I have the awesome NYT Best Selling author Madeline Sheehan on the blog today, telling us all about her newest release - UNBELOVED.
In case you've been living under a rock, let me tell you about it.
Unbeloved is the fourth installment in her Undeniable series, following the lives of Deuce West president of the Hells Horseman, and Eva West.
It's not just a love story, it's a fucking experience. One you will connect with on so many levels.
Madeline truly has a way with words. She'll make you feel every emotion the characters go through, so that you are living the experience with them, and when you finish her books and look around you in awe, you can't help but wonder how the hell everything can just carry on.
For those of you who don't know Madeline, here's a little about her.
Fantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Today bestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series.
A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.
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Blurb, Banner & Book Cover From Unbeloved
Warning: This is not a conventional or predictable love story. It involves one woman and two men bound by a love so destructive it spans two decades, pitting brother against brother, and shattering the lives of those touched by it.
Dorothy Kelley is a born romantic, searching for her prince. Instead she finds herself pregnant at fifteen, and a in a loveless marriage by the tender age of eighteen.
Then hope comes riding into her life on a motorcycle and within weeks, Jason “Jase” Brady, a member of the Hell’s Horsemen motorcycle club, sweeps Dorothy off her feet.
But nothing is ever simple for Dorothy. Jase is married with children. And as Dorothy patiently waits for Jase to give her the happily-ever-after she’s been dreaming about, James “Hawk” Young, a member of the Hell’s Horsemen with secrets of his own, sees an opening into Dorothy’s life and takes it.
Carrying on two secret affairs is no easy feat. As Dorothy tries to dig herself out of the mess she’s created, covering one mistake with another, tragedy strikes, nearly costing Dorothy her life and that of her unborn son.
What follows is a long and painful journey of self-discovery and forgiveness, as Dorothy comes to realize that home was exactly where she’d left it, and the love she’d forever craved had always been within her reach.
This is the story of Dorothy, Jase, and Hawk.
We are all born pure; it is our journey that burdens us and leads us astray. Our mistakes that beat us down and cover us in guilt and shame, burying us a little more with each passing hardship. It is up to us to dig ourselves out, to come to terms with our faults, to embrace not only our imperfections but those of the ones we love, and to once again find the path we strayed from.
Special Guest Interview With Best Selling Author Madeline Sheehan, Deuce & Eva West From The Undeniable Series
Today I have some very special guests on the blog, USA TODAY Best Selling Author Madeline Sheehan, and Deuce and Eva West from her Undeniable series.
Claire – Hi, nice to have you all here, settle in, grab a beer and let’s talk. I’d like to address Madeline first, but of course you can both speak up if you feel the need to.
Claire - Madeline, tell us about the newest book in the Undeniable series.
Madeline - The newest book, UnBeloved, is centered around the aftermath after Dorothy, Jase and Hawk’s love triangle was brought violently to light. It’s a little different than the first three books in the series as it doesn’t deal with first love or lust, but a homecoming of sorts and a realization of oneself. It’s an emotional ride, for sure, but definitely not as wild as some of the others.
Claire - I know the fans have been itching for the story of Jase, Dorothy & Hawk—me in particular. There’s something about a love-triangle that I love to hate. But for you, is there a particular story that you can’t wait to tell?
Madeline - I am itching too! To tell ZZ’s story, UnDying. It’s been a long time coming and it’s going to blow up in all our faces. It’s also the book that will bring the entire saga full circle and back to the beginning again. Actually, to say I’m excited is an understatement, I’m bloody (that’s for you, Claire) ecstatic!
Claire - When you write, do you stick to a strict outline or does the story evolve as you write it? For instance, were there different outcomes for some of the characters originally?
Madeline - I usually begin with a strict outline that veers left, plows headfirst into a tree, backs up, gets lost down a dirt road, breaks down at a dead end and goes off wandering into a dark forest. Thankfully the sun eventually comes up and shows me the way home. But there you have it. My process. Shhh, don’t tell anyone what an absolute clusterfuck it is. But honestly, it’s the only way I know how to tell a story and I’m always happy with outcome.
Were there different outcomes originally for some of the characters? No way, Jose. But there were different beginnings. I play around with ideas until I can get into the head of the character and once that happens, the story clicks and the words just flow. Off the road, into a tree…ect, ect, you get my point.
Claire - You must be pleased with how well loved the series is, I mean, you have some seriously hardcore fans. Does it make it more stressful for you? Or do you find it helps?
Madeline - A little of both. God knows, I want to please everyone, but life tends to get in the way. It is stressful when fans are screaming for the next book but at the same time I feel it pushes me to do better than the last, to give my all for them. There is no better feeling than knowing all your hard work is being appreciated. Although, after each book is finished, I do need to decompress for a bit, get out of my head and back into the real world.
Claire - So, what’s coming up next for your readers? And when can they expect to get their greedy little mitts on it?
Madeline - Obviously UnBeloved is coming, and after that I have two more books planned for the UnDeniable series: UnDeserving is Preacher’s story (before Eva’s birth) and the final book in the series, UnDying.
In the midst of all that, I’ll be working on the final book in my Holy Trinity Trilogy, something I’m dreading, having to say goodbye to those characters I’ve grown to love, but as well as being excited to move onto to other genres I’ve been dreaming of exploring. Lately I’ve been playing around with horror and I’m really enjoying the outcome, so we shall see what happens. I’m sure 2015 is going to be an insanely busy year for me!
Claire - I know that you currently have two series out – The Undeniable series and The Holy Trinity series. If I remember correctly you’re on to the last in the series of The Holy Trinity series. Do you have any more apocalyptic books in the works?
Madeline - I do. And all I can say is that I have a surprise coming very, very soon. Stay tuned. ;)
Claire - I want to ask Deuce and Eva a couple of questions now, but as previous, feel free to interject if you have something you want to add.
Claire - Deuce, you met Eva when she was just a young girl, in the years between you two meeting back up, did that young girl ever cross your mind? Obviously not in a sexual way. It was after all the start of you taking over the Hell’s Horseman, and affectively having to man up. Not that you weren’t man enough before that…wait, I’m fucking this question up. Back to my point though. Did you ever think about the little girl you met in prison and what had become of her?
Deuce - Yeah.
Eva – *looks at Deuce* Is that all you’re going to say?
Deuce – Yeah.
Eva - *looks at Claire and shrugs* Sorry…
Claire - And we know that you thought of him a lot over the years, Eva, but did you ever see yourself with him? I’ve always believed that when you know, you know.
Eva – Oh, I knew. I always knew he was it for me and I fantasized about it, definitely. But did I ever actually think Deuce and I would ever truly end up together, as a family, married and with children? Honestly, no. There were just so many obstacles. Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way.
Deuce – Babe. Yeah.
Claire - So, the future? What do you see for it? And for your kids.
Eva – I see our kids having more kids, I see a family so huge, and so full of love. I see a happy ending for us all. *looks at Deuce* Our happy ending.
Deuce – *Grins at Eva* Babe.
Claire - And the Hell’s Horsemen? One thing we’ve all learnt through the series is that family doesn’t always mean you’re blood related. I guess that means that your family is always growing. Are there any newer members that we can look forward to getting to know?
Eva – Of course you’re going to see some of the kids fall into the life, both the boys and the girls, as for non-blood related members, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Deuce – Don’t need any more fuckers to take care of.
Claire - If you weren’t President of the club, what do you think you would be doing? You must have had ambitions when you were younger. And Eva, the same applies to you. I know that you both have each other, and your family, but taking that aside, what else would you have liked to do with your lives?
Deuce – Bitch, are you stupid? What else is there? If I didn’t have the club or my family I’d be eatin’ concrete on the way to no-fuckin’-where.
Eva – I honestly don’t know. I’ve never known anything but the club life. It was my whole life. Even when I was at college, I never really planned on doing much with my degree. The club was everything.
Claire - I’m not going to beat around, your story worked out, but it was a fucked up start to a relationship. Did you ever think that you would get to this point?
Eva – Like I said earlier, I wanted this, him, but I never truly believed it would ever come to fruition. Although, I can’t stress enough, how happy I am that everything turned out the way it did. Right, baby?
Deuce – Babe.
Claire - How’s Danny, Cage and Ivy doing? What are they up to now?
Eva – Both Danny and Cage are married, both living in their own homes. Ivy is still with us, she’s been seeing someone and Deuce isn’t too happy about it, but is Deuce ever happy about anything?
Deuce - *grunts*
Claire - I don’t believe in regrets, or mistakes, I believe that everything happens for a reason, but do any of you look back on some of the things that have happened and wish that you had done things differently?
Eva – No. I think if we changed even the simplest of things, we wouldn’t have had the same outcome.
Deuce – I think some of that shit coulda been fuckin’ avoided, yeah?
Eva – *rolls her eyes* Deuce doesn’t believe in fate.
Deuce – Fate is for pussies. We make our own fuckin’ path.
Claire - To all of you. If you could say something to your younger self, what would it be?
Eva- Peanuts. Don’t forget the peanuts.
Deuce – I ain’t answerin’ anymore woman shit.
Madeline – Make all the same mistakes. Fuck up. Go crazy. Date those assholes, keep writing, piss off your parents. It will all be worth it. Every single crazy, fucked up second of your life, is going to lead you home. And happy.
Claire - I want to thank you all for coming along today and talking to me, though I’m sure you got dragged along by Eva, Deuce J
Deuce - *grunts*
Claire - Thanks for your time.
Unbeloved (Undeniable #4) is out NOW at all major retailers—or at least the ones that have any fucking sense!
The Holy Trinity Series Also By Madeline Sheehan
Get one-clicking, and as always, happy reading, book whores!
Claire C. Riley
I'd like to introduce to you today, Dave Lund and his book Winchester Over.
He's new to this scene and his popping his first blog cherry with me (ooh laa laa) so give him a warm/or deathly cold welcome, and one-click his book. I've heard great things so far and it's in my queue to read already - of course I bought MY copy asap because it looks and sounds great.
Don't believe me? He's given me an excerpt to share, so go have a read :-)
My name is Dave Lund. I hail from Texas and am a former Texas “motor-cop.” My family and photography round out my usual day-to-day passions, but post-apocalyptic zombie stories really fire me up. Before my previous stint as a motor-cop, I was a full-time skydiving instructor and competitor (in Canopy Piloting, aka swooping) with over 3,000 skydives. I am no longer an active skydiver so I can focus on my family, photography, and writing.
About the book
The characters in the Winchester series comprise some personality composites of people I have known or met in my life, but no character is based on a single real person or even two people combined. They are a complete work of fiction and do not represent any actual people, living or dead. Yes, that includes Bexar! Many of the themes, objects, weapons, tactics, and locations in the Winchester Undead series are pulled from my past and experiences, as many writers are apt to do, including my love of Big Bend National Park in Texas; although I have to admit there is no secret cache site in the small Texas town of Maypearl. At least none that I had any hand in creating. The photo in the background of this post was taken at The Window in Big Bend, and that is my wife sitting in the photo, looking out onto the desert floor. She is sitting on the waterworn smooth rock; just beyond where she is sitting is a drop-off that would be fatal at 220 feet high. The locations in Big Bend are real locations, with some minor artistic license taken, as are the cities and towns visited throughout the book. The jury is still out on the presence of the secret facilities that “Cliff” finds himself in, and the truthfulness of Chemtrails really depends on whom you speak with. If the writing about Cliff’s found Type 2 VW Transporter sounds a little detailed to those not acquainted with air-cooled VWs, that’s due to my love of air-cooled German autos, including the 1973 Superbeetle that I built and drive.
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The Winchester Undead Website & Blog | Book Purchase Link |
Winchester Over Blurb
The Winchester Undead series starts with “Winchester: Over” with Bexar Reed and his family. The Reeds, along with their lifelong friends and fellow preppers, were prepared for the end of the world as we know it. They had thought of nearly every possibility, but they never thought the dead would rise to hunt the living.
After the surprise attack, the mortality rate soars among the population. Their fellow survivors want what Bexar and his group have and will stop at nothing to take it. Meanwhile, across the country, Cliff, a seasoned tactical operator, has a single mission: against all odds, he must ensure the United States of America and its government survives, but first he has to live long enough.
Winchester Over Cover
Winchester Over Excerpt
Bexar stopped near the creek. Using the increasing density of the trees for cover, he tried to catch his breath.
The go-bag and extra ammo bag weighed down his already-heavy load of pistol belt and chest rig. He could hear javalina on the trail, snorting in annoyance at his presence. He turned, facing the ground he had covered, scanning for threats with his rifle in the SUL, or “ready” position.
It was amazing how good life had become in Big Bend, and how quickly and drastically that had changed. His best friend and friend’s son lay dead, bullet holes in their heads, fired from his own pistol. His best friend’s wife was also dead, and all Bexar could do was hope that his own wife and daughter were still alive.
There hadn’t been any more gunfire echoing in the mountains, but that didn’t mean they were safe. His family’s only hope was to get to their backup camp, their small cache site, and then hide or run.
Still breathing heavily, Bexar looked back and scanned his six once more before continuing down the trail, hopefully into the waiting arms of his wife and child.
Bexar had always planned for the end, had made extensive preparations for all sorts of eventualities, but nothing like this had ever crossed his mind. If he had only known seven weeks ago what lay ahead for his friends and family, he could have saved them. But now, he had to save himself first.
Lake Elsinore, California
Just landing from an Accelerated Free Fall instruction skydive, Bill pulled the Motorola handheld radio out of his jumpsuit pocket to start talking his student down under canopy. After trying to key the radio three times, switching it off and back on, he realized it wasn’t functioning about the same time he heard a pop and felt his parachute container shift.
Looking over his shoulder, he could see that his reserve pilot chute had deployed, and realized that the pop he heard was probably the Automatic Actuation Device firing and cutting the closing loop for his reserve parachute.
Bill looked back at his student and saw that the student’s reserve parachute was beginning to deploy behind the first student jumper, giving the first jump student a two-canopy-out malfunction. From inside the drop zone office, someone was yelling that they had lost power, and as he looked to the runway approach he saw that the Twin Otter that was landing had lost power to its engines.
Within seconds, everything had simply stopped working.
In the meantime, Bill's student had not reacted to the two-out scenario as he had been taught in the First Jump Course, but had let the canopies pull apart and rotate into a down plane. He was plummeting straight down towards the ground at seventy miles per hour.
Shrugging out of his parachute harness, Bill began running to where his student had impacted the ground. The student was still alive, but barely so, with obviously broken bones in his legs and arms. Bill began trying to stabilize the student’s neck, yelling to Steven, the drop zone manager, for the trauma bag and to call 911.
Bill looked back up at the other tandem pairs still in the air and saw that they were fighting their own two-out malfunctions. He then noticed three large, high-flying aircraft passing overhead in formation, each trailing a thick, dark cloud that looked nothing like a contrail.
Steven came running with the trauma bag and began stabilizing the student, but they were suddenly covered by a thick, oily substance raining down from the sky.
Distracted, they paused for a moment, then looked back at the student only to see his body shudder with a dying breath. Steven checked for a pulse, checked for breathing, and, finding neither, closed the dead skydiver’s eyes.
Bill cursed, and Steven began gathering the medical supplies he had dumped out of the trauma bag. As they both stood to walk back to the hangar, the dead student suddenly sat upright and grabbed Bill’s jumpsuit, pulling him off his feet and onto the ground.
Steven could only scream as the dead student, moaning loudly, grabbed Bill and bit violently into his throat, spraying blood across the three of them. Now covered in oil and blood, Steven dropped the medic bag and ran for the hangar.
As Always Happy Reading my little zombie freaks!
Claire C. Riley
I have the absolute pleasure to introduce to you today Robert Chazz Chute. An author, and blogger, with a brain that is a pit jam-packed full of useful information. Seriously, you should go sign up to his blog, it's brilliant.
It's been a year since the infection started. Ariel and her small group have been working their way up the Oregon coast line every since. It was a fairly straight routine, scavenge, kill, and sleep. Until Finn shows up bringing along with him a whole new mess of problems, proving that zombies aren't always the worst thing out there and when you combine them with what is, you get a chaotic mess of death, betrayal, and hopelessness.
Purchase Link USA: ARE WE DEAD YET (USA)
Purchase Link UK: ARE WE DEAD YET (UK)
Claire C Riley
Shana is a registered nurse with clinical experience in mental health, geriatrics, HIV and substance abuse. In addition to her clinical background, Shana possesses over 15 years of experience with project management and data analytics.
She has been heavily involved in the collection and dissemination of the ICD-10 clinical and coding analytics across multiple projects including the NCHICA ICD-10 Pilot, the HIMSS WEDI ICD-10 Pilot and commercial testing programs.
Under her alter ego, The Bookie Monster, Shana reviews horror and paranormal books, with an emphasis on (but not limited to) zombie fiction. With a background in Psych Nursing, Shay brings her unique perspective to the online reading community.
Introducing her own zompoc story to the genre, Shana’s debut novel, Time of Death, is the first in a planned series and is scheduled for release May, 2014.
Social Media Links
Author Website | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email Updates |
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Time Of Death Synopsis
In a few short days, 37 year old Emma Rossi’s hard work will finally pay off. She will don her cap and gown and graduate with a degree in nursing, but not before she loses her first patient and is confronted with a new reality. In Cape Coral, Florida, a storm approaches. The dead are coming back to life.
And they’re hungry.
Infection ravages the Eastern Seaboard with alarming speed while attempts to contain the spread of infection fail. Within days, a small pocket of panicked survivors are all that remain of civilization. Fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse alongside her husband Jake and their dog Daphne, Emma comes face-to-face with her worst nightmare.
Relying on snarky wit and sheer determination, she is forced to commit atrocious acts to protect her family and avoid joining the ranks of the undead.
Time of Death is author Shana Festa's full-length novel debut.
Time Of Death Cover
Come join the fun! We will be giving away a grand prize to the tag line winner (all day contest)
Mugs, Mousepads, Gift Cards, Bookmarks, Free copies of the book and possibly more!
Time Of Death Excerpt
Chapter 05: Buried Treasure
“In the midst of what is surely the worst storm Floridians have seen all year, we are getting reports of extreme violence throughout the community. Law enforcement officials recommend all non-essential personnel remain in their homes until what they are calling ‘civil disobedience’ has been contained. We have received news that St. Vincent’s hospital has been overrun with crazed citizens. Reports state that there has been an outbreak of what medical professionals have determined is a form of the rabies virus. Highly contagious through transmission of saliva and blood, this pathogen has a 100% infection rate and is believed to have originated from a female patient at St. Vincent’s Hospital. The hospital has been placed under quarantine and we have been asked to direct anyone exhibiting symptoms of the infection to St. Mary’s Hospital on Metro Parkway in Fort Myers.
“We have received reports of similar activity from hospitals along the east coast, reaching as far north as Delaware.
“Early warning signs include fever, lethargy, and respiratory distress following contact with an infected individual. Those in the late stages of infection exhibit tonic-clonic seizures, and a catatonic state, followed by severe violent episodes after waking. Folks, I realize this is going to sound crazy, but I have been instructed to tell you that these infected individuals are biting, and subsequently eating, victims. This is not a hoax. Once bitten, victims will become ill, and the infection will consume them within a matter of hours. If you come into contact with someone infected, make all attempts to isolate yourself and contact the authorities.”
We sat in stunned silence for minutes until Jake broke it. “Um…did he just tell us there is a zombie outbreak going on?” He stared at me and I watched his face go through a litany of emotions from shock to disbelief.
“I think so,” I replied, unsure even as I spoke the words. “This is a joke, right?” Daphne had moved to the front door and began sniffing at the bottom corner. She backed away growling as a loud bang on the front door jolted us off the sofa and began barking wildly. “Jake,” I whispered. “I’m scared.”
I snatched Daphne into my arms and continued to back away from the door. My heart was pounding in my chest. The fear gripped me and I suddenly found it difficult to breathe. Over the years, Jake had played tricks on me and joked about my irrational fear of zombies. Was this it? Had my worst nightmare come to fruition? I remember hearing the news last year when a guy in Miami got hopped up on bath salts and ate some other guy’s face. Was this a street drug gone bad?
It was then that we heard it. Above the droning of the wind and rain and the banging on the door, we heard a siren growing louder until it became so loud we were certain that it was nearby. The siren and the banging stopped all at once, and I beat Jake to the peephole in the door. A cruiser had pulled onto the front lawn, its door stood open, and a uniformed officer was standing in front of the car. He was shouting at something I couldn’t see through the tiny hole and raised his gun.
“What is it?” Jake asked me.
“It’s a cop. I think there’s someone out there with him. He’s got his weapon pointed at something or someone and he’s yelling at them. I can’t make out what he’s saying.”
Jake nudged me out of the way to get a glimpse at the events outside. “This is ridiculous, I can’t see anything. I’m going out there.”
I grabbed for him before he could unlock the dead bolt. “Don’t you dare open that door,” I snapped at him. An overpowering feeling of fear and anxiety came over me and I felt myself start to panic. My voice increased to an octave so shrill that I sounded like I’d been sucking helium. “Someone is pointing a gun at us. Why would you give him an easy target? Don’t be an idiot.”
“Because,” Jake said, “I want to know what the hell is going on. This is still my house and I want to know why he’s pointing a gun at it.” Jake yanked open the front door, the wind picking up the momentum and slamming it against the wall as it opened outward. The opening granted us a full view of the lawn, the cop, and the man approaching him. Daphne was squirming under my arm, growling with a ferocity I’d never seen.
“Stop right there, or I’ll shoot!” yelled the officer. For a minute, I thought he was talking to us. We both froze. But the man walking towards him kept moving, and I realized the gun was trained on him. The officer was visibly shaking. I could see the panic in his eyes all the way across the lawn.
I squeezed past Jake to get a better view of the scene. I hadn’t noticed while looking through the peep-hole, but there were chunks of something stuck in the cars radiator. I realized it was hair and flesh. The rain caused blood to trail down the grill and end in a pink puddle on the lawn. I let loose a gasp of horror, my hand flying up to cover my mouth and muffle the sound while my eyes strained to take in the detail.
The man was still walking toward the cop. Not really walking, but sort of shuffled along like he was a baby taking his first steps. His arms outstretched, he shambled closer. His back was to Jake and I and his white polo shirt and jeans were smeared in mud. The gunshot snapped me out of my shock and I screamed. The man stumbled back but regained his balance and kept going. Three more shots rang out in succession and the man’s head snapped back as he went limp and fell onto the muddy lawn.
The officer lowered his gun, hand trembling, and walked closer to the man lying dead in our yard. He stared down at the body, emotion unreadable, as Jake and I crept closer.
The body lay still, creating a barrier between us and the cop. The top of his head was a mess of bone and shredded brain matter. The eyes, forever open, were clouded white, pupils radiating out with red spider-like blood vessels, and the skin surrounding them was nearly black and sunken. His skin was taut and mottled with death. His torso though, that was where I saw the real carnage.
The man’s shirt had been torn nearly the entire length of its flimsy cotton, together only at the neck band, and was saturated with blood. His chest cavity had been ravaged and was empty of what one would consider vital organs. Flesh was flayed from bone and left his ribs exposed.
I backed away, feeling sick to my stomach, and couldn’t hold back the vomit. I threw up until I was kneeling on the grass dry heaving stomach acid, one hand pushed into the wet earth to hold me up and the other clutching the dog.
Jake and the cop stood motionless, staring down in disbelief at what had once been a man. “What is going on?” Jake asked the cop.
Officer Donnelly, according to the name badge located over his left breast pocket, pulled himself together and said, “You need to get somewhere safe. The main parts of town have been overrun with…whatever this is.” He waved his gun hand in the direction of the dead body. “Stay inside, lock your doors and do not open them for anyone. And if you can’t stay hidden, if they get in, get in your car and drive.”
“Where? If town isn’t safe, where can we go?” I was shaking all over as Jake helped me to my feet, and my words came out as a stutter.
The cop looked up at me sullenly. “I don’t know.”
He walked back towards his car and was about to say something when we heard the sound of a blood-curdling scream coming from down the street. We all whipped around to face the noise and scanned the neighborhood. The screams continued for a few seconds, then nothing. I squinted to see in the distance and could make out a group of three people huddled on the ground in front of a house at the end of the street. I wiped the rain from my eyes and squinted as the scene came into focus. They were eating someone. Possibly someone we knew. They ripped at their victim like they were digging for buried treasure.
A scream escaped me as I raised my hands to cover my mouth. One of the huddled group snapped its head in the air, cocked it to one side and listened. It angled its neck back, and lifted its nose in the air. A short scream sounded further down the street and the head snapped to the left like a bird seeking prey. The zombie lumbered awkwardly to its feet, and began moving in the direction of the new noise.
The radio squawked from the police car, pulling us all from our rubbernecking trance, and I turned back to Officer Donnelly.
“Watch out!” I screamed.
Four figures had crested the embankment behind him. They were close enough to him that they would be on him in seconds. The first-a female-looked as if she had lost a battle with a wild animal. Wearing nothing but what once had been a pink negligee; her lower jaw had been torn right from her face. Blood dripped down her neck, staining the negligee, and her tongue, now black, was matted to the side of her neck. She emitted a dry rasping moan as she reached for him. He managed to get one shot off, taking her down, before the other three were on him.
He turned, only to land on the hood of his car and plead for help as he attempted to scratch his way over the hood to safety. His grip on the gun failed. It fell to the hood like a brick and slid off the front of the car into the mud. One of the monsters managed to get hold of his kicking legs and dragged him back. Officer Donnelly let out a howl of pain as its teeth sunk into the meaty skin of his calf. I saw his eyes then, staring straight into mine. Begging with an unspoken appeal to for help. Nails digging into the paint of the hood, he disappeared from view as they yanked him off the hood and began to feast.
I stumbled back and nearly fell over Jake as I backed away from the grisly scene. My head moved side to side like a yo-yo and I heard the splash of feet in a puddle to my right. Coming around the house was another one; it was leaning on the house as it walked towards me. One of its arms had been torn off at the elbow and its face was so mangled that I couldn’t decipher gender.
I grabbed Jake’s arm and ran to the front door. Slamming it hard and locking the dead bolt, I slid down to the ground with my back to the door. I was hyperventilating. My vision was blurry and I saw spots. I realized I was sobbing, and Jake had his arms around me making soft cooing noises to calm me down. He held me close and told me everything would be okay.
I shoved him away, fueled by a panicked rage. “Nothing is okay Jake. A man just got eaten on our front lawn. There are zombies running around eating people. So tell me, how the fuck will this be okay?”
Pushing him aside, I stood up and looked through the peephole. “Oh, God, no,” I whispered. A pack of them were heading straight for the door, trailed by a reanimated Officer Donnelly. The lower half of his leg had been ripped off, and the bone was jutting out from below his knee like someone had picked it clean. Daphne started to bark again, this time focused on the back of the house. I picked her up and turned to see a man standing at the sliding glass door. He didn’t try to open it with the handle. He just kept hitting the glass with his head; leaving smears of blood across the clean glass.
Spider web cracks were appearing in the glass and were spreading with each impact. At the same time, the group at the front door was causing the door frame to bow with the sheer force of their weight. “The doors won’t hold. We need to get to the garage!” As he said it, he grabbed me and looked me in the eyes. “Emma, we need to get out of here.”
We ran toward the garage, and made it to the kitchen before the glass door shattered. The zombie was in the house. Mere feet away, I could smell its decaying flesh as we ran for our lives. Blood oozed from a neck wound and it let out a wet gurgle.
“Jake! The Keys!”
“Go,” Jake said. “Get in the car. I’m right behind you.” He shoved me through the door and closed it behind me.
“JAKE!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I could hear muffled struggles from the other side of the door as I panicked from the thought of losing him. At once, I knew what I needed to do. I ran to the car and opened the door. Dropping Daphne on the driver’s seat I reached under it and groped around for the crowbar I always kept handy. My father grew up on the outskirts of Boston, and it had been ingrained into me at an early age to always be able to defend myself in a carjacking.
Finding my prize, I yanked it out and hefted the weight in my hands. I closed Daphne in the car and ran back to the garage door. Flinging it open, I saw Jake pinned to the kitchen floor by the zombie. He had his hands up under its throat and was using the leverage to keep it from biting him.
Like a banshee I raced into the kitchen, crowbar held over my head and brought it down on the zombie’s head. Again and again I struck it until it slumped over to one side and lay still. Jake lay on his back, panting. Rivulets of sweat beaded off his forehead, and blood splatter stained the front of his shirt and face. “My legs are pinned. Help me roll him off.”
We got him out from under the dead thing and I helped him to his feet, clutching him in a tight embrace as I cried into his chest. “Don’t ever,” I sucked in a wheezing gasp, stricken with terror. “Leave me again.” I panted.
“I won’t, baby,” he mumbled into my hair. He held up his hand, keys dangling. “Let’s get out of here. The front door is about…” I’m quite certain his next words would have been to give…because that’s exactly what happened. The door splintered inward and through the doorway stumbled in one disgusting vision after another. We hauled ass back to the garage. No way did I need to be told twice.
Claire C. Riley
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