Authors: Kristen Middleton
By Kristen Middleton
Copyright © 2012 by Kristen Middleton
Cover Photo by Ivan Bliznetsov
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This book is fiction. Any resemblances of characters to actual people, living or dead, is coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.
He waited anxiously in the crook of the tree, wondering how he’d escape the three zombies lingering down below. He was pretty sure they were aware of him, in fact, he was positive they could smell him from the way they continued to sniff the air while making those nasty, gurgling noises.
I have to get out of here.
Rubbing the sweat from his brow, he decided it was time. There was no way he could wait any longer. It had been at least two or three hours since he’d left Allie and Kylie, and they were probably freaking out, thinking he’d totally abandoned them. In a few hours the sun would be down, the forest would Now, he’d have to return with his tail between his legs, knowing he hadn’t accomplished anything but hiding out in a tree like a scared little wuss.
I may just as well have the word ‘fail’ embedded on my forehead
, he thought.
What a waste of time.
Releasing a sigh, he reached into his jeans and took out the pink rubber ball he’d found the day before
, at the rest-stop. It was a long shot, but he had to cause a distraction and hope the zombies moved away to investigate. More than likely, however, they were just way too stupid and would completely ignore it. As he raised the ball to throw it into the woods, a movement in the woods caught his attention.
The young Yorkshire was snorting happily as he stopped and began eating something on the grass which, honestly, looked like cheesy-rice or puke.
Luke shuddered as the zombies moved towards the pig, hoping that Wilbur was enjoying his last meal.
With his heart pounding, he waited until the creatures were about twenty feet away from his position and only then did he begin to descend the tree. Just as he was about to reach the bottom, however, the entire tree began to tremble and shake. Stunned, he jumped to the ground which also rumbled under his tennis shoes.
Frightened and worried that the earth was going to open up and swallow him whole, he ran back towards the dairy farm. It was the last place he’d left the girls and he hoped that they were still alive and okay.
“I can’t take it anymore,” groaned Nora. “If I have to listen to one more song by ‘Wailing Jennings’, I’m going to shoot myself in the head.”
Jennings’,” corrected Henry, “and you need to show him a little respect, God rest his soul. Jesus, I had to listen to ‘Shityeah’ and lost two hours of my life that an old-timer like me can’t afford to waste.”
, and they freaken’ rock,” said Nora.
Sounds like the main singer had some stuck in his throat,” said Henry. “It’s amazin’ what you kids listen to these days. Why, back in the day-”
Nora rolled her eyes
. “Oh, here we go…”
“Artists like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry knew how to
entertain their fans.”
“Well, even I can appreciate Elvis, so why don’t you
just stop while you’re ahead,” said Nora.
He went on.
“That there Elvis, by golly, he made the women-folk crazy with his gyratin’ hips and velvety, smooth voice. I remember this gal I dated in my early twenties, Barbara Jean Crawford, she got so worked up listening to Elvis on the radio on the way to dinner during our second date, that she jumped my bones right there in the parking lot of the restaurant. I saved myself five dollars that night man ‘cause,” he cackled, “we never made that reservation.”
h, for the love of God,” sighed Nora.
urchased every one of his records after that and always kept an eight-track in my truck, just in case I was feeling a little frisky.”
Wow, you, frisky? Huh.”
ent through a lot of shocks in those days, but,” he smiled, “them were some mighty good times.”
“Okay, we’re even,” said
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I just lost minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, either.”
Having heard enough,
I sat up and stretched my arms. “Where are we?”
“Oh, look who’s finally woken up from the dead?” said Henry
, glancing back at me in the rearview mirror. “I’m surprised
didn’t scare you awake, Wild.”
Hellyeah,” grunted Nora.
“Nope. I must have really needed the rest,” I yawned. “I didn’t wake up until I heard you two bickering.”
“I’m surprised you could even s
leep through this twisted, country twang,” said Nora.
Honestly, I was
n’t that crazy about it either, at least not the older county music, but when I saw the look Henry gave her, I changed the subject. “Nora, did you happen to find any of your dad’s CDs?” I asked.
She began fiddling with the black leather
wristband that Billie had given her. “Yeah.”
“Why don’t you pop one
in?” I asked.
“Later,” she replied.
After only a few hours on the road, we’d found a music shop and had stocked up on some CDs for the ride back to Minnesota.
“Your dad’s a musician?” asked Henry.
Nora stared out her side-window. “Yep, he’s the lead vocalist for Death Row.”
Henry rubbed his jaw.
“Death Row? Sounds like one of those heavy-metal bands. Your dad doesn’t bite off the heads of bats or urinate on his fans, does he?”
to him and scowled. “No, but he does smoke too much, tell tall tales, and thinks he’s God’s gift to women. Like someone else we all know.”
“What, me?” asked Henry. “I’ll have you know that I’ve never told a lie. I’ve had me a life filled with experiences that would knock your soc
ks off, young lady. In fact, if I don’t survive this zombie apocalypse mumbo jumbo, I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I’ve had no regrets in life and as far as I’m concerned, every day from here on out is a gift from the man above.”
“Oh, stop talking about death, old
man. You’ll probably outlive every damn one of us,” said Nora.
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tin of chew.
“Not if I can help it. Why do you think I decided to tag along with the two of you? It wasn’t because it sounded like a fine plan. Hell no, I’m here because someone’s got to keep you reckless, young girls from getting yourselves killed. But, I tell you what- if I die because of it, I know in this here ticker,” he said, pointing towards his chest, “that it certainly won’t be in vain.”
ed forward and gently patted his shoulder. “Come on now, Henry, we’re not going to let that happen.
of us are going to die on this trip.”
“Speaking of which, I think we should focus on getting gas right now,” said Nora, motioning towards the gas gauge. “Before this
Damn these gas-guzzling-mommy-mobiles,” he muttered.
“It’s still better than that gas-hog we left Atlanta in,” I said.
We’d been on the road now for two days and were somewhere in Illinois. After almost running out of gas the day before, we’d traded the truck in for an abandoned Honda Odyssey, because Henry said it would have better gas mileage.
ked at the fuel level and frowned. “I hope we can find something soon. You said you know how to siphon gas, Nora?”
” she said, pulling her dark hair up into a ponytail. I stared at the blue fairy tattooed on the back of her neck and wished I would have gotten something before everything went to hell. My dad, who was pretty old-fashioned, would have never allowed it, however.
So, how did you learn to siphon gas?” I asked.
“Don’t ask,” she answered with a little smile.
“There’s another town coming up, about ten miles,” said Henry. “Let’s just hope the zombie situation is manageable.”
“We need more food, too,” said Nora, slipping a piece of spearmint gum into her mouth . “I’m freaken hungry and gum just isn’t doing it anymore.”
“I’m hungry too
,” I said.
She handed me a piece of gum.
We drove the rest of the way in silence as I stared at my engagement ring, wondering what Bryce was doing at that particular moment. More than likely, he’d thrown quite the fit after reading my note and was probably debating on whether or not to track me down. Although I had to agree that it had been a reckless decision on my part, I still stood firm on it; my grandparent’s as well as Nora’s dad’s lives were at stake.
they were still alive, I had to go back for them. Besides, if I could survive the nightmare back in Atlanta, this would be a piece of cake.
“Head’s up girls,
the town of Baylor is coming up,” said Henry.
I stared out the window as we entered the
run-down little town. Just like most of the other places we’d passed through, it was empty and barren, except for the familiar sight of the dead, who shuffled in an out of broken entryways.
Gross,” groaned Nora, rolling up her window.
the stench of death and decay greeted us like old friends. Baylor, however, had an extra surprise for us.
“Crap,” I pointed, up the street. “Something is going down.”
“Oh my God, are those nuns?” gasped Nora.
I watched in awe as thre
e women, all cloaked in black habits and yielding sharp weapons, stood outside of an old drugstore, fending off a group of zombies.
ll up to them,” I said, picking up the ax I’d set down by my feet.
“Already with you,” said Henry, picking up speed and
steering towards the group.
hen we stopped, Nora and I both got out and advanced on several zombies trying to get closer to the women. Fortunately, the zombies were so transfixed by the nuns that they didn’t notice us, until it was too late.