THE KNOCKING DEAD Flashfiction by Dennis Lowery

The Knocking Dead (FREE, Short Fiction)

They don’t want your brain or other body parts… they want your soul. And maybe some money or donations…

THE KNOCKING DEAD Flashfiction by Dennis LoweryBack before the reclamation… the recovery of humanity, they called them Walkers. The undead that spanned the land after an unknown event crashed civilization–leaving handfuls of us alive. Small pockets of humanity that soon reverted to the primitive roots of survival: kill or be killed.

They don’t want your brain or other body parts… they want your soul. And maybe some money or donations.

Back before the reclamation… the recovery of humanity, they called them Walkers. The undead that spanned the land after an unknown event crashed civilization, leaving handfuls of us alive. Small pockets of humanity that soon reverted to the primitive roots of survival: kill or be killed.

On the run, we fought back; always seeking someplace safe. Somewhere to make a stand and to begin the climb back toward the rudiment of lives and lifestyle we once took for granted. Finally, after bitter years, we did. We—humanity—re-established our world. Maybe not entirely as it once was but close. Perhaps an even better one for what we learned about ourselves during the dark days. But there were dangers in this new world. Still, things to be wary of for their intrusion into your life and aggravation brought to your doorstep.

We’d had close calls before, but one day we weren’t so lucky.

It was that last leg of daylight when the sun has gone from yellow-orange on the horizon to bands of striated orange then orange-red, to a scarlet orb eye-level low and dipping lower that turns the sky and clouds around it shades of crimson. There was a sound at the front door, the scuff of feet on the stone pavers, then a ring and a knock. Finishing up my writing for the day, I heard and caught out of the corner of my eye, my wife pass my study door to see who it was.

“We don’t mean to bother you, but we’re in your neighborhood to share some information.”

My wife is polite, and I knew she paused. That hesitation was their opening.

“Have you heard the word of…”

My wife should have lashed out—perhaps her battle-earned reflexes had been lost—to stab them through the head and end the situation. But she had reverted to the polite, civilized lady of before. I looked out my study window and saw a cluster of them move closer, massing at our door. Scenting the kill.

I spun and grabbed my old friend that had never let me down. A six-foot oak staff with the serrated blade embedded and secured as stoutly as a man-hating 50-year-old virgin’s loins.

I came out of my office, moving like back in days long past. I felt that athletic grace flow through me, my body automatically responding. The muscle-memory of survival. In the foyer, I placed one foot and my 212 pounds behind the door so it would not easily open further, and with my free hand swept my wife behind me, waving her further back. I needed room to work.

A quick glimpse through the doorway. I saw Sunday-Go-To-Meeting clothing: women with purses on crossed arms, hands with bundles of leaflets; men with the same tracts but sometimes holding a black or brown leather (or faux-leather) bound book with a purple ribbon placeholder peeking out that gave a small rise and settle as an eddy of wind swirled.

Perhaps they were good men and women all. But through perverse hunger to spread their creed, they could suck the time out of your life as you tried to be courteous and hear them out. Trying to be civil though you weren’t remotely interested in what they espoused.

In that situation, I’m no longer polite. No, not at all.

I swung the door wide and took the first one right through the throat—yanked out and jabbed again, this time in the head. It fell back but remained standing. I took the next right through the forehead. It should have dropped but merely stepped back pulling itself off my blade. Nothing worked… they kept coming… kept trying to hand me tracts and information on their belief… kept interrupting our day with their unsolicited tag-team approach. The only recourse, epic rudeness.

With a harsh sound that my daughter’s call the MAD DAD voice, I thundered, “NOT INTERESTED, DON’T COME BACK!” They retreated, and I slammed the door. My back to it, I saw my wife’s look… full of reproach. Thirty-five years and it still has a measure of impact. But not this time.

“You don’t have to be so…”

“Yes… Yes, I do.”

I knew chances were in a month or two… I would have to be again. Because it seems, the Knockers always come back.

Read the Story behind this story…

And there’s The Irony…

THE FIRST WEREWOLF Flashfiction by Dennis Lowery

The First Werewolf (FLASHFICTION)

The Man in the Moon shone full and bright through the large bank of windows. At a long table of wood, discolored from the spills of countless nostrums and strewn with the implements of the alchemist—a dabbler in the dark—a man turned to look up at it. Its luminescence washed over his features, revealing their roundness. Other than a beard, barely a hair graced his head to break the near-perfect curve; a bit of shine gleamed from his pate as the rays through the glass draped him in the pale light.

The moon mocked him even more than the girls in the village. He’d learned to avoid them, but each night the moon was always there and once each month he felt its derision in fullness—as it was tonight.

Hating the lunar light, bitter but determined, he returned to his work. He was close.

He knew the elixir held in his hands would succeed where all the others had failed. He’d have a luxuriant mane of hair that would draw the ladies to him. They would not resist the urge to run their hands through it and toy with his locks. The first exhibition, he was sure, would lead to the fulfillment of his fancies and other, darker, fantasies.

Completed potion in hand, he turned again to the window, raising the vial—in more a challenge than a toast—he downed its contents in one swallow. The foul taste not enough to wipe the smirk off his face as he taunted the moon while standing bathed in its light.

It came on him. It coursed through his veins, permeating the cells of his being. A strange tingle, almost an itch, crawled from the top of his head, blooming down to his toes. Touching his scalp, he felt nubs of hair sprouting; he could feel them lengthen beneath his palm. In another minute, he was brushing his fingers through beautiful strands of hair that became fuller as they spread. They soon gave balance to his beard and proportion to his face—making him, dare he say it… “Quite handsome,” he laughed into the full-length mirror he’d placed near the window.

His laughter faded as he felt a strange tightening of his shirt and a hint of pain like a cramp that promised to worsen. Buttons now pulled tight, he fumbled to release them. The exposed flesh was no longer smooth and white as milk, nor as hairless as his head had been. The skin had thickened and dark, coarse, hair sprouted. As he watched, it flourished across his stomach and down into his trousers. His pants tightened drawing up and pinching his nethers; the constriction too much, he ripped them off with furred hands, and long fingers tipped with sharp nails. At the awful pain in his feet, he tore off his boots and now free of all binding cloth, he stood in the moonlight before the mirror.

His face distorted into an animal’s visage, teeth turned to fangs, and hairy ears twitched. He had scant time to think, “God, what have I done?” before the lust for blood and flesh triggered a flood of juices in his mouth. His ears caught the sound and nose the scent, of food living in the village below.

Little did he know that—as the mind of man gave way to the slavering beast—the ladies of the town, mostly, thought him not ugly but a lout. A most unbecoming man. It was more about him than his head, they found distasteful.

With a howl that tailed from lament to a shriek of hunger, the first werewolf raced to feed.

# # #

‘Toward the Light…’

Head still down, she looked at the vines that started under the dead leaves lying before her. Following the green of their winding on the trees that lined the path brought her eyes up, climbing their height as the vines did. They were life; growing infinitesimally and breathing as she looked at them. And as her head lifted she saw in the distance an opening through the trees at the crest of the hill she’d labored to climb but was only halfway there.

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