THE Zombie Survival Guide*This part is for newbies. Skip down to the dashes if you already know this stuff.*
Okay, so first of all, a zombie is a reanimated corpse that lurches around looking for human flesh. Different breeds may be reasoned with, or even "cured" back to the original personality. However, the most typical zombies:
-Are incoherent. They will not be reasoned with or threatened.
-They don't sleep.
-They seem to like brains, but most will settle for a nice hunk of your flesh.
-The come in different speeds, from crawling to shambling to running. Most are shambling along at a slow slow walk.
-They do not drown or asphyxiate.
-Some will burn easily while others will not burn at all.
-Most zombies will "die" from severe damage to the head.
-It is said they are attracted by sound, but this varies.
-VERY IMPORTANT: The most dangerous thing about zombies is that if they bite you and you die before your brain is destroyed, you will come back to life as ANOTHER ZOMBIE. That's how they spread their numbers
The Stellar Void"Can you kill me, please?"The Stellar Void5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I must have looked startled because her expectant gaze saddened a bit.
"I'm sorry. What?"
"Can you kill me?" Her face brightened as she repeated the morbid probe.
Confused, I couldn't help but notice her rather familiar clothes. Faded pink jeans, knock-off Converse shoes. Little black hoodie with a torn right sleeve.
"You just looked a bit angry and I figured you'd be the best person to ask."
I stood next to the bench. My backpack dug into my shoulder and I shrugged it off. It'd be awhile before the next bus came anyway.
She looked down the street. The dim lights barely revealed the closed shops and leaf strewn sidewalks. A short breeze caused the dead landscaping out front to rustle gently but now, it seemed slightly ominous.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked." Her voice was hollow and even though she was turned away, I could sense the hint of disappointment.
Sighing, I sat on the other side of the bench. Pausing for a minute, I glanced up at the mos
Fine, Fine, FineFine, Fine, FineFine, Fine, Fine3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
Nothing changed in the classroom when Maria Diaz went missing. It was as if she'd never been there, sitting in her spot in the corner where the teachers couldn't rescue her from the other kids. Whoever said words never hurt was a liar in denial. Maria would have preferred the sticks and the stones. A broken psyche doesn't mend as cleanly as bone.
"Yo, Clarissa, wake up." Before she could turn in the direction of his voice, Sam punted a paperclip right into her forehead.
"What was that for? I was totally awake already." She whined. Mrs. Benson wasn't even finished her lesson yet. The fat witch was still writing math equations on the blackboard, oblivious to everyone snickering about how her ass was so big it didn't even look connected to her back. Mrs. Benson was gross; math was stupid. Clarissa was bored. Typical school day.
Sam grinned that imperfect grin of his. He needed braces. "If anyone would have invented a way to see through their eyelids, I guess it'd b
Space CampHe found himself standing in their daughter's room, staring at the dusty mobile of the planets, unsure of how he's come to be there. He looked at her bed, her desk, the unfinished homework. He considered opening the window, but the thought slipped away before he could act on it.Space Camp5 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
He wandered into the living room, looked out the window. The grass needed cutting. Did it? He wasn't sure. His wife would know, but she'd already left for work. Seems she left earlier every morning and came home later each night. Another thought occurred to him, something about each in their own way, but he couldn't hold it. Perhaps she was having an affair. He wondered at how he might feel about it if she was, decided he wouldn't feel anything.
He went into the kitchen, looked at the table, littered with unopened mail. He took a bottle from the cabinet and sat down at the table. Was he starting later than yesterday or earlier? He wasn't sure it mattered. He opened the bottle, but found he'd forgotten to get a
Becoming BrianThe soldier coming up on him was swaying, limping, climbing wearily up the stony street towards the terrace. He walked like an old man, thought Brian Strong, though he was scarcely older than Brian himself. He dragged himself along, tripping over the cracks in the cobblestones, hauling behind him a filthy rucksack all covered in gray trench clay. Pausing by the café, the old boy took off his garrison cap and worried it between his black-tipped fingers.Becoming Brian4 years ago in Historical More Like This
"Well, hey," said Brian Strong. "Sit down and have a drink on me."
Regarding him for a moment, the soldier conceded and sat.
Brian Strong ran his hands over a perfectly polished uniform and propped his shiny-shoed feet up on the trumpet case under his table. The fellow soldier opposite him rested his head on his hand and, though his eyes seemed hollow, Brian thought with a good night's sleep and a shave he'd be right as rain. He looked like a man who had seen things, thought Brian, and done things. A worldly man. He saw now that t
It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulahi.It starts with a flash-bang and a Majulah3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
June's hauled her here again and
she's tapping at my classroom window,
A gazillion tiny fingers rapping in succession
(When she said "invitation" I didn't realise she meant
soaking half the country, the spike in umbrella prices has
nothing to do with me)
What's worse than an impatient child
is one with the whole atmosphere as her battering ram
when she tries to say something the urgency brims over
and one million exclamation marks
is beginning to sound like static frazzling
out on the pavements
She is without choice: when Cloud mother tips her out
she must go, and go she will
caught in an obtuse cycle, fought over by heat and
gravity wanting to claim her as territory
thrown about in their wiggly intersections she
falls, rises, and falls again.
Her talent is splitting herself up,
a single place, and then everywhere at once.
She has mastered the skill to the point
that she is a fractal in the air
even before she hits the ground.
She is a cell in a body 66 percent water.
She is a s
Metastasis98.00Metastasis3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
Autumn is the season when everything dies.
The leaves shrivel up and your lungs go with them, tiny dejected organs drying out inside your sternum, crinkling under our footsteps. The doctors pronounce their diagnosis as the leaves fall, listing medical terms and percentages and something about medication options.
The disease is metastatic: it has bored its way out of your lungs and into your bones. Dissatisfied, it's going for your organs, your liver, your heart. The prognosis says Christmas is a pipe dream, likely as the sun ceasing to set.
You promise it anyway.
November comes and I am a fish, breathing through makeshift gills carved into my hips, lopsided and crude.
I make fresh ones twice a day, slice myself open once in the morning and once at night in hopes the air will come a little easier each time. I make three and count them off:
and hope my heart stops.
The leaves have been carted away, pummeled into dust, and blown away in the wind.
a shut in placeMeg's world is a world of uneven earth and blue skies, surface rock cracked and blown about by howling wind. She runs through wasteland, stumbles with purpose towards a wooden desk in the distance. She runs and runs, dirt and stones scuffing Mary Janes, but the writing desk is a finish line she can't reach.a shut in place4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
"Why a writing desk?" her friend Alex says when she tells him about the dream. He emphasizes the question with a hand, waving the sandwich he's holding towards her before taking a bite.
She's left out details: how she is smaller, younger, a smooth-faced child with little hands dressed in her Sunday best instead of the twenty-one-year-old English major she knows herself to be. How the desk speaks of a familiarity she can't place and screams of a significance she can't understand. How she's been having the same dream for weeks and how it haunts her every waking moment with an urgency of impending consequence and menacing complexity that reminds her of Kafka.
Meg shrugs, the motion cau
Starting Over, Growing UpI was sick of the pink,Starting Over, Growing Up3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It was on every wall,
And every accent color
Was more pink.
I wanted white
A clean slate
The color of a new life
A new beginning
I asked you to help
We wore old jeans
Ripped band shirts
Nothing we minded ruining.
Me, being cautious,
I let you go on the ladder
And rip down the lights
A pink chandelier
We stripped the walls
And brushed over them
Using a massive paint roller
We turned the walls white.
I threw out the pink bedspread,
Tore up the pink carpet,
Ripped down the pink blinds
And pink valences.
Three weeks later
We sat back to back
In my new room
This was a beginning
The start of a colorful life
One lived in the bleakness
Of the every-day world
Queen of GeeksUnexpected end to kidnapping caseQueen of Geeks4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
[Sunnyvale Tribune 23 Feb 2007]
In an unexpected development, police have closed the case against the kidnapper of twenty year old Nicole Cantrip. 'The circumstances surrounding Miss Cantrip's alleged disappearance have become clearer,' Inspector Frank Jones told the Tribune, 'and it's come to light that the case was filed in error. There is no evidence whatsoever that a kidnapping took place.' Since Cantrip is over eighteen, the applicable missing person legislation is almost non-existent, much to the dismay of her mother.
'Something has gone horribly wrong when a girl can be forced away from her family by people she's never met and it's called normal,' said a tearful May Cantrip. 'Nix wouldn't have abandoned us, dropped out of all her classes and left everything behind unless
somebody was forcing her.' Mrs. Cantrip claims that her home was invaded by several men who demanded that her daughter accompany them to what she describes as 'a k
Good IntentionsThe tiny brown mouse, identified only by the bright orange 47 tag on its ear, trudged through the cedar chips toward the water bottle attached to the cage. It nudged the spout twice with the tip of its nose, and droplets oozed out onto the mouse’s forehead. With a soft grunt, the mouse jolted backward and collapsed in a heap in the opposite corner, its chest trembling with exhaustion.Good Intentions3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
“Amazing,” Victoria Krell whispered, scribbling notes onto her iPad. The fluorescent lighting flickered above her, and she began writing faster; Craig was getting impatient for his bed. She scratched out a side note in capitalized, red letters to remind herself to bring Star Lab’s oldest night security guard a big batch of Boston creams tomorrow morning.
Victoria leaned closer to the lone cage perched on her workstation, watching 47’s wet, blank staring eyes. The brown mouse was only one of twenty in a three foot long cage. It was not particularly interesting or unique,
Revolver in a Bag of PuppetsRevolver in a Bag of PuppetsRevolver in a Bag of Puppets4 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
For Christine Chubbuck
On a fiery July morning
your eyes opened with intention
to involve innocents
in a cold steel plot
detailed on pages
in the bowels of your briefcase
wishes birthed in solitude
no light, no hope
Did your hands shake
as you buttoned your blouse?
Did your coffee
go cold in the cup?
Did your eggs
burn in the pan?
Did you think of the children
watching that day,
as the camera's eye
transmitted your pain live in color?
A thirty-eight caliber Smith and Wesson
drawn from a shopping bag full of puppets
fired behind the right ear
slammed against the desk
Screens faded to black
control panels fell dark
in silent horror
Your final statement
against the sensationalism you detested
through a tempest of permanence
Your sorrow felt
like bombs over paradise
COPYRIGHT 2014, William Barker
All my work has copyrights
with the Library of Congress.
Searching for the SunI.Searching for the Sun4 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
The day everything ended, she was standing in a parking lot, weary from a long day of departures and destinations, staring up at the sky. Clouds strolled west, their armfuls of grey dripping out of their grasp and spattering onto the asphalt, onto her upturned face. They rolled and crashed into one another, piling up high in the stratosphere like mountains of cottony stone. Once, they had been at war, and their arguments had sliced across the countryside with the recklessness of a summer fire. Now, though, something had calmed them. Perhaps they were tired from their travel like her, or perhaps it was the sun, gently wedging them apart with scalding fingers. Its light had almost gotten lost behind the celestial battle, but soon grey faded to white, white flashed gold, and the sun finally reached down to where she stood, there next to her father, on the last day he remembers before everything ended.
It was hard for her to imagine now, how she could have gotten lost so easily thos
Coffee StainsDress shoes click on the streets laid slick with cinnamon and wasted airCoffee Stains3 years ago in Free Verse More Like This
It's sugar on your lipstick, darling; a dangerous affair.
You chose coffee
Like you chose romance
Just for the idea of romance; cream and smoked wood swirling around in your cup,
And steam curling up into the atmosphere like the locks in his hair.
Tantalisingly dark and hauntingly aromatic
You craved it
You mocked the raven that eyed you from its branch out in the blustering courtyard and
You didn't even like the taste.
The silver curve of the teaspoon showed your warped reflection like a deathly omen
It showed the line of your neck and each glittering pearl
The hanging clock on the wall, for all its carved hearts and varnished oak
Couldn't quite drown out the tolling
Pendulum swinging by your ear as you ran your hand along the creases in the leather seat
The sweet, too-strong perfume mingling with the scent of the
Dark black coffee
Much as the gold around his wrist had
On my way homeBy Romy LaraOn my way home3 years ago in Stories & Vignettes More Like This
I exit the studio, sighing at the sight of the sun quietly hiding behind the trees and buildings. Turn to the right and keep walking. Cars are passing by, people in black suits get out from the nearest buildings; none of them care about their surroundings. I lift up my head and notice in big steel-letters the name of the company that owns that peculiar orange building in the corner of the street. It's the first time I see it. The sky is painted blue with some dabs of gray, just as if somehow the color of the concrete street had been absorbed by the clouds.
Behind me there's a couple discussing something about a house. She doesn't sound happy. And he's just getting mad. She shouts and speeds up, him trying to catch up with her, but it's futile. She is a very good runner despite her heels. The man glances at me. I toy with the white cable of my earphones and pretend I didn't hear anything. I pass him. He just stands there. I wonder what would he do now. But I have no time to
Sad Blue EyesWhen I was little, my mom used to carry me everywhere. She would cradle my pudgy pale body and rock me back and forth, watching me as I cuddled close to her warm body. My mom's eyes were big and blue, but were always terribly sad when they saw me. On the days when her eyes would become so glossy raindrops fell off her face, my mom would roll up my dress sleeve to reveal a delicate bangle resting around my wrist. "Your number suits you sweet like berries " she would coo in my ear, "Palmer and Rodney don't have numbers as sweet as yours." Her voice would weaken and shake whenever I asked what my number was.Sad Blue Eyes3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I didn't understand why it bothered her so much. It was really pretty bangle, with intricate detail work that was designed to look like silver stems. Those stems led to sixteen bronze daisies, where a moonstone was in the center of each one. No one I knew had a bracelet as lovely as mine. My brothers' bracelets were plain and boring-- iron bands with a lot of small gems rand
The Cartographer's DaughterEvery night, he would fold her into his arms before she slept. Creases grew into her, turning brown with wear, and she loved them. When she woke up in the night, dreaming of darkness, he would take her to his desk and draw for her a map of her face, turning it into another world. Tracing the contours of her smile, he would scrawl a warning, "Here be monsters", whispering to her that she was a dragon when angry.The Cartographer's Daughter4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
As she grew older, she populated his maps with creatures and peoples from the books she read, or her own creations. He taught her to draw, and to write with an old inkpen, in a cursive script her teacher could make neither head nor tail of. She made him angry once, drawing in the drying sand with her finger, and smudging the ink. When he was angry, mountain ranges grew across his forehead and caverns opened in his cheeks. Here be lions.
Walking home from school, she knew the local area inside out; from the maps he had drawn and taught her. He would copy them onto o
Better Off DeadBetter Off DeadBetter Off Dead4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
It was a normal Tuesday that I woke up dead. I could just tell when I opened my eyes that it was a different day. The doctors always gave people the warning signs for when they would die, so that there would be no mistake. A lack of warmth in your body, skin became pale, senses weakened and a distinct lack of breathing.
Rubbing the sand out of my eyes felt surreal. Every joint popped and cracked on their journey, which was rare to me. Naturally, I just figured it was a rough night's sleep and nothing more, but as I pushed the covers off of myself, I saw how white my body turned overnight. Again, death wasn't the first thought to pop into my head, just that I needed to get out more, maybe take a day off work and go to the park.
As I slowly creeped over to my bathroom, my body was still fighting me, making my apartment sound like a thunder storm. By the time I got the por
cosmic background radiationThey say that the big bang was not an actual "bang". It was really just static. Static, like the interference of radio waves. Of course, the universe did not happen instantaneously. The big bang took 760,000 years to happen. 760,000 years of static, and bang, the universe happened.cosmic background radiation5 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
I get myself together and actually go out. I go to see the New York Philharmonic perform the works of John Cage at Lincoln Center. I walk out during the second movement of 4'33". There's a very small difference between life and death. I walk home, my chin pulled down against my neck. I hum a constant note, providing myself with my own tinnitus.
I focus on this note. I cross Broadway where the walkers cluster on the curbside, awaiting the turn of the traffic light. People talking and the bioacoustic noises of their bodies moving. I walk against the signal. The tires of taxis scrape against the road. I go west on 65th Street, past Brooks Brothers and the slimy sliding of the revolving door, past vans parallel
Auditor of the Ashes"I am an incalculable rhythm of distinction."Auditor of the Ashes3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Those words being uttered from the other side of the cubicle wall were not expected, but they could not be labeled as "unexpected" in my inventory of daily expectations. "Is that so, Rod?"
"I am a paradigm of undiscovered configurations."
This second phrase fell on me as the first. "Well, that may be true, but you know how much they love it when you talk to me over the cube wall like that. I hope this audit project hasn't finally pushed you over the edge."
"I am a master of untamed neuropathic swings."
It was that statement, I see now in hindsight's tremendous focus, when I began to worry. "Oh, you're the Jonas Salk of neuropathy now? I thought you were an accountant?"
"I am the King of Spades, and I have an ace up my sleeve."
I heard his chair push back, the plastic wheels rolling across the plastic mat, and his Oxfords made a few taps on the mat until they transitioned to the carpet. He was go
Whale Songs of the PacificListen, the girls swallowed by whales are the ones that grow up lucky.Whale Songs of the Pacific3 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
Listen, no one will warn you about the little boys with the magpie eyes and the fists swinging splinters of glass. No one will warn you that their smiles are sweeter than their words are sweeter than their souls are sweeter than their intentions. No one will warn you of the sheer weight of the world.
Listen, sometimes girls are fragile. Sometimes girls are frothy. Sometimes girls let boys nuzzle "I love you"s into their necks and sometimes girls drink the wine of believing them.
Listen, sometimes the boys really are sweet, and little girls' tart puckered mouths can't taste the difference.
Listen, writers are the ones that drip fishhooks down their throats to coax out their hearts. Writers are the ones who fling those heart-hooks into the sea even if they have a message but not a bottle. Listen, sometimes fish swallow them. Some of those fish sink to the bottom of the ocean with the weight of the world in those heart
The DoctorWhen I was seven, I was diagnosed with emotions.The Doctor4 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
"Poor girl." I heard them say. "She'll never survive this one."
I laid with my face towards the ceiling on the cold examination table, listening to them discuss my fate. I felt something breaking in my chest and something burning inside my throat. A small tear slipped down my cheek.
"Doctor! Look at this!" Shrieked my mother, "Something is coming out of her eye."
The doctor rushed over to me and wiped the tear from my cheek. He touched the top of my head as he whispered, "I am so sorry." And then he turned to my mother. "It's a tear. It means that she is sad."
"Sad?" My mother asked inquisitively.
"It's one of her emotions. This doesn't attack the same way that normal diseases do, there are all sorts of different symptoms. Right now, she is sad and the only way that I know how to explain it is that she is feeling down."
"What do you mean by down?"
"Her emotions can best be described as ones that are upwhen she is feeling good, and
Billy's PterodactylsBilly was in what his mother called 'his dinosaur phase'. He'd been firmly ensconced in this phase for the past six months, ever since his Dad had taken him to see the Natural History Museum in Oxford. The first thing he'd seen on entering was the huge bones of the Tyrannosaurus Rex glaring down at him, and that was it; he'd been hooked ever since.Billy's Pterodactyls3 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In the time since then his entire room had been re-decorated with a Jurassic theme. Dinosaurs were on the bedsheets, the curtains, the posters on the walls, and little plastic ones covered his floor to the point where it was dangerous to walk across it. Unless you were Billy, of course. No dinosaur would dare to harm Billy, who reigned supreme among them and controlled their every move. Billy was in his element and entirely at home within his dinosaur-infested room.
Every now and then the dinosaurs would venture outside of Billy's room, in an effort to invade and infest the rest of Billy's house. On one such occasion his mother inadvertently
Runner's DeathRunner's Death6 years ago in Short Stories More Like This
In other words, the time of the year my parents put their everything's-alright smiles on and Anabelle fills the toilet with puke so that she can pretend to be filling her stomach with food when all our relatives come over--the time of the year we all pretend to be normal.
It's also the anniversary of Runner's death. But, like they always do, my family has covered the events of December twenty-fifth, one year ago, the same way they did the cracks in our living room wall--in a layer of bright paint and wallflowers.
Like usual, my mom will make an excuse: when my beautiful Aunt May asks in that discreet way of hers why the space in the corner of the dining room beneath the three-pane window is empty, my mother will reply, "Oh, poor Runner contracted kidney disease. We decided to pu
TeatimeIn January, Elsa got new neighbors. She greeted them with apple cinnamon tea.Teatime4 years ago in Flash Fiction & Vignettes More Like This
It gets so cold, here, they told her, shivering in overstuffed parkas. Snow had turned to mud in their front hallan unavoidable side-effect of moving in winter. Elsa nodded along to their complaints and observations, silently brewing the tea in their kitchen. They were young; they had big plans. Allison and Steve, newlyweds, just starting out. They sat on the cold floor together, sipping with chapped lips. The house filled with cinnamon.
In April, Allison knocked on Elsa's door. We're pregnant! White tea in a china teacup; the taste of flower petals and champagne. The last caffeine for the next eight months. Elsa let her keep the cup.
In May, Steve bought a carseat and a crib. Elsa helped him carry it inside. Flat-packed, but heavy. Sturd