A pair of zombies inched their way towards me. One crawled on the ground, his legs too torn up from all the rounds I fired at it to walk. I was mortified to look at it and recognize it as Sonya, my neighbor. Distorted and deranged it was of course no longer her, but a shadow of her image remained and it shook my soul. The other slugged its way towards me, arms out, mouth wide, blood dripping from its tongue. This one too I knew—Mario, Sonya’s husband. I had barbecued with the man numerous times, watched football with him and drank beer. Now he was trying to eat me. Not him of course, but the monster he had become. I lowered my gun and stared at it in awe. The thing I had been most afraid of and thought I had prepared for was about to kill me. If only I hadn’t gone fishing.
“Do you know what this is? Now would be the time to say something.” I nodded.
“I think so. But you are not going to like it. And it is going to sound crazy to you,” I began.
“I don’t care,” Ted admitted. “Something is very wrong. I have no idea what it is, but you seem confident so tell me what you think is going on.”
I took a deep breath. I checked the truck once more, then I looked Ted square in the eyes and without a hint of irony I told him, “I think this is the beginning of a zombie outbreak.”
“What? Like in the movies? Zombies? You are crazy. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. With everything that is going on I can’t believe you would waste my time with that.”
“I told you it would sound crazy.”
“You were right,” Ted snorted. “Just because you brought us here, and I truly am grateful for that, how in the hell do you think it is zombies? I didn’t think there was even such a thing.”
“I have no proof that it is zombies, I am only reacting in the case that it is. I know that the government has taken serious measures to prevent this virus from spreading, people are scared, panicking, and I would rather be wrong and overreacted, than right and not done anything about it.” There was that stupid line again.
“I agree that things are pretty tense right now, but zombies?”
“I’ll tell you what, go check on your mother-in-law. Either way, I will leave.”
“What will she tell us?”
“I am only interested in finding out how she got sick.”
“What do you mean? If this is something to do with zombies, how will she get sick?”
“You don’t know?” I laughed. He wanted to talk trash about zombie movies but didn’t even pick up how people are turned to zombies? What a joke.
“Look you’re the freaking zombie expert, just tell me.”
“Well the virus lives in the brain. That’s why zombies act brain-dead. The virus actually kills all of the brain matter that controls cognitive thought and leaves only basic functions like movement. It can be passed through a bite however, which is why I want to know how your mother-in-law got sick. With just base instincts, zombies focus on very little beyond eating.”
“Fair enough, zombie man,” he mocked. “Let’s find out.” Ted had a smirk on his face as he raised his hands as though surrendering. He didn’t believe me. I was looking forward to how stupid he was going to feel when he found out I was right, but also, I was a little worried that I was actually the one who was wrong.
We walked to the bedroom where Erin’s mom was sleeping. We found Erin in the dimly lit room by her side, stroking the older woman’s silver hair. I stayed in the doorway so that I was out of the way. Ted went to Erin.
“How is she?” asked Ted.
“Not well,” Erin answered.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“It seems she has the virus they were worried about. She has a fever, she is sweaty and pale.”
“That could be flu though right?” Ted asked. “Doesn’t all that sound like the flu?”
I was growing impatient, but I wanted to know how she got sick so I butted in and just asked. “Did she tell you how she got sick?”
Erin looked up at me with her eyes squinted and face tight but answered, “She said she went today to see the neighbor’s daughter who was sick and later she started feeling ill. She said their kid was really sick. I guess the girl had been sick for about a day and her skin was really hot and her eyes were bloodshot. She said the girl had gone crazy from the fever.”
“Crazy? Like what? What was she doing? Did she say?” I asked, body tense, voice rising louder than I intended. This was the moment of truth.
“She said the girl was moaning strangely and she even bit mom when she tried to help her.”
“She bit her? Are you sure?” I pushed.
“That’s what she said.” I shot a glance to Ted who was wide eyed. I smirked and nodded. I nailed it again. I didn’t say another word, just went to the truck. Ted followed me out.
“Is that what you were looking for?” he shouted at me. “Is that what you wanted to hear?”
I was losing patience. I shouted, “That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it was what I expected to hear! Look I told you what I thought and I told you how a zombie virus would spread and then turns out I was freaking right so believe me or not but don’t waste my time right now.” I was spitting as I ranted and pointed my finger into Ted’s chest. Real attractive I’m sure, but I was feeling real confident and wasn’t in the mood to be second guessed, especially before I knew my family was safe.
I’m working on this story at last with the goal of getting it out there by the end of summer. In an effort to grow as a writer I’m trying to do some things differently. I’m going for first person for this piece and also really trying to nail the voice. I’ve been pretty serious and dramatic in my writing so far but I’m actually pretty freaking funny most days so I would love to transfer that into my writing. With that… here’s the first paragraph of the story in which I’m trying to nail both…
“I’m not much of a story teller to be honest. But seeing as how I’m basically the hero of the story, it’s sort of mine to tell. I didn’t want to have someone else write it anyways. First of all because they would probably mess it up, and second of all because that would mean I would have to reveal who I really am and it may sound crazy but I don’t really want anyone to find out because I’m not sure what they would do to me. The whole thing was kind of unbelievable anyways and so it would be easy to make me disappear or discredit me because I was never very important and I probably shouldn’t have made it out anyways. But that’s why you’re reading this. You want to know how I survived. You want to hear from the guy who made it. You want to read the story of the man who conquered the zombies. You want to know what really happened because there are a lot of accounts of that event that are confusing or worse, “official.” But there is only one true story and I have it. So, you’re reading the right story and I don’t really care if you believe it or not. It happened all the same.”
From book 1 in the Sureshot trilogy The Sureshot Rises
“You there,” the middle one began, “you are that woodsman that shot against Captain Tarbon today?”
“What business is it of yours?” asked Durbar trying to act tough in the hope that he could intimidate them into leaving him alone.
“I’ll tell you what business it is of ours,” returned the man, his voice a growl like a dog about to bite, “He is our captain, and we don’t like any dirty woodsman disrespecting him like you did.”
“I didn’t disrespect him. I just beat him, that’s all,” Durbar reasoned.
“That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout. You shouldn’ a done that. Now we are gunna beat you!”
The man’s eyes flared in rage. He and his friends all clenched their fists. Durbar tried to think of a way out quickly, but he couldn’t find one. He leapt out of his chair and stood ready, with his back against the wall. One of the men threw the table out of the way, and the other two jumped at the bowman. One swung at his face, but his movements were too slow and laborious because of too much drink. Durbar ducked and hit the man in the gut. Another one swung to hit his face as he was coming up but Durbar blocked his high punch with his left arm and jabbed him in the face with his right fist. With two of the men temporarily disabled and falling to the floor, Durbar turned to the one that threw the table, but as he turned to face him, a chair crashed into his head. Durbar’s vision, along with his mind, went black.
New Kid in Town
From The Sureshot Rises book 1 in my Sureshot trilogy.
The huge man towered above Durbar by about five inches. He glared down at him with fiery blue eyes. His face was square and flat and looked to Durbar as if it had been pressed that way.
“So, this is the man Rothan thinks is better than me, eh?” he questioned in a deep voice, almost a growl.
“The prince’s opinions are his own,” answered Durbar.
“Well, what do you think?” Tarbon asked pointing a finger at Durbar’s chest.
“I know that I am better than you.”
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” the man roared leaning back, holding his belly with one hand as if to keep it from bursting open. “And how do you know that? You just met me and you have never seen me shoot.”
“I saw you just now.”
“And after just one shot you know you can beat me?”
“Well, if you are so sure, Mister Sureshot, then let’s have a little competition right now.”
Durbar was really starting to hate his new alias. “I will not decline,” he answered confidently.
My heart was young and green
So full of life and love
I thought you were a queen
Sent to me from above
Turns out you’re born below
Complete with pair of horns
Instead of a halo
A rose covered in thorns
Ever thirsty for blood
A vampire in the night
A monster from the mud
Giving children a fright
My heart ripe for reaping
The fertile crop was torched
On my knees just weeping
My loving heart was scorched
Spreading her leather wings
Her laughter filled my head
Singing a wicked song
Spat and left me for dead
From his Cage
From The Sureshot Rises, available on Amazon!
High above the trees, free from their grip, a single hawk glided effortlessly, sharp eyes scanning for prey. Silently the bird rode the air current and used it to carry him where he wanted. Durbar studied him with envy for a long minute through a window in the trees, crisscrossing like bars from a cage. The hawk suddenly folded his wings, darted towards the earth and out of Durbar’s sight for a moment, then returned to the sky with a hare in his claws. Durbar smiled at the bird of prey as it floated off to his nest to enjoy his meal in peace and freedom, a twinge of jealousy and unfulfilled desire stung the young man’s heart.
Many names I’ve been called
A few titles I’ve been given
Some were deserved
Others spat with venom
None are more meaningful
Than all of the others
For when a child’s born
They began to call me father
It’s a title given out
With much ease at first
As I stood by at witnessed
My children’s births
But it’s a life’s commitment
Of sacrifice and effort
To deserve the title
And hold it high with honor
It’s one I’ll carry
For my lifetime
I’ll wear it proudly
For my children are ever mine
To protect and nurture
Educate and guide
Nothing more could ever
Fill my heart with greater pride
I’ve always been a man who enjoys a drink.
I like to sip on ice cold beverage.
Whether beer or wine, or lemonade pink.
I’ll sip something new without much courage.
But I’ve not found one as satisfying.
Than the one you handed me late one night.
It’s aroma is intoxicating.
And it’s flavor is quite a nice delight.
It’s gentle affect warmed me to the core.
It lightens my mood and brightens my day.
No matter how much I’ve had I want more.
What its full affects are I cannot say.
All I know is, your love has made me drunk.
And it’s put my mind in a complete funk.
The Lone Pine Inn
From my first full length novel The Sureshot Rises
Durbar pulled his cloak over his head and began to walk to the east end of town, toward the keep and the garrison. The inn wasn’t far from the Harmon Keep. Durbar found it without a problem. The sign above the doorway had a picture of a large solitary pine on a hill. It looked like a mighty giant standing defiantly against his foes; its branches appeared as swords ready to attack. From outside, the inn seemed to be rather busy and there was a noise like the rushing of a great river flowing from the patrons inside. Light invitingly escaped from the cracks in the large double doors. Durbar drew a deep breath and stepped through the doors into the light.
The Lone Pine was a large place. There were a lot of tables throughout the room with a small stage in one corner. In the middle of the back wall was a bar. There were a couple of women serving drinks to patrons. Large chandeliers hung from the ceiling that held four small torches each. There were also torches on the walls. Large buck antlers adorned the walls and furs covered the floor. A huge bear pelt hung on the wall behind the bar. To the left of the bar, while facing it, there were stairs, which led up to the rooms. There were twelve rooms altogether. The innkeeper and his wife lived in one and their daughter in another. The other ten were for guests. The inn was bright and loud. It felt alive to Durbar, very different from the lonely cabin, lost in the woods and lost from the world.
Some people stopped their conversation when Durbar entered the room and stared at the dark, cloaked woodsman. He stood for a moment by the doorway scanning the scene before him. He noticed a crowd of people in the far right-hand corner. He didn’t see Prince Rothan anywhere else so he thought he would pass by to see if he was at that table.
Durbar weaved his way through tables, chairs, and people toward the corner table. As he approached, some of the people standing by it noticed him moving toward them and stepped back whispering alarm to the others. As more people saw Durbar, the crowd parted to avoid his path, which led directly to the prince. Some thought that he might be an assassin sent to kill Rothan. No one could see Durbar’s face because he had his cloak pulled far over his head. Rothan had his guards with him, and as they saw Durbar they stood up, drew their swords, and waited for the approaching man to make a move. All the people between and near them scattered with the threat of violence. Durbar stopped just before the table and paused for a moment. Rothan called out to him as he too stood up, drawing a dagger from his belt, “Who are you? Identify yourself! Why have you come here to threaten me?”
“I have threatened no one, and I am here by your request,” Durbar answered voice clear and strong but forced as his spirit sounded the alarm and the hairs on his neck and arms stood up. Durbar’s eyes darted from one person to another and then back to Rothan. He felt like a hare surrounded by foxes and though he froze in his tracks, his heart raced and his gut told him to flee. Suppressing the trembles deep within, he stood tall.
“What?” shouted Rothan. “Who are you? Tell me now!” Durbar slowly raised a hand to the hood of his cloak and pulled it from his head revealing his face. Everyone just stood still, waiting for Rothan’s response. He himself was searching for the man’s identity. Then it struck him.
“You…” he began, “you are the man we found in the forest. You are the one who shot Jeshker’s cap from his head. You are Sureshot!” A wide grin crept across the prince’s face.
“Sureshot?” asked Durbar, eyes squinted and brow wrinkled.
“Yes, that’s what I have been calling you because I never got your name,” blurted Rothan.