Head Shots: Scenes from the Zombie Apocalypse
by Alex Severin
'Head Shots : Scenes from the Zombie Apocalypse'is a novella-length taster of a future novel.
Taking a slight departure from the usual continuous narrative, this 10,000 word novella is told in scenes, allowing for a lean, mean, rip-roaring read.
She used to be a cheerleader but her heart was never in it. She'd much rather have spent her time curb-stomping the high school Rah Rah Girls than cheering with them.
The daughter of the local "Vet who never left 'Nam," Vic had to fight tooth and nail for every single popularity point she ever earned.
But it was the skills her not-so-crazy father drummed into Vic her entire life that made her excel at surviving, starting with the day the world ended.
Excerpt from the opening -
She stood in front of a broken window in the abandoned house they'd just looted. She was still. Silent. Others in the room whispered and whimpered, all of them terrified. They all knew what was coming.
Vic didn't even screw up her face when she caught their scent anymore. The stench carried over distance and you could always tell they would be here soon when the breeze smelled like the dead.
She heard shuffling coming from the left of the window. She stiffened, knife raised, ready to strike, muscles taut and glistening with sweat in the evening heat.
There was a gargling noise and the stink intensified. A young man behind her - no more than seventeen - bent double and heaved his guts up on to the floor as the scent of one of the dead fucks assaulted his nostrils. Some people just never got used to the aroma of rotting flesh.
That was what Vic usually called them, dead fucks. Each time she said it, she said it with venom. She said it with hatred. The F sound elongated when she spat it.
And then it was right in front of her. She grabbed at its head with a gloved hand, getting a fistful of maggots as well as hair.
She plunged the buck knife into its eye and wiggled it back and forth, up and down. She remembered her dad telling her they called it scrambling in Vietnam, "cause it leaves the brain looking like scrambled eggs - and 'bout as useful." Then he would laugh, joyless, hollow laughter. Darkness would descend behind his eyes and color his gaze.
Vic knew that darkness now, she saw it in her own reflection.
She knew how it felt to be haunted, the way he was.
She pulled the blade out; it made a wet sucking noise; rancid vitreous humor dribbled down the loose meat face of the dead thing. The room voiced its disgust but she didn't even flinch.
Almost too easily she sliced through its neck, down to the bone.
She hacked and stabbed at it, shattering vertebrae.
Then she punched it, just out of pure anger, needing the sting of pain in her own flesh to know she was hurting it, just to have that feeling of bone connecting with bone. The force of her blow separated the head from the neck and it fell backward, making the thing look like a rotten hoodie top. She laughed at it, but it was mirthless laughter, just like her dad...
- Alex Severin, February 2011
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