombie at the head of the pack takes the lead a male and he is one of the fast ones. The ghoul sprints down the middle of the street right for the van. It clutches a blood covered stick of some sort in its glove clad hands. "Alright Chip remember what your grandfather told you to do if you’re going to hit a deer.” Ben grabs his seat belt clicking it in securely. "Speed up..." Chip bites down on his bottom lip putting as much pressure as his feeble legs can muster onto the van’s gas peddle. Ben is pulled back into his seat from the sudden acceleration of the vehicle. He watches the figure close the distance quickly as the rest of the crowd lurches towards the van like macabre bobble head dolls. The pack leader is covered in blood running full tilt down the street like they were playing chicken. Ben knew in his mind the lone fleshy zombie would lose meeting the one ton steel van head on. “If all goes well son he should be thrown up and over top.” Ben says placing a steadying hand on the faded blue dashboard. He tugs the revolver free from his waistband holding it firmly in free hand. He’s is so focused on the tanned skinned zombie that he almost misses the fear in its eyes. More dead wander into the picture from every direction they converge drawn out by even the slightest noise. The figure running for their van is afraid “and zombies don’t know fear.” Ben thinks to himself the running figures features become clearer as they come together. A quick look at Chip he sees his boy staring intently out battered windshield. “Jamal?!” Ben whispers the shock sticks the name in his mind and his tongue to the roof of his mouth. He knows the zombie racing towards them, he knows the man.

“Stop!” he screams yanking the steering wheel sharply to the side. The van skids sideways wildly turning completely about coming to an abrupt stop. The white “James and Sons” van clipped the rear of an abandoned car on the side of the road and was now facing the opposite direction. Protest erupt from the vans rear as the women and children are tossed about. “It’s Jamal ….” Ben shouts at his dazed son. “The Mohammed’s son Jamal.” He yells hustling from his seat. The big husky carpenter moves gingerly about the cramped rear of the van hoping over Bianca. As gently as he can Ben lifts B and the infant she is holding up off the rear doors. He places them both firmly into Brandon’s arms. “Get back I don’t know if he is one of them.” Ben commands leveling the pistol he throws one of the rear doors open. “Mr. Benjamin James…” The young Americanized Iranian leaps into the van Ben catches him pinning him to the floor in one smooth motion. Jamal’s bloodied baseball bats skids across the van’s floor. One look out the door spurs Ben into action as a set of ragged finger tips grab the open door. A woman comes moaning through a hole torn in her neck deep crimson blood stains cascade over her once pink nightgown. Ben aims the pistol his hand trembling slightly. Dozens of zombies come into view over the walking corpse’s shoulders. Ben squeezes the trigger while kneeling on a terrified Jamal Mohammed. The slug decimates the woman’s right eye socket burrowing its way through her skull before exploding out the back of her head. The ghoulish woman tips back slowly falling at the feet of the advancing mob of zombies.

“Go Chip Go!” Ben shouts to his son who was turned around facing the chaos. Chip whips about pinning the pedal to the floor as fast and his lame leg will allow. Tires squealing the van blots forward throwing Ben off balance tumbling backwards he’s left dangling from the speeding van. A hand snags his belt yanking him back up Ben and Jamal fall hard against a shelf lined with tools on the van‘s left side. Anne jumps over the writhing men defying gravity she leans out catching the wayward door. Gritting her teeth with effort she pulls the door shut with one hand while holding onto the locked door for support. Ben recovers first spinning off the floor placing his pistol to Jamal Mohammed’s forehead. “Are you bit, are you injured, are you one of them?” He fires off questions to the young man. “Mr. James please.” He yelps panicked unlike his father Jamal has no hint of his native accent. “I ….I… “He begins “I left school as soon as I could I hitched a ride with a friend who had a car that still worked. We managed to make it almost all the way here but last night he changed tried to kill me Sir.” His eyes dart about the cabin. “Sir I just came home to find my parents.” With that last phrase the fight drains from Benjamin James. The young man has lost all the things that Ben still had and held dear family. He lifts his girth off of Jamal pulling him upright. “I’m so sorry Jamal…” Ben slinks back against the wall his wife comes to his side. “There is no need to be sorry Mr. James I understand the things I have seen…..” Jamal says as respectful and courteous as he’d always been but Ben interrupts. “No son….” Ben moves back to the center of the van squatting as he buries his face in his hands. Ben reaches for the young man who he’d known for most of his life. “I’m sorry Jamal your parents…” He fumbles avoiding eye contact. “They … umm they didn’t make it son.” The van rocks as it drives over something Ben sits back against the wall his wife consoling him. Jamal simply sits silent in the middle of the floor he looks about the van in a daze. “I tried son I offered everyone a chance to hunker down in my shelter with us but they refused.” Ben sniffles deeply wiping at his eyes. “Your family Mr. James they are all here?” He asks. Anne looks at each of her children before nodding at Jamal. “My parents they are together wherever their souls have come to rest.” Jamal scurries over to Anne and Ben. “I will stay with you now you are my family now Mr. and Mrs. James. You are all that I know in this world you too Mrs. Fullerton.” He motions to Bianca Fullerton who sways groggily close to the front of the van. Ben extends his hand Jamal takes it gripping it tightly as cracking a thin smile. “Dad … mom” Chip shouts from the van’s driver’s seat. “We are coming up to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.” Belinda cheers at the news still holding the baby in her lap offering Brandon a high five. Scampering over to B he gleefully returns the gesture with gusto.

“Stay here everyone.” Ben tells his eager family one would think it was just another Sunday visit to Grand Ma’s and Grand Pa’s. “Jamal can you do me a favor please?” The young man snaps to in agreement. “No problem Mr. James.” He answers moving to the van’s front. “Jamal call me Ben if you don’t mind.” A pang of guilt touches Ben’s heart. Ben understands all to well he’s just informed the young college student of his parents demise and not ten minuets later. He has told Jamal to disregard the respect his parents raised him to have. “Yes sir I can do that.” Jamal tells him smiling broadly feeling comfortable for the first time in days he has a place to belong. “Alright Jamal stay here and grab your bat. If I need back up it’ll up to you trust me I’m counting on you.” Ben scans the street for the moment no dead mill about, but he’s knows they are there in the shadows. He does see about a half a dozen corpses lying around his in-laws front porch. Odder still Ben sees his Father in law relaxed in one of his lawn chairs on the front porch smoking a cigarette. The man looks as if he doesn’t have a care in the world he appears oblivious to the current state of the planet. “He hasn’t smoked in over twenty years.” Ben thinks to himself “Not since he beat back lung cancer in the early nineties.” Benjamin James’ mind is awash with bad thoughts knowing full well this can’t be good. “Chip don’t turn the van off keep it running and in drive with your foot on the brake son.” He pops the door open sliding off the seat finishing his sentence. “Yes dad.” Chip calls to his father but it’s lost with the closing of the door.

Ben watches the lone figure on the porch praying to God the man is alive. With the trauma to come in his kids life Ben didn’t want to start the apocalypse by putting down his wife’s father in front of their children. “Pops?” He shout whispers loud as he dares to his mind muddled in confusion. The old man with the traditional Marine balding buzz cut gives him a pained one handed wave his lit cigarette trailing smoke like a sky writers’ bi-plane. Ben cocks his revolver somewhat relived stepping over a male corpse in a filthy postman’s uniform. The post man lying face up with a bullet hole where it’s nose once was is one several bodies attracting flies in the morning sun. Ben takes the first step tentatively aware this is the most exposed he’s been since the Event. The outside now feels foreign polluted by the dead unsafe for anyone not infected. “Pops what the hell are you doing outside and …” Ben’s words seize in his throat choking him. His Father in Law sits with on hand propped on a weathered banister the other clutched around his blood soaked midsection. To the man’s right a small table with a bloodied pack of Camel cigarettes, a black well kept pistol and thirty ought six rifle with a hunting scope its stock caked in dried blood. “Jesus Pops oh God.” Ben paces the front porch running his hands roughly over his head. Ben chants “OK” over and over again he not sure if his wife can see the distress etched on his face as she has moved to occupy the passenger seat. Her face is contorted with worry he wants to motion to her wishing he could have prepared himself for the shock that met him at on his porch. To late his wife pops the door open dropping one foot to the asphalt below. “Annie May James.” The old man shouts flicking his cigarette butt into the yard. Anne was frozen as any person would be from birth to adulthood having ones parents use the triple name call out was a universal sign to a child of any age that there would be no debate. “Don’t you come up here get back in that van now.” He winces in pain his face pale and ashen. “Ben are my grand babies OK?” He asks his speechless son in law who simply nods “yes.” “Honey daddy loves you now get back in there and take care of those babies.” He tells his only daughter the hurt on her face is evident. As if on cue Belinda pokes her head out of the door slithering her thin body into the seat standing. “Hi Grand Pa!” She yells out as loud as she can her arms wave wildly in the air. “I love you!” She carries on Ben watches his Father in Law this time the pain he feels is different. Bob Lawson returns his grand daughter’s sentiment of love with one of his own. “Grand dad loves you too baby now get back in the van Baby Girl.” Calling her by the pet name he’d adopted for his youngest grand child. He fixes his lovely daughter with a blank stare hoping he can relay to her the love he and his wife have for her. Anne stumbles as she reluctantly ushers B back into the van then climbs in herself.

“Ben son …” Bob speaks without taking his eyes off his daughters face. Ben doesn’t answer he is transfixed at the sight of a man he’d grown to regard as a father in the years since losing his dad. The man’s hand is holding his intestines in a wicked wound covering his stomach from left to right. Bob Lawson has been disemboweled his fingers now mashing in the gelatinous stringy contents of his stomach cavity. He was literally sitting in a pool of blood and his own entrails from his waits down. “Ben.” The old Marine snaps pulling his son in law from his stupor. “Sir?” Was all Ben could croak out of his dry mouth. “Son I am sorry for the way I treated you in the beginning.” The two men face each other on the porch Ben’s makes to protest. Bob Lawson lifts his free hand silencing the protest yet to come. “I was ignorant I saw your color and not your content I saw you taking my only child my baby.” Tears find their way over the rims of Bob’s eyes now. “I hope…. I pray you can find it in your heart to forgive me son. One day some young man will come to you if this world gets right again and he will ask you for Belinda’s hands. Maybe then Benjamin you’ll see a glimpse of what made me so stubborn and mean spirited. For the record mother loved you the first day she met you.” The man chuckles suddenly pressing both hands to his eviscerated midsection as a cough bubbles up bringing blood colored spittle with it. Ben awakes from his confused state realizing he hadn’t seen his beloved mother in law. “Bob I told you we had this discussion years ago I’m fine I got over it figured I had to earn you respect and Anne’s hand.” Ben moves for the front door of the house. “Where’s Mother Lawson Bob?” A sharp bang from inside the house drives him back. Ben turns to his Father in Law weakly searching the man’s face for answers. “Ben son never deprive a man the chance to unburden himself to you when he’s about to meet his maker.” The man looks older somehow maybe it’s the blood loss or maybe it’s the emotional loss. “Yesterday some punk hurt Margaret yesterday when she went to let the cat in.” He swallows hard. “Last night something happened to her son. She came at me I didn’t know what to do I couldn’t bear to hurt her. She chased me about the house all night. She ah….” He looks down resigned to his fate glancing over the near fatal injury. “She got a butcher’s knife and opened me up something fierce. I made it out her just before dawn locked her inside.” Reaching over he attempts to free a cigarette from the crumpled pack. Ben steps up to help Bob grabbing the unfiltered cigarette placing it to the man’s trembling lips. Ben grabs silver Zippo light from the table flicking top back he holds the dancing flame to the cancer stick. Bob Lawson draws in deep relishing his last cigarette as a condemned man. Ben makes to hand the lighter back Bob motions with his hand. “Keep it.” He says absently blowing out smoke.

“Son do you have another gun?” He asks pointing to the small silver revolver long forgotten in Ben’s thick hand. “Just this I didn’t have any extra shells though but we have bats and this mallet that Chip calls lucky.” Ben informs his wounded kin. “Tell you what Ben here take my Forty Five you’ll need it. I’ve kept her clean and oiled since Uncle Sam gave her to me. I got to my guns set them by the door when Margaret was attacked so I managed to grab them and my portable HAM radio as I stumbled out the door.” The man’s eyes flutter Ben can see the man loosing strength as his life drains out across the stained wooded porch. “Take my rifle too there are shells and clips for each under the table with the radio.” Ben leans forward collecting the things as he’d been told Bob grabs his arm as he stands up. “Give me your revolver Ben. I need to do what I couldn’t last night and I won’t need many rounds for that son.” Before Ben knows it he has embraced Bob Lawson his father in law. The men hug on the porch Ben wants to say so much he wants to do more but he knows there is nothing more he can do. Bob Lawson pushes his son in law away. “Now look Ben I talked to some of my HAMMY friends their channels are on a card I wrote in the battery compartment.” Ben nods curtly trying to hold back the tears he longs to shed. He hands his revolver to Bob Lawson. He tosses the rifle over his shoulder then tucks the pistol in his waistband where the revolver had been. Kneeling down picking up the radio and ammo boxes Ben gets an up close view of the man’s injury. He had heard stories from Anne of her father’s legendary toughness. Ben had dismissed that as a daughters aggrandizement of her all powerful “Daddy.” His daughter Belinda clearly suffered from the same heroic delusions as her mother had.

“Ben.” The sound of his name brings Ben back from his reminiscing. “You protect them Ben protect your family …my baby … my grand babies. Don’t live long enough to see those things have at them you hear me boy?” Ben's sighs “Yes sir I swear to you I will.” Ben declares his oath standing before Bob Lawson. “Good now get the hell out of here I have to finish this and we’re drawing a crowd.” The man points out down the block. Where there had been no ghouls before there were dozens encircling the house and moving closer. Ben pulls the pistol free from his waist. “Don’t not shoot unless you have to sound attracts them.” Bob enlightens his son in law. “And Ben go to ground hunker down don’t be out in the open at night. Some of them get smarter, faster, and meaner when the sun goes down.” Ben doesn’t know what to say he is in awe of his wife’s father. Still in this dark hour he call to duty is only out weighed by his selflessness. “I love you Pops.” He says perched at the top stair. “I know son now get them the hell out of here so I can do what I need to do. Tell my babies I love them and tell my Annie her daddy has been proud of her every minuet of everyday of her life.” He drops the remnants of the cigarette in the gooey pool of congealed blood at his feet. Ben vaults from the porch with a purpose, he’s no longer hesitant but embolden with the courage his father in law had bestowed upon him. He knows the old Marine is watching and he doesn’t waiver in an effort to impress Bob Lawson. His only desire is to show the man he will care for his precious cargo and fight back the demons of the new world. He crosses the distance to the van as the passenger door swings open. Jamal comes out bat in hand Ben raises the black pistol to fire as a short male zombie has found it‘s was between him and his family. The young one time college student is faster one blow caves the dead thing’s skull. The walking corpse falls motionless to the ground Ben steps over it never breaking stride. He jumps into the van climbing into the rear leaving the passenger seat empty for Jamal. Ben goes to his wife immediately dropping the weapons without a care He sees the hope fade from her beautiful face the closer he gets. “Go Chip.” Ben calls up from the back after Jamal hops into the passenger’s seat. The van pulls away slowly as Anne unleashes a deafening wail of heartbreak. Ben takes his wife into his arms her body racked with sobs she cries out unintelligible phrases of pain. Brandon and Belinda weeping collapse heavily upon their parents and are pulled into the embrace. Up front Chip drives though the veil of tears blurring his vision. Jamal rubs Chip’s shoulder from his position in next to him. Bianca sits huddled with her girls as the van turns the corner.

On the porch Bob Lawson waits for the van to disappear from sight secure in the knowledge his family is safe. The zombies have reached his yard one viciously mauled policewoman in bumbling up his bottom step. He musters the last of his strength letting his midsection go free with a Herculean effort Bob pushes up from his chair. He wavers in place as his intestines spill out like a bucket of old fish. The dead police officer reaches for him as she steps onto the porch. He puts one round between her eyes sending the zombies tumbling back of the porch into the arms of its kind. He waddles to the front door trailing his own entrails turning the key he left in the knob earlier. Bob Lawson shoves hard knocking back the weight against the door. The man fumbles into his home slamming the door shut he stands in the dark listening for the growls of the thing that had taken resident in his wife’s body. Bob fires one shot in the dark putting her down for good for a moment the house is silent and still the way it used to be. The pounding on the door starts the weary old man slides down the wall slowly plopping on the floor he waits for death to claim him. A tug jiggles a slimy piece of Bob’s guts that have gotten caught in the door after he locked it. The sausage like rope is pulled taught after the first undead walking corpse finds the still warm delicacy. Bob succumbs to gravity as he is pulled sideways laying against the door. From the other side of the tan door zombies fight for scraps of the Bob’s entrails. Wet chewing noises and guttural grunts are the last things Bob Lawson hears in this life.
Tonight we witnessed the James family take a heart breaking detour to the home of Anne's parents. After they have met up with Jamal Mohammed the college aged son of their now deceased neighbors. Bob and Margaret Lawson haven't fared as well as the James family unfortunately. The tragedy of the visit is sure to be the first of many for the family seeking to survive the zombie apocalypse.
We will return after a holiday break the week of January 6th 2013. Plan on coming by for a look see as we catch up with our favorite trio of stranded young soldiers.
The Living Dark would like to wish all of it's friends, family and fans a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Chapter 17: Buggin Out

Chapter 17: Bugging Out

Ben musters everything he has taking the stairs two at a time fearing for the safety of his wife and children. Bursting from the basement Ben throws the bags to the floor sweating spinning about he sees the children all huddled together with no trace of the women. His legs move before he tells them to Ben finds the women gathered in the living room. At their feet lay the battered decomposing motionless bodies of Napoleon Archer and Bianca’s husband Carl Fullerton. Between the wailing infant, Bianca’s hysterical howling and Anne attempts to console her friend the house was a symphony of noise. “Bianca ….. Bianca …” Ben wades in to the fray. The sobbing woman with the baby in her arm whirls about slapping him across the face hard. “You bastard you murdered him.” She screeches storming forward. “Hold on damn it.” Ben stands his ground catching the woman’s arm mid swing. “Look dammit Bianca…“ Smoke drifts down his throat seizing his lungs. Ben forces the racking cough back down. “I’m sorry Carl attacked me but he wasn’t himself, so did Nate. I didn’t know how to tell you I’m sorry.” He shouts at the struggling woman who is no match for Ben even if she wasn’t cradling the baby with one arm. “Bianca please we have to go and you have to be quite those things are everywhere they’ll hear you.” Ben begs with his neighbor’s wife glancing over his shoulder. “Please we have to go…” He tells woman as she rips from his grasp.

Bianca breezes past the couple pulling her daughter Dakota from amidst the James children. Suddenly the barred front door rattles as something is hammers against it from the outside. The sounds become a steady drumming of blows to the plywood security barrier. Anne only catches a glimpse of Ben’s terrified face his eyes so wide they appear lidless. She backs down to her own children trembling in fear. “Bianca please we have to go.” He implores the frantic angry woman but to no avail. On the second level of the house something gives way with a splintering crash. A wave of thick choking smoke pours down the staircase enveloping the rooms shrouding everything in a suffocating mist. “Last chance Bianca…” He shouts through the smoke. “Get away from me murderer.” That’s all Ben needs to hear bolting though the haze he collides with his wife feeling for his two smaller children. He dips low snagging the bags he’d deposited on the floor in haste. “Anne?!” He stammers pushing forward lifting one of the forms at his legs up over his shoulders. “Yeah Ben it’s me…” As she answers she feels herself being drug though the house her eyes unable to adjust until she realizes they are in the garage the air slightly clearer. Ben pins his wife and kids to the rear of the van then runs around to his son sitting in the driver’s seat. Under the door the daylight is now almost totaling obscured by wobbling shadows. “Open up Chip now.” The boy does as ordered Ben returns popping the door ushering his family in to his work van. Ben heaves the bags of supplies in first then hops in behind them closing the doors tripping over the wheelchair making his way up from the rear. “Ben….. Ben baby please.” Anne is crying from the vans cramped rear holding her babies who weep softly. “Please baby we can’t leave her and the kids Ben please.” She pleads with her husband knowing he was a better man than this. “Anne honey for God’s sake if you have seen what we’ve seen baby we have to go she’s attracted Lord knows how many of them to us. My family first she made her choice. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Now Chip start this damn thing up now so we can get the hell outta here!” He stabs a finger at the keys dangling in the ignition acutely aware he rarely raises voice at his children.

The van’s engine turns over smoothly without a word she appears at her father’s side hands folded in front of her little baby fat potbelly. “Daddy why do bad things happen to good people?” She inquires softly leaning on her father’s brawny shoulder. The big carpenter stammers uncontrollably. “Daddy what’s going to happen to Dakota and her mommy and the baby?” Ben couldn’t look his daughter in the eyes. “Honey her daddy is in heaven and I have to take care of you and our family.” In the back of the van Anne’s tears have stopped. For while she holds sway over her husband Anne knows his “baby girl” is his Kryptonite. “Daddy you couldn’t save Dakota’s daddy I understand if you can’t save her and her mommy but the baby that makes me sad.” The little girl returns to her mother plopping down her lap huge salty tears of anguish pooling at her feet. Ben sits paralyzed by the weight of what a man is versus what his child thinks he is …… a superhero. Ben’s jaw clenches his breathing quickens a vein pulsates at his temple. “Keep the van running lock the doors.” Ben says stepping back out into the smoky garage mumbling to himself something about “being a damn superhero.” He runs back into his burning house trailing his hand along the wall he pulls away once the wall gets hot. The flames leap down the stairs now roiling across the ceiling from the stairway into the kitchen. Ben hunches low using the light from the flames and the pounding on the front door to orientate himself as he’s nearly blind. “Bi…” Was all he could get out before he gagged choking from the thick noxious smoke. Dropping to the floor Ben begins to commando crawl forward to where he had last seen Bianca. Hearing the infant girl moan Ben lashes out a hand he takes hold of a warm leg. Feeling about he grips a tiny gym shoe pulling the bodies closer. Ben feels the soft robe Bianca was wearing gently he takes the baby up. Ben then positions Bianca on her back laying Dakota across her mother he then places the baby atop the pile. Pushing his hands under the pile Ben grunts between coughs hoisting all three likely unconscious figures up against his chest. Light fills the dark smoky room as the front door finally gives way under the assault caving inward.

The fresh infusion of oxygen invigorates the fire fueling it to consume the kitchen wall. Smoke is pulled towards the smashed front door the air clears enough for Ben to see. What he sees coming through the now swirling clouds of billowing smoke spurs him into action. Dozens of heads and hands crowd their way into the doorway. They smash against each other in an undulating mass clogging the doorway wailing and moaning. Snarls fill the air Ben stands lifting the remnants of the Fullerton clan hustling nearly blind through the house. Instinctively he pulls back as the intense heat forces him away from the engulfed staircase. Ben huffs woefully out of shape carrying what he assumes to be no more than the bodies of his one time neighbors. Behind him the sounds of the house being ransacked echo over the roaring flames. Ben’s lungs burn from the smoke he falters as he hears the figures behind him. The image of the person walking consumed by flames from Nate’s house with no concern for the fire searing its flesh drives him to move faster. Going though the doorway he bumps Bianca’s head on the door frame “that’s for slapping me” he thinks tinged with guilt. “Anne.” he wheezes no louder than a whisper the mob sounds closer now. Ben doesn’t know if the heat on the back of his neck is from the fire on one of the “matchstick people” now bouncing around his house. Ben spins in the garage using a foot to kick shut the door to the house. He bumps painfully into his van hearing movement from within and the doors open. “My God…” Anne shouts flinging open the doors pulling the bodies from Ben’s arms onto the floor of the van. He slams the van doors shut just as the door to the garage splinters. Ben fumbles eyes burning chest heaving he flings the passenger door open jumping inside. “Go boy go!” He cries mashing the button on the garage door opener hanging from the visor over Chip’s head.

The door lifts slowly on well oiled wheels shuffling feet coming into view as the rear of the van is battered from yet unseen attackers. Chip has tunnel vision driven by nerves and adrenaline. The handicapped teen lets the door get about half way up seeing the bodies pressed against it before he guns the van’s powerful engine. The van lurches forward like a battering ram scattering bodies while peeling the aluminum garage door from its track. The sunlight is a shock to those who’ve spent the last two days in virtual darkness nothing is more shocking that the horror before them. The heavy van bounces wildly as it rips the door free while driving over prone bodies. Their once quite Cul de sac is now a scene of utter chaos. The houses are ablaze in a horseshoe of fire bloodied battered forms wander from every direction and then they all hone in rushing the van. “Dad I think we just ran over Mr. Mohammed.” Chip stammers his father placing a hand on his shoulder to steady him. Ben cast a glance in his rear view mirror to see the home he built from the ground up consumed in an inferno. Pouring from the open garage door dozens more of those shambling things his son had called “zombies.” Turning in his seat he watches he wife vigorously performing CPR on Bianca. His little girl B holds the Fullerton’s fussing infant daughter who has soot cake around her nostrils on her lap. Dakota sits against the vans rear door crying softly. Ben speaks with a great sense of I told you so. “Hey baby since the zombies are just walking around all normal like. Do I at least get partial credit for there being actual zombies?”
Well now all hell has officially broken loose as the James family has fled their once safe home. What will they find in this new unforgiving world? Can Benjamin James keep his family together more importantly can he keep them alive?
Comeback the week of December 16th to find out the answers to all your questions and for the next chapter of The Living Dark.
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Chapter 16: Exit Strategy

Chapter 16: Exit Strategy

  Sprinting across the smoky basement huffing Ben negotiates the corner behind his workbench bouncing down the tight passageway. The husky man pounds the rusty steel door until he hears the wheels on the door turning from the other side. As the door cracks open a sliver Benjamin James shoves his way in coughing his chest heaving deeply. “Ok we have a problem…” He squeezes out between gasp leaning heavily against the doors other side. Anne brings him a white wash cloth she has soaked with water. “To be honest …” he says in the hazy air as others around him cough and gag periodically. “We have several problems everybody and before I lay out the biggest of them. I need everyone to be quite and understand this we have to leave here today.” He gazes around to see all the panicked faces looking toward him for assurance. The only solstice he has is that his son Chip knows what he is about to say is hideously ugly but true none the less. “Ben is the house on fire?” Anne shouts muffled through her washcloth. “Yes honey it is on fire the attic was burning when I went check the source of the smoke.” Ben stands upright taking his weight off the door. “To be honest when I checked every house on the cul de sac is on fire including you guys house Bianca.” He points at Carl’s wife nursing their baby girl. “We need to get the hell out of the house now Ben.” Anne starts arraigning the frightened children into a single file line like a school teacher.

“Honey listen please.” Ben grabs his woman by her arm the shock in her face more than evident. “We can’t go outside Anne not like we used to honey.” He tells his wife releasing her arm but making sure he still has her full attention. “Benjamin we can’t stay here this shelter isn’t smoke proof. The house is gonna burn down around us.” Ben pulls the cloth from his face. “Anne we have to leave baby but things have change outside it‘s no longer safe. Chip and I think it has to have something to do with that what happened when the power went out and the sky started to glowing orange at night.” Bianca stands moving closer. “Benjamin we can’t leave without Carl he won’t know where to find us.” She says her eyes pleading for his understanding Ben however had to look away. Staring the woman in her sad blue eyes wasn’t on his mind when he and his son narrowly escaped death at their neighbor’s hands by caving his head in. “Uh Bianca I….” He stammers before breaking into a coughing fit as if on cue he needed time to think. “I don’t think Carl is going to make it back.” He mumbles sheepishly face cast down at the floor. “Why Benjamin?” She implores tears starts cascading down her cheeks even as Anne comes to Bianca’s side to console her. “Bianca …..Anne.” Ben places a comforting hand on both women‘s shoulders. “Yesterday morning Chip and I powered up the laptop using the generator. The Internet is mostly offline but there were still some news sites up and we watched a video. It appeared to show a woman attacking someone.” Ben sighs aware he’s taken this story far away from the point and no matter how he tried to avoid saying it eventually they would find out. “Ben the damn house is on fire and we’re in the basement which just happens to be the worst possible place to be.” Anne screams at her husband pulling her washcloth off her face. “Honey I’m sorry this isn’t something I have to do everyday but there are zombie-ish like people wandering about the street. That noise you heard last night was me fighting Nate he had broken though the attic window I had forgotten to secure. This is how the embers from the other house fires got in. I had to bash his head in he was possessed by something Anne. His skin was brackish and peeling as it oozed he wanted to kill us said he always hated me, you, our marriage and our kids.” Ben felt like he had just farted during a wedding now that it was out and the awkward moment had past all he felt was relief.

The women stare at him in disbelief. “Mom …Mrs. Fullerton.” A soft voice masculine arises from behind in the haze. Anne’s mouth hangs wide as she turns to see Chip licking his lips his hands placed on his lap. “As bad as it sounds Mom Mr. Archer was changed he climbed the side of our house and Dad hid me under the sink and he killed him last night. Dad’s not crazy ….. Well that crazy Mom. Please you have to believe us there is something bad happening and it’s definitely tied to the power going out.” The boy sits silently before coughing from a tickle in his throat little Dakota runs into her mother’s thigh weeping. “I have no idea what to say I really don‘t.” Anne pulls her babies to her picking Belinda up hugging Brandon against her leg. “Ben I don‘t know what to believe but so for you haven‘t lied to me yet. So tell us what to do as long as we are safe the rest we can deal with ….. I hope.” Ben leans in kissing his wife on her forehead tasting a slight tinge of salt. “We have to go guys the van still works probably because it wasn’t running at the time of the Event I assume.” Ben scans the shelter “Gather up all the supplies we have down here. Brandon and I will run them up to the van. We will get Chip’s chair from the living room too.” Ben instructs those gathered below ground in his burning home. “There isn’t much room in the back of the van so we take food, water and weapons only. Anne do we have anything else for the baby diapers formula?” Ben asks his wife who takes a moment to answer. “Yeah honey I think we do upstairs.” She tells her husband. “Ok on the way out grab what you can honey.” Ben makes to walk away then Bianca stops him. “Ben can we head by St. George’s please to see if we can find Carl?” He places one of his large hands on her nodding his head “yes” vigorously. “Chip you’re driving son.” Ben calls out even though Chip was “legally paralyzed” from the waist down he could still move his legs. He didn’t posses enough lower body strength to stand but he could move his legs enough to drive short distances. “Alright dad.” Ben lifts the boy up placing him on his back. “Get ready I’m taking Chip upstairs and you all need to be ready when I get back honey.”

Ben and Chip leave the shelter heading up to the garage. Once back in the kitchen Ben rounds the corner passing the base of the stairs the smoke was acrid dense and thick pouring down the carpeted stairs almost like water. The orange glow dancing through the smoke like a bad seventies disco in the sparsely lit house where light filters in between boarded windows. Ben bearing Chip scampers along the wall finding the door to the garage in the darkened house. Opening the garage door Ben watches the smoke as it is sucked into the garage and under the white rolling garage doors. He grabs the keys from a peg board sliding along the white windowless van. Ben smoothly turns the keys jingling softly in the door. In the cramped tool packed garage the door bumps into a second workbench. He hefts his son into the drivers’ seat handing him the keys. “Do not start it wait until we are all in get yourself situated son can you do this?” Chip adjusts his side view mirror. “Yeah dad I got this.” Chip smiles broadly. Ben goes to leave but stops frozen at the sight at the base of the garage door. Shadows cross back and forth eclipsing the shining rays of sunlight with shambling forms. Ben’s mind grinds to a halt “don’t separate don’t split up” rattles around in his brain. He moves his thick legs through the smoke streaming over the concrete floor kicking up grey wisps as he goes. “Son take this.” Ben locks eyes with his son producing the small silver revolver from his waistband. This left Ben with the lucky mallet as his only weapon riding up in the small of his back. “Roll the windows up lock the van and don’t unlock anything until you see us at your window.” The boy swallows hard under the pressure of things to come he doesn’t debate or make a smartass comment to hide his nerves. Chip takes the gun and the weight of his father’s trust. “Yes dad I won‘t.” he whispers slamming the door locking it immediately. Ben moves back through his dark burning homestead passing the staircase he can hear the flames roaring as they consume his home. Taking a few seconds Ben jumps into the front room picking up Chip’s overturned wheelchair his eyes stinging from the smoke. Running he takes the chair back to the garage bumping alongside the van he raps a knuckle on the window starling Chip. On instinct the boy raises the pistol pointing it at the window. “Wooooooo” Ben ducks stumbling backwards hands held out defensively. “Sorry dad sorry!” Chip stutters. “Unlock the back door I’ll toss you chair in.” Chip nods once Ben hears the lock pop as he hustles the chair to the rear of the white paneled van embossed with his name. Grabbing the handle he yanks the door open. Ben lobs the lightweight chair in the pathway between tool racks. “I’ll be right back son lock up tight.” Ben slams the door vaulting out of the garage back into the house he run wheezing at glistening stream of saliva coating his chin.

He stumbles bounding down the creaky wooden stairs meeting his wife leading the group u to meet him. “Honey you need to grab the supplies I bagged them up for you.” She rasps surrounded by a chorus of coughs and gags. He signals his agreement with a head nod pulling his shirt over his mouth and nose. “Be careful babe…” He shouts though his soot streaked tee shirt. “Junior has my gun go up and tap on his window then get in back I’ll sit next to him.” It was Anne’s turn to bob her head that she understood they pass each other then Ben is greeted by a conga line of red rim eyed children. Bianca brings up the rear her baby crying underneath a white towel. Wasting no time Ben heads for the shelter “Bianca honey the baby supplies are in the cabinet in the kitchen.” He hears Anne shout down to Bianca. Trotting as fast his exhausted legs will carry him Ben finagles his way down the pathway and into the shelter. There in a neat pile in the middle of the pitch black tiny room is a pile of duffel bags. Ben drops to one knee pulling bag after haphazardly packed bag over his shoulder the lifting the last two up. Ben stands then leaves the room without closing the door he bangs down the pathway he struggles out into the basement. Passing the workbench littered with various electronics charging from a battery pack. As soon as one booted foot touches the bottom high pitched screams from upstairs start.
Better late than never we find the James clan coming to tems with fleeing thier burning house. Ben has to come clean with his wife and Bianca Fullterton about the undead in their midst. A new problem confronts Benjamin James as Bianca wants to visit St. George's hospital to look for her husband who is laying dead in the living room. All that takes a backseat as he hears screams from upstairs.
Come back to find out what happensin the next chapter of The Living Dark.
The Living Dark

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chapter 15: The Best Laid Plans

Chapter 15: The best laid plans

“And where’s Chips Chair Benjamin?” Anne James scolds her husband in the darkened space. Silently Ben James grits his teeth, he despises lying to his wife he really did but for now he has no choice. “Hey honey.” The big man whispers praying his son would keep quite while he spoke to his wife. For a man lying to his wife was a sacred art form that took time to cultivate. Either he lied to cover something up or lied to withhold information. Ben knew this was the latter he just didn’t have the energy to tell his wife the zombie apocalypse was upon them, he’d killed two of their long time neighbors and half the neighborhood was in flames. “The racket you heard was Junior and I sealing up the attic window.” He felt calmer as his paralyzed son sat quietly in his grip. “We went up stairs and as I climbed up in the attic I missed a rung on the ladder and took a spill. I knew I should’ve fixed that sooner honey sorry I put it off.” He heard her come closer “Well are you ok baby?” He breathes a sigh of relief Anne was buying his falsity in its entirety. “Yeah I’m fine baby doll I just scratched myself a couple of times but I’m fine.” He could finally feel her right in front of him her outline barely visible in the inky darkness. “Chip you ok Honey?” Anne James asks her eldest child in her typical over protective manner. Due to Chip’s “handicap” he usually receives the dotting one would reserve for a four year old from his mother. “Yeah mom I’m fine dad’s the klutz.” Chip felt his mother running her fingers through his sand color locks of hair. “Anne Carl never came back today I’m worried.” Ben lies with ease nothing in his voice would tell you that les than an hour ago Ben saw his son cave Carl’s head in. “Oh no.” Anne gasps with genuine concern. “What will we tell Bianca?” She asks her husband. “I don’t know Anne maybe make up something about the line at the hospital was long or something like that. You were a nurse throw in something about a national emergency.” He says in exasperation. “You know I’m not good a fibbing babe I’m gonna need your help here.” He hears his wife suck in a deep breath. “Babe just follow my lead ok?” Anne says he hears her turn in the tight space moving for the shelter door. Ben follows her through the door seeing everyone in the group gathered around a lantern.

Ben closes the door as softly as he could the squeak was gone. He guessed Anne had used the lubricating oil as he’d instructed her to. The kids are all laughing and giggling Bianca looks up locking eyes with him. The disappointment in Bianca’s face was immediately obvious. Lying to his wife when couldn’t see her face was difficult but this would be near impossible for Ben. “Bianca honey Carl didn’t make it back today.” Anne sits down next to the distraught woman clutching the cooing infant taking the lead. “God bless her” Ben thought of his loving wife. He takes the chance to set Chip down with the rest of the kids around the lantern. Squatting slightly he allows Chip to do the rest as he stands pulling away from Chip the boy grabs his hand squeezing it between both of his. Ben drops his gaze on his sons face to boy who favors his mother gives him a slight nod. “There was probably on heck of a line at the St. George’s today Bianca.” Anne strokes the weeping woman’s arm softly occasionally caressing the baby’s head. Ben comes over kneeling into a cross legged sitting position. Bianca’s face frowns through her tears when she sees Ben’s stained shirt. “Ben how did you get that blood on your shirt.” The woman asks adjusting the baby in her arms. Ben starts fumbling like Ralph Cramden from the Honeymooners. Chip’s head pops up from across the safe room at the sound of the stammering quickly the boy realizes his father is in need of a wingman again. “He fell from the attic ladder Mrs. Fullerton.” Chip calls from across the tiny shelter. Ben had forgotten to check if there might be evidence on his persons from his undead killing spree. Benjamin James knew stereotypes be damned he was not cut out for a life of crime. “Yeah damn rung gave way.” He laughs awkwardly the woman wipes tears from her eyes with her free hand. “Look Bianca I will go back up and check in a few hours even while you guys are sleeping ok?” He was prepared to play the ruse out until such times as he was forced to reveal the truth.

Before he knew it Benjamin James’ baby girl had come over and sat in his lap. “Hey B.” He grins kissing his daughter on her ample cheeks as she giggles. “Daddy tell us a story pleaaaaase.” She asks drawing out the word as she often did when it was time to sucker her daddy in with her charms. He felt arms around his neck this time there were Brandon’s. “Come on dad please pretty please.” The children had obviously planned this mission very carefully. “Okay alright.” Ben had no real choice but to relent but he did so with a smile. He rose carrying his daughter in his arms and his younger son dangling from his back. Around the lantern they all gather their eyes heavy with the odd yawn here and there. Ben looked in the eyes of Dakota Fullerton he’d forgotten that she was there. He felt guilt invade his psyche staring in the blue eyes of the little girl who was now fatherless thanks to this global catastrophe. Locking eyes with a child after you had dispatched their father took a stronger man than him. He launches into a story for the children and soon they were all asleep. Ben moves his youngest from his lap placing her snuggly inside her sleeping bag. Anne is in the corner dozing with Bianca and the baby Ben shudders at the thought of what this world has become and what he was in store for. He never seriously thought he was building a shelter to survive the damn apocalypse a tornado maybe but not hordes of the undead. “Gonna stay low and unseen and we will make it through this.” He thinks to himself feeling his eyelids slipping over his eyes. After making sure the door is locked Ben eases his husky frame down onto the cold cement floor before he knows it he’s snoring softly sound asleep.

Ben is dozing peacefully when he gets a tickle in the back of his throat. He coughs attempting to clear his throat as he rolls over hoping he can find sleep once more. Between sleep and consciousness Ben becomes aware of a symphony of coughs all about him. He sits bolt upright eyes open his sense of smell sorting out the underlying danger. A thin haze of smoke hangs about the room. Swirling smoke veils the top of the shelter “Wake up.” Ben shouts coming to his feet he moves about the room “Wake up wake up wake up.” He chants in fear his heart thudding in his chest the tickle in his throat a full blow cough now. “Anne.” He calls to his wife “Honey get up get the kids we got a problem.” The rest of the people in small cell like structure start to rouse as Ben now shaking his wife awake. “Anne get up get the kids and Bianca.” His wife sluggishly wakes from her suffocating slumber. “Wha … honey what?” She moans her eyes opening wider as she sees the smoky air hanging about the ceiling. “Anne get everybody ready we may have to leave.” He tells his wife in a panic Ben checks for his revolver in his waistband pulling it free. “Ben…” Anne choughs her throat feels gritty as she rouses the kids she calls out. “What’s wrong where is this smoke coming from?” She inquires helping Chip up to the sit on the tiny table in the room. “I don’t know Mohammed’s house may have been on fire and I think Nate’s was too.” He tells his wife but in his mind hear fears more of those things. Those monsters his friends have become ganging up realizing there were still living people in the roughly boarded up house and setting it ablaze. “Anne get our things together we might have to leave.” Ben begins the process of opening the thick rusted door. “Brandon son close it and lock it tight until I come back.” Ben turns exiting the door he takes one last look at his son the boys eyes are red rimmed and watering from the smoke.


Ben rushes through the tiny passage way “God please don’t let there be any of them in the house.” He runs across the dark basement leaping onto the bottom stair. He rethinks his haste taking out the small silver gun he creeps up the stairs trying to make as little noise as possible. The smoke gets thicker as he climbs to the top of the staircase. Ben turns the knob quietly releasing door letting swing open. Ben moves through the threshold hunched low and is greeted by flickering orange light. Spinning his head around Ben looks for the source of the light through the dense smoke. In the front of the house Ben watches the orange light dance into his home cutting through the smoke from the crack between the boards on the front windows. He walks cautiously pistol leading the way past the kitchen into the front room. He moves for the window then realizing his neighbor’s corpses are still in the room. Ben is hesitant to turn his back to the bodies for fear they may have been playing possum after having their skulls crushed. He crab walks gracefully keeping an eye on the bodies in the haze. With a booted foot he unleashes a savage kick to Nate’s pulverized head. Satisfied he moves on to Carl and stomps the back of his neck with as much force as he can muster. He now feels confident enough to head for the window. Kneeling on the couch Ben places his face against the boards. He sees the cull-de sac he’d nurtured his family on in flames. Nate’s house is engulfed the fire has greedily consumed it then catching the empty house next door to the left and on the right flaming embers have ignited the roof of Mohammed’s house and the house to the right of his own house. They are literally pinned in by the inferno ragging outside.

More disturbing was the figures milling about in the early morning sunlight. Ben is riveted to the scene before him one person shuffles from the front of Napoleon’s house on fire. The person appears oblivious to the flames consuming their flesh. Ben’s neighborhood has turned into hell as far as he can tell. He has no idea who these people are they don’t behave like the blood thirsty savages that Nat and Carl had become but they did not appear well either. “Zombies…” Ben whispers to himself vaulting off the couch scurrying for his basement and his family. He was taken back to the video he and Chip watched with the shambling shadows behind figure running and jumping the camera. They could wait the smoke of if they needed to but being outside in a zombie infested city with two women, a paralyzed teen, three kids and an infant was suicide. Instead of heading down the stairs and locking themselves uptight. Ben catches a glance at the staircase where he’d ambushed Nate. The orange flicker he’d seen early was glowing in an area where the light from the front room could not have been. Walking to the base of the stairs Ben’s heart skips a beat the hallway upstairs was aglow with that same evil orange light. He makes his way up the stairs the smoke becoming thicker as he crest the last stair he could see the source of the light cascading down from the attic where Nate had crashed down from the attic. Pulling his shirt up over his nose Ben climbs the broken collapsible attic ladder. Peaking into the unfinished attic his face is met by intense heat. Ben is greeted by flames scaling the wall around the window Nate had shattered to gain access to gain entry into the James house. Roaring flames pop and crackle as it devours the exposed pink insulation about the attic. “Oh God no.” Ben wheezes dropping back down into the house and racing back down to the shelter.

We have now come almost full circle in The Living Dark universe. We find ourselves back at the James household where Ben is trying to explain to his wife why thier neighbor hasn't returned from a trip to the hosppital. Something else is now amiss it appears as thought thier safe house might not be as safe anymore.

Come back the week of December 2nd to find out what happens next in The Living Dark!/TheLivingDark


The Living Dark

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Chapter 14: Defenseless Self

Chapter 14: Defenseless Self

Phillips is running down the driveway at top speed cocking the baseball bat back with both hands. He swings with all his might the blow sailing high over Michael’s head missing him by inches. The wooden bat connects with the bone in the bridge of the attacker’s nose. The savage blow causes the man to release Michael catapulting him almost head over heals in the air. Before the growling man even hits the ground Phillips is standing over him pounding the man like a tent spike. He beats the man’s face until it is no longer recognized as years of bullying and torment bubble to the surface. Tears stream down from Phillips eyes as he tosses the bloodied bat into the street running to Michael’s aid. “Its ok baby I’m here.” Phillip stammers kneeling down next to Michael. Phillip places his arms under Michael lifting him up. He hobbles into the house barley able to support Michael’s weight. Phillips sets a sobbing Michael down on their plush living room couch. “Wait here and don’t move Mikey.” Phillip implores running back and slamming the door locking the dead bolt. He then leans a chair under the knob. On the way back to Phillip frantically runs into the bathroom grabbing the first aid kit. Back at the couch Phillip soothes Michael as best he can. Michael writhes about the couch in pain. Phillip helps Michael pull off his shirt “That son of a bitch killed Buster.” Michael wails rocking back and forth. “I know Michael I know now be still.” Phillip winces laying his eyes on the bite for the first time. A crescent ring of teeth marks punctuated by bloody holes line the front and back of Michaels neck. “Lay still Michael dammit you’re gushing blood everywhere.” Phillip pours peroxide over the wounds dabbing at the spots with a sterile cotton ball. Phillip bandages Michael’s neck before sitting on the couch with him He nestles Michael’s head in his lap wiping his forehead with a wet towel. “How do you feel?” Phillip asks a red eyed Michael. “It hurts bad honey but not worse than loosing Buster.” Phillip runs his fingers through Michael’s hair. “Michael you should go to the ER.” Michael snorts at Phillips suggestion. “I’m on vacation Phillip I’m not going with in a mile of St. George’s.” He chuckles. Phillip looks down at Michael “Silly we live less than a mile from the damn hospital as it is.” The couple shares their first laugh since the day had gone awry. “Phillip run upstairs in our bathroom and grab me my pain meds please?” Phillip smiles “Sure.”

After taking two of the prescription narcotics Michael sleeps peacefully on the couch. Phillip spends the day roaming through the house he finds himself sitting at the windows staring at the man’s body next to Busters. No one has been out all day other than the man and Michael he hasn’t seen another living soul all day. Sitting in his favorite chair Phillip takes pleasure in the sun setting outside the orange hue in the sky reminds him of a burning flame. The house is cast in darkness when Michael finally wakes from his drug induced slumber. “Hey babe how do you feel?” Phillip asks flicking on his flashlight. “Fine babe fine.” Michael responds walking up behind his mate placing a hand on the back of Phillip’s neck. Phillip senses his head being pulled gently back he notices how cold Michael’s hands are. Phillip purses his lips for a kiss closing his eyes as Michael’s face crosses his flashlight beam. Phillip can’t comprehend the black splotches on Michael’s face but it’s too late. By the time Phillip realizes something is wrong Michael’s head is arching back with a chunk of his husbands’ throat clenched between his teeth. Michael holds onto the back of Phillips neck as blood squirts out. Pumping in warm streams Phillip’s body spasms uncontrollably to his lovers new found delight. The flashlight hit’s the floor rattling into a corner. Michael pulls his lover to the floor latching his teeth onto Phillip’s still warm cheek. He chews flesh unsure as to why he has heartlessly killed the man he’d love for the past ten years. This morning he was inconsolable over the death of his beloved dog while tonight he feasts upon the only person he has ever loved. Kneeling in a great dark slick of cooling sticky blood Michael finds himself closer to Phillip than he’s ever been in life. Michael feels all the hate he’s ever had well up from the depths of his soul. Phillip’s body has gone cold in the still night air the taste has changed. What was once sweet and filling now tastes like rotted pork in his mouth. He spit’s a wad of meat into the darkness standing up he hears waves of gunfire in the distance. Michael moves slowly to the door oddly enough he notices how easy it is to move in the darkened house. Everything is outlined in orange making it easy to avoid obstacles. Leaning looking out the door he becomes fixated on the waves of orange over head entranced. Michael is thumped out of his trance by a figure at his back. It’s Phillip minus his throat and some face meat. Moaning he bumps into Michaels back again “easy lover calm down.” The gunshots have subsided when Michael strolls from his home down the driveway with a purpose. Philip shuffles on unsteady feet out on to the lawn he wanders aimlessly off down the street. “So this is how it ends huh lover?” he watches the wandering corpse of his mate shuffle down the street. A sound reaches out to Michael’s tainted ears metal meeting metal. He sprints down the block turning the corner spotting a big green military transport crumpled into the rear of a massive pile up. “Hmmmmm soups on.” Michael smirks as the orange in his eyes dancing fiendishly. He takes off jogging for the crashed military vehicle.

With a bang we have brought the saga of Phillip and Michael to a brutal end.The Living Dark continues to take its toll on humanity.

Come back the week of November 24th for our next chapter.


The Living Dark


Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chapter 13: Self Defense

Chapter 13: Self Defense

The sun is pestering the sky to the east in the quite suburban neighborhood when two men hear the garbage can tumble over outside the house they share. "Phillip did you hear that?" a blond haired man asks the man stirring in his arms. "What?" Phillip responds groggily "I didn't hear anything." At the base of the bed a tan Yorkshire terrier leaps into the bed and begins a chorus of "yips." This high pitched ultra annoying noise on a larger dog would be considered a bark. He sits up further rousing his mate Phillip by poking him in the chest. "What Michael what is it honey?" Phillip asks mildly perturbed. "Buster shut the hell up jeez." Phillip sits up swinging his feet over the edge of the bed. "Phillip do not yell at Buster it makes him nervous.” chides Michael. "Phillip I heard something out front sounded like the garbage can being flipped over. With the power out since yesterday who knows what type of roving bands of hooligans there are out and about." Phillip stands stretching to his full height before grabbing a flashlight off the nightstand on his side of the bed. Michael moves to the window peering down and out he sees a man at the end of their driveway. His back is to the house as he sways in place. "There's a man in the driveway he's dressed all in black. Phillip he's knocking over our garbage cans and just standing there." Michael kneads his hands together nervously as Phillip comes over pulling on a blue rob to stand behind him. "Phillip it's just like Lubbock all over again." Phillip listens to Michael whimper. He gently rubs Michael’s shoulders attempting to console him.

The truth is Phillip is still shaken himself by the time they spent living in Lubbock Texas. They had moved there for his job with United Global one of the largest Department of Defense contracts in the United States. Two dead dogs and a Molotov cocktail through the window later Michael and he had fled the small community. The pair had no illusions about Texas being a Utopian society where two gay men could come and go as they pleased free of harassment but they were not prepared for the hostilities they'd encountered either. "Michael look we will be ok. You stayed up last night searching the Internet for all these rampant zombie conspiracies now that the power is out didn't you?" Michael stared bashfully at the floor. "We are safe the door is locked let's try and phone the cops while I still have some battery left on my phone." Phillip moves back to the night stand grabbing his Smartphone only to find it is black and lifeless. He cocks a disapproving eyebrow in Michael's direction. "Sorry hon my battery died at like one am." Phillips sighs deeply clicking on the flashing "Let's go down stairs it will be daylight soon. Then we will see if mister funny man is willing to show his face in the light." He points to a baseball bat leaning by the door. "Grab that on the way down Michael." The two men make their way down stairs in the opulent house. Phillips flashlight beam guides them through their powerless home. Phillip walks barefooted into the kitchen taking two bottles of iced coffee from the refrigerator. Michael measures his footsteps carefully carrying Buster in his arms "Here it's warm but its coffee and who are we kidding that's all that really matters." The two men share a laugh as they sip at the bottled store brought coffee product. From outside another crash startles the pair and sets the dog to pseudo barking once more. Michael puts Buster down trying to sooth him. Phillip takes the bat from his hand setting his coffee down. He walks briskly through the house gritting his teeth. "Now Phillip honey your temper." Michael calls trotting behind his lover. Phillip boldly goes to the bay windows at the front of the house pulling the shade back leaning the bat against the wall. Michael peeks over his shoulder together they watch the man stumble to his feet having knocked down the remaining garbage can and topple their mail box. Buster stands on the window ledge among the house plants growling. Phillip feels anger seize up his breathing he'd been afraid of people like this like his older brother Donnie his whole life. He wouldn't cower to "bigots like this anymore" he thinks to himself. "Michael as long as he stays outside and we are safe leave him be. I don't know if we can reach the police or now with all the power down but that might make someone like him ...." Phillip breaks off pointing an accusing finger to the man at the end of the driveway. "... Feel empowered." Michael nods from over his shoulder.

Content to pay the man no mind the pair of men head for the kitchen once more. A symphony of noise erupts from outside. Buster scampers with righteous indignation back into the living room out into the hallway and out the unlocked pet door. “Buster.” Michael screams without fear or hesitation he runs after the dog. “Michael I told you to lock that damn door.” Phillip yells pursing Michael as he races out the door intent on rescuing Buster from the grimy man. Phillip stops going back to grabs the baseball bat. As he comes out on to the small stoop Phillips sees Buster yapping and snipping at the man’s leg. Michael thinks the man is drunk as he sways greasy matted black hair covering his face. He moves towards the dog in clumsy steps but Buster doesn’t back down. Michael is half way down the paved driveway pleading for Buster to come to him. “Michael get back her now!” Phillip shouts clutching the bat hesitating in the doorway. The man in filthy black garbage stained clothes lunges for Buster at the exact moment the dog jumps at him. The man pulls the struggling dog to his mouth and crunches down on Buster’s tiny mid section. The toy dog squeals in agony as its chest cavity is torn open. Michael propels himself crying aloud at the dog’s attacker yelling “Buster.” Michael throws a blow connecting with the man’s chin staggering him backwards. The disheveled man drops the twitching dog’s carcass turning his attention to Michael. “You bastard.” Michael continues to assault the man who shows no sign that the blows do any damage to him at all. Ignoring a solid right hook the man catches Michael by his robe pulling him forward sinking his blood covered teeth into Michael’s exposed pale shoulder.

In Chapter 13 of The Living Dark we find ourselves on a side mission of sorts. We drop in on two characters who aren't in out main story arch. On the morning of the first day after the power outage we find two guy unaware of the danger they face. Phillip and Michael are a couple who live some in the general vicinity of The James and St. George's Hospital. The men find themselves cast in a familiar light believing the man in their driveway is an intolerant bigot set on making their lives in their new home miserable. Unfortunately they couldn't be further from the truth and the price for their mistake may just be lethal.

Come back the week of November 18th to find out who The Living Dark claims next.


The Living Dark


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chapter 12: To Start A Long Dark Night

Chapter 12: To Start A Long Dark Night

  “Dear God Lockett what do we do?!” Carson stammers. The pair stares at the outdoor morgue area they’ve charged with guarding. PFC Lockett turns deliberately to face Medina following her frozen unit mate’s stare back over the still landscape. A short stocky man burst forth from the olive green command tent. He’s flanked by half a dozen subordinates all double timing to keep pace with him. Stopping briefly to take stock and evaluate the situation. He waves a soldier with a radio pack strapped to his back over to him. “This is Colonel Walker. I want this entire operation shut down now.” Suddenly every statuesque soldier springs into action as the man makes his way directly to the trio standing slack jawed in Bunker Two. “Get a line formed here…” he motions as he walks. “I want everyone still upright and mobile on this side behind my fire line.” There is no hesitation as Colonel Walker’s subordinate begins to hustle hospital staff, civilians and medical staff away from the prone bodies strewn everywhere. “You!” he points to Carson “Get on that M-60 and smash everything in there now.” Jabbing a finger towards the bustling contained mass of dead bodies. “You two unless you’re here to model cover his flanks.” Somewhere in in the distance a scream erupts. The once motionless corpses on the ground begin popping up like diseased jumping beans. They take down any living being close enough to pounce on. Gurgling screams fill the cool night air from one end of the compound to the other. Colonel Walker slaps on his helmet sprinting back to his men. “Open fire!” he commands. The night gives way to symphony of agony and automatic gunfire.

In Bunker Two Carson ratchets the heavy mounted machine gun as Medina and Lockett take up positions on either side of him. Squeezing the weapons trigger Carson unleashes the first teeth chattering volley of bullets. He begins to methodically sweep back and forth shredding the creatures as they slowly peel themselves from the stained white body bags. “Why aren’t these moving like those out there?” Medina asks leaning behind Carson while spent shells clatter off her helmet. “I’m not even sure what ‘these’ things are Medina.” Lockett shouts to be heard. With a “whoosh” Carson’s barrage hit’s the tires on a trailer in the rear of the morgue area. The large grey cargo container pitches forward and dozens of wobbly legged figures spill out. “Oh crap!” the boy on the mounted gun hollers to no one in particular. He trains his fire on the horde pouring to the ground. The bullets tear through the soft infected flesh with ease. Carson falls into a rhythm his aim gives way to tunnel vision. Lockett realizes Carson is focused on the occupants of the trailer. She taps Medina on her shoulder with a two fingered motion to her eyes signaling outward. Lockett instructs Medina to cover the left of the Bunker. PFC Sara Lockett picks up her weapon and draws down on the stragglers dragging themselves towards the soldiers in the Bunker. Lockett leans to the side lobbing anti personnel grenade at a cluster of advancing corpses. “Grenade! “ Lockett shouts cupping her hands to her mount. The blast clears the immediate area before them allowing Lockett to pick her targets as they shuffle for the only opening in the enclosed morgue. The thunder of the sixty cal drowns out the sounds of the battle behind the unit.

Carson vomits a shrill scream as he spins to the ground under the weight of the infected woman who has vaulted onto his back. The tripod mounted gun spits bullets as it twirls about detonating the rear tires on the APC parked in front of the Bunker. “Boy I want ……” the enraged infected woman snarls. Medina pistons the butt of her rifle into the back of the woman’s skull until her orange flecked eyes go dim. “Are you ok?!” she asks helping the strapping boy to his feet. “Yeah .. Yeah.” He pants swaying on his feet placing his helmet back atop his head with the sound of the big gun ringing in their ears. The unit stops to take stock of what going around them. “There’s not as much gunfire as there was before.” Medina tells Carson who taps Lockett on the shoulder. “What!?” she rises up never taking her eyes of the straggling dead bodies moving hungrily in their direction. “Did everybody retreat?” Carson looks about. “Either that….” Lockett interjects popping of a round dropping a corpse. “….or they’re dead. Either way we’re screwed.” While the morgue area is relatively clear of the dead. The same can’t be said for the grounds of St. George’s. What had been a setting of organized chaos when the fight began is now the scene of a massacre. Everywhere groups of infected hover over dead or dying victims. As slower undead amble about fighting over scraps like scavenging hyenas. “We have to fallback Lockett.” Carson contemplates aloud. “Fallback to where?” she exclaims “our backs are up against a wall and everything in front of us is dead.” They all lock eyes confusion sets in about what to do next. “Now Carson hand me your weapon and unhitch that M-60.” The tall soldier does as instructed while Lockett slings his rifle over her shoulder. Medina shushes the pair pointing out in the distance. “Some of them are talking to each other.” She whispers.

“Look I got an idea.” Medina calls to them as they all take a knee. “We need to blow that sandbag wall.” She directs their attention to a sandbag wall forming the outer perimeter of Bravo Company’s command tent. “Next we need to hit that gated abutment there.” In the distance they all stare at the gate that was cordoned off as the initial checkpoint of the hospital. “Why go that route and draw attention to ourselves.” Carson mumbles perplexed at the overly complicated plan. Pointing over the sandbags Medina shows him. “We get in the APC and drive over everyone and everything in our way.” Carson shakes his head “Medina you’re crazy girl. That APC is two tires short thanks to that thing that tried to eat me earlier. Lockett smiles from under her helmet “Carson even missing four wheels we’ll get farther in that tuna can than we will on foot. All we have to do is get far enough from her to commandeer another vehicle.” Carson cocks an eyebrow “fine ladies on three.” The two young female soldiers each unhook a grenade from the straps on their chests. “Lockett …” Medina begins. “You go for the first wall and I will toss for the gate.” Lockett signals her agreement “On three people.” She does feel the fetid mouth inches from her cheek until it crunches spent shells under its mangled feet as it moans in frustration. Spinning to the ground she unsheathes her combat knife in one motion. With two hands Lockett drives the polished blade under the dead mans chin puncturing his brain pan. “Something smells delicious.” a gore covered man saunters around the front of the APC. Black blood soaked bandages dangle in tatters from his neck. He tosses a mysterious slab of meat to the ground after ripping a chunk free with his teeth and chewing it greedily. “Mmmm yeah it’s you.” He turns shouting “Over her folks we got a couple tender virgins to sacrifice!” Medina hefts her weapon up as the infected man turns back to face her. With a growl he draws back and she fires. A single round from the M-4 plows through the bridge of his nose dropping the angry corpse in place. Medina Carson and Lockett stand up from behind their barricade. There’s no counting the number of aggressors charging their position. “Three…” Medina says softly.

Lockett hurls her grenade above the horde. It lands as they vault over the sandbags then explodes the infected don’t break stride. Carson cuts loose with the M-60 mowing down the first wave of infected hurtling full speed at them. “Medina you climb up and pop the rear hatch.” Lockett takes up a position dropping to one knee next to Carson behind the APC. Carson works the M-60 standing prone will pivoting at the waist sweeping from side to side he mows down the brunt of the invading dead horde. Lockett is there strictly to cover Carson and clean up runner that make it through the teeth of the M-60’s assault. They measure their shots as Medina crests the top of the huge military transport. Medina feels the panic setting in but she follows through on her mission. She flips the hatch open drawing in a chilling breath seeing the living dead wave about to break upon them. From one knee atop the military vehicle Medina tosses the grenade in the direction of the main gate. Without hesitating she flips the cumbersome hatch and climbs in closing the hatch behind her. Medina lands inside the cramped confines stripping off her pack. She moves through to the driver’s seat. Medina mashes down the APC’s black rubberized ignition button the powerful diesel engine burps to life. With her opposite hand she yanks down the level marked “rear hatch.” The huge rear hatch begins to descend with a metallic whine. “Get in!” Medina screams at her unit mates backs. She can see how close the infected are now. For the first time since this began PFC Carlita Medina is afraid. Carson is busy clubbing a duo of crazies with the empty M-60. He leaps up the open ramp then reaches forward securing the back straps of Lockett’s fatigues. He drags Sara Lockett into the cramped interior of the APC both falling backwards. “Close it …. Close it now Medina” Carson yelps. Medina jams the switch back into the close position. Dozens of hands paw at the closing door as the screams and howls continue. Severed hands soon plop down wetly to the floor inside the cabin putrid severed digits and hands litter the compartment. Before the door can close completely a screeching woman twist her damaged body inside the opening narrowly avoiding being crushed by the hydraulic door. She lunges for the downed soldiers as a deafening shot rings out in the sealed transport. The impact slams into the infected woman’s shoulder but doesn’t slow her. The second shot lodges in the ghoul’s eye socket putting her down for good. The pair of soldiers huddled on the floor peer up at their comrade in arms Carlita Medina holds a shaky smoking sidearm. “Hold on.” she yells over her shoulder diving into the driver’s seat. The beast of a vehicle lurches onward as it is battered from the outside. Medina takes the crippled APC over what’s left of the sandbag barrier it bounces violently. Once they a hit relatively clear path she guns the powerful engine getting as much momentum behind the armored carrier as possible. “We’re headed for the main gate people.” Medina wrestles with the wide steering wheel. Lockett and Carson grab hold of the straps on the wall. “Don’t stop Medina hit it hard!” the engine growls louder as the APC picks up speed. They hit the gate and blow through it cleanly finding them on a clear open road. The infected sprinters fall further behind the speeding transport even as it spits out rubber from the shredded tires. They ride on as what began as a low grinding noise becomes a wobbling clang. They find themselves near a clogged highway on ramp when the brakes go out. Medina attempts to slow the APC by swerving it across the road. “Uhhh guys we got no brakes…” Medina calls from the front. “We’re gonna crash…” she announces and the transport smashes into the rear vehicles of a massive pileup.
Well better late than never Chapter 12 finds our trio of soldiers Lockett, Medina and Carson fighting for their lives. The situation at St. George''s hospital had gone from bad to massacre before our troops could even make a move. So the three young soldiers had to fight their way out of the killing  grounds of the Military encampment. They now find now find themselves in a stalled APC on a congested pileup near a blocked highway.
Comeback the week of November 11th find find out what happens next in The Living Dark.
The Living Dark
Happy Halloween

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zombob's Zombie News and Reviews: LADIES & GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER!!A while ba...

Zombob's Zombie News and Reviews: LADIES & GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER!!

A while ba...
: LADIES & GENTLEMEN, WE HAVE A WINNER!! A while back, in celebration of my blog's 1000th post, I decided to have a contest/challenge. The...

Hey drop by and read the new story I wrote for this contest it's called "The Day after Dawn" about what happened immediately after the end of Dawn of The Dead 78.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Chapter 11: Meanwhile at St. George's

Chapter 11: Meanwhile at St. George’s

"PFC Lockett" a large square jawed man in a dusty desert camouflage patterned uniform bellows. In a blur the young private appears before her commanding officer. In the grand military tradition the young woman was almost indistinguishable as a female in her gear. "Sir Yes Staff Sergeant Sir!" she responds as she had been trained standing bolt upright saluting the large man with the brown buzz cut hair. "You, Carson and Medina report to Bunker Two STAT! Relive that team and have them report back to the command tent." The girl snaps her salute back up "Sir Yes Sir!" Turning Private First Class Sara Lockett hustles double time past two soldiers flanking her. A large well built young man whose eyes are so grey they almost appear to sparkle in the mid day sunlight. His name tag reads "Carson" in black letters. The last of the trio is a short stocky Hispanic soldier with "Medina" emblazoned on her gear. They both fall in line behind Lockett keeping pace with her. They move in well rehearsed patterns through the haphazardly placed obstacles. In the act unfolding around them they are but bit players. This would appear odd at best in the days before the sun lashed the earth knocking out all the running electric. St. George's Hospital dominates the landscape a sprawling cinderblock grey building. Which stands three stories high and runs on for almost a full square city block and right now the Army controls every aspect of it. Large armored personnel carriers sit strategically parked between sandbagged bunkers most of which sport heavy mounted belt fed machine guns. Hastily erected fences cordoned off areas blocking access points that are monitored by well armed soldiers.

Sara Lockett dodges around people as she goes her unit mates tight on her heels. There were long lines of people waiting to go through the various field triages the military had put in place. Only the most serious of cases are allowed into the hospital which was running on minimal power provided by several huge generators affixed to guarded military flatbed trucks. Sara dips to her left deftly avoiding a blonde man wearing jogging attire nursing a wounded arm wrapped in a bed sheet. Carson however wasn't as quick on his feet he was more of a bulldozer plowing headlong into the man. The smaller man bounces off Carson stumbling right into Medina who catches him keeping the smaller man from landing face first on the concrete. "Sir you ok?" She asks the man steadying him with her free arm as she keeps her Black M4 pointed at the ground with her free hand. "Yes..." the man answers in a daze. “I ... I just need to see a doctor." he holds his arm up as if to bolster his claim. Medina glances to Lockett who steps forward. "Sir is that your only injury?" "Yes it is." he replies she then takes him firmly by his uninjured elbow guiding him to a long line of people awaiting treatment. Locket places the man at the end of the line. "Sir this is where you need to wait for treatment for non life threatening injuries." The man peers down the long line before returning his gaze to the brown skinned female soldier. "This is a long line Ma'am." he tells her. Lockett turns scanning up and down the line seeing approximately two hundred people in similar condition. "Yes it is Sir it is a very long line." she relays flatly to the man. Turning on her combat boot covered heels "Carson, Medina on me let’s move double time!” As they trot away from the man Carson calls to Lockett. "When did you get to be all business Lockett?" Approaching their destination "I've always been all business Carson. It's just never been any your business." She yells over her shoulder. The trio chuckles for a second but snap back to the task at hand as they reach Bunker Two.

They find themselves relieving another trio of soldiers possibly no older than they are. “Staff Sergeant wants you back at Command STAT…….” Looking down at her fellow soldiers name tag “…Angelo. “ Sara tells the young man leaning on the mounted machine gun in the nest of sandbags. Upon hearing the command the other to men in the bunker hastily grab their gear and muster up behind the lanky solider. “I need a status report.” Lockett tells Angelo. Speaking with a decidedly thick New York accent Angelo appears to teeter under the weight of his pack smirking. “Nothing for me to tell you Lockett when you watch the dead makes it for a slow ass day.” He begins pointing to his left all heads pivot. “This here is our makeshift morgue.” In the fenced area there are rows of neatly arraigned plump cocoon like white bio-hazard body bags bearing the CDC logo. “The white body bags with the CDC logo are not to be contacted by anyone not bearing authorization from command. They’ll be by to get those in the morning.” He leaps over the four foot high sand bag wall standing before a locked gate. “Nobody gets in or out of here without hospital authorization. We aren’t turning any remains over to any family members or funeral homes. All remains not designated for the CDC will be locked in one of the refrigerated semi trailers all the way in the rear.” Sara Lockett cranes her neck in the extreme rear of the guarded area she sees a row of about fifteen trailers. “Lockett you guys sole responsibility is control of the morgue area. Bunker One ….” Angelo motions with a slender finger directly across from Bunker Two at the hub of activity. They all have to step to the left to peer around a huge olive green armored personnel carrier. Bunker One is a hive of activity easily ten times the size of the meager accommodations Lockett and her compatriots were responsible for. “Bravo Company is responsible for everything else guys so stay out of their way. They are focused on peace keeping and controlling the flow of civvies in and out of the area and its nuts I tell ya!” Sara turns looking over the well organized Company of soldiers “How many?” She inquires hooking a thumb in Bunker One’s general direction. Angelo hunches his thin shoulders. “Roughly two hundred at last count” A bald husky soldier interjects from behind Angelo. “Well we’ll see you in twelve hours.” Angelo says as he and his troop double time it back to Command.

After a brief game of paper rock scissors Carson draws first watch. Lockett sits at his side her helmet off enjoying the early afternoon sunlight resting on the horseshoe shaped ring of sandbags. Medina is snoring softly her helmet over her eyes. She rests peacefully her back against the brick that forms the outer wall of the massive hospital. Carson stands with his rifle slug across his broad chest. Sara notices how imposing the boy’s physique is as he cast a shadow over her. “Hey Carson….” she gets his attention. He looks down to her. “How’d you come from Sheep Skin Montana to the military?” His smile is almost as obvious as the cherry red blush on his cheeks. “Lockett come on why you gotta bust my ass like that?” He chuckles before correcting her “It’s Sheep Creek Montana.” The pair of young soldiers gazes back out across the organized chaos surrounding them. “I tell you Lockett there aint much to do else in a town of three hundred forty two people after high school. I guess I just wanted to go some place I’d never been and see some folks I didn’t know.” He peaks back at Lockett noticing how pretty she is even in unisex Army fatigues. Smiling back at him “You just wanted to kiss some girls that weren’t your cousins.” She jabs at him playfully. They both giggle “and you?” Carson asks. Sara Lockett stares of at the cloudless sky past Carson. “Same as you I guess…” a smile touches the corners of her mouth. “…eeeeeeeexcept the part about kissing cousins.” Carson raises a playful eyebrow in her direction. “I come from a rather rough part of the south side of Chicago. When you’re a teen life has a pretty simple pattern where I’m from. If you’re a guy it’s join a gang, make a few babies, go to jail and or get murdered. Now girls on the other hand it goes bad relationship, pregnancy, drop out of school rinse and repeat then rinse and repeat.” Her stare comes back down to Carson only find out he is regarding her with a flirtatious eye. They pass the next few hours chatting then changing out post positions.

Lockett finds herself nodding peacefully in the bunkers rear. Medina takes point while Carson props his big feet up on the sandbag wall. “Lockett ……” she becomes vaguely aware of her name being shouted repeatedly. She stirs hoping to fall back asleep. “Lockett …” she is violently jerked from her sleep. “Whaa …” she mummers groggily to herself mistakenly believing her dad is attempting to wake her for school. “Lockett get up now have got a real problem!” Carson yells pulling her up. Lockett’s helmet falls from her face and clangs to the ground. She notices it is now night twilight to be exact. The sky has a fading line of sun at the horizon and vivid orange bands of Aurora twist across the sky like colored smoke. Blocking the rest of her view is Carson. His eyes are so wide they appear round like a Japanese cartoon characters. He’s panicking his skin is almost devoid of any color. “Get up Lockett!” he shouts pulling her to her feet. The image that greets Lockett’s eyes shocks her awake on this mild night like a slap to the face. Everyone is still as if the world is holding its collective breath. For so many people to go suddenly silent is biblically unnerving. She scans the scene there are people laying everywhere as if they dropped where they stood. Medical and hospital staff along with hundreds of soldiers and uninjured civilians mill about dumbfounded. Almost every person in line to be treated or who had some type of wound where blood had been drawn lay where they fell. Dead people litter the ground their eyes open reflecting the eerie glow of orange cascading across the sky. Medics and hospital staff alike attempt to rouse the stricken victims around them to no avail. A loud clap startles everyone as the exterior mounted generators kick on and bathe the surreal scene in an artificial white light. PFC Sara Lockett catches movement out of the corner of her eye. At first she just thinks its Medina shivering uncontrollably to her right but it’s not. Lockett pushes past her comrade in arms stepping between the girl and the mounted machine gun. She begins to shake now slowly placing a trembling hand on Carson’s broad shoulder. She turns his head with her left hand to the right afraid to speak but then utters the only words that come mind. “Jesus Christ…” disbelief isn’t an adequate enough word to describe the sight they behold. Carson falls backwards tripping over his own feet and scrambles back up right. The once still morgue area is a sea of movement and noise. Inside the packed trailers “bangs and booms” echo like bottled thunder. From one end of the fenced in “morgue” to the other white sterile body bags ungulate across the pavement like giant maggots rolling about. Every single one shows signs of something clumsily attempting to free itself from within.

  Chapter 11 is now a reality. We find ourselves meeting a new groups of chracters in The Living Dark universe. Three young soldiers Sara Lockett, Colt Carson and Carlita Medina. They are down at St. George's hospital and they even bump into an old friend of the James Family Carl Fullerton. The trio is guarding the morgue when night falls. Suddenly things don't look so goo for them. Come back the week of October 28th to see what happens to "new recurits."

Until then drop by and give our story a "like" on Facebook or leave a comment here on the blog.!/TheLivingDark

Sincerly The Living Dark