Walking in a Zombie Wonderland: A Zombie Christmas Part 3

Thanks for listening. Have a great Christmas. And if you want to support me you can find this short story everywhere from Amazon, to Nook, to Apple, wherever you get your ebooks it should be there.

It’s beginning to look like zombies: A Zombie Christmas Part 1

Are we really back to this short story today? Yep. I am once again dusting this one off for the blog and each day this week will bring a new installment of this story. But this year it won’t be something you read. It will be something you listen to. I recently recorded this short story for the Nightlight Tales Podcast. It was six episodes worth of material – so for the next six days you can get a chance to hear my voice reading you this tale. Episode 1 drops today. Thanks for listening. Have a great Christmas. And if you want to support me you can find this short story everywhere from Amazon, to Nook, to Apple, wherever you get your ebooks it should be there.

Short Story: The Dead of Winter

I guess you guys have noticed that I have been a bit hit or miss lately in this blog. Busy time of year with the family and the Poetry hasn’t been flowing like I like it to. Anyway, I thought I would fill in a few days of empty blogging by posting a few of my short stories that fit the holiday season. I know this is a departure from the normal blog activity, but I thought you might enjoy something a bit different and if you enjoy them feel free to support my self-published efforts by buying a couple of them. Might be a nice treat to fill up some of those new Kindles and E-Readers. Enjoy. Merry Christmas!

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A short story about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.

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Eric surveyed the road ahead and behind him. The world was filled with death. The highway was littered with silent, rusting cars sitting on rotting tires, waiting on drivers who were never going to drive them again. Ripped apart, torn open and partially eaten corpses littered the ground in various forms of decay. The corpses ranged from children to elderly adults. The zombies had done a number on them when they went into their “feeding frenzy.” The bodies that weren’t on the ground or pulled from their cars were still seated, and most of them still strapped into their seat belts, like they were still driving to whatever destination they had been going to before the world fell into death’s harsh embrace.

Eric breathed in deep and felt the cold air settle into his lungs. Bitter winter winds whipped at his face and tore at his clothes, trying to get inside the protective layers. Flakes of snow fell from the sky, nothing more than flurries.

“It’s something,” Eric replied, looking down at the white and grey cat in its carrier. He then put his eyes back on the man sitting with his back against a car.

Eric stood about six feet tall, with a long beard, and long hair. He had been alone for quite some time, so his appearance would be enough to frighten most people. He wasn’t emaciated or thin, actually quite muscular, but the lack of a good shower was starting to catch up with him. Dirt now clung to anything and everything it could attach itself to. He did his best to stay clean, but without hot soapy water there was only so much he could do.

“I guess we should go check him out. It’d be nice to have a conversation again. However -” Eric took out his pistol and checked the chambers. Six bullets accounted for, waiting for launch, locked and loaded. “- we will have this little guy just in case, just in case that guy isn’t what he appears to be.” He began to walk, carrier in his left hand, gun in his right.

Ten minutes later, they were almost up to the spot where the man was sitting with his back against a car. The dead person behind the wheel was still strapped in. The zombie or zombies that had attacked her had torn a gigantic hole in her neck, eaten her left arm, her left ear, and most of her left leg.

Eric approached the man with cautious steps as he sat the carrier down. He moved, and Eric stopped. He pointed the gun at the man dressed only in jeans, tee-shirt, and tennis shoes. The song “The Trees” sprung into Eric’s head as he looked at the RUSH shirt the man was wearing, flapping in the wind, the fibers barely able to keep in any warmth.

The man was doing his best to stay warm, but even holding himself with his arms crossed over his chest wasn’t working.

Eric moved closer to the guy – grip on the gun tight, trigger finger ready in case it wasn’t human. “Hey buddy? You okay?” Gun still pointed down at the guy just in case this was a zombie who had learned a new attack technique.

“I’m cold. You wouldn’t have something I could wear?” The man asked, finally noticing Eric and the gun in his face. His teeth chattered like tapping skeletal fingers as he sat there, trying not to freeze to death.

Eric put the gun back in its holster when he realized it was human and not zombie. He took the backpack from his back and dropped it onto the ground. He rummaged around inside and produced a dirty, well-worn sweatshirt. Eric handed the sweat shirt to the guy. “Put this on. It’ll keep you warm.”

The man took the sweatshirt and did as he was requested. He sat there a moment and collected his thoughts, the fibers blocking out the cold, warmth like a slow drip returning to his body.

“Thirsty?” Eric asked, taking a seat beside him.

“Yeah,” the man replied.

“How did you get out here without a coat?” Eric asked, handing the guy a bottle of water.

“Got in a nasty fight with a swarm of corpses,” the man replied, and then chugged the bottle of water. “Lost my coat, weapons, everything but my life. When I was running I had no idea how cold it was or how cold I was. Just collapsed against this car. Not sure what to do next when you showed up. Thanks again.”

“Sure.” Eric let the cat out of its cage and the animal placed its purring frame on Eric’s lap. He stroked the cat and talked. “Name’s Eric Holt. You got one I could call you?”

“Sorry. Bobby Johnson.”

They shook hands.

“Are we safe out here?” Bobby asked, concerned.

“I think we’re okay for now. I haven’t seen any corpses for a while. We should find some shelter soon though. There’s a big storm rolling in.”

“How can you tell?”

“I’ve got a nose for weather.” Eric tapped his nose after he said that, and smiled.

The two sat there a moment in silence. The cat’s purr and the cold bitter wind the only sounds in this silent world. The snow flurries had ended, and now it was starting to snow – small flakes, quickly growing larger. The snow was in attack mode, and it wouldn’t be long before the ground was covered.

Bobby turned his face up to the snow and let the coolness land on it. At first, the flakes melted and ran down his cheeks. Then they started to congeal and coat. Bobby shook his head free from the white invaders.

“We should get moving.”

“Where to?”

“Forward,” Eric replied, standing up. The cat leapt off his lap and started pouncing after the snow as it fell.

“Where’s forward?”

Eric leaned down and helped Bobby up. “I don’t know. I don’t really have a plan. I’ve just been walking and hoping to find some place to call home for a while.”

“No family.”

“Zero,” Eric replied, without saying anymore on the subject.

Bobby didn’t try to pry and just left it alone. When a man wants to talk, he’ll talk. Until then, you have to just give him space.

Eric slung the backpack over his left shoulder and put the gun in his right hand, finger inches from the trigger. He picked up the cat carrier and started to move. Bobby as well as the cat followed after him.

*

Dusk was settling in the world around them, the snow falling as heavy as it’d fallen all day, and little did they know, zombies were starting to move in.

“Eric, can you stop? My feet feel weird,” Bobby replied, as he leaned against a car. The four occupants inside of the car were partially eaten and frozen.

Eric stopped and put the carrier down. The cat let out a soft meow as it sat there and watched the scene unfold. In the dim light, Eric knelt down and looked at Bobby’s feet. He’d given Bobby some extra clothes for the walk – a warm hat for his head and ears, gloves, and another sweat shirt. They’d gotten his body warm, but forgot about his feet. The tennis shoes Bobby was wearing were soaked through, and it was obvious that the feet needed some immediate warmth. It would be hard to contend with frost bite in a world like this.

“How long has it been?”

“A while.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want to slow us down.”

From somewhere out in the growing darkness they heard a moan. It was distant, but it was still a sound they didn’t need to hear. The cat arched his back and let out a screech.

“Shit,” Eric replied, as his eyes looked into the gloom, searching between the heavy snow flakes, zombie instincts on high alert.

“What?” Bobby asked, as another moan erupted.

Both moans were close, too close for comfort.

“One moan we can handle. Two moans and we have trouble.”

“Zombies?” Bobby asked with growing concern in his voice.

“Yep,” Eric replied, taking out his gun.

Another moan.

Closer this time.

“We need to get inside.” Eric could see movement in the distance, dark shadows shambling forward, pushing slowly through the snow; and they were closing in. Eyes shifted from the zombies to the world at large. No shelter as far as he could see, just a long road full of dead snow-covered bodies and cars, neither of which would keep them safe. “I wish I was a vampire. You know, one of those Ann Rice ones, the ones who could see for miles and miles in the dark,” Eric replied, as the cat screeched again.

Another moan.

Much closer now.

“They sound like they’re right on top of us.”

“Got it!” Eric locked eyes on what they needed. It was dark and square, larger than the cars around it.

“Got what?”

“Come on.”

They picked up their feet and hurried through the thick snow. It was tough going, but fear made their muscles move. The moaning sounds faded into the distance as they moved as quickly as they had moved all day. Bobby could see something looming, growing closer. It was an oasis of safety, a big hulking dark mass.

What they were moving towards was a package delivery truck that looked like an armored vehicle from a Road Warrior movie, parked long ways across the fast and slow lanes. It looked like it’d been barreling through the cars before it came to a sudden and sliding halt. The front had a big spike sticking out of it with at least ten dead zombies hanging from it. Bullet holes to the head of each of them had stopped their moaning and taste for flesh. Zombies, as we all know, won’t stop until you stop them. The doors on either side of the cab had a gigantic spike welded to them with more zombies hanging around, dead, dark holes in the center of their foreheads. There was nothing on the sides of the truck, beyond the doors. It was smooth and flat like it was the day it rolled off the factory line, but dinged and severely scratched, covered in blood, as if this truck had been through a war zone.

They reached the truck and stopped.

Eric motioned to Bobby to stay put, handing the cat carrier to him as he cocked the gun and approached the truck. He tried the cab doors first, but they were both locked. A loud moan erupted from the dark, but this time it wasn’t behind them. It came from somewhere in front of them. It, like the moans behind them, was too close for comfort.

Bobby watched as Eric made his way down the side of the truck, stopping just before he reached the back. Like a cop in an old TV show, he leaned against the wall of the truck, raised the gun, took in a breath, and then stepped forward, dropping the gun to a shooting position as he did. There was no one there, human or zombie.

Eric tried the double doors, and he found them not just locked, but welded together. The moans erupted in the back ground like they enjoyed this latest fiasco.

Eric went back to the driver’s side door. He gripped the barrel of the gun and slammed the handle down into the window. It smashed on impact.

Eric grabbed a shoulder of one of the dead zombies hanging from the spike on the door, and hoisted himself up to the window. He hung there a moment with one hand, cleaning out the glass with the other. When he was sure it was clean, he dropped back down to the ground. He motioned to Bobby that it was safe to come over.

“Everything okay,” Bobby asked, as he stopped in front of Eric.

“I don’t hear anyone inside so I’m going to climb in and hoist you in after.”

“You mean, get up close to those things on the spike.”

Another moan, followed by more.

They were really close now.

“Do you want to stay out here?”

Bobby looked back into the dark. Night had decided to finally cast its veil upon the world, and it was pitch black for miles. He wasn’t sure how the zombies could see them or if they needed to see them, but he was sure of this – he couldn’t see anything. He could only hear those moans; and, now that the zombies were closer, he could also hear their shuffling feet as they pushed through the snow.

Bobby turned back to Eric, who was waiting for a response. “What are you waiting on man, go for it,” Bobby replied, anxious to be inside.

Eric said nothing as he grabbed the shoulder of a dead zombie on the spike and hoisted himself up to the window. The zombie had died with its mouth open and eyes wide. Bobby could see the whites of those eyes as they stared off into nothingness. He also noticed that the mouth was pointing in the direction of Eric’s now dangling legs. Would this be worth mentioning to him, or should he just let it go? He wasn’t sure about that; but, by the time he’d made his decision, Eric was already inside.

“Hand me the carrier.”

“What about me?”

The cat screeched, and nearby something metal banged. The sound came from a vehicle that couldn’t have been more than three or four cars away.

“You’re next,” Eric replied, leaning out of the truck.

Bobby grabbed hold of the zombie Eric had used to climb up with –those eyes staring at him – and hoisted himself up enough to get the carrier into Eric’s hands. Eric grabbed it and disappeared inside. He didn’t return for a moment or two.

Bobby scanned the dark as he heard a side mirror snap from a vehicle that couldn’t have been more than two cars away. Then the moans erupted. A chorus of them, and it sounded like they had formed a circle around the truck. A snapping of fingers pulled Bobby out of his trance. He looked up, and saw Eric leaning out, holding two hands down to him. Bobby scrambled up and grabbed Eric’s hands, and then was pulled upward with relative ease. He fell into the cab (empty – not even a frozen corpse) and landed on the driver’s seat as Eric scrambled to get out of the way. They were inside and safe, just as a zombie appeared beside the truck.

Bobby scrambled off the seat and looked around for Eric, who was standing in front of the door that led to the back of the truck, gun poised and ready. He grabbed the handle and slid the door open quickly.

The room was dark and empty, no signs of movement, living or dead.

“Is everything okay?” Bobby asked, peering over Eric’s shoulder.

“Yeah,” Eric replied, turning on a flashlight and holstering the gun. He took a moment to shine the light around as Bobby waited. “Found something.” Light flooded the room as Eric turned on a kerosene lamp. It was hanging off a hook in the center of the ceiling.

What the guys could see in the light was that the back of the truck was hollowed out and stripped down to its bare walls. There were no shelves in here or anything that would tell you it was the inside of a delivery truck.

In one corner there lay a couple of sleeping bags with plush pillows that had the pillowcase of a local hotel. In another corner there was a small fridge, like the kind you would find in a dorm room. There were also a couple of hammocks, some canned food, and a wood burning stove. The stove was at the back of the truck, near the double doors. A pipe to let out fumes ran from the top of the stove to the top of the truck. The hole looked like it had been cut with precision hands and sealed professionally. There was a box for wood beside the stove. Eric leaned down and pulled up the door to the cabinet. Empty.

He moved from there to the fridge and when he opened the door, the smell of rancid meat nearly tore off his nose. He closed the door quick before the smell got out and made itself home in the small room.

He let out a breath of frustration as his eyes scanned the walls. On them were hooks, and on a few of these hooks were weapons, hanging from straps. There was a club with spikes on the end of it, a bat with razors attached to it, a shotgun, and a sharpened garden hoe. Several hooks were empty, which led Eric to believe that whoever crafted the truck was either dead or long gone.

He checked the shot-gun to see if it was loaded. It was. He rummaged around for bullets and found several boxes inside a small cabinet, where he also found, bottled water, warm beer, an old cassette player, a cassette carrying case, and a very small TV.

Eric turned to face Bobby, who had taken off his shoes and placed his wet feet under one of the sleeping bags. He was rubbing his feet together, using the bags to help them warm up.

“How are they?” Eric asked, concerned.

“Red, but I don’t think there was any damage done.”

Eric went over to check on his friend’s feet. They were indeed bright red, but they were warming up fast, and any chance frostbite had of getting a hold of them was dying with each bit of warmth. “They’re looking good.”

A loud moan close by caught their attention, followed by several more. They both turned towards the sound.

“Are we safe in here?” Bobby asked.

Eric looked around as he let the cat out of the carrier. It stretched and purred as it explored its new home. “I think so, but we need wood to burn; and we need to get warm or we’ll probably freeze to death inside here tonight.”

Another moan, and then a chorus of the damned erupted outside, coming from all directions. It sounded like they were surrounded.

“Sounds like a lot of them,” Bobby replied.

“A regular feeding frenzy if they had food to frenzy on.”

“Do you need help getting wood?”

“You can’t move like you are. Plus, I don’t have shoes for you. We need to dry the ones you have; and then maybe tomorrow, or whenever we get out of here, we can find you some boots. There might be something in here if we look hard enough, probably not though. I would wager to bet the last occupant either died with them on or is hoofing it in them as we speak.”

“What about that hatch? Can we use that to get outside, since it sounds like we might not be able to use the doors right now?”

“What?” Eric looked up, and it was the one thing he hadn’t seen. There was a hatch leading to the roof of the truck. A small step-ladder, overlooked as well, lay against one of the walls. Eric took the ladder and placed it underneath the hatch. He climbed up; and, with cautious ease, opened the hatch. Small flakes of snow fell into the truck from the pile that had accumulated on top of the glass window.

He leaned down into the truck. “Can you boost me up?”

Bobby got up and pushed Eric upward. He scuttled through the hatch and out onto the flat roof, dodging flakes of snow as they fell on his face and clothes.

Once outside, Eric surveyed the roof with a flashlight, the beam somewhat distorted by the heavy falling snow. There was a generator, a satellite dish, and a large pile of meat, which was wrapped nice and neat, strapped down and frozen, almost covered by the snow.

Eric scrambled over to check the generator. It was out of gas, but it looked like all it was there for was to keep the fridge and TV going. It was so small; it couldn’t have been used for much more than that. The satellite, was of course, no concern, but the meat, the meat could still be good. It didn’t smell rotten or spoiled, so Eric took out his knife (the one he didn’t use to kill zombies with) and cut away enough for them to eat. He took the meat over to the hatch and handed it down to Bobby, who took it and placed it on the stove.

Eric started to drop back inside when he noticed something barely visible under the thick blanket of snow. He crawled over to investigate, and realized it was a ladder with a hook attached to it. There was also a place to hook the ladder into so it could hang over the side. He crawled back to the hatch.

“It looks like there’s a ladder over here that I can use. I’m going to scurry out to find some firewood.”

“What do you need me to do?”

“Be at this hatch when I get back. I’ll hand the wood down to you. I’m not getting much, just enough to get us through the night. If we need more tomorrow, we can scrounge for it in the daylight. Maybe this storm will have let up by then and maybe the zombies will have spread out as well.”

“Just be careful.”

“Will do,” Eric replied, standing up. He took a moment and let his ears come to him. He had been trying to train all of his senses to react to a zombie carcass. In this kind of storm and in the dark of night, his ears would serve him better than anything else. Also his nose, his nose could be a friend too. So he stood there with the snow falling, and he listened and he smelled. The zombies were hoarding, but they weren’t as close as he thought. He should be able to get out and back without much hassle.

Finished with his listening and smelling surveillance, he decided to use his eyes and check the side where the ladder had to go. He angled the flashlight down and let the spotlight show him the ground below. No zombies on that side, just fresh undisturbed white snow. He then checked the ground around the rest of the truck, and he found the snow was in his favor. The zombies were struggling to move. They were either stuck or confused as to how they would make their way through it. The need to feed was strong inside them, but that need could only take them so far. Their dead bodies would have to do the rest.

Eric hooked the ladder and dropped it over the side. He had to push on it in order for it to reach the ground below the snow. One rung disappeared into the white. “At least six inches,” he said, “maybe more.”

He took out his pistol, cocked it, and climbed down the ladder to the ground below, moving his legs for a moment in order to get a feel for how packed the snow was. It would be tough going, but not so tough that he couldn’t move in it. Satisfied, he gripped the gun tight, and made his way into the woods.

Zombie moans filled the air; they shuffled towards the smell of Eric’s warm human flesh, shambling through the thick snow on dead and decaying legs, partially frozen from their feet to their ankles.

Eric didn’t go too deep into the forest, staying close to the truck and keeping it in sight the whole time. He scrounged around for any kind of wood that would burn. It was impossible to find because the snow was falling so hard and the ground was covered so thickly. As luck would have it, he found a fallen tree that was thin and spindly. It would work perfect for firewood. He began to stomp on it in order to break it up into pieces big enough for him to carry.

A sound of swooshing, like skiers on snow, and something flapping, like it was in a heavy wind, caught his ears – thank God for that perfectly tuned sense.

He looked up through the trees and shone the flashlight in that direction. He saw nothing, but he could hear it, and it was getting closer.

“Couldn’t be. Impossible,” Eric replied, trying to ignore the sound, stomping on the wood as fast as he could.

When he finished breaking up the wood, he collected enough for the night. An arm loads worth that was heavy, but not so heavy he couldn’t carry it with one arm free. The swooshing flapping sound was now almost on top of him, but he thought he could make it back to the truck before whatever it was arrived. He took a quick survey of the scene to make sure his path was clear, flashlight shining bright through the snow and trees. He froze on the spot when he saw what was making those strange noises. It was four zombies, and they were all on skis.

That’s right folks. I just went there – zombies on skis.

They were coming at him fast, somehow dodging in and out of the trees, their sense of smell must have really been on high alert to be able to hone in on him so quickly, and to maneuver with such ease. They were all decked out in snow gear, complete with ski goggles, hats, and gloves. Their once white outfits now covered in dry and fresh blood, and everything, including their skin, was tattered, flapping in the breeze as they skied towards him.

“You got to be kidding me,” Eric replied, dropping the wood and flashlight at his feet, pulling out his gun just as the zombies arrived.

The undead skiers unlocked their skis from their feet and leapt off their boards without stopping – four zombies, flying through the air, gnashing their teeth, eyes wide, sailing right towards him.

Eric was able to get his gun up in time to kill two of them while they flew, flipping them end over end into the deep snow before they had a chance to land on him. The other two managed to miss the flying bullets, sliding to a stop just inches from Eric’s feet. When they finished their slide they started crawling towards him as he tried to get away, scrambling backwards through the snow, heavy flakes still falling.

He aimed his gun and hit one with a clean shot to the head. It stopped instantly; and now there was just one. He noticed that she had long blonde hair sticking out of her hat, and this gave him an image of who she might have been before – a ski bunny at a local lodge. He shook the image away as she opened her mouth to bite.

Eric aimed the gun, and the zombie stopped, looked up at him.

He fired.

Nothing.

He fired again.

Nothing.

She launched herself towards his leg, teeth reaching the fabric as he fired again. This time a bullet left the chamber. It made a direct shot into the left side of her temple and exited out on the right with a fresh spray of bright red blood, painting the pristine snow crimson.

Eric drew in a deep breath and let the moment pass. When he thought he was ready to move again, he got up, collected the wood, and made his way –quickly–back to the truck.

*

The deeper parts of the night fell on the world at large. The snow was still falling, but it had slowed from what it was earlier. If you were to take a measuring stick to the fresh snow fall amounts that fell, it would be over a foot.

The Black Sabbath song “The Wizard” was playing at full volume as the two guys sat inside the truck and jammed. They weren’t concerned about zombies or the weather or the fact that the previous owner of this truck might return. They were just happy to find an oasis of happiness in this current storm of chaos.

“They had on skis, gear, everything?” Bobby asked, trying to picture the skiing zombies that had nearly gotten the best of Eric.

“I kid you not.” Eric stoked the fire in the stove and settled back in his spot. He finished off another beer and crushed the can, letting the tasty dinner settle in his stomach. He hadn’t eaten like that in a while.

The meat that he’d found turned out not to be spoiled, and it had made a fine supper. From what they could tell, it was deer meat. They’d also found a bag of chips that weren’t open. Those things, along with the beer, really had taken a rotten day and made it so much better.

“These suckers are getting more and more creative every day. I almost expect one of them to ride in on a Zamboni,” Eric replied, smiling. He felt the laughter starting. Bobby was also on the edge of full-on laughter. “In full hockey gear.”

That did it. Both men, drunk and feeling good, were now rolling around like two teenagers at a slumber party laughing their butts off. When the laughter stopped, they both looked at each other and it began all over again. The cat sat in one corner licking itself, more concerned with its bath than their drunken antics.

“Stop, stop, stop, I can’t take it.” Bobby tried to catch his breath as Eric did the same. Both men came to a slow stop with tears in their eyes and aching sides.

While they drank and partied, the night passed, the wind blew, the snow stopped.

When the beer ran out, it was somewhere close to four in the morning – they were nursing it like Florence Nightingale. Both men were so wasted they didn’t notice the time. They each grabbed a sleeping bag and passed out into peaceful slumber.

The kerosene lamp burned out about an hour later. The fire in the stove dwindled down to embers and eventually went out.

*

Morning arrived – cloudless and sunny. Its warm rays shining on the new snow. The men were sound asleep inside the dark truck as a noise in the distance, faint enough not to wake them, stirred the world. It was the cat who responded to it first. He got up off the floor, stretched, scratched, and tried to find a way to look out. He wanted to see what was making that noise. He paced and moved, walking over Eric as he did. Eric stirred, but he was sleeping one off so he didn’t budge.

The cat walked over and sniffed the sealed double doors in the back and pawed at them to no avail. The cat made its way back across the small space to the door that led out of the room and into the cab, pawing at the door, but it didn’t move. He tried a few more times before finally giving up. The cat was really getting agitated now, but there wasn’t a thing he could do about it. He knew he had to wake the men, and he knew that if he didn’t this could spell trouble. He began to paw at Eric’s face as the noise got closer and closer. Eric didn’t stir so the cat started meowing. It was a last resort, but his instincts told him that was the thing to do.

Eric woke up slowly and shook the cobwebs free as the cat got quiet. “What the hell do you want?” Eric’s ears picked up on the noise. “What the hell is that?”

Eric turned towards the wall, and all he could see was metal. He got up and made his way to the door that led into the cab. He pushed it open and stepped inside. The cold air of the cab sent chills down his back, his breath white as he inhaled and exhaled.

He stood there a moment and listened. The noise was coming from the passenger’s side. He turned to look out the window, but it was covered with a heavy layer of snow. He climbed over the seat and tried to open it, but the snow was so heavy and thick against it that it wouldn’t budge. He tried the door handle, and he found the door unable to budge as well.

What Eric didn’t know was that the way the truck was positioned in the road allowed the wind to push a massive snow drift up against it. This snow drift stood tall enough that it covered the truck from the ground to the roofline on the passenger’s side.

Eric’s brain refused to work (still hung-over), and he was out of ideas as the noise kept drawing closer. It was then that he thought of the hatch.

He scrambled into the back and grabbed the ladder. He scurried up as quickly as his hung-over legs could climb. He popped the latch to the hatch and realized he would need a boost. In his current state, he had forgotten about that. Lucky for him, luck was on his side.

Bobby stirred. “Would someone turn off that damn leaf blower?”

Eric looked down at Bobby who had just woken himself up with that statement. Bobby looked up at Eric who was looking down at him.

“What the hell is that?” Bobby asked.

“I have no idea, but I know it’s bad, whatever it is. Can you boost me?”

Eric tried to open the hatch as Bobby got up on wobbly legs. He steadied himself and then went over to Eric who, at the moment, was in a bit of a jam. The snow had buried the hatch so deep that it was hard to budge. The buzzing sound was really getting loud now and very close. They needed to have eyes on the world outside.

“Shit! The snow’s too thick. Hand me something to jam it with, something to give me some leverage.” Bobby began to look around the room. The buzzing sound was so close now that it was almost making it hard to hear. Whatever was coming at them was coming fast, and it wasn’t stopping. Eric was getting impatient. “Hurry up, will you?”

Bobby did the best he could to hurry up, but he was very, hung over. In a zombie apocalypse – why did they drink so much?

Bobby stumbled onto a piece of wood they didn’t burn and handed it up to Eric. Eric grabbed it and started banging away on the hatch. The glass shattered as the wood went right through. Snow fell onto Eric and the floor below like a powder white waterfall. Eric shook the flakes free and then reached up and removed the shards of glass that were still left in the opening.

The buzzing sound was now echoing around the room, rattling things that were hanging on the walls, bouncing loose stuff lying on the floor, and scaring the cat, who was now on high alert.

Eric reached up and pushed some snow out of the way. The problem was, all he could see was more snow. He tried to dig a little more, but realized that the only way he was going to make it to the roof was by tunneling. He was glad he wasn’t claustrophobic.

Eric looked down at Bobby. “Okay, boost me now.”

Bobby did as he was asked, and Eric scrambled through the opening, tunneling upward until he was able to pop his head out and see the bright blue sky and sunlight. He used his arms to push the rest of the way through and climbed out onto the roof like a corpse crawling out of a fresh grave.

What he saw sent him immediately back into the room below, almost falling off the ladder, as he slipped and scrambled his way to the floor.

“What is it?” Bobby asked.

“We’re in trouble.”

“It’s a snow blower, right?”

“An industrial sized one. It probably cleared off entire parking lots in its other lifetime,” Eric paused, “The problem is -”

The snow blower crashed into the passenger side of the truck and the truck swayed from the impact, but didn’t roll over. The noise of the snow blower died.

Seconds later the truck started to get impacted, as bodies, one after another, slammed into it. The truck started to move off its spot and tilt. The bodies kept hitting the truck, thud, thud, thud, they went, more impacts, multiple impacts. The force of those bodies was going to push the truck over. It was inevitable

Eric finished his sentence. “The problem is this. The zombie running the snow blower has cleared a path. The path has allowed the zombies, who can’t figure out the snow, an easy walk to get to us. There must be hundreds out there, with more coming in the distance. All they have to do is get to the path.” The truck tilted and groaned. Eric started rounding up weapons and supplies, throwing them crudely in his backpack, and getting ready for the path into the snow. “We need to move and we need to go out the driver’s side door. Are you ready?”

“Yes,” Bobby replied.

Eric opened the carrier, and the cat ran inside. Most wouldn’t, but it knew better than to dilly dally. Eric scrambled into the cab as the truck groaned from the impacts and tilted, the springs screeching their disapproval.

Eric made his way to the door and dropped the carrier down into the snow. The truck tilted further, more impacts, the spike in the door was the only thing holding the truck up. Eric could hear the spike starting to separate, screeching softly as it pulled free from its weld.

Bobby appeared behind him, holding onto what he could for support as the truck continued to tilt further with each impact.

The cat meowed as it sat in the snow and waited to go.

“You sure you’re ready?” Eric asked, pistol in hand, backpack on his back.

“Sure,” Bobby replied, shotgun in hand.

Eric shimmied out the window and jumped down into the snow. Once on the ground, he fired a couple of clean shots into a few zombies who were treading their way ever so slowly towards them. He picked up the carrier and started making his way towards the woods.

Bobby jumped out the window and was about to move when the truck tilted for the last time. The spike broke free with a metallic rip, and the truck started to fall. Bobby froze on the spot as the truck came crashing down on its side in a cloud of snow and debris crushing him underneath.

Eric, who had lost so much already, couldn’t believe he had lost someone else in this world. He hung his head as the cat meowed in the carrier. “So long my friend.”

Eric watched the zombies moving towards him and decided he better move. He fired off the remaining bullets in his gun and took out about three of them. He then turned and ran, making his way deeper into the woods.

THE END

Short Story: A Zombie Christmas

I guess you guys have noticed that I have been a bit hit or miss lately in this blog. Busy time of year with the family and the Poetry hasn’t been flowing like I like it to. Anyway, I thought I would fill in a few days of empty blogging by posting a few of my short stories that fit the holiday season. I know this is a departure from the normal blog activity, but I thought you might enjoy something a bit different and if you enjoy them feel free to support my self-published efforts by buying a couple of them. Might be a nice treat to fill up some of those new Kindles and E-Readers. Enjoy. Merry Christmas!

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This short story is about three men who risk life and limb in a Zombie Apocalypse in order to bring happiness to surviving kids on Christmas Morning.

5 out of 5 stars – I love zombies and I love Christmas ~ A winner!

5 out of 5 stars – A Cute Little Holiday Horror Story.

5 out of 5 stars – In a zombie world, there is a Christmas miracle.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

December the 21st

Mike Beem lowered his rifle, put his right eye on the scope, and closed his left eye. The zombie he was about to shoot was an ugly sucker. From what Mike could tell, this zombie used to be a man around five foot five or six, maybe seven. Hell, he couldn’t tell the exact height from just a tiny scope. Its suit was disheveled, full of dirt and blood (it looked fresh, a recent feast perhaps), and half of his face was gone. This zombie was currently investigating Mike’s Santa Claus and reindeer display. The zombie was studying it like he knew what it was or remembered what it was.

“Don’t pick up Rudolf. Don’t,” Mike replied to himself.

The zombie leaned over and picked up Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

That did it.

You see, the biggest problem was this. When you messed with Rudolph, you screwed up the whole display. All the reindeer were attached by string; and that string led into the hands of Santa, who was glued by his butt to the sleigh he was sitting in. When the zombie picked up Rudolph, the rest of the display just went into disarray.

Mike didn’t want to shoot the zombie just yet, because if he fell forward then it would crush the display all together. Mike waited until the zombie was trying to walk away with Rudolph, shambling off, munching on the plastic reindeer, and the display dragging behind him.

Bam!

Perfect head shot, display still safe.

Mike was on the balcony of the house when he made the kill, so he took the rope ladder and dropped it over the side. He put the rifle down and grabbed a couple of pistols nearby. He checked their chambers, full, locked, and loaded. He put the guns in their holsters and climbed down to the ground.

Mike walked across the lawn, eyes back and forth, looking for zombies.

He stopped, got down on one knee, took out a pistol, and aimed this pistol with the light reflecting off the metal.

Bam!

It was another perfect head shot. The zombie hit the pavement, and he didn’t move. The noise from the gun had stirred up more of them, so Mike had to get to his display, fix it, and then get back.

So, Mike grabbed Rudolph out of the dead zombie’s hands, and put the display back in order. He quickly made his way back to the house, where nothing was stirring, not even a mouse. He shot a few zombies with his pistol as he ran across the yard, climbed back up the rope ladder and found his place on the balcony.

He turned on his boom box.

Perry Como flooded the air with Christmas cheer.

The zombies were getting restless, so Mike decided it was time to even out the herd. It was pretty easy shooting.

He stopped his rampage when something white hit his nose. He looked up into the sky as flakes of snow began to fall. It was the first snow fall of the year.

December the 22nd

Mike was sitting in his living room reading a Stephen King novel when he heard someone knock on the door. He grabbed his gun and walked over to answer it.

Mike stood about five foot eight, not too pudgy, not to lean. He was a runner before the world turned to chaos, a brick layer as his trade. He had brown eyes, a shaggy beard, and graying hair that needed to be cut. To be 40-years-old though, he was still looking great, could pass for a 30-year-old most days. He had learned a lot about hunting before all this happened, and had become a great shot because of it.

Mike leaned down, and looked out the peep hole as a zombie shambled down off the porch. There were four of them out there. All zombied up, rotting, bloody, fresh from death, and they were all dressed like carolers and holding caroling books. One had his book upside down, two of them had theirs sideways, and the smart one, the one who knocked, had his right side up.

Mike didn’t put up anything with lights in it or on it. There were no lights around the house. He had muted decorations so they wouldn’t attract attention. He didn’t know why or how the carolers had found him, but they did.

Mike began to smile, as the zombies grunted out Jingle Bells and moved on to Silent Night. He didn’t know if he should shoot them or let them be. He stood there a moment and thought about it, listening to the comical tune coming from the mouths of those zombies. He went over to the window and looked out onto the lawn. Their singing was attracting other zombies, so he knew he had to take them out, funny as it was, he had to do it.

He put on his cold weather gear and ventured back upstairs. He walked into the master bedroom and walked over to the balcony doors. He stepped outside and into the cold grey light of dusk.

Mike checked his lawn decorations to see if they were unharmed. His Santa Claus and reindeer display with Rudolph leading the team, the cross on the front lawn, the elves and Santa’s work shop, the nativity scene, and various candy canes he had spread throughout the yard were all still safe.

Now, most people would ask, why? Why worry about lawn decorations when the rest of the world was suffering through a Zombie Apocalypse?

It made Mike feel good inside, and he hoped that whoever saw it would feel a bit of that joy as well. That is why he did it. It might be a zombie-filled world, but he still hoped a lawn full of Christmas decorations would bring some kind of cheer to this dreary holiday season. It was the first Christmas since the zombie invasion. It was the first Christmas without his family. It was the least he could do.

Mike looked down at the four caroling zombies, as they went into a rendition of Frosty the Snowman, the year’s first snow only a couple of inches underneath their feet. The group, of course, was led by that one smart zombie. He was leading them and pointing to their books even though none of them turned a single page. He was the one that started grunting out the tune to Frosty just like the songs before, and the other zombies just sort of harmonized with his lead.

Mike aimed his gun at the leader, but had to stop because he couldn’t aim. His smile had turned into full-fledged laughter. He let the laughter pass, wiped the tears from his eyes, calmed himself, focused, and then started shooting.

By the time he was finished, fifteen zombies lay littered across the lawn, bleeding red into the snow, the four carolers included.

He went back inside, but didn’t feel up to the clean up just yet. He turned on the Christmas tree and watched the white and colored lights dance a blinking happy tune across the walls and ceiling of his room. He stoked the fire with more wood, turned on Christmas music, sat back in his chair, and closed his eyes. The last image he saw (which was on purpose mind you) was of the picture on his mantel. Smiles frozen forever, Christmas outfits never to be worn again.

December the 23rd

Mike woke up the next morning to a knock at the door and a quiet house. The Christmas tree was still sparkling and doing its thing, the ornaments hanging here and there with a precision touch, neat and organized, as he grabbed a pistol nearby, shook the bad dream cobwebs free, and walked over to the peephole.

He peered through, and then reached down and unlocked the door after putting his pistol away.

“I was wondering if you were going to let us in or not,” Jim Wells replied, as he stepped into the house. He turned around to see where Fred was. He was still standing guard on the top step, so intent on watching the area that he didn’t even know the door was open or that two people were talking. “He’s good Mike, too good sometimes.” Jim tapped the man on the shoulder. “Fred. It’s safe. We can go inside.”

Fred Walg didn’t jump or move in any spastic manner when he was tapped on the shoulder, he just turned and followed after them.

“Can I get you guys something to drink?” Mike asked, closing and locking the door.

The three guys meandered into the living room. Jim and Fred took a seat on opposite ends of the couch while Mike worked on getting a fire started.

“What do you have?” Jim asked.

“I have cold, homemade eggnog, beer, wine, and water.”

“Any soda?”

“Don’t drink it.”

“Water will be fine,” Jim replied, eyeing the Christmas tree. It felt so much like the holidays inside this house. It made him home sick for days gone by.

“Fred, you want anything?” Mike asked, finishing up with the fire, which was now burning hot in the fireplace.

Fred stared at the fire, lost in thought, wrestling with his own demons. “Beer me, if you got it?”

“All I got is Corona. No lime.”

“Sounds good,” Fred replied, and then turned back to his thoughts. He couldn’t stop thinking of his girlfriend. She haunted him daily. Could he have done more? Should he have done more? What could he have done, though, in a horde of zombies? She was already partially eaten before he got to her. He could still see her reaching out to him, could still see the hope in her eyes, the fear as he pulled out his gun, the realization that dawned on her when the gun was aimed at her head. He could still hear the gunshot that had ended her life. It rattled around in his brain like a ghost unable to find its rest. He hoped this Christmas run Mike had planned would take away some of his grief. That’s why he was sitting here right now, because he had to do something before he went insane or tasted the metal of a barrel.

Mike went into the kitchen and came back with a cold beer and bottled water. He handed the men their respective drinks.

Fred was still seated, still lost in thought, so Mike just put the beer down beside him and left him alone.

Jim had moved over to the table, and he was staring at several rough and crude blueprints when Mike joined him.

The first blueprint was a design of the neighborhood and a wall surrounding it. The other blueprint showed a crude, but effective way to obtain water and store it when it rained.

“These are pretty good. Were you an architect before all this?”

“No. I’m just a man with ideas and time,” Mike replied, looking down at his work.

Jim took a sip of his water and found pleasure in the cold. He scanned the neighborhood plan once again. “I like this concept, but is it even possible? We have zombies crawling up and down this street every day. It would take an army to make it happen.”

“I figured we could have posted guards while the rest of us worked. I know there are plenty of people here who wouldn’t mind helping out if it meant we could be safe again.” Mike paused and sipped on his water. “If we put up a wall, get guards posted at all times, we can come out of our homes and enjoy life again. We can build a community garden. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we can bring in some livestock, raise a small farm. Just get back to normal the best we can.”

“I like that way of thinking, but this is a big project that will take a lot of work.”

“Anything in this time and place is going to be a lot of work, but if we’re going to survive, then we have to think like this. We have to think big. We have to think beyond our limits. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing to celebrate Christmas this year. I want the kids in this neighborhood to wake up Christmas morning and find a present at their door. I want them to feel like Santa is still here, and he is one mean zombie-killing machine that won’t let Christmas die, no matter what the odds or the situation. I want them to have hope. I want them to know that, yes times are bad, and there are horrible things everywhere, but they don’t always have to be. You can still have happiness in a world filled with death.”

“You don’t need to sell me or Fred on it. That’s why we’re here.”

“I know, but I need you and Fred to understand why. So if it gets bad at the mall, you will know that what we were doing was for a good cause,” Mike replied, eyes popping to the picture on the mantel, and back to Jim.

“Let’s just go over the details. Hammer this thing out once and for all,” Jim replied, as he scanned the picture Mike had been looking at moments ago. That picture made him think about his life before the zombies. Single and working a dead-end job, but he was somewhat happy even if his life was routine. He longed for those days now. He longed for the weekends. He longed for normal, and he hoped Mike’s plans about Christmas would go a long way to help him restore some of it. If the three of them could just get Christmas right, then at least normal would be back if only momentarily.

Fred (freed from his thoughts) got up and walked over to the table to join the conversation, which he had been half listening to. He was one of those guys, the ones that just seem to know how to survive. He was a tall fifty-year-old man with a lanky build and graying hair. In his life before this, he was an accountant by day, hunter by weekend. You wouldn’t think an accountant would know so much about surviving, but trust me, he did.

Jim was more of a following kind of guy with a big heart and big ideas. He was a teacher before the world turned to crap, and Mike hoped that one day he would lead a school in this neighborhood. Jim was about average height, somewhere in his mid-thirties, still youthful, but mature beyond his years with dark eyes, black hair, and soft features. It looked like he pushed a pencil every day of the week; but he didn’t shoot like it, and he certainly didn’t survive like it.

“The details are like this.” Mike grabbed a nearby binder, and in this binder were three separate folders with each of their names on it. Inside each folder was a map of the route they were to cover when delivering the toys, a map of the mall (where to go in, where to meet if separated), and stuff they would need to take with them (weapons, snacks, a couple bottles of water, things like that).

Mike handed Jim and Fred their folders, and all three of them found a seat in front of the fireplace.

“Silly question, but how do you keep the tree lights on?” Jim asked, curious, as he watched the tree blink. It had no idea of the world it was in. It just did what it was supposed to do, bring Christmas cheer.

“A generator out back.”

“This is pretty elaborate, Mike,” Fred replied, as he studied the maps. “How did you get so much info?”

“I started thinking about all of this back in early November just after it all went to hell. I had lost some . . .” He looked up at the mantel and the picture. “. . . important things in my life. It was hot. I was trying to survive. I was suffering. I was miserable. For some reason, I started thinking of Christmas, and what it meant to me and my family. Christmas meant everything to us. It was our time of year. We lived for it, and I was determined not to let it die because of a few flesh eaters. It was mid-November before I made it to the mall for the first time, but I managed to get my plan –”

“You’ve been as far as the mall? I wasn’t brave enough to go that far alone. Thank God for hardware stores and grocery stores nearby. I don’t know what I would have done if we didn’t have them,” Jim replied, flipping through his folder.

“Me either. I consider myself a pretty tough survivor, but even I haven’t been brave enough to go that far. And I assume, from the look of this folder, that you’ve been there more than once.” Fred chimed in again.

“Four times actually.”

“Wow. My hat is off to you,” Fred replied.

“It wasn’t as hard as you might think. Zombies are pretty stupid unless you rile them up. Most of the time, if you just have patience, take the right shots, and keep your wits about you, zombies aren’t all that hard to maneuver around.”

“How did you find out what the kids in the neighborhood wanted?” Jim asked, looking up at Mike.

“I went door to door. That’s how I found out about you two guys.”

“That’s what you were doing the day we met?” Fred asked.

“Out of all the homes I went to, you two were the only single guys left in the neighborhood. Everyone else either had one, two, or three kids, and every one of those families was struggling. It broke my heart talking to each father. They wanted to help so badly, but I refused. I wasn’t about to have their blood on my hands or a grieving widow to worry about.”

“So here we sit. Chosen because we’re single,” Jim replied, picking up a box filled with paper of all shapes, sizes, and colors that was sitting on the coffee table. He grabbed a red piece of paper sitting on top of the pile. He unfolded it, and read to himself what was written on it in bright blue crayon.

Dear Mike,

Zombies stink. Can you bring me something Star Wars? Thanks.

“That box contains what the kid’s want?” Fred asked, pointing to the box Jim was holding.

“Yeah. I went door to door again and told the parents to leave a note on their door for a toy each of their kids would want. Make it small, easy to carry. I told them I would be back to collect the notes in a week or so, give them time to think. So on each piece of paper is something that will give each kid in this neighborhood a little hope. I plan to deliver on that promise.”

Fred stood up from the couch and stretched. He took out his pistol and made sure it was loaded. It was time to get home and do a little drinking. “Tomorrow morning, right?” He asked, looking at Mike.

“Yep.”

“Okay, see you then.” He collected his things, and made his way to the door.

Mike followed him, and opened the door, letting cold air into the house. “Be careful, we need you, and thanks for doing this. I can’t say that enough.”

Fred looked out at the road and the neighborhood. A few zombies shambled back and forth. “There doesn’t seem to be as many these days. Does it?”

“Maybe that is something in our favor.”

“Hey, wait up Fred. Strength in numbers, remember.” Jim put the note back in the box, and put the box back on the table. He collected his things, and put on his coat. He walked over to the door, as Fred made his exit.

“See you tomorrow, Mike,” Jim replied, as he shook Mike’s hand, and followed after Fred.

“Bright and early,” Mike replied.

Jim caught up to Fred, as Mike closed and locked the door. He heard several gun shots echoing across the neighborhood as Fred and Jim hurried home. He went out onto the back porch, and filled up the generator then went back inside.

He turned off the tree to save power, stoked the fire, and then pulled out a small portable DVD player. He turned on one of his favorite TV shows – Wings – and fell asleep watching it. His dreams this time were peaceful and full of hope.

December the 24th

The three men sat huddled in the cold, waiting and watching the mall parking lot, back packs on their back, guns ready to kill.

It looked like a hopeless nightmare.

There were a lot of zombies shuffling around the open ground, some going into the mall, some coming out. Many of them coming out of the mall were carrying shopping bags as if they had spent this day doing last minute Christmas shopping.

“Dawn of the Dead much,” Fred replied.

“Original or remake?” Mike asked.

“Original, of course.”

“I don’t think I can do this.” Jim gripped his shotgun a little tighter to his chest. Fear ran across him like a freight train. Panic set in. He had avoided situations like this, and now he was about to throw all of that away for a few kids he didn’t even know. “This was a noble idea, Mike, sounded better before I got here; but I think I better get on back home.”

Mike grabbed Jim by the shirt, as he started to stand up. Jim landed on his butt on the cold snowy ground a second later. “This is no time to be backing out! We need you here. We need you now.”

“Why do you need me?”

“What do you mean?”

“You and Fred can handle it. I’ve seen you shoot. I would just get in your way. I can promise you that.”

Mike looked Jim in the eye, while Fred waited anxiously to go.

“Are you really going to go back to our neighborhood and face those kids? Can you live with yourself if you do that? I know I couldn’t,” Mike replied, turning away from Jim feeling a bit disgusted at his sudden cowardice. “Okay, Fred, are you ready to go?”

Fred gripped his gun tight, tried not to think of his girlfriend, tried to keep his mind on the task at hand. “Just give me the word,” he replied, muscles twitching with adrenaline.

“Just a second longer,” Mike replied, turning from Fred to face Jim. “Are you still leaving?”

Jim looked out at the parking lot, back to Mike and Fred. He thought of the note he had read back at Mike’s place. That note gave him the courage he needed. “I guess it’s like dancing with an electric chair. You’re never ready, but sometimes you have no choice,” Jim replied, gripping his gun a bit tighter, gearing himself up to go just like Fred.

Mike patted Jim on the shoulder. “Glad you’re back on board. Three is always better than two.”

“So, are we going or are we going to sit here and have a tea party? My toes are cold, my knees are numb, and I’m so hopped up on adrenaline I think I might burst out of my clothes,” Fred replied, eyes big and alive like a junky on a high.

“Okay, we’re going now, follow my lead. And remember, we want these zombies to pack in tight around us so we can get as many as we possibly can at one time. No matter how tight they swarm, no one shoots until I say so. Got that?”

Mike looked at Jim.

He nodded.

Mike looked at Fred.

He gave Mike the thumbs up without looking at him, eyes still focused on the parking lot and the shuffling zombies.

“Let’s do it then. Good luck guys and be safe,” Mike replied, and stepped out of his hiding spot, saying a silent prayer to himself as he did it.

Fred and Jim followed closely behind.

The zombies shuffled about. They were just doing their zombie thing, unaware of the danger lurking nearby.

Mike, Fred, and Jim inched closer to the mall, eyes alive, and guns ready to fire.

The zombies noticed them and began to shuffle in their direction.

The men held their pace – slow and steady, as the zombies started to horde together.

A soft snow was falling.

The ground was turning white.

The zombies bunched in tighter, started to surround the men on all sides.

Fred looked at Mike, waiting for the go ahead.

Mike held up his hand, as the zombies moved closer, packed in tighter.

Jim bit his lip, scared beyond belief, but trying hard to hang in there.

The zombies were now so full and thick around the men that they were almost hard to see through.

Mike glanced at his two friends, and then screamed: “Shoot! Light up and let ‘em fall!”

Fred smiled, and then started shooting. Mike followed a second later. Jim kind of just stood there a moment before getting in on the action. Their shots echoed out into the day like thunder and blasted out across the Raleigh city streets, as zombie heads started to explode, and blood started to splatter.

When Mike saw an opening in the horde, he screamed: “Go!”

All three of the men made their way as fast as they could through the horde of zombies, dodging grabbing hands and deadly bites. Across the parking lot towards the broken entrance doors of the mall they ran, still shooting, still firing, still exploding zombie heads, and splattering blood.

The men rushed into the mall, and paused instantly, a synchronized stop. Mike had left a kerosene lamp sitting on one of the tables nearest the door. He grabbed it, and turned it on, flooding the food court with light.

“Holy shit, mike. You didn’t say it was this bad,” Fred replied, trying not to draw attention to them.

“It wasn’t the last time I was here,” Mike replied, keeping his voice low.

Jim gulped hard, and thought about making a run for it, back to his home, back to his comfort zone. He looked behind him. Zombies were starting to come in through the broken doors, and then he looked forward again. The food court was stuffed with zombies, shambling about, and they were now coming in their direction.

“This was a noble idea, Mike, but maybe – ”

“Maybe shit. We all have to die sometime,” Jim replied, cutting Fred off in mid-sentence. He raised his shotgun, and took off running towards the crowd of zombies coming in their direction. He blasted five of them in the face, splattering blood and brains, and then continued shooting his way into the mall.

Mike and Fred didn’t hesitate, as they took off behind him, blasting their way through just like Jim.

“Upstairs!” Mike screamed.

Jim turned and ran towards the dead escalator with Mike and Fred close behind. He tossed away his shot gun, and as he climbed he started to knife the zombies filling up the metal stairs.

Mike and Fred reached the escalator, as Jim reached the second level. He looked down at Mike and Fred, as they kept firing off rounds, splattering the walls and floor with fresh zombie blood.

Mike and Fred climbed quick, jumping and leaping over the dead zombies clogging up the escalator, as they continued to move forward.

Mike pulled out a key from his pocket when he reached the second level. He raced over to the toy store doors, as Fred and Jim took aim, back to back. Zombies came from all directions as the men blew out brains and scattered pieces of flesh.

Mike unlocked the glass door, and slid it open.

“Come on! It’s open!” Mike screamed, as he popped a few zombies in the head that were too close for comfort.

The men hurried inside.

Mike slid the glass door closed, and locked it tight.

The zombies huddled up against the glass, but couldn’t get in.

The men, now tired, caught their breath and tried to relax.

“Did anyone get bit?” Mike checked himself with the light and then the other men. Everyone was somehow okay.

That was insane,” Jim replied.

“You did real good out there. Thanks for helping us get here,” Mike replied, putting the kerosene lamp down so he could see what he was doing.

“I just kept the kids in mind. That got me through it,” Jim replied, dropping his back pack on the floor. He took a seat in a nearby chair, and then he asked himself – Why was there a camping chair just sitting in the middle of a mall toy store? He looked around at his surroundings. “Been busy, Mike?”

Mike turned on several small kerosene lamps and lit up the kerosene heater – the mall had been without power or heat for some time now, so it felt like the inside of a freezer in their small confined space. The kerosene heater was sitting in the middle of a circle of camp chairs, so each guy could sit around it and warm themselves. Nearest to the chairs were sleeping bags, and a cooler that was stocked with nonperishable food and water.

“When did you do all this?” Fred asked, dropping his back pack, and taking a seat.

“I had the bags at home because we use to go camping all the time, the chairs as well. The only real problem I had was the heater and the lamps. I was able to find them close by in the back of a grocery store.”

“I guess nobody would think to look for those items there,” Fred replied, as he watched the zombies press up against the glass. “Do you think we’re safe in here?””

“For as long as we need to be here, I think so,” Mike replied.

“It still seems amazing to me that it has all come to this,” Jim replied, watching the zombies just like Fred.

“Like I said before, it’s a lot worse now than it was when I first started coming out here,” Mike replied, as he got up and walked over to the cooler. He slid it in front of the guys, and popped it open. “It’s not much, but it’ll keep us going until we leave.”

The men ate and drank for a moment, as they watched the zombies press against the glass and shuffle about. One of them shuffled by with the Salvation Army stand draped over his neck. It looked like he had walked right through it and then continued on without realizing the obstruction. He jingled and jangled, spilled change, as he moved about in his zombie-filled world.

The men smiled.

It broke the tension and fear of the day.

“I guess they started early this year,” Mike replied. “Usually I don’t see them ringing bells and asking for change until after Thanksgiving.”

“I saw the Salvation Army out in front of a few Department stores before all this started. I thought it was kind of early for them, but I guess with how bad the jobs were before the zombies more people just needed their help,” Jim replied, as he opened up some hard beef encased in plastic. “Looking back now, tough economic times have nothing on a Zombie Apocalypse. Seems kind of silly we were even concerned about it with the way the world has turned out.”

“It really does, but a lot of things seem that way now,” Mike replied.

The men took a momentary pause, and ate in silence. Their bodies warming by the heater, their nerves returning to normal.

“What about guns and ammunition?” Fred asked. “I’m about empty.”

Mike, without saying a word, got up, and made his way to the back of the store.

A few moments later, Jim and Fred heard wheels rolling across the tile, and looked towards that direction. Mike appeared in the light pushing a large cabinet on wheels. It was red all over except for the lid which was black, and the handles that were silver. Mike propped open the lid, as Jim and Fred came over to investigate.

What they saw amazed them.

“Gotcha covered,” Mike replied, sitting down in a chair.

“How in the world did you amass such a stock pile?” Jim asked, as he reached in and pulled out a brand new double barrel shotgun. He checked the chamber. It was loaded.

“You out did yourself,” Fred replied, as he picked up a machine gun with a loaded clip.

“I’m not sure we can carry all of them, but there is plenty of ammunition and plenty of weapons to choose from,” Mike replied. “I scavenged most of them from my trips back and forth to the mall. You would be surprised what people leave behind when they get killed by a zombie.”

Fred picked up a set of throwing stars, and a couple of knives. “Crazy haul Mike.”

“I honestly just found, grabbed, and tossed them into the cabinet when I got up here. I’m not even sure what is in there anymore.”

“How did you get the cabinet upstairs?” Jim asked taking a seat and warming himself by the kerosene heater. He lay the shotgun over his lap, and watched the zombies pressing up against the glass. Did he hear it crack or was it just his imagination? He figured it was just the nerves talking, and focused in on his conversation with Mike, but his eyes kept watching and his ears kept listening. If the glass did show the slightest signs of breaking, he would know it in an instant.

“The elevators were still working at the time. I rolled it into one of them, and to the second level I went.”

“A lucky break,” Fred replied, as he took a seat, and put his head back.

“Sometimes a little bit of luck is all we need, especially in this world,” Mike replied, eyeballing the zombies pressed against the glass. “How about we rest a bit? Then collect the kid’s toys, pack up for the morning, and then we’ll take turns on guard duty.”

“Sure,” Jim replied, as Fred let out a long snore. They both looked over at him. “I’ll watch, you rest, Mike.”

“You sure?”

“Sure.”

“Wake me in an hour or so,” Mike replied, closing his eyes.

“Will do,” Jim replied, and then pumped the shotgun. He eyeballed the zombies and listened for cracking glass.

Time passed, and once they were up and rested, they rounded up the kid’s toys, and packed everything up for the morning.

Once finished, they drank and ate, relaxed, and just tried to get their mind focused for Christmas morning.

Zombies shuffled outside, and one jingled and jangled, still spilling change while he shuffled about.

December the 25th

Around dawn, Mike’s watch alarm went off. He had been napping on guard duty while the others slept. He stretched, got the men stirring with an easy breakfast, and then it was time, time to get back to their neighborhood and deliver the presents.

They suited up in their cold-weather gear, loaded up with as many weapons as they could carry, and then made their way to the back of the store.

“Okay guys,” Mike replied, a hand on the door handle that use to let employees and delivery guys enter and leave this store. “I haven’t been out back before, just the front. I don’t know what is lurking; so, when I open this door, be ready to shoot first and ask questions later.”

Fred nodded, so did Jim.

“Here we go,” Mike replied, and then turned the handle. He pushed the door open, and the cold morning light greeted their face.

In front of them was a metal landing, black and shiny, covered in snow.

No zombies.

Mike stepped outside, and turned to face the stairs that led down to the ground with his gun pointed forward. He motioned for the guys to follow after him. One by one they stepped out into the cold, and onto the snowy landing.

“So far, so good,” Mike replied, and then looked out across the back parking lot where trucks use to load and unload.

There were no zombies out and about on this Christmas morning, at least not back here.

“Why didn’t we come this way the first time?” Jim asked, looking around.

“We would still have to come through the front parking lot in order to get here. I figured it was best to just come in the way we did instead of risking everything to get back here,” Mike replied, breath white in front of him.

“Makes sense,” Fred replied.

“If the zombies hadn’t been so packed against the glass this morning, we would have left the way we came in. That’s the one part of my plan that hasn’t worked out, but I always have a Plan B,” Mike replied.

“Let’s quit talking and go. My feet are cold, and my body’s numb. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready to get done so I get home,” Fred replied, and with his gun in front of him, he made his way down the icy, snow-covered metal stairs.

“After you,” Jim replied, ushering Mike forward.

Mike followed Fred, and when both men reached the ground they stopped. Jim joined them a second later.

“Still zombie clear,” Fred replied.

“But when we turn the corner of this building, all hell is going to break loose,” Jim replied.

“So be it. Let’s just get to stepping,” Mike replied, and started moving forward taking the lead once again.

The men made their way to the end of the building, turned the corner, and left the mall in the same way that they had come in, shooting and popping zombie heads, clearing a path as they ran. The going was slower this time because of the toys they were carrying in their back packs, but the men were able to keep their hands free, so that made the shooting a lot easier.

Once they were back in the neighborhood, they split up and followed their delivery routes. They made their deliveries with a tap on the door, a drop off of the presents, and a “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!” for good measure. It wasn’t an easy job; and it wasn’t a lot of fun either, but they were able to make it work because they knew they needed to.

Oh, I almost forgot.

I didn’t mention this.

This is the best part.

Ready for it.

Okay, here we go.

Each man was wearing a Santa suit when they delivered their presents, complete with fake white beard and fake white hair. They all had stopped off at a local gas station a little more than half-way back to the neighborhood. This place was set up like the toy store with food, water, weapons, and the three Santa suits. No one was forced to wear them, but they all went along without complaint.

I wonder what it would be like to see three, gun-toting, zombie-killing Santas running down the street popping off zombies as they made their deliveries. I am sure; it would be a sight to be seen.

When the men finished their delivery run, they made their way back home, and their Christmas day went like this.

Jim stripped naked, checked himself to make sure he wasn’t bitten, cleaned up, and then downed a full bottle of whiskey. After finishing the bottle, he pulled a blanket over himself and slept deep into the next day on the couch in his living room.

Fred didn’t bother with checking himself for bites. He instead went into his living room and turned on some loud Heavy Metal Christmas music. He left the Santa suit on as he drank beer, head banged around the room, and just got wasted. At some point, he just passed out, sleeping most of the night and into the morning flat on his stomach, beers littering the living room floor.

Mike crashed down in front of a roaring fire and fell asleep with the picture from the mantel in his hand (he left the suit on as well). The Christmas tree was splashing and sparkling all over the room as he slept the peace of a man who had just done a great task. His dreams were filled with Christmases gone by, happier times and happier days.

December the 26th

In the afternoon, a knock on the door woke Mike up. He went to answer it, and when he opened the door Jim was standing there holding a shoe box with Jim’s name across the top of it. Another box was lying at Jim’s feet with Mike’s name across the top of it. Mike leaned down, and picked it up.

“Thank you notes,” Jim replied.

“What?”

“Somehow they gave us all thank you notes.”

Jim and Mike went in and took a seat. They began to go through the boxes.

“How did they do this? They didn’t have time. Did they?”

“I guess it’s a Christmas miracle, Mike, or maybe Santa really is hanging on just like the rest of us.”

Both men froze and looked up at the ceiling, towards the sky. They both then looked at each other. They didn’t speak, but their looks said this.

“Did I just hear bells jingling above the house? Did I hear what sounded like a sleigh sliding off the roof?”

It couldn’t be, they thought at the same time, and shook the impossibility away.

The men turned back to their boxes and began to look at the notes. Most of them were scribbles, drawings, and thank yous all done by a child’s hand. It brought tears to their eyes. This was a true Christmas miracle and a Christmas that none of them would soon forget.

THE END

Ho, Ho, Ho, A Zombie Merry Christmas to you!

 

25 Days of A Zombie Christmas – 12/13/2018

“Let’s do it then. Good luck guys and be safe,” Mike replied, and stepped out of his hiding spot, saying a silent prayer to himself as he did it.

Fred and Jim followed closely behind.

The zombies shuffled about. They were just doing their zombie thing, unaware of the danger lurking nearby.

Mike, Fred, and Jim inched closer to the mall, eyes alive, and guns ready to fire.

The zombies noticed them and began to shuffle in their direction.

The men held their pace – slow and steady, as the zombies started to horde together.

A soft snow was falling.

The ground was turning white.

The zombies bunched in tighter, started to surround the men on all sides.

Fred looked at Mike, waiting for the go ahead.

Mike held up his hand, as the zombies moved closer, packed in tighter.

Jim bit his lip, scared beyond belief, but trying hard to hang in there.

The zombies were now so full and thick around the men that they were almost hard to see through.

Mike glanced at his two friends, and then screamed: “Shoot! Light up and let ‘em fall!”

Fred smiled, and then started shooting. Mike followed a second later. Jim kind of just stood there a moment before getting in on the action. Their shots echoed out into the day like thunder and blasted out across the Raleigh city streets, as zombie heads started to explode, and blood started to splatter.

When Mike saw an opening in the horde, he screamed: “Go!”

+

5 out of 5 stars – I love zombies and I love Christmas ~ A winner!

5 out of 5 stars – A Cute Little Holiday Horror Story.

5 out of 5 stars – In a zombie world, there is a Christmas miracle.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

25 Days of A Zombie Christmas – 12/12/2018

“Are you really going to go back to our neighborhood and face those kids? Can you live with yourself if you do that? I know I couldn’t,” Mike replied, turning away from Jim feeling a bit disgusted at his sudden cowardice. “Okay, Fred, are you ready to go?”

Fred gripped his gun tight, tried not to think of his girlfriend, tried to keep his mind on the task at hand. “Just give me the word,” he replied, muscles twitching with adrenaline.

“Just a second longer,” Mike replied, turning from Fred to face Jim. “Are you still leaving?”

Jim looked out at the parking lot, back to Mike and Fred. He thought of the note he had read back at Mike’s place. That note gave him the courage he needed. “I guess it’s like dancing with an electric chair. You’re never ready, but sometimes you have no choice,” Jim replied, gripping his gun a bit tighter, gearing himself up to go just like Fred.

Mike patted Jim on the shoulder. “Glad you’re back on board. Three is always better than two.”

“So, are we going or are we going to sit here and have a tea party? My toes are cold, my knees are numb, and I’m so hopped up on adrenaline I think I might burst out of my clothes,” Fred replied, eyes big and alive like a junky on a high.

“Okay, we’re going now, follow my lead. And remember, we want these zombies to pack in tight around us so we can get as many as we possibly can at one time. No matter how tight they swarm, no one shoots until I say so. Got that?”

Mike looked at Jim.

He nodded.

Mike looked at Fred.

He gave Mike the thumbs up without looking at him, eyes still focused on the parking lot and the shuffling zombies.

+

5 out of 5 stars – I love zombies and I love Christmas ~ A winner!

5 out of 5 stars – A Cute Little Holiday Horror Story.

5 out of 5 stars – In a zombie world, there is a Christmas miracle.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

25 Days of A Zombie Christmas – 12/8/2018

“Let’s just go over the details. Hammer this thing out once and for all,” Jim replied, as he scanned the picture Mike had been looking at moments ago. That picture made him think about his life before the zombies. Single and working a dead-end job, but he was somewhat happy even if his life was routine. He longed for those days now. He longed for the weekends. He longed for normal, and he hoped Mike’s plans about Christmas would go a long way to help him restore some of it. If the three of them could just get Christmas right, then at least normal would be back if only momentarily.

Fred (freed from his thoughts) got up and walked over to the table to join the conversation, which he had been half listening to. He was one of those guys, the ones that just seem to know how to survive. He was a tall fifty-year-old man with a lanky build and graying hair. In his life before this, he was an accountant by day, hunter by weekend. You wouldn’t think an accountant would know so much about surviving, but trust me, he did.

Jim was more of a following kind of guy with a big heart and big ideas. He was a teacher before the world turned to crap, and Mike hoped that one day he would lead a school in this neighborhood. Jim was about average height, somewhere in his mid-thirties, still youthful, but mature beyond his years with dark eyes, black hair, and soft features. It looked like he pushed a pencil every day of the week; but he didn’t shoot like it, and he certainly didn’t survive like it.

“The details are like this.” Mike grabbed a nearby binder, and in this binder were three separate folders with each of their names on it. Inside each folder was a map of the route they were to cover when delivering the toys, a map of the mall (where to go in, where to meet if separated), and stuff they would need to take with them (weapons, snacks, a couple bottles of water, things like that).

Mike handed Jim and Fred their folders, and all three of them found a seat in front of the fireplace.

“Silly question, but how do you keep the tree lights on?” Jim asked, curious, as he watched the tree blink. It had no idea of the world it was in. It just did what it was supposed to do, bring Christmas cheer.

+

5 out of 5 stars – I love zombies and I love Christmas ~ A winner!

5 out of 5 stars – A Cute Little Holiday Horror Story.

5 out of 5 stars – In a zombie world, there is a Christmas miracle.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

25 Days of A Zombie Christmas – 12/7/2018

The first blueprint was a design of the neighborhood and a wall surrounding it. The other blueprint showed a crude, but effective way to obtain water and store it when it rained.

“These are pretty good. Were you an architect before all this?”

“No. I’m just a man with ideas and time,” Mike replied, looking down at his work.

Jim took a sip of his water and found pleasure in the cold. He scanned the neighborhood plan once again. “I like this concept, but is it even possible? We have zombies crawling up and down this street every day. It would take an army to make it happen.”

“I figured we could have posted guards while the rest of us worked. I know there are plenty of people here who wouldn’t mind helping out if it meant we could be safe again.” Mike paused and sipped on his water. “If we put up a wall, get guards posted at all times, we can come out of our homes and enjoy life again. We can build a community garden. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we can bring in some livestock, raise a small farm. Just get back to normal the best we can.”

“I like that way of thinking, but this is a big project that will take a lot of work.”

“Anything in this time and place is going to be a lot of work, but if we’re going to survive, then we have to think like this. We have to think big. We have to think beyond our limits. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing to celebrate Christmas this year. I want the kids in this neighborhood to wake up Christmas morning and find a present at their door. I want them to feel like Santa is still here, and he is one mean zombie-killing machine that won’t let Christmas die, no matter what the odds or the situation. I want them to have hope. I want them to know that, yes times are bad, and there are horrible things everywhere, but they don’t always have to be. You can still have happiness in a world filled with death.”

“You don’t need to sell me or Fred on it. That’s why we’re here.”

“I know, but I need you and Fred to understand why. So if it gets bad at the mall, you will know that what we were doing was for a good cause,” Mike replied, eyes popping to the picture on the mantel, and back to Jim.

+

5 out of 5 stars – I love zombies and I love Christmas ~ A winner!

5 out of 5 stars – A Cute Little Holiday Horror Story.

5 out of 5 stars – In a zombie world, there is a Christmas miracle.

US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B004GUS7WS?*Version*=1&*entries*=0

New Short Story Available: Gas Station of the Dead

I plan to promote this more on my other blog, but I thought you guys should get the first look at it. I have run a lot of my stories through here so I thought I would do it with this one as well. Check out the links below for how to Pre-Order it today. Thanks and have a great weekend.

EXP: Donald Cal, or Cal to those who knew him, sat on top of a flat roof looking down at his two discoveries. The question running through is head was difficult to find the answer to. When so many zombies were shuffling about, how did he get from one place to the other and vice versa without getting bit or ripped apart? He knew that his plan was strong, it could work, it would work, but he wasn’t sure how he could keep himself alive long enough to see it put into action.

He sat back against the faded brick wall (which helped to give him shade), looked up at the sunny blue sky, and then out onto the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. He watched the waves for a while, trying to find some peace of mind as he ate a bit of processed snack food and sipped on a warm bottle of water. He closed his eyes when he was finished eating, and fell asleep, drifting off into the world of pleasant dreams and happier pre-zombie days. This current dream was one of his happiest, a girlfriend, a party, lots and lots of friends out on the beach drinking like idiots by a rip roaring fire.

A sound of thumping tore him out of his pleasant dreams and pushed him back into the harsh world he now called home.

He knew the zombies had found him.

Get it at these links: 

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C84ZTBL

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07C84ZTBL

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07C84ZTBL

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07C84ZTBL