With the holidays coming up, Undead Is Not An Option would make a nice gift for the zombie lover’s in your family.
What would you do if you were stuck in a tree house, with a complete stranger who is somewhat annoying but a bona fide optimist, a chest full of rocks, and a horde of zombies waiting below? Louie, the optimist, is certain the government is working on a cure for the zombies or a rescue plan, but Arnie keeps mulling over the question, what could be worse than zombies? The Changing by Jim Bronyaur answers the question, but leaves you with this one: will you draw blood gnawing on your knuckle by the time you reach the end?
Please note because the characters are dealing with a zombie outbreak, this excerpt has some strong language.
by Jim Bronyaur
After the rocks…
Without order, chaos would ensue. It was human nature, maybe instinct, maybe that extra little bit of work creation put into us, but give a man an inch and he’ll probably try to take more. Toss in the idea of the world ending and now you’ve got a whole new bag of shit to deal with.
Arnie noticed the beginning of the chaos after the second rock Louie threw at a zombie. Calm with the first throw, he pretended to be a baseball pitcher. Arnie didn’t like nor understand baseball but with the growing group of zombies below them, he’d take a long, hot day at a ballpark anytime.
Louie’s second throw was filled with rage. He barely took aim and cursed so much and so fast, the words mixed together. By the time he threw the rock, his body sweated and shook. The rock pegged a zombie in the shoulder and the thing fell over but climbed right back up.
“Three,” Arnie said. “Hey, we should consider the rules again. Is it just three? Or should you get three for knocking him over and then one for hitting them…” He tried to break the tension but Louie acted as if he lost his mind.
“Fuck the game,” Louie said. He picked up another rock. With his knuckles white from the grip on the rock, he pulled his arm back but only wept. As his head bobbed, Arnie watched as Louie’s body teetered on the edge.
Arnie knew that if the man kept it up they’d be out of rocks soon. And if he lost his mind, then maybe a push was in order. Sure, it was a sick thought to have—pushing an innocent, living man into a horde of zombies, but these weren’t normal times.
Trying to take the high road, Arnie wrapped his arms around Louie and pulled him back. The rock fell to the floor with a clunk.
“Louie, please. You’re losing it.”
Louie dropped to his ass and kept crying. Arnie always wondered what was worse than watching a woman cry when you had nothing to offer to make it stop. He found it, and it wasn’t the end of the world waiting outside, it was Louie babbling like a baby.
The crying lasted ten minutes or so until Louie sucked up all his snot and put out a shaky hand towards Arnie, offering a forgiveness handshake. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I haven’t had a smoke in a while. Withdrawal. And those things… I just think about all the people I know out there. Are they dead? Are they walking again, but as zombies?”
“You’re the one who told me we’d be saved soon. We had to just hang out here…”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. I need a cigarette. And a shot of whiskey.”
“And a woman,” Arnie added with a smile.
“Amen to that. But enough talk about what we can’t have. You know what? I feel like something’s going to happen today. Something’s… changing.”
To read more, and find out what is changing and whether Louie and Arnie survive, check out Undead Is Not An Option.