Undead Is Not An Option: Dead Man’s Shoes

Dead Man’s Shoes follows a young man named Carlo when he wakes on the autopsy slab at his local hospital to find that the world has ended and zombies have taken the place of almost every human on the planet.
     Carlo meets up with Antoinette as he tries to escape, and discovers that not only does she have strange powers over the walking dead; she seems to know more about Carlo than he does.
     As Antoinette brings Carlo closer to knowing the role he has to play in ending the apocalypse and saving the remnants of humanity, they are confronted by the demonic source of the plague, a creature named Legion.
     To battle the demon, Carlo must confront his past, and call upon the Voodoo god of death, Baron Samedi, to fight for the future of mankind.

Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt may have some strong language.


Dead Man’s Shoes
by Andrew Jack


Carlo woke up in the morgue. He’d been awakened by screaming, and the echoes of it crashed around in his head.
     His muscles creaked as he rolled to the side on the examination table and sat, letting the sheet covering him fall away. Emergency lighting cast the room in halogen relief. He heard a soft, wet sound coming from behind the supply cupboard.
     A woman crouched there. She wore a thin hospital gown, so slick with blood it clung to her body, accentuating what had once been beautiful. She crouched over the body of a heavyset man. She reached down and wrenched a chunk of red meat out of his chest, then shovelled it into her mouth.
     Carlo gagged at the sight, and the corpse jerked her head up to look at him. Her eyes were milky white, and black veins stood out under the translucent skin on her face. She opened her mouth and hissed at him, a sound not even remotely human.
     Trying not vomit, he back away and tripped over something solid on the floor. Another moving corpse, its mouth working soundlessly as he fell beside it. Carlo screamed and thrashed back to his feet. Tears streamed down his face as he took in the rest of the morgue. There were five bodies in all, all awake. Only the woman and the body on the floor moved, the others were tied to exam tables. Bloody clothing littered the floor, vaguely medical, in a bio hazard way. He didn’t look too closely, afraid what the clothes might be covering.
     The dead woman rose slowly, blood dribbling from her open mouth. Her head lolled to one side, and her filmy eyes didn’t blink as she walked towards him.
     “Get away from me, get…” Carl’s dry throat reduced the words to a croak.
     She growled, from somewhere deep inside her, and the rotting meat stink filled the air between them. Something was wrong with the way the woman walked, as if she hung from the wires of a drunk puppeteer.
     He cringed away from her, driving his head back against the wall, his feet slipping in the blood on the floor.
     She sniffed him, like a dog at suspicious roadkill, then she extended her swollen purple tongue and licked across his eye.
     Carlo closed his eyes, feeling the dry rasp of her tongue scrape across his face, snagging his eyelid and dragging it open to see the veins creeping under her skin as she tasted him.
     Just as Carlo thought he was going to pass out, she moved, lurching back to the body she’d been eating. The other bodies still mouthed and grasped at him, but as long as he kept to the walls, they couldn’t touch him.
     The terror stayed with him for so long Carlo began feeling detached. In a quiet corner of his mind he felt his heart trying to leap out of his throat, his rapid breathing and the sweat running off his face and mixing with the blood on the floor.
     I have to get out.
     It was the first thought that counted as a thought instead of a pure terror reaction. He started looking around for the door. There. Tantalisingly close, just past the rows of grasping hands.
     Carlo took two deep breaths and charged as quickly as he could past the tied down bodies and into the double doors. A heavy chain held the doors closed. Carlo bounced off the doors and landed on his ass on the slick floor. He swore and pushed himself up to his feet. Carlo was a big guy, and he threw himself at the door again, aiming not at the chains but at the bolts holding the door to the frame. There was a loud crack, and the abused door tore out of the wall. Carlo entered the main hospital in a shower of splinters, just about running over a woman who’d appeared just to the right of the main door.
     They stood blinking at each other.
     “There you are. Do you have any idea how many morgues there are in this city?” Her eyes flicked behind him. “No, you stay where you are.” She pointed a long white stick over Carlo’s shoulder and unleashed a stream of words in a language that seemed oddly familiar to Carlo.
     He turned to look at the zombie woman who stood behind him, her mouth hanging open. The creature stood transfixed by the woman in the hallway. There was a long second where Carlo thought the zombie would attack her, but she simply swayed in place for a few moments before grunting and turning back into the darkness


To read more and find out what happens to Carlo in his battle with Legion, check out Undead Is Not An Option.

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