EXCERPT from Dying Days 4 by Armand Rosamilia:
There were two of the rotting fuckers, set on either side of abandoned cars with their backs to the dunes, waiting to ambush whoever came down the road. The only weapons they carried were their natural ones: teeth and fingers, but they were in the advanced stages and they wore clean clothes and the bloodstains had been washed away.
And they were whispering back and forth across the stretch of open road between them, joking and laughing like there was nothing wrong in the world. One of them, the larger of the two, was scratching something into the sand with a small stick. They looked bored.
Tosha Shorb noticed the chain running across the road between the cars. She’d been on this stretch of A1A for hours without a car coming by. What were they waiting for?
She heard the engine the same time her two new friends did. They gave a quick thumbs up before squatting behind the cars. Tosha got comfortable in the dunes with her Bushmaster M16 A2 Carbine and was about to take both zombies out when she saw movement in the dunes on the opposite side, closer to the beach. At least four zombies were getting into position and two of them carried rifles.
“Motherfuckers,” she growled quietly. Now they were arming themselves. This was getting worse and worse each day. She’d had to abandon the tour bus when zombies began setting up road blocks like this. And about half of them were banding with others to hunt the living while the other half wanted to destroy both the undead and those still breathing. And there weren’t many left still breathing.
Three vehicles were coming down the road: a custom van with a hole cut out of the roof to allow the two gunmen easy access, a pickup truck with a dozen armed people piled in the back, and a black SUV in the rear.
They were driving right into an ambush but Tosha moved her finger from the trigger. This wasn’t her fight. She wasn’t going to leave just yet, though. There might be food and supplies left over after the massacre. Luckily the zombies didn’t worry about eating (except breathing people) or drinking. They also never seemed to tire and never slept. She’d observed some becoming inactive, just leaning against a wall or even sitting and staring into space. But their eyes didn’t close. Ever.
And they were healing. The gunshot wounds, severed limbs and stilted walk were going away, slowly but surely.
There were a half a dozen zombies creeping down the dunes, from her side, in anticipation of the ambush and she instinctively put her finger back on the trigger. But pulling the trigger would alert every zombie in the area to her presence, and she didn’t feel like dying today. Or any day soon.
The other unnerving thing with these zombies was the fact they could sense people. She remembered being in a McDonald’s storage room and two of them coming in, talking about her smell and trying to find her. They had but she had put a metal bar between both their eyes and crushed their skulls in for good measure. What was most disturbing were the smiles they wore as they attacked. They were showing emotions… except for pain. Tosha remembered the confusion on their faces as they were being killed yet again. As if they believed in their immortality.
There were too many of them in the area and it didn’t matter how armed these people were because they’d be ambushed any second.
“It’s not your fight,” Tosha whispered to herself, but she kept her finger on the trigger and looked through the scope at each zombie as it got into position.
Her red hair was tied back and she’d tossed off her shoes a few miles ago because they were ripped and it hurt worse than bare feet to walk in them. Her jeans were ripped in several places (luckily not in the crotch since she’d stopped wearing undies a few days ago) and so was her shirt. Her pale skin was burnt and she’d give anything for some makeup, a pair of sunglasses and a cold beer right now.
Maybe these people had clothing. A pair of shades. A pair of thongs for her ass, which was getting rubbed raw by the jeans right now. Not your fight, she thought once again. Just fade away and go find a spot to sleep tonight.
The convoy was getting closer to the chain and the car pileup and they were slowing down. She heard someone in the SUV yelling something and the SUV stopped.
Tosha used the scope to look at the people in the SUV but she couldn’t get a good look at any of them. There were at least four occupants but they had the windows up.
As she watched, they began to back up, away from the cars in front of them, just as zombies swarmed over the dunes like ants.
Shots were fired on either side and a man pitched off the back of the pickup truck and hit the ground. Everyone else leapt out and tried to take cover on either side, but there was nothing to hide under or behind, and the zombies began firing at them like fish in a barrel, while at least a dozen zombies ran down the sand and jumped onto the pinned down living.
Tosha watched as the van tried to drive through the trap, but the chain was hit at about thirty miles per hour and slowed the van down, pulling the two cars on either side against it. The two original zombies scrambled onto the top of the van as it tried to back up, and both zombies fell into the open pit on the roof.
The SUV kept backing away without anyone stopping to help or fire a shot.
The living, from the pickup, put up a good fight, shooting at zombies and getting many headshots. The driver of the pickup managed to turn it around, doing a U turn on the soft shoulder of the road and running down two zombies.
Just when it looked like they’d escape, a zombie shot the front tires and they both deflated, forcing the driver to overcorrect and end up smashing into a dune on the side of the road.
Zombies shooting guns, Tosha thought. What is this dead world coming to now?
She was once again reminded of ants because so many zombies appeared from over the dunes and she shuddered when she realized at least twenty had been hiding, buried in the sand on either side of the road, and now popped up, swiped sand from their bodies, and joined the attack.
The people in the pickup truck didn’t stand a chance. Another three shots were fired before the zombies dragged everyone out of the truck and rounded up the survivors in the road, ripping them apart and stripping them of their flesh.
Tosha turned away when she saw bloated sexual organs. These motherfuckers were sick. She wished she had a bazooka to blow up the entire lot of them in one fell swoop.
The ocean was rough today despite it being so warm and not many clouds in the sky. She’d been working on her tan for too long and now she was burnt. She wondered if she’d ever just tan without it feeling like she was on fire.
This beats the snow of Pennsylvania, she thought. She had no idea what month it was and Tosha had lost track of time since running from her home. All she knew was it was warmer here but filled with zombies, all seeming to march to the sea for whatever reason.
If she could figure out what time of year it was, she could maybe head back north and arrive during the summer so it wouldn’t be too bad. But she doubted a thousand mile trip back, after all the shit she’d had to endure getting to Florida, was in her future.
A stray zombie appeared in the surf, one of the mindless ones. Tosha didn’t remember the last time she’d seen a ‘newer’ zombie. As they’d matured and became cognizant, the zombies had taken to killing not only the living but the newer zombies as well.
The horde of zombies on A1A was a rarity, and for that she was relieved. If they decided to stop killing one another and march across the country, the living would be killed quickly.
A zombie appeared from the dunes not too far from where she was hiding and jogged down the beach, angling toward the new zombie.
Seeing it run was jarring, as was the fact the zombie wasn’t bloody, with gaping gunshot wounds and stringy hair or a missing jaw. It looked like a normal living and breathing person, jogging happily down the beach. Except… it wasn’t breathing, and the zombies had an odd malevolent look in their gray eyes, another way to see they were really undead.
But, from a distance, with zombies walking and talking like normal people, wearing nice clothes, driving cars and using weapons, opening doors and waving at you like they were friends, the danger was worse than ever. Even with so many older zombies eliminating the newer members of their sick society, it was worse.
The zombie walked right up to the one coming out of the surf. Newer zombies couldn’t sense anything but living, breathing people, and it did what they always do: walked right past the older zombie, who stepped behind and grabbed it by the neck.
Tosha didn’t want to see another massacre and had nowhere to turn her head without seeing death and decay.
She closed her eyes.
Armand Rosamilia is a New Jersey boy currently living in sunny Florida, where he writes when he’s not sleeping. He’s happily married to a woman who helps his career and is supportive, which is all he ever wanted in life…
He’s written over 150 stories that are currently available, including horror, zombies, contemporary fiction, thrillers and more. His goal is to write a good story and not worry about genre labels.
He runs two very successful podcasts on Project iRadio, too…
Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast – interviewing fellow authors as well as filmmakers, musicians, etc.
Arm N Toof’s Dead Time Podcast – with co-host Mark Tufo, the duo interview authors and filmmakers and anyone else they feel like talking to.
He also loves to talk in third person… because he’s really that cool.
You can find him at http://armandrosamilia.com
©Armand Rosamilia, 2016. All rights reserved.