by Tonia Brown
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Night of the Living Dumbasses
(Authors note: This story isn’t necessarily cannon to the book that will follow. Think of it as a brief introduction. A small strip tease. Just gawk at the goods and keep it in mind for later!)
Jonah ran to the end of the street, turning this way and that. His heart pounded against his sternum, trying very hard to make its way up his throat. He had never been an athletic person, not like Dale. Heck no! Dale could’ve outrun eight hundred of these things, but Jonah? He couldn’t handle the eight chasing him, much less more.
A long, low moan reached his ears, and he whipped about to see that another creature had joined the growing throng.
“For Pete’s sake!” he shouted. “Not another one!”
When he awoke this morning to an eerily quiet apartment, he thought the silence was thanks to Dale either sleeping in—again—or spending the night at one of his many conquests’ apartments. Either way, Jonah expected to spend his morning in solitude, working on writing a new song, or perhaps reading. What he didn’t expect was to spend the entire day running from the living dead. Zombies, undead, revenants, whatever you called these walking corpses, Jonah called them horrible.
“Bra-a-ains,” one of the creatures moaned, its arms held out, its hands clawing the space between them.
The rest chimed along in a morbidly off-cue chorus.
Jonah rolled his eyes at the clichéd expression and took off running once more. Why brains? Why not something else? Like chocolate, for instance. Living people liked chocolate. Why would you stop liking it just because you were dead? Why would you develop a sudden fondness for brains just because you stopped breathing?
And what about vegetarians and their kissing cousins, the vegans? Did they stumble around screaming “gra-a-ains” when they became zombies? There really was no way to find out, because none of these zombies was vegetarian or vegan. They were all American meat eaters. Jonah was confident in this, one hundred percent, because for some unexplainable reason, every single one of the undead suckers was the same man.
That’s right. All of them were Jonah’s indecent, undereducated, oversexed, out-of-work roommate, Dale. Every. Last. One. Johan thought the world was bad enough with a single living Dale in it. But boy oh boy! A thousand undead Dales was an unimaginable nightmare. Dales crawling at him through the broken garden fence. Dales stumbling across the apartment parking lot. Dales clawing at him and biting at him and chomping at him, hungry for—ugh, of all things—his brains.
Jonah scampered across the street and ducked into the closest alleyway, stopping to press his body tight against the building and catch a much-needed breath. The zombie apocalypse he kind of understood. Heck, everyone knew it was coming. Dale always said it was only a matter of time before some wacked-out infection got everyone and blam! Zombies a go-go! Dale also had a few choice words about the various uses for female zombies, but Jonah chose not to remember those right now.
Zombie Dales? Why zombie Dales? An outbreak that reanimates the recently deceased was laughable but somewhat passable with just the right suspension of disbelief. But an infection that turns everyone into an undead version of Jonah’s roommate?
That was just preposterous! There wasn’t enough belief in the world to allow for such a thing.
And yet it happened.
Jonah let out a long, exasperated breath. As far as he could tell, everyone on the planet had turned into a dead version of Dale.
All the neighbors. The guy at the Fastmart. The wino who lingered on the corner of First and Main all day and night. Which made
Jonah the only survivor. This was just great. A world full of undead Dales. It was like his worst fears combined with a land of walking brain-hungry corpses that looked like his jackass of a best friend. How could he survive in a world like this?
A world without hope.
A world without pity.
A world without women.
Jonah shuddered as he pushed the thought away and prepared to take off running again. But he didn’t get the chance. Before he could set his feet in motion, a familiar form popped around the corner, taking him by complete surprise.
“Brains!” the zombie Dale hollered.
“No!” Jonah shouted, but it was too late.
Zombie Dale had him by the throat, using those impressive undead muscles to squeeze and squeeze. Spots of black danced and swam before Jonah’s eyes, and his last breath fled him, leaving him limp in the arms of the beast he’d spent all morning evading.
The last thing he heard was the crunch as the creature bit down into Jonah’s skull, trying to get at the tender brains beneath.
Jonah awoke with a shout. The sheets of his small bed clung to his soaked form. His heart raced. His breath came in quick gulps. He darted his glance around his bedroom, illuminated by the glow of the full moon pouring in through his open window.
The nightmare was all just a nightmare.
“Oh thank God!” he shouted as he flung himself back onto the bed.
Without warning, his door flew open wide. By the light of the silvery moon, in stumbled a wide-mouthed horror. It was another
Dale, and he was poised for an attack. Jonah screamed, high-pitched and feminine, just like he always did when he had the crap scared out of him.
Dale closed his mouth (now finished with what Jonah realized must’ve been a yawn) and turned on the light. He stared down at Jonah in the bed as he scratched himself in various inappropriate places. “What the hell, man? I was trying to sleep, and you’re in here whimpering and crying like a little girl.”
Jonah closed his fist over his pounding heart. “Dale! Christ, you scared the crap out of me.”
Though the way he said it, Jonah doubted very much that Dale was sorry at all.
Dale yawned again. “I thought something was wrong, so I just came to check on ya.”
“I … I just had a nightmare,” Jonah said. “That’s all.”
Dale chuckled. “Man, that is so gay.”
Jonah rolled his eyes once more. “Nightmares aren’t gay, Dale. Everyone has them.”
“I don’t.” Dale set his jaw and squared his shoulders, taking that classic don’t question my masculinity stance. “So, what was little baby’s bad dweam about?”
“You,” Jonah said, as flat as he could manage.
Dale grinned. “That ain’t a nightmare, man. That’s a fantasy. I always knew you wanted me. Admit it. You’re dying to be my bitch.”
“No, you were dead, Dale.”
Dale lost the smile. “Oh. I see why you were crying now.”
“No! Jesus!” Jonah ran his hands through his hair in frustration. “Look. You were a zombie. In fact, you were a lot of zombies.
Like, a lot. A whole lot.”
“A zombie. Wow. Now that is cool.”
“It wasn’t cool. It was … disconcerting.”
“Well, I don’t care what kind of fancy disco dancing it was; I need some shuteye, so pipe down.”
“You need sleep? For what? Got a big day of slobbing about planned for tomorrow?”
Dale winked with another grin. “You know I do. Gotta rest up for my birthday next month. Remember?”
“Oh yeah.” Jonah had all but forgotten their planned trip. “We still going?”
“Sure. Whatever my buddy wants. Right?”
“Then keep it down so I can get back to my dream. Unlike you, I wasn’t dreaming about having one off with my roommate’s corpse. I was having a threesome with a very alive and very sexy Angelina Jolie.”
Jonah waited but was left to finally ask, “And who?”
“A threesome implies three people. You, Angelina, and who?”
Dale’s shit-eating grin grew ever wider. “Who do you think? One of me and two of her. Oh yeah!”
After a fair amount of hip swiveling and air slapping, Dale left Jonah alone, groaning and shaking his head. As if putting up with what limited contact they had on a daily basis weren’t bad enough, Jonah had a whole week’s worth of vacation with the man to look forward to. Or rather to dread. What was Jonah thinking? As far friends went, Dale was the short end of a crappy stick. But somehow he managed to remain Jonah’s best friend.
This trip was going to be one hell of a week.
Guest post created for September Zombies event by Tonia Brown, author of Badass Zombie Road Trip due out sometime in October from Books of the Dead
© 2011. All rights reserved.
by Tonia Brown
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by Tonia Brown
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