Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!
Don’t forget to check at the bottom of this post for some crazy prizes you can win
I thought I’d start off the Creepfest Blog Hop with something special just for you. This story was written especially for Joshua Guess’s Living With the Dead Universe, and until today, has only been seen in LWtD: Year One.
At the time, Adele’s hit, “Rolling in the Deep” was playing everywhere and I love the song. I researched the phrase and found different meanings to it — in the urban dictionary, it means having someone’s back, or letting people know you are not one to fuck with. “Rolling in the deep” also conjures an image of a small ship battling the deep, dark ocean in a storm.
So, here’s little Pete’s story. He might be a kid, but he’s rolling in the deep.
Rollin’ in the Deep
I’m watchin’ them from the tree stand. They can’t climb trees too good, so I think I’m purty safe up here. It’s a might chilly when the wind comes a’whippin, though the winter season is still a few weeks off, I reckon. I nicked some of that stuff Dr. Evan was makin’ in the clinic, and sprayed it all over my jacket like Daddy taught me when he was trying to make me a man by taking me out huntin’. I’m kerful to stay upwind anyways, and I got a purty good sightline even through the leaves. Only then it was about deer huntin’, and now it’s about makin’ sure the zombies don’t get me.
At least, not ’til I’m ready.
People think they’re gross and ugly, but they ain’t, not really. Look at ‘em. They’re strong. They don’t seem to worry too much about nothin’. The colder weather might slow ‘em down a lick, but they’s pretty lively, mostly. They don’t smell no worse than the stuff Daddy used to hunt with. And they smell a sight better than my uncle Joe Bob, come to think of it. Some of them act like they’s right smart. A lot smarter than a lot of people I know, anyways.
When we was huntin’, Daddy’d hand me a brown bottle. “You spray it all over, Pete,” and the stink of deer piss made me like to gag. I held it in, though, ’cause if I gagged or threw up all that would get me was a beatin’. This zombie stuff stinks way worse, but there ain’t no one around to call me a sissy boy or punch me if I gag. I hold it in anyway.
The zombies ate my daddy. I can’t say this really bothered me overmuch. Momma pitched a fit, and Uncle Joe Bob was pretty mad, but it wasn’t like the world was gonna miss him much. I know I didn’t. I figgered the zombies did me a favor and I owed ‘em one. At least I wouldn’t get beat no more ’cause I wasn’t being man enough for him. I wouldn’t have to hear about being a “sissy boy” and sent out to sleep in the barn on account I wasn’t fit ta be with “normal” folk.
At least, that’s what I thought when the zombie tore into Daddy’s neck and ripped out his throat. I forgot about Uncle Joe Bob.
After Daddy done got ate, Uncle Joe Bob said we had to get on our knees and thank the Baby Jesus we was still alive. I was grateful and all, but three hours on your knees is a lot of thanking. He listened to the radio and said we were gonna have to move to somewhere safer. Momma said, “We ain’t gonna cotton to no folk lessen’ they’s good God-fearin’ people.”
Uncle Joe Bob said, “Woman, shut yore mouf. It ain’t like they’s a lot to choose from enymore.” Momma jest clutched her Bible and shut her mouth. Daddy knew how to handle the women-folk and Uncle Joe Bob was no different.
I didn’t much care one way ta’ the other, to be honest. Warn’t like they was gonna ask for my opinion, anyways. Nobody much listens to a kid, specially a kid like me. Not ’til we got to the compound, and even then, people don’t pay much attention to the kid of a buncha hillbillies.
See? Lookit that one over there. See ‘im? He’s one of the smart ones. They called them “smarties” at the compound. See how he’s herdin’ a group of the zombies together? Like he’s got a plan. He ain’t fallin’ apart like a lot of ‘em do, neither. And he moves faster than the rest, even in the colder weather. I find that downright innerestin’, don’t you?
At first, bein’ at the compound was a lot better than jest bein’ with Momma and Uncle Joe Bob. The people of the compound had it secure purty good, workin’ on a big wall with plenty of supplies and stuff. You could tell they been workin’ hard and pullin’ together. I don’t mind hard work, it was a sight better than where we was, and a lot safer. There was food and ammo and nice people. Mostly.
‘Cept for that creepy preacher man. He’d be churchin’ every Sunday, jest like things were normal-like, and Momma’d drag me along even though I had no taste fer it. I had to listen to hours of how the zombies were God’s punishment ’cause we’s a sinful folk, and Preacher John would point out people livin’ on the compound that were still bein’ sinful, living together without God’s blessin’ and fornicatin’, women with more than one man and fornicatin’, men with men and fornicatin’. Seemed to me he was worried overmuch with fornicatin’. Momma and Uncle Joe Bob went along with all of it, like I didn’t know about their own fornicatin’. I wonder what the preacher woulda thought about that, although he had his own thang goin’ on, sure did.
After the churchin’, Uncle Joe Bob would git all worked up, like Daddy used to git. That’s when I’d really have to watch kerful. You know, strut around and agree with everythang he said. Pretend I thunk the way he did about the pit of sinfulness we landed in, and how everybody here but us was headed for the Devil’s house and taking us with ‘em because they’s was the cause of the zombies in the first place. Momma’d chime right in. Didn’t really much care, to tell you the truth, until Uncle Joe Bob started in on Patrick.
Patrick was special. He was always lookin’ out fer me, took time to talk to me while I was workin’on the wall and actually paid attention to what I said. I used to like Patrick a lot. Mebbe that’s why Uncle Joe Bob was really on his case. “What you hanging around that faggot for, boy?” he’d yell at me. “What’s wrong with you? Don’chu you know that’s why the zombies are here? Preacher John even says so!”
“I ain’t hangin’ around him,” I’d say. “I’m jest workin’ like I’m s’posed to.”
“Well, you watch yerself, boy. I swear, I see a zombie comin’ fer me or a queer boy, I’d shoot the queer boy first, no questions axed. Even if’n they was related.” Then he’d squint his eyes at me like I was under one of them fancy microscopes Dr. Evan used. Momma’d stand there and nod her head, eyes bright and hands clutching her everlastin’ Bible.
“’Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither male prostitutes nor homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God’,” she cooed, caressing the covers of that danged book. “That’s what it says in Corinthians, that’s what Preacher John says. These people here are walkin’ on dangerous ground, and I ain’t aimin’ to go to hell or get et by the zombies ’cause they can’t control they’s urges.”
I didn’t bother to say they was a lot more people in that passage of Corinthians, like idolaters, adulterers and fornicators, not to mention thieves. I warn’t gonna point out Uncle Joe Bob and Momma had a little of their own fornicatin’ goin’ on, neither. And after I saw what went on after churchin’ in the preacher’s house I jest concentrated on not gaggin’ when any of ‘em started shootin’ off they mouths.
I almost tole Patrick about it, but I guess I’m glad I didn’t, the way things turned out. I thought Patrick liked me too, but he really didn’t. He got hisself a girlfriend, and he didn’t have much time fer me after that. Yeah, it kinda hurt my feelins. I thought he was different.
I started spending more time in the clinic, sweeping floors and cleaning up. Miss Juanita and Dr. Evan were nice people. I learned me a lot of stuff, ‘specially bout the zombies. I tole Momma and Uncle Joe Bob about the bacteria thang, and Momma threw one o’ her hissy fits and wanted me to quit working there.
“I ain’t gonna have my only son tainted and turned into a zombie!” she yelled. “I ain’t gonna git et in the night by my own flesh and blood! Sweet Jesus, deliver us!”
But Uncle Joe Bob talked it over with Preacher John and they tole her to shut it and me to keep my eyes open. I swear, Uncle Joe Bob wouldn’t so much as take a dump without Preacher John’s say-so.
It was Preacher John’s idear to mark people’s houses. You know, the ones fornicatin’ and stuff. O’course, when we got caught and that little girl died, I felt awful even if Uncle Joe Bob said it was a sign. Of what, I don’t know. Lindsey never did nothin’ to nobody as far as I knew. The compound people were pretty mad. They ran ole’ Preacher John right outta here and left him nekkid in the cold wilderness. But I knew that ornery ole’ cuss’d be back. Them religious folk, they got a way of sticking around.
Momma and Uncle Joe Bob got a whippin’ and had to work extra hard for a bit, but they never did give me up. Hoo doggy, they was madder than a wet hen. Uncle Joe Bob said, “Who do they think they is, enyway? They ain’t got no right whippin’ people, it warn’t our fault that girl got et.” He rubbed his butt, scratched his crotch, and kept on goin’, Momma bobbin’ her head like it was attached by a string to Uncle Joe Bob’s right hand. “Preacher John said that was probably a sign o’ her momma and daddy’s sinnin’, and they had it comin’. We’s gittin outta here, Lily Mae.” Momma jest nodded and nodded.
“But I don’t want to leave, Uncle,” I started to say, but he smacked me across the face so hard I tasted blood.
“Don’t you smart off to me, boy! You ain’t stayin’ here with this bunch of faggots and fornicators! ‘Lessen you want to be one of them yerself. Is that what you want?” To my way of thinkin’, this bunch of faggots and fornicators were a sight better than what I was dealin’ with, but it ain’t like I had a choice. “You owe us, boy, don’t you never fergit that. You shoulda been whipped right along with the rest of us. I say we go, and yer goin’ with us.” He was right, I knowed it.
I’m still watchin’ that smartie, watchin’ what he’s doin’. He’s got a group of zombies gathered over there, see ‘em? They’s jest standing there, I know they don’t talk. At least, I don’t think they do, but that smartie’s got something going on. I wonder what he’s doin’ with ‘em. He’s walkin’ ’round in a circle, ’round and ’round. Every once in a while he reaches out and touches one and they shudder. I wonder if it has somethin’ to do with that bacteria thang Dr. Evans was talkin’ ’bout. The wind’s changin’, I kin hear the leaves rustlin’ and the smell is purty rank, but I think I’m still okay up here.
Anyways, I was right about Preacher John. It warn’t too long before he was back. Tole you he was ornery. Even the zombies didn’t want to et him, and I don’t blame ‘em. He and Uncle Joe Bob huddled together for a coupla days, whisperin’ and I jest knew they was up to no good. I tried to warn Patrick, but he didn’t have no time fer me no more, and it wasn’t like I had friends to tell. They’s nice people at the compound, don’t git me wrong, but livin’ with Uncle Joe Bob and Momma didn’t make me very popular. It’s like nobody wanted nothin’ to do with me.
Any chance I had of gittin’ along without Uncle Joe Bob and Momma was killed right along with Preacher John when he held up that little kid in front of him when we was tryin’ to git some stuff from the armory. Somebody had the guts to take the shot, and down ole’ Preacher went. The compound people were danged mad about the whole thang, but what can you ‘spect from a man like Preacher John?
There was a lotta harsh words thrown ’round, sure was. Oh, Uncle Joe Bob blamed it all on the preacher, but he was hell-bent on gittin’ outta there. He was locked up for a spell when we tried to git some vittles from the storage, and I guess the people from the compound decided we all should git on with the goin’ if we wanted to so bad. I didn’t want to leave, and I’m thinking none of the other kids did neither, but we warn’t never gonna be one of them and we all knowed it. So even though they gave us a choice, it warn’t much of one.
That smartie is still circling around his buddies. He stops for a time at the ones he’s touched and I could swear they’s talking. One by one the rest kinda jest wander off. I guess they ain’t innerested in what he’s sayin’. Dr. Evan said somethin’ once about how they’s changin’, gitting smarter and passin’ that along to the others. I guess they ain’t all cut out fer it. Makes me wonder.
Leaving the compound was hard, but it warn’t nothing compared to what I had to deal with once we was outta there. Uncle Joe Bob ain’t dumb when it comes to survivin’, that’s fer sure, but he leaves a heap ta be desired when it comes to people skills. They’s all holed up about five miles from here, but after a couple of weeks of getting’ beat fer no reason and watchin’ him have his way with all the women-folk whether they wanted it or not (and most of ‘em didn’t) I’d had enough.
That’s why I’m in this tree stand and watchin’. There’s no way I can take on Uncle Joe Bob by myself. I’m jest a kid. But look at them thar zombies. They’s strong, and they never give up. I ain’t stupid. I bet I could be a smartie.
And a smartie zombie’s a sight smarter than Uncle Joe Bob.
Here’s the deal: At the end of the Blog Hop, on December 24th, I will give away twelve e-copies of “Athena’s Promise”, one for every day of Creepfest. But that’s not all! I will also give away one autographed print copy. WAIT! One more thing — I’m so excited about Creepfest, I will also give away one Amazon gift card in the amount of $20!
Since this is a sweepstakes and not a contest, entering is easy-peasy, and you can enter as many times as you like. Here’s how:
Leave a comment on any (or all) blog posts here during Creepfest.
Sign up for my Once in a Blue Moon Newsletter. (No spam, I swear.)
Like my Facebook Fan page.
Like “Athena’s Promise” on her Amazon page.
Tweet about this blog or AP and use the hashtag #AthenasPromise so I can track properly.
Mention this blog or AP on YOUR blog.
That’s it. You’ll get one entry apiece for each action – up to 17 entries if you do each of these things! Damn! I will tally the results from all twelve days and choose the winners via Random.org. Make sure you leave a comment that lets me know what you did and include a working email address so I can make an accurate count and contact you if you win.
Spread the word! The more the merrier
Visit the Creepfest Blog Hop page for a complete listing of participating blogs and have fun!