Also, I wanted to answer a question that was posted on my last book review - I will let you read Wolfbane when it is finished, edited and hopefully published. No more, no less. Though I may write a story using one or more of the characters...if I'm in a good mood :P
Anyway, here's Human Hunt! Enjoy!
Simon Chaudler straightened his tie in the mirror. He had always hated public speaking, even if he was the mayor of this godforsaken town. He wasn’t good at stringing words together in the right order, holding back for emphasis, that sort of thing. It just didn’t work for him. Even now, after the virus had come, he couldn’t do it. But then again, that was expected. The virus didn’t change you, per say...just your appearance, and maybe the way you acted sometimes.
Simon glanced up at himself in the mirror. He thought he looked quite dashing in his pinstripe suit, with a spotted yellow tie and shining Italian shoes. He clicked his heels together and smiled. His teeth were yellow and rotting, his lips cracked and a pallid green colour. One of his eyebrows was missing, the other was matted with dried pus. There was a welt on his cheek, red and sore and oozing yellow gunge. The edge of a picture stuck out from the top of his suit pocket, wrinkled and crumpled. It was a picture of his daughter wearing her favourite necklace and lying in a paddling pool. Simon winked at himself, staring at the tiny pinprick of his pupil. Yes, he did look quite dashing. For a zombie.
Simon turned around and shook out his shoulders. He was standing behind a faded red curtain, beyond which was a crowd of his fellow men and women, green and covered in throbbing pustules. He was their mayor. He was here to inspire them, to thrust an idea into their hearts. They had been uninventive and dull ever since the virus had hit - they all needed a little boost to their system. Simon had just the idea. He had been thinking about it yesterday. A good ol’ human hunt, that’s what this town needed. The virus had struck about eight months ago, so there was bound to be some survivors lurking in a basement.
Simon straightened up and took a deep breath. Here goes. He pushed the curtain open and waved at the crowd. The sun was low in the sky, casting a waxy orange glaze over the town plaza. A sea of bald heads bobbed at the sight of him; shouts and cheers echoed through the air, sounding like nails on a chalkboard. Simon looked at the crowd, searching for his daughter’s white face. She wasn’t there of course. Simon pulled his face into a grin and walked towards the podium at the front of the stage. He held up his hand, and the crowd fell silent.
“Ladies and gentlemen, zombies and well, zombies, I have called you here today to ask you something. When was the last time you felt alive?”
The crowd was silent until a single teenage boy shouted “Eight months ago! When I was having breakfast!”
There was a wave of laughter and Simon chuckled. “Yes, Tony, I know that much. But when was the last time you had any energy? Any reason to live? It was a while ago, wasn’t it?” Simon paused and waited for that to sink in. “Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a solution! There is an event happening in an hour’s time, one that will have to full of adrenaline and excitement!
One of which you are all invited to!”
The crowd cheered and Simon ran his hand over his bare scalp. “The event? A human hunt!”
The crowd went wild. There were cheers, screams, whoops of joy - Simon even saw one woman (or, at least, what he thought was a woman) through her toddler into the air with glee.
Simon leaned his hands on the wooden podium. “Are you coming?!”
“Are we going to scare the daylights out of the humans?”
“Are you ready to rock?!”
The crowd went wild again and started separating in all directions, hurrying home to get their weapons. Simon smiled and stepped behind the curtain again. Nothing like a human hunt to get people’s spirits up. Thinking about it, he had been feeling quite down himself. Thinking of Andrea too much, he supposed. He went over to the mirror and winked again. He had done well. He had done very well indeed. He smoothed out his suit and strode out of the room. It was time to get his zombie on.
An hour later, and a crowd swelled into the town streets. Pale green faces were grinning with excitement, and rotting hands clasped pitchfork and torches. The night was as black as coal. Simon stood at the head of the crowd. He clapped his hands and everyone went silent.
“Right zombies, I want us to split up. This half go to the west side of town and look through the basements, garages, supermarkets, yada yada yada. This half come with me, and we’ll do the east side. Are we clear?”
Simon smiled. “Let’s go kick some butt!”
There was a cheer and the sides split up. Simon watched the other group vanish into the night before turning to face the huddle in front of him. “Follow me.”
He marched forward, listening to the sound of muffled footsteps on the ground. He wondered if the humans knew he was coming for them. Probably not. They weren’t the smartest of creatures. Simon sighed. He remembered when he was a human. It was a frighteningly awful existence - he had been an accountant, whittling away each day typing numbers on a screen. His family didn’t care about him. His wife had left him, and he only got the weekends with Andrea. They had both died when the virus hit anyway. Now, however, he was great. He had power and what was more, he was enjoying life.
Simon glanced up. They were in Fullerton Street, a tiny road lined with Tudor houses. He stopped and turned around. He could see everyone’s faces clearly thanks to the flaming sticks people carried. “Right. Tony, you take your group into that house there.” He pointed at the house nearest to him. Tony grinned and motioned for his teenage friends to join him. Simon had a fleeting glimpse of Andrea jumping around with them, her silver necklace bouncing of her chest like she had done before the virus. “But be careful, and remember - humans are for everyone. Knock em’ out and we can infect them together, ok?” Tony nodded and he and his friends hurried off into the night, howling and slobbering like a pack of hungry wolves.
“Right, Andy you take that group and...”
Slowly, Simon got everyone to disperse into different houses, until there was only him and two of his friends left. He looked at them and smiled. Between them they had a pitchfork, two torches and a coil of rope.
“Right, we’ll go into that house.” He gestured to Number 42, which was shielded from the torches flame by a wall of hedges. He looked at the bushes for a moment before narrowing his eyebrows. “Burn it.”
Two men grinned and raced forward, their welts and sores leaking pus over the road. They were both carrying torches, huge spears of fire that towered into the sky. They jabbed the thicket. It hadn’t rained in a few days and the leaves and branches were as dry as paper. They caught in an instant and a few minutes later all that was left was a few smouldering embers.
Simon stepped over the remains and leapt onto the path. The front door was a rich red colour, but the paint was peeling away from the edges, exposing the dry brown wood underneath. Simon regarded it for a moment. “Ok, you two,” he pointed at the men with the torches, “you two go round the back and cut off their exit. The rest of us will go through the front. Deal?”
“Well, go then!” The two men grinned and ran round the back, their long legs carrying them over the gate with ease. They were soon out of sight, swallowed by the darkness.
Simon walked over the door and tested the handle. It was locked, of course, but there was no harm in checking. He raised his foot and aimed a swift kick at the door. There was a crack and the wood splintered. Simon leaned forward and gave the door a little push. It swung open and Simon stepped inside.