Welcome to Woofer's Lair. Curious as to what you will see here? Well, for the most part, you will find book reviews, maybe the occasional movie review, and if you are lucky, you might stumble across one of my own works in progress. If you like what you see or what read, and even if you don't, please feel free to leave your comments. As I am somewhat new to blogging, all of your constructive feedback is appreciated. Have fun and thanks for stopping by.

Wicked Seasons

Wicked Seasons
My short story, HUNGRY FOR MORE, is included


Grady Hendrix's Horrorstor

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This piece originally started out as a short story that I was planning on submitting for possible publication in an anthology; however, I wasn't happy with the short cuts I had to take to keep to the maximum word count allowed. As a result, what started out as a short story is now being developed into a novella.

Zombie Fight Night
Michael J. Evans

The gunshots echoed through the concrete canyons of New York City ’s Greenwich Village . To David Valcin, who drifted in that blissful state between sleeping and wakefulness, it was the sound of distant thunder. He rolled over, waiting for the drumming of the rain to begin, but that first volley of shots was only followed by another round. He reached out lazily to pull Mark closer to him, seeking comfort in the warmth of his lover’s body, but his arm fell on empty space. He opened his eyes to the darkness of their bedroom to find himself alone in bed. The space next to him was still warm, so Mark had only recently gotten up. Rolling over to face the window, he found his lover seated on the window seat, one leg curled beneath him, the other pulled up to his chest. His chin was resting on his knee as he stared out onto the street below. His nude form was a mask of shadows highlighted by the bluish rays of the full moon filtering through the grime-streaked glass.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about, Babe,” Dave asked.

Mark turned his head. “Did I wake you?”

“Nah.” David shifted, laying on his side, and propped himself up on his elbow. “Anything exciting out there?”

“Not really. Quiet, actually.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

Mark went back to studying the street below.

“Talk to me, Babe.”

After a long silence, Mark said, “It’s not fair.”

“Babe. . .”

“It’s not,” Mark whined. “This was supposed to be our ‘Happily ever after’. Our fairy tale ending. Not something out of a fuckin’ Stephen King novel.”

“Shit happens.”

Mark’s head whipped around. “How can you be so. . .”

“Rational? Matter of fact?”

“It’s a fuckin’ nightmare!”

“It’s not that bad.”

“Not that bad? There are zombies out there! Real-life fuckin’ zombies!”

Sensing that Mark was on the verge of another emotional meltdown, Dave threw back the blankets and got out of bed. He was naked and the slight chill in the room caused him to shiver. He crossed to the window and wrapped his arms around his lover, pulling the younger man securely against his chest. “It’s not that bad because I’ve got you with me.” He placed a kiss on top of Mark’s head before turning his attention to the street below.

The bar across the street was dark, the windows broken and boarded up. The newsstand next door to it was in a similar state, the glass panel on the door shattered, the display window gone. Glossy pages of skin mags littered the street, offering up an eye full to those who passed by – if they cared to look, but at this hour of the night, those who wandered the streets only had one thing on their minds. Food. Warm, living flesh and hot, racing blood. It was getting harder to come by. People had learned quickly that while the walking dead never slept, they were more active at night. It was during the daylight hours that the living ventured out and foraged for food and supplies. All that was getting scarce, too, which is why Dave thought it best if they put the city behind them The reports on the news, of which there hadn’t been any in a couple of weeks, warned that the dead seemed to be drawn to the cities. Reports coming in from all over the world confirmed that the large metropolitan areas were no longer safe. But was anywhere really safe anymore? Who knew how long it would be before the dead outnumbered the living? It could realistically happen.

It had only been six weeks — God, is that all it’s been? — since the first report had come over the news that a woman in Saint Mary’s Hospital who had been declared clinically dead had returned to life. She had been deemed a medical miracle until test results indicated that she was still clinically dead. No pulse. No heart beat. No respiration. No nothing. She should have been lying on a cold slab in the morgue, but instead she was up and walking around. Well, shambling around would have been a better descriptor. You could see from the film footage that it was an effort for her to put one foot in front of the other, like a marionette with an inept puppeteer pulling the strings. The news commentator did state that the woman, whose name was being withheld, did seem to have a healthy appetite. At the time they had failed to mention what the woman had had a craving for. It hadn’t come out until the next day that she had killed the morgue attendant, had partially eaten his body, and he too had come back from the dead. He had been found been found on the third floor of the hospital, in the maternity ward. Enough said there, but there was no way of knowing how many people he had infected, as he had been free to roam the building the entire night before being found in the morning. The hospital had been placed under quarantine, but not before whatever it was that was causing the dead to rise up had escaped from the facility. The way the plague was spreading morbidly reminded Dave of that old Faberge shampoo commercial, the one that said, “I told two friends, and we told two friends, and so on and so on. . .” By the end of that first week, reports of the walking dead were pouring in from all across the United States , and by the middle of the second week, the situation had gone global.

A tension beneath his hands brought Dave out of the past and back into the present. Only one thing could spark this sudden reaction in his lover.

On the street below, stumbling from the shadows into the harsh glare of the streetlight was a woman. Or what was once a woman. You couldn’t think of them as people anymore, not when your very survival depended on your ability to put a bullet through their heads. Or an axe. Whatever it took to damage the brain. It was a short trip to insanity if you couldn’t put that kind of distance between yourself and them. It was a concept Mark still had difficulty wrapping his mind around. Whenever he saw one, he froze, like the proverbial deer in the headlights, unable to believe that the thing before him meant to do him harm. Even four flights up, in the safety of their apartment, he still suffered a strong reaction to the walking dead. If Dave hadn’t been around, Mark would have joined their ranks weeks ago. No matter how often he tried to drill it into his lover’s head, Mark still lived in the world of Denial.

Tightening his left arm around Mark’s shoulders, Dave’s right hand soothingly caressed the other man’s bare chest. Together they watched the zombie shamble its way down the street. Its gait was uneven, having lost one of its high-heeled shoes somewhere along the way. Dave fought to suppress a chuckle as an old nursery rhyme from his childhood played through his head: Deedle deedle dumpling, my son John, went to bed with his stockings on. One shoe off and one shoe on. . . His laughter would only serve to aggravate Mark’s delicate condition, but trying to find humor in this Romero Film Fest come to life was the only way he was able to retain his tentative hold on sanity. That, and the man in his arms. Mark had no clue how much he relied on the him to be his anchor. Without Mark, would there really be any point in going on?

As it continued on its way, the couple could see that the back of the thing’s blood-stained blouse had been shredded, exposing skin that had been repeatedly clawed at by undead fingers eager for warm meat. The smooth flesh of its arms and legs was marred by ragged wounds where the skin had been bitten and ripped away.

Dave placed a gentle kiss on the top of his lover’s head and tried to gently pull him away from the window. “Come back to bed,” he whispered. “I want to make an early start.”

Mark tilted his head and looked up at him. “We’re still going?”

Dave nodded.

“But why? We’re safe here. Why can’t we stay here?”

“Babe, we’ve been over this before,” Dave explained for what seemed like the hundredth time as he led Mark back to their bed and gently pushed him down on the mattress. At times like this, Dave felt as if he was dealing with a child rather than a grown man. Mark allowed himself to be tucked in, but his eyes never left Dave as the man rounded the bed and crawled in next to him. Pulling Mark close and holding him tight, Dave sighed. “It’s not going to be safe for long. You heard what they said on the news. Those things are being drawn to the cities for some reason. We need to leave before we’re trapped here.”

“But this is our home,” Mark mumbled sleepily.

“Home is where the heart is, Sweetie,” Dave whispered in his lover’s ear. “And my heart is with you. Always. Wherever we go, as long as we have each other, we’ll always be home.” Dave knew how corny and cliché that sounded, but it was what Mark needed to hear. He needed the reassurance that they would always be together, even though Dave knew it was a promise he couldn’t keep. As he had said earlier, shit happens, and while he would do his damnedest to keep them both alive, he couldn’t guarantee that he would always be successful. Dave waited until he knew the other man was asleep before allowing himself to close his eyes and let sleep claim him.

* * *

The street looked like the abandoned set of some post-apocalyptic war movie. Civilization had devolved so quickly once the dead started walking, and it had rapidly become every man for himself. The police had given up trying to stop the looting; they had bigger fish to fry as they tried to stem the growth of the booming undead population. It was a problem they found near to impossible to contain; the civilian casualties were adding to the undead ranks faster than the police and military could cut them down. As a result, not a store front had been spared. It didn’t seem to matter what the store sold, from flower shops to sex shops, the jewelry stores and the video stores, if there was something to be had for the taking, it had been taken.

Standing on the corner of Bleeker and Christopher Streets, Dave waited for Mark to come down. He felt a pang of guilt as a patrol car passed by a block away, heading south along Seventh Avenue . Probably headed for City Hall to defend the City’s illustrious mayor. So many of his fellow officers had already abandoned their posts in the name of self-preservation, packing up their families and getting the hell out of Dodge before the much-dreaded dam broke and the dead came pouring into the city. He refused to judge them because as much as he had cursed them out at the time, here he was about to do the same thing. He would just be one more body who didn’t show up for roll-call this morning.

A sound drew his attention and he turned to look up the street. Across from the apartment building, the door to the boarded-up bar opened and a man stepped out. He was a tall man dressed in black jeans and a blue denim shirt, and while not fat, the man’s fondness for the bottle was beginning to become evident in the slight paunch he carried. His wavy brown hair, which normally hung loose to his shoulders, was pulled back in a ponytail, exposing the profile of a handsome bearded face. In his right hand was a 12-guage he had looted from one of the sporting goods stores.

Dave started up the street towards the bar. “Hey, Dean,” he called out so as not to startle his friend.

Dean Miller didn’t respond at first, only watched Dave approach. As Dave pulled up even with the man, Dean eyed the backpack strapped to Dave’s shoulders. “Finally abandoning the sinking ship, huh?”

Offering up an embarrassed grin, Dave said, “Yeah. The gun shots last night clinched it.”

“Didn’t hear it.”

You wouldn’t, Dave thought bitterly. Probably drank yourself into oblivion. “It’s getting worse. Mark. . .”

The bigger man cut him off with a wave of the hand. “Don’t need to explain yourself. You’ve been talking about it the past few days.”

“You sure we can’t convince you to come along?”

Dean shook his head. “They’ll get them under control.”

“That’s not what they were saying on the News.”

“And when have they ever been right? Christ, they can’t even get the weather right.”

Dave bit his tongue. The bartender could be as stubborn as all hell, and was there really any point in arguing? Comparing a weather forecast to a zombie apocalypse? The man was almost as bad as Mark when it came to living in denial. Dave wished he could be so lucky, but he had always been a realist, even as a kid. He knew his mother slept around. There was no sugar coating that fact. Just like there was no way to paint a rosy picture of the fact that his father liked to suck cock. His old man drank heavily, and then blamed the alcohol, but Dave knew the booze lowered his father’s inhibitions and allowed him to give in to his baser desires. It was also the only way of alleviating the guilt of betrayal he had felt every time he had one of his trysts. When the man was sober, the venom that spewed from his mouth towards the fags made Dave fear for his safety when he was younger.

© 2010 Michael J. Evans

No comments:

Post a Comment