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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


2009/10/29

Chapter 4: Part 8, Reunion

Corina could tell that they were getting deeper into the tunnel system, the warm gusts of air caused by the movements of trains above had ceased, and now a damp pervading coolness surrounded them. At points she could here dripping water behind the concrete walls that enclosed them, and she feared to ponder what else might lurk there. Her mind couldn’t register the fact that such a world lay dormant below the streets of Boston and its outlying cities, she could almost feel the weight of the city above crushing down on her.

“I feel like I’ve been down here for hours. Klaus, how far down do you think we are right now?” Corina’s voice trembled slightly, burdened by her thoughts.

“Without a declinometer, I’d have to say a little over one hundred feet.” Klaus took a sip from the now cold coffee Jen had bought him. Though it was doing little to keep him warm, it had sobered him up enough to negotiate the uneven terrain of the rail bed.

A flame ignited from behind them as Carmen lit a cigarette. Rummaging through his jacket pocket he let the flickering flame burn down to his finger and with a curse extinguished the match. It was quickly replaced with the cold glow of his PDA’s display as he checked their progress. “We’ve reached the lowest point in this subsystem of tunnels, about one hundred and twenty two feet. There is another set below us, but they’re mainly used for drainage and utility lines.” He tapped his finger on the display as he pulled up more information. “We’re right below the corner of Sixth Street and Hampshire, which means we’ve got another quarter mile to go.” Carmen’s voice had lost all of his usual cynical wit and now had a flat affect, as if he were reading from an encyclopedia. He turned to Corina, “And… we left the Harvard area forty five minutes ago.”

Since entering this underworld, Jen’s radar had been doing double duty. At every turn she thought she could see movement just outside the reach of her flashlight, and on top of that something was eating at Carmen. He always had been impishly playful, even in the presence of the disfigured animals in the AT lab at Vion, but ever since he had found out what had happened to Jackson he’d been nervous and distant. At first she just thought that it was due to the extremity of their situation, but considering that they were all in the same mess, that was soon replaced with something more ominous, and she began to wonder what he had uncovered on the encrypted hard drives.

“Hey Carmen!” Jen slowed to a stop and shortened the distance between herself and the trailing technophile. “Is everything all right?” In the subterranean darkness she could see Carmen give an ambivalent shrug, meant more to frustrate then communicate. “This is messed up huh? I mean the fact that we’re going back to the scene of the crime.” He gave another quick shrug, though this time she thought that it looked more like a flinch as she said crime. “Don’t worry, once we get to Vion Eric will be able to help us figure this out.”

For the first time in their dialogue his eyes slowly panned from his PDA and coldly met hers “I don’t think that even Eric will be able to help us get out of this.” He silently went back to examining the display. Jen knew that their conversation was over, and for the first time she thought to herself that Carmen might be right.

During summer break five years earlier Jen and Corina travelled out to Oregon and had explored the lava tubes in the north near Mt. Saint Helen’s. They were a network of ancient tunnels about one hundred and twenty miles long created by molten magma as it burrowed its way to the coastline. They were thought to harbor the mysterious Sasquatch and were aptly nicknamed “The Ape Caves”. Varied textures and earthy smells gave those caves a vibrancy which seemed alive and although the two were scared at the time, it couldn’t hold a candle to the intense fear that gripped them now. The tunnels they were in at the moment though, were more like the holes left behind by maggots in rotting meat... and smelled the same. As they had progressed deeper and deeper Jen could see the graffiti gradually peeling off the wall in large patches. The tunnels reclaiming what was once theirs as the oily earth pushed through the porous concrete; and now at this point the inky blackness swallowed any light their feeble beams cast.

Carmen, not wanting to continue their conversation quickly trotted ahead, leaving Jen to fall behind caught up in her thoughts. Her dim light rested on the remains of what had once been a large mural, all that was left after years of cloying dampness was the image of a skull sitting atop the words “No Escape”. She wondered what the anonymous author had meant by those words and prayed that they weren’t intended for her. Snapping from her contemplation she looked up and realized that she was alone in the dark. Frantically searching for the more powerful lights her friends held she saw nothing of them up ahead. Then, the sound of damp footsteps gradually grew out of obscurity from the mossy static of white noise that surrounded her. The muffled echoes at first were difficult to locate but after a beat she realized that the sound was emanating from the direction she’d just come. They were the faltering footsteps of someone, something, following her. Swallowing a lump of cold panic she fought the kneejerk reaction to yell for help, fearing that she would alert whatever was tracking them.

Her leaden feet at first moved slowly and then rapidly increased their pace as she could hear the footsteps behind her quicken. She ran down the tunnel as her flashlight rhythmically slashed the darkness in front of her. Turning blindly around a corner she could see the lights of her friends disappearing in what seemed like miles in front of her. How could she have fallen behind so quickly she thought. Her breath came in ragged hot gasps as she pushed herself to the point of exhaustion. Then, like a near death experience, one of the lights turned its beam down the tunnel towards her. A wave of relief washed over her as she began to hear their voices calling to her, but within the mix of a soprano laugh and baritone chuckles she heard a fourth, slightly more disturbing utterance. It was breathless and weak, yet filled with a dreadful urgency. “Help... me!”

Jen slowed to a stop yards away from the safety of her friends and turned her flashlight towards the approaching sounds. Putting a finger to her mouth she quieted the kind hearted ribbing from her friends with a harsh “Shsh”. Jen squinted in the darkness in an attempt to somehow see beyond the short radius of her flashlight as grey shadows began to coalesce out of the darkness from the corner she had just rounded. Hobbling into view, a form began to take shape bit by bit. As her light melted the darkness away she could discern that it was a man holding one arm tightly to his chest. He was dressed in what seemed to be second hand clothing and walked with a severe limp. One side of his frame was coated with the sooty grime from the rail bed, as if he had recently fallen down upon the tracks.

Seeing that the group had now halted, the man slowed from his painful gait and a look of relief crossed his face, though it was quickly replaced with an aspect of shock as a pair of hands reached from behind and pulled him back into the darkness. Jen could hear a strangled cry as tearing sounds rendered the silence between them obsolete. Noel’s brief escape had ended. Before the full extent of what was happening hit her, she too was pulled backwards, and then she was running again.

“What the hell was that?” Carmen shouted as a recently lit cigarette fell from his lips.

Klaus’ Doc Martins extinguished its dying light as his heavy footfalls took up the rear. “I don’t know, and I sure as shit don’t want to find out.” His had rested on the small of Jen’s back as he gently urged her on.

They entered a large section of tunnel which branched off into three other directions. Carmen knew the question before it was asked, as all eyes turned to him. The pockets of his long trench coat felt bottomless as he searched for his PDA. Cursing the microprocessor technology which made them so small he finally found it, and with a flash of the screen began rapidly searching through the tunnel maps.

He was tapping away on its touch screen when Corina’s voice came out of the darkness “Look, quiet!”. Her flashlight spun around until it illuminated the passage furthest from them. A dreaded sense of deja-vu stole upon them as they watched the darkness. Shambling out of obscurity was the spindly young continence of a teenager. A ghostly face stared blankly at them from the shaved orb of a head, while blood stained lips curled in a menacing grimace; and congealed blood, now frozen where it had once raced from puncture wounds on his neck all added to give him the appearance of Nosferatu, Prince of the Dead. Klaus added his powerful spotlight to Corina's and she began to feel as if she were back at the Omega Psi Phi fun house. The creatures arm reflexively raised to block the shining lights, revealing tattered clothing that ringed the circumference of gaping hole where his abdomen had once been.

Then, sounds began to emerge from the tunnel next to it. A bubbling gurgle, as if someone was trying to breath through a bag of molasses quickly grew louder as a second form emerged from the murky shadows. A middle aged black man, though his skin was now a dark shade of grey, stumbled towards them as if inebriated. Jen immediatly saw where the sound was emenating from as a meaty resonance would belch from where his throat would’ve been each time he took an erratic breath; though Jen knew, he no longer needed to breath.

As if knowing that Jen was on the verge of loosing it, Carmen pointed. “Quick, this way! The entrance is in another hundred yards or so!” The ran down the tunnel towards an uncertain fate, as they all wondered what horrors they would meet in the bowels of Vion.

Nick Daniels and Smitty, now reunited were soon joined by Jackson after his successful hunt. With a renewed vigor, they were inexorably drawn by the call which continued to grow stronger with every step, that... and the chase.



...On the other side of Boston, on the edge of North Eastern’s campus, Mocha’s body lay sprawled in divergent directions on the tracks of the MBTA’s green line extension. He had narrowly escaped the inferno that Jen had set only to find himself assaulted by the blinding light of the approaching dawn. It was then that he had felt the call, though it was more like a pull, as if a golden thread emanating from his forehead was gently pulling him along, and he couldn’t resist. He had followed its tugging draw into the predawn haze of an ocean fog for two miles before eventually finding his way to one of the trolly entrances to the Greenline underground system. He had just begun his subterranean journey away from the increasingly bright dawn outside when an explosion of light and sound erupted from in front of him. Like so many deer on country roads he froze as the train plowed him into the creosote soaked wood below.

“Jimmy, whatta we got here?” An officer dressed in a bright yellow reflective vest asked as he glanced down at the illuminated mess on the railway car. “Holy shit! If he was pretty before, he ain’t now!”

“Yeah... It looks like a student got wicked drunk, decided to go exploring the tunnel entrance, got into a fight with a trolly and lost... bad!” Jimmy McNeirney began pulling the black tarp over the body. “The paramedics took one look and pronounced him dead on scene...” Jimmy paused as he thought for a moment, “Funny though, the conductor swears that he got a good look at the kid, and... well... he said that he looked like he was dead already.”

“No shit!.. Pisser.” The heavy set officer shifted his weight as he thought about it for a moment. “I guess Id’ve looked like that after partying all night too!”

“Yeah but Carl, that ain’t the half of it.” Jimmy moved the tarp back revealing a freshly amputated arm. “The guys have been all over the train and rails and can’t find the rest of his arm.”

Carl didn’t look shocked at all. “You know Jimmy, I’ve been on the force for forty years now and I’ve seen everyt...” Carl’s eyes widened as he mouthed soundless words. “What the... Jimmy, look.”

Jimmy glanced down to see the bloody stump twitch slightly, followed by the gentle rise of the tarp. He pulled it back to reveal an impossible scene. Separated shoulders, broken legs and arms, a shattered hip, and a head barely attached at the neck all worked at trying to get up. Carl and Jimmy almost fell over each other as they jumped backwards.

“Dispatch, this is McNeirney... We need the paramedics back down on the rails. This boy isn’t dead!”





2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on! UR in the home stretch, I can feel it!

1:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How long till the next installment???

8:38 PM  

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