Saturday, September 24, 2011

Zombie Tale from: E.M. MacCallum

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by E.M. MacCallum
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Note: Based on the characters found in “Zombie-Killer Bill”

The feral shriek rang in the distance.

Zombie-Killer Bill pulled his pistol free of it's holster in a blurred motion. The shrill sound rose the hairs on the back of his neck. He didn't think he'd ever get used to their painfully high-pitched screams.

Beside him, Garrett was a heartbeat slower. The wild youngster's eyes were wider than teacups as he whispered. “How many do'yah thank are out thur'?”

The small town's street was bare, leaving only the lit kerosene lamps for comfort. It was crazy to wander around after dark, but duty called and the government wasn't paying Bill to idly wait for sun up.

Zombie-Killer Bill grunted a reply at first, listening intently to the gnashing and shuffling that erupted from behind Arthur's General Goods and the Silver Inn to their right. “At least four...”

A crash to their left startled them both.

Garrett's gun went off into the dry dirt, fluttering dust into the air. The crack of the pistol echoed like a dinner bell.

After a crippling glare from Bill, Garrett shrugged helplessly and tried to amend his mistake with a weary. “I'll just watch this way...K, Bill?” His thick southern accent always eased when the boy wasn't talking a mile a minute.

“This time don't hit the dirt,” Bill warned in his weathered rumble. “There's definitely more than four.”

Taking this as a joke, the boy flashed a sloppy grin and aimed to their right, past the whore house which specialized in Legal zombie whores. Famous even. Garrett would certainly be visiting - if they survived.

Though young and precarious, Garrett was an excellent shot - just with one less bullet.

Zombie-Killer Bill spoke out of the side of his mouth, unwilling to avert his eyes from their right. “If they're Illegals, how will you know?”

The pause from the sandy-haired youth indicated a rolling of the eyes or a sarcastic sneer. “They'll run at me.” He answered bored.

“Before they run at you? How will you tell?”

“The smeell.”

“What if there's more than one?” Bill asked, his left hand easing against the holstered Colt at his hip while his right hand kept his aim steady. Sharp blue eyes were shadowed beneath the wide-brimmed cowboy hat, leaving only the thin line of his mouth and dark stubble on his hollow cheeks visible.

Garrett grumbled a reply.

“Answer.” Bill demanded gruffly.

“I won't keel a Legal.”

“That would be considered murder in this state, so you best not,” Bill warned through grit teeth before correcting him. “You look for scars, bloodless wounds, broken limbs. Legals have a conscience, remember. They won't be as torn up as an Illegal.”

“Whut about a Slave zombie?” Garrett asked, the sarcasm dribbling from every synonym.

“They're too slow and won't follow anyone without a command. Illegals don't command.” Bill ignored the childish acrimony.

“You dun'?” Garrett grumbled.

Zombie-Killer Bill didn't reply at first. His hand shook as he considered an unfortunate shooting accident where any Sheriff could consider Bill innocent. He doubted Garrett would be missed, but knew that he'd probably regret it in a week or maybe a month when he forgot about Garrett's rancor and loud-mouth disposition. “Get ready, boy.” He said, knowing that the term boy always made Garrett animated and the most amusing shade of red would flare in his cheeks.

Garrett, however, didn't have time for a rebuke when the first zombie stormed out of the lengthy shadows. Eyes glowing in the dark it was hardly visible until it reached the light of the lamp posts. Charging straight at Garrett, it's mouth open impossibly wide. The face was scratched beyond recognition, leaving on the monster.

The singular act by one brave Illegal sparked the stampede.

Zombies poured into the streets, each as disfigured and sexless as the next. Some naked, some with a few tattered clothes. Most of them were burned scarlet from the sun or missing limbs. Bite marks, fresh and old speckled their bodies.

There were definitely more than four. More than double that.

Garrett's aim was impeccable. Snagging the first zombie between the eyes he quickly aimed for the next.

Zombie-Killer Bill killed two in that time. He flung his second pistol free and aimed behind them, catching the ambushing Illegal in the jaw, shattering the side of it's face before putting another bullet in it's head.

The sickening scent of gunpowder mixed with the fetid decay that blossomed in the air like an overdose of perfume. Sharp, stinging flares of the pistols pierced the night in the gunfight that would make history.


Guest post created for September Zombies event by E.M. MacCallum, author of Zombie-Killer Bill
© 2011. All rights reserved.

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by E.M. MacCallum
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Zombie-Killer Bill
by E.M. MacCallum

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