Friday, May 28, 2010

The Cry-less Banshee

she floats above the ground, surreal
a goddess of the night
the banshee's wail a true defense,
it fills men's souls with fright

alas, this siren has no scream
she cannot speak at all
the townsfolk hunt her, confident
without her banshee call

she hides from those who seek her out
outcast by her kind
the mob would burn her flesh to ash
should they ever find

one eve an angel does appear
and offers an exchange
"should you use your strength for good,
i shall return your vocal range"

the banshee accepted, blithely
and none a bit too soon
for on a hill her pursuers stood
weapons glinting in the moon

she screamed her first, the angel's way
and watched the seraph fall
then she turned towards the men
and wailing, killed them all

I dunno, I just wanted to write another poem. <3

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Lisa had been shot. She had woken up to some commotion, and while on all fours to peek her head out of her tent, a bullet tore through the nylon and penetrated her waist. She felt it enter her skin as it made its way through her side, stopping just before her spine. She collapsed instantly. Her husband, Vince, woke to the gunshot and lifted his head just in time to see his wife go down.

There were eleven people camping at that site, and after the stray bullet they split up. Once they had stabilized Lisa and stopped the bleeding, three of them went for help. They were afraid to move her with an injury so close to her spinal cord, so Vince and two other women stayed with her. Four others armed themselves and set off into the woods in search of the thief.

When Lisa had finally fallen asleep, they let her rest. Vince was the cook, and it was time to eat. He stayed close to the camp but made laps around it collecting wood for the fire. The two women had gone down to the bank for water and to quickly wash up.

When Vince walked back towards the center of camp, he dropped his bundle of wood at the sight of his tent shaking violently.

When he reached the tent, he could see some kid inside on top of his wife. He wore a backwards cap, and appeared to have a tent stake through his chest. He was face first in her guts, her intestines wrapped around his hands like loose rope. Blood filled the tent.

Vince yelled and yanked the boy off his wife, pulling a trail of her insides out with him. She was surely dead, and as Vince hauled his arm back to punch the kid, he saw that he had been feeding on his wife. The surprise of this slowed his assault, allowing the kid to grab the swinging arm, which he immediately closed his mouth around.

Vince clubbed the kid over and over with his free hand as the zombie continued to tear flesh up the length of his arm, until Vince was overwhelmed and taken down.

Tony was tearing at Vince's chest, trying to get to his heart when he heard the distinct sound of a woman's gasp. He looked up at the two women, one carrying a bucket of water. Blood poured from his mouth, down his face and the front of his shirt.

He groaned in their direction, and because shock had hesitated their retreat, he was on them in seconds.


The camp was not far now. Jesse was starting to recognize the area and took pride in his sense of direction as he neared his goal.

A smell caught his attention, something awful between the smell of shit and a dead animal. Whatever it was seemed to be just off the path, and he could hear flies buzzing. Curiosity bested him, and he stepped off course to investigate.

It was Scott. His head was almost completely removed, and his face bore a rather annoyed look. He turned his head to curb the vomit. Wrapping a bandanna around his mouth and nose, he moved in to check for a pulse, despite knowing from first sight that Scott was no more.

Somehow he knew Tony had done this.


Lucas had grown extremely impatient, and was pacing around the perimeter of the camp. He heard activity nearby, and dropped behind a tree with the knife in one hand and a readied flare in the other. He was just about to lurch and stab when he realized it was Jesse.

"'Bout time." Lucas said with a wink.

"Fuck you, man. You left me their to rot. They were fucking shooting at me."

Lucas laughed. He had felt a bit of guilt for leaving Jesse behind, but was not about to show it. "Tony is out of control. He killed Scott. I have no clue where the fuck Mark is."

"Long gone if he is smart. I saw Scott back there. We need to wrap him up and get the fuck out of here, I think I shot someone."

"We shot lots of people, fuck it. And I ain't touching that kid. If you lift him up his head will come off."

"No, asshole, I mean I shot a fucking person, sort of. I snagged this rifle from that camp, even got some ammo. Some bastard almost caught me and for a minute I dropped the gun. It went off and shot into a tent, I think it hit someone."

"Fuck. Did they die?"
"I have no idea," Jesse said shaking his head. "Like I said, I am not positive that anyone was even hurt, but I think so. Either way, everyone from that campground is probably not far behind me, and we need to get the fuck out of here."

Lucas was excited. Scared, sure, but mostly excited. There was a lot of action going on, and he wanted a real gun too.

They were scouring the campsite for anything that might identify them when they heard a series of gunshots ring through the air. They were not close enough to be firing at Lucas and Jesse, but somebody, somewhere, was shooting at something.


Tony was shot countless times. The bullets slowed him, but he would not stop. Even at close range the shots were ineffective, but by the time a shooter realized it, it was too late. When Tony was gorging on the flesh of the first shooter he reached, the others lined up shots to empty their rounds into him, but something stopped them.

Out of the corner of their eyes, they saw Lisa get up. She stood, walking towards them much the same as Tony did. Her guts were hanging out, dragging behind her like a fishing net along the ground!

By the time Vince rose, the campers were all out of ammunition.


Jesse and Lucas considered the possible warrants for shots fired. It was their best guess that whoever was looking for them had run into Tony, and maybe they had dropped him. There were a lot of shots, consistently, for quite a few minutes. Then, nothing.

They had to go through everybody's shit, searching through Tony, Scott and Mark's clothes for any identification. Scott had his wallet in another pair of shorts he had left in the tent.

"Lucas, we have to go back to Scott."

Lucas wasn't hearing this. "Fuck that, just burn the shit, let's roll."

Jesse was too paranoid to just dispose of this evidence. Surely, with Scott laying decapitated in the woods, neither Lucas or Jesse should be caught with his stuff. Burning it was an option, but Jesse had watched too many detective shows to be comfortable with that. "This wallet has his ID, a debit card and a fishing license in it. Nevermind the inscription of his father's name on the wallet. We need to stash it on his person, or at least nearby."

"Let me hold the gun." Goddamn Lucas wanted a gun.

"You ain't holdin' shit. You failed miserably at trust, leavin' me back there. Just keep your fucking shit together and lets go."



When they reached Scott, there was almost nothing left of him. The body had been almost completely stripped of meat. There was not much more than a pile of stinking red bones, like the kind you might throw to a dog. He lay upon his torn, blood-soaked clothes.

Lucas covered his mouth and nose. "Jesus fuck! Did Tony do this?"

Jesse doubted it. "That's a lot of meat for one... well... whatever the fuck he is."


Jesse couldn't help but laugh when it was said out loud. Zombie. You've got to be fucking kidding.

When he said the word, a small light came on in Lucas' head, albeit dim. "There's more. That's how this works! They kill you and you rise from the dead as well."

"Maybe. Didn't work for ol' Scott here."

"His head is off. That's how you stop them."

Jesse considered this for a minute, and concluded that Lucas was probably right. If Scott had risen from the dead, his mangled throat would not hold the head on. It would snap the small bit of flesh that held it together and drop to the ground.

Jesse tossed the wallet next to the corpse and stomped it into the bloody soil. "So lets get the fuck out of here then."

He pulled the rifle from his back and pointed it low, emptying its single shot into Scott's skull.

"Just incase."

Lucas jumped at the sound of the shot, despite seeing it coming. He was used to guns powered by air, and hadn't expected such a loud blast. He wasn't the only one to hear it.

Not far, Tony and his new friends were alerted by the gunshot and changed direction. Nine putrid, mangled, animated corpses all did an about face and headed towards its source.

Zombies are not particularly stealthy. The only advantage towards silence they have is that they are rather slow, increasing time between sounds. If you were sitting on a picnic blanket, enjoying your wine and cheese, scribbling away at a crossword, you might not hear them coming. Zombie footsteps draw little more attention than those of a turtle.

Jesse was extra aware, however. He knew of the possibility that the killers might still be near. When he fired the shot he immediately reloaded and focused all his sense on listening.

"Take cover," he whispered to Lucas.

When the two of them were behind the tree, they got first sight of the undead menace. But it wasn't just Tony, as he suspected. There were nine of them all together.

Tony strutted in the way a puppet being controlled by a monkey might. He was out in front, the stake still visible, though he was full of bullet holes. In some places you could see right through him.

He was accompanied by eight people. There was a woman who had been torn to shreds in the midsection. She trailed her innards behind her, collecting sticks and dirt and attracting a small pack of rats which stayed close behind her trying to nibble at her fleshy cords when they could.

When Jesse spotted the familiar face of the man he had stolen the rifle from, he knew these were the campers, and Tony had turned them all to his side.

Lucas was beginning to lose his cool. The excitement wasn't as strong as his desire to have a gun. Then, he could shoot these fuckers right now, and be a hero. After this thought, he wondered why Jesse wasn't shooting. Before he could say anything, Jesse performed a rolling maneuver and placed his back against the tree he was using. Lucas chuckled, amused by the silliness of Jesse's tactic.

Jesse whispered, "I can't take them all out with this single fire. They had more guns back at that camp, we need to get there."

"Now you're fuckin' talkin'! Let's get me some guns!"

"Wait for my signal... wait... are they leaving?"

They were. The pack had turned around again. Upon smelling poor, used-up Scott, they were unable to notice anything else. Either that, or something stronger was drawing them in the other direction. They disappeared into the trees, leaving the little rat family to pick at Scott's remains.

Lucas was itching to go fetch some artillary, Jesse could feel his anxiousness.

"We could run for it now, get to the car," Jesse suggested.

"What!? Are you fucking for real? Dude, when are you ever going to have another chance to shoot up some fucking zombies?"

"Just checking. Quiet a minute. "

Jesse listened, trying to determine where they might be headed. They could be after anything, he had seen Tony craving a moose. Then it hit him.

"Oh fuck."
Lucas was just short of running back to the campground the hunters had been at. "What, fuck?"

"That goddamn festival..."


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The state of HvZ.

Two posts today, as I couldn't let it go. It's more bang for your click.
I hope to wrap up part one entirely this week, so that next week we can start fresh with Hippies vs Zombies Part Two: Dripping the Blood Fantastic.


Jesse jolted awake when he caught himself asleep. There was some light sneaking through the curtain now, and though the sun was not up by any means, it would be enough to see his way back to the camp.
He slowly opened the entrance and stepped out of the leanto, listening carefully for any nearby activity. All was silent. The mob had either given up the search or taken it elsewhere. His best guess was they had exhausted themselves and were all asleep in their tents, and he would circle around them to confirm this before heading back.

Sure enough, all the tents were zipped, the fires snuffed. He was about to head back into cover and leave when he noticed the Remington bolt-action rifle laying just outside one of the tents. Surely this was the weapon they had fired the warning shots from. He had to have it.

Jesse stripped himself of his gear and left his own rifle in the bush, discarding it for the toy it was. He crept into the open of the campsite as quietly as the ground below would allow, his situational awareness at an almost uncanny high. A fucking bird moved and he stopped and crouched low, relaxing himself only when it flew overhead.

When he was close enough to the rifle to grab it he could hear the nearby tent's residents sleeping. No snoring but definitely a pattern of breathing steady and slow enough to assure him they were dreaming. He picked up the gun and examined it. It was a fine rifle, beautiful and clean. He assumed it had only been fired at cans or the sky. It was ready to fire, with one bullet in the chamber.

Jesse had not actually expected these people to shoot him before, but surely if they caught him sneaking around the camp and stealing arms, they would defend themselves. BBs aside, he and Lucas had started this war. He decided he would have to find ammunition.

He didn't have to look far.

The flap to the tent he stood almost in front of was partially open at the end. He could see inside, just a bit. There was a foot, a bottle of scotch, and sure enough: some rounds for the rifle.

His heart raced as he dropped to his knees and lowered his head for a better peek into the tent. A man and a woman lay together, asleep. He had to grab these bullets and run like hell. He slowly reached into the tent, and took hold of the ammo. As he pulled it out, he went slow as to not make contact with the bottle, to avoid the clang of metal on glass. He almost had it before the man grabbed him.

"The fuck you doin', boy!?"
Jesse jumped back as the man yelled at him, but the hand around his wrist prevented him from going anywhere. He dropped the rifle and it hit the ground, discharging. The blast stunned everyone for a moment as the bullet sang through the air and pierced a tent. There was a scream. Jesse reached his free hand down to his boot and unsnapped a knife. In one movement he removed it from its sheath and brought it up, cutting the man's wrist. The man jerked his arm, letting go of Jesse, who yanked away his hand full of bullets and picked the rifle up.

Before anyone could unzip their tents and emerge, Jesse was gone. He ran through the woods with the grace of a deer, hurdling rocks and downed trees. He heard them firing, yelling. He might have heard someone crying.

When he was comfortable with his distance from the campers, he stopped and reloaded the rifle. All of his gear was back there, stashed in that bush, so he had to pocket the bullets. It was getting lighter very fast as the sun rose, and he figured out his direction and headed back to his own campsite. They would have to gather any identifying evidence and flee, leaving behind anything else that might slow them down. Jesse was almost positive the discharged shot hit someone in that tent, and he was in deep shit.


Lucas pulled the night-vision goggles off his head. The sun was up enough now that he could see better into the trees than with the goggles on. Tony had still not returned for him, yet.


The rest of the evening was the highlight of his weekend by far, if not this month. Mark learned why they called him Hubble as he brought out a telescope. The guy was obsessed with the stars and showed Mark some planet or other. Mark was only slightly interested, but faked enthusiasm in return for his hospitality.

Just as the light of the morning started to break, the music finally stopped. It was unbearable to Mark, the constant improvisation. Songs seemed to go on forever and all wove into one another. Occasionally he might recognize part of something he knew, but before he could get into it the riffs changed and became something entirely different. Hubble and the girl explained to him the concept of jamming, and he really didn't like it.

Mark did end up fucking that girl sometime after Hubble passed out. She had gotten him drunk enough to either forget about or ignore what he considered ridiculously poor hygiene. He actually liked everything about her, save her hairy pits. He had been unable to hold in his "fucking gross" when he noticed her legs too, were unshaven. She had just laughed at him.

They talked a long time, mostly random, flirtatious conversation. She never would explain her refusal to trim her body hair, but as they made jokes about it and consumed a mass amount of drink, he was able to let it go. Despite her lack of grooming, Mark still thought she was hot.

Her name had been some kind of bird. Mark couldn't remember which. Sparrow? Dove? As they lay snuggling a bit after intercourse, he called her "Lovebird", and she laughed.

"Close enough."

This was a first for Mark. Regardless of how many girls he had sex with, he had never actually slept with one. But as the two of them spooned, he found himself to drift off easily, and with a smile on his face; even through the wrinkle in his nose from her body odor.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Jesse had managed to somewhat flank the campground, staying low. Everyone was awake now, yelling into the woods where the shots had come from. Because of his poor visibility he was unable to see exactly how many were looking for him, but he knew at least three guys were on his last known position. One of them had a real gun and had fired a warning shot into the sky.

Jesse edged his way around the perimeter of the campsite until he reached the bank where the leantos sat in a row. He crept past the first one which emitted a snore. The second and third set-ups were also in-use, though the residents seemed to be out with the others looking for he and Lucas. When he slowly pushed open the curtain door to the fourth one, he found it empty and climbed in.

It was far too dark for him to try and make it back to his friends that night. He searched himself for any kind of light, but his flashlight attachment was still on his M16. He decided to rest inside the leanto until the first crack of sunlight. He sat in the dark at the rear of his hideout, his assault rifle pointed at the curtain-door. While it would never match any kind of actual firearm, the fully automatic spray would surprise enough to give him an opportunity to run, he hoped. He would aim for the eyes if that curtain opened, and hopefully blind any would-be assailants before they got a shot off.

When the excitement finally settled and he was sure the search for him had been given up on, Jesse relaxed his pose only slightly, and dozed off.


Tony came to with his face in the dirt. He was completely unable to process a thought. He had no clue who he was, where he was, or even what he was. The only thing his brain told him was that he was hungry. Hungry for flesh, he drooled as the scent of his friend filled his nostrils. Any bit of Tony that was left in that body was destroyed by the stake. He grabbed Scott's leg.

"FUCK!" Scott shouted as he felt the hand wrap around his ankle.

He tried to push himself backwards and pull his leg free, whipping his head back and forth scanning the area for some kind of weapon. He knew now this was no vampire. The stake still protruded from Tony's back, yet there was life in him yet. Or un-life. Undeath. His friend was not a demon of the night after all, but a mindless zombie.

Scott knew how to deal with a zombie as well. He had to destroy the brain or sever the head. There was a knife somewhere, but with Tony reeling him in by his leg, Scott was too panicked to remember where.

He kicked hard with his other leg, catching Tony in the face. Scott repeatedly kicked at him trying to loosen the grip on his leg, until Tony's jaw was clearly loosened. One last heel to the face dislodged the jaw, and the skin tore, leaving it hanging by only one side. Tony let out a gurgle and Scott was able to get his leg free.

He stood quickly, grabbing a rock from around the fire on his way up. Tony rose as well, however not so quickly. Scott raised the rock over his head, ready to strike, as his friend once again started towards him. Tony reached both hands out and started towards Scott, jaw still dangling by a thread of flesh. He gurgled out some kind of moan. Scott checked his footing and prepared to bring the rock down to his friend's skull, with every intention of destroying it.
"Die you fucking piece of shit!"
The strength was there. The rock came down with force enough to smash nearly anything, but his aim was off. The stone grazed Tony's head, stripping free a chunk of hair and skin. While a scalping would never be enough to stop the monster, it did knock it off balance and Scott took the opportunity to haul-ass into the woods.

No sooner than he had escaped the light of the campfire, the darkness got the best of him. Scott tripped over something and fell forward hard. His knee hit something. Scott felt the dislocation of his kneecap. He felt the bones around it fracture. He screamed, the wind in the trees carrying his yell through the forest.

The zombie was not far behind. Scott pulled himself up and tried to hop on his one leg, but when he brought down his bad leg by accident, the pain fell him again. He could hear Tony moving through the brush towards him. He had a feeling Tony could see in this dark, or just didn't need to. He pulled himself into a brushy area with his arms, and hoped his friend would pass him by.

The commotion of his pursuer quieted. Scott listened for the moaning or footsteps, but there was nothing. Just his own heart beating rapidly in his chest, and the occasional sound of himself sucking air through his clenched teeth, doing everything in his mind to thwart the pain.
When Tony found him, there was no time to react. The zombie was done fucking around, and fell on Scott, its teeth to his neck.

Scott could feel his flesh being chewed, he tried to push Tony off but without the strength of his legs he was unable. This was it. The end was near for Scott. Vampire Slayer just minutes ago, now he was zombie food.

"Tony," he forced out, weakly. "You fucking suck, man."

Tony chewed through the neck, nearly severing the head, before whatever attention span a zombie might have was disturbed. Someone was yelling at him, and small pellets were bouncing of his body at a great speed. He was being fired upon, but the only reaction his mind would provide was 'more flesh'.

Tony let out a call of the undead, and started towards his assailant.


Mark broke free of the woods and fell onto a tent. He heard people around him startled, and one of them came to help. She lifted him off the tent and helped him over to a chair. He was exhausted from his walk, dizzy from the fading of his buzz, and thirsty as all hell, but he chuckled to himself as he realized he was already in the arms of some girl.

"Are you ok?" She asked. "Hubble, get this kid some water."

Hubble stood up, letting his djembe hit the floor. He pulled a canteen from somewhere under his patchwork shorts, and brought it to the girl.

Mark didn't hesitate a bit, he chugged back the whole canteen and let out a breath of satisfaction as if filled with a gourmet meal. He looked at the people around him, and as the dizziness faded, he heard the music again. The girl was beautiful, like nothing Mark had ever seen. She was tiny, blonde, and just perfect. She wore a gray skirt with an out of control flower print and a wife beater. For a moment, Mark had been stricken by love at first sight. This ended when she helped him to his feet and he noticed brown bushels of hair under her arms.
This caught him by such surprise his reaction was out loud, "Gross."

Hubble spoke. "Where the fuck did you come from, dude? There were still tickets left."

Tickets. Music. Hippies. Mark was at the festival, and the sooner he could convince himself that these were not the dirty, horrible hippies he perceived them as, the sooner he could get on with partying. There had to be a cleanly shaven chick around here somewhere.

They chatted a while, Mark explained to them why he had decided to wander off into the night, and had hoped to end up right where he was. They smoked a joint, passing around a jug full of some homemade liquor. After hearing the story, one of the kids had recognized him.

"Yo you were in that car with the dead kid... we sold you some shit earlier today."

Dead kid. Those two words rang through his mind momentarily as he remembered Tony and his inhuman snore. He was really glad not to be at that campsite anymore.


Lucas did not let up. He emptied a clip into Tony, dropped it and popped in another, spraying his friend with BBs. As Tony started towards him, he yelled to Scott. There was no reply.

Thanks to the night-vision goggles, Lucas was able to see in various shades of green around him. He used his air rifle to lure Tony towards him. When Tony was far enough from Scott, but still far enough from Lucas as well, he backed up behind a tree and slowly crept around the trees towards his injured buddy.
Tony stopped walking forward shortly after Lucas stopped firing. To avoid giving away his position, Lucas pulled a grenade from his vest. He pulled a string on the grenade and lobbed it over Tony's head to the opposite side. Seconds later it popped, its explosion mild and totally unimpressive. It launched BBs in all directions, and Tony turned towards the "blast" and started walking again.

Lucas, as quietly as he could keep himself, made his way over to Scott. It was far too late for him to save his friend. When he put an arm under Scott and tried to lift him, the head stayed on the ground. While not completely detached, it was hanging only by his spinal cord. Lucas let go of Scott and turned his head, suppressing his disgust. He turned back to Tony as he heard the sound of his steps change direction, fired upon him once again, aiming only for his face.

Tony was not slowed by the shots. The weapon was completely ineffective aside from getting his attention. Lucas ducked back into the dark behind a tree, and scanned the monochromatic scene for the campsite. He found it on the other side of Tony. He had one last grenade, and he dropped it at his feet and jumped behind another tree just before it went off.
Confident that this would keep Tony moving in that direction for a moment, Lucas abandoned his stealth and ran for the tents.

The first thing he did was put out the fire. He didn't need the light, and extinguished it in hopes that Tony did.
Lucas rummaged his tent, retrieving a bowie knife and a fanny pack that had some flares in it. There was no doubt that these things would not stop Tony, but his plan had been to defend the camp until Jesse made it back. The thought of Jesse made him wonder where Mark was, and he assumed he was laying somewhere in the forest around the camp, just as dead as Scott.

It was quiet. Tony did not seem to be in pursuit anymore. Lucas imagined him feeding on Scott instead of chasing live prey, and decided to use this time to fortify his defenses. He broke beer bottles around the perimeter, leaving shards of broken glass for his attacker to walk through. He set up various traps with rocks and sticks, tying rope between them as make-shift tripwires.

After acting on every idea he had, he felt satisfied that while none of this shit would stop Tony, it would keep him slowed. Jesse would know what to do, he was a born soldier. Lucas sat with his back to a tree, his rifle raised, and waited for what seemed like forever.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's enough for me...

Friday, May 14, 2010

An exploration into non-human undead: Zombie Zoology

Zombie Zoology is out NOW. A collection of shorts by some amazing minds about a variety of zombie animals. This book includes a story by me called "Gift Horse". I have nearly read them all and I must say everyone did a superb job, and Severed Press did a great job putting this collection together, as always. You can order the book here or here.

Zombie Zoology an Unnatural History: Severed Press has assembled a truly original anthology of never before published stories of living dead beasts. Inside you will find tales of prehistoric creatures rising from the Bog, a survivalist taking on a troop of rotting baboons, a NASA experiment going Ape, A hunter going a Moose too far and many more undead creatures from Hell. The crawling, buzzing, flying abominations of mother nature have risen and they are hungry.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Part 1 NOT complete.

there's more, I underestimated myself.

Friday, May 7, 2010


It was a chilly night. Clouds had moved in and a breeze carried away the heat, forcing everyone to outfit with a hoodie. Beer was fucking everywhere. The entire campsite smelled like a bottle redemption and cans sizzled in the fire. They had spilled beer on nearly every rock or plant in the area, as well as all over themselves. A bag of weed was soaked, but they were all interested to smoke it when it dried, to explore the alcohol-laced high.

Four of them sat around the fire telling jokes when the rattle started. Tony had been in his tent since they left him their, and his breath was heaving, each exhale sounding more forced than the last, as if trying to clear something from his lungs.

"Yo, he don't sound very good," Mark pointed out.
"He's just fucking wasted, he'll be fine."

Lucas was sure of this. Despite the irregularity in the breathing pattern, he was not concerned. And after the way Tony had been acting, none of them were about to open his tent anyhow. When the raspy choking ended, they did not bother to check on him. In their inebriation, once the noise stopped it was easy to forget about Tony and his tent altogether.

As a joint was passed around, Lucas had an idea.

"Did you bring your NVGs Jesse?"
"I only brought one pair, I couldn't find batteries for the other."

This pissed Lucas off, since it ruined his thought. "Fuck man, why would you even bother bringing one pair, then? Fucking four of us... jesus."

Yet another traditional part of their camping trip was going out in the middle of the first night to scour the nearby campground for "unattended goods" left outside while everyone slept in their tents or leantos. There was a designated camping area not far from where Lucas and company set up their camp. Space for around twenty tent camps were marked around the area, as well as a row of leantos on the pond. In past runs they had scored prizes like ipods, acoustic instruments, food, and beer.

The previous year they had brought this kid Billy, who had a bizarre obsession with women's underwear. He dug a little too deep into a tent for some panties and got himself caught. Lucas, Scott and Tony had all been there but managed to get into the trees before being seen. Billy had his ass kicked by some girl's Dad and was detained until the rangers showed up and escorted him out of the park, directly into the hands of the authorities.

Lucas had really looked forward to Jesse being on this trip almost solely for the night-vision goggles, and his disappointment in the insufficient quantity of goggles was obviously etched into his face. Jesse, who was on this trip to make an impression, was quick to offer a solution.

"Two of us could go, you can have the goggles. It'll be sorta like the blindfold game, I trust you will not lead me into the pond, Luke."

Lucas was, in fact, intrigued by this plan. The opportunity to punish Jesse for only bringing one pair was tempting, but since it had been Jesse's idea, he would have to come up with something other than walking him into the water. Regardless, Lucas had reached the peak of his drunkeness, and was ready to infiltrate and seize.

"Let's do it. Scott, twist us up a J for our mission, we'll be back before sun-up."

When Jesse and Lucas were gone, Scott and Mark sat on either side of the fire. Mark repeatedly brought up this girl, Sandra, and his follies around asking her out. Scott was not a bit interested in talking about girls, but even more so not really interested in talking to Mark. He listened for a while, playing the part of a good friend.

"I'm pretty sure she knows I am only flirting," Mark blabbered. "But Tuesday I pinched her too hard and she might have cried."

Scott wasn't a hideous man, but his looks had never really gotten him any attention from the ladies. He focused most of his attention on drugs and alcohol and having fun, and sometimes situational awareness at the coffee shop which he worked a few hours a week. The one time he had set his sights on a girl, she came in to the shop with some older asshole, with whom he would never compare.

When you live in the woods, the ladies all date on a five to one age scale. They want a man who goes to work instead of school. They want a man who can swing an ax and down a forest in an hour. They want a log cabin built, where they can hide out and give birth to future bastard-children. Then they want you to go the fuck away, and send a quarter of your pay to them for each child, every week. If all goes as she plans, this ends up being far more than you actually earn.

Scott knew this all to be a fact, as he had seen it with his own father. He had five siblings, of which he really knew nothing. Since he was the youngest and most of them emancipated themselves at the earliest possibility, he had really only met them in passing. He remembered one going off to military school when he was very young. Up until he was about nine or ten years old, there was another one that beat the shit out of him regularly. Other than that, he had a sister somewhere, and he knew that his oldest brother was a grandfather.

His father drove a truck, and Scott saw him once every six months or so, when he was coming through town. His mother was battling lung cancer these days, which she would inevitably lose. Scott hated his mother so much that he thought it for the best, else he, like his brothers before him would have left a couple years ago. Instead he stayed home and, despite his overwhelming lack of motivation, kept the house in tip top shape. Lucas helped him build a deck in the back last summer.

Mark, on the other hand, came from a perfect family. Perfect for North-American Woods white-trash, rather. Both of his parents had jobs, which automatically rocketed them to the highest income bracket in the state. There were plenty more families than not where neither parent worked.
Also unlike Scott, Mark thought about almost nothing as much as girls. He obsessed over them in an emotional sickness. Until he was sixteen years old he had a crush on his adopted sister. She was well aware of this and made his life miserable for it. He could rarely walk around his own house without a hard-on. It was when he heard what a fucking slut she was at college that he finally averted his eyes. These days he doubted she could get him up with even a touch.

These days Mark's obsession turned from the one girl to every single other girl. He fell in love "at first sight" more times than a fat-kid at a cheesecake factory, and indulged just the same. It was hard for him to be out on this camping trip, surrounded only by penises. The drunker he got, the more he wanted to fuck. He considered running to the campground, the festival... fuck, even back to the gatehouse. There were girls in this forest, somewhere.

Scott, eventually beyond exhausted with girl-talk, pulled a few baggies out of his pocket. Mark's eyes popped at the sight of the cocaine and he lit up. Scott knew better than to give any more coke to this kid right now. He wanted him to shut-up, at least about this drama bullshit. Cocaine had never shut anyone up. Except maybe for Tony that one time, he laughed to himself.

"I've got this bag of mushrooms. I was gonna save them for tomorrow," He said separating a baggie from his wad of them. "Fuck them for not taking us with 'em."

Mark hesitated on the mushrooms. He thought back to the last time he had eaten them, when he puked all over some poor naked girl beneath him. It was a scene bad enough without him continuing the intercourse afterwards. He had definitely chased off a few girls in his day, but that one fled like she was on fire.

"Fuck it," Mark said, "I'm gonna go find some bitches."

And so he did. As he disappeared down the trail away from the fire, Scott threw a handful of mushrooms in his mouth and cracked another beer.


The major disadvantage to having only the one pair of NVGs, was that Jesse could not walk quietly when he couldn't see anything. He had wrapped a t-shirt around his head to prevent random branches from tearing at his eyes. Sure, when his eyes were well adjusted he could see in some areas, but when the clouds passed over the moon or they were under heavy foliage, he couldn't see shit.

Lucas, on the other hand, was having a great time. Once his eyes adjusted to the green hues of the goggles, he could see plain as day. There were a few times he was frustrated by his partner's handicap, and he wanted to break into a run leaving him behind. His nerves would never let him rummage the campground alone, however. Lucas always needed a partner in crime, preferably multiples.

The branches were intentional. Lucas chuckled to himself as he found thick sticks hanging low, and snapped them back so they whipped at Jesse. He had also successfully covered both of Jesse's boots in wild animal feces.

As they reached the campground Jesse was granted some vision. Light from a fire that was still lit was too bright through the goggles. Lucas pulled them up off his eyes and rested them atop his head.

Scott shook his head, chuckling, "You can't tell me you didn't everyone to be passed out."

"They always are at this time, every fucking year. " Lucas whispered back.

"Well what do we do now?"

There were four people sitting near the fire. They were drinking and singing terribly out of tune. Lucas was angry at them for being awake. Every year the campground run had provided them with whatever they had failed to bring sufficient amounts of, or forgotten altogether. In his head, without the ransacking they would be out of beer by noon tomorrow.

In his hatred for them, he offered up a new plan. "We shoot the motherfuckers."

The were both carrying air-powered assault rifles. Jesse carried his XM8, while Lucas preferred to terrorize with an AK-47. Jesse shrugged and nodded in confirmation. The two opened fire.

They blasted the campsites with BBs. The campfire attendees dropped to the ground at the sound of gunfire, though considerably quieter than the real thing. Shots hit tents, sometimes breaking through. BBs rang off cans and cars as they sprayed down the area. Victims awaking to the noise or ammo piercing their tents were screaming. Jesse and Lucas belted war-cries and laughter until the guns clicked empty.

When Lucas said, "Now we run!", Jesse realized he was unable to do so. Lucas set the NVGs in place on his eyes and took off, leaving Jesse in the dark.


Mark was lost. He staggered around in the dark, looking for light from anywhere there might be people. His only light source was a lit cigarette, which he maintained at all times. At first he was aiming for the campground, but somehow ended up completely off the trail. He had walked so far at this point that turning around was not a sure way to go back, so he kept moving forward. Almost like an oasis in the desert he would see lights on the horizon, which he was never able to reach. He was thirsty and tired of walking, but he pressed on regardless, until he was sure he heard music.

The festival...

Not much longer after the buzz of the shrooms kicked in, Tony let out a moan, reminding Scott that he did not want to be alone with that kid. Paranoia very rarely overcame Scott, but as he sat by the fire by himself he was scared stiff. Between the marijuana and the psilocybin he could not stop considering the possibility of a vampire sleeping in a tent behind him.

He jumped up to switch seats to allow him to keep an eye on Tony's tent. As soon as he rose he heard another moan.


No response. He sat down again opposite his previous spot, and listened. With a moaning grunt, Tony's tent shook.

"What the fuck!"
Tony stood inside the tent, his head hitting its peak and lifting the rigging out of the ground. As the tent fell around him he looked like a blue-sheet-wearing ghost. And he fucking moaned like one, too.

Scott had rid himself of the paranoia, and now felt pure fear. He started at the tents uprise and almost fell backward. He stepped back from the fire, yelling at his friend.

"What the fuck are you doing, man!? Tony!"

The tent-ghost slowly dragged itself towards him. Apparently it did not consider the fire an obstacle. Scott was forced to back himself further when the nylon and the fire met. The entire tent ignited around Tony, and still he walked, now like a ghost with a sheet of flame.

Scott out maneuvered his burning friend with ease and rounded the campfire, again ending up on the opposite side where Tony's tent stood. He watched as Tony continued on his straight path until walking face first into a tree and falling. Tony hit the ground as the fire had died out, melting the tent-fabric and portions of his clothes to his flesh. Smoke seeped from him, and the smell made Scott nauseous.

Scott was barely catching his breath, hoping for Lucas or Jesse to come back soon, when Tony started to lift himself. Scott's heart sank into the fear again when they met each other's gaze. Tony seemed to be looking through him. Maybe into him. Again Tony started walking towards Scott, and once again through the fire, undaunted.

Tony had obvious hunger in his eyes. He moaned through a mouth that never closed. He was reaching for Scott. Burned and bloodied he walked through fire towards Scott.

"What the fuck, man, can't we just be vampires together?"

There was no doubt now. Scott was sure he would have to face his now undead friend and put an end to his pending reign of terror. It had all come down to this moment. Tony had waited until Scott was alone to strike. Scott had been chosen as the one who would fight the monster this day. He was determined that when the others arrived back at the camp, they would see the victorious Scott standing over the seared corpse of their former friend.

He reached down near his foot and grabbed a tent-stake.

"Tony, I will drive this fucking stake through your heart if I have to. Stop."

Tony did not stop. He still walked, although at an incredibly low pace, directly towards Scott.

"I'm serious man. I don't fuck around with blood-sucking mother-fuckers. I will end you."

Tony groaned out in reply, and just before getting his hands on him, Scott plunged the stake where he thought a heart should be. It broke through Tony's ribs and buried itself. The force was so great the point went completely through him, showing just underneath his shirt in the back.

Tony staggered a step backwards, and looked down at himself. He reeled his arms in and fumbled around the head of the stake, which was just barely showing in his chest. His next vocal noise was a kind of inward groan, though to say he drew his last breath would just be wrong. Tony had drawn his last breath hours ago.

Scott stared at his friend speechless. He watched as Tony fell to his knees, still grabbing at the stake with the proficiency of an infant. Tony fell face first from his knees forward, hitting the ground hard. His head fell almost between Scott's legs, who himself then fell backward from reflex.

Scott expected Tony to burst into flames or just melt-away. Perhaps to be lifted away in some kind of ray of light. There was nothing, just a body. Slaying a vampire had not gone quite how he imagined. When the sun came up, he supposed that would do the trick. Scott was going to wait for it to happen, and he really hoped the other guys would be back in time to see it.