writing

News, reviews and fiction from Spinneyhead Books.


Minor Birthday

“Happy Minor Birthday.” Seth held his shot glass up over the table.

Frankie raised her glass and clinked it against Seth’s. “One day, soon, I’m going to make you stop forcing me to celebrate this.” she said, wincing at the clumsiness of her declaration. They knocked back the spirits, throats burning and lips strangely numbed.

“Never! You’re a first. A trail blazer! A miracle! A….” Usually, Seth had to be much more drunk before he started describing her birth in these terms.

“Freak?”

“Not a freak. Never a freak. I mean, look at all the bag babies there are now. All those preemies who wouldn’t have lived before you. And you, the first of them.”

“The first to survive. All the ones before me died. There’s a reason my middle name’s Miracle. I know they would all have died anyway, they were so premature. But I have to wonder how I survived and they didn’t. Sometimes I imagine their ghosts looking at me, all angry because I got out alive and they didn’t.” Frankie turned her shot glass over and tapped the table top with it. “What is this stuff? Why’s it filling me with melancholy and misery?”

“It’s one of Will’s concoctions. He gave me the shots free for feedback. Wants to make up a batch and sell it across the bar. You don’t like it?”

“Maybe I’m just not in the mood. I need brandy.”

Seth turned in his seat and leaned on the bar. Will spotted him immediately, and navigated his way around the bar staff. “Well?” he asked.

Frankie unrolled her phone and checked her messages. She didn’t want to give her opinion on the drink. Seth’s hand waggled in the air, the wavering sign for so-so. Will hid his disappointment well. “Double brandy, and a pint of the Earl Grey lager, please.”

“Dinesh is stuck on a tram. Everyone else says they’ll be here in the next half hour or so.” Frankie told Seth when he put the tumbler of dark gold liquid down before her.

“Including the dishy Darius?”

Frankie blushed. “Can we not mention the Minor Birthday thing to him. I haven’t told him yet.”

“If he’s with the others, one of them will have blabbed already. And I may, maybe, have already mentioned it’s your Minor Birthday when I invited him. Just the name, not the full, gory explanation.” Seth turned to pick up his lager, avoiding her glare.

“Fucking wonderful. Everybody wants to know all about the procedure when they find out. ‘You were taken out of your mother’s womb how many months early?’ ‘Are those bags really see-through? Could you see the lab you were grown in?’ ‘What was it like?’” The voice Frankie put on got squeakier with each question. She picked up the tumbler and swirled the brandy around.

She wasn’t angry at Seth. He meant well. Sooner or later, with everyone she met, the subject of her birth came up. Everyone was interested in the process. Too many had an opinion on the ethics of bringing a baby to term in an artificial womb when they wouldn’t survive in their mother’s. The worst were the ones who thought she needed protecting.

Seth had a smile, that annoying one that meant he knew something she didn’t. “What?”

“Oh, nothing. I mean, I’ve already let out one person’s secrets today. I really shouldn’t do it.”

“What is it? Something about Darius?”

“Well, speak of the devil.” Seth pointed over Frankie’s left shoulder.

She turned quickly, and there was Darius, over by the door. He spotted them, smiled and waved. He was achingly gorgeous, about as beautiful as any man could be. Was he some sort of freak, just like her?

Oh, she hoped so. She really did.


Zombies vs Vampires, epilogue

The body that used to be Glenn dragged itself across the pavement. Even if its spinal cord hadn’t been severed, its legs were shattered, bashed almost to a pulp.

Somewhere, deep inside, there was a faint understanding of the situation. The boost that eating vampire had given him had made him able to reason, a little, for a brief period, and given him a glimmer of consciousness. He understood that this was not a good place to be, and that he needed to find somewhere to rest and hide. But, more and more, he wanted to eat.

His hands, skin worn through and torn off, found a crack in the pavement and clutched to it. He dragged himself forwards. There would be food, or shelter, somewhere near here.

Black shoes, the shine taken off them by blood and battering, stepped into Glenn’s vision. Food, he thought. He should drag himself toward it, but instead, pushed his body up to look at the owner of the shoes.

The food was pointing something at him. He could only make out the end, square, with a round hole in it. If he weren’t so hungry, he might understand what that thing was. He lifted his right arm, reaching out to the food.

The hole in the object flared white.

The slide of the Glock locked back, the magazine empty. David Wilson stepped back from the zombie ha had just shot and looked around. None of the many bodies around him were moving. He found one of the many magazines he had stashed abut his body, ejected the empty one and slapped the new one in. The slide snapped back into place, and he was ready.

There was movement, over by the tower. Wilson raised the pistol, and just as quickly dropped it. The three figures picking their way through the bodies were definitely not undead, no matter how much blood covered them. Two women and a man, carrying swords with the assurance of experts, they were kicking over the bodies and examining them.

“Armed Police! What are you doing here?” Wilson’s voice was a croak. There had been moments during the night when he had howled obscenities, or just unintelligible noises, and this was the first time he had tried normal conversation in a long time.

All three of the people raised their empty hand, non-threatening, but still ready to fight. “We just got out of the tower.” the man said. “We’re…. Looking for someone.”

Turning over bodies, looking for someone they recognised. Wilson didn’t like to think of what they hoped to find. They were just the first of a lot of people who would be doing the same over the next few days. If they were allowed. Whatever had caused this might mean all the bodies would be quarantined and burnt.

“That one.” the shorter of the women said, pointing at the body Wilson had just shot. They walked toward him. As they drew closer, Wilson spotted the bandoleer of throwing stars across the taller woman’s shoulders. The familiarity of their shape made him study the body. The star embedded in the spine was the same as them.

“Did you do that?” Wilson asked, pointing at the star as the woman knelt beside the body.

“Not directly.” she replied. The man put a foot under the body’s shoulder, lifting and turning it enough to reveal the face. But for the hole in the forehead, it was still recognisable.

“That’s him.” the man said.

“You know him?” Wilson asked.

“Not personally. We saw him last night. And I knew him by reputation.”

The women were back-tracking along the trail of scuffs and stains the zombie had left behind as it crawled. “They landed there.” the shorter woman said. “Maybe that pile of bodies broke their fall. That one wasn’t so mashed up he couldn’t crawl a good few metres.”

“But Terry’s not in the pile.”

The shorter woman put a comforting hand on the taller one’s shoulder. “Maybe he got away. There’s not many places he could go. If he’s not in them, I think he got away.”

“Yeah, but….” The taller woman glanced back at Wilson. Why was she so worried about him?

“Do you live in the tower?” Wilson asked the man.

The man looked up at the tower, all the way up to a smashed window on the top floor, that Wilson had only just noticed. “Maybe.” he said. “We might be able to now.”

“Err, yeah. They all seemed to be going in there. Do you need some help clearing it out?”

The man held up his sword, looking at it as if it was talking to him. After a moment, he nodded. “No. We’ve got the place cleared out. Maybe we’ll need help clearing it out later, though.”

The women had come back from the pile of bodies. “I don’t think we’re going to find him.” the taller woman said, her sadness showing. “We should go back inside, and see if we can look for him from there.”

“Okay. And there’s something I think we should try as well.” the man said. “Thank you, officer. We can look after the tower for now.”

The three walked away, down the ramp into the underground garage of the tower. Wilson wasn’t sure what had just happened. But at the end of this night, he wasn’t sure about anything any more.

* * *

He had patience, and He had been waiting several hours for Mistress’s reply. He didn’t like calling her Mistress, but she hadn’t accepted being called Heidi for over a century. He was almost getting used to it.

The screens in front and beside Him clicked and hummed as they were activated. About time. He straightened, checking the fit of his suit. He must always look his best, no matter who he was talking to.

The screens became lighter, and the image on the video connection became clearer. He wasn’t so sure what He was looking at, though. Then, He realised what it was.

For the first time in centuries, He felt a coldness that might be fear.

The screens were large, and the face he was looking at was many times larger than life. It slipped in and out of focus as it gurned at him.

“Heidi.”

The skin had dried, pulling taut in some places and wrinkling up in others. Somehow, the dead, empty eyes were still full, their surface wet enough to reflect light.

Slowly, He looked to the left, keeping his eyes on Mistress until the last moment. She didn’t move. She was gone.

The face on the screen to the left was one of the vampires Mistress had sired. He couldn’t remember the boy’s name. There was a crossbow bolt through the boy’s head. He made a low sound, not quite a growl.

Two faces were crammed into the screen on the right. Another two that Mistress had sired. All the vampires in the tower dead, apart from the one Mistress had just sired. How had that happened?

“Your little girl is dead.” a woman’s voice said. “She deserved it. A lot of other people are dead because of whatever it was she did.”

“I will destroy you! I shall find you and destroy you!” He raged at the screen.

“We’re in the tower. It’s ours now.”

“So is most of your money.” another woman’s voice cut in. “Your security’s for shit. It’s all good having a walled off network, until someone gets at one of the computers inside it.”

He looked around, desperately searching for the other computer in the room. Could they do what they said they had?

“You get very rich when you’re immortal, don’t you?” the first woman said. “The money is going to the families of everyone your girl got killed tonight. This tower is going to house the homeless she used to pick on. The ones that are left. And then we are coming to get you.”

“We’ve seen the swag your Mistress had in her cupboards.” a male voice said. “So I’m sure you’ll have plenty of running away money. It’ll be a challenge. But.” The blade of a sword, bright, reflective silver where it wasn’t stained with blood, slammed down and embedded in the table in front of Mistress’s head. He jumped in shock, something that hadn’t happened for a very long time. “We’ve found that these weapons can sense the undead. It’s going to be a challenge, but we will find you.”

The screens went blank.

* * *

It had taken a very long time, and a great deal of pain. But Leech had made it.

He had dropped the bag ahead of himself, letting it fall several floors at a time. Then, very, very carefully, he had followed it down. He had grasped the rungs tight, holding his weight as he moved his good foot down a few. He tried to move two or three rungs at a time, to make it pass faster. But then he would miss a rung, or his foot would slip, and he would cling to the ladder, terrified, until he found his footing again.

Now, he was at the level of the fire escape. He didn’t know quite how, but he had to find his way off this floor and on to the roof. Then, maybe, he could find a paramedic who would splint up his leg and he could get out of the hospital, with the bag and bounty, before anybody started asking questions.

Leech pulled the bag to himself, and lifted himself up onto his good leg. Some of those expensive watches might not be worth more than scrap value by now. He didn’t want to know how many yet. He shifted the strap onto his shoulder, adjusting it until it sat comfortably, then opened the door.

As the door opened, a strong hand closed over Leech’s wrist. With a jerk that almost dislocated his elbow and shoulder, he was pulled from the alcove and thrown against the opposite wall.

Leech bounced off the wall and collapsed to the floor, his leg bent at an unnatural angle under him. It hurt so much he couldn’t even get any volume to his scream.

Terry stood over Leech, looking down at him, hungry and angry. He was far from the pretty boy Mistress had turned not so long ago. His clothes were torn, almost completely gone, and his body was marked all over by bite marks. He bent down and picked Leech up by the neck, slamming him against the wall.

“Look what they did to me! Look what you left me to!” Terry hissed.

“I had to get Mistress to safety!” Leech lied. He could tell Terry didn’t believe him. He tried a different tack. “This bag. This bag is full of money and jewellery. You’ll need it after tonight. You’ll have to run after all this.”

“That’s going to be very useful.” Terry twisted Leech’s head, exposing his neck, and took a big bite.

When Leech was drained, Terry let him drop to the floor. He unhitched the bag from the dead man’s shoulder. Then, with a disappointed sigh, he pulled off the dead man’s clothes and changed into them. The trousers were short, but it was better than carrying on in his rags.

There were signs for the fire exit. He could follow them, but dawn was breaking, and it would put him out into daylight. He had found his way up here from the sewers, so that was where he would head now.

Sooner or later, he would come back up again. But now, he needed to disappear, and lay low for a while. He was good at that.

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 43

Danielle had the briefest of moments to comprehend the new development and react to it. She tugged backwards. It didn’t pull her arm free, but the zombie did let his arm extend, growing the gap from his teeth.

The blur of movement resolved as it hit the zombie. Terry tackled the zombie, his momentum sending the three of them tumbling. The zombie’s grip on Danielle loosened, and she managed to break free. She even kept hold of the sword in her left hand as it was yanked free of skull. It scraped painfully across the stone floor as she tried to use it as a brake.

“You!” the zombie croaked out. It twisted in Terry’s bear hug, struggling to break free or bite.

Terry and the zombie stopped sliding across the floor. They parted, and Terry twisted and sprang to his feet as the zombie pushed itself up. It lunged at Terry, showing more coordination than any of its companions.

“Bastard!” Terry roared as he caught the zombie, stopping it in its stride. He pushed back with far more force, lifting it off its feet and charging with it to crash against the window.

The zombie hit the throwing star embedded in the glass. The vicious spike sticking straight out severed its spine just above the waist. But that wasn’t the only damage done. The blow dug the star deeper into the large pane. Cracks spread out along temper lines, leaping to the frame. Then shorter fractures joined up, and the window disintegrated.

For a long, frozen moment, zombie and vampire looked like the might pull back from the fall they teetered over. Then the zombie grabbed Terry, and leant its weight back as far as it could without the use of its legs. Terry’s hands shifted to its throat, a meaningless gesture as they both tumbled out of the tower.

Danielle watched as her brother disappeared. He had saved her, and she couldn’t get to him in time to return the favour. The sword in her hand gave her a warning, and she looked around to see the two remaining zombies from the lift heading for her.

They were reverting to the shuffling creatures all the other zombies were, driven only by their hunger, unable to think beyond the next bite. Danielle dodged, low around the first one, swiping with her sword, she severed the Achilles tendon on its left leg. It stumbled and tumbled forwards, head slamming into the jagged glass left in the bottom of the window frame.

Danielle sidestepped the last of the zombies, and sprinted to the katana. This time, she pulled it from where it was wedged. Slapping her feet flat on the floor, she slid to a halt, reversed her direction, and took the zombie’s head off before it had fully turned.

She wanted to rush down to ground level, to see if Terry had survived the fall. But first, there was work to be done here.

Siobhan and Esmerelda had all but finished destroying the zombies on their side of the room. Tom was methodically cutting his way through the larger crowd nearer the stairs. Mistress had seen Terry disappear out of the window, and was staring at the empty space where he had been. She held one zombie at arm’s length, distractedly moving it around to ward the others off.

Danielle joined Tom, and they made quick work of the crowd of zombies. Mistress roused from her reverie when she heard the fight nearing her. She looked back at the zombie she held, then the ones behind it, working their way around after being pushed back. She punched her zombie in the forehead, snapping its neck, then threw it at its friends.

And then it was over. The last of the zombies on the penthouse floor was felled. The floor was a mass of bodies, many of them missing the heads that had formed gruesome piles in corners or behind the tipped over table. Gore and thick, unhealthy blood covered the floor and their arms and legs.

Danielle studied the dark red liquid along the length of her katana. With an expert movement, she flicked most of it off.

Tom wanted to sheath his sword, but he knew that, without whatever force it possessed, he would find himself collapsing under the shock and horror of the situation. It was too soon for that. They were still sharing a room with a pair of vampires, the creatures that had caused this whole horrific episode, and who would happily kill them.

There was silence in the room, but sirens, cries and gunshots drifted in through the smashed window from below.

Esmerelda broke the silence. Grabbing Siobhan’s shoulders from behind, she said, “That was thirsty work.”
That urge to say something pithy was her undoing. It gave Siobhan just enough time to react. The sword twirled, impossibly fast, in her hand. Her grip reversed, she thrust it backwards into Esmerelda’s stomach.

The vampire made a sound somewhere between a hiss and a scream. She threw Siobhan away from her, launching her across the pile of corpses before them. Siobhan landed hard. She tried to roll, but mostly slid, smacking the wall with her right shoulder. With her back pressed against the wall, she appeared to be unconscious.

The sword was still stuck in Esmerelda’s body. There was a little wisp of smoke or steam rising from the wound, but she ignored it. “Little bitch. You’ve had this coming.” She ran up the body pile and pushed herself off the top, leaping for Siobhan.

Tom and Danielle had started toward the fight as soon as Esmerelda spoke. As soon as Esmerelda started moving, they knew they couldn’t get to her in time. Tom skidded to a halt and swirled around, sword raised. As he had suspected, Mistress had started moving after them. She halted well short of his sword tip.

Esmerelda flew across the gap to Siobhan, then came to a halt in mid air, just short of her. Siobhan’s left arm had shot up, punching Esmerelda in the forehead. The vampire’s own momentum drove the punch dagger through her skull. She dropped to the floor, arms out to catch herself in a crouch. “Oh.” was her last word.

Danielle finished the job with a swift stroke from her katana, severing Esmerelda’s neck.

Siobhan shook her hand, wobbling the vampire’s head around on the end of her fist until it worked loose from the punch dagger and fell to the floor. Danielle offered a hand and helped her up, then they rolled Esmerelda’s torso over so Siobhan could pull her sword from it.

Mistress watched, eyes wide and face empty. “My children.” she finally said as Siobhan and Danielle started walking toward her. “All my children, gone.”

Tom moved to the left, sword up to keep Mistress’s attention. Danielle and Siobhan came in from the right. “You want my head now.” Mistress said.

“Yes.” Danielle said.

“The easy way or the hard way?” Tom asked.

“Always the hard way with mortal scum.”

”Thought so.” Tom made a move toward Mistress. She rounded on him, ready to dive at him.

With a quick and easy move, Danielle decapitated Mistress.

Tom stepped back as Mistress’s body fell. Siobahn intercepted the rolling head, stopping it with a foot on the forehead. For her last moment, Mistress stared up at the young woman’s angry face. Maybe she even heard as Siobhan said to her, “Not that hard.”

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 42

The rage overtook Terry soon after he reached the last flight of stairs.

The pole he had been using to run zombies through had broken, but he had retained the weighted base to use as a club.

Seeing the door at the top of the stairs, he had felt he was on the home stretch, and pushed on into the crowd of zombies. It had been a misjudgement, and he had found himself surrounded as some of them staggered back down the stairs.

A female zombie managed to grasp his collar, and pulled herself in close to take a bite from his shoulder. He smacked the side of her head with the base, but it hadn’t been a good swing, and she still held on. Another crack, and she fell away. But the time taken over these blows gave other zombies the chance to move in on him.

For a horrible moment, he thought he was going to be overwhelmed. He stepped back, almost missing the edge of the next step down and tumbling, and they kept pushing at him. More of them were realising he was here, and turning toward him.

Terry realised the zombies were all in too close for him to get good swings at them with the base. He let it drop. Another zombie had moved in to get a bite at the top of his left arm. He wrapped his forearm around their head, holding it tight, and pushed back off the stairs. He only had two steps to fall, and this time, he was in control. He felt the zombie’s neck snap with the sudden movement. The teeth that had just broken his skin relaxed and released him.

He took a couple of steps backwards, and a bunch of zombies followed him. With a roar, he lashed out at the nearest one, hitting it so hard that its jaw broke off, the whole bottom half of its face flying away as its neck snapped. Somewhere along the line, he had learnt to punch, he thought. Or perhaps rage and vampire strength made up for any lack of skill.

Terry grabbed the next nearest zombie by the front of her dress, flinging her across the landing to crack her head open on the wall. Then he took another and threw him over the bannister. Another got its teeth into his injured forearm when he pause long enough, but he soon snapped its neck.

Kicking, punching and throwing, Terry cleared the way to the bottom of the stairs. Most of the crowd that had been before him not so long ago had now filed through the doors at the top. He could hear fighting. Bones were breaking on the top floor. Mistress would have something to do with it, he was sure, and perhaps the other vampires. Maybe even the humans. His sister might still be alive.

He reached the back of the queue of zombies. Reaching around the head of the nearest one, he got a grip, twisted to snap the neck, then pushed it back down the stairs.

Terry hadn’t had a chance to say more than a few words to his sister. He wanted to know where she had been his whole life, and why she had turned up on this, of all nights. If she survived it, he would ask her.

He reached over the head of a shorter zombie, getting a grip in its eye sockets. With his other hand on the back of its neck, he pulled sharply, nearly tearing the head off completely.

More zombies fell, and Terry was at the door. On the other side of the bottleneck, the dead had spread out. They were in four distinct groups. Mistress was tearing up bodies in the nearest group. The next batch were before the male human, who had just fired a crossbow, but was turning back to hacking and slashing at them, using a tipped over table as a barricade to restrict them. The younger woman was with one of the vampires, fighting off a large bunch of zombies.

Terry saw his sister in the middle of all this carnage. She was shrugging off a body that had been gnawed on so much it was practically a skeleton. Terry recognised him, one of the other vampires, but couldn’t remember if he had even been told his name. The crossbow bolt through his head filled in several blanks.

His sister jumped up and beheaded a large zombie with a sweeping move of her swords. Terry stared, impressed. Then a zombie came at him from the side. He caught the movement, and dodged back. Grabbing the zombie’s head, he swept its feet out from under it, slamming its skull into the stone floor.

He slapped his hands against the side of another zombie’s head, driving his thumbs into the eye sockets. Still it moved, so he jerked the head up, separating the vertebrae until he could yank it off. Turning quickly, he tossed the severed head hard at the next nearest zombie. It staggered, but didn’t fall, so he charged it and punched it hard, caving in the skull.

Terry had cleared enough space that he could take time out to survey the room again. Mistress had a crowd of zombies around her, but showed no sign of being overwhelmed by them. The male human was cutting his way through the quickly reducing crowd around him. The younger woman and second vampire were working well together. But his sister was in danger.

She had taken down two of the zombies facing her, but another had grabbed her right arm, and was moving to bite her. Recognition narrowed Terry’s vision as he realised that it was Glenn who had hold of her.

The man who had started this whole crazy, horrific experience. In the place where it had begun. Terry couldn’t let Glenn start the cycle all over again. It was hardly even a conscious decision to cry out and charge across the gap.

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 41

Tom thrust the point of his sword through the eye socket of the nearest zombie. He twisted it, then moved it from side to side. As he yanked the blade back out again, the zombie crumpled.

He would never have expected it to be so easy to destroy the once-human shells Especially not with a sword. Years of video games had conditioned him to think he would be shooting them, if such a situation ever arose.

The zombie was pushed forward as it fell, draping limply over the table barricade. The one behind it strained wizened hands toward Tom. He dodged them, then used the body over the table to boost himself up and swing the sword down even harder. The zombie skull was cleaved in two, and it, too collapsed.

The barricade was holding the zombies back. But, as more and more of them were felled, they were backing up out of reach. And the ones at the back of the queue were flowing around the sides of the bottleneck, threatening to encircle them.

Tom needed more room to properly swing the sword as well. He backed away from the table, and turned to one of the pincers. A sweeping strike severed the arms of the nearest zombie at the elbows, then he found himself making a return strike to take off its head.

Danielle and Siobhan had recognised the same problem with space to strike. They moved away from the table into gaps where they could strike and slash more easily.

The vampires were on the edges of the fray, picking off zombies from the overflow. They had obviously learnt suitable moves as they fought their way up the stairs. They would deliver a punch to the side of the head or back of the neck, or grab hair and twist until something broke. Then they would throw the limp body away, sliding them into piles in the corners of the wide open room.

Siobhan ran her sword through the arm and chest of a zombie, pinning them together and opening up the side of its head for a punch from the dagger protruding from her fist. For a horrible moment, as the ghoul started to crumple, both her blades were jammed inside its body as other dead hands reached out for her.

Kicking hard into the collapsing zombies midriff, Siobhan yanked both blades from its body. Turning the resulting stagger into a spin, she brought the fist dagger up into the new zombie’s forearm, reversed her motion, and jammed the sword straight up under its jaw and into its head. The point jabbed out of the top of its head, but both blades came free more easily this time.

The dance of slicing, stabbing and punching took Siobhan close to Esmerelda. There was a moment when they realised they were fighting together and flashed scowls at each other, but they quickly returned to the task at hand.

Tom’s cutting and jabbing brought him around in a circle, so that he was back at the table barricade again. He eyed the crossbow, nearly within arm’s reach, and thought about grabbing it. The crowd of zombies was finally thinning out, but he might get another chance to take out two or three with one shot again. He moved until a foot was under the frame, ready to kick it up and grab it.

Danielle’s sword seemed to slip through everything in its way. It was guiding her swings, so that it found paths of least resistance through joints rather than bones, but was still unnaturally sharp. Combined with moves she hadn’t tried since a pre-teen obsession with rhythmic gymnastics, she moved with smooth violence through the undead. Her feet ran a short distance up the wall beside the elevator doors, and she did a twist and flip to land with style on the marble floor.

Unfortunately, this section was wet and slippery with zombie gore, and her graceful landing became a clumsy tumble as her feet slid out from under her. She rolled sideways, toward a pair of waiting zombies. Not only did she avoid impaling herself on her own sword, she managed to turn her fall into a sweeping cut that severed the nearest zombie’s right leg at the knee.

As the zombie tumbled, she dived through the gap between it and its companion, rolled onto her feet and swept the blade back around to remove the head of the second zombie. The first one had barely registered that it had fallen, and was struggling to push itself back up. With the area around her clear now, Danielle had the time to step onto the zombie’s back and jam the katana down through the back of its skull.

Danielle made a disappointed grunt as she discovered that the blade had gone on to wedge itself in the narrow gap between two of the marble tiles. It would come loose, just not immediately. She was about to grasp it with both hands and pull it up, when there was a ping and the elevator door, right behind her, opened.

“Beardsplitters! Cockscabs!” the bizarre, grotesque thing that stumbled from the lift bellowed. Large chunks of flesh had been torn and bitten from its arms, neck and cheeks, revealing the bone underneath. Blood seeped from all the wounds, and soaked into what was left of its clothes.

Marvin couldn’t die of the wounds they had inflicted, so the zombies had kept on eating him. Now, what was left of him had finally managed to pull away from them, and stagger out. The pain he felt had driven him quite mad.

Danielle gave a tug at her sword. When it didn’t break free, she stepped away from it, retreating from the walking skeleton. Marvin spotted her, and moved faster than should be possible, to grab her by the shoulders as she tried to reach for the shorter blades strapped across her back.

“Foood.”

Tom saw what was happening, and everything slowed down for him. There was a zombie on his left, closing on him. The crossbow was on top of his right foot, ready to kick up and grab. He tossed the sword up and across from his left hand, and brought his foot up quickly.

Blade and bow hung in the air for a magical moment. He caught the pistol-like grip of the crossbow in his right hand just as the transfer of the blade to his left was completed. Somehow- it could only be the magic in the weapon- the bow was perfectly aimed. He pulled the trigger.

The recoil as the bolt left the bow was strong, twisting the weapon out of his hands and bending his thumb back painfully. It didn’t register, though, he was too busy turning the sword and putting his weight behind it. The blade passed between the zombies grasping hands, and through its open, hungry lips. With a last minute twist, it passed between two vertebrae, and severed nerves. The zombie stopped moving. Its arms held in place for a brief moment, then dropped to its sides as it tumbled.

The crossbow bolt went all the way through Marvin’s head, so the metal tip poked out of his left ear, whilst the feathered base stuck out of his right. Danielle got an elbow against his throat and pushed him back. Somehow, he still stood. His eyes moved up, down, left and right, as he tried to see what the problem was. Slowly, he realised he was dying. “Oh, fuckfarts.” he croaked, before falling forwards.

The crossbow clattered to the floor. Tom spun on his heel, letting his sword go with his left hand, but almost immediately grabbing it again with his right. He twisted it, separating the vertebrae, and pulled it sideways. The zombie’s head fell to the other side, attached to the body by a strip of flesh, and the body tumbled.

Tom was faced by another seven zombies. He would have to cut his way through them before he could turn again and join Danielle’s fight. He hoped he had given her enough space to go back on the offensive.

Marvin’s dead weight pushed Danielle backwards. She pushed his body aside, when she managed to get some leverage. But the move had her down on one knee, the only way to keep her balance. Finally, though, she could reach back and draw the short swords from the scabbards on her back. She held them crossed before her body, pointing forwards and upwards.

There were six zombies behind Marvin. They seemed strangely reticent about moving toward Danielle. It was like they were actually thinking about the situation, maybe planning.

Danielle took advantage of the group’s pause. She forced herself up, sweeping the blades so that they cut like scissors, easily decapitating the nearest zombie. As the body fell backwards and the head bounced across the floor, she skipped back into a defensive posture.

The five zombies formed a line, a wall blocking Danielle from her longer sword and the three skirmishes in the rest of the room. They stood outside the reach of her short swords.

The middle zombie cocked its head and studied Danielle. It raised its right hand, but not to grasp at her. Rather, it pointed, and said, “You Terry sister. I eat.”

The five closed on Danielle. The one who had spoken hung back as the others flanked her. Confusion at being recognised by a talking dead man was buried by anger at her situation. She could maybe take out two of them with the short swords, but that would take her in close to the other three. She might not be able to get away from them. If she could get the talking one, that would give her a little satisfaction. Not enough to make up for what the others would do to her, but some.

It was strange that this small bunch of zombies seemed capable of basic reasoning. Was it because they had eaten a vampire, Danielle wondered. She didn’t have time to think much more, as the swords were talking to her, telling her the best next move.

With the katana, there had been a feeling of being guided in her movements. She had found herself making moves that she would have thought impossible, as it fed the experience and skill of previous wielders into her. The short swords were different. If she were to describe the feeling, the word she’d use would be angry.

The swords desired blood. Or whatever passed for it in undead bodies. They wanted to leap at the five zombies, to slash and stab. Danielle took a short step forward, watching the reaction of the dead people. They flinched back, raising defensive hands. None had done that before. She stepped back again.

It was as if she was having a conversation with whatever spirit haunted the blades. They wanted to dive right in, but had to listen to her when she demanded better tactics. She saw a blur of possible moves, all playing out at once as she and her weapons worked out which would be most successful. Three possible paths were the best options. She picked one.

Danielle moved to her left, and all five zombies responded, moving toward where she seemed to be headed. But it was a feint. With her weight all over her left foot, she pushed back sharply, moving even faster to her right.

The blade in her left hand shot straight up, under the jaw of the zombie at the end of the line. It went straight up through his skull, punching out at the top. The woman to his right started turning to the attack, but too slowly. Danielle used the dead weight of the tumbling zombie as an anchor, soaking up her momentum, and helping another change of direction. The sword in her right hand came across horizontally, jamming into the side of the female zombie’s skull, punching through just above the ear.

Danielle tugged the blades, trying to work them loose from smashed skulls. They were jammed in more tightly than she had expected, and the three remaining zombies were reacting to her move. She had an open path to the katana now, she could let the short swords go and give it the strong tug it needed to be freed.

The thought came too late. The zombie that had spoken grabbed her right wrist before she released the swords and started moving. She put a foot against the zombie with her left hand blade in it, pushing, but it was pulling out too slowly.

“Eat now.” the zombie said, pulling Danielle toward it. The other two were closing in from either side as well. The anger of the blades surged through her, but she could see no way that this wasn’t the end.

“No!” a familiar voice cried out. There was fast movement behind the talking zombie, who reacted to the cry with a confused flick of the head.

Part 42

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 40

The zombies kept on coming. Esmerelda and Mistress put them down when they could reach. But they couldn’t get them all over the bannister, so the front rows were soon properly dead. Held up by the crush of ghouls behind them, they formed a barrier the vampires couldn’t reach past.

Mistress and Esmerelda retreated up the stairs a flight at a time. As the wash of zombies reached each landing, the space opened up for them, and some of the blocking bodies fell away, to be trampled over. Esmerelda and Mistress dashed in and saw off a few more each time.

Floor by floor, they thinned the crowd of ravenous things, until they could, just, see the back of the crowd. By now, though, they were only a flight below the penthouse level.

Esmerelda put a hand under the chin of a zombie, pushing it back so she could throw a jabbing punch at another one a couple of rows back. The bone of its forehead cracked, and the head snapped back, but it still moved. Esmerelda punched again. The front of the zombie’s skull caved in, and it went limp. Esmerelda bounced backwards, skipping up three stairs to stand by Mistress.

“This is tiring. The humans should do some of the work.” Esmerelda said.

“Yes. They do have blades, after all. Come on.” Mistress walked slowly up the stairs, leading the mass of bodies, to the final landing. She and Esmerelda opened the double doors and found a chair and low table to hold them open.

The zombies were nearly at the doors now. Shedding limp corpses, they moved faster. Mistress and Esmerelda opted for a trot now, as they led the horde to the main room of the floor.

Rounding the corner, they found the room turned over, with its minimalist furniture repurposed as barricades. The three humans, behind a heavy table, had heard them coming, and were waiting in defensive positions.

“We destroyed as many as we could. Now we need your help.” Mistress said. The breathless gasp she put on as she announced this obviously wasn’t as convincing as she had thought. The humans just stared at her and Esmerelda, lifting their eyes to the zombies as they rounded the corner.

“Bring it on, then.” the younger of the human women said.

The throwing stars zipped past Mistress’s head so close on either side that they snipped hairs short. Her face darkened and fists clenched. The woman, Danielle, had thrown them at her!

But the woman kept on picking stars from the row she had placed in the edge of the overturned table, and threw them with an easy flick of the wrist. They all shot past Mistress and Esmerelda. Her throws were too skilled for all of them to miss like that. Mistress turned around, in time to see half a dozen zombies drop to the floor, stars embedded in their foreheads.

The woman seemed surprised by the accuracy of her own throws, pausing for a moment to take in their effects. Then she unleashed the last four throwing stars. Out of projectiles, she raised her katana, ready to slice through necks and skulls.

The man had a crossbow. He didn’t loose a shaft as quickly as the woman took to throwing the stars, but waited, aiming and aligning. He squeezed the trigger, and the powerful bolt went through two zombie skulls, and wedged deep in a third. He strained to reload the bow, deciding to put it aside after all the work because the zombies were too close.

The younger woman stood between the other two humans, sword up and punch dagger in a restless left hand. The three of them were a formidable sight. Mistress would never have expected it when she first saw them.

The weapons were enchanted, of course. None of the vampires had been able to tap in to the magic, no matter how skilled they were with blades. It was unfair that only humans could benefit from whatever arcane blessings the weapons had been given.

No matter. For now, the magic in the weapons- wielded by three angry and determined humans- was going to help defend her tower. And then, because even with the aid the blades offered, the humans would tire, she and Esmerelda would drain them. Would their interaction with the weapons make them taste different? She couldn’t wait to find out.

Mistress and Esmerelda moved around to the sides of the table barricade. The zombies, after stumbling over their fallen companions, closed on. They were met by the human’s swords and daggers.

The vampires put down any zombies working their way around the barricade, but they let themselves relax as the humans took over the harder work.

Part 41

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 39

Marvin didn’t feel bad about running away. Some people fought, some survived. He was determined to survive.

As soon as he was back on his floor of the tower, he slammed the door closed and started dragging furniture up to it. He had a heavy chest of drawers close to it, that went across the doorway first. Then he dragged a cabinet from the nearest room. It was good and heavy as well, but he had a better plan for it.

As he suspected, when he tipped the cabinet over, it wedged almost perfectly between the door and the wall opposite. He sat on it to force it the last little way, and it jammed into place with an expensive cracking of antique wood.

Now the zombies wouldn’t be able to get in. He would be safe in here until the craziness was done. Now he needed a drink.

For the first two years of being a vampire, Marvin had been unable to eat or drink anything but blood. For all the pleasure of feeding on humans, he had always thought of himself as an epicurean of high order. So, when his body finally adapted again to human food, he had started seeking out fine liquor and rich food. He needed some of that now.

The kitchen in his apartment was stocked with food worth thousands of pounds. There were bottles of scotch and brandy that cost even more in a glass fronted cabinet in the lounge. He went straight to the cabinet and pulled out a very old bottle of Macallan. The liquid inside was beyond the normal amber. Decades in a cask had left it a deep, rich brown.

Normally, Marvin would go through an elaborate process- practically a ritual- before taking sips of the glorious liquid. This wasn’t a normal day. He opened the bottle and took a large gulp from it. It burnt on the inside of his mouth like spices, but his enhanced senses let him dig out hints of the flavour of the oak the cask had been kept in, and all the other elements that had gone into its creation.

The alcohol calmed him, and he held back from drinking more straight from the bottle. Without any of the usual fuss, he chose a glass and poured himself a large measure. Glass in hand, he wandered back into the corridor that circled the core of the tower.

There was no sound or hint of the zombies having reached this floor yet. One of those irrational sudden fears gripped him, and he stared down the hallway at the blockage he had engineered, briefly imagining it not there. A shake of his head, and a sip of whisky, cleared his vision, and he saw the cabinet and sideboard jammed perfectly in place.

Before he had any more visions, Marvin walked away from view of the doorway. He paused to take another sip. The alcohol was blurring everything nicely at the edges, so he didn’t sense the movement of the elevator car in the shaft he stood beside.

It was only when the car stopped, and the doors opened with a ping, that Marvin realised what had happened. The horrible, cold sensation of foreboding overtook him again as he turned to see who, or what, was in the elevator.

Hungry hands reached out of the car, catching his arms and spilling expensive alcohol on the floor. He couldn’t even struggle as the zombies pulled him into the car with them, so lost in terror was he. Only as the teeth started sinking into his shoulders and neck did he start struggling, far too late.

Part 40

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 38

Note I have now finished the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires. I’m going to keep feeding you the parts, right up to the end, whilst I put it aside for a week or so. Then, with a little distance, I shall begin the process of editing, cleaning up continuity and hammering the clumsy out of the language. This first draft may disappear when the finished version is published, I haven’t decided yet.

The world swirled. The silence was a reassuring pale blue, but when Terry opened his eyes, the light smelt of offal too many days in the sun. He forced a lead-heavy hand to move, and the surface tasted of marshmallow, then gritty salt.

Where was he? How was everything so twisted upside down inside out? He tried closing his eyes again and taking a long breath through his nose. If all his other senses were flipped, what did the room smell of?
Bland choral music, fading into light, tinkling pianos. Then antiseptic. An actual smell. With a queasiness as he felt like he had suddenly moved up to the ceiling, Terry felt his senses sliding back into their normal places.

He landed back on a mattress, wedged against the wall of a small room lined with shelves and cupboards. He sat up, and immediately curled up and retched a dry heave.

On hands and knees, he moved away from the mattress, toward what he now recognised as a door. The more he moved, the better he felt. By the time he reached the door, he merely felt horrendously rough.

Grasping the door handle and a shelf, Terry pulled himself up. He couldn’t quite get to his feet on the first try, and rapped his knees against the floor as he dropped down again. A stabbing pain came and went, just above his brow. He closed his eyes and forced the sensation away.

On the second attempt, Terry got to his feet. He tried letting go of the his hand holds, and very nearly toppled backwards. Holding tight again, he closed his eyes, willing the dizziness away.

Bit by bit, Terry’s balance returned. His head had felt as if it was moving in uneven circles. But they were slowly becoming tighter, homing in on where his brain really was.

With a last, horrible shiver, the vile hangover was over. As his head cleared, memories slotted into place. He had taken a bite out of a man on a bed. There had been an odd taste to the blood, then everything had gone blank.

He remembered the rush of drunkenness from the man under the bridge, and the way it had cleared up so quickly. Had the man on the bed been drugged? That would explain most of what he had just experienced. His body had flushed the drugs in a rush of strangeness, and now the blood that had come with it was making him feel so much better.

There was a small window in the door. Now he could concentrate enough to understand what he was seeing, he studied the room beyond. There was a bed, empty, close to the door, and more, occupied, beyond, lined up along the wall. There was a gap in the row, where the bed by the door had originally been, he guessed.

None of the bodies on the beds was moving, but Terry could see they were still alive. Cables and tubes ran between them and the boxes beside their beds. Drugs, he supposed, whatever it had been that knocked him out. There were no vampires or, more importantly, zombies, in the room.

Terry tried the door handle. It turned down easily, and he heard the click of the bolt moving. He pulled it, but nothing happened, so he pushed, and almost fell through as it opened. Perhaps the drugs weren’t all out of his system.

His first few steps out of the door were careful, in case his balance wasn’t fully restored. Confidence grew with each step, until he was certain of his strides again. His senses were feeding him the right signals again, and back to their enhanced state.

He could smell the stale sweat on the bodies in the room. It wasn’t so strong, they had been washed within the last few days. He imagined that was one of Leech’s jobs. Appropriate for the horrid little man. Almost as strong was the tinge of chemicals, a mixture he couldn’t possibly name, but no doubt the sedatives were in there somewhere. And blood.

It hadn’t been obvious from the little room, but there was a body splayed out on the floor in the empty space of the row of beds. A small puddle of blood had formed under its neck. Terry guessed he had drunk the rest. He resisted the temptation to dip a finger in the pool and taste it. He’d only just recovered from the last time.

There were columns supporting the ceiling, and a white wall blocking off the windows around the outside of the large room. In the middle was a bare concrete block. The central tower, with the lifts and stairs in it, Terry guessed. He had seen enough towers going up, from the various places he had slept, to know that much about their construction.

So, if he wanted to go anywhere, the door would be somewhere in that block. The wall facing him right now was blank, so he wandered around it. There was a door in the next wall. Terry opened it, then quickly closed it again.

A little wash of air had come through the gap, assaulting his nose with the scent of recent death and partial decay. It brought back a flash of memory, seeing Glenn leaping at him and sinking teeth into his arm.

He had known the zombies could get into the building, and now it smelt as if they were coming up the stairs. Slowly, he cracked the door open, just wide enough to squint through with one eye and get his nose into the gap. Standing close, he breathed in again, seeing what he could discern from the air flowing up the stairwell.

The stench was strong. But it wasn’t like the ghouls were close. There was something about it that hinted at violence. Someone was spilling whatever passed for blood in the walking corpses’ bodies. Mistress? Those other vampires? Maybe even the humans he had seen with their swords. Was his sister fighting those creatures? He may only just have met her, but blood was blood. Moreso now than ever before.

Terry turned his ear to the gap. He could just discern thuds and cracks and grunts. And the occasional shout that hinted at excitement. Mistress had made similar sounds when they made love. It shouldn’t have been a revelation that she would enjoy a fight. She was a vampire, after all. She might not be getting any real blood from the creatures she was dispatching, but he could picture her enjoying the physicality of destroying them.

He should go down there and help them. But, even now the blood was doing its job and revitalising him, he still didn’t feel up to the fray. Zombies had already taken chunks out of him, and he didn’t want to give them the chance to eat more. He closed the door.

Maybe he could rush up the stairs to the penthouse. Somehow, that seemed safer than staying here. All those bodies on the beds were just going to invite the zombies in.

He walked to the next corner. On this wall was the door to the elevator. As he approached, he could hear the car moving up the shaft. Was it going to stop on this floor? Who, or what, was inside? He stepped back quickly, until he butted up against a bed. Maybe he should just have gone straight up the stairs after all.

A tall pole, on a cross shaped base, held up the tubes and cables that ran from the comatose woman on the bed to the box of equipment beside it. Terry grabbed the pole, untangled it, and held it the way he imagined a quarter staff should be wielded. He’d fend off any zombies, beat them back or guide them toward a tasty sleeper, then make a run for the stairs.

He could almost feel the air pushing out of the tight gaps in the elevator door as it approached. With a little click-clack, it was at his floor. Then it was moving past it. He hefted the pole, just in case. With a little ping, the elevator stopped a floor up.

Terry tossed the pole away. He was angry at himself for over reacting to the possible danger, but, much more, relieved that it had passed him by. Of course, there was now the possibility of zombies above him as well as below. It was time to climb the stairs.

The noises beyond the door to the stairwell were louder now, though. Terry stood, hand poised over the handle, as he tried to guess how close the fight was. Taking a risk, he opened it and glanced out.

Just in time to see a wave of zombies crest the stairs. They looked lost for a moment, then one of them turned toward the door.

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” Terry backed away quickly. Now what was he going to do?

There were thuds against the other side of the door as the zombies bashed against it. They were too dumb to know how to use the handle, but, sooner or later, one of them would turn it by accident, and they’d be in to eat Terry and all the sleeping people.

The idea came out of that desperate thought. He could let the zombies eat the people in the beds, use them as a distraction. Even better, if they had the same effect on the walking dead as on him, then he could topple a bunch of zombies. Maybe enough to get away.

Terry grabbed the nearest bed and tried pushing it toward the door. It wouldn’t move. He looked at the feet. They had wheels on them, why weren’t they turning? Then he saw the little winged catches on the wheels at the foot of the bed. Brakes, of some sort. It took a couple of experimental kicks to work out how to release them.

The bed moved easily once the brakes were released, and Terry soon had it up against the door. Just in time, as he spotted the handle turning. As he rushed over to the next bed, he heard the clang of the door hitting the obstacle he’d put in its way.

The door bashed against the bed, moving it a little further each time. The clanging sped up as Terry was unlocking the second bed. The zombies had the scent- or however they searched out victims- of the body on the bed. Arms reached through the gap in the door.

Terry pushed the bed hard against the one already by the door. The knock on effect slammed the door and pinched the arms in the gap. Not hard enough to break them or sever them, and their owners no longer recognised pain, so they barely flinched. It was still a satisfying little bit of violence, though. He ran for the next bed.

Grasping, dead arms found the ankle of the nearest sleeper. As he wheeled over the third bed, Terry saw the foot lifted up and pulled into the gap. The body moved dangerously close to the edge of the bed, but was just short of toppling off. A head and shoulders squeezed through the gap. The zombie’s teeth closed over the meat of the calf. The head shook from side to side as she worked at the flesh until it tore off in a big chunk. After taking a few chews, and almost looking satisfied, the zombie woman went limp and dropped the leg.

The unconscious zombie fell forward, pushing through the gap by the force of her weight. More hands reached over the still zombie, seeking the still fresh leg she had taken a bite from.

Terry piled the third bed up behind the others. This time, he paused long enough to put the brakes on again before heading for the fourth bed.

Another two zombies had taken bites from the body and passed out by the time Terry had the fourth bed wedged into the blockade. The only problem was, their weight squeezing through the door was pushing it further open. Another zombie was climbing over them to get at the body on the bed- still, barely alive and tempting.

Terry searched the room. He spotted another of the poles that he had brandished earlier. Gripping the base with one hand, he held it in front of himself like a lance. Dancing around the beds until he found the right spot, he aimed, then drove the end hard into the side of the zombie’s head.

That one was dead. The others would come round sooner or later, and there were still more pushing through from the landing. He would have to fight the standing ones and destroy the fallen ones, but Terry felt confident that he had a defensible position.

The next zombie through the gap ignored the nearest sleeper. Somehow, it knew he had finally died. Terry whacked the side of the zombie’s head, bending the pole rather than doing any real damage. Lesson learnt, he jabbed at the top of the zombie’s head, until he punched a hole through the skull and jammed the pole as deep inside as he could.

The bent pole was clumsy and not much use as a weapon any more. He would have to go and get another one. In the mean time, he wanted the zombies to be distracted, or sedated. He picked up the woman on the fourth bed- marvelling at how light she felt with his vampire strength- moved around, and threw her into the gap of the door.

There only seemed to be four or five zombies left on the other side of the door. They snatched and hungrily snapped at the body they’d been offered, pulling it through the door to take bites then keel over from the drugs. By the time Terry returned with another of the poles, there was no movement on either side of the door.

He listened, and tested the scent of the room and the air flowing through the gap. There were still noises of shuffling, hungry creatures, but they were all up stairs from him. He could smell the gore from the zombies he had incapacitated, and the blood from the bodies they’d eaten. Nothing else seemed to be waiting for him.

Carefully, Terry pulled the last of the beds away from the barricade. It unlocked the whole structure, and the weight of dead and unconscious zombies pushed the door open, knocking one bed over and sending another rolling away. He was proud of himself for not jumping at the movement.

The zombie at the bottom of the pile was beginning to move again. Terry jabbed the pole through its head, twisting it around to be sure. He pulled it out, took a step back, then rammed it into the next one up.

When he had seen off all the zombies he could reach in the pile, Terry stepped back and pushed the remaining beds out of the way. The door opened wider, and the pile collapsed some more, tumbling corpses across the floor.

Wielding the pole, ready to stab at any undamaged skull, Terry stepped over the zombies he’d destroyed. As he was on the threshold, a hand grabbed the back of his leg. He couldn’t understand where it came from. He had destroyed all the zombies inside the room, hadn’t he?

Teeth sank into his calf. Not again! He looked down, and recognised the first of the sleepers he had used in his barricade. Of course, he’d been so stupid.

He couldn’t turn the pole to stab at the newly minted zombie biting his leg. So he rotated it, and slammed the heavy base against the zombie’s head. On the third blow, there was a satisfying crack, and the teeth that had torn his skin relaxed.

Terry roared in anger and pain. So fucking stupid! He pulled his leg from the zombie’s grip, and stepped through the door. There were more drugged up zombies on the landing. He stabbed each of them in the head a couple of times. Finding the sleeper he had tossed to them, he jabbed through her skull four times, just to be sure.

Now he’d had chunks taken out of both legs, an arm and a hand. Maybe at some point, those wounds would add up, and he’d be more zombie than vampire. Not a prospect he relished.

There didn’t seem to be anything moving on the stairs downward. He could head down there and escape, maybe. But he didn’t know any way out of the building but through the garage. There was no promise that it was empty, or that there wouldn’t be more of the things waiting for him outside.

His best hope was to see the tower cleared of zombies and sealed so no more could get in. Then, perhaps, Mistress could cure his wounds.

The sounds of fighting from above briefly rose in intensity. They weren’t coming back down, but it sounded like the fight was getting harder. For Mistress to cure him, she had to still be around. He had to go up, and join the fight. He still wasn’t sure he was up to it, but the zombie massacre at the door had left him more confident.

Pole at the ready, he headed up the stairs.

Part 39

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 37

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.

* * *

“Shouldn’t we have weapons?” Marvin’s voice quavered as he asked the question.

The Mistress turned quickly and took a step back up the stairs. “Yes, we should. Would you go and ask the humans to hand them over?” Marvin shrank back from her. “No? Well, we shall just have to tear these things limb from limb with our bare hands, will we not? I remember in the second war, Lucille and I used to….”

Darkness crossed the Mistress’s face as she remembered what Marvin had told her about Lucille. She turned on her heel and stamped down the stairs again.

“I will happily go upstairs and deal with the humans.” Esmerelda said.

The Mistress stopped on the landing and stared up at them. Anger etched the dark lines of her vampire features on her face. “We will deal with the humans later. I should deal with them myself. I brought them into the tower. But it seems I created those things down there as well, so I have to deal with them also. Now, come with me, and let’s get this over with.” She didn’t look back as she set off down the next flight.

Esmerelda gave a little shrug, but followed. Marvin was less sure. He hovered on the landing for long moments, only following when Esmerelda was a flight ahead of him.

The Mistress slowed her descent, letting Esmerelda, and then Marvin, catch up with her. A few landings further down, they stopped.

“I hear them.” Marvin announced, as if the other two couldn’t.

Esmerelda leant over the bannister and stared down. “I see them. Two floors down. They’re moving, but not so fast. I think that one has seen me. Yes. They’re moving faster now.”

“I suppose we have their attention now. Rip their heads off and throw them and the bodies back down the stairs.” the Mistress said.

Marvin joined Esmerelda, staring down the gap between the flights of stairs. “Will they fit down there?”

“We will make them.”

It was a dramatic flourish, the bravado used to rouse troops before a fight. It was wasted on Marvin and Esmerelda, but the Mistress was at a point where she needed to hear it.

They stood at the top of the flight of stairs and waited for the stumbling horde to make it to them. When the first of the zombies milled around one flight down, temporarily losing the hunger that had driven them this far, the Mistress lost patience, and took the battle to them.

When the Mistress was halfway down the flight, the nearest zombie turned toward her, head flicking round like he suddenly remembered his mission. She hooked her fingers into a claw and, closing the distance, rammed them up under his jaw. Two of her nails broke skin, and her palm struck the bottom of his jaw so hard it cracked teeth.

The Mistress took hold, and lifted the vampire of its feet. She jerked her hand to left and right until, with a satisfying crack and gruesome tearing, the head separated from the body. She dropped the head over the bannister and let the body crumple and tumble down the stairs.

She had concentrated too much on this one kill, and the other zombies had become aware of her, and were advancing on her. She had to make faster kills from now on.

A woman zombie tripped over the headless body and cracked its skull against the stairs beside the Mistress. It twitched a couple of times, and showed no signs of getting up. To be sure, though, the Mistress cracked her heel down on the back of its neck.

The Mistress lashed out with a backhand slap that almost completely knocked the jaw off the face of the zombie to her left. She drove a flat-palmed punch into the jaw of a zombie right in front of her, driving it back so hard that it dislodged, tore through dead skin, then severed the neck. The dead woman dropped, whatever had been driving the reanimated muscles no longer there.

The zombie with its jaw flapping uselessly, connected by skin and the last sinews of a couple of muscles. Turned to the Mistress. His hands had started to come up, but she moved far faster. She rammed her forefinger straight through his right eye, punching a hole in the socket and reaching the grey squish of the brain. She hooked her finger around, getting a grip on bone, and pulled hard. If the yank didn’t separate vertebrae, the tumble over the bannister, and connecting with the stairs all the way to the ground, would finish the job.

“I would appreciate some help.” the Mistress said, not looking around as she found a head to grasp and twisted it until there was a satisfying snap.

Marvin and Esmerelda were beside the Mistress in a moment. Esmerelda landed a series of punches on a small group of zombies, cracking skulls and sending limp bodies sailing across the landing. Marvin kept making ineffectual little jabs at the same female zombie. His extra strength put power behind the rabbit punches, but she refused to fall.

Esmerelda let out an exasperated sigh when she saw how useless Marvin was being. She took the zombie’s head in both hands, and twisted until she heard the crack and pop of the spine separating. Lifting the limp body, she tossed it toward the bannister. The left leg snagged on the railings, and it hung gruesomely over the edge.

“Put some force into it. Or just lift them up and throw them down the stairs. But, please, stop doing this.” Esmerelda mimicked Marvin’s flailing punching style. There was only one zombie left standing on the landing, though the next, larger, wave would be along soon. Esmerelda pointed at the bloodied man stumbling toward them. “Try it on that one. Go on.”

Marvin stepped forward nervously, closing on the zombie at an angle. The ghoul twitched toward him, and he squeaked and took a step back. He turned at the tutting sound from behind him. He couldn’t tell who it was that made it, but Esmerelda was the one who waved him toward the zombie.

The zombie had its arms up, reaching for Marvin. He batted the hands away, so hard that the dead man span all the way around. Marvin saw the opportunity, and moved to grab the zombie’s shirt at the collar and trousers at belt level. He took quick steps with the zombie, lifting it off its feet, then propelled it over the bannister. It didn’t even react as it flew out and across the gap and smashed its head on the wall opposite.

Marvin watched as the now limp body landed atop the crowd of zombies one floor down. Beyond an initial stumble at the blow, they didn’t react to it. Yet, somehow, the body rolled across the densely packed heads until it tipped over the edged and fell down the gap between flights. It cracked against something at almost every floor, all the way to the ground.

“That was remarkably easy.” Marvin remarked, turning back to Esmerelda and the Mistress. He had expected smiles and congratulations, but they were still regarding him with the same exasperated expressions. Esmerelda pointed past him.

A hand grasped Marvin’s shoulder, and he jumped with a squeal. He jerked forwards, but the hand’s grip remained tight. It brought the zombie with it, the dead man slamming into Marvin’s back. He panicked some more, spinning round and trying to grab the arm and pull it off.

The zombie tumbled, legs twisting around and between Marvin’s. Marvin landed on his back, the zombie on top of him, hungry mouth biting the air just past the end of his nose. Zombies from either side fell on top of them, eager for a bit of flesh.

Esmerelda and the Mistress strode in, each grabbing one of the zombies and tossing them over the bannister. Marvin was still under the one that had tripped him up, holding it off with an arm pinned under his body. He struggled to release it, while Esmerelda and the Mistress moved on to the ones behind.

Marvin finally managed to get his other arm free. He grabbed the zombie and managed to throw it aside. Free, he scrambled back until his head cracked against stairs, then found the bannister to haul himself up.

The Mistress and Esmerelda were punching zombies, kicking them, throwing them over the bannister. As Marvin watched, they each grabbed one by the hair and slammed their heads together with a loud crack. They could handle themselves. They didn’t need him. He could fight humans, when he had enchanted them enough to make them passive, but this was too much for him. He turned and ran up the stairs.


Zombies vs Vampires, part 36

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.

* * *

“Which way? Up or down?” Siobhan asked.

They were all looking over the edge and down the stairwell. Danielle cocked her head, listening to the faint sounds echoing up to them. “Up. I think. We can wait there and only have to deal with what’s left after the vampires take on the zombies.”

“That seems fair. It was what they were planning to do with us. Up it is.” Tom said as he led the way.

They clinked as they moved, laden with as many weapons as they could carry. Tom had a small crossbow, and a quiver full of bolts, on his back, as well as a short mace with a heavy, viciously studded head, and several more daggers. Danielle had a bandoleer of throwing stars across her chest, and shorter Japanese blades in crossed scabbards on her back. Only Siobhan had shown restraint, supplementing her sword with a small and nasty punch dagger that could sit perfectly in her left hand.

Back on the top floor, they found a heavy, dark wood table in the corner of the main room. Their excess weapons went on it, for easy access, and they dragged it out to use as a barricade.

“And now we just wait here?” Siobhan asked.

“We could drag this around to the top of the stairs and try to block the door. It’s heavy enough.” Tom said. But he was mostly just thinking aloud. It wasn’t a great plan, and if they got it wrong, they could be trapped by anything coming up in the lift.

Danielle was thinking about something else entirely. She held one of the throwing stars daintily between thumb and forefinger, studying it. “I’ve never held one of these before, but I know just how to throw it.” To demonstrate, she gave a flick of her wrist, and the lethal little piece of metal flew straight across the room to embed in the window. “That’s…. weird, isn’t it?”

“Just like how I felt when I held the blade for the first time.” Tom raised his sword and studied it. “Considering how fucked up tonight already is, would it be a surprise if these weapons are, I don’t know…. Enchanted?”

“We’ll probably need the help, if they are.” Siobhan was making practice thrusts and swings with her own sword, caught up in the mood. “I mean, how many of those zombie things were there out there?”

Danielle had walked over to the window, to try to prise the star from the glass. She looked down, studying the streets. “There are a lot of Police cars down there now. Most of the people I can see don’t seem to be, well, shuffling. Maybe they’ve got the zombies under control.”

“Or maybe all the zombies are in the tower.” Siobhan said.

They were quiet for a while. Tom studied the crossbow. Holding it up, he asked, “Any idea how to load this thing?”
Part 37


Zombies vs Vampires, part 35

This is the first draft of Zombies vs Vampires, each chapter posted within a few days of being written. As a first draft, there will be continuity errors, and sections that will need to be deleted, moved, re-written or expanded for the final version. Please bear this in mind as you read it. If you spot something you think needs changing in any way, don’t hesitate to tell me in the comments. I’ll give you a shout out in the published version.

If you enjoy Zombies vs Vampires, you may also like other books in the Lost Picture Show series- Slashed (Amazon, Smashwords), Chosen Ones/Source (Amazon, Smashwords), or Pickers (Amazon).

Jumped in part way? Here’s a handy link to Part 1.

* * *

**I know this is a ridiculously short one. But it does involve zombies in a lift. the way zombie films have been going the last few years, there are people out there who would have tried to make a whole film just from that.**

Glenn kept on poking at the wall, the one tiny bit of memory telling him it would achieve something. Soon, the others started mimicking him, pressing the side of the elevator nearest them, but not knowing why.

Eventually, Rav found a button and the ring around it lit up as he tapped at it. A few moments later, the box they were in started moving upwards.

Somehow, they all knew to look upwards in anticipation.

Part 36


I promise I’m only housing vampires in one of these towers

I’m not a big fan of all these plans to build higher and shinier and more expensive towers in the city centre. I can’t shake the feeling that more down to Earth developments, aimed at people on an average wage or below, and not backed by the super wealthy, would have a harder time getting planning permission. But I am a natural cynic.

Zombies vs Vampires got a big bit of inspiration from Gary Neville’s plans (even if I put my versions somewhere else by accident), and it feels like I may be tapping into something of relevance with my ‘1% lording it over the 99%’ narrative.

Take a look at some of the towers and skyscrapers which could sprout up around the city centre over the next few years

Source: 18 skyscrapers and towers that could transform Manchester’s skyline – Manchester Evening News