With only hours to save themselves Zoey Moody and Joe Rigatelli are in the most primal race for survival they have ever faced. Teaming up after a simple planetside trip goes horribly wrong, they are fighting for their lives against the worst alien infestation imaginable. Zombies
Length: Short Story
Word Count: 18,540
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Emergency lights barely cut through the bare humid atmosphere. The weak yellow haze reminded Zoey of her childhood addiction to video games. Eerie, violent, dumb, fun, she’d once thought. Not so much now, she grimaced, letting the sweating pipes take her weight.
Who would have thought she’d be the star in her own real-live zombie flick? She almost laughed, but was afraid that once she started, she’d never stop. She and rational thought had parted ways days ago. Or had it been hours?
Zoey shook her head. Even the damn setting was perfect for her B rated role. The spaceship’s endless maze of pipe and ducting snaked through the underbelly and service tunnels of the Pisces, carrying power, water, and until recently, temperature regulated life-sustaining oxygen.
On the lookout for more monsters, she settled the aluminum softball bat on her opposite shoulder. Why couldn’t she have had the video game version of this hell? At least then she’d get cool weapons and armor upgrades. The damned bat now felt like it weighed a ton and pressed the slick, generic vinyl one piece coverall against her skin, where the suit stayed stuck. Still, she was thankful for the freaking hot protective cover-all. Without it, she would be dead, or worse.
Zoey refused to think of the worse, or acknowledge the red smeared evidence of the unlucky ones on her coverall. Really, what she needed was sleep. Every muscle in her body quivered, exhausted, at the end of her stamina. Her eyelids drooped despite the fact that the rhythmic hiss-hiss of her oxygen mask overpowered her hearing.
The mask was a constant in her fucked up life. She longed for a breath of unfettered oxygen that she once took for granted. The high levels of carbon dioxide now pumping through the ventilation system would suffocate her in minutes. Lovely if you were a tropical plant, she supposed. Or one of the zombies. It sucked meteors if you were human.
A stray bolt slid across the floor; its lazy velocity jerked Zoey into instant alertness. Adrenaline pumped through her system. Fucking slow rotters! She ducked out of a potential grab from behind and swung the bat, intending to run once she knew where the zombie was coming from.
“Hey!” An oxygen mask hampered the man’s deep voice, but he dodged, barely moving out of the way of her swing. Zoey swallowed her fear. She raised the bat again. “Hey! I’m okay. I’m o-kay.” He repeated, drawing out the last word as if she were impaired. Her heart hammered in her chest, her fight or flight response screaming through her veins along with the shot of adrenaline.
She lowered the bat watching the shadow of his eyebrows raise as he read the blood and gore smeared inscription, Class of 2510 Go Rockets! He didn’t appear zombie-fied. She saw his raised arms for the first time. His weapon of choice appeared to be a table leg, ripped from one of the cheap artificial wood tables that PrimaTech outfitted the Pisces with. Blood and gore clung to the square end of the table leg. “Your eyes,” She pointed to her own mask then at his. “Let me see your eyes.”
The man nodded, carefully using the sleeve of his own cheap coverall to wipe the detritus from the face shield. Zoey purposely shoved the thought of where the muck came from out of her mind. Eyes wide, he turned his head left and right. “See? Blue eyes, probably bloodshot. No orange at all. I’m okay,” he repeated, in an attempt to sooth. She wasn’t comforted, but did drop her bat from the ready position. A fine tremor began in her joints as she sagged against the pipes again. God, she was tired.
“We should find a hidey-hole. A place that locks from the inside. With manual locks.” The man edged closer. Damn, but he was big, she noticed. He was half-again bigger that her, the top of his head and shoulders towered over her. The man took a moment to double-check the path that he’d come from then reached out a hand that Zoey simply stared at. “Joe Rigatelli.” He waited, nodding at the smirk.
“Rigatelli? Isn’t that a pasta dish?” Changing the heading he was aiming for, Zoey ducked under a grouping of fiber-filled pipes, the kind that sent data and power humming through the Pisces so that it could keep the engines and equipment on the heading to the next space station. She did like the way he smiled, without offense, as he crawled behind her.
“Rigatoni is a pasta. Rigatelli is the chef.” His answer made her stop and twist around. The movement was awkward, but she spied a flash of humor in his expression; the smile behind the mask reassured her. “My oh-so-fashionable white-on-white official ensemble is at the cleaners.”
“Chef, eh? Or cafeteria assembly line?” She quipped, drawing a chuckle from him, once again proving his good humor in dire circumstances. She supposed PrimaTech’s zealous dress code was a bit militant and color-by-numberish by most civilian standards. But Zoey had dedicated her entire career to the company; it was in her blood. The uniforms and psueo-military hierarchy were all she knew as far as jobs went. Zoey’s fear eased down a bit. On the bright side, she’d probably never have to wear her blah uniform of gray slacks and shirt again.
“Zoey Moody. Corporate keyboard jockey. Data entry drone.” She was just another geek nobody that wasn’t missed on Earth, not even by her family, who measured importance by some formula of indolence and wealth that never appealed to her. After years of fighting to go her own way, building success on her own merits, like her revered ship-building ancestor, sipping a Mai Tai at an exclusive resort sounded pretty good right now.
His gloved hand closed on her ankle and she stifled the urge to squeal. Joe nodded to the left, indicating a huddle of zombies crouched in a widening circle of blood. Damn, but she hadn’t seen them. If Joe hadn’t grabbed her, she’d have popped up almost behind the things.