Zombie Mart [DRAFT]

Part 8: Foyer Fracas

Aug 31, 2020   ◦   ~ 1,300 words / 7 minutes

Dusty danced to his left as a zombie lurched at him.

The creature stumbled, and Dusty brought his shovel down hard. The zombie’s skull caved in with a satisfying squelch. That seemed to happen on the older, crustier ones. The more recently dead were a lot harder to kill… kill again… re-kill?

A scream pierced the air, drawing everyone’s attention.

Dusty watched as all the zombies started moving toward the sound; they couldn’t resist the siren call of terror. Dusty was on the opposite side of the foyer from whoever screamed. Jillian, maybe? All the zombies were ahead of him now. He did a quick headcount.

“Three zombies left,” he muttered.

Gun and Octavia were better positioned to help Jillian, and Jacques should have been somewhere near her, shouldn’t he?

Dusty took this opportunity to thin the herd even more. He crept as quietly as he could, also trying not to fall on his ass from the slippery pools of blood that coated the floor.

The lights flickered again. Why hadn’t the generator kicked in? Dusty would have to look into that.

The trailing zombie didn’t even notice Dusty stalking up. He could tell it had been dead for a long time. Its clothes were deteriorating, hair was falling out in patches, and its forearm had a big chunk of flesh bitten out of it. White bones within the dry wound gleamed in the darkened room. Had a confused zombie tried to eat one of its own?

Dusty’s shoulders were burning. The effort of swinging the shovel was starting to overcome the numbing effect of adrenaline. He changed his grip and held the tool properly—like he was about to start digging.

Stepping directly behind the zombie, he rammed the shovel into the creature’s spine, just above its pelvis.

The zombie gasped and collapsed to the ground with a crunch. It tried to push itself up, but its body hinged where Dusty hit it. Its legs trailed, unmoving. It snarled, a dry hissy sound, and started pulling itself toward him.

Dusty kept his shovel at waist height and took a swing. Thwock! The monster’s head twisted at a sharp angle, and its body fell like a sack of potatoes.

The zombie’s eyes moved back and forth, settling on Dusty. It moaned a pitiful little rasp and started snapping its jaws, daring him to put a finger in its mouth.

Yeah, not gonna happen.

Instead, Dusty raised his foot and stomped down on the creature’s noggin. Like an egg, the monster’s skull burst and sent decaying brain matter everywhere.

Dusty lifted his foot from the pool of gore. “Ew.”

Gun saw the whole thing and still couldn’t believe it. Ryu-zombie flipped Jacques over his shoulder and bit him in mid-throw. It was terrifying how fast it happened.

After Jacques hit the ground and slid away, the creature went after him. But it was much slower now, like it spent all of its energy on the toss.

Gun grabbed his second machete. He grinned maniacally as he held both blades out and ran at the zombie. It wasn’t paying attention to him, its focus was on Jacques, bleeding on the floor.

He closed the gap in six steps, running up to the creature from behind. He raised both of his arms and brought them down as hard as he could, bending at the hips and curling his torso for added torque.

This time he scored a perfect hit. The machetes hit on either side of the zombie’s head, cleaving both arms off. They clunked to the floor, twitching. The zombie pulled up short. It turned around and looked at Gun, eyes wide. Then it looked down and grunted, a high pitched, confused sound.

Gun barked a laugh.

The zombie looked up, murder in its rheumy eyes. But it was too late, Gun was already mid-swing. The machete struck between two vertebrae and took the creature’s head off in one swipe.

“Finally!” Gun watched the head drop off the zombie’s now narrower shoulders, hit the ground, and roll to a stop right in front of Jillian. She flinched away, kicking at it like it was a giant spider or something, you know, gross.

“Sorry about that,” Gun murmured.

Dusty finished off the remaining zombies quickly, they were all old and dry. Fodder.

Octavia clobbered the last from her group and came to meet Dusty. Together they finished a sweep of the foyer, making sure everything was properly dead.

They arrived at the spot where Jacques lay crumpled on the floor. It had only been a few minutes since Jillian’s scream. Everything happened so quickly.

Jacques’ head rested on Jillian’s lap. He clutched his wounded shoulder. Everyone else had encircled them, bent over, looking down with concerned frowns.

“How bad is it?” Dusty asked.

Jacques moved his hand away, exposing a half-circle of tooth marks, gushing blood. He quickly put his hand back.

Gun grimaced. “Hurt bad?”

Jacques gave him a level look. “No, it feels great.”

“It doesn’t look too bad,” Gun said. “I mean, the wound itself.”

“It kind of…” Jacques gritted his teeth and groaned. “It kind of reminds me of the time I was mauled by a raccoon as a kid.”

“Oh, uh.” Gun’s eyebrows shot up. “Wow.”

Jillian looked up, her tear-streaked face turned to Dusty. “What’s gonna happen to him?”

Dusty opened his mouth, then closed it. He shrugged a shoulder, nonplussed.

“Is he going to become one of those… Things?” Jillian asked.

Jacques grunted and smiled wanly. “They aren’t people anymore, eh?”

“I don’t know, I guess not?” Jillian’s brows furrowed. “Heaven help me, I don’t care anymore. Whatever they are, they hurt you, and I’m not ok with that.”

Gun tilted his head. “It’s a good question, I guess. What will happen to him?”

“I don’t—I don’t wanna be one of those creeps,” Jacques moaned.

“Don’t worry, we won’t let that happen,” Gun said. “I’ll make sure of it.”

Jacques looked at Gun, then to Dusty. “Promise me, whatever happens… He’s not the one to do it.”

Dusty nodded, a thin smile on his lips.

“Jeez, what is it with men?” Octavia stepped back. “Nobody’s going to take care of anything. Certainly not what you blokes are on about.” She glanced at the aisles beyond the foyer. “Does this store have a chemist? Er, a pharmacy?”

Dusty and Gun both shook their heads.

“Well, you must have something we can treat the bite with… Maybe some hydrogen peroxide?”

“Actually, yeah. I think so,” Gun said. “There’s a small first-aid aisle.”

“Do you think that will help?” Jillian asked in a small voice.

“We don’t know what’s causing this… this… Whatever it is. But I have to imagine that being bitten by something dead may lead to infection, if untreated,” Octavia said. “The, ehm, normal kind of infection, that is.”

The store’s flickering fluorescents finally gave up and went dark. What little light they had filtered in through the front doors and a few dirty skylights.

“I think that was the main power. I need to check on the generators, they should have automatically kicked on,” Dusty said. He then suggested that Jillian and Octavia stay with Jacques. Gun should go get some peroxide and a first aid kit, and he would get the generators running. “Be fast about it. We’ll meet back here.”

Gun shook his head.


“I mean, how many horror movies have we seen?”

“Hundreds, maybe.”

“What’s the first stupid thing all those characters do?”

Dusty sighed. “We can’t help it. Just be fast. And don’t do anything stupid.”

“Anything else stupid, you mean.”

“All right.” Dusty frowned. “Well, the mechanical room and the first aid supplies are in the same direction. Let’s go.”

Gun nodded, and they both headed into the cavernous darkness of the Zippie Mart.