Undying Pt2

The second part of my first zombie short story.

Singapore-flyer-12jul2007

Singapore-flyer-12jul2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The inky darkness of the corridor lies before me, an invitation to the gates of hell. The power in the uppers floors must have been cut off. Someone must have thought that the husks would not be able to see in the dark but I know it is the smell of live flesh that directs them rather than sight.

I call out her name as loud as I dare to at intervals as I move down the corridor. Some of the doors are left open and a quick glance inside shows evidence of the occupants having to leave abruptly leaving luggage and personal items behind. It seems so futile and I consider giving her up for dead or un-dead. The corridor ends at an exit to the stairwell. I climb up the stairs to the next level. I gently open the door and carefully poke my head through. This time I may be in luck. I hear muffled yells coming from one of the open doors. I dash up but stop short of the entrance.

The hotel room is a mess. Bed sheets and pieces of clothing are strewn everywhere. A body sits at the sofa. Its head looks bashed in and the cause, a bloodied brass table lamp on its lap. Further into the sitting room is a full length window which allows me to see city skyline and the Singapore Flyer in the foreground. Spidery cracks radiate from the point of impact on the glass panel. A flipped over armchair lies near it. Did Jaslyn try to escape by trying to break through the window?

I see light flashing behind a pillow on the ground. It is coming from a smartphone. Could be Jaslyn’s. I pick it up and turns on the screen. It displays my last message to her. A photo frame lies next to it its glass splintered. It shows the three of us when times were better.

As I walk closer to the panel I make out sounds of scratching. I turn round a pillar I halt and I hear my own sharp intake of breath. A group of three husks is crowding outside the toilet clawing at the door. I can clearly see two figures inside through the frosted glass.

“Is someone out there?” I hear a man call out.

I have to draw them away. I took out my lighter and flick it on. I pull out the butane canister from my belt and give it a good shake, hoping that it works just like in the movies. I press down on the button and the jet mist of flammable fuel ignites readily. The methane from the decomposition catches fire almost immediately. I move the spray in a zig-zag pattern making sure the husks are fully on fire.

There are no screams of pain coming from the mouths but only bubbling sounds mixed with the crackling of fire. They seem disoriented two dropped to the carpet smouldering. The third one, with a woman’s figure, rush in my general direction. I sidestep it easily and it smashes into the window. The glass shatters and the husk goes right through and out, it’s long hair burning and trailing smoke as it falls.

“Larry is that you?”

I turn to the voice. I must be in heaven to see this beautiful angel before me. A most welcome sight.

“Jaslyn!”

“Hey friend, thank you.” It is Alex. Both of them were nearly naked save for their underwear. They must have been in bed when it all went down.

“Thank goodness you are here! We’ve been in there for more than a day. You don’t know how…”

Jaslyn runs up to hug me but she does not make it. As she steps over one of the burnt husk it suddenly lashes out and grabs her ankle pulling her down.

“No!” She screams in full terror.

I grab the armchair and smash it down with all my might on the husk but it is already biting large chunks of her ankle and leg. The armchair breaks and I take a broken leg and with all the force I can muster, drive the leg like a stake into the eye of the husk.

Alex watches in silence.

I cradle her head and I see her eyes glazing over. It is too swift. The corruption courses through in her veins. I want to vent all my anger at God or the devil if indeed this is the work of either.

Jaslyn tries to say something to me, her voice coming in gasps.

“He…brought…it. The …thing.”

I lift my head up and look straight into Alex’s eyes.

“What the hell is she talking about?”

“W..what? Nothing. It’s not my fault. I bought this armadillo from South America. It escaped…”

“Tell me you have something to save her.”

She looks at me with her pleading eyes.

“…ways…heart…for…you…”

Then she convulses violently, guttural sounds emit from deep down her throat and then a wail of pain or despair.

From the corner of eyes I see Alex slowly backing himself out of the room.

My tears flow freely when I place her head down.

I contemplate pushing her out of the opening in the window before she fully turns but a better idea comes to me.

I turn about and walk purposefully past Alex and out of the room. I slam the door shut before jamming it with a fire extinguisher.

“What are you doing?” shrieks Alex, banging on the door.

The last sounds I hear as I go away are Alex’s pleas and whimpers.

English: Zombies

English: Zombies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

THE END.

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The Bookpocalypse–What to Do When You Realize Your Story Might Be DEAD

Motivational post from Kristen Lamb. Makes me feel it is all worth it.

I’ve been working on My YA novel and it is a big mess. I was too overly ambitious, assuming I could write a full length novel as my first project. But having come this far and having inspired by Kristen I’m going to overhaul it and bring it out to the world.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Since I am dedicating this week to the apocalypse to support my friend, Piper Bayard, I thought we’d take a day to look at the Bookpocalypse. What IS a Bookpocalypse? The Bookpocalypse is when you realize that first book you’ve been working, reworking, taking to critique, etc. is a train wreck and, for all intents and purposes, unsalvageable.

I went through this, too. Back in the 90s, when I began my tome, I mistakenly believed that making As in English naturally qualified me to be a best-selling author.

Yeah, um. NO.

And there comes that point that we need to be honest why our book is being rejected (or, in the new paradigm, not selling). This can be a very depressing low for any artist. I still remember the day it dawned on me my first book was mess and it was time to pull the plug. This is…

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Undying part 1

Zombie Night

Zombie Night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took a few weeks break from blogging to write a couple of short stories for a competition. It’s been fun and even if I don’t win. I see it as honing my skills and discipline.

So here is my first stab(!) at a zombie short story.

The Undying

I sneak past the police barricades when they are busy trying to hold back the masses and make my way along the road the leads to the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort. It was cordoned off earlier due to what was reported as an unexplained outbreak the day before. The area was declared a bio-hazard crisis hot spot. At the barricades the police are busy with keeping the parameter clear to notice hopefully they do not look back. I use the driverless cars were hurriedly left behind.

this is evident now by the individuals that roam aimlessly at the base of the triple tower building that is a combination of a shopping mall, casino and hotel.

My goal is to find Jaslyn in there.

She confided in me that she is having problems with Alex and that he is back in Singapore at putting up at the usual hotel. She messaged me to meet her. I asked her if she was home. She did not reply and I began to wonder what she was implying. I tried calling her but she did not answer. But I know she will have gone to him

Does she want to get back with me? Maybe that scum Alex had dumped her? Improbable and selfish as it may seem I do wish for that.

My foot stubs against something soft and giving. I look down to see the corpulent body of an obese man. The flesh has turned black with rot which implies that he has been dead for a few days, and that the outbreak had happened sooner. He appears to have been run down by a car, his entrails  spilled onto the asphalt from a gaping hole in his belly. I don’t understand why some walk and yet others lie lifeless. Dead? Or are they?

Thank goodness I had a mind to take it with me, along with a bottle of aftershave. I empty the bottle onto the bandana and tie it over my mouth and nose. I do not want to take any chance and walk around the body.

I whip out a can of butane lighter fuel. from the other pocket I bring out a cheap plastic lighter flicking the flint wheel a couple of times to makes sure it lights up. The rumours were unconfirmed but it came for someone who had fled the resort. The person hysterical described violent attacks by the afflicted and victims that apparently and that they could only be stopped by direct trauma to the head.  But I believe the purifying touch of fire is the only way to set them free from the curse of the deathless.

Analysing the situation I ponder on the chance of finding Jaslyn alive in the hotel.

As I get nearer to the building I look up to the Skypark, the boat hull structure that spans across the tops of the three towers. I make out a dark shape come off the edge. It is a husk. I knew because itz arms are not flailing and silence as it plummet all the way down and landing onto the ground right before me.  Putrid gore splatters onto me. I yelp in reaction and frantically try to wipe the stuff of my clothes. I must have been loud enough for a nearby husk turns my way. I freeze but it approaches me. I edge towards the mushy pile of flesh as I could without drawing more attention.

“Damn it! There goes my hundred dollar polo-T,” I mutter under my breath as I lay myself down on it. I roll in the gory mess ensuring most part of my body is covered in it. The stench is overwhelming the fragrance of my aftershave but the only thought I have now is survival.

The husk seems to lose interest and resumes its vacuous stare at the CBD skyline..

Better to avoid contact with any fluid. There is something that is being transmitted through the saliva when a husk bites. Some kind of toxin, a virus or an organic parasite.  It effectively shuts down all higher level brain functions, leaving  And if the bitten does not die immediately he turns into one of them. I dread to use the “Z” word to describe them so I call them husks. Mindless shells of humanity they once were, devoid of all intelligence.

I dash through the nearest entrance into the foyer. As I go past the transparent sliding doors I immediately check both my flanks just to be sure that nothing is going to creep up on me. I walk as fast as I can, stepping over broken glass and debris so as not make any noise that will attract the husks. A go around one which A husk apparently is oblivious to the glass panel between it and the outside. It walks up and slams into the glass, backing up and doing it again, leaving a bloody print on the panel.

I go around it and continue along the retail shop fronts.

Entering the hotel lobby area I head directly to the elevator lobby. I press the up button for the. One of the elevator moves but for some reason stops at the thirteen floor.

The bell tinkles and some of the husks perk up.

I stab at the button in pure desperation. More husks are attracted by the din and they amble slowly to me. I count at least twelve of them. I back myself to the elevator.

“ Come on! ” I said under my breath. The elevator takes forever to come down. When it does reach the ground floor it makes another ting.

Then they started to walk faster. I have never seen them move this fast. I squeeze myself through the gap between the doors as they were opening. The nearest of the husks was a tall stocky man. It has a gaping wound on its neck that is certainly the cause of its death. Crusted blood stains the front of its business shirt. The skin is torn from its arm exposing the underlying muscle tendon and tissue.

To my surprise it suddenly lunges forward.

The lift doors close on its torso but obediently open again when the obstruction sensors detect him. It takes another step in and doors slide close behind it effectively trapping me from escaping.

I give as hard a kick as I can manage into the husk’s nether regions.

I can hear something soft rupture but it did not faze him a bit, its face a frozen mask of death. It comes at me and I have nowhere to go and have to make my stand. I throw a desperate punch square onto its face. The force is great enough to throw its head back with a sickening snap. I must have severed its spinal column. With the brain losing control of the limbs the husk collapses in a pile. Only the head is functional. It growls, gnashes its teeth and lolls its tongue in frustration.

I reach for the elevator control panels and realise I do not know which level to go to. I hate to but admit it but Alex did make it big as hot shot banker drawing top salary and maintaining a lucrative investment portfolio. And I guess he would be conceited enough to get a suite. I press for the 50th floor.

Part 2 in a few days….

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“Clear skies! ….but prepare for return.”

At last some respite, thanks to rain and south easterly winds. The haze situation has lessen somewhat to the 50-100 moderate range. There isn’t the smell of burnt ash and visibility has improved but the PM2.5 threat is still ever present, the particles waiting to quietly lodge themselves deep in the lungs every breath you take. I empathise with our neighbour up north where they are hitting 700+PSI in some states.

Only last week, people were panicking when masks ran out in the pharmacies. Many resorted to ordering them online but opportunists abound who price them three to seven times there cost. Others just shut themselves indoors and turn on the air conditioning and air purifiers. I saw signs at major electronics and appliances stores that indicate air purifiers, even the costly ones were sold out.

Well. We have to go on with our lives.

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“Life threatening for the ill and elderly.”

We have gone past the 400 mark. The ‘Life threatening for the ill and elderly ( and also possibly those who has chronic asthma)’ range.

One issue of concern is that N95 masks are hard to get  everywhere.

I empathise for those walking outside on the streets now. They must be breathing in hellfire. Mask or no mask. I can’t see five metres out from my window.

I just hope it doesn’t get any higher and that the rains will come soon.

 

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HAZARDOUS (and Beyond)

392afp_sgcommutersmasksToday we hit a new all time high within a day. 371. Gonna hit 400 soon one of these days, beyond which, according to NEA, is “life threatening to the ill and elderly.”Image

Below are two statements made by ministers of our emphatic neighbour after requests to act on the situation.

“Singapore should not be behaving like a child and making all this noise,”

“Our forests produce oxygen which makes the air cool for them , but they have never been grateful.”

I read them with my mouth wide open, incredulous.

Erm…looking on the bright side, while we are slowly being smothered to oblivion, we get stand up comedy to ease the suffering.

Till next time…if I’m still able to write.

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HAZARDOUS

321 PSI. That’s it. Taking leave tomorrow…to write!

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