Sneak peeks of the NaNoWriMo project in progress continues! Chapter three of Errand Girl of the Undead: The Trouble with Zombies (remember, no editing done yet, blah blah)
Chapter One can be found here: Click me!
Chapter Two right here: Yup, here
Shock coursed through me and the paper slipped from my fingers. I noticed out the corner of my eye that Tyler was quick to snatch it up before it hit the floor, sliding it into his pocket before others could see it.
“Ellie, you okay? You’re white as a ghost,” he said under his breath, evident concern in his voice. I could do nothing but swallow hard and give a curt nod. I could feel his eyes on me, questioning, before he turned away.
“Okay ladies, I’ve got to get going. My ride needs to get to work.” The girls protested, most of them offering to give him a lift, but he graciously denied them all before giving them his back and closing my locker. Looping an arm through mine, he led me out of the building and towards my car.
With robotic motions, I unlocked the car and got in, sitting in the driver’s seat with my hand poised to put the key in the ignition, but not following through. Tyler fished the note out of his pocket before sitting down and buckling his seat belt. He didn’t read it, but twisted in his seat and held the piece of paper out to me, questioning with his eyes.
I tipped my head towards him, silently giving him the go ahead to read the note. It didn’t take more than a moment. He put the paper in my cup holder and put a hand on my thigh.
“Whoever wrote this, you know it’s not Tomas. You and Samson finished him.”
I nodded. “I know, but then who else could it be and why are they choosing to come forward now? Why didn’t they give me more information? Tell me how to get in touch with them?”
“Maybe they’re just playing with you,” Tyler said, anger flashing briefly in his eyes. He’s very protective of me.
“Maybe,” I agreed, my tone skeptical. I closed my eyes and rubbed them with the heels of my hands. Amazing how a just a couple of random words strung together into a sentence could send your world into a tailspin.
Tyler squeezed my thigh reassuringly. “I’ll help you figure it out if you want me to.” Hands dropping into my lap, I give him a small smile. It’s nice to know I’ve got someone on my side.
“Thanks T. For now, I better get to work. Lots to do today. I’ll drop you off on the way.” He looked like he was going to protest but then thought better of it. After he nodded his agreement, I started the car and headed towards home.
Something about my office was calming to me. I’m not sure if it was the organization of it all–the everything has a place and everything is in its place kind of deal–but it almost always put me at ease.
I looked both ways to make sure no one was watching me as I unlocked the door “normal” people couldn’t see, and entered the space, flipping on the florescent lights as I went. The plaza where my office was located was rundown and almost always empty, which meant there were never a lot of people around to wonder why some preppy blonde girl was disappearing into walls. The ones who are around and might see are typically the kind of folks under the influence of something.
Checking my machine, I saw I had 4 messages waiting. Next to the phone was my stack of pink slips of jobs that needed to be done. It was going to be a long afternoon. My stomach let out a lion-like roar, reminding me that I skimped on lunch. Hey, I barely had time to eat breakfast, never mind pack a lunch. Putting work on hold, I strolled out the door and down to the end of the strip mall where there was still a Chinese take-out place in business. They knew my order by heart and placed it as soon as I walked in. I sat in one of the metal chairs with its shiny red cracked cushion. There was a young couple seated at a table near me. Both were fidgeting with their phones while waiting for their order to be up.
“Hey, did you hear that they found another mangled body?” I overheard the guy say to his brunette companion.
She wrinkled her nose in disgust. “No. Do we really have to talk about it before eating?” I was with her. My stomach may be strong but I’d prefer not to have to hear about bloody body parts right before I eat.
“It was right by our house!” he exclaimed as if that meant he had license to discuss it even though she had nixed the discussion. She sighed and gave in, gesturing for him to continue with his gruesome tale. Unable to help myself, I leaned in a little closer too.
“The body was found in that old playground by the elementary school.”
“Oh no,” the girl said, concern on her face. “I hope one of the kids didn’t come across it. Poor things will have nightmares for life…”
Her guy was quick to shake his head. “No, the cops found it thanks to some anonymous tip.”
My eyebrows rose. Anonymous tip means they either knew it was happening or came upon it but didn’t want to be known because they may have had a hand in it…or some kind of criminal record.
The guy continued, “The body was under that big metal slide, ya know, the one that we’d burn the backs of our legs on going down it in the summer while wearing shorts?” The girl rolled her eyes at his unnecessary description but nodded that she remembered. “Turned out to be some business-type guy. He was all decked out in an expensive suit. They said he had bite marks all over his body.”
My ears perked up at his words and my thoughts immediately drifted to Tyler. No, I shook my head, thanks to his training with Hunter, he’s got the curse under control. And after what Tomas had been making him do, I’m sure Tyler wouldn’t hurt anyone else, not even by gun point. Was there another rogue werewolf around? Had Tomas made a second and had them in hiding before he died? I knew the answer to that was most likely no.
The brunette said something I missed and her companion replied, “No! That’s the crazy thing; they said they are most definitely human bites! Isn’t that insane?”
“Some other human bit this guy to death?” She was turning an unattractive shade of green.
“Yeah! Not just bites either. They said pieces of flesh had been torn off the guy’s body and–get this–his head had been bashed open and part of the brain was eaten!” His eyes gleamed with a sick excitement as he relayed the story to his distressed girlfriend.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” she said, before slapping a hand over her mouth. He just laughed and got up to grab their food which had been placed on the counter.
“It’s probably just some addict, ya know, like that guy on bath salts that attacked a guy in Florida. Come on, I’ll protect you on the walk home,” he said, throwing an arm around her shoulder. I didn’t think she looked too assured by his words, but left with him all the same
I had heard that story and always felt there was something off about it. Sure drugs can make you do crazy things, but turn you into a cannibal? I wasn’t not so sure. The guy’s words swam around in my brain as I tried to make sense of the story, to come up with a logical explanation. Although, was anything about murder and violence really logical? They’re often considered crimes of passion for a reason.
In the distance I heard the cashier call me over. I got up and moved like a zombie towards the register. Arm out to grab the bag, I froze. No. It couldn’t be…could it? I blinked a couple times, coming out of my trans-like state. I tossed a couple of bucks on the counter and told them to keep the change as I raced out of the restaurant and back to my store front. I had some research to do before running my errands.
This could be a big deal.
Brain eating zombies normally were.