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WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

DEATH BED by Tom Hamilton
July 13, 2007  Short stories   Tags: ,   

…but they pulled the rifle away from me, twelve hands, sixty fingers on the long barrel. It went off and one of the grey faces
exploded like a kicked, albino pumpkin. Now that the weapon was gone I could only try and re-close the door. I bumped against the piano which they had partially scooted away from the entrance. As I grasped for traction, I accidently struck the keys and two askew musical notes chimed insanely over their starving moans. I pushed the big Steinway with all my weight, but fighting them was like fighting the force of a hurricane or a tornado. So I just decided to run, to try and find
another way out. But that’s when I realized my shoe laces were trapped. In the next instant sewer-colored hands had me by the foot, pulling me towards the small, ten inch wide opening. From somewhere on the other side my gun inexplicably went off for a final time, blowing a hole in the door, the sound booming like a Roman candle. I felt a force, like a solid left hook against the side of my head. I went down hard onto the seat of my pants as the bullet grazed my head. When I felt for my right ear, most of it was gone. A numb hole and a protruding flap of skin jiggled where it had once been. The wet blood trickled down my collar and crawled inside my shirt like the stroll of a spindly brown insect. Now the pale arms were reaching through the hole in the door. I attempted to dislodge my foot, living inside a panic, but it was the same as when I had tried to wrestle the gun away; Six, eight, ten hands locked on. As I futilely struggled, my shoe came off and my foot lost a few more inches of ground as it was pulled into the tight space. Freezing fingers peeled my sock off like white butcher’s paper being ripped away from raw meat. Now I could no longer see the limb and a piercing pain began to invade my gam from all angles; Slices of skin were being pulled from the calve like strips of bacon. I felt my toes being bitten off like chocolate turtles. My pupils dilated into shock, as I laid there, crying, dying. Suddenly the small, white head of an
androgynous infant crammed itself through the narrow separation. It was extremely tiny and therefore the only one from the cold crowd who could fit inside. It began to crawl up my pant’s leg and past my crotch, it’s teeth and nails as yellow and burning as gasoline. I lay there paralyzed as it ripped open my blouse and clawed past my bra. It stared at my exposed breast for a few seconds, pausing and pulsing with the desire of a lover in its predator’s eyes. Then it bit the nipple off
and spit it out like the unwanted tip of a cigar. Before sucking the blood out from my tit with the lust of a leech. I… screamed…

…and started awake on the floor
of my Chrysler New Yorker. Disturbed by my day-mare, I ran a hand over
my ear. Predictably, I found no wounds on my scalp, nor did I have any
bites or scratches on my leg. My bra was soaked with sweat, but it was
still relatively in place underneath my blouse. Somehow I had fallen
asleep out of total exhaustion after my car had ran out of gas a mere
block from my destination.

When I talked to Brian on his cell phone he said that some
people were still alive and that they were holed up inside the old
‘Coronado Theatre’ just west of downtown. He said: “Don’t give up. Just
go there, directly there! And I’ll find you somehow. We’ll find a way
inside.” But when I called back someone with a middle eastern accent
answered. When I asked for Brian, they began complaining and cursing in
some foreign language. Subsequent calls were not answered and I feared
that Brian may be dead.

I had to take the long way around in order to avoid the flaming
barricades and this taxed the contents of my fuel tank. Once the engine
began to buck and cut out, I made no effort to pull over to the curb.
After all, there was no traffic left for me to jam.

The car coasted to a rest not far from the front box office.
Right away I realized that the survivers were gone, if indeed they’d
ever been there at all, for the dead shuffled in and out of the
swinging doors like moviegoers at a summer blockbuster. I had heard
that the action cadavers actually liked films, or at least that they
would sit there: Staring from their plush red seats in the dark, even
long after the projector had eaten the film.

I locked the already locked doors and clambered over the seat,
quickly ducking down onto the back floorboard. I pressed my nose right
down into the vinyl mats and prayed that I had not been spotted. I
pulled an old piece of astroturf over myself and tried to remain still
and calm until I could figure out my next move. I stayed in this
cramped position for sometime.
Occasionally, I would hear something, which could only be one
of our decomposing brethren, shuffle up to the car and press against
the glass. Sometimes they would even try the door handle. But it was
still only a minor attempt to breech the cab. Evidently, they could not
see me cowering underneath the rug. But I knew that this feeble
camouflage would only protect me for so long. It was a temporary
solution to a permanent problem. Besides, I had no source for food or
drink. No outlet to use the facilities, I could hardly move. Sooner or
later I would have to make a bolt for it. But to where? Where was it.
Where could I go?
But I didn’t want to think about that now. I just needed a few
minutes to rest. A few minutes to dream about Brian, his blonde hair
tumbling down over his forehead, the colors of the sand beds, the hills
like brown breakers in the freedom of the distant desert.


Tom Hamilton is an Irish Traveler. He currently lives with the
clan known as the Mississippi Travelers, which is tantamount to a race
of gypsies He says: “Not all ‘Travellers’ are the con men and scam
artists that they have been portrayed as in the American media.” His
work has appeared in over one hundred publications around the world
including ‘Bathtub Gin’ ‘The Rockford Review’ and the ‘Old Crow Review’
among many others. He has had two chapbooks published: ‘The Rain Draw
Bridge’ from ‘Alpha Beat Press’ and ‘The Last Days of my Teeth’ from
‘Budget Press’. Along with his wife Mary Theresa and their two small
daughters, Tiffany and Hope Ann, he lives in Memphis TN. U.S.A.


  1. Very interesting. This story has given me more ideas for more own stories. Congradulations on being an inspiration and a good writer.

    Comment by Wesley on July 16, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  2. Wonderful beginning! Excellent action sequences! Made me feel like I was watching the action not just reading…
    If you can write this well and keep it up book length I think you’d be on a shelf at Borders pretty soon.

    good work

    Comment by smith on October 31, 2007 @ 9:54 pm

  3. I want to hear more

    Comment by Max Smith on December 15, 2007 @ 2:43 pm

  4. Get her out of the car let her live her story is worth telling

    Comment by Thomas on December 19, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  5. this story has no ending!
    good but i wish it had a conclusive ending

    Comment by 7ur713 on October 7, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

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