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Zombie Me: Patchwork and Pieces

Chapter 1: Part 1, Litany of Rot

Chapter 1: Part 2, Shattered

Chapter 1: Part 3, Growling with Hunger

Chapter 1: Part 4, Vion Rising

Chapter 1: Part 5, Stand Off

Chapter 1: Part 6, The Call

Chapter 1: Part 7, Free Association

Chapter 1: Part 8, First Taste

Chapter 1: Part 9, Bert and Ernie

Chapter 1: Part 10, Starting to Rain

Chapter 2: Part 1, "Me!"

Chapter 2: Part 2, C.A.B.L.E.T.V.

Chapter 2: Part 3, Raining

Chapter 2: Part 4, Sheltered Hunger

Chapter 2: Part 5, Clouded Eye Open

New short story "The Awakening"

Chapter 2: Part 6, Everything Yet Nothing

Chapter 2: Part 7, The Cheshire Smile

Chapter 2: Part 8, Cacophony of Fists

Chapter 2: Part 9, Still Born

Chapter 2: Part 10, Empty Nest

Chapter 3: Part 1, False Rescue, Hidden Hope

Chapter 3: Part 2, The Process

Review of Brainchild... A collection of Artifacts

Chapter 3: Part 3, Psuedo Life

Chapter 3: Part 4, Wayward Derelicts

Chapter 3: Part 5, The Cleaners

Chapter 3: Part 6 The Corridor

Chapter 3: Part 7, Echoes of Death

Chapter 3: Part 8, The Road Kill Machine

Chapter 3: Part 9, Fixed Lividity

New short story "Alone in the Woods"

Chapter 3: Part 10, Fire Within

Chapter 4: Part 1, Eye of the Beholder

Chapter 4: Part 2, Home

New - Character Sketches

Chapter 4: Part 3, Dead Inside

Chapter 4: Part 4, Dead Soldiers

Chapter 4: Part 5, Kill Switch

Chapter 4: Part 6, The Call Part 2

Chapter 4: Part 7, The Key

Chapter 4: Part 8, Reunion

Chapter 4: Part 9, Unleashed


2006/06/23

Chapter 3: Part 6, The Corridor

“You don’t plan to use that do you?” Corina asked as she crept in closer to examine the weapon Jen held in her hands.

“Bet your ass I plan too!” Jen looked at her friend with a gleam in her eyes that matched the cold chrome of the snub nosed revolver she clutched to her chest. “I’m done being scared and hiding in this hole. We have a chance to get out and get some help. We’ve obviously opened a huge can of worms here which we can’t put back by ourselves.” Jen went back to the hole in the wall and continued searching its depths. She returned almost immediately holding various boxes of ammunition.

“What’s this we stuff? The only reason why I’m involved is because you asked me to help. I had nothing to do with any of this!” Corina could see Jen flinch at her verbal lashing.

“How many times have I grabbed you for a midnight drink with the brothers, or to go out to the club? So don’t act all innocent, like I had to twist your arm to come out. All you needed was to hear Andre and Jackson’s names and you had your coat on ready to go. I had no idea that this was going to happen.” Jen barely looked up as she spilled the contents of box that had a picture on it similar to the gun she held. The numbers 38 were printed in large black ink on its side. She found the cylinder release, swung it open with a flick of her wrist and started to load the burnished brass shells into its chambers. She had seen Jackson do it hundreds of times and was amazed at how natural it felt. Placing the fully loaded weapon back onto the floor in front of her she went back to the hole and dug out another weapon. Initially struggling with its weight she brought it over to where the ammunition boxes were and laid it down beside the revolver.

Sensing her friend pushing back Corina decided not to pursue the argument any further. She felt better now that her friend was back from the catatonia which had formerly engulfed her. “Do you know what you’re doing with these? They look dangerous.” Corina picked up a box imprinted with a target alongside the words 40 CALIBER HYDRA-SHOK.

“A little bit, Jackson used to take me to a shooting range just outside of Cambridge. I’ve shot both of these before but I’ve had more experience with the revolver. Jackson used to say that this black one is what most law officials use. It’s a semi-automatic and it’s got one hell of a kick.” She said remembering how her wrist snapped back each time she pulled the trigger.

“Let me see the box of shells you’re holding, I think that they’re the kind that it takes.” Corina handed her the box of shells and watched Jen as she tried to unlock the magazine. After a few unsuccessful tries she found a small button buried within its grip and pushed it. Unprepared for the spring release of the magazine it fell to the floor with a loud clang.

Corina and Jen silently locked eyes as each held their breath and listened. Nothing, there was no sound. The hallway had gone ominously quiet ten minutes earlier. Initially there were sounds of scuffling and random shouts, there had even been a long drawling scream which ended with a meaty smack, but since then there was nothing but a foreboding silence.

“Maybe they’ve left, or gone upstairs where the other brothers are.” Corina shoved the mattress to the side and put here ear to the door. There was no sound for a beat as her hearing adjusted to the industrial reverberation which the door lent, and then she could hear something. At first it was a barely audible scraping sound, and then as it seemed to get closer she thought that it sounded more like someone dragging something.

“I think that there’s someone out there.” She put her ear back against the door. “Yeah, I... I can hear movement.” Corina started pulling the heavy mattress away from the door.

“I wouldn’t do that just yet. Hey!...” Corina stopped and turned to Jen as she repeated her warning. “I wouldn’t do that!” Jen’s voice trembled slightly as she continued. “Not until I can figure out how to load this magazine.”

Corina thought that Jen looked like a scared child fumbling with a toy as she stopped and went to help her friend. “Let me try.” Jen looked up from a handful of brass and for a moment Corina thought that she wasn’t going to give it up. After a slight hesitation though, Jen handed it over. She took the magazine and saw that Jen had managed to load three of the forty caliber bullets. There was a fourth bullet which had been jammed in sideways and lay perpendicular to the others. “Here’s your problem, you’ve got a bullet in the wrong way. Let me see another bullet, I’ll see if I can use it to get it back in line.” Chink... Jen could hear the bullet snap in line, and with that Corina continued loading. As she neared its capacity it became harder to push the bullets down enough to get more in. She estimated that there were twelve rounds in what appeared to be a fifteen round magazine. “Good enough for government work! Here you go.” She handed the clip back to Jen.

Jen took it and aligned it with the butt of the handgun. Corina and Jen both jumped as the magazine hit home with a click. Turning the weapon in her hand she pointed it to the ground and checked the sights. Grasping the top of the weapon with her left hand she pulled the slide back, it immediately snapped forward as it escaped her sweaty palms. She succeeded in chambering a round on her second try and smiled as she inspected the weapon. “Here you go. This is the safety... on the side. Just push it down and you’re ready. Just point and shoot, got it?”

Corina backed away from the gun as Jen held it in her outstretched hands. “I don’t want that! Listen we don’t even know what’s going on here. I don’t think that it’s such a great idea that we start shooting anything that moves.” After a moment of tense scrutiny Jen pulled the gun back and tucked it into her waist line. Corina watched as the gun disappeared beneath Jen’s sweater and wondered if she had made the right decision. “So what do we do now?”

Jen took one last glance around the room looking for anything that might help their trek back to the surface and found Andre’s lighter amidst the pile of blankets. “What now?” She replied rhetorically. “We get the hell out of here, is what now. Do you know what time it is?” Corina checked her watch and notified Jen that it was six thirty in the morning. “Damn, we’ve been trapped down here for five hours now. Who knows what hell has broken loose above?” Cursing under her breath Jen walked over to the steel door, which until now had protected them, and said a quick prayer as she pulled the mattress aside. Then taking a deep breath she unlocked it.

Like a curtain opening on a slaughterhouse stage, the door slowly swung into the room to reveal a horrifying scene. Its once smooth surface was now furrowed with bloody fist prints which trailed to a floor covered in congealed blood.

“My god! What the hell happened here?” Corina’s eyes closed as she tried to block out the visage of gore. “I think I’m gonna be sick!” Jen quickly grabbed hold of her friends arm and pulled her out into the gloom of the hallway. “Get a grip on yourself! For God’s sake you’re pre-med, you should be used to seeing this.”

Out in the hall the darkness swallowed everything. Jackson had torn down all the lighting on his earlier rampage through the hall and left nothing to alleviate the smothering blackness. Jen could hear Corina slipping in the doorway and helped her until she regained her footing.

Groping their way along the wall Jen followed the rows of insulated piping that lined the far wall hoping that her eyes would soon adjust. She feared using the lighter partly because she didn’t want to trust its faint flicker to guide her and partly because she didn’t want to see whatever she felt squishing beneath her feet.

They had made good progress towards the stairwell when Corina stopped Jen. “Do you hear that?”

“No... Hear what?” Jens voice was barely a whisper as she listened intently.

“That...” Then they both heard what she was referring too. It was the dragging sound she had heard through the door earlier. This time though it had more of a soggy sound to it, as if someone was dragging a wet mop behind them. “It’s getting louder.”

Jen removed the lighter from her front pocket and with the familiar sound of a Zippo being flicked open a gentle blue tinged flame began to drive back the darkness. As the flame grew in intensity a ghostly hand lunged at them from obscurity. Startled, Jen dropped the lighter and grabbed the revolver. The corridor went dark for a moment as the flame from the Zippo tried to recover from its rattling fall. Both Corina and Jen backed up and watched as a severed torso crawled into the radius of light spread by the failing flame. A single eye gleamed at them angrily from exposed muscle. Splintering nails broke as its bloodied hands grappled viciously along the slick floor.

Seconds later its head snapped back as the revolver delivered a round into remaining eye. Jen stood there for a moment and waited for the slightest movement from the corpse. Slowly she relaxed and lowered the smoking firearm to her side and cautiously walked forward to retrieve the lighter.

Corina looked down at the unrecognizable face as a shiver of revulsion passed through her soul. Deep within her she knew that something terrible lay ahead. “Jen... I think I’ll take that other gun from you now...”



2006/06/09

Chapter 3: Part 5, The Cleaners

Note from the autor: Well hey there! Things are moving along aren't they now? Here's the newest installment of Zombie Me, I hope you like it! I'd like to thank you for all the feed back that I've been getting. I will be doing some more artwork for some subsequent chapters. I was also wondering what you thought about a few chapters being an "Any which way" style... This would consist of a three day email vote on who you would like the next part to focus on. I would provide 4-5 choices and you guys would vote on who you would like to hear from next. Well let me know what you think... Enjoy! - William Zedalis


Sergeant Ridgeman stared down at the pulpy red mass at the foot of the headstone. Spongy flesh lay extruded from the top of Jonesy’s neck like so much toothpaste squeezed onto a bathroom countertop by an over-eager child. Prodding the body with long stainless forceps he couldn’t help but imagine the force that would cause such a wound.

“It seems as if there were two feeding here, maybe more.” He scanned the scene looking for more information. “It’s hard to tell from the wounds because this body’s been picked over by our feathered friends there.” To stress his point he nodded towards the crows that ringed the scene staring greedily at them. “I’d venture a guess at three though. What do you think Adams?... Adams!” He turned his attention to the Com officer who stood with his mouth agape staring down at the carnage.

Adams quickly snapped his attention from the horrific scene before him. His teeth cracking together painfully as his jaw shut too abruptly. “Sir!” was all he could muster through his clenched teeth.

“Get Quincy on the com and ask him if there is any data yet on transmission from dead tissue to the avian species.”

“Avian sir?” Adams looked to Ridgeman questioningly while messaging his jaw. The scene definitely had him spooked. He could handle cemeteries. He could even handle dead bodies, but the two together mixed with such brutality had him on edge.

Ridgeman coolly glared at him. “God damn birds Adams!” He stood up and looked down at his inferior. At six two the Sergeant could be quite an imposing figure when he wanted to be. “Lieutenant, would you agree that as my communications expert you should be listening to what the hell I’m saying?” Adams nodded a reply sensing the irritation that boiled under his senior’s surface. “We’re going to need a clean up crew here before outside activity gets to be too much.”

Adams walked away with his hand pressed up to his ear and radioed Quincy who waited in a black Expedition which barred entrance at the main gate. Ridgeman had continued his scouting of the scene when Adams came back with his report. “Sir Q is on his way up the main road. So far there’s no sign of any carriers.”

“There are signs everywhere you’re just not looking hard enough.” Ridgeman knelt down and pointed to two separate sets of tracks. “See how this first set of tracks is set slightly deeper in the ground and the edges have rounded over?” He could feel Adams eyeing the path and felt better that his Lieutenant was once again back on pace with him. “It indicates that they were made while the ground was still soft with last night’s rain. There’s also a non specific gate to them. See how the distance between footprints varies with each step.” Adams made note of the staggered pattern that marked the drunken shamble of footprints. “Now this set here, this I find interesting. It’s barely an outline meaning that it’s more recent and its’ gait is more ordered. The question is, who made this?”

The query remained unanswered as the teams black SUV pulled up. Quincy stepped out of the drivers’ seat and took in the scene with a long sweeping gaze. The back doors to the vehicle swung open and three men hopped out and immediately walked over to where the body lay. From a short distance they appeared as if they were a normal group of people dressed in a mournful black, grieving at the granite tombstones. Upon closer examination though it could be seen that they wore flesh colored surgical masks and thick latex gloves protected their hands as they worked. Clear acrylic glasses wrapped around their heads protecting them from inadvertent contact with infectious material. The garments hauntingly erased any distinguishing features which gave them all a cloned appearance. They donned clear butcher aprons as they quietly went to work sanitizing the area. Within minutes Jonesy’s grotesquely frozen body was hoisted into a black plastic body bag and the ground hosed down with a strong smelling sodium hypochlorite solution. As soon as the job was complete Quincy nodded and the Cleaners packed up and returned to the idling SUV.

Seeing Ridgeman and Adams further up the slope he started walking towards them to make a report when he caught movement disappearing over the rise. Quickening his pace he radioed Adams to alert them of a secondary presence. Adams had just finished relaying the message to Ridgeman when Quincy approached them. No words were exchanged between Q and his Sergeant, a moment of brief eye contact told Ridgeman all he needed to know.

Ridgeman seemed unfazed by this new development. “O.K. Boys, it seems we have either a carrier or some unfortunate citizen who’s strolled into our business. Let’s hope for the former. Adams, radio Recon 2 and tell them to finish their search of the Southeast sector and to get their asses circling to the Northeast side of this hill.” Ridgeman deftly mounted an eight foot marble obelisk and climbed about three quarters of the way to the top. In one swift movement he removed his Mossberg and scanned the horizon through its scope. Hopping down with panther like agility he holstered the weapon and started towards whatever lay beyond the hill. “Let’s move!”

Adams and Quincy took flanking positions and kept a watchful eye on the skirting horizon as it rose ahead of them. Reaching the crest of the hill they looked for the mysterious figure among the polished rock. Adams let out a long breath as he took in the scene before him. At least two dozen mausoleums of various sizes decorated the cemetery landscape which stretched out before them for what seemed to be acres.

“Rein it in soldier!” Ridgeman said cutting Adams off before he could punctuate the exhalation with a comment. “All this means is that we have to do a standard point to point investigation to secure the area. Quincy, head south and check out the lower rim of buildings. Then meet up with Recon 2 and take their report. By then Adams and I will have finished our searches and join up with you at the Northern gate. Adams, go through the center row of buildings and we’ll meet up at the larger of those two structures.” Ridgeman pointed to two separate buildings, the larger was obviously a garage for trucks and digging equipment. Ridgeman guessed that the smaller was most likely a storage shed for tools, fertilizer and seed. Both buildings sat alone on the main access road which circled the perimeter of the cemetery. “Any questions?” When none came he continued with his final orders. “If you come across anyone, human or carrier, I’m gonna ask you to use your own discretion, but take them out if you have to.” The chambering of a round into his shotgun emphasized his point. The import of which hung heavily between them. Damn Raimi for having me make this call, he thought. The reality of the situation though necessitated the severity of their action as the repercussions of a possible viral escape would be far greater.

With that, the three split up on their separate paths. Ridgeman watched the progress of Adams and Quincy as they intermittently vanished and reappeared from the small stone structures. His own path led him down the left side of the hill through what appeared to be the older portion of the cemetery. The wooden doors gave him little resistance as he opened them. He wondered of the others were encountering similar situations, if so then anything could be lurking behind the closed doors of these tombs.

As he approached his third building, warning alarms began to go off in his head. Puddles of diluted blood caught his eye as they stood stagnant on the stone steps. His cold trail had become warm once again. He approached the building muzzle first, barely glancing at the pink pools as he stepped over them. The door lay open for him as he entered silently. The room beyond was nothing but a claustrophobic hallway at best and scattered refuse covered whatever small amount of floor there was. Though there was no sign of the carrier, his hunters’ instinct told him that this place had been host to the prey he sought.

Exiting the tomb he once again passed over the steps, this time he took note of the spider webbing cracks which radiated from a fist print of congealed blood. He found it hard to shake the feeling that he was chasing more than a mindless carrier. It was a feeling that grew into trepidation as he approached his fifth stone tomb. Outside the slightly opened door the stale smells of perspiration and unwashed bodies wafted to him on a slight morning breeze. Placing his foot on the edge of the door by its hinge he pushed down with a slight pressure and caused the door to slowly open. Beyond the door shrouded in darkness something shifted slightly. Ridgeman raised his gun and cautiously entered, the smell of stale piss almost overwhelmed him as he advanced on the target. “Hey!” he called out, “Hey!...” He yelled louder this time, and then there was movement.

A groan rumbled from the corner and a hand leapt out as if it was searching for solid ground. Ridgeman’s finger danced on the trigger to his Mossberg, ready pounce on its gently curving surface. “Damn... can’t you let a man sleep in peace?” The voice came from a face which floated out of the darkness as the vagrant to which it belonged began to sit up.

The tension which had rose to a dangerous level in Ridgeman backed of a notch as he remained poised. He quickly scanned the figure before him and deemed the drifter non-threatening. He didn’t bother questioning the man as he lowered his weapon.

“Who are you, and what do’ya want?” The bum angrily asked as he gained a bit more coherency originally lost more to booze than sleep. Then his gaze fixed on something behind Ridgeman. “What the Ffff...” Blam! The Hobo’s explicative was cut short in the wake of an intuitive gun shot from Ridgeman.

The deafening blast echoed in the small room so loudly that the screams of the homeless man blurred with the hungry groans of the creature that now clawed after them. Ridgeman didn’t have time to think about the painful ringing in his ears as he rolled onto the ground. He looked up and saw a teenager with a shaved head closing in fast. His shot had blown of its arm but had done little else to faze it. Ridgeman realized that this must have been one of the friends the skinhead Alec had mentioned. With a forceful boot to the groin the disemboweled corpse fell backwards with no more than a scowl. It was a move that would have incapacitated the toughest man, but as soon as Smitty regained his footing he came at them faster barring his teeth like a rabid dog. Driven by hunger, he made a lunging jump towards his quarry just as Ridgeman loosed a second shot. The force of which blew the corpse backwards, head over heels, onto the granite steps outside. Within seconds Ridgeman was on his feet and at the door. He got there just as Smitty was sitting up. The muted smack of steel toes against bone could be heard as Ridgeman’s boot connected with squarely with Smitty’s Jaw. He pulled his silenced service pistol out and quietly put Smitty down for good with a double tap to the head.

Adams was the first to show on scene, followed by Recon 2 and Quincy. There was no time to explain or make reports about the current situation. The gunshots would surely attract unwanted attention as Ridgeman silently cursed at himself for not using a silenced weapon to begin with. “Grab the body and bleach the area, we don’t have time to wait for the cleaners... quickly, move it!”

Adams and Quincy moved with an urgent pace as they began to remove the body that lay on the ground. By the time they had finished the cleaners had shown up and were spraying the bleaching chemical over the area.

The team was finished and fully loaded within minutes. Ridgeman had just begun to open the passenger door to the SUV when a ragged looking man appeared in the doorway of the tome “Who the hell are you guys?”

The Sergeant turned and aimed his pistol at the man. “You didn’t see anything!” The two locked eyes for a beat, and then he continued. “I would recommend that you forget what you just saw unless you want to end up with a bullet in the temple!” He made the shape of a gun with his free hand, raised it to the side of his head, and pulled its imaginary trigger.

“Yeah but who are you?” The vagrant persisted, ignorant of the danger he was in. Ridgeman move within arms length as anger flashed in his eyes. He could hear a slight trickle of water as the hobo pissed himself.

Satisfied with the effect, Ridgeman left with the final statement. “We are nothing, we were never here!”