Burning the Midnight Oil

Last night proved to be one of the longest nights I have had in long time, and not in a good way. In order for you to understand, however, let’s rewind just a little bit to yesterday afternoon.

My wife and I had just watched two episodes of ‘The Walking Dead’, on television.  We are so far behind on episodes that it would literally take us a week to get caught up, and only then if we were to have the free time.

I’m a huge fan of the show.  Now only does it have one of my all time favorite types of undead in it, but it is masterfully written as well!  The episodes we watched were; 18 Miles Out, and Judge, Jury and Executioner.  I’ll just say this, for any of you who haven’t watched the show yet (but are meaning to), or aren’t caught up;  I’m glad it was Daryl.


Yeah, that was an emotional moment.  I was angry.  I was sad.  I probably went through most of the twelve steps in three seconds, but it was a perfect three seconds.  “Sorry, brother.”  I hadn’t felt that range of emotions so quickly in a long time and it felt good!  I was inspired!  I wanted to write and boy did I ever…

But alas, it could not be.

My bedtime had come and gone, and if I was to have any rest before my PT job, I had to attack that pillow with the back of my head like there was no tomorrow.

I have already experimented with a story about the zombie apocalypse.  I wrote a short story set during the beginning stages of it last year, so I have already got a feel for it.  However, I haven’t really spent any time with my rotting little friends yet.

I can’t give away any details just yet because I plan on releasing this story in a collection after my trilogy is complete, but I will answer one question; the story doesn’t place the zombies as the focus.  As a result, I have yet to get into the really nasty business.

“Have you shelved your putrid pals,” you may ask?  Not at all!  In fact, in my second book, I have introduced a most malodorous mischief-maker into the fray.  This little nasty mcassty has something unlike any other brain muncher you have ever seen; a sentient mind!  Oh yes, not only is this foul flesheater intelligent, but it has identified itself to one of the main characters as well!

Okay, before things get out of hand here.

This is a special type of undead, I realize that.  It seems like I have a few unique creatures up my metaphorical sleeves and there is no short supply of them either!  Let’s put them aside for now and return to where I started, shall we?

So here I am with a dilemma on my hands.  I have the worst kind of writer’s block!  Except, I’m not being blocked between my mind and my fingers.  No, the block happens to be this annoying chunk of time I have to fill with sleep and…  Ugh, just say it already; work.

It would be sixteen hours before I would be able to sit before my screen again!  Seriously, what a waste of creativity!  Or, was it?

When sleep finally caught up with me, I tumbled over the precipice of consciousness and into those murky depths where only the most horrific of terrors lurked.  I may or may not have played catch with Frankenstein’s monster, and, I may or may not have spread some of The Blob onto a peanut butter sandwich…   What I DID do was dream about those stinking piles of vacuous vultures as they chased me down a cold, dark alley.

I remember it well…

The sky was cold and grey, the wintry air unforgiving.  I pulled my jacket tighter around my round frame as close to closed as I could get it, but it had been years since I had had a zipper with which to do so.  The streets were empty.  A transparent layer of snow-covered the ground, allowing only the barest glimpse of what was underneath and it had yet to become too treacherous to walk upon.

There was a foul stench hanging in the air.  It was one that I knew I should recognize, but for some reason I could not place a name to it.  Was it garbage?  The cooking of some exotic food?

A low moan interrupted my reverie, floating only a decimal higher than the sound of the blustery winds around me.  Now here was a sound I recognized!  Somewhere across the street, in the shadows behind the vehicles, someone was hurt!

Moving as fast as I dared to across the accumulating snow, I closed the distance between me and whomever was over there.

“Hello?” I called out.  “Do you need help?”


I cocked my head to the side as I listened.  There was probably twenty feet between me and that poor…man?  Woman?  I wasn’t quite sure which one it was, which I do find a little unusual now that I about it, and had I spent more time reflecting upon it things might have gone a little differently.

The distance between us slowly continued to shorten as I approached.  That unknown smell continued to waft out from between the vehicles and I felt really sorry for whomever it was.  There was hint of feces in the air, a smell that I can’t say I was happy to identify, but it led me to the conclusion that the person could be elderly, or incontinent.  Of course, there was that OTHER smell as well, but I was no longer worried about it.  I had to help!


“Hang on!  I’m almost there!”

What a fool I was!  As I smacked my forehead with the palm of my left hand, my right reached into the pocket of my jacket and closed around my cell phone.  I might be able to offer my jacket for warmth, but I didn’t know the first thing about first aid!  If this person was really hurt, where the hell were my good intentions going to get them?  There was less then ten feet between me and the shadows when I dialed that triad of numbers most commonly used for those in need.

“We’re sorry, the number you are trying to reach has been disconnected or is no longer in service…” 

“What the hell?” I asked.  

I shook my head in frustration as I replaced my phone to my pocket.  I had never had the need to use this service and the first time I need it, it’s out-of-order?!


There was a slight scraping noise from behind the vehicles.  I squinted my eyes and tried to determine what the vehicle model was, but it was just too dark.  It didn’t matter, however.  The person I was trying to reach had grown tired of waiting for me to get there.  

From the darkness behind the car in front of me, clawing its way out of the shadows was the hand of the one I had crossed the street for.  It was long and slender with a large diamond ring on the fourth finger of (her?) hand.  I couldn’t be sure, the color of skin was off somehow.

“Uh, miss?”


At that moment, all of reality came crashing down around me.  She crossed the threshold of darkness and into the light with her hair hanging around her face.  She could have very well been Sadako crawling from the well at that moment, come to take first my eyes and then my soul!

Her hair might have once been blond, not that it mattered.  I don’t think that even if it did, she would be brushing it anytime soon!  From the middle of the top of her head to somewhere around where her nose would be, her scalp had been torn from her skull.  It flapped back and forth in front of her mouth as she continued to pull her decrepit body toward me.  

I could only stand there in shock.  It was as if my feet had suddenly sprouted roots, which had in turn busted through the asphalt beneath them and taken hold in all directions.  I now knew the name for the odor which had been tickling my nose and turning my stomach.  It was decay.  

The crawling dead lifted her skull upward, focusing her glazed orbs upon me and I could hear the bony sound of her teeth clacking hungrily together.  I was in her sights.  At that moment, I had no doubts that this is what a donut must feel like when it crosses the threshold into a police station.  I began to back pedal away, moving nowhere near fast enough for my sanity to bear.

I fled backwards at a crawl.  My mouth hung open in a perfect “O” and I could feel my eyes bugging out of my head.  Her hands worked in overtime, *clack*, *shcrrr*, *clack*, *shcrr* as they feverishly pulled her torso fully into the light.  If I had had time to think about how comical it looked, I might have laughed.  


This sound was different.  I was looking directly at flap-face, but it had emanated from off to my right.  As if I were underwater, I slowly turned my O-face to the right of my groan gal, only to see a new antagonist approaching.  

He was probably around my height, let’s say six-foot for shits and giggles, and wearing a black and white pinstripe suit.  Or, rather, I should say he was wearing what was left of it.  The once ‘All Business’ attire was shredded and hanging from him in bloody tatters.  Also hanging from him were his intestines as he dragged several feet of them toward me.

The smell of rotten flesh intensified .  It was the worst thing I could ever have imagined, and you believe me when I say that I have imagined some pretty effed up stuff!  My eyes began to water from the pungent assault and I finally managed to snap my mouth shut.  This one stank like the interior of a slaughter-house.  The scent of blood hung around him, thick and iron-y, wafting toward me with his approach.  

That was the breaking point, I’d had enough of this shit.  I turned and ran.  

The buildings blurred past me as I left behind my loathsome lady, but her rictus grin was quickly replaced by dozens of her putrid pals.  They closed in quickly.  Some were crawling, others were ambling forward with their arms outstretched.  I took the first right turn I came upon, dashing down an alley between two buildings.  

A dead-end!


“UUUUHHNNNN,” came the groan from somewhere next to me.  From ground level, a hand reached out and grabbed me by the ankle, holding me tight…  I was trapped!

It was at that point that my alarm called to me, screaming its message from worlds away.  As always, I feel myself being pulled upward, drawn toward the sound that beckons from afar.  The grip around my ankle lessens and is gone.   So too, does the snow-covered streets of Dreamtown USA fade away and suddenly I am opening my eyes and looking at the clock.

*sigh*  Time for me to get to work.

And so it was.  I spent the next nine hours stocking the Chemicals department of my Wal-Mart, trying to hold onto that inspiration I had went to bed with earlier that day.  It wasn’t easy.  I won’t lie to you, I forgot most of the ideas I wanted to write down.  Okay, okay, I won’t lie to you.  I forgot them all.

When I got home this morning, I spent nearly two hours trying to recover that lovely bit of fiction I wanted to write about, but it wasn’t meant to be.

That’s really too bad, too, because I think you would have liked what I had to share with you!  🙂

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