BLACK HOLE by Michelle DePaepe


We hide in the shadows, away from the blistering sun.

Jaded, I ignore the blood that runs like paint down the walls as my love sweats and trembles.

He says it was a scorpion,
I've seen the red bloom where his flesh was torn, and know I may have to kill him before nightfall.

Michelle DePaepe is the author of Eaters, published by Permuted Press.

She has also published a sequel, Eaters: The Resistance.

RUN by Iain McKinnon



Fighting the pain and frenzied teeth.

Raw knuckles and burnt muscles.

“I can’t hold them.”

I collapse to my knees, blood gushing out of gaping wounds, spent, panting like a dog.

I succumb, buying time with my life. Is this all I’m worth, meagre seconds?

With luck they’ll waste time feasting on my corpse.
Iain McKinnon is the author of  the Domain of the Dead trilogy

DOG DAYS by Patrick D'Orazio

Mr. D'Orazio is the author of Comes the DarkInto the Dark, and  Beyond the Dark, all of which are scheduled to be re-released by Permuted Press . The kindle version  of the first novel is available now.  In the meantime, you can read the first three chapters of  Comes the Dark on D'Orazio's blog, Tomes of Darkness.

Dog Days

Jed’s eyes popped open after a fitful nap, and he dragged himself up from the bedroom floor. He patted Susie on the head and forced his aching legs to carry him down the stairs. Digging in his ears, he removed the ear plugs and stuffed them in his pocket. Relentless pounding and wailing flooded his senses.

“You keep a-knockin’, but you can’t come in …” Jed sang tunelessly as he checked the barricaded doors and windows for the umpteenth time. He could barely hear the padding of Susie’s paws as she followed him into the kitchen with the hope of being fed.

“Sorry, girl. No dice.”

They were down to five full gallon jugs of water. The food had run out three days ago.

Jed’s Labrador looked as lousy as he felt. She’d stopped barking at the moans of the undead weeks ago, but the endless desperation of the monsters had worn on her. Her gorgeous coat was falling out in clumps as her ribcage grew ever more visible.

“Were gonna starve in here, baby, but at least those bastards won’t eat us.”

Being eaten alive was Jed’s biggest fear. Blackened teeth sinking into your flesh and blood-scabbed fingers tearing into your muscles and organs was the worst possible way to go. Starving would hurt, but Jed hoped his senses would grow dull and he would pass away in his sleep.

Susie gave a low, throaty growl as Jed took a swig of water. Looking down, he could see her raised hackles and her lips pulled back, revealing sharp doggy teeth.


Jed dropped the jug and raised his arm just in time to prevent his pup from sinking her teeth into his throat. Instead, Susie latched on to his forearm as Jed’s back slammed into a cabinet. Jed’s legs crumpled and he collapsed to the floor, howling in pain.

Susie relinquished her hold and scrambled out of the way of Jed’s falling body. He landed face-up and felt lukewarm water from the jug he’d dropped seeping through his clothes. He couldn’t move.

“Susie? Wha- what didja do to me?”

A trickle of blood darkened the puddle of water beneath Jed’s arm. He could still feel his extremities but could only move his neck. As he struggled, he heard Susie growl again.

Jed shifted his head to watch as she inched closer.

“Susie, sweetie, I think you really hurt daddy. I can’t move. Calm down, baby.”

Susie drooled with hunger. Jed had never seen such a look of desperation on his sweet puppy’s face before, and it chilled his blood.

Susie nuzzled the arm she had already torn open, lapping at the blood before sinking her teeth into the open wound. She ignored Jed’s screams as she tore off a hunk of meat.

He’d lost some weight during his time trapped inside the house, but Jed suspected there was more than enough meat for Susie to survive on for a long time to come.



Run. That was Todd's Goodwin's only thought as he stared at the massacre in front if him. 

"What are you doing? Run!" yelled mark Hamilton, reiterating his thoughts.

Todd did his best to stand up, vacillating until he could support himself against a wall. The explosion had been more voluminous than they thought it would be. They came into the situation with thirty people and as far as Todd knew, he and Mark were the only ones left. As Todd stood up he watched as Mark ran down the hallway only to be caught in the arms of one of the many desolate creatures that still remained after the explosion. Tears formed in Todd's eyes as he watched helplessly, refraining from screaming. To his knowledge, he was all alone. All his friends had died on this mission. A failed mission. He mission that just happened to be their last hope. 

"What do I do now?" He whispered to himself. 

His pain and sadness  quickly turned to anger as he watched the two bodies, his closest friend and the creature, rise from the ground. 

"Why?! Why did it happen like this?! We came here to amend the area, not turn it into a derelict, pile of rubble!" He screamed, his voice breaking on the last few words. 

He didn't know what he was doing, his boisterous acts were only going to cause him more problems. The creatures fad him, their glare penetrating all his defenses. Todd was afraid, injured, alone, and unarmed. His gun was thrown from his hand during the explosion. Panicked, he searched the ground for his gun, searching through the smoke and dust. At first he had trouble seeing. The dust and smoke was only growing thicker by the second. After a few seconds he noticed it just four feet in front of him, a pistol near the wall. He looked back up, expecting to see the creatures much closer than they had been just a few seconds before. He was surprised by the anomaly in front of him. The creatures remained standing where they were, watching Todd and keeping their distance. Todd made his violation and jumped for the gun. He braced himself, knowing that the impact would hurt, hitting the ground with the gun well within arm's reach. The creatures reacted to this sudden action by sprinting forward towards him. Using any and all available adrenaline, Todd grabbed the gun and shoved himself off the ground, taking aim at the creatures as quickly as possible. He quickly fired off two shots at the one on his right, the one who had gotten his friend. The first round buried itself in the creature's left shoulder while the other flew straight into the creature's throat, just above its collar bone. Feeling confident as the creature hit the ground, Todd turned to the creature that had once been his friend, only to receive a blow to his left arm. The blow felt similar to a baseball bat that had struck him in the arm, rendering it useless. The creature that had once Ben his friend was now in front of him breathing heavily, a hungry look in his eye that replaced the amiable light that had once been there. The creatures shoved Todd against the wall, biting and thrashing at him. Todd was forced to shove all the thoughts of the friend he once knew out of his mind and focus on the situation at hand. His left arm now useless, he fought with his right arm, doing his best to shove the gun as close to the creature's face as he thought possible.  As strong as the creature's arms were, they were surprisingly lithe, allowing him to twist and maneuver his good arm. Todd had the perfect shot lined up with his finger on the trigger, yet somehow he was unable to do it. Inch by inch, the creature's face crept closer and closer to Todd's neck. 

"Aaaaaarrrgggghhhhh!" Todd yelled in desperation as he squeezed the trigger. 
The creature's body fell to the floor, leaving Todd alone against the wall. He dropped his head and began to chastise himself for his reprehensible lack of action. 

"There's no time for this," Todd said, "I need to move." 

With all his might, Todd made his way down the hallway towards the outside, trying to flee the licentious environment that was the creature's lair. Off to his left he heard the quick pitter-patter of feet, encouraging him to move faster. Using his good arm, he bashed the the door to the outside, twisting as he fell to aim at the creature that was now visible in the daylight. The zombie's grey and decaying skin could now be seen. Todd fired his last three rounds into the zombie, all of them puncturing the zombie around the its neck. It's momentum carried it forward and would have landed on Todd, had he not moved. Tired and defeated, Todd laid on the ground trying to mediate his thoughts. The whole fight against the zombies had been unilateral the whole time. Now he was alone, injured, and truly defenseless. 

As he  stared into the sky, a vivacious bird flew into his field of vision, bringing Hope with it. The bird had brought tranquil thoughts as Todd listened to the sound of people shouting just a short distance away. Todd did his best to turn and look in the direction of the noise, catching the group of people as they came into view. 

"There! He's alive!" Yelled a woman. 

A few people ran to him from the small group that could now be seen. The woman dropped next to Todd and began to check him for any sign of a bite. When she was satisfied she looked him in the eye, not saying a word. The only thing Todd could notice was the amorous glow that radiated from them. 

"Don't worry, we're here now." She said, smiling.

DISTANCE by Gareth Wood


Gareth Wood


The van shuddered to a halt, gasping its last on the baking asphalt. She stared at the road, the winding black pavement that loomed ahead.

Resigned, wishing for one more cup, one more drop of fuel, she gathered her things.

"No going back," she said to herself. 

Only the dead lay behind her.


After the van, miles to walk. She came down from foothills onto prairie, each foot clad in a different shoe.

Autumn trees bled red and yellow as the sun crept into dusk.

An empty service station, island burned, rusting cars like driftwood, lay to her right. 

It was shelter; but in the ruins, the undead.


Axe in hand, pistol holstered, breathing deep to steady herself. Creeping between rusting cars.

Two of the undead standing where the pump island had burned. Now behind them, she rose up, axe raised.

"Hello, sunshine," she said.

The dead man turned, with funeral grin and feral eyes, to meet the crashing blade of the axe.


Shaking off the corpse, she rushed to meet the other. Axe raised high, she swung with aching shoulders, struck the jaw of the dead woman.

Teeth and rotted flesh burst to the side, spraying the earth.Bony hands reached forward, clutching in desperate need and unending hunger.

The axe crashed down, shattering skull and brain.



An end to travel, if only for a night. The station was empty of food, but the office locked. No windows.

Unnoticed, a small scratch brought infection. Asleep in the night, fever raged. 

She woke in the dark, shaking and cold, burning and weak. 

Knew what the fever meant. Knew she was doomed.


"I'm still here..."

There was no one to hear, but her fever was gone. Weak as a kitten, stinking of sweat and sickness. The scratch was tender, red, but healing.

One more day. 

One day to rest, sleep, then on the road again.

More highways to walk, to put distance between herself and the dead.

These stories were originally published on the Zombie Authors Blog, May 2013

Gareth Wood is the author of the zombie novels Rise and Age of the Dead


Phantom Camp II: Validation

Jim Landwehr

This is a flash fiction sequel to the story Phantom Camp, originally published on the Free Zombie Fiction blog in March, 2014. Two fathers return to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area after a previous adventure.

It was approaching twilight when Luke and Ron maneuvered their canoe around the  rocky point on Phantom Lake. It was their first trip back to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area  in northern Minnesota after experiencing the scare of their lives two years ago.

 Their encounter  with what was some sort of zombified Sasquatch had been terrifying, but after two years of wondering  what it was, they returned to try and find out. They never did get a good answer from the staff  at the US Forest Service. In fact, the boys in green simply chuckled when they heard Nate’s description of the stinking grey giant and their subsequent battle with the beast.

Not taking lightly to the ridicule, Nate was out to prove that he and Ron weren’t crackpots, that this thing was real.

As they rounded the bend, Luke, in the bow of the canoe, was the first to see the shadowed outline of two figures about fifty yards away. They appeared with their heads down fixated on something in the small stream draining into the lake. Their torsos were covered with matted hair covering their greyish skin. It was also clear that one was much shorter than the other. The defining feature was an elongated forehead with a sagittal crest running the length of its skull.

“Hey Ron, look over there,” Luke said as he pointed off to his right. “I think that’s what we’re looking for, and it looks like he has a friend.”

“I’ll be damned if it isn’t.” Ron added.

With alarming quickness Luke felt his adrenaline kick in. When his paddle inadvertently  hit the side of the canoe, the larger of the two beasts lifted his head and stared menacingly in their direction.
Luke saw the laser-red eyes of the undead Sasquatch, and froze momentarily.

As they paddled to within twenty yards of the beasts, Ron and Luke both readied their razor-sharp battle axes on the floor of the canoe. They respected the no firearms rules of the Boundary Waters and were determined to kill this thing within the parameters of the law.

The stench of the beasts suddenly overtook Luke and Ron. It was a stink Luke  remembered well from their last encounter.

The large Zombie Sasquatch waved off the younger one, then screeched its call, “Harumph, chucka, chucka!” The gruesome youngling strode off into the forest as the older beast with the still-oozing hatchet wound in his forehead entered the water to attack.

It dove under the water and within five seconds surfaced near the center edge of the canoe. It likely never saw Luke’s axe as it swung down and sliced through its neck, lopping off  its prehistoric head. Black ooze squirted out as both head and torso sank into the clear iron-rich water.

Ron looked at Luke and said “Well played, my friend.”

Off in the distance they heard a higher pitched howl, “Harumph, chucka, chucka!”

Jim Landwehr enjoys writing creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

Jim Landwehr's  first book,
Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir,
has just been published by eLectio Publishing this June.

Landwehr resides in Wisconsin with his wife Donna, and their two children. He works as a Geographic Information Systems  Analyst for the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use.