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  • Spooky Halloween book series

    All The Dead Are Here - Pete Bevan's zombie tales collection

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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.

    September 10, 2009  Short stories   

    It’s too damn hot, Mya Velázquez thought. She stood outside the house, wishing for a breeze to cool her down. She looked up at the black sky, searching for a lone star, but all she found was darkness stretched to the furthest limits.

    Mya couldn’t stand being on night watch.

    Ahead of time she was told when her turn would come but that didn’t put her at ease. It did the complete opposite; it had her dreading every minute that past. Beforehand, she tried squeezing every possible ounce of enjoyment out of the small space of time, throwing her self into the now instead of thinking of the future.

    In the days leading up to night watch, she considered telling Terry that she was sick. Yet, she knew he wouldn’t listen to one word even if she was telling the truth. He was a stubborn bastard and the truth was he simply didn’t give a damn.

    The root of her hate was hard to put into words. Maybe it was being out here in the desert, alone. Or maybe it was the dunes which reminded her of a dark churning sea. Or maybe it was a combination of all this things mixed in with a dash of primitive fear of the dark. Involuntarily, Mya shivered.

    It wasn’t much better inside but at least there was safety in numbers. Out here, she felt vulnerable, open to attack on all sides. She suggested having two people on night watch in rotation, but everyone shoved her idea to the side.

    She envied the others, sleeping away right now. Mya couldn’t remember the last time she actually had a solid night of rest. She slept, they all slept, but it wasn’t a calm rejuvenating rest that she wished for. She desperately wanted to close her eyes and sleep safe and secure and wake up somewhere else. Anywhere, but here.

    Mya thought she heard something. Perhaps it was a snake or a coyote. She cocked her shotgun listening for anything out of the ordinary. She surveyed the area watching for any tell tale signs of movement, anything that didn’t quite fit the landscape’s patchwork of shadows.

    A small silhouette ripped itself from a large body of darkness. Slowly, it made its way around the corner of the house like a ghostly apparition. Mya held the shotgun and unknowingly her breath. Once the shadow came into the moonlight, the shroud of darkness fell away and revealed a small girl. Mya realized it was just Katie. She let out a sigh of relief and let her hand holding the shotgun drop to her side.

    Katie walked up to Mya with her small hands rubbing her half open eyes. She wore pink pajamas which had white bunnies frolicking against the surface. Her hair was a dirty blonde and being uncombed gave her an air of wildness.

    “Katie, what are you doing out here? You should be in bed?” Mya asked.

    “I know, Mya, but I can’t sleep. I’m scared the dead people might get me…” Katie said.

    “Honey they won’t get you I promise,” Mya grabbed Katie’s hand in her own and gently squeezed, “We’ve gone over this again and again. We’re all going to protect you.”

    “But what about my dreams? You can’t protect me there.” Worry was thick in Katie’s eyes.

    Mya shared Katie’s fears but she didn’t let this fact become apparent. She had to put on a mask and be strong for Katie’s sake.

    “Okay. How about this? Just close your eyes and think about someplace else. Picture yourself there in this happy place. Focus on it and before you know it, you will be there.” Mya said.

    “Really?” Hope sparked in her electric blue eyes.

    “Cross my heart and hope to die.”

    Jackson sat upright, his spine popping loudly, as the back door opened wide and moonlight spilled in. When he saw that it was just Katie he slumped back down into the comfort of his bed. He patted the 45. pistol tucked away beneath his pillow before closing his eyes.

    Katie tiptoed her way past Jackson into her room. When she saw her room clogged full of darkness she thought of running back outside to Mya.

    She knew that darkness hid things. Things that wanted to hurt you. Then she remembered Mya’s reassuring smile and consciously pushed the fear to the back of her mind and replaced it with thoughts of the beach and large sandcastles teeming with life.

    Deafening gunshots rang out. Jackson quickly rolled over, gripped his cold .45 and hurried outside.

    Mya stood in the morning heat, the barrel of her shotgun smoking. Below her sat a corpse curled up in a fetal position and the bloody remains of its head splattered the sand a striking red.

    Mya smiled before saying, “Good morning Jackson.”

    “What happened?” he asked.

    “The usual.” She replied.

    “Well it looks like we’re off to a fine mornin’.” Terry said as he stepped out brandishing a beer in his right hand and a couple of heavy duty black garbage bags in his left.

    “Well, I’m going to go get some shuteye.” Mya said.

    “That leaves us then Jackson. Let’s get rid of this sucker.” Terry tipped his head backwards and finished off his beer. He crushed the aluminum can with meaty fingers and chucked it.

    Terry and Jackson slipped the body into the garbage bags, and then wound a rope around the bags tightly to keep them from slipping off. Jackson lifted the body by the shoulders while Terry clamped his big hands around the ankles.

    As they walked, carefully navigating the terrain, Jackson could feel the soft muscle give beneath his fingers. It made him sick to his stomach. He thanked god that he skipped breakfast this morning.

    Two miles out from the house, the pit yawned wide. Flies hovered overhead, blanketing the bodies. The stench of decay was horrendous. God I hate the pit, Jackson thought.

    “One…two…three,” Terry said before they swung the body into the pit. It felt good to relieve themselves of the weight. The body had been light, almost easy to carry at first, but after the long walk it felt as if the corpse’s weight had gradually doubled.

    “Glad that’s over wit.” Terry wiped his hands on his pants. Some of the bags had slipped off revealing parts of the bodies inside. A lone crow was busy picking away at the remains of one of the undead. It held one crusty retina in its beak and appraised both of the men in silence.

    The smell made Jackson’s stomach turn sideways. The stench of decay became too much, all at once overwhelming him. He doubled over and threw up food he didn’t even know he had inside. His throat felt raw.

    “Jesus Christ, Jackson can’t you keep you’re food inside you for one minute? I might expect that from Mya or Katie but you? You need to man up and stop being a pussy.”

    The anger was building inside of Jackson. Relax, he thought, be easy. Remember your heart can’t take too much stress or strain. He took the anger and folded it away deep within himself where no one could reach it.

    The crow flew away.

    Terry Reed sat on the porch staring out into the blazing sun. He wished he could melt, utterly melt into the sand. Perhaps one day he could become a diamond. Even a polished gem would suit him. However he was no diamond or gem. There was no beauty in his grim expression. He’d been thinking. That’s just about all a man can do is think these days.

    He tossed the idea back and forth in his head. And after a while he came to a conclusion. It has to be done, he thought. There’s no other option. Someone has to go.

    He hated having to be the one who made the decision but make the decision he did. They trusted him on more than one occasion. They put their fragile lives in the palm of his hands and he could do however he liked with them. He scooped up a handful of sand and watched it sift through his callused hands.

    Jackson sat down with his legs crossed, absentmindedly rubbing his feet against one another. He heard the front door slam but paid it no mind. He knew he was safe, locked away inside his room. Inside his own fortress. No one could touch him here-dead or alive.

    Even though Jackson was closed off, he was still aware of all the sounds that passed through the paper-thin walls. He enjoyed listening, he thought of himself as the ear of the house. It made him feel connected.

    He listened to Mya’s soft snores and Terry’s loud footsteps traveling room to room till they stopped in front of Katie’s. There was a pause, a brief moment of silence. A moment passed. Jackson heard Terry knock on the oak door.

    Katie opened her door and the hinges whined. Jackson didn’t have to use his ears to know that Katie’s expression soured once she saw that it was Terry. That was a given. No one actually liked Terry. He had his screws on a little too tight and a few loose ones as well.

    Terry spoke in a soft whisper, obviously not wanting anyone to hear his words. “Katie, I need you to come outside. There’s something I want to show you.”

    “What?” Excitement wrapped around the question.

    “It’s a surprise. Just follow me outside. C’mon.”

    Jackson felt the sneaking suspicion that something wasn’t right. He got up slowly and crept to his door, waiting till Terry and Katie were out of hearing range before unlocking the latch. He patted the bulge in his pocket to reassure himself.

    As he passed Mya’s room he considered waking her up but he knew she needed the rest and kept on walking. Once outside, he ignored the pain in his back as kept crouched down low to remain from being seen.

    Terry walked ahead a few feet ahead in a slow steady pace, holding Katie’s hand. They weaved in and out of the cacti covering a good amount of land in a short time.

    “Are we almost there? It’s getting hot?” Katie wiped the sweat off her forehead.

    “Yes honeydoll. We’re almost there.”

    Jackson gripped his pistol so hard that his knuckles began to turn snow white. Doubt knifed its way into his gut, twisting and turning. What if I’m wrong? There must be a reasonable explanation for this. There has to be. But then again no one really knows what’s going on inside his head. Terry’s mind may have snapped long ago, we were just too stupid to notice.

    They were wandering too far from the house. This was dangerous territory, uncharted water. You have to make a move, Jackson told himself. It’s now or never.

    He stepped out, mouth in his throat, but he somehow managed to keep calm. Jackson took a few tentative steps forward. Terry glanced back. Jackson pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. The gun jammed. Jackson kept pulling the trigger over and over.

    “Damn this thing.” He said.

    Jackson threw the gun at Terry hitting him in the shoulder. As the gun fell a shot rang off. Katie took off running back towards the house. Jackson saw his opening, perhaps his only chance. He ran at Terry trying to knock him off balance. Terry sidestepped the blow and shoved him to the right. Jackson slipped; his momentum carried him straight into the embrace of a cactus.

    Involuntarily, Jackson hugged the cactus for support, face and all. He pulled himself away. Tiny spines stuck out of Jackson’s face. Each spine opened a small wound, streaming rivulets of blood.

    “Don’t look to me for any sympathy old man.” Terry said.

    Jackson was on his knees, speechless, his face a knot of pain and defeat.

    “You should have left well enough alone. Instead you had to come follow me. Both you and I know you’ve been running. Running far too long. We all run but eventually we have to stop and take a breath. But you find you reached the end. The end of the road. It just looks like you’ll be reaching the end sooner than later.”

    Terry bent down to grab the pistol. Then he froze as he heard the distinctive cock of a shotgun.

    Mya had the shotgun aimed right at Terry’s head. Katie hid behind her clutching Mya’s blue jeans.

    “Don’t touch it.” She said venomously.

    Jackson sat in the sand his hands on his face trying to stop the steady flow of blood. He began to moan and sob.

    “Mya no one has to get hurt.” Terry said in a calm soothing voice. He began to bend down slightly.

    “I said don’t fucking touch it.” Mya said.

    Mya had her eyes fixed on Terry awaiting his next move. A big drop of sweat trickled down the side of his forehead; his lips twitched as if he wanted to say something then thought better of it. He bent down, quick as lightning, trying to snatch the pistol out the sand.

    The next moment he fell to the ground clutching his ankle.

    “Shit…bitch got me in my leg. You’re gonna pay for this. All of you.” Terry said through clenched teeth. He tried crawling towards the pistol.

    Mya walked over and kicked the gun out of his way. He pulled himself back up to his knees, crawling again but this time the pain was too much.

    Mya went over to Jackson and inspected his wounds. It didn’t seem as bad as she thought, but he was losing a lot of blood. Worry washed over her in thick waves. She had to stop the flow soon or else he was going to die.

    Mya ripped open part of Jackson’s shirt and tied it around his head tightly.

    “This will have to do for now. Katie come over here and help me lift Jackson to his feet.”

    “Okay… What are we going to do about Terry?” she asked.

    Mya paused a moment then answered, “Nothing. It’s getting dark. We have to head back.”

    “You can’t leave me out here. You can’t.” Terry pleaded.

    With some help from Katie and some effort from Jackson, Mya managed getting him up to his feet. He slung his arm around Mya for support and they began to head back home.

    Dusk approached the desert.

    The undead shimmered as they neared Terry. At first, he thought it was just a mirage, an illusion conjured by the desert heat. They came taking their time, all the time in world. Stumbling, slipping in the sands. Eventually, they reached him.

    By the time he realized he was wrong, that they were real, more real than he could possibly imagine, it was too late. Dirtied hands, nails caked with sand and blood, ripped his head open to get at his brain. He didn’t have time to scream, but he felt the pain rack his body before he fell into a sea of darkness. Greedy, they dug in scooping up succulent morsels. The undead feasted well into the night and the flies followed.


    1. I liked this alot. I wanted to hear more though. Mya is tougher than is lead on to believe. Keep up the good writing.

      Comment by Rob on September 11, 2009 @ 10:48 am

    2. not bad. you’ve packed a heck of a lot into such a short story, though. keep writing.

      Comment by jfbranson on September 12, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

    3. yeah great keep it up hope to you write more

      Comment by rob on September 14, 2009 @ 2:20 am

    4. Terrific. The prose and story were both excellent. Write more.

      Comment by Liam O'Riley on September 18, 2009 @ 12:44 am

    5. You have great descriptions and compelling characters, however, I had trouble following the POV beginning with the paragraph “Jackson sat upright…” Keep writing, and please consider tightening up your prose.

      Comment by Molly on September 18, 2009 @ 10:50 pm

    6. I stand corrected by Molly.

      Comment by Liam O'Riley on September 19, 2009 @ 1:29 am

    7. I loved this story! I hope u write more godd stories as this one! Keep up the good work!

      Comment by zombie515 on September 30, 2009 @ 2:37 pm

    8. Was a good story. Had a small problem following the POV for a bit. Also had a problem believing that Jackson would die from massive blood loss after running into a cactus. Other than that, pretty good.

      Comment by Agent Anachronism on October 4, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

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