In anticipation of hopefully, maybe, probably, PLEASEIREALLYHOPESO having my zombie novel, Nowhere to Hide, published in the near future, I thought I’d share a little preview with you today. This is an opening scene in which the main character, Nancy, and her friend, Terri-Lynn, watch a news broadcast that reveals the existence of our first zombie…although no one realizes this quite yet… Enjoy! And please tell me what you think!
“Late last night, in Spring Garden Park,” said the male reporter, “a strange altercation took place that has left one dead and one seriously injured. The affair was recorded by one of the individuals involved. That recording has been released by the police in hopes that our viewers may have some information on the assailant’s identity, which is as yet unknown. Please be aware, the following video is fairly graphic.”
Nancy leaned forward a little. Terri-Lynn’s nails click-clacked.
The video quality was pretty terrible, and the cameraman was in no way attempting to hold the shot steady. It appeared to have been taken with a camera phone. There were four teenagers in the shot, the fifth being the cameraman, all teenage boys as far as Nancy could tell. The sixth person in the scene was a middle-aged woman, and herein was the focus of the story.
The boys were mocking her, and though it was cruel and childish Nancy could almost understand why. The woman seemed to be either extremely drunk or terribly ill. Her head lolled downward, causing a mop of long, greasy hair to fall around her face. She was shambling toward the teenagers, shuffling her feet along the ground rather than exerting the effort to lift them, and her arms fell listlessly at her sides. Her skin and clothes were dirty, as though she’d been rolling around on the ground.
The boys called out disparaging comments, much of which was being bleeped out by the news’ censor; so much was being edited out that it was barely possible to tell what they were saying. One boy threw an empty beer can at the woman. It hit her square on the top of the head, but she didn’t react with so much as a flinch. Laughing raucously, a black-haired boy stepped forward and leaned down beneath her so he could look up into her face. He made a scathing comment: “Are you even alive in there?”
The woman’s head moved upward, very slowly, and a pair of dark, empty eyes stared through the curtain of hair to look at the boy’s face. Nancy felt a chill go down her spine. Christ, she thought. Those eyes…
And that’s when it all went to hell. The thin, dirty arms rose, reached for the teenager, and clamped around his left wrist. For a moment he actually laughed, likely expecting her to either vomit or slap him or beg him for money. The reality was much, much worse. She opened her mouth, revealing two rows of disgusting, rotten teeth, and bit into the flesh of his arm with all her strength.
At this point the video got too dizzying to watch. The cameraman and the remaining teens rushed forward to help their friend, who was now shrieking in alarm and agony. Before the camera was dropped and the scene disappeared from view, Nancy saw a brilliant spray of blood. The boy’s scream made her chest go cold. Terri-Lynn’s tap-tap-tapping nails froze as she gripped the remote control so hard that the cheap plastic covering creaked in protest.
There was a lot of crying and shouting. The camera phone had fallen in a tuft of grass, momentarily forgotten by the owner. Nancy stared at the peaceful green strands as she listened to the sounds of struggle. Somewhere was the crash of a beer bottle being smashed in half. Nancy’s hand flew to her mouth as a second crimson spray of blood splashed across the camera’s screen and the innocent grass. A moment later the woman let out an inhuman screech that made Terri-Lynn wince and turn away from the TV.
The news broadcast cut back to the reporter, who now looked almost comically green in the face. For a few seconds he said nothing, then he cleared his throat and swallowed. “The young man was taken to hospital where he was treated for major lacerations to the arm and throat, and is being held in critical condition. The woman, whom police were unable to identify, was also taken to hospital where she was presumed dead due to trauma to the head. No charges are yet being placed. Any information that could identify the woman in the video is being requested by the police immediately.”
The channel cut to a commercial advertising the wondrous world of the most recent Disney film.