I wanted to give everyone a treat before the most hallowed of nights arrives. This treat is from the up-coming eighth novel in the I Zombie series, Cry Zombie Cry. If you’ve read enough the series, you know how fond I am of nightmare scenes. Here is one I’m confident will have you wanting more of this novel to nom! This scene is later on in the book (Chapter 20). I won’t give anything away (and there is a LOT to give away at this point) other than to say the nightmares do serve a purpose. MU…HA…HA.
The voice echoed from a distant past and rang out until it reverberated inside my skull. The sharp buzzing of the sound brought a lightening storm of pain along for the ride.
Again the voice called for me – the age in direct opposition to the intent of spoken word. It was an infantile request spoken from the soul of a man.
The landscape shook; the dry, cracked Earth fissured until a blood-red, blinding light beamed from what could only be Hell. As the quake subsided the voice returned.
“I’m here,” I shouted.
An arm shot out from the hellish hole and slapped down on the dirt. Slowly the arm tugged and pulled until the body of my baby boy stood, naked before me, a single, gunshot wound in the center of his forehead.
“Mother.” The voice of the man issued from the infant’s mouth.
Another hand reached up from the crack and, within a heartbreak beak, a second baby Jacob stood behind the first.
“Mother,” their voices spoke in unison.
A crash of lightening flashed and struck the first baby. A flood of flesh and blood washed over me.
“Jacob, where are you?” I cried out.
Another arm, another call for ‘mother’, another flash, another flood.
“Please answer me. I’m doing everything I can to find you.”
“Stop,” I shouted. My tears did their best to wash Jacob’s blood from my cheeks. The sick, slick fluids ran into my mouth, down my neck, between my breasts.
I finally managed to clear my blood-blurred vision to reveal a dozen or more clones of my baby standing mere feet in front of me. Like tiny Nazi soldiers, they began to march forward, a minuscule, goose-step parade. When the infantile army was upon me, the tiniest of fingers scraped and scrabbled at my flesh and clothing. Somehow the small figures managed to drag me to the ground. Another rain of blood washed over me, flowing deep into my mouth and throat. I tried to call out but the words came out in bubbles and garbles.
The voices spoke in unison, the sound deafening, as hands collectively groped for my arm. A shot of pain danced down the flesh from my shoulder to my fingers. I felt a sharp tug on my arm as another flash of pain raced down my appendage. Before I had a chance to scream, my arm ripped from its socket and the babies heaved it into the chasm.
A spider-crawl of fingers clambered to my other arm to repeat the action. My cries of agony were muted by a spectacular display of lightening and a symphony of thunder. My baby continued to dismantle me; right leg, left leg. I lay on the hot ground, nothing more than a torso and head.
Three tiny fingers and a thumb reached into the socket of my right eye and dug out the orb. I could hear the stretch and snap of ligaments and tendons. Before the optic nerve gave way, the hand turned the eye back upon me so I was looking at myself looking at my eye. My brain couldn’t comprehend the vision and threatened to shut down all together, until another set of fingers saved me from the confused state and remove the other eyeball.
Next came my ears followed by my lower jaw. I couldn’t hear, see, or speak. All I could do was sense the movement around my remaining meat. What I felt next was a collection of hands playing tug of war with my head and torso. Eventually one team won and my head was freed from its perch on my shoulders.
Everything went black. I was surrounded by nothing. For the first time since the Mengele virus made its deadly appearance, I felt an absolute peace.
Completely undone, completely at ease.
Until the heat seared the flesh of my remaining body. How I knew what hell was ravishing my body, there was no way to tell – all I knew was fire, fear, and falling.
The Jacobs tossed the remaining bits of me into the mouth of Hell. The surge of heat raced up my back and poured into the gaping hole of my neck. Phantom limbs flailed about in a vain attempt to pull me up…or down (I couldn’t tell which). The gravity from the pit of hate held me fast. I couldn’t sit up as I had no legs to counter-balance the act. I couldn’t cry out, as I had no mouth to speak. I couldn’t see the end, as I had no eyes. All I could do was feel the fire roasting the meat of my body. Pain clearly registered and sent the hunk of meat that was me flailing about.
“Bethany,” a familiar voice called out.
“Bethany, wake up.” Again the voice tugged at my conscience.
When my eyes finally opened, beads of sweat fell into the cracks and crevices to sting me into blinking. My arms danced about to gain purchase on something solid. Another fall into the pits of Hell and I’d be done.
“It’s okay, B., I’m here; Jamal is here for you.”
The voice finally registered and I flung my arms around his neck.
“Oh my God, Jamal. I don’t know how much longer I can do this.” I cried again.
“It’s okay, Bethany. It was just another bad dream.”
I pulled away from Jamal. “No, it’s more than that. I don’t know how, but the dreams are trying to tell me something.”
The look on Jamal’s face registered some flavor of sympathy, as if he immediately jumped to a maddening conclusion.
“I know it’s crazy, Jamal, but I can’t ignore them any longer. There’s a universal truth within the dreamscape that’s trying to guide me.”
Jamal cupped my head in his warm hands.
“That truth is the pain you feel for the loss of Jacob. Bethany, he’s still out there and we will get him back. I promise you that.”
A flood of tears washed down my cheeks.
“Please, Jamal, don’t promise something you can’t deliver.”
Jamal closed his eyes. When they re-opened they were steely daggers cutting deep into my core.
“I promise you, Bethany, one way or another, we’ll get Jacob back to you.”
I flung myself back into Jamal’s embrace.
“I love you. Jamal.”
“And I love you, Bethany.”
In an instant, the moment before we again fell into slumber’s embrace, peace washed back over me. For that second, nothing could hurt me.