The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Apocalypse: The Incident With The Car (One For The Road)

Posted by BigWords on January 30, 2010

From my zombie WIP (currently laboring under the working title of Zombie Apocalypse) comes the first actual sighting of a ghoul. This is from the chopped-down version – and still comes in at around page fifty. It is still in very rough shape. There’s so much I’m meant to be doing right now that updating this blog has been pushed down the schedule a ways, though as soon as I get everything sorted I’ll be back to abnormal as usual.

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The Incident With The Car
(One For The Road)

Harold’s mind was racing as he turned off from the more familiar streets on to the long road back to Lumberton; a mobile ‘phone gripped tightly to the side of his face as he pushed the car on to greater speeds, desperately attempting to conjure a plausible scenario which could explain his absence and yet cast him in a good light. It was harder to fabricate balls-out lies than he remembered from his youth, the necessary neurons not quite firing in his brain due to a potent mixture of fatigue, stress and – crucially – alcohol. Simmons wasn’t born to move in lazy towns, the pace of life in the city had shifted his internal clock too far from the rural timeframes which others seemed to accept. “I’m on my way back now, and you wouldn’t believe the roads up here.” A pause. “Probably around three. Maybe a touch later if I can’t floor it down some of the dirt trails which pass for roads up here.” The line crackled and fell away for a moment. Dumb fuckin’ ‘phone he thought, and held it in front of him as he tried to focus his vision. The bars indicating reception quality rose and fell in a steady rhythm, mimicking the equalizer on the car’s radio.

The dull thud, as a shape hit the car, rolled over the hood then fell away to the side of the road – taking the wing mirror with it – was merely the punch line to the bad joke that Harold Simmons’ day had become. A sharp crack appeared in the windscreen after the fact. At no point did Harold’s mind dare to contemplate the possibility that he might have inadvertently caused the death of another human being. “Aw… You god-damned cock-sucking son-of-a-whore,” Simmons spat out. The mobile ‘phone had landed at Harold’s feet as he struggled with the steering, beeping once in protest at its’ treatment before deciding that things were too stressful to deal with.

Spun like a child’s toy, the car came to a stop facing back in the direction whence it had come, its’ journey’s end marked by black rubber laid into the surface of the road. The body lay twenty-five yards back, yet the most important detail of the night – at least in Harold’s mind – concerned one broken light, a dented hood and a certain missing wing mirror. Toting up the damage, albeit with four beers and an empty stomach hindering his math, the damage came to the somewhere in the region of a thousand dollars. “This is why I hate pissant, backwater, shithole, hicksville…” Harold’s tirade stopped mid-sentence when he realized Mr. Roadkill wasn’t as dead as he ought to be. Staggering along the dirt embankment, his victim haphazardly navigated his way towards Harold.

“What is it, you dumb sonuvabitch?” Harold yelled, stepping out of his car. “You want to swap insurance details or something?” No response. “I could’ve killed you back there, ya drunken bum.” Still silence. Bain damage, Harold pondered, maybe a mute? Too drunk to talk? The last thought hit a little too close to home. The man moved closer, agonizingly slowly, but moving closer all the time. Harold glanced at the man as he tried to reign in his anger. Average height, average weight and utterly unremarkable, even Roadkill’s clothing was forgettable. The checked shirt, blue jeans and heavy workboots didn’t help with his bland conformity. This guys wife couldn’t pick him out of a line-up.

Harold ran his hand over the hood, “Look at it. Just look at it.” The car was of no importance to Mr. Roadkill, who – it seemed – moved very fast for a man who could barely  put one foot in front of the other without having to comically readjust his center of gravity by waving his arms like a windmill. Harold turned back to the man in time to see the man lunge forward again. He seemed to hang there, mid stumble with his head cocked slightly too extremely to one side. Inertia, slow to take hold, finally caught up with him, and his full weight propelled him the two feet distance towards Harold. The full weight of the man had pinned Harold to the side of the car, time stretching as Harold’s brain tried to make sense of the surreal situation.

“Get off me ya pole-smoker.”

Mr. Roadkill sunk his teeth into Harold’s left arm, tearing away jacket, shirt and skin from the wound as he pulled back, trying to straighten his head. The man’s arms flailed, making him look even more like a certifiable bug-munching, shit-flinging looney tune than ever. Senses already dulled by alcohol, shaken by the crash and confused by the crazy idiot with a biting fetish, Harold tried to force his brain into action. Harold pushed back against the man with all of his strength, mentally calculating how much time he had wasted with the interruption to his journey. Roadkill, sprawled on the ground, displayed no sense of impropriety at his actions, moving his head to one side as Harold’s foot swung out at him, swiping at the leg once immediate danger had passed.

Moving backwards to the safety of the car, Harold was careful not to take his eyes off Mr. Roadkill for one second. Bite me once, shame on you. Bite me twice, shame on me. Slipping into the driver’s seat he brushed his right hand over the open wound, pulling closed the door with his increasingly painful arm. It burned, but as he could still move his fingers (enough to flip off the bitey idiot as he pulled away at least) he put the incident behind him. That’s gonna hurt in the morning, he thought.

The drive went surprisingly quick once Harold had gotten past the back-roads and on to the freeway. The streets were clear of heavy traffic, though the question of why didn’t register.

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One Response to “Apocalypse: The Incident With The Car (One For The Road)”

  1. Donny Ve said

    Yikes…Doesn’t seem like to pleasant of a scenario that Harold went through.

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