The Musings of a Hideous Mind is also avaialble for a free preview on Bookbzzr.com

Friday, 31 December 2010

My Wife Was My First

My wife was my first. We were young, and very much in love. Our wedding was a quiet but romantic affair. We were married in an old church on the edge of the town all of our direct family was there. Her parents, my mother, both of her brothers and my creepy aunt who was never invited by seemed to find out about all such family events and turn up nonetheless.

It was raining out, but it was getting towards the end of summer, and the autumn weather was becoming more regular in its appearances.

We didn't care, we were in love and that was all that mattered. Not long out of High School we had been dating since we were Thirteen, best friends and soul mates. We had known we would be together forever from the very first day we spent together.

The hotel that our families had gotten us a room in was amazing. 5 stars; the honeymoon suite. They had really spared no expense and pulled out all the stops which was amazing given the current situation the world was in.

Alone at last, and with 3 years of lust stored up inside we wasted no time in consummating out marriage. Together at last. We were each other's firsts, and we had no regrets about waiting.

Susan my bride and wife stood before me, her naked body a picture of beauty, her chest rising and falling at a nervous speed, her nipples hard and dark against her cream skin. So smooth... her whole body, it called to me. I to was naked and she was staring at me with the same look I was sure occupied my face. We moved closer, and that was when I saw her limping.

"What's wrong?" I asked, seeing the way her face froze with horror.

"Nothing, its nothing, I just cut myself shaving my legs." She spoke quickly, throwing her arms around me, showering my body with kisses. Her body was so warm against mine, it was electric.

"Are you sure?" I asked, my mind suddenly worried, a new and much more intense worry about her safety.

"Yes," She spoke between locked lips and entwined tongues. We fell of the bed, and she climbed on top of me. Her favourite position for making out and well, I was sure I would find out what else....

... it was then that I saw the blood on the bed sheets and felt her heart racing as her chest lay against my own.

I was suddenly so afraid of hurting her that I froze, completely lost and no idea of what to do next.

"Take me" She whispered, begged in my ear.

I rolled over, pinning her beneath me, I took one last look at the beautiful face of innocence, sprang from the bed and grabbed the machete from the case we all carry with us nowadays. I put enough power in it to fell even the thickest zombie neck, I didn't want her to suffer any more than was needed.

Like I said, my wife was my first, it was just a shame we couldn't marry before the zombie holocaust shook the world. Maybe it wouldn't have changed things, but at least I wouldn't still be a virgin.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Slice

The blade reflected the light and cast its beam on the back of the stall door. Rebeccca Worthing stared at it, her knees pulled up to her chest, feet resting on the seat of the toilet upon which she was perched. The way, nobody would see her should they look under the door.

"They will come looking for you." She told herself, sniffling, fighting back the tears.

"I know." She whispered to herself as she turned the blade of the scalpel -one that she had stolen from the science lab - in her left hand.

Her right sleeve was rolled up to the elbow, her bare arm exposed to the world, revealing the hidden pathways that life had forced her to carve into her flesh; learning curves and experiences that she would remember forever.

The tears came now as she heard a group of girls enter the school bathroom, laughing and giggling.

"They're laughing about you, you now that" The voice in her mind spoke up again.

Rebecca felt the tears sting her eyes, felt them roll down her face, her skin so cold, tears so warm. Her hands were shaking. She bit her lip to keep herself quite but it would stop. The voice in her head began to laugh. It laughed in keeping with the girls' giggles.

"I just cannot believe how stupid you are......(it laughed at her.) I mean, look at yourself, you're too fat to wear anything less than a sweatshirt and tracksuit trousers" ....(it goaded her) before it fell away into a fit of hysterics that soon morphed itself into a maniacal cackle.

"Stop it." Rebecca pleaded, speaking through clenched teeth.

It didn't stop, but rather continued to laugh at her. Echoing her own plea back to her. "Stop it.....stop it......stopit......stopitstopitstopit"

She sliced her arm from the elbow towards her write, the skin peeling apart like an over ripened banana, and then there was the pause before the blood came. It was that moment that Rebecca enjoyed the most in a way. It was the part that hurt, but it was the instant that the silence came, the beginning of the rush. She smiled to herself and watched the two inch long red line appear. She closed her eyes and laid her head back against the tiled wall of the bathroom stall. When she opened them again she had cut herself another two times, her entire forearm was red. It was a bright vivid colour, especially against her pale, almost white skin, and yet the puddle which was growing on the floor looked almost black.

"Did that really help?" The voice asked, returning already. Only this time it wasn't mocking, but questioning,. "Why stop here, make it better and cut something else. If you cut them, well... then they will be gone. You can be happy again." Its words hung in her ears, echoed around her mind as if they had been shouted from within a cave.

Unlike a normal echo, which faded away with each rebound it made, this one grew louder.

"No" She said.

"Um...hello, is someone there?" A girl asked. The group was still there. Their laughter had stopped but Rebecca could hear them.

"They've found you. Go on, teach them a lesson. Cut them all." It whispered to her. Her entire body erupted with gooseflesh.

"No, I won't." She said to herself, louder this time. More conviction in her voice. Yet she rose none the less.

"Hello, are you ok in there?" The girl asked again. It was an older voice, a senior no doubt.

"See, itis not them." She spoke aloud this time, not trying to hide herself any longer. She reached for the lock and began to open the door.

"It doesn't matter who they are. Just cut them all." The voice cackled once again. It was like a witches laugh as they stand over their smoking cauldron.

Rebecca came out of the stall smiling, her eyes wide, her mouth wide open, lips curling up in the corners, her right arm bled profusely, and in her left she waved the blade.

"Cut you all" She screamed and lunged clumsily at the group of four seniors, who to their own credit reacted rather than just stared. They ran screaming from the bathroom causing everybody in the hallway to stop, turn and stare.

When the headmaster walked into the girls bathroom, he didn't know what to expect and was prepared for the worst. What he actually found was Rebecca curled up under the row of three sinks, her knees pulled up to her chest, her face white with shock and blood loss. She was sucking her blood covered thumb and rocking slowly. She stared into space, not blinking, not responding to his words or those of the paramedics who loaded her into the ambulance. When she got to hospital it took three male nurses to open her hand and remove the scalpel from her iron like grip.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Doubt

"You'll never amount to anything. You realize that don't you?" The masked figure wearing the blue pinstriped suit spoke.

"You try hard, maybe one day you will get the break you need, but lets face it, the chances are slim." The second spoke. He was dressed in casual clothing, but wore an identical sack-cloth mask which covered his whole face. There were no slits for eye holes, or through which to breath. The material was dirty and greasy yet neither of his two kidnappers appeared to be bothered by it.

"I....." Martin Newchurch tried to speak, but found he didn't have the words to hand.

"No, he doesn't try hard at all. He thinks he does? But come on, look at him, there isnt any real talent there. He's just a hack, thinks he is a writer, calls himself one because he posts on a blog every now and then. You make me sick." The suited mask leant in close. He stunk of aftershave.

Martin's heart was pounding, he looked around but he was shrouded in darkness. He couldn't remember how he got there.

"No, you do try, don't you. You dedicate every second to writing. Ok, maybe we could do more to get your name out there, but hey, if you have talent someone will find out." The casual kidnapper spoke, his tone softer, yet his words far more haunting.

"Don't be stupid. You think he has talent. Come on. Get real. Wake up and stop living in a dream world. It's never going to happen. God!" The suit yelled, his words were filled with rage, and passion behind that, urging it on.

"Why stop, just keep trying. If you are lucky one day it will happen, you have to make sacrifices." Jeans and t-shirt mask spoke, it was his turn to lean in close now.

"I don't know. Be quiet, I have a headache. Please don't talk so loud." Martin whispered. His mouth was dry, his voice mousy.

The two masked men started to laugh, their voices oddly harmonized. They started to spreak again, one voice was threatening and angry, one full of self loathing and uncertainty. The tone of their words was clear, but the were talking over one another and quicker and quicker to the point that the words themselves were nothing but a blur of white noise. It rang in Martin's ears, his eyes started to water. He clamped his eyes shut, gritted his teeth and begged them to stop.

"Stop it. Please stop." He yelled over the onslaught of their words.

They stopped on his command.

He opened his eyes. They both stood before him, staring blankly, the masks gone. The faces that stared back at him were instantly recognizable for they were . . . . Him.

He closed his eyes to blink, felt a warm wind rush over him and when he opened them again, the men, the two clones of himself were gone. Yet their voices echoed in his ears.

As he fell, Martin spun around, turning to look up at the ledge upon which he had just been standing. The ground hurtled towards him and he smiled, for he knew that silence was not far away.

Hostage Situation?

He looked at her from the shadows, he studied her face. He could almost feel the contours of her smooth skin, the slight indentation along her hairline where the scar was hidden; an accident from her childhood. He knew it all. The fillings she had in her teeth, her secret nightly cigarette smoked out on the back porch. He looked her up and down. Her trim body, tight and lithe thanks to the gym hours she had been putting in. She looked good, and he could feel himself getting aroused just being near her.

They had once been inseparable, she had listened to him, understood his needs and helped him satiate them. Then one day it all changed. She left him behind, moved on. She started seeing that doctor. That smarmy man with his Harry Potter glasses and leather seated office. Just thinking about that weasel like man with his receding hairline and gradually swelling stomach made him want to lash out.

He calmed himself, he looked at her, studied her face the way an artist studies a lump of clay. Seeing the true beauty in his work, hidden away beneath the surface.

She had changed her hair too, she wore it down now, and she had grown it long. Had it really been that long since he had last visited her? He tried to think but he had no control over the mind anymore.

He wanted her, he missed her, and he had already decided to come back and take her with him. Fuck the doctor, who was he to tell her what to do. "Join a gym, a book club. Just try to move on." He told her, and how she had listened. Well not it as all going to change he was going to make sure of it.

Stepping forward, emerging from the shadows he strode forcefully. She never saw him coming. He jumped out of the darkness of her mind and seized control of the body they once shared. Wrenching open the draw to the cupboard beneath the same mirror she stood studying her new self in he grabbed the gun. His strength failing as the even now the prescription medication waged war on his existence.

He raised the gun to their temple and just as he saw the look in her eyes turn wide with the realization of what was happening he screamed. -

"Die BITCH" and pulled the trigger.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Come Out Of The Wilderness

It had been almost a year since he had seen another human being. He had worked hard at forcing himself to remember what it was like. Physical contact, companionship, friendship, even a conversation was becoming a foreign concept to him. Sure, he tried to speak, chatting with objects he came across on his travels. A half eaten corpse here, an abandoned car there, but the lack of interaction soon meant that he became lazy, he speech slurred, and over the months it actually became nothing more than grunts.

Despite this, in spite of everything that had happened, all of the people he had lost to the virus he knew that one day he would find someone else, maybe even more than one. Survivors of the war between humans and zombies. So when that day arrived, when he walked over the crest of the hill in the Scottish countryside, he wasn't surprised.

He was also not too shocked by the number of people he found. It looked from the distance he was away from it, as if the entire town was still alive, or at least had been repopulated in the year since it all began. Most of the houses had either lights in the windows or smoke drifting from the chimneys. If was getting dark, he had lost all track of the seasons or time of day, but light and dark was still within his realm of comprehension.

What did shock him however was that upon seeing them, the only thing he could think about was running up to them, ripping open their chests and gobbling down the warm organs that lay within. He was famished and the smell of their living flesh drove him over the edge. He charged at them.

Of course, even children had been taught how to defend themselves, and so they opened fire on him, and when they burnt his infected body, there was a look of surprise etched upon his face.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Time Heals All Wounds

"When I caught you with him, lying in our bed with the man I called a friend, the man who helped me start the business that kept you in such a well kept lifestyle, I wanted to kill you both. Do you know that?" Martin Wilkins spoke to his wife as she sat next to him on the sofa.

She barely raised her head from the book she was reading, not giving him the light of day. It had been three months since he had caught them.

"I wanted to hurt you, him I just wanted to kill, get him out of the way. You though, I wanted you to feel what it was like to have your heart ripped out. To see the look on your face as that pulsating muscle broke apart. Did my face look anything like I imagine yours would?" He asked her as they sat down to dinner one cold and stormy winters night. The spent very little time together now. She was out a lot. Working he guessed, he didnt leave the house himself. He worked from home writing novels and short stories for magazines. Mostly under a false name.

Leslie Grange the long suffering wife of Martin Wilkins took a long deep sip of her red wine, stared right across the table at him. She opened her mouth as if to speak, but stopped and returned to her meal. It had been six months since he had caught them, and charged out of the house in the pouring rain. Tail lights casting a red glow on their faces as he sped away.

"The only reason I came back was to try to hurt you, but that wasn't what happened. I couldn't hurt you any more by coming back becuase leaving you did it all. I came back to hurt you, and now can't leave because all I want to do is see you smile. I love you you know. I always did." Martin opened his heart as the snow battered against the window. There were carollers in the neigbourhood, he could hear their harmony floating across the night air.

Leslie sat by the open fire, staring into it a glass of mulled wine in one hand, a tissue in the other. It had been 17 months since he had caught them, and charged out of the house in the pouring rain. Tail lights casting a red glow on their faces as he sped away, 17 months since the doorbell rang a few hours later and he had walked silently over the threshold.

"I never stopped loving you. It was all my fault. I know, I never paid you enough attention, I can't remember the last time I told you I love you. We had some good time, and it doesn't have to be over you know. There's still plenty of time left, it doesn't have to stop." He wept as he cupped her face in his hands, stroked her hair.

Leslie raised her eyes from her book, she sat curled in her chair by the fireplace. Her eyes were red with tears, her cheek cool from his touch. "I love yoú" She spoke to him at last.

It had been 20 months since he had caught them, and charged out of the house in the pouring rain. Tail lights casting a red glow on their faces as he sped away, 20 months since the doorbell rang a few hours later and he had walked silently over the threshold while the two uniformed police officers whose car he had hidden in told his wife about the accident.

It had been 20 months since Martin Wilkins died, his car careening off the road, loosing control on a bed, the road slick from the storm that raged. It had been 20 months since his wife spoke to him, since she had smiled, but now, before the roaring fireplace where they had shared so many memories, the corners of her mouth curled up and she shivered as he ran his fingers through her hair. Noting more than a breath of wind. "I love you Martin." Leslie cried and smiled simultenously, finally admitting to herself what had happpened.

"Goodbye my love." Martin whipered in her ear as the world faded to black and he finally ascended, his heart at peace, his business done.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Headstart

Lisa Raine sat in the restaurant and watched the flame flicked on the candle. It was about half the size it was when she had sat down. Ironic really as her party was now also half the size. She looked across at the empty chair and then remembered the letter he had given her at the start of the night.

"Lisa, At some point I will need to leave for a while, something work related, but don't worry, I will come back. I have written you a letter, its important that you read it once I am gone." He had spoken softly and helf her hands in his own. She was falling for him and when he passed her the letter, which she had placed in her handbag.

Granted she thought it was strange, but then it was their sixth date in a month, and they had a real connectio so she was going to roll with it. For the simple fact that she loved him. She had yet to say it to him, but she did, and she thought it rather obvious that he felt the same. She looked at the small box on the table as if looking for confirmation of his feelings. He had bought her a pair of earings. Nothing expensive but beautiful none the less, and from the small jewellers located out of town whcih she had spoken about on their first date.

Lisa smiled as she took out the leter and began to read.

My Dearest Lisa,

I know that my behaviour tonight may strike you as odd, but I can assure you I have only your best interests at heart.

My evenings spent with you have reminded me of what life is all about. I have, as you know overcome a series of personal tragedies, including the loss of my family three years ago. Since then I have closed myself off to the world, until that was, I met you.

I know that I carry with me a lot of baggage, and while many things I am open about and have spoken freely over, there are some parts of me which I do my best to keep hidden. Sadly however, every now and then things change, things are brought to the suface that I cannot control and am not ready to confide to anybody in.

I have already paid for our dinner, and advised the maitre'd to bring you a little something once he sees you finish reading this letter. (Lisa looked up at this moment and indeed saw the Maitr'd walking her way with a large bouqet of red roses, with a pink ribbon tied into a bow around their stem.)

I must tell you now, that there are only two things I need you to understand. One, is that I love you. I love you with my heart and soul, and can think of no person I would rather spend my time with. than you, from your chocolate hair to the way you're eyes sparkle when you smile, and how you play with your earrings when you feel nervous.

The second, and by far most important thing you need to understand my love is that I will always do my best to give you ............. a headstart.

The letter was signed of course, but no sooner had Lisa rad this last sentence, the deafining roar of shattering glass filled the reastauant and the large wolf came chargin through, standing on its hing legs it stared at everybody before beginning to feed one table at a time.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

A Tree of Sorrow : Part 4

A red cloud swept across Max's mind, it was a focus driven by rage, rather then the actual blood mist which hung in the air followig his most recent series of savage blows. He had broken through the outer layer of bone now and saw that in the centre was a brown juicy substance, the marrow of the tree.

Despite his rage and tunnel vision, Max had been aware of one other fact while he waged his war on the tree. With each strike, his wife, Audrey's lifeless form was lowered closer and closer to the ground. The last desperate move by the tree, he was certian. For now he had reached the core, there could really only be one outcome, and so why not try to scare him away but bringing him face to face with the only person he had left in his life whom he loved and who loved in in return.

"You'll have to try harder than that." He shouted as he dropped his axe to the floor where it landed in the pool of blood that was now gathered. The grass completed disappeared beneath its crimson surface.

With his final words spoken Max proceeded to scoop handfuls of juciy marrow from the trees central channel, with hands hooked into claws. His eyes were wide, and he was screaming, a primal animalistic sound. It was bellows partly in triumph, and partly to block out the high pitched screaming sound that the tree planted inside his brain. By the time Audrey's feet swung ito her husbands face his ears were bleeding along with his nose, his hair had become pure white and his face grey. Deep within his body a tumour had sprouted and grew larger and hungier for his flesh wtih every handful of marrow he scooped.

By the time he was finished, the tree hollowed out until he could reach inside and touch the bone on the other side and come back with a clean hand, Audrey and Max were face to face. Well almost, the only thing between them was the large Woodsman 2000 which protruded from the centre of Audrey's face, having entered at the top of her skull, only to get wedged stuck half way down. One of her eyes stared almost accusingly at her husband, while the other gazed at the floor, hanging from its socket and bouncing around on the optic nerve as if it were on a spring.

With an almighy crack the tree began to shift, and as it toppled to the floor, the ground split open as if to catch it. The earth yawned and swallowed the falling tree whole. Flames erupted into the air as the dead tree caught fired and became nothing but ash in a matter of seconds.

When it was over Max stood alone in his garden. His body frail and covered in blood, his wifes still form lay at his feet, half submerged in the pool of blood that had gathered around them. He stared down at her, collapsing himself soon thereafter, his body tired, energy spent. He bent down and kissed both halves of his wifes face before rising and making his way back to the house. He turned around only once, and was just in time to see his wifes head sink below the surface of the bloody pool.

The following day Max woke feeling as younger than ever, there were no aches and pains, beside that which arouse within him when he rolled over and saw the other side of the bed empty and cold. He began building the summer house that afternoon, down at the bottom of the garden where that large oak tree had once stood. He had promised his wife that they would spend the rest of their days there. That was exacrtly what he did. It took three weeks for him to finish the the summer house, and on that first evening, he sat in his chair on the porch, closed his eyes and promptly died.

Tree of Sorrow : Part 3

The air was heavy, Max's chest was tight and he had to fight for every breath. Yet he remained standing. He had fought for his country, in two wars, he had never backed down from anything and was not about to run from a tree. Even one that was bleeding. He looked around for his axe but it was nowhere to be see.

He stared at the tree, his head was filled with the wailing of the beast as it continued to bleed. The grass was now completely submerged and Max felt his feet sinking into the saturated earth. He raised his fist and shook it at the tree as a pain burst through his right side almost sending him crashing to the floor. Max didn't know what it was from, there was no centre of pain, no direct point of causation but rather his entire right hand side was aflame.

He had another axe in the garage, one he used for cutting wood to place on the fire. It wasn't anywhere near the same standard as his larger, Woodsman 2000, which he had bought for this very occasion, but an axe was an axe, and the tree must be felled.

The further Max got from the tree, the better he felt, the air pressure was less, his movements freer, and by the time he got to the garage he actually felt younger. Hell, he looked younger; he saw after stopping to look at his reflection in the wing mirror of his car.

"So you want to play it that way do you?" He spoke to the air as he marched, hell ran back to the tree. It had once been a large oak, or so he believed - he was no tree expert - but now it was a twisted sinister figure. The sunlight didnt touch it, it was as if once you stepped within a ten meter radius of the once mightly oak, you entered a world of perpetual dusk. "You're coming down today even if I have to bite through you." Max bellowed as he swung the smaller much lighter axe. The impact zone was smaller, and the power was significantly reduced, but the speed and accuracy of his strikes increased as if in counter balance.

With each short sharp strike, blood splattered against Max's face, his eyes were wide and crazy, his hair filled with a static charge from the electified air around him, and he was smiling as he and his trust weapon ate through the tree. A shard of the white inner wood flew up and hit him on the cheek. Max pulled it out and stared at it. It wasn't wood at all, but bone. The entire tree was bone, covered in a dead leathery skin. He saw it now, and as he looked up he realised that it wasn't leaves and vines that hung from its branches but scalps, human scalps with long hair matted together wtih human gore.

The screaming inside his head and increased and was now a roar not of rage but pain, a pure agony. A vicious wind whipped up, and Max felt his body aging, time slipping futher away from him with each stroke he made. His joints were stiff and burning with arthritis, his eyes were blurred with cataracts he hadn't had that morning when he woke. His hands were more wrinkled than ever and large brown liver spots had appeared over his arms, as well as other parts of his body he was sure.

Max stopped, unable to continue. He was ready to stop, he would let the tree stand and go away with what years he had left. However, instead of just walking away, he looked up. Up into the branches. Whether by choice or because some bellowing voice inside his own mind commanded him to he wasn't sure, but he did it nonetheless. He looked up and there hanged his wife. Her body swinging freely in the wing, her head twisted to a strange angle as the rope of intertwined scalps wrapped around her neck and had slowly cut off her oxygen until she died.

Max stared, a thundering rage building inside him. He roared and raised the axe once more. All the pain forgotten, as the earth around him began to shake and tear apart.

Tree Of Sorrow : Part 2

Max slept fitfully, he had expected to fall into a deep sleep, his body was weary and his head was pounding by the time he krept between the sheets. While his slumber was indeed deep, it was anythng by refreshing. He had never been one to suffer from nightmares, and so did not really know how to classify what he experienced that night. All he knew was that he closed his eyes and entered a strange world. A dark world with a red tinted sky, a barren almost post appocalyptic landscape with burnt out buildings and hot dry winds whistling through empty street. He was vaguely aware of his wife getting out of the bed, but she was always up early on a Monday as she went to the local farmer to get milk and eggs. After this all he remembered was falling, and there were flames surrounding him, licking at his skin but never actually burning him.

When he woke it was not so much a pleasant experience but one of relief. For a while he had even asked his dream self if it were possible he had died.

As he had guessed he was alone in the bed, and his wife, Audrey was nowhere to be seen.

After breakfast and a quick read of the newspaper Max decided it was time to get back to work. He had a horrible feeling gnawing at him now, and it had something to do with the tree. Even in the early morning light, and a cloudy sky the tree managed to cast long reaching shadows into the kitchen where he sat. Branches curling like fingers around his own arms and paper. They beckoned him as they rocked gently in the breeze.

A shudder ran through Max as he saw this. He watched the shadows as they flirted with him, and he felt the way his skin seemed to tighten over his entire body. By the time he stood up to get to work it felt at least two sizes to small for him.

Max left the house empty handed. He had searched high and low for the axe, which he was almost certain he had returned to its place in the garage which was annexed to the kitchen. In the end he convinced himself that he had left it down by the tree and had gone.

With each step he took down the garden path, a pain in his head began to grown. Not a headache exactly, but rather a feeling, one of dread. By the time he got to the tree itself he was actually afraid, his hands shaking, the hairs on the back of his neck standing erect as he sure feeling of being watched washed over him in waves. Several time he actually spun around, fully expecting to catch some.....one .... thing, he had no idea.

However, once he saw the tree, Max realised that his fear was right, there was no other emotion that could be felt. The ground was boggy underfoot, a thick dark liquid oozed from the wedge shaped gash that Max had carved into its flank the day before. He walked closer still, the liquid was thick, and didnt just seep from the trunk but poured from it. The flooded ground was not from a heavy dew as first thought, but from this.

Max touched the tip of his finger agaisnt it, leaning agaisnt the tree with his other hand, legs suddenly unstable. The tree was shaking, he could feel it tremble. The liquid was warm, it was tacky, but not like sap. Max rubbed his fingers together and then raised them to his nose.

He stumbled backwards, half gagging, half simply fleeing. The need to get away was matched by his sudden desire to be rid of the tree, fight or flight at its most prominant. It was now sap that oozed from the bough, but blood........

Friday, 22 October 2010

A tree of sorrow: Part One

When Max Pilgrim awoke that Sunday morning he had no idea what was instore for him. The day before he had spent in his garden preparing to fell the large, and very dead tree at the bottom of his garden. He planned to build a summer house down there. A place where he and his wife could enjoy their retired summer afternoons drinking ice cold drinks and looking back towards their Victorian era, grade II listed cottage, complete with its ornately kept garden. His wife's pride and joy.

Max had cleared the area and had over the course of the last month sprayed the trunk with a liquid that was supposed to make the act of felling all the more easy. It was 10 o clock when he walked down the garden, whistling to himself, axe slung over one shoulder.

The tree loomed over him, its trunk black as the night. It had been rotten for years, and was only ever a question of time before it came down. Even the branches seemed to be mouldy. Leaves and vines hung from its twisted finger like branches in wet clumps. There was even an odour of decay that seemed to hang in the air around the tree.

Max set the axe on the ground, leaning the handle against his leg as he donned his thick workmans gloves and prepared himself for the task at hand. He didnt plan on having the tree down in one day, he was too old for that now.

Max took one last look at the tree. He didn't know why, but he was suddenly overcome by a strange urge to leave it alone. To allow it to stand as long as it dared. It was actually with a heavy heart that he picked up the aze and placed it against the trunk. The bark looked leathery, worn and tired. It even gave slightly under the weight of the blade being pressed agianst it.

It took almsot an hour of heavy and somewhat clumsy chops before the axe made any lasting indentation on the tree. The spray had apparantly turned the bark anything by soft, for Max stopped several times to inspect his progress or lack thereof and it had indeed turned leathery. Sweat stung his eyes and his joints called out in stiff displeasure when he finally stopped after seeing the bark finally split, relvealing the oddly white wood beneath.

Leaning on the axe, Max wiped his face with a handkerchief from his pocket and rested, breathing heavily. It was going to be harder than he expected.

The day wore on, the sun moved across the sky and Max continued his work. By the time he decided to call it a day his watch told him it was 15:45. His clothes were soaked through with sweat, and there were blisters on his hands despite the gloves. He had made good progress though, there was a decent sized gash carved into the tree. He stood back and admired his work. His mind still being dogged by a strange feeling that he should stop.

"Tomorrow you'll come down big fella. Enjoy tonight, I'll give you that one for your years of service." Max spoke to the tree, slapping it on the trunk as if he were talking to a friend.

He turned and walked away ... well limped away would be more accurate, his left side was a blaze of pain, which he hoped would disappear by morning, and only served as notice that age was certainly catching up with him. He turned once more to look at the tree, which he thought he could hear moaning, and saw a dark red sap leaking from the gash in its flank.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

In The West

The two wolves stood in the centre of Main Street, facing each other down like two men about to draw their pistols and settle their dispute in the manly way. Their hackles were high, lips pulled back revealing a mouth full of sharp teeth that were covered with saliva. Their eyes burned a strange yellow, and a deep snarling growl seemed to exude from them, not coming from their throats so much as it seemed to ooze through their skin. It didn't matter how many times the Sheriff fired his Colt into the air or the ground close to the warring beasts, their concentration was not to be broken.

The people of Craton City where of course no strangers to the occasional duel, especially not in front of the Saloon. Craton was after all the only real town in between the big city in California and the current Gold streak in the hills beyond. It was the perfect meeting place for men on their way to make their fame and fortune, to meet men coming home broken and empty handed. It was only natural therefore that tensions should be prone to flare.

It also wasn't a completely foreign sight to see wolves wandering around, although granted never in the centre of town, and certainly not creatures that looked like the ones standing before them all now.

Their bodies were large, almost double that of a normal wolf, thick hulking lumps of muscle clung to their frame making them bulky and undeniably powerful. Their fur was thick and matted, clumping together in a shaggy manner that only added to their look of feral aggression.

The entire town now stood on the boarded sidewalk that ran down either side of the sandy street. Not even the horses tethered up and points along the route made a sound.

Suddenly it started, the two wolves leapt at each other, flashing teeth, and swiping claws. They collided with a heavy thud and fell to the floor, snarling and howling at each other, blood was spilt, one inflicting a wound in his foe's flank with a strong swipe of his front claws, while the other sank his teeth into the shoulder.

Their scuffle kicked up a cloud of dust, which hung in the air like a fine mist, obscuring the view for those standing farthest away. When it cleared the fight was over, one wolf, the larger of the two stood over his opponent, its jaw wrapped around the neck of its foe, teeth sinking through the fur but stopping short of breaking the skin. The beast was panting, breathing hard and heavy, its back legs trembled as it held firm waiting to be awarded victory.

What happened next sent the people of Craton running into their houses shouting that the devil had finally come to town, with the exception of one young boy who stood where he was, shrugging off his mother, who in terror fled and left him behind.

The wolf who lost changed first, his fur melting away, his powerful frame shrank, the skin darkened slightly, and all four legs changed, the hind ones lengthened slightly the paws turning in feet, while the front pair shortened, claws becoming fingers, the pad a hand. The only fur that remained stayed on the mans head, it was jet-black and ran down almost to his shoulders.

"You win big brother. We'll move straight on to the hills." He whispered in a choked voice, his face covered in a layer of sweat as he stared into the eyes of the other wolf, whose grip didn't lessen until the change was almost complete and the man's jaw needed to return to its more human range of motion.

"I told you baby brother. Pa left me in charge after them injuns got him, I make the decisions." He said as he stood up and offered his defeated brother a hand. They stood, completely naked in the centre of the street their quarrel seemingly settled, turning they walked away together, leaving town the moment they were dressed. Their clothes neatly folded atop their saddles.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Put A Leash On It

The spot light came from the top of the police cruiser bathed Ray Edwards and his colleague Matt Hardy in a brilliant light. The patrol car came to a gentle stop and the light was extinguished.

"Evening guys." The officer spoke to them. He was friendly enough, they were causing no trouble, just heading home following an after work beer.

"Can we help you office?" Ray asked, unsure as to why they had been stopped, neither of them was drunk, not even slightly.

"We got an alert going off down at dispatch, you know what night it is Mr... Edwards." The cop asked, pausing to read the name from a page in his notebook.

"Yeah I'm heading home now, we just had a quick drink after work." Ray answered honestly. It was warm out, especially for a spring evening, but the hairs on Ray's arms stood erect, even more so when the slight breeze brushed against them. It made his skin tingle, as if somehow charged.

"Ok, but you know the rules, on a full moon you have to be inside before sundown. So hop in I'll give you both a lift." The cop said getting out of the car and opening the read door to allow both men to climb inside.

"I'm really sorry about this." Ray said to him as they drove. "I've got my ankle tag on, I thought that was supposed to keep my under control." This was no lie, when the tags were introduced all sufferers were told that the charged band would help stem the urges pull of the full moon on their bodies.

"Well yeah, but only for home use, to keep families and loved ones safe. Out on the street, well its just too intoxicating for guys like you once. . . once the moon is out I mean." The cop answered, stammering slightly.

"It's ok office. You can say it. I'm a werewolf. Matt here knows all about it. "and I really did think the band would keep me straight. You need to turn left here, and its the house on the corner." Ray added as they approached his house. He could feel the band on his leg tingling as its electronic pulses were sent through his body counteracting the lunar pull.

The cop pulled the car up at the bottom of Ray drive and let both men out. "It's not a problem sir, just remember for the future when its a full moon, home before dark. Sounds childish I know but it is in everyone's best interest." The cop told them, shaking both of their hands before getting back in his car and driving off.

"Well I'd better get inside then." Ray said to his friend. "I'll see you Monday." He offered his hand to Matt, who shook it and smiled.

"No, I'm off, the girls are on holiday and I promised to take them to the zoo Monday. I'm back Tuesday. Have a good weekend buddy." Matt said, calling the last back over his shoulder as he went on his way.

Love the Movies

The lights began to dim, and as if directly connected the chattering voices also became a hushed murmur before dying out completely. The screen was black, its silhouette still visible in the darkness, and then suddenly it beamed, advertising all manner of concessions available in the lobby.

Benior sat at the back of the room, watching everybody move around, late arrivals scurrying to the seats, families discussing who sits where, and couples deciding how best to sit with each others, there were plenty of faux- stretching moves being made, several heads resting on shoulders and plenty of arm hugging. It was pretty full for the late night showing of a film that was released three weeks ago, but to Benior it just made everything more appealing.

With the previews out of the way, and everybody's attention held captive by the movies playing before them, Benoir rose unseen, his graceful movements invisible to their transfixed eyes. It was a difficult process to master, but the rewards he discovered it could reap were worth the pain he had gone through.

Wandering the aisles, carefully picking his targets each and every time, Benior found exactly what he was looking for. A male, early twenties, sitting along and in reasonable shape to guarantee decent tasting blood. Benoir moved in to feed.

With his victim(s) so preoccupied by the movie, they never noticed Benior sit down beside them, nor did they ever feel the pinch as his elongated teeth sank into their sweet soft flesh and begin to draw their life fluid. They felt slightly lightheaded, but their subconscious wrote it off as being the movie and not them. Once he had drunk his fill from one particular victim, their individual flavour no longer tantalizing his palate, then Benoir would release them.. . That was the key to it all, to take what you want and move on, never to drain, that brought too much attention.

With his hunger satiated once more, Benoit would move back to his seat and watch the film, dozing as he sat there, enjoying the high of fresh blood and the thrill of the hunt. Sometimes he would then take from the pretty girls, if there were any, although their blood often tasted slightly bitter in his mouth. They were more for the pleasure of it than the nourishment anyway.

Once the movie was over, he would appear once again and either leave with the masses, watching as his target rub his neck and stumble his way back into the fresh air, were normally he would begin to feel better almost immediately, and simply curse his choice of movie snacks.

Sample Chapter from Novel: Through Hell and High Water


Through Hell and High Water

By Alex Laybourne






PART I


DEATH



To sad humanity alone,(Creation's triumph ultimate)The grimness of the grave is known,The dusty destiny await . . . .Oh bird and beast, with joy, elance Effulgently your ingorance!Oh man, previsioning the hearse,With fortitude accept your curse!

Dark Truth by Robert Service



Marcus Fielding looked at his watch, he was half way through his shift, the last one of his current round of shifts., and also the last shift before his three-week vacation. It was to be a sort of second honeymoon. He and his wife had been together twenty years the previous April, and had never been away just the two of them. They had always had at least one kid tagging along, first the twins, Erica and Bryony then came Roger and finally little Marcus Jr. Not that Marcus cared, his kids were his life and he would do anything for them.

He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand; carefully replacing his cap once he was finished. It was the middle of July and the temperature had been stuck in the low thirties for over two weeks already, and the new bullet proof vests they had been issued with made him lose fluid quicker than he could take it in. All in the name of safety the duty sergeant had said. ‘Easy for him to say’ Marcus had grumbled along with all the others in his section at the end of their first shift. There had actually been a queue of people by the toilets waiting to wring their shirts out before putting them in their bags.

“One more round then I’ll head back to the car. I’ll meet you there.” He spoke into his radio using another recent addition, the covert earpiece and microphone.

“Ok, I’m done up here anyway. There’s nothing going on. It’s too hot, everybody’s down at the beach.” A young voice answered him, typically optimistic, his love for the job still passionate and unbridled.

Simon Dillings had been on the force for almost three months, and was the lucky protégé of Marcus. That was why he had been clocking so much foot patrol. No only di it bump him up over quota, but it was a tried and tested method of breaking a rookie in,showing them its not always gunfights and car chases like you see in the movies.

“Lucky them. Well we’ll head in for some grub and then you can impress me with your paperwork skills again. How’s that sound?” Marcus asked grinning wildly as he pictured Simons face drop, his glasses slip down his nose and his mouth screw up, pursing his lips together in a way that made him look constipated. Marcus liked the kid, he was a good honest guy, and he would go a long way.

“Boy, sounds like a party. You really are spoiling me today aren’t you.” The voice answered back, a little bit of attitude finally beginning to crack the ‘good-boy’ rookie shell.

The town centre was pretty quiet, with the age demographic definitely favouring the slow moving older citizens, who idea of causing trouble was whispering about someone in the local bingo hall or bridge club meeting. Deciding to cut his route short, Marcus turned left at the midway point of the high street and entered the covered shopping arcade. It had just been renovated a couple of weeks before, but the local youths had already managed to ‘tag two walls with vibrant paint and even more colourful language. Truth be told Marcus was surprised it had taken them that long. The town wasn’t known for being the most picturesque place in the country, and with a high unemployment rate benefit claimants were flocking there in droves, with council estates springing up wherever there had once been a bit of green ground for kids to play on.

Unlike Simon, Marcus had lived in the town his whole life, and had watched as it slowly made the transition from a small coastal Enlgish town, to a place the size of a city, and now it was on the cusp of linking up with the three surrounding towns that were slowly suffering the same fate. Marcus knew it was only a matter of time before someone raised the idea of combining them all.

Easterton had once been nothing more than a proud and well-respected fishing village, which grew as the industry it housed did. Then over night the fishing moved away, takig the majority of the jobs with it. Yet the people had stayed, they were settled, had families and so the next generation of emploment came along., Factories rolled into town, offering short lived salvation to the locals. Sadly the eternal quest for cheaper labour and longer hours played its part and slowly they were once again made redundant to make room for the immigrants who were not only more than willing to work, they were perfectly happy to do so for a much lower remuneration.

Marcus knew first hand what a crappy place the world was, and that was in part why he decided to join the police. He wanted to be able to say the neighbourhood was slightly safer for his kids to grow up in. It was a loosing battle, he knew that, but he had never been one to just cover up and take the abuse.

Marcus noticed that three shops had decided not to open at all today with signs in their windows advising potential customers of the temporary closure as a result of the near unbearable hot weather of the previous few days. They were small, family run establishments selling leather bags, another sold hand made cards for all occasions– or so the sign in the window claimed –The last was a craft shop, its window filled with knitting patterns, wool of every colour imaginable lined the back wall as if it were where God had made his Technicolor Dreamcoat.. None of them would see the end of the year. It was a sad fact, especially in Easterton, that no small business could compete with the bigger companies, many of whom were part of international consortiums now.

Stopping, Marcus bent down and grabbed an empty disposable drinking cup and threw it in the bin that was about half a meter away. He didn’t like litter; it was pointless in his eyes. He whistled to himself as he moved further along, no song but just a jaunty tune that seemed to grow in his head.

His stomach growled noisily, stopping him instantly. He had skipped breakfast that morning, and he knew he was going to be made to regret it. He patted his trousers, and the pockets of his vest, and then the pockets of his sweat sodden shirt beneath. Nothing, his wallet, he saw in a flash image, was still on the small table beside his bed.

“Bollocks” He muttered under his breath. He looked at his watch, he would eat when they got back to the station that wasn’t a problem, he would lend a fiver from Leslie Granch, he still owed him from the football result the week before. Marcus’s frustration was more due to the knowledge her had acquired over the years thatthat whenever he was caught unprepared, something always went wrong that would delay him somehow.

He paused by the window of Budget Gaming Supplies, looking at the rather poor selection of games on display. The new Boxing Academy game was out he saw it in the back corner against the wall. The objective of it was that you took a boxer, and trained them up, with a diet programme all the way through to setting specific workouts and guide them through a career. He didn’t really play games anymore, hadn’t since he left school if you don’t count the times he played with his children. Yet that was one he loved and always bought when it was released, irrespective of how much he actually planned on playing it. Having been a boxer himself before joining the force he supposed he had an interest in it that wasn’t strictly spectator based. He had been a light heavyweight with a lot of potential if the people back then were to be believed. He had a record of 21-0 with 18 knockouts. A title shot had been promised to him by his manager Walter Whitney, a small reptilian looking man with the cold beady eyes of a shark and a temper to match. He had been Marcus’s manager from the beginning, ever since he had first spotted him sparring at the local fitness centre. He had been big and fast and even as a young rookie had had the power to stop any other fighter in his gym. He had been described as the perfect mix of George Forman and Joe Fraser with his raw power yet graceful style, and as he matured so did his boxing.

Yet sadly it had all begun to crumble around his ankles one afternoon a matter of days after he had knocked out the number one contender to the WBO title inside of 5 rounds, and Walter called him up to the office. Marcus had expected a title offer would be bounced around but not so quickly.

He remembered it like it was yesterday, a fact helped by his regular repetition of the tale at the many gatherings he attended It had become almost a trademark party tale, one that could b rehashed as often as required without getting stale. Of course his children had also loved it, still did or at least so they told him. He had only come into the gym to pick up his running shoes, and then he had gotten chatting with some of the other fighter who had been milling around waiting to start training, when Big Joe, one of the trainers came across and summoned him up to the office. He looked up and saw Walter’s shadow looking down on them from behind the dirty glass. He wasn’t alone; someone else was up there. Marcus couldn’t think whom, his mind really wasn’t thinking about his next fight, let alone a shot at Virgil Hill the current Light Heavyweight champ.

Yet despite the strange feeling that rumbled in his gut like a hunger pang, Marcus ran up the stairs, taking them two or three at a time, buzzing past the dusty photos with randomly taken pictures or newspaper clippings covering boxing events and fellow pugilists going back to the days of bare knuckle fights held on the fishing docks. He had spent years staring at them, reading them all while he waited for the ring or a heavy bag to free up.

Marcus stopped himself just outside Walters’s office, running this fingers through his then thick and busy hair. He hadn’t shaved for a week or so and the thick stubble was threatening to become a beard if he didn’t act quickly. Bracing himself, Marcus rapped firmly on the office door and walked in without waiting for the invite.

Inside Walters office was almost as run down as the outside of the gym. The walls hadn’t seen a lick of paint in years, probably not since before Walter had bought the place. The single light was just a bare bulb that hung loosely from the ceiling, its fixture long since vanished into oblivion. A thick layer of grey green cloud hung in the air from the constant stream of cheap cigars that Walter insisted on smoking. Lighting one was the first thing he did each morning, and the glowing embers never left his mouth until he went to sleep at night.

He had died of lung cancer at the age of 63, an age that everybody who knew him was amazed he ever reached at all.

The eyes in the room turned to face Marcus, and the bad feeling (which to until his last days on earth continued to creep over him every time a bad call came over the radio,) rumbled his stomach again. Louder this time.. There were three men in the room, and none of them were recognizable as being on Hill’s payroll. Walter had ushered him inside and offered him a seat. The three strangers were wearing expensive suites which hugged their giant steroid enhanced muscular frames like spandex. While their ‘business’ attire may have been stretched taut to the point of ridiculousness, they still cut an imposing figure that even Marcus respected from the moment he laid eyes on them.

“Listen Kid, you fight good, but to get the champ you gotta let him think he can win. D’ya understand?” Walter croaked, his voice deep and scratchy from a lifetime of tobacco.

Marcus was only young then, a real talent in the boxing world, but naive to the workings of the real world. He had nodded, what he heard made sense. He just hadn’t heard what was really being asked of him. There and then plans were drawn up for him to fight Aleksander Papp, a young German fighter, who had an good reputation but was struggling to find contention for a belt because of his nationality and the fact his trainer was a Russian defector.. Everything moved quickly from the moment Marcus sat down, and before he knew what was going on his hand was being clutched by the sweaty powerful grip of all three strangers in turn. The fight had been arranged and dates confirmed he would later realised before he had even arrived, and his presence was actually a matter of unimportant coincidence.

Tensions had begun to rise in Marcus’s camp eight weeks before the fight. He felt as though he wasn’t being put through his paces enough, and after several heated arguments he started to work out himself in the garage of his flat. Walter kept telling him that the fight was more of an exhibition, just to get the champs teeth chomping. Marcus, foolish and young had believed him.

It wasn’t until three days before the fight, that Marcus began to get a feeling of what was happening. He cornered Big Joe one day after training as he was locking the place up. Joe was about 40 kilos over weight and sweated profusely just climbing into the ring, and despite his name and appearance, was one of the kindest men Marcus had even known. He bread racing pigeons and enjoyed tending to his own allotment whenever he had the chance.

Joe had crumbled like a baby before Marcus had even started to ask him any real questions. He told him that he was being deliberately poorly trained to make the fight harder for him. To make him really have to work. He had actually started to sob when he confessed to knowing what was happening all along, and then in between repeated apologies and nose snorting he said that they were all trapped in something much bigger than they could understand. Some big time mobsters from London had already bribed the referee to make sure that the German won no matter what he had to do.
Marcus stopped in his tracks; his heart was pounding as he looked around the shopping arcade. He could have sworn he heard something, but he still got worked up when he remembered that incident. It had robbed him of his future and he would never forgive Walter, not even if he stood between him and the very fires of Hell. It wasn’t about being the champ; it was taking away from him what he loved, the disciple and also his faith in people. Boxing made the world a simple place, you were given an opponent, you trained hard, looked after yourself and then you either won or lost.

Once Big Joe had finished apologising and offering promises of redemption that included all the fresh vegetables he could eat, Marcus stormed straight into the local bar where he found Walter in the lap of some local woman for hire. Marcus ripped the freshly lit cigar from his managers mouth and after pulling him to his feet, stuck him with a lightning fast jab – right cross combination that sent Walter flying into the table behind him snapping it two and upsetting the two large tattooed men who were the occupants.

Marcus had walked away and never spoken to Walter again. He had turned up to the fight, determined to do it on his own. “Fuck the consequences” he had told Big Joe in the dressing room. Walter hadn’t been foolish enough to show his face. His nose had been broken and a further slapping from the bikers he had upset put him under self imposed house arrest for several weeks.

The fight began quickly, the German opponent clearly in the know about what was planned and so just came out swinging. It really didn’t matter to him.

Marcus survived the first few rounds with little damage. It was easily obvious that while his opponent was a good fighter, he wasn’t a killer. He lacked the look in his eye and the ruthlessness in his gut to really move in and pile on the hurt if his man refused to fall from the heavy blows. During the later rounds Marcus’s mind remained unfocused, his fire forgotten, perhaps somewhere in the dressing room. His long-term girlfriend was ringside; he looked over to her for inspiration at the end of every round. It was the beginning of the seventh when he suddenly remembered where he had seen the people sitting either side of her before. They were large shaven headed gentlemen wearing sharp and expensive looking business suits, and they had been present at the pre-fight weigh in, whispering with Papp’s trainer and management team. By the end of the eight round, Marcus saw the two men stand and walk away, his wife was in tears, her caramel coloured face had paled and she looked like she was about to pass out. Her lips had blended in shade to fit with the rest of her, while her eyes were expressionless. He looked at her, with his left eye beginning to swell shut from a well-placed series of blows, but she wouldn’t look at him. She simple sat staring straight ahead her expression on similar to the abused women who he would later take statements from on a regular basis. She cried; he had never seen her cry before, but she had tears welling up that just couldn’t be held back any longer.

As he rose for the eighth round, Marcus knew what was happening, but he didn’t know what to do. It was a strange feeling walking out for what he knew would be the last few rounds of his career. He was going to go down swinging, win loose or draw the kraut would have to beat him. He told himself this, and believed it in that moment, he believed it in the aftermath of it all, and deep down he still believed it to his dying day.

His wife never did tell him what the large man in suits had told her, only that he didn’t need to know. It didn’t matter and that it was all over with now that he had given up the ring. They had planned on moving away, to start a new life together away from the corrupt nature of the sport that no matter what length of retirement was put in the middle, Marcus would continue to love, and miss. None of them ever really spoke about it, but both knew that had he been single, Marcus would have carried on fighting simply because he loved it, and wasn’t the type of person to tuck tail and run. No matter what the odds.

Marcy, whose real name was actually Michaela had been the one who suggested Marcus try for the police. She was five years older the Marcus was and already been a member of the force for 3 years. Her father had been a cop and she had always wanted to follow in his footsteps, to make him proud of her, and she had succeeded by simply being accepted and he had told her exactly that.

Marcus applied, spurred he would reflect in later moments by the events that surmounted to the effective murder of his boxing career. He was accepted almost before he had completed the application form and passed the physical test with flying colours, breaking the course record in the sprint and number of push up he completed in one minute. A staggering 70 the instructor had dubbed it that night over drinks in the training centre bar.

Marcus loved the force, even on the hot summer days, but he could never fully forget the thrill of the fight either. It was something that was part of him, and he knew it would haunt his dreams for the rest of his days. In fact, for years he was plagued by the same recurring dream. He was back in the ring, back fighting Papp, and he was winning. The German’s face was broken open and bleeding, his nose shattered, left cheek swollen so badly his left eye looked as if it had simply been erased from his features. They were in the last round, always, and he was unleashing on the German. He had him trapped in the ropes and he was about to fall. Marcus would glance over that the clock and see he still had just under a minute to knock the guy down in. He knew he wouldn’t get up, and so planned on taking his time. Then out of nowhere the bell began to sound, it rang and rang, Marcus stopped punching and looked around and that was when the German unleashed his lucky shot, and just as the punch hit Marcus would wake up. The ringside bell would melt away and become the howling impatient cry of a baby woken from sleep. He own body shaking from the cold caused by the sweat that covered him and soaked his sheets. His blood would be pumping, his whole body tense, he would jump out of bed in a state of confusion each time, utterly lost until it all slotted back into place one piece at a time.

He hadn’t realised how deep he had been in the daydream until the ear-piercing cry of a young baby finally pushed its way through the image, sounding like someone scraping their fingers down a blackboard; attempting to get the attention of the whole class.

He turned around; a small crowd had gathered inside the covered promenade predominantly elderly couples, sitting hand in hand on the various benches that were scattered at seemingly random intervals. He scanned the centre; his brow once again plastered his sweat. His eyes stung and he felt his pulse increase without warning. His stomach lightened, butterflies spread their wings inside his organs and began to patter against him. He felt his stance change; he came up onto the balls of his feet, ready to move . . . ready to rumble, it was instinctive, he hadn’t ever thought about it. It happened before he ever really heard what was going on, Marcus could almost sense it, his instincts as a fighter able to evolve from sensing where a punch was going to come from into a danger detector that was more often than not correct.

Marcus reached for his radio to alert his protégé, but stopped his hand half way, by the time Dillings got there, even with his rookie over-enthusiasm Marcus would have taken care of it. It wasn’t like he was dealing with a riot.

He looked around and saw the couple that were responsible for the scene he was about to become a part of. A young woman, too skinny for her height, for most heights actually, although it was especially obvious on her frame was she was above the average height. Graham would have guessed that she was around 5’10”, although she was standing with her back to him. Her strawberry blond hair fell greasily against her shoulders, she was wearing a tank top that showed her bony protruding shoulders and the tribal based tattoo that traced a spiral path down her left arm beginning on her shoulder and dancing its way around her skinny frame ending at somepoint just below her elbow. It’s design was somewhat distorted an obvious side effect to the weight she had lost since its initial application. She was wearing a denim skirt that was only just long enough to cover her hipless waist, revealing skinny legs that were bruised and covered with veins that by the time she hit forty would resemble a detailed road map of the British Isles. She was tottering on a pair of high heels that made her even taller, and off to one side was a rough looking pram, which was wobbling as the occupant continued to scream.

Marcus was busy looking at the pram, wondering why the mother wasn’t responding, nor the person she was with, when he saw her head snap backwards, sharply cutting off to the left. The woman fell backwards, stumbling on her heels as she fell to the floor, turning as she did. Marcus saw that her face was bleeding, her lips broken and sore, her left eye was beginning to swell closed, and her desperate look told him it was par of her everyday life. Her skin looked dead, stretched taut over her rake-thin frame. Her large breasts swung restrained beneath her yellow summer inspired tank top, and their size in relation to the rest of her frame and their lack of gravity defiance told Marcus two things. One that the baby in the pram was probably hungry, and two it was very young, probably a matter of weeks old; this thought was confirmed by the sagging post labour stomach which took a while to recover, and on most women doesn’t look anything unusual. However on a frame as obviously malnourished as this woman, it shone out like a distress flare on a clear night at sea. The other clear giveaway with regards to the age of the child were the two large and dark wet stains on the point of each breast, where the milk had built up to the point that they were about to burst open like a bad implant.

“Hey!” Marcus heard himself shouting, firing off a warning shot, announcing his presence and also letting other know that something was going on and that they should watch out.All thoughts of calling his partner gone. He wouldn’t ever get there in time.

The lady, who Marcus saw when he was close to her, was younger than he had presumed, early twenties at best was crying, cradling her right arm, which she had fallen on. The man backed up slightly as he saw Marcus come striding towards him. His head immediately began to look around for a way out.. He was a large guy, almost the same size as Marcus himself although he was less muscular and more wiry, he had a lean quick look about him, and equally as black, in fact it he had been in possession of a large Afro Marcus would have believed he was looking through time, back at a younger image of himself, or rather what he would have been had boxing not rescued him from the trouble filled neighbourhood and social circle has was immersed in. The one problem about growing up in a small fishing town was that there was very little in the way of entertainment, especially once the industry died, and so Marcus had turned to the streets, hanging around with the kids from school, and great number of them he had busted himself during the years that had since past. The man in question was bald, his head shaved unlike Marcus’s own natural look, he was wearing a white tank top that showed his muscle covered body, arms decorate with all manner of tattoos, that wound from his wrists up to his shoulders and presumably from the patterns they continued beneath his clothing onto his chest and neck. He had a flat face, his nose showed signs of being broken more times that was healthy, while his forehead had a long running horizontal scar that when it had first been inflicted doubtlessly bled like a broken fire hydrant. His eyes were cold, emotionless and even in the bright light of day looked almost black, like a sharks. His jaw was clenched, face painted with anger so thick it couldn’t have simply been because this girl said something he didn’t agree with.

Marcus bent down to the girl, the guy was standing back, square on to them, and his hands were unclenched hanging loose at his sides. He still made Marcus feel exceptionally uneasy but it was too late to change his mind now. The course of fate had been set on its way and they were all buy pawns caught in its undercurrent.

“Are you okay?” Marcus asked reaching out to the young woman. She was trembling and had an odour about her that Marcus knew all too well, it was the stench of addiction. Her arms were filled with tract marks, and bruising from where she had obviously taken several hits at the same time. Her nose upon closer inspection was red and sore, and her teeth were yellow and looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in a long time.

She looked up at him, her eyes bloodshot with tears. Her face was desperate and it physically pained Marcus to look at her. She nodded at him, a small movement but she averted her eyes, she couldn’t look at him, and he knew why. She looked over her outfit again and it all becomes clear to him. They weren’t a young dysfunctional couple in love, far from it. It was the dirty look of her clothes, and the look in her eyes that she was a young girl trapped in a mistake she had made and now could not find her way back from.

“Hey Pig, get the fuck away from my girl alright?” A powerful voice boomed from behind him.

Marcus rose and turned, ready to face the man, but was more than a little surprised when he saw how close they were. Standing almost nose-to-nose, the hot acrid breath filled Marcus’s face and made him want to gag. The man was high; Marcus could see that, his eyes were unfocused, moving from place to place as if only moments before each had been given a double espresso.

“Listen, I don’t want any trouble, so please, take a step back and tell me what’s going on around here.” Marcus spoke calmly, looking the man directly in the eyes. He tried to talk through the drugs, through the rage that was bringing the red curtain down on the show, trying to reach the person who was buried deep down inside somewhere. No matter who it was, or what they had done, conversing with a clean mind was always easier than dealing with the unpredictable nature of a drugged on. Behind him, Marcus could see the girl was trying to stand, reaching desperately for her baby, although she was nowhere near close to grasping the prams handle.

“Yeah, Well stay outta my face, leave the woman along and get out ‘fore you get into trouble pig.” Anger flashed in the man’s eyes, he smacked his teeth and began to sway from side to side; shifting is weight from on to the other. Marcus took a step back, it was apparent the man wasn’t going to.

The man moved, tracing Marcus’s movements, and it was enough to put him on edge. He was nervous, but in too tight a spot to reach for his radio. He knew then that this was going to turn physical, he looked directly into the man’s eyes and for a second he was gone, and in his place was a twisted featured ghoul, the skin a pale green almost gre, it looked waxy. The eyes were large round discs of black, its nose squashed almost flat against the face like a Persian cat, and the mouth was cocked in a wry smile evealing blackened teeth and a rotten tongue that insisted on darting out to taste the air like a snake. Marcus closed his eyes and shook his head slightly like fighter getting up from a sneaky knockdown and the image was gone..The man had advanced slightly, changed his stance to a more bladed one, and his breathing had become much shallower. He found a reassurance inall of the signs he was reading, because although the man was big, Marcus knew he could take him if it came to fisticuffs.

“Hey Bitch, I told you to stay on the fucking floor. The man strode forward suddenly focused not on Marcus but the woman. He struck quickly, pushing the girl back to the floor and lashing out with a heavy work boot. Marcus jumped in between, easily manhandling the man and pulling him away from the young woman. The kick hadplit the girl’s lips, opening up a deep slice on both parts of the set that sent a dark rich looking blood pouring onto the titled floor.

“Right, you’re under arrest.” Marcus began, pushing the man back forcefully to give himself time to reach for his cuffs.

A small crowd had gathered now, mostly elderly people, although a few members of staff had come to see what the commotion was all about, carefully positioning themselves far enough back to avoid having to be looked upon to help, or even feign an interest in lending a hand.

Marcus moved quickly, grabbing the man and twisting his arm behind his back. “You don’t have to say anything, but anything you do say…” Marcus had the cuff wrapped around the muscular wrist and was reaching for the second when the man threw his head back. It didn’t hurt because Marcus wasn’t standing square on, but it gave the man an angle and he wrenched his arm free and with one quick movement spun around, and punched Marcus in the stomach. The small area between the bottom of the safety vest and his belt, and area that was designed to be exposed simply to allow for a bit of mobility while wearing the bulky, heavy uniform. Marcus stumbled backwards, doubled over the by the blow. It was the girl that screamed first, her voice becoming instantly hysterical, her cries nothing more than nonsensical babblings from a mind teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Marcus felt faint, woozy and nauseous, his stomach throbbed and when he pulled his hands away to grab the man who was now going down for assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest. Marcus wasn’t sure which he saw first, the red, dripping blade that the man held menacingly in his clubbed hand, or the copious amounts of blood that covered his own hands and lower arms. Where did that come from? He never had a knife, Marcus asked himself. It’s a flicker, look at the blade He did as his inner voice told him and saw that the knife was probably hidden in a sleeve or pocket all the time. Damn He said, to himself, and quite possibly aloud. His mind was beginning to leave the state of clear thinking, the implications of the rather dramatic turn of events was beginning to set in along with the deep seated pulsing in the centre of his abdomen.

“Y ….You …. s.s.s.son of a bitch” Marcus spoke, his world getting hazy, his legs loosing their strength just as if he had been stung on the jaw in the ring. He reached out to get something for support but found nothing. He fell backwards, tumbling to the floor while everybody looked on mumbling and gossiping with each other, but not actually doing anything about it.

“Should ‘a stayed out pig. Fucking cops.” The suspect, the man Marcus knew now was his killer was bouncing around from foot to foot, filled with a nervous energy. Beside him he heard the young woman scream, begging for her life no doubt.

“Please, don’t hurt my baby. I’ll do what you want. I’ll go back out there tonight. I’ll give you all of it, just please, don’t hurt my baby” She pleased and sniffled, choking on the worlds that were spewing from her mouth in a constant stream.

“What, oh now you wanna work. Well whose gonna want to fuck you now? You’re a bigger mess than usual Becky. Jesus.” He snorted at her.

Marcus was feeling groggier by the second, his body numb now, the blood pooling around him like a warm bath and for the first time in several weeks Marcus shivered with cold.

“No, I can work, I promise, I’ll give them all something special, get extra cash from em, please, come on baby, please.” The girl, Becky, was now on her knees, begging in the street like woman who had run out of options, while all along the baby continued to scream.

“You really care so much about this fucking brat. I mean it does nothing but fucking scream and cry, I mean how often do you need to slap that thing on your tits every day. Just do it once and leave the fucker, maybe you’ll be looking normal again one day this century. I mean look at it. Have you ever really looked at your kid?” He asked her seriously.

“Yes, please don’t hurt my baby. Somebody, help please.” She appealed to the audience who were by now – the younger ones at least- beginning to reach for their cell phones.

“Really, cos I don’t think anyone could love a thing like this, fathers looks and your brains or something, I mean.” He stopped then and began to reach into the pram, the baby cried harder and more frantic instantly.

“Hey you leave her alone.” A voice called out from the crowd. Marcus had no idea who it belonged to. His eyes were closed, or at least he thought they were because he could no longer see anything,

There were sounds of a struggle, grappling, followed by a clattering sound as the knife was dropped. Marcus tried to move, he had to try and stop the man, he was a cop after all. He dragged himself; somehow, fumbling on the ground but just couldn’t go any further. The newcomer cried out in pain, a hard thumping sound obviously a fist or some other body part colliding followed this as the man fell to the floor.

While this skirmish was going on Becky had risen to her feet and made a b-line for her child, grabbing the pram firmly and running away.

“Where you going baby. We aint finished talking here.” The black man reached out grabbing the end of Becky’s greasy blonde hair, he pulled on it roughly, removing a large chunk but still with enough backward momentum to pull her over. The pram came rolling back, the child inside hysterical, as was its mother. “Shut that monster up woman.” He snapped, loosing control now, his head was thumping, voices singing out to him in a chorus of song that had been driving him mad for years. He clamped his hands to the side of his head and began to claw at his ears, as if trying to pull out the noise. Becky rose to her feet once again, but she didn’t run away. She watched in dumbfound horror as her pimp, Deejay Afité drew blood scratching away the inside of his ears and the side of his head where they were attached. “Shut up. Shut the fuck up!” He called out, turning towards the pram, his eyes wide with rage. In one strong movement he grabbed it by the base and threw it through the air, flipping it over, spilling the well-wrapped child onto the floor. Deejay collapsed onto his haunches momentarily as if trying to catch his breath. He clapped his hands against the side of his head and began to drive the fingernails of each digit into his skull, pushing and then scratching with all of his strength as the voices continued to scream inside him. When suddenly, like a rain shower passing they left, and while he rose to his feet he became aware that he had never craved the urge for a fix as much as he did at that one moment.

Everybody gasped, and now people came running to help. Marcus heard it all, clearer and clearer as his heart began to slow, the heavy pulsating rhythm becoming irregular and weak.

Becky watched her child fall in slow motion, her own movements slowed from the years of mistreating her body, yet spurred on by the empowering forces of motherhood. She leapt for the baby, crawling over the floor to get to it.

“Leave it be Bitch. I want to see what the little fucker does.” The man snapped, but Becky ignored it, she kept crawling, or so Marcus pictured in, hearing the man bark at her to get up, save being on her hands and knees for later on. When Marcus finally passed out it was to the rolling credit music of approaching police sirens, and as he took his last deep breath he forced his mind back, away from the nightmare scene that had snuck up on him, and picture his wife and his kids, he picture the holiday they had taken about 7 years ago, they had gone to the beach for a day and had run around in the surf, played football and Frisbee and all manner of beach games, the day had ended with a BBQ in the sand before heading back to their small rented cottage just a couple of miles up the road. It was a sickeningly perfect day,o one which had Marcus not been there to experience first hand, would have vehemently argued was only possible in movies or imaginations.

By the time the police and resulting ambulance arrived, the man had fled, although he was caught a few miles up the road, covered in blood, still brandishing the knife that he had remembered to pick up from the floor. He left behind him one dead police officer, a severely injured infant and a critically injured young women, who bled to death as soon as the ambulance crew rolled her onto the trolley. He face had been trampled on and half crushed, along with her rib cage. The resulting post mortem showed investigators that she had died from massive internal bleeding, and the CCTV footage told the story sufficiently to sentence the killer, even without the eyewitness reports that all confirmed how the young lady had begged for her life as Deejay Afite repeatedly stamped on her chest and head, even in her dying moments they all clearly stated that she screamed for him to leave her child alone, she had shielded the infant with her body as best she could, but some of the blows from his dancing feet had hit the baby silencing its cries….only temporarily.

The two bodies where stored together in the mortuary, the only occupants that day, they were buried on the same day, one drawing a big crowd, the other just a handful or mourners who turned up on call to see an unnamed woman committed to the earth. Nobody could even hope to understand why they had died, or what an impact it would have on everything.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Driving Force Of Emotion

Paul and his wife had been fighting the day he died, a real hum dinger airing out all issues past present and future. Bad words had been thrown by both sides, along with several plates, and all over a simple misunderstanding involving the monthly payment of the phone bill, which had resulted in a reminder notice being sent.

The fight had started in the evening, not long after dinner, it had raged during the later part of the evening and into the night. They paused to sleep, although even in bed the struggle continued.

Paul woke the following morning and went to work, he didn't say goodbye, and his wife didn't prompt him. He didn't kiss her on the cheek, and nor did she want it. Stepping into the car however, Paul found himself struck by a strange wave of sadness that rocked his body like a strong gust of wind hitting a caravan, causing him to rock slightly from side to side.

Sadly however, sadness was not the only thing that struck Paul that morning, the other just happened to be a fast moving semi, the driver sneezed behind the wheel, and his truck swerved at just the wrong time in a bend as a result and clipped the front right hand side of Paul's Mercedes, causing it to flip up into the and subsequently tumble down the road, flipping and rolling as it went.

As Paul felt his car leave the road and lurch forward, his mind jumped to his wife, to their fight, and the knowledge that the last thing he had said to her were words of accusation rather than of laugh made him cry out, and as his car came to a rest and his heart began to shut down, he made a vow to himself that somehow he would make it right, he would come back and tell her how much he loved her, how much she meant to him.

Paul did return, rising from the grave only a day after he was buried, but when you rise as a zombie there are several things that do not come with you, and emotions are one of them. He found his house; his wife was alone, sitting at the kitchen table, glass of wine in one hand, their wedding photo album open on the table. Her face was streaked by the tears that had fallen, pulling smudged of her mascara with them.

When she finally saw Paul standing in the doorway she didn't know what to think, how to react, she rose and ran to him, throwing her arms around his shoulders, not wanting to question the miracle.

"I love you honey." She expressed repeatedly, showering his cold face with kisses, hugging him as tightly as she could.

Paul responded by eating her alive, before running from the house and into the night, his hunger far from over.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

True Love Knows No Bounds

Vampires have a certain reputation about them, killing machines, heartless fiends who stalk the innocent under the cover of darkness, and while yes, they do have a luch for blood that just cannot be satiated no matter how much they drink, it doesn't mean that they cannot adjust.

My wife had been buried just three days before she rose. It had been a mysterious death, two small puncture wounds to her neck, police attributed the death to heart failure.

...............but I had known better............

I sat by her grave every night, from the moment the sun disappeared from my world, until the moment it dared raise its luminous face once again, patiently I sat. . . . I waited.
On the second night, just as the horizon was starting to glow I heard her, scratching, her fingernails running over the inside of her coffin, looking for a weakness, however it was too late, there was no time to rise, and I was forced to wait an entire day before being reunited with her. A whole day behind my desk, listening to claim request after claim request come through from one whining person after another.

I arrived at the grave that third night with flowers, crocuses, roses, and two beautiful lilies that took centre stage of the bouquet. I had a bottle of wine and a new sweater, for it was cool out and the clothes she was buried in were but thin.

The scratching began the moment the sun disappear from its axis over the northern hemisphere, and after little more than an hour I heard the dirt move, she had made it out. My heart began to beat faster, nerves fired in my body as my excitement grew. I felt as though we were high school lovers again, about to experience each other for the first time.

How was I to know that the increasing rate of my heart simply fuelled her hunger, her arousal for blood.

She broke the surface, not gasping for air, but with a near angelic grace, just like I had expected from her. A beautiful women in life, delicate and dainty in forever. She stared at me, she called my name, and I saw tears in her eyes. I place the flowers on the floor, the wine and sweater beside them, and held out my arms. My whole body shaking as I allowed myself to be taken over by her beauty, her pale skin, unblemished, her eyes blue and sparkling in the moonlight, her auburn hair cascaded down to her shoulders, and blew slightly in the breeze. She smiled at me, and I wrapped my arms around her, my tears finally coming. I had yet to cry since her passing, something told me to keep them inside, just a while long.

So powerful were my emotions that I never even felt the bite, the moment her teeth pierced my flesh, nor did I mind the giddy love like sensation of my body being drained of its vital fluids. I drank greedily from the blood that lactated from her breasts, suckling with a wild passion, my thirst growing with each mouthful.

While our reunion had not gone as I planned, our love did reach out across the boundaries of life and death. Now we roam the world, travelling where and when we will, are hands locked together as we journeyed side by side through forever.

Mother Of The Year

"You two will be the death of me. Come on now, tidy this up and go play outside. Shoo, leave it I'll take care of it. Its a beautiful day, and I filled the paddling pool for you, so ...hup... outside, get some fresh air." Michelle Collison swept her children through the living room, dining room and kitchen, out of the back door into the garden.

It was a beautiful summers day outside and Michelle was busy in the kitchen baking for the kids school bake sale coming Friday. The girls were hard work sometimes, they were twins and always full of energy.

Leaving the living room until later, it was only a few colouring pencils and pieces of paper scattered over the floor, nothing major, Michelle returned to her baking.

Once outside the girls ran into the decent sized garden laughing and screaming with each other, enjoying their Sunday, all worked up for the last week of school before summer vacation officially began.

"Be careful in the water girls, It might be a bit warm at first." Michelle called after them as she beat the batter with a wooden spoon, the bowl held in the crook of her arm and held tightly against her body. She was wearing the kitchen apron that her girls had made her earlier in the year, a Mother's day present, it was hand decorated and had WORLDS BEST MOTHER written in glitter pen on the front in large letters and in smaller print running down both strings that tied together to hold it in place.

She watched as the kids jumped straight into the pool, ignoring her words urging caution. They splashed and jumped around laughing, and she smiled to herself. . . . .

. . . . Before long the screams and giggles of pleasure turned into groans and screams of agony, the girls splashed around in the pool, but no longer with wild excitement but in panic, their skin was burning, reddening before their eyes. Large blisters formed, swelling up and bursting, thick layers of yellow skin peeled back like the skin of a ripe banana, and blood bubbled to the surface crowned by a pink froth as the hydrochloric acid ate through their fragile bodies with a greedy speed. Their legs soon buckled and they fell face first into the water, floating together, hands clasped in unity.

Michelle watched on, and once their legs stopped thrashing and their twitching bodies were still, she turned back to the stove, humming a gentle melody to herself as she poured the batter into the cake tins and placed them in the oven.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Possession : It's all too easy

When Christopher Utting walked into the toilets while his coffee was brewing, he had nothing else on his mind other than the impending urination, and the account he was currently working on, his desk a litter of papers, both printed and hand written. Yet when he left, he had nothing other than bloodshed and anger coursing through his system.

He stood by the bowl, whistling to himself, a strange habit had had recently gotten into when suddenly everything dimmed, his vision blurred and his head began to spin. A few seconds later and it was over. He was left trapped, stuck inside his own body, his brain was no longer in control. He told himself to wash his hands, but he walked away, he willed himself to go to the coffee machine, instead he walked straight into the managers office. The whole time a strong smell of rotten eggs, or a long overdue fart began to fill his nose. He could hear something, breathing, coming from behind him. . . no it was him, it was in him. He could hear it snickering, mocking him.

His co-workers watched on as he strode into the Managers office, slamming the door behind him. Christopher tried to speak, he called out in fact, but nothing came out of his mouth. Instead he saw his hands come up, reaching out towards his boss, whose flabby face was fishlike in surprise, and was still the same when the coroners placed the sheet over him an hour later. The only difference being that the majority of his insides were plastered around office like bloody Christmas decorations.

Christopher felt the strange cloud life from his mind not longer after he had taken three large bites out of his boss's heart, swallowing the raw meat with gusto. The cloud left leaving nothing but laughter to fill his head, a sound that didn't receded or lessen, but simply continued playing on a loop like a sadistic clown. When the police arrived Christopher was already in a catatonic state on the floor, teeth chattering his hair grey, his eyes bleached white, the pupils and cornea's simply wiped away without a trace.

Open Season

The town of Huntsville was appropriately named given the locals dispensation towards the rather blood thirsty sport. The 1st August was always a big day, all the businesses were closed, even the schools shut down, a carnival came to town, with a few small attractions, some game stands and a double popcorn candy floss vendor. The first day of the new hunting season was always a blast.

When Hunting Day 2011 came around, the atmosphere in the own was just as electric as always. Almost the entire population were crowded together in Bob Eddison' s field, it was the largest and closest to the woods. They all stood, whispering in anticipation of the klaxon they knew would shortly sound.

The sky overhead was a flawless blue, not a single white fluffy blemish could be seen, and the sun beat down on them as it approached its apex.

"Women and Children first." A deep wet voice rattled. Silencing the crowd. 'Lets give them a head start, it makes them taste that much sweeter when you have to work for it." Eldridge spoke. He was the leader of the vampire brood who had taken over the town the week before.

The klaxon sounded, the fences that had been holding them all in place were pushed flat against the ground and they were loose.

They ran, charging in all directions, crushing their own neighbours and relatives underfoot should somebody be unlucky enough to fall in the pandemonium. As they fled, the sun descended, as if it too were under his - Eldridge's - spell. The sky darkened and the ground rumbled as the pack gave chase. Picking off the elderly with ease, almost nonchalantly, uninterested in their aged stale tasting blood.

By the time the eclipse was over, and the sun was setting in the sky after its natural path had reached its end, the entire town lay spread in the field, eyes gazing at the stars, a thin layer of dirt covering them, no more than a handful really, but that was all the is ever needed to bring on the change, and when converting en-masse, digging graves for each is just not practical. . . . even for the undead.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Storage

" Its a full moon tonight, we'd better take some precautions." John Deery said to his daughter Jo-Anne

" Ok Pa." She said, obediently getting up from the breakfast table and putting the plates in the sink. Every since the change had occured she had become much more intraverted. Then again, seeing your mother and baby sister ripped apart by zombies it wasn't surprising that she had a few residual issues.

"We'll be alright, listen to me. The full moon period only lasts a few days, we take precaution, stay inside no matter what and we will be fine." John spoke calmly to his, although on the inside he was a bag of nerves. The scotch had run out the night before, there hadn't even been enough to drive away the itch that had been growing inside him the last week or so, and he didn't dare chance a run to the store at this time of the month.

The day wore on, Jo-Anne prepared the house, bringing stocks and supplies from the shed, stocking the cupboards with bottled water and canned goods. Most of the lables were gone already so each day was a surprise. John was busy around the house, he boarded up all of the windows, and installed deadbolts on the roller shutter that would cover they front and back doors once the sun went down.

They did all of this in awkward silence. . .

"It's time Jo, come and give me a hand will you." John spoke, emerging from the kitchen wearing a large industrial apron and elbow length rubber gloves, the same kind you see people wearing in nuclear power plants when handling radioactive material.

"Do I have to Pa," She asked, her face ashen at the mere thought of heading down into the basement.

"I need you this time, I want to take one of the ones from the back, they're getting a bit juicy back there." He answered. "and I can't get them out on my own. We'll do it as quick as we can." He promised her.

Together they descended into the storm cellar, a place which had once housed a pool table, and the weekly poker game John used to host with a few of his closest friends. Most of them were down there still, only not they were part of the large stockpile of rotting corpses that John kept lying around to act as bait and distract the zombie hoards whenever he needed to leave the house or especially for the full moon period, where there hugner seemed so intense that it worked them up into a frenzy so violent that they would actually become smarter, and attached the house in search of the people locked inside. Whereas during the rest of the time, they would stand around and simply lurk, waiting for them to emerge.

It took them longer than expected, thanks in part to the rapid rate the bodies at the back of the storeroom were decomposing. A slippery layer of putrescence covered the floor, which had caused both of them to slip numerous time, but after a about three hours they had successfull managed to raise Roger Johnson, - he had been the owner of the local grocery store - he hung from their front porch, a rope tied securely round his ankles, his considereable weight casued the rope to slice through the softend skin, but thankfully the bone held firm.

"You ok Pa?" Jo-Anne asked her father that evening as they were closing the roller shutters for the night. "You sweaty and shaking." She told him, not sure what it meant, brains had not been her gift from the Lord. Even she knew that. Luckily enough she was pretty, thats what her own mother had told her too, not her Daddy though, he always told her she was clever, always told her she could do anything she wanted to do.

"Yeah I'm alright pretty lady. Go, you go on inside sun went down a few minutes ago. I'll finish locking up. Go on now." John answered practically pushing his daughter back inside the house.

Jo-Anne did as she was told, she headed straight into the kitchen, turning on the gas stove and grabbing two unmarked tins from the cupboard - just hoping that they weren't cat food like the day before. - and poured their contents into a saucepan.

The contents of the pan were starting to bubble, when Jo-Anne heard a scuffling sound coming from outside the house.

"Hey Pa, did you remember to lock the shed?" She asked, as she walked into the living room, expecting to find her father in his usual seat reading a book by the fire. It was slowly getting colder now, and her father had taken to lighting a fire every evening as she cooked. Only he wasnt there.

"Pa," She called up the stairs, thinking maybe he was having a lie down.

Again no answer. . . her heart was starting to beat a little harder now, she turned around almost blind as panic soon set in, there was a bang against the outside of the roller shutter, followed by another.

Jo-Anne ran back into the living room, and pulled over the blinds, looking through the cracks in the woodwork her father had tacked into place that morning. The Mr Johnson's body was gone, the rope snapped and swinging in the night time breeze. Rising onto her toes, Jo-Anne peered itno the darkness, the porch light was still turned on, and it cast a weak light onto proceedings. She saw one of them, a lone zombie - it struck her as strange, after 3 years she had never seen just one - it was crouched down, devouring the contents of Mr Johnson' s stomach, slurping up the putrid half decomposed intestines as if they were spaghetti.

"Pa" Jo-Anne called again, her voice desperate, tears just waiting to be given the chance to tumble from her eyes.

The beast stopped eating, it stood up and turned around, the noise from the house filling its ears, the sudden and obvious aroma of live meet fillings its mind.

"Get inside Jo." The zombie said as it turned to face the house.

When she saw her father, Jo-Anne vomited over the window, and felt her legs buckle. She collapsed to the floor and wept.

"Close the blinds." The zombie called agian, as John tried as hard as he could to fight the infection that was taking control of him.

Jo-Anne did as she was commanded, somehow finding the strength to rise to her feet and latch the blinds. She also managed to go to the kitchen and turn off the stove, the contents of the pans now nothing more thana blackened mass.

Outside it was all quiet, but she knew her father was there. She knew what she had to do, she had thought about it often enough over the years, as much as she had hated to do it. She checked herself in the mirror, her face gaunt and sunken her once soft features hardened from malnutrition, her body frail, her breats sagging already at only 23 from hung unsupported in her old workshirt.

Satisfied with what she saw, Jo-Anne carefully unlocked the front door, and stepped out into the night. She closed the door behind her, pulling the shutter down, and then went and sat on the steps at the front of the porch, and waited. . . It didn't take long.