Category Archives: zombies

Fourth Anniversary Friday Flash Blog Hop: Four Years

ffdo-bloghop

Four Years

Of course, the first year was the worst. People dying, then rising to feed on those yet alive. The human body takes anywhere from a few weeks to months to decompose, – years if they remain buried – so the walking dead only remained threats so long as they were relatively… fresh. The problem lay in the newly infected, but as the population decreased, died, rose, then decayed like their predecessors, the danger diminished.

Rosa always carried her crowbar with her, just in case. Old habits died hard, like the infected bodies she protected herself against, but after four years she had become coolly efficient in their disposal. Not that it was really necessary. Time did the job more effectively than she ever could.

Of course, the real problem was that the dead weeded out the living more quickly than time weeded them. Now, Rosa was left alone. She would make her way North to colder climes and – just maybe – other survivors. If the cold killed the virus, the north might be plague free.

Then again, didn’t cold preserve bodies?

After four years of fear, sweat, pain, and finally loneliness, she didn’t give a damn. She’d take her chances.

THE END?

 

If you are interested, I wrote an alternate ‘Four’ themed story at the six minute story site.

Today’s flash was written in honor of Friday Flash, which began four years ago on May 29th.  As part of the celebration,  I’m participating in the fourth anniversary blog hop by posting a flash of less than four hundred words, along with the adorable image by Angie Capozello, and linking back to the site itself. I urge you to read some of the other wonderful stories linked there.

Friday Flash is a twitter meme where authors post a flash of less than one thousand words, then post a link on Twitter under the hashtag #FridayFlash. It’s expanded onto other social platforms as well, but it’s a wonderful, supportive community of authors and readers. I’ve been participating in #FridayFlash for years, and I’m always amazed at the quality of work from contributors. Treat yourself, and check out FridayFlash.

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Filed under Current events, Flash Fiction, horror, zombies

FridayFlash: Calico

“Calico” has been removed, pending publication with Raging Aardvark Publications and Ether Books.The ebook will be freely available through the website, and relevant links will be provided, as soon as they are ready. The release is timed to coincide with (Inter)national Flash Fiction Day.

Polite comments, critical or otherwise, are appreciated. An audio version of the story will available on my podcast, My Writing Niche, this Sunday. Thank you, and have a lovely week.

*image courtesy of the Library of Congress via Flickr. No known copyright restrictions.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Collection

Collection

The young man’s voice, almost lost in the roar of an unseen wind, rose with the final incantation. The candle flames flared and died, immersing the room in darkness. From within the circle, a feeble voice called. “Billy?”

The boy, almost a man, called out, “Just a sec’, Uncle Bubba.” He ran to a corner and flipped a switch. Electric brilliance illuminated the garage. The corpse shielded its eyes until Billy fitted it with a grease-stained baseball cap, identical to the one he wore himself. “There,” he said. “Better?”

A single bulb hung from the garage ceiling, like a noose, casting the clutter that surrounded the circle into sharp relief. The cadaver gazed at the detritus of its former life and extended one pale, decomposing hand towards its nephew. “Whyyyyy?” it moaned.

Billy laughed and shrugged off the creature’s grip like so many dead leaves. “Hey, you know why. We need your pension money. Here, sign these.” He shoved a pen and some paperwork in front of his uncle.

The creature grabbed the pen and scrawled its signature with difficulty. Then it looked to Billy.

The young man laughed again – a cold, hard sound. “Oh no you don’t, Bubba,” he said. “I’m not through with you… yet.” The creature recoiled. “You were a bastard in life, and now that the money’s taken care of, there’s time for payback.” He picked up a shovel. “I’m betting you still feel pain. The first time I used this, you died too quick.” He grinned, exposing his crooked, yellow teeth. “This time,” he said, “I plan to make it last.”

THE END.

As always I beg for welcome feedback. Constructive criticism is always appreciated!

*This story was inspired by this article.

**I know its early to post #FridayFlash, but Friday (Oct.1st) also coincides with new postings for the 52/25 Flash challenge and my first attempt at a Podcast for Nanowrimo. I chose October 1st to debut the podcast because its exactly one month before Nanowrimo begins. I hope you tune in!

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Filed under Flash Fiction, horror, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Sanctuary *plus* 52/250: Working in the Digital Age (background story)

SANCTUARY

The undead beat upon the door of the church. The sun glared upon their torn and damaged limbs while flowering vines clung to the brick walls of the edifice like dead men’s fingers. Neither daylight, cross, nor holy water detered them from the thick wooden door.

The nearby fae heard the cries of despair with cold, unyielding hearts. The pleas for mercy went unheeded by the pastor and his flock – safe within their brick sanctuary.

The sun’s heat soon sapped the unfortunate souls of all strength. Sensing their desolation, the fairies left the hive, hovered for a moment above their prey, then swooped down for the feast. Shrieks of pain and torment rent the air.

Inside the church, the congregation prayed.

THE END.

I love the idea of having a six minute timer and a prompt that you don’t see until the timer starts. Obviously this doesn’t produce the best prose, but it makes for some great creativity. I plan on rewriting some of my attempts from the Six Minute Story site on my blog to see how I can improve from the raw material I produce there.

The story behind this is pretty short. About three minutes into writing this the phone rang. I felt cheated of my chance, so I picked this as my first rewrite. Also, Monsterbat suggested that fairies would be a scary-but-funny ending. So – thank you, Monsterbat!

*This story is a rewrite of a story I wrote for the Six Minute Story site. The original can be found here. It is licensed through the site under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

**Also, please don’t forget to check out the 52/250 Flash Challenge. My newest story there, Working in the Digital Age, was written for the theme ‘Busy at Work.’ I have a lot of trouble writing about things I care about, and so I’m not sure the story comes across very well or if it seems too cliché. But…  Slavery isn’t history.  I’m not being metaphorical. Modern Slaves outnumber the slaves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, and the majority of them are used in the sex industry. I drew upon that fact as the basis of my story.

*** For more info on modern abolitionism, please check out

Polaris Project

-activist group focusing on sexual slavery (especially of women and children)

Not for sale

-campaign to fight the global slave trade by training people to recognize it in their own backyards

Free the Slaves

-abolitionist organization with information about the modern slave trade, free newsletters, FAQ, and more


As always, feedback is begged for welcome. Thank you for your time.

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Filed under 52/250 Challenge, Action Alerts, Flash Fiction, Human Rights, slice of life, Writing Corner, zombies

52/250 Challenge: Blood

Blood

My inspiration for the sixth week of the 52|250 challenge is a little hard to nail down. The theme was Balance of Terror. I don’t know exactly why I first started thinking along these lines, but for almost as long as I can remember I’ve had the idea of a monster aristocracy. Vampires would be the wealthy noblemen, while the other creatures (werewolves, zombies, ghouls, etc.) would hold different positions in the cursed caste system. So when I saw the theme, this story was the first thing that popped into my head. I hope you like it.

My story, Blood, is published on the site under the name Catherine Russell. If you like it (or even if you don’t), polite comments are always appreciated. Enjoy!

*If anyone else is interested in participating, all the information can be found on the 52/250 site.

**lightning photo courtesy of bigfoto.com

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Filed under Flash Fiction, horror, vampires/undead, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Party Time

Party Time

Lydia never needed to dress for costume parties. They made her raven black hair, overly pale face, and dark ringed eyes seem like conscious makeup choices – color coordinated for a night of monster mayhem.

She eyed the man’s costume. Zombies usually weren’t her favorite monsters, but he was made up “zombie-lite” – no boiling pustules or bleeding gashes, only a grayish complexion and circles under his eyes. He could have passed for a dead rock star.

“I asked if you’d like a drink,” he said.

“Oh, sorry.” She looked away.

“Well?”

“I just had some punch actually,” she said, pointing to the table across the room. “Unless…?”

His grin widened. “Unless?”

“Are you offering something better?”

“I almost certainly am. Would you like to go for a walk?”

Lydia sighed. “Oh…definitely. There’s only so many time you can watch people doing the Monster Mash.”

“That’s what I thought,” he said. Her long sleeves rode up when she hooked elbows with him.The scars on her wrists showed prominently, and she adjusted the cloth to cover them again. That was all behind her. Now all she wanted was to get him alone.

They walked out the back door and headed into the woods, following the path. As the two of them walked, Lydia and her escort struggled to keep their footing by the dim light of the stars. The moon was new. Music and drunken laughter faded into the background until the only sounds were the crunching needles beneath their feet.

“Where’s the drink you offered me?” Lydia asked.

“I never offered you a drink.”

“What?”

“I asked if you wanted one. I never actually offered to get you one.”

Lydia sighed. “Oh, I guess you’re right. So… that means I remain thirsty?”

He looked down the path. “We’re actually not far now. I can get you that drink, and then we’ll go to a even better party.”

“Better?” She arched her eyebrows. “Well then, good sir, lead on.”

They turned a corner a little farther in the path and arrived at a clearing. A black cauldron squatted in the remains of an old campfire, long extinguished. Her new friend passed it to retrieve a wine bottle from behind a tree. “I stashed this here. I thought I might meet someone special tonight.” He broke the seal, popped the cork and offered her the bottle. “Drink this, and then we’ll really party.”

She shrugged and drunk deep. Her head swam, but she couldn’t make herself stop until she’d drained the entire flask.

Light filled the clearing from the burnt logs, now consumed by ghostly flames. People in various states of decay danced around the bonfire, beat conga drums, and copulated indiscriminately. The afterlife, it seemed, was much kinder than the dating world in general.

“What the hell is going on? Did you drug me?”

Zombie-lite laughed. “Yes… and poisoned you.”

“But… why?” Her coal black eyes pinned him like a bug under glass.

“When we die, we’re allowed three days to pick someone to join us for eternity. My relationships while living were… less than stellar, but I knew the moment we met that you were the perfect choice.” He caressed the telltale white ridges on her wrists.

Lydia jerked her arm from his grasp, pulling her long sleeves over the ancientscars. She watched the undead mob parade and dance around the mystic fire, the cadavers fornicating in the bushes.

“You’re already dead, well… undead. Come join the party.”

The skin stretched over her skull in an evil grin. “I thought you’d never ask.” She crashed the empty bottle over Zombie-lite’s head, and he toppled to the ground. She used the broken glass to carve up her midnight snack. After picking his body clean, she played the drums with his femurs.

The party never stopped.

As she let the beat carry her away, she shot the skull of her former companion one last look. “Just a word of advice,” she shouted over the din. “If you want to poison a girl, make sure she’s not already dead.” She hurled the femurs at his remains. “Thanks for inviting me to the party.”

She joined the gruesome merrymakers in their revels.

THE END.

*Inspired by Harry Belafonte singing Zombie Jamboree.


**I’d also like to thank ericjkrause and Boolawoola from Twitter for giving me some really good advice when I confessed that I was worried this story was too similar to Hell of a Job. Actually, I tried to explain the plot to my Mother-in-law and she looked at me like I was crazy, so I’m not sure but I think that means I’m a real writer now.

***As always, I beg for welcome any comments or polite suggestions. Anything that helps me improve is a good thing. This is a bit darker than I usually write, and so I’m not really sure how well this story works.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, horror, vampires/undead, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Love is Blind


Love is Blind

“Welcome to the ‘Smythley Smith Show’ here on the BS Network. I’m your host, Smythley Smith, and I’d like to introduce our 2 guests, Karen and Howard. Their names have been changed for their protection.”

Karen looked at the studio audience and gave her husband’s hand a short squeeze. He made no response but gazed blankly at the people in the studio through glazed, filmy eyes.

“So nice to meet you both. Let’s get right to point. You say you’ve experienced discrimination?” asked Smythley Smith.

“Oh, definitely, there’s all sorts of prejudice against the undead. It’s dreadfully unfair.” She gave the grey hand another reassuring squeeze. Bits of skin flaked off and floated to the floor.

“Well, what discrimination are we talking about here?” asked Smythley.

“You should see the looks we get in public. It’s terrible! I mean, people shy away from us like we’re contagious or something. It’s not like zombie plague is catching.”

“But the plague is transmitted by bites…”

“Of course, but it doesn’t turn you into a zombie until you die. They’re called ‘Walking DEAD’ for a reason.”

“Are you saying that zombies are harmless?”

“Well, they’re people; aren’t they? Sure, they’re slow, have bad skin and chronic bad breathe, but so does the average teenager and we don’t hold that against them.”

“What other hardships have you experienced as a result of your…uh, relationship?”

Karen looked at her husband with adoring eyes. Love is blind, and she was obviously a woman in love. “Well, poor Howard has certain… ah… medical conditions as a result of his disease that require…”

“Yes?” prompted the host.

“Well, he’s on a special diet,” she said. She paused, then added, “For his health.”

The talk show host looked at the audience a moment before replying. Already several of the live viewers had been quietly sick into the provided bags while others looked queasy. He wasn’t sure how much the networks would allow. “You are referring to the zombie taste for brains and entrails…” It wasn’t a question.

“Well, he needs them. I mean, most people have no problem eating body parts. Fried chicken’s just muscles and…”

“But those are birds- not humans!”

“So, what’s the difference? It’s simply unfair to draw that distinction in light of my poor hubby’s condition. Right, Howard?”

Howard’s glazed eyes wandered to his wife. He felt her scalp with meaty fingers.

“Surely you aren’t suggesting people let him eat their brains…?”

“Braaaaaainnnnnssssss,” moaned Howard.

“Stop it, Howard,” said his wife. Addressing Smythley, she continued, “No, of course not. Well… yes, but not while they’re alive.,”

“I’m…speechless.”

Karen smiled. “Not a good position for a talk show host to be in.”

Smythley glared at her. Howard continued picking through Karen’s hair, but she batted his hand aside. “Stop that, Howard! Not here,” she whispered. Then, more loudly, “He’s still affectionate, still loving. He’s every bit a man as the day I married him.”

“Every bit the… Did you say EVERY bit?”

Karen blushed. Smythley wondered if he should ask about rigor mortis. “Well, anyway… let’s get back to the question of sustenance. Should I ask how you get Howard’s…his, um, diet?” Smythley watched Howard’s eyes follow a fly that had been flying close to his face. He made a grab for the offending insect, missed, and fell heavily to the floor. Howard turned glazed eyes on Smythley. The little man squirmed in his chair and adjusted his collar.

“Mortuaries, cemeteries, places like that. But we’re hoping hospitals will soon start donating body parts to those in need,” said Karen.

“Are you saying you dig up graves?” asked Smythley.

“No, don’t be ridiculous,” she said.

“Well, then what?”

“Some of the deceased have their organs donated. It’s hard to come by at the moment, since there’s such a stigma on donating your body to zombies, but a few kind hearted souls have helped us enough to get by. We’re also looking into vat-grown meat.” She beamed and swatted Howard’s hand away from her blouse.

“That sounds disgusting,” said Smythley, unable to hide a grimace.

“No more than eating muscles, which most people do anyway and they don’t bat an eye about it,” she said. “No dear, I wasn’t telling you to bat your eye, please stop,” she told her husband. Comprehension slowly dawned on Howard. He put his eye back in the socket.

A few more audience members turned pale and ran for the doors.

Smythley was cutting it close with the censors but still felt he could pull off the rest of the show. Oppressed minority fighting for their rights- it was a good angle.

He asked, “So, what do you eat, Mrs. Howard?”

“Me? Oh, I’m vegetarian!”

That was it. He might be able to sell the zombie thing, but vegetarianism would offend too many sponsors. He made the kill sign to his producer, which Howard took quite literally, and the show ended.

THE END

*UPDATE (2010-05-31) I feel just terrible that I forgot to include credit to my ‘beta reader’, VeganTexan, of the Vegan Represent Forums. He made helpful suggestions, offered encouragement, and I value his expertise as an avid lover of zombie literature. My sincere apologies that it took me this long to post my thanks here. My only excuse could be that a zombie ate my brains.  Thank you again, VeganTexan!

*This was actually my very first attempt at writing a zombie story, though it’s the second one I’ve ever posted on my blog. It hasn’t been quite right for any of the markets I’ve submitted to, but I’m really fond of this so I wanted to share it. You know what they say – you never forget your first zombie…

As always, I beg for welcome feedback. If you liked it, wonderful. If you didn’t, I still want to hear from you. Thank you for your time.

**Microphone photo courtesy of hidden hiddedevries under Creative Commons

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Filed under Flash Fiction, humor, satire, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Adventures in Dentistry

Adventures in Dentistry

Bobby Flattoe loved his job. He’d been scaring little boys and grown men alike from the day he earned his degree and opened shop as a late-night dentist. In addition to this, the services he offered were so unique that he enjoyed an amount of financial freedom and price gouging unparalleled in the dental industry.

The man pulled himself as far back into the dental chair as possible as Bobby approached with his sharp metal tools. The field of dentistry had always been an unpleasant one- sticking hands into strange mouths, handling sharp instruments, dealing with pain – but Bobby’s disposition made him unusually qualified for his job. He checked the leather restraints.

“Now say ‘ah,’” he said.

The old man with the boyish face cringed.

“Come, I can’t do my job if you don’t open wide; can I?”

The young-old man opened his mouth and closed his eyes.

“There. That’s better,” said Bobby Flattoe, DDS. He examined the pointed tips of his patient’s chipped and worn incisors. As expected, they’d need to be replaced.

“I’m afraid, Mr. Smith that you’re going to need dentures.”

His patient’s eyes opened wide. The thick leather restraints bit into his flesh as he struggled to rise.

“Oh, now, we’ll have none of that, Mr. Smith. Besides, there’s no need to worry.” The dentist stuffed cotton into his patient’s cheeks as he spoke. “The specialty dentures will look and function like your own teeth, so you can follow your regular diet with only slight modifications.” Bobby prodded his patient’s gums, forced the mouth to open wider, and looked inside.

Mr. Smith, cheeks puffed like a squirrel hording nuts, attempted a question. “MmmmMmm Mufffmoof muummm?”

“No – pretty much the same. Just stick to tender virgins for about a month afterwards and stay away from crusty old men. They might get caught in your new teeth. Oh- and no gum.” He scraped the incisors with a pointed steel instrument.

Mr. Smith mumbled another question mixed with a deep throated snarl.

Bobby Flattoe, DDS poked the patient’s gums with the sharp instrument, causing the creature’s whole body to stiffen. “We can go over the specifics when you make your next appointment.”

Mr. Smith, like a trapped animal, voiced his anger and fear in a deepening growl.

“Yes, it’s going to be expensive, but I’m sure you can afford it. Now if you’ll excuse me, Mrs. Flattoe will wrap things up while I see to the next patient.” The dentist put down his instrument, pulled off his gloves and washed his hands.

A woman dressed in red medical scrubs stepped out of the shadows.

“She’ll answer your questions and make the appointment. Sorry to rush off like this, but I’m a little behind schedule tonight. My next patient’s a lycanthrope, and we both know how irritable they can be.” Bobby chuckled.

A howl eminated from the waiting room.

Mr. Smith’s struggles, which had persisted off and on throughout the visit, lessoned as the dentist left the room. He renewed them as the petite blonde approached him with a clipboard.

“Mr. Smith?” she said in honeyed tones. “I’ll release your restraints soon. But first I’d just like to go over today’s bill with you, as well as the cost of your new teeth.”

She showed him the clipboard. His body shook, and he passed out. She smiled.

God, she loved this job.

THE END.

*note: There are many fine dentists out there that are perfectly lovely people. Bobby Flattoe just doesn’t happen to be one of them.~ admin

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Filed under Flash Fiction, humor, satire, vampires/undead, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: Quietus

Quietus

The worst thing about the zombie apocalypse was the damned unicorns. It was easy enough to escape human zombies; they were slow moving, chronically uncoordinated creatures with very little brain power of their own. Perhaps that was why they hungered for the grey matter of others.

The first time Maggie saw an infected unicorn its matted, yellowing fur, dead eyes, and hideous pink mane made her skin crawl, and that was simply from the color scheme. Its blood soaked horn was even more gruesome, though not much. However it’d gored some hippies instead of her, so she’d counted her blessings and moved on.

Too soon, as it turned out, because she’d failed to consider one thing. Zombie unicorns were fast. They didn’t have wings, but they didn’t need them. Their feet could trample you in seconds flat, and then the creature could simply lick up grey matter gumbo for its dinner. She’d barely escaped by turning into an alley too narrow for the beast to follow.

After a few minutes, the menacing fiend whinneyed and returned to its meal of mashed hippie. She was left alone with her thoughts, most of them unpleasant. She figured it must belong to the herd that escaped from the local Crypto-zoo. She wondered if their caretakers had died from the virus or a goring.

Unicorn sightings became more frequent within the ruined city. Even worse, the animals began to travel in groups. Chronically clumsy unicorns were still deadly if you were caught unawares, and she couldn’t count on tie-dyed bait hanging around to save her butt. She needed a plan.

She had one. It wasn’t sane, but little was in this crazy world.

So she hid in the same narrow alley as before, only this time she held a lasso. Summers on her uncle’s ranch were about to pay off as she waited for one of the pack to wander between its herd and the alley. She spotted a sickly, lavender-colored hide when one creature ventured close. It sniffed the remains she’d laid out as bait– they liked their brains fresh – then bent over to lick the carcass.

She exited the alley, swinging the lasso, while its back was to her. The beast was too engrossed in its meal to notice the sound but bolted when the thick rope wound about its neck. It jerked Maggie off her feet, yet she recovered quickly enough to mount the loathsome thing. It whinnied and bucked wildly, but she clutched its mane fiercely and pressed her body against it. The smell of its putrefied skin, among other things, made this experience less than pleasant, but in its zombified state its attention soon returned to the corpse at its feet. It stomped on the head a few times, and then bent to nibble at the broken bits of skull. The brains oozed onto the ground, and it fed.

She sat up, retrieved a metal rod from her backpack, and entended it. She also unpacked some entrails which she tied to the end of the rod. When the creature had finished its meal, she held the rod so the intestines dangled out of reach. Zombie unicorns followed their stomachs, and the beast lurched forward, snapping vainly at the lure. She held it closer to his mouth to slow his motion, but farther away to speed up.

Rounding a corner, she came across the rest of the herd. She recognized it immediately from the vomit-colored rainbow of horns and hides. By extending the rod farther she drove the monstrosity forward. The sleek and glistening guts bounced and swayed, and the beast charged ahead. The other undead raised their heads only seconds before the ravenous creature mowed them down with the long, glittery point of its horn. Only the few creatures on the edge of the group escaped.

Now that there was plenty of flesh on the ground, however tainted and mangled, she withdrew the lure so the animal’s attention was once again drawn downward. It leaned down to feast.

Maggie couldn’t quite bring herself to pat the animal on the back – sitting on the rotting flesh was disgusting enough – though she did manage to croak out, “Good horsey.” Indeed. She’d let the creature finish its meal before using the lure again. Then she could take out the rest of the hellish things before disposing of the last unicorn. That was one problem solved.

Now if only she could figure out how to get rid of the damn fairies.

THE END.

*This one was just for fun! I was short on time, but I managed to squeak this one out on Friday.

**Okay, technically Saturday (after Midnight) but everyone knows that its not really the next day until after you go to bed. So I’m still good.

***It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that I welcome any constructive criticism. I’m really new to writing zombie stories, so I’m not quite sure how this turned out. Also, I ran out of time so I didn’t get to edit as much as I’d like. I usually try to write stories ahead of time, let them simmer, and then edit a few more times before posting. So please let me know what you think. Thanks.

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Filed under fantasy-magic, Flash Fiction, humor, Writing Corner, zombies

Friday Flash: White

White

First one pale white hand, and then another, clawed it’s way up through the fresh pile of earth. A rat scurried off the mound as the ground erupted, dirt flying in all directions.  Soon the hole was wide enough for the bride to emerge, using grimy fingers to pull herself out.  She adjusted her veil and vainly sought to put her dress in order.

“Well,” she told her lover wryly, “I guess that’s what I get for wearing white.”

The end

***This week our home schedule has been completely turned upside down. Also, I NEED to start prepping for Nanowrimo next month! Until I get more organized (which will probably take a couple weeks), my #fridayflash stories will probably be either nonexistent or very short. So, I hope you like my very short #fridayflash story. :)

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Filed under Flash Fiction, humor, vampires/undead, Writing Corner, zombies