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Authors: Eric S. Brown

Tags: #Horror, #Short Stories, #+AA

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Travis raced back to his car. The creatures
were already dangerously close as he slid into the vehicle's driver
seat and grabbed up the radio. "Morgan! Answer me damn it! They're
coming! Hundreds of them!" The radio crackled but remained silent
otherwise.

No response came.

Travis fished around in his pocket for the
keys. He had to stand up and get out of the car before he could dig
them out keeping his eyes locked onto the approaching horde of
decaying bastards. In his hurry, he dropped the keys as he yanked
them out. He whirled around to pick them up from where they'd
landed behind him to come face to face with Morgan himself, only it
wasn't Morgan.

Dull, glazed over eyes stared into his own
above the blood stained uniform Morgan wore. They told the tale of
the town's fate. The dead must be pouring in from everywhere,
Travis thought. He screamed as Morgan's cold hands grabbed his
shoulders and held him in place as the sheriff's teeth sank into
his throat.

Travis's scream became a sickening gargling
noise as his blood welled up inside him and leaked out from his
mouth as Morgan chewed. He fell to the ground with Morgan on top of
him still tearing into his flesh. A few of the dead stopped to join
Morgan in his feast but the rest walked on towards the town of
Jackson to see if anyone else was left alive.

With the End in Sight

"Hurricanes came and went doing untold
amounts of damage to the eastern coasts of the U.S. Earthquakes
ravaged the mountains of the Appalachians and tsunamis brought the
ocean to the streets of California. The summers grew cold and the
winters became a rain-drenched spring. Electromagnetic lightening
danced in the skies.

"Humanity was helpless, powerless to change
the course of nature. As our world crumpled around us did we reach
out for one another, to try to salvage what remained? I'm afraid
you won't like the answer. We turned upon ourselves like dogs
driven mad with fear and frustration.

"Nuclear fire scorched the land and
bio-weapons of the darkest origins filled the air. People bled from
their eyes. Stomachs swelled not with life but with mutated
abominations. They ripped out of our shells from men, women, and
children alike to walk the land. In the end, the monsters were
called "Demons." They were not alive but they were hungry. . ."

Ben stopped as the door to his quarters slid
open. "End oral history log seventeen," he said to the shelter's
A.I. and spun around in his chair to face Marcus who stood in the
open doorway.

Marcus looked at him with something that
stunk of pity. "Why do you do it, Ben?" he asked. "There's not
going to be anyone left to play back your logs and learn from what
you're recording."

Ben didn't answer instead he asked, "How bad
is it today?"

The younger man laughed. "Hell is still at
our door."

Ben got up from his seat. "Then let's go have
a look at it."

The pair made their way to the shelter's
highest point where its communication spire actually protruded from
the cracked earth. The dome was the only part of the shelter that
was above ground.

"Clear," Marcus ordered to the force barriers
which served as both the dome's walls and windows. The whole top of
the spire became transparent and the two men looked out into a sea
of demons and demon-seed . Most of the things surrounding them were
the traditional lot, dead men and women with glowing yellow eyes
devoid of anything that could be called a soul with a monster
growing inside their reanimated corpses but among their ranks, the
number of true demons had grown.

Some were beasts, covered in blood and fur,
which stood on two legs and clawed at the force barrier with a
frenzy that was beyond their seed who's mindless pounding continued
on without ever stopping. Ben watched as a demon with a pig's face
slammed its head repeatedly into the barrier leaving a smear of
saliva and yellow liquid. He felt sorry for the maggots which
crawled loose from inside the thing's skull just in time to be
smashed as its head made contact again.

Marcus started to order the barrier opaque,
but Ben stopped him.

"How much longer Marcus? How much longer must
we endure this until the shield fails?"

Marcus smiled. "That's what I came to tell
you. The shelter's power levels are almost depleted. We have a few
hours left on the high side."

"Good," Ben nodded. "Then at last we'll have
done our duty and held back the night as long as we could."

"If you say so sir."

Ben tore his eyes from the scene outside. "I
need to go finish my logs before the power fails. How are you going
to spend humanity's last hours on Earth?"

Marcus held up a small cylinder. Ben
recognized its symbol as that of a powerful neurotoxin. "I'm going
to get drunker than hell, sir, and shoot myself up with this as the
shield collapses. By the time those things find me, I'll be long
gone."

"It's a fitting end to our time here," Ben
shook his head. "Why shouldn't you meet death happily?"

"I suppose so," Marcus agreed.

"Goodbye Marcus," Ben said and left the spire
heading back to his quarters. He stopped only long enough to
collect an automatic shotgun from the shelter's armory for he too
would need a way out when his work was done and the horde came
spilling in.

Author's Biography

Eric S. Brown is a 31 year old writer living
in NC with his wife (Shanna) and son (Merrick). He has been writing
for a bit over five years and seen his short fiction published over
300 times in various small press and professional markets including
the highly praised
Undead
anthologies from Permuted Press.
He has also written nonfiction for newspapers, webzines, and
magazines including a "how to write horror" column in
The Horror
Writer
magazine. He has written one zombie novel and two zombie
novellas that are available in paperback as well as had published
five collections and eight chapbooks of his short fiction.

One can find most of his books online at
Amazon.com, nspbooks.com, or Shocklines.com. His work has been
praised by such authors as Brian Keene, David Moody, Scott
Nicholson, and David Drake. When not writing, he remains a devoted
zombie fan and a long time comic book collector of such titles as
The Fantastic Four and The Legion of Super-Heroes.

BOOK: Zombies II: Inhuman
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