Zombie Killer

It’s the last day of school and you’re clearing out your locker when your best friend runs up to you out of breath. “You have to come with me right now,” your friend says. “It’s a matter of life and death.” So you rush with your friend to the cafeteria, only to find several of your classmates have been turned into zombies. What they don’t know is that, you are secretly a superhero who kills zombies. Write this scene.

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466 thoughts on “Zombie Killer

  1. Geriatric3368

    I had already cleaned out my locker two weeks ago, but since today was the last day of school Mr. Davis allowed us to leave class for “organizational development”. It was his clever way of saying we could roam the halls after we packed up our lockers. My best friend Seth went to grab a soda from the vending machine, Mountain Dew was always his favorite, so he of course had to go all the way across the school to the cafeteria, to find the one machine that carried his sugary addiction.
    Senioritis sucks. I’ve been ready to get out of this place since September. My real education wrapped up about 6 months ago, and man, that was one hell of a lab practical.
    I laughed under my breath at the thought and turned down the hallway towards the cafeteria to go meet Seth. That’s when he barreled around the corner red-faced and gasping.
    “Todd, You have to come with me right freaking now!” Seth shouted.
    “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. Seth usually doesn’t tend to get worked up over anything. “Did you find a way into the volleyball team’s locker room?” I retorted casually.
    “Dude, we gotta go! It’s a matter of life and death.” A sudden look of dread washed over Seth’s face and I knew almost immediately what it had to be.
    “Show Me.”
    Seth led the way sprinting through the halls, we had played soccer together for ten years, so it didn’t take us long to arrive. When we got to the cafeteria doors, Seth stopped me. He gestured silently at the doors signaling to me to look inside. I peeked my head up to the narrow window. Damn, I was right. Fucking Zombies. At least twenty of my schoolmates had been turned. How the hell did the virus get here…? No time to think about that right now.
    “Seth, listen to me. You have to stay right here. Do you hear me?” I whispered.
    “What are you going to do?” he asked.
    “Exactly what I’ve been learning.” I replied earnestly.
    I had seen the janitor’s trolley in the previous hallway about 4 doors down. I sprinted back there, and grabbed the mop. I propped the handle on the wall, and gave it a swift kick, splintering the end near the mop head just above the rusted metal fixture. I flipped the splintered end up, and gave it a quick analysis. It wasn’t very sharp, but it just had to get me to the kitchen, there’s knives in the kitchen.
    I headed back to the cafeteria doors, where Seth was huddling in the corner. Good, they hadn’t tried to come out. He gave me a surprised look when he saw the improvised weapon in my hands, and then started shaking his head violently, pleading with me not to do what he knew I was about to do.
    “Seth, you have to trust me. I’ve got this. Y’know how I’ve been going to youth group at church?”
    He nodded.
    “And last summer I worked at that summer camp, but you couldn’t visit on the weekends or anything?”
    He nodded again, his eyes growing wider as he began to realize my deception.
    “I’ve been training with a task force. Zombies are real Seth. It started with a virus, some terrorist assholes weaponized it, and now it’s spreading. I have go in there, I’ll be fine. I promise. I need you to go lock yourself in the bathroom, I’ll come get you.”
    I turned away, and quietly opened one of the doors, I slinked in and did my best to let the door close silently. Clunk-click. None of them moved. Alright, time to do this.

  2. Geriatric3368

    I had already cleaned out my locker two weeks ago, but since today was the last day of school Mr. Davis allowed us to leave class for “organizational development”. It was his clever way of saying we could roam the halls after we packed up our lockers.

    My best friend Seth went to grab a soda from the vending machine, Mountain Dew was always his favorite, so he of course had to go all the way across the school to the cafeteria, to find the one machine that carried his sugary addiction.
    Senioritis sucks. I’ve been ready to get out of this place since September. My real education wrapped up about 6 months ago, and man, that was one hell of a lab practical.

    I laughed under my breath at the thought and turned down the hallway towards the cafeteria to go meet Seth. That’s when he barreled around the corner red-faced and gasping.

    “Todd, You have to come with me right freaking now!” Seth shouted.
    “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. Seth usually doesn’t tend to get worked up over anything. “Did you find a way into the volleyball team’s locker room?” I retorted casually.
    “Dude, we gotta go! It’s a matter of life and death.” A sudden look of dread washed over Seth’s face and I knew almost immediately what it had to be.
    “Show Me.”

    Seth led the way sprinting through the halls, we had played soccer together for ten years, so it didn’t take us long to arrive. When we got to the cafeteria doors, Seth stopped me. He gestured silently at the doors signaling to me to look inside. I peeked my head up to the narrow window. Damn, I was right. F*%$ing Zombies. At least twenty of my schoolmates had been turned. How the hell did the virus get here…? No time to think about that right now.

    “Seth, listen to me. You have to stay right here. Do you hear me?” I whispered.
    “What are you going to do?” he asked.
    “Exactly what I’ve been learning.” I replied earnestly.

    I had seen the janitor’s trolley in the previous hallway about 4 doors down. I sprinted back there, and grabbed the mop. I propped the handle on the wall, and gave it a swift kick, splintering the end near the mop head just above the rusted metal fixture. I flipped the splintered end up, and gave it a quick analysis. It wasn’t very sharp, but it just had to get me to the kitchen, there’s knives in the kitchen.

    I headed back to the cafeteria doors, where Seth was huddling in the corner. Good, they hadn’t tried to come out. He gave me a surprised look when he saw the improvised weapon in my hands, and then started shaking his head violently, pleading with me not to do what he knew I was about to do.

    “Seth, you have to trust me. I’ve got this. Y’know how I’ve been going to youth group at church?”
    He nodded.
    “And last summer I worked at that summer camp, but you couldn’t visit on the weekends or anything?”
    He nodded again, his eyes growing wider as he began to realize my deception.
    “I’ve been training with a task force. Zombies are real Seth. It started with a virus, some terrorist assholes weaponized it, and now it’s spreading. I have go in there, I’ll be fine. I promise. I need you to go lock yourself in the bathroom, I’ll come get you.”

    I turned away, and quietly opened one of the doors, I slinked in and did my best to let the door close silently. Clunk-click. None of them moved. Alright, time to do this.

  3. Geriatric3368

    I had already cleaned out my locker two weeks ago, but since today was the last day of school Mr. Davis allowed us to leave class for “organizational development”. It was his clever way of saying we could roam the halls after we packed up our lockers. My best friend Seth went to grab a soda from the vending machine, Mountain Dew was always his favorite, so he of course had to go all the way across the school to the cafeteria, to find the one machine that carried his sugary addiction.
    Senioritis sucks. I’ve been ready to get out of this place since September. My real education wrapped up about 6 months ago, and man, that was one hell of a lab practical.
    I laughed under my breath at the thought and turned down the hallway towards the cafeteria to go meet Seth. That’s when he barreled around the corner red-faced and gasping.
    “Todd, You have to come with me right freaking now!” Seth shouted.
    “What the hell is going on?” I demanded. Seth usually doesn’t tend to get worked up over anything. “Did you find a way into the volleyball team’s locker room?” I retorted casually.
    “Dude, we gotta go! It’s a matter of life and death.” A sudden look of dread washed over Seth’s face and I knew almost immediately what it had to be.
    “Show Me.”
    Seth led the way sprinting through the halls, we had played soccer together for ten years, so it didn’t take us long to arrive. When we got to the cafeteria doors, Seth stopped me. He gestured silently at the doors signaling to me to look inside. I peeked my head up to the narrow window. Damn, I was right. Fucking Zombies. At least twenty of my schoolmates had been turned. How the hell did the virus get here…? No time to think about that right now.
    “Seth, listen to me. You have to stay right here. Do you hear me?” I whispered.
    “What are you going to do?” he asked.
    “Exactly what I’ve been learning.” I replied earnestly.
    I had seen the janitor’s trolley in the previous hallway about 4 doors down. I sprinted back there, and grabbed the mop. I propped the handle on the wall, and gave it a swift kick, splintering the end near the mop head just above the rusted metal fixture. I flipped the splintered end up, and gave it a quick analysis. It wasn’t very sharp, but it just had to get me to the kitchen, there’s knives in the kitchen.
    I headed back to the cafeteria doors, where Seth was huddling in the corner. Good, they hadn’t tried to come out. He gave me a surprised look when he saw the improvised weapon in my hands, and then started shaking his head violently, pleading with me not to do what he knew I was about to do.
    “Seth, you have to trust me. I’ve got this. Y’know how I’ve been going to youth group at church?”
    He nodded.
    “And last summer I worked at that summer camp, but you couldn’t visit on the weekends or anything?”
    He nodded again, his eyes growing wider as he began to realize my deception.
    “I’ve been training with a task force. Zombies are real Seth. It started with a virus, some terrorist assholes weaponized it, and now it’s spreading. I have go in there. I’ll be fine, I promise. I need you to go lock yourself in the bathroom, I’ll come get you.”
    I turned away, and quietly opened one of the doors, I slinked in and did my best to let the door close silently. Clunk-click. None of them moved. Alright, time to do this.

  4. MrSparky

    Clean It Up and Get Out

    ===============================================

    (Well past the 500 words, but it was too fun to stop)

    As I sifted through the junk crammed into my locker, I realized that I am indeed a pack rat. My bedroom at home is spotless, but boy do I neglect my locker. I began shoving things into a garbage bag. I found old homework papers that never got turned in for a grade; pencils with the erasers bitten off; love notes from a few girls that just never really panned out; a Harry Potter novel bent completely to hell. I was actually beginning to make a bit of progress when I saw Frank leap around a corner, bundling in my direction.

    He stopped before me, hands on his knees and panting, out of breath. “Luke, you gotta get down here . . . Cafeteria . . . Shit just hit the fan . . . like . . . major shit . . . big fan.” He held his arms out to emphasize just how big a fan we were talking.

    “Woah,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder. “What’s wrong? Sure it’s nothing Mr. B can’t handle.”
    He stood up straight, finally having caught his wind. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, man. Just come.”

    In the past, whenever I’ve sensed something off or out of place, a slight tingling sensation always makes its way down my spine. I had that feeling then, as Frank looked me in the eyes. I could tell he was serious, though he was good at acting the part. The cafeteria was right around the corner from where Frank had just come, and just as I closed my locker, the lock falling back into place, something resembling Billy Combs came shambling into the hallway. I knew what it was without even considering how crazy the idea sounded. They had told me I was in this school for a reason, and that I was to wait; I would know what to do when the time came.

    Without taking my eyes off Billy, my hands shot back to my locker and entered the combination into the lock. Billy looked in our direction. I opened the locker. Billy moaned, and then sprinted toward us, moving much faster than I had ever seen Billy Combs move before. Frank screamed, and ducked behind me, cowering like a scared pup. I couldn’t blame him. Any ordinary person coming into contact with a zombie would do what he was doing. Luckily for Frank, I wasn’t ordinary.

    Billy had covered half the ground between us when I moved a picture of Donna Clemens aside and pushed the little blue button behind her. The inside walls of the locker folded inward to reveal a much larger space, a space containing many things: a Kevlar vest, two sawed off shotguns, a can of bug repellant, a motorcycle helmet, a tube of Old Spice Swagger body spray, and a katana had actually just recently purchased from the local Renaissance Festival.

    Frank tightened his grip on my leg and screamed, pointing at something that very clearly terrified the shit out of him. I looked, and what was left of Billy Combs was now only a couple feet away. I stood where I was, and then swung my locker door as hard as I could. It connected with Billy’s head and he tumbled backwards. All the time I needed. I reached into the locker, grabbed one of the shotguns and pointed it at Billy. He growled. I fired. Buckshot ripped his face apart and the rest of him fell quietly to the tiled floor. Blood began to pool around him. I mouthed a silent prayer for Billy.

    “Holy . . . Shit,” Frank managed. “Where did you find a gun?”
    I sighed, not really in the mood to tell the story yet again. “I keep a few things hidden in my locker for emergencies,” I lied. “I’d say my paranoia was a good idea.”
    “Nobody keeps two shotguns in their school locker,” Frank said. “You’re insane.”
    “Well my insanity just saved your ass, Frank.”

    I put on the Kevlar vest, stuffed my big head into the motorcycle helmet, and strapped the katana to my back. I wasn’t entirely sure the katana would actually cut anything other than air, but I decided it couldn’t hurt. Then I grabbed the can of Old Spice Swagger body spray and the shotgun.
    I shoved the other shotgun at Frank. “Take this and come with me.”

    Reluctantly, he took the gun and held it like a total amateur. If he had actually fired it right then, he would have broken his nose, and so I resigned that that was okay. Add a little humor to what I was about to do. We stopped at the cafeteria doors. I was amazed that the gunshot earlier hadn’t alarmed them, but it hadn’t. There looked to be a couple hundred of them, shuffling between the tables and moaning like sick children. I recognized many of them, kids I had gotten to know pretty well over the last school year. There were a couple teachers mixed in, and them I didn’t feel quite so bad about, I admit. I identified one, Mr. Norris, who always insisted that we keep our mouths shut during his bogus movies.

    Frank leaned forward, whispered in my ear, “Far corner, to the left, behind the overturned tables.”

    Sure enough, I saw them. A few kids were hiding behind the overturned tables. It was a miracle they hadn’t been found out, truly a miracle. It was only a matter of minutes, I knew; one of them would sneeze, or cough, or whimper too loudly as tears fell down their cheeks. I had to do something then.

    “Frank,” I said, stepping back away from the doors. “There’s something I never mentioned before. I’m a teenage zombie killer.”
    “Wha–”

    “It’s a really long story,” I interrupted. “I’ll tell you about it if I make it back out here in one piece. Keep that shotgun close, and only use it if any of them happen to come out here. Don’t come inside with me. If I fall, you’re all that will be left.”

    I knew before I opened the cafeteria doors that it wouldn’t fall on Frank’s shoulders. What could he do? He was a thirteen year old boy with acne who loved his video games and movies. He had never held a shotgun before, wielded a sword before, or even chopped a zombie’s head off before. The worst trouble he’d ever been in was sneaking the sherbet ice cream out of the fridge before eating dinner. No, it wouldn’t fall on him. I’d finish them off, just like I had done before. Other schools, other zombie outbreaks kept out of the public’s knowledge; stopped by me and a few others in secret, before anyone could know. HAZMAT teams would clean up the mess before it was discovered, and the thinkers would spin false yarns to explain the disappearing kids.

    This was just another school.
    This was just another job.

    “Frank, remember what I said. Stay out here.” I swung the cafeteria doors open and ran inside.
    A few hundred adolescent zombies turned their heads to see what had just walked in for dinner. They liked what they saw. Before I had time to shut the doors behind me, they were already running my way. I yanked the katana off my back, the shotgun comfortably resting in my other hand, and I went to work.

    They came at me in waves of ten or so. It lasted almost thirty minutes. One would eat buckshot; another would get a blade through its cranium. The katana did, indeed, work. After ten or so kills I would spray one in the eyes with my Old Spice body spray, blinding the zombie and temporarily removing the smell of dead flesh at the same time. As I really got into a groove, the entire affair became sort of a blur. I twirled and danced over dead zombies like a ballerina, spraying buckshot and swinging my blade. Another pile of bodies, another couple sprays of Old Spice. For me, it had become a performance by now. It was second nature. I knew their movements, their speed, their intelligence. I countered and double-countered their every decision. I can’t take too much credit, because zombies are, by nature, stupid and single-minded. With only one thing on their minds they are unable to react to my actions quick enough, and so before long, they were all dead. The cafeteria was silent.

    From head to toe I was covered in blood. The walls, the tables, the floors, all soaked in scarlet. I was able to save the kids hiding behind the overturned tables, which was the best I could do with so many already turned. Had there been fewer I could have taken extra measures to cure them, reverse-engineer the Ebola virus that had taken hold. But it was too late, and my only option was to take them down as quickly and efficiently as possible. The men in the HAZMAT suits showed up minutes after it was over, the survivors quarantined and then released with their memories wiped clean of the events that had taken place. With the mess cleaned, the yarns began to spin explaining three hundred and seventy-five missing students.

    I never saw Frank again. His mind, too, had to be wiped of all the day’s events. He remembered me, but was told that my parents pulled me out of school, fearful that I might disappear with the nearly four hundred others that had been lost. I’ll never understand how they get people to believe such nonsense, but then again, what they do isn’t my job. My job is the mess itself; whenever and wherever it happens.

    I may be a student at your school one day. You’ll know who I am, oh yes, because they’ll need you to know who I am. Because, if they can wipe memories from your mind, do you not think they can plant them as well?

  5. Vicky

    It was something out of a horror movie, I noted mildly as I stood in the doorway of the cafeteria. Penny was hiding behind me and absently, I tug the snapback on my head lower, eyes narrowing at what had become of my schoolmates. Wasn’t this a pain? I stepped into the room and Penny squeaks. It was understandable. I was about to walk into the cafeteria of zombies. I wasn’t concerned. It was no biggie. It was a morning call at the office. Though chances were someone else would be dispatched first. Because the bureau liked to put education first, even if it was my last day.

    As if the thought passing my brain was a summons, there was a enthusiastic cackle and all the windows on the north side exploded. I scowled when a black blur slid out from the corner of my vision. Showoff. I turned and the other neatly stole the hat off my head. By the time I turned around, my annoying partner was there, teeth glinting in a manic grin and his trademark scythe held loosely in his hands. Some of my zombified schoolmates were already beheaded. But that wasn’t the thing that caught my attention.

    My hat was on his head.

    “Hello Love.” Walker’s Scottish drawl made me frown and automatically, I reach into the pocket of my hoodie for my lighter. His grin grows wider when I pull it out. Walker is already moving, grinning before the flame completely forms.

    “Give me my hat!” I throw the lighter. The air in front of me catches fire and I reach into it, hands curling over the familiar curve of my weapon of choice. The chakrams burn red when they finish forming and I see Penny. Oh. I never did tell her about the bureau. But another time. I wanted my hat.

    “Catch me first Kiki.” Walker’s voice is annoying and drawling and I throw one of my chakrams at him, the spinning wheel effectively cutting down a few zombies along the way. Walker cackles again when I swear loudly. At least he was good at his job, even if he was irritating.

    Everything went down in record time – mostly because it consisted of me cutting down everything trying to get my hat but the room was free of threats soon enough. Walker grinned when we finished, placing my hat back on my head as he slid past. I scowl at him. I tug my hat down to cover my eyes when Penny approached. She sort of sniffs and toes a head.

    “No splatters. Not your usual style.”

    What?

    “Training cuffs. I make do.”

    “Chakrams. Kayle’s work right?”

    “Yeah. The affinity to fire was surprising. Bitzy likes him. Good eye for things.”

    “Not surprised.”

    Walker grins.

    What?

    Walker throws an arm around my shoulders again at my expression.

    “We’ll explain over dinner.”

    “Chinese?”

    “Naw. Italian. Kieran likes his Italian.”

    “Andre’s?”

    “Sounds good.”

    I’m confused. Walker laughs and we leave behind a silent cafeteria.

  6. SilhoueX

    It was the last minute of the last hour of the last day. I casually cleared my locker with a cool sense of numbed pride. This was it, I was a graduate. I was both excited and nervous, at the prospect of the road that lay before me. Standing in my graduation robes. I pondered all things in that moment; my life, my future, my past, my mortality. I felt, in a moment all things coming together to form a picture. I knew, somehow, that the image forming would be the answer to all things. The image became more and more discernable when suddenly…

    “Justin! Justin!” My best friend DJ shouted running towards me.

    Jarred out of my moment of near enlightenment I was visibly annoyed and made no effort to hide it.
    “What!” I shot, glaring at him.
    Not at all noticing the distain I was radiating, he continued, somewhat out of breath, “Dude! We gotta get the fuck outta here!!”
    He then grabbed my arm, proceeded to tug me along. I followed him bewildered.
    “The fuck did you do now, DJ!?” I demanded, stumbling behind him.
    Known for being anything but the model student my accusation was in no way uncalled for. He prided himself on pranks. His most noteworthy of which was suspending the principal’s car from the flag pole and offering “hand lotion” to Mr. Gertrude our science teacher. Gorilla glue, which rendered the teacher defenseless as DJ pantsed him.

    DJ shot back, “I swear, I didn’t do anything this time!”
    “Then why are we…”

    DJ stopped abruptly, cutting me off. He grabbed my head and turned me roughly so I was looking back the way we had come.

    “Zombies” He whispered harshly into my year.
    Sure enough in the hall behind us a small horde of zombies was gaining on us. Not quite running, but not slowly either. Students, parents and teachers alike were moaning, grunting and growling. Bleeding and drooling as they moved.

    I pushed DJ, “Fuckin run!” DJ and I ran hard. Quickly reaching the exit doors before the zombies could reach us. Kicked the metal rectangular button not wanting to slow down for even an instant. To our terror the doors did not open and we both smashed into the doors. Knocking ourselves to the floor.
    DJ was the first to his feet “Wa What the Fuck!!! Why won’t it open!” he was kicking the door. I peered through the door window.
    “DJ…it’s barred.” I said defeated “They must be trying to quarantine the school.”

    “What do we do?” DJ asked.

    “We fight.” I affirmed.
    “Til the end.” DJ added.
    As my adrenaline skyrocketed, I felt in that moment, a calm sort of euphoria. We charged together. Time seemed to slow dramatically as I swung an unknown blade beheading 2 zombies. DJ watched on in awe as his best friend seemed to disappear. DJ Stared on in shock as the zombies fell like a gory wave.
    Thus began the zombie apocalypse.

  7. GeneDaniels

    FACE MELTER

    As I sifted through a mountain of garbage piled up in my locker, I saw Mike in my peripheral come flying around the corner, out of breath.

    “Yo come quick! FIGHT!”

    Highschool fights are like winning the lottery or getting free concert tickets. I mean theres no better way to break up the monotany of the day than a good old fashioned squab. Except when fights happen, the whole student body clammers on about it for weeks. Repuatations are made and broken. So I abandoned my search for walkman batteries and took off down the hallway after Mike who bolted back around the corner, toward the cafeteria.

    As we approached the scene, the crowd parted away so we could see what was happening. I saw Jock, the captain of the football team, holding back the flailing body of some freshman band geek who was trying to attack him.

    “Hey Sanders. Get a load of this one. I must have insulted his home planet or something,” said Jock letting loose with a dumb laugh.
    “Hah. What a geek!” chimed one of Jock’s counterparts.

    Now typically upon approaching a scene like this one I would have already lost interest. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in a crowded lunchroom and watched as Jock proceed to feed some mathlete the remainder of their lunch through their ass. But something about the rabid nerd struck me as peculiar. His eys were a fiery red and his skin had a bluish tint to it as if it belonged to a rotting corpse at the bottom of a lake. His screams and cries grew louder. They began to sound otherworldly and inhuman. I knew something bad was about to happen so I began to step back toward the door with Mike who was clutching a Tony Alva fish board to his chest.

    Without warning, the screaming nerd spewed a violent stream of neon green bile all over Jack, from his flat top down to his British Knights. What came next was heinous. An all out zombie blood bath of neon puke and gore spreading throughout the lunchroom. Mike and I were turning to leave when a depraved, one legged lunch lady hopped up behind us and bit a chunk out of Mike’s shoulder causing him to drop the skateboard at my feet.

    “Bogus!”

    I commenced to shred down the hallway on the Alva board doing wall rides and no complies off lockers as a hoard trailed close behind. My zombified Algebra teacher jumped out from behind a trash can and knocked me off the board.

    “Most unrighteous wipeout.”

    I picked up the board and gave him a firm whack to the noodle as he lunged for me.

    “X equals negative b plus or minus my board against your domicile, bud!” I said as I ripped the flesh from his face with my grip tape.

    Left and right the hoard was closing in. Mutated teenage zombies, foaming at the mouth poured around corners, blocking my exit. I ran into the principles office and slid a desk in front of the door to block the zombie’s entry. Knowing that the hoard would eventually break the door down, I had to think fast. I spotted a digital alarm clock on the principle’s desk.

    “Bingo!”

    I swapped the batteries out of the alarm clock and shoved them into my walkman as one of the zombies punched through the door’s glass.

    I ran over to the intercom and hit play on the walkman, unleashing the most radically hellacious guitar solo from the latest Ratt album. The sound was so powerful that the zombie’s flesh began to melt and decompose as they tried to cover their ears.

    “Maximum volume!”

    All of this while I stood on the principle’s desk head banging–swinging my heavy metal hair.

  8. austinsdgva

    June 19, 2056

    -static-
    *this is Alpha.come in Bravo*
    *This is Bravo. what’s up Alpha*
    *sector D3 under attack unknown enemy need backup NOW!*
    -gunfire is all that can be heard from the walkie talkie-
    *Alpha leader come in. Alpha come in…*
    *AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH NO NO NOOO BACK OFF YOU UNDEAD FREAKS WAIT NOOOOOOOOO…*
    *AL…ALPHA YOU TH…THERE?*

    THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE END
    October 29, 2056

    “man tomorrow’s my b-day bros!” luke said.
    “happy birthday luke.” michael replied
    “sucks though there ain’t no cake” nick said sadly
    “thank for rubbing it in dude. i know”luke said chuckling a little
    the door swing wide open the general comes in. You could see the pained expression in his face.
    We too knew what this was about this new unknown threat to humanity and about alpha team.
    when the 4 of us got to D4 hmv’s where flipped, some on fire, dead bodies on the cracked asphalt.
    only 1 was alive, it was…. difficult to bear this, so we did what we had to do.
    end of part 1 tune in for more

  9. raheemsdgva

    Chris and his best friend Joseph were on their way to the cafeteria for lunch, they notice two students there who’s classed hadn’t even been dismissed and they were confused because they usually are the first ones to arrive in the cafeteria. The two teens didn’t want to walk in and have an awkward moment so they just watched through the tiny crack of the door, as they watched they noticed that these two people weren’t even students from the school. They tried to whisper as they spoke to each other bu were noticed by the two people and tried to move out of site.

  10. JRSimmang

    THEY SAID IT WAS BUY ONE GET ONE

    Come to find out, I am a pack rat. There were report cards in here from freshman year.

    “Turner! STOP!” Madeline skidded to a halt next to me. “YOUHAVETOCOMEWITHMERIGHTAWAYITSAMATTEROFLIFEORDEATH!”

    I’ve learned to not ask questions of Madeline anymore. I held out my wrist, she grabbed it, and she led me hysterically to the cafeteria.

    Before we reached the door, she stopped and turned to me. “Turner. Before you go in there, there’s something you have to know.” She took a deep breath.

    “Is it zombies?” THE LOOK! Oh, that look of incredulity. Gets me every time. I stifled a chuckle.

    “H-how did you know?”

    “Look, Maddy, I love you, but there’s only three things it could be: Werewolves (which are native only to North Canada), Russians (who would sneak in through North Canada), and zombies.”

    “I… uh… buh…”

    “Don’t worry, babe. I got this.”

    The cafeteria was dead silent. Twenty years ago, there would have been paper airplanes drifting endlessly, mashed potato Sputiniks orbiting the vacuous eyes of overpaid coaches, and loose toilet paper no doubt ripped off from the band hall bathrooms, because that place never has toilet paper. And come on. Tubas.

    Today, it was eerie, and unfortunately becoming the norm in high schools across America. That’s why they called in the specialist. Me.

    The first zombie was munching away at some unidentifiable flesh, no doubt cafeteria food. Even zombies can be fooled by that. As I approach, my transistor begins to vibrate, telling me that I’m coming close to an infected one. Immediately, the antigen is sent out in small waves, percolating through the cafeteria. Once one is down, the others follow.

    I’ve seen it before. As soon as they’ve been hit with antidote, they sway, unsure suddenly of their surroundings. This one, whom I recognize as Surely (poor, poor child having to live with that name), allowed the tripy-tidbit fall from her lip onto her lap before she grunts:

    “Mrph-phrum-der-WIRELESS?!”

    Once one notices that their world will forever change, they get aggravated. I started to hear echoing murmurs. “…wireless… instagram… face-face-booooooook…” They all lurched forward, thrashing out at each other’s palm devices, electronics crashing to the floor. One by one, they grabbed at each other’s hair, screaming their zombie screams.

    At this point, the zombies usually take care of themselves. I stand back, and this time was no exception. Surely twisted on me, and stumbled into my shirt. “You… grrrnnnn… you did this…. you piece of… blue! Your eyes… they’re blue!”

    “That’s right, darling Surely. They sure are.” I helped her stand up, and I pushed a golden lock from her face. “And yours are green.”

    She stepped back, and her eyes grew large. “They are?”

    I nodded. “I can help you.” And that was my cue. I climbed on top of the nearest table and shouted, “I CAN HELP ALL OF YOU!”

    Madeline cautiously stepped into the cafeteria, and with timidity, “I will help too.”

    To this day, the cafeteria remembers the day we almost lost. There are others out there, but our mission is noble and our weapons pure. We’re coming after you.

    -JR Simmang

  11. lizbethsdgva

    When this girl was having a good day and was eating her lunch she saw something weird because there was nobody sitting in the lunch tables. So then her friend comes and tells her about that there are zombies in the school. The they both went outside and saw every body drinking there coffie but then 1 min. past and they were turning into zombies. The both girls realized that it was the coffie that was turning them into zombies. Then they both got a message saying that they both have supper powers to kill the zombies, so they tried there powers out and they killed all of the zombies, and also saved other lives that were in danger.

  12. HucknHoldenPunk

    “I don’t care man,” Jacob replied irritably to Matt, “Michael Jordan could never beat Lebron and that’s a fact. I can prove it to you, here watch…”

    I observe the discussion between all of the athletic guys droning on about who’s the best basketball player. I definitely agreed with Jacob that Lebron was the best in NBA history.

    “Andrew,” Emily says, tugging on my sleeve. She sounds affectionate but also sad. It was her who called me into the cafeteria complaining about the other students and using the word “conformist” to describe them. With her black nail polish, purple lipstick, and “Nine Inch Nails” T-shirt, I guess that’s the way she must have felt about them.

    “Andrew, sit with me,” She pleaded, “I don’t want to have to sit alone today.”

    “Don’t you have friends? You’ve got like 800 on Facebook.”

    “Fuck that, it’s so superficial. If I have to sit with Megan and that bitch Hayley one more time I’ll curbstomp them.”

    I looked over to where Megan and Hayley and the other rich, attractive girls were sitting. They were all on their phones and gossiping and talking about last night’s episode of “Pretty Little Liars” in unison. It was pretty sexy but kind of depressing too. I could tell those girls were driving Emily crazy so we sat alone at a cafeteria table and ate our lunches.

    Emily started to talk about how her favorite band, “Streetlight Manifesto”, was coming to play in a few weeks and how she wanted to invite me to come see them. She said that she loved them and that their songs were “existential” and not “conformist and vapid” like the pop artists everyone else at the school was listening to. I couldn’t concentrate though because I forgot to pack a sandwich in my lunch and I was really hungry. Then I got distracted by this fat, geeky kid playing on a Gameboy at a different table. He seemed pretty lifeless, the way his eyes glossed over the screen and his fingers drumming monotonously on the electronic.

    “Andrew!” Emily said in a raised voice. I looked back at her. She seemed a little anxious now.

    “Haven’t you been listening?”

    “About what?”

    “About 1984.”

    “Huh? The year?”

    “No, the book, the one by George Orwell. It’s about a conformist society controlled by the government and there are only a few people who rebel against it. Didn’t you read it like I asked?”

    “Uh, no. The heat game was on and…” I stopped, realizing I’d upset her. She slumped in her seat, her black and white dyed hair covering the pained expression on her face.

    “Emily, what is it?” I asked. She didn’t answer. Instead, she lied down on her side and placed her hands over her head to block me out. That pissed me off so I stood up and left her alone.

    I still hadn’t eaten lunch. I walked through the massive crowd of kids feeling very, very hungry for some meat.

  13. flxwrgrl

    (The whole superhero bit sort of got left out, but I really liked the other parts of the original prompt. So here we go .)

    Untitled

    Garbage. Whether it’s old papers, gym clothes, or gum wrappers, when it comes down to it, at the end of the year, that’s all it is. Garbage.
    So when my best friend, Rain, rushes to me with a wild look in her eyes as I clean out my locker, it startles me. What’s so surprising about failed Spanish tests and study guides that have lost all meaning?
    “You have to come with me right now,” she says, hands twiddling the long brown braid draped over her shoulder.
    I open my mouth the protest- there’s still, like, eight layers of crap to get through, but she stops me short.
    “It’s a matter of life and death.”
    I tilt my head. Life and death? Rain isn’t a very dramatic person; in fact, she barely speaks at all. That’s why I like her. More for me, you know? But something in her face makes me listen, and, intrigued, I follow her to the cafeteria.
    Outside the café doors, I cough, hands on my knees. “This…better…be good,” I say.
    She turns around, then, eyes wide, and opens the door.
    The first thing I notice is Matthew Willis, a.k.a. captain of the football team-, a.k.a Captain Cute-Butt Willis. The second thing I notice is Lara Woodberger eating him alive.
    “No!” I shout, but Rain covers my mouth. This is when I realize something else: Matthew doesn’t really seem to care. Blood drips from his own mouth, his skin is purplish and distended, and if he notices that the president of the debate team has eaten her way halfway through his large intestine, it isn’t bothering him any.
    Oh, now I get it. Zombies. They’re totally zombies.
    “Holy shit,” I think, and then say when Rain removes her sweaty palm from my face. She just nods.
    Just then, Deborah “De-Bore-Ah” Thomas turns her head and growls, a sound not unlike the noise your stomach makes when you haven’t eaten since breakfast.
    Holy shit, I think again, but this time I only say it in my head.
    I mentally catalogue all of my possible weapons as the cheerleading squad drag their half-eaten legs towards us: two pencils in my back pocket, my stubby, over-bitten fingernails, and Rain’s huge, size 13 feet.
    The dead tumble toward s, low moans betraying the whole, well, dead thing. Rain tenses behind me. She thinks we’re running, I realize, as she takes a deep breath and elans away from me.
    As Matthew slithers toward us, with what seems to be the entire human body following behind him, his arms flail to reach us, and I realize that in a way, that’s what he is thinking, too.
    I reach around to my back pocket, and tighten my grip around my two broken number two pencils.
    I try to get it straight: the captain of the football team is a zombie, and his bloody mouth is poised to take a bite out of the girl he never knew existed.
    I raise my weapon.
    Not today, Cute-Butt. Not today.

  14. PeterW

    Everyday I go into school and I turn my classmates from zombies back into students. That is my power. And in that way, there will be no blood on cafeteria tiles; no home-made bombs in lockers; no persons hidden under library tables; no legs running, running out the school door, above the terror in hearts and in eyes, running through the fields of columbines; that way there will be no bodies riddled with bullets from automatic rifles, no swat team/police/paramedics surrounding and storming the perimeter; and no fences lined with flowers and pictures and tokens left, no fences speaking of infinite sorrow… sorrow and shame and horror and disbelief that human kind could turn into something so terrible.

        1. RuthieShev

          I came back here to read this after seeing your message under the new prompt and I, too, am glad I did. I have several grown children that are teachers and I was thinking I should share this with them.

    1. Amyithist

      This brought tears to my eyes. So poignant and heartfelt in so few words. The day before Columbine, I dreamed of a school shooting; though, I didn’t know where it was going to happen, I envisioned it as though I myself were there. I was terrified and the next morning I begged my mom to let me and my brother and sister stay home. The dream was so real, I didn’t want to chance it. About noon that day (I’m seriously guessing here because this was nearly 17 years ago (my God I’m getting old!)), I saw on the TV that there had been a school shooting. My mom called me from work crying and told me that she loved me. It was a really surreal day. You evoked those memories for me. That, Peter, makes you one hell of a writer.

    2. devsmess

      The goosebumps I got from reading that were ‘literarilly’ painful. It’s that one point where you’re reading and you realize what is going on and you stop and cover your mouth because it’s so unexpected and so horrendously truthful…
      Well done… thank you for sharing!

  15. keagensdgva

    my friend runs back down the hall but is too late. a zombie comes rushing out of the cafeteria and catches his scent, he runs but it is too late the zombie tackles him and pulls him into the darkness of the hall.i run as fast as i can and make it just in time to see that i lost the zombies.i run into the bathroom and barricade the door with a stall door. out of the corner of my eye i spot a stool and grab it. i set it on the ground just high enough to reach the grate on the ceiling i climb up just as the door blasts open and the zombies come pouring in. i use my laser vision to seal the grate and i crawl away. what i didn’t think of was that the zombies could adapt so they got smaller and could fly. what a day this was turning out to be. i make a crawl for it to the other grate and make it just in time to see that the fan i crawled through has sped up and shredded the zombie infection

    1. marquissdgva

      Darkness I can feel the splashing of blood coming on my face.I can hear students screaming for help as I slowly get up after the huge hit I just took.I hear my friend Isaiah screaming at me to get up. Once I do get up I am knocked back down.
      ” Mahari get to the principal’s now ” Isaiah screams.
      “Okay le-
      A zombie crawled on me with it’s sharp teeth trying to bite me. I banged it’s head into the wall but it wouldn’t budge I tried to push it, but I was to weak. It crawled over me,and tore my guts open. As it ripped my body to pieces, I screamed in angony. Then I fell into darkness.

    2. isaiahsdgva

      In the middle of a class lesson, sirens go off.I wonder what was happening i look out the window and seen U.S.A forces in the air. Some forces climb down the ladder and getting people to safety. They had loaded weapons with German shepherds by there sides. No one knew what was hap…. As someone starting vomiting blood, it targeted a marine and charge from behind him and bit him. Everyone started to scream and running all over the place. The world was ending but we all was going to die together. The question was what caused humans to react this way and get this virus.A dog had lost it’s hair and i know what that means its turing to a zombie dog, that means it can chase us all done and infect us.

    3. amontesdgva

      Growls echo through the building. I look around but there is nothing there so I kept walking. One more growl sounds and I decide to run. While I’m running I get tackled by someone that weighs pretty much same that I do, I try to scream but the person covers my mouth and whispers in my ear shut up dweeb it’s me. I got even more scared because it was my…..my……sister! What could have she been doing here, before I could think of reasons why, but I had heard a growl. My sister took her hand of my mouth so I got up. Once I got up she shouted “run! ” Then we both ran down the hall, when i got a good look of what the thing was I figured it was a…a…zombie! It had caught up to us and grabbed my sister I turned back and tried to help her but it was to late it had ate her. I stop and took a loose brick from the wall and bashed the zombie in the head with it yell “why did you kill my sister!” Little did I know the zombie was already dead. Once I stopped hitting it I sat down and just cried.

  16. sincerely.m.linn

    ‘H-Haven’t I done this before?’ the thought has been hanging like a half-hazardous chandelier over my head all day. Threateningly the chandelier has been swinging, back and forth, back and forth, throughout the many oddities that I was able to easily brush off. Now, however, I can’t seem to give a simple source of reasoning to the strange feeling of apt familiarity that has made a persistent effort to bring a definite unease to my last day of 10th grade.

    I stand, eerily still, amongst the earnestly moving crowd made up of my fellow classmates. My crudely cluttered locker was my original purpose for strolling to the school’s commons area but my conscious had brought forth a new motive. To give this nagging and truly unnerving sense of severe déjà vu the chance to be more than just mental stress (as I’ve diagnosed it as). Instantly my surroundings begin to agreeably fall into a timeline that is just as predictable to me as the plot of my favorite book that I’ve read five times over.
    Now, Clarabell Johnson will promptly storm off at the defiant exclamation from her twin sister, Annabell, that they will not be doing anymore reckless wondering about. Next, Dex Kings will land a dramatic punch to his already dented locker for an unknown but supposedly pointless reason that will have half-hearted cries of shock erupting from several people. Then, with some attention directed to Dex, Winter Moores will shout angrily at the distracted Felix Simsons for bumping into her and causing the stack of books to tumble from her arms and clatter onto the floor. Like the methdolical ticking of a clock it all plays out to a vague beat within the numb confines of my head.

    Tick.

    The uncomfortable feeling settles heavily in my stomach once more and I raise my eyes slowly to my right. I anticipate long, dirty-blonde hair twisting in the breeze of a frantic sprint and hazel eyes darting about, trying desperately to find someone of apparent importance. I hope I see nothing more than Evie Strong leaning down to help Winter with her precious novels.

    Tock.

    Fixing my eyes on my best friend, whom is rushing toward me at a speed I never thought possible due to her lazy nature, my heart dances in a conflicted putter. Not quite sure to be pushed further into the distraught darkness I’m gingerly submerging into or quicken with adrenaline to prepare myself for the inevitable bad news Lorae is carrying on the curves of her worriedly pursed lips.

    Lorae, her freckled cheeks baring thin streams of tears, takes my hand in her shaking one and turns quickly on her heel. We’re running in the direction she came. With every bewildered blink gory, deadly scenes flash along my eyelids. “Lo! What the hell?! Whe-“ I bite back my questions as Lorae’s sharp nails dig into my palm in a wordless panic. “Cafeteria…They…It’s a matter of life and death.” Something about those last words cause an uneasy tingle to rack through me.

    Bursting through the doors of the lunch room I no longer have to close my eyes to see those horrible visions. It’s not the first time I’ve faced Them. Our entire lives are based around Their hopeful, but realistically impossible, demise. My peers, their uniforms now colored red and their features the fresh form of sickly brownish-purple death we’ve grown accustomed to, are dead.

    Unsheathing the double-bladed hunting knife I keep well hidden in my required combat boots I force my quivering emotions that inquire why this happened to be stilled. There’s no time for that. It’s as Lorae said, this is a matter of life and death. Working my way through the cluster of new zombies I let the now gentle tug guide me through the killing of my friends. Or what remains of who they used to be. As I force my knife through the forehead of Hailey Grizwald, trying not to recall all the sweets she’d given me just because, another thought screams out at me.

    ‘DON’T TURN AROUND!’

    “Linn!” Lorae’s positively fearful screech however cannot be ignored. Snapping my head to her I see my end just before my best friend sends a bullet barreling between my eyebrows.

    My last breath comes quick, shuttering through my aching lungs, but when my eyes close I’m not greeted by a brilliant white light or even scolding gates of hell. Instead I lie in darkness that is only brightened by the brief flashes of swimming lights. The only sound is the steady beat of my heart persisting that I continue to live.

    Breaking past the honestly tranquil state is a grueling sigh of frustration, “Dammit Linn. You died; a-fuckin’-gain. You have to go back…It’s a matter of life and death.”

  17. Observer Tim

    One last take – honest.
    _____

    I looked at Brandon in shock. “You’re Brandon Boswick, Monster Masher?”

    “That’s what it says on my birth certificate, Chet.”

    “It doesn’t say ‘Monster Masher’ on your birth certificate!”

    He shrugged, “You’re right. It says Brandon Monster Slayer Boswick, but I thought the alliteration would sound better.”

    “I thought that was just your parents being silly!”

    “No Chet, I’ve been slaying monsters all my life. Did my first solo kill when I was six; a first-grade werewolf.”

    “How come nobody knows about it?”

    “Everybody knows; they just don’t believe it. They figure I’m just a weird kid who makes up stories.”

    While we talked, Brandon snapped the magazine into his automatic shotgun and checked it over. We were just outside the cafeteria, where things had gone south since somebody cried “zombie”. The door was barred from this side with a couple of broom handles. Finally, he put on a pair of shop-class issue safety goggles and a dust mask.

    “What’s that for?”

    “Blood spatter. Now, where’s that eyewitness?”

    I looked around and spotted Mr. Dammerung, the Principal. I waved him over.

    “Has that been in your locker all semester, Brandon?”

    “Only when I’m at school, Mr. D. Now, tell me what you saw.”

    The Principal gulped a couple of times, then steadied himself. “It was horrible. The pale skin, the sunken eyes, the tattered clothes, and those macabre painted-on grins. And that horrible laughter! No!”

    “Mr. D, get it together! How many were there? How did they get in?”

    “There were eight of them, maybe nine. They drove in from the kitchen in Mr. Armitage’s smart car. People were screaming and yelling. I only barely got out with my life!”

    After that all he could do was whimper. Brandon looked thoughtful.

    “I’m not sure they’re zombies, Chet. We may need another strategy.”

    “Why, Brandon?”

    “They drove. Zombies don’t drive. Something’s not right; I need to get a look at them.”

    “Is there anything I can do?”

    “Yup. On my signal I want you to pull those broom handles so I can open the door a crack and see in. When I push the door to again, put them back. Got that?”

    “Sure Brandon, you can count on me.”

    On his signal I pulled the broom handles out. He opened the door and peeked in, then pushed it back shut forcefully.

    “Brace it! Brace it now!” He looked visibly shaken. His normal confident expression was gone, replaced with stark fear. I slid the handles into place again.

    “What’s wrong, Brandon?”

    “It’s worse than anything I’ve ever encountered. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, angry spirits, even mummies: those I can deal with. But this might be too much.”

    “What is it?”

    “Clowns. Somebody let a carload of clowns loose in the school. I’m going to need a bigger gun.”

  18. snuzcook

    (I gave a nod the the original prompt, but this distant variation requested some airtime.)

    UNDEAD (335 wds)

    It is early summer, and the warming water brings danger. Schools of fish are leaving, moving to deeper, cooler water while we remain, anchored in our beds, snug in our shells as the waters ebb and flow around us.

    The tide will be high soon. I can feel the irresistible pull drawing me upward from the dark, secure mud into the living waters and food.

    As our numbers grow with the season, so do the voracious hunters increase who walk on a thousand fingertips, with long arms to lever us away from the snug mud and rocks. We are lucky; the caretakers who rake our beds watch for predators, chopping them in to pieces and throwing them back into the water for hungry scavengers to consume.

    With the moonless tide and the dark of the night I feel safe. I rise with the elation of the tide and take in the rich broth all around me.

    Something stirs in the broad bed of my family. Gliding shadows, without a moon to form them, approach and we sense the silent protest of our cousins at the edge of the bed as their futile resistance is overwhelmed.

    A swarm of starfish, reanimated bits and pieces of chum, scarred by knives and grotesquely asymmetrical, follow their bellies back to the warm shallow beds where food had been denied them. They silently come to suck out our soft flesh, leaving only hollow shells to rattle among the rocks.

    There is no fear in the mud or the rocks or the rise of the tide. There is only now. And in this moment I am aware of the nearness of the undead things. In this moment I am one with the water that brings me life and the rock that anchors me. I know that in another moment yet unnamed I will be caressed by a hundred fingertips and become one with the undead hunter.

    And the tide will crest and it will fall and another day will dawn.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I think these are the oysters gathered for an event of the San Antonio Fiesta each April. The Oyster Bake at Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio. How close did I come? I loved the analysis of life from the view of an un-pearled oyster. Bravo!

    2. margi33

      A poetic and sensory filled read, snuz. I enjoyed! And though I felt slightly sorry for said oyster, your piece did remind me of my delicious dinner last night and caused me to give thanks to his kind ;) .

  19. dabbins

    I was already in a bad mood. I was up late, getting my butt handed to me by ankle biting toddler zombies, who were surprisingly good at climbing walls. Cara broke it off with me two days before. I also couldn’t let people see the finger print scanner hidden behind the Bayonetta poster in my locker, so I had to purposely take my time cleaning out my locker. This meant I had to miss lunch, and I was starving. I stood there, in full “super hero” get-up, watching from the cafeteria door as my surviving classmates barricaded themselves with lunch tables from the raging teen zombies.
    “I knew it was the meatloaf,” I muttered to myself when Fred earlier told me there were zombies in the cafeteria.
    “What?” Fred asked, looking confused.
    “Nothing,” I growled. It was a really bad day and raging hormones didn’t help. “Go help the survivors make a barricade, I’ll check with the principal.”
    “What? You’re bailing out?!” Fred looked at me astonished.
    “Yes, I don’t want to be eaten by a zombie!” I shot back, which is the truth.
    “Didn’t peg you for a coward,” Fred said, shaking his head and running off toward the cafeteria. Make that one more way this day couldn’t get any better.
    I sighed and cringed as I tore off the poster and pressed my thumb to the little black nub. There was a click and the back of the locker slid open. Body armor, a thick coat, katanas, throwing knives, sawed off shot guns and axe body spray were stocked in full. Not to mention my mask, a motorcycle helmet with a skull spray painted on it with an exposed brain. I am the Brain Saver, after all.
    “Brain,” Max groaned as zombie-him lurched toward me in the cafeteria. I let the prick eat a buck shot. So it began.
    I moved quickly, slicing torsos, heads, acutely aware of the survivors watching me wide-eyed. A gunshot here, a sword through the head there, the occasional throwing knife through a zombie’s cranium. It was beautiful really.
    Then I saw her and I froze. Cara came toward me, pale skinned and groaning. My heart skipped and I almost dropped my weapons in defeat. Then I thought about her breaking up with me, about when we were together, it’s amazingly stupid what went through my mind as my ex girlfriend tried to eat my brain. I then thought about how I would never see her walking the halls again, never have those awkward moments of seeing each other. I never felt so angry.
    I yelled and hacked at her head, through her neck and her body. There was nothing left of her but a pile of gore. My mentor would have been pissed.
    I was yanked backwards, a zombie grabbed my collar. I wasn’t an amateur, I shouldn’t have been so stupid. It was Mark, the quarterback. I kicked, elbowed desperately, but his hold was strong. His massive hands pried at the mask. The glass of the helmet cracked and panic set in. I yelled and swung my fists at air, my head felt like it was about to explode.
    In moments like this, electricity or fire don’t help. Zombies don’t care if they’re being electrocuted, burned, drowned, or even cut in half.
    There was a loud bang and a warm splash and suddenly I was on my back on top of who used to be the school’s varsity quarter back. A SWAT officer leaned over and stared at me, I waved at the officer and saw the sagging shoulders of relief. Thanks mom, I thought.
    Cleanup was rough. There were two students bitten in the incident and they were sent to one of the cities many quarantine zones. My boss/ mom both chided and complemented me, as is her way.
    Haz-mat folks cleaned up the gore. There was a stain where Cara’s body fell. It must have been really faint because I seemed to be the only one who noticed.

      1. dabbins

        Thank you. I definitely wanted to leave something fun and comic-bookish. I find that lately zombie stories have been so dower and this actually inspired me to think up a comic book idea. Good thoughts…

  20. Jay

    Mister Misery

    Do I dare to dream of the days before the outbreak? Can my reminiscence help me find peace though my actions caused the deaths of millions of people? Will I ever find redemption?

    I stood in that cold hallway, repeatedly wiping the sweat from my brow. I looked into the mirror just inside my open locker and the person staring back was not the one I’d watched grow into a man. The icy blue accusatory eyes watched me as an unknown guilt crawled up my spine.

    I shivered, and quickly looked away as the clock struck noon on the last day of high school–and consequently, the last day for humanity. I wondered how much longer it would be before those who wronged me paid with their lives.

    Chad, my good friend and the one I fell in love with freshman year, came running down the hallway just south of the cafeteria. His exertion painted his cheeks rosy and white, and he breathed heavily as though the world was going to end.

    He screamed through heaves of what sounded like thick viscous air, “You gotta hurry… the cafeteria… people are… dying.”

    I put my hand on his shoulder, and though I wanted to smile with the subtle recognition of revenge, the fact that I’d murdered people had an unequivocally sobering effect.

    I turned back to my locker to clean out the last few items: a pencil, a pen, a valentine’s card from Chad, and a comb. I wondered how the comb got in there because the hair on my head was as wild as the weeds upon a grassy hillside. Then I thought about Chad, who always had amazing hair. Hell, he had many amazing features. Gorgeous brown eyes, thin powerful lips that stretched into a big beautiful smile, and the way his eyebrows lit up when he looked at me. I took a deep loving breath and stuffed the comb into the bag with the rest of my things.

    Chad grabbed my arm, and he did it hard. I turned to him with surprise because he’d never grabbed me like that before.

    He said, “Seriously, you need to come see this. Everyone is dyin’, man… everyone.”

    My skin tensed with gooseflesh. Suddenly everything became surreal. The realization that what I’d done was killing more than just the people that hurt me—more than just the people that deserved it—made me sick.

    “Come on, we gotta help them!” Chad said and grabbed my hand. He pulled me toward the cafeteria, and at first, I resisted him. I mean, what person who couldn’t even stand the thought of killing people would want to watch his own creation at work. Even if the people I wanted to kill were part of that group, I didn’t want to see it. Somehow not watching, not being there, made it only half as real. I relented, however, and followed him to ground zero.

    When I arrived at the cafeteria, I looked through the small crosshatched glass window. Inside the room were hundreds of my classmates crawling over each other. They didn’t look any different except for the dead stare in their eyes. They had wounds on various parts of their bodies, and most had blood spilling from their mouths. One of them crashed through the window, and they filed out in the city like a bunch dark shuffling lemmings.

    I backed away from the door, and when I hit the wall on the other side of the corridor I said, “I never meant for this to happen.”

    “What?” Chad said, and he came to me. As I slid down the wall, and knelt next to me. “What are you saying?”

    I said in an almost inaudible whisper, “I did this.”

    “Babe, I can’t here you.” He said, and when he put his hand on my shoulder, I flinched.

    “I did this.” I said, but louder this time.

    “What do you mean?”

    “Last night I… drained the pool. I refilled it and put… that bacteria in there.” I said and buried my face in my hands. “Oh, God… I killed them all.”

    Chad took his hand off my shoulder, and he moved a bit away.

    He said, “What bacteria? I don’t understand.”

    “God, don’t you see, Chad? Remember that kid that got sick from that Fowleri bacteria? I just thought it would kill those assholes, I never imagined what it would do in large scale.”

    “I don’t understand, why would you do that? Why would you kill people? How the fuck did you even get all that bacteria?”

    I cried and the tears poured between my trembling fingers. “I grew it. Months and months in my basement. Dank and dark, it thrived there. I fed it and cultivated it and it grew.”

    “What did you do?” He said, though I suspected he was being rhetorical.

    “I killed everyone.” I said, answering him anyway.

    For a while, we were silent. It was obvious Chad was still trying to figure out how I could have done the things that I did, but his emotional suffering didn’t last long. You see, not long after that moment, he became one of those things.

    Among those that I loved that suffered as well were my mother, my father, and my little sister. Apparently, the bacteria transferred to the water supply, and it infected almost everyone. Within a few days, most of the world was gone.

    With just a few of us survivors remaining, we found refuge in the cold mountains where the bacteria couldn’t survive.

    As I sit in safety, recounting the moments that led up to the death of so many people, I’m not seeking your understanding for my actions. I won’t pretend that you should feel any sort of sympathy, empathy, or pity for me. What I did killed millions of people, and for that I expect nothing but pure contempt from you. With that said, the only reason I tell you this story is so you know why the world ended. It is merely to teach you that when educating the future and repopulating this world, you can teach our young to respect and love those around them so another like me is never again born from humanity’s malevolence.

    1. snuzcook

      *puts hand on shoulder* Yes, there have been too many killings in schools these days. This story draws from that place in all of us as we watch the news who want to hit the giant REWIND button for those affected. Don’t know if that’s where this came from for you, but that’s where it landed for me.
      Well done.

      1. Jay

        Thanks, snuz. I haven’t read the news for few days, work kind of gets in the way, so I can’t say I drew inspiration from it, but after checking the news I can see where that might make sense. The story has a model for revenge, but only takes place in a school as a result of the prompt. I think the worst part is that there shouldn’t be a congruence with reality when dealing with something like this, but apparently kids for some reason like to target schools these days.

        That said, I really hope this story doesn’t upset anyone, as that isn’t my intention.

  21. Marc Ellis

    Excited chatter and the smell of cleaning spray filled the hallway as the students of Mercedes Academy cleaned their lockers for the summer.

    Clement could have finished fifteen minutes ago, but she purposely left a few paperclips and broken pencils at the bottom of her locker hoping Daniel would soon arrive to clean his.

    Daniel, arguably the most handsome boy in her class, was assigned a locker next to hers this year. Unfortunately, Daniel had a girlfriend, Lilith, and she was with him when he finally arrived.

    “Hi,” said Clement.

    “You’ll miss Danny…won’t you?” said Lilith. Don’t worry; I’ll take good care of him.” She smiled at Clement as she wrapped her arms around him from behind and slid her hands into his front jeans pockets.

    Clement was sure that she would. As much as Clement loathed her, she coveted the way the school uniform fit Lilith. Clement’s uniform repelled boys.

    Daniel shoved the contents of his locker into a gym bag and said, “Have a good summer.”

    “You too,” said Clement.

    As they disappeared around the corner, Agatha came running down the hall. Gasping for air, Agatha said, “You have to come with me right now. It’s a matter of life and death.”

    “Sure it is.”

    Agatha was hysterical and incoherent. “I’m not kidding. There’s blood everywhere. It’s spreading,” she sobbed. “We have to get out of here.”

    Clement suspected the worst. “I can stop this. I need you to trust me.”

    Clement and Agatha rushed to the cafeteria. The unnatural movements, the crazed rage, and the blood-covered faces were confirmation that several of the students were now zombies.

    Clement retrieved a small mirror from her backpack and smashed it on the floor. With the largest shard she slit her wrists.

    “What are you doing?” screamed Agatha.

    “Get out of here…Now!” Clement began to wipe her profusely bleeding wrists across her face, neck, and arms. She ran to the end of the cafeteria opposite the doors. When the zombies, including the ones guarding the doors, started to move in her direction, she yelled, “Everyone…Out!”

    At first, the pain was excruciating as the zombies began to scratch, tear and bite. As each one tasted her, it would vomit blood and body parts, stumble away, and fall motionless.

    As they feasted on her flesh, the pain faded and the world started to blur. In the last moments of consciousness, she saw Daniel and Lilith peering down at her with their wild, blood-streaked expressions. Clement whispered, “I forgive you.” Lilith shrieked and lunged at her throat as Clement succumbed to the darkness.

    That evening a TV reporter provided his comments. Men in biohazard gear were spraying down the school with chemicals.

    “The CDC suspects this was a mutation of the Ebola virus,” said the reporter. “Students describe an eruption of chaos and violence. Most of the victims seem to be making a full recovery other than those with the most severe physical injuries.”

    The reporter paused to read his notes. “The CDC also suspects that one of the victims was naturally immune resulting in the rapid abatement of the infection.”

    1. jmcody

      You turned this into a compelling tale of good and evil with Lilith (a demon name meaning “of the night”) and Clement (“merciful, good”). I loved that it was Clement’s forgiveness that was Lilith’s ultimate undoing. Except for the fact that she seems to have recovered in the end, Clement’s character was that of a martyr. This was a profound and inspired take on a very silly prompt, and well-written as always. Bravo, Marc!

      1. Marc Ellis

        Thank you jmcody. I appreciate that you teased out the names and the associated characters’ roles in the story. I had a lot of words to cut to make this closer to 500, so I feel like I lost some of what I thought to be a few of the more artistic/symbolic elements. Again, I’m glad you saw what was left.

    2. Jay

      The saddest part of this story is that Clement somehow knew her blood carried an antibody that was resistant, even fatal, to the mutated ebola virus, and because she knew about her immunity to the virus, she must have had the aforethought to figure out a way to use her blood in a way that didn’t result in her death. She didn’t seem like an idiot to me, so that leads me to believe that she sacrificed herself for no other reason that because she really couldn’t deal with life, a selfish (and insane) suicide under the guise of righteous sacrifice.

      It really struck me as odd that she forgave Lilith. Was it because the girl was about to eat her? It could’ve been, but then she probably would’ve forgiven both of them. Then I wonder why didn’t she forgive Daniel, too? Unless he was completely oblivious, he had to notice the way Lilith treated Clement when it came to the relationship between the three of them. Either that, or despite Clement’s supposed scarifice for the good of all, she still believed Daniel to be a good person in all this. I mean, if he allowed Lilith to be that way toward Clement, wasn’t he just as much guilty and in need of forgiveness?

      I have a lot of questions about it, but it was entertaining nevertheless. Thanks for sharing, Marc!

      1. Marc Ellis

        Thanks Jay for your comments. I had way more to add than what 500 words would allow. In my head, the “cure” was as much a spiritual/magical event as it was biological. Not only the element of her blood, but her death/sacrifice was also required to stop and remedy the “evil” plague. The point of the forgiveness line was to show how “good” she was. She loved the people enough to give herself for their cure even when they were ugly on the inside like Litlith. The longer story also describes Clement as a soft-spoken social misfit with most of the school disinterested or disapproving of her as a person. I think ending this story with the Ebola news report cheapened it a bit. I assume we’ll get a new prompt as early as tomorrow, so I buttoned things up to get a post in.

        1. Jay

          I see, it all makes sense now. That’s interesting it required her sacrifice/death to complete the eradication of the affliction. I wonder, then, would her sacrifice have saved anyone from anything? Such as, if people were turning into blood-thirsty werewolves or demonic ankle-biters would it have had the same effect. In that sense, it’s far more logical that she killed herself and also gives reason as to why she had no other alternative. Damn, Marc… I think you should just go for broke and break the 500 limit next time if you think it’s worth it. ;) It seems like you had an amazing story to tell! Damn all the rules. haha

  22. smallPencil

    I scanned the cafeteria. “Whoa.”

    “Yeah, man. They’re zombies. Freaking zombies!” screamed my best friend, Nate. Nate’s brow was furrowed and his eyes, wide. He looked constipated.

    “I’ve never tried to handle this many at once,” I said, more to myself than Nate. The zombies were spread across the far end of the cafeteria. I strolled to the center and turned around, putting my back to them.

    “What the hell are you doing?!”

    I put my arms out, like the Rio Jesus. “Tell me, Nate, have you ever seen me take a sick day?”

    “What?! Yes! You take sick days all the time! You take more sick days than anyone I know.”

    Oh, right. “But you know I’m just playing hooky. I mean have you ever seen me really sick?”

    “Have you ever seen ME sick?”

    “Um, er…” He had me there. I suppose the minor illnesses of others are not particularly memorable. “Okay,” I said, “so I guess I can’t prove it, but look -”

    “No, you look! Behind you!” Nate pierced the air with his finger.

    Seconds later teeth sunk into my left shoulder. I cried out. Then I grimaced and smiled. Behind me a zombie moaned. The sound rose in pitch till it became the moan of a teenaged girl. I reached back, grabbed a handful of hoodie, and flung her forward. Then I planted my foot in her lower back and shoved her toward Nate. It was Meghan Carpenter, a cute-enough, brunette cheerleader. She fell to the floor and rolled to a stop at Nate’s feet. “You want to help? Find her bite wound and bandage it before she bleeds to death.” Nate tore off his shirt, produced a pocket knife, and cut off a strip of material. Something bit into my left elbow, into my right bicep. I grunted in pain.

    When he finished applying a tourniquet to Meghan’s arm, Nate looked at me. “How the hell did you do that?”

    “I have a super power.”

    “What?!”

    “Yeah. A super power. My body instantly annihilates any virus, or bacteria – any microbial bad guy.”

    “If you’re killing the thing animating them, why aren’t they dying?”

    “They haven’t been zombies long enough, luckily.”

    “Fine, but you don’t have to let them bite you, bro! Just fling your blood at them!”

    I felt teeth sink into my left thigh. My right calf. My left side. “Won’t work.” I was getting woozy. I struggled to get the words out. “Has to be -”I collapsed into a pool of my own blood. A handful of confused teens stood over me. Zombies pushed past them. “Too… man-”

    Darkness closed in. It was replaced by a brilliant white light. A figure hovered before me. It had white wings, a halo, and a face made of blinding light and peace. It beckoned. I lifted my spirit leg and peed on it.

    “What are you doing?!” it cried, in a voice of wind chimes and harp music.

    “I own you, now.”

    And that is the story of how I came to be a dead guy who owns an angel. You can make them do all kinds of tricks.

    1. lionetravail

      What a bizarre twist, but the last paragraph was so dry and matter of fact, while being so absurdly out there that it jus sold it for me. Nicely done.

    2. snuzcook

      After I got my face back from screaming “WHAT!?!?!”, I realized that I get your story. It’s such an irreverent twist on the apparent self-sacrifice plot; this guy had no intention of being a martyr–he was all about control and making his own rules. He just miscalculated and ended up with a bonus angel which he then gets to control.

      Interesting response to the prompt; very creative.

  23. moscoboy

    Do or Die

    It was the last day of school and I was cleaning out my cluttered locker when Bobby ran up to me and said, “You have to come with me right not, it’s a matter of life and death.”

    Bobby was a freshman; he was pale and panting as he held on to my shoulder for support while he caught his breath. “Come on Dale, we’ve got zombies in the cafeteria. I’m afraid that after they finish eating the lunch stragglers they’ll be out roaming the halls looking for fresh meat.”

    I slammed my locker door so loud that Sally and Trudy started screaming and yelling, “Dale, Bobby please don’t fight.”

    I yelled back as we marched towards the cafeteria, “We’re not fighting and for heavens sake don’t go to the cafeteria. Call 911 and tell them we have an out of control food fight.”

    We rounded the corner of a long hall and looked at the carnage. I counted five zombies feasting on legs and arms of my friends. There were two new kids I never got around to meeting and I felt sad for not knowing who they were. I mentally reproached myself for being too preoccupied at the ranch.

    I had been in this situation before and I knew it would take less than ten minutes before the zombies would look for fresh blood and would wander out of the cafeteria.

    “Look Bobby, we don’t have time for questions, you have to do exactly what I say and trust me.”

    “Dude,” said Bobby, “I scared shitless, I’ll do whatever you say to survive.”

    “Good, here’s the plan. You go to the utility room and get a couple of broom or mop handles so you can block the cafeteria doors. I’m going to back to the hall and get the fire axe. All you’ll have to do is let them come out one at a time and the fire axe and I will do the rest.”

    Bobby’s feet were cemented to the floor tile with a spaced out look on his face. “We’ve had a case of Chupacabra’s raiding our herds. Two weeks ago dad and I found the culprits. In a dry embankment were two vampires, dad killed one and I killed the other one. Come on, I know what I’m doing.”

    Bobby worked the story in his head and was gone. I backed up to get the axe and bumped into Principal Fogerty who had blood all over his mouth and suit, he eyed me up and down. I was two feet away from the fire axe. I performed a left head fake and as the zombie lunged I pivoted in the opposite direction and used my right elbow to break the glass and get the red axe.

    The handle was smooth and the death instrument was well balanced as I spiked the head of the zombie principal, one down, and five to go.

  24. Augie

    Following tradition of my tribe. I seek the spirit guide leading me into manhood. I have seen the cave before, but not the entrance. Maybe today I am welcomed. I see it.

    A fire glows softly. Flickering light reveals images on the walls. The history of my heritage, the Apache. I walk around the cave as the painted images come alive revealing each tale. Next to the fire pit rest a gourd full of water and two skinned rabbits pitted on sticks. I prepare for the gatekeepers arrival. The first feather of manhood relies on my performance.

    As rabbit meat roast over the fire, he enters. He walks on calm winds with six feathers bound in strands of leather around his forehead. The feather tips glow bright blue, fading towards the hollow binding core. His aura of purity and wisdom calms me. He points to the walls, “where do we start young warrior?’

    I point to the Totem Bear painting on the wall, “ Great Ka-e-te-nay, I am honored to sit with the keeper of Apache warriors. All the stories sing to me, flooding me with emotion. This story of the banished Totem Bear saddens me.” Spirit Chief Ka-e-te-nay responds, “ Ahhh, Kuruk has called to your soul.
    He once stood proudly on the totem, rearing back with great power. His rider held on tightly with a glowing orb around his neck. The rider carries no weapons, dressed in ceremonial burial leather. He is the keeper.”

    “Why was he banished? Was it his riders fault great Ka-e-te-nay?” Ka-e-te-nay looks at me, I feel small in his presence. “You have to live it to understand young warrior.” Ka-e-te-nay throws powder into the fire. Blue flames burst, war drums fill my ears…..

    I was running, only on four feet. My massive claws dug deep with each lunge forward. My lungs fill and I release with a mighty growl. Carrying my rider without effort, he wordlessly directs my stride. We share battle cries charging the village. Once again, the heartless creatures wearing blue skins attack our people with fire sticks. My rider carries the keeper orb. Our duty is to collect the fallen souls of our brothers. Later we will send them to meet our god, Yusan.

    My body rages as we collect the massacred souls. Trapped in the spirit world we cannot interact with the living. How many times will we witness this burden? I feel my rider’s anger as he collects fallen brethren. His orb glows blue as they greet one another in the spirit world.

    I hear a scream from the smoke house. Her voice flows through my veins like rapids sending the message to my heart-struck mind. Liluge! Nooo! The creature in blue stands over her wielding his weapon. My rider attempts to keep me in the spirit world. But I couldn’t. My love for Liluge releases me as I appear by her side.

    My claw rips into his flesh. His spirit rises and I twist it in my jaws, ripping it into shreds. I have broken the code and left the spirit world. My rider smiles, and touch’s his orb hearing the spirits beg for release. They are willing to give up eternal rest to fight. He looks at me, “we have to do it together brother. Neither of us has the power to do it alone. Are you ready?” I stare into his eyes and prepare as he shatters the orb.

    I raise my head, jets of steam flow from my nostrils. Rearing back I let out, “ROOOOOOAR”,,,, angry warrior spirits flow from my jaws. I hear my rider, “Come!”

    Men in blue found themselves surrounded by our spirit warriors. Their flesh melts in fear as they walk like sightless zombies. Their souls rise from the decaying flesh. This battle is not with the living. Each soul that rose from the beast in blue was cut in half by our warriors or taken into my jaws. There would be no resting place, no return for either side. In minutes, soulless bodies of the enemy covered the ground like morning dew.

    Thunder from above shattered the battlefield as clouds formed a stairway to the ground. Descending the stairs marched an army of riders and bears. The rider on the great silver bear spoke, “ what have you done brother? Now these warriors will not see our god Yusan!” Where is your orb?”

    The silver leader shouts to the riders, “ Gather them, I have made my decision.”

    The army of keepers gathers the warrior souls as the leader approaches me.

    “I cannot punish the warriors you offered a chance to return. They will find Yusan. You will be trapped in-between and will give lessons to young warriors. Goodbye my son.”

    The blue light fades, a single glowing feather rest at my feet. I made the same choice as my ancestor had made.

    Chief Ka-e-te-nay whispers:

    “ There are many stories on these walls little warrior, I suggest you get some sleep.”

    The great bear ‘Kuruk’ yawns in the corner of the cave.

    1. Dennis

      Hi Augie, intriguing story with lots of great detail. Was this gleamed from personal knowledge or did you do some research for it? Great job.

      1. Augie

        Thanks Dennis. Naa, Im Sioux. But my best friend is Apache. Either way, we are both ‘Ira Hayes’ wanna bee’s, making our mark. Thanks again.

    2. snuzcook

      I found this a profoundly moving story within a story, Augie. The great spirit bear drawn into the realm of the living, called to act by what could not be borne unanswered. An unexpected take on the ‘undead’ and a memorable posting. Well told story, drumbeat pacing to stir the blood.

    3. jmcody

      This is a very different kind of warrior story from you, Augie — poetic, spiritual and poignant. Some of the language was almost dreamlike: “He walks on calm winds,”Her voice flows through my veins like rapids.”

      This is by far my favorite response of yours so far. I would love to hear some more of the stories on that wall.

      BTW, I have admitted in the past that I don’t get a lot of military speak — acronyms and such. This weekend I watched “Lone Survivor,” which I’m sure you know is about Navy Seals, and I actually recognized some words and acronyms that I learned from you! :) Incredible movie — really gave me a picture of what the Navy Seals are about.

      1. Augie

        Thank you jmcody. I plan on using more stories from my brother ‘Scorpion’ in future post. His walls hold many tales from the heart. I attempted to describe how he is to me. Dreamlike…Drums beating… Thank you again…

  25. Observer Tim

    You don’t believe me, do you? I was there; I saw it with my own eyes. This really happened.

    It was the last day of school; I’d cleaned my locker out the day before and so Conway, Jeff and I were hanging in the cafeteria. Everything was normal until the cheerleading squad shambled in. Six girls in short skirts would normally be a welcome sight, but the drying flesh and sunken eyes made it a little creepy.

    We were all backing up against the walls trying to keep away from the girls when Jay came in. He looked around like he’d been expecting the whole thing, then he did one of those two fingers in the mouth whistles I was never able to. Everyone looked at him.

    Jay is normally the biggest loser in school; he’d outdone himself that day. He looked like a pimp from an old cop show; he had tight blue jeans and his shirt open to the navel. He was wearing enough gold chain to lock up a gangsta, and as God is my witness he was wearing platform shoes. I couldn’t tell if the grease in his hair came from a bottle or if he just hadn’t washed it.

    So Jay smiled this creepy smile and whipped out a pair of sunglasses. He snapped them open with a flick of the wrist and put them on like he’d been practicing for just this moment.

    “Hey Ladies.”

    The zombies looked just as confused as everyone else, especially when Jay walked right up to them.

    “Well Steph, you said you’d only go out with me if you were dead. I’m calling you on that.”

    Stephanie, the head cheerleader and I guess chief corpse, blinked a couple of times. Then she said “Rrrarrgh!” and reached for Jay’s throat. I think she was trying to strangle him, but her fingers got caught in all that gold chain. Jay wasn’t fazed one bit.

    “Love the perfume, babe. Is that Charnel No. 5?” Then he kissed her. Really. On the rotting lips. With tongue.

    I seen a lot of zombies in my time, but I never seen one surprised before. One of the living girls cowering with us puked on Conway’s shirt. Tell the truth I was ready to puke myself. But it wasn’t over.

    The other girls sort of closed in on Jay but he took it in stride. He half-let go of Stephanie and turned to the shambling horrors.

    “Hey, there’s plenty of me to go around.” When he did a hip thrust that girl puked on Conway again. Conway offered her a napkin; I think that was the most interaction he’s ever had with a real girl.

    Anyway, so I don’t believe it but Jay’s shtick worked. He walked out of there with a zombie girl on each arm and four more trailing behind. Nobody’s seen him since, and I’m pretty sure nobody wants to. Makes me sick just thinking about it.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          One of the best of the best of the,of the, ‘you know’ stories I ever read.
          One of the funniest also, clever with your soft touch. Unfortuately, I had the scene emblazed in my brain.
          I’m borrowing a line from “My Fair Lady”.

          “Just you wait, professor Observer Tim!!!!!

    1. lionetravail

      This reminds me of a music video called “Zombie Carwash”- by a group Naked Ape. Disturbing in the same way this story was, except it’s visual and the hot-chick zombies… well, um… are. (Go see!)

      Fun (and bizarre) take, OT :)

    2. dedewitt

      That was incredibly clever, entertaining, and nauseating. Yep, sounds like a legit zombie story.

      Side note: I love semi-colons, but they’re not in the right spots. Minor detail.

      Great work. Great flow, storyline, and dialogue. Pro.

    3. jmcody

      That was truly revolting, Tim. I will also add that I admire Jay’s super fly fashion sense. I don’t even know what to say except that as far as this prompt goes, you certainly rose, or maybe sank to the occasion. :)

  26. SpiralSong

    Most people like to make plans. They like to know what to expect for their day and so they build out thoughts and central themes that they will later play out like some kind of self absorbed robot. People even like to make plans for things that will likely never happen, they call these their dreams. This however is not a dream, and there is no plan.

    We lived in a small community stitched together by what remained of a society that was well passed it’s prime. Years had passed since the dead took to their feet, and still there was no end in sight to the death and decay. The world is only but a shadow of it’s self now, and in these shadows we hide. Survival is the only thing that keeps people occupied and focused. “Do it for the children” Some of the women would cry. “We must outlast them in order to rebuild” Screamed the men from atop the barricades. But in the back of all their minds, in the depths of their eyes, you can see that they too have lost hope. Nobody wanted to be a part of a world like this. Hope is fading fast in the nation of Zombies.

    We all try to recall what we once considered to be normal behavior and live our lives according to these memories. It has worked out pretty well for the last two years. Over 600 people call this small fortified structure their home, and what a fortress it has become. 15 foot high walls made up of all sorts of materials to keep the dead at bay outside. Outpost were on all the roof tops, entry ways, and streets. Guns and ammunition are plentiful but food is scarce. There is plenty of fresh water from the wells that were dugout many years ago in this small town who’s old inhabitants most likely walked the other side of the parameter now, looking to re-enter the place they used to call home and devour the people they once called neighbor. There are some of us who have grown accustomed to this live. Myself included. Being only a young man, it was more of a challenge than I expected to be trusted as one of the watchmen. But after saving the lives of a few of the towns people, and putting to rest countless of the lively corpses that roam the country side, I have gained their respect.

    Although I have earned a vital role in my community as a protector, I still have some of the responsibilities of a normal teenager. I only still fulfill these duties to implement some sort of sanity in my life. After all, a person can’t spend every waking moment putting bullets through the brains of their undead friends and family. One of these responsibilities is school…

    I cut through the gym of the old church and made my way to the room where all of the students met in the morning to talk and gossip and gripe on each other. There weren’t many of us left so we all took turns teaching and learning together. Only a handful of people in this town would even be considered smart enough to have once been called “teacher”. As I walked into the dusty room filled with the scent of chalk and old books I was greeted with emptiness.

    “Hello” I said quietly, slowly entering the room. I made my way to my spot on the far back wall and dropped my stuff. As I looked around at the room I did now see anything out of the ordinary and began to let my guard down. This is a safe place I reminded myself. I turned to exit the room to go look for signs of life elsewhere in the church when I heard the first scream. “Ahhhhhh..h.h.h.” cried a voice that was being silenced with force.

    “On the east side!” screamed a man outside. “They’ve broken through the east gate, there’s hundreds of them!” cried the faceless voice again.

    I knew exactly what had happened but that did not stop Richard from yelling at me as he barged down the door screaming my name. “J” he cried. “J were are you?”.

    “I heard them” I said calmly as I did not need any explanation for what was going on. “Were is everyone?” I asked.

    “They’re in the kitchen…breakfast” he managed to say through heavy drags of stale air.

    We moved quickly through the halls to the other side of the church to the kitchen area. As we approached the door I could tell that they were still in there as I could hear faint crying coming from the other side. I opened the door slowly so I did not alert anyone on the other side that might be pointing a weapon in my direction. But as I stepped in the room and made eye contact with Mr.Briggs who was indeed holding tightly to a long barreled rifle, a body came through the window. I pulled my weapon, and opened fire. Gun shots were ringing out in every direction outside of the church. Another body came through the hole in the window, and then another, and another. I was firing my gun as fast a I could get a clear shot. The undead were not a easy thing to take down. “Hit them in the head, or you might as well put it in yours” that’s what Briggs would say. They were everywhere in no time at all, it almost seemed like a planned attack. Three kids in the small room were already being feasted upon by the dead. Briggs had made his peace after sustaining a bit to his forearm. He put his rifle in his mouth and reached for the trigger. Before he managed to end it he was taking down by another corpse that had just moments ago made it’s way onto what now looked like the killing floor of a cattle ranch. “Fuck you bastards!” he screamed as the dead tore flesh from bone. Two more pilled on top of him as he screams became more and muffled.

    I was frozen. I could only watch now. All of the many shells I carried had been spent on the dead that now littered the floor. There were too many of them and they moved too fast. I could only watch. These dead creatures that had once been filled with hope, dreams, and love, were now filling themselves with mouthfuls of flesh they were tearing from the helpless students. Soft tissue first. They attacked the stomach first most of the time. As the body hit the floor though and more piled on, the tongue and eyes were quickly targeted. The room was strong with the stench of blood. As the last few screams were now being silenced I realized that I was the only one in the room that was not feasting on the lifeless bodies on the floor. I was not the only one that realized this either. Two of the dead that used to be males had seen me standing in the doorway. I made no attempt for freedom. They charged at me full force and hit me square in the chest. I immediately felt their nails scratching at my abdomen. The pain was intense as they pulled the first handful of organs out of my once useful body. I lay there screaming in pain only for a moment before my tongue was silenced by the teeth of another dead creature.

    I tell this story from a place that you have yet to visit, and I will give you no knowledge of what you will one day have to endure, except this. “Death is only a transformation”.

    1. Dennis

      Very compelling story, creating a really somber and bleak world. Interesting use of the narrator writing from beyond death. There were a few misspellings throughout and a couple of tense changes but great job with the story.

    2. jmcody

      This story had a unique perspective, starting in the middle of what was already a full-out zombie apocalypse, instead of starting with cleaning out the locker on the last day of school. I really liked that the story was told from the POV of the afterlife. Very unique and interesting take.

    3. snuzcook

      You’ve woven some nice commentaries into your story, SpiralSong. And I very much like the perspective of the story being told post transformation by a zombie convert. Great last paragraph reveal.

      1. SpiralSong

        Thank you:) One thing I know for sure about a zombie apocalypse is that nobody really wins. It’s only a matter of time before one suffers the main idea. So I thought it might be interesting for the story to be described by a character that has already endured death by zombie.

  27. margi33

    On vacation, so wrote this on my cell phone. Hope it’s not way over on word count.

    __________________

    The lockers at school smelled like an armpit and were buzzing with the hum of excitement that could only be caused by impending summer. Grant couldn’t scrape his books fast enough from his locker into his backpack. He envisioned vrooming to the beach in his Volkswagen Jetta, windows down, friends intact…babes and bikinis, coconut oil wafting through the salt air…

    His perfect vision of summer was shattered as Billy sprinted toward him.

    “You have to come right now,” Billy huffed. He was breathless, pale and wide eyed. He looked like he’d seen a ghost.

    “Dude, this had better be important. I’m ready to bolt out of this craptastic hole.”

    “Grant, it’s a matter of life or death. – NOW.” Billy yanked at Grant’s arm and forced him to follow at his heels, down the hallway.

    Blurs of kids swept past them in the opposite direction, screaming and tripping over one another to get away from whatever Billy was pulling him toward. Grant’s heart beat wildly in his throat. He wanted nothing more than to turn around.

    Rounding the corner to the cafeteria entrance, he was met with chaos. The normally sterile, white walls wore spattered gore like a food-fight gone wrong. Tables were overturned, glass littered the floor from shattered windows and kids scrambled in every direction.

    Grant looked around searching, trying to make sense of the scene. David, Karina, Terrance, Ashley… oh my God. More kids than not wore a pasty gray skin and hollow eyes. Pieces of flesh and slobber dribbled from their gaping mouths and their methodical pursuit of the others told him one thing — they were zombies. He had seen enough movies to know that much.

    Grant choked back his rising vomit and yelled, “Billy, it’s happening.”

    “What? What’s happening?”

    “Just stick close to me.” Grant turned and made his way through the throng of unchanged kids yelling, “Come with me. You have to come with me.”

    Several weeks ago Grant’s science teacher, Mr. Levitz, had given Grant something strange: a necklace consisting of a silver wire and a clear loop pendant. He had told Grant at the time, “You will know when the time come, use the loop. There will be no reason to stay.” And then he had given him an odd set of instructions. Grant had wanted to dismiss his teacher as a nut, but instead he had kept the necklace and attached it to the inside of his backpack.

    Despite having no idea what was really going to happen, Grant continued to gather kids. They followed close behind as he jogged from the cafeteria to the gymnasium. Then when he reached the gym, he stopped, turned and shouted, “Everyone, join hands — in a circle — now.”

    Grant flipped his backpack around and removed the necklace . Out of the corner of his eye, he could see zombies in pursuit. This had better work. He looked at the pendant and watched as an electrical-looking current coursed through the transparent surface.

    Two zombies were only ten feet away now. He couldn’t worry about who was here and who wasn’t. Mr. Levitz had said to make sure there were at least fifteen kids — and specifically at least half girls. Grant thought it was odd but he knew he had at least twenty, so he hung the necklace around his neck and said the words.

    Their joined circle began to spin, slow at first, like a carousel. Then Mr. Levitz mysteriously appeared and became the center point of the circle. The spinning turned into mad swirling. Grant’s vision tunneled, and he blacked out.

    1. jmcody

      Ooh, this was intriguing. Were the kids being transported somewhere? (“There was no reason to stay”). Was the fact that it had to be half girls because they were going somewhere to start the human race over again, or am I reading more into it than you intended? Your descriptions, as always were crisp and vivid. Nice work.

      Let me also just say that I am impressed that you wrote this a) on a phone, and b) on vacation with, presumably, your little ones. You have superhero powers of concentration!

      1. margi33

        Thanks, jmcody! And yes, I was insinuating they were being transported to start over, so I’m glad you got that. It didn’t fit the prompt exactly but I figured since I was late, everything had probably been done ;). And you are right, writing on vacation with little ones is almost impossible!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Wow! margi. Your take was pefectly clear. Out in space somewhere to start all over again. Very intriging plot. Loved your sentence….”vrooming to the beach in his Volkswagon Jetta windows down, friends intact…. babes and bikinis………..”

    2. Critique

      On a cellphone? presumably with little ones? vacationing? Wow. You get my vote for a writing such an interesting story that could have a sequels. Sounds like they are going someplace to start the human race over again?

      1. margi33

        Thanks, critique. The ending is open to interpretation. Probably in a real book, I would change this a lot, but no plans to write about zombies ant time soon :)

    3. lionetravail

      Neat take on the prompt, and, like Critique said, way kudos for doing this on a cellphone. (Not sure I’d have the patience to!)

      This was a fun story, and while it’s not “clear” that outer space and starting over was the endpoint, I think leaving it open to the reader to decide what happened is great technique. It could have been a transport to somewhere else on Earth, whatever.

      I will add one thing which may be of interest, and I know this only because I’ve researched it for a story idea I’ve been working on: in general, the minimum population required to establish a stable, high-survival (90-95%) population over the long term is actually MUCH higher than we would think. For a potential closed society, estimated numbers are in the thousands (a recent paper suggested >4000 as an amalgam of methods and published papers), though that also predicates the absence of new people joining, etc. If your story was going to go ‘long-term’, as in writing it up to a novella or novel length, you might want to keep that in mind. (Though, it is suspected, genetic engineering, or other ‘immigrants’ and a careful program of breeding could develop to a stable population.)

      So, what I’m saying is, this might be even greater as a long story :)

      1. margi33

        Thanks, lionetravail. Good to know the exact population needed to start over! I don’t plan on writing an ending to this ever, but never say never :) . Plus, yes, it could go in many different directions.

    4. snuzcook

      May I join my awe at you having composed and posted on cell phone while vacationing? Owning a dumb phone myself, I can only imagine the tedium and irritating process to edit, which you obviously did because nothing jumped out at me (or you are incredibly gifted at first draft!).

      What a wonderful story idea, margi! Opens so many avenues to be pursued, and has that wonderful brave-new-world feel to it. I’m ready for more!

      1. margi33

        Thanks, snuz! I enjoyed the fun and open ended nature of it too, though I doubt I’ll write more. And, I’m used to writing on my phone when I’m away from my computer. I don’t like paper much at all so I’m constantly typing ideas on my phone. Have probably written 10’s of thousands of words on this silly phone. Guess that is a bit crazy ;)

  28. Kemter

    You know that smell. It crops up around the last few weeks of school every year: the sweet sunbaked tang of summer. You get the first whiff with roughly twenty days of school left and you think; man I can’t wait until school’s over. And as you turn in those last few projects and cram for the final exams the smell gets stronger and stronger until the last day comes and it absolutely reeks of sunny days and freedom.

    Well, as I shoved the last unidentified water bottle from my locker into the hallways final cleanout bin, that smell was blowing in through an open window.

    I looked both ways to make sure I was alone before closing my eyes and taking a deep breath. Sunshine and independence.

    “Tyler,” I jumped at the sound of my name, “what the hell are you doing man?”

    I smiled when I recognized it was Phil. He and I had been bros since elementary school.

    “Smelling summer,” I responded while slamming my locker closed.

    He gave me a look, “I would destroy you for admitting to that if there wasn’t something life or death happening right now.”

    “What?” I asked throwing my loaded backpack over my shoulders.

    “You have to come with me right now,” Phil began pulling me down the hall, “Everyone’s been quarantined to the gym.”

    “But why?” I punched his arm off of my bag.

    “Zombies man,” Phil’s eyes were mixed with excitement and terror, “there are Zombies in our school!”

    My feet felt nailed to the cheap tiled floor, “are you sure?”

    Phil rolled his eyes, “No, I’m playing the greatest prank in the world on you that involves convincing the whole school just to see the look on your face.”

    My backpack hit the ground, “where are they?”

    “Man I don’t know!” Phil throws his hands up, “They were by the lunchroom but they could be all over the school by now. We need to get to the gym.”

    “You go, I’ve got to find the Zombies.” I said.

    “You two!” a loud and prematurely deep voice made Phil jump before he could reply to me, “What are you idiots still doing out here.”

    It was Lucas Edvards, defensive lineman of the football team and junior volunteer fireman.

    Phil spoke for us both, “He’s the idiot here. I’m trying to get him to go to the gym.”

    I looked levelly at them both, “Guy’s I can end this.”

    “How?” Phil scoffed.

    In what was possibly the most epic statement of my life I admitted, “I am The Cure.”

    In the next second I was over Lucas’s shoulder like a sack of dog food, watching Phil bob as he ran to catch up.

    “Since when did you go crazy!” Phil panted.

    “I’m not crazy!” I kneed Lucas with no effect, “Put me down! I’m telling the truth.”

    “You’ll be safe in a minute,” he replied comfortingly, however misguided.

    “Listen to me—,” I began before being thrown forward as Lucas fell.

    I wish I had recorded Phil screaming like a seven year old girl as a deranged looking undead thing crawled on top of Lucas, but I was too busy gasping for air like a dying sea bass against a row of lockers.

    Lucas screamed heroically, if such a thing is possible, as the Zombie girl bit into his arm.

    I got to my feet with a grunt of pain because I’m pretty sure I broke a rib being thrown on the ground, and limped toward the feeding monster. As she came up for a pleasured breath of air off of Lucas’s arm I grabbed her face from behind with both hands.

    Familiar revulsion filled me as her flesh sizzled under my palms and her screams slowly morphed from inhuman to regular agony in sync with the rest of her body. When completely turned she went slack against Lucas, who understandingly scrambled backwards and kicked her in the face.

    “What the hell was that?!” Phil stepped forward to look at the unconscious but completely human girl.

    “I told you,” I smiled a little before switching into my batman voice, “I am The Cure.”

    1. jmcody

      It’s amazing how many variations on this same story people came up with. Yours just sings with originality. I’ve only read a few pieces of yours so far, but they stand out in how they marry sensation and emotion. (I am thinking of the piece you wrote a of the sea.) The “smell of summer” is a great example of that. I also liked that your characters were not cartoonish. Lucas could have been a dumb jock but instead was a well-intentioned would-be hero. I also enjoyed the somewhat absurd glee with which your MC declared himself “the cure.” Very entertaining read, Kemter.

    2. Dennis

      Nice story. I liked the relationship between Tyler and Phil and the funny things they say to each other. There were some great descriptive sentences that added to the drama.

  29. kayti.sarai

    I was cleaning out my locker, when I heard my name, “Allison, you have to come with me right now! It’s a matter of life and death!” It was Teddy, my best friend.

    We ran towards the cafeteria where I could hear screams and cheers. We peeked through the doorway and saw the cheerleaders dragging their feet across the floor, arms outstretched as they chased students around the room. Zombies! A tower of terror zombie cheerleaders was rising in the corner.

    “We have to go get help!” said Teddy.

    “No,” I said, “I’m a zombie hunter. I need your help,” I held her gaze until she nodded, “I have a plan. I need you to chain the cafeteria doors shut. Then, I need you to go to the teacher’s lounge and get as many cups of hot coffee as you can.”

    Teddy nodded again.

    I held her gaze, and then took off down the hallway. I stopped at the janitor’s office and strapped on a tool belt. I added a hammer and a pair of wire cutters. Then I climbed the ladder to the sprinkler system’s access panel. I used the hammer to knock off the safety valve, and attached a small hydraulic pump that was filled with a zombie purging solution. I pushed the start button on the pump, slid down the ladder, and took off towards the theater. Backstage I found the hydraulic lift used to change lights in the rafters.

    I steered it off stage, and towards the cafeteria. Teddy was waiting in the hallway with trays of coffee. I jumped into the basket, as Teddy handed up the trays, then she joined me. I steered the lift into the cafeteria. It was chaos. The cheerleaders were moving sluggishly through an undead cheer, and the newly infected chess club was chasing students.

    We reached the first sprinkler head undetected. I cut the protective wire basket and placed a cup of steaming hot coffee inside. We moved through the room, giving each sprinkler the same treatment.

    I knew the plan had worked when the screams changed from terror to agony. The zombies screamed as the solution in the water bit into their flesh, cleansing the virus. The water ran down their zombie bodies, sloughing the disease from their cells. I grinned at Teddy.

    “GET DOWN HERE!”

    We looked over the edge and saw Principal Fern glaring up at us, water running down his face.

    I pressed the DOWN button, and lowered us to the ground.

    “What are you doing?” he asked.

    “Saving you,” I said, “The zombies –”

    Principal Fern pinched his nose, “Allison, this is the Halloween Pep Rally for the football team. You’ll be suspended and a hearing will be held to determine if you’ll be expelled.”

    “But the zombies…” said Teddy, “I saw the zombie flesh.”

    “Makeup, Teddy,” he said. He turned to walk away and said, “Put that thing back, and meet me in my office. I’m calling your parents to pick you up.”

    1. jmcody

      Ha ha. That was funny. Alison has been watching too many gory movies, but I am impressed with her inventiveness. Coffee as the cure was inspired. I got a kick out of this one.

  30. BigFluffyUnicorns

    I’m new with writing so I would gladly accept any feedback!!!!!
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    I was cleaning my locker on the last day of school when Nathan ran up to me, out of breath. “Lilly! Come quick!!!! Follow me! Its awesomely scary! A matter of life and death!!!!!” “Okay, okay. Let me finish putting all my textbooks in my bag.” I responded patiently. Nathan waited impatiently while I placed five textbooks in my backpack. As soon as my backpack was zipped, Nathan grabbed my arm and ran me to the cafeteria. I was not surprised with what I saw. Thousands of zombies were staggering around the cafeteria muttering ‘brains’ repeatedly. Nathan left me there, and for a second I thought he knew my secret identity. Then I pushed that thought away and threw away my jacket to reveal many shiny weapons and a tiny golden carrot attached to a silver string. I took it off my belt and started waving it back and forth, back and forth. a group of zombies gathered around me. I kept swaying the carrot. When it became obvious that no more zombies were going to gather round, I did the thing that I always did before I killed my zombie subjects. “Hello, my name is Lilly. I am a zombie killer.” now the zombies, who were VERY stupid started muttering my name. I revealed a remote with one big red button, one smaller grey button and two holes in the front. I pressed the button and two strings of the strongest rope you can get shot out of the two holes and surrounded the zombies in a loop of strong rope. I tapped the grey button and let go of the remote. The strings tightened and tightened so much that the zombies suffocated and died. I then took out a polished knife and cut the zombies from my remote so i could replace my remote in my pocket. I then took out a tray full of rubber brains, placed it on the floor and stood in the middle of it. Many zombies saw me and the tray of brains and gathered around. “Hello. you all seem so decent. I would hate to kill you but I’m afraid I have to. My name is Lilly Zombie Slayer.” With my knife still unsheathed, I took down the first wave of them. the zombies started realizing what was happening and started to retreat. I threw my knife at one zombie and then revealed a tiny, small, silver gun. i shot a few more zombies but then ran out of ammo. now the zombies were forming troops and gathering weapons like brooms or lunch trays. I took out a silver machine gun and prepared to battle. I knew I didn’t need to introduce my self anymore because the zombies were now muttering things like, ‘Kill Lilly!’ The zombies charged. one was holding a smoke bomb, heaven knows how THAT got there, so I couldn’t see. I pulled the trigger and shut my eyes.

    When I opened my eyes I was out of ammo and zombie body’s were littered all over. My grandfather’s voice startled me. “Well done young one. Your identity must be kept secret.” he handed me a blue TV remote. I pressed the ‘on’ button and, like magic, everything was put back where it belonged and the zombies fell through the floor. I had just put on my jacket when my grandfather faded away and Nathan walked in. “Where are they all? What happened?”

    1. seliz

      One thing you’ll learn about this site is that you’ll want to add an extra space between lines since it doesn’t keep the format you wrote it in (took me a few times to get it how I liked it).

      But as far as the writing goes, I liked the creativity on the fighting style. The carrot on the stick was too funny. I would suggest getting rid of a few repetitive words throughout to tighten up the piece a little. It helps me to read my writing out loud to catch certain errors. I really liked the last line from Nathan–made me chuckle.

    2. Reaper

      Welcome to the wonderful world of writing BigFluffyUnicorns. Welcome also to the prompts. Seliz gave some great advice. The story as good, some stronger formatting would make the reading easier.

  31. WriterMorgan

    ***
    When I opened my locker, the first thing I saw was myself. The mirror was cracked at the bottom, but I could make out most of my pale face. My high cheek bones, the freckles on my nose, my green/blue eyes. I ran my hand over my light-blonde hair which I’d tied back and braided Lara Croft style. To me, my face didn’t seem like the face of an average 17-year-old. It was because of my eyes. The innocence that was tied to the lack of life experience could not be found in there. No matter how hard I looked every night before I went to bed, it wasn’t there any more.
    I grabbed my books and put them in my shoulder bag, then I glanced into the mirror once more before slamming the locker shut. Time to go home and train. I rubbed the back of my neck, which was still sore from yesterday.
    “Valentina! Valentina!” The familiar voice of Hayden echoed through the corridor.
    “No, I will not drive you home. I don’t have the car today,” I said as I kept walking.
    He grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me around so I could see the panic in his widened eyes.
    “Th-there is something—it’s—” his voice trailed off as he started hyperventilating.
    I grabbed him by his chin. “Look at me,” I said in a low voice. “Breathe in, breathe out. Slowly.” I lowered my voice to a whisper as he followed my instructions. “That’s it. You’re doing great.”
    He took a deep breath. “Z-zombies. Scary woman. Cafeteria.”
    I pressed my lips together. “I see.”
    “No, you don’t understand. I’m not making it up. Unless I’m hallucinating, but I don’t think I am. Am I?” He glanced around. “I don’t see any dancing squirrels. I always imagine I’d see those if ever I hallucinated. Have you ever hallucinated? I don’t think I know anyone who has ever—”
    I hit him on the shoulder. “Focus. Tell me exactly what you mean.”
    “The cemetery behind our school is empty. I saw it when I snuck home to get my math’s books. I thought they were going to get rid of the cemetery or something. The graves were all—and those people, they’re all dirty and smelly and some have started rotting. Their clothes are old and dirty and they’re attacking us.”
    I put my hand on his trembling shoulder. “Don’t worry, Hayden. I believe you.” As he stared at me with open mouth, I handed him my shoulder bag and ran to the cafeteria. “Stay there,” I shouted.
    Yelling came from the cafeteria and fear was practically seeping through the wall. On Wednesdays classes ended at 2 PM so luckily only the students who stayed for after school activities were present. Through the glass in the double doors I could see about thirty students and twelve zombies. They were moving slow and their eyes were white. They weren’t limping or hunched over, they resembled normal people except for their clothes and the fact they smelt like the grave they came from. It depended on how long they were dead, but their eyes were different than when they were alive, some completely white, some discoloured.
    Two zombies were in front of the doors so I stood back and launched forward, spun and kicked the door open. The zombies shot forward and lost their balance. They fell to the ground and made a groaning sound as they did.
    She stood on the table in the middle of the cafeteria, waving her staff with the shrunken head and beads. Her neck decorated with miniature skulls and one golden tooth in the corner of her mouth. Her shrill laughter reached my ears and created a string of ice cubes that travelled over my spine. She abruptly stopped, as did the zombies. They had kitchen knives and pans in their dirty hands and used them to attempt to hurt my fellow students.
    “Who is that?” a voice asked.
    I gasped and turned around. Hayden’s eyes were fixed on the woman on the table with her staff and layered dress, looking like she was an evil gypsy. The truth was far worse.
    “Her name is Shafira. She’s a Voodoo priestess.” I returned my gaze to her as she stared at me with her blue eyes. They stood out as her skin was black. Her dreadlocks reached her lower back and she had feathers in her hair. When she grinned she looked both beautiful and cruel.
    “There you are, dear Valentina. I’ve missed you so much as you can tell.” She jumped from the table with the grace of a panther and slowly headed my way, swaying as she moved.
    “You know her?” Hayden asked, voice trembling.
    “I’m sorry I had to grab your attention so violently, but what can I say? I love any excuse to bring out my darlings.” She turned her head to one of the zombies and tickled him under his chin. He stood motionless, all life void from his body. He was wearing a dirt covered suit and his skin was still intact.
    Hayden grabbed my arm as Shafira drew closer.
    “It’s rude to play with the dead.” My voice was cold.
    She laughed her shrill laugh again. “It’s ruder not to.”
    I narrowed my eyes and stepped in front of Hayden, though he still refused to let go of my arm.
    “I’ve been thinking lately,” Shafira purred. “And it would seem so much fun to put a curse on you as revenge for all the peril your parents have caused. What do you think?”
    “It’s not very original.”
    She chuckled. “I agree, but fun triumphs originality every time.”
    I turned around to push Hayden back and closed the doors behind me. From under my shirt I took my medallion and as Shafira reached out to grab me, I grasped her wrist and placed the medallion against the palm of her hand.
    She screamed as smoke came from her hand. She fell to her knees as I kept pressing it against her skin. The zombies started moving again, while some students were pushing themselves into the far corner of the cafeteria. As Shafira’s eyes rolled back in her head I kicked her hard. She fell back several metres and hit a chair. She remained motionless, but she was alive which is why the zombies were still following her orders. I grabbed salt shakers from every round table near me and put them in my pockets. I unscrewed the lid of one of them and put salt in my hand. I dashed to the nearest zombie opened his mouth and put the salt in. He lowered his head and let the salt fall out. Then he shook his head and started heading to the doors.
    I did this to all the zombies and one by one they started returning to their graves. To the students I yelled for them to get the hell out.
    They ran, some injured while two remained motionless on the floor. I couldn’t be sure if they were dead because Shafira had gotten up. She growled.
    “You! You have caused enough problems.” Another growl, only this time, it wasn’t her. It was a black panther that appeared behind her and started moving towards me.
    She let the tail slip through her fingers and laughed.
    The panther started increasing its pace and was getting closer. I moved forward as well. “Here, kitty, kitty.” As the panther was ready to jump me I held up my hand, closed my eyes and blew the salt in its direction. It exploded around the creature and turned it into a small doll shaped like a cat. I caught it and petted it. “So cute,” I said. “You should really make me one of these.”
    Shafira’s hand curled into a fist. “You think salt can save you from everything?”
    “Not at all, but this will.” From my boots I grabbed a dagger studded with rubies. It looked more like a piece of art than a weapon. I held out the doll and put the dagger through it. The doll turned to ashes and vanished into the air. “This is what will happen to you too, Shafira.”
    “Where did you get that?”
    “Where do you think?” In a flash I stood in front of her. “Don’t underestimate the Meadows family.” I raised the dagger.
    She brought her staff forward and I stumbled backwards. She took a handful of purple powder from a pouch attached to her belt and sprinkled it around her.
    “Mimi kubadili, mimi kubadilisha, kutoweka,” she mumbled.
    I scrambled to my feet and when I looked up she was gone, instead a vulture the size of a German Shepherd started flapping its wings and ascended in the air.
    I smirked. “Nice try.” Though Hayden wasn’t outside the cafeteria any more, my shoulder bag was on the floor outside the double doors which had been pushed open by the scared students. I started running as Shafira circled above me. I slid across the shiny floor and was a few inches short as I held out my hand. “Figures,” I muttered and crawled over to my bag. Behind me, Shafira got ready to dive at me. Her beating wings sounded like fury.
    Her blue eyes still looked human as the bird dove straight for me and she was quite an impressive sight as she drew nearer with incredible speed.
    Before she reached me I pointed a silver revolver with a large barrel at her and smirked. Her eyes widened as I pulled the trigger. She exploded in a myriad of golden dust specks and I turned away, covering my face. Silence returned to the cafeteria and though the negative emotions that had accompanied her visit still hung in the air like bats, the mother bat was gone.
    I scrambled to my feet and slung my bag over my shoulder. As I was about to check on the fellow students that were still lying on the floor, I heard Hayden’s voice drift from the corridor.
    “I swear, please hurry, my friend is in trouble.”
    “Calm down. You know, if this is a prank you are getting expelled,” a man’s voice said.
    I ran towards the window on the other side of the cafeteria. It couldn’t open, so I grabbed the dagger and tapped it against the glass. It created a spider web pattern of fractures and I pushed my finger against it. The glass shattered and fell to the other side. I jumped through it and landed on my feet in the flowerbed of violets. I turned in time to see Hayden en the security guard enter the room.
    The hard part was still to come, though. How to tell my parents it might be time for me to get home schooled?

    1. seliz

      I really like your writing style. Great descriptions, dialogue, and flow of the story. So over the word limit is forgivable :) Also, I absolutely loved that you had voodoo in this. I’m not sure if it was on purpose or not, but some people believe that the first stories of zombies started from the practice of voodoo. Although it’s different from what we’ve come to think of zombies are, the connection is still there. Very nice!

  32. Kathy

    I ran with Tyler to the cafeteria. The intercom blared summer vacation announcements, adding to the din of raucous laughter and jovial conversations filling the Last-Day-Of-School hallways.

    Tyler and I stopped inside the cafeteria doors and surveyed the crowd.

    “See! There’s Missy Reynolds,” Tyler pointed at the vivacious cheerleader, whose normally perky demeanor was clouded and dark. “I’m telling you – she’s a Zombie!”
    I began a mental checklist of Zombie characteristics: gray skin…. Check; lethargic movements…. Check; moaning and mumbling…. Check; insatiable hunger for human flesh…..Not evident.

    Missy Reynolds was definitely exhibiting several classic zombie symptoms, but not all.

    “Check out Nate Cummings! And there’s Brock Remmon, Anna Fitzsimmons, and Gracie Franklin. They’re all zombies! What do we do?” Tyler was beginning to panic now, gaping in horror at our classmates.

    Tyler didn’t know that I had been fighting zombies for years. This was a familiar gig for me, but I wasn’t prepared for zombies at my own school. Despite my growing concern, I tried to sound calm. “They look like zombies, Tyler, but they’re not exactly acting like zombies. They’re not trying to eat anyone…”

    “They will,” predicted Tyler, confidently. “Maybe they just turned.”

    “How? I don’t see blood on anyone. You get the unaffected out of here. I’ll work on containing the zombies.”

    I spotted Nate and Brock, cool, laid-back, athletic champions. Engaging and charismatic, they were usually the center of attention and surrounded by admiring fans. Now, they sat sullenly at a table, lifeless and dispirited. What could have brought about this dramatic change in personality? Being dead – or undead, technically – would definitely have a depressing affect, but they didn’t seem hungry.

    I saw Anna and Gracie. They, too, had been converted. Instead of bubbling, giggling, carefree teenage girls, they were lethargic, passive, and sluggish. Other students notorious for their sunny dispositions were mumbling unintelligibly and listlessly wandering around the cafeteria. None were bloody or showing signs of aggression, though. This had to be something different!

    Then I realized what these “zombies” had in common – they were all the “popular” kids. These were kids who were well-established and successful in School Society.

    On my phone, I did a quick Google search, found what I needed, and ran to the school office, praying that my plan would work and our friends could be saved. By the time I got back to the cafeteria, a calm voice was speaking over the intercom:

    ** “I am talented and healthy.” **
    Zombie swaying slowed….

    ** “My fears of tomorrow are melting away. I am important in this world.” **
    Zombie moans grew quieter….

    ** “I am confident. I radiate beauty, charm, and grace.” **
    Gray faces turned healthier colors….

    ** “I am energetic and joyful.” **
    Movements gained purpose.

    ** “I am courageous. I am blessed with wonderful friends.” **
    The “zombies” noticed each other.

    ** “My life is just beginning. I am happy.” **
    My friends began interacting happily.

    “What happened?” gasped Tyler.
    “Well, Tyler, you know how people say ‘you ARE what you think’? It seems some of the popular kids were convinced that their lives would be meaningless without school. They just needed a reminder that they’re needed in the real world, too. Never underestimate the super powers of Positive Thinking.”

    1. LiveOakLea

      I enjoyed your story Kathy. No matter which way it was going to end, I was there and ready to believe :) This ending just happened to be the one I was wishing for :)

    2. seliz

      Haha, what a funny twist on the prompt. You built the suspense well at the beginning. I was convinced that Tyler had something to do with them changing since he was a little too confident that they were going to start eating people. So the positive thinking part was funny and unexpected.

  33. Augie

    I haven’t had time to read everyone’s post, hope this hasn’t been used yet! Just got back to ‘Home away from home.’
    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    I stand at my locker applying moisturizer to my dry skin. ‘Lancôme?’ No, a family recipe kept in a mason jar. We use it for all our skins to keep them from exfoliating. I’ve grown used to the laughs and smirks from the other kids. School is tough when you live in the hills, especially for a teenage girl who wears rawhide to school.

    Living in an abandoned hunting shack in the wild of Montana, I hate being around these snobby city kids. My father insists I get an education and live a normal life, but I would rather be hunting with him. We call it hunting but the law refers to it as unlawful killing. Either way, my family survives on the meat and skins from our hunts. The hills are full of people who live like us.

    I wear skins sewn together and appropriated clothes to school instead of fashionable outfits like the other girls, but I’m proud of how tough the killing and dressing of animals has made me. The cheerleading captain walks by spraying perfume on my back. The other girls break out laughing. “Hey Donna Crockett,” the cheerleader captain says, “You coming to the dance tonight?”

    Enough! I grab the captain and slam her into the wall, digging my nails into her throat. “You couldn’t let the last day of school go by could you,” I yell. Terror flashes across her face and her eyes beg for compassion – only a sign of weakness to me. I throw her to the ground. “We will be best friends tonight, you city bitch!”

    I’d like to eat her cortex and hypothalamus! I hear my father’s words kneeling over a fresh kill, “eat it while it’s warm!” I have acquired a taste for a failing beating heart. Instead, I let her go. Another day.

    I pull out the last bundle from my locker. An entire set of butchering and skinning knives wrapped in rawhide. I never know what prey I may come across on my six-mile walk home.

    Students flee the cafeteria screaming. I walk upstream toward the swinging doors, there lay the cheerleading captain writhing on the floor vomiting black vicious fluid. “Shit!” I smell her flesh under my fingernails. Damn, I infected her! Now her skin is useless! First lesson of hunting, don’t infect the kill.

    I remove my clothes, and then peel the stitched-human skin from my body.

    Being a zombie sub-race, I’m far more powerful than this bitch.

    “I brought you into this world, and I’m gonna take you out!”

    So much for the normal life my dad wished for. Time to hit the hills.

    —–End——

    (I guess my question is, ‘How did Zombies get in the cafeteria?’)

    ‘Alternate ending’…(laughing of course!)

    Navy SEAL sniper Scorpion whispers in my earpiece, “Targets acquired. Waiting for a blue light special!”

    I shout, “Engage targets!”

    ‘Click’

    .5-pound pull on the trigger sends the bullet to the target 3,937.5 ft/s. (feet per second)

    Milli second later….

    ‘Clink’

    Projectile bores a 12.95 MM hole in cafeteria window

    ‘Squish’

    Projectile impacts two zombie craniums perfectly aligned with 15,000 ft-pd/f (foot pound force)

    3.5 seconds later

    JAH-BOOM! Sound wave reaches schoolyard.

    Augila watches through spotter scope.

    “Damn Scorp, Nice shot!”

    Scorp smiles, “gotta two–for –one special on brains in the cafeteria today!”

    “Time to hit the hills and bag the rest of these zombies!”

    Scorp responds, “Yup, There Are Two Ways to Do Something … the Right Way, and Again.

  34. Aliyah K

    Yes, finally the last day! I rushed out of class to collect my belongings and go home, my two best friends ( Zylo and Sophia) Came rushing towards, me a look of desperation on their faces. My mood changed from happiness to concern with in an instant; if I knew these two, nothing could scare them to such an extent. Before I could open my mouth to talk, Sophia began to speak
    ‘’Aliyah come quickly to the cafeteria, some of the students have gone insane! T-their eaten each other’’
    I was completely dumbfounded her words kept on repeating over and over in my head. ‘’ Oi Aliyah, there is no time to day-dream!’’ Zylo yelled. As I snapped back in to reality, fear began to envelope me.
    Without realisation my legs seemed to break out into a sprint, as I darted towards the cafeteria, Zylo and Sophia hot on my tail yelling ‘’wait up!’’
    Dramatically, I opened the cafeteria doors, to be overwhelmed by the smell of death. My eyes widened as I saw the undead corpses trudging around. Blood was splattered on the walls, pupils were trying to escape; the scene was hectic. This can’t be happening.
    ‘’ I know what you’re thinking, trust me it’s not a trick’’ an older student said.
    I gazed upon his face a large gash was formed and he was carrying a lifeless body in his arms. I gulped, as I studied the body a large chunk seemed to missing from her arm, it looked like it was forcefully bitten off. As soon as I came to realisation of who the body was, I fell to my knees. Emma Sparrow… Her golden locks drenched in blood, and her once mesmerising blue eyes, glazed grey. I could not contain my feelings as I began to sob hysterically.
    ‘’Oh my God HEEEELP AHHHH’’ Sophia yelled
    ‘’oh no!’’
    I ran towards her grabbing a fire extinguisher and repetitively hitting the creature that was attempting to feast off of her over the head. Once the creature had fallen to the floor I helped Sophia up, as she said thank you.
    ‘’NOOOOO’’
    Sophia screamed, I turned around to a horrifying sound. Zylo was laying dead on the ground his inners being torn out of him brutally, his flesh being ripped off of him. He was bathed in blood. I could not believe what had happened, In shock I just stood there tears speedily making their way down my cheeks. Everything seemed to move in slow-motion, my heart shattering.
    I stopped wallowing in my grief when my cheek started to sting. Sophia slapped me. ‘’ Hurry the hell up we need to go!’’
    ‘’ No I am going to kill every last one of these ‘creatures’ in the building before they can make their way out side, I’ll stop them before anyone else can get hurt’’ I yelled.
    Without hesitation I grabbed the fire extinguisher, eyeing the remaining creatures in the hall, 13 of them, I can do this…

  35. Aliyah K

    Yes, finally the last day! I rushed out of class to collect my belongings and go home, my two best friends ( Zylo and Sophia) Came rushing towards, me a look of desperation on their faces. My mood changed from happiness to concern with in an instant; if I knew these two, nothing could scare them to such an extent. Before I could open my mouth to talk, Sophia began to speak
    ‘’Aliyah come quickly to the cafeteria, some of the students have gone insane! T-their eaten each other’’
    I was completely dumbfounded her words kept on repeating over and over in my head. ‘’ Oi Aliyah, there is no time to day-dream!’’ Zylo yelled. As I snapped back in to reality, fear began to envelope me.
    Without realisation my legs seemed to break out into a sprint, as I darted towards the cafeteria, with Zylo and Sophia hot on my tail yelling ‘’wait up!’’
    Dramatically, I opened the cafeteria doors, to be overwhelmed by the smell of death. My eyes widened as I saw the undead corpses trudging around. Blood was splattered on the walls, pupils were trying to escape; the scene was hectic. This can’t be happening.
    ‘’ I know what you’re thinking, trust me it’s not a trick’’ an older student said.
    I gazed upon his face a large gash was formed and he was carrying a lifeless body in his arms. I gulped, as I studied the body a large chunk seemed to missing from her arm, it looked like it was forcefully bitten off. As soon as I came to realisation of who the body was, I fell to my knees. Emma Sparrow… Her golden locks drenched in blood, and her once mesmerising blue eyes, glazed grey. I could not contain my feelings as I began to sob hysterically.
    ‘’Oh my God HEEEELP AHHHH’’ Sophia yelled
    ‘’oh no!’’
    I ran towards her grabbing a fire extinguisher and repetitively hitting the creature that was attempting to feast off of her over the head. Once the creature had fallen to the floor I helped Sophia up, as she said thank you.
    ‘’NOOOOO’’
    Sophia screamed, I turned around to a horrifying sound. Zylo was laying dead on the ground his inners being torn out of him brutally, his flesh being ripped off of him. He was bathed in blood. I could not believe what had happened, In shock I just stood there tears speedily making their way down my cheeks. Everything seemed to move in slow-motion, my heart shattering.
    I stopped wallowing in my grief when my cheek started to sting. Sophia slapped me. ‘’ Hurry the hell up we need to go!’’
    ‘’ No I am going to kill every last one of these ‘creatures’ in the building before they can make their way out side, I’ll stop them before anyone else can get hurt’’ I yelled.
    Without hesitation I grabbed the fire extinguisher, eyeing the remaining creatures in the hall, 13 of them, I can do this…

    —-
    I’m new to this, would be happy to have some feedback (:

  36. Aliyah K

    Yes, finally the last day! I rushed out of class to collect my belongings and go home, my two best friends ( Zylo and Sophia) Came rushing towards, me a look of desperation on their faces. My mood changed from happiness to concern with in an instant; if I knew these two, nothing could scare them to such an extent. Before I could open my mouth to talk, Sophia began to speak
    ‘’Aliyah come quickly to the cafeteria, some of the students have gone insane! T-their eaten each other’’
    I was completely dumbfounded her words kept on repeating over and over in my head. ‘’ Oi Aliyah, there is no time to day-dream!’’ Zylo yelled. As I snapped back in to reality, fear began to envelope me.
    Without realisation my legs seemed to break out into a sprint, as I darted towards the cafeteria, with Zylo and Sophia hot on my tail yelling ‘’wait up!’’
    Dramatically, I opened the cafeteria doors, to be overwhelmed by the smell of death. My eyes widened as I saw the undead corpses trudging around. Blood was splattered on the walls, pupils were trying to escape; the scene was hectic. This can’t be happening.
    ‘’ I know what you’re thinking, trust me it’s not a trick’’ an older student said.
    I gazed upon his face a large gash was formed and he was carrying a lifeless body in his arms. I gulped, as I studied the body a large chunk seemed to missing from her arm, it looked like it was forcefully bitten off. As soon as I came to realisation of who the body was, I fell to my knees. Emma Sparrow… Her golden locks drenched in blood, and her once mesmerising blue eyes, glazed grey. I could not contain my feelings as I began to sob hysterically.
    ‘’Oh my God HEEEELP AHHHH’’ Sophia yelled
    ‘’oh no!’’
    I ran towards her grabbing a fire extinguisher and repetitively hitting the creature that was attempting to feast off of her over the head. Once the creature had fallen to the floor I helped Sophia up, as she said thank you.
    ‘’NOOOOO’’
    Sophia screamed, I turned around to a horrifying sound. Zylo was laying dead on the ground his inners being torn out of him brutally, his flesh being ripped off of him. He was bathed in blood. I could not believe what had happened, In shock I just stood there tears speedily making their way down my cheeks. Everything seemed to move in slow-motion, my heart shattering.
    I stopped wallowing in my grief when my cheek started to sting. Sophia slapped me. ‘’ Hurry the hell up we need to go!’’
    ‘’ No I am going to kill every last one of these ‘creatures’ in the building before they can make their way out side, I’ll stop them before anyone else can get hurt’’ I yelled.
    Without hesitation I grabbed the fire extinguisher, eyeing the remaining creatures in the hall, 13 of them, I can do this…

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    This is my first post, I am still a kid sorry for any mistakes. I would happy to have some feed back, and criticism if you have any (:

    1. Reaper

      Welcome Aliyah K. Nice to have you aboard. How did I miss this one? Your detail is beautiful so hard to believe you are still a kid. The writing is good here, and your story intense and engaging. The one bit of criticism would be to work on your formatting and your wording. You have a couple of places where you repeat words in the same sentence, such as Zylo having his innards being torn out of him brutally, his flesh being ripped out of him. There is also a word choice where you use inners. I would suggest something like his flesh being brutally ripped from his as his innards were torn out. Other than that and some formatting at the beginning this was amazing. I look forward to seeing more posts from you.

  37. Sophia K

    My eyes widened, and my jaw dropped. The cafeteria was a hectic scene, even more than when sixth graders had lunch with eighth graders. The non-infected children screamed an eerie cry for help as the few walking corpses slowly limped to the kids frozen in terror.
    “Minerva, we need to get some help!” My best friend Roland yelled in my ear.
    I shut my eyes tightly and covered my ears.
    “I need to think straight, it’s too loud in here!” I screamed in hopes that he would hear me.
    He hesitated to answer as the sound of flesh being ripped off bones filled the room.
    “Come with me!” Roland yelled.
    I opened my eyes as Roland grabbed me by the shoulders and led me out of the room and into the hallway. The lights flickered and the screams of innocent children echoed as they bounced about the tiled walls. Ronald ran me down the hall and took a sharp right turn into a supply closet. He shut the door tightly and pushed me down into a dirty fold out chair.
    “Ronald,” I said, “I can think of a solution, but I need to have a few minutes to think straight.”
    Ronald looked at me doubtingly.
    “Well, if I could I would give you all the time in the world, but I don’t think we have a few minutes to spare.” He replied.
    My eyes lit up as if a microscopic light bulb lit inside my skull.
    “Let’s go!” I yelled at him though he was just a foot away from me.
    I practically pounced towards the door and opened it swiftly.
    I began to run out of the closet when Ronald called to me. He hadn’t moved an inch.
    “Minerva, wait! What are you doing?” He yelled.
    “Just come with me! I have a plan!” I screamed back as I ran down the hall and into the basement.
    The door was already opened, as if someone had slammed into it and took it off one of its hinges.
    “The lights are flickering,” I began to explain as I scanned the wires that controlled the electricity in the building, “that means someone must have messed with the lighting.”
    I sighed with content, I found the slightly chewed up wires.
    “Be careful, Minerva!” Ronald yelled in fright, “You might get shocked!”
    I looked back over my shoulder to him with a sly smile.
    “Oh,” He smiled back, “I understand.”
    I grabbed the mesh of wires and ripped them off the wall.
    I shoved half of them into Ronald’s hands and ran back up stairs. He hesitated for only a second when I heard his footsteps following mine.
    We ran down the hallway together, but he reached the cafeteria first with his sure-footed track skills. We busted through the cafeteria’s big metal doors and examined the scene.
    A few scattered little kids lay deceased on the ground, and a few large groups of kids were trapped in the corners of the lunchroom.

    “Go.”

    1. Sophia K

      I’m sure I made a bunch of mistakes here, I’m sorry but I’m still a kid, I have a lot to learn. I would be glad to hear any critique. Also, it seems as though the format is different then everyone else’s stories, so I’m apologizing now.
      Sorry.

    2. Artemis4421

      Not a bad story, though I do have a few suggestions/questions (even though I doubt I’m much older than you)! Okay so 1) Is his name Ronald or Roland? It changes a few times through the story, so I would just try to keep it constant. 2) This leaves the reader a bit unsure, especially if they can’t put things together all that well. Maybe that was your intent? But are they taking the wires so they can somehow shock the zombies and kill them that way? Either way, it’s a pretty good story, nice job Sophia!

      1. Sophia K

        Thank you Artemis, and I didn’t notice the name change. It was most likely due to auto correct or my own wandering mind. I’m fairly young so I doubt we’re close in age. I did want to leave the reader unsure, I’m glad you may have been.
        Thank you for the help.

    3. Reaper

      I wouldn’t apologize for format. How you lay out your story is part of the art, it should fit your style and the story you are trying to tell. Normally I would say you might want to put extra lines between paragraphs but with the shorter paragraphs this is easy to read and adds to the speed of it.

      I wouldn’t say you made a bunch of mistakes. I really liked the way you portrayed the MC’s imperfections, the needing to get somewhere quiet to think was great. Leaving the reader uncertain is good but I am more confused. As the beginning of something longer this would be amazing, on its own a few more hints about what they were doing would be nice. I understand that is part of what you were going for but as that was not completely clear it feels a little incomplete as a stand alone.

      You are off to a great start. There is an innocence to your language and hopefulness to your voice that tells me this would be a wonderful youth novel. That is likely in part due to your age but I also hope it is what you were going for.

      1. Sophia K

        Thank you for the tips Reaper, I hope to do better in my writing later on. I think joining this website was the best decision of my life. Thank you.

  38. dedewitt

    “You have to come with me right now,” Cedric said. “It’s a matter of life and death.”

    I shut my locker. Again?

    “And you’ll want to memorize this shirt, Bro, because it’s going to save the day.”

    I looked down at his How to Kill a Zombie t-shirt and scoffed. “Your shirt can’t save your social life, let alone the day.”

    He ignored me. “Cafeteria. Now.”

    Reluctantly, I ran after him through the gym, past the courtyard and into the cafeteria. I walked in to see half a dozen seniors, their skin green and hanging from their bones. Each of them had one eye substantially larger than the other, and broken fangs instead of teeth. They scuffled across the floor, growling and hissing at each other.

    Zombies. They were all zombies.

    “Isn’t it cool?”

    I rolled my eyes. Zombie apocalypse fanatics. I hated them more than actual zombies. Zombies were brainless, diseased creatures who were unconscious of who they were, and oblivious of their actions. Zombie apocalypse fanatics were very aware of who they were – and ridiculously enough – they were proud of it.

    “Isn’t that Michael Davis?” Cedric said. “I never liked that guy. Come on – let’s grab the tool box from the janitor’s closet and bash their heads in. We’ll be heroes! Get ready for me, Barbara Walters!”

    “Better to be smart than a hero,” I said, grabbing him by his useless shirt and pulling him back. “Besides, you can’t bash their heads in. It only pisses them off. And don’t turn your back on them.”

    “Why not?”

    In an instant, Michael Davis went from being across the room to being five feet away from Cedric. I punched Michael in the face. Good thing even the undead can’t avoid glass jaw.

    He hit the floor. Cedric looked at me, dumbfounded.

    “They can teleport up to 100 yards. Do any of your zombie encyclopedias tell that? No? Didn’t think so. Now, hold onto my arm for a minute.”

    I snapped open the face of my watch and turned both hands to the twelve. A blue light flooded over both Cedric and me.

    “We should be safe for now.” I said. “They can’t smell us.”

    “Are you a zombie killer?” he said, practically drooling in excitement. “Is there a secret headquarters full of other super-secret-zombie-killers?”

    I exhaled. “I really don’t know why I’m friends with you.”

    I looked to our former classmates, possessed by demons they couldn’t escape on their own. It was never pedophiles or murders that turned. It was always the innocent.

    And it was always people I knew.

    Whoever was trying to get to me knew exactly what they were doing. The question was, how was I going to get a step ahead of them instead of being two steps behind?

    “Come on,” I said, “There’s someone I need to talk to.”

      1. dedewitt

        Thanks! At least, I say thanks assuming this is a compliment. If you meant “incredible” as in “incredibly horrible” then I apologize.

    1. Reaper

      This is an amazing beginning to something longer. Being an avid hater of almost all things zombie related I appreciated both the MCs attitude and the twists you put on the genre. Very impressive.

    2. margi33

      Nice job, dedewitt. This was well written. Good pace, descriptions, dialogue, etc. I enjoyed the obvious expertise of the MC. Could definitely be the start to a longer piece.

      1. dedewitt

        Appreciate it! The rest is probably in the bowels of my brain somewhere. But I don’t know if I’ll pull anything out of there. It doesn’t sound sanitary.

    3. jmcody

      Hi dedewitt, this was very good — crisp and lively with excellent dialogue and characterization. I was carried right along, and as the others said, was ready to read more! I am just wondering how the MC went from thinking they were zombie wannabes to realizing that they really were zombies. I’m guessing this was just an editing glitch. I thought it was intriguing that the MC took the whole thing as being a plot against him. This is a different wrinkle in the story, and also makes me want to know more.

      1. dedewitt

        Thanks for the feedback, jmcody! The MC is annoyed with his friend who is a zombie apocalypse fanatic. He takes a moment to mentally rant about his annoyance. He could tell real zombies by the facial mutation and skin color. Sorry if that was confusing!

  39. jmcody

    I’m truly sorry.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
    — Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

    With two hours left in the school year, my surfboard was strapped to my SUV and my beach bag packed with my favorite red pencil and a copy of “Goldfinch.” I was fantasizing about a 784-page editing massacre when Kelsey Keester, my star English pupil tumbled into my office.

    “Miss Spicoli! Come quick! It’s a matter of life and death!”

    “Now, Kelsey, we’ve talked about this sort of schwarmerei. Sometimes understatement is more effective.”

    “No, really. There are Zombies! In the cafeteria!”

    “Zombies? Why didn’t you say so?”

    Thank goodness for sensible shoes. I was sprinting down the hallway, my reading glasses oscillating wildly on their beaded chain when I spotted the custodian making tracks for the exit.

    “Mr. Corleone, we need your help in the cafeteria.”

    “Just when you think you’re out they pull you back in…” Mr. Corleone lamented. “What is it? Vermin? Grease fire? Vomit?”

    The sound of moaning interrupted us.

    “BRAINS…”

    “I know those moans.” I said. “Those are no ordinary zombies. They’re Combies.” Kelsey and Mr. Corleone stared blankly at me.

    “Common Core Zombies — Kids under the diabolical influence of Barney Dunkin and the new Federal educational standards.”

    “Barney Dunkin? Isn’t he the Secretary of Education who blamed the miserable failure of the Common Core on suburban moms?” said Mr. Corleone.

    “Why, yes, Mr. Corleone… He is.” I was momentarily transfixed by Mr. Corleone’s soulful eyes, brooding good looks and keen grasp of current events.

    “Um…Where was I? Oh, yes…” I turned to Kelsey. “Quick! Get my Starbucks cup from my SUV. My keys are in my beach bag. And Mr. Corleone…”

    “Call me Don.”

    “You’re Don Corleone? Really?”

    “I had the name before Al Pacino did.”

    “Okay, fine. Don, I need you to get some things from my office. And bring a shop vac.”

    With Don and Kelsey gone, I stormed into the cafeteria.

    “Listen up, Combies! It’s story time!”

    There must have been fifty of them – jocks, cheerleaders, geeks, drama queens, all with one thing in common: None had ever bothered to read a book beyond the Common Core required reading list, which consisted solely of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Air Conditioning Repair” and “PVC Pipes and You.”

    Thinking quickly, I recited from memory:

    “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

    The zombies’ moaning grew louder.

    “Okay, forget Austen. How about Dickens: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’”

    The Zombies stopped shuffling. Some lowered their arms.

    “It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,”

    The glazed look in their eyes began to dissipate.

    “That’s all I’ve got.”

    Just in time, Don Corleone arrived with an armload of books and a shop vac.

    “Don, quick, give me Salinger!”

    As I read from “Catcher in the Rye,” one by one the zombies became normal teenagers again. Just when it seemed that order had been restored, the crowd parted and the biggest, rankest zombie of all lumbered forth.

    “Barney Dunkin!” I gasped.

    “Must eat rebel brain…”

    As Barney’s rotted teeth chomped perilously close to my brain, my SUV came crashing through the cafeteria window.

    “Kelsey! My latte!”

    Kelsey vaulted out of the car window and executed a perfect one-handed somersault into a half pike-double layout combination across the cafeteria. She handed me the latte without spilling a drop.

    “This is for all SUV-driving, latte-swilling, book club-loving suburban moms everywhere!” I popped the lid off the cup and flung its contents at Barney Dunkin.

    “Noooooooo….”

    With a roar, Barney melted into a steaming pile of rotted flesh and worm-infested brains.

    “Don Corleone, the shop vac please.”

    ***
    “I don’t think even the teachers’ union can fix this,” I told Don later. “I’m so fired.”

    “You’ll get another job, Miss Spicoli.”

    “I don’t need a job. All I need are some tasty waves and… Hey, why don’t you come to the beach with me? We’ll edit ‘Goldfinch’ together.”

    “I’m not really the bookish type, Miss Spicoli, but I’d love to go surfing with you.” He gazed at me with those soulful eyes.

    “Call me Fern. You know, maybe we could even edit “Fifty Shades of Grey.” That is one foul, steaming hot mess. You might want to bring the shop vac.”

    “Now that’s an offer I can’t refuse.”

    1. Critique

      I was laughing out loud jmcody. Smoothly written. Schwarmerei – a perfect word for the occasion ;) The acrobatic Kelsey, the romanticism between sensible shoes and soulful eyes. Loved it!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          I lay at your feet in total awe. The work of an inspired word master. It has everything and more than everything. Romance, comedy, reality, social comment, satire, love, danger but most of all, the heart and soul of the writer, you!

          1. jmcody

            Thanks Kerry! I think this was hands-down the single most ridiculous thing I have ever written but I had so much fun writing it. I’m glad you also noticed the romance, satire, social commentary, etc. amidst all the silliness!

      1. jmcody

        I’m glad you found it funny, because I was a little concerned that it might be funny only to me, and I felt like it was a little self-indulgent. I pretty much snickered through the entire thing as I was writing it. But I am easily amused. :)

    2. Bilbo Baggins

      Smiles all ’round… :-) :-) :-) “I was momentarily transfixed by Mr. Corleone’s soulful eyes, brooding good looks and keen grasp of current events.” I just started laughing for no apparent reason when I read that. The Mafia tie-in and the shop vac were genius.

      1. jmcody

        You know Bilbo, that line gave me a laughing fit too and I don’t know why! (Yes, I am laughing at my own jokes. So tacky… :) )I think we must have the same sense of humor. Thanks for getting it!

    3. Reaper

      Nice blend of poignant and funny. The satire is off the charts, and for how light this read it is packed and dense as others have said. There is very little for me to add so I will stick to the one point that struck me as much more subtly funny. I loved that your MC reversed the combies created by the state of education with a book that was banned from schools for many years because it might insight disorder in the fragile minds of children. I assume that was intentional especially with the rebel line shortly after it.

      1. jmcody

        As much as I would like to claim that I did that on purpose, sadly I did not. It didn’t even cross my mind, but thanks for making my hot mess of a response seem more intelligent! :)

        The rebel comment was due to the teacher’s anti-establishment position on Common Core. I actually know many teachers who despise Common Core but are not allowed to say so. There is tremendous political pressure for them to toe the line, although many of the teacher’s unions are starting to speak out against it, and several states have already dropped it.

        I am trying really hard to stay off my soap box here, so I will just say thank you for your comments, Reaper.

    4. margi33

      A very “smart” read, jmcody! ;) I thought it was hilarious. Your sense of humor seemed spot on to me and as usual your writing style was great. Loved the common core theme – I’ll be entering into that ball of worms soon with my kiddos and I’m terrified.

      1. jmcody

        Be afraid, Margi, be very afraid. Seeing as this is a creative writing forum and not a political soapbox, I’ll leave it at that.

        Thanks for your comments!

    5. Observer Tim

      This was hilarious, jm. I kind of missed on some of the US social policy (I live in that big pink country the US wears like a hat), but the intent was clear enough. You did a fantastic job of putting it together playfully.

      Were I in that situation, I would have started with my favourite book:

      “No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s …”

      1. jmcody

        Thanks, Tim. I was just thinking of books that used to be standard high school fare. Catcher in the Rye in particular stands out in my mind as the book everyone read in high school. I didn’t read War of the Worlds in high school. Maybe its a Canadian thing?

        Thanks for your comments. Glad you enjoyed it!

    6. Marc Ellis

      This was great. You had so many funny lines and imagery like “Thanks goodness for sensible shoes,” and “glasses oscillating wildly on their beaded chain,” and “We’ll edit ‘Goldfinch’ together.” The–That is one foul, steaming hot mess. You might want to bring the shop vac–was a great way to tie things up at the end.

  40. Critique

    “Patch. Ya gotta come. Prisa.” Ziggy grabbed my arm making me drop the gym shoes I was jamming in my backpack. “All those kids that got expelled? Well, Arty and Ima are back. You’re not gonna believe this. They’ve turned into Zombies.”

    “Amigo slow down.” I threw my pack into the empty locker and trotted down the hall after him.

    “They’re in the cafeteria.” Ziggy’s eyes bulged with fright. “You should see Mr. Podrido and Mrs. Llagas.”

    Our teachers?

    Hoards of panicky students came running towards us.

    “Turn back. Run.” They shouted. “They’re coming.”

    We pushed our way past them to the cafeteria. Unearthly groans and crunching sounds were coming from the kitchen area.

    Ziggy put his arm out to stop me. “Shh. They might hear us.”

    Zombies! I felt an adrenaline rush.

    From the corner of the industrial fridge I saw Arty Choke and Ima Bean – long time classmates – and Mr. Pordido and Mrs. Llaga shambling towards us. Their appearances had altered drastically. Like rotting corpses – eyes glowing greenly rimmed by yellow sludge – they advanced towards us – arms outstretched as if led by an invisible force. Hair buttressed their decaying faces like tangled barbed wire. Blood and gore dripped from their hands and arms, dribbled from open wounds on their faces saturating the front of their clothes. The smell wafting our way was indescribable.

    They were prowling for a fresh feed.

    “Ziggy. I need to get to my car.” I grinned.

    “You brought it?” Ziggy stared. “Caramba.”

    He was the only one that knew.

    We bolted from the room and leaped down the stairs to the parking lot. Later I would marvel at the foresight of bringing my Valhalla laser to school on that fateful morning.

    A cacophony of screeching brakes, horns blaring, crunching metal and panicked screaming filled the air as cars rammed each other in the frantic effort for students to escape the horror they’d witnessed.

    I was carrying the Valhalla over my shoulder when we raced back into the school.

    “Patch! Ziggy!” Mr. Cadaverico the school principal met us at the door. “Stop!”

    “You’ll be sorry.” He screamed as we kept running.

    Not as sorry as you’ll be.

    The clues had been there all along. The biggest clue was the school’s name: Escuela Para Sesos?

    Ziggy’s mechanical wizardry combined with my genius design – the Valhalla was the ultimate weapon.

    The Zombie foursome lumbered down the hall towards us.

    I crouched, took aim and kept firing.

    Their heads exploded in a fine red mist as their corpses toppled to the floor.

    “Watch out. Behind.” Ziggy screamed.

    I whirled firing from the hip at Mr. Cadaverico. Horrified at the decomposing phenomenon approaching I fired repeatedly.

    “Run Ziggy!” I hollered just as we saw Mr. Cadaverico’s cabeza explotar.

    ****************************

    I bashfully submit to feelings of pride at the school’s new name. Valhalla Patch Preparatoria.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      This is a wonderful, tense story, Critique. Skillfully written and full of vivid descriptions of the Zombies and panic in the school. Looks like a duel to the death at the end. May the best man………..

    2. jmcody

      This was just loaded with vivid descriptions, and a certain glee that I enjoyed. I’ll admit I had to whip out the google translate for some of it, but hey, now I know how to say “head explode” in Spanish! :)

      Very intense and enjoyable. Great job, Critique.

      1. Critique

        Thank you jmcody. I’m glad you enjoyed it. As soon as I posted it I saw some errors. Grrrr, always happens :(
        I just read your prompt – thanks for the laughs :)

    3. snuzcook

      Fun and fast paced, Critique. I can see you had a lot of fun with naming! My rudimentary Spanish made translating haphazard but entertaining. (‘School with a side of brains?’) Great response to the prompt!

  41. swatchcat

    Well at this point we lock them in and kill them with the culminating projects and bore them to death with extra activities thought up to waste the last seven days of school. – this is what I’m reduced to in the last month. T-2 hours to my first borns high school graduation. Hard work on both our parts has resulted in heading to college and two ( one more pending) grants covering tuition and books. We are taking donations toward a basic laptop to get her through,and are grateful to have received some from family and friends. She still needs a little more and are crossing our fingers. She is a smart kid, we are hopeful. It’s been crazy around here. Will write again soon. By the way that’s Allison W. @ po box 81 sumner, wa 98390

  42. Amyithist

    Behind the double doors of Saint Lucia’s School for Boys cafeteria was a horror so unbelievable; so terrifying, most of my classmates had already run away. Those who were still standing seemed to be frozen in place, listening to the guttural moans of those who hadn’t made it out in time. I glanced up at the clock. Of all the days…
    “We need to get out of here,” Adam breathed. “These doors aren’t going to hold them back for long.”
    I nodded in agreement. “Go out to the front,” I ordered. “The girls are going to be showing up for the dance any minute. We can’t have them turning into Zombie feed.”
    Adam seemed immobile; his eyes were fixated on the chained doors where just a few minutes before, he’d been standing in line for the last school lunch he’d ever eat. Two boys down, Professor Higgins suddenly grabbed Chester Hughes and sunk his teeth deep into his neck. It only took five minutes of reciprocating gnaws and bites to turn the entire cafe into a killing room. Only ten of us escaped.
    “Adam,” I called. He snapped his head, focusing his eyes on mine. He was scared to death. “I need you to run out front and stop the girls from coming inside,” I said again. He nodded at me before turning and jogging up the hall toward the office. I turned back to the other boys and tried to assess whether or not they had any skill-sets.
    Tyler Brady, the school’s quarterback and home-grown bully, was certainly fast. He could come in handy. Allen Spencer stood off to the side, his eyes darting and oddly moody for the circumstances. I smiled and motioned for him to come closer. “Allen, have you ever used an ax before?” His response told me I’d chosen the right boy for the job. “Perfect.”
    After gathering my meager resources, I started to put a plan into fruition. Tyler reluctantly agreed while Allen was practically brimming with excitement. “Where the hell did you get this,” Allen beamed, flipping the ax in his hands.
    “My dad is a doomsday prepper,” I replied, pulling my own ax from the back of my locker. “He knew this would happen someday.”
    Allen nodded, but I doubt he truly heard me. His eyes practically glimmered as he ran his hands down the face of the axe’s head. He was born for this day. Tyler shifted back and forth behind us. “What do I get,” he asked, his eyes focused on the black mouth of my open locker.
    I grinned as I slammed the locker door shut. “I’m afraid you’re the guinea,” I called over my shoulder. “An ax would just slow you down.”
    “What the hell are you talking about,” Tyler seethed, stepping closer.
    I turned, my eyes flaming. I’d waited for this day my whole high-school life. “Tyler, you may have been king of the school but those days are gone. You listen to me now.” I held the ax to his chest, edging the tip of the blade toward his throat. His eyes widened with fear and I found myself relishing in it. I pushed the ax in a little deeper until he winced. “Got it?”
    He nodded quickly, swallowing. For a bully, he certainly didn’t put up much of a fight. I turned back to Allen, grinning at him. “Ready to go kill some Zombies?”

    1. Kerry Charlton

      I’m ready Amyithist, I’m axe handy. there were no chain saws, leaf blowers, or string trimmers when I grew up. And lawn mowers were push, reel type. I;m in good enough shape to handle the Zombs.
      Seriously, your story is packed with tension, drama and fear. All in the old 500. Great job in story telling.

    2. jmcody

      Zombie apocalypse turns the social order on its head… awesome idea! You write with such intensity and precision, and your characters are always so tortured and twisted. I love it!

    3. snuzcook

      Love the way your narrator sized up the team’s skill sets, Amyithist. Of course the ax would go to the one with the slightly neurotic or socially challenged behavior! Left us all fired up and ready to go hack some undead!

    4. Reaper

      I loved that the zombies were basically secondary to the real story. You wrote a very compelling and well developed MC. The break down of society that played out on this small scale was very believable and despite some part of me wanting to be annoyed at the MC for resorting to tactics that had obviously been shoved on them a larger part of me was cheering on the man of action that was doing what needed done. Very nicely written.

    5. Observer Tim

      Great work showing what happens when the world turns on its head and the underdogs get power, Amyithist. I love the way the MC deliberately took the time to get his comeuppance on the school bully. The actual massacre of the zombies seems so blase after that…

  43. james.ticknor

    “Fucking Monday morning zombies,” I said. “Why is it always a Monday?”

    “Because Monday sucks,”

    “Right.” I gently pushed my friend aside. “Let me handle this.”

    Little did my friend know, I have seen this before. Christmas of 94 was the worst of it, as Christmas usually is. It’s no wonder, either, as the whole point of the Christmas holiday is to celebrate the birth of the first purportedly magic Jewish zombie in ritualistic fashion.

    Granted, these zombies weren’t dead, they were just high school students who didn’t go to bed on time knowing they had state testing this week. The superintendent of the Board of Education believes that a half assed attempt at a “balanced” morning breakfast was the cure. Fool. Only an idiot would think the cure for a sickness like this lay with powdered eggs.

    This is why I became zombie hunter. Powdered fucking eggs.

    I walked to my locker, prepared for an event like this. What the superintendent neglected to realize is I don’t play by his rules. I can’t cure an outbreak of the magnitude, but then again, my goal wasn’t to save the student body and get high scores to promote financial support from the government. My concern was with my small group of friends. My locker is only so big verses the coffers of local government.

    I quickly turned the combination of my locker and smiled as my eyes fell upon the cure, thanks to my alcoholic mother. After all, margarita mixers still made great thermoses for coffee.

    I brought the cure to them, and the transformation was unreal. Their eyes reignited with energy, their limbs were now fluid and not clumsy- everything was as it should be…until I felt a hand on my shoulder.

    “Are those margarita mixers, James?” I looked up at the principal.

    Fucking parasites. They want a cure, but they want it on their terms. “I disagree with your method of powdered eggs and support of a purportedly magic Jew.” He looked at me, utterly confused, and I used that distraction to run away.

    1. snuzcook

      Loved the bolt and run in the last line, james.ticknor. It such a great, visual ending. I agree, powdered eggs have ruined many a promising future. I really enjoy the commentaries on education politics that this prompt is bringing out in these stories. Well done.

    2. Observer Tim

      This is very clever, James. There’s a whole lot of social commentary crammed into a tight space without it coming across as “preachy”.

      I’m not sure “hair of the dog” is necessarily a great solution, but if it works…

  44. snuzcook

    DESPERATE MEASURES

    The last day of school! I thought back on this, my first year as a student here in the America, so different from my life in Haiti. I reached into the back of my locker to pull out the last of my things. My hand had just closed on a forgotten token when my friend Amanda came flinging herself around the corner in a panicked trajectory right for me.

    “You have to come with me right now,” she said, “It’s a matter of life and death!” Not waiting for an answer, Amanda seized my sleeve and yanked me down the hall toward the cafeteria.

    A small crowd of students had plastered themselves to the windows of the double doors leading to the cafeteria like ants on a jelly doughnut. Inside, four of the members of the football team were wandering around the room like pin balls in slow motion, shoving tables and tossing trays and trash randomly.

    “Okay,” I announced to my fellow students, “Those are zombies in there. We’ve got to stop them now and I know how to do it. Who’s with me?” Everyone stepped back. Americans.

    Suddenly a hideous face plastered itself to the inside of the window, eyes bloodshot and crazed, mouth slack. She came through the doors toward us and there was a collective shriek from the other students. It was Ms. Evans, the vice principal. Fortunately, she hadn’t been turned into a zombie—students always responded to Mrs. Evans that way.

    “Mr. Fitzhugh has flipped! He’s in there throwing powder on the students and chanting something. Anyone it touches transforms into…” she pointed, “one of those.”

    “Don’t worry, Ms. Evans. I know what to do.”

    I slipped through the doors and spotted Fitzhugh behind the serving counter with some ritualistic implements spread out in front of him. The eccentric math teacher had probably brought them back as ‘harmless’ souvenirs from his trip to Haiti over spring break, but he had been seduced by their power.

    “No, no, don’t stop me! They need to study through the summer! I have to keep them under my control or they will forget everything I taught them before September.” He crumpled into tears. “I’ve tried so hard! No matter what I do I can’t keep the math scores up. I feel like such a failure!”

    “But Mr. Fitzhugh, but you can’t do it this way!” I swept the objects into a large steel pot and covered it with a lid. Then I opened my hand to reveal the token I had just grabbed from my locker when Amanda interrupted me. It was a sacred medallion with St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of students, on one side and St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, on the other. As a student in Haiti, I had seen a lot of zombie transformations like this when those in power attempted to control the student population, and the medallion was the only tool that worked against them.

    In no time at all, I had restored Mr. Fitzhugh and students to their normal state of mind, which, though chaotic, was a lot less scary. But then Ms. Evans confiscated the voodoo implements before I could safely dispose of them. I guess I will have to see about getting more of those medallions. Who knows what might happen next year.

    1. Jay

      What a treat, Snuz! The character was loveable and most if it flowed super smooth. I only got hung up on “Fortunately, she hadn’t been turned into a zombie—students always responded to Mrs. Evans that way.” It broke the flow of the story for me, but you quickly recovered!

      I like the exchange student / new student idea, too. What a perfect example of a school official that Ms. Evans is taking shit that doesn’t belong to her. lol

      Nicely, done. :D

      1. snuzcook

        Yeah, it was one of those ‘I’m so clever’ lines that didn’t fit after I did rewrites and deconstruction to fit closer to the word length.
        Glad you enjoyed!

        1. Jay

          It’s an excellently clever line! if you ever revise and post it elsewhere, just a simple revision: “She hadn’t actually turned zombie—that’s just how students responded to Mrs. Evans.”

          Really, thanks for sharing, I’ve already read it a few more times. haha :D

      2. Kerry Charlton

        I liked your story a lot Snuz. There’s not much to tell the difference between jocks and Zombies.Ms. Evans reminds me of my senior English teacher in high school. Working my homework on the back of a shovel by the fireplace didn’t sit well with Ms. Evans. Neither did the long beard and the stove-pipe hat. 1825 was a very bad year for me.

        1. lionetravail

          Heh. “1825 was a very bad year for me”… Kerry’s latest ‘reveal’ :)

          ****decides to go for one of his favorite hyperboles****

          As it turns out, I’m so old I don’t have birthdays anymore… National Geographic sends someone around every so often to radiocarbon-date me.

    2. lionetravail

      Snuz! I enjoyed the story, right through its pretty upbeat conclusion.

      One thing I noticed is that there were places where the Haitian accent of the MC came through crystal clear, and a few places where it lost the great accent. I used to find this, as well as all dialogue, really (really!) hard, and found a solution which works for myself: I read my stuff aloud. (Usually to my wife, occasionally to myself.) Actually hearing it, and doing the accents myself out loud, tells me if what I’m reaching for works, or doesn’t.

      Example: “My first year as a student in THE America” was perfect, I read it in my head with the accent, yanno?

      (In fact, I’ve been reading novels to my wife for the last 12 or 14 years, and I always try to do all the voices in different accents/speech patterns, based on what is portrayed. I am convinced that reading that way out loud, like a book on tape might be read, has helped me with special accent dialogue)

    3. Amyithist

      I LOVED this take. I was laughing so hard at the Mrs. Evans paragraph; it took a serious beginning to an unexpected humorous turn. VERY well written and definitely one of my favorite prompts EVER. Thank you for writing it! :)

    4. jmcody

      I totally fell for Ms. Evans’ hideous face plastered to the door, oh and guess what, she’s not a zombie — she’s just like that. That part made me smile.

      I find interesting parallels between your description of teachers trying to keep the grades up and control the students, and what’s actually going on in education today. (See my story above. Or on second though, don’t. It’s totally silly. :) )

      I must get me one of those medals! Excellent story, Snuzz.

      1. snuzcook

        Thanks, Amyithist and JM! I confess, this story felt like of a series of disjointed funny images as I wrote it, rather than a smoothly constructed story like so many of the other postings here. I had a really hard time with this prompt. I’m glad you got the humor and overlooked the rest!

    5. Critique

      Hilarious, particularly the description of Ms. Evans and the response of the students! lol
      I liked the take-charge nature of the Haitian MC.

    6. Reaper

      This felt very authentic and real. Most things have been said so I will add that I love the power corrupts feeling at the end with the other teacher confiscating the dangerous items.

    7. margi33

      A good read, snuz! Everyone else pretty much covered it. Guess I’m late to the party. :). Haitian voodoo meets political/school issues – Nice response!

    8. Observer Tim

      The drawback of getting here late is that all the good stuff has been said. I really enjoyed the story, and have to echo all the comments like I’m some kind of rock face a half-mile away.

      Based on what little I remember from looking into voodoo (it was decades ago and fairly brief), you nailed it.

  45. Kerry Charlton

    THE EQUALIZER

    Under cover for three years as a high school student, his friends knew him as Donald Stump. In his real persona, he stalked his victims as the super power Peter Small, the Equalizer. He had to move on after the end of school as a senior. Peter’s quest had been successful, eliminating all males wearing size twelve shoes or larger.

    His mission, level the playing field. Fourteen students had disappeared over his time there, never to be seen again. Peter knew where they were, the shrinking dimension. When their shoe size lowered to eight and a half, they would be returned, changed forever.

    “Revenge is sweet’, Peter thought. ‘I’ll never get over Brenda Sweetpuss referring to my unit as a roll of lifesavers wrapped in butcher paper.’ News had spread quickly through the school, rather than being equipped with the King Of Hearts, Peter had to contend with having the Deuce Of Clubs.

    His train of thought shattered as his best friend, Jack Pickelson shouted at him.

    “Peer, zombies are attacking students in the lunch room, hurry.”

    As they raced down the stairs, Peter Small’s brain ramped,

    “I don’t know nothing about killing zombies. Once more, I don’t want to know.’

    But when he threw the doors open to the cafeteria, he felt the usual surge of power come over him as the four walking dead approached him. Peter removed a red cape from his back pack and as a toreador, he enticed them toward the open walk in doors to the food cooler. As the zombies rushed him, he diverited their charge using his tight toreador pants as bait and locked them in the cooler.

    “Quick,” he shouted, “Get a PA system and hook it into the cooler vent.”

    “Why in hell entertain them?” Jack asked.

    “You’ll see, get a Barbra Streisand CD and hit constant repeat on ‘People’.”

    All four hundred watts of Streisand rattled windows and shook walls Crashing sounds, moans and screaming emitted from the cooler.

    “Move it to total power and push in Barry Manilow on the system.”

    Walls of the cooler started to crumble from the desperate pounding on the inside walls. Then one explosion after another, burst the cooler into small pieces, scattering debris and headless zombies across the area. Peter walked among the bodies, smiling to himself. He had a new mission in life as the girls surrounded him with hugs and kisses.

    The moral to this classic epic?

    “It’s not the size of the unit that counts, it’s how you use it.”

    Writer’s note:

    This is the worst piece of garbage I’ve ever written. It is worthless, crude and idiotic. Never the less, I’m going to force you to read it. Please, please, no comments. I can’t handle the embarrassment.

    Peter, shoe size eight and a half. Please remember I’m loveable! .

    1. lionetravail

      Peter sounds like a ‘unit’arian, huh? Very cute, and not at all garbage. And ‘Brenda Sweetpuss’ is like right out of a comic book… in fact the whole thing plays in my head as a ‘graphic novel’, or what we used to call a comic book (back in the day). I can see the scenes and panels- not sure quite how you managed that Kerry, but you did.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank youm David. I do have a favorite part, leading the Zombs on with his toreador pants. I see what you mean by the comic book script.

    2. snovy121

      I know you don’t want comments, but I really liked the whole equalizing concept. It reminded me of Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks snovy121. I’m a firm believer in equalization, especially if I’m down wind from the norn. Glsd you like the story and thank you for the read.

    3. Amyithist

      Kerry, I don’t think this was garbage at all. The innuendos alone were hilarious. Sweetpuss? Pickleson? Oh my gosh, I’m dying. Not to mention Peter Small! LOL This was great! As always, you amaze me. Thank you for the refreshing and hilarious take on the prompt. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :)

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank yoy Amyithist. I’m glad I hit your funny bone. I couldn’t write serious about Zombs, for I know very little about them. They horrify me with their vacant eyes, and droll. Reminds me of a blind date I had in high school.

    4. jmcody

      Something about this prompt made a lot of people go either intensely serious or intensely silly. I think you and I both went off the wall silly. This was some lively, inspired silliness Kerry. The Barbra Streisand bit was hilarious.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you jm. When I first heard Barbra in the sixties, I loved her voice but after fifty years it sounds like finger nails across a chalk board. Some day she may learn to sing on key and quit screeching like a banshee. It’s a shame for she has the power, emotion, and the talent in spades. I’m glad you liked my silly-willy tale.

    5. Critique

      So many parts of this had me laughing Kerry. Barbra Streisand and Barry Manilow – hilarious. I’m glad I got to read your ‘worst piece of garbage I’ve ever written’ – so fun :)

      1. snuzcook

        So many great lines, Kerry! And the whole concept of equalization just screams High School! This was a lot of fun, and I betcha had a fun writing it!

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Thank you snuzcook. A piece of fluff it is and I had fun creating it until the doubts set in. I’ve reread it a couple of times and I feel better now. Thank you for the read and comments.

      2. Kerry Charlton

        Thanks Critique. I wanted it to be funny but it was so absurb, I wasn’t sure it would work. I’m glad you thought so and I always appreciate your comments.

    6. Reaper

      Your first couple of paragraphs had me thinking, oh Kerry has gone very dark this week. I was half expecting you to skip the zombies all together. Then I couldn’t stop laughing. Comedy is hard, and a lost art. To do something that has such a reaction from a varied audience speaks to your skill. If that is the music you use to kill zombies I’m worried I might be one.

      The last couple of weeks you seem to be doubting yourself and I don’t think you should. I have noticed a trend that struck home with this one. Your writing is as good as ever but the voice is, I’m trying to pick a word with the least negative connotation because I do not mean this as an insult at all, more juvenile? primitive? than what you normally go for. You almost seem ashamed of that and you shouldn’t be. Sometimes you have to let the kid inside come out and play. It doesn’t make you any less serious a writer, it just shows you don’t take yourself too seriously.

      Honestly I loved this.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you as always Reaper. I’ll quit kicking myself around so much. It’s the small boy in my brain, running through my conscious mind saying, “My turn, my turn to write.” So I let him go and then wonder why? I’ll let him rip when ever he wants to. It’s hard being serious every day.

        By the way, I don’t take my self except for what I am, A dis-jointed person who duels against the every day restrictions life imposes now. “Born Free” and then watching through the years as the gap narows. Maybe it’s middle age crazy. But if that’s true, I’ll need to last until I’m 156. What are the chances?

        1. Reaper

          It is hard to be serious every day. I like the child running free too. Watching that gap narrow is something to duel against. I hope it’s the middle age crazy because I could use that much more of your writing and your wisdom. The chances get better every day, but for now I will just hope it is true.

    7. Observer Tim

      This was one part hilarious and one part “what the…?” It’s entertaining from start to finish. This is not a style of humour that I normally go for, but you kept it from getting vulgar which is a real accomplishment.

      You may not be fond of it, but Tchaikovsky apparently didn’t like “The Nutcracker” so much (mostly due to overplaying in his time).

      My brain jumped at “as a toreador”, putting the entire costume on Peter; it might be a subtly better choice to use “like a toreador”. But that’s just me.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Tim. Even I was confused with this, maybe that’s why I didn’t like it. I started out one way, then ended another. Toreador pants just showed up somewhere. Who know? Anyway, If you enjoyed it, so did I. Thanks as always for your comments.

        I really think Peter was more confused then I was and probably in his mind, he was in a bull ring, waiting to bury the ‘Barbara’ between their shoulder blades and finish them off with the ‘Manilow’. Who knows?

    8. margi33

      Kerry, I actually really enjoyed this! I thought it showed a great sense of humor – I really enjoyed your lighter, more casual side of writing. Very entertaining :) !

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Thank you Marc. It is a ridiculous tale but I will warn you,listening to Manilow and Barbra in the same day, can be life-threatening.

  46. Observer Tim

    This follows directly from my previous post for this week.
    _____

    “The Belle Tolls, Part Two Scene One, Take Eight. Action!”

    “Stop trying to cop a feel, Ed!”

    “My hand is exactly where it was at the end of last season.”

    “At least don’t squeeze.”

    “Get with it, children! From the top. Action!”

    I kick backwards and Ed the zombie falls. Just like we practiced I swing my legs up and use them to pull the guys on my arms down. My self-defence instructor thinks it’s stupid, but that’s what combat is like on the set. It’s all in fun, which is why I do my own stunts.

    Ed misses his cue and doesn’t let go. Instead he grabs tighter.

    “Ed! Cut it out!”

    “Nrrahhn!”

    “Ha ha. I mean it, let go!” I’m fit and fairly strong, but Ed’s grip is like steel. “Ed!”

    “Cut!” Monty is running onto the set. “Harrison, let go of Nellie! This is no place for an ad lib!”

    This feels disturbingly real. I start pulling at Ed’s hands and notice that the fake zombie claws have come off; they’re being replaced by… real claws! What the f…?

    “Ed Harrison, if you don’t smarten up you’re fuuhlgh.”

    Claws push through Monty’s chest and tear backwards; he’s dead before he hits the floor. Behind him Jenna –Katie– is holding his heart while it stops beating. She tears a chunk off with her teeth.

    People are running now. I can hear screams and some kind of alarm. The only ones left on the set are me, Annalee, Ed, two extras and a cameraman. Except for me they’re all monsters.

    I finally wriggle out of Ed’s grip. My shirt is torn, but life trumps decency. I leap away and slam into the lunch counter, causing a spray of fake marinara from my shirt. It smells even more disgusting than it did in March when we shot the teaser.

    “Don’t get any in your mouth!”

    I spare a glance; it’s Ricki in her Demon Queen Tina outfit. The only person in the series that shows more T&A than me.

    “What?”

    “Don’t eat any! I saw a couple of interns go zombie after trying it!”

    Great. And I’m coated in the stuff. I roll over the counter as Jenna grabs for me.

    I jump for the back door but it’s fake and doesn’t open; they’re coming at me from all sides. I have to go for it. Hopefully this heroic BS works.

    I charge the mob, catching them off guard. It’s enough, barely, to get me through them. I’m scratched but safe. Ricki grabs my hand and starts pulling me toward Makeup.

    “What about…?”

    “Not our problem, Nell. That’s what Security’s for. We have to get that damned sauce off you.”

    Hence our running toward Makeup. The only place on site with a shower.

    The aftermath wasn’t as awful as I feared. Monty was dead, of course, but the others recovered in about an hour.

    So we all we need is a new director. The show must go on.

    1. Kerry Charlton

      Great job Tim. Are you going to offer your services as the new director, tits and ass left behind? I bet you look darling in make up. Can you post a phioto? Seriously, the story line was excellent, the action was even better and I liked the way you set the stage in the first few sentences. It’s certainly an enjoyable read. You make it sound like fun shoting scenes.

    2. lionetravail

      Fantastic :) How contemporary a take on the story this is…. “Okay, attacked by actual zombies- check. Director killed- check. Near death experience- check. Welp, the show must go on.”

      Thanks for going with the next installment Observer Tim!

    3. Amyithist

      LOL. The last line killed me. So all we need is a new director.
      Great take on the prompt! Well written. The action was fluid and got me hyped. :)

    4. jmcody

      I am a big fan of your breezy, satirical style, and this was more O. Tim fun. So it was all in the marinara? Geez, now I’m really gonna have to swear off pasta, as if the carbs weren’t problem enough.

      The heart getting ripped out of the director’s body was horrific in a nonchalant kind of way. I also got a kick out of the admittedly improbable gumbyish stunts.

  47. lionetravail

    “Goin’ Viral”

    “You have to come with me right now!” Jaime said as he slid to a halt.

    I removed one last thing from my locker and slipped it into my inner trench coat’s pocket, then closed my locker and calmly turned.

    “What’s up, brother?” I said.

    “There are zombies in the freaking gym!” he yelled, face pale.

    “I told you those other reported outbreaks were real,” I said. I began moving purposefully down the hall.

    Jaime followed hesitantly. “What…? Where are you going?”

    “I’m going to stop it,” I said.

    He stopped. I didn’t.

    “You coming, or you going to wuss out?” I said, forward-talking and not caring. I heard the patter and squeak of his sneakers as he came after me, and smiled to myself.

    I slammed the gym doors open, and took in the scene.

    “Holy crap!” Jaime breathed.

    It was horrible. It was totally epic.

    I pulled Jaime into the gym with me, and ignored his yelp of surprise. “Get this on video,” I snarled at him, and yanked the door shut behind us.

    Across the gym, the gore-streaked monstrosities turned to face us. I reached into both side pockets, and scattered a double-handful of salt in a wide arc in front of us. Unconcerned, I turned to face Jaime. He’d gotten his phone out, but his hands were shaking terribly.

    “Jaime,” I said. “Focus, man. They can’t get past the salt.” I pointed over my shoulder without looking, knowing that the horrific figures of former classmates would be balked by the thin rim of white crystals.

    He looked past me, the whites of his eyes showing. As he took in the view behind me, I saw him first gawk, then look back to meet my gaze.

    “Roll ‘em,” I said, and turned back to face the undead. I felt the huge grin on my face as I raised my right hand over my head and clenched it tight.

    I heard Jaime gasp as I brought the power to bear and my fist began to glow. “Hope you’re getting this,” I muttered. I made a punching motion at Kurt Jamison, once the coolest of the cool, and now the ghoulest of the ghoul. A ball of lightning leapt from my fist and hit him in the chest and exploded, with Kurt along with it.

    “Holy crap!” Jaime shrieked, and then let out a whoop. “Get ‘em John!”

    I took out the rest of them to his cheers and exhortations, and when the zombies were reduced to harmless bits and pieces, I turned to face Jaime and his phone. “And I’m not even dead tired!” I said to the camera.

    Jaime swept the phone over the remains of the fight, and clicked it off. “That was freaking amazing!” he said.

    I agreed, and turned to open the gym doors.

    “But, there’s something I don’t understand,” he said.

    I stopped.

    “Okay, there’ve been two other zombie outbreaks reported in town in the last two weeks,” Jaime said. “And the cops were able to contain them.”

    “With casualties,” I said.

    “Yes, and they got no idea how or why it happened. And here, you did it with, like, powers,” he said.

    I nodded, but didn’t turn.

    “And salt. Isn’t that some kind of voodoo thing?”

    I waited.

    “How’d you know to be prepared for this outbreak with handfuls of freaking salt, Johnny?” he said.

    I sighed, and reached into the inner pocket of my trench coat and pulled out the small figurine I’d stashed there from my locker. It had Jaime’s hair.

    Literally.

    “Too many questions,” I said quietly. I twisted the head off the figurine in one quick motion.

    I heard a sharp intake of breath, then the phone clattering to the floor, and, finally, Jaime collapsing to follow it.

    They’d find the vid. The things you had to do to become a hero these days, I thought, and walked out of school for the last time.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a darkly cynical take, Lione. I was wondering why Johnny wanted the camera set up. It’s definitely cold-hearted of him to kill so many people for fame, though it’s definitely realistic.

      A thoroughly enjoyable story.

    2. snovy121

      You have me interested. I really like that put voodoo in here. Way to stick with the origin of zombie folklore! I am guessing John caused this third attack and had the foresight that he would have Jamie tape it?

      1. lionetravail

        How many relatively amoral voodoo guys you think they got running around? ::wink wink, nudge nudge::

        You’re bang on about the third attack, and the foresight… but I kinda figured Johnny boy had two earlier attacks to practice with, and establish that zombies were really real for the police and ‘normals’.

        I’m thinking he got an ‘F’ in Morality… :)

        1. Kerry Charlton

          We’re all getting an ‘F’ in morality with this prompt. I liked the cold-blooded murder aspect with your MC’s thoughts. I’m probably not going to sleep well tonight.

    3. Amyithist

      Oh my gosh this was so deliciously evil and creepy! Dark and ominous; like a much bigger storm is waiting on the horizon. I would love to see where John goes from here. Very well done. Thank you for the take! :)

    4. jmcody

      The modern anti-hero on his never-ending quest for attention. Deviously plotted and well written as always, Lionetravail. I noticed this time your attention to staging. You clearly thought through all the small moves and gestures that bring the scene to life, such as “He stopped. I didn’t.” This makes it very cinematic, and is something I’m going to have to pay more attention to in my own writing.

      There was one very minor hiccup for me — and this is only because your writing is so close to flawless that it stands out like a speck of dust on a highly polished dining room table — The MC described himself as snarling at Jaime. I don’t think he would see himself that way. He would probably see himself as more commanding than snarling. The snarling is more the outside POV.

      With zombies being all the rage these days, I think you could have something here in terms of a larger, salable modern crime/horror drama.

    5. Reaper

      Wow, I am so far behind this week. This is beautifully written lionetravail. Perfect small details, chilling twist, nice character development. I really liked that in his own way your MC seemed to feel a little bad for his friend after murdering him. This definitely feels like it could be expanded into something for the screen.

      There was, for me, one small logic/believability flaw. The salt stopped the zombies but not your MC’s magic. Now often salt is seen as a grounding agent for the mystical but I assumed you were going for the idea of it as a sign of purity, so it would stop the evil but not the power of good intent. Finding out he was amoral and not one of the white hats that caused a hiccup in my reasoning. This is all probably just that I spend a little too much time in the lore and reasons of things like that but for me that could have used a little more exposition or perhaps a different substance. It was a very small thing. I do agree there was some awkward wording but that could be easily cleaned up and neither of those things detracted from my enjoyment of your story.

      1. lionetravail

        Thank you everyone, and especially jmcody and Reaper for the amazing compliments and the helpful critiques. Good points from both of you- hadn’t done my homework on how/why salt works in voodoo.

        Stuff to work on for the next one!

    6. margi33

      Nicely done! I loved the twist at the end and the MC’s attitude throughout, perfect tone. The use of the phone to make a video was a good idea, especially for the YA genre.

      1. lionetravail

        Thanks Margi and Ahsuniv! Yeah, after reading the wonderful stories before mine, I thought about what twist I could put on the prompt, and came up with the ‘hero’ actually also being the cause of the zombie outbreak. Everything else then rolled from there, with the attitude, the backstory of prior outbreaks to ‘set up’ the new one, and all the rest. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  48. Ahsuniv

    Joe ogled at the chaos in front of his eyes. His classmates walked in a dead stupor about the walls and the ceiling of the classroom like gravity was obsolete. A minute away from class for a pee break and his class had turned upside down.

    ‘How did this happen?’ he gestured to Larry as they peered through the classroom’s window from the bushes outside.

    ‘I was late to class as usual. As I entered , I saw everyone lying on the ground clutching their ears and our science professor standing zombified. Everyone was writhing on the ground, clutching their ears. They stood up as zombies. I was fleeing before they could spot me and that’s when I ran into you,’ he signed back.

    Joe understood what had happened. He had seen it happen before. He knew how to tackle them. His eyes followed their science professor as he climbed the wall. Fortunately it was only a special class which meant that they were the only ones in the building.

    ‘I closed the door as I came out and they haven’t been able to figure out how to open it yet…’

    ‘It won’t be long before they break the door open,’ Joe signed to Larry. Most of the desks in the classroom were in ruins already. Right then, one of the zombies, Rachel she used to be, banged through a wall. The door laid forgotten in the rubble as they started to file out one after the other through the gaping hole in the wall. ‘Go away Larry. Go home!’

    ‘I am not leaving you. Let’s go together.’

    ‘Don’t worry about me. Just, just keep out of sight…’ said Joe, gesturing and sprinted towards the school building. He knew this would happen, but never imagined that it would happen in school.

    He edged his way into the corridor on reaching the school entrance. He was lucky to be born deaf. He was immune to the zombie shriek. He was also lucky to be the only one to know their weak point.

    He pushed himself back into a cranny next to the lockers. He felt the walls vibrate beneath him and knew that they must be close by letting out the zombie shriek. They would speed towards him if provoked, so he waited as they walked past him unseeingly.

    The moment they went past, he kicked each of them across the back of their heads with lightening speed. Each one he kicked crumbled and fell in a heap of human rubble. A strange sorrow engulfed him as he cracked open each of the zombies. They were his friends who would no longer be.

    The last zombie left was his science professor who had escaped out of the building. Joe ran outside to get hold of his professor and doubled back as he saw him speeding towards Larry who stood cowering in front of him. Larry shrunk to the ground clutching his ears.

    Joe ran towards the professor and kicked at his head bringing him to a pile of human flesh. He looked towards Larry with hopeful eyes, but it was too late. Larry lifted dead eyes up to his and opened his mouth in a mute scream. Shaking his head morosely, Joe raced around Larry and placed a kick on his head.

    Dead foes. Dead friends. This is the life of a zombie killer, he thought.

    1. Observer Tim

      So the deaf shall inherit the earth. It would be very hard to fight zombies that spread their plague by means of sound. The final line is a colossal downer, but it does sum up the situation nicely. The story is well-told, Ahsuniv.

      My red pencil says “ogled” might not be the right verb for the first paragraph. It’s normally only used when sizing up a potential mate, so there’s a very weird implication.

    2. lionetravail

      I’ve had the privilege to meet a bunch of world war 2 veterans in the past, and a common response to “How are you, Sir?” was their routine answer: “Still kicking”. I think it’s great that Joe’s ‘power’ is knowing where to strike, and how hard, making him the batman kind of superhero, without obvious superpowers.

      I would suggest one thing: you use the word “professor” a bunch in a very short space: 3 times in 4 sentences in 2 of the last 3 paragraphs. You might consider using other descriptive terms to avoid the repetition there.

      Overall, I found this was a very ‘human’ story; Joe felt “a strange sorrow” instead of “Yee hah!” when he took out the first zombies, and still was “shaking his head morosely” at the end. It makes it easy to like your MC, since he’s clearly a caring an empathic sort of hero. Nicely done.

      1. Ahsuniv

        I feel very stupid to have submitted such a rough draft of the story. I typed it in a hurry and posted it in a hurry. Now when I read it I feel like a complete dork.

        Thanks for the kind response in spite of everything lionetravail! Really appreciate it.

    3. Amyithist

      Ahsuniv, this was a great story. There were some points where I was confused by some of the word choices, but the story itself was fantastic. I enjoyed the descriptive scenes. And I like that the MC was deaf… I don’t think anyone has ever done that. GREAT job!!

      1. Ahsuniv

        Thank you so much Amyithist. I am really happy that you liked the story. I agree that the writing was shoddy. Sorry about it. I will strive to do better in the future.

    4. jmcody

      I loved the emotional subtext and humanity that you built into this, and the deafness and the zombies’ shrieks was an inspired and very original approach.

      One small piece of advice that I can give is try to make your dialogue sound more conversational. The line that starts with “‘I was late to class as usual. As I entered , I saw everyone lying on the ground clutching their ears and our science professor standing zombified” sounds more like written exposition than something a person would actually say. It might help to read the dialogue out loud. Consider the personality of the person speaking.

      You have a wonderful imagination. Great job, Ahsuniv!

  49. Augie

    Objective: Navy SEAL Graduation

    Location: Coronado, California…

    Time: 14:30

    14:30: Augila stands at his locker adjusting his gig line in full dress uniform.

    14:31: Scorp approaches, wiping sweat off his brow “your up!”

    14:31 + 10 seconds: Augie opens the door to the cafeteria. “Are you kidding me?”

    14:31 + 11 seconds: Pulls out BFG (big fuk’n gun).

    BOOM… “I made it through BUDS”…,. BOOM.…. “I made it through special warfare training”… BOOM….. “ I never rang the bell”…. BOOM… BOOM…BOOM… BOOM.

    14:31 + 14 seconds: Pulls out speed loader, dumps empty cartridges, re-loads.

    14:31 + 17 seconds: “ Zombies?” BOOM….”Seriously?”… BOOM…”Give me my damn Budweiser!” (Trident special warfare pin)…BOOM.

    14:31 + 19 seconds: “Threat neutralized!”

    The Commander looks through the bulletproof one-way glass, “Best time yet, he graduates!

    Infect more rejects and send the next candidate in.”

    Super hero? Naaa….. Only to my daughter!

    Hey all, busy week. Only had time for a short one. (Commandeered a laptop) It’s all about smiling!

    ‘Love to live, Live to laugh!’

  50. rle

    The school was unusually quiet that Thursday afternoon. The hallways were normally bustling with activity after the final bell and on the last day of classes, it should have been in a state of mass chaos. Instead, the atmosphere was rather somber, a scene more reminiscent of a rainy Monday morning. Although Michael Gibbs found the mood of his surroundings a little peculiar and even a bit unsettling, the only thing he really wanted to do was finish cleaning out his locker and start summer vacation.

    As he peered into the bottom of his locker and tried to recall how old the Twinkie was that stared back up at him, he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. It was his best friend, Mark VanMeter.

    “What’s up Mark?” Michael asked as he knelt down and fetched the half smashed cake from it’s resting place and tossed it on top of a pile of mostly useless papers and folders in his book bag.

    “Come to the lobby with me,” Mark eagerly beckoned, “You gotta see this.”

    Michael closed his now empty locker, picked up his book bag and turned to follow Mark. Just as he spun around, he literally ran into Macy Reilly.

    “Sorry,” he apologized, But Macy didn’t seem to take notice of his offering. She seemed to be preoccupied responding to a text message.

    “What’s going on?” Michael asked as he caught up to Mark and they neared the lobby.

    “Do you remember that thing you’ve been telling me about everybody’s electronic devices messing up their brains? Well, I think it just happened,” Mark spoke quickly as they rounded the corner into the lobby.

    In the next instant, Michael knew that it had indeed, happened. Nearly twenty of their peers sat on the benched that lined the walls of the lobby. Each one stared blankly at the screens on their iphones, tablets, or notebooks. They all typed furiously with their thumbs. Some moaned, some shrieked, others had drool dripping from their chins, others simply wept.

    Michael sprang into action. He put his book bag down and first approached a girl from his biology class who babbled nonsense as she tapped away on her tiny keyboard. He took the phone from her hand and smashed it on the floor where it shattered into a thousand pieces. The girl collapsed on the floor and went into convulsions, begging her electronic God for mercy. One by one, Michael repeated this procedure and the reaction from each one was similar. None resisted.

    Mark looked on in horror, “What the hell is happening?” he cried.

    “These things have fried their brains,” Michael replied as he held up the last ipad and let it fall to the floor where it exploded into a pile of chips and circuits. “Don’t worry, they’ll all be fine in an hour or so and maybe when they wake up they’ll actually talk to one another like people used to; like people are supposed to. Maybe, they’ll scribble a hand written letter once in a while or stop by and SEE a friend…” Michael stopped short, Mark had ran off.

    Michael took one last look at the heap of broken hardware and humanity. He shouldered his book bag and stepped out into the hot afternoon sunshine. He reached for the Twinkie he’d found in the bottom of his locker. Michael has slain dragons, they made him sweat. He’d stopped terrorists, they made him tired, and now, he’d stopped techno zombies. They just made him hungry.

    1. Observer Tim

      An interesting take, rle, and well-executed. Luckily these zombies can be saved by taking away the toys that made them. I hope that twinkie isn’t too old; their shelf life is a myth (it’s really only a few weeks).

      Just before I hit post I realized that our hero rescued the students from the downside horror of technology only to succumb to the downside horror of convenience food. Good thing there are no “twinkie zombies”…

    2. snovy121

      Nice take on the prompt! The dialogue in the second to last paragraph is funny and snarky. Glad to see you and others have used the zombie theme to poke fun at the culture.

    3. jmcody

      I think we are all becoming slaves to our electronic devices. Its amazing how whatever is on the little screen can start to seem more important than the flesh-and-blood person that’s standing in front of you! It’s pretty peculiar. This was an insightful comment on a strange cultural phenomenon. Interesting, rle.

  51. snovy121

    Alright, I’m not really proud of this, but thought I would give it a go anyway. It would work better if I could pull off comedy writing. I just don’t dig zombies.

    “I had a dream about zombies last night,” Brandon Wheeler told his friend Zack Shuman, as they stood in the hall emptying their lockers.

    “YOU had a dream about zombies?” Zack responded. “I guess you’re finally starting buying into pop culture. Welcome aboard,” he laughed.

    “Don’t remind me. I’m sick of Zombies…The Walking, Dead World War Z, lame-ass zombie walks everywhere. It’s not cute or clever. It’s just overdone like everything that gets popular. Shit, I’m even dreaming about zombies. Now that’s my worst nightmare!”

    “Such a hater,” Zack good-naturedly shook his head. “Maybe this summer goblins will become a thing in Hollywood. Don’t know about you, but I could deal with an updated, darker take on Labyrinth.” Zack not only had become accustomed to Brandon’s tirades in the ten years they had been friends, but he enjoyed and encouraged them. Zack expected Brandon to shift gears and harangue him about the laziness of remaking cult classic films, but to his surprise, Brandon continued telling him about his dream.

    A zombie had entered his room through the window. Quick to react, Brandon rushed out of bed, grabbed a hammer, and repeatedly beat the creature until it retreated, back out the window. “I’m seventeen and fit. It’s not like some undead, lethargic creature can take me. Zombie stories have no logic. They’re no match to the living unless they sit around waiting to be eaten like a bunch of idiots,” Brandon had resumed his rant.

    “You guys!” Taylor Ackerson came running down the hall and abruptly halted at Brandon’s locker, visibly shaken and out of breath. “You have to go to the cafeteria”

    “What’s going on?” Zack asked.

    “Just go!” Taylor screamed, shaking her arms in agitation as she ran toward the school exit.

    “What the hell could that be about?” Brandon wondered as he shut his locker door and went toward the cafeteria with Zack. To their dismay, they discovered that Brandon’s encounter with a zombie was no dream: the same home intruder was loose in the school and already had transformed six students. Brandon quickly recognized the corpse of Kelly Bergeron, head of the student council. Her once blue flirty eyes were a sickly yellow, devoid of her characteristic spunk. Only hours earlier, Brandon couldn’t help but to admire her toned legs as she passed him in the hall. All that remained of them now were gray, rotting flesh on rickety bones. The previously cherub-faced Tyler Karzinsky’s skin had already caved into his face. Those once inquisitive eyes now just looked at the room vacuously, looking for its next victim.

    “No! ”Brandon screamed, grabbing a chair, bludgeoning all seven zombies until their remains were scattered into broken pieces all over the cafeteria floor. He was right indeed. Six slow, laboring zombies were no match against a living, youthful, human.

    “Brandon! You killed our friends!” It was Zack, in perfect terror from the remains around him.
    “They were already zombies! Dear God! Hopefully they’re all gone and won’t be anymore!”

    1. Observer Tim

      For someone who doesn’t dig zombies, you crafted a great story Snovy. Using the zombies primarily as a plot foil worked very well, and I got a good understanding of the main character. Nothing seemed forced.

    2. lionetravail

      Fun! And I liked your MC’s taking the time to tell us about Kelly’s flirty eyes and toned legs :)

      I liked the home intruder/nightmare juxtaposition, only to realize it WAS a close encounter for Brandon the night before. I’d like there to be more, to understand how Brandon was able to function- it sounds, from the last line, that he’s religious, and hoping for their souls to be at peace… was that what the last line meant?

      1. snovy121

        No, Brandon’s not religious. Using “Dear God” maybe wasn’t the right choice of words. It’s only to express his disgust with zombies in pop culture and folklore and now in his real life.

    3. originalalchemist

      I enjoyed this. Making a zombie story fresh (excuse the pun) is a difficult task, but your use of words to evoke the images of the zombified students is well done. “The previously cherub-faced Tyler…” is a personal favorite.

    4. Reaper

      This could partially be a sharing of your and your MCs distaste for zombies but I loved this. Very well written. I thought your last line perfectly expressed the hope for no more zombies simply because he disliked the idea of them.

  52. Gina

    Library book – check, pencils and notebook – check. Now, thought Cody, time to clean out my other locker. Cody stooped down, removed a mini-flathead screwdriver from his coat pocket and pried up the metal base of his locker. He looked to his left and right down the long corridors, checking for any stragglers. The halls were empty. Last day of school was a half-day and the only kids who had stuck around were the ones who wanted to grab a quick bite from the cafeteria before heading out. He lifted the small square, reached inside, and retrieved the contents. The small duffle bag made a metallic clink as he slung it over his shoulder.

    “Cody!” cried a voice from down the hall. Cody looked up to see his friend Cameron running down the corridor, face pale, but blotched with flushed red spots. Cameron tripped over his own shoes at the last second and Cody bent and caught him before his face hit the tile.

    “Whoah, Cam, what’s going on man?” Cody said as he helped Cameron to his feet.

    “We’ve gotta get out of here! Th-th-th…,” Cameron stuttered . He hasn’t done that since the 7th grade, thought Cody. “Slow down, muchacho. Take a breath and tell me what’s going on.”

    “The cafeteria, I don’t know what’s happening. They’re eating each other!”

    The half-smile faded from Cody’s face and he took Cameron by the shoulders. “Look, man, get out and go straight to the police. Tell them you think someone put a bomb in the school.”

    “What?! But you don’t know what I saw. It’s like a nightmare up there. I’m having a nightmare with my friggin’ eyes open!”

    “I know what you saw. Just do what I said, and I’ll explain later. Take the exit out on this level, the one that goes past the band room. Trust me – it’ll be okay.” Cameron hesitated for a half-second, then turned tail and ran for the exit.

    Cody took off toward the stairwell at the end of the hall, his footfalls echoing off the walls. As he ran he shifted the duffle bag to his chest inserting one arm through each of the straps and, tilting his chin down, bit down on a zipper and pulled it off with his teeth like a grenade pin. Go, Gadget, Go, he thought as the bag conformed to his chest and torso. The outer cloth disintegrated revealing a small arsenal at his disposal. He neared the stairwell and leapt, clearing the entire set with and skidding to a halt on the second floor. He rushed around the corner to the cafeteria doors and burst through, going into a front somersault, and landing in a crouch.

    There were at least ten fully transmuted zombies. Some of his peers lie scattered on the floor. Others sat at the tables, faces planted in today’s beef stroganoff. The bodies were beginning to twitch and convulse in seizure-like movements. He needed to finish this quickly.

    As Cody knelt, he felt the familiar tingling sensation start at his toes and filter upward as his body converted to a mercurial substance. The zombies, still sluggish in their new forms, ambled toward him.

    “That’s it, sweethearts, come to papa.” Cody’s smile rippled in his semi-solid state. He reached into a vest pocket and pulled out the detonator for the C-4 strapped to his vest and flicked the switch.
    ***

    1. Reaper

      Interesting Gina. Description was nice and I was wondering about the slightly slower pace. Then your MC revealed the brains instead of just a physical power. The fact that the MC covered their tracks by having the buddy call in the bomb was awesome and made that slower, more intellectual pace snap into focus at the end. This would be a great opening to a longer story as well.

      1. Gina

        Yeah, it felt slow to me as well. I thought about scratching the whole bit and starting over, but my kiddos had other ideas ;). Thanks for reading. – Bean :)

      1. Gina

        Ha! Property damage for sure. Unfortunately, renovations will have to wait, because I’m pretty sure one of the zombies got a taste of Cameron before he got out of the cafeteria ;). Thanks for reading. Not my best work, but I got the words down so I’ll give myself that much :). – Bean

  53. Shivermejenny

    ‘Finally the last day of senior year. I made it!’ is what I thought to myself as I cleaned out my locker with pure enjoyment. I threw in the books Mrs. Reynolds gave me into my satchel when all of a sudden Katherine comes rushing towards me.

    “Lucille! You have to come with me right now! It’s a matter of life and death,” she roared.

    Without saying a word I threw everything else into my backpack and rushed with her to the cafeteria. I probably left my locker open but it wouldn’t even matter. Anyways, as I got a sense of what was going on I looked at Katherine shocked and asked, “How did this happen?”

    “Principal Bronson came in grunting and walking funny and all of a sudden everyone was doing it too!”

    “Are you an idiot? How can you not notice when it was first starting to happen?”

    “I was talking to Ken and all of a sudden he was trying to eat my brain..”

    “You’re an idiot for actually talking to a zombie and not noticing! I have something to show you..”

    “How can you show me something at a time like this?”

    I thought she would never shut up til I burst out with my super powers and killed all the zombies one by one. I pulled out my zombie destroying nun-chucks and clobbered every zombie head I saw. Using my super speed I finished the zombie killing before anyone else could notice zombies ever existed. Blood splattered everywhere with each swing I took. The stubborn ones got to feel the burn with my flame throwing missiles. Katherine stared with astonishment and couldn’t say a word. Once I was down to my last zombie she decided to say, “Wow that was AWESOME!”

    The school cafeteria was a malicious mess. I quickly grabbed on to Katherine and flew us to her house. I don’t like to brag about my powers so I kept quiet as she asked millions of questions. I thought she talked a lot before.. All I know is that I just want to go home and sleep.

  54. jhowe

    The halls of Kalamazoo Central High School were abuzz with activity when Patrick ran up to me as I organized the last of my stuff into a worn satchel. I disliked backpacks. They were so passé. So predictable.

    “You gotta see this,” Patrick said, breathing heavily.

    I knew what he wanted me to see. “Not now Patrick. I have a preordained rendezvous with, at this point, a nameless vixen on the sandy shores of Lake Michigan.”

    “Dude, they’re zombies.”

    “Who, the vixens?”

    “Be serious for one minute Jack. The kids in the cafeteria. They’re all zombies.”

    Zombie slaying was not difficult if you had the fortitude, the right equipment and the anonymity to destroy the brutes while remaining unseen by innocent eyes. In other words, my involvement in this particular setting was nearly impossible if I was going to live to fight another day. My non-zombie classmates would surely talk of such things and once my cover was blown, I’d be lucky to survive the day.

    “Did you by chance watch Shaun of the Dead last night Patrick?”

    “For crying out loud Jack,” he said as he tugged me down the hall.

    Sure enough, they were zombies; mindless, reanimated corpses with a hunger for human flesh. There was no cure for them. They had to die. Or more precisely, being undead, they had to die again. The math gets complicated.

    “Perhaps they have schizophrenia. Someone should call The Center for Disease Control,” I said, buying some more time.

    “They don’t have schizophrenia Jack, they’re zombies!”

    “Calm down Patrick. They’re probably rehearsing for a play or something. Maybe a musical.”

    As is usually the case, telling someone to calm down rarely worked. As luck would have it though, a zombie, formally Peter Shelby if I wasn’t mistaken, lunged clumsily for Patrick. This caused Patrick to abandon his quest and to run. Others were running as well, which gave me a narrow window in which to act. There are many ways to kill a zombie, wood chippers and industrial convection ovens came to mind, but the most effective, in a pinch such as this, was massive trauma to the brain.

    From my satchel, I pulled out a CO2 powered captive bolt device which is commonly used to kill cattle. Picture a pneumatic nail gun used on construction sites. I crept behind poor Peter Shelby and let him have it. The bolt penetrated his skull with a muffled pop and he crumpled to the floor. I took some fake blood packets from my satchel, bit down on one and smashed another onto my forehead. This, along with a lumbering, practiced gate, allowed me to mingle and to work undetected among the reanimated creatures.

    Several minutes later, I emerged from a side door with my satchel and a cafeteria towel I used to wipe the fake blood from my face. There was much chaos and I blended into the commotion to safely make my way to the parking lot. I exited the school grounds and turned west, toward the big lake, toward the summer kick-off party, where the vixens awaited.

    1. Jay

      Excellent, Jhowe! My favorite: “They had to die. Or more precisely, being undead, they had to die again. The math gets complicated.” The fuzzy grey area of math that can only be grown on three-week-old-been-sitting-in-the-hot-sun ham sandwich.

      Thanks for sharing!

    2. seliz

      Well, you had me at the Michigan part :) I love how the main character feigned ignorance about the zombies. Very creative that he had to mingle among them. The descriptive language was great. I could see the main character moving among the mob with fake blood splattered on him. Nicely done!

    3. Observer Tim

      I can almost hear the pump-thwack! of the bolt gun and the soft hiss of the reset. This is a very well-told tale, jhowe, as usual. I love the excuses, too – it’s somewhere between Batman and Monty Python.

    4. Gina

      Really enjoyed this, jhowe. The sarcastic and reluctant hero was so much fun to follow. Entertained reader equals mission accomplished – thanks for the read :). – Bean

    5. snovy121

      Great flow! I am really impressed that with limited words, you manage to have a full story and great logic within it. And Jack is hysterical.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I think this may be the best I have ever read from you jhowe. You never disappoint with your prompts. But this one, it’s special, a work of a creative, organized word magician. It’ a fine piece of writing and literally lept from the screen as I read it. Bravo!

  55. originalalchemist

    It was the last day of school and Principal Wallace was patrolling the hallways. We’d all been instructed to clean out our lockers before fourth period just before my lunch. He stalked behind us as we emptied our personal effects from our little metal time shares.
    “Clear em out!” he demanded. “I want nothing left behind.”
    This went on for a few moments until his walkie-talkie squeaked something unintelligible. He ripped it from his belt and spoke directly but quietly back into it. Then his face changed and he was moving.
    “Finish up and go to your home rooms.” It was all he said before he faded around the corner.
    I paid little attention to him and had my mind on the after school kegger I was throwing this weekend. My folks had some property where my dad took me to hunt, and learn to survive in case of who knows what. Which pretty much was Dad teaching me to be like the crossbow wielding badass on that zombie apocalypse show. It was also where I’d been holding an annual party since freshman year. Tonight I was planning to finally tell Addison how I really felt.
    “Mason! Mason!”
    I scan the halls to see my buddy Alex tearing through the clusters of gathered social cliques. He is running full speed with wide panicked eyes. He reaches me grasping fistfuls of my shirt.
    “Mason… some serious… shit.” He stammers between gasps.
    “Easy. What’s going on?” I try calming him. He looks the way he did when he found his brother nearly overdosing.
    “We have to get out of here. Now! Something awful is happening in the cafeteria.”
    I can hear screams from the direction he came, and I break into a dead sprint for the direction of panic.
    “Mason where the hell are you going?!” I hear Alex behind me but I have no time to tell him this is Addison’s lunch period. I sprint into the madness and see a hoard of rabid creatures surrounding a screaming student body. There must be thirty of the things and they have both Addison and Principal Wallace in their sights. Wallace broke out a fire extinguisher and was bludgeoning the things. I looked around and saw the table where graduation tickets were being cut. I tore the bladed handle off the paper cutter and flipped the table on its side, shoving it into the horde as a way to clear a path for the students.
    It may have created an escape for Addison and the rest but it put me in the middle of the biting ragers. I let loose with my makeshift machete and split dark melon after splattering dark melon until I was engulfed. Principal Wallace sprayed the extinguisher giving him cover as he pulled me loose. He looked at me with calm eyes as he lifted his blunt weapon.
    “Didn’t you hear me Mason? I said ‘Clear em out! I want not one left!”

    1. Observer Tim

      This was well done, originalalchemist. You held the tension through the entire story and kept things going at a breakneck pace throughout. The only drawback of this style of writing is that it’s over too fast. Even so, you told a complete story; I hope things work out for Mason and Addison.

    2. snovy121

      Good twist with the principal talking about zombies instead of the lockers. I was engaged the whole time. I am just confused about the line toward the end “Principal Wallace sprayed…pulled me loose.” I’m not following the exact action, although the overall intent and plot is very clear.

      1. originalalchemist

        Thank you snovy121. I am glad I was able to keep your attention with my little story. I thank you for pointing out that awkward piece. I should have read it aloud. That is what I get for trying to make action happen with very few words left in my word count. In hindsight a few simple changes could be made. Thank you again. Now I am off to read your entry!

  56. Reaper

    Haiti’s Next Top Baron

    Don’t look at me like that. I’m a damn hero. I save lives!

    The first rule of being a hero is never let anyone know your secret, know what you do.

    I learned that from my dad.

    He hunts vampires. I’m not that bad ass yet. I’m still responsible for killing zombies. Little known fact, vampires make zombies. Dad taught me that too. He learned everything he knows about hunting zombies and vampires from television, including the all important rule number one.

    So yesterday my best friend Tommy bursts into the library during lunch. Now Tommy isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer but he’s a good kid, so I know something big is happening. Bending over a gut growing moderately convex from sneaking too many of his dad’s beers Tommy pants out.

    “You’ve gotta come with me right now. It’s a matter of life and death.”

    Now most guys I would brush off. High school seniors are a bunch of drama queens. You know how it is. But Tommy? Like I said, he’s solid. So I throw my backpack over my right shoulder and make to follow him.

    “Saddle up cowboy.” I’m kind of trying to make that my catch phrase.

    I’d like to say we ran, but with Tommy being out of breath we kind of shuffle jogged down the hall. So Tommy leads me on a merry chase to the cafeteria. That’s when shit got real.

    “I think they’re turning into zombies.”

    He whispered it. Like there was some danger in being overheard by a bunch of mindless savages. Like they would react any different if they did catch on that we had caught on. Like I said, he’s not so bright but a good kid.

    “Hang on for testing Tommy.”

    So I look around for tell tale signs. Pallid complexion, check. Hungry look in the eyes, check. Gaunt, almost emaciated appearance, also a check. Shuffling of feet followed by inexplicable standing when sitting makes more sense, check and double check. IQ rapidly dropping by at least fifty points until it is almost too low to continue breathing, big fat penultimate check.

    So there were about twenty kids apparently getting zombified before my very eyes. I looked for the last and most important sign. We have televisions in the caff you see. Well, I saw. Right there on the screens was the debut of Cafeteria Cook On. It’s a new reality show where contestants make meals out of garbage. I’m not kidding, the premiere had a bunch of rotund matrons turning used tires and jalapenos into goulash.

    The grand prize? A glamorous job as the lunch lady at the worst public school in Dallas. At my high school as fate would have it. Yup, the vampires had struck again. They managed to turn a bunch of my, well not friends but definitely classmates into zombies.

    “Tommy, lock the doors. It’s time to go to work.”

    It’s a shame about rule number one. I’m going to miss Tommy.

    1. Observer Tim

      Rule number one. Your best friend is the evil mastermind. You’re right; he did learn everything he knew about vampire hunting from television.

      This was great, Reaper; you’re definitely in your element here. The combination of smartass and building drama works well and you put it together like a master. I love how the main character has gotten jaded enough with the undead fighting that he’s already working on a catchphrase. Too bad for him it’s likely to end up being “It’s time to go to work.” That flowed so naturally and fit my view of the character perfectly.

      1. Reaper

        Thanks Tim. Not so much the mastermind, just unlucky enough to discover the secret. Thank you for your kind words, I realized that was going to be his actual catch phrase as I wrote it.

    2. Jay

      Good read, Reaper. The character’s personality hit the spot.

      I agree with the impending “it’s time to go to work” catchphrase. It perfectly fits and feels entirely unforced, but I’m pretty sure the MC realized that right after he said it. haha

      Nice job!

      1. Reaper

        Thanks Jay. This week has been a strange one for me. So I think since the impending end is coming unless I end up with some spare time tonight I will have to do the dark thing next prompt.

    3. seliz

      What a funny piece! The narrative voice had me laughing the entire time (“And that’s when shit got real.”) I was waiting for the twist and you didn’t fail with that last line. It fit perfectly with the lone and pace of the piece. Nicely done.

    4. Dennis

      Great story. Narration was entertaining and kept me engaged. Liked that pop learned everything on tv. And of course the catch phrase. That would be awesome for him to shout it out as he bust out his moves on the zombies.

    5. snovy121

      Ha! You had me laughing all the way through. You manage to put in some great satire on mindless entertainment/reality shows without bludgeoning your readers. Fantastic!

      1. Reaper

        Thanks for that snovy121. I was actually worried I was a little too heavy handed. I have this aversion to most things that become fads, right now zombies and reality TV top my list so it only seemed natural to put them together.

    6. jmcody

      That was some interesting internal monologue your MC had going on. The characterization was very entertaining and the quirky voice of your MC never faltered. I loved the skewed logic and kooky assumptions that your MC had built his world on. I was never quite sure what to believe! The catch phrase thing was very funny. You reminded me of a guy I knew once who used to say giddyup all the time — so annoying. Unfortunately I lived within earshot of him too. Sheesh.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You’re going strong today, Reaper. your signatures are everywhere in this tale. The cafeteria cook on reality show is about as fun as it gets. The satirical heights you achieve in your story is unbelievable.

        I keep thinking as I read you each week, ‘well, he at the peak with his writing.’
        And then the next one comes along, even better than the last. How high is high, Reaper?

        1. Reaper

          Thank you Kerry. I wanted to try satire because in more serious tone I worry that I get a little or a lot preachy. So seeing that from you is high praise indeed. I think we have lost much of our ability to be satirical without making it so hidden that it becomes something else. But as you remember a time when it was still an art form I love hearing that.

          I hope I never peak but I know I will slip down and have to start again time and again. Your words are so kind and they will keep me going. How high is high is an interesting question. For me I write mostly for myself and the story but then I put it out there because I want something else. The joy is mine and I leave my legacy to other people as we all much. High is having one I think. Though in more specific answer there are two points. High is when I get published and can make this the thing that supports me. High enough is when I honestly believe I have written the epic, the thing I can not surpass. When I believe I have reached my peak, believe it strongly enough that I stop trying to improve it will be time to hang up the pen. So far I’m not even close.

      2. Reaper

        Oh my. Thank you jmcody. This was a slightly difficult voice for me to write in. I’m glad it stayed true. I’m sorry you had to live within earshot of that.

    7. margi33

      Reaper, I enjoyed the narrative style of the MC. The tone was casual as it should be for YA, but I also enjoyed you poking fun at the zombie “genre” through the words you inserted in his inner dialogue – “He learned everything he knows about hunting zombies and vampires from watching television.” :) … The catch phrase part cracked me up too. Actually it was all really tongue in cheek and hilarious and well written. Nice job!

      1. Reaper

        I never thought I’d write something YA. Hmmm. Now I may have to consider it. Though so much is written for that audience I like to keep more to the adult ideas. Still. Thank you so much for this.

  57. Frozen Alone

    (Note: It’s a little long but I couldn’t find enough stuff to cut out.)

    The cool metal of the locker door was refreshing against Fallon’s forehead. A night of nightmares and pain running through her had worn the teenager out. At least it was a half day for seniors so she didn’t have to put up a façade much longer.

    Fallon turned when she heard the screams of frightened teenagers approaching. The kids were running as if the devil was on their heels but that was impossible since Fallon put him in the ground three weeks ago.

    Snatching a random, Fallon managed to get half the story before she released him.

    “Seriously? Last day of school and I have to kill classmates. So much for graduation,” Fallon muttered under her breath as she stalked through the crowd toward the cafeteria.

    Clark, Fallon’s best friend and sidekick, was waiting by the door with a bag in hand. He handed her the bag and picked up a broom in his hand.

    “Marin already secured the other door. She’s working with Smitty to keep them away from the windows and killing anyone that gets through. They’re zombies, Tanya’s work. Something about avenging her father,” Clark said.

    “Just because I put her dad in the ground does not give her the right to start an army of the undead. Didn’t our parents go over this last generation?”

    Clark shrugged his response as the pair slid into the cafeteria. Clark secured the door and took the bag back from Fallon once she had her choice weapon out.

    “How’d you get these in school?” Fallon asked curiously as she slid on her gloves and picked up her sword.

    “They were in my car.”

    “Of course they were. Well, I’ll take the fifty on the left, you take the twenty on the right, and I’ll take you out for coffee after breaking whatever magic Tanya has going.”

    “So generous.”

    “Only the best for my little sidekick.”

    “Oh I’m sure your boyfriend would get a—“

    “Finish that sentence and I’ll let Tanya put you under her spell too. No way to break them out of it, right?”

    “Once it takes hold, no. It’s a blood transfer spell. Even if you took out Tanya and had her end the spell, they’d still be zombies,” Clark informed her.

    “Great. Maybe we should make that coffee a couple a rounds of beer,” she muttered. “See you on the other side Clark.”

    The sickening sound of her classmates flesh being torn open would haunt her for weeks to come or until some greater form of horror came along. Their moans and groans of hunger and pain gave her the fuel she needed to put them out of their misery but it was no less painful to her memories of laughing faces and entertaining classes.

    Tanya, in the middle of the bloodshed, was playing with a bowl of blood.

    “Tanya, I need to take you in.”

    “I know.”

    “End the spell.” Tanya tipped the bowl over and kicked it to the side. She held out her hands out and let Fallon cut her palms, sealing in her abilities to do spells. “Get up. I’ll have Marin transport us out of here. Clark! You still alive?”

    Across the cafeteria, Clark killed his last zombie and huffed.

    “Alive but my hair is ruined!”

    “I can’t believe you just said that. We protect the planet and you’re worried about your hair. Unbelievable.” Fallon turned her back on Clark while calling for Marin to let them through. “I can’t believe this is my life.”

  58. tz2328

    If this really is a matter of life and death, Danny thought to himself as he tried not to outrun Dylan, it’s a good thing I carbo loaded at breakfast. After last night’s round trip to LA, I could barely whack the alarm’s off button. If people only knew how much energy it takes to maintain this superpower, Danny almost chuckled out loud. People? I wonder how Dylan would react if I took off right now? Danny decided to play it cool, as the cafeteria was just ahead.

    “Dylan, you know how I hate flash mobs!” Danny cried. Before Dylan could respond, Danny took a closer look and realized that no one was singing. What initially looked like a clip from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video turned out to be a real life zombie fest. A throng of students were unsuccessfully pushing tables and chairs towards the teacher’s lounge, in a vain attempt to stop the flesh eaters from advancing.

    “It’s the teachers,” Dylan almost shouted in Danny’s ear. “I was just biting into my egg sandwich when I heard Vice Principal Gotshall scream. Coach Resnik was gnawing on her arm, blood spurting everywhere. Then they all started to turn. You should have been here, Danny. Blood and guts from the teacher’s lounge, and kids running and slipping in puked up breakfasts here in the cafeteria. A bunch of us tried to barricade the lounge doors, but those teachers were too fast. That’s when I came to get you!”

    Danny looked at his best friend. They’d been role playing for an apocalyptic moment like this for months. We never had a scenario for a breakout at school though, Danny scoffed. Doesn’t matter; the boom should do the trick.

    Breaking free from Dylan’s stranglehold on his back, Danny took off. Faster and faster, Danny ran circles around the now-confused zombie pack. Almost positive of the effect his superpower would have on their mutated brains, he went all out.

    BOOM.

    Danny zoomed back to the spot where Dylan would have seen him last running. Dylan would assume that the boom and resulting blast would have stopped Danny from moving forward. Coming to a complete stop, Danny found himself, along with his classmates, dripping with the remains of his high school’s administrative staff. It worked. Danny congratulated himself. The anomalous electrical structure of the zombie brain could not handle the sonic boom created when Danny exceeded the speed of light.

    “What was that?” Danny asked his dumbfounded friend with innocent incredulity. In the moments that followed, Danny could think of only one thing: pancakes.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a great superhero yarn, TZ. I’m reminded of Wally West’s transition from Kid Flash to Flash a couple of decades ago. You struck an entertaining balance between serious and light that’s a very hard-to-hit target. The last line about pancakes was perfect.

      My red pencil says lightspeed would be cherenkov radiation, mach 1 would be a sonic boom. The fanboys will care…

      1. tz2328

        Thank you. I realized after posting that I meant to write speed of sound. I suppose speed of light was more visual than speed of sound.
        Double thanks to your red pencil!

    2. Dennis

      Fun story. I liked that even as superhero Danny had to carboload and could keep his identity secret.. I’m pretty sure my home room teacher was a zombie. :)

      1. tz2328

        Lol. My first idea was to have Danny zoom in, out, and around the zombies so fast that, in their confusion, they would explode. The sonic boom came to me as I was trying to describe the scene. Perhaps mankind will thank me if there ever is a real zombie outbreak ;)

  59. Bilbo Baggins

    WAY OUT

    Paul always wondered what life was like before the outbreaks. He’d lean forward at his grimy desk, and look around at the barricades outside. Maybe back then, no gloomy clouds obscured the sun.

    I was his lifelong friend. We helped each other, being orphans. I was the sleuth, he the superhero. I searched for clues and he fought zombies.

    It was a cold day in March. Could we go outside? The teacher told us no, in a sing-song voice. We had to stay in the gym, cracked rubble around us, dust thick in the air.

    “Paul, something’s wrong,” I said. He stowed his books under his bunk.

    “Who’s the villain this time?”

    “I’m serious. There’s something in the gym.”

    We crept to the hall outside. A thunderbolt in my chest set my heart on fire. A slurping noise. Not one, but communal.

    “You’re right. It’s an outbreak,” he replied.

    I dared to peek around. The others were wandering around, their flesh yellow-green, teeth gnashing. There’d always been precautions. But it was too late. We had to dash across to the outside door.

    He grabbed a bat from the equipment closet. Our plan would have to work. The nightmares had come.
    Shoes squealing, we ran in. We saw all 134 children, transformed. 50 feet to go, and they noticed us. The slurps increased to a feverish pitch. Turning as one to pursue, their feet were surprisingly agile.

    30 feet. I felt fingers touch me and recoiled. Paul gripped the bat and knocked two down. Going to the other side, he swung the hard wood against a whole row, the zombies collapsing like pins.

    “We have to get out!”

    I grabbed his shirt, but he ignored me. The door was right there. I didn’t want to leave him, but the hordes formed a belt around us. I grabbed him, looking right into his face.

    “Paul, we have to get out!”

    He moved slowly for the door. 20 feet, and the shrill alarms came on. The zombies growled, enraged. I opened the door, cold air rushing in.

    “Slam it shut!”

    He wasn’t fast enough. Two arms shot out, caught. I glanced around at the courtyard, the barbed wire fence, wilderness beyond. The door flooded open, and they poured out. Paul kept battling.

    “Get back!” he yelled.

    I tripped and felt my knee burn. My heart was going so fast I was surprised I was still conscious. The fence loomed ahead. I began to climb, the metal rolling in the wind. A wicked series of howls erupted, and suddenly he was climbing underneath me.

    “Keep climbing, Paul! We’re going to make it!”

    My hands were at the top when he grabbed my foot. I tried shaking him off, but his fingers wrapped around my ankle deeper.

    “Let go!”

    I looked down, and there were marks in my skin. He had on a broad smile.

    “Where are you going, David? I need to save the day first.”

    No sound escaped my lips. It was just a game to him. I was going to die. My hands groped wildly for the top, and I felt shards of wire dig into my fingers. Blood ran down my hand in one congealing sheet. I shook my leg one last time, but he was too strong. Finally the barbs ripped all the way through and I fell.

    We landed in a heap at the bottom. My breath rushed out in one sickening noise. He raised his bat for the final showdown. Their clammy bodies brushed against ours. He managed to down a few. Compressing us into a pile, they moved in. I felt teeth begin slicing into my skin, and slid into darkness. Paul was not so lucky. It took many minutes before his shouts stopped. Nothing but a roaring wind rushed over the children’s insane asylum.

    (GH Exploring a bit of my dark side this week. Thanks to those who wished me luck on my novel.)

    1. Observer Tim

      Your dark side is a pretty scary place, Bilbo. This is definitely a serious take on the genre; the images that kept forming in my mind followed the plan of “28 Days Later” (I haven’t seen the sequel so I don’t know if they ruined it). Your story is dark and suspenseful, and like any good zombie thriller it leavey you guessing at the end.

    2. seliz

      You did a great job building the suspense while also creating an attachment to the main character in a short amount of time. I couldn’t help but root for David (“Kick him in the face!”) and hope he’d make it out all right. Then the bit at the end about the children’s insane asylum had me re-thinking the entire piece along with all of the possibilities that could go along with that.

      By the way, is this what your novels about? If so, I’d read it :)

    3. Reaper

      Brilliant Bilbo. Intense descriptions and a very deep and twisted plot approached in a fast paced and almost light way. So I knew I was reading something heavy but didn’t feel bogged down in it. A very difficult task to accomplish.

    4. Dennis

      I liked the ending twist. Left me pondering what was really going on, which I liked. You did well with taking a darker angle on the prompt.

    5. jmcody

      Creeeepy! This was incredibly absorbing and I love how you built the suspense with the countdown of the ever shortening distance. Masterfully chilling, Bilbo.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        An intense, exciting read and I kept pulling for the good guys, hoping for an escape. Then I realized they were going down and there was nothing Ivivid could do to prevent it. Dark shades of dark and written with concise thoughts and vivid descriptions.

        I agree on the last sentence, powering the whole story. A breath-taking write, Bilbo. Wonderful in it’s creepiness. Reminds me of “Innersanctum”. Does anybody remember?

    6. margi33

      I liked the approach, Bilbo: the already overrun world, kids at school having to worry about the next outbreak, etc. Nice action – very dark indeed, but engaging and well described. Nice job!

  60. pinkbamboo

    It’s kinda obvious that zombie killing is not my area of comfort or genre but let’s just swing it. XD

    **

    “In another life, I will be your girl. We’ll keep all our promises, be us against the world” I sang softly to myself as I shoved the rest of my stuff into my backpack.

    Time for vacation. I grabbed our passports from the back of the locker and smiled as I thought about Chris. I had some last minute packing to do before we leave to Maldives tonight. Suddenly I heard loud footsteps approaching and I saw Penny running towards me.

    “Anna, you have to come with me right now”

    “Why? What happened?” I frowned as I looked behind her. Nothing.

    “It’s a matter of life and death”

    “Did you drop your phone in the toilet again?” I teased

    “No, I’m serious. It’s happening” she grabbed my arm

    My hands turned cold as Peggy took off towards the cafeteria and I ran after her. I can’t believe this. I have finally made my peace and settled down. This cannot happen again, I won’t let it. The last round was 4 years ago, it cannot be happening again. I refuse to believe it. No no no. I was finally free and happy, I groaned in frustration as I quickened my pace.

    My heart sank when I burst into the cafeteria and came face to face with at least .. 15 zombies. One of them was trying to break the window to escape and without thinking, I threw my knife across the room to kill him first. I felt sick when he fell back, lifeless.

    I made a grabbing motion and my knife flew back into my hand as I threw it again at another one approaching me. It was that girl from history class, the one who always sat alone at the back. I only talked to her once.

    I slayed a couple of them, familiar faces around school. Some of them whom I knew and some I don’t. I took deep breaths in between when my knife returned to my hand before I threw it to another undead creature. I cannot let myself feel for them or else they will kill me. They were no longer my classmates. It was all business, nothing personal.

    “Peggy, get out and bolt the door. Do not let anyone else enter” I instructed as I counted another 2 left. I needed to get out of there soon, the stench was drowning me.

    I heard Peggy running to the door and suddenly she screamed. It was a chilling scream, the same scream I heard previously before the girl was devoured by the previous batch. I turned to her direction to see the last one cornered her.

    I started crying when I realized the peace I created within myself crumbled. It was Chris. At least his eyes and hair still looked like Chris. My feelings took over as I lunged forward and hit him with my backpack. He pushed it away and all my things flew across the room.

    “Stop it Chris!”I shouted but he wasn’t listening. He was heading towards Peggy again.

    “Anna!!” Peggy was clawing at the wall, her eyes wide with fear, her face wet with tears.

    “Anna” I mumbled my own name and threw the knife to Chris’s back. He let out a dying moan, just like the rest of them and fell to the ground.

    I sat on the ground and cried. The stench, the sight, the gore does not matter anymore as I sobbed out loud. I thought I have moved on from all this. Now to lose my first love in this manner, I cannot keep building these walls to have them crumble down each time.

    “In another life, I will be your girl ..” I sang softly before I picked up our passports from the floor.

    “Anna..” Peggy called out softly.

    I turned when I realized I temporarily forgotten about her in the midst of my grief. She looked frightened and pale as I started crying again when I noticed a wound, a bite on her shoulder.

    “I’m sorry Pegs” I motioned for my knife

    1. Observer Tim

      For someone out of her comfort zone you did a great job capturing the horror, Pinkbamboo. You set a good scene and told a heart-ripping tale. Everything, right down to the end, was in genre.

      My red pencil says “slew”, not “slayed”. There were other little werpos, but that was the only one it paid attention to. It’s like that.

    2. Reaper

      Gorgeous work. This played out like a movie scene in my head, which made the love song at the beginning add to the intense creepiness of it. I noticed one place with a repeated word that jarred me, but I quickly forgot about it. The way you worded this might have been rough in another piece but in this perfectly captured the internal dialogue of a troubled teen.

      I really like that you took this and turned it into your comfort zone. Most zombie love stories feel forced or silly and gross. This felt brilliant. The tragedy of it, the almost snap into insanity at the end. It just flowed so nicely I have nothing but good things to say about this. You managed to scare me on a real emotional level with those feelings of loss.

  61. seliz

    Infected
    —————————-

    Grasping the cold locker, I peer into the darkness. It’s empty—no trace of the struggles from this year.

    It wasn’t supposed to be like this, I think as I slam the door shut.

    The squeak of sneakers jars me from my thoughts.

    Mia’s hurrying down the hallway and even from a distance, I can tell she’s upset.

    “Nessa, it’s horrible,” she says, her voice shaking. “We have to hurry.”

    “Calm down. What’s going on?”

    She shakes her head, her tangled blonde hair bouncing.

    “Please, Nessa. There’s no time. We have to help.”

    Without waiting for a response, she runs down the hallway, leaving me to follow her. She stops outside the cafeteria as groans assault our ears. My heart quickens as I yank open the doors.

    The cafeteria is in chaos as newly changed undead crouch on all fours, gnashing their teeth threateningly. In the center of it all is Tyler, shooting arrow after arrow at the growing mob. My stomach churns at the sight of him.

    I just found him again.

    After the bomb dropped, I never thought I’d see him again. At least not alive. Especially after people starting changing into the cannibalistic, undead creatures around me. But we found each other and we survived, along with another group of people holed up in the high school. The same people who were turning into undead around us.

    “Mia, run.”

    “No, I can help.”

    “I won’t lose you like Mom and Dad. Run.”

    My voice is shaking, but she listens.

    Pulling my knife from my pocket, I rush into the fray. My blade finds the soft flesh of undead until I’m at Tyler’s side. He gives me a sideways glance before loosing another arrow.

    “You shouldn’t have come. You need to survive. Your sister needs you.”

    “And I need you. I’m staying.”

    He frowns, but doesn’t argue.

    Despite the undead we’ve killed, the mob grows until it seems hopeless. It’s then that my arm throbs, pain searing through me.

    “Stop,” I moan, clutching my arm.

    “What the hell?”

    But Tyler’s not looking at me. He’s staring at the mob frozen in front of us. They’re watching us with wild, hungry eyes, but not moving a muscle.

    “Did you do that?”

    “I don’t know,” I say, before turning back to the mob. “Leave here and don’t come back?”

    They gnash their teeth, rage burning in their eyes. Eyes that tell me that they’d rather rip out my throat than listen, but they obey.

    “How’d you do that? You saved us,” Tyler says, spinning me in his arms.

    But it’s not happiness I feel as I glance at my arm. The arm that was bit by an undead and is slowly turning me into one of them. The wound throbs again, another reminder of the change taking place inside me.

    “Nessa?”

    I meet Tyler’s dark eyes full of questions and give him a faint smile.

    I still don’t have the words to say goodbye.

    1. Observer Tim

      Teen romance at the end of the world. This one makes me laugh and cry at the same time. If they fully broke genre there might be a cure, but I sense the only real outcome is going to be tragic.

      Wonderful story, Seliz. It’s too short.

      1. seliz

        Hey, you never know! I have a thing for bad ass female characters. She’ll pull through, but for the purpose of the prompt, it appears tragic. And thank you for the kind words :)

    2. Reaper

      Very nice story Seliz. Not only did you nail the emotion but with a few words managed to make the zombies something more. As a short story this is perfect and tragic. As the beginning of something else you inspire in me the idea of a non traditional zombie queen tale. Something about how you wrote her, and them makes me have an I am Legend feel, the book ideas. Makes me think as she devolves she will not only gain power over them but learn there is some sort of intelligence/new life there. But I could just be reading hope in where there is none. You got me thinking, worked my emotions, and entertained me all at the same time.

      1. seliz

        Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. And you hit the nail on the head. I sort of twisted this prompt around a current WIP where at the beginning she’s a regular girl who gets infected, but instead of turning, she learns to control them, until the point where she’s pretty much a necromancer.

  62. Hasslefoot

    Last day of school! It was a long night of study listening to upbeat jazz and rock. Words still jingle in my head. Being special has its advantages. So many times I want to break out in song during class. Time to go home and enjoy the summer!

    I empty my locker as Lucy screams, “Cindy, I need you!” I turn facing the panting girl. “The…. Cafeteria…it’s… horrible!” “What are you saying”?

    “They are brain dead! You’re the only one that made it without being infected! Even I’m on the verge of digressing! You have to help! It’s spreading!”

    I know if I reveal my powers, there are two possible outcomes.

    I am viewed as ‘cool’ and everyone sings and dances with me.

    OR

    Six more years of school, the cartoon freak.

    “Lets take a look.”

    I open the cafeteria door. Students sit with tilted heads and blood-rimmed eyes. Before them lay the reanimation virus. Mumbles in guttural voices fill the room. Most have blank expressions lost in different layers of psychological amnesia. Other bemused heads rest on the table in a puddle of drool.

    I hope I’m not too late.

    I look at Cindy, “ Is this isolated to one area?”

    Cindy shouts, “It started with grammar but is rapidly advancing!”

    A zombie lurches towards me moaning, “Brains, I need brains.”
    I make my decision, it’s time to reveal my powers handed down from my grandfather who once was faced with this identical situation with his son.

    I snap my fingers and transform the cafeteria into ABC’s School House Rock animated studio. The zombies are startled with their new cartoon bodies.

    A railroad station appears with three cars. AND, BUT, and OR written on the side of each car. My animated man body shouts,

    “We start with conjunctions! Hit it!”

    Bob Dorough appears with his piano, as singers bring in the chorus:

    “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”

    I join in song:

    “Hooking up boxcars and making them run right.”

    “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?”

    “Hooking up phrases and clauses that balance, Like……”

    The cafeteria comes alive as vivid animated teachers and staff claps along.
    Zombie student’s rock to the rhythm, their minds drain the crammed damage. Pencils glide over the final exam, filling in circles as I slowly bring them back to normal.
    After an hour I covered every topic in my arsenal including Zero My Hero, I’m just a Bill, and unpacking your adjectives.

    Once the last student closes his exam book and smiles, I snap my fingers.
    Teachers and staff are startled returning to flesh form.
    Students yell, “That was cool” as the animated stage fades.

    Yes, I am the hero that helped my friends graduate to sixth grade with my School House Rock power.

    (Sorry if you don’t know School House Rock songs)

      1. Hasslefoot

        Dennis, I am not sure. I cant take credit for this idea, I received a text, “you have to write this!” I did you-tube School House Rock videos, very cute. Now I cant get them out of my head!

    1. Observer Tim

      I thought the second callout in “Conjunction Junction” was “Conjunction Junction, how’s that function?” I guess Cindy feels she’s been set apart from the sentence by an exclamation point, or by a comma when the feeling’s not so strong. I’ve been an addict for 42 years and you hit the style right. All I could think of when you finished was

      Darn. That’s the end.

    2. Artemis4421

      Oh my. Hasslefoot, this might be one of my favorite prompts this time around. The extravagant silliness combined with the School House Rock songs…I love it!

      Fun story: I went to DC about a month ago. As we walked around, we couldn’t help but see the Capitol Building and start singing, “I’m just a bill, sitting on Capitol Hill!” Our teacher had shown it to us earlier in the year, and it was greeted with mixed reactions; teenagers wondering why they’re watching a talking piece of paper sing…Then there were others that silently smiled while yet others started singing along…

      Long story short, you can make anything fun with School House Rock, including this prompt. Well done! :)

  63. Artemis4421

    [My thoughts were kind of scattered on this one, so sorry if this doesn't form into something that makes sense. But it was a very fun prompt!]

    Finally; the last day of school. I sigh contentedly and glance down the empty hall before resuming the task of cleaning out my locker. With music blocking out the silence of the school, I carefully put things in piles: take home, throw away, and recycle. I had waited to do it after school got out due to the fact that I was in the library trying to finish a book that I had yet to turn in, so I missed the designated locker-clean-out time. It wasn’t a problem really; it was a peaceful end of the year ritual that has always given me closure of some sort. Well the few times I’ve made it through a whole year of school.

    We move a lot, for reasons that I don’t really like talking about. It’s just my dad and I, living in a trailer a few blocks from the school right now. I’ve been told that I have bad choices in friends and right after he tells me that, we usually end up moving. Don’t ask me, he just says that we have to, and I’ve learned to just put up with it.

    A hard tap on my back causes me to jump, taking of my headphones and facing the tapper. It’s Nick, one of the only close friends I’ve made this year. “Jace, dude,” he pauses for a breath, so I know he’s been running. “Yeah, what’s up?” A light pang of fear enters my body as he shakes his head and points the other way. “You have to come with me right now; it’s a matter of life and death.” I empty my hands onto the floor and close my locker. Nick has always been a bit dramatic, and it’s not like there’s really anyone here- I was surprised to see him.

    I give him a small nod of consent before he grabs my wrist and drags me off toward the cafeteria. Before we get there, he lets go of my wrist only to bring his finger up to his lips, motioning for me to be quiet. I resist the urge to roll my eyes again when he turns his back to me, peeking around the corner.

    Turning back to me, he takes a shaky breath. “Nick, seriously, what going on?” I ask. He makes frantic “be quiet” gestures with his hands; eyes wide. “Oh come on, what could possibly be so important that I have to-” I’m cut off by a low guttural growl from around the corner.

    My instincts kick in, and I jump up from my crouching position, putting myself in front of Nick. From around the corner comes some of the kids that I‘ve grown fond of this year- I consider them my friends. I immediately notice a difference in them though. They’re shuffling along with limps, their eyes narrowed and skin starting to sag. Some of them have their hands out in front of them and the others have them hanging uselessly at their sides. I know what they are. I’ve been trained my whole life for this. They’ve been turned into zombies.

    Maybe this is why my dad always tells me I have horrible choices when it comes to friends…

    Dad’s never told me how it happens- probably because he doesn’t know either- but he’s always trained me to fight them. Possibly draw them away from anyone you’re trying to protect. Well I can certainly try.

    I reach behind me and tap Nick on the shoulder before pointing down the hall. Hopefully he’ll have enough sense to get himself out of here. Without looking to see if he’s gone, I move out into the cafeteria, the zombies slowly turning back my way. The first one gives me a snarl. Yes hello nice to see you too, Catherine. I rush toward her, jumping up and delivering a powerful kick to her head. There’s a sickening crack as it hit’s the floor. Or so I assume. It’s masked by another snarl from the next zombie.

    “Bring it,” I mutter, motioning them toward me, and therefore farther away from Nick if he hasn’t gone yet. They take shuffling steps closer, and I soon realize that they’re trying to form a circle around them me. Fine, they can do what they want. They’re too slow to be a real threat to me. I dispatch one with a punch to the stomach, and another with an uppercut punch. The second one falls on the first, and there are maybe six more to go.

    I take the legs out of under the ones on both far sides with kicks to the knees; I’ll deal with them in a moment if they decide to get back up. You see, new zombies are weak and they don’t have a strong will either. They hit their delicate skulls on the ground because they’re too slow to catch themselves? They’re done.

    I’ve quickly made my way through all of them. I survey the mess- nine zombies (or should I say former classmates? No, zombies will suffice.) lying motionless. I nod to myself, knowing that I should get home as soon as possible. It’s time to move again. Like, now.

    My thoughts are interrupted by Nick’s awestruck voice. “You’re like…a superhero or something…” I shrug, looking up at him. “I guess you could say that,” I mutter. I finally take a step toward him, “Stay safe, kid. Oh and if you could please finish cleaning out my locker, that would be amazing.” Nick just nods, standing there in silence.

    I turn around and walk out of the school, a smile breaking onto my face. I’m going to miss that kid. Maybe I don’t have such a bad choice in friends after all? Just kidding, nine of them were zombies; I suck at making friends.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is great, Artemis. You’re the first one I’ve read who definitely took the prompt seriously (-ish). The overlay of Jace’s mixed feelings and his efficiency at killing is beautiful to behold.

      Though I’d have to say it’s a good thing for him zombies are fragile…

    2. jmcody

      I liked the way you worked the teenage angst into the story and equated the zombies with Jace’s penchant for making the wrong kind of friends, although I’m not so thrilled with how he decide to treat his one decent friend. I love that you didn’t know where you were going with this when you started and this is what it turned into. The creative mind is an amazing thing.

      1. Artemis4421

        Thank you jmcody! I did feel bad for having him treat Nick like that at the end, but two things made me keep it. 1) If he hasn’t really had a chance to actually have friends, then it’s not like he really knows that he shouldn’t ask them to do favors for him. (Right? I’m not completely sure but it seemed reasonable.) 2) He’s not sure he’s ever going to see him again (though we’re hoping he does) so if he’s a little rude, then I’m not sure he’s so worried about that.

        Not that I’m trying to argue with you or even try to change your mind, but that’s what was going through my mind when I wrote this. Again, thank you and I enjoyed the creativity in your prompt this week!

  64. Dennis

    A Day In the Life of a Zombie Killer

    Last day of school. Most kids will be spending their summers working their standard teenage jobs, going to movies, the beach. Me, I’ll be waiting for the next zombie uprising. Yep, that’s right, I’m a zombie killer. Not proud of it, but damn good at it. You may think what a cool thing. Let me tell you, there is nothing cool about splattering the infested brains of someone’s mother, father, sister. Scientists have not been able to find a cure, so blasting the zombie’s brains with my special laser gun was the only solution.

    I closed my locker hoping to sneak out before anyone decided to tell me all of their wonderful summer plans.
    “Jake!”
    Damn. “Hey Mike.”
    “Come quick. You’re not going to believe this. They’re here. I can’t believe they’re here.”

    Mike was too worked up to get any more words out so I followed him to the cafeteria. I heard the screams and peaked through the door. Damn it, zombies.
    “Wait here,” I whispered to Mike.

    I ran back to my locker. Inside I pushed a hidden button and a false backing flipped open. I grabbed my spare laser gun. My prayer was that I hoped I would leave this place before having to use it. I ran back to the cafeteria. I set the gun on repeater mode.

    Inside the zombies had cornered the remaining students to one side and were getting ready to pounce. I let loose a series of pinpointed shots at each of the zombies’ heads and they exploded. I walked over to make sure my job was complete. Everyone was staring at me, with mouths hung open, looking like they didn’t know whether to scream or congratulate me. One girl had zombie ooze sliding down the side of her face. I handed her some napkins.

    “You’re safe now. The zombies are dead.”

    I walked out of the cafeteria and out of the school. I heard Mike chasing after me in the distance so I made a couple of evasive moves to lose him. I knew my previous words were only partially true. Where there were a few zombies there would most assuredly be more. And I would be there.

    I stopped and lit a cigarette. Christ, I thought, I knew some of those kids. One of them, Cynthia Jameson, I knew since grade school. Who was going to tell her parents that their daughter’s remains were scooped up and burned? I dropped the cigarette and put it out with my boot. I continued on. As I said it before, I’m not proud of being a zombie killer. I’m just damn good at it.

    1. jmcody

      That Jake is one cool character. At first I thought we were finally going to get to see your dark side, as you mentioned in the last prompt, but it didn’t take long to realize that this was going to be campy. I loved Jake’s blasé attitude. “Damn it, zombies” could have been “Damn it, I broke a nail.” I had to laugh when he handed some napkins to the girl with the zombie brains oozing down her face.

      The last paragraph almost teetered on serious, but his actions (standing there casually smoking his cigarette) let him stay cool. I was getting a mental image of a young Nicholas Cage in this role, which kind of sums it for me. :)

      1. Dennis

        Thanks JM. I thought about going darker for this prompt but then this story just flowed right out. It was a fun character to right for. I like the mix of humor with the bit of turmoil Jake felt.

        1. Kerry Charlton

          Dennis, do you realize your writing slipped into the 1940’s style?. I loved your take on this. It could have been Bogart, Alan Ladd or Robert Mitchum in your story.

          You ought to try the style more where men were tough and the girls were hauntingly beautiful, smart and independent. Oh and yes, the good guys always won.

    2. Observer Tim

      Does Sam Raimi no you’re channeling him? This managed to capture dark and hilarious in the same way “Army of Darkness” did. The only thing missing was a smart remark or two, and that can easily be excused because of the internal monologue.

      I wonder what happens in “Another Day in the Life…”

    3. Reaper

      I also got images of Army of Darkness. You did a great job of keeping this light while allowing an intensity that was amazing. I felt the blase, kind of humorous feel but there were definite strains of self doubt verging on self loathing peppered throughout that made this much more serious in spite of the humor. Nicely done.

      1. Dennis

        Ok, now I’m going to have to watch Army of Darkness. Never saw as I’m not a big zombie fan. Thanks for your feedback Reaper. The dark/turmoil aspects emerged first and the humor seemed to flow right in. I didn’t think I was going to like this prompt at first but I enjoyed it. Glad you liked it. I am still planning to channel you and Jay for something more on the dark side for one of these prompts.

    4. lionetravail

      Cool story, and a great, complex hero. Loved the end- “Who was going to tell her parents…?” transitions to “I’m not proud… just damn good at it.” Nicely done.

  65. peetaweet

    Marshall High has been my own personal hell. So it makes no difference to me that the last day of school is cool and dark, with whipping winds that seem to conjure up a collection of black clouds over its campus. I don’t care that the hallways are near empty as I’m cleaning out my locker. I cannot, however; help but to care as Holly Harking slides into me, breathless and devastated.

    “Mike, you have to help.” The lights flicker. Her nails tear at my skin with painful urgency.

    “The cafeteria, it’s the only safe plac—“I follow her eyes up the hall, where a handful of staggering bodies stagger towards us. I snatch my favorite red jacket from my locker, the one with the black V down the front, just as she pulls me towards the cafeteria.

    The hall lights go dark, and if it is a prank it’s an elaborate one. We nearly trip on Mr. Jenkins, the custodian. They’ve already gotten the admins and teachers.

    I follow Holly to the cafeteria and we burst inside. The rain batters the floor length windows, blackened by the storm. Holly looks to see if we were followed. I nudge her, because we’re not alone.

    “Oh my god, we’re too late!”

    The strobes of lightning allow us to see the vacant faces of our former classmates. Holly tries to scream but chokes in the terror, falling to the floor as the wall of zombies close on us.

    I push my jacket sleeves to my elbows, and then clap my hands, flipping to my toes with a wail that grabs the attention of the stiffs. The bodies waltz forward, enthralled by my movement, their dead eyes and sluggish limbs swinging into step.

    A quick spin and I freeze before crouching and sliding to the right, then left. The flesh eaters follow suit, dipping their heads back and then swinging around, our steps hitting the floor with a collective thump. We swing our legs, then our arms, windmill around and hop in beat to the rhythm of the storm.

    Holly’s eyes widened as she picks herself up. A fog comes over the cafeteria. Four years I’ve waited for this.
    Little Mike Jackson—the meekling—the subject of countless rumors and lies. Oh, how the tales swirled through the halls and classrooms— the girly voice, the high waters, the white socks and loafers. No one knew what I was capable of, but look at them now.

    Kick. Swing. Slide. We move in, gyrating and pulsing.. Holly’s pretty face is fixed in sheer horror, far from the vicious laugh she gave me when I asked her to the prom. I watched her from the shadows, slow dancing with Alex Stringer, the star quarterback whose complexion now rivals that of an artichoke. Who’s laughing now?

    The storm booms overhead, like a drum to our dance. I corral my little zombies into unison. We shuffle forward, then back, dip low and then come up high with our arms outstretched. A few more steps and then I’m up against Holly, who’s stricken by the darkness. She sniffles, and I feel her rabid breaths in time with her heart. For a moment I feel sorry for her, but when she turns to me, just as the lightening blinks, she hurls out a scream that will echo in the hallways for years to come.

    She should have listened, back before prom, when I tried to tell her that I wasn’t like other guys. That I could thrill her more than any ghoul would ever dare try.

      1. Jay

        haha, Peeta, that was interesting. Reminds me of that old NES game from the 80s when Michael Jackson would beat his opponents by dancing. This also reminds me of thriller, though, too. *Shrug* Nothing better than the pied piper of zombies!

        Thanks for sharing!

    1. lionetravail

      Oh Peeta- As I read this, I could verily smell the funk of forty thousand years, as the grisly ghouls from every tomb were closing in to seal Holly’s doom :)

      Clearly, no mere mortal could resist this one. Great choice for the prompt!

    2. Dennis

      Classic. Well done. That last line is too much.

      On a side note, in your prompt from last week you used the name Kalyan. Is that specifically an Aussie name? I have only seen it once before and it was from an Aussie writer/poet.

    3. Observer Tim

      This is a great take on the teen zombie dance party genre. While reading I could feel the mental picture of the Thriller building moment by moment. As it came to a close I could even hear the back beat starting. Excellent job, Peetaweet!

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m totally floored by your story. I didn’t realize where you were headed, but when I got there, I felt like I had been had. I know that’s two ‘hads’ with one word between them. What a fun ride!

    4. Marc Ellis

      Very nice. I could easily see this as a script for a flash mob event. When I got to “…and then clap my hands, flipping to my toes…” I was thinking, “I wonder if…”, and then you did, and I was like “Oh, yeah.” This was fun.

  66. G.R.Blessing

    As I looked at my empty locker, I ponderd on how empty it was just like my school year. Notthing seemd to matter, just bleak darkness.
    Thats when it happend, I heard him coming before he even was visable. His heart rate was eratic something was terribly wrong.
    Billy came flying around the corner more pale then a corpse and hands flying in the air added to my assumption that something was wrong.
    “Glen come quick!!” he panted as he finally arrived. “so much blood.. cafeteria.. dead”. He was babbling and talking giberish. I grabed him and looked into his eyes. “Calm down” I said. “Whats going on?”
    “Come look in the cafeteria” He said calmly.
    As we arrived to the cafeteria door I knew immediatly something was wrong. Blood on the windows was a dead give away but i senced nothing, lack of life, but there was chaos erupting inside. I slowly opend the door a small crack and I saw the abomonation taking place, the unclean souless beast feeding upon corpses.
    I closed the door and let out a sigh. I opend my back pack and pulled out my cloak. “I’m sorry you have to see this Billy.” I told him. “I wish i could explain but now there is not time.”
    As put the cloak on my skin turned cold and my skin paled, my eyes tured blacker then night. I reached down and pulled out my sickle and with a flick of my wrist it extended out and the blade erupted into a blue flame.
    Billy stared in horror as my transformation was complete. “Stay here.” I orderd. He just nodded his head.
    I walked into the cafteria and with one swoop of my sickle five zombies fell to ashes.
    I locked the doors behind me. “Time for the unclean to return to the underworld.”
    I approched the horde, I will rid this menace from the world like i’ve done for a millenia.

    1. Observer Tim

      Great idea, G.R., and an entertaining read. The grammar could definitely use some clean-up and there are some word repetition things (e.g. “my skin turned cold and my skin paled” doesn’t need the second “my skin”), but overall it was quite fun.

    2. seliz

      I’d be interested to hear the explanation Glen would give Billy. Overall, Glen just seems like a really interesting character, who’d I’d like to learn more about.

      1. G.R.Blessing

        For the life of me I could not come up with an explanation. None that would save a friendship fo rthat matter.
        It would be like. “oh by the way, my name is not Glen its Death. Sorry for lying”
        I guess it still would of been more funny if I haven’t left it out.

      2. G.R.Blessing

        For the life of me I could not come up with an explanation. None that would save a friendship for that matter.
        It would be like. “oh by the way, my name is not Glen its Death. Sorry for lying”
        I guess it still would of been more funny if I haven’t left it out.

    3. lionetravail

      Ack! A millenia, and he’s still (or back) in high school. Bleh!

      Kidding, it was a fun read that, as Observer Tim suggested, would not suffer with a bit of significant editing. You’ve got an interesting hero in Glen, and the backstory for him sounds like it’d be really worth getting into. Sometimes these prompts lead to stories which would make excellent longer tales- this could be one of those. I’d encourage you to see if that could work for you with this one.

    4. Reaper

      For me the bits that pulled me out of the story on this were less the repeated words but some of the grammar and what felt like unnecessary adjectives such as tiny crack. With that said, this is an amazing story that I would love to read more of. Innovative, different, and very inspiring. Nice job here.

  67. Lady Grace

    This made me chuckle… (yes me to I haven’t been here in quite a while and hope to get back to participating in the prompts) Good job by the way

  68. Observer Tim

    Katie grabs my hand and pulls. “Come on, Belle! Something’s happening in the cafeteria; it’s a matter of life and death!”

    “Life and death? I’ll go to my locker!” That’s where I keep my stuff ever since the Chemistry Lab incident.

    “No time!” She keeps pulling and I have to relent. I pray this isn’t a mistake as we sprint down the hall. I can hear the screams from two classrooms away.

    I slam the doors open with my fists and burst in, but slip on some viscous red slime and my grand entrance becomes a messy skid through a sloppy mess. I can’t tell whether it’s blood and entrails or the marinara sauce from today’s lunch special. I hope it’s blood.

    A clot of something drops into my cleavage as I get to my knees. The distinctive stench of decay and garlic assaults my nostrils. Damn, it’s the marinara. That’s never going to come out!

    From my knees I finally get a look at the room. There are about two dozen zombies here, along with forty or so scared high-school students. The zombies are all turning towards me; at least they recognize the real threat. Trouble is I’m unarmed except for the bowie knife strapped to my thigh. The principal threatened to expel me if I brought the shotgun to class again.

    Still, even with just the one knife this is doable. It’s a bit harder, that’s all.

    I shout as I finish standing. “Katie! Go get my shotgun! And some holy water!” She runs off to do her job. We’ve been doing this since last fall, so I know the score. I have to do the fighting while Katie tells me I’m doing a great job.

    I pull the knife and survey the zombies. Great, it’s the football team. At least Evan isn’t here; I don’t want to have to kill another boyfriend. In any case the smell of jock sweat actually makes the odor of the marinara a bit more tolerable.

    The zombies start grabbing at me and I start slashing. I try to be careful but there’s too many. My knife goes into Jeff the fullback up to the hilt and sticks. It’s ripped from my grasp. Great. Now I’m unarmed.

    I keep fighting but I’m getting overwhelmed. A zombie grabs my left arm, then another gets the right. I kick one where it would hurt if he were alive, but another grabs me from behind. Good thing zombies aren’t interested in sex, otherwise this could get really weird…

    The world fades to black and text begins appearing letter by letter, like it’s coming off some ancient typewriter.

    “To be continued this fall.”

    1. jmcody

      Belle the Zombie Slayer. Is she by any chance related to Buffy the Vampire Slayer?

      This was kitschy and fun, as I would expect from an O. Tim Zombie story. The marinara sauce was a nice touch, from the ungraceful entrance to the sauce dripping in her cleavage to her laundry concerns to the stench of decay and garlic. Now, if this were vampires, that garlic would come in handy. And for some reason “Get my shotgun! And some holy water!” was inordinately funny, as was the bowie knife strapped to her leg.

      It was all pretty funny, come to think of it. Excellent job, Tim.

    2. lionetravail

      Heh, Tim- you got a few definite out loud chuckles from me with this, from the clot of something which sounds like blood but is marinara, to the “Great, it’s the football team”, to the “I don’t want to have to kill another boyfriend”, to the “smell of jock sweat”. What a funny heroine you created in such a short space.

      Nicely done… the end was the only thing disappointing… I wanted more!

    3. Dennis

      Another run zombie/monster romp. Great humor. I like the use of the name Belle, and the ending. Another four part series that should have ended after the first movie. :)

    4. Reaper

      Beautifully done Tim. This was just funny from start to finish. Your descriptions were spot on. The most amazing thing to me was that you managed to not only be humorous but perfectly capture the voice of a teenaged girl, if she were a valley girl of course. Excellent work.

    5. Gina

      This was really funny. I’m with everyone else – the marinara bit was hilarious. I think we can all relate to the trauma of high school cafeteria food. The only thing that threw me was the use of first-person present tense. I think genre fiction usually sticks with third person omniscient or limited, so it may just be that’s the form my brain is used to processing. Just my thoughts, I’m by no means a pro at this. Again, funny stuff though :). – Bean

      1. Kerry Charlton

        You never disappoint Tim. Marinara sauce belongs in the same category as shingles and you managed to place it here. I got really hot thinking of Belle with her bowie knife strapped high on her thigh. Wow! Danger and a sexy heroine. What more could you want?
        THE SHOT GUN, HOLY WATER LINE WAS TRULY INSPIRED.

  69. Lady Grace

    The last day of school was always the quietest day on campus. Most of the student body didn’t bother showing up. If anyone showed up at all it was only to spread the word; and inquire, of where the parties and upcoming cook out’s were being held.
    Last year’s party was a Semi private party hosted by the plumbing shop on a large charter boat docked down on the water front in the harbor; one that would go down as one of the greatest in the shop’s history.
    No one suspected that under the cover of darkness and my supervision the night before operation “Let-Em-Rock” had been set up.
    There was an eerie, awkward, atmosphere on campus. The zombies showed up. They always did. And that’s where me and operation “Let-Em-Rock” come in. “Live Life to its fullest” is my motto, ridding the world of Zombie people is my mission. This year I had a plan to accomplish this genocide of bored-people-like zombies on campus.
    I didn’t expect to run into Fred and Mittzy until later in the day so my reaction to seeing them rounding the glass trophy display case at full sprint yelling and screaming surprised me. I braced for the sound of an exploding cherry bomb going off in the lavatory just out of site around the corner. But this was not part of my plan. It would have ruined everything. I had forgotten about their crazy antics and reckless practical jokes.
    Mitzy spoke first huffing and puffing as he grabbed my shirt as the collision forced both of us backward into locker. Fred managed to stop before crashing into us then began pulling us down the hall while Mitzy yelled in my ear between breaths.
    “T. COME WITH US. Quick, It’s important, a matter of life and death lets go com’mon”
    They dragged me to the cafeteria. There I stood before the heavy glass doors looking in with a shocked, horrified look on my face as the loud bell rang signaling school was official closed for summer vacation. I watched in horror as some zombies were leaving out the side doors. Others were restless and roaming about the cafe aimlessly in a comatose state, others still sat playing cards; the atmosphere was one of gloom and doom, and impending boredom.
    It was time to begin operation “Let-Em-Rock”.
    I pulled out my cell and made the call.
    Within minutes a flurry of activity and noise was heard coming from within. Loud music began playing on the PA system. We watched through the glass doors as the over head serving doors to the main kitchen behind the serving counters opened.
    Before long there was a wide assortment of food and drinks placed out. The huge heavy velvet drapes covering the stage began slowly opening as the bands amps cranked up the volume and the band began playing a loud bluesy country style southern rock melody.
    I looked at Mitzy and Fred, smiled, and yelled
    “WHAAAAZZ-ZZZZZ UPPPPPPPP ZOMBIES? I’ve secretly planned this all year; let’s rock some life into all these zombies and get this party started.”

    1. lionetravail

      Love it- nicely built world, which, in the short prompt, you managed to convey bot a tradition and expectation of zombies as a not-unheard-of phenomenon. Cute take on the prompt, as your hero was not only unfazed, but, as you said, ready to rock and roll!

    2. Reaper

      Nice take. I do love the idea of bored people as zombies. The world you created and the characters were nicely done. Some of the language seemed a little rough, specifically a couple of places where the same word was used twice in one sentence. Otherwise this did draw me in. Nicely done Lady Grace.

  70. vaderize03

    I pulled my worn blazer from the hook, then slammed the locker shut for the last time. Next year, it would be on to the shiny new ones by the principal’s office, which were double-wide and didn’t smell like a linebacker’s armpit. I’d paid my dues, and it was time to be a senior.

    Thank God.

    I started down the hall towards the main entrance. Outside, June was in full swing: clear blue skies, bees zipping through the leaves, and air that was warm but not yet too hot. I smiled; dad had just finished cleaning the pool, and with luck, the water would be just right. If not, well, I could always work on my tan.

    I was almost to the door when a familiar voice bellowed my name, and I turned to see David, my best friend since kindergarten, barreling down the hall as if he’d just eaten rocket fuel.

    “Hey man,” I said. “Everything okay?”

    He shook his head. “You gotta come with me right now.”
    “What is it?”
    “You have to see for yourself.” His eyes were wild. “It’s life or death, Susan. Trust me.”
    David’s breathing was rapid and shallow, his face as white as newly-fallen snow. I hadn’t seen him this nervous since the dance in ninth grade when he tried to kiss me. I opened my mouth to speak, but he held up his hand. “Susan please!” he whispered. “Hurry!”

    “Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.

    We took off down the hall. After a few twists and turns, I realized he was leading me to the cafeteria. As we zipped up to the door, he stopped and pointed. “In there,” he said.

    “You’re not coming with me?”
    “No way.”
    “David-”
    “Look in and you’ll see. Don’t talk, though; they react to noise.”

    I frowned. He wasn’t making any sense, but his fear seemed real. Either that, or he really was on speed. Slowly, I crept towards the door and pressed my face against the rectangular glass.

    The first thing I noticed was the mess. Instead of neat rows of students chomping away at the contents of their lunches, all manner of trash littered the floor…but that wasn’t what made my jaw drop.

    Lurching through the piles of brown bags and multicolored plastic trays were throngs of students. I thought they were drunk at first, and then I saw the blood. I squinted, trying to make out a familiar face, and saw Jess, a girl from biology class.
    I pushed the door open. Behind me, I heard David gasp, and I held a finger up to my lips before turning back to the room.
    “Jessica!” I whispered loudly. “Is that you?”

    On the edge of the swaying mass, a girl swiveled towards the sound of my voice. Her eyes were sunken, and her skin was as gray as an overcast sky. Twisted and black, clotted veins crawled across her face and neck like dark rivers on a rotting map, and her curly hair, once a soft strawberry-blonde, was crusted with dried blood. Her pupils, cloudy as if someone had filled her eyeballs with milk, swiveled towards me. She bared two rows of newly-yellowed teeth, and began to lurch towards the door.

    “It’s me, Susan!” I said. “Can you speak?”
    A soft moan escaped her lips, and she chomped her teeth. My mouth went dry, and my heart began to race.
    Could it be real? After all this time, were the legends coming true?
    A hand landed on my shoulder, and I spun around to face David. He was shaking.
    “Now you’ve done it,” he said. “We’re screwed.”

    I smiled. “That’s what you think.”
    “They’re zombies, right?”
    “Bingo.”
    “So what do we do?”

    My grin widened. “You run. I’ll take care of business.”
    He furrowed his brow. “Huh?”
    “No time to explain.”
    “But-”
    “You wanna get eaten, or you want to go home?”
    His mouth worked up-and-down, then he turned and bolted down the hall. He’d been a wuss for as long as I could remember, which is why I was never going to sleep with him. I sighed. Poor guy; he tried hard, but could never seem to close the deal.

    The door burst open, and Jessica staggered through. The air whistled in her rotting throat, and her dead eyes fixed on me, fresh prey ready for slaughter.

    I reached into my bra and withdrew the weapon. It easily fit into the palm of my hand, and could fire a thousand shots before being reloaded. As Jessica approached, my smile returned, and I thought back to all those sessions with the Master, who’d made me practice until I could shoot in my sleep. I’d hated him at the time, but now I thanked him. To everyone else, the undead might be the stuff of nightmares, but he’d always taught me to respect the past. Old stories often contained a kernel of truth, and it was better to be prepared then get caught unawares. If it worked, I had a fighting chance of stopping this plague; if not, then three years on the relay team would hopefully pay off.

    Not only could I outrun the zombies, I could easily outrun David. Cruel, but blissfully Darwinian.

    There was another moan; she was almost to me. I took a step back, pointed my arm, and whispered the words I’d been long ago taught:

    “Return to the light.”

    1. lionetravail

      “Cruel, but blissfully Darwinian”- brilliantly funny and cynical. She might have superpowers, but she’s not your prototypical ‘hero’. A fun piece!

    2. vaderize03

      Thanks all!

      Observer Tim, looking it over again, I agree that the aside about sleeping with David does kind of break the mood. In retrospect, it comes across as tossed off. If I could edit the piece, I would also make several word changes (not using ‘swiveled’ twice in one paragraph, for example), but I find it hard to edit when typing in these small boxes.

      Regardless, I very much appreciate yours and everyone else’s feedback. I only signed up for the site about a month ago, but these prompts are an incredible tool for practicing one’s writing.

      And kudos to whomever came up with this topic. I’m loving these stories so far.

    3. jmcody

      I liked this a lot. It gave you just enough backstory to give the sense of a much larger story without getting bogged down it. It flowed very well and drew me in. The character development was interesting but probably would have worked better in a longer piece. David is the MC’s “best friend,” but she doesn’t really like, respect or care about him, which leaves me not liking her very much. And I wanted to like her. She summed it up herself when she called her own actions cruel.

      Still, you told me enough to make me want to know more. Interesting piece!

    4. Reaper

      Loved the descriptions here. They were amazingly well done. I actually liked the bit about not sleeping with David because there was an overall feel here. I agree with jmcody that I disliked your MC but I actually didn’t want to like her at all. She was doing a good thing but being a hero doesn’t make you a good or likable person. So she fell into a sort of grey character area that I really enjoy.

    5. vaderize03

      I wanted to paint the MC as human like the rest of us; glad it came across as intended.

      Personally, I can’t stand ‘perfect’ superheroes-gray area is so much more interesting. In thinking of my MC, I imagine her clean-cut, but the type that goes for “bad boys”, hence, the impatience with David’s lack of inner strength.

      I also struggled with whether or not to make the zombies “traditional”, a’la stumbling around like George Romero or jacked up on PCP like “28 Days Later” (and yes, I think “World War Z” ripped that movie off big-time).

      And I appreciate the feedback on description; I’m trying to practice my use of similar while at the same time avoiding cliche…it isn’t easy!

      Can’t wait for the next prompt…..

    6. Jay

      Based on my previous prompt submissions this might not surprise anyone, least of all Reaper, but I actually really like the MC. She and I would probably get along just fine in real life. haha

      I did enjoy the story, a lot. Your imagery is excellent, and kept in style with a common theme (snow, sky, clouds). With all that fantastic build up, I half-expected to be blown away by her ability to fend off the Zombies, but I was a bit disappointed by it. I expected an intense image-driven super power, but I think I got a girl with a laser gun instead? Still enjoyable, though!

      Also, I am completely okay with her remarks about sleeping with David. It only adds to her character, but it also shows a slight indifference to the creatures just waiting to get a taste of her brain meats. She has had such extensive training that her aside thoughts don’t seem so awkward, plus, it’s past tense, so adding extra thoughts here and there don’t detract too much from it. if it was present tense, I could see how that could affect the feel of it, but as I said before, she’s had so much training that for her to have a cool head and think about something like that during a crisis of zombies doesn’t seem out of place.

      Overall, great job! Thanks for sharing!

      1. vaderize03

        Thanks Jay (FYI, that’s also my name).

        I considered directly showing her abilities, but thought it would be more artistic to leave it up to the reader’s imagination. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say what she was about to do was not necessarily destroy the zombies, but attempt to turn them back into people; hence the phrase “Return to the Light.” Ending that way is a risk, but I wanted to take it and see how it played out.

        Glad you enjoyed it, and I appreciate the feedback!

  71. Jay

    Mystery Meat:
    The Zombie Maker

    “You have to come with me right now,” my friend said. “It’s a matter of life and death!”

    Typical Cody, always being dramatic about everything. I wondered what it was this time. A spill on the floor? A rogue fly? Different cliques mingling together in the lunchroom? When we arrived at the cafeteria, however, I immediately felt sorry I doubted his hysteria.

    The cafeteria overlord, Mrs. Paxton, had finally done it. For years, she slaved in that refectory cooking and serving strange concoctions of different kinds of not-so-delectable edibles, but on that day, just two weeks shy of my graduation into high school, she’d finally created her masterpiece.

    In the back corner, near a large black wastebasket lined with plastic, was a giant brown meaty mass. It had milk cartons, chicken nuggets, plastic sporks, and a few binders sticking out of it. It also had a mouth that emanated a scream with terrifying strength that caused my ears to ring and the windows to shake, but because of my inhuman abilities, it didn’t affect me like the other kids. That wretched shriek turned them into mindless zombies.

    “Shit.” I said, and immediately felt the list of Greenfield Junior High rules of conduct that hung on the wall threaten me with a painful paddling. “Dude, none of the zombies escaped, right? As long as they don’t get out and bite anyone, I think we’ll be okay.”

    I looked back and Cody was gone, probably hiding in a locker somewhere or halfway home to clutch to his mother’s leg. Typical Cody.

    I took a deep breath and kicked the door open. I really didn’t have to, but it seemed only right to make an entrance before taking on the meat monster and its teenaged minions.

    The puberty stricken zombies, almost as unsightly as the meat creature, saw me enter the room and began to climb over each other to get to me. I immediately lifted my left hand, and a ball of blue energy began to form in my palm. The light from it reflected from most surfaces, and caught the attention of the loaf of angry mystery meat.

    When the sphere reached its peak, I released its power. It spread through the room like an expanding disk of energy. As it struck the zombies, they fell to the ground and turned back into humans. They moaned as if troubled with a nasty case of butterfly stomach.

    The meat monster didn’t react the same. It roared and shuddered and roared some more. The flesh of the beast darkened and expanded as a mucous-like goo dribbled from its toothless mouth. After letting out another tortured scream, it exploded into meatballs.

    That was the day I saved the seventh grade, but it wasn’t the first time I saved the world. Mrs. Paxton disappeared during the battle, and no one could seem to find her. I’m sure I’ll cross paths with her again someday, and when I do, I’ll be ready of course. And, as always, people barely remembered what happened, especially Cody, who appeared later to tell everyone how he saved the day. Typical Cody.

      1. Lady Grace

        This made me chuckle… (yes me to I haven’t been here in quite a while and hope to get back to participating in the prompts) Good job by the way

      2. vaderize03

        I love this story. I’ve always wondered about the more ethereal properties of mystery meat, and this made me laugh for a good five minutes.

        Awesome job!

    1. Observer Tim

      You put some good visuals and concepts in here, Jay. It’s a wonderful romp. Of course, how do we know the mystery meat surprise wasn’t Mrs. Paxton, or at least what was left of her?

      I agree, this set of prompts is going to be fun!

      1. Jay

        Thanks, Tim! It could be Mrs. Paxton, I might have to explore that when the time comes on a different prompt. I think I like the MC enough to give him another go in the future!

    2. jmcody

      Don’t order the meatloaf!

      I loved that your MC was worrying about getting paddled for cursing (are we in the 1950s?) in the middle of saving the school from zombies and a murderous pile of what I can only assume, from the mucous-like dribble, must be … Spam?

      It was fun to see you do light-hearted comedy, Jay.

        1. Jay

          I had a lot of fun with this one. I remember the moment I’d finished the first paragraph and I chuckled thinking to myself, This is going to be so ridiculous.

          Thanks for reading and glad you enjoyed it, lione!

      1. Jay

        haha, Thanks, jmcody. You know, I totally see that now, the slightly opaque creamy jelly like mucous canned with Spam… the meat monster seems so much more terrifying now!

        Thanks for reading! It was really good to get away from the dark stuff for a bit. Kinda need to or I might go crazy. ;)

    3. Dennis

      A fun read indeed. I liked that the meat monster exploded into meatballs. Lots of great descriptions. I could almost fell and smell it all.

    4. Reaper

      Awesome Jay. If I had read this before I posted I would have gone for a much darker story instead of a darkly comical one. Because you aced the humorous take.

      1. Jay

        It would’ve been interesting to a really dark story from you! It’s strange, I avoid writing zombie and vampire/werewolf stories like I would avoid the black death, but I’ve already written two zombie stories (including this one) in my life time haha, need to stick to my guns!

        Thanks for the feedback, Reaper. It’s always appreciated. :D

        1. Reaper

          I think I might cry having my work called not really dark. ;) I have this strange thing against zombies because occasionally they are done well but they are so popular and so often just terrible and boring. The others I love because you can get classic horror from them but the mindless undead tend to devolve into comedy. Or weird obsessions about how it could really happen in society. So I’m with you on avoiding at least them. I have a bit of an idea for a different story that is darker. I may write it up and post it for you a bit later.

          1. Jay

            Ah, shoot! (not to be confused with a sneeze!) Your work probably is really dark, I just have a bad memory! :o

            My other zombie title isn’t technically a zombie story in any traditional sense, but I still classify it as such people people instantly think flesh eaters/fuzzy thinkers and assume they must be zombies. lol

            My only aversion to those types of horror is that they’ve been beat to death by so many authors it’s ridiculous. I very seldom find a zombie/vampire/ghost/romance/thingamajigger that isn’t like every other zombie/vampire/ghost/romance/thingamajigger out there. Maybe it’s because I rarely ever read except for when I’m on these prompts haha

            Look forward to reading your new one if you decide to write it and put it up, though!

          2. BigFluffyUnicorns

            I’m new with writing so I would gladly accept any feedback!!!!!
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            I was cleaning my locker on the last day of school when Nathan ran up to me, out of breath. “Lilly! Come quick!!!! Follow me! Its awesomely scary! A matter of life and death!!!!!” “Okay, okay. Let me finish putting all my textbooks in my bag.” I responded patiently. Nathan waited impatiently while I placed five textbooks in my backpack. As soon as my backpack was zipped, Nathan grabbed my arm and ran me to the cafeteria. I was not surprised with what I saw. Thousands of zombies were staggering around the cafeteria muttering ‘brains’ repeatedly. Nathan left me there, and for a second I thought he knew my secret identity. Then I pushed that thought away and threw away my jacket to reveal many shiny weapons and a tiny golden carrot attached to a silver string. I took it off my belt and started waving it back and forth, back and forth. a group of zombies gathered around me. I kept swaying the carrot. When it became obvious that no more zombies were going to gather round, I did the thing that I always did before I killed my zombie subjects. “Hello, my name is Lilly. I am a zombie killer.” now the zombies, who were VERY stupid started muttering my name. I revealed a remote with one big red button, one smaller grey button and two holes in the front. I pressed the button and two strings of the strongest rope you can get shot out of the two holes and surrounded the zombies in a loop of strong rope. I tapped the grey button and let go of the remote. The strings tightened and tightened so much that the zombies suffocated and died. I then took out a polished knife and cut the zombies from my remote so i could replace my remote in my pocket. I then took out a tray full of rubber brains, placed it on the floor and stood in the middle of it. Many zombies saw me and the tray of brains and gathered around. “Hello. you all seem so decent. I would hate to kill you but I’m afraid I have to. My name is Lilly Zombie Slayer.” With my knife still unsheathed, I took down the first wave of them. the zombies started realizing what was happening and started to retreat. I threw my knife at one zombie and then revealed a tiny, small, silver gun. i shot a few more zombies but then ran out of ammo. now the zombies were forming troops and gathering weapons like brooms or lunch trays. I took out a silver machine gun and prepared to battle. I knew I didn’t need to introduce my self anymore because the zombies were now muttering things like, ‘Kill Lilly!’ The zombies charged. one was holding a smoke bomb, heaven knows how THAT got there, so I couldn’t see. I pulled the trigger and shut my eyes.

            When I opened my eyes I was out of ammo and zombie body’s were littered all over. My grandfather’s voice startled me. “Well done young one. Your identity must be kept secret.” he handed me a blue TV remote. I pressed the ‘on’ button and, like magic, everything was put back where it belonged and the zombies fell through the floor. I had just put on my jacket when my grandfather faded away and Nathan walked in. “Where are they all? What happened?”

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