AtoZ2014: Zipper

Zipper

Carmen heard Doug screaming for help at the door and ran to the entrance. She was stopped short by the armed guards who barred her from entering the small outer alcove.

“You’ve got to let him in!”

“We’ve got to make sure it’s safe first,” the man said through his face mask. He pushed Carmen aside and into the waiting arms of one of the other men. The guards opened the inner doors, stepped through clicking the lock into place behind them.

Carmen could hear them through the wood, getting reading to open the outer doors, as she played with the zipper on her sweater absentmindedly. She hoped they’d be able to get Doug inside safely…

***

Doug turned to scan the area behind him when he heard the activity on the other side of the double doors. In a state of shock he watched the horde round the church’s gates, hearing their cries of success. He was in their sites and there was nothing he could do about it.

Having thrown caution to the wind, Doug had led them right back to the church, threatening the safety of all inside.

“You’re going to have to leave!”

The voice came from beyond the pane of wood, startling Doug into turning back around.

“What?”

“You need to leave. We can’t open the doors with this many of them out there,” the voice tried to reason with him. “If you don’t lead them away, they’ll do whatever they can to get inside.”

Through his haze of panic, Doug knew what he was saying was true, but that didn’t stop him from wanting to escape the oncoming horde. “Where am I going to go? I can’t outrun them all night!”

On the opposite side of the door, the men shared a look before one answered, “You’re going to have to try. This door isn’t opening and if you want to die right there, so be it.”

Shocked at the answer, Doug whirled around again. Spying a break in the yard’s fence, he ran for it, knowing it was his only chance. He wondered if he would ever see his wife again, kiss her smiling face, but had to stow the feeling of sadness that overwhelmed him in order to run. There would be time later to think of sentimental things, but now was the time to run…

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

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AtoZ2014: Yellow

Yellow

As darkness fell, Carmen’s worry increased. Doug was outside, alone, and no one seemed to understand how dangerous the situation was. At least there was nothing to prevent her from thinking that way.

Sister Mary Francis poked her head in often, trying to make sure Carmen was okay. The constant scrutiny only made her angrier and soon she was actively attacking the nun with words each time her pleasant face appeared. But that didn’t deter the sister—in fact she understood Carmen was just as close to acceptance as she was to losing it completely.

“You doing okay dear?”

“What the fuck do you think?” Carmen responded.

To her credit, the nun didn’t react to the curse, instead choosing to offer a sympathetic smile, “I know this is a difficult time for you. Try to hang in there and be positive.

Carmen grimaced at the women, knowing there wasn’t much else she could do. That didn’t make it any easier—Carmen was crawling the walls with worry and inactivity. “Platitudes aren’t going to solve the issue Sister. We need to get out there and find Doug ASAP.”

“We’ll go out as soon as it’s light again. Even you must be able to hear the cries of the undead, God rest their souls, from here…” As soon as the words were out, Sister Mary Francis regretted them.

“Of course I can hear them! Did you think mentioning it was going to make me feel better?” Carmen spat, her anger beginning to rise again.

“I’m sorry dear.” It was all the nun said before disappearing again.

***

Doug ran through the streets, his panic taking over in his haste to escape. He had no idea where he was going and had somehow managed to turn himself around in the crisscrossing network of streets.

Echoing in the background, the constant shrieks of the monsters kept him moving. Every turn was calculated to lead him away from them, but each time he turned, Doug ran the risk of walking right into another roving horde.

Rounding yet another corner, Doug finally spied an area he recognized. He was only two short blocks from the church and the warm, comforting arms of his wife. Doug dashed forward, trying to close the distance between himself and the fortified building that beckoned to him with sanctuary.

An angry shriek burst from the cross street, startling him into stopping for a moment. He watched as a creature approached him, noting the yellowed skin and milky white eyes. Doug shuddered in fear before sprinting in the direction of the church’s entrance, noting the growing horde of monsters amassing in the street just beyond the one who’d first spotted him.

His mind spun with expletives as he cursed his bad luck so close to home. He charged into the yard, clamouring up the steps as quickly as he could. Knocking frantically on the double doors, he screamed for anyone to let him in.

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Xenophobia

Xenophobia

With the keening in the distance, Doug knew he was going to have to move. He simply couldn’t stay where he was and live to tell the tale…

“What are you doing?”

The voice came from across the street, a cross between a whisper and a yell.

Doug looked toward the voice, the rest of his body staying frozen in place. In his periphery, he saw the worried countenance of a young man.

“Dude, I’m talking to you!” The voice was more insistent, bordering on the incredulous at this point.

The shrieks grew in intensity; they were close.

Suddenly Doug felt a hand on his shoulder, startling him into activity. Doug raised his hand in defense, thinking it was one of the monsters as he released a panicked scream.

“Dude, it’s just me.” The hand belonged to the young man who’d come to help him. “Sheesh, I was just trying to help…”

Doug didn’t know what to say, trying hard to get his heart rate under control.

“We need to get out of the street. Can you move?”

Finding his voice Doug responded, “I think so.” There was a wariness in his words that puzzled the man who stood before him.

“Okay, let’s go then. They’ll be here soon…” He kept glancing over his shoulder, expecting to see the undead rounding the last corner.

“I have a group. I can go find them,” Doug answered, pulling himself away from his saviour.

“You don’t have that kind of time man. We need to go right now. There’s a place just over there – lots of people, but it’s safe.”

The young man barely got the words out before Doug had pulled away from him and bolted in the direction of the church. Doug’s panic had nothing to do with the young man; he suffered from Xenophobia but was able to control it as long as Carmen was around. Without his wife, strangers scared the living shit out of him.

As the zombies rounded the corner, the young man was already inside his building, safe for the moment, and Doug had just disappeared from their line of sight. Catching the whiffs of fresh flesh on the air, the horde tracked the scent, their cries echoing off the buildings as they set off after the fleeing man.

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

5 Questions with Jack Wallen

Today on Days with the Undead is an interview with author Jack Wallen. For those of you unfamiliar with Jack, here’s a little information about him…

jackJack Wallen is a seeker of truth and a writer of words. Although he resides in the unlikely city of Louisville, Kentucky, he likes to think of himself more as an interplanetary soul … or so he tells the reflection in the mirror. He is the author of the I Zombie series which is set to release the first-ever spinoff series called The Last Casket staring the psychobilly band Kitty in a Casket.

Welcome Jack! Let’s get into the questions… Tell us about your zombies? If the dead were to rise, do you think you’d stand a chance against them?

At the moment, there are five types of zombies in my series. By name, they are:

    • Moaners
    • Screamers
    • Berzerkers
    • Boners
    • Subject 001

I think, if careful, anyone could survive the Moaners – so long as you didn’t wind up getting caught up in a horde of the bastards. Once you get beyond that, your chances grow ever more slim. Screamers are nasty beasts filled with rage and faster than you might think. Berzerkers are a mutated form of Screamers. Boners… are not what you think and I won’t give either them or Subject 001 away.

What was your first experience with zombie media? Was that experience was drew into writing the genre?

My first experience with zombies was the Romero canon. I’ve been a big fan of the genre since I was a kid. I’ve loved horror since elementary school, when I found a heart full of adoration for Halloween and B-Horror films. I started out writing thrillers, knowing that my goal was horror. Oddly enough, I wanted to begin my career as a horror writer only when I felt like I had the skills to do so. After publishing three thrillers (The Fringe Killer series) and two fantasy books (The Shero series), I knew I was ready and so I embarked on what will be a life-long career of writing horror.

Pop Quiz: The item to your left is your only weapon during the Zombie Apocalypse. What is it and what do you think are your chances at survival?

My mobile phone. If we’re in my universe – I could survive with it, so long as I could download a copy of the Obliterator sound. It wouldn’t kill them, but at least I could repel the undead from me (and, if it were loud enough, get them to smash their own brains out).

Unfortunately, there’s no telling what the world of Zombies is going to look like which would likely mean your cell phone isn’t going to help you… List your five favourite pieces of Zombie media:

Zombies Ate My Neighbors (Old SNES game)

The Groovy Ghoulies album Re-Animation Festival (punk band)

Return of the Living Dead (movie)

Shaun of the Dead (movie)

Rob Zombie (musician/director) (Editor’s Note: I’m not sure Rob Zombie applies as he’s technically not a form of Zombie media, but we’ll go with it 🙂 )

We all know that we sometimes have bad luck. Keeping that in mind, what song do you think would get stuck in your head, playing over and over again on an incessant loop?

In the apocalypse? Oh God. If I were REALLY unlucky, it would be Cher’s “Believe”. If that happened, and I couldn’t get it out of my head, I might just seek out a zombie and beg him to release me from my pain.

Thank you Jack for taking the time to answer my questions. If you’d like to connect with jack, you can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Amazon, his website and Zombie Radio.

Now let’s take a look at Jack’s The Last Casket… Don’t forget to click on the cover to be taken to Amazon!

The Last CasketWhen flesh-melting rock faces off against the undead horde, who will be left standing?

All hell breaks loose, when rock and the apocalypse collide. In this first spinoff of the popular I Zombie series, psychobilly band Kitty in a Casket kick the undead horde’s ass with their special flavor of rock.

Follow Kitty and her band to a dive bar in the middle of the apocalyptic landscape and raise your fist as they prove themselves worthy destroyers of zombies, cannibalism, and the Mengele Virus.

AtoZ2014: Wait

Wait

“We tried everything we could Carmen, but we just couldn’t get him to move.”

“So you just left him out there?” Carmen screamed back at the pair who stood before her.

“What else were we going to do? He just froze!” Bill tried to reason with her, “There were a few times in the warehouse where it looked like he’d do the same thing, but he managed to pull it together. Why did neither of you tell us he had an issue?”

All eyes focussed on Carmen as she struggled to answer through her anger. “Doug didn’t want to say anything. Things had been going so well that he figured it was over. I should have known that he wasn’t ready…” The tears started to stream down her face as she said the last words.

“Carmen, you cannot beat yourself up too much. What’s done is done.” Sister Mary Francis piped up with the unwanted words of wisdom from where she stood on the fringes of the group.

Carmen’s gaze rounded on her, her mind exploding with the weight of the words. “You think to leave him out there don’t you? You have no right to just leave him out there!”

Bill answered for the Sister. “We have to wait before we can go out. It’s going to be dark soon and there’s no telling what we could encounter on the streets.”

“He won’t survive the night…” Carmen begged, trying to implore them to go out again, even in the face of certain danger. “We need to go out and find him.”

Sister Mary Frances and Bill shared a look between them; no one was leaving the church that night and there were no words that would make it happen.

“I’m sorry Carmen,” said Sister Mary Francis, her voice filled with regret and compassion.

Carmen’s eyes blazed with anger before falling into a state of dejection. She knew there was nothing she could do to change their minds. Going to her cubicle, she lay down on the bed and tried not to let her sobs interrupt the rest of the community.

***

As the sun set, Doug knew he needed to move. He knew he needed to get off the street, but his arms and legs wouldn’t obey his commands.

And to make matters worse he could hear the unmistakable vocalizations of the undead in the distance, getting closer by the minute.

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Vinegar

Vinegar

Carmen was assigned to kitchen duty, not a job she particularly liked or hated. It was just something for her to do while she waited for Doug to get back with the rest of the team.

There was something comforting in the monotony of cutting and mixing that calmed her nerves. Doug was out there without her for the first time since he’d become a veritable shut-in—she had no control over what was happening to him and couldn’t intervene with her tried and tested fixes if his brain and body froze on him. The thought worried her more than she let on, even to herself. She loved the man dearly, but there were more times than she cared to admit where he’d put their lives in serious danger.

“Oh shit!” Carmen exclaimed as she spilled a full bottle of vinegar into the bean salad she was preparing. Her mind elsewhere, she’d just let the vessel empty completely into the large mixing bowl. Hoping the salad wasn’t ruined, she strained out the beans as best she could and wondered if the vinegar was worth saving…

“We’ve all done that,” a voice said quietly from behind her.

Carmen turned her to head to look at Virginia, another woman helping in the kitchens that day. “Done what?”

“Gotten so far away we forgot what we were doing,” she answered. “I dumped a whole jar of cinnamon into a batch of pancakes about three weeks ago while I was lost in my own thoughts.”

Carmen stared at her, unsure of why she was being told the story. “What happened to the pancakes?”

“I scooped out what I could and cooked them. Not much else to do.” The woman smiled as she stirred a spoon around the inside of the bowl in front of her. “If anyone complained, I didn’t hear it.”

Carmen and Virginia laughed conspiratorially, stopping only when Sister Mary Francis came into the room.

“Carmen, the team was spotted coming up the road. I thought you might like to be there when Doug gets in.”

“Thank Sister! Is it okay that I leave this and go?”

Virginia answered, “You go and I’ll worry about the bean salad.”

Carmen turned to smile at the woman and said, “Thank you so much! I really appreciate it,” before taking off to the nave upstairs. As she rounded the last corner, she saw the men making their way into the room, but there were only two of them.

And neither of them was Doug.

“What happened? Where’s Doug?” Carmen screamed while rushing up to the men.

 All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Under

Under

Gerald heaved himself over the window’s sill and dropped to the ground under it. He bent his knees as he hit the ground, but it didn’t stop him from falling backward onto the asphalt. Sitting up, he knew he had to move, but the fall had winded him just a little. After a pause, he stood and moved to the left, his gaze tuned to the window about 12 feet above him.

Inside, Doug scrambled up the ladder as Bill held it in place. Getting to the window, he pushed the pane open and looked outside. Seeing Gerald, he smiled. It was a good sign that the first man down hadn’t hurt himself during the plummet.

Swinging his leg over the sill, Doug sat on the edge, trying to figure out the best way to swing the other leg over and then drop. He knew he didn’t have much time, but didn’t want to make an error in his haste either.

“Doug?” It was Bill.

“I’m going Bill; just need a second to orient myself. You gonna be okay to get up the ladder after I’m gone?”

“I’m actually wondering if it’s best you stay there until I join you.”

“Whaddya mean?”

“Well, if you’re perched there, you can hold the ladder at least a little bit for me. It’s likely not going to shift, but it would be nice to know there are a set of hands on at least one end as I climb.”

“Ummm, sure,” Doug said as he bent to take the top rung in both hands. It was awkward, but if it meant everyone getting out safely, he was willing to suffer through the discomfort.

“Doug, what’s taking you so long?” Gerald yelled from the ground.

Doug looked down and said, “I’m holding the ladder from this end while Bill climbs. He thought it would be more helpful if I did.”

Gerald’s face scrunched up at the news and then returned to normal. “Okay, just hurry up!”

Bill started to climb the ladder, getting to the top in short order. He swung his leg over the sill, just barely missing Doug’s head in the process.

“Okay what do we do now?” Doug asked as he looked from the hordes below him to the outside.

“We need to drop to the ground and get back to the church before Razor and his friends find us,” Bill answered. “Now you swing your other leg over and drop down. I’ll wait here while you do.”

Doug let go of the ladder, expecting it to drop but it stayed where it was as he maneuvered his right leg over the edge and dropped until he hung on by his fingertips. The ground came sooner than he thought it would and he forgot to bend with the fall. Pain shot up his left leg, up through his knee, causing him to stumble and fall.

Gerald was there immediately, his hands checking for breaks. Finding none, he pulled Doug to his feet and away from the space under the window.

“You okay Doug?” Bill asked from his perch above them.

“Yeah, I think so…” Doug answered, pain colouring his voice. “Nothing broken at least. Let’s hope it’s just a sprain.”

Bill soon joined them on the ground without incident and the trio took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. It was a narrow escape, but they had no time to waste. They needed to get away from the warehouse and hope that no one saw them escape.

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Tunnel

Tunnel

“How the fuck are we going to get over there?” Gerald wondered aloud. The window was about a hundred feet across the warehouse from them and they no longer had access to the floor.

“We’re going to use the ladder to cross from shelf to shelf,” Bill stated, his eyes never leaving the window.

Gerald glanced down at the floor below them, at the faces which stared up at them, imagining he could see the hunger in the eyes of the undead. One small error in crossing would mean death for them. “Are you sure?”

“Have you got a better idea?”

“Uhhh, no.”

“Then we have to at least give it a try. Otherwise we’re stuck here until something else happens.” Bill’s logic was sound as he added, “Besides, I have a feeling that Razor and his friends aren’t going to just leave us here to sort this mess out for ourselves. They’ll be back and I don’t want to be here when they do.”

Grabbing the ladder and making toward the end of the shelving unit, Bill looked back at Doug, “You about ready to come with us?”

Doug focussed on him and nodded, his hands falling back to his sides. Resigned, he followed the pair across the planked surface of the top shelf.

At the edge, the trio looked down, seeing the crowd of decomposing bodies reaching up for them. Gerald and Bill struggled to line the awkward weight of the ladder across the divide, almost losing to it to the ground more than once. Finally seating it, they stood and gathered their wits. Each one knew the dangers, but they’d have to stow it all away if they wanted to get out of the warehouse alive.

“Okay Gerald, you go first, then Doug. Once you’re both across I’ll bring up the rear. If we’re careful and quick, I think we can cross to the shelf closest to the window in about half an hour or less. That should give us lots of time before they’ll come back to check on us.”

Gerald nodded and placed a foot onto the first rung of the ladder, opting to walk across instead of crawl. His progress was slow and there were a few moments where balance acted as his enemy, but Gerald was able to cross safely. It was Doug’s turn.

Opting to place his trust in his hands and knees, Doug began to crawl across the rungs of the ladder, trying very hard not to look down to see the horde that reached up for him.

A slip of his hand on one of the treads caused Doug to collapse on the ladder, his gaze riveted to the hands that fell just a few feet short of him. He hugged the steel frame, his eyes squeezing shut.

“Doug, you’re going to need to move man!” Bill said from where he stood. There was no way he’d be able to cross if Doug didn’t get off the ladder and there was no way he wanted to linger any longer than he had to. Besides, there was no telling if the ladder would hold both of their weights without buckling.

Doug knew he needed to move. He knew he needed to get back on his knees and get to the other side. Focussing his gaze, he stared at Gerald, his vision tunnelling until all he could see was the opposite side. Finding the strength to move, he clamoured quickly to the end of the ladder, his foot jarring the frame toward the edge.

Both Gerald and Bill screamed, the pair rushing to save the ladder that would grant them possible salvation. By the skin of his teeth, Gerald just managed to get a hand on the top rung as it began to fall, the opposite end still on the side with Bill.

But Bill had grabbed the ladder as well, beginning to pull it toward him, with Gerald in tow. It all happened so quickly, Gerald being pulled off the shelf by Bill, and Doug turning to grab onto Gerald’s legs before it was too late. All the while the hands strained from below, trying to reach the impossible heights of their prey.

Doug pulled Gerald back onto the shelf, collapsing on top of him once he was sure he was safe. The pair stayed in a heap, collecting their breaths before reseating the ladder for Bill. In a few moments Bill was across as well and they were moving onto the next chasm.

Finally getting to the last shelf, the sized up what they had to do next. The window was just a short distance away, but it was over zombie-infested ground. Deciding to use the ladder, they propped it against the wall, Gerald scaling it to investigate the window and what was on its other side. He pushed it open to survey the asphalt below.

It was clear, but how would they all be able to get out? Someone needed to hold the ladder tight against the wall; otherwise it might slip and toss the last person to his death…

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Square

Square

It was the sound that any of them would have like to have heard. But life had a way of throwing a square peg into a round hole every once in a while…

With the first shriek, the group knew they were in the fight of their lives. Backtracking as quickly as they could, they looked for an option that would take them off the floor and out of the creature’s direct line of sight. It was their only chance.

“There!” Gerald said as he pointed to a ladder that leant against one of the shelving units.

Quickly scaling the ladder, all but one of the men made it up the ladder before the horde descending upon them. Screaming as he was plucked from the steel frame, Kevin fought off the monsters, but soon lost the battle as he was overwhelmed. Looking down, the rest of the group saw the faces of those who didn’t get a bit sizing up the ladder, the first trying to coordinate its limbs to climb.

“Pull the fucking ladder up now!” Bill yelled as he assessed the situation from the higher vantage point.

Doug and Gerald started to haul the ladder up toward them, but felt the weight of the creature on its end. Shaking in unison, they tried to dislodge the hitchhiker. It didn’t work.

Pulling his gun up with one hand, Gerald took aim and fired, the head of the zombie exploding as its hand lost its grasp. Finally free of the weight, they brought the ladder quickly to the top and joined Bill in his survey.

Below them the feeding frenzy continued alongside the keening of the others who were denied a tasty morsel. The noise grated on their nerves in the confines of the warehouse; what was a large space reduced as the empty space was filled with shrieking.

“I don’t know how much I can take of this…” Doug held his hands over his ears, trying desperately to block out the noise but failing.

Bill and Gerald both gave him a look, recognizing Doug’s lack of seasoning in the field. The pair shared a look between them, their gaze communicating how neither one wanted to have to deal with a useless member of the team.

“You see that window over there?” Bill pointed to the left as the gaze of the other two followed in that direction. “If we can make it over there, I think we can get out of here.”

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

AtoZ2014: Razor

Razor

The group immediately recognized the danger they were now in, falling back to a location where they could easily watch each other’s backs.

“We only fire if it’s absolutely necessary, got it?” Bill led the group with ultimate authority and wanted to ensure they didn’t waste their ammunition.

A voice interrupted from above them, “So fellas what have we caught in our web today?”

All eyes focussed on the darkness above them, knowing the voice had come out of it. The men struggled to peer into the shadows, to make out any shapes they could. The gloom hid their captors well.

“What do you want with us?” Bill asked the question as his gaze swept the dark above them. “Let us go and no one has to get hurt.”

His answer came in peals of laughter that echoed off the steel walls of the structure. “Hurt? You think you’ll be able to hurt us? Look at where you are…”

With no answer forthcoming from Bill, or any of the men for that matter, the strong voice continued, “You came into my warehouse and that’s something you need to remember.”

“Who are you?” It was worth taking the chance he’d answer.

“You can call me Razor.”

“What do you need in order to make this easy for us Razor? We just want to leave.”

Razor laughed again, “Leave? What makes you think you’ll be leaving?”

A noise from the back drew their attention. It sounded like nails being dragged down a chalkboard, many of the men sticking a finger into their ears in an attempt to relieve the irritation of the noise.

“You’d better go investigate if you want even a shred of a chance…”

The silence became sinister; Doug and the group knew what had likely been unleashed among them. Moving as a unit, they slunk through the darkened warehouse looking for confirmation, but not wanting to find it.

Rounding a corner the shriek caught them off-guard. Ahead lingered a large number of the undead, their heads in the air, smelling the subtly of their scents. As the slack faces turned to stare at them through dead eyes, visceral fear rooted in the hearts of the men. With no way out they were trapped and the monsters were unyielding in their resolve. They would stop at nothing until they caught their prey.

It was either kill or be killed, but would their ammo last? And what else was hiding in the dim corners of the warehouse? There was no telling how many other horrors Razor and his friends had waiting for them…

All rights reserved © 2014 Julianne Snow

Doesn’t have much to do with this portion of the tale, but darkness is darkness…