A zombie grabbed at him from behind the breakfast cereals. He actually smelt it before he saw it – a nasty mix of rotting meat, rancid blood and something else, something deep and sorrowful. He ducked away, thinking that maybe it was time to get back to the ute. He’d left it running for a speedy getaway, but having lured the dead into the shop and away from the ute, he now had to circle back while he could get to it safely.
At that moment a door opened just in front of him and a scared face peered out. It had spiky hair and bloodshot eyes. “Mr Smith?” it said. “Is that you?”
“Who else? You the dork I talked to on the phone?”
“Sure.” Relief flooded over the kid’s face. “You came to rescue me!”
“I came for Freddo Frogs. Where d’they keep ‘em?”
Not that there was time now. A bunch of shuffling undead meatbags was approaching down aisle 3, moaning and slavering. Ellis grabbed the kid, dragged him out of the supply room and shoved him toward the front of the shop. “Get in the ute!” he yelled. “And make it quick!”
The kid tried, Ellis had to give him that. But his fear overruled any dexterity he might have been able to muster. He crashed against a shelf loaded with cans of baked beans, slipped – and a zombie tumbled onto him from a side aisle. The kid screamed, thrashing out at the dead woman chomping on his neck. Ellis started forward to drag her off, but the trolley got in the way and before he could get there half a dozen other zombies appeared. They all got stuck into ripping the kid apart. It was a feeding frenzy.
This is an extract from my latest zombie story, “Zombie au Gratin” — written for a charity book with the title Scary Food, which Cat Sparks is producing for the Paul Haines fund.
For those who don’t know, Paul Haines is an excellent and much loved Australian horror writer, who is currently fighting cancer and needs a significant amount of money for special treatments to save his life. The SF community in Australia has gotten behind the attempt to raise the money he needs, driven by Cat Sparks, Alisa Krasnostein, Tehani Wessely and Tansy Raynor Roberts. For more information go here.
The idea behind Scary Food was to produce a slim volume of stories and disgusting recipes featuring food that can only be described as horrific. Imagine a recipe called Zombie au Gratin and you’ll get the idea — though some of the recipes get worse than that and they’re not fiction! Paul Haines’ own stories veer toward the disgusting and so such a book seemed like a fitting project.
Here is the excellent cover designed by Cat Sparks:
With stories from some of Australia’s top horror writers and a kitchen-load of yucky recipes and other culinary delights from renowned experts in the field, this is a book that is so much more than a charity giveaway. You know you want a copy.
It is to be launched and will be available for purchase at Conflux in October. The book will sell for $20 and the entirety of sales will go straight to the Paul Haines’ Fund. If you won’t be at Conflux, you can buy the book online here.