© Season Of The Dead 2012

  1. © Season Of The Dead 2011-2012

Thursday, July 18, 2013

 
So it begins!
 
 



Season Of The Dead, a zombie apocalypse book like you've never read before.

"It is said that unto everything there is a season...these are the stories of a group of survivors during the season of the dead."

Four individuals fight to survive as the zombie apocalypse crashes over the world in a wave of terror and destruction. Color, creed, and social standing mean nothing as the virus infects millions across the planet.

Sharon: a zoologist from Nebraska, USA, has worked with the virus, and has seen the effects on the human mind. She knows more about the virus than nearly anybody alive, and far more than she wants to. Gerry: from Ontario, Canada, he gets his first taste of the virus from inside a prison cell. Locked up after an anti-government riot, his prison guard transforms before his eyes into a flesh craving zombie. Lucia: a chemist from Pittsburgh, USA, flees from a furry convention dressed as a giant squirrel, and escapes from the city in a Fed-Ex van. She's a girl who knows when to run and when to fight. Paul: thinks he can sit out the apocalypse in his apartment block in Dublin, Ireland, until the virus comes to visit, bursting his bubble and leaving him with no choice but to face reality or perish.

All four begin perilous journeys in mind and body as they face daily trials to survive: Four threads, four different parts of the world, one apocalypse!


Amazon US

Amazon UK

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


 

Norse Zombie Vengeance

 

 

 

 Bjarni Olafson kissed the blade of his bearded battle axe and stood with his back to the burning building, wind and snow lashed his face as the blizzard grew in strength. He watched the expression on the man’s face in front of him as it changed from shock to horror then petrifying fear. Dark smoke from the flaming thatch filled the air with thick choking fumes.

 The other man’s eyes darted about the scene, taking in the three youths lying face down in the thick carpet of snow. Two boys and one girl, their throats slit, then to the woman, lying with her skirts hitched up over her hips, exposing white legs and fleshy buttocks. His eyes widened when he saw the tiny form of a babe lying at the foot of a tree, a bloody trail of pulp and bone leading from the trunk.

 “You died. I killed you myself, I saw your body.”

 Olafson grinned and lifted his chin exposing the bloody wound across his neck. It had been a mortal blow.

 “What are you?” the man asked as he fumbled for the hammer amulet around his neck, seeking the protection of the God of Thunder.  

 Although his bowels were turning to water he hauled his sword from its leather sheath and charged. Like a great shaggy bear with red hair flying he launched himself at Bjarni. His fear was running high blinding him to caution. Bjarni, swept up his axe in a wide arc, and with a spray of blood and hair flying the other man’s head flew through the air. Bjarni stepped over the decapitated husk.

 Ten years previously Lars Henrikson had led a band of hard men into Bjarni’s village. Under cover of darkness they crept into the settlement and locked the doors of the feasting hall before setting it alight. Anybody who attempted to escape were shot at with arrows, slings or hacked with great Dane axes. Everybody inside had died including Bjarni. He had attempted to charge outside, to rush the attackers and break the siege, he was cut down and killed.

 It had taken him years to hunt them down. Now the ghosts of the dead could rest in peace. All but Bjarni, he had made an evil pact with Hel, daughter of Loki in his lust for revenge. He was doomed to wander the frozen wastes, for all time, seeking out the descendants of Lars Henrikson so that they might serve his family as slaves in the pits of Helheim.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why do zombies smell so bad?


A few years ago, I passed the swelling body of raccoon roadkill about 100 feet from my driveway.  It was mid-summer, so the flies were swarming and the smell was nauseating, even from driving by in a car. Later that day, while I was outside cutting grass, I saw the neighbor woman walk up the road and start dragging it towards her house...with her bare hands.  

She only made it about 15 feet before the decomposing leg tore off in her hand.  

She tossed it aside and started dragging from another leg.  I know this woman owns a shovel.  I freaked out and told everyone that I was certain she was keeping a pet zombie and needed the raccoon for food because there was no other reason for retrieving the roadkill. It was hundreds of feet from her house, and there aren't any houses between ours-- just an empty field, so it was perfectly fine decomposing on its own along the road.  Once she went home, I'm sure she realized the smell on her hands wouldn't wash away.  You see, all decaying flesh smells bad...really bad.

If there really was a zombie apocalypse, survivors would be vomiting profusely.  The smell of one dead body, let a lone a flock of dead bodies, would make you instantly vomit.  If you tried to avoid this by rubbing Vicks VapoRub inside/ under your nose, you'd be muting one of your best early-warning alert senses, meaning, if there was a zombie coming, you'd smell him before you saw him.

As the bodies decomposed, they'd be bloated with air.  The bacteria that feed off of the rotting flesh produce gases and the body's like a multi-layered balloon-- lots of cavities to trap the gasses. The environment will greatly impact this, with hot weather increasing the speed of decomposition.  First, sores would appear on the skin and the overall skin would become discolored; then, the ears, nose, and fingers/toes would fall off. Lastly, bones would begin to become exposed, limbs would fall off, teeth would be missing, and the eyes would be lost.  Sadly, the second-life expectancy of a zombie would be less than a year, and as time progressed, it would become less and less capable of hunting and feeding.

The two main causes of eau de zombie are cadaverine and putrescine-- compounds produced during the putrification of flesh.  Both are toxic, but only in amounts so large that it's doubtful they'd kill you in a zombie apocalypse.  These smell so horrid and they'll permeate your clothing and your hair, so you'll carry the scent with you for days.   

When the zombie apocalypse hits, there are a few things you'll want to do:

1) Double glove.  It's likely you'll be in some sort of hand-to-hand combat with a zombie at one point or another. Your best defense against retaining the zombie smell: wear a pair of nitrile gloves, then place a pair of latex gloves over them. If you have trouble sliding one pair of gloves over the other, try a little powder-- but just a little!

2) Change your clothes, and often.  Throw your old ones away after you've worn them.  The smell won't wash out of them, and you won't have time to keep trying.  It's the zombie apocalypse-- keep your Valentino gown in the closet and raid a Wal-Mart for shite you can wear n' toss.

3) Did one of those slabs of decay touch you?  Ugh...take a bath in diluted vinegar.  I'd pick pickle scent over putrid any day.

3) Does your hide-out smell from their constant clawing at your boarded up doors and windows? Sprinkle some odor-absorbing materials around: charcoal, baking soda, coffee grounds-- whatever you can scrounge.

4) While you're in the stores looting, don't forget the sticky fly strips!  Zombies are the perfect host for bacteria, fungi, and insects!  Flies would flourish in these walking opportunities and would create clouds around the zombies from their intense swarms.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are Zombies a Fad in Literature?


The evolution of the literary monster is fascinating-- even more so when you understand the history of the different societies and their cultural hiccups, but old fears haven't withered away, and what goes bump in the night is still very much the same thing for us...

When I was studying the history of early English literature, I was taught that cannibalism is considered the ultimate evil among humans and it resurfaces over and over again in literature. Cannibalism was not unknown to the people of medieval times-- the eating of flesh to survive is recorded in the histories of the famine in England in 1005 and throughout other parts of Europe in 1016.

In Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Requim Britanniae ("History of the Kings of Britain"), Caldwallo was starving to death when he asked his nephew, Brian, to hunt for meat on the island (Guernsey).  Brian failed to find anything, so he cut flesh from his own thigh, cooked it, and gave the meat to Cadwallo.  Here, the King unknowingly consumes human flesh and the person responsible is also the victim.  This somewhat 'accepted' instance of cannibalism for survival differs greatly from the way cannibals are depicted as misshapen freaks in Liber Monstrorum, Dante's Divina Commedia, and by Grendel in Beowulf.  The atrocity continues in historical texts, documenting cannibalism found in Muslim geography during the Crusades-- more than likely to signify the 'giant' defeating a 'monster' in a way that champions Christianity and justifies the brutality of the quest. These are only a few examples of cannibalism in early English literature, as there are innumerable references.


Zombie books have remained notably popular over the past several years, being supported by numerous films and recently, the television show, The Walking Dead. Zombie fans have a die-hard following that's infiltrated every type of media, especially video games.  


Is it no wonder that today, zombie movies and literature remain so popular?  We've not exchanged our monsters for hundreds of years...we're still frightened of humans consuming humans.


For those people thinking zombies are a 'fad', I hesitate to agree until we find something new to be afraid of...that is, unless it finds us first. 



--Hamilton Cromwell, 
   YOUR Historical Zombie


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Venice



Venice

“Venice sits on a group of 118 small islands separated by canals and linked by bridges. Located in the Venetian Lagoon it stretches between the Po and the Piave Rivers. Known for its beauty of setting, its architecture and its artworks it is listed as a World Heritage Site, along with its lagoon,” I said to the group of tourist that followed along behind me, my heels tapping smartly on the pavers as their cameras snapped away.

I was taking them through the Piazza San Marco on the way to the basilica. “If you will come with me I will show you the Basilica Cattedrale Patriarcale di San Marco,” I said, pausing to make sure none of my group wandered off.

I waved to Giovanna across the piazza as she led her group of Japanese tourists. The company I worked for made sure that there was a guide that could meet every group’s needs. I could speak English and some Spanish I had learned from my boyfriend Marco. Unfortunately, what I knew mostly consisted of bawdy songs and swears words. Not very useful for work. This group was mainly Americans or people from the UK so there was no need to rely on my feeble Spanish.

As we stepped into the basilica I began the litany that I had spoken a thousand times. “The first St Mark's was constructed in 828 and then burned in a rebellion in 976. It was rebuilt in 978 and consecrated in 1094.  Within the first half of the 13th century the narthex and the new fa├žade were constructed, most of the mosaics were completed,” I paused to direct their attention to the mosaics.

Just then the hushed stillness of the basilica was shattered as a scream rent the air stalling the clicking of cameras.  “Madre di Dio,” I whispered my hand going instantly to my throat to still my racing heart. My group was starting to move towards the door. I didn’t know what was going on outside, but I needed to keep them safe. “Please, everyone,” I said, waving my hands at the group so that they would gather around me. “Please, stay here. I will go see what is happening. Do not leave the basilica.” They nodded and gave me wide eyes. I walked quickly to the door, trying not to break into a run at the sound of more screaming.

The wail of police sirens, raised voices and shrill whistles added to the mayhem I beheld when I stepped outside. Several of the Piazza Security were gathered around a man, trying to force him to the ground. He thrashed and yelled and tried to bite one of the officers. The officer panicked and let go of the man who took that opportunity to latch his jaws onto the throat of another officer. Blood spurted into the air, landing like scarlet rain on the ancient pavers of the square.

“Holy shit,” said a man from my group. He and his wife were on their second honeymoon now that the kids were grown. His thick Texas accent made him pronounce the word ‘sheeit’. He was standing just behind me. I should have turned and made them all go back into the church, but I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the scene before me. There had been rumors all over the internet about a virus that made the dead walk and the living act like monsters. I had dismissed them all as nonsense. Now, as I watched, I struggled to remember what I had read.

The police showed up en force and cleared the tourists from the area. I took a step forward and held a hand up to my eyes to ward off the late day sun.

“Ofelia!” I turned at the sound of my name to see Giovanna walking swiftly towards me with her group in tow. They followed her like frightened children. The clicking of their cameras chorused behind her, echoing her steps.

“Giovanna,” I said, hugging her tight. She was my flat mate and I was glad that she was ok. “Did you see what happened?” I asked, making sure to speak in Italian so that our groups would not understand.

Si,” she said. I could see that she had grown pale under her summer tan before she turned to her group to speak in rapid fire Japanese. I presumed she told them to go into the basilica because they filed in obediently. I turned to my group and tried to do the same. But my American group was far less cooperative than her group. They had gathered around the entrance, peering through binoculars at the carnage.

“Zombies,” I heard a whisper bleed through the crowd. The sound of it plucked at my spine like a harp cord. My blood ran cold and my breathe left me in a rush. I didn’t believe the rumors but I had to put a stop to this before things got out of control and they panicked.

“Giovanna,” I said catching her arm. She turned towards me once more. I could see the fear in her eyes and knew that she had heard the word too. “We have to get this under control. Help me get everyone inside so that we can close the doors.” She nodded and took my hand.

“Come please,” I said to my group. “We need to stay out of the way until we have been told we can leave. Everyone inside.” I used my best tour guide voice and tried to imbue it with as much authority as I could muster hoping that none of them would notice the slight tremor.

A woman screamed high and shrill startling the pigeons who took to the wing by the hundreds. For a moment the sky looked gray with the flutter of feathers. Frightened whispers came from behind me. “Hurry,” I said to Giovanna as we grabbed the heavy doors. It would take us both to close just one.

I made the mistake at looking back at the crowd. She had been lying on the stones. The red soles of her designer shoes blended with the pool of blood she lay in. I couldn’t tell where the blood had come from, or if it was all hers. Her black dress was wet and shiny. Her lovely hat lay next to her trampled and ruined, just like she was. As I watched, her hand twitched, then she sat up. Her head bobbed forward, the ruin of her neck unable to support its weight.  Giovanna whimpered, biting her lip to keep from screaming. I just stood there numb with shock as a woman who should not be alive stood up.

“Shut the doors,” I whispered. And then yelled more urgently. “Help me shut the doors!” The Texan and his wife ran over along with a couple of the Japanese men. Together we pulled on the massive doors shutting each one with a resounding thud. Through the crack, just before they shut, I saw the woman turn and look at me. Her lips drew back in a snarl as she grabbed the medic that came to attend her. Yanking his head back by the hair she bit into his throat. The sounds of his pain-filled scream rang in my ears long after the doors shut them out.

*****

Three days later we were still hiding in the basilica as the world outside descended into chaos. Those that had been injured had risen from mortal wounds and infected others, who in turn took that virus home to infect their loved ones. We had been lied too. The news reports, unable to deliver the truth, had told us falsehoods in the effort to forestall panic. All it did was make sure we died just like the sheep they thought us all to be.

There was a cafeteria in the back for the staff so we had some food, but it was meager and running low. Several of Giovanna’s group had decided that they would brave the world outside in an effort to get back to their hotels and then home. I had cracked open a side door to let a group of them go and watched a man, a woman and their two young daughters get run down under a horde of the infected. The zombies fell on them like a pack of wolves and ripped them limb from limb. I don’t know if any of them rose afterwards I hadn’t bothered to watch. 

Evidentially, the virus had been in Italy for weeks, but no one had said anything. We were all in denial, unable to fathom such atrocity we hid our heads in the sand and pretended that life was just fine, and that this too, would pass.

I lay on a pew looking up at the beautiful ceiling of the basilica wondering if today I would die. It was my birthday. I was 23. I had my cell phone and had tried to call Marco that first night, but there had been no answer. By midmorning of the following day cell service went down and the power failed.

The emergency lights flickered on, harsh and red casting a morbid glow on all that they touched. As the hours passed more and more of our group decided to leave. I let them. Who was I to stop them? They could see as well as I what was happening. If  they thought they could get home safely I wished them the best and said a prayer for each one. Not one of them lived, but most of them walked.  

"Ofelia,” Giovanna said kneeling beside me. “Mr. Watkins said he can get us out of the city. He has a boat docked not far away.” Watkins was the Texan I thought as I lay there blinking at her. He had not flown in, but chose to sail to Italy and then tour the Mediterranean. It seemed like a pretty idea. Pity they had been met with death.

We had been unable to leave due to the police presence, but now as they died out there was nothing to keep us here. They wanted to leave, I wished them well and continued my perusal of the ceiling.   
“Ofelia,” she said again shaking me, trying to rouse me from my stupor.

“If’n you are just gonna lay down an die, I spect I can’t stop you, but it seems a terrible shame. And a bit yellow if ask me,” Mr. Watkins said, his head suddenly appearing over the edge of the pew. His big cream colored cowboy hat was hallowed in red from the lights. I swallowed and tried to rouse the urge to care. I couldn’t seem to find any.

Giovanna reached over and twisted the sensitive skin of my underarm painfully. I screamed and sat up with a stream of Spanish curses. Mr. Watkins chuckled and stepped back. “I knew you had it in you girl. Now come on, I don’t plan on dying today,” I glared at Giovanna as I rubbed away the crescent marks her nails had made. She grinned at me like a loon and then leaned in to hug me tight.

“We have to survive this, I don’t think I’d look good as a zombie,” she said solemnly. For some reason that made me laugh. I swallowed a sob at the end as that laughter turned a bit hysterical, but it got me up and moving.

There were seven of us. The Watkins, me and Giovanna and three young Japanese students that had been part of Giovanna’s group. Two boys and one girl with long dark gossamer hair. She blinked at me with solemn eyes. I blinked back. We understood each perfectly.

Together we packed everything we could get our hands on that looked like it might be useful. All the food, medical supplies. I was trying to decide if I wanted to take the sacramental wine when I heard Mr. Watkins yell. I jumped and dropped the wine. The glass shattered on the stone floor, a sea of purple spread as the aroma of fermented grapes filled the air.

I took a deep breath and ran towards the shouts. It didn’t sound like anyone had been hurt, instead they sounded happy. In the back of the church was a small garage. And sitting there was shuttle bus that was used to ferry supplies or tourist. I said a quick prayer and then smiled when the engine rumbled to life. We had all been wondering how to get down to the pier and then the boat without being killed. The van increased our chances significantly.

There was room for the seven of us and supplies. Now that we had transportation we could take some things we had planned to leave behind. Things like pillows and blankets. Nice things to have, but not worth weighing you down when you needed to be fast.

We decided to leave in the middle of the night. The cold seemed to slow them down and their dead eyes couldn’t see very well. I imagined that they could detect movement, but not much else. I was born and raised in Venice. I knew every street, every bridge and every canal and I knew I could get us to the pier even in the dark.

As night fell the groans of the dead softened. The living screamed in pain and frustration. Helicopters that flew by day, shooting those that walked were quite now. The city was erily dark, even the canal lights were out.

The two Japanese boys pulled the garage doors opened and then quickly climbed in the van. Mr. Watkins drove, I would tell him where to go. We kept the lights off hoping to be as inconspicuous as possible. Even still, we were unprepared for the press of bodies that ran towards us when the engine started.

It was late August in Venice and hot. I could barely smell the sea over the stench of the dead that filled my nostrils and turned my stomach. I saw a man run towards us. His joint gave out and his leg came off. He fell to the ground with a meaty slap and proceeded to use his hands to claw his way towards us.

Others groped for the van leaving behind slimy trails of putrescent skin and hair and other unnamable bits. “Fuck this shit,” Mr. Watkins said. He flicked on the lights and pressed on the gas. The van was new and happy to move. We sped through the city as fast as we dared go, plowing through crowds of infected and over bodies of the dead.

It only took us fifteen minutes to reach the docks, but they were the longest minutes of my life. Our drive through town had stirred up the zombies. They knew we were there and they wanted us. Driven by whatever made them possible they pursued us relentlessly and with a hunger that could not be described.

Skidding to a halt beside a beautiful yacht. Mr. Watkins didn’t even bother to turn the van off. “If y’all all want to live, you’d better hurry before that horde gets here.” We didn’t need to be told twice. There was no one to let the rope ladder down, so we stood on the top of the van and jumped aboard. Unsure if we would be greeted by an undead crew we paused, the sound of our breathing harsh in the night.

I heard a scream and saw a group of living running towards us. They must have heard our engines as well and ran towards the sound of escape. A women ran ahead of her group. The stragglers fell under the herd that soon feasted on their flesh. I watched her hoping she would get to us. In her arms she held a blanket. I could see a tiny fist sticking out.

“Hurry,” I screamed, though I don’t recall if I said it in English or Italian. She ran towards the van and then stopped. There was a ladder on the back of the van, she climbed up, and shoved her child at me chattering away. I glanced at Giovanna who stood next to me. She shrugged, unable to understand the woman either.

‘I don’t understand,” I said as she forced the child in to my arms. She stepped back then and yanked the shirt from her shoulder. A hunk of meat and muscle was missing. The blood had tried to clot but was still oozing. With no light, save the stars, it looked like a stream of blank ink trailing down her arm.

Once she was content that I had her child, she jumped down off the van and dove into the water. Breaking into a swimmer's rhythm she headed out towards the sea. I doubted she intended to find safety. She was infected and knew she was dying. I suspected that she intended to wear herself out and then drown.

I heard a woman crying and then I realized it was me. “C’mon now, girl,” Mr. Watkins said taking my hand and leading me aboard. I followed his wife below decks and laid down in a bunk like she told me to, holding the baby close to me. The rumble of the engines soothed me and I slept.

Dawn trailed liquid gold fingers through the small window above my bed, but that is not what woke me, though I could not say what had. Just a sense of unease. The notion that something was wrong and sleep was no longer a good idea.

I sat up. Giovanna slept across from me, her arm flung out. The gentle rise and fall of her chest assured me she was among the living. I glanced down at the baby. Her skin had a bluish cast, and unlike Giovanna she was very much dead.

I shoved my fist in my mouth to stifle an animal groan of pain and injustice. Her mother had done all she could to keep her safe, and still her baby had died. I sat there for I don’t know how long crying silently into the blanket. A ray of sunshine found me and warmed me, reminding me of what needed to be done.

Quietly, I grabbed a blanket and wrapped the little girl up. Her mouth was closed, full lips and long eyelashes hinted at the beauty she would have become. Life is so cruel I thought as I covered her face.

Slowly, I made my way on deck. One of the Japanese boys was in the control room. I could see Mr. Watkins asleep on the floor behind him. I nodded to the boy, who took a look at the child I held and nodded back.

I walked to the railing and sat down, letting my feet hang over the edge. We had sailed so far that Italy was nothing but a haze on the horizon. We sailed towards America with no idea what we would find there. But what was certain was that what lay behind us was only death.  I held her in my arms and wondered if the virus that was inside her was even now working its magic. She held death inside her tiny body, and for the sake of the rest of us, I could not hesitate.

It seemed wrong to just throw her in like a stone. So, I tied a rope around her and gently lowered her into the water. She bobbed like a cork in the wake of the yacht. As I watched a tiny fist moved, fingers so small they were translucent waved at me just before they sank beneath the waves.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Season of the Dead




“Don’t go up there. Please, stay here with us,” the woman pleaded with her husband.
The man cupped her cheek in the palm of his hand, wiped away a tear with his thumb before brushing her hair back from her face.
“I have to. Our food is running low, our water, we are almost out of candles. We can’t stay in this basement in the dark. It’s okay, they’ve gone, we haven’t heard anything for hours.” They both looked up at the ceiling, imagining the trashed house above, the creaking floorboards they had listened to every day since they had locked themselves away, the scratching at the door.
“What if they come back?” she sniffed.
“They won’t get me. They are slow and dumb, I will be long gone before they have a chance to catch me,” he reassured her.
“Don’t go, Papa.” A small girl clung to her father’s leg.
He scooped her into his arms and kissed her cheek. “How about if I bring back some candy for my baby girl?”
“Candy!” the girl beamed. The man smiled and kissed her again.
“Lock this door behind me, don’t open it for any reason until you are sure it’s me,” he instructed his wife before climbing the stairs to the door at the top of the basement.
“Please be careful,” she said kissing him and quickly closing the door, not daring to even look out into the house which was once their home.
“What’s in-feck-shun?” the little girl asked when her mother came back down into the cramped basement. She sat in a chair and took the girl onto her lap.
“It’s a sickness, Honey,” she answered.
“Was Grandma sick when she tried to eat Grandpa?” the little girl asked, her round eyes open wide.
“Yes, Baby, she was sick.” The woman wiped away tears from her cheek with the back of her hand.
“And was Mikey in-feck-shun when he tried to grab me?”
“Infected, Honey. Yes he was, he was sick too.” The woman remembered grabbing her daughter from the path of the neighbours twelve year old boy as he shuffled towards her, his mouth all red as if he’d been eating berries. The bodies of his parents lying on the porch told her he had not been feasting on strawberries.
“Is the whole world sick, Mama, even the people on the TV?”
“No, Baby, there’s lots of people like us, just waiting to be rescued. Why don’t you sleep now.” The woman began to sing then and gently rock her child. “Hush little baby don’t say a word, Papa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird…”
She started to doze herself but was woken by a loud crash coming from upstairs. The girl woke with a start and her mother put a hand over her mouth.
“Shhhh,”
“What is it, Mama, are the monsters back?”
“They’re not monsters, Honey, just people who are sick.” Although she said the words to her daughter she was not so sure herself.
“I don’t want Papa to get me candy,” the girl said, tears glistened in her eyes.
“Why not, Baby, don’t you like candy anymore?”
“What if the sick people catch him while he’s looking for candy? Then it’ll be all my fault, and he wont come back.”
“Hey, hey, who’s the strongest man in the whole world?”
“Papa.”
“He sure is, he can throw you up like you don’t weigh nothin’, and you’ve gotten so big I can barely lift you.”
“And he can swing me over his shoulder,” the girl grinned.
“Sure he can, aint no sick people as strong as your daddy.” Girl and mother jumped when they heard a thud on the door.
“Mama!” the girl screeched.
“Shhhhh, Baby, remember what we said? quiet as a mouse.” The woman put a finger to her own lips and the girl nodded.
Knock, knock.
“It’s Papa,” the girl whispered excitedly.
The woman lifted the child and put her on the seat while she crept up the stairs.
“And if that mocking bird don’t sing, Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring,” the girl sung quietly, her legs swinging back and forth.
“Is that you, Honey?” the woman whispered at the door.
Knock, knock.
She could feel her heart quickening, her breath catching in her throat. Was it him? What if he was injured and needed help.
“And if that diamond ring turns brass, Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass.”
She eased the door open a crack and looked out. Her husband had his back to the door, but it was him, she recognised the red shirt he was wearing when he left. She exhaled a breath of relief and flung open the door.
“And if that looking glass gets broke, Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat.”
The first thing the woman noticed as her husband turned around was the smell. A sweet, sickly smell of putrefying flesh. When she looked into his milk-white, dead eyes, she jumped back in fright and tumbled head over heels down the stairs.
“Mama?” the girl jumped off the chair as her mother crashed into the basement and lay still.
“No, Papa…. NOOOOO!!!!!!!”

Season of the Dead.
Don't look, Run!