Posted on June 1, 2011 by Flames
FlamesRising.com is pleased to present you with a preview of The Zombie Feed Volume One. Several authors penned stories in this zombie anthology. Three of the stories you’ll find in this debut anthology from The Zombie Feed are available for you to read below.
Hipsters in Love
“Goddamn it, we’re out of chai tea!” shouts Vikki DeMure.
There’s the sound of boxes being thrown. Plastic forks spilling onto tiled floors. A microwavable spinach quiche hitting the wall with a splat. I know it’s a microwavable spinach quiche and not a low-fat yogurt blueberry muffin because the low-fat yogurt blueberry muffin sounds more like thump.
Vikki steps back into the cafe, her mascara smeared by sweat and frustration. Looking very smoky. Very cool. Urban Rob stops strumming his out-of-tune guitar.
“Viks, you’re looking hot,” he says.
“Go fuck yourself, Rob,” she snarks.
Urban Rob plucks a few sour notes and ignores her.
“Well, we all knew this day was coming,” I go, trying to be congenial, but not caring too much. I hate chai tea.
“And who are you? Nostradamus?” she spits at me like a cobra.
“No…” I say.
“…And I’m not cleaning up the mess you just made in there,” I add, feeling validated.
“We should start a band,” Rob interrupts, playing the same three chord riff over and over and over again.
“Jesus, you two are giving me a headache.” Vikki rubs her temples.
“Maybe you’re turning,” Rob tells her.
“Not funny,” she replies. She sits on the counter and crosses her legs, almost painfully, as her pencil-thin jeans don’t leave much room for movement. “When are Marco and X getting back?”
I look at my watch; Snap, Crackle, and Pop tick around the clockface. I got it from a cereal box. “It’s only been an hour,” I go.
On the table in front of me is a months old copy of Newsweek. The cover reads in red bold-font APOCALYPSE! I haven’t read the article yet. I?m not too into reading. Unless it’s Palahniuk. Then it’s… tolerable.
“I hope they find some Chai Tea. I can get kind of cranky when I don’t get my caffeine fix,” Vikki says.
“Really? We hadn’t noticed,” Rob chimes in, not looking up. She sneers at him, her grapefruit lips parting like the Red Sea; her smile an ocean of piranhas.
From the boarded-up windows, the sound of pounding fists continues. Like rain spattering a sidewalk. I find it relaxing—the clawing, the scrapping, the soft guttural moans of the outside world. Never mind the fact that those fists are attached to bloodlusting zombies—the ravaged undead city, forever pulsing, trying to get in. I suspect they want to eat our brains. Or tear us to shreds. I suspect they want to come in and destroy the last bastion of civilization we’ve built here in this coffee shop. Who knows? It’s like music—the pounding. Just like drums. Maybe we should start a band. The last band on Earth. There?d be no one to listen to it.
It would be so ironic.
Written by B.J. Burrow
The smell of vapo-rub, flowers and baby powder mingled to create a perfume of death. Flowers clustered along the counter in front of the windowless, beige wall. A muted television hung opposite the narrow bed. The hospice nurse dimmed the lights.
Age and cancer had leached the flesh against Julie Barrette’s skull. The combination of tight skin, exposed teeth and bulbous eyes transformed her into a hobgoblin, complete with wispy spikes of white hair. Pain turned her onto her side and curled her legs. Her lips ran dry and her tongue turned to sandpaper. The nurse occasionally looked up from her book to soak the sweat off Julie?s forehead with a gray towel.
Father Carey sat in the chair next to the bed. He cleared his throat and opened his well worn Bible, which easily fit into his pocket, his favorite over all of the ones he had been gifted over the years.
He read, silently, the marked passage, but hesitated. He looked up and said, “Could I get a glass of water?”
Julie’s granddaughter, Laura, cried with a hand over her mouth. She wore a pink ribbon pin over her right breast. Julie?s daughter, Joanie, stood next to Laura, her eyes dry, her face slack. She wore a black dress—what Julie would have called, not two days before when she still had her voice, ‘a mourning muumuu.’
Joanie nodded. She looked to the nurse, who met Joanie’s eyes briefly before returning to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Joanie turned to Laura. “Get Father Carey water.”
Laura nodded, but did not move. Her hand fell from her mouth and she hugged herself. She said, “Ice?”
“Yes, please. Thank you.”
Still, she did not move.
Father Carey and Joanie stared back at Laura. Even the nurse raised her eyes. Laura said, “What if I miss… it?”
The sentence hung in the cloying air over the bed.
“I mean… I want to be here when she passes.”
They all looked to the nurse. The nurse lowered her eyes back to her book.
Father Carey found their eyes on him. He looked to the bed, listening to Julie?s deep gulps for breath. He licked his dry lips and said, “These things take longer than one expects.”
He had not performed Last Rites since The Change.
Since people had stopped dying.
Since people had stopped dying and simply continued.
A Shepherd of the Valley
Written by Maggie Slater
The low-lying fog across the tarmac made it diffi-cult to be certain, but the figure moving toward the tower limped like a roamer. James Shepherd lifted his binoculars—it was a girl, a young girl, wearing a jacket so large its cuffs hung over her hands and the waist almost down to her knees. She favored her left leg, or perhaps her ankle. No doubt she’d been walking on it unconsciously for weeks, maybe even months.
I can fix that, Shepherd thought, and it made him smile. It had been a while since a roamer wandered onto his ground space. He’d have to give her a good name. A sweet name. Perhaps Esther. Little Esther, he thought, and tapped in the command for Peter to intercept and incapacitate.
Luke was also in the area, not a hundred meters off by Hanger B.
Adding Esther would make his group an even dozen, and that too made Shepherd smile. He pulled off a piece of masking tape and pressed it beneath the others on the control panel. With a marker, he wrote her name.
Twelve was a good number. A holy number, if the Good Book was right. Peter, Matthew, David, John, Paul, Mary, Luke, Bartholomew, Joseph, Martha, Mark, and now Esther. Yes, twelve was right.
As he watched Peter tromp toward the newcomer, Shepherd heard a strange noise over the radio. At first, he thought it might be a breeze caught in Peter’s microphone, but it grew steadily stronger. The moan reached him across the speakers in the air traffic control tower just as the little red button next to Peter’s name began blinking ferociously.
Not a moment after that, Luke’s light started flashing, too.
Shepherd stared at the lights, hardly remembering what they were meant to indicate. It had been so long since one had flashed.
He snatched up his binoculars and looked out at the three figures, now visible and moving toward one another. As he watched, the girl lifted what he’d mistaken for a long stick at her side and pointed it at Peter’s head.
The girl was alive.
Shepherd’s hands leapt for the microphone button. “No, wait!”
The blast of a shotgun echoed through his tower speakers.
Panicked, Shepherd twisted the knob for Luke’s frequency and slammed the speaker button again. “Wait! Don’t shoot.” He stabbed his fingers onto the keyboard to com-mand Luke to stand still. “Hold your fire. They won’t hurt you. I’m in control.”
The speakers buzzed. “Who’s talking? Where are you?”
Shepherd froze at the sound of the voice and lifted his face toward the window again. “Penny?” His voice cracked when he said her name.
“Hold on,” Shepherd said, ducking under the control panel to plug in the video line for Hanger B’s security camera. A flood of grey light filled the dusking room behind him as he scrambled back into his seat.
The girl stood some twenty yards away from the hanger, and Luke was less than half that distance from her, his back and the glint of his bolted metal spine visible on the video feed. The girl’s shotgun was leveled at his chest. The video was too grainy to see much else in detail.
Shepherd leaned in until the static from the screen crack-led at the tip of his nose. “What’s your name?” He couldn’t even be sure of her face shape, let alone her features.
“I’m not telling you shit until you tell me where you are.”
* * *
The Zombie Feed Volume 1 is available now at DriveThruHorror.com.
This preview for was provided and published with express permission from Apex Book Company.