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…

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[Couldn’t help it. I was compelled to refine and expand the premise—one made up based on the image below used in the faux cover—that started as a joke. It is a story idea I might have to treat seriously and write one day, albeit with a much better cover image.] Every picture tells a story… […]

‘SUNDOWN DOGS’

“I don’t know…” Sam watched the sunset and didn’t look at Roy next to him. “Sometimes around this time of day… I sit here and think.” Roy shifted to free his tail. Somehow it always ended up under his butt. “What about?” “Like… what is life?” Sam lifted his paw toward the setting sun. “I […]

HONEY - Where's That Book_ Flashfiction by Dennis Lowery

‘HONEY – Where’s That Book?’ [M] (FREE FLASHFICTION STORY)

Bob and Jane sat at the table with Sandy and Timmy that Friday morning. When the work and school day ended, it was the beginning of a holiday weekend, and they had special plans.

Just the day before, Bob had picked up his new 1958-model Edsel from ‘Big Jim’ Axelrod’s Ford dealership over in Union City. It now shone prettily just outside the kitchen windows, and he looked forward to a long drive over the weekend. Bob wasn’t the kind—because of the ‘gaddam idiots not paying attention’ driving through the neighborhood—to park his car on the street. He’d insisted on moving the Oldsmobile so he could get the new Ford under the carport. That he’d have to then back the Olds out of the one-car driveway each time to get to it hadn’t sunk in yet. But then Bob wasn’t much for long-range planning.

Jane—worried that bills were getting out of hand and now this car—followed his look at the new debt through the window. She wore a not-quite-latest-fashion-but-still-nice, gray, dress with a wide white collar that framed her strong, lean, neck and high cheek-boned face perfectly. She smelled of lilacs this morning. A new scent she’d found that Arturo, the pool-boy at the club, seemed to like a great deal. He called it ‘Lilicks…’ and would laugh as he burrowed his head between her–.

“Jane?”

She blinked away the memory of what she loved so much, but Bob wouldn’t do and looked at him. He had shifted his face around the edge of the newspaper to look at her. “Yes, dear?”

“Are you okay?” He looked concerned.

She canted her head; felt her hand rise to her ear and then stopped. She’d almost started to tug her right earlobe. Bob knew she only did that when she was nervous about something. He’d be on to her. Instead, she brushed a lock of hair, that hadn’t fallen out of place, back from her brow with the palm of her hand.

“I’m fine, dear.”

He grunted. His usual response when he didn’t quite believe something he’d heard someone say… or more often, didn’t really care. But then added before ducking back behind The Daily Courier, “You’re kinda flushed, you running a fever?”

“Really, dear… I’m all right.” She felt a catch in her voice and hoped he hadn’t heard it over Timmy and Sandy fighting about the last slice of buttered toast. She was meeting Arturo that afternoon—between the Church Planning Committee luncheon and picking up the kids from school—at the Golden Pavilion motel where 6th Street ended at Highway 9 and felt the warmth rise again. But not on her face this time; she clenched her thighs. “Any good news in the paper?” Getting him talking about that always worked.

“If someone—and I mean the gaddam president—doesn’t do something about them Russkies… they’re going to take over Europe.” Bob had fought in World War Two, serving in Patton’s 3rd Army, and was still pissed that the US had let the Russians enter Berlin first. “And then they’ll be landing in New York.”

“Yes, dear.” It was automatic and came out of Jane’s mouth without thought. She was still thinking of Arturo singing, Return to Me, to her last weekend. He so looked like Dean Martin. Then he had put his mouth on her and his tongue would– “What’s that, dear?”

HONEY - Where's That Book_ Flashfiction by Dennis LoweryHe had the paper down and was looking at her again. “What’s that you’re humming?”

A bright light, like God had taken their picture, whitened their faces.

Bob, Jane, Sandy, and Timmy looked out the window.

“Honey, where’s that book, you know… the one about–”

The lights went out, and they felt the house shiver then groan. Just before the window blew in, Bob thought of the Edsel… and them ‘gaddam’ Commies.

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NOTE FROM DENNIS

I wrote this little story after I saw this:

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‘The Redhead Witch’

"Don't call me ginger..."

“Oy, Ginger!” Ruby ignored the drunk Brit who’d been ogling her at the bar and then staggered out after her. She scrolled through her list to find just the spell for him. That one she’d developed to help her nephew with his ‘outie.’ It had worked on the belly button. With just a bit of […]

THE BARGAINS BELOW - Short Fiction by Dennis Lowery

The Bargains Below (FICTION: Escrire)

ATTENTION SHOPPERS

Laurie was new to town but not to shopping. She was the consummate bargain hunter and always scored big with sales savings. Then at a mall, she had one of those nightmare days that forever marks you. And nothing is ever the same again. A short story for the holiday shopping season.

A few early-reader (pre-publication) comments:

“Well written! The story flowed well and kept me eager to read on!” –Margaret Pypher

“Good lord I’m never shopping for bargains again!! Brilliant!” –Rea de Miranda

“Coooool. I lolled a few times too. Can’t wait to share.” –Nina Anthonijsz