Life is so busy folks! I hope you don’t mind another sneak peek of the project I started during NaNoWriMo, the second story in the Errand Girl of the Undead series, The Trouble with Zombies. Remember, no editing has been done, blah blah blah.
Here are previous chapters!
Chapter One: Read me first!
Chapter Two: Read me second!
Chapter Three: Read me third!
Trying to do legitimate research on zombies when we live in such a zombie-crazed society was next to impossible. Using the Web, I got hits about movies, make-up tips, zombie walks and debates over whether they should walk slow or fast. Ridiculous. There were a couple of sites with ideas about how a pandemic could cause a wide spread zombie outbreak, but from the story I heard and the articles I found on the attacks, it seemed like it could be done by a singular zombie. Glancing at the clock I saw I was running short on time. Additional research would have to wait. I had errands to run.
After a bit of a confrontation at the blood bank–I admit, I’d question a teenaged girl picking up multiple bags of blood too–I got through the rest of my errands with ease, even getting a chance to return all my calls and book a few more jobs for next week.
My energy level was teetering on empty when I walked in the front door. I was not looking forward to putting in a couple hours’ worth of work into my school assignments.
“Everything okay?” Tyler asked, meeting me at the door like a well-trained Labrador. I often joked with him, asking where my cigar and slippers were when he met me. Rather than get annoyed, he always joked he’d fetch whatever I wanted. Patting his head, I stepped past him, not engaging in our typical banter.
“Ellie?” He was at my heels, but I really needed a shot of energy before I could launch into my theories with him.
“Hey!” Tyler was suddenly in front of me, his newly filled out physique keeping me from moving forward. When had he gotten quick enough to get the jump on me? Annoyed, I attempted to push past him. Much to my surprised, he backed me up against the kitchen wall, holding my arms above my head with one hand. I was too shocked to react and fight my way out of his grasp. His body was flush against mine and I could feel the heat radiating off of him. Not that I’ve been so up close and personal with guys’ bodies, but Tyler’s seemed to throw off more heat than I expected. A wolf thing? Tilting my head up, I caught his gaze, surprised to see anger there. It clicked on my bitch setting.
“If you’re going to violate me, your junk might thank you for patting me down first. You never know what sharp toys I may have hidden under these clothes.” I knew the second the words left my mouth that I should have shut up. It was the kind of retort I would have given Samson, who would have laughed it off before slapping my ass and going on his way. Ty was sensitive and didn’t always get my warped sense of humor. The hurt that flooded his features had me feeling lower than dog crap on the bottom of my favorite pair of shoes.
“I’m sorry, you know I didn–”
“You could have just said you were fine,” he cut me off, dropping my arms like they were burning him. Without another word, he slipped past me and headed up the stairs. My chin dropped to my chest, my arms limp at my sides. How could I be so stupid?
“No wonder why you don’t have any friends.” Samson’s low voice reached out and pushed my remaining buttons.
“Maybe I like it that way. Maybe it’s better to be alone so it doesn’t hurt when,” I made air quotes, “‘friends’, stop being friends,” I said, head snapping up, my gaze landing on him so he knew my comment was about him. He cocked his head to the side, raising one shoulder and just watched as I stomped through the kitchen. Taking my frustrations out on cabinet drawers wasn’t nearly as satisfying as I had hoped. I almost hoped Samson would push back so we could have a physical altercation. I was going to be all wound up until I got to hit something. Instead, he took a seat at the table and watched me as I made a pot of coffee and slapped together a ham and cheese sandwich.
“There’s food on the stove for you,” he commented, nodding towards a covered pot. I glanced at it, wondering what wonderful concoction Siobhan had come up with. Glancing down at the sad ham sandwich in my hand, I cursed myself for not checking for dinner before making something. Samson’s hand appeared at my side, palm up. I looked at him, my anger going from a boil to a simmer. Without a word I placed the sandwich in his hand. He took a huge bite before smiling around his mouth full of food. Even without the words, we both knew it was an apology to each other.
Stepping around him, I took the lid off the pot and took in the sweet aroma of curry. Siobhan had made my favorite. Spying the rice cooker on the other counter, I knew there’d be perfectly fluffy rice away for me to coat with aromatic, spicy curry and chicken.
Samson settled back into a chair at the table, one leg crossed over the other as he took somewhat dainty bites out of the ham sandwich. I tried to ignore the feeling of his stare as I grabbed a bowl from the cabinet.
“Ya know, some people might consider a bowl of curry a peace offering. Especially curry made by Siobhan.” His tone was nonchalant but I knew what he was getting at. Could food soothe the savage beast? Only one way to find out.
Grabbing a second bowl, I scooped out the pristine rice and coated both helpings with a generous amount of curry. Digging in one of the bottom cabinets turned up a dinner tray. I loaded up the bowls, utensils and a couple of cans of soda before heading out of the kitchen.
Samson, his sandwich gone, followed me out without a word as I made my way up the stairs. I wondered why he was following, but when I got to Tyler’s door, I realized I didn’t have a free hand to knock with. The furry blue demon reached around me and rapped sharply on the door before disappearing in a puff of sulfur. I didn’t even get to say thanks.
The door opened a crack and Tyler’s soulful eye peered out. It looked a bit glassy and bloodshot. Oh God, had I made him cry? I’m an awful, awful person.
“I’m sorry,” I said, head bowed and tray of food shoved out towards him. The silence stretched on for an achingly long time. Was he not going to accept my apology? Would I have to get down on my knees and beg? I valued his friendship, but I wasn’t sure I would go to that extent. I do have a reputation to uphold. Finally, my outstretched arms shaking, I lifted my head to see what was going on. Tyler had opened the door more and was leaning against the molding, arms crossed over his chest.
“Well?” I asked, exasperated by the situation.
He smirked at me. “I thought I’d make you sweat it out a bit; see how it feels when someone keeps you waiting.”
Ooh. He’s giving me a taste of my own medicine. That’s so not good.
As the silverware on the tray started to rattle from my waning arm strength, Tyler reached out and took the food from me. My arms dropped, screaming their thanks. I guess I needed to find more time to get into the gym if my arms were going to be such pansies. He used his foot to push the door all the way open and gestured with his head for me to enter.
I’ve been in his room numerous times before, but it felt different this time around and I wasn’t sure why. My thoughts flashed back to Tyler having me pushed up against the wall. A flush rose to my cheeks and I hurried to his window and threw it open.
“Smells like boy in here,” I said, keeping my head down so he hopefully wouldn’t notice my blush.
Tyler sat crossed legged on the floor, his back leaning against the bed, a bowl of steaming curry in his lap. I took my position next to him and we ate in blissful silence, simply enjoying the flavorful meal. Tyler, being the boy that he is, scraped the bottom of his bowl long before I did, stopping only to down his entire can of soda in one take. The resulting belch was award winning.
“You ready to talk now?” he asked after wiping the back of his mouth on his long sleeve. “I was worried when I left you earlier. You came home looking wiped and didn’t answer me. I assumed something had happened.”
Guilt rolled in again. “Sorry. I’m okay. I just had a lot on my mind and a busy afternoon. I needed to build up my energy before getting into it with you.”
Tyler rolled his eyes. “You could have just said you were fine or to give you a minute. I would have backed off.”
I sighed. “I know…sorry.” Scooping some more rice into my mouth, I thought back to the reason I had been upset when Ty and I had split for the day. The bowl was abandoned on the tray as I fished in my pocket for the note from my locker. I was so wrapped up in the whole zombie possibly attacking people thing that I had forgotten about the mystery message.
Taking a closer look, I noticed the paper was ordinary, probably ripped from a journal or something similar since there were no lines on it. It seemed a little thicker than normal paper so maybe something from an artist’s sketchbook? The ink, a dark blue almost black color, bled slightly into the pores of the page. The message was written in small, tight script. Bringing the paper closer to my eyes, I noticed areas where little of ink gathered and bled a bit more, as if the point of the pen was left on that spot rather than continuing it’s smooth journey to the end of the word. That led me to believe the message wasn’t penned with a ballpoint, but possibly a fountain? Who still used fountain pens, pretentious literary types? More likely, someone who is very old but doesn’t look anywhere near their age. The stopping of the pen also led me to believe the author was trying to make the note very neat and probably make sure the writing didn’t look like their typical scrawl. If that was the case, did it mean I knew the typical scrawl? Was the note left by someone close to me? It seemed very likely, considering very few people knew what went on in the moments before Tomas’ death.
Who knew and why weren’t they coming right out and telling me what I wanted to know? I was going to find out and they would be sorry they had play games.