Although surprised by my brother’s attack on these men, I sighed with relief, thankful he’d dispatched them without raising warning. My relief was short lived when a head popped up from the booth beside Brian, an older man in his forties balding on top, but with long black hair streaked with gray hanging down from the sides. He wore a thick handlebar mustache and I could see his neck inked, but I could not make out the detail of the tattoos at this distance.
“What the fuck is going on?” the man asked. Sleep still clung to him, but his eyes quickly widened when he saw the blood that flowed freely from the card players. He started to rise up from his booth, but before he could get to his feet, Brian fell upon him, grasping his neck with both hands, pushing him back down onto the padded seat.
Just as I rose with the intention of helping my brother, a voice startled me from behind.
“Hey Mikey, you still tapping that ass?”
Whirling around, I raised my pistol and pointed it at the man who stood in the doorway of the kitchen, his body holding the swinging door open.
“Be cool,” I said, but the way his expression quickly changed on his face, I knew he wasn’t going to be cool.
“Who the fuck?” he asked as he reached for a weapon tucked into his waistband.
I shot him in the chest point-blank before I could find out what he was reaching for.
As his body fell backward and slid to the ground, I rushed into the kitchen and stopped in my tracks when I saw Kat. My heart raced suddenly in my chest; I could not tell if she was dead or alive. Taped into a chair and naked from the waist up, her hair, dirty and caked with blood, hung down over her eyes. Her nose was bleeding and both of her eyes were already beginning to swell.
The two men with her looked up, surprised by the gunshot. The first person, the younger of the two men, stood behind Kat. He held a fist full of her blonde hair, as though he were in the middle of yanking her head back when I came in. His face was pale in contrast to his black, unruly hair. The second man stood beside Kat leaned forward, a cigar in his right hand. Even from this distance, I could see the angry burn marks that pocked Kat’s breast and stomach, so many I could not count the red welts of flesh.
Blood and brain fragment exploded onto the wall behind the young man as the bullet I fired struck his face, caving in his nose, and destroying his right eye. Calmly, I reached out and lay my pistol on a stainless steel rack to my right. The man slowly stood as I approached him. He watched me with cool eyes and let the cigar fall from his grip.
“All right, then,” he said. “Do your worst, bro.”
No sooner the last word came out of his mouth, I struck a devastating blow to his larynx, severely damaging the Vagus nerve, impairing his ability to create sound. His hands rose reflexively to his neck; his eyes were no longer cool, but instead ringed with sudden panic. I delivered a heavy front kick to his hip, knocking him off balance and onto the floor. Before I realized what I was doing, I brought the heel of my boot down onto his head and face, once, twice, repeatedly, not stopping until his face was an unrecognizable, gelatinous mess.
Suddenly sickened by my actions, I turned and wretched, vomiting yellow liquid onto Kappy’s black and white tile. I wretched again, this time only a dry heave and nothing came out. I sucked big gulps of air into my nose and out of my mouth, trying to keep myself from throwing up again.
When I looked up, I noticed Brian standing in the doorway of the kitchen. He stared at me for a few long seconds before finally moving toward Kat. He crouched down in front of her and gently brushed the matted hair out of her face. He gently caressed her cheek as his fingers slid down to her neck. He checked her pulse.
“Well?” I asked. “Is she…?”
“She’s alive,” he said.
I nodded my head and suddenly went down to one knee. I felt like all of the energy had suddenly left my body and I could not support my own weight. Brian started to come to me, but I put up a hand, stopping him.
“I’m fine. Go get Sam and Phil in here.”
He remained for a few seconds, as though he were contemplating ignoring my order, then he turned and left the kitchen without a word of protest. My brother understood I needed to be alone and I was grateful he gave me the space.
Steven Pajak was born and raised in Chicago’s Near Northwest neighborhood. Over the years he’s lived in Wartrace, Tennessee and Dallas, Texas. Steven graduated with his bachelor of arts degree from Northeastern Illinois University. He currently resides in the Chicagoland area with his wife and kids.
From an early age, Steven was fascinated by books. When he was twelve, his grandmother purchased his first Stephen King book, Nightshift. From that first book, Steven was hooked on horror. His favorite authors are Stephen King, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Cormac McCarthy and Richard Matheson.
Steven is an administrator at an Illinois university. He lives in the greater Chicagoland area with his wife and two children. He continues to be an avid reader of Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and many other favorite authors in the horror, suspense, thriller and general fiction areas. He enjoys sport shooting, fishing, hiking and camping. He also enjoys cooking and watching movies.
Look for Steven at www.stevenpajak.com, facebook.com/StevenPajakAuthor, or facebook.com/MadSwine.
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The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!