Part-time Zombie  by Gerald Dean Rice

Part-time Zombie Gerald Dean Rice


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Being dead is hard when you need to work. When Alice’s appetite awakens in the middle of the workday no teen or Uber driver is safe. Things get really bad when she finds out she’s the harbinger of the coming fleshpocalypse. Then monsters show up wearing human bodies like poorly fitted, inside-out winter coats with the stuffing coming out and she has to decide if she’s going to fight for humanity or be first in line in the all-you-can-eat people buffet.

A second after the elevator nearest the old man dinged Lazarus knew something was wrong. He drew his Glock, looking at something that wore clothes and had human skin.

What looked like a squid had burrowed into the person’s chest, tentacles lashing wildly about. Lazarus raised his gun, a second and a third figure emerging from the elevator before he could fire. One had a cone-like head with a collar of thick flesh encircling it at its base that pulsed like the throat of a frog. The other had the parts of a woman in the wrong orientation. She was hunched over, her head and neck reset on the top of her upper back. Her knees were bent backward like a goat’s.

The first figure turned its upper body back and forth. The third figure leapt upon a heavyset woman, bashing its narrow shoulders into the fallen nurse like a battering ram. The woman screamed, her breaking bones loud enough to be heard across the room. Lazarus aimed and shot the conehead right between its compound eyes. Its head erupted, a spray of thick reddish purple hitting the wall behind it. It went down, its body flopping violently on the floor.

Tentacle man got down on all fours and began galloping in Lazarus’ direction, violently shouldering fleeing people out of his way. Lazarus fired, certain he’d hit him, but the man-thing just kept coming. Lazarus shot him again before realizing too late that he should have been running.

Someone shoved him aside just as the creature leapt at him. Alice seized it beneath a nest of squiggling tentacles and yanked it back to the floor. Something appeared wrong with her hand. Her eyes were blank as the man-thing kept reaching for Lazarus, scurrying after him in vain. She opened her mouth wide and something definitely not a tongue shot out, lopping off one of the creature’s eyestalks and piercing the squid-like mass.

The man-thing slid to the floor, lifeless. Alice turned to Lazarus. “Maybe we should stick together,” she said.

The third creature stood as if on cue and whipped a purple tongue around before leaping the nurse’s station and charging them. Lazarus aimed for one knee, clipping it twice. Again Alice stepped in front of him and her hand did something he couldn’t see. The creature squealed briefly before going still.

Lazarus didn’t want to think about what she had done. He didn’t want to see her hand, now slick with grayish chunky gore from the body of that unholy thing on the floor. His bullets weren’t enough, giving him only a peace of mind that his fists wouldn’t.

As he stepped around the nurse’s station his thought was confirmed. He hadn’t killed the first one he’d shot. It was gone, crawled off somewhere and they were going to have to deal with it. He looked up at the old man by the elevator who seemed calm as ever, smoking his cigarette. He gave Lazarus a thumb’s up as he puffed away with oxygen tubes up his nose.

Lazarus shook his head as he walked over to the old man. “Old timer, those cigarettes are gonna be the death of you.”

“I hope so, y’know?” the old man said. “Got any?”

“Nah, I don’t smoke.”

“Wasn’t askin’ for you, y’know? Wanna suck down as many of these as I can before they get me.”

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