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Exclusive FREE Content for Patrons

When you support Deadman’s Tome, you support writers. By supporting the writers, you get access to awesome content such as FREE access to two horror anthologies Book of Horrors I and HORRGASM!

Deadman’s Tome is an online horror zine with a strong focus on delivering dark, gritty, and terrifying horror. Deadman’s Tome strongly encourages community engagement and fosters an environment where readers can react and share the stories they read. In addition, Deadman’s Tome offers writers a unique way to earn revenue from their stories. Instead of offering a fixed rate or a rate based on the number of words, Deadman’s Tome pays authors based on the number of views, likes, and comments received.

Becoming a patron of Deadman’s Tome means helping support the cost of the horror zine, and helping us make it as profitable as possible so that Deadman’s Tome can offer more to the authors and readers by increasing pay rate, helping with advertising and marketing costs, hiring professional voice talent, hiring artists, improving on the site, and to even become a print magazine.

Currently, I put about $30 of my own money towards Deadman’s Tome, but that amount does not offer much for advertising and marketing. And let’s face it, advertising and marketing is not only essential but expensive. I have a number of sites and organizations I plan on working with to place ads to spread awareness of the growing horror zine. However, I need your help in raising the money to make it happen.

Become a patron today by going to

https://www.patreon.com/deadmanstome

 

 

 

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Texas Man Sells Zombie Burgers

A man in Texas was caught selling zombie burgers in a small town community and apparently some people might’ve actually bought one or two. Local authorities dismissed the selling of zombie patties as a prank and did not respond to the claim. However, a native Texan professional zombie hunter arrived to the scene to shut it down.

 

 

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Deadman’s Tome LIVE with Martin Richmond

 

Horror writer Martin Richmond, author of Zombie-con, meets with Mr. Deadman to talk about his zombie horror short, the relation to The Walking Dead (if any), all things zombies, and more.

This week’s Deadman’s Tome podcast will be hosted live on YouTube at the usual day and time, Friday at 10PM CST. Streaming on YouTube will allow for Mr. Deadman to really dig into Martin Richmond’s inspiration as writer, his experience, his knowledge and opinions on zombie culture, and much more.

If you watch LIVE and chat you will have a chance to win a FREE digital copy of the Book of Horrors II!

 

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Deadly Admiration – Jovan Jones

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Enhance your coffee

 

 

Caleb Thomas’ drab routine had grown tiresome. The dishes clanged as the dishwasher plucked them from the steaming carts. The vociferous mixture of Spanish and broken English hailed from the grills. The staff bellyached about their jobs, and how it was unfair that they were paid lousy wages. The manager’s constant threats to fire employees simply to scare them into working faster irritated him. But it was a job, and at least he didn’t have to wait by the back door like Mack; the homeless man who engaged in conversations with himself while he waited for a hand out. So, he donned his well practiced shit grin and went to work.

“My name is Caleb. I will be your waiter for the evening,” he greeted two pretty blonde women and their garish dates. He wrote his name on a napkin and took their order. One of the women caught his eye. Caleb tried not stare, but found it difficult to look away. He gathered his bearings and walked off.

Brook Abernathy gathered with a few friends at Lidia’s Italian Home Kitchen on South Boulevard just outside of Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. They celebrated her divorce from her husband, Richard over Veal Marsala, bruschetta, prosciutto, and a bottle of Ecco Domani Merlot. A friend and co-worker, Derrick Ruben flirted unabashedly with the newly single woman. He rubbed her bare thigh under the table.

“How does it feel to be back on the market?” Derrick asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe if I were a piece of meat I could tell you, but for now I’m enjoying the company of my friends,” Brook said; slapping his hand off her leg. “Slow down, lover boy. I haven’t even finished my first glass of wine.” She winked.

Brook’s friend Marcy wore a white see –through blouse that revealed her red lace bra. It squeezed together her well endowed breast. She said, “Well, I guess Rich is up for grabs now, huh?” Marcy gulped down her glass of wine. “I’m just kidding, honey. That jerk is not my type.”

Yeah, you would fuck him if given the opportunity. You might have already; slut.

Brook smiled. “You can have him if you want, and everything that comes along with a sadistic psychopath.”

“I’m not sharing,” another one of Brook’s male friends, Walter stated. “This one is mine.”

“You’re sure of yourself aren’t you?” Marcy fronted a look of surprise at his remark.

“I go for what I like.” Walter moved closer and rubbed her back. She moved in rhythm to his touch.

“Can I get anyone dessert?” Caleb asked the table.

“No, thank you. We’re ready for the check,” Brook smiled. She subtly sized Caleb up. She liked what she saw. He was average height with an athletic build. He had a clean shave, clean cut hair, and soft brown eyes. She unconsciously adorned a wanton smile. Caleb reciprocated. He extracted a handful of mints from his apron and placed them in the pay dish. As he started away from the table he caught a menacing glare from Derrick. He met his glare with an intense gaze of his own. Derrick averted his eyes. Caleb smirked at Derrick’s attempt to intimidate.

“Thank you. Have a wonderful rest of the night,” Caleb said, but not before placing his palm on Brook’s shoulder. Derrick stared with enmity as the waiter ambled away.

“He’s kind of cute Brook,” Marcy said. Her voice was slurred from the alcohol.

“Yes, he is,” Brook responded.

“Too bad he’s a waiter,” Marcy said. “He can’t afford me.”

Please, you’re as cheap as they come.  Brooke thought.

They all pitched in on the tip and got up from the table. As they were leaving Caleb bumped into Derrick and caused him to fall into a nearby booth.

“I’m terribly sorry, sir. Here let me help you up.” Caleb gripped Derrick’s hand so forcefully Derrick’s knuckles popped. “There you go. Again, everyone have a splendid evening.” Caleb waltzed into the kitchen feeling good about his small victory. His focus turned to the voluptuous blonde with the Caribbean Sea blue eyes and puckered full lips. He visualized her chiseled calves strutting out the door. She smelled of cucumber and watermelon body wash, light scented sweet perfume, and a subtle hint of citrus; her shampoo perhaps. In that brief encounter he had become enamored with the woman.    

***

Derrick stood in the parking lot pissing behind his black Audi S7. He shook his meat, zipped up his pants, and turned.

“Jesus Christ!” He was startled by Caleb standing by the driver’s side door of his car. “Don’t you have some tables to bus?”

Caleb stayed silent; his breathing expanding his muscular physique through a white T-shirt.

“Look, buddy. I apologize for my manners. I didn’t mean to rub you the wrong way,” Derrick said. His voice cracked.

“You ever go to her house?” Caleb asked.

“Whose house?”

“The woman you kept unsuccessfully coming onto.”

“Brook, yeah she’s my friend,” he stated nervously. “Look, if you want I could . . .”

“I bet you were a bully in school. One of those jerks who got their kicks by picking on poor kids, or did you terrorize the retards?”

“Get out of my way.” Derrick tried to push past Caleb.

Caleb delivered a vicious uppercut to Derrick’s abdomen. He slumped over and heaved out his Chicken Parmesan dinner. “What do you want?”

Caleb got behind the man and wrapped cooking twine around his neck. It smelled of pork roast, and raspberry glaze. He tightened his grip. Blood seeped into the twine as it cut into Caleb’s fingers. Derrick kicked wildly. His arms flared desperately as he tried to get loose from his attacker. The lights in the parking lot dimmed. Derrick could hear nothing, except the panicked palpitations of his heart beating voraciously in his chest. His arms went lame. He couldn’t feel his legs. The taillights of his car looked like demonic eyes watching him being murdered. He had a bile movement, just as everything went black.

Caleb retrieved the keys to Derrick’s car and popped the trunk. He threw the lifeless body in and shut it. He got in the driver’s seat and typed in Brook. 4815 Ashley Park Lane appeared on the screen. He got out of the car, wiped his hands on his apron, and went back inside the restaurant to finish his shift.

***

“So tell me. How was it?” Marcy asked Brook.

“How was what?”

“Did he give it to you right?”

“Marcy. What are you talking about?”

“I’m talking about Derrick, of course. How was the sex?”

“I didn’t sleep with Derrick,” Brook said with disgust.

“Well, hell what did you guys do, make s’mores?”

Brook grew impatient. She didn’t know what Marcy was talking about, or why she assumed her and Derrick had been intimate. It was 6:30 in the morning and the coffee maker hadn’t even beeped yet. She looked at Marcy through a squint of confusion.

“Don’t look at me like that. I saw his car pull out the parking lot just as I was pulling in. I know it was him. His is the only Audi with a CUMSH2R license plate,” Marcy said.

“You sure you saw him leave, just now?”

“Yep.”

“I thought Derrick was cool, but he’s a creep. I can’t believe he was stalking me!” she said angrily.  

Brook and Marcy left out of the parking lot. Derrick’s Audi pulled in Brook’s parking spot. Caleb got out and headed to the office. It was closed. There was an emergency number on the door. He called the number and a heavy lethargic voice answered.

“Ashley Square at South Park, maintenance department.”

“Yes, sir this is Derrick. I’ve locked my keys in my apartment and my girlfriend has the spare. Can you unlock it for me please? I’m at 4815 apartment B. It’s kind of urgent. I forgot my insulin inside.”

“Give me a minute,” the maintenance man said.

Thirty minutes later the man showed up with the remains of his breakfast trapped in his scruffy beard.

“You have to be careful with that, man,” the maintenance man stated. “My mother went into a diabetic coma once. She wasn’t good with taking her medicine either.”

Than why the fuck did it take you thirty minutes to get here you fat slob? “I know. I have to be more careful.” Caleb said. He had contrived several rebuttals for why the guy should let him in, but the dingy maintenance man never questioned him. He didn’t even ask to see I.D. He unlocked the door and told Caleb to have a good day. “Thanks.”

Caleb entered the apartment and began searching. He surveyed the medicine cabinet first; relishing in the sweet perfumes that reminded him of Brook’s presence the night before. He imagined her doing her make-up in the nude; her supple cream flesh calling for his touch. Caleb ventured to her bedroom closet. It wasn’t what he expected. There were a few party dresses, but mostly professional attire and flats instead of high heels; a woman who could care less about impressing the corporate world, or she had a bad case of corns. Either way it made her seem more down to Earth. In her nightstand there was a black leather bound diary. He took it into the kitchen and placed it on the breakfast table. He found some pastrami in the fridge and made a sandwich. He sat down, lit a cigarette, and read her diary.

***

Brook and Marcy sat at a table outside of Mert’s restaurant on Church Street in downtown. They ate lunch and sipped on ice teas. Brook focused on her plate. She tried to filter Marcy’s never ending monologue of drama spewing from her mouth. The streets were lined with city maintenance laborers, vagrants, and office slaves released from their cubicle prisons for an hour to gorge themselves with greasy food. Through the sea of the heteronomy she glimpsed a handsome man strutting toward her. His gaze was fixed on hers. He stopped at her table.

“Hello,” he said.

“Hi . . . hello, how are you?” she greeted.

“I’m fine. Do you remember me?”

“Yes, I remember you. Lidia’s on South Boulevard, right?” He nodded. “I’m sorry, but I forgot your name.”

“Caleb Thomas,” he said proffering his hand. “What’s your name?”

“Brook. Brook Abernathy.” She gave him a toothy grin. Marcy cleared her throat. Brook pointed to Marcy. “This is my friend, Marcy.”

“Hi, nice to see you again,” Marcy said.

“I’m sorry. Where have we met before?” he asked.

Brook said, “She was with me that night at the restaurant.”

“Yes, yes of course.” Caleb nodded and reestablished eye contact with Brook. Marcy slid a finger through her hair, and pushed her breast up. It was an unconscious habit of hers when she didn’t get the attention from a man she thought attractive.

“Listen, Brook I’d really like to take you out sometime. How about we exchange numbers and set something up?”

“I’d like that. Have a seat. Have some lunch,” Brook invited.

“I don’t want to interrupt you two’s lunch, besides I’m on my way to the library.”

Marcy snorted a snide chortle, “You read?”

Caleb ignored her. It embarrassed her to be disregarded by a man.

Brooke kicked her friend under the table. She gave her a quick wide eyed reproach and smiled up at Caleb. He gave her his number and she called him to put her number in his phone. They exchanged niceties and he strolled off. It was Marcy’s annoying negativity that broke Brooke of her entrancement.

“You don’t even know him. He’s a waiter for Christ sake,” Marcy said.

Brooke shot her a playful grin. She leaned in and said, “Your jealous heifer.”

Pffft. Like I said before, he cannot afford me.”

“Maybe he’s scared of those big ole tits of yours.” Marcy’s jaw dropped. “You could smother a man to death with those things.”

“You’re a mess,” Marcy laughed.

“Let me tell you. Richard had a lot of money, but he was an asshole. I rather be treated with respect then slapped around with a money clip. Besides, Caleb seems like a nice guy.”

That night Caleb sat in his dark room at the edge of his mattress set on the floor. His naked body was lathered with sweat from his daily regimen of five hundred push-ups, and five hundred sit-ups. He held a piece of blank printing paper he took from Brooke’s printer in her apartment. He sprayed it with her perfume before he left. He basked in her scent; ruminating on the possibilities of them together.

Caleb stood and went to his dresser. He grabbed a pencil and began to draw her face. Caleb captured the details like a forensic sketch artist. From the wavy hair, to the full lips he was able to quicken her image onto the page. She smiled seductively at him through pursed grey and white lips. He smiled back at her. A malodorous stench seeping into his window broke his fugue. The funk of Derrick’s carcass was too pungent. He had to dump the Audi.

***

Brooke stepped out of the apartment on her way to work. She was greeted by the maintenance man. “How’s your boyfriend doing?”

Brooke turned her lips down and stared.

“How’s your boyfriend; you know with taking his insulin?”

“I don’t have a boyfriend, Mr. Russell,” Brooke said. “Insulin?”

Ole Mr. Russell went over the scenario in his head. He’d realized that he let a stranger into Brooke’s apartment. How could he be so careless? He couldn’t reveal that he did. He would lose his job. Mr. Russell needed his job. Ashley Square Apartments was the only place who hadn’t done a background check, because if they did they would’ve know he was a repeat sex offender, and sex offenders aren’t the type welcomed around women and children.  

“Oh goodness, I’ve got you mixed up with Mrs. Johnson,” he said with a straight face. “It’s early, and the blonde hair, you know?” He searched her eyes for accusations. “Never mind. Have a good one.” Mr. Russell scurried past her. Sweat dripped from his double chin. Brooke shrugged and got in her car. Her cell rang.

“Hello,” she answered.

“It’s Caleb. I hope I’m not calling you too early, but I’m on my way to work and I wanted to catch you before I got tied up all day and couldn’t call.”

Brooke beamed. “I’m on my way to work too. It isn’t too early. I’m glad you caught me.”

“I wanted to invite you to a get together tomorrow night. Some of my friends from work are pitching in and having a bar-be-cue. There’ll be drinks, and some card playing, things like that.”

“I’d love to,” Brooke said.

“Okay, see you tomorrow.”

Brooke hung up feeling a healthy and sprightly energy flowing through her body. It had been a long time since she felt that way about a man.

Caleb set out to court a beautiful woman, and her response toward him was positive. He felt triumphant, as he gazed upon the gorgeous watch that Derrick once wore. He unburdened the dead man’s wrist of it before he dumped his body in an abandoned house in Grier Town; a seedy part of the city on the east side of Charlotte.  

***

Caleb clothed himself as a regular Joe at work. He hid the maniac inside him well. He cogitated on Brooke, and the well of emotion she induced in an otherwise cruel and merciless mind. Staring out from the plateau of lunacy he saw a man filled with joy marching through the valley of depravity, bringing with him a torch of hope to illuminate his black quiddity. He turned from the bathroom’s mirror, and readied himself to do his job.

Marcy occupied the only table in his station. She was alone. Her mascara seemed heavier every time he saw her. She looked dejected.

“Hello, what are you having today?” he spoke with an exasperated tone.  

“I came to talk to you,” she said.

“I’m at work right now, what is it?”

“Why don’t you like me?” she asked. The insecurity of a school girl resonated in her voice.

“How do you figure I don’t like you?”

“You want Brooke,” she said.

“That’s right. I’m fond of her and would like to get to know her. She’s your friend, isn’t she?”

“She is,” Marcy’s eyes flickered with lust, “but I want you to be my friend too.”

“Look, Marcy I . . .” She placed her hand on his stomach. He felt blood rush to his member.

“Brooke gets all of the good guys. For a change I want one—just one good guy.”

“Which car is yours?” Caleb shoved a thumb toward the parking lot.

“The silver Buick Enclave in the front.”  

“Pull around to the back of the restaurant. We’ll talk, okay?” Caleb’s tone softened. He sighed as he shuffled through the traffic doors. Marcy stomped through the lobby. Her platform shoes sounded like props for an old western themed radio program. The host eye fucked her tits as they bounced around in her shirt like a waterbed mattress.

“Right there,” Caleb whispered. “That’s a good girl.” He held Marcy’s hair back as she bobbed on his cock. Spittle dangled from her lips. Red lipstick smeared her mouth. He pushed her head back down. His thick, heavily veined dick slid in her throat. She gagged, and came up for air.  

“Your cock taste so good,” she panted her words. “Cum in my mouth Daddy.” She jerked him into her mouth as her lips and tongue glided, sucked, and tickled the tip of his dick.

“Oh shit,” he said.

She sucked, and bobbed until she drank it all. He shivered. His body went limp. Her lips made a loud pop sound when she released him from her mouth.  

Marcy’s mascara ran from the tears produced when she gagged on his member. “See, Daddy. I can be your friend.”

Caleb’s shift ended. The time had come to enjoy Brooke’s company. Her image occupied his mind like a portrait set on the wall of his psyche. He’d removed Derrick from the picture. Caleb knew that he would have to eventually do something about Marcy’s insistent covetousness, but for the time being her lewd thirst was satiated. The day couldn’t have gone by quick enough.

Brooke met Derrick at the bar-b-cue. Her hair was curled, and hung just past her shoulders. She sported a flowery sundress that accentuated her curvaceous frame. Caleb met Brooke at the front of the house. Before greeting her properly he stood back; watching her strut and taking her all in. She was captivating. He was experiencing an unfamiliar feeling. He’d loved women, before, but this was different. He loved his mother. Caleb loved Mrs. Lojowski, his high school guidance counselor who took his virginity. Brooke had intelligent eyes. Her disposition was humble, yet authoritative. The woman’s presence incited amorous emotion. He admired Brooke.

Caleb introduced her to his friends. His friends were different from hers, and it was a welcome change. They were inviting. It wasn’t a competition of who had the best material item, or who knew the most successful people. They simply enjoyed each other’s company.

“Thank you for inviting me,” Brook said.

“No, problem,” Caleb responded. “They like you.”

She felt herself blush. Caleb cupped her hands in his. She looked at him with a felicitous beam.

I knew you’d like that. I’m so glad I read your diary before I pursued you. I want to be your dream man.

“Can you get me another drink?” Brooke asked.

“Sure, sure,” he said. Caleb went into the house and mixed her a rum and Coke.

“Oh my God Caleb, these are my absolute favorite flowers,” Brooke stated. Along with the drink he brought her a bouquet of violet and white carnations.

Your ex-husband wouldn’t bring you your beloved carnations other than on special occasions. I know, because you told me in your April seventh entry. Thank you for sharing your secrets.  

They sat silently, dreamily gazing into each other’s eyes; allowing their chemistry to work rather than screw it up with words. Caleb grabbed her hand and led her to his car. They went back to her place.

Brooke lay on Caleb’s chiseled chest. The moonlight leaked through the blinds illuminated his square jaw, and distinctive Mediterranean features. Something powerful emanated from his presence. She couldn’t pinpoint the source, but for some reason she had no explanation for, she visualized him turning into a werewolf at any moment. She tittered at the ridiculous idea, and got up to use the bathroom.

The day before she’d placed The Charlotte Observer on the tank of her toilet without reading it. She caught a glimpse of the black and white photo on the front page. A tow truck was lifting a car out of the marsh in Wilmington, NC. The license plate read CUMSH2R. She gasped, before reading a part of the article. It read:

Swansboro authorities say a Charlotte man’s car was recovered from the marshes of Bogue Sound. DMV records show the vehicle is owned by Derrick Ruben, an investment banker for First Union located in downtown Charlotte. No missing person report has been filed and police haven’t speculated on whether or not there was any foul play. They are attempting to locate Derrick Ruben at this time.

Brooke got back in the bed. She roused Caleb awake.

“What’s up? What’s going on?” he asked.

She told him about Derrick’s car being found. Brooke told him how he hadn’t been to work in a while, and nobody had heard from him.

“No one filed a missing person report?” he asked.

“No,” she said. “Honestly, there weren’t too many people that liked him.”

“I wouldn’t worry about it. If they didn’t find a body he’s probably on vacation. Some juvenile delinquent probably stole his car, took it for a joyride and ditched it in the sticks.” He wrapped his arms around her waist, and rested his head on her shoulder. She snuggled into his midsection and lifted his arm to her breast. His watch was cold on her nipple. She looked at it. The band had D.R. inscribed on it.

“Where did you get this watch?” Brooke tried to sound natural, but failed miserably. Her tone sounded worrisome.

“My mother gave it to me years ago as a birthday gift.”

“What’s D.R. stand for?”

“Okay, I know you’re not stupid. I confess. This is Derrick’s watch.”

Brooke jumped out of bed. She frantically tried to put her clothes on.

Caleb was calm. He said, “What’s the matter?”

“You know what. You killed him!”

“What?” Caleb looked shock. “Honey, calm down let me explain.” He held his palms up in a surrendering pose. “That night you came into the restaurant your pal kept giving me the evil eye. I never said anything to him. When you guys left I was taking the trash to the dump, and he approached me.

“I said, ‘What do you want.’ He said, ‘She doesn’t want you. Next time we come in here you stay the fuck away!’ I guess he noticed our vibe, so he continues on with his bullshit spitting his insults toward me. Brooke, I’m sorry, but yes I beat his ass. I didn’t kill him. I don’t have those kinds of balls. I’m not that type of guy. I let him get under my skin”

Brooke contemplated. She dropped her clothes, and laughed. “I’m a nut sometime. My imagination can get the best of me.”

Caleb sat back pondering on the situation. This is bad. I don’t want to kill her, but I might have to. Damn. Why does this always happen?

 

  

 

 

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What is Existential Fiction?

Meet existential horror writer S. E. Casey, author of Last Meal of Adonis and Downward God. S. E. Casey has been writing for only two years, but reading Last Meal of Adonis may leave you wonder if he’s either bluffing or just a fast developer. The indie writer talks about existential fiction and dares to answer the question What is Existential fiction? Such a simple question with a massive and complex answer.

Check out the post-show where Deadman’s Podcast gets a bit political. With the horror show that is the presidential election coming to a close, we’ve got to spend at least an hour talking about it, right? This is a site dedicated to scary stories and demented horror, and whether you’re for Hillary or for Trump, you have to admit that either way America and the world at large is fucked.

 

 

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ZOMBIE-CON – Martin Richmond

       Darkness plunged the prison cell into a box of stark, uneasy shadows. An external security light switched on, throwing a sickly yellow pattern through the bars and over a group of four prison officers sharing a common silence. It was the youngest of the group who broke the icy stillness with a fearful cry.

“Why us then, hell’s teeth, – WHY – WHY?”

“Keep quiet you fool, they’ll hear you,” hissed Danny Chard, senior officer of the group.

He gripped the young officer’s shoulders and hurled him backwards onto the lower bunk bed. As he fell back his head battered against the metal frame of the upper bunk and he shrieked out in pain.

The officers froze, afraid to even breathe heavily, looking anxiously towards the closed cell door.

 

They could hear the shuffling gait of the zombie horde dragging their lifeless shells aimlessly along the galleries outside. The hollow groaning of an unnatural hunger filled the remaining, uninfected with a helpless terror.

When the zombie plague erupted within their walls its ferocity took the D hall prison staff completely by surprise, pouncing from one body to the next, like a sickening chain of bloodlust tag. As it tore across the prison hall, Chard was on the second floor landing. While others stood gaping in a state of shock he bundled a few of the officers into the nearest cell. He slammed the door behind him, locking them all in, saving them from being torn apart or becoming a soldier of the living-dead army.  Inside they were met by the strong smell of stale urine hanging in the air, an eye-watering cloud of bitter ammonia, although the stench of the rotting dead lingering outside was far greater.

The young officer, Iain Caine, clutched his head, trying to stem the blood flow from his injury and rolled over the urine soaked mattress to face the wall. It was his first day as a prison officer, a virgin screw witnessing prisoners and staff, bitten, mauled and instantly transformed into hellish creatures. It was a vision that screamed in his brain. Not a first day that he could ever envision or could prepare for, not that any other officer would for that matter.

 

It was a sight he couldn’t un-see and a waking nightmare he was trying hard to forget, but failing miserably.

“Sorry I was so rough lad,” said Chard, leaning on the bunk bed, “but hey, we’ve survived and we’re damn lucky to be alive.”

Lucky,” snapped Caine, turning back to face him, “you call this lucky? Don’t you see, we’re trapped, they can’t get at us and we can’t get out, doesn’t that say to you that we’re going to die – one bloody way or another?”

Caine rolled back toward the wall and pulled his knees up into a foetal position, hoping he could escape this thing by ignoring it and praying that, maybe, it would just go away by itself?

Chard shook his head and threw his peaked cap onto the top bunk. He turned to the other two officers he had ushered in, Hawkins and Baker, both normally reliable under pressure, but this event could hardly be described as normal. They were seated on the floor beneath the barred window, shell-shocked and silent. Both were in shirt sleeves, heavily stained, but thankfully, not with their own blood.

“Ideas guys?”

They both shrugged, as if ready to surrender themselves to the inevitable.

Chard moved across to the cell door and leaned against it, pressing his ear to the cold wood.

He could hear the scraping sound of a hundred or so inmates and officers, who were now un-dead monsters, staggering around the ground floor and upper galleries. Occasionally one would bump its shambling body against the cell door and he would hold his breath until the thing moved away.

Chard was a big man, of height and girth and his broad shoulders carried the chrome pips of his rank on the epaulettes of a light blue shirt.  Spanning the width of the doorway he dipped his 6ft 2inch height to be level with the spy hole, but the slide was down and blocked any vision of the hell that stalked his prison hall.

It was probably better that he couldn’t see the monstrous, charnel house parade that now outnumbered the living.

He was about to move away from the doorway when he heard a strange sound spiking out amongst the incessant groaning.

It was a musical sound that filtered up, echoing, from the ground floor to their second floor cell.

The television room that had been abandoned when the devil marched in was still playing to itself.

He recognised the strident sounds of an old movie and its rousing musical score and turned to the two seated officers.

“You guys ever seen the movie, ‘ZULU’?”

“Sure,” said Hawkins, the bearded one of the solemn pair. His companion, Baker, nodded, but looked perplexed.

“Boss,” piped up Baker, “if we’re going to kill time with a sodding movie quiz then count me out, I’m not really in the mood.”

“No quiz,” said Chard, moving across and seating himself in a chair beside them, “but you remember when the Zulus were breaking into the hospital area, you remember what the British soldiers did?”

“Shoot ‘em?” said Baker.

“Yeah, sure, but they also dug their way out through the wall into the next room! There’s two cells between us and the corner of the building and then – y’know what’s on the corner?”

“The fire escape!” said Hawkins, excitedly.

“Exactly” he said, standing back; “now how about breaking this chair up, the metal legs will do for digging. There’s only a couple of layers of brick and plaster in these connecting walls so they should be easy to get through.”

Hawkins and Baker leaped up, energised by the promise of escape. They quickly broke the metal legs from its welded frame and began eagerly pummelling the wall. Chard stayed by the door raising a hand to cease their action whenever he heard a movement close by. A blanket was laid across the floor to reduce some of the noise from the falling rubble.                             

Caine began weeping and mumbling into the blanket he’d buried his face into, shutting out the savage world.

They chiselled at the wall, breaking away the thick plaster, one strike swiftly following the other with plaster dust slowly clouding the air. It coated their faces and hair as they worked; producing some brief fits of coughing. The bricks soon fell away and a hole soon appeared and they struck more vigorously, steadily widening with each blow. They eventually stopped when they created a gap wide enough for even Chard’s huge bulk to squeeze through.  

Hawkins eagerly stooped down towards the darkness beyond the jagged porthole and suddenly heard a terrifying growl!

He immediately jerked backwards just as the bloated face of a creature from hell thrust its head into view! Its mouth was torn open from ear to ear, exposing rows of barred, broken teeth like a battle-worn shark’s, dark maw.

It’s wild, blood-shot eyes bulged and swelled, threatening to explode. It snapped and spat, desperate to reach them, hissing and screeching like nothing they’d ever heard before.

They were all frozen in shock horror, until Danny Chard burst forward from the doorway and tore the chair leg from Baker’s fist. He lifted it high above his head and brought it down, spearing the zombie’s skull from temple to ear. The sickening crunch as the metal bar punched through the exposed head was enough to cause each man to recoil in revulsion. Barring the stomach heaving of Caine’s vomiting, the eggshell crack sound punched the cell into a full stop of silence.

As the flaring light in the zombie’s eyes flickered and went out, its head sagged onto the edge of the hole and the group quickly found the remnants of their courage again.

Chard extracted the bar by resting a boot on its face and Hawkins kicked it back into the other cell. After a cautious glance, making sure there were no more lurking dangers, they bundled their way through, dragging the unwilling Caine with them.

They immediately set to work on the next hole breaking through even faster than before, but were far more wary of finding another hungry occupant this time. They exposed the final hole in the last cell through to the fire escape just at the moment when Caine turned!

A sudden, howling savagery gripped him in a whirling frenzy and he leaped at them, shedding tears of blood with a fiery glow staining his bulging eyes.

Chard left him pinned to the wall, pierced through his face, right between the eyes and only paused to look back when they were stood in the safety of the fire escape staircase.

Caine’s un-dead body was still wriggling like a macabre, dancing puppet dangling against the wall.

Chard realised Caine’s blow to the head must have become infected with zombie blood when they dragged him through the hole, another sad casualty of the deadly plague. A gut punch of guilt hit Chard, but he knew that the mindless creature the boy had become could well have been one or all of them, without his actions. When they exited the fire escape into the yard outside, they found flame throwers were sweeping over the building, creating a huge funeral pyre by the Army’s guaranteed cure to the zombie menace.

Chard looked up as the flames took hold, curling around the cell block roof. The jail contained the outbreak but the plague was still out there waiting to return and he wasn’t about to let it back in – not on his watch!

 

THE END

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All the Time, the Screaming – Austin Malone

 

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Enhance your coffee

 

All the Time, the Screaming – Austin Malone

 

The Angler rises, opens his cupboard. He gathers the biscuits and jerky, wraps them in a scrap of pale leather, places the bundle in his creel, and retrieves his rod from beside the door. Rod and creel in hand, he emerges into the perpetual twilight of the fishing grounds.

He looks neither left nor right, does not acknowledge his fellow fishermen, ignores the row of identical huts that dot the riverbank. In silence, with single-minded purpose, he strides to his designated place. The black waters suck at the bank, their hushed susurrations inaudible beneath the tormented shrieks that rend the thick air. All the time, the screaming.

A low mutter rumbles his stomach. He retrieves a strip of jerky, chewing as he unspools his reel. The flavor is bland, the texture fibrous. It brings him no joy. He is hungry. It is food. His teeth grind away at it as his hands secure the hook. It is an ugly thing, heavy, multi-pronged, bristling with barbed spikes. It is perfect. It feeds him and clothes him, and he is fond of it. He is not fond of the next piece of equipment. None of the fishermen are.

The Angler swallows as he withdraws the lure, and his face contorts with disgust.  He squeezes his eyelids shut, guides the bauble onto the hook, and the thing explodes with radiance. Even with his eyes closed, the light pulses blood-red behind his eyelids, searing his flesh. Whimpering, he pulls his arm back and whips it forward. The plop of the hook landing in the water is followed by the cool relief of the lure sinking into the depths.

He sighs, eases his eyes open, and waits. He does not wait long. He never waits long. The rod bucks in his hands. He counts silently to ten. Then he reels the line in, slowly, steadily.

Black water runs in rivulets down the fishing line as it emerges. The top of the hook appears first, followed by the lure, its glow muted now. Then, like pale, wriggling worms, his catch begins to rise into view, skewered by the bottommost row of hooks.

He hauls on the line, dragging the thing up out of the river. The wriggling appendages resolve into fingers, the attached hand pierced by the barbed spikes. More emerges. A thick arm, muscles corded. Heavy shoulders, a broad chest, meaty thighs. Then, the thing’s head lolls forward, and its scream joins the cacophony. It dangles above the riverbank, thrashing, water-slick hair plastered to its scalp above too-wide eyes and an even wider mouth. And all the time, the screaming.

The Angler holds the line aloft with one hand, and reaches for the knife at his belt. The noise will cease soon. Then there will be fresh meat to prepare. Bone meal to grind.

The knife goes in, tugs down. The thing’s final cry fades to a burbling whimper. It falls silent. And all around him, the screaming continues.

All the time, the screaming.