OK, let’s get one damn thing straight here. Yes, I’ve been missing from civilization for the past, let’s say, 28 Days. Or, 82. Who’s countin’, after all? And, yes, I have a tendency to find trouble in the most ruthless of places. And that only makes sense. No reason, after all, to brush and floss your “canines“, when you spend a weekend at Disneyland on Main Street, constantly bludgeoning yourself with cotton candy, tutti (fuckin) frutti, popcorn, saltwater taffy, soda water and an 8 year old’s version of crack; pixie straws. Bio-degradable jet-black plastic mouse ears planted on yer thick head, and embroidered ankle socks with Mickey Mouse on one side and Donald Duck on the other. My point? When I get in trouble, I really go fuckin’ overboard, and this time, my most fortunate friend, I would’ve made ya proud.
Picture this; Grandma ain’t her old self as of this moment in which we speak, and apparently got bitten something fierce by something when she went out back to the can, one night- oh, about 28 nights ago. Except poor ole’ Rane hadn’t a clue, at the time. Cause at the time, he was at the watering hole down in Rainelle; Where Miners don’t drink with minors. Anywho, I don’t know if you, the Reader, have ever hopped in yer rusty-ass 72’ Chevy pickup after doing your best to hammer away at 13 Milwaukee’s Best and a couple rounds of chili cheese fries, but when Mr. Clemens attempts this, it’s an ugly fuckin’ mess. A brutal fuckin’ mess. Which is exactly what I was about to face when I drove up Red Dog Road, that night. An ugly, bloody fuckin’ mess, to be exact. You like Blood? Violence? Well, number one, you’re a friggin’ sick bastard that shouldn’t enjoy another day of beautiful Virginia mountain sunshine. And B, you’re in fore a treat, you sick Shit, because that’s exactly what I’m about feed you. And it’s gonna be vagina style, because your said friend Rane’s birth canal wuz waiting at home for him that night, but it wasn’t gonna be showered in love and kisses. No, not this time. And there would be no biscuits. This was an all-out flesh eating frenzy, and skin, hair and a lot of innerds were on the menu, of which I was expected to be the sole supplier.
By the way, so ya missed me, huh? Couldn’t get along without good ole’ Rane to tell you bedtime stories, tuck ya in and make you chocolate chip cookies shaped like freaked out cats and fingers? Fuck ya. I know you think I wuz playing hookie while you towed that dirty old line that we call life. Well, it ends up,
Rane ’s got a new bedtime story that parts of him are still healing from. And all of the antiseptic in the World isn’t gonna help me back any sooner, cause I’ve contracted diseases pharmacists never bothered to prevent. And pallbearers don’t give a shit about em’, cause it’s already too late under them circumstances.
I made my way up the road, the way a passerby might assume that this truck in and of it itself had consumed a few more than me. Drunk or sober, this muddy, sad excuse for a passage way has never been easy to master. That’s what I kind of like about it. It’s unforgiving and stubborn attitude against conforming to something called Humans. You can take the Man from the Hill, but you can’t take the Hill out of the Man. Hell, I don’t even really know what that means anymore. Either that, or that isn’t the way it was told to me. All I know is that when I saw the Cabin ahead of me, it had open windows that it didn’t have before. And some of my furniture wasn’t the way that I left it. I don’t recall putting it in the front yard, anyway.
One lantern flickered through what used to be the south window, and the front door was no longer a door. Now, it became a definition for what laid ahead of me that night. As I drove a bit closer, I heard a noise. Not one that I could pinpoint on anything, in particular. Just one that I’d prefer to erase from my memory. Wouldn’t that beat all. All that I could see, aside from this, was only presented to me as my hunk a’ shit Chevy scoured the surroundings. Time fer a smoke, I thought. I stopped, pulled out my Reds, and reached for the handle.
I looked off to the side of the cabin to see more than a moon silhouette creeped through what was left of our latrine exit door. Whatever the hell happened was probably still in the cabin. And although I knew my Grandma was most likely in there as well, I didn’t know for sure how many pieces she was in. I figured better safe than sorry, and slowly got out of my vehicle and walked around the back of the cabin to where the shed was. It was time to get suited up.
I saw nothing unusual as I ventured back to the shed but I did see a solid silhouette of what appeared to be human, in the back window where our kitchen is. I noted it, and finished my trek to the shed. I pulled the door open slowly, waiting for any unsuspected surprises, and grabbed in the darkness for the pullcord. All looked untouched, as I reached down in the back corner for my nailgun and a machete that was lying on the workbench and could probably use a good sharpening. Not the best protection in the world, but I figured it was gonna have to do until I could get my hands on the Smith & Wesson in my closet.
I stepped back out of the shed and stood there a moment. The night sounded Dead. Nothing. As if all that was living was now a figment of the past. I glanced back over at the silhouette in the kitchen window It hadn’t moved a lick. If I hadn’t known any better, I would’ve thought someone propped a mannequin up there for company. And then I heard the snap over to my right, where I use to venture out as a boy to play in the nearby coalmine entrances. I saw a flicker of light. Then, another. Like the beginning of Summer when the fireflies welcome the evening with concentrated bots of solar energy.
But, these fireflies were different. For one thing, this light white in color; much different from the peaceful, yellowish glow that the bugs offered you. For another, it was the end of November and I was freezing my ass off. But there was yet another thing that gave away the possibility that these weren’t fireflies. The fact that I recognized this light. From when I was a child, and my Dad would come home from work, dirty as hell, with a smell that you could only describe as sweat and Earth. This light was from a Coalminer’s helmet. And more and more helmets were appearing in the night, floating this way and that, but of course, I knew they weren’t floating. They were attached. Attached to coalminers coming back to roost. The only unsettling part to me at the moment, were that these mines had been closed for about twenty years and we lived out here by ourselves. But that didn’t change the fact that what I saw was real. Real evil, real haunting and real dangerous. Some held lunch boxes, some pick axes and it looked like the one coming toward me was carrying an arm. A boney looking thing that looked like it had decomposed years ago. Then, I noticed his opposite shoulder. Apparently, the arm was his own. They started moaning, trying to speak, er’ something. They almost sounded like a choir of Undeaded protesters. They had something to say, that’s for sure. It sounded like Games, or Aims. Then. I heard it clear as day. Brains. Brains.
These Fuckers were hungry, and while I certainly wasn’t the sharpest toll in the box, I did have what they longed for. Brains. Time to get a move on. I shoot out a few rounds of nail to attempt to keep them at bay, and then worked my way to front of the cabin. I figured the door shouldn’t be too difficult to pass through, as it was no longer there. It was evident that something had pissed off nature and now, for some unexplained reason, the living Dead, The Undead, were now hot on the heels of yours truly and were hungry for blood, flesh, souls and Brains. They sure looked a lot like coalminers and dressed a lot like coalminers. Hell, at one time, they were! Long before they were laid to rest, one at a time over the years south of here, over by Cooper’s Mill. But the sum bitches that wanted my ass now, were Zombies. Blood thirsty Zombies. Finger eatin’ Zombies. Zombi, as they say in the thickest of jungles you ever seen, in the Dominican. Not movie theatre Zombies. Not Hollywood Zombies. Not Rob Zombie. Toxic Zombies? Maybe. Hungry Zombies? Most definitely. Not that I’ve ever seen a Zombie that wasn’t hungry. But, I wasn’t sticking around to find one either. In fact, I’d been down the road right away, but I had to verify two things first. My Grandma and my Smith & Wesson. I scampered into our home, and threw the oak Halltree down in front of the doorway to slow down those Undead hard-working sons-a-bitches. This would actually prove to be quite the problem for dear ole’ Rane, later. I carefully made my way through the living room. Mostly because the EasyBoy that Virginia often sat in, was the bloodiest fuckin’ thing that I’ve seen since deer hunting Season, last year. Not good. Maybe she cut herself knitting? Most likely, not. I followed the mess from the chair, that looked something similar to entrails. Boy, was I in for it, I thought. Smears, from what appeared to come from bloody hands, accented the walls left and right, down the hallway like a well done-up Haunted House. It reminded me of a friend I knew down the road when I was a kid, who was immortally convinced that Halloween lasted all year. Certainly, all of October. “Happy Halloween, Rane”, he would tell me on October 1st. “Yeah, yeah, ya fuckin’ demented inbred retard”, I thought.
“Why ain’t ya dressed up, Rane?” “What’cha gonna be, Rane?” “Gonna get some candy, Rane?”
These questions echoed in the back of my Brain, as I cautiously made my way to the back of the house, toward the kitchen. When I arrived, that silhouette stood there over the sink. But, I was wrong. It was Alive. And, it was doing dishes. And, it was my Grandma, but the water was dead blood red. It seeped over the sides of the cabinet, as the water flowing out of the spicket pushed it overboard. A waterfall of redness covered the pantry, and then the floor.
And, Grandma had a helmet on. A dirty old silver thing, propped off to one side of her head. And then she froze. She looked up at the window in front of her, still as death. And she stared down the reflection of the figure that stood behind her. Shit, I thought. Shit, indeed. She swung around, as if her boy had just come back from The Big War, unexpectedly. What used to be her mouth, was now just one gaping bloody mess, pouring out a bubbling thick mixture of thick, red liquid and who-the-Hell-knows what else. Her eyes like diamonds that had yet to be discovered, and her gown matched that of the EasyBoy. Which is exactly what I was thinking. Easy Boy…….Easy Boy.
She attempted to speak. But, all that came out were broken pieces of English, and a shitload of disgusting fluids. It sounded like she was saying Rane; That’s what I’d like to think. Bu, most likely, it was Brains. Brains! Brrraaaaaaiiinnnnsssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Chanting louder, as this bloody fluid sprayed, splattering and contaminating the surrounding area. And then, like a shotgun blast, two large ceramic saucers one in each of her bloody hands and fingers flew out like lightning in my general direction. One slicing my left bicep, and the other shattering beside my right ear against the wall. I fired back immediately, straight to the neck with about six rounds of nail. “Bad Grandma!”, I thought. Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad….
BAD!!!!”,I screamed. Or, did I? Most likely, it played in my head. And, she gave me a look, beneath all of that blood, gore, evil and hallowed soul, that that made me feel like I had broken her most treasured tea cup with a child’s prank of an M-80. “Rane? How could you?”, this sorrowed look said through eyes that I recognized all too well. I slowly sunk; Sulked a sigh of, “I’m sorry, Grandma.” I transformed into my innocent eight year old self of long ago. I started to apologize, how could I, indeed…..
And, then the most evil, vile and horrible grin grew from that morbid skull that rested on what used to be my loving Grandmother. The grin continued to grow, as if it were about to explode in T-minus 7, 6, 5, 4…..
I pulled the bayonette slowly out of its sheath and grasped the handle so tight, that I feared that with the slightest sound I may just break it into a million tiny pieces. Words began to grow from the pits of my torso. You……..are……….not……my………..Grandmahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rane will continue this story, as soon as you have changed your soiled overalls. And, as soon as he has sharpened his machete. He’s gonna need it.