This is a sample of the ebook FRANKIE & FORMALDEHYDE, available at http://bloodlettersink.com
©copyright, M. Jones, 2010.
FRANKIE & FORMALDEHYDE—A Zombie Romance By M. Jones
CHAPTER ONE: The Call
“Hello? Hello?” He paused, just long enough for his heart to beat twice, a slow, lobbing movement that told of long summers and greasy hotdogs. He coughed over his indigestion. “You in some kind of trouble?”
He tensed at the silence that greeted him, wondering if it was a live human being on the other end of the line or simply another rogue. It wasn't unheard of for them to play around with the telephone while the remainder of their victims lay partially consumed and bloodily twitching on the floor. Chuck narrowed his already small eyes as he detected the faintest catch of breath, a sign that whoever was on the other end was still breathing and thus wasn't a rogue. “If you're reporting an incident, you have to follow the proper procedures.” He didn't feel helpful, and instead there was a certain level of accusation in his voice that wasn't unfounded. Rogues didn't just randomly show up on their own, they got there through family intervention. “Board up your windows, put the heavy furniture near the entrances. Get into your basement along with any remaining family members and break the glass on your section #41 issued flame thrower. I'm sure if you're like the rest of us you've got a couple of automatic rifles underneath your bed. Do you have drywall in your basement? If you do, that's good, but don't go firing bullets if it's all concrete or stone and especially not if it's those steel drum panic room types. The bullets will ping around all over the place and it's unlikely they'll find their target.”
There was a pensive silence at this and before Chuck could offer up any more of his invaluable service, the phone clicked softly. A dial tone droned in his ear.
“Shit,” he muttered, and put down the receiver.
The silence always bothered him most. Ever since he'd been appointed Rogue Inspector and hauled out of his cozy, very enjoyable retirement his days had been one long screamfest after another. Gone were those dreams of lazy, late mornings and weekdays spent fishing. The odd poker game with his cronies swapping stories from when they were on the beat solving murders and putting away bad guys over nickles felt part of a past he never got to properly experience. No sir, now life for Chuck Dickerson was one long shift that never ended, never got properly paid and never gave him a vacation.
The phone rang. Sighing, Chuck answered it, the receiver held away from his ear to protect himself from the earsplitting screams. Awful though it was, it was a hell of a lot better than silence. At least he knew whoever was freaking out on the other end was still alive and maybe had a beating heart. “If he's at your front door, Ma'am, all you got to do is barricade it with the couch and turn on the porch light. They aren't rocket scientists, the light will confuse them plenty. I don't care if he is your grandfather, just do what I'm telling you. Gather up what's left of your family and get into your basement. Get your section #41 issued flame thrower and...Well, it's regulation, Ma'am. If you don't have one it's a seven hundred and sixty-seven dollar fine. It doesn't matter if you have a ten year old boy who is unnaturally fascinated with it, those firearms are required to be at the ready for a reason.” He sighed and slipped on his jacket, one constructed with chain-mail and extra padding to hinder bites. The bastards always managed to get a tooth or two through. “I'll be there as soon as I can.”
He hung up and took a quick bite of a stale doughnut that had been sitting on a pile of papers on his desk since yesterday morning. Another busy start to the day. Who knew the dead could be so damned fidgety?
Frankie hung up the phone and glanced over at her husband, George, who was sitting on the couch in the living room, watching the news. His expression was one of bored contentment, as per usual. She felt a pang of guilt over what she had nearly done, but she wouldn't dare tell George what was troubling her. Lord knew, the poor man obviously had enough troubles of his own.
“It's going to be another hot one today,” she observed, the happy face of a bright sun lighting up the weather report. “I'll have to put the air conditioner up full blast again.”