What better way to celebrate Christmas than by reading the winning entry in our 2013 Short Story contest!
“Dead Head” by Lawrence Trokey
Jimmy had enough of the fucking closet. He barricaded himself in there when things at work went to shit. Now two days had passed since he scrambled from his car into the office to escape being torn apart by the walking dead. Jimmy was hungry as hell, sore from sleeping on the closet floor and just pissed in general!
He stood up determined to do something. Exactly what that was, he had no clue but standing was a good start, he thought. He leaned close to the door to see if he could hear anything from the other side.
There was a helluva commotion out there a day ago. Jimmy heard things getting knocked over, glass breaking, bodies flopping around – it sounded like some sort of epileptic orgy for a while and then – silence. He hadn’t heard anything since and he didn’t hear anything now. That had to be a good sign – right?
He reached over to the shelf where he stored the collection of supplies he grabbed in the mad dash to the closet. Fortunately, those ugly fucks chasing him weren’t very fast or smart. Things like door knobs slowed them down so he had a minute once he got inside the office to look through a couple desks for something – anything –he could use.
A candy bar, flash light, bottle of water, and flathead screw driver – he crammed these into his pockets as he searched. He also found an unexpected treasure – a pair of panties in the desk of the office receptionist. Melissa was her name and she was a sight to see, Jimmy mused. Why she had a pair of skivvies tucked behind the #10 envelopes was a mystery to him but it did inspire a couple of fantasies about her while he hid in the closet.
He tried for months to take Melissa out but she was resistant to his advances. Not a quitter, he told himself it was only a matter of time. His irresistible charm would eventually win out. Next thing you know, they’d be mattress dancing. So far though, the plan hadn’t come to fruition. Now with everything going ape-shit, he was sure that ship had sailed.
Nevertheless, even if those sweet cheeks were filling the magical underpants now, it wouldn’t fix his present problem. He needed to get home. There he’d be safe – he was sure of it. He could relax and watch the Apocalypse unfold in HD from the comfort of his couch – his trusty shotgun across his lap for good measure. Let the soldiers and CNN do all the hard work – he was done!
He decided to look outside. Hoping to leave this little slice of Heaven behind; he pushed the metal supply shelf barricading the closet door aside so it would open. The metal legs of the shelf screeched across the floor making Jimmy wince. He paused for a moment to see if it alerted anyone or anything to his presence. Nothing appeared to register the noise so he continued.
With the door cracked open, Jimmy peered into the office. The power quit a day ago – not long after the commotion outside. The emergency lights were also dead so the only light was from the windows on the far outside wall. It was near dusk outside which cast an eerie glow on the furniture and fixtures.
Just as he was ready to push the shelf out of the way completely, something slammed hard against the door, knocking Jimmy on his ass. “Shit!!” he screamed as a head jammed itself into the opening. It became wedged in the tight space – stuck between the door and the jam. Jimmy saw the mouth in the dim light snapping wildly at him. Spittle and blood sprayed him as he pushed away from the monstrous face.
His hand rubbed against the handle of the screw driver which was on the floor now. His fingers wrapped around it and he raised it slowly over his head, ready to deliver a vicious blow to the gruesome attacker.
Mustering his courage, he brought the weapon down hard on the creature’s head. Whether it was sweat or the fluids spraying him from the ghoul’s mouth, Jimmy’s grip failed and the screw driver slipped loose from his hand. He only managed to gouge the flesh of its forehead. No real damage.
Jimmy dove to the far corner of the closet knocking over brooms and mops in his wake. The angry face glared at him from the doorway and continued unscathed in its attempt to push into the closet.
“Now what?” Jimmy thought as his heart slammed against his chest. Then another thought occurred to him and not a moment too soon. The shelf was starting to give way under the constant barrage of dead weight pounding against the door. Jimmy stood quickly and grabbed one of the mops he tripped over. He checked the mop head to see if he could detach it and found he could. He managed to do this just as the shelf was giving way.
Jimmy raised the headless mop handle and thrust it with all he had at the figure pushing toward him. The metal tip of the handle somehow jammed into the creature’s mouth and, to Jimmy’s surprise and disgust, punched through the skull of the monster. Jimmy let out a scream that would have given an eight year old girl a run for her money. He released the broom handle and it fell backward with the body of his attacker into the dark office interior.
Jimmy listened intently from the closet for what seemed like an hour. Then he got to his feet and took his first tentative steps out of the closet. He briefly glanced at the fallen figure with the broom handle protruding from its mouth but the gruesome sight of his handiwork made him avert his eyes. “Un-fucking real,” he reflected as he made his way to the stairway and to freedom.