The Dirt (A Very Short Story)

I haven’t published any fiction in a while, so I may be a bit rusty. I’m going to try to post at least one fiction piece per month. We’ll see how that goes… Anyway, this was just something I was experimenting with, it might be awful – but there is just something I kind of like about it. Hope it’s somewhat enjoyable (I swear, I’m not crazy):

            So, I was walking through the forest the other day and I just couldn’t stop looking at the dirt. It was one of those moments in life when you see something totally mundane, something that you see all the time, but this time it’s just super interesting for some reason.

            What is dirt? What is it really? Bits of all things dead? Bits of all things living? Or is it some strange combination of the two? Can you imagine if all things were a combination of dead and alive? This is the point where I started imagining people going about their days, just like everything is normal, but with dead bodies everywhere.

            Your grandpa dies in bed of a heart attack, and you just leave him there. Maybe someone chokes to death at dinner, and you never need to find anyone else to fill their chair. Road kill remains in the road, half eaten by vultures, or whatever. Dead bodies floating in rivers, filling up convalescent homes and hospitals. And the living just go about their day as if there aren’t rotting corpses in every corner.

            A crazy thought, I know. But looking down at the dirt, it sort of occurred to me that we kind of already do that. The dead are underground or burned to ashes, but they’re still somewhere. We can’t make them disappear; we can just pretend they aren’t there. That’s what the dirt is really made of: the things we want to ignore.


Saving Bootsey – (fiction)

            Sometimes I do feel crazy. But I figure everyone is feeling at least a little crazy right now. I hoist the limp body of Bootsey over my narrow shoulders and continue on down the hill. He’s not dead, just lifeless. There’s still hope for him, at least that’s what I tell myself.

            I guess it’s a bit sad when the only living being you know is scraggly gray cat. I guess it’s even worse when that cat is partially zombified, and isn’t technically living. But he has the potentiality of coming back to life, and that’s more than I can say for anyone else I love.

            All I have to do is find the healing flower. It’s rumored to smell like honey and be the color of the perfect sunset. I may not know where to look, but I’ll know when I find it. Bootsey is all I have left, I will find that damn flower if it kills me. It’s not like I would have anything to live for if it weren’t for Bootsey.

            He fought off the zombies the best he could, clawing and hissing at them until he was cornered. He managed to get away with his crazy acrobatic skills, but when we finally got to safety I noticed a small scratch. A zombie scratch.

            He started turning slowly, his eyes fading from yellow to red and his fur becoming coarse and dry. I put a muzzle on him to keep him from biting, and little cat booties to keep him from scratching. He wasn’t yet bloodthirsty, but he was already poisonous. Now he has entered into the final phase of the transformation: hibernation. The calm before the storm.

            He will sleep for exactly twenty-four hours before his eyes open for the last time. All of who he was will be gone. I’ve got my watch strapped securely around my belt. The change will be complete in four hours and fifty-two minutes.

            Thant means that I have four hours and fifty-one minutes to find that damn flower. I continue on through the dense forest, looking for the color of the sunset.

Leave a Penny, Take a Penny (Short Story)

Note: Just a short story I wrote for class, so the style may be a bit different than my usual stuff. I think it could use some work but it’s worlds better than my first draft! Enjoy!

            On a quiet day at the small town grocery store Karen sits behind the checkout counter reading s celebrity gossip magazine and keeping an eye out for her overly strict manager. She’s not paying attention when an older man enters the store and begins roaming the isles slowly.

            After a few minutes he walks toward the counter and Karen glances up with a slight sigh. She looks him over briefly, noting his long gray hair, messy beard, and the deep creases in his face. He looks like he could be homeless and she stifles a groan. Just as she sets her magazine down the man calmly reaches into the small bowl labeled “Leave a Penny, Take a Penny”. He takes the six pennies that sit in the bowl and places them in his jean pocket without looking up at Karen.

            She stares blankly at the back of his long green coat until the door closes and he’s gone. It’s not until then that Karen even registers what has happened. She’s staring out the door in confusion when her coworker, Marty, comes up quietly behind her.

            “Go ahead and take your lunch break,” he says in his usual kind voice, but Karen is startled and jumps a few inches.

            “Oh sure,” she says once she catches her breath, Marty hadn’t even noticed. “I’ll be back in thirty.” She grabs her small black purse from under the register and walks to the time clock. “2:37, 2:37, 2:37”, she repeats the time trying to commit it to memory, she can’t afford to be late one more time. She chants to numbers quietly to herself and walks out the door, removing her name tag and stuffing it in her pocket.

            Karen glanced in the direction she had seen the man turn; she would normally go the other way, to the cluster of fast food restaurants just a few blocks away. But today something compels her to follow the old man. She’s not sure where he’s gone, or if she will be able to find him, but she’s curious enough to give it a try.

            Walking down the row of shops the cool November air stings at her lungs and she begins to wish she were sitting in her favorite coffee shop with a hot drink. But instead of turning back she just pulls the sleeves of her shirt down over her hands and presses them to her cold nose, continuing on down the road looking into every store window that she passes. She walks around a ladder sitting on the sidewalk and as she does so she spots the tail of the man’s long green coat disappear into a small antique shop a few doors down from where she stands. Without going in the store she watches as the man looks with a blank stare at a row of old mirrors and small bejeweled boxes. Finally he takes a deep breath and walks slowly to the counter; he pauses for just a second before grabbing the spare change lying there in an ashtray. The employee glances up from a display she’s organizing but doesn’t seem to notice the man dropping the coins into his pocket.

            “Have a nice day,” the employee says politely as the man leaves the store. He continues to walk down the sidewalk, not noticing Karen trailing several yards behind. As he walks he reaches into his pocket, pulling out a few handfuls of change, and counts what he has collected. Karen is unable to see exactly how much he has, but she can tell the grocery store and the antique shop had definitely not been the only stores he had walked into.

            The old man smiles and puts the change back into his pocket. He looks up and down the road, checking for traffic, then crosses the street and begins walking in the opposite direction, back toward the antique shop and grocery store.

            Karen is momentarily thrown by his sudden change in direction and turns quickly to stare at the man. At this moment a car honks loudly next to Karen and the man instinctively turns to the source of the noise. He glimpses Karen staring at him and she ducks down, suddenly nervous, and pretends to tie her shoe. Near her hand she spots a shiny penny and picks it up with a slight laugh.

            “Lucky penny,” she whispers sarcastically to herself as she stands, dropping the coin into the pocket with her name tag. She glances at her watch and realizes that she should be clocking back in from lunch in about two minutes. She remembers her manager warning her just the day before that if she is late one more time he is going to fire her.

            Groaning, Karen breathes in the cold air and jogs the few blocks back to the grocery store, almost knocking over woman and her baby in the process. Catching her breath, she slides her name tag through the time clock. It takes just a second for the machine to flash the time, but that’s long enough to make Karen nervous. The screen reads 3:07 and she sighs with relief and a smirk on her face, casting her eyes to her shoes. The glint of copper catches her eye and she sees her penny on the floor a few feet away; it must have fallen from her pocket when she took out her name tag. Karen is not a fan of pennies, but she is a fan of superstition.

            “Well, you got me back on time. I guess you really are a lucky penny,” she whispers to herself and stoops down to grab the penny.

            She drops it back into her pocket and silently takes her place behind the register as Marty walks off to organize a messy display of potato chips. Before she can even resume reading her magazine the bell on the front door chimes and Karen looks up to see the old man walking towards her.

            She is briefly washed over with panic, wondering why he is here. Did her see her following him? Is he here to rob the store?

            “I’ll have a pack of Marlboros, please,” he says sounding eager, but he can’t keep the slight hint of shame out of his voice.

            Karen stares at him for a second before what he has said sinks in and her face suddenly lights up with understanding. The man looks as confused as she had just a few seconds ago. Blushing, she turns to the back wall and grabs a pack of the cigarettes.

            “That’ll be four eighty-two,” Karen says quietly without making eye contact. The man immediately makes a small frustrated noise and sighs softly. His eyes look soft and kind against the hard creases of his face.

            “Could ya’ spare a penny?” he asks with desperation in his voice. “I’ve got four eighty-one, I must have done my math wrong.” He sounds truly sorry for the error and Karen can’t help but feel sorry for him.

            She takes the penny from her pocket and shows it to the man with a smile. He smiles wide while and hands her two dollar bills with an assortment of change.

            “That’s a lucky penny that is,” the man says with a chuckle.

            “It sure is.” She smiles back at him.

Miss Jone’s Night Out – Part 2 (fiction)

            Brooke is the first to arrive at 591 Yeti Drive Apartment B and is ushered into the house by a half-dressed Pam. At least, Brooke thinks she is half-dressed until she realizes that what she thought was a sparkly shirt is actually a very, very short dress. Her hair is still in curlers and she’s holding a damp toothbrush, she’s smiling but clearly surprised by Brooke’s punctuality. Being late is something Brooke avoids at all costs, because it could lead to a variety of embarrassing situations. But occasionally, Brooke reminds herself, being on time can be even more awkward.

            “Hey girl,” Pam says brightly and glances at Brookes outfit raising one eyebrow and pursing her lips slightly.

            “Hey,” Brooke draws out the word because she doesn’t know what else to say.

            Pam’s apartment matches her personality exactly. The standard white walls are covered by sheets in shades of yellow and orange and fake bunches of flowers in clear vases add a splash of red. It should look very messy, but something about it a perfect balance between fun, stylish, and put together. Just like Pam. Brooke is envious as she thinks of her bland beige walls and her equally boring personality.

            “So, we are going to this club called Vortex. It’s ladies night, so drinks are half price!” Pam says excitedly, a bit too thrilled in Brooke’s opinion, but she decides to play along.

            “Oh, fun,” she says with feigned enthusiasm, although she’s doubtful she’s fooling anyone.

            A knock on the door breaks the silence and Mary comes in before anyone has a chance to respond.

            “Hello ladies! Who’s ready to get drunk?” Clearly the life of any party, Mary pulls a small silver flask from her shiny red purse.

            “Wooo! I know I am! You look gorgeous as always my dear!” Pam looks over Mary’s stunning outfit – a tight leopard print dress with red stilettos – before grabbing the flask and taking a long drink.

            She hands the flask to Brooke, who takes it with a look of surprise that neither girl notices as they hug and check each other’s makeup. In the span of two seconds a million things race through Brooke’s head before her hand lifts and she takes a sip of the bitter liquid. The warmth races down her throat and she hands the flask back to Mary who takes a drink and cheers loudly. Brooke’s not sure exactly why, but within a few seconds the three of them are laughing hysterically.

            When they all calm down Mary turns to Brooke and looks her outfit over. Brooke knows she’s not the most fashionable person, but she was pretty proud of her outfit of tight, dark wash skinny jeans and flowy shirt that shows just a bit of cleavage.

            “Honey, that would be an adorable outfit for the office, but tonight we are going to party like there’s no tomorrow! Let’s go find you something sexy.” Pam nods and the two girls lead Brooke down the hall without another word.

            “I think I’ve got the perfect thing,” Pam says as she rifles through her closet. Mary is looking through the bin of shoes in the corner, and Brooke is standing tentatively in doorway like a deer in headlights.

            “What size shoe are you?” Mary is throwing shoes on the bed, unable to find any of the matches.

            “Um, eight.” Brooke wishes she could come up with something else to say, but that’s all she’s got. And she’s really wishing she could have another sip of whatever’s in that flask.

            “Perfect!” Pam pulls a flowy white dress from the closet with a triumphant smile. It is beautiful, but Brooke is wondering how it is possibly going to cover her curvy ass.

            “Wow. It’s gorgeous, but I’m not sure if it will fit.”

            “It’s stretchy. I swear, it’s going to look great,” Pam says as she hands the dress Brooke and Mary holds up a pair silver platform heals.

“Girls, you look fabulous! If I weren’t gay I think we would be having a threesome tonight.” Kent jokes as they walk from the parking lot to the club. It’s getting cold outside and could start raining at any minute. “It’s nice to see you outside of the office, Brooke. You should come out with us more often.”

            “Let’s see if she even survives a night with up first.” Brooke knows that Mary is only kidding, but she’s afraid of how true the statement might end up being by the end of the night.

            The club is all pulsing lights and loud music with the base turned up way too high. The sight of people dancing reminds Brooke of the one thing that she is more worried about than getting drunk: her horrible lack of dancing abilities. She exhales in relief when her group heads straight to the bar and orders a round of shots.

            The girls all head to the restroom, which gives the alcohol a bit of time to take effect. By the time Brooke hits the dance floor, her anxiousness has toned down a bit and she can dance with less inhibition than when she’s sober. Her dancing is still awful compared to everyone else in the room, but Brooke is happy with the improvement.

            A few songs in, two very fine guys start dancing with Mary and Pam, Kent is chatting with a few friends he ran into, and Brooke decides that a trip to the bar would be a better choice than dancing awkwardly by herself.

            “I’ll have a … um… Mojito?” Brooke says the first thing that comes to mind. She’s not sure what a mojito is, but she likes the sound of it. She pays and takes a sip of the cool liquid. Not bad, Brooke thinks as she takes a look around the club. There are about twice as many girls, but there are some very good-looking guys.

            She catches snippets of the conversation the men are having to her left, something about football or hockey, or something like that. Most of the girls in the club are dressed so scantily that Brooke’s dress looks conservative, even though it’s probably the most skin she has ever shown away from the beach.

            Brooke is wondering how people end up so sweaty from dancing, when she sees a familiar head of messy ash blond hair across the club. She would recognize this person in a state of utter drunkenness. It’s the guy whom she has secretly pined over for two years: Peter Raveniss. Tall, handsome, and funny. The whole package, in Brooke’s opinion.

            She quickly sucks down the rest of her drink, giving her a brain freeze, and rejoins her work friends, careful to stay out of Peter’s line of vision.

Miss Jones’ Night Out – Part 1

Note: I expect this to be about a three-part story, and I hope to post all parts within the next week our two (ok, make that 3 or 4 weeks, summer break is more time-consuming than expected!). I hope you enjoy it!

Miss Jones’ Night Out – Part 1

            It is the seventh of May and Brooke Jones sits on the back porch of her house watching the clouds roll in off the horizon. The likelihood of rain in the next few hours is high, according to the weather report and anyone with common sense.

            Miss Jones, as they call her at work, is making lists in her head. What she wants to accomplish over the summer, what she is going to do to get in shape, witty things to say to Peter if she should happen to see him, items she needs to buy at the grocery store and the mall. The lists run together in her mind and get tangled until she has to close her eyes and shake the nonsense from her head. She knows that no matter how many lists she makes she will not accomplish what she hopes to, she will not get in shape, and if she should see Peter she will do what she always does – pretend not to see him until he’s right in front of her and then give him a shy smile to acknowledge his existence. She knows that he will never realize how badly she wants him.

            A phone rings in the house and Brooke waits a few seconds before pushing herself out of an old lawn chair and starts toward the phone. Brooke has never been a fan of phones. They allow for the possibility of too many awkward moments. There are plenty of embarrassing moments outside of the house, no need to create more. This is Brooke’s reasoning as she picks up the phone and answers with a sunny “hello” and a big smile.

            “Hello, Miss Jones.” It’s Pam, a new friend from work, and she has a playful tone in her voice. Brooke raises an eyebrow in suspicion even though there is no one around to see it.

            “Well, hello Miss… um…. hello Pam,” Brooke blushes as she realizes that she doesn’t actually know Pam’s full name, there goes another awkward moment to add to the list. But Pam just laughs good-naturedly and continues.

            “So, Mary, Kent, and I are going out for drinks tonight and we think you should join us.” Brooke hesitates for a second and Pam adds, “it will be fun.” Brooke does not doubt that Pam and the others will have fun, although she believes that her presence might dampen their fun, but she is not so sure that she will have fun. Rarely invited out, Brooke usually jumps at the chance, but drinks are a different matter.

            In her entire twenty-four years of life Brooke has drunken alcohol exactly three times. The first time she was 14 and camping with her parents. Her mother offered her a taste of wine and, despite her better judgment, Brooke took a tentative sip. The smell, the taste, everything about it repelled her. The second time was at her cousin’s wedding in which she was a bridesmaid and felt it necessary to take a sip of champagne after the toast out of politeness. The third time was when she was a junior in college and finally worked up the courage to go to a real party. She was so nervous and eager to have a good time that she drank a beer, three shots, and some mixed concoction with mystery contents. She had fun all right, for about two hours. Then she embarrassed herself more in thirty minutes than she typically does over the course of a year. She threw up, left the party, went straight to bed, and threw up again in the morning. This occurred roughly two months before her twenty-first birthday, which she celebrated by going to a casino and spending a few dollars on the slot machines rather than partaking in the more popular birthday festivities.

            Despite her dislike for the taste of alcohol, fear that she will become a heavy drinker like much of her family, and worry that she could ruin her night and her friends’ night, Brooke has a rush of excitement as she thinks of all of the possibilities that the night could hold.

            “Ok. Yah, that does sound fun.” She lets the words escape from her mouth before she has a chance to stop herself.

            “Great! We’re all meeting at my house around nine, let me give you the address.” Brooke jots down the directions, trying to steady her shaking hand. The possibilities running through her head now are nothing worth getting excited over. Part of her is glad she said yes before her overactive imagination paralyzed her with fear. The other, larger part, is cursing at her in a state of panic wishing she’d taken more time to think this through. But as Brooke hangs up the phone she is genuinely smiling.

After a long shower and an hour of trying to figure out what to wear, Brooke stands in front of her bathroom mirror with her small collection of makeup. She never wears more than a bit of mascara and a smudge of lip gloss to work, so she doesn’t want to show up in full makeup and shock everyone, but she doesn’t want to look like she does every day. It takes twenty minutes, but Brooke finally gets her eyeliner perfectly symmetrical and her lashes full but not clumpy. This effort leaves her frustrated, so she hurriedly brushes on some powder that’s a bit darker than her pale skin and applies a natural pink lipstick.

            She stands back, looking at herself in the mirror, and can’t help but smile at the improvements. In college she would get dolled up all the time in the hopes that her latest crush would notice her, he never did. Brooke decided a few years ago that it doesn’t matter how pretty she makes herself look, guys will not like her. Tonight, she’s hoping that this really isn’t true.

            Slipping on a pair of modest heals and grabbing her purse, Brooke takes deep calming breaths and tells herself that she’s going to have a great night. As she drives to Pam’s house, she makes a list in her head of everything she should keep in mind during the night: no shots, no mixed drinks, no dancing on tables, no dancing at all, no laughing too loud, no throwing up.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 8

            “Phillip!” I yell looking as far as my eyes can see. “Ma!! Pa!!” I’m screaming as loud as I can, but getting no response.

            Finally I see a glimmer of red down shore, and remember that my mother was wearing a red cloak. I strain my eyes and see two dark shapes join the smudge of red on the shore. I feel the panic in my chest loosen its grip and I turn to run to them. But I’m only just picking up speed when I see a dark figure ahead of me and I skid to a stop, falling over but quickly getting up. I start to run back to where I left Daisy, but only a few feet behind me is another zombie with mouth opened wide.

            I can see the dark figure of Daisy running toward me, so I make a quick decision and turn and run the same direction, towards the first zombie. Sword raised, I look straight into the zombie’s face and send the sword into its stomach. Behind me I can her Daisy stomping as I pull the sword out, but this zombie’s not dead yet. Without even thinking I swing hard and hit the zombie in the side of the head with my blade. His vacant eyes find mine for a second before he falls to the ground motionless.

            I turn to Daisy who’s triumphantly standing over her kill. “It looks like you were ready for some adventure after all,” I tell her. She comes closer and kneels for me to climb on. We start trotting toward my family, keeping a careful eye out this time.

            But we only make it a little farther before a group of zombies emerges from the trees. I’d rather avoid another fight so I turn Daisy to run away, but more zombies are coming out all around us. I take a deep breath, ready to charge past a group of three zombies when I hear hooves coming from the side.

            “Come on, follow me!” I hear a voice say and I turn to see a knight on a horse. Together we break from the zombie pack unharmed. I continue to follow him as he rides west.

Note: This is the last chapter I will be posting. I have more written, so if you read this series and like it leave a comment and I will gladly post a few more chapters. Thanks for reading!

Zombie Fairytale: Part 7

            I’m completely out of breath, but I wish that I could thank Daisy with more than just a nod of my head. I hear my parents start breathing again and Phillip is looking around, terrified that another zombie might be lurking around every corner. I look around too, and I’m pretty sure that were alone now. We move away from the burning house and stand behind a large tree.

            “Here,” I say handing my best dagger to Phillip. Then I dig a sharp hatchet out of my bag for my father. I give my mother a small knife and an old bow with a quiver full of arrows. I have no idea how to shoot, but I remember her telling me stories about being a great archer when she was young. I pull my sword from my belt and unwrap it quickly. I look up and see my father eyeing the sword with a small smile spreading across his face. I can tell he’s a little surprised that I would steal one of the prince’s best swords, but he seems pretty impressed.

            “We’d better get out of here,” I pause and look around at the burning huts and see that a big group of zombies has crossed the moat by using the fallen tree I saw earlier as a bridge, now they’re staring up at the high wall. I turn back to my family, “Um, does anyone have any ideas about where we should go?” I never had much of a plan beyond doing everything I could to protect my family, now I’m all out of ideas.

            “Let’s cross the river,” Papa says in a rushed whisper, “I’ve heard that there’s a camp a few miles west. The camp isn’t expected to last much longer, but it’s supposed to have strong protection at the moment.” He looks to me seeking approval, and I’m just so glad someone has information and an idea of what to do.

            “Great,” I sigh with relief, “let’s get going.” The river is a short distance away and I can hear the water rushing from where I stand. I’m not sure how we’re going to cross it, but for now I figure its best just to concentrate how to get to it safely. The path ahead looks clear enough, but I know that in the darkness anything could be hiding. “Um, maybe Ma and Phillip should ride on Daisy, and Pa and I could walk on either side?” I really don’t have any idea of what to do, but it sounds logical to me.

            “No. You and Phillip will ride. Your father and I can walk,” my mother says sternly and I don’t think that it’s worth arguing so I mount Daisy and give Phillip a hand up.

            “Ok, everyone ready?” I ask and my family nods their heads, and I can see determination in each of their faces. I wish I felt as sure of this plan as them. “Ok, now!” I say and kick Daisy until she’s at a steady trot. My parents are jogging at my sides and my bother holding on tight behind me. I look from horizon to horizon, expecting to see hungry zombies at any moment, but it’s not until we are a few yards away from the river that I see a group of three come out from behind a tree with blood dripping from their faces and hands, they must have made a kill, but I’m sure they’re still hungry for more.

            “Keep going,” I shout, “don’t stop for anything!” I know the rivers only about four feet deep, but I can tell the current is strong. I brace myself, wishing that my mother was on the horse instead of about to run into the rushing water.

            Daisy charges into the river without hesitation, but I can feel her whole body being pulled down stream. I look to my right and see my mother struggling through the water; I grab her by her arm and hold on as tight as I can. A huge wave engulfs us and before I know it I can’t feel my mother in my hand or my brother behind me. My eyes are just starting to clear when Daisy climbs out of the water and onto the shore. I jump off immediately and look down the river, not seeing anything I start to panic.

Note: I only plan on posting one more chapter (or part) to this story because I don’t think anyone is actually reading it. I have much more written, so if you are reading this series and would like more please leave a comment and I will gladly keep posting.

Zombie Fairytale: Part 6

            A quick thought rushes into my mind, and it’s the best plan I’ve got so I start running full speed to the stables. As I run I can’t help thinking that the stars ahead look way too calm for the occasion. I threw open the barn doors and the animals inside grumble disapprovingly, they’re too busy sleeping to worry about zombies.

            I find Midnight Daisy and approach her slowly; she’s wide awake and greets me with friendly eyes. I pet her for a few seconds before saddling her and climbing on, I’ve only ridden a few times, but she seems perfectly content to have me.

            “Ready for an adventure, girl?” I whisper into her ear as we leave the barn and wind past small huts and chicken coops. She gives a little sigh, and I have a feeling she’s as ready as I am.

            When I near the front gates of the enclosed kingdom I see a few of the knights and their horses hidden in the shadows of buildings and trees. I don’t know what signal they’re waiting for, but I follow suit and hide behind a tree. I position Daisy so that as soon as I see a knight start to move we will be able to run straight at the bridge.

            After a few tense minutes my eyes are starting to sting from the strain and the cool breeze, but then I see the knight ahead of me kick his horse and break into a run. It’s only a second before Daisy and I are chasing after, just a few paces behind. I see the bridge ahead nearing toward the ground and the first of the knights has just approached it. I watch as each knight crosses, but just as I approach the bridge I feel it start to lurch back to it’s starting place. I push Daisy hard and close my eyes as she jumps. I look down and see that were maybe five feet from the ground and we land with a slight thud.

            I steer Daisy directly to my parent’s cottage. From a few yards away I notice it’s starting to smoke and there are a few zombies standing near the door looking excited. I can’t help but scream with rage and the zombies look up, their eyes emotionless but their jaws slack with surprise. I charge toward them, not knowing if that’s a smart thing to do, and they look at each other for a brief moment before running off in the opposite direction.

            “Mom! Dad! Phillip!” I yell as loud as I can at the smoldering house. Just then I hear a noise from the side and turn to see the three of them emerging from the cellar door. I let out a strange noise in my relief and jump off of Daisy. I practically knock the three of them over as I grab them all in one big hug and I feel hot tears run down my cheeks.

            My mother’s shriek brings me back to reality and I turn just in time to see a zombie, arms outreached, lunge toward me. I’m about to shut my eyes tight thinking this is the end, but before the zombie can grab me Daisy has risen high on her rear legs and come down hard on top of him. She beats down on his body until it no longer moves.

Note: I only plan on posting 1 or 2 more parts to this story, although I have a lot more written. I get the feeling that no one is reading this series, which is fine, but I’m just not going to keep posting the rest. So if you actually are reading these parts of the “Zombie Fairytale” please comment and I will gladly keep posting. Thank you!

Zombie Fairytale: Part 5

            After a full day and night of servant duties I’m exhausted. I curl up in my bed and yawn, happily thinking about the number of times I’ve smiled over the past twenty-four hours. I’m not even asleep yet when I hear it. The hair-raising screams filling every corner of my little room. I sit bolt-upright, my heart seemingly stops beating for a second and I turn quickly to my little window. Out in the distance I can see an orange light; it takes a few seconds for me to realize it’s a fire. I stare for another half a minute and a few more bright orange flames pop up along the outskirts and more screams reach the castle.

            I jump out of my bed and open the door to the hallway. A knight in full armor runs down the hall and a few other servants are glancing around for answers just as I am. After a few seconds I see another Knight running down the hall, he doesn’t have his helmet on and I recognize him instantly.

            “Cameron!” I shout as I walk out of my room, he slows but I can tell he’s in a hurry. “What’s going on?” I ask.

            “There’s a massive zombie attack starting on the outskirts. We fear that they may break through our defenses,” he says quickly, and continues on his way, but pauses after a few feet and turns to look at me. “Phoebe, be careful,” he says with a worried look on his face then turns and runs away.

            “You too, Cam!” I shout after him, but I’m not sure if he heard.

            I return to my room and close the door. I quickly dress and strap all of my stolen weapons to me. They are easily hidden beneath my long dress and cloak. I grab the bag I’ve had packed for weeks and throw it over my shoulder. Lastly, I grab my stolen sword, there’s no place to hide it. I slide the sword through my belt and it feels like a good place to keep it. Luckily I’d already wrapped it in old fabric from the laundry, so it won’t stand out too much. Turning to the door, I take one last look around this little room that’s been my home for years; I know I won’t be seeing it again. I take a deep breath and walk out. No one bothers to notice me as I run down the hall, down the stairs, and out of the castle’s wide open doors.

            The cool night air feels good on my hot face and I breathe it in deep, letting it cool the panic in my chest. I reach the thorny bush that cover my small hole to the outside and cover my face as I crawl behind it and through the wall.

            Before I stand I look around at the fires and destruction. I instantly look to my family’s hut, and feel a wave of relief overcome me as I see that it hasn’t been touched yet. I reach for my pile of long sticks, which help me cross the moat, but through the side of my vision I catch site of a group of about seven zombies. They are looking into the water, obviously confused. One sticks his foot in the water for a few seconds before jumping in and starting to swim. He is reaching for the bank when an alligator bites him hard and quick. I turn away as he’s torn apart and eaten by the hungry reptiles. When the screams and struggling gasps stop I look up again to see the remaining six zombies standing around a nearby tree. With little warning they all start hacking at the tree: some kicking, others scratching at the trunk, and one jumping at the tree and repeatedly hitting it. After a while the tree starts to sway dangerously and the zombies start to shriek with excitement. I can see other small groups of zombies coming from the distance; it won’t be long until the whole shore is teaming with them.

            I can’t stick around here, and there’s no way I can cross with so many zombies nearby. I duck back through my secret tunnel before any of the zombies are able to see me. I really hope that if they get across the moat they don’t find the passageway, but there is nothing more I can do to hide it.

            I emerge from the bush but quickly duck back behind its coverage when I hear stomping hooves and the clatter of armor nearby. I look through the branches and see about eight knights astride horses. Sir Nesband stands in front of them and from where I’m hiding I can just make out what he’s saying.

            “… distract the king and queen, then Marty is going to lower the drawbridge. We only have a few seconds to all get out of the castle, then the bridge is going back up. So we’ve got to make it quick. On my signal we’ll all rush towards to the gate, no stopping and no hesitating. Try to kill as many zombies as you can. At daybreak we’ll meet by the old willow tree,” he pauses and looks each of the men in the eye for a brief second before continuing, “Men, I believe we are doing the right thing, but if any of you are uncertain you can still back out now. If you go out, know that you may not get back in.” There is a clanking of armor as the men nod. “Take your positions men, and watch for my signal.” There are a few hushed cheers of excitement and then the men break off into eight different directions and the night is silent once again.

Stars and Boys: A Short Story

            I used to think the stars were holes in the sky and every time I looked into one I was looking at some far off wonder that I couldn’t see. Now I know what starts are, but I guess the rest of that still applies. It’s weird how things like that work out some times.

            I was ten when I met Luke and I thought he was the coolest guy ever. He’d just moved in next door when I went to his house with my mom to drop off some cookies. I remember it better than almost anything else from my childhood. His mother opened the door and I could see him in the background sitting on a box reading a book that looked like it was too complex for a ten-year old. He was wearing a Star Wars shirt and the sun from the kitchen window fell on him and illuminated his strawberry blond hair. He looked up and his eyes met mine, he smiled and I looked at the ground.

            In the months that followed we would make imaginary forts in the forest and pretend we were bandits or super heroes or CEOs. We would run around the neighborhood catching butterflies and sit for hours watching ladybugs or squirrels. When we were thirteen we sat on his back porch one night and planned our lives. He would go to college and become a doctor and a lawyer and get married and have two kids and seven dogs. I would become a journalist and would be a private investigator in my spare time and would have four kids, a cat, an iguana, two dogs, and a secret fortress under my house. We laughed all night long, making our plans more and more elaborate, but no matter what we planned on we decided that we would be friends forever.

            Isn’t it always like that? You are close to someone and you think you will always be close to them. They will always be there for you and you for them. In the movies, this is always how it works.

            We grew up and Luke went off to college to study engineering and I left to study English. I haven’t spoken to him since we were sixteen. But I still think he’s the coolest guy ever.