Thursday, October 11, 2012

Zombie Day

Pic of the Day


Vid of the Day

From "Meanwhile Back at the Ranch," in Adventuresses

I yanked the paint’s mane as we came close to the paddock. He slowed and stopped. I saw the problem right away.

 We’d been hearing weird tales outta Louisiana for a long time now, about slave-holders who couldn’t give up free labor after the War and had just killed all their slaves and had voodoo men bring them back. Hadn’t thought much of the stories and never quite believed them.

 But I’d seen drawings in the newspapers and in the penny-dreadfuls that Jack and Billy liked to read. I knew what the slow-moving thing was. It used to be a man; now it was a zombie. It sorta dragged itself along, like a bear with a broken leg. The skin was nasty rotten gray except where there was blood on it. In a couple places, the flesh was gone completely and bone showed through.

 It was headed to the barn. I felt kinda bad for the man who'd been in that shell. He'd been an Indian by the look of the thing's long black hair. I shot him in the chest and he never even stopped. He just kept coming. I saw him closer than I wanted to. Oh, this was bad. I gave him the other barrel between the eyes.

 I reloaded and took aim at the other big ugly critter that was eating one of my sheep. That one had been a Negro. Amanda and the big girls had the sense to hole up in the barn and bolt the door. I blew that dead gray head right off. The body toppled over.

 A third shambled out of the shadows and I saw the half-eaten carcass of Sorrel, Amanda’s gelding. I blew that zombie’s head off too.

 Eli made it back about then, carrying the one fool thing my husband had built that worked. He drew back the pump and fired a ball of burning kerosene onto the stinking corpses.

 “Eli, you make sure that fire doesn’t spread.”

 “Right, Ma Cat.” He tried to keep my boys away from it. At sixteen, Eli fancied himself the man of the house. He knew better than to sass me though, since I could still dust his britches and outshoot him.

 I went to check on Amanda and the girls. They were fine. Sweating some, but fine. Amanda had armed them with chunks of wood and grabbed the pitchfork for herself. “Why were you out without your Remington anyway, Amanda?” I asked.

 “It’s jamming,” she said. “I cleaned it good, but Eli insisted on working on it,” she mumbled, looking at the ground.

 I rolled my eyes. By the time Eli got done, the gun would either be unusable or it’d spit fire along with the bullets. If I didn’t know better, I’d say the boy was my Luke’s son. “They got Sorrel. I’m sorry.”

 Melissa and Hannah sniffled at that, but there wasn’t anything to be done. After Eli had burned the bodies, I got him and my boys to haul Sorrel and the dead sheep well away from the barn and burn them too, so the coyotes and buzzards wouldn’t come to the carrion. I wasn't gonna let my people eat after those things. I didn't know how that zombie thing could be caught and I wasn't taking any chances on my folk or the local critters getting it.

We didn't talk at dinner. The boys didn't go on about the stock and the fields. Hannah wasn't all agog at an airship she'd seen passing over. The table was quiet as a graveyard, except for somebody's spoon making the occasional noise. All of us were too upset to eat much. I expected there'd be nightmares tonight, too.

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