By David Tallerman
Read by Cheyenne Wright
Billy, he was first generation through and through. I don’t know what his story was, but when he turned up about two weeks ago he was wearing a suit, a real nice suit, he even still had a carnation in his buttonhole. I don’t know, maybe they was burying him when it happened. You’ve got to wonder what they’d have thought, when they was burying him and he got up like that.
Anyway, he cut quite a figure when he walked up Main Street in that suit. Well, not walked, y’know, I guess he shambled as much as the rest of them, but somehow he seemed kind of smarter than the others–more alert. And in that suit, he reminded me of my kid, when we buried him. That’s why I named him Billy.
Links mentioned in the closing comments:
Read more about the state of the hurricane disaster areas and what DRI is doing for them,
and/or donate to the cause (click the Donate button on the left and specify “hurricane relief” in the blank).
By Hannah Wolf Bowen
Read by Mur Lafferty
“You don’t know that she’s a zombie,” Lion says as we walk our bikes back up Salt Hill. The side that sweeps down to the cemetery is steep and we’ve no momentum to carry us up. Instead, we’ll trudge to the top of the hill and remount there to go zipping down. “She could be a ghoul or a ghost or a skeleton. We could’ve made her up.”
“You saw the footprint,” I remind him. “We didn’t make her up.” We’d followed the trail to the highway. We’d paced along the shoulder, searching for the spot where she’d stepped back off the pavement. We hadn’t found anything. But even Lion had agreed that the print by the creek was beautifully clear. “And if she’d been a skeleton, it would have just been bone. And ghosts wouldn’t leave any prints at all.”
“They might,” Lion says, “if they were acting out their deaths.”
By Christopher Michael Cummings
Read by Rick Stringer
Suddenly someone shoves a baby at him for a photo op; reflexively, the President hauls the chubby little kid into the air, making a funny face at him. The baby’s eyes flash amber in the morning light as he coos, then clamps down on the President’s nose with a mouthful of gums and two tiny front teeth. The President curses inside as he chuckles for the cameras.
Today: The President huddles in the Cabinet Room with his inner circle and a strange sensation crawls down his nose into his throat; his nostrils flare as he tries to fight it off and focus on the conversation in the room.
By Annie Abbondante
Read by Ben Phillips
To see the insides of you, they will have to pull you apart. The doctor is really nothing more than a soft-fingered explorer who knows his way around the black lumps and brown chunks of the human anatomy; he knows which juices squish out from where and why. He doesn’t know what a gift it is to hold your purple heart in his latex hands.
I would like to dedicate this love poem to Alice. Happy anniversary, sweetheart!
By Paul Jessup
Read by Jared Axelrod
“These woods are filled with spirits,” she said, “Not like the spirits of the dead. Older spirits. My grandma told me about them. She said that once these spirits used to help people, they were noble and good. And then people stopped praying to them. Stopped giving them food and friendship. Now the spirits are sick, and they wander these woods looking for companionship.”
Brad laughed and drank some of the vodka.
“What a load of shit,” Brad said, “Is that supposed to be scary, huh Carla? I don’t buy it. Not one bit.”
Little Man looked nervous. It was hard to reconcile this story with what we saw only a few hours ago. “Don’t worry Little Man,” Brad said, “Carla’s just pulling our legs. Ain’t that right?”
By Eugie Foster
Read by Tabitha Smith
She was wide-awake, alert to every jangle of hyped-up nerves. Rolling to all fours made the twitches worse, like red-hot pins jabbing her insides. The pain in her neck flared hot as a match–a sharp, ragged sting that begged for scratching. It was the bad spot, the abscess next to her shoulder where it chaffed and rubbed against her shirt. She’d tried shooting up under her tongue to give that area a rest, but it wasn’t the same; the tongue hit too slow. The neck, with the vein so close to the surface, was the best place for the needle, even if the area burned, weeping blood and pus on some days, bringing fever on others.