Book one of the Darkmind Saga



A zombie apocalypse thriller by BRUCE CLOTHIER


    “Behind you!”  She screamed.
     She released the nozzle, pulled the pistol from the holster she wore over her shoulder and took aim in his direction all in one fluid motion.  Michael glanced over his shoulder to see two zombies closing on him.  One was a thin man in jeans and t-shirt.  Its shirt had a hole in the chest covered with dried blood, and its face was covered in dried blood.  The other was an older gray haired man with unruly hair in blue jeans and a sweatshirt.  The older zombie also had old bullet wounds in the chest area, and its head was tipped almost to the shoulder on one side. He noticed that their eyes had that dull, dead-black color all the zombies shared.  Their jaws were working up and down, and long streams of fluid drooled from pale, lifeless lips and broken teeth.  Their arms reached out toward him as their shuffling steps brought them closer and closer.  Panicked, he turned to run and stumbled over the fuel cans he was carrying and fell down.  He smashed his shin into the bottom of one of the cans just before driving his face into the dirt.  Above the hollow clang of the cans, he heard a shot ring out and a thick, wet thwack as Abby’s bullet hit home.  As he scrambled to get to his feet, he felt the cold hand of one of them clamp around his ankle.  He rolled onto his back, kicked hard with his other foot and felt it connect, crushing the ghouls nose into its face.  As he struggled to get the dirt out of his eyes, he continued kicking with all his might, smashing the things face over and over.  The grip on his ankle did not relax at all, and he was beginning to tire when Abby ran up, placed her pistol to its head and pulled the trigger.  The back of the zombie’s head exploded; chunks of bone and brain splattered the side of the barn as it collapsed.  Michael was wheezing heavily, and his heart was pounding in his ears as he laid back and attempted to collect himself.  He didn’t notice the single tear course down her cheek.  He rebuked himself for leaving the shotgun in the truck, realizing he had already forgotten the lesson learned behind the shopping plaza earlier.  He opened his eyes and saw Abby running over to look around the barn.
    “We need to get moving,” she said as she hurried back.  “There are a lot of them coming across the field.”  She stopped and looked down at him with sudden concern in her eyes.  “Are you alright?”
    “Yes, I think so.”  He said.
“We have enough time to fill the tank and maybe one of the cans, but not much more.”  She bounced on her feet, alternately looking at him and back over her shoulder.
As he pried the dead fingers from his ankle, she grabbed one of the fuel cans and headed back to the truck.  He got shakily to his feet and looked around the barn.  In the field, maybe 100 yards away or less, fifty or more of the monsters were awkwardly walking in their direction.  He stumbled over to the truck, started it and dug his inhaler out of his backpack, Herbie watching him from the back seat.  He began shaking as he worked to get his breathing under control.  It had been a close thing and he could still feel the icy grip of the zombie on his ankle.  If Abby hadn’t been there he would most likely be dead right now.  One of his black moods descended on him and his mind began to quail at the hopelessness of his situation.
    “Come on!  We don’t have time for this right now!”  Her clear soprano voice rang like a bell and she grabbed his arms and shook him, her face inches from his.  He peered into her bottomless sapphire eyes and their brilliance tore through his dark thoughts, shattering them into thousands of black shards with a sharp crack.  “You finish this and I’ll be right back.”  Abby called over her shoulder as she headed back to the house.  She had seen him start to lose control and had taken action to bring him back.  As he jumped out of the truck and grabbed the fuel nozzle to continue, he was astonished that he was capable of doing anything at all right now.  Always in the past, he had needed some time to come back fully from the darkness.  As he worked the nozzle, he watched the little girl’s receding form and wondered how she had done it.
    He had one can full and had started on the other by the time the first of the horde came around the corner of the barn, some 25 yards away.  He dropped the nozzle, jumped in the idling truck and headed down the drive, sliding to a stop at the house.  Abby burst out the door carrying her bag, leapt off the porch, and sprinted to the truck.  She jumped in and slammed the door as Michael gunned the accelerator.  The truck tires spun in the loose gravel before finding traction and shooting them down the driveway and away from the farm.