It was about that time, standing in the middle of the bar, with a gore-dripping head in my hand, that I realized how surreal the aftermath of violence can be. Everyone seemed to float away, out and about on their own little projects, and I just stood there.
The only place I had to go was up to my tent on the roof, with just the decapitated head for company, to wait for the woman who wanted me to kill this guy in the first place. My testicles reminded me that my solitude was an illusion by sending awful tendrils of pain into my abdomen. They were unhappy that I interrupted their healing process with vigorous violence.
I shuffled off, silent, except for my whimpers of dismay, to try to climb up to my tent. At least I could lay myself down in my own little corner of… roof… and, metaphorically, lick my wounds. The head presented an issue, but I was too tired and sore to give it a whole lot of thought.
That’s when it occurred to me I could dump out my piss bucket, and cover the head up. Weighing it down with a brick would probably keep the birds from kicking the bucket over, even if it wouldn’t do much for mice or rats. As long as the head was identifiable as the target, I imagined I’d qualify for payment.
Of course, there was the small matter of tracking the client down… carrying a bucket with a severed head in it. People would give me a wide, wide, berth. A pity; really, considering how social and charming I can be.
The three of us, the severed head, my sarcasm, and the rest of me, painfully made our way to my tent. I put the loose noggin down, and hid it as I’d planned. After that, I tromped back to the tent, and lowered myself to the sleeping bag as gently as I possibly could.
Finding a comfortable position was a challenge, but I managed after a few tries. Once my body was situated, I let out the kind of sigh that is accompanied by shivers, and a queer need to bawl my eyes out. I don’t know. Maybe I’d come uncomfortably close to death too many times in a twenty-four hour period?
A few tears leaked out, and something surprising happened. I fell asleep.
When I woke up, it was abrupt, and full of instant realizations. First of all, it was dark outside. I’d slept until nightfall. Second, someone was breathing warmly in my ear, and smelled like cask tapping time at a distillery.
“Are you awake, Frank?” Some woman asked, trying to be sexy under the influence. Whoever she was, she was on top of me, holding me down. Not optimal!
“Yes.” My gun and right hand were pinned underneath me.
“I wanted to come up and check on you. How are your little testes feeling?”
“Tracy?” No. Couldn’t be!
“They’re…fine. Could you get off me?”
“Mm. I want to get off with you, Mister Zombie Killing Guy!”
“Who? What? When? Where? How?”
She giggled drunkenly, and stuck her hand up my shirt.
“Whoa, Nelly!” My nipples were under attack from a curvy, soused woman! Flee my brothers! Flee!
Tracy started to lick my ear. My reservations were fading fast, even if my reproductive anatomy was screaming at me in complete disagreement. No, I wasn’t healthy enough for this kind of thing!
“Hey, Tracy. Ah. Please. No, not that! Don’t suck my earlobe! Oh. Oh, no.” Save me, I’m about to injure myself.
She grabbed the back of my skull and turned my head so fast that my vertebrae crackled in protest. I would have yelped, complained, or something, but her tongue had invaded my mouth, intent on boxing with my uvula.
The wonderful woman who’d attended to my testicular recovery, ravished my mouth, tasting of home-brewed hooch. I think I got some sort of contact-drunk from just kissing, because I started thinking that following her lead would be a healing experience after the day I’d had.
I moved to turn over, so I could face her, and return the attention she’d paid to my chest, when I noticed something. She was snoring. Her mouth was moving against mine, but her eyes were closed, and she was snoring.
What? What? What?
Once I rolled over the whole way, she shifted position, and her mouth closed. She slid off me and onto the edge of my sleeping bag, dead asleep.
“But. But. But.”
The only answer I got was more gentle snoring.
I was miffed when I fell back asleep, not very long after rolling back over.
Morning arrived like an icepick to my eyeball. Tracy was gone. I was still strangely disappointed. Then I noticed a shapely pair of legs, ending in sensible shoes, outside the door of my tent.
“Are you awake Mr. Stewart?”
“It’s me, Louise Malley. I heard about yesterday, and came to see if you completed your half of the bargain.”
I grunted, got to my hands and knees, and shuffled to the zipped-up nylon door.
“Yes. The head is under the bucket behind you.” I unzipped the flap and pointed.
“Oh!” She exclaimed, and went to take a look. “Marvelous!”
“So? What about the hardware store?” I asked.
She turned back to look at me, and the smile on her face was incredibly disconcerting. I watched her reach into her purse, dig out a key ring, and toss it towards me.
“Thank you for your hard work. I’ll have my people remove the blockade by this afternoon.”
“You’re really very good at your job,” she told me, still smiling in that strange way. “Now I have less competition for precious resources.”
Her perfect pork bun bosom heaved as she laughed at me. I began to worry.
“I’m so glad I fooled you! All you people need is pale skin, good makeup, eye drops, mouthwash, and tits!” She cackled. “I was an actress before I died, you idiot.”
I tried to pull my gun, but it was missing.
She looked at me, and my bladder froze solid.
“Don’t worry Frank,” Louise purred, “I don’t want you. You’re not food. I will hold my side of the bargain, though, and give you a warning. Do not ever raise your hand to me, or it will be the last thing you ever do, you whiny sack of shit.”
I won’t lie; I gawped at her.
“Now, enjoy your little piece of trading heaven, and stay out of my way.” She turned, walked towards the edge of the roof, and calmly jumped off.
I remained where I was, on all fours, mostly inside my tent. She’d left me the head, the keys, and a very bad taste in my mouth.
“I was used by the Pork Bun Zombie Queen.”
Hi, everyone! James Crawford here. Thank you for reading this prequel to my first book, “Blood-Soaked and Contagious”! I’d like to make a little announcement while I’m here. I was offered a contract on the series by Permuted Press, and accepted. Before too long, “Blood-Soaked and Contagious,” “Blood-Soaked and Invaded,” and the sequel in progress, will be available from Permuted in all their outlets. I’m really excited, and appreciate your support! Thank you!