So in case you didn't know, Krumbination is still alive. It was stuck in a bit of a coma over the summer, but it's slowly waking back up and finding new footing. One interesting thing that has recently popped up was a collaborative writing project started by Billo. In the spirit of Devilmas, it's about zombies and in the spirit of collaboration, everyone is taking a turn writing a chapter (or a portion, as the case may be). I just contributed the third chapter of the story, which you can read after the break. You can catch up on the whole story over at Krumbination.
The tricked out Astro van trundled along a darkened side road, somewhere on the outskirts of Orlando, Florida. Ever since Z-Day, major metropolitan areas had gone to hell and were the quickest way to wind up as a walking Lunchable. In the spirit of survival, people lived off of side roads, back roads, and the undefinable areas in between suburban developments. That is, the few people who were still generally considered "alive".
Chris was behind the wheel of the van. It was a relic from his days as a musician, hauling instruments and sound systems to and from gigs. As it turned out, the van was a perfect mobile headquarters for their little operation. Behind the two front seats and on either side of the van were two deep benches that contained the bulk of their artillery and other supplies. Strapped to one wall was Chris' acoustic guitar--another relic of another life, but also a small token that helped Chris and the others cling to their humanity.
"Where's this next job?" Mike said from the back of the van as he cleaned his shotgun.
Jordan stared distastefully at a large map that he had unfolded and was holding against the passenger-side dashboard. If there was one thing he hated about this damn zombie apocalypse, it was the uselessness of any and all high-end technology, including but not limited to GPS units. "Just north of Tampa. Last I heard, Ben had holed up in a Walmart with about twenty other people."
"A Walmart?" Billo said, obviously bemused. "What the hell was he doing in a Walmart?"
Mike didn't look up from work. "He's not from the States, remember? It's our fault for not telling him that Walmart's are the worst place to go."
It was a fact that people had learn over and over again ever since the virus started spreading. After all of the misinformation that popular movies and television shows had spread, most people thought that a place like a Walmart SuperStore would be a perfect place to ride out a zombie apocalypse because it had everything you'd ever need to survive. The reality, unfortunately, was that EVERYONE had the same idea, and with that much activity, Walmart's quickly became a hotspot of zombie frenzies.
"Okay, so is he even going to be alive when we get there?" Billo asked?
"If anyone can survive a Walmart, it's Ben," Jordan said, tracing a route on the map with his finger. "Remember that time he took out those seven zeds with a golf club and a soccer ball? The man is nothing if not imaginative."
"Can I just say one thing?" Chris asked.
Billo moved up to the seat behind Jordan. "You can say whatever you want, grand-master."
"What in the HELL is up with those muties?!"
Mike looked from cleaning his gun. His brow crinkled. Billo propped his feet up and grabbed Chris' guitar from the wall and started fingering the frets.
"I don't know," Billo said, "but it can't be good."
"I think we've got a little over a hundred miles before we get to Ben," Jordan said, folding up the map. "We'll pick him, restock, and then keep heading south."
Billo strummed a tune. "I know we got a plan and all, but it's hard to think about a life with zombie-killing, you know?"
"Not hard for me," Jordan said, leaning back and lighting a fresh cigarette. "Life was plenty good before Z-day."
Chris nodded, a distant look in his eye. "I hear that."
Mike stowed his shotgun and then stretched out on the bench, resting his eyes. He didn't share Jordan's and Chris' opinion. Like Billo, it was only after the outbreak that life truly seemed to have meaning. It was only when the average life expectancy shot down that his appreciation for life went up. Perhaps a bleak outlook, for sure, but Mike was more than happy with it. You can never really love life until you've stared into the face of death, right?
"I dunno," Billo said, pontificating as he was want to do. "I was cool how we got the studio up and running and the all the headway we were making, but killing zombies is cool, too."
Jordan exhaled a long stream of smoke. Above all else, he was an idea man and when he got something in his head, he had to keep going until it was done. That was the case with the production company he had founded with the help of Chris, Billo, and Mike. It was a huge accomplishment and they were all riding high on the news of a three-picture distribution deal when Z-Day brought their collective hopes and dreams crashing to the ground. Immediately, the began leveraging their network of internet fans to start spreading awareness and education about what was happening and how to survive. It was then a short distance to hiring out their services as zombie slayers (slogan: "We Bag 'Em, You Burn 'Em: killing zombies since 2012"). This went on long enough for the boys to become some of the best zombie killers in the business ... and business was good.
At his heart, though, Jordan was still an idea man. And after a couple of years of being part of the best zombie killing team in Florida, he got a new idea. All the way down Florida, as far south as you can go on I-75 and adjacent to the Everglades, there was an isolated chain of islands known as the Ten Thousand Islands. Most the islands were too small for any real development, and Jordan figured that if there was ever going to be a place to settle down and not have to worry about the constant threat of a zombie flash mob, the Ten Thousand Islands would be it.
It meant hanging up their zombie killing hats, though. Chris was more than ready. Like everyone else, he had adapted to the times well enough, but there was no ignoring his real passion in life. And after all he had already lost to the undead, he was ready to put that chapter of his life behind him.
Unfortunately, being the best team of zombie killers in Florida has its disadvantages. Being in high-demand meant that they were never look far for work, but it also meant that every now and then, someone (or someTHING) came looking for them.
Billo's eyebrow shot up. "Hey, what's that noise?"
Mike opened his eyes as he heard the same THUMP-THUMP.
Jordan flicked his cigarette out the window and looked up in the night sky.
A bright light flashed down on the Astro van and Chris slammed the breaks, and everyone braces themselves as the van skidding across the wet road. When the van came to a stop, no one moved in the van. The THUMP-THUMPING sound grew louder.
Jordan looked out his window as the circle of light shrunk, fifty yards from the van. Billo pulled open the side door of the van and Mike joined him, looking out. Chris looked over Jordan's shoulder.
The helicopter's rotor blades whipped a rush of wind as the copter settled onto the road. Four men in military flightsuits jumped out and formed a perimeter, training guns and flashlights on the surrounding landscape. A moment later, two men in black suits climbed out of the helicopter and started for the Astro van.
"Well this should be interesting," Mike said, unsnapping the holster of his sidearm.
"You think this has anything to do with the mutants?" Chris asked Jordan.
Jordan rubbed his neck where the zombie tentacle had choked him earlier that night. "Could be."
The two men in black stopped a good ten feet from the van. Billo gave them a small wave.
"Sorry," Billo called out to them. "I really meant to send in my tax return this year, but I've been a little busy."
The anguished musings of a jack-of-all trades creative professional based out of Longwood, Florida. Find out more about him here. You know, if that's your 'thing'.
Most of my production music is original but if I need something extra-special, I usually get it from AudioNautix.com: