I’m not sure what it is, exactly. Maybe it’s gonzo fiction, maybe it’s horror, maybe it’s something else. But I’m going to be doing something different with it and you can be a part.

Part-Time Zombie is the new novella I’m working on and you can get the first part of 3 for free. Now I say it’s for sale for 99₵, but that’s more of a suggested retail. I’m going to be giving the first part away for free as a promotion to the whole novella. It’ll be available as a PDF or a chapbook (I’ll be mailing a very limited number of these), but you can read and swap with whomever you wish.

I’m still wrapping up the cover design, playing around with a couple different ideas and I’m waiting for my cardstock to arrive. If you would like your own copy, please email me at gerald [dot] rice76 [at] gmail [dot] com.

This isn’t a competition. If you want it, it’s yours and I hope you’re own board when the whole thing is set to arrive in May. I’d like the ebook to be available in time for ThrillBill (more on that later). It’s also to promote the rebranding of Razorline Press to Melted Brain Books (more on that later too).

If you or someone you know would be interested in doodling or drawing something (warning: there’s no pay for this, but I would give everyone a mention at the back of the chapbook), please email as well.

In the meantime enjoy chapter 1.

P.S. One last thing! Amazon has put Dead ’til Dawn on sale for 99₵ this month. If you don’t already have a copy, now is the perfect time to get one.

 

Ch. 1

Alice was somewhere between transcribing Dr. Price’s faxed notes and entering a lab request when she decided to eat someone. It wasn’t a conscious decision, exactly, and the thought registered as a cramping pain in her stomach simultaneous with a throb at the the back of her brain. Alice rose stiffly from her desk, thinking about getting something to eat, although she felt nauseated and hadn’t been hungry a moment earlier.

Drs. Price and Goldblum had the only doctor’s office in the strip mall, nestled between a Dairy Queen and an auto parts store. Well, the auto parts store was permanently closed even though they still had the sign up. Alice stumbled out the front door, still with enough presence of mind to lock up before she bowled into a group of six teenagers. The girls had on a rainbow of different color lipstick with flecks of gold or silver, the boys all had Converse sneakers with no shoelaces and the tongues lolling out.

They all yelled and one girl’s ice cream spilled out of her hands after Alice fell into her, knocking her back. “Hey!” the girl dressed in what looked like a shiny, fitted banana peel said. “Look what you did, you old bat!” The girl was taller than her by half a head and wore her blonde hair in a high ponytail. Alice craned her head back to look up at her and something about the teenagers’ attitudes changed.

“No-no,” a boy said. He had on a pair of herringbone necklaces with medallions hanging off them and a red jogging suit complete with matching red round bucket Kangol hat. “It’s cool, Chrissy. I’ll buy you another one.” The girl opened her mouth to protest, but he was already dragging her along back into the Dairy Queen. The others followed behind, glancing Alice’s way as they passed.

Maybe she wanted Dairy Queen too. She had to do something to settle this nausea. She’d meant to apologize but was afraid to open her mouth to speak. Hadn’t she heard something about milk calming nausea? Alice wasn’t sure, but she was so hungry too. She had never felt anything like this before.

She stumbled inside, the pungent smell of soft-serve ice cream and cones filling her nose. The scents were momentarily overwhelming, giving Alice a tinny sensation in the middle of her brain like the onset of a headache. She put a hand to her head, not watching where she was going as she bumped into the same group of teens standing in line. They all looked at her and took a step back.

They smelled sweet too and the dull knife in her brain abated.

“Look, grandma, what is your problem?” The girl she’d crashed into a moment earlier stepped forward. She shoved Alice’s shoulder, her manicured fingernails shaped like pink claws. Alice wasn’t conscious of snapping at her hand until the girl reared back, a shocked expression on her face.

“Ow. You bit me! Brad, she bit me!” The girl’s eyes went wide and she pushed back into Brad.

Alice didn’t think she had, but she tasted something tangy rolling around on her tongue. There was something else hard and semi sharp agitating the roof of her mouth and Alice spat out one of the girl’s press-on fingernails.

“See! I told you so, Brad. She bit me. Brad, she bit me.” Every time the girl spoke his name she sounded more whiny and nasal. The girl flashed her hand in front of her like she was telling Alice to halt. “My nails!” Brad rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“Okay, Chrissy, but what do you want me to do about it? I can’t beat up a girl.”

“She is not a girl and yes, you can.” Chrissy sounded offended. “She’s like thirty. She’s older than you, you can fight her. Punch her, Brad. Knock her teeth in. Do it.”

“Uh, how about I get you a Band-Aid or something? You don’t want that to get infected or anything, do you?

The girl’s eyes went wider. “Rabies? You don’t think she has rabies, do you, Brad?” She turned and huddled into his body even more.

“I don’t know.” Brad’s eyes flicked up and down the length of Alice’s body even as he curled a protective arm around his girlfriend. Alice knew the look even if it was tinged with a bit of wariness. “But she does look kind of sick. Right, guys?”

The other teens nodded and grumbled in agreement, shuffling out of line and giving Alice as wide of a berth as possible in the small area. Once they were gone a small bald man in black-and-white plaid shorts up to his nipples and a shirt with palm trees on it was getting his ice cream ahead of her. It was in a cup and had red syrup drizzled all over it with a healthy sprinkling of peanuts.

He nodded at Alice, giving her the up and down too with eyes behind fishbowl glasses. Then the old man shuffled past and pushed outside.

“I’ll have what he had but with no nuts,” Alice said to the teen behind the counter. The girl nodded, her sweet smell wafting over to Alice as she proceeded to ring up her order. She had braces and her fire-engine red hair twisted up in two scrunchies like knobs to either side of the back of her head. Alice handed her the first bill she dug out of her wallet and accepted her change blindly, disturbed at how the girl incessantly chomped away at a piece of gum.

A moment later Alice had her own cup of ice cream with syrupy red drizzled over it.

Alice carried it like a weight as she walked back outside, the teens studying her. She was certain there was no way she could eat this, her nausea had increased to the point she was seeing everything under a full haze of red and knew any moment she’d be curled over, yakking her lungs out.

But she was so hungry.

That tinny feeling returned, spreading behind her ears as her mouth filled with saliva. Any minute now, she thought. But before she could be gripped by horrid release a giant fist crashed into the side of her head.

Ice cream and syrupy red drizzle were both forgotten. Alice hadn’t seen the blow coming that she could recall but she had somehow gotten a hand up, attempting to block. She’d only succeeded in getting her ice cream smashed into her face before she went tumbling to the concrete.

Alice was upside down and knew her skirt had flipped over her face. Sunlight transluced through her skirt, giving everything a soft dark glow. That of course meant that anyone looking was getting a good view of her panties. Alice kicked her legs until she had changed the position of her body, which had apparently had flipped upside down and had become semi lodged between the walkway and façade of the building.

“Crap, I think Big Sandy just killed her!” somebody yelled. Alice was still blinking the clouds out of her eyes as teenagers laughed and retreating feet beat against the concrete.

“No, she ain’t dead.” The voice was deep and feminine. Alice looked up from her prone position at a figure that at first appeared to be a hairy mountain with neon pink hair. She went on staring at it until her eyes focused enough to make out that the mountain was actually another teenager. At least Alice assumed she was a teenager. The girl’s mustache hadn’t completely filled in. “Get up.”

Alice rose, upset about the ice cream spilled all over her, but more frightened of the giant child standing over and glowering at her. “Now wait a minute—”

Big Sandy punched her again. It had to have been somewhere in her torso but it felt like she had punched her entire chest and stomach all at once. Alice flew back and bounced off the wall. She felt as though her bones had dissolved and was mid-crumple when Big Sandy grabbed her by the throat.

“This is for spilling Chrissy’s ice cream,” the girl said and punched Alice in the stomach again. Alice felt a hot something with a thousand needles in it crawling up her esophagus. “This is for following us into the Dairy Queen like a weirdo-stalker.” She hit her again and the needles turned into barbs. “And this is for… this is for just being old!” Big Sandy punched her in the stomach one last time and everything in Alice’s allegedly empty stomach came out.

To the casual passerby it might have looked like someone might have had too much ice cream and threw up on someone else. Or maybe someone had had a mouthful of ice cream and had sneezed at an inopportune moment.

What actually happened was just so… gross.

Big Sandy stumbled backward, a melting expression of horror on what was left of her face. There was the smell and sound of sizzling meat that set Alice’s mouth to watering, the nausea finally lifted. A whistling sound came from the expanding hole in the teen’s throat which she tried to cover with a missing hand.

Big Sandy turned and with a stilted gait, walked into the parking lot. No sooner had she made it past the first row of parked cars when a Geo Metro came around a corner five miles faster than the posted limit of fifteen miles per hour and ran her down.

The girl hit the asphalt, the remnants of her upper body practically disintegrating upon contact. Her upper half and shirt continued melting along with the top three inches of asphalt beneath her.

Alice, still shaky, shuffled over to what was left of the girl. She looked up and locked eyes with the driver of the Metro who looked as frightened by what had just happened as of the dead body no more than fifteen feet away.

“No way,” the man said, clapping his hands over his lush head of jet black hair. “I didn’t do that.” He looked down at the girl’s soupy remains. “I-I didn’t.” He’d been shouting over a blaring radio inside the car, playing Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me”. He pointed to what was left of the girl and opened his mouth as if to say something else. Then he looked around and apparently saw that other than a woman who appeared to be in shock, no one had seen what had just happened. He glanced nervously at Alice, turned, then got back in the smoky din of the Metro. The tires chirped as the car lurched forward and jerked to a stop like a teenager who had scared himself by applying too much pressure on the gas then too much on the brake. Then the car accelerated again, whipping around the end of the row of cars and pulling out of the lot, cutting off a car headed south as it turned in the opposite direction.

Alice felt somewhat better, although the hunger seemed to be hanging back. She looked at the legs on the ground, splayed someone trying to show what a figure-four leglock looked like without the benefit of a second pair of legs. Red gore poked out of the top of those legs, including the thick trunk of what looked like a vertebral column that seemed to be dissolving before her eyes. She took a step forward, not knowing if her intent was hunger or morbid curiosity and hooked the tip of one shoe on the heel of the other and face planting in the girl’s remains like red chowder. Then she blacked out.