Sneaky Peeky

I’m in the processing of writing a full length book. It’s set three years after what can only be described as a zombie apocalypse. Although there are zombies in it, I wouldn’t classify it as the typical zombie story. It’s more about the societies that continue, and get destroyed. The people who live, and die. And how people develop.

Here is the opening scene:

The early evening light pierced through the pine forest. As the dark shadows edged away from the sun on the thick carpet of pine needles two sets of feet made their way through the half-light. One set, oblivious; the other, fixated. One pair of feet wearing tired and muddy shoes, the other wrapped in sack cloth. The shoes clumsy and slow, the sack clad feet swift and sure. At one time the shoes had obviously been expensive; the type worn by a banker, accountant or other office dwelling professional. The feet wrapped in sack cloth would, in the past, have indicated desperation; someone with no alternative way of protecting their feet from the elements. Today, the sack cloth was worn for another reason: stealth.

Shoes stumbled over the uneven ground, splashing in staggered steps through shallow puddles of rain water and rotting pine needles. He stopped, as if unsure which way to go. Sacks continued silently through the carpet of bracken and mud, halting when she saw that Shoes had stopped. Crouching down she pulled her hood back, her raven hair shorn on one side almost to the scalp so it wouldn’t impede her sight or the drawing of her bow. Shoes remained oblivious to her presence. She removed the bow from her back, its lightweight composite recurve design betraying its previous life as the choice of champions; a Rolls Royce in the world of target archery now pressed in to service against a different kind of target. Sacks narrowed her hazel eyes, gauging the distance to Shoes, looking for signs of any breeze that could affect her shot. She nocked an arrow. The carbon fibre shaft slid back noiselessly as Sacks drew the bow, taking aim at Shoes. The distance was about twenty metres, half the effective range of the bow, a straightforward shot. Sacks slowed her breathing, eyes concentrating on the distance from the end of the arrow to Shoes. She made minute adjustments as she finely tuned her aim. Centre mass? Vital organs, heart and lungs: a nice large target, but not good enough this time. The neck and spinal column? A good kill zone, but too tricky under these conditions. The head? Perfect.

Sacks breathed in, drawing back the bowstring to full extension. Finessed the aim and let the arrow fly. She felt the bowstring brush the short hair at the side of her head, the sensation sent a shiver of excitement down her spine. In the Before Times, before the outbreak, before life had changed, Sacks had never shot an arrow. Never killed anything. She had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle in a comfortable suburban home, eating pre-packed foods that were as far removed from the animals from which they originated as you could get. Spending her time watching inane television shows that concentrated on the shallow existence of celebrities. Whenever the Before Times crossed Sacks’s mind it was like watching a film of someone else. That person was gone. She watched the arrow arc through the air, flashing as it crossed shafts of sunlight that broke through the gloom of the forest. The arrow hit its mark a little high and to the left of where Sacks was aiming, there must have been a breeze after all, but the outcome was not affected. The arrow smashed through the back of Shoes’s skull, destroying what was left of the brain with a mixture of steel tipped arrow and shards of cranium. The arrow partially exited below the right supraorbital foramen, the eyeball already partially decayed, popped from the socket like a horror mask. What remained of the life of Shoes was extinguished before his body splashed down on to the muddy ground. The noise of Shoes hitting the ground was louder than Sacks expected. She frantically looked around her to check that nothing else was coming to investigate the sound.

When all was clear Sacks retrieved the arrow before searching Shoes’s pockets. Before she reached his body the familiar odour of the infection almost overwhelmed her sense of smell, it was something she knew she would never get used to. His suit had been ‘off-the-peg’, he had probably been some sort of middle manager. There was an open packet of chewing gum, a wallet, a mobile phone with a broken screen, and a set of house keys. Sacks looked through the wallet, discarding the money and the credit cards. There was a photo folded in half. Sacks unfolded it carefully and looked at the family smiling back at her. A man who was probably Shoes at one time, a woman and a child. They stood smiling in the sun, the background showing some tourist destination near a beach. The woman smiling down at what must have been their daughter as Shoes grinned towards the camera. A happy family. In a side pocket was a driving license. The driving license named Shoes as “Anthony Redfern”. Sacks looked at both the family photo and the drivers licence for a while before pocketing them. “Sorry Tony” Sacks said quietly. As she got up she pulled the hood back over her head before moving off silently.

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Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

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