Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Regina the Zombie Slayer, Episode Fourteen: A Tasty Meal

Regina drew a deep breath and peered into the dark interior of the store. A low wind blew, brushing the truck with its cold fingers. If she was going to get supplies, she had to get in and out quickly. She was hungry. She was cold. These were undeniable facts, facts that necessitated that she risk her life once again.

Yet the three corpses barred her path. Any one of those things could come alive instantly and go right for her jugular.

But her stomach growled its discontent. She clenched the frying pan, and opened the door into the brisk morning air.

She stepped onto the pavement and stole her way toward the store. She slinked past the gas pump, coming upon the first body. It was a middle-aged woman with light blue eyes that stared lifelessly upward. Her matted blonde hair was streaked with blood and dirt. A rotten smell issued from deep teeth marks on her neck. Regina winced, and raised the skillet. She slammed it down, hard, on the head. The skull cracked under the cast iron. Blood splattered on the surrounding pavement, sending cold, congealed flecks onto Regina's face. An even more disagreeable smell assaulted her nostrils. When she brought the skillet back up, the face was unrecognizable.

"That seemed to do the trick."

She looked at the other two bodies lying next to the store's entrance. She stepped away from the first body and walked toward the door. Both bodies lay there - one of an old man with overalls and a red plaid shirt, who looked pale, ghostly, and emaciated. The other was a boy of about fifteen. Regina looked a moment into his vacant eyes, wondering who he was - what his hopes had been, whether he had liked any girls at his school, of all the joys of life he never would get to experience.

Don't think like that, Regina said. He's the enemy.

She raised her skillet, ready to bring it down on the boy's head. But something stopped her. She didn't know what it was for a moment, but then it came to her in a burst of realization.

The boy reminded her of her little brother.

He was about the same age, and just thinking of him forced a tear to come to Regina's eye. She couldn't bring herself to smash his face in.

She shook off the thought. Her brother was one thousand miles away in Nebraska. That was a long way from East Texas. With her cell phone left back in the apartment, forever out of reach, Regina had no way of being sure if her family was safe.

She lowered the skillet, unable to make herself to what had to be done. Maybe she could get in and out fast enough.

She stepped into the store, her converses crunching over some broken glass. The store looked to have been ransacked. Blood smeared the floor. This had been a site of an undead skirmish during the night.

The store's interior was dark, and she walked carefully over to the food section, making as little noise as possible. She reached for a box of granola bars, ripping it open and tearing the wrapper and plunging the food into her mouth. She ate ravaneously - a whole meal's worth within a minute, before going to the fridge and grabbing some water. She guzzled the whole bottle down.

She looked around the store for a moment for something to carry food in, but there seemed to be nothing in reach, and she didn't want to risk the time to look. She instead grabbed some food and water, as much as she could carry in her arms, and walked toward the door.

But she stopped dead when she became aware of a disturbing sound - the smacking and ripping of flesh off bone was undeniable. Slowly, Regina turned to look. A door leading into a back room of the convenience store was slightly ajar, revealing nothing but a sliver of darkness.

Something welled inside her heart, a great fear of knowing where the monster was, but not being able to see it. It spread out from her chest and reached every part of her, to her shoulder, to her arm, to her hand, then to her fingers, paralyzing them with fright. The muscles in her hand slackened, and the skillet slipped from her hand and clanged onto the floor.

There was a moment of silence that seemed to last for infinity, stretching time and space. She felt her head dim, her vision darken, and felt every pound of her heart against her chest just in slow motion exactly three times, felt the life of her blood with each pump surge through her veins, felt a suffocating constriction seize her lungs. She suppressed the urge to throw up.

The zombie's gorging on flesh ceased. A low, foreboding moan emanated from the back of the store, making Regina'a skin crawl.

Then, like an explosion, life resumed its furious pace and Regina kicked into overdrive. She grabbed her skillet and food and ran toward the front door.

But the zombies outside were now standing, shambling toward her, having responded to the sound of the beast within the store. She was trapped, and once again, she found she had to make a terrible decision.

She could either take on the two zombies now blocking the doorway, even the one looking like her brother, or brave the one zombie in the back room that was out of her worse nightmares.

And she only had a fraction of a second to decide.

What should Regina do?
Go out the front (against two zombies)
Go out the back (against one zombie)?

Place your vote in the comments section, and return soon for the next chilling episode of Regina the Zombie Slayer.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Regina the Zombie Slayer, Episode Thirteen: Potential Supplies

Regina drew a deep breath of cold morning air and headed east down the road. The pine woods flanked her either side, and her feet echoed off the asphalt and into silence. There was no sound here, not even of birds. It was like everything had died overnight and she was the only one left. She clung tightly to her skillet and suppressed an urge to cry. Her damp clothes chilled her in the cool breeze had made her start to shiver, but the sun was warm - she hoped that as the day drew on, it would warm up. The sky for now was a clear, pure blue, promising a beautiful day that conflicted madly with the fact that a real, live zombie apocalypse was unfolding.

She rounded a bend, scanning the tree line for any threat. For now, the woods were clear. She walked on for thirty minutes. She finally came upon a gas station at an intersection. Suppressing a shiver, she ran ahead to a small truck still sitting at the pump. It was empty, its driver having abandoned it for some reason. As she finally reached the gas station, she noticed the smell of death and three bodies lying prone on the pavement. She walked quietly, hoping that they were not close to reanimating into the walking dead.

She softly opened the door of the vehicle. She got inside, thankful to be out of the cold wind. The key was still in the ignition. She pulled out the keys, about to turn them in the ignition.

But before she did, she looked inside the store. Inside, there would surely be food. lighter fluid, better weapons, warmer clothes - not to mention anything else she might need. It might be a good idea to stock up.

But Regina looked at the three bodies lying on the ground riddled with bite marks. Maybe it just wasn't worth the risk. But if she was going toward the highway, she would surely run into more of the ghouls - and now might be the only time she had to get supplies. She could sneak up on each of the bodies and bash their heads in before they even had a chance to reanimate. The prospect of doing this terrified her - yet her stomach growled in hunger and her body shivered with cold.

Was it worth the risk?

What should Regina do?
Go inside and get supplies,
Just drive away?

Return this Monday for the next episode of Regina the Zombie Slayer.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

$.99 Zombie Books!

Amazon's Kindle has some amazing offerings of zombie literature - and lot of it can be gotten for less than a buck. Many others can be bought for $1.99 or $2.99 (and, of course, Night of the Necromancer for $3.99!)

I've recently read two, and am working on a third. I read Amanda Hocking's Hollowland, a very entertaining zombie tale that's very action-packed that has interesting characters - though the ending leaves you hanging a bit and opens the opportunity for a sequel. It's definitely worth the price, and I like the use of a tough, female lead. While the romance is obviously meant to appeal to teenage girls, I still thought it was quite entertaining.

I also recently finished After Life by Jaron Lee Knuth. The story chronicles the lives of two childhood friends, Alex and Morgan, surviving in an apartment in Minneapolis during a zombie apocalypse. It's decently written, and also very much worth $.99. It also has a very unique take on zombie mythology with an idea I hadn't really thought of before - but since this is somewhat of a twist in the book, I won't reveal it here.

Currently, I'm reading The Becoming: Outbreak, by Jessica Meigs. I'm one chapter in, and so far, so good. There are three books in the series, but currently only the first two are out. I'm excited to finish this one and follow the story of survival in a zombie-infested Atlanta.

So anyway, check these books out. A buck ain't much, even in this economy. By the way, I tried to post covers, but they didn't look good on the blog. So, just follow the links to see them.

Regina the Zombie Slayer, Episode Twelve: The Undead Dawn

Regina wasted no time. She swam toward the shore with all her might. Behind, she heard a large splash, but she dared not look back. She was halfway to shore when she felt the monster's teeth pull at the bottom of her jeans, tearing a piece of it off. The monster roared at being denied its meal as Regina narrowly escaped, her feet now scraping Deadman's Lake sandy bottom.

She rushed onshore where two ghouls shambled toward her. She raised her blood-caked frying pan and smacked the first one hard on the skull. It fell in a heap as the other lunged toward her. But Regina sidestepped, still panting from exertion, and clobbered it on the back of its head. Regina heard a snap as brains and pus oozed from the toppling zombie.

Regina briefly turned back toward the lake, but several ripples revealed only where the mysterious creature had descended back into the deeps of the dark lake.

Regina forced her tired legs to move into the woods, away from the day camp of the dead. The zombies that were left moaned and followed her into the trees, but their undead gait was much slower than Regina's steady jog. After ten minutes of running and weaving her way through the forest, the moans became distant, almost drowned by the cold wind. Regina paused beside a large oak tree, catching her breath.

In the east, she noticed the gray of dawn's first light, and with it came a wave of utter exhaustion. The horrible sleep she had managed to get in the cold cabin had been too little. She fought back fitful tears as she stared ahead with resolve. She plugged on through the woods, beating aside the underbrush with her handy skillet. Her disheveled blonde hair and fell in front of her eyes, and she could feel zombie blood caked onto her face. She would have to wash that off at first opportunity.

The trees suddenly ended, revealing a little-used country lane. There were no cars in either direction, and more woods rose from the road's other side. To the left, the road disappeared around a bend, while to the right, it skirted up a hill, went around it, and was lost to view. The sun now peeked through some trees, and the first rays of dawn fell on Regina's face. She needed to find a safe place to sleep. She needed food. And eventually, she would need a better weapon and a car.

She suppressed a shiver, still wet from the lake. At least the wind wasn't blowing now. She needed to keep moving to stay warm. Her mind longingly thought of fire and warmth. But for now, it seemed as though all of those things were very far away. But she could at least try for a place to sleep - and if she was lucky, a lighter to start a fire.

From the woods, she could hear the distant moans carry on the wind. She would have to continue moving to maintain her lead. Unfortunately, Regina did not recognize this place, but vaguely knew from the sun's position that the left led east and the right led west. The east would take her toward the highway, and possibly cars, and the right would take her deeper into the wild. While she might be farther from zombies there, she knew she might also be farther from help, food, and other supplies.

What direction should Regina go?

Go left, around the bend and toward the highway
Go right, over the hill and into the wild?

Place your vote and return tomorrow to help Regina make her next decision.

The readers' score: 1 death