Friday, November 1, 2013

Alive by Vincent Nutt @KMNbooks #zombies #free #flashfictionbash

KAREN: I want to thank all the authors who participated in the Halloween Flash Fiction Bash! What a talented group! I enjoyed each and every story! Readers, you are the best! Thanks for coming by and joining us. We appreciated all your wonderful comments! I hope you all had fun!

Now for the winners of the Grand Prizes... drum roll please.... Package #1 Jamie Klayman 
Package #2 Jana Leah, and 
Package #3 April Hollingworth
Congratulations! 

Now for one more Flash Fiction Treat...


Alive by Vincent Nutt

When the infection started the government thought they could contain it. Of course we all know now that they couldn’t. They had foolishly believed it was a rare form of the West Nile Virus, but realized too late that it was actually a mutated form of Cholera, an infection of the small intestines that was caused by bacteria.
It has been a little over a month and a half since the first outbreak. I heard it started somewhere in Pittsburg, but who knows for sure. Everything I once knew is now gone, my family and most of my friends.
My name is Brian Carni, and I’m just trying to stay alive…
***
When the outbreak happened I fled my town and ran into a group of survivors, and I’ve stuck with them ever since. The group consists of four people, five including me. Rivers is the leader of our group. He was a mechanic for the town that neighbored mine. Stacy is my age and worked at the local strip mall at a clothing store. I knew her before the outbreak occurred. We went to the same high school. Darla owned the local sports supply store. She can hold her own. I’ve lost count of how many corpses that woman has killed. And then there’s Travis. Travis is one of those guys who you wouldn’t want to be caught with in a dark alley. He’s 25 and was known in our town as the local thug, mugging people, breaking into homes, stealing cars. You name it and he has probably done it. The only reason Travis is still in the group is because he provides protection. Personally, I don’t trust him.
Opening my journal, I begin adding another entry…one I’ve been avoiding to put to paper… Somehow doing so makes it oh-so real…
***
“Brian! Brian!”
I rolled out of my tent to see who was calling my name. “I’m over here,” I said half asleep.
It was Rivers. “Brian, could you come help me out with cutting the firewood?”
“Sure,” I murmured, my voice gravely still from sleep.
Before I could lend a hand, a loud piercing scream broke the morning silence. My gaze riveted to Rivers, who already has his gun drawn and was jogging in the direction of the screams.
Still not fully awake, I stumbled into my tent and grabbed my spiked-bat. The screams echoed and I cursed. The bellows would draw the zeeks.
I finally reach the rest of the group. There were six zombies moving in on us. Two of them had Stacy cornered without a weapon.
“Help! Help!” Stacy continued to cry out. One of the zeeks lunged toward the defenseless girl.
“THWAK!” my bat connected with the first zombie’s temple, knocking it back into the second, sending them both tumbling to the ground. “Run!” I bellow to Stacy.
The first corpse untangled its rotting flesh from the other and staggered to its feet. I consciously swung with all my strength, connecting the bat with the zombie’s temple. Sprays of foul smelling pink mist filled the air. I took a step toward where the zeek had fallen, but my steps were halted when a half rotted hand— missing its index finger—wrapped around my ankle. I jumped in surprise and stumbled backwards, falling to the ground and causing my bat to roll away in awkward half circles. The creature dragged its withered body toward me. I grasped at the ground searching for my bat.
This is how I die, I thought to myself. Tripped on my own two feet. “I’m a effing idiot.”
Whooosh! The sound was loud and deadly. A fireman’s axe… Stacy obviously hadn’t run far. She’d snatched a weapon and thank-the-Lord for that. The axe severed the zombie’s head right between the fourth and fifth vertebra, spraying rotted blood in all directions.
Stacy strode over to me and offered her hand.
“Thank you Stacy,” I said as I grabbed a hold of her. She yanked me to my feet and pulled me into an embrace. 
“No, thank you.” Her voice was raw with emotion. 
There were two zombies left. Darla was waving her hands and yelling obscenities. The zombie with the missing nose snarled and snapped its jaws as it shambled towards Darla. Its cold white eyes fixated on the middle-aged woman. Darla hit the rotting form right between the eyes with the hilt of her cricket bat, giving her enough room to swing the bat again and connect with the rotted head. Her bat gets stuck and is wrenched from her hands as the zombie falls lifeless to the ground.
Rivers has the last zeek in his sights. He raises his pistol and pulls the trigger.
Silence.
The threat was over… for now.
***
“I don’t think we can stay here too much longer, Rivers,” exclaimed Darla. “I have a feeling in my gut that this won’t be the last time some zeeks wander into our camp. Next time there could be more.”
“I know, but where are we supposed to go?” Rivers asks. “The towns overrun and we don’t have very many weapons.” Rivers gaze shifts and he nervously grinds his foot into the muddy ground. “I don’t know any more Darla. This world… how we live...” He glanced at her now. “I don’t know what to believe anymore. The dead rising… the society crumbling…” He drew in a breath and let it out again in a whoosh of frustration. “You guys chose me to be your leader. That’s a lot of responsibility, and I would do everything in my power to keep you all safe.” Before he can say more, Darla grips his shoulder and he turns to meet her gaze.
“What are you getting at?” Darla asked.
“I’m afraid I’m going to get us killed. I’m afraid I’m going to lead us somewhere I think is safe, but end up getting us surrounded by zeeks and I won’t be able to protect any of you.” He ran a hand through his hair. “I don’t know what I would do if I lost any of you.”
No one knew what to say. We couldn’t promise all would be fine. Because heck, nothing was fine and may not ever be.
***
I made my way to Stacy’s tent to see if she was okay. “Stacy?” I knocked on the wood part of her makeshift home. She didn’t answer. I heard a crunching noise behind me and immediately turned around, expecting to be greeted by a zeek. There was nothing there.
I gripped my dagger as I hear another noise to the left of me. Maybe it was only an animal moving around in the bushes, but I wasn’t taking any chances and kept alert.
Stacy strode into view and yelped in surprise. Her hand flew to her chest as if she feared her heart would leap from her ribcage. “Brian, what the hell? You scared me!”
“Sorry, I wanted to make sure you were all right.”
She lifted the flap to her tent and invited me in. “I’m fine, just a little shaken up.” She glanced at me. “If it wasn’t for you I would be dead right now.” Her voice choked as she tried to swallow her sobs.
I pulled her into my arms and hugged her. “Stacy, I want you to know that as long as I’m still alive nothing bad will ever happen to you.”
She wiped away the tears with the back of her hand and sniffled. “Thank you, Brian.”
I’m about to leave, but Stacy’s words halt my departure. “Can you stay in my tent tonight? I would feel safer.”
I turned and met her gaze. A gorgeous girl just asked me to stay with her tonight. Of course I agreed.
 
I stayed up most of the night keeping watch over Stacy. I paced back and forth because I couldn’t sleep. I kept thinking I heard something, but every time I checked there was nothing there. After a few hours, I decided to lie down next to Stacy and try to get some shuteye. 
My gaze landed on Stacy sleeping peacefully, and for a moment I could forget about the outbreak and pretend things were normal. Pretend we were a couple and all was right in the world. I fell asleep as the sun was just beginning to rise.
When I woke up, it was late afternoon. I walked out of the tent and made my way toward our camp’s fire pit. “How’s it going sleepy head,” Darla said over her shoulder. She was hanging up clothes.
“Where is everyone?” I asked, warming my hands over the fire.
“Rivers said he found a barn not too far from here. He and Stacy went to see if they can find any supplies.” She paused for a moment then asked, “Brian, have you seen Travis lately?”
I frowned at her question and shook my head. “I haven’t seen him in a couple of days.” I never really cared for Travis. I guess that’s why I didn’t realize he was gone.
“Wherever he is I hope he’s doing something useful,” Darla says with an annoyed tone.
“At least I’m doing something, you old bat,” Travis says as he breaks through the clearing. He dropped a bag full of supplies and glanced in my direction. “What are you looking at?”
Speak of the devil and he appears, is what I thought. To Travis, I said nothing.
Darla and I didn’t say much after Travis’ sudden arrival. I chopped wood since our supply was low. Darla was finished with the laundry and was reading some stupid romance novel. Travis was lounging in a chair with his hat covering his eyes.
I heard a rustling noise coming from behind me and spun around, gripping the axe ready to kill. I lunged forward, but halt my attack when I catch sight of Rivers.
“You scared the crap out of me.” Rivers throws me a disgruntled look then shakes his head. After the last attack, he must have realized we would all be on edge.  “Come on we need to have a group meeting.” His gaze lingered on me for a while longer and I couldn’t help but wonder why he stared at me as if he had something to say, but didn’t know how to begin.
Later, I understand his strange behavior.
***
Earlier that day:
 
Stacy woke up around noon and spotted Brian sleeping near the tent’s door. She grabbed one of her blankets and draped it over his shoulders before she stepped out of the tent without disturbing him.
Rivers spotted her and headed in her direction. “Have you seen Brian anywhere? I’ve been looking for him all morning.”
“He’s sleeping right now in my tent. I think he was up all night. What did you need him for?” Stacy asked.
“I was going to ask him if he would come with me to get supplies. I found a farm about a mile from here.”
Stacy glanced at her tent then to Rivers. “Can I come with you?”
Rivers hesitated for a moment then nods. “Grab a weapon and a backpack and meet me by the fire pit in five minutes.” 
Stacy heads back to her tent and grabs her axe, and a backpack.
With their supplies, Rivers and Stacy make their way in the direction of the barn. They walk a good thirty minutes before seeing any of the walking dead.
“Rivers, over there.” Stacy points in the direction of a small group of four zombies.
“Give me your axe, and stay here.” Rivers took Stacy’s axe and moved silently around the pack before he rushed them. He took out one zombie, slicing its head in half. He then quickly finds cover behind a tree. The three zombies turn around, attracted by the sound. They snapped their jaws together, making a creepy crackling noise. Rivers made another pass and took out another zombie. He hides behind another tree to catch his breath, and gets ready to make a third pass. He peeled away from the tree ready to extinguish another damned soul only to find two zombies had turned in his direction. Rivers halted his assault and calculated his next move. He hadn’t expected both the zeeks to turn around. They advanced toward him with outstretched hands.
 
Stacy watched the events unfold from behind a tree. She was so focused on Rivers that she didn’t hear the low moans of the zombie shuffling its way toward her.
The zombie lunged, but Stacy turned at the last moment, coming face to face with the black and rotted gums of her attacker. The rotten remnants of what was once human falls into Stacy, making them both tumble down the slight incline they were standing on.
The zombie pinned Stacy down, but she shoved against the corpse with all her strength to keep it out of biting reach. “Rivers!” Stacy bellowed in fear. The zombie doesn’t hold back as it tries to devour what it sees as a sack of meat to feed its never-ending hunger for living flesh.
 
Rivers heard Stacy’s desperate cry for help and shoved one of the zombies back into the other. They both stumbled and fall, allowing him time to escape. He sprinted in the direction of the screaming girl. Spotting her, he slid down the embankment and tackled the zeek off of Stacy. “RUN!” Rivers ordered her.
Stacy rushes to her feet. Rivers mounted the zombie and began to pound furiously on the zombie’s head. “This is for my wife!” Rivers threw a right hook. “This is for my son!” He threw his left.
The zombie showed no signs of being affected by Rivers brutal beating. It snarled and snapped at the man delivering the blows.
Rivers grabbed his axe. “This is for ruining my life!” Rivers brought down the final blow. The axe connected to the middle of its forehead, spraying a foul smelling black sludge all over his face and clothes.
At the sound of snarling and snapping jaws, he whirled around, drawing his pistol. The other two rotting sacks he’d left behind were now closing in on him. Rivers pulled the trigger. The first head exploded, sending brain matter and skull in all directions. He pulled the trigger again.
CLICK! CLICK! The gun jammed. Rivers stared at the gun and then back at the zombie. He winds up and throws his gun. It sails through the air and connects with the thing right between the eyes. It doesn’t do much, but it gave Rivers enough time to grab the axe and swing, severing the corpse’s head.            “Stacy!” Rivers yelled as he headed in the direction of the barn, hoping Stacy made it there. “Stacy!” Rivers yelled again.
Entering the barn, his gaze takes in the shadowed interior. “Stacy?” his voice is a hoarse whisper. No answer. “Where did she go?” He stepped away from the barn and spotted the main house. He jogged toward it without incident. The front door was open and he cautiously stepped inside with his axe in hand, ready to dismember any corpse that came his way. “Stacy,” Rivers whispered with urgency.
He headed up stairs. As he reached the top, his steps faltered. A pool of fresh blood trailed down the hall like a red carpet laid out for royalty. “Stacy?” His voice shook with dread. The path of blood directed him toward what he assumed was the master bedroom. He froze in the archway, taking in the scene.
Stacy sat on the floor, leaning against the closet door. “It almost bit me,” Stacy said with a calm tone. She referred to the dead walker, lying face down in a pool of blood. “I thought that I would be safe in this house. The door was shut and it look secure.” Stacy’s shoulders shook and tears fell down her cheeks.
Rivers went to her and knelt beside her on one a knee. He gripped her shoulder. “Stacy you have to listen to me. Did you get bit?”
She glanced at him, her eyes glossy from tears. She held out her arm. His gaze landed on the blood oozing from the wound right above her wrist. “I don’t want to die,” Stacy sobbed.
Rivers looked away, trying to hold back the tears. “Stacy…I don’t—”
She stops him mid-sentence. “Don’t make this any harder than this has to be, Rivers. I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be a zeek either! ”
“Stacy, I’m so sorry.” Rivers meets her gaze.
“Please, just do it quick.” Stacy said, wiping her face free of her tears. She lifted her chin, proving she would be brave.
Rivers raises his gun. The shot rang out and Stacy’s body slumped over.  
 
Rivers found a shovel out back and dug a hole. Hours passed by before he placed Stacy in the ground. Exhausted, he plopped on the ground next to the freshly dug grave, not wanting to believe Stacy was gone.
Rivers knew he had to move and forced himself to stand. He headed back to the house and rummaged through it, looking for supplies the rest of his crew could use. He took pillowcases from the linen cabinet to carry what he took.
He made his way to the master bedroom and halted at the archway. His gaze landed on the blood soaked carpet where Stacy had died. He shook his head and tried to ignore it. He couldn’t bring her back and he had others who were relying on him. He strode to the master bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet, looking for antibiotics or any other medicines they could use.
He closed the cabinet and headed back into the room. He glanced out the window with a curse. There was a mob of the walking dead roaming the farmland, all shuffling in the direction of the house.
They must have heard the gunshot, Rivers thought to himself. He grabbed his loot and made to the front door, but slid to a stop before heading outside. There were too many on the porch. They were still unaware of the man lurking inside, but that would soon change.
Rivers headed to the back of the house and found the back door located in the kitchen. He took three deep breaths and threw opened the door.
No zeeks! Finally, some luck.
He sprinted down the steps and doesn’t look back as he heads in the direction of the camp.
***
  We’re all gathered around the fire pit, waiting for Rivers to make his announcement.
“Where’s Stacy?” I asked Rivers, taking in his attire covered in black zeek gore.
He didn’t answer, but looked at each of us in turn. “Everyone, I’ve got some bad news.” Rivers swallowed hard, making his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. “We lost Stacy today.”
“Oh my God.” Darla’s hand flew to her mouth in disbelief. “How?”
Shock left me speechless. Stacy was gone?
“On our way to the barn, we got attacked by some zeeks,” Rivers began. “ I told Stacy to run. When I found her...” Rivers’ voice cracked and he stopped to compose himself before continuing. “She got bit by a zeek that was inside the main house. She managed to kill it but…but it proved too late. It had already bitten her above the wrist.” He squeezed his eyes closed. “She was still conscious when I found her. She asked me to do it quickly.”
I started crying, not caring I was blubbering like a little girl. Stacy was gone.
Rivers drones on, telling us that there was a huge mob of zombies heading in our direction and that we needed to leave. We weren’t safe here anymore.
The next few hours were a blur as everyone packed their belongings. After I stuffed my things into a duffel bag, I put Stacy’s stuff away. I still couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact she was gone. “I was just talking to her last night.”
***
The smell of coffee brewing brings my thoughts back to the present. I close my journal, stand and brush off my pants, which does nothing to wipe away the grime.
The world we live in is effed up and there’s no going back to what we had before the zeeks took over. We are chum, floating at the surface of shark-infested waters with no way out.
 
I’m Brian Carni, and my group and I are just trying to stay alive.
 
To be continued…
 
About the Author
When Vincent Nutt isn't fighting off zeeks, he's going to school and working toward his BA in Video Game Design.   
You can find Vincent at: Linkedin

14 comments:

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

Vincent,

Thanks so much for sharing your flash fiction! I need a Zombie Survival kit. lol

Enjoyed the story!

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

That was some story, Vincent! Hadn't read any zombie stories until this and the flash fiction story on one of the days!

Rosemary Gemmell said... Best Blogger Tips

Karen - thanks so much once again for letting us share our flash fiction stories on your blog. I loved reading every one!

The winner of a download copy of Mischief at Mulberry Manor is Jean MP (skpetal at hotmail dot com) - let me know if I should contact her or if you're letting her know first.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Rosemary GemmellYes, please contact her. :)

Celtic Chick said... Best Blogger Tips

Great story. This is a reminder that I wouldn't want to live in a zombie apocalypse.

Karen, Thank you for all the time you put into this flash fiction bash. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed reading all of the stories. So many talented writers.

Kelley

Gerald Costlow said... Best Blogger Tips

And where would Halloween be without Zombies? I loved all the stories this time around and hope we can make this an annual tradition! Thanks to Karen for doing the hard work to throw this bash.

Jeanne_Treat said... Best Blogger Tips

Great story! Thanks for sharing.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Celtic Chicklol--I wouldn't want to live in a zombie apocalypse either.

I'm so glad you enjoyed the bash. I had fun with it, too. Loved all the stories! The talented authors made this event spectacular or should I say spooktakular! lol

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Gerald CostlowYep, Zombies are a must for Halloween! lol

I'm so glad everyone had a great time with the bash. I'm thrilled it was such a success!

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Jeanne_TreatThanks for popping in for a sneak peek. :)

Hywela Lyn said... Best Blogger Tips

Phew - that was quite a story - I'm not normally a zombie fan but this one had me gripped, and I wanted to go on reading!

Thanks for organising this Karen, I enjoyed taking part and will go back for all the stories I still haven't read yet!

The winner of the Gift Token for TWRP was Emily and I'll email her her prize.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Hywela LynSo glad you had fun! Please do go back and read the other stories. They were all fantastic!

Cara Marsi said... Best Blogger Tips

This is excellent. I really enjoyed it and wanted to keep reading. I don't usually like zombie stories but I liked this one. I also love romance novels.

Karen Michelle Nutt said... Best Blogger Tips

@Cara MarsiSo glad you enjoyed the story. It was really good, wasn't it? I wanted more, too. :)