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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


2008/04/21

Chapter 4: Part 4, Dead Soldiers

As soon as the food arrived Jen realized that she wasn't hungry. Her stomach knotted tightly as she watched Corina and Klaus dig in. Carmen had yet to show up and Jen was beginning to get impatient. Each time Klaus finished a beer he looked over longingly at the lonely PBR which sat waiting for Carmen to arrive. This would last about five seconds before he would grab it stating “It's a shame to let this get warm... I'll order another one for him.” Both Jen and Corina were onto his scheme after two of Carmen's beers had vanished.

“Maybe you should slow down and wait till he shows up. We need to figure out what we're going to do now.” Jen gave Klaus a wilting look and then smiled recantingly. “I'm sorry I... I've been through...” She stopped for a moment to gather her strength and smiled again. “Maybe I'm the one who should have a drink.”

Corina and Klaus laughed lightly “I'll drink to that!” Klaus tipped his beer and finished it in one long draught. “Maybe you should eat some of your food. I'll get another round.”

The decor of the restaurant was a subdued brown and thick crimson drapes lent a quieting atmosphere as sound seemed to fall inches short of hearing. The muted clinking of silverware was the only sounds heard from the other patrons as they carried on their dinning experience. Jen was tired and couldn't stop thinking that a drink was a bad idea. The early evening had already taken on a dream like quality and Jen's tolerance for alcohol had always been low. Eric had always called her a cheap date for this reason, the remembrance of which now caused her to smile. It soon faded as she wondered where he could be. Eric had never gone more then a day without getting in touch with her, let alone four.

Through what seemed to her miles of distance Klaus was telling her that having seen nothing in the news or hearing anything on the police bands about the break in he had been trying to get in contact with Eric all day. All day... the words echoed repeatedly in her mind. She tried to banish the thought with reason by claiming that he would have answered if it was her who had been calling, but deep inside she knew something was wrong.

“Maybe we should go by his apartment.” Both Corina and Klaus were nodding in dissent before she even finished. “Well, we should do something. Anything besides sitting and drinking.” A dark eyed waitress came and delivered four bottles and poured two of them into pint glasses for Corina and Jen. “Thanks!” Jen smiled as she left. She was amazed that even under the darkest circumstances the reactionary courtesies of society belched their way out like so much stale air from a decaying corpse. She could hear Professor Weber in her mind right now. Even in a catastrophe such as an earthquake, a smile can say much more than words can from those same lips. It is instinctual. It is a quiet reassurance that everything will be alright. Even more powerful than the smile is eye contact. The pupil is the opening of a spherical container which holds more than just the ocular jelly. The eyes are windows to the soul. Connections are made and relationships built all in the blink of an eye. Her own eyes burned now, never had she been on the verge of tears for so long. She had come close a year ago when her father had died from cancer but she had known he was terminal for over a year and had come to peace with the loss. The emotional rollercoaster she was on had taken her to the verge of hysteria and back again without rest, and it seemed that there was no end in sight. She searched for meaning in her mentor’s words and wished that he was here now to help guide her.

A light tapping on her shoulder snapped out of her doldrums “Hey, earth to Jen... move over.” It was Carmen. He sat down hard on the vinyl bench she was on and her side raised slightly as excess air tried to escape from his weight. She turned to him with a questioning look in her eye. He glanced away from her gaze and looked down at her untouched plate of food. He grabbed it and reflexively jammed a forkful of food into his mouth. “You done with this?” He asked Jen as he took another heaping mouthful of food “What is this?... Vegetarian?” He ate ravenously and talked between mouthfuls. The PBR rested in front of him perspired condensation as if nervously awaiting the same fate. He finished half of the beer in one draught.

Klaus looked at Carmen with a moment of concern and then began to laugh “Damn brother! You certainly got your appetite back!” Klaus looked at Carmen with an air of awed astonishment. Carmen's straight black hair had been hastily pulled back in a pony tail. He paused for a moment to smooth back a loose strand which had fallen into the amalgam of vegetables and pungent spices. He seemed as if he was trying to gather strength to say something, but after a seconds thought decided against it. His eyes latched onto the bottle in front of him and the rest of the beer never saw its end coming. Carmen's hand was beckoning to the waitress for another round even before the foaming remains of the dead soldier reached the table. We're all dead soldiers he thought with a vitiated spirit.

After a delivery of liquid reinforcements Corina finally ventured “So what do we do now?” She looked questioningly around the table. Klaus folded his hands, sat back dejectedly and shrugged his shoulders. Jen returned the gesture but the fire in her eyes spoke words of action. The three of them silently turned to Carmen who busied himself with gluttony.

Carmen's incessant repetition of fork, food, mouth, beer halted when he noticed the three of them staring at him. “I spoke with Eric.” He said abruptly and didn't wait to see the reaction on their faces.

Jen's jaw opened in shock and then closed in quiet anger. Why hadn't Eric called her? She couldn't believe it!

Boisterously Klaus interjected “Well that's great! What did he tell you?” His baritone voice exploded from the corner of the restaurant causing the light crowd to turn their attention toward the foursome in the back. Both Corina and Jen turned and quieted the gently inebriated Klaus. He smiled at them and crouched slightly in his seat. “Oops…”

Jen turned from Klaus to Carmen and gave him an aching look that silently pleaded, Well… Her eyes searched for that connection which Professor Weber had spoken, but found nothing.

The combined pressure from three sets of eyes was enough to crush the strongest resolve. “He called just after you had left the labs.” He halted and looked like as if he was going to stop. Jen placed a warm hand over his and urged him to continue, but found it hard to listen too.

A grey blue smoke began to work its way from the kitchen in the back. Smelling of sandalwood and rich incense it drifted on lazy currents stirred by the dark skinned waitress as she moved through the small establishment. She disappeared behind a small bar for a moment and the lighting dimmed slightly and hidden speakers in the ceiling began playing a light tambour. When she reappeared and went back to tending to her patrons she had an exotic bounce in her step. As she lilted to and fro her head and arms had a barely perceptible sway which matched the hypnotic rhythm. The dream like aspect struck Jen once again and she pushed away the half empty beer which sat before her. When she turned her attention back to the activity at the table Carmen was coming to the end of relaying his conversation with Eric “…and he said he would call. Jen silently scolded herself for not paying attention and embarrassment prevented her from asking the reluctant Carmen to repeat himself.

“See Jen, nothing to worry about.” Klaus' broad smile evidenced how relieved he was to know that the mantle of leadership would soon fall from his shoulders when Eric comes back into the loop. Corina also seemed to breathe a sigh of relief, but Jen thought that this was a sigh of release. If Eric came back into the picture then she could pawn her crazy friend back onto him. This thought caused Jen's mood to spiral down a dark staircase. She looked at her friends and saw happiness in their smiles. Their ignorance of the severity of the situation knotted her stomach. She noticed that even Carmen was now smiling. His was a darker smile. It was as if the sides of his mouth were no longer turned down and held there by some invisible weight. They now sprang up in the impish smile which was characteristic of his sharp humor, though his smile ended there. His eyes were empty of any levity, and this dichotomy sent shivers down her back. She began to wonder if Carmen had told them the whole story. She thought that she would have been happy to hear any news from Eric, but she now questioned if this had even happened. If it had, was there some other circumstance which Carmen neglected to mention. If so, then why? Had Eric called Carmen to avoid speaking directly to her? Her thoughts continued their dizzying descent. Somewhere, back in the stairwell of the fraternity a small seed of despair was planted within her, and this seed now began to germinate.

She was startled out of her foreboding reverie by the vibration of her cell at her side. The faint theme to 90210 slowly grew as she retrieved her phone. The bright faces around the table halted in their cheerful banter and looked toward Jen. She suddenly felt very small, as if under the scrutiny of a high powered microscope. She looked at her caller ID and felt the bottom of the world drop out from beneath her. “It’s Eric…”






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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the progression of the story. The writing, with all the cliff hangers from chapter to chapter is reminding me of how the Lost writers keep their viewers hanging by the seat of their pants! Always leave them wanting more, and creating more questions than answers! And, like Lost: your installments are too infrequent for your voracious readers! Keep on writing...we'll be waiting! :)

2:55 AM  

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