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 week Chase, the fearless zombie hunter, defeated the zombie boy-band, Hanson, after stashing Marly in the cab of his truck. Here’s this week’s installment, based on your responses. Don’t forget to vote for where you’d like to see the story go next at the end of the post!
Pray for Night – Part Four
Chase yanked the driver’s side door open. Marly scooched over just enough to let him in. She wanted him close, for a number of reasons, but at that moment primarily because he was handy at zombie disposal. He stowed his knapsack behind the seat and climbed into the truck.
“Would you hand me my clutch, please?” Marly asked. “I think you put it in your knapsack. I’ll need my keys.” Her throat tightened. She desperately wanted to go home, but she didn’t want him to leave her there with only Angie to help fight off zombies.
Chase retrieved the handbag. “You sure you don’t want some breakfast?”
“What I want are answers—and to be safe in my own apartment.” Marly inhaled deeply and immediately regretted it. “And a shower.” The smell of rotting flesh permeated the cab of the truck. She’d be scrubbing nun off her for weeks. Her clothes were going straight to the dumpster. She shuddered.
Chase started the truck and made a quick U-turn. He didn’t ask for directions.
“How about I get you home and make sure your apartment is secure while you take that shower? Then I’ll tell you what I can. I need to make a quick call.”
Marley swallowed. The smell was making her nauseous again. “Okay.” She could hardly ask lucid questions while heaving.
Chase pressed a button on the steering wheel and said, “Call Jack Ryan, cell.” A disembodied voice replied, “Calling Jack Ryan on cell.”
Whoever Jack Ryan was, he picked up before the first ring had completed. “Montgomery, what the hell is going on down there? Have you located the index subject?”
“Not yet,” Chase said. “But I’ve taken out the Hanson brothers and a contingent of nuns.”
“Nuns? Did you say nuns? You’re telling me we have zombie nuns? What the hell, Montgomery? Who infected the nuns?”
“The Hansons hit the convent after I lost track of them. I thought they’d slipped into the Tipsy Pig, but they hit the convent instead. It was a soft target.”
“Damn pop singers. If they’d minded their own business, they’d still be alive.”
“Yeah, well, they tried to defend the Starbucks barista. They had no way of knowing she was a zombie, and she did have their soy lattes.”
“Dammit, we’ve got to get this thing contained, and fast. How many cleanup crews do you need onsite?”
“Just one, near the chapel at the corner of Wisteria and Laurel. The nuns and the Hansons are at the same incident site.”
“And the antidote subject?”
Chase glanced at Marly. “Secured.”
“Thank God for that at least,” said Jack. “Get her to a safe house—STAT.”
“Call you back.” Chase pressed a button to end the call. He scanned the intersection in front of them and turned left on Laurel.
“Answers. Now.” Marly slammed her palm against the dash.
Chase pulled to the curb in front of her apartment building and switched off the engine. “This is highly classified information. Should you repeat any part of it, you will be in violation of several federal laws, the combined maximum sentence for which will land you in jail until well past your next three lives—clear?”
“Clear.” Marly tasted fear.
“A top-secret government program at CDC went south. Scientists were doing ground-breaking genetic research that could have cured several terminal diseases. The test subject, or index case, went off the reservation—literally. He’d been cryogenically frozen for years, and only recently thawed and revived. Something went wrong in the lab. He’s now a zombie. Anyone he bites is infected, and they become zombies. His instinct is to bite—to feed—and anyone else infected has the same overpowering urge.”
“And you’re chasing him?”
“Yes. I’ve been on his trail for three days. So far he’s infected the Starbucks barista, three strippers, and the entire cast of a touring company performing La Cage Aux Folles. He’s fast—that’s part of his genetic reprogramming.”
“And the barista infected the Hanson brothers?”
“Yeah, I was trying to take her out. They misunderstood the situation.”
“And the Hanson brothers infected the nuns?”
“And now you’re all caught up.”
“Not quite,” Marly said. “Explain what’s special about my blood. Am I your antidote subject?”
Chase caught his tongue between his teeth and stared at the headliner of the truck. His shoulders rose, then fell. “Your blood has a rare genetic marker the scientists believe can be used to formulate a vaccine. One vial of your blood can make enough serum to inoculate millions. I need to get you someplace safe. Let’s start with inside, off the street.”
Marly reached for the door handle.
“Wait!” Chased grabbed her arm. “He’s here.”
Marly couldn’t believe her eyes. “He’s got Angie!” She squinted. “Is that—?”
“Groucho Marx, yes. Yes it is. He always said he’d live forever or die trying. Stay in the car.”
“What’s he doing with that cigar?”
“I’ll be right back. Close your eyes. I have to behead your roommate as soon as I get Groucho.”
Chase was out of the truck before Marly’s scream could erupt from her throat.
At first glance, it looked as if Groucho were dancing with Angie, and periodically lowering her into a dip. But each time he raised his partially decomposed head, the gaping wound on the side of Angie’s head was exposed. He waggled his eyebrows and his cigar.
Chase unsheathed his sword and closed in on Groucho and Angie. Groucho dropped Angie. She scooted backwards. She still looked completely normal—except for the grisly head wound and missing ear. Groucho took off in an impossibly fast limp-drag-run and Chase dashed after him. Angie pulled herself up to a crouch and scrambled towards the apartment building.
Marly pounded the seat with her fists in frustration. All she could do was wait. If she called 911, she’d risk the lives of everyone who responded—not to mention breaking all those laws Chase mentioned.
Thirty minutes later, Chase emerged from the apartment building and climbed into the truck. “Groucho got away—again. Angie went back to your apartment. I’m sorry, but she was beyond saving. You can’t go back into that apartment until the cleanup and decontamination crew finishes.” He started the truck and pulled away from the curb.
“Where are you taking me?”
“For tonight, you’ll stay at my place. After you’ve had a shower and some rest I’ll get you to a safe house. The closest location is about three hours from here.”
“But I don’t have clothes or anything.”
Chase gave her a long look. “We’ll figure something out.”
32 responses to “Pray for Night – Part Four”