Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day, My Darling Fans-A Gift For You

Rune's Story: The Back Roads of Zombie Hell

Inside the small tent pitched on the hard-baked Texas soil, Rune snorted in his sleep, rolled over on his sleeping bag, and mumbled incoherently.
Through the remains of his liquor stupor, Rune heard a familiar voice, but sleep had a vice grip on his throbbing brain. He twitched slight, but kept on snoring.
“Dad! Wake up!”
Lurching upright, Rune groaned and clutched his head as the dim interior of his small tent swung around him crazily before settling back down. “Fuck me.”
“Dad, no swearing in front of Braden.”
Blinking against the harsh sunlight pouring through the open flap into the ten to form a hot triangle of light near his feet, Rune tried to find his balance and sort out his jumbled thoughts.
“Dad, over here.”
The contrast between the bright sunlight outside and the gloom inside the tent made it difficult to see. His face was both sunburned and wind burned, so it hurt when he cupped his hands over his eyes trying to see into the dim corner of his tent where a shadow form hunkered.
“Lainey?” Rune whispered, recognizing the figure. His stomach dropped and the sorrow he felt in that moment was overwhelming. “No, baby, no!”
Crouched in the corner of the tent in the shadows, his daughter held Rune's two year old grandson in her arms gently rocking him. Miles from civilization, camped out off Interstate 10 on private property, Rune knew there was no way in hell his daughter Lainey could have found him. It could only mean one thing.
“How?” Rune shouted, anger and despair filling him. “How?”
“Dad, it's okay. It's over now,” Lainey said in a soft voice.
It meant to calm him, but somehow it made him angrier. “Was it my no good son-in-law? I knew something was wrong with that boy! I don't care if he was a military man. He was no good! You never should have married him!” Rune wiped at the tears flowing down his cheeks. “I knew it!”
“Dad, please listen to me.”
“Oh, my baby, my baby,” Rune wailed, his icy breath puffing into the morning light. It was growing steadily colder in the tent as the spirit of his daughter sucked the energy from the air to manifest herself.
Lainey gently rocked Braden as he sat on her lap sucking his thumb watching Rune with wide blue eyes. “Dad, please. I don't have much time. You know that. You're wasting it.”
“Okay, okay,” Rune whispered miserably. He knew she was right, but it was so hard to contain his sorrow. Throughout his life he had encountered the spirits of the dead seeking peace before moving on to the next world. They were limited in their abilities and he understood how much effort his daughter had to be exerting to appear to him. Yet, the pain her presence caused him was almost unbearable. “Okay, baby, talk to me.”
Smoothing Braden’s hair, Lainey spoke, yet her lips did not move. “The world is dying, Dad. Something has gone wrong.”
“Nukes?” Rune had grown up in the Cold War. Lainey and her husband lived in San Antonio near Lackland Air Force Base. It would be one of the primary targets of a strike.
“No, Dad. Something...worse. The dead have come back, Dad. They've come back to...kill us.”
“What?” Rune pressed one hand to his forehead. “What?”
“Just like the movies, Dad, the dead are coming back to eat us.”
“No, no, no. This is a nightmare. You're not here and I'm dreaming some stupid ass dream because I went to that zombie store in Vegas.”
“Dad, it's real! Listen to me! Please!”
Lifting his swollen tear-filled eyes, Rune nodded slowly despite the desire to deny everything she was saying. He had to keep focused and allow her to speak, for her sake and his own. “Okay, Lainey. I'm listening.”
“Dad, San Antonio is lost. It's chaos there. Ben dropped us off at the hospital before he left with his unit so I could wait for mom to finish with her rounds. It was guarded and should have been safe, but they brought all the people who were bitten there. The hospital was overrun almost immediately.” The edges of Lainey's form began to blur. “We tried to hide, but...”
Now that Rune’s eyesight had adjusted to the gloom, he see the horrible wounds inflicted on both his daughter and grandson. Moaning with grief, he crawled toward them, but already their images was wavering and beginning to fade.
“Don't come to San Antonio trying to save us,” Lainey said. This time her lips moved and he could see her teeth through a gruesome tear in her cheek. “We're all gone. Me, mom, and...” Lainey pressed her lips to Braden’s hair.
“Baby, I don't understand. This can't be real,” Rune protested.
“But it is. Right now the whole world is dying. It's everywhere. Soon there will be only a fraction of humanity left alive.”
“Sweet Jesus,” Rune whispered.
“You can't die, Dad. You're important in this new world of the dead. You have to stay alive. You have to. Do you understand?”
Nodding, Rune reached out, his fingers hovering over his precious grandson.
“I can't hold on any longer,” Lainey said sorrowfully. “We need to move on.”
“Papa,” Braden said in a tremulous voice. “There are monsters.”
“I know, son. I know. But you're going to go where there are no monsters. Somewhere beautiful and full of fun things to do,” Rune whispered. His emotions were choking him and he could barely talk. “You hold onto your mama and she's going to take you into the light. Okay?”
Braden nodded, sucking on his thumb.
“That's my brave boy,” Rune sobbed.
“Dad,” Lacey whispered as she dissolved into the gloom in the tent. “I love you. Stay out of San Antonio. Stay alive.”
Covering his face, Rune wept in despair and anger.

Copyright Rhiannon Frater 2013
Rune's Story: The Back Roads of Zombie Hell


  1. Thank You! This just made Valentine's Day perfect for me, chocolate, a bottle of wine and zombies, Yay!


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