Spinneyhead Blog


What Is The City But The People

What Is The City But the People

This year’s Manchester International Festival opened with What Is The City But The People? Created by the same guy who did the original Manchester Day, it was a wonderful slice of city life, weaving narratives around shared and separate experiences.

I had the camera in the phone on burst shots- five of everything- and I hope I’ve picked the best of them for the album.


1:32nd scale interior details for race and drift cars

Another new 3D product designed by me. I’ve got a bunch of 1:32nd scale car models in the to-build pile, many of them Japanese. So I’ve designed some interior parts inspired by drifters and Kanjo street racers. There are extended gear shifters (one based on a samurai sword), a hydraulic hand brake, battery isolation switches and digital data loggers.


Stringer

Stringer

A Western set in the early years of the twentieth century, so there was some interesting use of the telephone, with rural ‘party lines’ for communication.

‘Stringer’ McKail travels from San Francisco- where he’s one of those too-honest-to-be-rich-and-famous newspaper reporters- to Calaveras Countys, where he grew up. Not long after arriving, people are trying to kill him. Soon after that, he meets the first of a string of women who want to sleep with him.

It’s all got something to do with a stagecoach robbery fifty years earlier, and a bandito who most likely never existed- his name translates from Mexican Spanish as ‘Grumpy Joe’, and may have been a catch all to keep the ‘Anglos’ from persecuting the local Mexican community. Somebody thinks they can track down the treasure, and they’re not above killing and kidnapping to get to it.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews


Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness 1

Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness

Part of my research on consciousness for an upcoming project. This was more of a philosophical read on the definition of consciousness, and its benefits and problems, than about the process that may have brought it about.

Lots of interesting ideas, and the book is sprouting many coloured bookmark tabs where I found ideas worth exploring further, or springboards for ideas to put in the story.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews


Stickers of Central Manchester

Stickers and posters of Manchester

At a loose end in the city centre yesterday evening, I decided to start photographing stickers I found on lamp posts and elsewhere. Sticker bombing street furniture feels like a relatively new development to me, but I’m probably wrong, and have only just noticed it.

I’ve added some older sticker pictures to the album, and there’s one legitimate, screwed down, sign that’s made its way into the collection as well.


Funky little Renault 5 Turbo

Funky Renault 5

I have a magazine full of custom cars and comics by a French artist called Pascal Meslet, which has somehow managed to survive since 1984. I’ve always wanted to make some models based upon the pictures in it, and finally managed to.

It’s a far from direct copy, but this little Renault 5 was inspired by the image it was photographed on top of. It’s been practically finished for over a month, I just kept putting off painting the rear lights and gluing them in.

I need to get more modelling done, I reckon.


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.