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.
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.