Intro 8: Mindless Thoughts

Continuing my series of teases of published stories, I give you the intro to my entry in the New Dawn Fades anthology from PostMortem Press that focused on zombies of a different sort.  The editor challenged authors to try something different with the genre instead of relying on the tropes.  After a few failed attempts I came across this gem that I really enjoyed writing, and have long planned on expanding upon. Enjoy this "Mindless Thoughts" intro:

The screams start before the second zombie is seen. The first zombie, lets call him Cliff, grabbed a little girl our of her mother’s hands. Just as Cliff is about to bite the daughter’s forehead, not her neck, or arm, or even leg, but her forehead, zombie two slowly tackles Cliff. Using muscles that have grown desert dry over the years, zombie two bashes Cliff’s head in prior to biting into his neck.
Assuming the zombies are fighting over the girl, the gathered crowd retreats to safety. Although their assumption is wrong, we can all agree that zombies suck.  Actually being a zombie is worse. I’ve been dead for 20 years and that’s been my only constant. Even my body’s betrayed me, slowly decaying to an unrecognizable mass of dehydrated flesh and torn muscles.
The only ray of light for zombies was stolen from me the moment I was turned. The thing about us that no one knows is that we’re created by vampires. I just wished there was air still in my lungs, or that my tongue hadn’t rotted away so I can verbally explain that when a vampire feeds on a human they become a zombie under the mental control of said vampire. If only the ligaments in my fingers didn’t shred in clouds of dust years ago, I’d be able to write a note detailing how a new vampire is made when a zombie is fed the blood of his creator. Sorry, I don’t mean to be sexist, ‘his or her’ creator.
Unfortunately for me, the vampire that bit me died before I awoke as a zombie, so I never had a chance to feed on him and he wasn’t able to establish a mental link over my mind. So I’ve been stuck in this body that’s unable to eat food that doesn’t come from humans, with a mind that understands the horror in a person’s face as a zombie attacks them, or the wails of terror as flesh is being torn from their still living bodies.
So I repeat, zombie suck, but I’ve decided to do something about it. I vowed not to eat any more humans, for the past two years I’ve only fed on other zombies, even though they turn my stomach, or what’s left of it, causing me to vomit black ooze.
As a zombie, I don’t know if I still have sins to be forgiven, but I’ll forever be cursed to remember the faces of all the people I’ve eaten, and their screams that would haunt my dreams if I slept. I remember all this despite the fact that the last time I looked in a mirror, roughly eight years ago, I could see that my brain had melted into a gray putty littered with maggots. I must assume that the constant buzzing of flies about my head is similar to what living humans hear as they slowly go deaf.
But I digress, it’s that vow that brings us to the here and now. I may have eaten more than my share of children, they really are the sweetest meat but since my charge I won’t allow another zombie to do so. I guess in a sense, we did fight over the girl.
Because of their inability to think for themselves beyond the hunt for food, zombies are horrible fighters, rarely even defending themselves from me. In life I don’t recall being much of a fighter, but no longer needing to worry about the pain has removed the fear of fighting. I don’t think I’d be able to hold my own against a vampire, but zombies in small doses are no problem.
Following an upchuck of black mass that I’ve yet to identify, I depart the scene in a slow sprint. The crowd re-gathers shortly before the authorities arrive. Upon their arrival, they quickly cordon off ‘Cliff’ making sure not to come into contact with the crusty leather that used to be his skin. Not that they could be infected that way, but I commend their caution of the unknown.

The general public doesn’t really know about us beyond ‘rumored’ sightings like the one that just occurred. Vampires are a complete myth in the people’s eyes. They’re much better at blending in, mostly because they don’t sparkle.

We'll end the intro with that little jab to the Twilight series.

So far you've learned how zombies are made, and why our main character is special, but if you want to learn how his story ends, you'll have to pick up the hard to find New Dawn Fades and read the rest of "Mindless Thoughts", one of two stories in the anthology that were highlighted in the intro to the entire book.  The author of the introduction to the book, Joe Schreiber (a Star Wars author), writes about "Mindless Thoughts" that "somewhere in the world, Chuck Palahniuk is nodding in perfect appreciation". High praise from an acclaimed author, referencing one of my favorite authors, about this author you're reading now.  If this were any more meta it'd be a movie starring Leonardo Dicaprio.

As always, you can purchase this antho from Amazon or from the AzarRising Mobile Bookstore (still the trunk of my '07 Dodge Stratus)

New Year: Same Excuses

Mystery and Horror LLC book giveaway