Paraplegic Zombie Slayer Intro. & Index

Paraplegic Zombie SlayerA neurotoxin transforms the Texas panhandle into a forbidden dust zone where Georgy Founder struggles to keep his three young sons alive and together as a family. It turns out that post-apocalyptic 1928 Texas ain’t very handicap accessible, and while zombie-slaying is fulfilling, wheelchair lifts are pretty damn slow.

First, an introduction.

Hidely-ho, reader. I’m the writer best known as David Mark Brown and the infamous RedneckGranola. You may know me from such websites as www.thegreenporch.com or www.onetruepants. But currently you have stumbled upon my greatest achievement.

Reeferpunk is my self-created genre description (a sort of weird-Western, alternate history, 1920′s, humorous adventure thriller thing). Go here for more on that. These short stories take place in the same alternative history as the novels and sometimes involve major and/or minor characters. They are supplementary (but not necessary) to reading the novels and vice versa.

Join the Revolution!

No longer do good stories have to comply to the button-down world of publishing! You won’t find these bad boys behaving themselves under YA Paranormal or Mystery/Thrillers. Reeferpunk stories are written to blast apart retrictive confines of convention while still adhering to the classic elements of story-telling, the tried and true practices that carry us to the edge of of our seats, make us laugh and make us cry. I’m particularly fond of the characters that you will get to know and love over the next decade’s worth* of Reeferpunk.

*The first book will be cataclysmically good. The next three will be somehow even better. I’ll grow fat on my wealth of penny rolls (I like my money in shiny form) leading to a blase fifth book, then rebound for the sixth, seventh and eighth. The ninth will be a terrible attempt to take the characters into space on a diesel-powered locomotive (only read it if intoxicated). And blah, blah, blah.

Reading Paraplegic Zombie Slayer

Zombie Slayer is a wonderful slasher tale woven together with a heart-warming story of a father desperate to redeem himself in the face of his three young sons. With all sorts of ghosts haunting him, Georgy Founder struggles against his own broken body and a forbidding dust zone inflicted with quicksilver fire storms and blood thirsty twitchers while wanting more than anything to be a good papa. It’s Little House on the Prairie soaked in zombie gore. Bon appétit!

Zombie Slayer is divided into eighteen scenes which tell the tale of the Founder family’s awakening into their destined role as champions of the Dust Zone. Don’t we all need something more to live for than our own survival? While I’m not advocating violence against zombies, reading about it can be a hoot!

Follow these links for more on ReeferPunk or Fistful of Reeferthe first novel in the series. And enjoy the show!

 

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.18

Before I can respond Bertha hits the gas, spitting gravel as we close the gap. The wagon itself swarms now with twitchers.

“Bertha, what are you–”

“Shut up, Georgy! You talk too much.” Bertha leans toward Leonid and yells something in his ear, handing him the wheel before he can object. In a flash she launches herself from the cabin and leaps with amazing agility. Clearing the ten foot gap from the front of the Jeffery to the wagon, she crumples and rolls into a mass of twitchers on top the pile of munitions. A split second later we collide with the wagon knocking everyone from their feet.

“Leo! Reverse, now!” With a few .44-40 rounds remaining, I shoulder my mare’s leg in a desperate attempt to cover her. I splinter the skulls of the first two twitchers to stand, but the jarring retreat of the Jeffery on top a pavement of crushed twitchers, forces me to hold fire. For a few sickening seconds I watch the old woman. Her hair ripped from her scalp by a twitcher, she manages to duck and shake him off. During a final scramble, she raises her hands over her head in victory before being completely subsumed.

In a frightening burst, a light rips through the swarming clump of rotten flesh on top the wagon and flowers into an explosion of shattered bone and splintered wood. Even as we continue to rumble backwards at full throttle, the shockwave quickly overcomes us. The crackle’s so thick I can barely breath. “Leo!” But the pedal is already to the metal.

A surreal popping dances in the air all around us. Twitchers begin to bark frantically as the warning spreads through the ring. They crumple away from the Jeffery, pushing and shoving to retreat. The fire storm is going to be bigger than we had hoped. The wind switches direction, suddenly blowing outward rather than drawing in. We aren’t going to make it. “Everyone hit the ground! Faces in the dirt! Face down, now! Go!”

I see Mykola and Pyotr obeying immediately, the other men following suit. With the twitchers still retreating, the area surrounding the Jeffery is abandoned. I drag myself out from behind the M2, lurch and then roll roughly down the side, colliding with the ground as the air liquifies. A searing heat embraces me.

Several seconds pass, but all I can think of is coughing. It feels like a burning lizard has crawled down my throat and begun to chew my gut. Face in the dirt, I swallow a mouthful and gasp. I’m alive.

My next thoughts are for my sons. I prop myself up to scan the surroundings. Leonid is crawling to my left, his skin a bright red, but alive. “Mykola, Pyotr.” I croak their names, my voice reduced to the rasp of sandpaper on wood.

“Papa.” I turn to see Mykola bracing Pyotr, both of them standing and alive. “It’s time to go home.” I reach out and my youngest pulls me up. The firestorm radius spread thirty yards past our position, cooking twitchers as it went. But they’ll be back. Mykola boosts me onto the Jeffery.

“Everyone on board.” I growl the command as loudly as I can. I nod to Mykola after he sets Pyotr down beside me. “Help the rest, quickly.” Leonid gingerly crawls up the heated metal of the armored car and nods as he gets behind the wheel. I wrap my arm around my middle child and pull him close. He breaths deep and lays his head on my shoulder.

We wait another twenty, maybe thirty seconds until everyone still moving is helped onboard, less than two dozen of us. Just before we start rolling I notice Frank is one of them. The twitchers regather around the rim of the fire storm and cross over after us, but by the time we clear the far side of the burn they turn back to clean the bones of the dead. Frank works his way over to me, his face as bright pink as everyone else’s. He grips my shoulder. “The old hag went out the way she wanted, in a blaze of glory.”

I nod. “The same way she lived.”

Frank continues, “I owe you and your boys my life.”

Mykola climbs over to join us, and I give his arm a squeeze.

“Oh, they’re not my boys anymore.” I grin, the most whole I’ve ever felt. “These are the Founder men.”

Mykola smiles. “Happy birthday, Papa.”

END

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.17

With a string of twitchers still following in our wake, I put Pyotr on the back, giving him firm orders to stay onboard until we stop. Leonid rides on the right, Mykola on the left, while I mow a path with the .50 cal.

The darkening sky smells of sulfur and cooked flesh. The only sounds in the air are those of death and a lust for it. My body screams with pain, my legs oozing blood. Yet, sweeping filth out of the dust zone from the back of the Jeffery while fighting side by side with my sons, fills me with an emotion I can only describe as peace.

As the sun begins to set we hit the outer ring of the hunt, a writhing wall of twitchers frenzied beyond normal and continually fortified by newcomers. The rising cacophony of their ungodly shrieks combines with the numbing thunder of the machine gun to arrest my senses and nearly freeze time. The air fills with flying fragments of poisoned bodies once human, and the road beneath us is paved with bones.

With a sharp jerk of the wheel and skidding tires, we lurch to a stop beside the military wagon, forming a triangle of Browning M2 machine guns. Mykola and Pyotr instantly join the defense of the haggard survivors while I cover them from atop the Jeffery. Leonid’s job is to find the leader of the shrinking band and explain our next steps, quickly.

Even with the third machine gun, we’ll run out of ammunition before twitchers. And to get away clean we need to punch a bigger hole than the Jeffery can make.

Leonid grips my shoulder from behind and yells into my ear. “You’re in charge.”

“That was fast!”

“They’re almost out of ammo. Now or never. They’ve got a dozen grenades left.”

“Perfect.” I swing the M2 to cover Mykola while he reloads. “Have ‘em stack all the explosives in the wagon and clear out. Keep one grenade for yourself and join Bertha. We do it now.” The hunt ring slowly closes on us as my belt of ammo shortens. I spin the gun to a temporary stop in order to be heard, “Time to go! Load up! Bertha, get ready to push!”

Pyotr and Mykola grab handholds as Bertha slams the Jeffery into reverse and pops the clutch. I straighten the last few feet of ammunition and pulse the M2 back to life, but the twitchers’ ring has pushed so close that I’m nearly aiming straight down. The Jeffery jolts as we bump the wagon, pushing it in front of us.

The remaining survivors clamor around the armored car for hand holds. Those with ammunition left join Mykola in keeping the seething ocean of twitchers at bay. Empty clicks replace the jarring pulse of the .50 caliber as the last of the ammunition runs through its chamber. “Bertha, we gotta’ go!” She guns the engine until we’re bouncing at nearly 30mph. I lean over the driver’s seat and yell, “do it! Do it!”

Leonid chucks the grenade into the middle of the munitions pile on the wagon while Bertha slams on the brakes, sending the wagon careening into the ring of twitchers by itself. I roar above the fray, “wait until you see the blue flame and make for the opening!” But things are quickly getting ugly.

Screams crowd me on my perch as I realize we’re completely overtaken. Men are fighting back twitchers with rifle butts and bloodied knuckles. But in a barroom brawl the average twitcher is three times stronger than a uninfected man. Pyotr tucks Mykola in behind him and creates a flashing wall of death, the setting sun glinting off his spinning ax.

Twitchers encase the Jeffery on three sides, and still nothing happens—no fire-storm-causing explosion. Leonid recognizes the problem first, “Dud! It’s not gonna’ blow.”

Part 18

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.16

The metal on metal squeal of the Jeffery’s brakes snaps me from my trance. My sons. All I can think of are my sons.

I shake the dead twitchers from my mangled legs and drag my body back toward the discarded shotgun, popping two more shells from my bandolier on the way. I hear Bertha swearing underneath the continual torrent of .50 caliber shells raining down from her perch on the Jeffery.

No sooner than I shove the shells in the chambers and slap the shotgun shut, I turn to witness a twitcher’s head explode a few feet away.

“Papa!” I hear Mykola chamber another shell and just as quickly spend it. Leonid scoops me over his shoulders, this time like a sack of feed. From my perch I finally witness the carnage in its entirety. We had become the main attraction, twitchers streaming toward us by the hundred.

Mykola covers our retreat to the Jeffery, firing his 12-gauge faster than I could focus on the spent shells ejecting from the chamber. Writhing limbs surround us on three sides. Finally I spot Pyotr, a whirlwind standing in the tracks at the head of the Jeffery, amidst a stack of dead twitchers three feet high.

“I’m out!” Mykola backs against the armored car scrambling to reload.

“Pete, time to go!” Leonid strains at the hand holds on the Jeffery’s side. “Hold on, Papa. This is going to hurt.” He lunges up the side in two quick motions and hurls us both onto the top. I flop off his shoulders like a dead fish and roll down into the passenger compartment. All I can see now is Bertha straddling the .50 caliber M2 against a red and violet sky.

Pyotr flies over the edge of the Jeffery followed closely by Mykola and the sound of scratching nails on armor plating. Dizzily, I realize we’re already in motion.

“Papa!” Pyotr scrambles down to my side while Mykola leans over the edge to dispatch the freeloaders.

“I’m fine. I’m fine.” I prop my head up with Pyotr’s help.

“You look like govno.” He smiles.

“Well, I’ll fit right in.” I grip him by both shoulders and smile back. “You’re crazy, my son.” I pull him toward me. “Thank you.”

“Your legs.” Mykola joins us.

“They mean nothing. We’ll cut them off when we get home.” I embrace my youngest as well. “For now let’s stop the bleeding.” I look them both in the eyes. “We’re not home yet.”

By the time I tie off both legs and we reset the M2 so I can operate it, the helium plant looms on our left and the hunt ring just ahead on our right.

“Papa, the gunfire is coming from the refugees, not the plant.” Leonid is right. Other than the blinding flood lights around the perimeter, the plant is asleep.

“Tose ain’t refugees. Dem’s da U.S. army.” Bertha points at the side of a wagon emblazoned with a white star and containing two back-to-back Browning M2s struggling to hold back the breaker of twitchers. A straggling of men rally to the protective bubble the guns temporarily create.

“You mean we risked our lives for a friggin’ war?”

“Pyotr, whoever they are they don’t deserve to feed the twitchers. The plan hasn’t changed. We’re getting them out.”

“Hold on! Track’s coming to an end.” Leonid yells from the driver’s seat as he engages the Jeffery’s tires. The rubber squeals against the rails until we burst through the deadman and onto a dirt road.

“Alright. Bertha, take the wheel. You’re gonna’ be my legs.”

“Just so you know, I ain’t got my license renewed in seven years.”

“Just get us to those machine guns.” She cackles as she leaps toward the front to relieve Leonid.

Seconds later my eldest joins the rest of us. “What’s the plan, Papa?

I look them in the eyes and grin. “The Founder men are gonna’ tear hell a new corn shoot.”

Part 17

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.15

The glass bottle shatters one step in front of the three twitchers and blankets them in fire. Sprawling and wailing, the three manage to spread the flames to three others by the time I pack the second bottle and light it up. Leonid has us moving at a fast run now, hopefully fast enough.

I crack the second bottle on the wall of a maintenance shed just as another clump of twitchers round the edge of it. The burning liquid fans out in a delicate spray, like a phoenix tail, licking the fetid skin of twitchers. Their tortured screams draw more attention. I toss three more and prep the last two bottles, but a quick count identifies three dozen targets, and growing.

“The Jeffery!”

I spin around to see the armored vehicle clacking toward us on a parallel track still three hundred yards away. “The switch. We’ve gotta’ get there first.”

“Less than a hundred yards. We’ll make it. There’s a smash bar.”

“Got it.” I drag my legs across the handcart platform and yank the heavy bar from its moorings. The Jeffery appears to pick up steam. I look behind us and see why. Twitchers are swarming, maybe fifty of them. Even if we hit the switch we’ll be dead. “Keep going.”

“What—”

“Just do it, Dammit!” I light the last two bottles and chuck them in rapid succession, both of them barbecuing twitchers so close I don’t need to aim. Without a second to spare I grasp the smash bar and lunge toward the switch. It connects solidly, sending electric vibrations through my arms and neck, and lifting me from the cart’s platform.

“Papa!”

“I love you!” I speak the words as my shoulder collides with a railroad tie, my limp legs folding over the top of me. With a grunt I right myself and grip the 12-gauge in both hands. A click followed by a roar, and the air bursts into crimson. I pull the second trigger, cutting two twitchers in half. Another lunges head first forcing me to drop the shotgun and roll to my left. The animal cracks his skull on the base of the rail behind me and falls limp while another bulls me over.

I tug a knife from my bandolier and plunge it into his heart. Before we can stop rolling my legs snag something solid. Heaving the dead twitcher off my chest I find two more, faces buried into my calves, snapping bones with their teeth. I spin the .44-40, still strapped to my shoulder, until it’s barrel first and scatter their brains amidst the gravel.

I roar into the oncoming ocean of rotten twitcher flesh and spit burning hot lead as fast as I can roll the lever, parting the onslaught like a lighthouse in a storm. Every devil I drop is one less to haunt my children, one less to threaten my beloved sons.

Until I roll the lever and hear nothing but an empty click. Slow motion overtakes me. In a moment of crystal clarity I see all my strengths and faults meld together into the broken body of a dying, forty-year-old man. A man blessed to mend his worst mistakes before his death.

Falling to my back, I feel the ground shake beneath me. And then thunder and lightning crack open the sky above me as the .50 caliber cycles through its belt of ammunition. I feel the concussion of each shell igniting, powder expanding the air around it, buffeting my brain, propelling lead into spoiled bodies, poisoned gradually by a toxin born by man and belched into the soil intentionally. Ridiculous, all of it.

For a split second I swear I see blue, before my view is eclipsed by the flying silhouette of my second son, Pyotr, swinging his ax as if to split the earth.

Part 16

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.14

After several seconds of rare silence, he lifts his head. “No. If not for me, what about Mik and Pete?” Five pinholes of light hover several feet above our heads—a manhole cover leading to a dead end in the industrial district, near the helium plant. I picture myself crawling down the street on my elbows.

“Son—”

“Let’s just get to the street. We’re in the middle of town still. Industrial district, right? We’ll get to the street and play it by ear.”

“What did you just say?” I can’t believe my ears.

Leonid slaps his hands on the side of Leviathan. “Let’s get to the street. The others will be waiting—”

“No, after that.”

He hesitates, squinting at me through the darkness. “We’ll play it by ear?”

I laugh. The first laugh I can remember for months. “Leonid Founder. Did you just suggest we act without a plan set in advance?”

“I, I…” he stutters.

“If you can be spontaneous, my eldest, then I suppose I can live without my shell.”

“What—”

“But you have to swear one thing to me.”

“Papa?”

“Swear it.” I growl the command, making it unequivocal.

“O.k. I swear.”

“The moment I decide I’m a liability, you leave me.”

“Papa.”

“Do it, or I’ll blow my brains out before I see you come to harm.”

“O.k.”

“Now come on. We’re still taking the vodka.” We unload several bottles of Vodka into my duffle and I send Leonid up the metal rungs ahead of me. He heaves the heavy lid aside slowly allowing the ruddy light to sift into the darkness. Peering upward I wonder briefly where the blue sky has gone and if I’ll ever see it again.

“Clear.” Leonid lifts himself onto the surface before lowering a hand to take the duffle. I hand it up to him and heave myself into a seated position, my dead legs still dangling in the hole.

“These buildings are usually empty.” I adjust the shoulder straps for both my .44-40 and my shotgun and crane my neck for a look around. “We need to get there, the east wing of the plant.” As we watch the eastern sky above an abandoned rail yard, the wind suddenly shifts, rustling our clothing.

“Crackle.” Leonid stands, looking further to the east.

“I taste it.” I check the hair on my arms and count to twenty five. Finally a light blue flicker dances over the buildings, fading quickly. “The twitchers are using it to herd the refugees.”

“They’re close. About a mile.”

“Son, we won’t make it in time to divert them to the pickup zone, not with me like this.”

“Papa, I’m not leaving—”

“Wait.” I search the area for something I know should be there. “Handcar. Help me up.” He tugs me over his shoulders, and I clasp my arms around him like a kid getting a piggy back ride—like I had done with him six years earlier. “If we can parallel the main track before the Jeffery passes then we can alter the plan, switch the rails so they push north instead of east.”

“Right into the middle—”

“Of hell’s birthplace. Yes. It’ll be messy.”

“But we’ll do it together.”

I hear something behind us. “Stop.” I crane my neck, more to hear than to see. “Did you hear—”

“Moaning. They’re coming.” Leonid lopes toward the train yard and the nearest handcart, his muscles surging beneath me. I’d never noticed how strong he’d become. Suddenly an explosion ripples the air east of us followed by scattered gunfire. “It’s started.”

Between Leonid’s heavy breathing and the gunfire, I hear nothing and see just as little until he unloads me on the handcart. “Son, we’ve gotta’ go.” Dozens of twitchers stream between the buildings behind us, heading for the larger fight. But gradually heads turn our direction, and then more than just heads.

Leonid begins pumping up and down on the cart handle, but we’re moving deathly slow while a dozen twitchers lope in our direction. I slump open the duffle and use my knife to punch down the cork on a bottle of vodka. Stuffing a strip of rag into the top I strike a match and light it. The alcohol wicks up the rag until the flame begins to smoke. The lead twitchers clump, clawing at each other less than twenty yards behind us and closing fast. “Fire in the hole!”

Part 15

Paraplegic Zombie Slayer:p.13

The impact cracks one of my teeth and shoots a rooster tail of sparks out from underneath Leviathan’s treads as they grab at the abandoned rails beneath us. Steering the beast through the prohibition tunnels in the dark reminds me of iceskating at night back in Virginia. Traction is horrible, and in a matter of seconds the twitchers follow and gain on us.

“Papa, I hope you know what you’re doing.”

“For the first time in a long time, I’m certain.” I absolutely know what I’m doing, just not whether it will work. Somehow Leonid manages to reload and begins picking off the front runners. “Save some bullets. We’re almost there.”

“Where?”

“My supply of hooch.” Lord willing it’s still there. Only a handful of my friends knew about it during the years after prohibition and before the twitch, all of them most likely dead. “We’re going to light it, all of it. I’ll make the mess, but I’ll need you to clean it up.”

“No problem.”

We slide around a bend, the right tread chewing into the rock of the tunnel side, bouncing us and spitting gravel. Finally I make out the stash by the glint of sparks bouncing off the glass bottles stacked in wooden crates from floor to ceiling. “Get ready!”

No sooner than the words leave my lips we crash into the wall of vodka and beer, the impact more painful than I had hoped. With nothing to shield the blow, a crate catches me across the forehead. Another smashes into my chest, weighing down Leviathan’s controls. “Now!” I grunt through clenched teeth.

The Winchester barks and a violent woof rushes past us before sucking all the air back toward the fire. I feel the hair on my face shrivel from the sudden heat as hideous howling fills the tunnel.

“Hot damn! I can’t see much, but I think that got ‘em.”

I blink rapidly, trying to bring moisture back to the surface of my eyes and focus again on the glint of the rails before us. Only then do I realize I still have a case of vodka in my lap. “Think these might come in handy?”

Leonid shifts to see the bottles. “For once, yes. I do.”

“Under your seat, there should be some matches and an old shop rag. Get ‘em out now, incase we need ‘em.” I finish the thought under my breath, “I have a feeling we might.”

“Where does this tunnel come out?”

Nothing gets past my Leonid. “That’s the problem. It doesn’t really.”

Fear creeps into my eldest’s voice. “What do you mean it doesn’t come out? It has to—”

“The exit’s just like the entrance, son. But it’s a lot easier to get down than to get up. I haven’t been down here since I lost my legs.” For several seconds I hear nothing but the grating of the treads on the steel rails as we draw nearer to the end of the line. “I’m not gonna’ be able to get back out.”

“Sure you can—”

“Not with Leviathan, not with my chair. Just me, a broken old man.”

“You’re not broken! You’re my Papa.”

I hear the terror in his voice, and it breaks me, but I know I can’t be soft. “And when we get to the top you’re going to carry me? Through throngs of seething twitchers? We’ll both die, and you know it.”

“But we don’t do anything unless we do it together!” He’s screaming now.

“Not dying, son. That’s the one thing I won’t allow. You do that on your own, fifty years from now.”

“You bastard! You make me care for you just to give up and die?”

“Leonid—”

“For five years I’ve wanted nothing more. I longed for the day you would kill yourself and put us all out of your misery, because for five years you were nothing but a broken, old man.”

“Leonid—”

“And today I get my Papa back, just to—“ he crumples in a heap.

Leviathan slows to a stop. “We’re here. End of the line.”

Part 14