Book Review (SERIES): Zombie Cosmetologist

Amazon Cover

Zombie Cosmetologist by J.D. Blackrose

  1. Pluck & Cover
  2. Hide & Chic
  3. Cut & Dyed


Waylon Jenkins has a problem. Well, he’s got a few of them. The ghost of Betsy Ross lives in his house, he’s pretty sure his favorite client is the victim of ongoing domestic violence, and he’s been roped into helping the police investigate a series of murders.

And his penis fell off in the shower this morning. He needs a new one, but none of his friends are willing to donate theirs to the cause.

In case it isn’t obvious by now, Waylon Jenkins is a zombie.

He’s also one of the most highly respected and in-demand makeup artists in Hollywood, and that keeps him busy, no matter how dead he is. But now he needs to find out who’s committing a string of murders, and make sure nobody hurts Mitzi (one name only), one of his most faithful (and famous) clients.

He also needs a new penis.


Another delight from JD Blackrose. Made me LOL three times; once, I had to book down until I composed myself I was laughing so hard.

Her characters are so real, and the real-life solutions to the problems just feel natural. Okay, you might be asking, how can a Zombie Cosmetologist to Hollywood Stars be “real” – I DON’T KNOW – but he IS!!!! I could see running into Waylon Jenkins in day-to-day life and sitting down for a talk on a park bench (with suitable hat and sunscreen).



Amazon Cover


Waylon Jenkins can’t die. He also can’t let Dr. Samuel Early, his only hope of dying, go off on a mission to rescue a disembodied zombie in the heart of a Central American jungle without him. But even this skilled cosmetologist to the stars isn’t fully prepared to blend-blend-blend himself into a convincing member of a strike team, not when his first instincts are to give moisturizer recommendations to sunburned vacationers.

As they delve into the jungle, they uncover a much bigger problem than the drug cartels. Someone is after Rodrigo Flores and his family and it’s personal. The only way to help the family get through it alive to help his daughter, Amalia, win the Miss Mango Pageant. Will Waylon’s skills and his famous friend and client, Mitzi (one name only), be the team’s secret weapon?

Can Waylon get through it without breaking his vow never to make a zombie?

And who is the mysterious Señor Cinco that seems to be behind it all?

Hold on to your butt paste. This is going to get wild.


Waylon, cosmetologist to the Stars by trade and zombie by reanimation, has agreed to aid the military team which got his house destroyed last novella rescue the one they left behind. So off he goes to the jungle, fighting bugs and sunlight, suffering through a cruise, and discovering a beauty contest.

At last, something he was VERY familiar with. Now all he had to do is survive being blown up, again, and getting a evening dress for the contestant he is helping.

Mascara should help.

The book, as with everything in this series, is a wonderful combination of urban fantasy parody and amazing characters in an action-adventure.

(P.S. You know something is absolutely amazing when I got to make a meme for it.)


Amazon Cover


Captain Perkins once again drags Waylon Jenkins, zombie and cosmetologist to the biggest Hollywood stars into a murder case. Eyeless, and missing hands, the bodies tingle the experienced officer’s ‘woo-woo’ sense and the captain demands that Jenkins help find the killer.

Unfortunately, one of the victims is linked to Waylon’s favorite client, and Hollywood “It’ girl, Mitzi (one name only). Meanwhile, Jenkins’ new luxury cosmetic line struggles with several federal agencies, especially since “dehydrated zombie skin cells,” aren’t an FDA-approved ingredient.

A new mystery man takes over as CEO of The Industries, “Miss Mango,” Amalia tricks him into building a treehouse for a charity playground, and his executive assistant, Mrs. Betsy Ross, floats through the house in a fit of ghostly depression.

And if that isn’t enough, Waylon desperately needs a body to loan him an ear.


Another excellent session in the chair with Waylon Jenkins, Zombie Cosmetologist to the stars. Join him attending Charity Galas of the Hollywood Elite, running a makeup business jumping through the government hoops of new cosmetic line, and courting the coroner (hoping to get a little something-something … like a new ear).

Made up with the blushing sparkle of funny, the shadowy shimmer of action, and the perfect blendable foundation of characters – you can’t go wrong with Cut & Dyed.

Flash: Naked Truth

Rating Mature

Work dragged all day. Every single customer it seemed needed to be the absolute worst humanity could be. Bryan forces the door to his room completely closed. He would have a devil of a time opening the ill-hung door later, but right now he has some privacy to rant.

“I don’t know why my debit card isn’t working.” … “I don’t know, maybe because it has no money.” He strips his vest and throws it in the dirty pile in the crack of space between his bed and the wall. Stocking the meats had been an entirely different disaster. He’ll have to go through the pile later and see if any were wearable for tomorrow since he didn’t have the time to get to the laundromat today.

“I need to talk to your manager.” … “No, you need to shut the fuck up.” The shirt didn’t pass the sniff test; it joins the vest. Bryan eyes scans the pile of clean laundry just inside the front door. One work shirt left. The pants were fraying at the hem but serviceable. He just needed a clean-enough vest.

His full-size mattress was only a little smaller than his entire bedroom, but at least the room had a door. He had to “pay” his mom extra to get the oversized closet by himself, but whatever.

“It’s a service dog.” … “It’s a rat that peed on the cart and the floor.” Bryan turns in the small space and leans against the wall to step out of his jeans and underwear. He needed to put another notch in the belt; even on the fast food only diet, he kept losing weight.

“Did you get the money?”

“Fuck!” Bryan screams, jumping around to find a glowing naked woman on his rumpled bed. “Daffney?”

“In the flesh,” the brunette smiles up at him. “Well, not really, but as close as it gets now.”

“You’re a ghost,” he says grabbing his flannel jacket off the wall hook to hold it in front of him.


“And naked.”

“Obviously,” She shook her generous top assets, the glow bouncing from pale blue to a brighter red, really bringing out the color of her nipples. “The zombies stripped me before eating. I think the rule is you appear in the clothes you die in. Enjoy!”

Bryan backs until he hit the door. Not a long trip. He schools his face to the normal retail dead reaction he spends most of his days displaying. “Thanks,” he deadpans, trying hard to not to enjoy. Those jugs though, damn.

“You did get the money, right?”

The man coughs, sliding the jacket higher, before speaking. Eyes up on those black pools. Weren’t they blue before? “Yes, all $3,248 of it.” A sad commentary that her 23 years of life ended with only that much saved. Even sadder that it was over double what he had managed to squirrel away. “Thanks.” How does one politely look at a glowing naked woman? Bouncing. Why is she bouncing? How is she bouncing? The mattress didn’t have any spring. Fuck. “You seem happy.”

“All part of that state-you-die-in I think.” Daffney tosses her longish hair over a shoulder. “Doc Woods had me on happy pills, then the zombie drugged me before eating, and, you know, that relief of finally getting out of my home. I’m feeling very positive, even with the whole being dead thing.”

Bryan nods. “Good. That is good, right?”

“Wonderful!” Daffney rises to kneeing, the thread-worn blankets previously tangling her legs and hiding her choochie passing through her as she moves to pool below her body.

Damn, that woman was all that. Some rippling on the thighs, a few rolls across the stomach, but it just made her even bigger than life with her glow.

She frowns, considering. “It’s a bit of a downer, not having people see me other than other dead. And it isn’t even the undead, so I can’t haunt the zombies who ate me. Not that I should, they only did what we agreed to.” Daffney rises to stand on the lumpy mattress. “The biggest slap is I can’t mess with Beth or hurt Curry. I tried to punch him several times and nothing.”

“Now that would suck.” Bryan comments on autopilot, while arguing with himself. This is Daffney. Stop thinking about her that way Little Bryan. Don’t you dare. The glow rocks, says the less sane part of his head. Fuck, says the sane part realizing that it is losing the battle. The jacket fortunately hid most sins, like it did back in high school when they escaped to his room.

“Yeah. The only people who see me are other ghosts, and they don’t do much.” She stops her bounce-walking around on his mattress. “Wait … you can see me! That is so cool.”

“Fuck, my charm!” Bryan focuses on where he had kicked his jeans off. Was it in there or his wallet?

Daffney’s head tilts to the side, her black curls cascading. “Why do you need a charm, Bryan?” her voice deepening, echoing, as she asks the question.


“Are you a naughty boy?”


“No?” The ghost of his only high school friend closed the space between them. “You were always good in school for some craziness but scared to go out at night.” Daffney drags a finger down his slim chest. “Now why is that?”

“Fuck.” Bryan reaches behind him to jiggle the door.

“What are you hiding?” she whispered, pressing closer, her breast flattening against his chest.

“Fuck.” the young man sighs as Daffney grips his hands to remove his jacket and tossing it behind her. It landed in the mostly clean pile.

“Well, that is definitely something that shouldn’t be hidden.” Her eyes turn completely black staring down on his dick.

He had been teased for a lot of things in the locker room but not his dick once puberty hit. Daffney gently grabs a hold of hardening member and pulls. Her touch goes beyond cool to downright icy, but his dick has never minded the cold before. In fact, her touch makes it harder than he had ever been before with anyone.

Looking up again to meet his eyes in wonder as she continued to stroke his dick, driving his lust to try to break up the debate between his sane and not-sane parts. “I can touch you. Isn’t that interesting?”

“Ye…muph” his response drowns when Daffney grabs his head with her other hand and pulls him down for a kiss.

After a few moments, he opens his mouth for her questing tongue and closes his eyes against her glow. It was everything he dreamed about during high school and never acted on, only better, because both of them knew what they were actually doing. He moves his hands to her broad hips and up to her thick waist, the right hand traveling further to find her heavy breast and starts kneading it. Daffney moans in approval. Bryan takes a moment for a deep breath before plunging back in.

She’s a ghost, the sane part of Bryan’s brain pokes in. You’re kissing a ghost.

“Shut up.” Bryan mutters as he spins Daffney around and presses her against the door.

A threshold. The not-sane part of his mind notes. The one he normally tells to shut up. The one that started talking to him when he turned sixteen. That is going to be solid for her, not like the wall. Keep her here.

Will do.

“No way,” the woman moans as Bryan lifts Daffney up to nibble at the blushing nipples. “Not if you keep that up.”

He didn’t know what she was talking about but took her words for approval, working harder at the task, sucking with his mouth on one nipple, plucking the other one with his free hand. His sanity wondered how he was holding this big woman up with one hand so easily, then she wraps her legs around him, freeing up both hands.

Sanity gives up the argument when Daffney guides his dick into her channel.

The not-sane shudders, giving way to emotion, feeling, and non-thought.

Need. Want. Moist. Cold – make warm. Ah, warm. She so warm. Good. Deeper. Push. More. Stabilize. Door. Press in harder, harder. She is screaming. Good. Come on. Come on. Go over girl. YES! More. More.

Mine, the not-sane claims. They fall on the mattress together as the second organism hits them both.

(Words 1,409; first published 2/27/2022)

Series – No Regrets, All Dead

  1. Prepping a Meal (Zombie Version) – Link to 1/25/2022
  2. You Have Mail – Link to 2/6/2022
  3. Naked Truth – Link to 2/20/2022

Flash: You Have Mail

“You got mail.” Bryan’s mother yells as he tries to rush from the front door to his bedroom before getting dragged into his family’s daily drama.

Well, that was a new way to get my attention, he thinks as he goes over to the pile of unpaid bills, second notices, final notices, advertisements, announcements, and other pieces of postal paper tilting off the table inside the front door. He digs down one level to find it. While there, he pulls out all the circulars, political ads, and other non-money crap so that the pile wouldn’t fall over anymore, and took the lot to his room for final processing and junking. The junking took seconds, just a look-through in case he grabbed anything wrong or something fell between circular pages.

Leaving thick white envelope. Just his name and address. In the upper corner where a return address normally would go is an anime emoji of a cat smiling. Daffney? She always signed her texts with that. What did she need to send through the mail? How did she even know his address? They were just internet friends since graduating high school, and he had been evicted from at least six places since the last time they physically met up.

Sliding a finger to pry open the flap, Bryan dumps out a key and a sheet of paper with an address and a line saying “Locker Number 117.” The number matched the number stamped on the key.

“Girl, what are you playing?” he says pulling out his phone and immediately texts that exact question to Daffney. While waiting for an answer, Bryan snaps a picture of the address, has his phone read it and run it through the map app. The address is identified as a business and a second tab opens showing the hours of operation. Another two hours until close and the map app says it is less than ten minutes from where he lived.

Why not? I need to get food anyway.

He yanks off the vest from his retail job, throws it on the pile of mostly clean clothes in one corner of his miniscule bedroom, and picks up the flannel jacket hanging off the hook by his door. After the sacred check of Key, Phone, Wallet, Charm, Bryan heads back out to the bus station. His mother yells something to which he just responds “Out!”

He isn’t sure she was yelling at him, her most recent boyfriend, or one of his half-siblings. Still, his answer stood. And there was no second yell he heard through the closing door, so it wasn’t that important.

The bus ride takes more like thirty, making it full dark by the time he arrives, but a fast food is at the stop, a few doors from the storage facility. Bryan picks up some burgers and a drink from the dollar menu, then beats feet down the sidewalk, feeling the night crowding, until he safe inside the lit locker area, nodding at the attendant as he passes. Juggling the bag of food, he checks his phone. Daffney hasn’t responded yet. He shoves the bag under his arm, places the phone in his pocket, running a finger over the charm he keeps there and sighing in relief upon feeling the active hum, and then pulls out the key.

Inside the small wall locker is a box about the size of a shoe box. The dingy box has been crushed, uncrushed, taped, retaped, duct taped, and had a mismatched lid firmly mashed on.

“Really, girl?” Bryan shakes his head, lifting the lid. The box is stuffed, a pristine white letter on top with a pile of well-handled money underneath. The numbers and faces on the bills look different than normal, not the ones and fives he is used to. “What the fuck?” He pulls the letter out, shoves the lid back on the money, looks around to make sure no one noticed his reaction, then shoves the box back in and relocks the wall locker.

Dear Bryan,

If you are reading this, I’m gone. Sorry about that, but we’ve talked about it enough it shouldn’t be a surprise.

“Oh, girl.” Bryan feels a sob catch. They talked a lot in high school while in detention, less so since, but their lives hadn’t gotten better since graduation.

It was painless and don’t worry, the body will never be found.

The money is yours. It’s not much but it’s everything I got. You know Beth stole everything and Curry broke what she didn’t steal. No way was I leaving them anything to find. They took enough from me.

Good luck. Maybe this can help you get out of your situation.

I’m out of mine.


PS The locker is paid for until the end of the year. Empty it before then.

“What did you do?”

He willed the letter to make new sentences, reveal new information, but nothing.

The money would need to go somewhere his parents would not find. They weren’t as bad as hers were; they never actually hit him.

But still.

He’ll come back for it tomorrow first thing in the morning and run by a bank before work. A different one from normal. Because sure as the undead walk the night, his mother would ask for “her” chunk if she found out about this windfall. And each time she asks, her chunks keep getting bigger. even though the bills never seemed to get paid.

(Words 847; first published 2/6/2022)

Series – No Regrets, All Dead

  1. Prepping a Meal (Zombie Version) – Link to 1/25/2022
  2. You Have Mail – Link to 2/6/2022
  3. Naked Truth – Link to 2/20/2022

Writing Exercise: Rocking Your World Foundation

I ranted earlier this month about a shifter story where the shifter didn’t shift. Ending tagline was “Don’t do shifting sands. Rock your world foundation.”

Today’s writing exercise explores how different types of paranormals may adjust a scene. Break out of the boringly normal cycle where the generic “paranormal” plays out, where a vampire could be replaced by a mermaid without affecting the plot.

WRITING EXERCISE: Create a short scene with one paranormal character among normals. Any type of paranormal (vampire, witch, gargoyle, brownie, etc) in any type of scene (getting on a bus, checking out at a cashier, ordering a meal, moving to a new school, etc.). Aim for about 500 words.

PART TWO: Now rewrite the scene, but change the paranormal to a different type of paranormal. Vampire for genie, zombie for dwarf, good witch for dark necromancer, demon for shifter.

REVIEW: Once done, review the two scenes. What changes did you need to make for the different types of paranormal. Did the night scene need to become day? Did concentrating of the sounds of living from the hungry zombie become concentrating of the scenes for the shifter nose? Were quick demon tempers switched to fairy flitting and teasing? Add a comment below of what you discovered in Rocking Your World Foundation. If you want, include a link to the two flash scenes you created.


My attempt – Review

I started from this month’s flash of Prepping a Meal (1/9/2022) and switched the vampire for a zombie (the flash is below). The biggest changes were related to the social status normally associated with the vampires and zombies. Both of the climate-conscious monsters (because if you live a long time, keeping the human food-stock healthy is important) had electric cars, but the vampire has a Lotus Evija (costing more than $2 million) while the zombie has a used Toyota Prius (costing him much less). While both monsters used cash payments, the vampire splurged for wine, appetizer, and a dessert where the zombie struggled to pay for pizza for the woman he was escorting. Clothing differed with the zombie’s clothes deteriorating and the vampire’s tailored-made.

Another change involved the mystique surrounding the monsters. Vampires have a shiver sexy-terror, while zombies are associated with end-of-the-world depressive gut-terror. The vampire remained polite and cosmopolitan. The zombie threatened some and his conversation was simpler. Mild flirting occurred with one but not the other.

Final change was what was driving the women to be escorted as meals to the monsters, oops, I guess that should read “for meals with the monsters”? Nah. You know what is gonna happen in the next scene of these stories, right? Both women have a history of dead-end jobs, are on the heavier side of weight, and love their pizza. But for the scene to work, I had to change the motivation.

The action-arc of the scene remained the same: arrival, ordering, eating, and leaving to the next location. In neither case did the undead do undead things, but by the end of each flash you know exactly what is about to happen. As these are just quick (about) 500 word flashes, readers can be expected to fill in the genre troupes and does so. (The rant about shiftless-shifters involved a full-length novel, which should be long enough to do all-the-things.)

Could I change out another paranormal monster for the vampire or zombie in the stories? Not without other major twists in the plot and character. The motivation for both the monster and the meal-woman would need to change even more. Could a shifter work here? No. A random monster could not just switch out with either of these men.

Remember “Don’t do shifting sands. Rock your world foundation.”


Flash Title: Prepping a Meal (Zombie Version)

“Are you sure?” I ask a final time as the battered electric Prius buzzed into a parking space, waving my hand at the neon lights of the chosen restaurant. “Italian?”

My zombie date. Well, more like warden, smirks. “Your bio said you could eat pizza every day. We thought you might like it for tonight.”

Making my way to the paper-covered door proclaiming the daily specials, I feel Jacob’s dark eyes blackened further as they focus on my ass in my overtight jeans. I forcefully suppress the shiver rolling through my belly and along my spine, refusing to consider if it is fear or anticipation.

I’ve been hoping for years to accomplish what will happen tonight and only recently had the energy to carry through with a workable plan. Thank you Doc Woods for those happy pills, I think toward the northern part of the city where Health and Human Services has its clinics.

“I wasn’t lying.” I say once we were inside the pizzeria, my eyes darting to the other patrons. “This will be great.”

“No talking to others,” he said growled, his eyes roaming from my eyes to my t-shirt, also several sizes too small. I’ve packed on some pounds doing the Netflix and chill thing after work this year, only my version of the chill part being a pint of ice cream most nights huddled in my bedroom behind locked doors with the earphone on.

“Of course.” I wasn’t looking to escape. It took me forever to find this situation, and I didn’t want to lose this opportunity.

A waitress waves us toward a small table with a red and white checkerboard vinyl table. I glance over the paper placemat menu, while Jacob orders me a soda when the waitress returns to drop a bread basket with oils in front of us. She raises an eyebrow at his shoddy appearance but doesn’t say anything. Though he was the youngest of the zombies I met tonight, he still lacks the freshness of the living. He had to have been buried in his best suit like most people, but sometime since then he changed out to a worn t-shirt and jeans. They hung much looser on him than mine did on me.

“Can you stuff a large in that chubby stomach of yours?”

I reach down to pop the top button of my jeans. I’m going to ache, but it’s not like I’m worried about nightmares in my sleep tonight because I climbed into bed stuffed to the gills. “Sure. I didn’t get chubby by dieting.”

“Good, good.” He takes out the bills his group had shoved at him.

I watch him struggle to count them and put them in some sort of order. Jacob’s fine motor control was lacking and I’m fairly sure the poor math skill existed before his change. Exasperated, I grab the paper and get the money in order. I had done it enough in my dead-end jobs all my life.

Once my soda arrives, I place my order for a large supreme pizza, plus a dessert. I’m going to go out with chocolate on my lips. And there would still be enough to cover taxes and a decent, but not great tip. He doesn’t argue. In fact, he just sits with the unmoving weirdness of the dead while I sip my soda and break apart the bread sticks. I mix the oil and vinegar just right and savor the warm bread. Closing my eyes, I let the yeasty bread, sour vinegar, and rich oil transport me to somewhere else. Someplace without pain and yelling and loneliness. The food is gone before I reach that place, like always. So close and always so far.

When the pizza, smelling of grease, and melted cheese, and hot pepperoni, and tangy tomato, hits the table, my eyes focused on it and I inhale deeply.

“Does it smell good?”

For a moment, I had forgotten about my escort. I look up to find his eyes gazing at the pizza with longing. Not the bottomless hungry like when he looked at me but a melancholy wistfulness.

“Yes, like a piece of heaven.”

“Tell me about it.”

So I do. From the first napalm bite of too hot cheese, to the last slice cool and congealed. In between we talk. He tells me of his memories, what it is like to be owned by a necromancer, but skirts around why we are here together tonight. Somehow he keeps focused on me-me, instead of body-me, and that is nice.

As suicides go, I think this one is a keeper.

Eventually the only thing left is a few chocolate crumbs from my brownie and the full refill on my drink.

“Are you ready?” he holds up a small cloth packet as I stack the money on the receipt.

I nod, pushing the red plastic glass at him. He dumps the potion in and I stir it a couple times before sucking it down quickly. Doesn’t taste bad. Actually the more I drink, the more I want to drink.

By the time I’m done chugging, I have a head rush. I let Jacob help me stagger out of the restaurant and back to the car. Last chance to run, I think as I collapse on the passenger side smiling. No need to run ever again.

(words 881, first published 1/25/22)

Series – No Regrets, All Dead

  1. Prepping a Meal (Zombie Version) – Link to 1/25/2022
  2. You Have Mail – Link to 2/6/2022
  3. Naked Truth – Link to 2/20/2022

Flash: Mop Up Part 2 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 4)

Picture from the Interweb

Flash created from the above text prompt for a Facebook writing group. Aim was about 50 words, but I wanted to add it to the Pizza and Movie night series.

The stone stairs beside the old coal chute were worn until the angle tilted down, on top of the indentations where most feet land, making them a hazard with the wet slime growing on them in the perpetual dark of the city alley. Jae had an easier time of it going down with only one hand handling a machete, the other could be used for balance since handrails were not part of the required OSHA safety features from the age of coal and steam. Me, I had the banged-up metal bucket and stinky mop, plus two sawed-off shotguns and one full length cannon holstered on my back balanced through wishes and prayers to various low-level deities and demigods against the ammo stored in the front of the harness.

Only Magic kept me from falling down the five treads.

Literally, Jae leant me some of their extra-ness through our bond giving me the balance of two people for a few seconds. I shoved it back at them once I got down in the questionable rainbow-hued puddles by the alley door; they had the lead and would need every bit of their two-soul specialness if the possible six (or more) zombies were waiting on the other side of the warped wood.

While the doorknob turned in Jae’s hand, the door didn’t budge. They slammed their nearly six-foot thin, but muscular frame against the door until it reluctantly open. Shoving the swollen wood against the concrete floor, eventually made enough space to let us through. I had to pass the mop and bucket, turn sideways, and think thin thoughts about my boobs which bumped against the door, to get through, but it worked, even if I collected a couple more bruises from the pinch to add to last night’s collection. I was more concerned about the loaded weapons on my back than my breasts.

The mid-afternoon sun leaking through the hopper windows gave us enough vision to see the old stone foundation, partially plastered bricks where fixes had been mortared in, building column supports of ancient smoke-darkened wood, and an array of pipes and wires partially secured to the open floor joists in the ceiling. Jae passed me back the mop-up equipment before moving deeper into the building. Avoiding the old coal pit, we quietly investigated the basement. Sure, the noise of opening the door likely gave everything down here warning of our arrival, but maybe we could blend in time.

Finding our targets didn’t take long. First, fists pounded a metal door creating a deep hollow sound vibrating in the silence we were struggling to build.

Second, well, we got the standard zombie greeting.

“,” the thing said as it staggered out of the shadows.

I backed off to a clearer area and set aside the bucket and mop, in order to draw Momma loaded with solid shot. As I did so, I looked around for the other five, well, four if only one of them were stuck behind that metal door. And amended my thought to “maybe even more” based on my experience of the reliability of magic.

Jae swung their ever-present machete at the shambling not-person. A test mostly for range in the uncertain light, but also to see if it would back down. Last night’s zombies wouldn’t of course, those things were brainless and had little underlying programming other than to break things and people. The half-drunk, fired-that-day-for-sexual-harassment idiot just poured magic he shouldn’t have had out into the greater New York City graveyards raising the most recently dead.

The fact this one could talk was worrisome.

The others didn’t say a word last night, but maybe they changed the older they got. Or maybe with the original summoner dead (the New York Alpha pair do not like their See fucked with) the ongoing energy mutated. Mutated zombies, oh, that is ALWAYS so much fun.

I didn’t see anyone else around but kept watch on the battle in case I needed to use ammo.

A duck, twist, and slide-by gave Jae the perfect neck hit with their dancing partner.

“Cole, it’s stuck!” They puffed, trying to yank it out before kicking the zombie in the back of its knees and moving back to draw their second machete.

“That’s new.” I shouted back. Yesterday gooshers were easy one-shot or one-cut kills. There just had been a lot of them with over four hundred deaths monthly filling the cemeteries on the Union County side of the river. Those risen were mindless bags of dead flesh pushed back to movement by the misused magic of a drunk asshole whose feelings got hurt.

Not like last month’s zombies. Those had been raised by someone who knew what she was doing. Who MEANT, and, worse, UNDERSTOOD, every unholy necromantic word passing her lips. The spell animated old dead, the partially mummified, the ones where people cried tears over the graves for years, the ones absorbing whatever earth magic in the ley lines passing near their rotting coffins. Solid bodies like jerky. And cutting them in pieces didn’t help either, as the bits kept moving. Kept moving, wiggling forward, looking for fresh meat to absorb. To eat. Once they had enough living juices, those zombies could reassemble the dismembered parts back into a body. Only a brain kill worked, not even a beheading. I went through a lot of ammo that day. The saving grace that let us survive, other than the few number of dead meeting the spell’s distinctive perquisites, were their jerky-meat bodies made them slow.

At least until they ate, when speed picked up considerably. New Yorkers ain’t proud enough to ask for help with the cleanup, and the Toronto and Philadelphia Sees sent their best.

“It’s one of last month’s.” Jae and I said together as the stuck machete clattered to the ground, the cut sealing behind it.

If it could heal, it could move. “Back up, Jae.”

I dropped Momma to the floor and reached for the boomstick. Not something I liked going off in an enclosed space, but the head needed to get misted.

Jae, being Jae, didn’t back up, but kept the zombie occupied as I changed weapons. They managed to knock it to the floor and continued to use their machete and a pipe they picked up from somewhere to keep it on the ground as I moved around to get a good shot off.

Suddenly everything changed.

“Wait, wait, please don’t kill me.”

The zombie begged, movement ceased and its hands out, one to Jae swinging the machete but being careful not to cut off even a single finger because dismemberment movement had to be one of the creepiest annoying variations on zombies in the book. The other aimed towards me.

Way too environmentally aware for a hunger-driven zombie with food closer to it than me.

And the talking.

Zombies don’t talk.

This one had been mumbling “” since it first stepped out of the shadows. Brains when the machete fell out. Brains when it thrashed on the ground trying to get up.

Now a full pleading deity-blessed sentence.

Its head whipped back and forth between us. Both Jae and I stepped back and exchanged a quick look that might have gotten us killed with a vampire.

Keeping my shotgun pointed at its head, I asked, “Who are you?” The question twisted my insides. I hated killing things with names.


(words 1,236 – first published 9/28/2022)

Pizza and movie night series
Pizza and Movie Night (2/21/2021)
Pizza and Movie Night Part 2 (3/7/2021)
Mop Up Part 1 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 3) (4/4/2021)
Mop Up Part 2 (Pizza and Movie Night Part 4) (4/18/2021)

Visitor at Movie Night (Pizza and Movie Night – A Flash) (5/23/2021)