Tag Archives: Dead Song

Author Jay Wilburn – The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 4)

Excerpt from The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 4: April from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City by Jay Wilburn:

“Hey.” Satch walked out to the end of his chain near the open gate and extended his arms. “We’re stuck in here. Let us go, dick.”

The man did not turn his head and no other living men passed as the wall of the dead trudged through the mud after the fleeing guards.

Satch extended his foot and tried to hook a metal slat of the gate to pull the paddock closed. He did not come close. “Kidd, can you get it? We need to box ourselves in at least.”

Kidd’s stake speared the ground farthest from the gate with Tiny chained between the other two. He tried anyway, crossing over Satch’s and Tiny’s chains. Even being taller, he could not reach as close as Satch did to the gate. “We’re fucked.”

“Get down, both of you.” Satch squatted low to the ground. “Stay quiet.”

Kidd and Tiny dropped to their knees where they planted within the corral.

The first few zombies lumbered past without turning their heads to look. Tiny shifted his head slowly to track progress on both sides. One naked corpse staggered into a section of fence on the opposite side of the gate. It bounded into the crowd and the bodies jostled one another as their dead muscles negotiated the unforgiving mud.

Lightning flashed and weak thunder grumbled in the distance.

One of the bodies farther out impacted a door panel on one of the SUVs beyond the men’s line of sight in the rain. Another creature hit the fence closer to the gate. It turned its head. One blue eye and one solid red stared out over the tops of the men’s heads as the dead monster passed. A woman hit the gate with her shoulder. The gate turned inward only a few inches, but screamed on its hinges. She continued toward the house without reaction. Two others turned their heads at the sound. Their paces slowed, but they continued past the corral at an angle.

Something screamed diagonally from the paddock and every body stopped in mid stride. They all stared over the corral in the direction of the noise. The creature brayed again as a donkey with one ear and no eyes bounded through the mob. Three zombies hung off its back and sides with fingers and teeth dug into flesh between ribs. The blind, bloody donkey screamed and kicked in a circle, but could not shake loose. It collapsed and the dead fell on it in an insectile swarm.

The zombies crossed one another as they pushed past each other to get at the body and the noise. As the animal fell silent, the zombies circled in the storm, losing track of their targets. They moved around the fencing from all four sides, weaving in different directions.

One stumbled into the post of the open gate. It turned and backed up, knocking the gate open a few inches with another metal screech. The others stopped and turned toward the noise from all sides. They closed in on the corral.

The one inside turned in a circle before walking between Kidd and Satch on the ground. It stopped, tilted its head, and opened its jaws over Tiny.

Satch wrapped his chain around the zombie’s neck from behind and pulled it down to its back in the mud. It clawed at the air and gave two choked clicked. Kidd raised his cuffs and slammed them down, denting the monster’s forehead twice. The double crack echoed out through the yard. More bodies turned toward them. Kidd wrapped his chain around the thing’s skull and braced both feet of the side of its head as he pulled. The chain crinkled and then sheered through the scalp as the links pulled through. The arms collapsed to the mud as dark brain matter oozed out into the diluting rain.

The men stayed crouched around the still body as moving zombies circled the fenced enclosure. A few stared at the gate, but then turned away and walked into the rain.

As a mob writhed over the body of the donkey a few yards away, the stray undead spread out and moved wide around the corral. More filtered through the yard from the direction of the outside gate to the grounds, but passed the enclosure wide as well.

Gunshots rang out from the direction of the house. Glass shattered.

A few of the dead on the outside edge of the pile over the donkey peeled away and slogged toward the house and the gun shots. The others in the yard turned inward and angled toward the house in closing ranks.

Three bounced off the flat of the fence and pushed each other to get around. A fat man struck the gate, bouncing it off the post with a crash. It swung open wide with a series of pops. Two more knocked the swinging gate and bounced it again. It crashed and swung slowly open with a screeching drawl.

One slanted body in a tattered, soaked suit turned to face the corral. It stepped up against the fence a few feet from the open gate and reached over. The suited zombie’s bare feet dragged through the mud as it struggled to continue to walk despite the barrier. The sections of fence rattled against one another.

Two more creatures turned inward from the other side and pressed against the rattling fence, reaching over as well.

A woman in a wet, see through sundress lifted her claws and slinked through the opening in the gate with a grace that resembled dance. She unhinged her jaw in a throaty growl. Her dark wig and pillbox hat fell off behind her, revealing a nude nylon skull cap over her mangy scalp.

Satch stood, but pulled up short as his chain remain wrapped around the neck of the last body they took down. He wrestled to untangle with his wrists pulled down to knee level. “Kidd?”

Kidd Banjo whipped his chain out of the mud from his knees and jerked up against her ankles with both hands. She made a grab, but he ducked under and she landed on her face.

The suited zombie pumped his feet harder without realizing he stood next to the entrance. He slipped and rested his chin and armpits over the fence and growled at them.

The woman raised her head to stare Tiny in the face with her jaws packed with clods of mud. The dirt spewed out as she hissed at him.

Satch freed himself from the other body and lifted both cuffed hands above his head. He brought his double fists on her head, skimming off the back of the skull with the follow through. Her head split open from back to front and moist brain spilled out in chunks, but held inside her skull cap. She dropped her face into the mud again without closing her mouth.

The pair lowered to crouches once more. Kidd slid his chain out from under her legs.

The other zombies against the fencing open their mouths as they reached for the men inside and let up a moan. Others diverted and pressed against the fence on two sides. One of the connections buckled and the fence leaned in nearly to the point of spilling the pack of zombies in on top of them.

All three men stood.

 

Author Jay Wilburn
Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Main Street, and Middletown Apocalypse. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels The Great Interruption, Time Eaters, and co-authored The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

©Jay Wilburn, 2016. All rights reserved.

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Author Jay Wilburn – The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 3)

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 3) by Jay Wilburn

Excerpt from The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 3: March from Myrtle Beach to San Antonio by Jay Wilburn:

“This shouldn’t have happened again, Randy. We were counting on you.”

“I’m sorry,” he said and turned away from her. “Greg, go find Pete and figure out what the hell happened.”

People began filing out the door slowly trying to avoid the bodies and gore. Tiny counted only about a dozen zombies total. It did not look like anyone had gotten bitten and all the corpses were motionless on the floor.

Randy stepped up to their group. “We either have a breached fence or a sleeping guard. Either way, you should get inside your bunk. Sorry about the trouble.”

“Do you need help?” Satch asked.

Tiny sighed and rolled his eyes. We should be using this as our moment to escape.

“We have a system for searching and securing. You’ve already done more than your share here. It might be safer if you batten down and let us handle it. Sorry about the exciting evening, guys. I’ll see you in the morning.” Randy kicked one of the bodies on his way through the batwing doors.

“Looks like it’s bed time,” Kidd said.

“Or time to slip away,” Tiny said.

Kidd looked at Tiny and over at Satch. “Really?”

Satch shook his head. “We got jumpy guys with bows and arrows hunting for rogue zombies. We’ll end up speared, if we try to sneak around now. Let’s lock down like he said and stick with the original plan.”

They walked back along the facades until they reached their bunks. Shouts rose from different points of the camp in the distance. Satch opened the door and they went inside as two men with shotguns walked by behind them.

Satch pushed the door closed behind them. “We might want to set a guard schedule tonight or barricade the door maybe.”

The door burst open and slammed into Satch’s back knocking him a few steps away. The two men stepped in training their snub nosed shotguns on Satch and Kidd. The one aiming on Satch had a tight crew cut with patches of hair all along his neck and jaw. He wore black pants, boots, and a short sleeved shirt. The other man was dressed similarly, but was more bulky. He had thick, hairy arms and either had a shaved head or was bald. The darkness of the bunk didn’t allow for any better detail.

The man with the crew cut said, “I’d rather get the reward for bringing you in alive, but if you make it easier to kill you, I’ll do that and take the cut. If you make me shoot you, it will be in the gut, so that your faces aren’t messed up. You move; I shoot. Got it?”

“We got it,” Satch said.

“Stand guard outside until we’re ready to move.”

The bald man stepped back out and closed the door. The bounty hunter kept his gun on Satch with his finger inside the trigger guard. He reached down to his belt and pulled off three sets of handcuffs. He tossed one each at their feet with Tiny on the left, Satch in the middle, and Kidd on the right. His hand returned to the stock of the short shotgun.

“Behind your backs and then turn where I can see that you got them tight. Let’s go quick so you or your friends don’t end up hurt.”

None of them moved.

“Is this the moment where you test me to see if I’m serious, boys?” he asked. “You got your dicks up down in the valley with the others you killed and you think you’re dealing with someone like them. How about I shoot your dick off and take you in alive, but screaming? Would that convince you?”

He lowered his aim on Satch.

“I just didn’t want to move and get shot,” Satch said. “You seem like a jumpy sort.”

“I’m cool as a fucking cucumber, Satchelmouth Murderman. Now cuff yourselves.”

There was shouting outside and shots sounded off. One report from a shotgun outside seemed to vibrate the whole room.

The guy cocked his head over his shoulder to the left.

Kidd sprung from the right. He grabbed the gun and shoved up. One barrel went off into the ceiling filling the room with an eruption of sound and a rain of dust. The bounty hunter jerked his head to the side slamming Kidd’s face. Kidd grunted but still struggled for the gun. The hunter stomped Kidd’s knee dropping him to the floor.

He brought the gun down toward Kidd.

Satch launched and drove his helmet into the hunter’s face. Another shot roared blowing apart the side of one of the bunks in a hail of splinters. Satch and the hunter slammed into the closed door.

Gunfire continued outside muffled by the ringing in everyone’s ears in the closed space of the bunks.

Kidd came back up and grabbed the gun again. The hunter drove his knee into Satch’s gut twice. Kidd pulled the gun and the hunter shoved it driving the butt into Kidd’s jaw. Kidd Banjo staggered back, but had the shotgun in his hands.

Tiny drew his knife and charged from the left. The hunter twisted and pinned Tiny’s arm to the doorframe with his elbow short of the stab. He lifted off and slammed his elbow into Tiny’s wrist again causing him to drop the knife. The hunter twisted back still struggling with Satch but connecting with Tiny’s nose with his forearm. Tiny saw stars and held his face as he staggered and then fell.

Kidd rested the bore of the shotgun into the hunter’s ribs pulling back the hammers. Satch drew his knife. The hunter grabbed Satch’s knife hand in both of his and twisted it back toward Satch’s face. Kidd pulled the trigger and the gun clicked empty. Kidd reached for his own knife. The hunter lifted his right boot and side kicked driving his heel into Kidd’s chest. Kidd launched backward dropping the shotgun. He slammed into the damaged post of the bunk snapping through it and dropping the top bunk on top of himself.

Tiny got to his hands and knees and crawled toward his knife on the floor. He couldn’t draw air through his nose.

The hunt swung his left leg around and swept Satch’s legs out from under him. Satch’s helmet rolled away. They slammed to the floor with the hunter on top pushing Satch’s knife slowly toward his face.

Kidd stumbled out from under the mattress with the assault rifle. He squared and aimed at the hunter’s side. The hunter rolled hard pulling Satch on top of him between him and Kidd’s aim.

Kidd lifted the rifle away. “Shit.”

Tiny got his knife and sat up on his knees.

Satch brought his knife around pointed at the hunter’s face. The hunter lifted his feet under Satch’s body and rabbit kicked his weight up into the air. He rolled hard to the side and threw Satch into Kidd knocking them both away.

Tiny made a stab at the hunter. The hunter came up and caught Tiny’s wrist. He twisted and took the knife away from Tiny. The hunter stood, pulling Tiny to his feet as he drew the knife up above Tiny’s skull.

The door swung open hitting the hunter’s shoulder and elbow knocking them both a few steps to the side. The hunter’s partner charged in backward aiming his shotgun out the door with an arrow in his left bicep. He bled from a bullet wound in the other shoulder.

The hunter backed out of his partner’s way and Tiny bolted out of the reach of the knife. The hunter reached around and grabbed the gun out of his partner’s hands. He whipped around on Kidd and Satch. The hunter sidestepped and when Kidd fired he hit the partner once in the side, once in the neck, and once in the head. The bigger man went down.

Tiny dropped to the floor to avoid being hit.

The hunter pulled the trigger and the gun clicked empty. “Shit.”

Kidd fired again, but missed. The hunter made a break for the door. One of his boots came down on a pair of handcuffs and slipped out from under him almost causing him to do a split. Kidd shot him in the thigh blasting open the muscle in a meaty mess.

The hunter grabbed his leg and drew back Tiny’s knife to throw it. Tiny grabbed the hunter’s wrist with both hands stopping the man’s motion with his hand cocked behind his back. The hunter turned his head and glared at Tiny with teeth gritted. Tiny couldn’t tell if it was pain or anger.

Kidd fired twice more hitting the man in the chest both times. Even in the darkness, Tiny thought he could see the color drain from the man’s face even though he could barely hear the gunshots anymore.

Tiny pulled his knife from the hunter’s grasp. “Enjoy your reward, Mary.”

Tiny stabbed the bounty hunter in the throat. Blood gushed from the wound down the front of his shirt. The man clawed at his own open throat and Tiny pulled the blade free letting the hunter fold to the bloody floor.

Author Jay Wilburn
Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Main Street, and Middletown Apocalypse. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels The Great Interruption, Time Eaters, and co-authored The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

©Jay Wilburn, 2016. All rights reserved.

Author Jay Wilburn – The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 2)

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology (Book 2) by Jay Wilburn

Excerpt from The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 2: February from Vicksburg to Cherokee by Jay Wilburn:

They scrambled out from under the remains of the shack and ran through the gap created by the dead chasing them over the top where they used to be. Satch was carrying his sister trying to hold her throat, but he still nearly outran Tiny. Blood dripped into the pine straw behind them and Tiny heard the dead following.

“How far, Satch?”

“Down by the river. Keep going.”

As they crossed the road, a zombie with green smeared in its beard whirled on them. Satch ducked away and Tiny stabbed into its head. Brackish water gurgled out of the wound and the grimy creature collapsed to the road.

Another dove teeth first at Satch’s leg and he had no free hand. Tiny stabbed into the forehead and stopped the undead attack short. He ran after and tried to get ahead to provide Satch cover, but Satch was not slowing down.

They reached the bank and Tiny saw the boat a few feet farther on. Satch jumped in. “Can you drive it?”

“I don’t know how.”

“Hold her wound.”

Tiny dropped the knives in the boat and covered her throat. Satch stepped out and leaned to push the boat off. A creature blasted through the pine branches with arms out.

“Satch.”

He turned with his hands still on the boat and thrust kicked heel first into the zombie’s jaw. The bottom teeth jammed back into its face. The creature folded backward and stumbled onto its back on the bank. It rolled over and scrambled to its feet again. More emerged from the trees and staggered toward the boat on both sides.

Satch splashed out into the water and then jumped in the boat. The dead splashed into the river after them. They’re going to flip the boat, Tiny thought. Satch engaged the motor and the boat lurched backward.

The zombie with the collapsed jaw dove where the boat had been and vanished below the water. The river water splashed up into the air like piranha are tearing apart a cow below the surface. Tiny turned away from them and watched Peck bleed below his hand.

Satch lowered the motor and let the current turn the boat. Tiny saw the dam stretch above them. One of the dead stumbled over the railing and dropped into the water. Satch blasted the motor and the boat tilted as it raced across the Tennessee toward the southern bank.

Peck coughed and lurched under Tiny’s hand. He was actually surprised she was still alive. He felt air pass wet through the wound under his hand and she stilled. Her eyes slid open and stared glazed up into the sky. Tiny saw the reflections of the clouds rolling across the wet curves of Peck’s eyes as Satch pressed the engine.

“Satch.” Tiny whispered, but the words were lost in the roar of the engine against the Tennessee River.

Peck heaved for air and fought against Tiny’s grip.

Satch called. “Hang on, Peck. We’re almost there.”

“Satch.”

Her teeth snapped and Tiny pulled his hand away. Peck sat up and clawed at her brother. Satch just stared as she reached for him. Tiny grabbed her braid and yanked her backward at the last moment rocking the boat.

Satch cut the engine. “Stop. You’re hurting her.”

Peck tried to roll over to bite Tiny. He pulled her braid again so that she fell back on his chest in the boat. Her skin had faded from the even brown that matched her brother’s to a sickly, gray hue. She snapped her teeth together loud enough to echo over the water. Her voice came as a hiss and gurgle from the deep cut in her throat. She thrashed bobbing the boat from side to side.

Tiny slid his hand through the wet gore under her chin and then locked her head tight in the crook of his elbow to pin her jaw closed. She hummed and struggled.

“I said, don’t hurt her, Tiny.”

Tiny came up with one of the knives and held the poit next to the opening of her ear. As he prepared to drive the blade into her skull he focused on Satch holding his own, dark knife positioned above Tiny’s head aimed at him instead of his sister.

“Satch, we have to …”

“Don’t do it, Tiny. Don’t.”

They turned dead in the water as Tiny clutched Peck’s cold throat and Satch stood above with the clouds drifting beyond him.

 

 

Author Jay Wilburn
Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Main Street, and Middletown Apocalypse. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels The Great Interruption, Time Eaters, and co-authored The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

©Jay Wilburn, 2016. All rights reserved.

Author Jay Wilburn – The Dead Song Legend Dodecology

The Dead Song Legen Dodecology by Jay Wilburn

Excerpt from The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals by Jay Wilburn:

Donna Cash tucked her dick away from the front of her sequined dress. She adjusted the wig she had borrowed from the box of supplies left unclaimed by previous drag queens, mostly eaten by zombies in the streets of Milwaukee.

She took the stage and stumbled on her left platform shoe which threatened to fold under and snap her ankle. Donna stood tall and sexy, but Timothy Janvier was short and had a growing belly. He wore a girdle and high platforms to make the transformation.

Donna straightened her back and slid her gloved hands down past the full curve of her hips. The fingertips showed through cuts in the satin gloves to reveal the shine of bright red nails against the sequins covering her body. She mixed wine color and slut red polish when she could find them in the ruins of beauty shops to get her signature hue that looked crackled and sexy under crappy propane lights. Beauty shops did not get hit like grocers, liquor stores, and gun shops. She slept in them some nights trying new make-ups until she felt drowsy.

The crowd did not turn her way right away, but a few went silent. She would take that as a recovery for now. The move was well practiced and required a little finesse to keep the satin from snagging on the sequins and ruining the sexy.

As she stood in front of the greenish metal of the microphone, Donna Cash decided to call an audible. The sultry tune of “True Folsom Blues” gave a good “come and bend me over” sort of jazz/blues vibe, but this crowd was already teetering. She leaned out toward the Asian fellow at the piano leading the band of guitars, drums, and horns. It wasn’t a bad ensemble for a post apocalyptic drag bar house band. She imagined it probably helped that nothing else was open for miles, so the surviving talent had pooled.

“Like Rome in the Renaissance,” Donna muttered.

“Florence,” the Asian fellow said. “We’re like Florence in the Renaissance.”

“Play something,” someone shouted. The titters of laughter and conversation followed.

Through it, someone else said, “Show us your pussy.”

The band leader tilted his head at Donna, but she shook her head at him.

Donna arched her back and gave her best swell of ass. Now she got some whistles and husky laughter. It was the kind of laughs straight dudes used to cover the tingles down under from a queen’s ass.

She whispered the chord progressions to the band leader. He nodded, but she still wasn’t certain. “True Folsom” was a safe opener because it was tough to fuck up. “Like a Ring of Fire” was a much harder mash-up, but if she wanted to play it safe, she could have stayed in Detroit.

Safe won’t earn you both toothpaste and dinner, bitches.

Donna stood back up straight and batted her eyes and pouted her lips in the flickering light from the lanterns. As she pulled a few more whistles, she tossed her head back and puffed out her chest which was mostly line illusion through make-up. A whiff of raw sewage wafted up from the grate just below the stage and she fought the urge to heave.

Tough to maintain a crowd of hard-ons over the smell of shit, but here goes everything.

“What the fuck were you looking at?” Donna Cash demanded. “You weren’t nearly so stiff when I went down. Did you have a heart attack and turn zombie on me, pumpkins?”

The crowd gave the first real cheer of the night. The crowd knew that you had to be bitten to turn into a zombie, but the joke still played. A mug flew past her head and shattered against the back wall. A pair of dirty, tightie-whities slingshot by her on the other side landing on top of the piano with the brown streak up. The fact that both missed her was a sign of respect in Donna’s book.

The band leader poked at a key and the other musicians came close to matching. He swiped the stained drawers aside with one elbow.

He muttered. “I kind of wish I was back in Hong Kong at moments like this.”

“Someone has been saving those up for a while,” she said to more laughs. “Well, I’m Donna Cash and I’m here now, mother fuckers.” She swung her palm around and slapped her own right ass cheek with a loud smack. “Hit it hard, boys.”

The music blasted out from the band almost on tempo.

“I made it through the wilderness … like a burning flame …”

After a few lines and a few moves, the crowd broke down the middle between cheers and dropped jawed awe – the perfect split. As the chain link at the far end of the room near the door rattled, Donna thought she was building to a climax. When the tables nearest the door barked on the floor and chairs overturned with sharp crashes, she suspected something else might be going down. The shouts and growls confirmed it.

One fellow picked up his chair and slammed the fencing. He caught one of the posts and broke the legs loose. Another man charged and jammed a Bowie knife through the links three times. He missed twice snapping the wire with a screech from the knife’s edge. The third stab caught one of the shadowed figure’s shoulders. A spray of black mist exploded out from a boil as the blade exited the rotten body. The man with the knife bent over and gagged, wiping the smear of gore around his eyes and nostrils.

Donna Cash added “Oh, shit” to the end of the chorus.

The men in the room lifted guns and aimed across the club. A shotgun blew out pellets from too far away ringing off the chain link and the closest tables. The band faltered, although to his credit, the drummer kept the downbeat. Another impotent, ear-ringing shotgun blast and one man still sitting and staring at Donna grabbed his face with both hands and fell backward onto the floor screaming. His friends on both sides of him dove for the floor.

Donna pulled the greasy green microphone free of the stand and rolled her hand in a circle. “Keep playing, boys. I think we can still salvage this. I’ve had worse nights.”

The band obliged.

More shots rang out until the sparks flew off the lock. The gate swung open and the dripping bodies staggered through the gap into the club. The ones in the back of the horde settled for falling upon the lax security trapped between the cage and the front doors.

Donna stepped off the stage with a whistle of feedback and kept singing. “That’s until I found you as the flames kept getting higher …” During the bridge, she broke off to call over the cheap speakers. “Put your barrels away, Pumpkins, I’ll handle these stiffs.”

The men looked between Donna sauntering across from the stage and the corpses shambling through from the cage. They kept their guns up and ready, but backed up watching her close the distance on the dead.

Donna continued the song as she slapped the ass of the black fellow that wore the shiny, silver helmet. Tight as a fucking drum. Who the hell still does squats during all this? Damn. He let out a little yelp and a few guys laughed despite the peril.

“Firm,” she broke to say before resuming the lyrics. “Like a ring of fire … torched for the very first time …”

Donna closed her hand over his bat just above his grip on the handle. She tugged at it rhythmically until he let go. She rested it on her shoulder and turned back to wink at the crowd just as the colorless fingers reached for her back.

“Look out, baby.”

Donna heard and she thought it might have been the same asshole that yelled to see her pussy. She really was winning the crowd.

With a backward jab, she felt the fat head of the bat connect with the orb of an eye socket. A little distance was gained, but rough fingers crackled as they clawed at her sequined back. The gun barrels rose so the darkness in each one loomed at her. She remembered the bullet holes backstage and figured she was out of time and out of luck with drunk aim.

Donna crossed her ankles and gave an expert spin. Light dazzled off her dress and the dead weight of her arm whirled the sweet spot of the bat into the temple of the scratchy corpse behind her. Even as his skull caved nearly into two pieces, she saw that the others had honed in on her as well.

Donna rolled the bat behind her and up over her shoulder as she tried to make her retreat appear to be a shuffle step. The bat whistled as it plowed down onto the top of a saggy jowled zombie. His head turned into a canoe and he corkscrewed as he collapsed onto the floor.

“Oh, the twist. How retro.”

Over the laughter, a gruff voice through the backstage walls said, “On your left, watch it.”

Donna whirled the bat overhead, but the wispy mustached partner of the black fellow stepped into view before the strike and drove a dark blade into the zombie’s ear. A fan of armpit hair spread out from under his extended arm. The creature staggered before falling limp off the end of the blade. Not to waste the swing, Donna whirled the bat an additional loop over the man’s long blond hair before ripping through the face of the cadaver she had been aiming for the first time. Its eyeball popped loose and landed in someone’s World’s Greatest Boss mug with the gray end of the optic nerve hanging up out of the hooch.

“Don’t drink that, pumpkin,” Donna warned.

Her strike glanced off too much to bust the one-eyed zombie’s skull, but she did turn its head completely around the wrong way. The body swiped blindly at the air as it stumbled backward over a chair into the floor.

The black fellow dodged past Donna with his head down and connected his silver helmet to the forehead of the next beast reaching for them. Its brains exploded out the back of its head leaving a brown smear on the silver helmet. The man raised his fists and jammed two broken chair legs through the heads of two more zombies bringing them down.

“I need my bat back, bitch.” The black dude adjusted his stained helmet up higher above his brow before he turned to face her.

A skinny girl with sheered bone exposed where her knees should have been drug herself between the feet of the slobbering, leaking men shuffling through the gate into the club.

Donna flipped the bat in the air and caught it on one clean spot holding the handle back out to its owner with the tight ass. She wrapped the cord to her mic around the neck of the dead girl on the floor as she went for Donna’s calf with broken teeth. Donna pulled tight drawing feedback and static from the speakers and lifting the girl up high enough that her fingers barely grazed the floor.

“Jesus, will someone close the damn door?” Donna lifted her chin to speak into the raised mic. “Everyone is getting in without a cover now.”

 

Author Jay Wilbun
Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near Myrtle Beach on the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He has a Masters Degree in education and he taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of many short stories including work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5, Zombies More Recent Dead, Shadows Over Main Street, and Middletown Apocalypse. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. He also wrote the novels The Great Interruption, Time Eaters, and co-authored The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. Jay Wilburn is a regular columnist with Dark Moon Digest. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter as @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

©Jay Wilburn, 2016. All rights reserved.

Guest Jay Wilburn – Writing What Speaks to You

“Writing What Speaks to You”

by Jay Wilburn

 

We’re supposed to write what we know. All my stories would be about being a teacher, stocking shelves at a Wal-Mart, cooking at Waffle House, or watching Internet porn. I’d have no alien or zombie stories unless it was about a teacher being abducted or eaten. In most of my teacher stories, the principal ends up dying. I’m sure there is nothing to that though.

To be fair, that advice mainly refers to using what you know to fill out the believable sections of your story to make the extraordinary seem more grounded. It means to not overlook the stuff you do know as good pieces for story. If you live in a small, Southern town, consider writing your hardboiled crime novel set there instead of a more traditional city setting you’ve never visited. If you don’t know anything about police procedure, you can research, interview, and extrapolate. Or you can pull the story into the lives of the cop’s quirky Southern family which you do have extensive knowledge of. We each have corresponding equivalents to these setting, job, and environment elements that can serve a story in ways that all the outside research in the world may not touch on in the same visceral way. The details you know how to communicate from having your hands and teeth on it for a number of years dig down into a readers heart in a different way.

Better than writing what we know may be writing what we feel. This could still be writing what you know, but I think it goes to a bone level knowledge. Writing about pain, loss, or what you fear is more powerful than extrapolating those feelings from the outside. Those feelings can be overlaid on other situations or lives in a story in a way that convinces the reader that the characters are feeling something real and bigger than the flat page.

This can then be taken to writing what you actually care about. I taught elementary and middle school for a combined sixteen years before taking the leap to being a full time writer. Teaching kids to write is a monumental task. Beyond the nuts and bolts of letters, words, sentences, and paragraphs is getting to any level of content. Then, it was back to words, sentences, and paragraphs formed in any intelligible way. I’d spend forever pulling any level of substance out of them, then we edit, then we revise, and then we rewrite, then we repeat, and then we publish by stapling their one or two paragraphs of contrived writing on the bulletin board. Or I could make them mad about something and they would write me angry volumes that we just had to organize into sentences and paragraphs.

The same is still largely true of adult writers of every stripe. The trick as adult, professional, fiction writers is to write about what we care about in a subtle way that does not come off as preaching a sermon. Unless you are actually writing a sermon, but even then subtlety and the art of building a strong argument serve well too.

I started out writing about zombies. I actually started as a kid writing crappy fantasy and sci fi knock off stories on notebook paper that I seldom finished and never let anyone read. My pro career started with zombies. My first check for writing read in the memo line “PAYMENT FOR ZOMBIES.” Those still may be some of the most beautiful words in the English language. I still rank I Love You very highly, but Payment For Zombies is very special to me on an individual, personal level.

I moved away from zombies as my writing career progressed. I had no shame in them and jumped on writing a story about them every time an opportunity presented itself. I was just looking for other work and other tones to my voice. In the process, I think my zombie stories got better and started getting more attention. I started using tricks from other genre’s tool boxes and created better and more creative stories in every genre I explored.

“Dead Song” came out of that wild exploration. The short story is a weird, little anti story that drew some serious attention. I took another look at it and decided there was a lot of untold story behind it. I very quickly discovered that there were connections in the tale that I had not considered. I started book one of the Dead Song Legend thinking the whole epic tale would be one, stand-alone novel. After the first couple chapters, I thought I was dealing with a trilogy. After a couple more chapters, I stopped again and outlined out the entire span of the Legend, if I were to tell it in its entirety and I came up with twelve books.

I finished and published book one along with the five song soundtrack. Both are linked below.

The book deals with drag queens, zombies, music, family lost, family chosen, and identity. Tiny Jones is a gay man that ends up with multiple identities he chooses for himself or that are partially chosen for him. Almost every character in the story goes by a stage name – an apocalypse name. They all have different reasons for hiding or reinventing their identities. Identity is what we share with people about ourselves, but it is also what we hide.

The relationship between Tiny and Satch in the story represents every relationship from family to friends to more. They reveal and hide. They push and pull. They are stronger and weaker together. Their lives and relationship impact the lives and relationships around them. They deal with a world that in some cases has stripped away problems around race and sexual orientation because of a focus on survival. In other cases, the thin, social parameters that held some of those prejudices in check have been stripped away and they are more raw and less confined. Through it all, they find life between the music people still write, play, sing, and perform when they want to do more than just survive.

All of these issues speak to me as a writer, as a reader, and just as a person. The Dead Song Legend is the story that speaks to me. It is the story that sings to me.

 

Check out the latest book and music from a new series by Jay Wilburn:

Dead Song Book 1 final cover

The Dead Song Legend Dodecology Book 1: January from Milwaukee to Muscle Shoals

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00YDZKXCI/jaywil0d-20

Dead song book 1 CD Cover Idea-001

The Sound May Suffer – Songs from the Dead Song Legend Book 1: January

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/amazing-circle-of-suffering/id996569862?i=996569871&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Author Jay Wilburn

Jay Wilburn lives with his wife and two sons in Conway, South Carolina near the Atlantic coast of the southern United States. He taught public school for sixteen years before becoming a full time writer. He is the author of the Dead Song Legend Dodecology and the music of the five song soundtrack recorded as if by the characters within the world of the novel The Sound May Suffer. Follow his many dark thoughts on Twitter @AmongTheZombies, his Facebook author page, and at JayWilburn.com

© Jay Wilburn. All rights reserved.

Winter of Zombie 2014 – Jay Wilburn’s “Dead Song” Teaser

Author Jay Wilburn

 

Excerpt from “Dead Song” appearing in Zombies: More Recent Dead with Prime Books. Soon to be a full length novel exploring the world and life of Tiny Jones.

 http://www.amazon.com/Zombies-More-Recent-Mike-Carey/dp/1607014335/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1413262341&sr=1-1&keywords=zombies+more+recent+dead

 

Dead Song

By Jay Wilburn

 

The man walked into the dark room and closed the door behind him. He put on the headphones and sat down on the stool. Images of zombies flashed on the screen in front of him. He ignored them and opened the binder on the stand. He pulled the microphone a little closer and waited.

In the darkness, a voice came over the headphones and said, “Go ahead and read the title card again for us slowly so we can set levels.”

The man read with particular slowness and articulation, “Dead Doc. Productions presents The Legend of Tiny “Mud Music” Jones in association with After World Broadcasters and Reaniment America, a subsidiary of the Reclaiment Broadcasters Company, with permission of the Reformed United States Federal Government Broadcasters Rights Commission.”

He waited silently after he finished.

The voice finally came back on, “Sounds good. We’re going to get coverage on the main text for alternate takes. We’re also going to have you read the quotes as placeholders until we get character actors to replace them. Read them normally without any affected voice. If we need another tone or tempo, we’ll let you know and we’ll take another pass at that section. There is also some new material we are adding into the documentary.”

“Okay,” the man answered.

The voice ordered, “When you’re ready, go ahead with section one, then stop.”

The man took a drink of water, swallowed, and then waited for a couple beats. He began, “Dead World Records was one of the first music companies to come online after order was restored. They were recording and signing artists during the height of the zombie plague. Tobias Baker and Hollister Z are credited with founding the company.”

“They operated from a trailer and storage building on Tobias’s family farm, surviving off the land, and clearing zombies from the property between recording and editing.”

A black and white image of zombie pits scrolled across the screen as the guys in the booth ran the images to check timing. The man ignored it.

He continued, “They do deserve credit for recognizing the continued value of musical culture and history while everyone else was focused purely on survival. They had the vision to gather and record the unique musical evolution of the Dead Era which shaped all music that came after it.”

A grainy video of the men working in their studio rolled on the screen. The man stopped and watched as he waited.

The video froze and the voice said, “Skip to section four. The text is edited from the last time your read it. Read it over once and tell us when you are ready.”

The man obliged them by scanning it over. He said, “Ready.”

The voice said, “We’re rolling on section four.”

The man took another drink before he began, “The real unsung heroes of the rise of Dead World Records Inc. are clearly the collectors that agreed to bring the recordings back to the studio. Many of them were musicians themselves and trekked hundreds of miles through zombie infested territory to find musical gatherings of the various unique pockets of survivors.”

A picture of Tiny flashed on the screen with his name under it. He was wearing shorts, hiking boots, and holding a walking stick. A picture of another man wearing a helmet and carrying a bat replaced it. The name below it was Satchel Mouth Murderman.

The man continued, “Music from this period is clearly defined by both isolation and strange mixtures of people and cultures. The gatherings of these musical laboratories (many of which were destroyed and lost long before the zombies were) is the legacy of men like Tiny “Mud Music” Jones.”

Stills of Tiny with arrows pointing him out passed over the screen.

The man read on, “Tiny traveled farther and gathered more than any other collector. His introverted style and musical talent won trust and entry into enclaves of people no one else could penetrate. Some historians believe much of what we know of Dead Era culture is built off the exploration of Tiny Jones.”

*   *   *   *   *

zombie collection cover 2

The stench of frozen rotted meat is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 10 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.

Winter of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour

 Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #WinterZombie2014

https://www.facebook.com/events/1524813084430035/?ref_notif_type=plan_user_joined&source=1

 

AND so you don’t miss any of the posts in November, here’s the complete list, updated daily:

http://armandrosamilia.com/2014/11/01/winter-of-zombie-post-list-winterzombie2014/

©Jay Wilburn, 2014. All rights reserved.