1-800-ZOMBIE


Here's something I just recently stumbled across.

It's the opening to a zombie book I started in 2011 that I've never finished.

Reading back on everything I have, I should just finish the darn thing, it was pretty dang good.

Anywhere, here you go. I don't have a title for it or anything:

“Hello?” She answered after the third ring, her voice shaky and exhausted.

“Hon? Oh my God! Oh, thank God you’re okay! Oh thank God!” He had almost forgotten how to speak.

“Oh, Babe!” he could hear the tears in her voice as well. She wept openly as she spoke. “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it’s you!”

“Hon, listen to me. You gotta listen, okay?” He was close to tears himself.

“Okay.”

“You gotta stop crying and listen to me.”

“Okay, okay, I’ll try.”

“Are the boys okay?”

“Yes, yes, they’re fine. They’re upstairs, sleeping. Oh God, Gene. Oh God! What’s happening out there!? I can’t, I can’t—I don’t know, I just don’t—I’m just so glad you’re alive! I miss you! I need you here! Please! Oh God, please come home!”

“I will, Hon. I will, but you gotta stop crying,” tears leaked down his cheeks and onto the phone as he fought to keep himself under control. “You gotta be strong for me, Hon. You gotta be strong for the boys. Can you do that?”

He almost laughed at the irony. She’d always been the rock of the family. If anyone was going to go to pieces it would be him.

But not today. Everyone has changed today.

“Yes,” she said, sniffing and choking back another sob. “Yes, I can be strong.”

“What’s it like there?”

“We haven’t seen much of it ourselves, mostly just what they keep playing on the TV. I didn’t even believe it at first. But then . . . Mr. Franks.”

He could hear the pain in her voice as she broke once more into great heaving sobs of panic and grief.

“Oh God, Gene,” she said. “Mr. Franks. I killed him. I killed him!”

“Susan,” he spoke her name calmly, fighting back the tears that threaten to overtake him. He wanted to let go, wanted to just shut down, but that wasn’t a choice anymore.

“Susan, take a deep breath, tell me what happened.”

There was a pause and a slow, deliberate intake of breath.

In and out. In and out.

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

“This morning,” she said after the fourth breath, her voice calm and measured. “The boys had gone out to play. They weren’t out there but five minutes before they were back in the house, screaming about Mr. Franks. They were hysterical. They said that he’d tried to bite them, that he was trying to eat them. I thought it was just good old Mr. Franks playing with the boys. You know how he is—was. Oh, God. Gene. I didn’t know what to do, I—”

She paused again as she fought down another panic attack. It took a few moments, and Gene didn’t say a word and let her struggled with the emotions that were threatening to take charge. She got herself under control and continued.

“I was trying to get the boys to calm down, to tell me what happened when I looked up and saw Mr. Franks standing at the front door. The door was open, but the screen door was shut. He was covered in blood, Gene. He was covered in it. It was all down the front of his overalls. And he didn’t look, well . . . he didn’t look, right.” She sniffed and let out a little sob.

“It’s okay, Hon,” he made shushing sounds. “You don’t have to tell me.”

“No, I need to. I need to talk to someone. We’re all alone out here Gene.”

“I know. I know, Hon. You’re doing great,” Gene said, rubbing at his eyes with his free hand, trying to keep the tears at bay. “What happened next?”

“Well, he just stood there. Looking in at us. He scared me, so I didn’t move, but I asked him what had happened. He just started groaning and pushing against the door. I told him to leave, but he just kept pushing at the door. He just kept pushing at it, like he was trying to walk through it. Like he didn’t quite understand that the door was even there. He just kept trying to walk through it.”

“What did you do?”

“Well, I tried to call down to the Sheriff’s office, but it just kept ringing busy. So I tried 911. It was busy too. I’ve never known 911 to be busy. I thought of calling one of the other neighbors, I mean, I don’t know what anyone could do, by the time anyone could get out here . . . well, I wasn’t thinking clearly. But before I could even dial, Mr. Franks came right through the door. The boys started screaming and he just walked slowly towards us. I screamed at him. I told him to leave. But he just kept coming. He wouldn’t stop Gene, he just wouldn’t stop.”

“I know, Hon. I know. You’re doing great. What happened then?”

“Well, the boys and I backed into the kitchen. I had a skillet sitting on the stove so I grabbed it. I was screaming at Mr. Franks. I was screaming and telling him that if he didn’t leave that I was going to hit him. But he wouldn’t stop. He just kept coming, slowly, his arms out before him, trying to grab me. So I hit him. I hit him hard. Right across the top of the head.”

“But that didn’t stop Mr. Franks, did it?”

“No!” she was crying again. “He wouldn’t stop. He was grabbing at me. He was trying to bite me. So I hit him again. And again. And again. I just kept hitting him until he fell and stopped moving. Oh God, Gene! I killed him! I killed poor Mr. Franks!”

“No you didn’t, Sue. Mr. Franks was already dead. You’ve been watching the news, so you know what’s going on. You did the right thing. You hear me? You did the right thing. Otherwise you and the boys would be just like Mr. Franks.”

“Okay.”

“You understand? You hear me, Hon? You did the right thing. You saved our little boys.”

“I did. Thank you, Gene. Thank you. Oh God! I just don’t understand what’s going on! How did this happen? Why is this happening?”

“I don’t know, Sue. I really don’t know. It’s like a damn nightmare. Where is Mr. Franks now?”

“I drug his body out into the backyard. I tried to bury him, but I couldn’t. I just didn’t have the strength.”

“That’s okay. He isn’t hurting anyone where he is. Have you seen any others?”

“No, just what’s on TV. I think with us living so far out in the country, we’re out of most of it.”

“Good, that’s good. Now you gotta listen to me, Susan. You gotta listen, okay?”

“Okay.”

“You lock the house up tight. Lock it up. Take everything you need down to the basement. You get that shot gun your father bought me, you load it. You take all those shells in the closet, and the shot gun, you take them with you down to the basement. Okay?”

“Okay.”

You take all the food down there. We should still have plenty of water down there from the last time we went shopping, right?”

“Yeah, we have plenty of water.”

“Okay, you take blankets and pillows. You take books, magazines, games, anything that will keep the boys entertained. You lock the basement door too. And you three stay down there.”

“How long? Oh God, Gene. You’re so far away. This family just doesn’t work without you.”

“You stay down there till I get there. It may take me a couple of days, but I’m coming home. You hear me Hon?”

“Yes, please come home. Please.”

“You hang in there, Susan. I’m coming home to you and the boys, but you gotta stay in that basement, and you keep that shotgun close.”

“I will, I’ll keep it close,” he could hear the strength returning to her voice. The old Sue had begun to resurface.

“I’ll keep the boys safe, Gene,” she said, and for a moment he could picture her doing just that. Shotgun in hand, standing over their boys, rage and fury burning from her eyes as she held the world at bay.

“Nothing’s going to touch our babies,” she said. “And anything that tries is going to wish it hadn’t.”

“Damn right,” he said. “You wait for me, Susan. I don’t know how long it’s going to take, but I’m coming home to you. I’m coming home, and nothing in this world is gonna stop me.”

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