SAMPLES OF GORE
the gym-door window, she sees the bony fingers
from one of the two female zombie's about to
enter the gym. Stephanie looks around for the
body bag she came out of, but can’t find it so
she looks for any empty ones, but doesn’t see
'Something’s not right.' She thinks to
herself as she glances one last time at the gym
doors. Both zombies are starting to push on the
doors, but the door’s resistance is pushing
few minutes they will push through, forcing
Stephanie to hurry up with her plan. Her face
grins in displeasure as she steps one foot into
the body bag, and then the other as she sits
uncomfortably on top of the little old lady.
pulls the zipper up with some difficulty, but
there’s not enough room for two bodies in this
bag, even with Stephanie sucking in her stomach.
She lays her back – flat against the little old
lady while trying to zip up, but it still
doesn’t want to zip closed.
underneath her, she can hear the frail bones
cracking under her weight so she tries to close
the zipper again, but it’s too bulky and won’t
the gym-door window, one of the zombies presses
her face against the glass, slowly opening and
closing her mouth; her tongue shriveled and
Grossed out, Stephanie struggles to zip the
zipper, but it keeps zipping open. In order to
fit in the body bag, she will have to pile drive
all her weight down on top of the corpse. She
stands up and turns around, looking down at the
‘Eeeeewwwwwww, I so don't want to do this!’
She thinks to herself, her hands flailing up and
down quickly at the thought. She grimaces while
looking at the door, as the zombies start coming
Stephanie throws all her weight downwards on top
of the little old lady, causing her to explode
in a bloody mess of fluids, organs and bones.
liquid shoots three feet high and comes
splattering down on top of Stephanie, coating
her completely in a mix of dark red blood and
cringes in disgust, wanting to scream aloud, but
it’s taking everything she’s got to keep her
eyes and mouth closed, so not to get it in
‘Oh God… this is so disgusting!’
pulls the zipper closed over her head as she
feels the soupy contents of blood and goo slosh
around inside the bag before settling on the
sides of her cheeks.
There’s about a few inches of breathing room
left from where the zipper is, to the top of
Stephanie’s lips and nose as she struggles to
keep her head above the liquid.
she lies there motionless, she can feel her hair
slowly lift up and float around the top of her
head as the liquid begins oozing into both ear
Stephanie tries to hold back the overwhelming
urge of getting up and running away. Instead she
clenches her fists in protest. With her ears
submerged in the liquid, she can hear the
zombies growls are muffled as they enter the
gym. Her mind wanders back to the cold wetness
she feels on every inch of her body.
‘This used-to-be someone's grandmother… now
she’s a bag of liquid goo. I wonder what’s in
this liquid?’ She ponders.
‘Don’t answer that! I don’t want to know.’
‘Blood, probably urine.’
‘Ugh stop it, stop it! La, la, la… Not thinking
of how gross this is.’
“Good. Now about the cut on the neck… to
answer your question, she's intentionally
paralyzed from the neck down. While we may
be zombies, I'd like to think that it’s a
humane thing to do. By removing all feelings
of pain, they won’t suffer.”
“What about the psychological or emotional
pain?” Britney asks.
Without warning, Valerie quickly grabs the
machete, draws it back and forcefully chops
it down into the forehead, wedging it
halfway into the woman's skull.
“Holy Shit!” Stephanie yells -
“GAH!!!” Britney turns and hides her face in
“I’m sorry… what about psychological or
emotional pain?” Valerie snarks.
“What. The. FUCK?” Stephanie blurts out in
“You both need to remember she's NOT a
person… she's food. There is no future for
her anymore. Her chances are good that
she’ll be eaten by a zombie anyway, might as
well be one of us so we can live.”
Stephanie stares with her eyes wide open at
the woman with the machete wedged deep in
her head. Britney is too grossed out to even
“Come over here and hold the handle, nice
and tight please.” She instructs Stephanie
who is in a daze at what’s going on. She
walks around the table and hesitantly holds
“Hold it tight!” Valerie commands in a stern
voice, “I don’t want this thing flying back
and hitting me.”
Stephanie nods her head as she grips the
machete with both hands. Valerie walks over
to the box on the floor and grabs a small
handheld sledgehammer. She uses the flat
side of the sledgehammer and begins tapping
the top of the machete, but the blade barely
moves at all. Using a little more force, she
hits it harder the second time, driving the
machete all the way through to the table.
The skullcap with half of a brain inside
wobbles onto the table before coming to a
complete stop. The other half of the brain
is still held inside the skull by the optic
nerves still attached to the eyeball
“Oh gross!” Britney covers her mouth to keep
from throwing up.
Valerie takes the skullcap and holds it in
her hand like a cereal bowl, letting gravity
pull the hair between her fingers, towards
the ground. Using a fork, she cuts a bite
size piece of brain before stabbing it to
“Here, try this! You’ll love it.”
Stephanie and Britney wince and decline so
Valerie put it in her mouth and starts
chewing on it.
“Mmmmm! So good and still warm too!” She
says with a smile on her face as she cuts
another piece and eats it too. “Oh my gosh…
you’re missing out. Stephanie, want a bite?”
“Uh, NO! I’m good. Thanks.”
“How about you Britney? Just a nibble?”
“I told you already, I’m a vegetarian.”
“Lie to me again
and I’ll blow yer frickin head off…”
back “Clyde, put down your weapon! Are you
whose crazy. They killed Kyle… it was one of
“How do you know
this? What proof do you have?” Alayah asks,
“Look at them!
They have been nothing but trouble since we
let them in.”
“We didn't do
it.” Britney says softly.
“DON'T LIE TO ME
BITCH! I KNOW IT WAS YOU!” Clyde yells as he
pumps his shot gun, and then points it at
Britney's head. Britney squints her eyes
shut tight, as she turns her head sideways
“I know it was
YOU! It was YOUR FAULT that our friends
died. YOU let the zombies in! I should just
fucking blow your brains out right now!”
down. If anyone should be upset, it’s me…
and I am, because I lost my only family
member, but you don’t see me losing my cool.
Let's work this out.” Alayah says with both
hands gesturing to relax and put down the
Clyde paces back
and forth, trying to figure out which one to
shoot first. Deacon Bert comes over after
hearing all the commotion.
“Boy, PUT THE
GUN DOWN.” Deacon Bert says in a very
“How about you
shut the fuck up!” He says turning his
shotgun in Deacon Bert’s direction. “I don't
have a problem shooting a preacher or
whatever the fuck you are.”
forward and tries to reason with Clyde,
“Listen to him, if you want to live.”
Clyde turns his
shotgun to point at Alayah's head.
“If I want to
live? Bitch, I'm the one holding the shotgun
at your pretty little head. It's your sorry
ass that you should be worrying about!”
chimes in “You'd better do as she says…”
“OR WHAT? I’m
tired of her crap and yours! Do you know
what? FUCK IT!”
Clyde takes aim
at Alayah's forehead and pulls the trigger.
SAMPLE OF DRAMA
“Marrrruugghghhhhhh!!!” Tom quickly lunges
forward from the back seat and bites deep into
the side of Stephanie's neck! Blood squirts
forcefully all throughout the cabin as the rig
begins to dangerously swerve left and right as
Stephanie tries to fight off Tom who’s sinking
his teeth deeper into her neck.
Britney and Victor
scream in fear, not sure what to do because
blood is in their eyes and they can't see
anything. Stephanie keeps hitting Tom’s face,
but every hit is growing weaker as she feels
herself slipping out of consciousness.
In a last ditch
effort, Stephanie cuts the wheel sharply causing
the whole truck to tip over on its side, sliding
sideways on the driver's side for a good fifty
feet. As the truck comes to a stop and the dust
settles, Britney and Victor find themselves
dangling from their seatbelts. Stephanie is also
in her seatbelt, but is passed out from a giant
gash in her neck. Tom is nowhere to be found.
STEPHANIE... wake up. Come on... Wake UP.”
Britney says struggling.
Blood continues to
pool out of her open neck wound onto the ground
“What the hell just
happened?” Victor asks.
“I think Tom turned
into a zombie.”
“Are you serious?
Holy shit... where is he?”
“I don't know, but
we've got to get out of these seatbelts and help
Stephanie.” Britney says as she tries to press
the belt release, but nothing happens. “Damn it,
reaches around his side and pulls out a pocket
knife attached to his belt.
“Here, I'll cut you loose. Are you ready?”
Britney nods her
head and takes a deep breath, letting it out,
“Yes, go for it.”
back and forth, slowly cutting through the belt.
Soon it snaps causing Britney to fall to the
ground, face first. As
she gets up feeling dazed, pieces of broken
glass stick out from the side of her face.
“I’m sorry! Are you
okay?” Victor asks concerned.
“Yeah, I think so.”
slivers of glass sticking out of your face! That
looks like it hurts!”
Britney uses her
hand and feels around her face, as her fingers
find the sharp, pointy pieces. Without having to
pull them, they push out on their own and fall
to the floor as her face heals up right in front
of Victor. His face turns to disbelief as his
jaw slackens and his eyes widen.
“What the FUCK IS
GOING ON?” He says sticking the knife out in
front of him defensively. It takes a second for
Britney to figure out what’s why Victor is
“Oh… this – It's not
what you think it is. I promise.”
“I just saw your cut
up skin spit out a five inch shard of glass and
heal right in front of me. Don’t tell me I
didn’t see what I just saw. What are you?”
“Put the knife
down, please and I'll explain.”
“NO! I don’t know
what’s going on. The guy in the back seat just
chomped on your friend’s neck and you… your
wounds heal like they never happened. What
the FUCK is going on? Who are you people?”
Stephanie moans and
Let me help my friend... she's dying.”
Stephanie's wounds and sees she's not
regenerating like she should. Her skin is
turning yellow and splotchy as blood continues
“What do I do
Stephanie? I don’t know what to do… Ohhh”
Britney asks while looking around the cabin for
a solution. She notices the windshield is intact
but spider webbed in a thousand pieces.
Using her shoulder,
she leans into it – pushing the broken
windshield outwards with several thrusts. She
then tries to release Stephanie by pressing the
buckle release, but it's not coming open.
“Victor, please hand
me your knife – I need to cut her free.” He
looks at her with hesitation and then reaches
around his side, pulling it out to hand to her.
Britney opens the blade and starts cutting the
seatbelt, careful to not cut Stephanie whose
weight is presses against the belt.
The belt snaps and
Stephanie falls limp to the ground as Britney
helps absorb her impact. She tosses the knife
back up to Victor so he can cut himself out
while she drags her body out of the truck.
She walks a few feet
away, smearing a trail of blood from the truck
towards Stephanie. She runs back and checks the
center console and the glove compartment for
anything she can use, like a first aid kit.
When she opens the
glove box, a loaded pistol falls on the floor.
Victor sees it and starts cutting his seatbelt
faster, but Britney grabs it and says, “I’ll
hold on to this for safe measure.”
“You’re the one I’m
afraid of.” Victor says in a defeated tone.
“Hurry up and get
free. I need you to help me find the first aid
Victor frees himself
and starts checking around the cabin and under
the seat where he finds a white metal box with a
big red cross, after a few minutes, he finds it.
“Got it,” He says
bringing it over to Britney’s side as she holds
Stephanie's head in her lap. Victor takes out a
large gauze bandage and applies pressure to the
side of her neck.
“Why is she turning
yellow?” Victor asks staring at her.
streaming down Britney's face when suddenly
Stephanie’s eyes shoot open wide – revealing a
yellow discoloration she’s never seen before as
her body starts to convulse uncontrollably.
“What's happening to
“Turning? Into what?
Britney nods her
head while holding Stephanie’s head as she’s
having a seizure. Foam starts to come out of her
mouth as she chomps and thrashes her arms and
legs, “Help me by holding her legs down.”
Victor moves towards
Stephanie’s feet, facing Britney who watches
Stephanie chomping her jaw open and closed
repeatedly while tossing her head violently side
“Is there anything
we can do to stop it?” Victor asks.
“No, she’s turning
because she’s gone too long without eating. She
needs to eat and there's no food.” Britney says
while tears stream down her eyes, feeling
helpless. Then it dawns on Britney as she jolts
her head up, her eyes wide open as if she just
had an epiphany.
“What? What is it?”
“For what?” Victor
Victor falls forward
on his knees, staring blankly ahead before
slumping over onto Stephanie’s lap. Britney lets
go of the smoking gun like it's a hot potato and
starts to sob uncontrollably because she feels
horrible for what she just did.
convulsing, snapping Britney back to reality
that her friend is dying – unless she gets food
in her. She pulls his lifeless body over by the
wrist, close enough to bite into his flesh.
To help make it
easier for Stephanie, Britney uses her own teeth
to rip a chunk of meat from Victors arm, letting
it dangle over her mouth like someone teasing a
great white shark.
it quickly without chewing, as she rips into
Victors arm savagely. Hoping to see any kind of
improvement, Britney watches as he cleans this
forearm down to the bone, to where you can see
“Why isn't this
working?” She asks while staring into
Stephanie's eyes. Tears start falling faster, as
Britney watches her friend continue to decay in
front of her.
“Please don't die on me... You're all I've got.”
the west of Eugene, Oregon, on a large ten-acre
pasture of land sits an old two-story house next
to a tall oak tree. Underneath the tree is a
tire swing that gently sways in the breeze; it’s
hung there for many generations, entertaining
young and old alike. Some would say when you
look at it and listen closely – you can almost
hear children laughing in the wind.
Just on the other side of the house is an old weathered
barn that has stood the test of time. Built in
the 1880’s, it has survived everything Mother
Nature and man have thrown at it. Sure, it could
use a fresh coat of red paint and a couple of
nails here and there, but it
stands strong to this day.
Out in front of the house, standing on a tall ladder is
an old man struggling with a giant ball of
holiday lights. He yanks and pulls – trying to
untangle the wires, but they stubbornly resist,
bouncing in and out of an old cardboard box.
in the distance, the squealing sound of car
brakes catches his attention, so he puts on his
glasses to watch the mysterious car that is
slowing down to turn off the pavement and onto
the dirt road that leads up to his gate. Someone
gets out of the car, opens the gate and drives
on through before stopping again to close the
gate behind them.
Moments later, the car starts driving up the
long dirt road towards the house – with it, a
long dust cloud that follows, as the distinct
sound of tiny rocks and pebbles hitting the
under carriage grows louder.
The old man steps
down off the ladder and faces the direction of
the car. He quickly grooms his long white beard
with his hand and glances down at his blue
overalls, brushing off any dust or hay before
resuming his correct posture with his head held
high. He quickly takes off his glasses and tucks
them in the front pocket of his overalls, before
car drives up slowly and comes to a stop within
ten feet of the old man. The mysterious driver
stares at him from inside the car before turning
off the ignition. All is quiet as the gentle
howl of the wind picks up and fades away.
driver side door clicks open as a woman wearing
business-casual clothing and large dark
sunglasses steps out of the car in a serious
manner. The old man squints his eyes and leans
his head forward trying to get a better look,
“If you’re gonna sell me something, I’m not
“That’s too bad…” the brunette woman says while
taking off her sunglasses. The old man tilts his
ear towards her direction, recognizing that
voice, “Stephanie?” he asks unsure.
Daddy!” She says, smiling wide, “Miss me?”
my goodness, Stephanie! What a surprise! Of
course I missed you! Come here and give your old
man a hug!”
Without hesitation Stephanie closes her eyes and
dives into his warm, embracing arms.
“Ooooo! It’s so good to see you,” She says with
a beaming smile. “Love the blue overalls
too…very old McDonald-ish.”
show you an old McDonald…” He says tickling her
ribs as she tries to get away, but can’t.
“Okay! Okay! Ha ha
I take it back, I
take it BACK! Ack! Stop it; that tickles!”
Stephanie says giggling.
eyesight might be going, but I can still move
“Speaking of, why aren’t you wearing your new
know me… I can’t stand anything on my face…
makes my nose itch! I only wear them if I have
Dad, they help you see.”
can see just fine… as long as it’s just a few
feet in front of me. Heck, I even knew it was
you when you pulled up.”
really? I parked ten feet away because I know
you can’t see that far.”
was your brakes that gave you away. You’re the
only person I know whose car breaks squeal like
a newborn pig. And, maybe I cheated a little, by
putting them on for a second when you were still
at the gate.”
Stephanie laughs, “Darn it… nothing gets past
brings you from so far away? Shouldn’t you be in
class right now?”
“Normally yes, but we’re on Christmas vacation
until the third of January… and Dad, Portland
isn’t that far away – it’s only a two hour
drive. Since I’m off for two weeks and it’s been
a while since we last saw each other, I figured
I’d swing down and spend the holidays with you
and mom… if that’s okay with you both?”
course it is – you know that. Your mother and I
were just talking about it over breakfast.”
“Speaking of mom, how’s she doing?”
“She’s doing good… moving a little slower these
days, but still stubborn as a mule.”
grandma, still opinionated and crass?”
don’t you know it! Her Give-A-Damn meter
broke long ago.”
“She’s how old now, ninety three?”
knows how old she is… she stopped counting after
her seventy-fifth birthday.”
I hope to live as long as she does.” Stephanie
says looking towards the house.
“Careful what you wish for… getting old isn’t
all that it’s cracked up to be. Trust me, I
is a short pause where neither of them says
anything; they just look at each other.
“Well…” He says breaking the silence, “Want me
to go get your mom, or grandma?”
“There’s no rush… I’m here for two weeks so I’m
sure I’ll get my fill of seeing them. Right now
I just want to look at you.” Stephanie says
glancing over her dad.
white beard, it’s getting so long!”
“Wha’? This old thing?” He lifts the bottom of
his beard up to see it. “I call it my soup
catcher because it’s always ending up in my soup
or on my plate.”
“Ewww, gross Dad!”
lets out a hearty laugh that brings a giant
smile to her face, “That’s the one thing I’ve
always loved about you daddy.”
“You’ve always had a way to make me laugh. I’ve
really missed that. And this beautiful farm… so
alive and green, all thanks to you.” Stephanie
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I thought
retirement was supposed to be all relaxing and
drinking tea. It’s not. There’s always something
to do. Work, work, work.”
“Well it keeps you
young!” She says patting his beer belly. Would
or go back to
much as I miss it, I think I’d rather be doing
this. Twenty-five years driving cross-country is
long enough. I did my time. Now the only thing I
drive is my John Deer lawn mower!”
I just thought of what I’m getting you for
you don’t need to get me anything Stephanie.
Save your money… buy something nice for you.”
“Dad…You’ll like it, I promise.”
“Okay, what is it?”
Stephanie smiles jokingly, “A C.B. Radio
for your John Deer mower, so you can talk to all
your trucker buddies while mowing the lawn.”
Your mother would have a cow if she found out I
was talking on the C.B. again.”
kidding, dad. It’s a joke. I know better, but
it’s still funny to think about.”
“Speaking of Christmas… if you don’t mind?” He
lifts up the string of lights to show Stephanie,
“I could sure use a hand with these darn
Christmas lights. They keep gettin’ tangled.”
can’t believe you still have these… Didn’t you
buy them a decade before I was born?”
sounds about right.”
“Don’t you think it might be time to upgrade,
knows I tried to get rid of these ancient
things, but your mother likes ‘em and heaven
forbid I try to get rid of ‘em. You know your
mom… there’s no use in arguing with her… when
she has her mind made up, it becomes law.”
“Yeah, but you know these run up your
electricity bill sky high – yet you still use
them. It breaks my heart because I know you
guys have a limited income.”
“We’ll deal with it after the holidays, like we
always do. Besides, we can’t afford to get new
ones. How’s the saying go? If it ain’t broke,
don’t fix it?”
that thought.” Stephanie says pointing her index
finger upwards to signal her dad to stay put.
She unlocks the trunk of her car and reaches in,
“I got you something I think you’ll like.”
Dad, not beer… something even better.”
Eeeewwww No… don’t put that image in my head!”
scratches the back of his head in confusion,
looking down at the ground, “Then what could it
Stephanie slams the hood down and walks back
towards her dad.
can’t believe you. Viagra… sheesh. Here, take
Stephanie hands her dad a wrapped present with a
shiny bow on it.
“Okay, I’ll go put it under the tree.”
Dad… it’s for you to open now.”
go ahead, open it. I think you’ll like it.”
starts to slide his finger along the edge of the
paper where it’s taped, being careful not to
ruin the wrapping.
Lord, just tear into it already… we’re not going
to reuse it.”
it’s good paper.”
“Geesh Dad… here let me help.” Stephanie uses
one of her long fingernails to slash the paper
from one corner to another. “There, now you
can’t reuse it. Now look inside.”
holds the package at arm’s length away and
squint’s his eyes.
“Well, what’s it say on the box?” Stephanie asks
lights? Never heard of those. They don’t feel
heavy like lead.”
lead lights, Dad. L.E.D. lights… they’re
Christmas lights that are very energy efficient.
They won’t use up so much electricity and risk
burning down your house.”
“Don’t you think with all the crap we have that
maybe a good burnin’ might be welcomed?”
know you don’t mean that.”
just saying… maybe if the house went up, it
might be a good thing.”
now you don’t have to worry about that any more…
these are cool to the touch and last forever.”
“Thank you Stephanie, but do they twinkle? You
know your mother likes them to twinkle.”
Stephanie laughs, “Yes Dad, they twinkle. In
fact, if you look here, it says on the package
that not only do they flash, but they have eight
“Trust me, it’s not. Wait till night fall, and
I’ll show you how easy it is. It’s just a press
of a button.”
looks at them closely, “These sure are tiny.
Will people be able to see it?”
will. I promise… all the way to the road.”
Stephanie says walking over to the old box of
are you doing?” He asks watching her reel in the
string of lights.
retiring these for good.” She says carrying the
box to her car.
“Retiring? What do you mean?”
Stephanie pops open the truck of her car, “I’m
going to recycle them, Dad.”
“Those are still good – I can use them for
these have got to go. Remember what we talked
about… something called hoarding.”
you sure? They’ve been in our family a very long
“Exactly, they’ve served their purpose. You’ll
like the new ones; I promise.”
might, but what about your mother or
grandmother? They can be finicky about change.”
Stephanie slams the trunk shut and presses the
alarm remote. The car chirps and the lights
flash once to show it’s armed, “I’ll explain to
mom and grandma that this needed to happen. In
fact, I’ll be happy to go talk to them now – any
idea where they might be?”
probably watching her soap operas – sitting in
her favorite chair; Grandma is probably upstairs
in her room. You know how she likes cutting out
newspaper articles to pin them on the wall
like she always has.”
Stephanie makes her way to the front porch of
the house and stops in her tracks, “Oh! I almost
walks back briskly to her car and opens the
passenger side door. She reaches in and puts a
white square box on the roof of the car before
closing the door. She walks back with a big
smile on her face, holding it with two hands.
“What’s in the box?”
“What? This? Let’s just open it and find out,
Stephanie lifts the lid slowly for her dad to
see inside, revealing a fresh baked apple pie
with a flaky golden brown crust - radiating
steam out into the cool December air.
“Doesn’t it smell good?” She asks smiling.
leans in and takes a big whiff of the fragrance
escaping the box. Closing his eyes, he says “My,
oh my… it smells so delicious!”
then looks in both directions to make sure no
know… we can both take this to the barn and
enjoy it ourselves.” He says quietly so no one
else can hear.
this is for the whole family.”
you sure? Because this can be our
No.” Stephanie says smiling.
all right. You know me… I just don’t like sharin’”
know you don’t, silly. Now come on… let’s go
take this inside so it’ll stay warm.” Stephanie
says while walking back to the front porch.
stops at the old screen door and turns around to
wait for her dad to step up the three wooden
coming, I’m coming.” He says leaning his weight
on the arm rail, taking it one step at a time.
rush. I’m not going anywhere.” She says smiling.
pulls the screen door open and waits for her to
walk in first. Stephanie heads towards the
kitchen and strategically places the pie near
the garden window so a gentle breeze can carry
the fragrance throughout the house.
Moments later, her mother leans forward in her
chair with a confused look on her face. She
sniffs the air several times, “John, are you
cooking something in the kitchen?”
Stephanie smiles and puts her index finger over
her lips, signaling for her dad not to say
anything – he nods in agreement. Since there’s
no answer, her mom gets up and puts her quilt
down so she can investigate.
Stephanie pops out from around the corner, “Hi,
Mom!” she says with her arms open wide to give
her mom a hug.
“Stephanie! What a nice surprise!” she says
hugging her back.
missed you too. Shouldn’t you be in school? What
brings you to this neck of the woods?”
on my Christmas break and thought I would come
down and spend the holidays with you guys –
if that’s okay?”
course it’s okay. You know our door is always
open. In fact, your dad and I had a little bet
to see if you would show up.” She says looking
frowns and reaches in his pocket to pull out a
wadded up ten dollar bill. He hesitantly puts it
in her waiting hand.
“Thank you, honey…” She smiles lovingly while
giving him a kiss. From atop of the stairs an
old raspy voice yells, “Who’s down there?”
Stephanie moves to the bottom of the steps and
looks up at her old grandma. She’s hunched over,
leaning her weight on a silver walker with two
tennis balls on the front legs. Her glasses are
so thick that the lenses cause her eyes to look
like an owl.
me, grandma, Stephanie.” She says projecting her
voice so she can hear.
“Stephanie? The name doesn’t ring a bell. Do I
grandma, you know me. I’m your grand-daughter.
You know, the one in vet school.”
“You’re in the military? Hold on, I’ve got an
American flag for you. I’ll just go and get it…”
“No grandma, not
veteran; I’m in a Veterinarian school… you know
someone who helps animals get better.”
“Animal Goat Butter? Never heard of that. We
used to have goats on the farm, back when I was
a little girl.”
Stephanie looks at her parents in disbelief, “Is
she wearing her hearing aids?”
“Maybe,” John says, “But who knows how long it’s
been since she’s changed out the batteries. I’m
pretty sure they’re dead.”
Stephanie looks back up the stairs, “Never mind.
I’m in school right now.”
yer not. You’re right here, playin’ hooky.
You’re not foolin’ me young lady!”
Stephanie puts her face in her palms and shakes
her head. She takes a deep breath and patiently
answers back, “No grandma, I’m on Christmas
vacation and I came down to spend the holidays
“Christmas? Oh my… Is it that time again? I
better go find my Black Friday coupons.”
lifts and turns her walker to the left,
shuffling slowly out of sight. Stephanie turns
and whispers to her parents, “Should she be at
the top of the stairs?”
course not…” John says.
why is she up there? She could fall down the
stairs and break a hip!”
know. We know! It’s because she’s as stubborn as
a mule; that’s why. You know how your
grandmother is. She’s lived upstairs all her
life and she’ll be damned if anyone tries to
make her leave. Plus she’s got it set up where
everything is in its place. Heaven forbid
someone move something.”
“Someone her age shouldn’t be living on the
second floor, that’s all I’m saying. Those
stairs are steep and dangerous, especially with
her eyesight being so bad.”
“You’re preaching to the choir, Steph. Your mom
and I have tried everything to keep her from
going up them stairs; We’ve tried boards, baby
gates, rope, you name it, but she just grabs on
and starts a rockin’ – back and forth until they
come off the wall.”
she fallen yet?”
you kidding?” John looks at Stephanie in
disbelief. “If it wasn’t for that big hump on
her back, she would probably be in the hospital
with multiple hip fractures.”
Lorraine slaps him
on the shoulder.
“What? It’s true and you know it! She’s like a
turtle with that hump on her back. Every time
she falls backwards, she flails her arms in
every direction, rocking back and forth until
she grabs onto something and rights herself up.”
“That’s your mother in law!”
like tortoise in law.” He jokes playfully.
Lorraine slaps him good. John laughs while
raising his arm up to block any more hits.
“Don’t listen to your dad. I can’t believe you
Stephanie laughs at her parents, “It’s been
forever since I’ve been up there. What’s so
important?” She wonders.
clipping room…” Lorraine says, “Four giant
corkboard walls – lined with hundreds of
newspaper clippings, magazine cut outs, you name
it. She loves cutting things out with her
scissors and pinning them up on the wall
since before you were born. I can’t tell you
how many of my favorite magazines have been
my morning newspapers!” John mumbles.
“Yeah, well… we need to remember this is her
house and she’s been kind enough to let us
move in with her rent free. A little clipping
here and there is not much to ask for putting up
instructs Stephanie, “Show your mom what you
it what I think it is?” She asks smiling.
Stephanie walks over to the window and brings
over the apple pie.
thought I smelled that! My Lord, would you look
at that crust. It looks so delicious; I can’t
wait to have some!”
know, right? I remembered how much you and Dad
love it – so I wanted to surprise you both.
Plus, you raised us girls to always bring
something when coming over.”
“You’re right we did, and Thank you! Do you know
what would go great with this?”
“What?” Stephanie asks.
“Homemade vanilla ice cream! We’ve made some the
other day from the leftover cream, after milking
yum! I can’t remember when the last time was
when I had farm fresh ice cream. Are you still
using the old fashioned hand-crank bucket too?”
course, we still use it.” Her mom says, as she
walks over to the freezer and grabs a metal
canister. She carries it back and places it in
front of Stephanie – who lifts the lid to peek
at the vanilla ice cream inside.
talk about really old school.” Stephanie says as
she swipes her index finger through the ice
cream, but before she could lick it her mom
swats her hand like a fly.”
“Speaking of old fashioned, I see some things
never change.” She says staring down Stephanie
with both hands on her hips. She looks back at
her mom with a sheepish grin on her face, “I
give you an I love you in a minute… Go grab
some plates and silverware and help set the
table. Silly girl…”
mom,” Stephanie says quickly getting up.
dad reaches in and starts scooping ice cream
from the container, while her mother cuts into
the flaky crust and serves the apple pie onto
small white plates.
everyone is served, they sit down and start to
dig into their yummy dessert with their spoons.
Stephanie takes a moment to watch how the apple
pie melts the cold cream around it, causing it
to pool on her plate. She quickly scoops it with
her spoon and eats it.
my gosh… I’m in heaven!” Stephanie blurts out.
stuff huh?” Her dad says, not paying attention
to his beard catching some of the ice cream and
your beard!” Stephanie points and laughs.
Nabit…” He says looking down and wiping his
frizzled white beard with his napkin.
“John… I swear one of these nights when you
least expect it, I’m going to cut your beard
with my mother’s clipping scissors.”
“Sorry…” He says, tucking his beard between his
belly and the table. Lorraine looks at
Stephanie, shaking her head left and right
before changing the subject, “So… Veterinarian
school… I thought you were still at the
University of Oregon? When did this happen?”
told you several months ago, remember? I called
you, asking about the paperwork I needed to
that’s right. I was under the impression it was
a class at the University. I didn’t know it was
a different school altogether. What made you
leave? Were you being bullied?”
mom, it’s a great University, but I didn’t care
for my business classes. I learned that in order
to compete in today’s business world, you have
to be aggressive and cut throat... and you know
me, that’s not who I am.”
adds, “We’re both glad you’re not. You’re a nice
young woman and we hope you stay that way. Don’t
ever change for anyone, not even your job.”
speaking of job, don’t be giving everything
away… nothing in this world is free.”
when are you going to let that go? That was how
many years ago?”
just sayin’… Money doesn’t grow on trees. Lord
knows how many Girl Scout cookies I had to pay
for out of pocket, because you kept
giving them away to everyone on the street. Do
you remember that? Free cookies… sheesh.”
can I forget? You keep reminding me!”
bucks a box, that’s crazy. Back in our day, that
would fetch five dozen. Now they charge more for
chimes in to change the subject, “So do you like
working with animals better?”
do. You know how much I love animals. It only
makes sense for me to be around them.”
mother and I took that into consideration when
we were thinking of moving here. We thought it
was best to bring you out into the country.”
so glad you did. I really think this might be my
good,” He says. “If ever my horses or cows get
sick, I might need ya to come make a house call
you what – if you keep a good stock of vanilla
ice cream in the freezer, you just might have
yourself a deal.”
“Consider it done!” John spits in his hand and
offers to shake Stephanie’s hand.
“Eeewww, Dad. You know I’m not a fan of that.”
“Yeah, but a man’s word is everything,
especially if he or she shakes on it. It’s as
good as gold.”
Stephanie looks at him and spits in her hand,
pumping his arm up and down to seal the deal in
Lorraine shakes her head and says in disbelief,
“Now both of you, go wash your hands.”
both get up and John looks at Stephanie, “Tell
“What’s with your fancy dress you’re wearing? Do
you have to look like a secretary to be in vet
Stephanie looks down at what she’s wearing and
then back up at her dad, “You mean what I’ve got
on? No, this is business casual. It isn’t what
we normally wear. In class we’re usually in
scrubs, but this morning I attended a fund
raising event for our local animal shelter. They
wanted us to dress professionally, and so I
I see. I’m just not used to seeing you all
fancied up. I still see you in jeans and a
sit down back at the table and resume eating,
“Oh… and Dad – they don’t call them
don’t? Well what do you call them then?”
“They’re administrative assistants. It’s
more gender neutral.”
mean there are men who are secretaries?”
dad, there are male administrative assistants.”
“Lord, I can’t keep up with you kids and all
your new lingo… LOL, BRB, SMH,” he says
finishing up the last bite before pushing away
his empty plate. He wipes his mouth with a
checkered red and white napkin before tossing it
was some delicious apple pie, or whatever you
kids call it these days.” John says as he stands
up and takes his plate to the sink.
still apple pie, Dad!” Stephanie says smiling.
Stephanie’s mom reaches out to John as he walks
by to get his attention, “Will you go check on
Scotty? He’s awfully quiet.”
dear.” He says while leaning over to kiss the
top of her head before walking out of the room.
didn’t know Scotty is here. Is Samantha here
“She’s at work right now, till four.”
“Where’s Jack? Why isn’t he watching the kids?”
you don’t know?” Lorraine has a look of surprise
on her face.
“Samantha and Jack had a nasty fight a few
months ago. They broke up, and she and the kids
are living here with us until she can get back
up on her feet.”
I must have missed that. What happened?”
“Jack, as you know, has a serious drinking
problem. When he’s drunk, he’s very abusive and
out of control… well, a few months ago he hit
Rusty, and Samantha almost lost it! The boy is
only 6 years old, for heaven’s sake. The only
hitting you do to a kid that age is a good
spankin’, but never on the face. Needless to
say, that was the last straw. Your father warned
him that if he ever showed up on this property,
he would fill him full of lead.”
“Showed up? Oh noooo. He knows better. He knows
if John doesn’t shoot him, I will.”
Stephanie tries to
hide the smirk on her face, but
“What’s so funny?”
I love that you’re so protective.”
a southern thing. You gotta stick up for the
ones you love, and when someone gets out of
line, you straighten them out. That or you call
your special friends to bring shovels and
true.” Lorraine says with confidence.
“How’s Rusty doing?”
“Rusty’s fine. He’s outside playin’ in the back
like all little boys his age do. He’s probably
catchin’ frogs or grasshoppers. Scotty is in the
other room, taking a nap.”
“Good. I’m glad the kids are okay and out of
that abusive environment. So I take it they are
getting a divorce?”
dad and I want her to divorce, but she thinks
that they can work things out. I’m like
Samantha, this isn’t Jerry Springer - you can’t
fix this. It’s not healthy and it’s a slippery
slope that goes downhill fast. It won’t be long
before he’ll be sleepin’ around and cheatin’ –
then the next thing you know, you’re scratchin’
your cookie like a hound has fleas!”
Stephanie bursts out laughing, “I’m sorry,” She
tries to cover her smile. “Ha, ha, ha… I know
this isn’t a funny subject, but I haven’t heard
that word in a long time.”
“What, cookie or hound has fleas?”
“Cookie. You’re the only person I know who calls
her vagina that.”
true! Once a cheater, always a cheater, and it
won’t be funny when she’s pissin’ fire and
wishing things were back to normal.”
Stephanie takes a moment to regain her
composure, wiping the tear from the corner of
I can’t believe you said that. Ha ha…so…. How’s
dad taking retirement?” Stephanie asks using her
spoon to cut a piece of pie.
okay, I guess. He’s enjoying it. But, I know
deep down inside he wishes he was on back on the
road driving, or that you would follow his
example and become a truck driver to carry on
know mom, but we both know that’s not going to
happen. That’s just not my thing.”
mom takes a deep breath and lets out a quiet
“Before you were born, your dad and I didn’t
want to know what your sex was. He was confident
you would be a boy, and that’s all he talked
about… was you driving an eighteen wheeler on
the same road as him. He would lie in bed and
talk about how neat it would be to be chatting
with you on the C.B. radio, among other things.
I guess he convinced himself you were a boy even
before we knew and he set himself up for
failure.” Lorraine says, stopping to reflect on
that moment. “You should have seen his face the
day you were born…”
can we not talk about this, please? I know me
not being a truck driver or not being a boy was
a big disappointment to dad. I’m sorry, but that
will never change. We already talked about this
and it’s not my fault.”
know, he still loves you – even if you’re not a
we talk about more upbeat things? Please? Did
Dad tell you I got you guys some L.E.D.
“L.E.D? No. What’s that – and why would you do
such a thing? We have perfectly good Christmas
and Dad sound so alike, do you know that?”
you save the receipt so you can return them?”
Mom… I’m not taking them back. The reason I got
them is because they are very energy efficient
and won’t run up your electric bill.”
“Yeah, but I like my lights to twinkle.”
know… and these have eight different twinkle
settings. Darn it, now you have me saying it.
These have eight different flash settings. After
the sun sets in a few hours, I’ll plug them in
and show you guys.
didn’t have to… but thank you.”
“You’re welcome, and yes, it needed to happen.”
Outside along the edge of the property is a long
wooden fence that separates the property line.
Rusty, who is bored of chasing bugs, finds a
long skinny branch on the ground.
picks it up and examines it, before swinging it
left and right like a sword. He looks at the
fence and decides to hold the branch out to his
side, letting the branch tap every fence post
along the way.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
Across the street just beyond the dense tree
line, a tall bony man in his mid-twenties
shuffles slowly through the woods. It suddenly
stops in place when it hears tapping off in the
distance. His head swings forward and quickly to
the left, as it listens intently.
piece of flesh slowly starts to peel off from
the man’s cheek, revealing decayed teeth now
exposed to the air and drool seeping out of the
lands on one of his teeth and starts licking the
surface as he changes direction towards the
sound of tapping. Rusty continues walking and
then suddenly stops when he sees the man shamble
out of the tree-line.
boney man shuffles across the road and up to the
wooden fence that holds him back from Rusty. He
reaches out to grab the young boy, but he’s out
of arm’s reach.
swings his head left and right, as if looking at
the barrier keeping him from what he wants most.
Rusty catches a whiff of the guy’s decaying
body, so he pinches his nose, “Pew wee, mister…
You smell like rotting garbage!”
creature leans in, causing the fence to buckle,
but it still holds him back.
“Marrgh? You sure do talk funny. Do you have a
cold or something?”
“Garrrrgghhhhhhhhhh!” The creature says, pacing
back and forth along the fence – trying to get
to the boy.
you wanting someone to play with? Are you
“That’s great! I’m looking for someone to play
with too. How about we play… Tag, you’re it!”
“Okay, I’ll go first! Tag…”
quickly slaps the top of the man’s hand,
knocking a large layer of skin off onto the
ground and into the dirt.
“Eeeeewwwww, that’s gross!”
“Murrrraggggghhhhhhhh!” the creature lunges at
Rusty, but again the fence holds him back.
“Okay, now you’re it. I can’t play outside the
fence – so you’re gonna have to come inside to
play with me.” Rusty says while lifting the
handle up on the gate.
Moments later, everyone inside the house hears a
boyish scream of agony.
was that?” Stephanie asks, alarmed. Her mom
rushes over to the garden window and looks out
towards the edge of the property.
my god…. Nooooo!!!” Her mom covers her mouth
with both hands as tears start streaming from
her eyes, unable to look away.
Stephanie looks at her and then out the window
to see what she sees. In the distance, she sees
the bony man attacking Rusty.
911! CALL 911!!!” Stephanie shoves her phone
into her mom’s chest before bolting out the
front door as fast as she can. The screen door
slams forcefully shut behind her as she runs as
fast as she can go.
off of him. Get away. GET AWAY!!!” Stephanie
yells frantically, almost out of breath. The man
looks up and growls, showing his decaying teeth
with chunks of flesh stuck between them.
reaches into the chest and rips Rusty’s organs
out, one hand at a time before shoving them into
his mouth. After a few bites, he spits them out
to make room for more.
Stephanie slows down running and starts to throw
up in disgust. Unable to look away, she watches
in horror as the creature bites into his heart,
causing red blood to shoot in several
directions. As she’s hunched over, rage starts
to course through her veins as she clenches her
a mighty yell, Stephanie starts running full
speed towards him delivering a kick into its
ribs hard enough to lift him a few feet off
Rusty. The man falls to his side unfazed by a
kick that would have regular men wallowing in
Stephanie’s eyes widen in fear when she realizes
it didn’t bother him. In desperation, she scans
the ground looking for anything that may be used
as a weapon. She spots a thick broken branch
from a nearby tree and swoops down to grab it.
winds up and swings it with all her might,
connecting with the side of the man’s face,
sending hundreds of pieces of wood, splinters,
and teeth flying in all directions. The whack
was so loud it echoed off the barn house several
hundred feet away.
bony man looks at the ground dazed, as he crawls
on his hands and knees; his lower jaw barely
hanging from a small piece of flesh. He looks up
at Stephanie and then starts crawling back
Stephanie grabs him by the back of the shirt and
struggles to keep him away, but for a skinny
guy, he’s incredibly strong. She grabs onto the
fence and hangs on with one arm, holding the man
by the collar with the other.
of the fence boards dislodges and the man starts
pulling Stephanie behind him. She lets go and
grabs the fence board with both hands, raising
it high above her head.
all her might, she swings it down, bashing the
man’s head in, over and over until he stops
moving. Soon, she can feel herself hitting the
ground from the other side of his head. She
stares at her nephew’s lifeless body in shock
while sobbing uncontrollably.
his heart, liver, and lungs should be, is now an
empty chest cavity, with just a piece of spinal
cord sticking up through a dark pool of red
blood. Stephanie’s mouth trembles as she drops
the fence board next to her and she falls to her
knees crying. She looks up towards the sky,
pleading in vain.
“Please….no….. God…. no…..help me…. Please,
someone help me…”
lifts his lifeless body in her arms, softly
caressing his hair with her trembling fingers.
John grabs his loaded shotgun and makes his way
to Stephanie as fast as he can, but he sees he’s
too late. Stephanie slowly looks up at her dad
with tears streaming down both cheeks, “Help us…
John’s stomach knots up inside as his heart
breaks into a million pieces at the sight of his
daughter weeping uncontrollably. He slowly takes
off his hat in respect as Stephanie holds
Rusty’s lifeless body in her arms, unable to do
Lorraine catches up with John a few moments
later… out of breath. John quickly grabs her and
turns her away, but not before she catches a
glimpse of Rusty’s lifeless arm dangling.
grandbaby… my grandbaby… what has he done?!?
What kind of sick person would do such a thing?”
She squirms and kicks in John’s arms, sobbing
uncontrollably as he escorts her back to the
house. Off in the distance, the faint sound of
sirens slowly grows louder as Stephanie rocks
Rusty’s lifeless body back and forth in her
“Hurry….please.” She begs, lifting her head in
hopes of seeing the flashing lights.
Without warning, a sharp pain shoots through
Stephanie’s left breast, causing her to
reactively shove Rusty’s body away from her.
“OUCH!” She yelps out, while glancing down at
her breast. Red blood starts to absorb into her
white shirt, spreading in a circular pattern.
She pulls her bra and shirt outward so she can
see the injury and notices a dozen tiny teeth
marks that pierced the skin.
“What… the?” She asks herself, while looking at
Rusty, whose back is facing towards her. She
covers her breast with her hand, holding
pressure over it to stop the bleeding. Curious
about what just happened, she rolls Rusty off
his side to get a better look at his innocent,
first thing that draws her attention is the
gaping large hole in his chest that causes her
to squint her eyes shut. She focuses on his face
and his precious little freckles that stand out
on each cheek.
His eyelids are
closed, giving the illusion that he’s sleeping
peacefully. The sun begins setting behind the
trees as the dusk turns the sky orange and red.
Blue and red lights strobe brighter as the sky
begins to turn darker. Stephanie stares at his
precious little face and thinks,
‘Maybe it was an
sirens in the distance grow louder by the
second, but now Stephanie is curious… Something
inside of her wants to see his eyes one last
time, but when she reaches out her fingers
towards them, she hesitates.
looks up and sees the blue, white and red
emergency lights flashing in every direction as
they speed towards her. Knowing that they will
be here any moment, Stephanie takes a breath and
lets it out, reaching toward his eyelids to peek
one last time.
Rusty’s eyes shoot open and stare blankly back,
causing Stephanie to retract her hand quickly
while falling backwards on her butt as she kicks
my god, oh my god!!!” Stephanie says, crawling
and kicking away as fast as she can. Rusty’s
eyes are pitch- black, but at the same time,
eerily reflective like cats’ eyes are in the
Stephanie gets up and starts running towards the
house, pain radiates down her left side causing
her to stumble to the ground.
She yells out in agony, pulling on her shirt so
she can see what’s happening. Black veins spider
outwards in every direction away from the bite
marks, extending down her arms and up her neck.
The intensity of the pain causes Stephanie to
curl up in a ball, holding her stomach. Her last
‘This is it… I’m gonna die!’
dimly lit gymnasium at Portland State
University, two scientists wearing hazmat suits
jot down notes on a clipboard while surveying a
room full of black body bags.
methodically unzip the bags to check the
contents within before zipping up and checking
the next one. Without warning, one of the helmet
lights on the hazmat suit flickers erratically
before going out completely.
“What’s wrong, Monica?”
third helmet light went out. I’m down to my last
one and I don’t think there’s enough juice to
last until sunrise this morning.”
“There may be some extra batteries in the desk.”
Dr. Grant says while pointing to the office.
already grabbed those yesterday before we
started. These are the last ones, unless by
chance, you have any on you?”
Grant pats himself down over where his pockets
are, “I thought I had some spares, but I’m
afraid not. I guess work until you can no longer
see and when it starts to go out, just hang out
under those emergency lights until sun up.”
wish we didn’t have to work under the cover of
darkness. I feel like we’re breaking the law or
doing something illegal.”
understand Monica, but it’s for our own safety.
In the day light it’s too risky to be spotted by
but at night, there are also the scavengers and
marauders that come out, looking for food or
whatever else. As a female, there isn’t a day
that goes by that I don’t think about what those
monsters can and will do to me if they get their
hands on me… and I’m not talking about the
zombies. I’m just not sure how we’re supposed to
do our research in the dark, that’s all I’m
“Well, I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we
come to it. For now, let’s keep looking for
number nine, hopefully before your light goes
out.” Dr. Grant says bending down to check
another body bag.
Monica lifts up a piece of paper on a clipboard
to read something on the underside. Her eyes
glance left and right quickly several times
before stopping on something she wrote. She
flips the paper up and then back down in
“Hmmm. This data doesn’t seem to add up.”
what are you referring?” He says, turning to
look to Monica.
eight healthy individuals we found in the body
just trying to make sense of this data, Dr.
Grant.” She says, flipping back to the top page
before taking off her glasses quickly.
doesn’t make sense is why did all eight of the
people die within one week?”
don’t know, Monica. You and I saw them; they
“Looking here at my notes, they all appeared to
be alive and well, nothing remarkable, no known
allergies. All eight appeared to be healthy, in
relatively good shape, some even with a sense of
humor, despite surviving what appears to be the
beginning of a zombie apocalypse.”
continues to flip back and forth on her chart,
“It says here when surveyed, ‘All eight
shared an acute, insatiable desire for meat?’…
even though one of them had self-identified as a
lifelong vegetarian who was anti-meat all their
life. Yet, even though they didn’t eat meat,
they all met the same fate.”
“Acute rapid cellular decomposition.” Dr. Grant
“Right, they all decayed into dust… even their
bones dissolved into nothing. I’ve never seen or
heard of anything like it. Skeletal bones don’t
just do that.”
“Perhaps all eight had a unique medical
must have had something in common, but what?
Also, what I don’t get is what were these
healthy looking people doing in body bags to
begin with? All the other bodies in this room
are decayed corpses.”
“Perhaps they were hiding?”
in their right mind would want to hide in a body
bag? That’s just creepy!”
“Maybe someone who feared for their lives… or
maybe they were running from something out to
Monica glances over for a second and responds,
“Okay, for argument’s sake, I’ll go along with
that, but what are the odds of all eight
subjects waking up with the same symptoms:
blurry vision, short term paralysis, and
“That’s a good point, Monica. You may be on to
something,” Dr. Grant says shaking his index
finger at her. She steps over one of the body
bags and snags her suit on a nail sticking out
of one of the bleachers. The sound of the rip is
loud enough for Dr. Grant to lift his head up
and take notice.
sees Monica staring back at him, motionless.
Tears start streaming down her eyes from inside
her suit. Dr. Grant rushes over and takes her
hands in his. They both stare at each other
silently before he mutters the words, “I’m. so.
Monica looks down at her hip and sees a large
gash in her suit as blood starts to outline the
scratch in her skin.
infected now… right?”
Grant glances down at the floor and takes a deep
slow breath, “I’m afraid so.”
long?” She whispers.
sorry, I didn’t hear you.”
Monica takes her helmet off and tosses it to the
side. She steps out of her suit and wipes her
asked, how long before I turn?”
“I…I…don’t know. I’ve never seen someone turn
into a zombie yet. I’ve only seen them already
as a zombie.”
Monica smiles half-heartedly, “Well, I guess I’m
going to be your first.” She says sarcastically.
Grant looks at her with watery eyes, “No, you
reaches up above his head and with both hands
–twists off his helmet until a hissing sound is
are you doing?!?” Monica protests.
Grant looks at his helmet for a second in
reflection before tossing it away.
“What’s it look like? I’m joining you.”
Monica reaches down and grabs his helmet, “No,
you’re not, put this back on!”
late.” Dr. Grant says, while grabbing her wrists
and nodding his head no. “In a room with this
many infected body bags, I’m already exposed to
the virus. It doesn’t take much. You know that,
idiot, why did you do such a thing?!?” Monica
show solidarity for my partner, and friend;
besides, I’m an old man. There’s nothing left
for me here. It’s not like I’ve got many years
there is!” Monica says in protest, “What about
the big speech you gave me about the importance
of not giving up? That… that… even under the
worst of conditions – when things are at their
darkest, that one man or woman… can still
make a difference in the lives of millions. You
taught me that.”
Grant glances down for a moment and then looks
Monica in the eyes, “Exactly!”
knew being clumsy was one day going to be my
downfall. I just knew it! And what do I do? I go
and scratch myself on a rusty nail in a room
full of corpses! Way to go, Monica.”
“Well, maybe we will get lucky and find number
“We’re about to die and maybe turn into a
drooling zombie… and YOU still want to do
research?” Monica asks in disbelief. “REALLY?!?”
it’s inevitable that we’re going to turn into
walking dead, then I rather hold out hope that
we’ll find number nine. And if we do, we can
study them and maybe finding a cure. Who knows,
if we do, then we’ll have nothing to worry about
because we’re cured. And if we don’t, then maybe
they’ll name a school after us.”
“Who’s they? Society has already gone to hell in
a hand basket since the zombie outbreak. Life
as we know it - is over Dr. Grant and like
it or not, we’re about to be wandering around
saying, Brainsssss.” Monica demonstrates by
extending both arms out in front of her.
Grant turns his back and walks away, where he
begins unzipping body bags as Monica asks, “What
are you doing?!?”
case you’re wondering, I haven’t given up hope
yet. There’s still time.”
Monica stares at him for a few minutes in
disbelief. Her facial expression goes from anger
to maybe he has a point.
steps over one of the body bags and starts
unzipping the body bags.
see you’ve come to your senses.”
Monica bites her lip, holding back the urge to
say something sarcastic. Suddenly she’s overcome
by a rotten stench coming from inside the body
bag in front of her, causing her to turn away,
Gawd….Ughhh! The smell… I had forgotten how well
those hazmat suits shielded us. This body bag….
is all liquid inside, and smells like spoiled
beef stew... Gah!”
steps far away, pulling out a handkerchief to
hold over her nose and mouth for a few minutes.
She braces against the wall and spits up, trying
to get the smell out of her mouth and nose. Dr.
Grant smirks and goes about checking the other
body bags while Monica builds up the courage to
go back near the horrible stench.
hesitantly zips it back up before distancing
herself several rows upwind.
going over here, far away from the smell.” She
says, nudging the body bag in front of her foot
to see if it will ripple. She squats down and
slowly unzips it, squinting her eyes closed.
thank God… I never thought I would be so happy
to see a solid corpse after the last one I
Grant looks up at her, but doesn’t say anything.
He just resumes checking each bag.
sorry for freaking out on you.” Monica says
you were right. It just all hit me at once… the
reality of it all. I don’t want to turn into one
of those… things! That’s not how I want to die.”
Grant stops for a moment and makes eye contact
with her, “I know. I don’t want to either.
That’s why I’m not giving up. It’s not what life
throws at you, Monica… it’s how you chose to
deal with it that defines who you are. We’re
going to find number nine and we’re going to
study her and find out why they are healthy.”
I ask you a question?”
course.” Dr. Grant says zipping up another bag.
was wondering… the zombies that are roaming
around, do you think they are man-made or do you
think that they are something from Mother
don’t know. I’ve been wondering a lot of things
since the beginning of the outbreak. Heck, there
was once a time that if you had asked me if I
thought zombies were real, I would have really
questioned your level of intelligence –probably
while slamming a door in your face.”
says, moving on to check another body bag, “Who
knows? I might have even asked if you were a
fiction writer, because such non-sense is the
stuff of make-believe… yet, here we are in the
beginning of what many are calling the zombie
apocalypse. All my friends, colleagues, and even
family members are gone, presumed to be dead and
walking around reanimated.”
pauses to think for a moment, as his eyes slowly
well up. “So, to answer your question, was it
manmade or Mother Nature? I don’t know. I would
guess Mother Nature since she has a way of
throwing curve balls every hundred thousand
years or so. Why do you ask?”
“Several years ago when I was finishing up my
degree, I wrote a paper on how parasites and
fungi create real life ‘zombies’ by taking over
the bodies of insects. They would find a way
inside, eat the creature from the inside out,
and then control its body like a sock puppet. I
found the subject fascinating, that they even
called these infected insects zombie ants!”
“Interesting…” Dr. Grant adds.
Monica resumes, “Of course, there are also
zombie bees, and a whole host of other bugs, but
the term zombie ants for some reason
stuck with me. They were either dead, near-death
or alive, but animated by whatever was living
inside them. I wonder what that must be like… to
not have control of your body and still to be
would imagine… terrifying.”
blew me away was that even ladybugs could also
be zombies! I read something like it can take up
to 40 days for the process to occur, even while
the ladybug is still alive! What’s stopping
nature from moving onto larger vehicles like
humans?” Monica asks.
Grant thinks for a second, “I think you might be
onto something… Say that this zombie apocalypse
is nature made and not a product of genetic
engineering. Just like all life forms, the sole
purpose in life is to reproduce and multiply,
right? So to ensure the survival of the species;
what if… somehow, it has evolved from insects to
very possible.” Monica adds. Dr. Grant
continues, “What if…this what-ever-it-is,
this thing… is lying in a dormant state – slowly
reprogramming the human body? That would explain
the thousands of mysterious deaths that have
occurred… and would also explain the delay in
some people reanimating.” He says looking at the
ground as if he’s onto something.
“That’s why we’re slowly seeing more and more
people waking up from the dead! Whatever killed
all these people… how can I describe it… is
learning how to drive the human body for the
that’s true, Dr. Grant, then you know what that
means, right?” Monica asks with a concerned look
on her face, “With thousands of dead bodies in
this gym, we’re sitting on the equivalent of a
zombie time bomb waiting to reanimate!”
if that’s the case, it’s not a matter of if
they become reanimated, but a matter of when.
I just hope to God we’re not here when they wake
up.” Monica says looking around the room.
suggest we hurry and find number nine then.”
continue searching for the next few hours when
all of the sudden, Monica’s eyes shoot wide open
and her jaw drops in excitement.
Grant! Dr. Grant!!! We found number nine!!! We
found NUMBER NINE!!!” She yells ecstatically.
“Shhhhh! Shhhhh! Shhhhh!”
Grant rushes over to her side, his index finger
over his lips to tell her to quiet down. “If
there are any zombies outside of these walls, we
don’t want to attract their attention!” He says
looking at the body.
Right! Sorry, Dr. Grant! I’m just really
excited… look! She’s a healthy looking woman,
who’s alive! Look at her! I can’t believe it…
then, let’s not waste any time. Let’s get some
vitals and information.” He says taking the pen
and clipboard from Monica. “Whenever you’re
“Okay… let’s see. We have a female, late teens
maybe early twenties, approximately five feet,
eight, maybe hundred and fifty pounds.
Respiration appears normal.”
Monica puts a blood pressure cuff on the woman’s
arm and begins pumping it up while listening
intently with her stethoscope. Several seconds
pass as Monica tilts her head and presses harder
down on the end of the stethoscope.
turns the air release knob, causing the cuff to
hiss and deflate before trying again. She
re-inflates the cuff and listens with a look of
confusion on her face.
“Huh... that’s very strange.” Monica says.
Monica takes off her stethoscope, “I’m unable to
get a BP reading. I’ve tried twice, but nothing.
It’s as if she has no blood pressure.”
placing the stethoscope over her heart – listen
for her heartbeat.”
Monica puts the stethoscope back in her ears and
listens to both sides of the woman’s chest for
several seconds, observing it rise and fall with
every breath. She then takes her finger and taps
the end of her stethoscope to test the sound
*thud* *thud* *thud*
Monica puts the stethoscope over hear heart and
hears her own heart beating.
“That’s odd… I can hear her breathing, but I
can’t hear her heart rhythm. I can hear my heart
beating perfectly fine, but when I press it up
against hers I hear nothing, except maybe one
beat every thirty seconds.”
“What? Here, let me check!” He takes out his
own stethoscope and quickly puts it in his ears.
He checks both sides of the woman’s chest,
making sure the end of the scope is directly on
the skin. He draws back in surprise when the
woman starts to wake up. She blinks her eyes,
slowly at first and then several times faster,
trying to focus.
I’m not crazy, right? You don’t hear it either?”
heart isn’t beating normally! Two beats a
minute?” Doctor Grant says in amazement.
how can that be? Look at her… clearly she’s
alive… she’s looking right at us.”
a second… did we run vitals on the other eight
we didn’t because we didn’t have our equipment,
remember? We weren’t expecting to find anyone
alive in a room full of dead bodies.”
that’s right. Darn it, I wish we did. Still,
this is fascinating!”
can anyone be alive on two beats a minute?
know, Monica, but now zombies are real too, so I
guess anything is possible,” Dr. Grant leans his
head in, looking eye to eye with the woman,
“Hello, can you hear me?”
There’s no response.
Grant turns and looks at Monica.
the blinking method!” Monica says trying to
you can hear me, blink slowly for a yes.”
woman slowly closes her eyelids for two seconds
and slowly opens them.
did it! She can hear you!” Monica blurted out
“Shhhh. I can see that.”
right, Sorry!” Monica said covering her mouth
with both hands.
name is Dr. Grant, this is my assistant Monica.
We’re here to help you.”
woman’s eyes water up, causing a tear to stream
towards her ear.
know you are unable to move your arms or legs,
but don’t worry, you will regain complete use of
your body soon. We promise! Before you know it,
you’ll be up and walking around in no time.
Monica, will you help grab her arm and help me
lift her up, please?”
problem.” Monica says as she repositions herself
three. One, two, threeeee.”
lift her out of the body bag and carefully carry
her by both arms, over to a nearby office. They
sit her down on the floor, back up against a
wall. Monica sees a tear slowly stream down the
woman’s cheek so she squats down to her eye
hey… you’re okay now. Everything’s going to be
okay. Trust me, you’ll be up and moving in no
time.” She says while wiping her tears away.
Monica turns and looks at Dr. Grant.
can’t believe we found number nine!” She says
with a beaming smile. “I wonder what her name is
or where she’s from? She looks like maybe an
April or a Jennifer.”
Grant leans down and whispers in Monica’s ear,
“Don’t get too attached. Remember what happened
to the others?”
know. I’m trying not to… She just looks like a
some blood drawn, label it number nine. With any
luck, maybe we’ll find a cure in her blood work.
I’m going to step out of the room for a minute,
just be down the hall.”
pulls open a medical bag and ties a rubber band
around the woman’s right arm. She exposes the
crease of her elbow and slaps it a few times to
expose the vein.
going to draw some blood, okay?” Monica says
popping the cap off a needle.
“You’re going to feel a little prick.” She says
as she inserts the needle. The woman softly
yelps “Ouch!” which causes Monica to look at her
you say Ouch?”
“Yes.” The woman replied softly.
can talk! That’s great… whatever your name is.”
Monica finishes drawing the blood. “What IS your
name? Do you remember?”
“Stephanie.” She whispers.
nice to meet you, Stephanie. We’re all finished
drawing your blood.” Monica says, turning away
to reach for a Band-Aid.
she removes the cotton ball, Monica draws back
her head quickly and then looks closer at where
she stuck Stephanie in her arm. There should be
bruising or a small hole, but instead, there’s
You are a quick healer.” Monica says examining
her arm, “You’re recovering a lot faster than
the other eight. Keep it up! At this rate, you
should be back to your old self in no time!
if you’ll excuse me, I need to run down the hall
and take Doctor Grant your blood sample. Don’t
go anywhere!” Monica says joking as she walks
out the room.
Stephanie glances around hoping to find any clue
to where she is, but her vision is extremely
blurry. Unable to move much, she sits there and
waits patiently, but notices a strange sensation
radiating down the back of her neck.
whole body starts tingling like hundreds of
little lightning bolts striking as she begins to
feel sensation again in her arms and legs.
fingers spread wide apart and then clench
together as she regains movement in her hands
and arms. She wiggles her toes forward and
backwards as she’s able to pull her legs in.
Stephanie cracks a smile as she rubs her arms
and legs, happy to regain movement after feeling
paralyzed. Several minutes later, Stephanie
decides to stand up so she feels around with her
hands for anything she can brace herself
finds a smooth surface that she grabs onto, as
she struggles to get to her feet. As she pulls
herself up, she pulls a large, heavy bookcase
down on top of her. It falls halfway over,
dumping all its contents onto Stephanie and the
my God!” Monica says running back into the room,
“Are you okay? What happened?” She asks lifting
the bookshelf partially off of her.
think I’m okay… just a little startled.”
Stephanie said embarrassed.
“You’re lucky the wall kept the bookshelf from
falling all the way on top of you. Were you
trying to get up?” She asks while removing
textbooks off Stephanie.
was. I thought it was the edge of a desk. When I
felt it tip, it was already too late. I’m so
Monica laughs, “You have nothing to be sorry
about. I’m just glad you’re okay! Do you think
you can stand up?”
a little help, I think so.” Stephanie reaches
her arms out for Monica to pull her up.
“Okay, ready? Here we go.” Stephanie stands on
her feet and then wraps one of her arms around
Monica’s neck for support.
“Whoa… I’m a little dizzy.”
“It’ll wear off soon. Now that you can sit up on
your own, I’m going to walk you over to the
corner of the room. There’s a desk with an
office chair behind it. You can sit there while
you get your bearings.”
appreciate it.” Stephanie says as Monica helps
her slowly make her way to the chair. She sits
down and holds both arm rests tight.
“You’re one of the fastest recovering patients
I’ve seen lately.” Monica says while picking up
books off the floor to put back on the shelf.
“Patients? Are we in a hospital?” Stephanie
“Well, ummm…” Monica finds herself at a loss for
Stephanie tries to look at her hands, moving
them near and far to her face, “Can you tell me
what’s wrong with my eyes, why is everything so
blurry? Did something happen to me?”
“Don’t worry, your vision will come back soon.”
Grant rushes into the room, “What happened? I
heard a loud noise from down the hall? Is
Monica grabs Dr. Grants arm and leads him
outside the room, closing the door so Stephanie
tried to get up and pulled the bookshelf down on
top of her. She’s okay though.”
it’s no longer safe for us here. The noise was
loud enough that I’m sure it’s attracted
unwanted attention. We need to move her to my
office, down the hall.”
open the door and walk back into the room.
“Stephanie, we need to relocate you to another
room,” Monica says walking behind her chair. You
don’t need to get up; we’ll just wheel you over.
never said what happened to me?” Stephanie asks
in a frustrated tone.
Grant walks over to Stephanie and examines her
face, “How are you feeling?”
“Different. Kinda groggy and annoyed that no
one’s answering my questions.” She replies,
putting her hand on her forehead.
sure you’ll feel like yourself in no time.” Dr.
Grant says patting her leg. “Usually it takes
half a day, but you seem to be recovering a lot
quicker than the others. We gotta go now down
are the others? And where am I?”
now. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions
in just a minute. We’re just going to roll you
in your chair down the hall.”
won’t you answer me?!? I have a right to know!”
Stephanie says bracing both feet on the ground
to stop the chair from moving. “Where are my
parents? Why can’t I see? I demand answers! I
know as a patient I have certain rights and I’m
not going anywhere until you tell me!”
down, there’ll be plenty of time for questions
and answers.” Dr. Grant says with both hands
out. “Right now we need to go to the other
you just tell me to calm down?!? No, I’m NOT
going to calm down! You’re freaking me out and
I’m not going to cooperate until you tell me
what I want to know!” Stephanie raises her voice
angrily. “Where’s my purse with my cell phone in
it? I want to call my parents!”
Monica looks at Dr. Grant with concern, as he
adjusts his glasses on the bridge of his nose.
He signals to Monica by nodding his head; Monica
nods back and begins pulling the chair, instead
of pushing. Stephanie leans forward, gripping
both armrests tight while trying to stop her
movement with her bare feet.
Grant quickly takes the lead in front of them,
opening the heavy gymnasium doors so Monica can
wheel her out. Stephanie’s feet squeal loudly on
the smooth floor, unable to get any traction. In
a last ditch effort, Stephanie intentionally
slides out of the chair and lies on the hallway
Monica pleads, trying to pull her up.
“Stephanie, please, we only want to help!”
not going anywhere with you until you tell me
what's going on!”
Stephanie notices her voice echoes throughout
the long hallways, “Where am I…?”
“You’re in the hallway of Portland State
University, okay? Now please, Stephanie.”
“Portland State? I thought this was a hospital?
Why on earth would I be here?”
Grant scouts the area quickly and returns,
“We’ve got to go! NOW!”
trying!” Monica says in a frustrated tone.
“She’s being so stubborn!”
quickly leans down and grabs Stephanie by the
arms, looking her face to face. “Listen to me,
I’d be happy to explain everything, but first,
we need to get out of this hallway right now and
into my office. Do you understand?”
I don’t understand! What’s the urgency? Why is
it so important that we have to leave this
hallway right now?”
Monica chimes in, “Please, just trust us.”
“Trust you? I don’t even know you! Why would I
trust you? You’re scaring me and I don’t like
down the hall, in the darkness a throaty
snarling grows louder.
Grant looks her in the eyes, only inches from
her face, “Do you hear that? THAT’S why we’re
trying to get you to safety. You don’t want that
anywhere near you, so let’s go!” He tries to
pick her up by the arms, but she jerks her arms
away violently, “DON’T TOUCH ME! I’m not going
anywhere with you, so leave me ALONE!” She yells
while crossing her arms.
Grant and Monica’s eyes widen when they hear the
menacing growl from somewhere in the dark, “Grab
her arm! We’ll drag her if we have too!” He
orders Monica as they each start pulling.
Stephanie thrashes violently, kicking and
twisting in a rage, “Let Me GO!!! SOMEONE HELP
Instinctively, Monica muffles Stephanie’s mouth
with her hand, but quickly retracts it when
Stephanie bites it hard.
“Arrgggghh! She bit me!” She grips her injured
hand, holding it close to her body.
“She’s not worth the trouble, let’s go before
it’s too late!” Dr. Grant orders while running
away.” Before she starts running, Monica looks
down at Stephanie with disappointment all over
her face, “You idiot… I was trying to help you!
I hope God has mercy on your soul.”
Stephanie listens to Monica’s footsteps fade off
into the distance, until a loud door slamming is
heard, echoing through the hallway. Several
doors rattle gently before all is silent.
lays her head down slowly on the smooth, cold
floor as she begins to sob uncontrollably. Her
tears puddle onto the ground as she curls up
into a fetal position, unaware that two zombies
are slowly swaying towards her. She sniffs
several times, trying to control the clear snot
dripping from her nose.
her eyes red from crying, she opens them briefly
and notices two blurry outlines slowly
approaching. She lifts her head up while
squinting for a better look.
she can tell is that both of them have their
arms extended out in front of them. Stephanie
quickly wipes her nose on her shoulder, followed
by the back of her wrist, trying to look
“There were these two people, an older man and a
woman… who were trying to take me against my
will! They said their names were Dr. Grant and
Monica, but I’m not sure if they were really
doctors or what. In case you’re wondering, they
ran off somewhere in that direction” Stephanie
points down the hall.
sees one of the zombie’s arms reaching towards
her, “You’re going to help me up? Thank you!”
she says smiling as she grabs onto his arm.
Suddenly a loud *crack* sound is heard as
Stephanie falls backwards onto her butt, still
holding onto the arm! It takes a few seconds to
register what just happened before she starts to
shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!!!” She says, tossing
the arm away before crawling backwards as
quickly as she can. Her legs are kicking faster
than her arms can keep up, causing her to
stumble repeatedly. The zombies follow after
her, snarling and growling.
turns around and crawls on both her hands and
knees, but the zombie with both arms grabs her
ankle and starts pulling her backwards.
Stephanie reaches out in front of her, trying to
grab onto the floor to get away, but instead is
yanked closer and closer. She twists around and
repeatedly kicks her leg to try and get free.
zombie pulls Stephanie’s bare foot towards his
wide-open mouth like he’s about to bite into a
delicious sub sandwich. She avoids being bit by
pressing the flat part of her foot against the
side of his face, wiggling her toes against his
nose and eyes.
Unexpectedly though, she causes his nose to
swing open like a door, still attached to the
skin. As he draws his head back, trying to bite
her foot, Stephanie can see into his skull from
where his nose was previously attached, causing
her to look away in disgust. The zombie
struggles to hold on as she repeatedly wiggles
her foot to try and get free.
Without warning, he grabs her foot and chomps
down, severing all four of her little toes in
one bite! She throws her head back quickly from
the intense pain, while letting out an agonizing
scream that echoes loudly in the long hallways.
of desperation, Stephanie begins kicking with
the other foot, using her heel to deliver
several sharp blows to the side of the zombie’s
kick strikes harder and harder, causing one of
the eyeballs to slowly dislodge until finally it
pops out, but not before the optic nerve causes
it to swing back and forth like a pendulum.
zombie turns his head sharply, causing the
attached eyeball to swing around and smack the
side of his temple. On the swing back around,
the wet optic nerve tangles itself around
Stephanie’s big toe several times, with the
eyeball facing towards her. Screaming even
louder, she contracts her whole leg repeatedly,
trying to get it off!
the struggle, the zombie loses his grip long
enough for her to retract her foot while yanking
the optic nerve right out of the eye socket.
With the eyeball and optic nerve still wrapped
around her big toe, Stephanie turns and crawls
away as fast as she can as the eyeball rolls
along the floor like a cat toy on a string.
second zombie decides to give chase, raising his
one good arm out in front of him. He takes
several steps when suddenly he loses his
footing, slipping on a long trail of blood
oozing from Stephanie’s foot.
crashes to the ground hard, causing the other
zombie to trip as well. Still unable to see
clearly, she pauses long enough to hear how far
away they are behind her.
Confident now that there’s a considerable
distance between her and the zombies, she
resumes crawling on all fours down the hallway
until she comes to a push-handle door.
reaches up and grasps the metal bar with her
hand, trying to pull herself up, but her right
foot keeps slipping out from underneath her.
some effort, Stephanie stands up and wobbles
over to a nearby wall where she takes a moment
to catch her breath. While looking down with
both hands resting on her knees, she notices
with her blurry vision the floor around her is
‘That can’t be
She thinks to herself as she pulls up her foot
to examine it. Hoping the optic nerve and
attached eyeball fell off, she feels her big toe
with her fingers and is relieved that it’s gone.
She checks her other toes and is alarmed when
she feels stubby little bones instead! Stephanie
begins to frantically feel around her toes,
pulling her foot closer to see that her little
toes have been bitten off! She looks at her
fingers and notices they are covered in blood!
no… NO… this can’t be!” She says to herself in
“Maurrrrgghhhhhh!!!” growls a zombie from
somewhere in the darkness.
Stephanie looks up instinctively when she hears
the noise, letting her injured foot fall back to
the floor. Bracing her hand against the concrete
wall for support, she limps away in the opposite
direction as fast as she can.
she makes her way down the hallway, she uses her
fingers to feel the stone surface of the wall;
paying close attention to when it changes
textures. Her feet start kicking trash and
debris left on the floor so she steps carefully,
trying not to make too much noise.
Suddenly her fingers find a metal frame followed
by a smooth texture, so she knocks on it. It’s
the familiar sound of wood!
She thinks to herself, smiling wide.
both hands to feel around for the handle, she
quickly grasps it and pushes down hard to open
it… but it doesn’t budge.
tries lifting the handle up, still nothing! She
desperately wiggles it up and down quickly in
frustration, but it remains closed.
it!!! Why do you have to be locked?” she says
aloud, trying one last time to open the door.
Stephanie hears the creatures shuffling her way,
so she continues limping along the wall, feeling
the occasional corkboard with papers, lockers,
and even a large flag.
brief moment, she wonders if she can use the
pole or flag as a weapon, but decides against it
since her vision is still blurry.
she makes her way along the stone wall, her
fingers notice a change in the texture. Now she
feels a cold metal doorframe!
Feeling excited and hopeful, she feels around
the smooth, polished wood looking for the door
handle. When she finds it, she looks up, closes
her eyes and says, “Please open…please open!”
looks back down at the door handle and quickly
leans all her body weight against it, expecting
it to be locked. Suddenly the door swings open,
causing her to stumble into the room.
quickly recovers thanks to not letting go of the
handle. She notices the room is dark, with the
only light coming in from the hallway behind
turns around and feels with her fingers for a
lock or turn knob, but is unable to locate it.
She runs her fingers along the thinnest part of
the door, noticing the door locks with a key
from both the inside and the outside.
‘Damn it, why
can’t this be easy?’
She thinks to herself.
Without warning, the door slams violently
against her face as the two zombies suddenly
push against it. Stephanie grabs her nose and
face with both hands before doubling over in
of…a….bitch, that HURTS!!!” She complains aloud
while leaning her body against the door to keep
them from coming in. She looks down at her
bloody hands, knowing her nose is bleeding
“Maarrraaarrrrrrrracchhh!!!” growls one of the
zombies trying to push his way in with little
success. As Stephanie holds her nose with both
hands, she doesn’t notice one of the zombie’s
arms reaching through the one foot gap in the
door. He grabs a handful of Stephanie’s hair and
starts pulling hard.
ow, ow, ow, ow!!!” Stephanie yelps, hitting his
fist repeatedly in hopes he’ll let go. Instead,
he tightens his hold and begins pulling her head
towards the gap in the doorway. The other zombie
wedges his face between the door and the metal
frame, chomping his teeth open and closed like a
struggles to break free, but her head is yanked
closer and closer towards the other zombie’s
mouth where she can smell his horrible
rotting-garbage breath only inches from her
Stephanie braces her left hand and arm against
the metal doorframe and quickly yanks the door
open wide enough to throw all her weight against
it, causing it to slam shut on the zombie’s head
and arm! The zombie’s face explodes in all
directions, splattering Stephanie’s face, hair,
and clothing with chunks of crushed bone and
dark red and black blood.
GROSS!” Stephanie blurts out while wiping her
eyes of the slimy goo. She spits several times
to get the taste out of her mouth, using her
sleeve to wipe her lips and the wall to wipe the
slime from her hands.
tries to completely stand up, but the zombie arm
wedged in the door still has a tight grip on her
hair! Stephanie peeks up and sees the skin and
muscle on the forearm is peeled back, revealing
nothing but two forearm bones.
grabs onto the boney fist and arm for leverage,
pushing towards the metal frame until it snaps
loudly like a pair of dried twigs.
that she’s free of the door, she pries open the
zombie’s fist from her hair, one finger at a
time until finally she’s able to throw it away.
Once freed, Stephanie ruffles her hair and
massages her scalp, glad she’s not being
her back pressed against the door, she remains
motionless, listening intently for any sounds
coming from the other side of the door. She is
relieved when all is quiet and lets out a big
sigh of relief before sliding down to the floor
reaches down to touch her missing toes and
notices they are all intact. Using her fingers,
she wiggles each toe and counts them
individually, all the way to number ten!
the hell?!?” She says aloud to herself. It
suddenly dawns on her to check her nose, so she
squeezes it and notices no pain.
is going on around here?’
she’s sitting on the ground, she notices a tiny
twinge coming from her backside. It tingles for
a few seconds and then goes away. It’s enough
for her to sit up and take notice, causing her
to reach behind her back to feel what it is, but
she doesn’t find anything.
‘Am I going
She thinks to herself.
feels the sensation again as she quickly jumps
up off the floor, brushing her butt as if it was
on a bug on it. Unable to see clearly, she gets
down on the ground and sweeps her hand back and
forth, trying to feel if there’s anything on the
floor, but doesn’t find anything.
‘I must be losing
She thinks to herself, sitting back down with
her back to the door.
yourself togeth… Gahhhhh!!!!!!” Before she could
finish her sentence, she feels something
touching her butt! Stephanie jolts to her feet,
turning around quickly as she looks down where
she was sitting.
Underneath the door is a one-inch gap where
three boney fingers are wiggling up and down.
Instinctively, she draws up her leg and stomps
down repeatedly on the fingers before twisting
her foot like putting out a cigarette.
the other side a loud “Marrrggguuuurrgghh!!!”
sound is heard, as the fingers are retracted
from under the door. Stephanie’s chest rises and
falls quickly in fear as she steps back, eyes
locked on the bottom of the door.
hands tremble uncontrollably as she tries to
figure out what to do next. The only light in
the room is coming from the gap underneath the
wooden door where she sees a shadow moving left
and right before completely disappearing.
Stephanie holds her breath, listening, but
doesn’t hear anything. She bends down and puts
her ear to the floor so she can look through the
one-inch gap under the door, but quickly draws
back her head when she sees the motionless body
of the zombie whose head she’s flattened.
takes a moment to regain her composure, taking
in a slow breath and letting it out before
looking back under the door.
Across the hall are dark blue metal lockers,
some cups and trash on the floor, and high above
the lockers are rectangular windows that open at
an angle for airflow. She catches a whiff from
the zombie corpse blowing into the room from
underneath the door.
smell reminds her of rotten eggs she would find
on her parents farm that had sat for weeks in
the sun. It suddenly dawns on her the level of
detail she’s able to see now!
Stephanie smiles that her vision is coming back
as she notices she can read the locker numbers
on the door, see the tree outside the windows
and tell the cup on the ground is from The
Stephanie grins widely, happy to see little
details again. She closes her eyes for a moment
and says ‘Thank you’ in a little prayer. When
she opens her eyes again, she sees a decaying
eye staring back at her from underneath the
“Garrrragggghhhhhhh!!!!” the zombie snarls as he
presses his forehead as close to the door.
“Aaaaaggghhh!!!” Stephanie screams back in
response while jolting back to her feet.
stumbles backwards in the darkness, but she gets
back to her feet, feeling around the wall for a
light switch. Finally she finds one, flipping it
florescent lights hum for a second before
flickering on, revealing an eyeball attached to
an optic nerve underneath the door!
Without hesitating, Stephanie grabs a computer
keyboard off a nearby desk and whacks the
eyeball like a fly swatter, causing it to
splatter in a starburst pattern.
letters on the keyboard fly in every direction
as she continues whacking it against the ground.
The zombie growls and stands up outside the
door, now completely blind as he waves his hands
out in front of him.
stumbles backwards over the body of the other
zombie lying on the floor, disoriented and
thrashing. Stephanie opens the door and glances
in both directions before tiptoeing out quietly
when she hears two more zombies approaching from
opposite ends of the hall.
Running back into the room, she closes the door
and turns the light off in hopes they won’t
notice. As she slowly steps away, she slips on
the gooey brain matter from the exploded zombie
head, causing her to fall forward on the ground
- knocking the wind out of her.
“Owww!…” She moans in agony as she lies on her
stomach for a good minute. Every feeling in her
body feels amplified, even the cold floor
pressed up against her cheek stings.
her angle, she spots light coming into the room
from under a different door. She lifts her head
up higher to confirm.
thank you…” She says as she begins crawling on
her hands and knees, but every inch of her body
screams out in pain to stop. She puts her head
down for a few seconds, not wanting to move.
Determined to make it across the room, she lifts
her head up and pushes through the agony, slowly
putting one arm out in front of the other.
Moving several inches at a time, she drags her
body across the floor until she finally makes
it. Once at the door, she rests her head on her
arms while catching her breath.
under the door gap, two shadows run past the
door causing Stephanie to lift her head and take
notice. She hears two people running down the
hall, one of them with a distinct sound she’s
“Monica!” Stephanie says to herself, trying to
muster enough strength to try to get back up on
all fours, or at least high enough to reach the
door handle. She looks up and reaches slowly for
it, despite her body aching in pain.
fingers slip and fumble the tip of the handle a
few times before she securely grabs it with her
hand, using it to pull herself up to one knee
before standing completely up. She leans against
the door to rest for a moment, disappointed she
didn’t get up in time.
probably long gone.’
She thinks to herself, ‘Damn.’
she waits for her breathing to normalize, she
mentally prepares herself for what may or may
not be on the other side of the door.
Stephanie takes a deep breath and slowly lets it
out before reaching down to turn the handle. As
she turns it, the door doesn’t open.
the hell?” She wiggles the handle again, pulling
on the door, but it doesn’t open.
is taken back for a second as she tries figuring
it out. It turns like it should open, but the
door doesn’t budge.
both her hands, she feels around the door in the
darkness until she finds her problem near the
top of the door; it’s securely latched in a lock
position! She tries to unbolt it, but it doesn’t
want to unlatch.
come on…” She says aloud while yanking on the
“Arrgghhhh! Come on, just this once! Cut me some
Stephanie pulls the door open quickly and
suddenly blinds herself from the bright, morning
sun, glaring through the windows across the
hall. The sudden transition from full darkness
to daylight causes her to shield her eyes with
her arms while squinting her eyes.
retreats into the dark room for a few seconds to
allow her eyes to adjust to the brightness. She
looks around the room, seeing sun spots in front
of her as she blinks quickly, trying to regain
a few minutes, her eyes adjust enough that she
can peak her head outside the door. She peaks
slowly past the doorframe; looking in both
directions for any signs of danger… the coast is
looks down at the floor and sees trash, debris
and textbooks as if people dropped them in a
hurry. Walking out of the room, she quietly
shuffles her feet so not to make any noise that
will draw unwanted attention. As she makes her
way slowly down the hall, the door she came out
of closes loudly!
freezes in place, horrified she’s attracted some
unwanted attention. She waits, listening for any
kind of response, but all she hears is silence.
With a deep breath, she lets out a sigh of
relief before running down the hall.
she turns the corner, she recognizes the black
chair from which she slipped out of in front of
the gymnasium doors.
vision was fuzzy when she first came out, but
she remembers enough detail to know this is
where she was pulled from. Since this is a
familiar landmark, she pushes the heavy gym
doors open like a gunslinger entering a saloon.
flap closed behind her as she freezes in place,
horrified by the sight in front of her. Her eyes
widen and her jaw slackens when she sees row
after row of body bags, lined from one end of
the gymnasium to the other.
Having never seen a corpse before, she decides
to walk up to one of the body bags and kneels
down to open it. Her hand reaches for the
zipper, but hesitates.
wants to see what's inside, but at the same time
is not sure if she's ready for the answer. Then
she notices a light *tap* sound, so she leans
her ear closer and hears,
*tap, tap, tap, tap*
sounds like individual rain drops – falling on
the plastic body bag, but the sound is coming
from the inside!
more curious than not, she quickly unzips the
bag and unknowingly releases a black swarm of
flies that buzz in every direction. She shoos
them away, when one of the flies crawls up into
her nose, causing her to press one nostril
closed to blow the fly out the other.
Seconds later, another fly enters her open
mouth, causing her to instinctively spit over
and over, “Blah! Pewt! Yuck!!!”
wipes her mouth with her sleeve and then waits
for the flies to dissipate before peeking once
more at what’s inside the bag. She holds her
breath and sees a corpse that has been
decomposing for at least a month, covered with
begins to gag so she props open the gym door to
get some fresh air. As she catches her breath,
she hears something she didn't want to hear
coming from down the hall.
2017 - Steven Wolff. All Rights Reserved. None
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