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Tim Willard

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By Tim Willard
Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rated "R" by the Author.

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A Year of the Zombie short story, taking place several years after the Rising.


A Nick Kane: Year of the Zombie Story

  The small town looked washed out, faded somehow, the sunlight filtered gray by its passage through the clouds that were pouring down a steady rainfall upon the town. No lights were on, no smoke came from chimneys to ward off the November chill, and only a few figures were visible wandering the streets.

  Nick Kane watched the town through a pair of binoculars, noting the skeletons in the street, the fire damage to a grocery store, the crater where a gas station once stood, and the rusted hulks of cars. Nick was dressed in coveralls over Levi jeans and a flannel shirt, wearing heavy boots and a pair of leather gloves, making sure that all of his body but his face was covered, lessening the chance that one of the Risen would get a lucky bite into his flesh. His green eyes were squinted as he surveyed the town, searching for proof that the trail he had been following would end in the small town.

  He saw one of them, scurrying from a weather damaged house to the back of a large building, noticed how it scampered right by one of the figures in the alley, and climbed up on a dumpster to slither through the window. Where there was one of them, there was always more, and Nick smiled at the thought of finishing his long hunt. He was still smiling when he got into the SUV and started it up, the tailpipe belching blue smoke. He’d tracked this group of little vermin for weeks, knowing that no matter how fierce they were, they couldn’t stop him from capturing his prey.

  It was raining even harder when Nick reached his destination. The rain hammered on the blue body of the battered and rusted SUV, made seeing through the armored glass windshield difficult since the wipers had died more than a year before, and overflowed the drains so that the heavy vehicle splashed through the water before coming to a stop.

  Nick sat inside the vehicle for a long time, staring at the day-care center in front of him, his hands mechanically checking the shotgun in his lap. His green eyes were hard, and his scarred face bleak as he sat in the idling military vehicle and mentally prepared himself. He wasn’t going to be facing anything easy, it wouldn’t be anything like fighting a regular man, or even on of the walking dead he could see wandering around.

  With a sigh, he opened up the door and stepped out in the rain, settling his cowboy hat firmly onto his head before holding the shotgun ready. One of the Risen moaned and stepped around the back of the SUV, but Nick ignored the rotting man, preferring to concentrate on his destination, on his target, where the vermin he had tracked to the small town were hiding. He knew the vermin would fight to protect his prey, but he didn’t care about the blood he was about to shed. It was his prey he was after.

  A dozen strides took him to the entrance of the day-care, and Nick paused for a moment, listening intently, his head cocked slightly. No noise, but with the prey Nick was hunting, he doubted they’d make much noise. Silence was second nature, speech a rare thing, and they were as brutal as they were stealthy.

  The welcome area, where once women and men had dropped off their children to be cared for by others, was completely empty except for a single rusted and rotted desk. The single door leading from the welcome area into darkness was broken, with no shards of glass left in the frame. The glass on the floor had been pushed into the corner, and there was only an old bloodspray stain on the wall to hint at what horror might have happened here six years before.

  Nick let the shotgun hang on the sling for a moment, lifting up the night vision goggles from his neck and turning them on before settling them onto his face. The interior brightened into shades of green, and Nick looked around carefully, taking note of the two central air vents up on the upper part of the left and right walls, where the grills were lying on the floor.

 <i> They’re here.</i> Nick thought, walking toward the single exit to the room, gripping the shotgun and trying to feel out with all his senses. <i>Rain makes them lair up, instinct maybe? Now where is what I’m after?</i>

  Nick was careful to watch for the small pieces of glass, even though it looked like most of the pieces from the glass door had been swept against the wall, unwilling to step on one and give away the fact that he was coming. A careful step took him into the room beyond, and despite the fact that Nick come here on the hunt, the sight of the small piles of tattered blankets, the small piles of toys, and the smell of unwashed bodies, dog, and rotting meat that filled the room made his blood run cold.

  Kneeling next to one of the small nests of blankets and toys, Nick reached forward and unwrapped the blankets, searching for the thing that would be nesting in the pile, but there was nothing more than a couple of sharp knives and a cloth doll that was stained with blood.

  The sharp hissing noise was all Nick had to warn him, and he threw himself to the left, rolling over his shoulder and coming up with the shotgun. The gangly limbs pushing the rag clad body up told Nick that it had missed, and the bared razor-sharp teeth that the grimace full of hate and fiendish hunger left no doubt in Nick’s mind that this was one of the creatures he’d come hunting.

  Green eyes were slitted in hatred, and the two knives, one in each hand, glinted softly in the green of Nick’s vision. It came in low, crabbing toward him, knives flicking in front of it like a snake’s tongue.

  Nick leveled the shotgun, and the creature threw itself to the side, but Nick had hunted these creatures before, and knew to hold his fire until it was on all fours and scuttling. The blast of the shotgun nearly tore it in half, exposing ribs for one dreadful second until the welter of blood covered it.

  The creature screamed, a high sound of unimaginable agony, but the scream bubbled off as the creature began to writhe in agony as it died. Barking sounds, like a pack of wild dogs, echoed through the building, and Nick knew that they were hunting him now, the same as he hunted them.

  One glass door, held open by a small action figure wedged into the frame, led outside and a wooden door was the only other access point further into the building. Not wanting to go further into the belly of the beast, but knowing that this was the best chance he had been able to find in months to eliminate the pack of cold blooded killers Nick knew he had no choice but to follow them into their lair.

  A solid kick blasted the door out of the frame, the wood splintering and crashing to the floor under Nick’s bootheel. The NVG’s turned the dark room to daytime, and the three creatures on the other side of the door were out in the open. One of them had been hit by the door, knocked off her feet, but she still held the thin bladed scaling knives in her hands as she pulled her leg out from under the door, whining in a high pitched tone as the wood left large splinters embe dded in her skin.

  Another shot from the 12 gauge killed the male on the left, wounding the other one, who screamed from the pain of a few pellets lodging in his skin. Nick cocked the shotgun as he stepped forward, kicking the female on the ground under the chin, her jaw crumbling under his boot toe and her neck snapping from the force of the kick. Without bothering to fire, Nick pivoted and slammed the butt of the shotgun against the male’s temple, caving in his skull and throwing him to the side. The male’s legs kicked and trembled as Nick moved past, scanning the inside of the room.

  Old tables, some of them still supporting half finished arts and crafts projects, filled the center of the room. A dark television was mounted on the corner, and the walls were covered of drawings of friendly fluffy animals and cartoon characters. There were several doors off the room, two marked as bathrooms, as well as a kitchen counter separating a small cooking nook from the main part of the room. There were several piles of blankets and old clothing, with toys and dolls sticking out of the piles, scattered around the room. The room reeked of rotting flesh and old blood, as well as of unwashed human body and wet dog.

  Keeping an eye on the rest of the room, Nick moved toward the kitchenette, holding the shotgun ready. Something fell outside of the room with the clicking of broken glass hitting tile, and there was the creak of a door being edged open. Nick couldn’t tell where it was coming from, and tried to ignore his thumping heart and dry mouth.

<i>  What was I thinking of, coming into a den to hunt them?</i> Something gibbered in the back of his mind as he turned so he could see into the kitchenette. The small space was empty, only a rag doll spattered with dried blood leaning against a cabinet suggesting that the creatures were still lairing up within the building. Nick turned away and moved toward the bathrooms, moving slowly and trying to watch everywhere at once. The popping sound of sheet metal warned him, and two quick steps before he pivoted ensured that he was out of the way of whoever was jumping from the air duct in the ceiling and facing whoever it was.

  The large male had landed badly and was trying to stand up, snarling at Nick and swinging a heavy bladed carving knife to keep Nick back while the male crabbed the side. The male’s brown eyes were slits of burning hatred, which widened when Nick raised the Mossberg and fired once, the round striking the male in upper chest and throat, nearly taking off his head. He cocked the shotgun when he heard a noise behind him and started to turn.

  The knife cut deep into the back of his leg a handspan above the knee, the wielder twisting the blade and cutting the muscle away, and Nick went down on one knee, dropping the shotgun to the bloodslick floor. He reached back and grabbed his leg, then screamed as cold steel drove into his kidney, the blade twisting and then pulling free to slam into the other kidney.

  Nick sobbed, fire filling his back, and a hand grabbed his head and yanked him backwards so his butt landed on the floor, staring upwards at his attacker. He only got one quick look at her before she snatched the NVG’s from his face.

  She was only fifteen, the sharp planes of her face showing where she had gone hungry so often, her eyes full of nothing but hate and rage, and her mouth open to reveal teeth filed into sharp triangles. When she saw Nick’s face, her snarl turned into a cruel smile. Nick screamed as her mouth came down and her filed teeth tore through his skin to rip away a chunk of flesh. His scream choked off as her arm came around and stabbed the knife deep into his stomach, once, twice, and a third time.

  She suddenly let go of Nick, and he flopped back on the floor, unable to writhe, only able to lay on the floor and gasp as the female straddled him, kneeling over his face until her crotch, bare under the small skirt, was only inches from his face. Her butt was dirty, and he realized that he could smell how unwashed her body was even through the blood pouring into his mouth.

<i>  Hair, she has hair there now.</i> Nick realized through the fog. It took him a minute to realize while his face was wet, and why he was suddenly choking. It wasn’t raining, she was urinating on his face, squatting over him and spraying it all over his face and into his mouth. He shook his head in denial, the urine burning as it flowed into the gaping hole in the side of his face where the girl had bitten a chunk away.

  Nick was gasping and choking from the blood and the urine, coughing the mixture of blood and urine back onto the bare buttocks and crotch. In his agony from his savaged kidneys and the gaping hole in his face, he was unaware that the young girl was pulling open his pants until she grabbed his genitals and pulled. He was barely aware of the pain as her chipped and cracked fingernails dug into his sensitive flesh, and the knife that the young girl sliced away his genitals with was razor sharp, leaving behind only a feeling of coldness rather than pain.

<i>  Nick smiled as he walked up the stairs, rubbing his crotch and smiling. His parents were gone, and delayed by the problems in the city. They’d called, to tell him that they were safe from the rioting that was on the television, although his mom had mentioned that the Army seemed to be everywhere. That meant that they wouldn’t be home, and he had another night.

  At the top of the landing, Nick headed down the hallway, smiling at the thought of what was about to happen, feeling his cock grow hard with anticipation. He stopped outside the bedroom door and smiled, his hands almost trembling with excitement. With a grin, he pushed open the door, the light from the hallway streaming into the room and falling across the bed. The sight of the blankets being pulled up and the tiny squeak of fear made him grin even wider and the lust flare further inside of him.

  “We get to spend another night or two together, Melany, isn’t that wonderful?” Nick said, walking up to the end of the bed. He could see the form underneath it squirm as Melany tried to make herself smaller.

  “Please. No.” It was more of a squeak than a whisper, and Nick grinned. “It hurts me.”

  Nick reached down and grabbed the end of the blanket, yanking it off of the bed and revealing the small form underneath. His sister cried out and pulled her pillow over her head, squeezing her legs together and pulling them up to her stomach. Nick dropped the blanket and walked around the bed, reaching down to touch the little girl’s leg with his fingertip with one hand, and unzipping his pants with the other.

  “Sweet, sweet Melany.” He crooned, pulling her nightgown up to reveal her bottom. “So sweet, so hairless, so tight.”

  “Please, Nicky, don’t.” She whimpered.

  Nicky only laughed, and it became obscene.</i>

  Images flashed before Nick’s eyes, his memories racing through a dying brain.

  Melany curled up and crying, bleeding from her rectum.

  Trading an hour with Melany to a group of four men for a tank full of gas, and how he ravaged her when he got her back, the sound of her cries and her whimpering as the four grown men violated her driving him to heights of lust.

  Finding the empty ropes, the loops where her wrists and legs had been tied bloody. How the trail of blood had led away, into the bushes, and he’d lost the trail when a pack of Risen had been attracted by his shouts of rage and his threats of dire punishments.

  Finally, darkness, with his sister’s snarling face following him into the darkness.

  Meat was on the floor, meat from those too weak to survive, too weak to take down the prey, and the cubs fell on it with flashing knives. The older cubs watched Neenee carefully as she stood up over the dying badman, his bad parts in her hand. One of the hunters moved toward her, and jumped back when her blood smeared blade whistled by his nose and she snarled at him. The furry packmates were slinking in through the door, growling at the smell of spilled blood, and they all flinched back when Neenee screamed, a sound of pain and rage.

  The surviving members of the pack watched as Neenee raised the severed bad part into the air, throwing back her head and howling with triumph. The bad man was meat now, his life gone, and Neenee threw the bad part into the huddled together furry packmates, where they fell snarling and fighting over the morsel.

  “Eat.” Neenee ordered, pointing at the meat at her feet. “Eat, we grow strong, and he stay dead.”

  The pack fell on Nick’s corpse with barks and baying howls, their knives flashing as they stripped his flesh away, stuffing it into their mouths and feasting. Once they had eaten their fill and carried chunks of meat to the pack mommies, the furry pack mates fought over the scraps, worrying the bones.

  In the morning, the pack moved on. Neenee, formerly a little girl named Melany, led the way, her knives held tightly in her fists. When she got hungry, she pulled the raw meat she had sliced from her brother’s body from the pockets of her ragged blouse and stuffed them in her mouth with a feeling of satisfaction.

  He had been fat, and his flesh would make the pack grow strong.

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Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 7/12/2013

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