It’s a dark, dreary October evening in the smoky hills of Tennessee. The cool, fall air is still and it seems not a soul is stirring in the small town of Chester on this slow moving Friday. The local forecasters predict rain for the rest of the weekend, so it seems no hunting is in order for the simple folk of the area. The main stretch of shops and businesses in “downtown” Chester are all closing down shop for the weekend. The air seems stagnant and still, a calm seemingly innocuous evening, typical of the small town of about 5,000.
At the Golden Star Apache Casino on the edge of town the regulars are gambling away their weekly wages and drinking the local fare of bourbon whiskey and snacking on complimentary beef jerky. Among them is Mick Donnell, a local who owns a pawn shop right outside of downtown Chester. Mick is a handsome, 35-year-old who refused to grow up. Everyone in Chester seemed to have some sort of secret to hide or a shameful vice keeping them from getting out of the one horse town. In Mick’s case, it was a long and messy love affair with gambling, booze, and a few local women, two of which he had gotten pregnant and had a kid with. Between his failing pawn shop and child support Mick was barely making ends meet.
Still, Mick seemed to make it week to week, getting his fill of blackjack, cheap whiskey, and, if lucky, a pretty girl to take back home. His country charm seemed to work, for some reason, on many of the ladies that went to the Golden Star Casino. He lived by a rigid schedule; working at his store by day and drinking and gambling by night.
Mick collected the rest of his chips from the blackjack table and turned to his lady friend of the night.
“What do you say we head to my place and have a couple of drinks?”
A cute young blonde, Sandy smirked at Mick. “Sure, why not.”
Taking Sandy by the hand they cashed out the meager sum of their chips and headed to the parking lot to Mick’s old, red ‘89 Bronco.
“What a weird night,” said Sandy.
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know, it just seems like it’s too quiet or something. Feels like there’s a chill in the air.”
And, indeed, there was a chill in the air. A chill that Mick would never forget for the rest of his days. A chill that would remind him of what was to follow for as long as he lived.
Mick and Sandy arrived at Mick’s one-bedroom house in an old wooded neighborhood near the casino.
“What a lovely home,” Sandy snickered sarcastically.
“It’s no Playboy mansion, but I get by.”
Sandy smiled as they headed head inside.
“Would m’lady like a glass of wine?,” Mick inquired.
“Why yes, I certainly would, good sir,” said Sandy playfully.
Jack headed to the kitchen and grabbed the most expensive bottle he could find, a $15 bottle of shiraz he’d bought a year ago and had completely forgotten about. While uncorking the wine, Mick thought he caught something in the corner of his eye scampering through the backyard.
“Must be the whiskey getting to me,” he thought, and let it go.
Mick glided playfully into the living room with the glasses filled with the cheap wine. “Hope you like shiraz.”
“Perfect,” Sandy said, not knowing a shiraz from a glass of Boone’s Farm.
Trying hard to set the perfect mood for the evening Mick lit a fire in his shabby little fireplace.
“So, Sandy, what is it you…”
All the sudden a hard knock on the door interrupted their conversation.
“Mick! Hurry!” came the voice behind the door.
Mick recognized the voice of Doug, his 27-year-old neighbor notorious for growing and smoking his own marijuana. Mick suspected Doug was either being chased by the cops or just really stoned and paranoid about something.
“Mick, open the door!” Doug yelled again.
Mick opened the door and Doug rushed into the house, out of breath and reeking of pot, and carrying a fireplace poker.
Mitch grabbed Doug by the arm, “Doug, what the hell are you doing? I have a guest here!”
“Mitch, this is serious. I think zombies are attacking the neighborhood!”
Mitch was not surprised by this response. Doug was known for such antics like running around the neighborhood warning his neighbors that the FBI was tapping all of their phones because of an alien conspiracy. Mitch knew he wouldn’t leave unless he played along with Doug’s imagination.
“I know, Doug, this is bad. We’ve been securing my house and gathering supplies to defend ourselves. It is imperative that you warn the rest of the neighbors before the zombies get any closer.”
“Wow, I didn’t think you would believe me,” said Doug quizzically. “But, I knew you would be prepared for something like this, Mitch. You’re a thinker.”
“Doug, you go warn the neighbors and we’ll keep securing the house against the zombies!”
This seemed to sound good to Doug. The hero that he was, Doug knew he would have to take charge and warn his neighbors against the imminent danger of zombies in his neighborhood.
“Ok, Mitch. I’ll warn everyone while you prepare.” Doug ran out of the house in a drunken stupor on a quest to save the lives of his beloved neighbors, armed bravely with only his courage and a fire poker.
Mitch strolled back into his living room, Sandy awaiting him in only her bra and undies. “Well, hello there!” said Mitch excitedly.
“I knew you’d like that. What was that anyway?”
“Just my crazy pot-head neighbor, Doug. Thinks the neighborhood is being attacked by zombies.”
Falling on the couch helplessly Sandy said, “Oh no, you’d better come over here and protect me!”
Mitch, surprised at his good fortune, hopped atop his helpless little maiden and they began kissing and groping vigorously.
As their little love session was heating up, they heard a shrill scream from the street. Almost immediately they heard hard pounding on the front door and glass breaking from the front windows. Mitch flew off the couch and to his horror, saw a horde of bloody, rotting corpses climbing into his house. He looked at the faces of these disgusting creatures and noticed the familiar faces of his neighbors and friends, and Doug!
The zombies scrambled ravenously toward Mitch and Sandy, blood dripping from almost every pat of their bodies. Mitch grabbed Sandy and ran to the kitchen and slammed the door.
“What the hell is going on!?” Sandy screamed.
Mitch couldn’t even speak as he grabbed the biggest, sharpest object he could find.
The zombies began crashing through the kitchen door and through the back porch, trapping Mitch and Sandy. Mitch began stabbing every piece of slimy flesh he could reach. Trying as hard as he could to hold on to Sandy, Doug and the rest of his demonic, flesh eating neighbors ripped Sandy limb from limb. Her flesh and blood was strewn throughout the kitchen as Doug grabbed Mitch by the neck.
“Mitch. Wake up, Mitch!” A dealer at the casino tapped Mitch, who was passed out drunk at the blackjack table. “Mitch, it’s two AM. We’re closing the casino.”
Mitch hopped up and stumble to his feet. “What just happened?” Mitch managed.
“You’re drunk dude. You’ve been passed out here since eleven.”
“The girl you were with? She left four hours ago, you were making an ass out of yourself. Guess you’re not getting lucky tonight, bud.”
“At least I didn’t get eaten by zombies,” said Mitch.
Mitch left the casino and headed home by himself, glad for the first time that he didn’t go home with a pretty girl named Sandy.
Written by John McKoy, Copyright 2009
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