Welcome to Fiction Fridays! We aim to give you a short bite of fiction every week–something you can enjoy during your lunch hour–but with a twist: You pick the idea for the next installment!
Last Friday, a guest post by NYT Bestselling Author Darynda Jones left Marly safe—for now—from a not-so-friendly zombie nun, and huddled behind the seemingly competent carwash-attendant-come-zombie-hunter, Chase Montgomery. Based on your responses, it’s time to meet a zombie boy band.
Pray for Night – Part 3
by Lorenda Christensen
Despite the danger, Marly moved to his side. She might be safer standing directly behind him, but she definitely wasn’t interested in being eaten just because she couldn’t see the attack coming.
Swish swish click.
Swish swish click.
The group of bodies, led by the sprinting Sister—Marly’d taken to mentally calling her Eacherflesh—drew closer. Marly shuddered at the cacophony of rustling habits, rosary beads, and moans of hunger, and stepped nearer to her unlikely protector. She looked up.
Chase had taken his eyes off the approaching zombie horde just long enough to meet her eyes before his gaze moved down. He grinned. “As much as I appreciate you trying to undress me, that’ll have to wait until later.”
Confused, Marly followed his gaze to his waist, where she’d unknowingly fisted a good portion of his dress shirt in her terrified grip. When she looked back up, Marly realized she’d pulled so hard on the material that she’d managed to unfasten the first three buttons. Chase’s muscular chest, faintly glowing with a fine sheen of sweat under the lone streetlight, peeked out from beneath the thin material.
“Oh, so sorry. Yes, of course.” Aware that she was babbling like a maniac, Marly forced her fumbling hands to release his shirt.
Chase gave her another grin, right before he stepped forward and cleanly beheaded the leader of the attacking horde. He dipped and swung the machete with undeniable skill, hacking at the soulless beasts with practiced ease. Soon, six more heads followed the fate of Sister Eacherflesh’s, one right after the other, until Chase stood, surrounded by a pile of black cloth and broken crucifixes.
And he wasn’t even breathing hard. Sometime during the fight, while Chase was swinging the machete in wide circles, the last few buttons on Chase’s shirt had given in to the inevitable and popped off, displaying his rippling abdomen in all its naked glory. Marly took a moment to admit her hormones had no sense of propriety.
After he scanned the pile of nuns to ensure there were no body parts still moving, Chase grabbed his knapsack and sheathed the machete before returning to Marly’s side.
“Hey, you hungry? I know a diner just down the street that serves breakfast 24 hours a day. All of this,” Chase gestured to the scattered remains of the town’s convent residents, “can really work up an appetite.”
“Are you freaking kidding me? You just murdered an entire church full of nuns, and you want to eat? I don’t want breakfast! I want to know what the hell is going on!” She took a deep breath and swallowed. Okay, maybe she was overreacting just a little bit. The shock of the last few minutes, combined with her far less-than-ladylike rant, had her heart drumming against her ribcage with such force she wouldn’t be surprised if Chase could hear it from where he stood. Either way, the pain made her very aware that her sore ribs didn’t like it, not one bit.
Chase must have seen her wince, because he quickly sheathed his weapon and wrapped an arm around her waist for support. “You okay? How ‘bout for now, I just take you home, and we’ll worry about the rest later.”
Marly nodded, glad for the reprieve from breakfast. As much as she wanted to hear more about zombies—she couldn’t argue with the pile of flesh-filled habits behind them—Marly didn’t think she could handle such a discussion over a plate of ham and eggs. Right now, she wasn’t sure she’d ever get the sickly-sweet smell of raw nun out of her clothes. But she really wanted to know what Chase had meant by the secret of her blood. She’d make sure he gave her an answer while they drove.
Mmmm. A guttural groan cut through the darkness.
Marly lifted her head and scanned the empty street. “What was that?”
Mmmm. Bop. The scream of sinew as it popped free from bone froze Marly in her tracks.
Chase reached for the machete. “Oh, crap. We need to get out of here.”
Mmmm. Bop. Whatever it was, it was shuffling closer.
“Why? What is it?” Marly cleared her throat, aware that her voice was perilously close to a squeak. It didn’t bode well that Chase looked alarmed. Calm, cool, collected Chase. Marly squinted into the night.
She gasped. Three forms limped toward them, dressed in ratty jeans and old t-shirts. They paused for a moment under the Pie Place’s neon sign. She thought they were all male, but it was hard to tell, considering two of the three sported hanks of shoulder-length blond hair where there was still scalp tissue to hold it on.
The one in front opened his mouth. Or tried. Apparently it was hard to do without the appropriate muscles attaching mandible to maxilla.
Mmmm. The sound came out closer to a gurgle than a moan.
“Ugh. Gross.” Marly put a hand on her stomach. The gin and tonic she’d had earlier danced precariously close to her esophagus.
At her words, all three of the zombie’s heads jerked in their direction. The second creature jostled its way around the first and pointed in Marly’s direction.
Bop. Bop. Bop.
The zombie’s arms and legs flopping independently of each other, reminded Marly of a demon-possessed marionette. His excited movements, and the resulting twang of tendons, spurred the other two into motion. Even from twenty feet away, Marly could hear the juicy pop of flesh as the group moved closer.
“That’s it. I can’t deal with this tonight. I tried to leave them be, out of respect, but this is just too much.” Chase grabbed her elbow in a none-too-gentle grip and hustled her toward a black truck parked at the corner.
She couldn’t help it. Marly craned her neck to watch the zombies approach. They looked so familiar…
She squinted. They looked older—a lot older—but she couldn’t tell whether shock had her imagining the resemblance or not…
“Damned Hanson brothers,” Chase muttered. “They follow me everywhere. Now I’ll never get that song out of my head.” He opened the driver’s side door. “Get in.”
Chase waited until Marly maneuvered herself into the cab of the truck before motioning for her to lock the doors, and turning back to face the musical trio.
She couldn’t help it. As Chase efficiently dismembered one of the top musical acts of the 90’s, Marly hummed softly to herself. He was right. The song was pretty catchy.
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