Read This Rotten World (Book 1) Online

Authors: The Vocabulariast

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

This Rotten World (Book 1) (3 page)

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
12.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
Chapter 5: Joan

 

Her phone
rang at 2 A.M. Being on call was literally the worst thing that had ever
happened to her... yet.  There she had been dreaming about swimming in warm
ocean water as blue as a Smurf's bottom while shirtless guys waded through the
surf to bring her colorful drinks in hollowed-out coconuts, then blam! That
damn phone goes off, causing her to sit bolt upright and sending her cat flying
through her apartment, but not before it could dig two painful furrows in the
flesh of her legs. And for what? To go help the dumbest and the lowest that
Portland had to offer. At 2 A.M. you were always dealing with one of three
things... some dumbass with something stuffed up their ass, some dumbass who
had gotten too drunk or high, or the poor bastard that had been run over by
someone who had gotten too drunk or high... occasionally they had something
stuffed up their ass as well.

She
shrugged into her white doctor's coat and looked at herself in the mirror. It
was going to have to be a ponytail day. Joan quickly brushed her teeth,
spitting mouthfuls of old, dead bacteria into the sink and watching them whisk
away down the drain to a place where no one ever had to pull a grapefruit out
of someone's asshole. She had learned long ago that there's absolutely no
reason to look nice when one was working late at night at the hospital. You
didn't want to look pretty for some of the trash that walked into the place in
the dead of morning. She plopped some wet food into her cat's dish and walked
out of the door, keys jangling and brown ponytail bobbing back and forth.

Her drive
through the city was peaceful. 2:30 in the morning wasn't bad if you wanted to
get somewhere. The night was cool, and the heat of the day had faded into a
crisp, almost autumnish feel. But autumn was still a few months away. In the
meantime, it was time to help stupid people who had maimed themselves in one
way or another. It was the time of barbecue accidents, fireworks injuries, and
rashes caused by the shaving of pubic hair, which people inevitably thought
might be herpes. It was a glorious time to be a doctor. As soon as she walked
in the door, she was inundated with a never-ending parade of dumbass.

Her first
patient was drunk and burned. The man, who was wearing a Portland Timbers
jersey, had a second degree burn on his arm. In addition to the burn he no
longer had eyebrows and half his mustache was missing.

"Alright,
what happened?" she asked.

"The
barbecue..." he started. Then, having lost his train of thought, he merely
made a noise imitating an explosion and then giggled a bit. She straightened
him up when he began to lean perilously to the side, as if he were going to
pass out. He was in a daze mostly as she put the dressing on his arm, which was
probably a good thing for him, as the pain most likely would have required some
sort of sedative had he not already been three sheets to the wind. When she was
finished, she left him where he was, and told the R.N. to find him a room, so
he could be re-examined again later.

The next
person she saw wasn't much better off, but at least she wasn't drunk. She was
just so ill that she had no idea what was really going on. She was an older
lady, her hair white and curly, the fine gray down on her lips shone underneath
the fluorescent lights, slick with her own mucus. Her husband stood off to the
side, wringing his hands in a concerned manner. As she was examining the woman,
who was clad only in a stained nightgown that clung to her sweaty body, she
leaned to the side and deposited some bile on the floor.

Down the
hall, she could hear a commotion building. She heard the shattering of glass
and muted yelling and thought, "Great... another junkie." As she
installed an I.V. on the patient in front of her, she had no idea how wrong she
was.

Chapter 6: Clara

 

The walls
dripped moisture. The hot breath of the packed concert hall's sweaty patrons
clung to her own sticky body. The music thumped, vibrating through the air and
her body as she ran through the circle, pumping her fist and screaming along
with the music.

Clara
should be sleeping, or at the very least, dead tired. Tuesday night was not the
time to be out at a punk rock show. She thought she had left that phase of her
life behind her when she had been accepted into graduate school. She should be
at home, in bed, dreaming of case files and precedents, and bar exams. Instead,
she was in this crappy dive, sweating away her evening, her white wifebeater
clinging to her ribs and breasts.

But what
are you going to do?  When Electric Fever, the quirkiest, cultiest, Japanese
punk rock band that ever existed suddenly shows up in town, you drop whatever
the hell you're doing and get your ass to the show.

Things
wouldn't be so bad if Electric Fever hadn't been exactly what they were,
snotty, self-involved cokeheads with a complete lack of regard for their fans.
Clara supposed you could afford to be that way if you only ever toured once or
twice every four years. She had showed up at 11 with her boyfriend Courtney,
hoping to sneak in, down a few drinks, and catch Electric Fever's set, but when
she had showed up, the first opening band was only just hitting the stage.

They were a
lackluster local act; the type of band that only played gigs in local venues
because they couldn't afford to call in sick to their day jobs the following
morning. Clara and Courtney listened to one song; they were thoroughly
unimpressed, so they walked up to the bar, ordered some PBR's, and stood there
sipping them while trying to have a conversation, which was nearly impossible
amid the eardrum-splitting feedback blasting out of the clubs speakers. The
club was relatively new and had the smell of "soon to close" all over
it. That's the way clubs were in the city; here one week and gone the next.

When
Electric Fever had finally hit the stage, after three more forgettable punk
rock acts, they were just as billed. The lead singer had stormed onto stage, chugged
a beer, and then threw the empty can at his adoring fanbase, all while giving
the middle finger to the crowd. His name was Ace Fever, the coolest Japanese
man that had ever existed. It was a wonder how he was still alive. Behind him,
Hey Fever, the drummer, and Jungle Fever, the bass player entered in matching
leather outfits. The studs and buckles glittered underneath the multicolored
lights that hung over the stage and turned mere mortals into momentary gods.

The crowd
had surged forward, and they hadn't even played a note yet. Ace Fever stood on
the stage, regarding the crowd from behind his dark sunglasses, his arms
crossed. With his left arm, he slowly reached for the microphone, and when his
fingertips touched the mic, Electric Fever sprung into action, assaulting the audience
with a barrage of unintelligible distortion, screaming Japanese, and electric
guitar fury. Flames shot out of Ace's mic stand and the room began to naturally
spin in a fury of twisted limbs and energy as a circle pit turned the middle of
the dance floor into a sweat-slicked meat grinder. She loved every second of it,
even if she had no idea what the band was saying. It was actually better that
way. There were no words to get hung up on, no meanings to ponder. There was
just fury and feedback.

Clara's
boyfriend Courtney loved it every bit as much as her. He was a little rough
around the edges, and he still hadn't warmed up to dating a potential lawyer,
but when you had been going out as long as they had, you overlooked the fact
that one of you had turned into a sellout. Her hair was a natural color now,
for the first time in years, a cocoa brown. She had taken all of the metal out
of her face, and she was thankful that Courtney had talked her out of getting
her ears gauged years ago, or else she'd be sporting big floppy earlobes.

She smiled
as she caught a glimpse of Courtney spinning on the other side of the pit, his
eyes feverish with joy. Suddenly, a face appeared in front of her. It had
red-rimmed eyes, snarled like Billy Idol, and didn't seem quite right. She
shoved the man away, and sped along on her own route, counterclockwise, always
counterclockwise.

She tripped
over the shoe of one of the people lurking on the edge of the circle. Clara's
effort to catch her balance went for naught when her foot slipped on the
beer-slick dance floor. Her ankle twisted outward, and she felt a pop. She went
sprawling to the ground, not even noticing the burn of the knee she scraped on
the laminate floor due to the intense pain in her ankle. The hands of the
people in the pit pulled her to her feet and ushered her off to the side. She
leaned on the shoulder of a stranger, grimacing in pain; she turned around to
see Courtney struggling with the man that she had shoved away in the pit.

From her vantage
point, she could see that the man didn't belong here. His flannel shirt and
camouflage hat had the reek of hillbilly about them. She moved to help
Courtney, but her first step was one of agonizing pain. Her ankle simply wasn't
working right.

All she
could do was scream and point as the hillbilly sunk his teeth into the side of
Courtney's face. Courtney lashed out at the man, punching him in the jaw with
his fists. The hillbilly pulled back, taking a bite of Courtney's cheek with
him. The fury of the pit had stopped, and Electric Fever, noticing the oddity
of a still pit, stopped playing.

Courtney
stumbled backwards, his hand held to his face. "What the fuck?" Blood
seeped through his fingers, as the lights overhead continued to display an
alarming array of different colors. First his blood was black, then it was
blue, then it was yellow. The hillbilly stood at the edge of the pit, chewing,
and seemingly lost in the process.

Ace Fever
sauntered across the open space, his microphone clutched in his hands, the
crowd watching with anticipation. In broken English, he challenged the hillbilly,
"You want to fight? You fucker fight me!" He stood at the ready, and
finally the hillbilly's eyes seemed to focus on him. It shambled towards him,
and Ace backhanded the man across the face, whipping the man's head to the side
and knocking his camouflage hat to the ground. But he kept coming. Ace took
another swing at the man, and slipped on some blood in the process. His punch
hit the man in the shoulder, and had about as much effect as an ant sassing
god. The man grabbed Ace in a bear hug and pulled him close. His mouth opened
wide, and he bit into the chest of Ace. Ace screamed and struggled to get away
from the hillbilly, but all of his 130 pounds wasn't enough to break free of
the grasp of the man.

Jungle
Fever broke his bass guitar over the head of the hillbilly, and that's when all
hell broke loose in the club. Clara didn't see the rest of what happened, but she
crawled to where Courtney was holding his face. Together, they helped each
other to their feet, and then pushed their way outside, through drunken and
riotous punks and away from the unbridled violence in the club. A bouncer
brushed past them, but she doubted that he would be able to stop the violence.

"Are
you okay?" Clara asked. The ringing in her ears and the buzz of the
alcohol had her head swimming, and she felt as if she was going to faint. But
she didn't... because, as she always liked to put it, fainting is for pussies.

Courtney
shook his head, and tried to focus his eyes before he spoke. "Yeah, I
think so. Jesus Christ. What the fuck was that? Did you see that guy?"

"Did
you do something to him?"

Courtney
shook his head a little more, still trying to focus, "No, he just grabbed
me and took a bite out of my fucking face. How is it?"

He removed
his tattooed hand from his face and exposed the raw wound, which was still
bleeding profusely. Sweat covered his forehead, and steam rose from the blood
on his face as it met the night air.

"Well,
you're lucky you're good in bed, because that is going to be one nasty scar.
C'mon, we better get you to the hospital. That guy might have had rabies or
something."

Chapter 7: Through a Garden Hose

 

Zeke snuck
up on the car from behind, secretly hoping that maybe he'd catch a peek of
something, maybe a tit or two. It was always practical to sneak up on a car
from the rear, and as an added bonus he might just catch a quick visual snatch
of flesh, which wouldn't be a terrible thing.

The car was
an '80s model station wagon. The fenders were rusted out, which was hard to see
due to the car's classy copper paintjob, which was only made classier by the
wood paneling on the side. He laughed inside as he wondered what moron thought
it would be a good idea to put fake wood paneling on the side of a car.

He moved
slowly, squatting down with his gun at the ready. He flinched as the car rocked
violently.
They must really be going at it
, he thought. Zeke crept up
the passenger side of the car, heel to toe. He could hear the wet, slopping
sounds of intimacy from the cracked window of the passenger side. From all of
the slurping noises, he bet the whore could suck a golf ball through a garden
hose. There was definitely a chance that he was going to see something.

As the
passenger seat came into view, he caught sight of a large pair of lily white
buttocks. The smile that had crept onto his face disappeared, when he caught
site of some crimson. The hooker wasn't having sex at all. She was literally
eating the man. Facedown in his guts, she wouldn't have even known he was there
if a single word hadn't slipped from his mouth like the secrets of a
two-year-old. "Jesus."

The sound
caught the hooker's attention, and she swung around, quicker than he would have
expected. Her face bashed into the window of the station wagon, smearing blood
all over the glass. Zeke flinched backwards, unsure of what to do for the first
time in his life. If this had been enemy territory, there wouldn't be any questioning
at all... simply a corpse with a bullet in her head, but this wasn't over
there. This was home.

The woman
bashed her face into the window again and stuck her fingers out the tiny crack
of the window. She was frantic. She spit and slobbered in her efforts to get at
him. He leveled his Desert Eagle at her, but didn't pull the trigger.
"Stay right there," he commanded weakly. "Stay right
there!" he said again with a little of that boot camp authority that had
made him so popular in the army.

She didn't
listen. Civilians never listened. In reply she reared back and smashed her face
through the passenger side window, sending safety glass pattering to the
ground. His finger tensed on the trigger, but he didn't pull it. Instead he
backed away as the hooker began crawling out of the passenger seat, a shard of
glass sticking out of her eye. She fell to the ground awkwardly, and he heard a
crack as a piece of bone jutted out of her right arm.

"Bath
salts. That's what this is. This bitch is on bath salts."

The woman
stood up, unconcerned about the blood that was spurting out of her arm or her
damaged eye. "Stay where you fucking are, or I'm going to shoot you in the
face!" he yelled. She didn't even seem to hear him. In reply, she raised her
good arm in his direction and stumbled toward him. She tried to raise her
broken arm, and she was successful... at least halfway. The lower half of her
arm dangled down limply just below her elbow.

That was
enough for Zeke. He squeezed the trigger, and sent a round through the woman's
knee. For a second, it seemed like the bullet had no effect, but when she took
her next shambling step, the knee crumpled and she fell over on her side. Zeke
backed up even more, and tripped over the only thing in his yard that no one
had bothered to steal, an old garden gnome that had travelled with him wherever
he went.

He cracked
his head against the bottom step of his porch, and his vision swam in front of
him. Comet trails and floaters tried to block the vision of the hooker crawling
toward him, but he could barely make out her outstretched arm reaching for his
foot. He attempted to lift the Desert Eagle and fire a round through the
woman's head, but the world was spinning, and his shot went wide. He closed his
eyes for a second, and tried to blink away the comet trails. He felt the
pressure of the woman using his foot for leverage, and then he felt something
else.

When he
opened his eyes again, the hooker was gnawing on the end of his boot. He raised
the Desert Eagle, closed one eye, which seemed to help, and then squeezed the
trigger once more. The hair on the back of the woman's head jerked quickly, and
then blood began to spill out of the bullet-sized hole in her forehead.

Zeke
dropped the Desert Eagle in relief and tried to regain his equilibrium. His
head still spinning, he kicked the woman off of his foot and pushed her to the
side. He heard sirens in the night, and he knew that one of his neighbors had
finally called the police. With relief, he relaxed and rested his head on the
step of his porch. Before he dozed off, the last words he thought were
"through a garden hose."

BOOK: This Rotten World (Book 1)
12.81Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Given World by Palaia, Marian
An Ocean of Air by Gabrielle Walker
Safe in the Fireman's Arms by Tina Radcliffe
Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Wings in the Dark by Michael Murphy
Rachel by Jill Smith
The Colonel's Lady by Clifton Adams
Inferno by Adriana Noir
Cellular by Ellen Schwartz
Sinful Seduction by Christopher, Ann