Authors: Greg Kayes
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 by Greg Kayes
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
First Createspace paperback printing: April 2015
First Kindle Direct Publishing ebook printing: May 2015
I dedicate this to
Ghosts and Zombies everywhere
he world exploded into chaos. Gun shots echoed out with constant screaming from everywhere. The hearts of two men pounded feverishly in their ears as they fled from the raging hoard behind them.
“That Bastard took a big chunk outta me with his teeth! Billy, do you think he was contagious?”
Billy looked at Tom, glanced at his own flesh wound, then at the growing massive crowd of perusing zombies.
“S’right I think so Tom!” Billy said as he ran “I think were both done for!”
Tom looked at Billy then grinned “Then there isn’t a better person I’d wanna go out with then.”
Billy looked back at Tom and shared his grin. “Last one to a hundred buys the rounds!”
The two stopped and picked up a makeshift weapon.
“Then I hope ya can take yer cash with ya cause I’m gonna be thirsty when I’m dead!!”
Four minutes later Billy and Tom stopped screaming. They both got up from the ground and dusted themselves off.
“Well that could’ev gone better.” Billy said “How many did ya get?”
Tom looked around at the carnage that was mostly his body.
“Three, maybe four.” Tom said
“I think I got two an a half.”
“An a half?”
“Yea! You see that one over there missing an arm an a leg?”
The two stood there for a bit as they nonchalantly surveyed the zombie hoard lurching away like a bad parade.
Tom made fidgety popping sounds with his mouth as Billy blew out a stream of what counted for air when you’re dead like someone with nothing better to do.
“So what now?” Billy asked
“Don’t know…Did I ever tell you of the time I went to Spain?”
“Was that when the tyranny albino circus gypsies tried to steal your hair?”
“No, that was another time. I don’t think I told you about this one.”
“Really? Oh, look! We’re getting back up!”
“Yea! I knew I was a tougher bastard than that!”
“Ya do know you’re a zombie now don’t cha Tom?”
“Yea I do. But look at how well my body held up to that onslaught! Ha! Ma skins so tough its got some of their teeth still stuck in it!”
“True, but you’re missin your left foot.”
“That’s alright. Look at how I make due walkin on ma stump like that. Tough as nails I am! …Was.” Tom said Solemnly.
“That you were Tom. That you were.” Billy said sympathetically.
The two watched their corpses take a few hesitant steps before getting taken up in the flow of the hoard. Distant screams and gun shots still rang out among the moaning dead.
“Come on Billy. I wanna see how this turns out.”
“Yea, me too.” Billy said as he followed after his corpse.
“So what happened in Spain?” Billy asked
“Oh! You’re gonna love this. It’s about how I got that scar there on my left hip and why I scream every time I see a ventriloquist. So I get to the beach resort after a long flight so I hit up the bar to recover when I meet these three hot Spaniard midget strippers…”
The Ghosts of the Zombie Apocalypse
od damn overgrown cabbages!” Henrietta moaned as her body tripped to the ground “Honestly, you'd think I'd have an easier time at this. Come on! I use to run five miles a day. Now look at where
got me. If I wasn't already dead I'd die from embarrassment. Oh hi Loretta."
See you tripping on some cabbages today."
"Yea. It's not been a good morning. How's Charles doing?"
"Finally got free from that dog collar."
"Good for him. Oh God..."
Henrietta’s corpse had slipped on another rotten cabbage and now was struggling feebly to get back up."
"Honestly, is this not the saddest thing you've seen all day?" Henrietta said
"I don't know. I saw Fred wearing a dress earlier."
"What?! How did that happen?"
"I don't know. He was reluctant to talk about it. I’m sure he’s thinking of just the right way to tell
"I don't blame him. So...seen anyone new lately?"
"Not so much. I heard gunshots last night but I think we lost more than we gained. Either way we’ll be getting that story in a few days. But most survivors now are either dug in or got out when they could."
"I suppose that's a good thing. But if this story shortage goes on much longer...”
“Yea I know what you mean.”
“Well it looks like you’re getting away from yourself.”
“Oh shoot, really?! Be sure to keep up with yourself!” Loretta said as she began to speed away.
"And you too! See you along the grape vine!"
Henrietta watched as Loretta caught up to her corpse further down the road on the other side of the stone wall separating the street from the garden.
So we lost a few corpses last night. Henrietta thought to herself. That’s going to put a drag on our economy. I wonder who we lost. Hopefully not anyone interesting but honestly right now I’d even listen to old golf commentary.
“Oh, where do you think you’re going?” Henrietta said to her corpse as it managed to get back to its feet and stumble its way out of the garden.
It felt good to not feel so embarrassed for her corpse anymore. It was like being a parent who was watching their child nervously wet their pants in front of everyone during a piano recital. At least she’ll get a good story out of it
. Her corpse continued along street after street as she followed closely behind herself through a city of ghosts who were walking steadily along with themselves.
This was in fact a city of zombies and their ghosts. No one really knew why other ghosts hung around their reanimated decomposing corpses or why they did it themselves. It just felt natural. Everyone knew they didn't have too, that they could leave and go somewhere else if they wanted. But...that would mean that they would be lost and when a ghost got lost, they would root themselves to the spot and not do anything but annoy the hell out of everyone who passes by.
Speak of the devil. Henrietta thought as she spied a lone ghost in an alley way hovering over a corpse that was put down. Fallen zombie ghosts were the worst. All they did was pester people for free stories like an awkward friend at a party. Now the important thing was to not make eye contact.
“Henrietta? Is that you? Hay Henrietta! Over here! It’s Richard!”
Shit. Well at least I can ignore him if my corpse keeps going. Shit!
“No, no! Don’t go over there!” Henrietta whispered to her corpse as it turned into the alley way. Ok, it’ll be fine cause my corpse will keep walking by and I won’t have to talk to him long. Just make quick banter and we’ll be through this in no time.
“Hey Richard!” Henrietta said over selling it “I’d love to stay and chat but as you can see my corpse-”
Henrietta paused mid sentence as they both looked at her corpse crouch down.
“-Has stopped here to eat your corpse…”
“So heard any new stories lately?” Richard said not missing a beat.
“Only if You got something worth hearing.”
“How about how I ended up stuck in this alley?”
“Oh come on. We all know some kid popped you in the head as you were chasing him down.”
“How did you hear that?! No one’s been down here since my corpse fell!”
“The kid told me the other day. Charlie got him the day after he fell you. Its old news Richard.”
“Come on! Can’t you give me something? It’s dull as dirt down here.”
Henrietta sighed “Alright. This
turning out to be a pretty entertaining day. This moment alone is going to be a story worth hearing. So…” Henrietta said as she tried to remember a good story “Did I ever tell you of my piano recital when I was a kid?”
After about twenty minutes of story time and some small gossip Henrietta’s corpse finished gorging itself and started to wander off. Henrietta politely left Richard who was feeling happily entertained and ventured back out into the streets with her corpse.
After walking along for a while Henrietta was beginning to feel vexed at giving such a good story for something that happened to both of them. Not many ghosts would have accepted that trade. But she felt sorry for him. It was hard not to. He was never going to have another chance to roam around and get any new stories from watching his corpse. At least the lost could always hitch a ride on another corpse and find their own later on.
Well at least she got a good story from all that. She suspected that Richard wouldn’t be telling that story to anyone else any time soon. So as far as she was concerned the story was as good as gold. The market always ate up embarrassing and awkward stories. Those always got a laugh and a little extra spice put into the next story you got told.
It was funny. They didn't need to eat, at least not like how their corpses tried to eat everything, but everyone couldn’t live without entertainment. But that shouldn’t be too surprising. There really wasn’t much to do anymore than talk to the other ghosts about what they did in life and what weird things their corpses did, which quickly lead to only talking about the weird things their corpses did. The average person lived a normal boring life and only had a hand full of interesting stories that they would tell over and over. When death came most people exhausted most of their stories worth telling right away which quickly lead to talking about how dull and mindlessly stressful their former job was. This in turn led to story trading. Every story had a price and it sometimes took a bunch of mediocre stories to hear one really good one.
A corpse sneezed loudly next to Henrietta making her jump.
"It's alright Will."
"Say have you seen Lisa? I've been hoping I'd wander across her again. She has the prettiest smile and the best jokes."
"Sorry Will, haven't seen her for a week."
"That's ok H.T." Will said solemnly "I’m just dyeing to hear the end of her story. I traded one of my best stories to hear it but she wandered off before she could finish hers."
"You mean the one with the cherries?"
"Yea! You know it?! Can you fill me in please?"
"Sorry, I' m not going to do that story any justice. You really need Lisa to tell it."
"Oh man! That just got me all excited! I can't wait to run into her again!"
"Good luck Will. Keep up with yourself!"
"Keep up yourself!" He said as they smiled as their corpses walked away.
Keep up with yourself. Henrietta thought. That was a story in its self. The phrase, Henrietta remembered, was born out of necessity. Originally ghosts would stop to talk to one another and then get so caught up in the conversation that they would lose track of their corpse and become lost. No one wanted that, especially because the lost were so damned annoying, but more because it terrified them that they could become lost themselves. So everyone looked out for everyone else and reminded them if their corpse was getting too far for comfort. This of course led to the fact that any story you were telling or listening to could be cut short at any time.
Not for the first time, Henrietta wondered what ghosts said to one another before the zombie outbreak. It must have been a completely different culture back before all this. Surprisingly she was yet to meet any ghost that died pre-zombie apocalypse. There must be some around somewhere. Ghosts can’t possibly just exist just because of zombies.
Gunshots in the distance suddenly echoed out. There weren’t many zombies in her street but when they heard that the few around her started a steadily increasing lurch toward the disturbance. That is all of them except Henrietta’s corpse. Henrietta had seen her corpse do this before after feeding. Her corpse was simply too full to care about eating more.
“Well it looks like we’re going to miss out on another raid.” A ghost behind her said
“Yea.” Henrietta said without looking over. “How are you doing Charles?”
“Could be better. I really needed this raid. I’m running out of good material.”
Gunshots began bursting out in rapid succession out of sight.
“Looks like all the excitement’s started.” Charles said
A roaring cheer echoed out like a sports stadium going wild.
“Looks like we got one-” Henrietta commented
Then as one the cheer turned to a crestfallen “awe”
“-And then they were felled.” Henrietta finished
“Rotten luck.” Charles commented “We could’ve used some new followers.”
“We can’t turn them
into followers. Also we always lose some corpses to the raids.”
“I know. But it’ll make a good story later. Just wish I could afford it.”
More gunshots echoed out followed by another crowd cheer.
“There’s another one.” Charles said
The cheering turned into clapping.
“I think it’s wrapping up.” Henrietta said “These raids aren’t lasting nearly as long as they use to.”
“I think it’s because the survivors are getting weaker.”
“I mean it’s not like either of us lasted very long. Am I right?”
“Ha! Trying to fish for my swan song? I thought you just said you couldn’t afford a raid story.” Henrietta said slyly
“Doesn’t mean I don’t still have my own to tell.”
“Well I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.”
“No deal. I’m saving my death for something from Story Master Mike.”
“Nooo. Is he here? Last I heard he was down at old town.”
“Heard it through the grape vine, someone spotted him down on Second Street.”
“Oh dang, that’s just three streets away! I can’t wait to run into him again.”
“You’ve heard a Story Master Story? What’s was it like? What was he like? I’ve only heard rumors of rumors.”
“Well it will cost ya. That story was really good.”
“I mean strictly gossip.”
“Oh. Then um…he had a good eye for detail.”
“Yea, I heard that. He used to be a programmer or something.”
“He seemed more like a high class business smoocher to me.
“Really? What else can you tell me?”
“Well he really made the story flow together and quickly before your corpse wandered away.”
“Ah good, I
cliff hangers. Oh hey Tom, Billy.”
“Hey Charles! Henrietta! Did ya catch that Fight!” Tom said following his corpse out of a side street
“No, we missed it.” Henrietta said “Our corpses were too full for the fight.”
“S’such a shame! They’ll be talking of that one for a while.” Billy said
“Was a hum dinger of a fight, S’right! Reminds me of the last swing I took at all them corpses.” Tom said
“Yes, yes.” Charles said “You and Billy both tried to take on fifty with nothing but a plank and your smiles. We all know that. You never shut up about it.”
“Well it’s true!” Tom said
“Tom you do remember that we can’t make things up right?” Henrietta asked “I just can’t be sure with you two sometimes.”
“S’right we know that.” Billy said “But ya can’t blame the man for being proud! Say did we ever tell you of the time me and Tom raided that store of survivors?”
“They gave us quite a fight but we turned them to us in no time.”
“Ya did lose your left hand in the fight though Tom.”
“S’true but battle scars are the best kind of trophy.”
Tom leaned conspirally toward Charles and Henrietta
“The zombie chicks are totally diggin my missin pieces.”