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Pray for Night – Part Four

Posted by on Oct 12 2012, 12:01 am Posted in ,

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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!

To catch up on the story so far, read Part 1 (by A.J. Larrieu) Part 2 (by NYT Bestselling Author Darynda Jones) and Part 3 (by Lorenda Christensen).

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

by Susan M. Boyer

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.”

 

What happens next? You decide!
  
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32 responses to “Pray for Night – Part Four”

  1. Lorenda says:

    Is it weird that I’m getting a little sad that this story ends soon? I am having so much fun reading these. This was a great Part 4, Susan. Great job!

  2. I know–I want it to go on! This was a fantastic Part 4, Susan. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

  3. Karen says:

    Great part 4 Susan. I want a combination of some of the options to happen next. Does that make me greedy????

  4. Kat Cantrell says:

    I, on the other hand, had no trouble picking an option. I’m ready for Chase to “figure something out.” 🙂 Can’t wait for the next installment. You guys are rocking this. I can’t believe how good it is!

  5. Terri Osburn says:

    Good thing my office is mostly empty as I just cracked up when I got to Groucho Marx. LOL! Great job, Susan. These are so fun.

  6. Great job, Susan and team! I am really enjoying the story!

  7. Tamra baumann says:

    Groucho Marx! Har!

    Loved it Susan. You guys have all done a fantastic job on this!!

  8. Sharon Wray says:

    Wow! Such a great story. I can’t wait to see what happens next. Too bad I have to wait until next week!

  9. Kay Hudson says:

    Groucho Marx and Zombie Nuns. I’m sure he would have loved it. Fabulous job, ladies. I’m still mulling over the choices

  10. robena grant says:

    Fabulous! Loved it. Great job, Susan. Can’t wait to see how this story closes out. Are we going for five or six installments?

  11. So much fun — I can’t believe how much plot you packed into this, Susan! Excellent job. And I love that last line! 😉

  12. Wow, this was a twist. Loved it and can’t wait to see what happens next.

  13. jean willett says:

    Susan!
    So much fun and I’m supposed to follow you? Will have to my wits and come up with something so that Lexi has a grand finish. Oh, the pressure…. 🙂

    Great jon!

  14. That’s hilarious! Great job, Susan. I think you need a zombie attack in the next Liz Talbot book!

  15. Darynda says:

    I LOVE THIS!!! I’ve been out of town, so I’m terribly sorry for not commenting sooner, but I wanted to stop by and tell Susan how much I love part 4. You just did an amazing job. You brought in several elements, wrapped up a couple of lingering questions, and still managed to entertain like crazy. I laughed out loud!

    Love, love, love!

    • Darynda, thank you so, so much! You have just made my day, possibly my year. 🙂 I’m so happy you liked it! Of course A.J., you, and Lorenda set everything up for me perfectly. Y’all are tough acts to follow!

      Still, it’s a big thrill when one of my very favorite authors likes something I wrote. 🙂

      Counting down the days until Fourth Grave is released!

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