Thursday, September 18, 2014

The first draft of Chapter One


     There were five corpses milling about the corner of Oak Street and Maple Circle.  They had no real goal in particular.  Some paced back and forth, some walked in circles, and one was just sitting in the lawn of number 316 pulling grass and tossing it into the air.  He’d been at it so long that two crescents of bare earth lay on either side of him.
     Across the street Robert and Susan were standing at the door looking through the glass.  It was tough to do since most of the glass was frosted over and just the borders remained clear.  But it was also better since it kept others from seeing in.
     After staying in their house for a week the middle-aged couple was doing fairly well.  Susan, who normally kept her hair in pristine condition, felt herself a mess, but compared to most of the survivors she looked immaculate.  Her red hair, dyed, was quite clean and well combed.  Her housedress was clean and starched.  It was the last of its kind in the closet.
     Robert was in “weekend” clothes.  Simple pants, not different from those that were for work accept they weren’t professionally tailored.  His shirt was a simple polo shirt.  The pale blue color matched Susan’s earrings.  This was not an accident.  He was clean-shaven and his comb-over still managed to fool no one that he had begun losing his hair before graduating high school.
     “We just run across the street, get into the car and drive away,” Susan said.
     “We just have to wait for the right time.  Until they’re all far enough from the car that we can outrun them.”
     They waited.  After a short time they decided that the five people outside were sufficiently distant from their car to go for it.  They counted to three and ran.
     Using the keyless entry, Robert unlocked the Explorer, which beeped loudly.  The few shufflers that hadn’t seen them running now looked up and noticed.  Five of them were making their best effort to get to them.  One had tripped into a trash can and was currently struggling, upside down, to get out of the can; another, with only one leg, was crawling towards them; the grass picker hadn’t even looked up and the other two were gnawing on either end of what used to be a house cat.
     “I’ll drive,” Robert yelled out as he got to the driver’s door.  Susan ran to the other side of the car.  She’d tried to open the door but it was still locked.
     “You have to hit the button twice!” she said.  But Robert was already in the car and didn’t understand her.
     “What?” he called out.
     “You have to unlock this,” she began, but didn’t finish.  The man sitting on the grass had gotten up, walked up behind her and grabbed her by putting his arm across her neck.  Now he stepped forward and shoved her face into the window.
     Robert jumped out of the driver’s side with an umbrella in his hand and started around the car wielding it like a weapon.  “You son of a bitch!”
     “Back off man!” screamed the grass puller, his blue plaid shirt threatening to fall apart.  I’ll rip out her god damned jugular with my teeth if you come any closer.”  He then put his teeth on her neck, which made her wince.  Susan couldn’t make a sound though, so tight was the man’s grip on her.  She was turning a bit blue.
     Robert stopped where he was, but didn’t put down the umbrella.  He now took a good look at the man and noticed his skin was peeling off his face.  Much of his hair had fallen out, in chunks, and there was a huge gash on his left cheek that made it possible to see his jawbone.
     “Just give me the keys and I’ll let her go.”
     “But… but… you’re dead.”
     “Good job, Einstein.  And she will be too unless you hand me the damned keys.”  He smashed her face into the window again.  This loosened her grip for just long enough for her to gasp and inhale fresh air.  Blood began to trickle down her face.
     “Fine, here,” Robert said as he slowly approached the man holding his wife hostage.  But when Robert got close enough the man grabbed his hand, pulled him closer and threw Susan to the ground where she lay, nearly paralyzed, trying to catch her breath.
     Robert was so caught off guard that he was soon in the same position as Susan had been.  Struggling, he managed to kick backward and hit his captor in the crotch.  The man didn’t move.
     “Stupid.  Dead men don’t feel pain.”  He laughed a bit and pulled Robert closer, clamping down on his throat tighter.  Susan still sat, unable to comprehend the full details of what was going on.
     The man looked at her over her husbands shoulder.  “By the way, the name’s Jesse.  Sorry for the head, but he looks much tastier than you.”  With that, Jesse took a giant bite out of Robert’s neck whose mouth opened to scream, but the air simply exited the gaping hole in his throat making bloody bubbles.
     At this point, Jesse dropped him and swallowed what he’d bitten of.  It got caught in his throat and he used his hand to push it down.  It looked like a snake swallowing a rat.  The large bulge slowly going down until it passed into Jesse’s stomach.  He wiped the blood off his sleeve and extended a hand to Susan.
     “So, seeing as how you’re now single, I was wondering if you were free tonight?”
     This was what broke her out of her trance.  She screamed, stood up, and ran back to the door to her house.  Some of the corpses that had made their way to the car by now turned to follow her to the door.  But two kept moving towards Jesse and Robert’s body. They were now within a few feet.
     Jesse looked at them and hissed.  “I made the kill, I get first dibs.  So back off.”  It seemed to work.  They didn’t back off but they did stop advancing.  Jesse put his foot down on Roberts shoulder and pulled on his arm.  After a few grunts and one guttural roar he managed to rip the entire arm off.
     Jesse ripped the keys out of the hand and threw them to the ground.  He removed the sleeve from the severed arm and used it to tie the wrist of the arm to his belt.
     Robert’s body began twitching and suddenly his eyes opened.  Seeing that Robert had revived, Jesse looked down at him and said, “I’ll just save this for later.”
     Looking at the two hungry corpses only feet away Jesse told them, “He’s all yours.”
     They waited no longer.  They dove onto the new body and started ripping pieces off it.  Robert tried to scream, but still, the hole in his neck prevented any noise from escaping.
     Jesse calmly picked up the keys wishing, in a way, that he’d not have killed the man.  “Fuck that.  No sense giving a shit about him,” he thought to himself. “He’d have died sooner or later.  Everyone will.  Another day, another arm.”

He got in the car but didn’t close the door.  He watched as Susan’s door was broken into by three dead people.  One still remained in the trash can.  Silently he closed the car door and started the car.  Before long he turned down a side street and 316 Maple was out of view, and out of mind.