An excerpt from "Down With the Sickness"

Back in Scottsdale, Jake, or what was left of him, was gaining on his brother at a menacing speed of 20 miles per hour, since the virus acted as a strong steroid, enhancing all muscles in the human, or rather zombie, body. Jake pounced about 30 yards from his brother, and as John stood there, it happened. A black H1 Hummer smashed into the airborne zombie, pinning him to the side of the vehicle with barbed wire piercing the zombie’s purple skin. A moment later a burly young man casually exited the vehicle. Jesse reached into the trunk and pulled out a sawed-off double barrel shotgun. He raised the weapon and without the slightest hesitation pulled the trigger at point blank range from the squirming zombie’s head. John just stared in awe. “The brother you knew was long gone” the zombie exterminator said. John could not help but think if his brother really would have bitten him, but what was done was done, and he was somewhat relieved he did not need to get the answer to that question. But he could not stop thinking about it. “We don’t have much…” BANG. At that moment, the calm man who had just nonchalantly executed a zombie showed an emotion he had not shown for years, since he was in the military: fear. The loud bang was shortly followed by hundred of frightening, groans and yells, Jesse knew they had no time to run; they had to make their stand. “Hey, get on that gun,” exclaimed Jesse. John did what he was told and mounted the Hummer’s mounted 50-caliber machine gun. Meanwhile the exterminator walked around the car and reached into his trunk once more, but this time he reappeared with two G36C submachine guns strapped to his sides, two katana swords strapped to his back, holding dual desert eagle pistols, and with a vest full of mines, grenades, claymores, and more.

After 5 minutes of preparation for what was to come, the first glimpse of the enemy was seen. A clear outline of a zombie-like figure was approaching the men and the vehicle, “Do I shoot” John asked. But at that moment a bullet flew from one of Krantz’ desert eagle pistols and soared through the incoming zombie, ‘No way he can hit it from here’ thought John.  The sound of the soaring bullet was barely heard over the screeching zombie, but the sound made when it met the zombie’s soft flesh was unmistakable. Without a moment’s notice, a crowd of shadowy figures came running at the men and in that instant, the 50-caliber machine gun’s roar was heard for miles and miles of the frightened city.

Jesse Krantz

Originally appeared in the 2009-2010 edition of Outside In.