Authors: Jesse Bastide
Tags: #thriller, #novella, #escape, #undead, #zombie novella, #zombie thriller, #zombie attack, #undead horde
Copyright 2014 Jesse
Kelly heard the knock on the door downstairs.
She was up in the shower, massaging the shampoo into her scalp. It
smelled like oranges. She'd gotten it at Whole Foods on her Friday
trip down to Portland. The water was on a little hot for summer,
but she liked her showers on the hot side. That was just the kind
of girl she was.
She wasn't expecting any company, but more
likely than not it was an Amazon delivery. She wasn't signed up for
the drone deliveries yet (those were crazy to think about), but
that didn't stop her from keeping the UPS guy busy with her online
shopping. Her husband Terry didn't say too much about it. Maybe it
was because she had no problem ordering that sexy French lingerie
Was that the secret to a long and happy
She wasn't sure. At least shopping online gave
her something to do when she was home. It wasn't like there was
much else to do. She and Terry didn't have a lot in the way of
outside responsibilities. They had no kids. They were single
income, but Terry was fifty percent owner in the Calvert Falls
Toyota dealership. When he bought out that old fart Norman Prince,
the place turned right the hell around; they were pulling in better
sales numbers some months than they were doing quarterly before,
and that was making life very comfortable for Kelly and
The only thing she'd change, if she thought
about it, was her husband's name -- Terry. His first name made him
sound like he was Asian and trying to hide it or Black or
something. There weren't any people like that in Calvert Falls and
it was a damn shame he didn't have an All-American Wonder Bread
name like she did. It would probably make sales at the dealership
even better. She'd even told him that it would be a good idea to
change it (his name), and he'd just laughed it off, like he didn't
think she was serious. Maybe that was better. If he'd known she
really wanted him to change it she might have pissed him
Terry had a temper. She accepted that as the
price of being married to him. Every marriage was a bargain, and
part of hers was that she had to deal with his temper. It had a
tendency to flare up now and then like a nasty hemorrhoid. She kept
the bruises hidden well, and he was careful never to hit her
What happened between them stayed between
She rubbed the latest tender spot. It was on
her upper arm, and the bruise was turning yellow. She tried to
remember what she'd done to piss him off for that one. It was hard
to remember, and there was a good chance he'd been drinking when
he'd done it. The yellow spot meant nothing sleeveless for a while,
which was too bad because it was warm enough to go sleeveless at
night. But she didn't think too much about the physical pain.
Bruises healed. And Terry took care of her as much as he slapped
her around once in a while. She knew the Amex he'd given her had a
fifty thousand limit on it, and he paid it off every month, no
Can you imagine that?
Fifty thousand a month
limit and never one bad word about the goodies I get shipped to my
door free courtesy of my Prime membership.
Maybe it was a little excessive. Maybe she was
selling out, staying married to a guy who hit her; it was too damn
comfortable to leave him. But she didn't want to leave Terry, no
matter how she sliced it. They fought, sure, but the sex was still
dynamite (especially after a fight). Neither of them wanted kids
and she was on the pill. So no condoms to get in the way and take
all the good out of it. She liked to think she was still as tight
as she was in high school, which may have been close to the truth
given the fact that she was only twenty-seven years old and kept
She heard another knock on the door
downstairs. Maybe it was more like a pounding, when she
want a signature they'll have to come back tomorrow.
More pounding from downstairs. Now it was just
getting annoying. Whoever was there outside banging on the door
wanted to see if someone would answer. She didn't see the point in
hanging in front of someone's door knocking if no one was
answering. But this was some real banging. Like it was something
She felt her impatience flare up like a newly
lit match; she shut off the water. She stepped out of the shower
and grabbed her white bathrobe from the hook on the door. She put
the robe on and tied the waist and opened the bathroom door. Her
long brown hair was dripping. She walked down the upstairs hall
toward the bay window overlooking the front lawn; she wanted to
know if it was worth answering the pounding at the door, as
annoying as it was. Who knocked like hell in the middle of the
She looked down and saw a man hunched over.
His head was hanging down and to the side. He had a dirt-stained
brown hat on. It looked like it might be Marvin Searles from the
Paris Farmer's Union. He'd helped her a few times when she was
buying potting soil for the flowers she was growing out back in
boxes. But something looked wrong. He looked...hurt
He banged again on the door. His arm was
stiff. There were red marks and dark red streaks on the exposed
flesh of his forearm. Kelly kept watching. This time he was putting
his shoulder into it. Taking a few steps back and then running,
slamming into the door. But maybe running was the wrong word. His
stride had a pronounced limp to it. She thought she should go
downstairs and open for him to see what was wrong.
She heard another sound coming from him. Like
a low moan. Was that really Marvin too? It sounded like he had a
hell of a bellyache. He kept looking down and pounding with his
shoulder trying to break in through her front door.
Maybe I call the
, she thought.
right. Something's not right.
She kept looking out the window, wondering
when he was going to give up and leave. And that was when she heard
Marvin's head exploded against the front of
Kelly's door, splattering brains and chipped bone fragments against
the deep red paint. It was like watching Mythbusters on TV when
they were shooting pumpkins with live rounds and making them blow
up. Except Marvin's head wasn't a pumpkin.
Kelly watched in horror as what was left of
him slumped down against the door, then slid to the side. He hit
what was left of his head, which was bloody pulp, against the stone
She put her hand to her mouth and said, "Oh my
god. Oh my God. Oh my -- "
Two men walked up to the front door. One of
them had his gun drawn. It clicked for her a second later that they
were in blue uniforms. Cops. Town cops.
She recognized Officer Frank Soul -- he was
the one holding the gun. Soul had pulled her over for speeding
twice in the last six months, and both times he'd let her off with
a warning. She'd given him her best 'charming girl I might suck
your cock' smile and he didn't even try to make her feel guilty. He
just let her off. Never bothered to run her plates or even write
her a warning. She knew that look almost always worked with guy
cops. Especially good ole boys like Officer Soul.
The cops stopped at the body. Officer Soul
kicked it with his boot, and one of the legs twitched. Kelly
jumped. She didn't realize that the newly dead might still have
reflexes. The officer put two more slugs into what was left of
Marvin's head with loud bangs and the twitching stopped.
That's not right
Cops aren't supposed to execute
people. At least not in this town.
Kelly tried to let out a scream but she was
hyperventilating instead. Her eyes were closing in to black at the
edges and she realized that if she didn't get herself under control
she was going to pass out. She might even crash right on through
the bay window and kill herself on her front lawn with the fall.
That would be an embarrassing way to go. Especially wearing just
She turned and bent down, putting her hands on
her knees and her head between her legs and looking down at the
floor. She concentrated on slowing her breaths. She saw her
toenails. They were red.
She got her act and her breathing together and
went downstairs. She opened her front door and the cops were still
there. The body was in front of her, the bloody mess spreading as
blood oozed from the mess of pulp and bone and brain matter that
used to be a head. The blood looked...darker maybe? She thought
something wasn't right about it.
The officers looked at her. Officer Soul
looked a little embarrassed. "I'm sorry Kelly, we've got a little
problem running around town today. Sorry it had to end up at your
front door. And don't touch the body, please."
A little problem?
thought. This wasn't a little problem. This was a catastrophe.
People did not get shot by the cops in Calvert Falls. And by the
looks of the now very dead Marvin the hardware store guy on her
front step, things were getting out of line and out of
"You can't possibly explain this," said Kelly.
"You just shot a man in cold blood at my front door. Sure – he was
banging on my door. It was weird, and I was about to call you guys,
but I don't see how it went from that to you guys putting bullets
into him. What the hell happened?"
There was a moaning sound and they all three
turned their heads toward it. It was like the groans that old pines
make in the forest when the wind makes them twist in unnatural
ways. Even a dead tree can move and make that sound.
"What the hell is that noise?" said Kelly. She
crossed her arms in front of her robe and glared at the officers.
Officer Soul had holstered his weapon but his hand was close to it,
and his partner, Officer Todd Wells (it was on his nametag), was
looking at her like he knew something. Something bad.
Kelly said, "You two had best start explaining
right the hell now what the fuck is going on or I'm going to be
having Terry place a personal call to Chief Marshall about this
incident. People do NOT GET SHOT ON MY LAWN, DAMMIT!"
She surprised herself with the outburst, but
the anger had a way of helping her cope with the dead body on her
front step. It focused her. She always felt the same anger when
Terry started slapping her around, and it always passed when he was
done. Still, sometimes when Terry was beating on her she'd get to
thinking about how much she wanted to hurt him back. Throw a punch
at his nose and rearrange his cartilage for a change.
Anger was good. Anger was a ditch that
channeled all the badness and let you ignore everything else around
you. Anger was the ditch and the fast running muddy water inside
it, all piss and vinegar and shit.
Now there was another moan from down the
street, and it was louder. Kelly's and Terry's place was in a
suburban development called Brookside, and the houses were placed
on big lots with lots of trees around them for privacy. It was
supposed to give a mix of country with the convenience and
refinement of country club. It was a place for douchebags who
didn't fancy douchebag gold carts racing around their back lawn.
Like that was supposed to make the place feel more 'organic.' The
act kind of worked, especially because the houses weren't cookie
cutter, but right now all the trees made it hard to see what was
making that weird moaning noise.