A Round Robin Story Written and Told by the Authors of the 2016 Winter of Zombie Blog Tour
My name is Edna Grace Childers. My mother called me Grace Child. The kids at church back when I still taught Vacation Bible School back in the 50s and 60s before schools were integrated called me Ms. Edna. The mailman called me Mrs. Childers back before that zombie tore out his throat the day the world ended. Most of the other neighbors called me Edna Grace or nothing at all.
We lived in one of those neighborhoods near a golf course. Everyone rode those electric carts around even when they weren’t golfing. They would ride them out to the community mailbox under the rain cover below the big elm to pick up their letters before our mailman got eaten.
There was a clubhouse I could see out my guest room window with the binoculars. Out my back windows, I saw the woods, the creek, part of the highway, and the overpass for exit 17 where the police car got flipped over and caught on fire when he tried to run over those zombies eating that girl in the short dress. She wasn’t from our side of the highway that I could tell. I’m just saying.
Out my front window, I could see the eighteenth and sixteenth greens. I could see the seventeenth tee and the pond. On the other side of there was the cul-de-sac for Florence Street. Burke Avenue angled away from me in the other direction so that I could see each of the houses clearly. I had to go in my sewing room and use the binoculars to see along the curve of Holsten Bend. I could see the backyards there, so I was able to report if someone’s fence was too high or if they stored a boat against the association rules. The board thanked me every time I called, but I could tell they got short with me. You know me, I don’t want to tell no stories, but rules are rules.
The grass hadn’t been cut since the zombies came about a week ago Thursday. One of the houses on the Bend caught fire and it looked like it might catch the other houses. The fire department did not come. Mr. Palmer next door tried to do something with his garden hose. He was wearing black socks with his sandals and a floppy fishing hat. Now he hated that neighbor. They were snow birds from Canada and had parties most weekends when they were down for the summer. Palmer wouldn’t pee on them, if they were on fire most days. Excuse my French. It’s hot without air conditioning and the neighborhood stunk with all the damn zombies and trash pick-up being two weeks overdue.
Well, Mr. Palmer barely got two squirts on the fire before the bloody, rotten mailman snuck up on him around the corner and bit his ear off. Palmer went screaming, holding the side of his head under that hat. He locked himself inside his Cadillac in the driveway. I couldn’t see real well, but he had to be cooking in there in the sun. Eventually, the zombie mailman wandered away. Palmer crawled out of the car with a bloody mess on the side of his head. His skin was blue and he wandered down the street.
He’s married to a mail-order bride from Thailand that he put up in that house of his. I hadn’t seen her come out once even when he was cooking inside his caddy, but that’s none of my business.
The house burned itself out and the Canadian zombies wandered out all crispy and black as midnight a couple days later.
On the cul-de-sac, Herald Fisher lived with his wife Susan in the light blue house. Susan was a kindergarten teacher and Herald was an asshole. He also did something with banking derivatives – the stuff that crashed the economy and made my pills so expensive. They have drop belly palms in their yard. Those are like normal palms, but shorter, fatter, and uglier like Herald. They suck up the water and turned their yard into a desert mess. Perfect plants for an asshole banker.
I should be more gracious. The power has been out and I can’t watch my stories. There is a fan on the sixteenth green that runs and runs and runs. It’s all I can hear now that there are no more airplanes, traffic, or air conditions running. It must be on solar power or some hippy dippy shit like that.
Herald had been sneaking out to the surrounding houses on Florence. He’d sneak cans out of pantries for him and Susan. That’s not the only time he snuck around the neighborhood getting him some, but I don’t want to tell no stories.
At first he carried the cans by the armload. He dropped a can of corn on the street. When he reached for it, he dropped a jar of olives and it shattered. A crispy Canadian came for him. As it reached for him, its skin split down to the bone around one shoulder like blackened trout. Herald ran around his house three times. He ran to the house next door. Once the zombie followed him, he ran to his back door and got in without the thing seeing him. I’m not sure the Canadian had eyes after the fire, but that’s none of my business.
After that, Herald brought a backpack on his little thieving trips. Once he cleaned out most of the houses on Florence, he had a few close calls. More than a few of the neighbors had turned zombie inside their houses and he went and let them out. The neighborhood was really going to hell, I tell you. So, he moved on to the first houses on Burke.
That’s where he found Hellen. Hellen’s husband traveled for work – insurance, I think. And Hellen was a slut. Herald visited Hellen before while her husband was away long before the zombies came. I’m surprised it took him this long to get over there. I wouldn’t have thought even a zombie apocalypse could keep Herald away from an afternoon delight.
They came out of the house and ran to the car in Hellen’s driveway. She had a bag packed. Herald leaned over and gave her a kiss before he tried to start the car. At first it sounded flooded. After the starter screamed and screamed metal on metal without turning over, I started to think the sparkplugs were fouled.
My husband Joe worked at the Ford plant his whole working life and still did all the work on our cars after retirement right up until he passed even after the engines were all computerized.
Eventually, the dead started coming in out of the woods, over the fairways, and from around the houses. Blue Mr. Palmer with his black socks was one of them. Another was that girl from the overpass that had been chewed down to the bone. She did not belong in this neighborhood, but Herald trying and trying to start that car brought them in from all directions.
They opened the car doors and made a run for it. Herald shoved them out of his way and Hellen cried.
They got almost to his house again when Hellen slipped on a can of corn in the street and fell on her ass. Herald ran back for her and one of them latched onto him. It was that girl from the overpass again. She moved fast for a poor girl with all her muscle nearly chewed off. Hellen just screamed, bringing more of the dead after them up Florence and off the golf course. Susan ran outside holding a giant wooden paddle like for white water rafting or something. Why they have one, I got no idea, but she clobbered this dead girl and took her head clean off her shoulders.
The three of them ran inside the Fisher house like one, happy family. Herald had his wife and his mistress in the same house. He was holding his arm When he went in, so I don’t know if he got bit or not. If he did, I don’t have to tell you what that means. I did see that Susan got that can of corn after she rescued Herald. She’s a spitfire. He should have stuck with her, if he knew what was good for him. Clearly, he doesn’t. He has drop belly palms in his yard. Their house was surrounded by the zombies now, so I thought it may be a while before I saw them come home again, if at all.
I thought life was about to get boring, but then a blue Corolla came screaming into the neighborhood. We had speed bumps, but the car hit them hard enough to knock the damn axles out of the bottom of the thing. Joe would have buried his head to see a car treated like that – even a car out of Japan.
Zombies hit it as it roared by. Their bodies splattered and the windows cracked. The car nearly slid off the road making the turn onto Burke, but it recovered. Then, it slammed to a stop in Helen’s driveway with black streaks of rubber left behind it. Helen’s husband jumped out and ran into the open front door of the house even with all the zombies closing in.
His name was Dave. Dave is a good name for insurance, I think – the same way Joe is a name for a man that works on cars his whole life and to my knowledge never stepped out with any tart like Hellen.
Hellen must have been great in bed to have all these men hauling tail through hordes of zombies to get to her, but that’s none of my business.
Dave didn’t close the front door when he went to look for Hellen. I was hungry and wanted to go get my day’s rations from the dry goods. I was almost out of oatmeal. My pills were on the verge of running out eventually too and then I would be in real trouble too. I could barely afford them anymore anyway. Joe used to do off the books work for the golfing magazine they delivered to hotels for the tourists. That helped afford the pills, but he was dead now and the neighborhood was sick with zombies.
Dave left the door open and I wasn’t going to miss this for the world. Someone had to bear witness even if the neighborhood association wasn’t answering the phone anymore.
Mr. Palmer reached the step first. He’s always up in everyone’s business even though he’s dead. Palmer drifted inside and then other zombies followed him. I lost count after fifteen, but they kept going in Hellen and Dave’s front door.
I was sure he was getting eaten inside where his wife and everybody else would miss it and never hear him scream. I guessed they might see his car and piece it together.
Then, Mr. Palmer came crashing out the picture window backward ass over head into the yard. As he got up, Palmer still had his floppy hat on, but now his back was porcupined with shards of glass. Dave jumped out after him still holding one of their dining room chairs. It was sleek and black with hard edges. I don’t like that new modern design. I prefer natural wood.
The other zombies reached out after him and got caught on the jagged edges of glass still in the frame. Palmer reached for Dave and Dave clobbered him across the skull with the postmodern dining chair. The chair came apart and Palmer went down. I thought that was the end of him, but the old zombie gained his feet again. He still had on the floppy hat and the shards of glass in his back. Palmer was hard-headed even when he was alive, I tell you.
Dave ran for it dodging zombies the whole way. The neighborhood was still packed with them from Herald and Hellen’s failed getaway. Dave ran the other way away from the cul-de-sac. He had no idea Hellen was alive and holed up in the house of her secret lover and her lover’s wife on Florence Street. Dave ran for the Bend and zigzagged his way toward the burned out house on Holsten.
It was then I realized that Palmer’s hose was still leaking water in the side yard that was a swamp. They must have been on a well, but they would still need power to run the pumps. Weird.
I don’t move as fast as I did before I was eighty, but I wasn’t going to miss this. I shuffled into my sewing room with my binoculars to see what happened next.
Dave cut between two of the houses and headed toward the rough of the fifteenth hole behind Holsten. That’s when the girl grabbed him. I ratcheted the focus to see if I could see her sink her teeth in.
She was alive. It was Skye. She was Maud and Kevin’s college-age daughter and had big boobs just like her mother. Skye’s were still perky though. Her mother wore the most obscene moumou dresses. Skye’s clothes were too tight. I have no idea where she could have been hiding all this time.
Skye was a neighborhood girl. She did smoke pot out on the golf course at night with boys. I called the association about it, but they didn’t seem to care.
She held onto Dave and he hugged her back. I thought I had found another neighborhood secret. She was half his age. She looked scared and he made no grabs to her curvy parts. Must have just been an end of the world comfort hug. That’s a shame. Would have served Hellen right.
The zombies closed in on both sides of them. Dave had given up his chance to escape. They turned the corner and continued their run along Holsten.
Dave cut to the right as the street got clogged. He made a step with his hands and hoisted her over one of the fences. He couldn’t see the three zombies in the backyard where he was putting her. Skye screamed and tried to run away from them. Dave scrambled over the fence and picked up a hard metal gardening rake. Dave speared their heads with the teeth of the tool and slammed them into the picnic table until their skulls split open like melons.
The third one got past him, but Skye grabbed it by its ears. The zombie was rotten, but it looked like Evan’s no account nephew. Before I could get a good look at the zombie’s face, Skye rammed it down onto a sprinkler head and that was that.
That’s when the fence collapsed on the west side of the yard. Skye and Dave ran for the shed on the back corner of the lot. The zombies surrounded them. It had to sound like being in a tin can full of rocks rolling down the hill. They were trapped.
That’s when I heard the motorcycles. They came up my street slowly and passed my house – all five of them. The zombies left the shed and went for the sound. Dave and Skye didn’t come out. They were going to miss their chance. As the zombies left the blue house on Florence, Herald slipped out. He had a bandage on one of his hands. I don’t have to tell you that’s not good. When he saw the bikers, he went back inside.
One of the bikers looked like he had a cop’s uniform on. He was also wearing a necklace of old, grey ears. I don’t think he was on police business. Who knows if he ever was a cop? They took their time rolling up the street and used machetes to chop through the heads of any zombies that got close.
They looked to be headed toward the clubhouse. There was booze there. Probably money too if anyone still cared about such things. They stopped a few doors down past my house.
I shuffled back through to the guest room and watched as a couple of them went inside. That was the Cooper’s place. I was pretty sure they were out of town when the zombies came, but I didn’t know for certain. I didn’t recognize any of the men – none that went inside, nor the cop or the other one that waited outside.
I needed to eat something, but I wasn’t about to miss this. Were they looters? Did they know the Coopers? Was there something inside they wanted?
I had no idea, but I was aiming to find out.
The bikers that were waiting outside talked to each other for a while, chopping at any zombie’s head that wandered too close.
Out of nowhere they stood to attention. I shifted my view and saw Dave and Skye jumping over a fence across the street. They must have thought the coast was clear and come out of the shed after all. Too late, I think, they spotted the bikers who’d already spotted them.
Dave and Skye turned to run away, but came face to face with three zombies that had been taking their sweet time coming down the street to check out the noise the bikers had made. They were from one of the poor neighborhoods across the highway, I think. I imagine their clothes didn’t look so great before they were dead.
Skye screamed, turned, and ran straight into one of the bikers as he headed across the street with his machete. He grabbed her by the hair as he swung the blade into the closest zombie’s skull. He swung again, and chopped into the side of Dave’s leg, just above the knee. He went down hard, in a spray of blood.
Dave was attacked by both the other zombies.
The biker dragged Skye, screaming and kicking, back across the street to the Cooper’s place. His friends were laughing and cheering. They took Skye inside. They probably wanted her for her big boobs and tight clothes. I guess dressing like a slut hadn’t done her any good, but it’s not my business, as the kids say.
Dave’s screams drew all the remaining zombies in the street. Soon he was completely lost in a pile-up of the undead. It wasn’t long before he grew silent. That was something, at least.
I was just about to go eat my oatmeal, thinking nothing else was going to happen for a few minutes, when I heard Dave’s car start up again. I scurried from my guest room back out to the front window.
Hellen and Susan were cat-fighting over the car. Susan drew back and punched Hellen in the face. She then pulled Hellen from the car by her hair, jumped in, slammed the door, and drove off. Hellen was left lying in the middle of the street, panting and looking around wildly.
Herald came stumbling out of the house toward Hellen. He wasn’t himself anymore. He’d definitely suffered a bite and was coming down with the zombie herpes or whatever was causing this thing to spread. Herald was bound to catch something eventually one way or the other the way he played the field like that. That explained his sickly, slow state now.
Zombies also headed her way from the golf course where they’d been meandering around since the loud noises had stopped.
I nearly jumped out of my skin as I heard a couple of the motorcycles roar to life. Moments later, two bikers rolled up on Hellen. One jumped off his bike and sliced Herald’s head into three slabs. By the time the biker had dispatched Herald, Hellen had made it to her feet. She ran back to the Fisher’s light blue house, and tried to slam the door in the bikers’ faces as they pursued her. She wasn’t fast enough. They pushed their way inside. The door was closed after them. I guess they wanted to find out about her bedroom skills as well. If you ask me, she was getting what she deserved for cheating on her husband with a married man, the little homewrecker.
Zombie apocalypse may be the worst time to air your dirty laundry. I’m sure Herald would agree, if he still had his head in one piece. Now that he was gone, I realized I might miss him a bit. Things were going to get dull, if all there was to watch was bikers and zombies behaving badly.
Men are such pigs. I’d known this most of my life, but I’d always had my Joe, so I didn’t worry about it. Never had to play the field or worry about the zombie herpes. He was a good man who went to church and held doors open for ladies. He was nothing like these heathen bikers who took the women they wanted. Or the men who had cheated on them or with them.
A loud boom shook my house. It startled me so bad that I dropped my binoculars.
It took me what seemed like forever to pick them up off the floor, damn my old bones.
By the time I looked back outside, all the zombies were heading toward the direction the boom had come from. I followed their path with my binoculars and found a trail of black smoke floating into the sky. It was coming from an overturned blue Corolla. Susan had wrecked. She’d flipped the car and it was on fire.
Susan never had been a good driver. She was a good woman and a great teacher, but never a good driver. She always drove too fast and had totaled three cars in the last seven years. I sometimes wondered if she drove crazy because that stupid husband of hers. Living with crazy will make you crazy, Lord knows. Maybe she drove like she had a hot date with the Devil because she was trying to escape that bastard. Excuse my French, as the soldiers say.
The bikers emerged from the Fisher’s house, one of them dragging Hellen along with him. Her clothes were ripped and she stumbled along to keep up.
My stomach growled. I needed to eat, but life outside was so interesting. You miss a few minutes and the stories are hard to follow.
They climbed on their bikes, forcing Hellen to ride bitch, and went back to the Cooper’s. I know what it’s called on account of reality TV replacing game shows on the TV. I didn’t know what they were going to do now, but I had to know what happened next.
I headed back to the guest room to find out.
All was quiet around the neighborhood, unless you count the moaning and groaning of the dog pile on top of Dave. The small reprieve gave me a moment to take a bite of my now cold oatmeal. Waiting so long made the flakes of oats in my bowl turn to mush, reminding me of Hellen’s backyard barbeque last summer. The little trollop attempted to get the community together to eat and play games. Only the food was burnt on the grill or mushy from her kitchen and the only games she played were the ones she snuck Dave behind the shed for. Dave must not have been very good at the games she chose, because they were never missing for long periods of time, which caused me to giggle behind my hand. But I don’t want to tell no stories, so I’ll leave it at that.
I returned my empty bowl of oats to the sink and then headed back to the window in the guest room. Susan’s upside down car was still billowing with smoke and attracting a lot of attention from the zombies.
Commotion through the livingroom window of the Cooper’s house drew my attention back to the large window. Each Christmas the Coopers set up a large Christmas tree in front of this window. The curtain obscured what transpired, until it was ripped from the glass revealing Skye’s scared face. Her eyes were wild with panic and she searched for a way to escape the commotion in the house. A large shadow reached up and pulled her hair, yanking young Sky away from her escape, her mouth wide open in a silent scream.
Three loud bangs sounded one after the other, light flashing against the window with each shot. My palm went to the frame. My Joe had enough guns that I knew that was the sound of gunfire.
Soon after a body soared through the Christmas tree window, landing on the cement drive below. The noise of gunfire having already drawn the zombies from the back nine of the golf course. Mr. Cooper was standing in the window holding his shotgun. I’ve seen a few guns in my day, my dear Joe owning some of them, but the gun he held reminded me of the ones you’d see military men using in movies. Looks like Cooper was home after all and he wasn’t too friendly with the bikers.
Mr. Cooper looked quite wild standing in the window, the wind blowing against his determined features. If I were a younger version and I hadn’t met my Joe so early on, I’d have bid him a hello. All this excitement was giving me the vapors.
Mr. Cooper turned back into the house, only to have that strumpet Hellen jump all over him with her gratitude, distracting him. Leaving him blind to the man standing behind him. There was no loud bang to accompany Mr. Cooper’s wide eyes and mouth of death as the man with the cop uniform stabbed him in the back and pushed him out the window to the waiting zombies in his driveway. What a waste. That cured the vapors in a hurry.
Hellen turned to the imposter cop with frightened eyes. If I didn’t know any better, the imposter cop resembled Hutch from this cop show my Joe used to watch. Hellen trembled with fear as Hutch sneered at her. I thought this was the end for Hellen as I gripped onto the trim of my window. The girl was finally going to get what she had coming to her. Not saying she deserved this, mind you. I just mean that our actions lead us to where we end up, is all. It was only too bad Susan wasn’t here to witness it.
The second Hutch moved closer to Hellen another one of the bikers appeared with Skye behind him. Sky’s clothes were still ripped, but pulled closed as she stabbed Hutch in the back with the same machete that took Dave down in the street. Hutches eyes went wide as Hellen moved out of the way to allow Skye to shove him out the window to the teeth and claws below.
Even with that nice picture window busted wide open like a bar fight in a cowboy movie, it was still tough to see. People kept moving in and out of my view in the scuffle. I’ll tell it as best I saw it on account of I already started this story.
Skye stood above the window breathing heavy, her chest rising and falling rapidly with each breath. The machete still clutched in her hand as blood dripped down her arm. The only remaining motorcycle man came up behind her, seeming to have changed sides somewhere behind the curtain, and wrapped his arms around her in comfort. Did they know each other?
I was having trouble following this. No one was watching their back even with the neighborhood sick with zombies. People kept flying through windows like not a soul knew how to lay low and stay quiet. Did they see zombies all over my house? No. Because I know when to keep still and quiet. A zombie apocalypse … still and quiet time, kids. And not for nothing, but the big strong men in the neighborhood were getting themselves killed and eaten on the regular. I’m just saying.
The question of how and why Skye had managed to make nice with the last living biker in the neighborhood was left unanswered as movement caught my eye. Up the street from where the overturned Corolla laid and black smoke billowed into the air, Susan was moving with a slow gimping gate toward the Cooper’s house. From this angle I couldn’t figure out if she was still human or infected with the Zombie Herp. She glanced around slowly, making me think she was still with the living. What a trooper. Tougher than the men in the neighborhood for sure. But a terrible driver.
Looking back and forth between the living in the Cooper’s house and Susan walking slowly down the road. I don’t know why she wasn’t drawing the attention of other Zombies, but she was out strolling as if on her Sunday morning walks.
My afternoon nap was fast approaching, my eyes growing heavy with sleep, but I couldn’t pull myself away now. Susan was making it up the stairs to the Cooper’s house, drawing the attention of the three I could see inside. At this point I assumed everyone else inside was killed, but I couldn’t be sure. Skye pulled her machete back and the last motorcycle man standing grabbed Mr. Cooper’s gun from the floor, preparing themselves for whatever waited outside.
Susan opened the door.
No one in this neighborhood locked their doors, except Joe and me. Which is probably another reason why I wasn’t overrun with the rest of them when the Zombie Herp broke out. Once Skye recognized Susan, she lowered her weapon and a small sob escaped her, relief flashing across her face.
Susan didn’t acknowledge her as she walked straight passed her and up to Hellen. She stood there for a moment before lashing forward like a snakes strike and stabbing Hellen in the stomach. Shocked excitement came from my mouth as I pressed my face to the glass. Truth be told, I didn’t think Susan had it in her to take care of business.
Hellen took a step backward, holding her stomach, watching Susan, pleading for help she would not receive. Susan followed, but only to finish pushing her out the window to her waiting death below. Out the window – the new way to say goodbye and mean it.
Fate had a hand in Hellen’s death, letting Susan take her from this world. If you ask me, she deserved everything she got for sneaking around with a married man, but I ain’t one to gossip, so you didn’t hear that from me.
Susan turned back around, facing the others in Mr. Cooper living room. Both the motorcycle man and Sky looked shocked, but didn’t move to intercept her. You got to know when someone isn’t to be screwed with if you don’t want to find yourself going through a window, you see.
My eyes grew even heavier as I blinked longer than normal. When I opened them, the Christmas tree window at the Coopers’ was now empty. Hurriedly, I moved back to the front room. I contemplated the events of the day as I stood waiting by the window. Naps were very important at my age, but who knows what I’d miss sleeping away the day.
Something was up over at Palmer’s house. His mail-order bride appeared to be watching things from her windows too. What a nosey busybody she was. None of this was her business.
TO BE CONTINUED …