Rotten Bodies - Steven Jenkins - darmowy ebook
Opis

We all fear death’s dark spectre, but in a zombie apocalypse, dying is a privilege reserved for the lucky few. There are worse things than a bullet to the brain—much worse.  The dead are walking, and they’re hungry. Steven Jenkins, bestselling author of Fourteen Days and Burn The Dead, shares five zombie tales that are rotten for all the right reasons.  Meet Dave, a husband and father with a dirty secret, who quickly discovers that lies aren’t only dangerous…they’re deadly. Athlete Sarah once ran for glory, but when she finds herself alone on a country road with an injured knee, second place is as good as last. Howard, shovelling coal in the darkness of a Welsh coal mine, knows something’s amiss when his colleagues begin to disappear. But it’s when the lights come on that things get truly scary.  Five different takes on the undead, from the grotesque to the downright terrifying. But reader beware: as the groans get louder and the twitching starts, you’ll be dying to reach the final page.  “Utterly hair-raising, in all its gory glory!” CATE HOGAN – Author of One Summer

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Rotten Bodies

A zombie Short Story Collection

Steven Jenkins

Contents

Free Books

I Am Dead

Room 503

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Run

The Pit

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Simon Dunn: Former Zombie

Free Books

Also Available - Burn The Dead - Quarantine

Also Available - Burn The Dead: Purge

Also Available - Burn The Dead: Riot

Also Available - Blue Skin: Book One

Also Available - Blue Skin: Book Two

Also Available - Thea: A Vampire Story

Also Available - Thea II: A Vampire Story

Also Available - Eyes On You: A Ghost Story

Also Available - Under: A Short Horror Story

Also Available - Fourteen Days

Also Available - Spine: A Collection of Twisted Tales

About the Author

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“For Mum.”

I Am Dead

(First Published in Dark Moon Digest)

I don’t know who or what killed me—all I know is that I can smell my rotting flesh.

Every joint and muscle aches, and my head is pounding like a bad hangover. Even my fingers hurt and creak when I make a fist. And when I attempt to bend my legs I can feel the fluid burn and swirl around my kneecaps.

I don’t remember who I was when I was last breathing, but I do remember the world. I remember the grass, the sky, the buildings, and the…people. I could never forget them. I don't remember my previous friends and family; their memory is long gone. No, I only remember the flesh. There’s something about it that sparks off a hunger inside me that can’t be quenched; something that will never cease no matter how much skin and muscle I manage to tear off with my decaying teeth.

But I must eat. Every sense in my dead body is screamingat me to satisfy the urge. The urge to feed is primeval; something built into every living creature. A baby needs no lessons on the subject. It knows what it wants, what it needs to survive, even inside the womb. And a starving body will feed on itself to stay alive. It will feast on its own fat, muscle, and eventually its own organs before it’s ready to die.

Is that what I have become? Am I a being so ravaged with decay that all there is left for me to do is feed on the flesh of others? Have I no edible tissue of my own? Have I nothing but dead, putrid worm-food to offer?

But what do I care? I feel nothing inside me apart from a relentless hunger. I don’t feel an ounce of guilt or pity for anyone I will rip apart and eat. I can’t even feel whatever it is that runs through my living corpse. A virus. A voodoo spell. An act of God. Or perhaps the Devil himself. It makes no difference to me. I have no emotion. Even the pain that plagues my body doesn’t bother me. Perhaps the agony is just a memory left over from my previous life, not unlike the phantom pain someone feels in a leg that has been amputated.

Despite everything, all my senses seem to be in relatively good working order. My vision still works, although somewhat blurred and distorted. I can still hear my joints make clicking and cracking sounds when I move. But the strangest thing of all, my sense of smell has increased tenfold. I can smell the flesh of the living all around me; the scent of blood pumping around their bodies, filling up every mouth-watering muscle. As for my sense of taste, that has yet to be tested.

I’m looking forward to that the most.

Can I still speak? I’m not sure. I think whatever groan manages to leave my mouth is anything but comprehensive dialogue. It certainly isn’t anything that could be understood. Perhaps, like the instinct to feed, I have reverted back to a newborn baby, picking up words as I go. But for all I know, my vocal chords are so withered with decomposition that nothing of sense will ever come out again, no matter how much I learn, or eventually remember.

Don’t know how long I’ve been this way—days, weeks, months. But with every second that passes this desire to feed on warm flesh is starting to take its toll. It’s all I can think about—that and trying to remember which part of the body carries the juiciest meat. The thighs? No, the buttocks. Definitely the buttocks. Not that it matters all that much. I’m fairly sure I could eat a horse in one sitting.

But I’d prefer a human. Don’t care what gender. Preferably someone morbidly obese. I could feed on them for days. And the chances of one outrunning me are pretty remote—even with my emaciated legs.

The time is nearing. I must feed.

I can feel the craving wash over me, tingling through my crumbling body.

I can hear it; smell it.

I can taste it.

If only I could get out of this fucking coffin...

Room 503

1

I pull up onto the drive, the car rumbling to a halt next to Clare’s Mini Cooper. Just before I climb out, before I face the madness of the house, I let out a long groan, both hands still on the steering wheel, clutching tightly.

After a few minutes, I turn to the passenger seat and then pick up the bunch of flowers, unsure if she’ll even like them. It’s not as if the supermarket has a great selection anyway. But they’re pink. She likes pink. That’s the main thing.

That’s the one thing that I can remember.

I give my face a quick check in the mirror, but I hardly recognise the person looking back at me. I see the same disappearing hairline, the same crow’s feet and slightly twisted nose. But that’s it. The rest is all-new to me. A stranger.

And I despise him.

I get out of the car, slam the door, and head towards the house.

As soon as I enter the hallway, the dog greets me, barking, jumping up and down excitedly. “Hello, Chloe,” I say in a childlike voice, ruffling the top of her fluffy white coat. “Where is everyone, girl?”

“Daddy!” I hear Katie yell. Suddenly I see her bolt out of the kitchen towards me, her blonde hair bobbing up and down like waves.

I kneel down and catch her in a hug. “Hello, my beautiful little girl. How was school today?”

“It was good. We learned about Autumn. And Mrs Hinsley took us on a nature hunt.”

“Really?” I pick her up off the floor and carry her back towards the kitchen. “What did you find?”

“We found some brown leaves, some sycamore seeds. Oh, and we saw a squirrel.”

“That’s awesome, sweetheart,” I say, kissing her on the forehead. “I’m proud of you.”

Inside the kitchen, I see Clare standing by the table, holding a large white pot, oven gloves covering her hands. She has already laid out three placemats and bowls.

“That smells nice,” I tell her, as I lower Katie onto a chair. “What’s for dinner?”

She sets the pot onto the centre of the table and removes the oven gloves. “Beef casserole.”

“Sounds great,” I say, walking over to her and kissing her on the lips. “These are for you.” I hand over the flowers.

Clare smiles as she takes them from me. “For me? You shouldn’t have. What’s the occasion?”

I shrug. “No occasion. Just wanted to do something nice. No big deal. Are they all right?”

“Of course they are.” She kisses me again. “I love them, Dave. They’re beautiful.” She takes the flowers over to the sink, fills the drainer with water, and puts them in. “I’ll put them in a vase after dinner.”

Sitting next to Katie, I notice the newspaper at the side of the table. I grab it and start to read the front page. “Jesus, this infection’s not going away.”

“What’s that, Dave?” Clare asks from behind me.

“This infection thing. They say it’s over here now.”

“I know. It’s been all over the TV. They’ve had to close some schools in England and Scotland.”

“Really? That bad, is it?”

“Yeah,” Clare replies, sitting at the table. “The guy on the news said that some schools over here might be closing too.”

“Bloody hell. Sounds like a lot of panic over nothing.”

“I don’t know, Dave, if they’re thinking about closing the schools—”

“Yeah, but that’s all just paranoia, health and safety gone mad. Remember when it was swine flu? Remember how crazy everything got? They talked about closing them then. And that blew over.”

“I hope so. I’d hate for Katie to have to miss out on something.”

“Clare, she’s five. I hardly think she’s gonna miss out on anything vital.”

“Yeah, I know, but if it does close, then who’s going to look after her? Have you thought of that?”

“We’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it. Right now, all that matters is eating that delicious casserole.” I turn to Katie. “Isn’t that right, sweetheart?”

Katie nods her little head enthusiastically.

Smiling, Clare scoops out the piping-hot food with a ladle, and then starts to fill each bowl.

“What story would you like?” I ask Katie as she lies, tucked up in her bed, Tinkerbell quilt pulled to her chest. “How about the one with the dinosaur.”

She shakes her head quickly.

“No? All right. What about the Gruffalo? You like that one.”

“I don’t like that anymore.”

I sit on the edge of the bed. “Why? What’s wrong with it?”

“It’s too scary.”

“No, it’s not, sweetheart. It’s funny.”

“No, it’s about a monster. I don’t like monsters.”

“You mustn’t be afraid of monsters. They’re not real.”

“Yes they are.”

“No. They’re just from stories. They’re made up. The only scary things we have are crocodiles and sharks. And they live far, far away—on the other side of the world.”

Katie nods, but I can tell by her eyes that she’s still unconvinced. “Okay, little lady, how about I check your bedroom for monsters? Would that help?”

“Okay, Daddy. But you have to check under the bed first. That’s where they like to hide.”

“Under the bed, is it? All right.” I get up, go down on one knee, and then inspect underneath. “No monsters under here.”

“Check the wardrobe.”

“All right, you’re the boss.” I walk over to the wardrobe and open the doors. “All I see are clothes and shoes. Absolutely zero monsters.” I shut the doors and turn to her. “Happy now?”

Katie shakes her head. “Don’t forget behind the curtains. I’m sure I saw some monster feet there.”

“Monster feet? And what did they look like?”

“Purple with long yellow toenails.”

“Purple with long yellow toenails? Are you sure they’re not Mummy’s?”

Katie giggles. “No. Mummy has pretty feet.”

“Are you positive? I saw Mummy’s toenails earlier, and I’m sure they were long and yellow.”

Katie laughs again. It makes me smile as I pull open the curtains. “Got you! Oh, there’s no one here.” I walk back over to the bed. “Happy now, sweetheart?”

Nodding, she hugs her soft elephant toy. “Can Chloe sleep in my room tonight? Keep me company? She’ll bark if there’s monsters.”

“No. Sorry, sweetheart. You know she’s not allowed upstairs. She smells too much.”

“I don’t mind the smell.”

“Yeah, but your mother and I do. So no dogs allowed. Now which bedtime story would you like? Maybe something without any monsters.”

Sitting up in bed, she points to a book that’s resting on her toy box. “That one. The Three Billy-Goats Gruff.”

I pick it up and take it over to her. “But this one has a troll in it.”

“Yes, but the big goat throws him in the river.”

I shake my head with a look of disappointment on my face. “Thanks a bunch. Now you’ve ruined the ending for me.”

Katie chuckles again.

Walking down the stairs, I notice that Clare has put the flowers into a vase and set it down on the hallway shelf, next to the photo of us in Disneyland Paris. For a bunch of cheap, supermarket flowers, they don’t look half-bad. Not that I’m an expert on gardening, but it’s not like these are the first flowers that I’ve bought for Clare. And they definitely won’t be the last. The only problem is I’m pretty sure she’s figured out by now that she only gets them when I’m awash with guilt. I can see the suspicion in her eyes every time I hand a bunch over, or she comes home from work carrying ones I’ve had delivered.

I should just stop sending them, if it’s that obvious. But I can’t help myself. The guilt starts to creep over me like a rash, and I find myself at the flower stand, reaching into my jacket for my wallet.

I enter the living room and sit next to Clare. She’s watching some cookery show, and Chloe is sleeping by her feet.

“Did she go down all right?” she asks, turning to me.

“Fine. Just read her a story, and she was out like a light.”

Clare smiles. “Good.”

“So how was your day?”

Clare picks up the remote and mutes the TV. “Not too bad. Pretty quiet this time of year. Once summer’s out of the way, people stop buying houses. God knows why. A house is a house. Shouldn’t matter what time of year it is.”

“Yeah. Exactly. So what’s happening with that receptionist? Did your boss get ‘round to firing her?”

“Yep. She left last Wednesday. Packed up and was escorted out of the building.”

“So it was her stealing the money?”

“Yeah. She admitted it. Once Peter threatened to call the police, she soon changed her tune.”

“Bloody hell. That must have been an awkward day at the office.”

Clare nods, her eyebrows raised. “Tell me about it.” She then puts both her feet up and rests them on my thighs, disturbing Chloe in the process. “So how was your day? Anything interesting happen?”

I snort. “What, in my job? That’ll be the day.”

Clare grins. “You must have something juicy to tell me. We haven’t had a chance to chat for almost a week.”

I shake my head. “Clare, you married an accountant. Nothing interesting ever happens to accountants. Unless you think sending out Tax Return reminders to your clients is interesting. I certainly don’t.”

“Then why don’t you do something interesting with your life.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t enjoy my job; it’s just always uneventful. At least with your job you have a lot of staff floating around, all with something to say. All I have is Neil to talk to. And he’s a borderline alcoholic.”

Clare’s eyes light up. “There—some real gossip.”

“Well, I suppose. But you already knew that.”

“Did I?”

“Yeah. You did,” I reply, trying to conceal my annoyance. She never listens to a word I say—more concerned with watching some dickhead on TV, baking a bloody pie.

“Oh, well, I can’t remember. Maybe you did.”

Maybe?

“Well, anyway,” Clare continues, clearly sensing another argument brewing on the horizon, “shall we watch TV? The grand finale of Masterchef is on.”