Thursday, September 20, 2007

Demons, Demons Everywhere

Jared waited in the dark. At the mouth of the alley were noises he was well acquainted with. A ghoul, human servant of the demons, was crying out in pain and fear as its master disciplined it.

He wanted to act, to rush toward the end of the alley and slay the ghoul and its master. Since the demons had emerged, since they had taken over everything, he had managed to kill one, and that had been a lucky break. He had killed plenty of ghouls, though. If it was just the ghoul he might have gone after it, followed it to its lair, and killed it, but he was too tired. Besides, Jared had another goal to accomplish.

The alley he waited in was near the river, and he could smell the fishy, wormy scent on the slight breeze. The demons had tainted much on their conquest, but they left the waterways clean. It seemed that there were some things that everyone needed, regardless of their origins.

The sound moved on, yet Jared stayed put. He had been given specific instructions, and if he were to join the others, the fighters, then he needed to follow the instructions to the letter.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The Start of Something...Sluggish

The first thing Rick was aware of when he came to was a splitting headache that throbbed in his skull. It started just above his forehead and transformed into waves of nausea in his stomach. The second thing he noticed was the musty smell of plant decay and rich, wet earth.

From somewhere behind him came the sound of his 1988 Chevy Astro Van knocking and sputtering. Farther off, an owl hooted, while leaves rustled all around him.

He shifted, trying to roll from his front to his back and an army of aches and pains that had been dormant sprang into action. He opened his mouth to groan in pain, but his mouth was covered in a slimy film.

He wiped away the thick, mucus substance and took a deep breath of the cool night air. Something was crawling on his face. It slithered slowly down his cheek toward his neck. He snatched it and brought the object toward his eyes, not wanting to move more than he had to. It squirmed in his hand. What he held was the biggest slug he had ever seen. It was as thick as a ballpark hotdog and half as long.

As he took a hard look at it, the slug stopped moving and seemed to be staring back. Rick’s face twisted into a grimace of disgust and he clenched his fingers into a fist. As he did so, he thought he heard a small, thick voice cry out. Whatever sound he thought he heard, it ceased when he squeezed his fist tight, crushing the slug into a slimy pulp.

When he opened his hand, strings of entrails and slime connected his fingertips to the palm of his hand. He made a move to wipe the mess off on his coat, but instead paused and then snapped his wrist, flinging the squishy mass at a nearby tree. It struck the tree’s trunk with a plop and then fell to the ground. Slowly he sat up, propping himself up onto his elbow and then sitting up from there. He wanted to move his head as little as possible. Each heartbeat pounded out another flash of pain in his head.

The van sputtered violently and then wheezed.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mad Libs, and a Zombie

It had been an incredibly long day at work and an even longer week, the kind of week that lasts for months. Jared was convinced that his bosses would flip a switch and stop the clocks at random intervals during the day. The switch also stopped the clocks on everyone’s computer, of course. Regardless, the week was over and the weekend was charging to life. Well, it would be charging to life, if Jared wasn’t stuck on zombie watch in the cemetery.

Normally, zombie watch was a welcome change of pace, a chance to meditate, to focus, and occasionally a chance to kick some rotting corpse’s ass back to the crypt. Tonight, however, he could not get into the groove, and the headstone he usually perched upon felt lumpy and foreign. Maybe tomorrow he could get Cassie to cover for him. She owed him anyway, considering how he took four of her shifts when her boyfriend, the preppy, arrogant junior broker, took her on a surprise getaway. That smug bastard. And what did she see in that jerk anyway? He wouldn’t be able to fight off a zombie hoard, let alone a single zombie, with an army of chainsaw wielding robots that were programmed for no other purpose than killing zombies. Okay, he admitted, maybe that was pushing it a little.

That line of thought was getting him nowhere, and he pushed it aside as he tried to find a more comfortable perch on the marker for Mr. Gary Linerman 1914-1976 Husband – Father – Disaster. Jared had always wondered about the inscription, but found it more fun to guess at its meaning than to actually research it.

With the moon full and the sky clear, there was just enough light to read by, and he fished around in his backpack until he found the battered and creased pad. He had discovered early on that Mad Libs were an entertaining and easy way to pass the time. He flipped the pages until he came to one that was uncompleted. It was the second to last. He reached into his inner jacket pocket and pulled out a green felt tip pen.

“I need an adjective,” he called out to the empty graveyard. “Anybody? Anything? It’s just an adjective. Ok, it’s up to me then. How about ‘bloated’.”

He scribbled it in and moved on to the next blank. “Ok, now I need an adverb.”


Something behind him groaned, a low mournful noise that sounded like a yawn and a grunt mixed in a blender and poured out slowly.

The cold and fetid corpse breath drifted to him and clung to his face.

“And just how do I spell that,” he said as he set down the pad and moved his hand slowly to the handle of the machete resting against Mr. Linerman’s marble slab.

The zombie groaned again, and this time its breath made his eyes water. It was just behind him, and he knew that if he waited any longer he would feel the thing’s cold, spongy hands on his back.

“Now I need a verb,” he said, his hand tightening on the blade’s well worn handle. “I thought I’d use ‘slash’.”

He pushed off the headstone and spun around. The machete’s blade glinted for an instant in the moonlight and then sunk into the undead creature’s yielding flesh. Jared was by no means a tall man, but he was wiry and packed a punch. The man this particular zombie had spawned from was huge, nearly six feet eight inches tall and weighing 300 pounds (mostly muscle).

The machete had missed the walking corpse’s head and neck completely, and had instead sunken into its chest, lodging in its breastbone. It barely noticed the blow and continued walking in the slow shuffle of the recently deceased. Jared gave the handle a tug, but it would not come away easily.

“Damn,” he said, and retreated back a couple steps.