The Decaying Undead // Tribes of Decay Book Excerpt
A terrible silence fell over the open space. Mia scanned the lot from one line of the dead at the end of the street to the opposing line. The first of the infected stepped out into the light, but they didn’t rush after her nor did they let out their dreadful cries. Several pale-skinned figures walked calmly to the edge of the lot. The sight of their self-control was unlike anything Mia had ever seen, and it was more horrible than she could have imagined. The group looked at her, their hate-filled eyes unnaturally wide. Most of their limbs jerked and twitched sporadically, fighting to contain themselves.
The shadows between the buildings shifted as more and more figures pushed in behind the first. Mia gasped, trying desperately to keep her wits about her. She could feel the panic working its way into her heart as her hands shook beyond her control. A central figure stepped away from the group of infected and started across the lot. The dead along the road never moved, not even when the first few yelps of devilish desire called out from the shadows.
It was a woman, her open shirt revealing her breasts. Patches of violet dotted her neck and face in between the dark lines beneath her skin. The woman reached the center of the parking lot and came to a stop. Her wild eyes ran the length of Mia from her feet to her head, her arms shuddering erratically every few seconds. The stare off lasted too long for Mia’s nerves. Her response rang out before her mind could process what she was saying.
“Just eat me already.”
The words echoed across the open space, startling the onlookers. The spur was enough to get them to move. The shadows erupted in a brutal howl and the masses of undead started forward from opposite ends of the street as the crowd of infected burst into action. Mia felt her heart seize up in her chest, but her eyes remained glued on the mob. The infected woman never moved, not even when the snarling crowd barreled passed her. Mia’s mind froze, unable to process what was about to happen. The last thing she expected was someone to call out her name.
Rowan didn’t know why he yelled the command, but it was too late to do anything about it. The survivors that still had the strength to move were up and running. All at once the grassland erupted with a hellacious chorus of dead-speak. The moans of the dead quickly followed as the tall grass came alive with frantic movement.
Zombies burst into the open space, lashing wildly at the panic-stricken survivors. Rowan only had a moment to search through the faces under the moonlight before he was confronted. A pair of undead women stepped in from the grass, one with its chest split open from the neck to the navel, the other with the bone showing through one side of its face and a half-eaten eyeball bouncing in its exposed socket.
They were on him before he could do anything about it. Rowan got his hands up before one of them latched its teeth on to the tip of his nose. The other zombie had its arms around him, forcing Rowan to slide his hand inside its exposed cavity, through the opening in its chest. Rowan leaned away to keep from getting bit, but he couldn’t hold back the full weight of both women.
Searing pain rose up his arm as fingernails ripped into his skin. Rowan pushed his hand deeper into the chest cavity of the zombie forcing itself on him. He launched his fist up through rotten organs and grabbed a hold of its esophagus from the inside. One hard pull snapped its head back and another yank brought the entire lining down and out into the open. She stumbled backwards and the freedom allowed Rowan the opportunity to push the other zombie aside, slashing it across the throat as it went.
One of the survivors slammed into the gutted zombie and knocked it to the ground. Another survivor slowed down long enough to kick the other zombie in the chest. The impact revealed the depth of Rowan’s attack. Its head fell back at an impossible angle, dangling on its shoulder, hanging on by the spine.
There was a deep breath followed by a series of movements somewhere behind the dwelling. Rowan studied the stretched hide that covered the top of the structure until a small slit produce a familiar face. Mia’s eyes were burning red and the darkness couldn’t hide her pain. She took a hesitant glance at something out in front of the dwelling before pulling the cover back far enough to slide in and drop down.
“Your father’s going to kill you,” Rowan whispered.
“You should talk.”
She grabbed him and pulled him close. The two kissed more passionately than either of their years could account for. She finally let him go and Rowan sat back, out of breath.
“I was worried about you,” Mia admitted.
“I need to get you worried more often.”
“That’s not funny,” she said. “The entire council is discussing what to do with you.”
“The chains kind of gave that away,” Rowan said, pulling on his binds. “I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Mia’s eyes went to the floor. She couldn’t bear to look up at him as she spoke.
“What happened to Darian?”
Rowan’s throat dried up all at once. He tried to say something, but nothing came out. His heart thumped in his chest as a vision of his cousin being pulled in through the abandon building’s doorway flashed through his mind.
“We went to the edge of the outlands,” he continued on before she could tell him how foolish they were, “there were so many of them.” He struggled with the words. “It was like an army of the infected moving toward the city.” He pressed his hand against her chin and raised her head. “We got trapped.”
A single tear streamed down her cheek when her eyes met his.
“I have to tell them,” Rowan said. He tried to stand up and was left hunched over when the chains didn’t come up with him. “We have to do something.”
Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes that everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.