“This story is mindblowing. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. So many levels, layers, and interesting characters. This is unlike any other zombie story out there.” — Jay Wilburn
Excerpt from Zombies from Space … and Vampire by Angela B Chrysler
Drip the drops of golden light in the black of night.
Nineteen-year-old Aria Danes peered up from the line scrawled into her notebook. The rain rolled down the window of the mobile home. The orange of the street lamp reflected through the droplets that streaked the glass. Aria sighed and gazed at the clock. Two o’clock. Her father would be done with his shift soon.
The diner was always dead this time of night.
“Cost more to keep the lights on and the staff there than it ever was worth,” her father frequently grumbled. “My father boasted a 24-hour diner for forty-eight years as my father before him. Ain’t gonna change that now.”
Too well her father quoted the words of his employer back. Aria would chuckle and her father would slip the baseball cap on his balding gray head and, giving Aria a hug, would head off across the parking lot to work.
Aria loved the mobile home. It was cozy, ideal, and practical. With just her and her father and a constant set of wheels under their feet, they were always ready to go… if ever they could save enough to get gone. Her father, Richard Danes, was a down to earth hard working average man of forty something. He had spent the last ten years trading in strands of hair in exchange for the wisdom it took to raise his small family, which was always only Aria. Their mother had taken off years ago, and died all before Aria had learned how to miss her.
She wasn’t missed as Mr. Danes always was there being whatever it was Aria needed that day. Their existence was simple, and, at nineteen years, all Aria wanted to do was get gone from the small one-light town and move on to bigger places.
“Go to college,” Mr. Danes would nag with a smile on his face. “Be something better than me.”
Matching his grin, Aria always retorted, “I am something better.”
Before he could argue, Aria would go back to her dreams set to the songs on her iPod.
Aria sat up from the window at the sudden tap on the glass. Through the black and orange streaks of rain, her father smiled up at her. Aria lifted open the window.
“I’ll be along later than I thought,” Mr. Danes said. “The boss wants to go over staffing tonight.”
“Tonight?” Aria whined.
“He says it will be nice and quiet then. Best time.”
Dejected, Aria nodded.
“What are you still doing up, anyway?” Mr. Danes asked.
Aria shrugged. “Couldn’t sleep.”
“Well…” Mr. Danes looked back at the diner to hide his smile. “Too much like your father.”
Aria leaned down out of the window and kissed the top of his head.
“Right,” she said. “Night, Dad.”
The rain was picking up again.
“You’re not going to sleep, are you?” Mr. Danes asked.
“Nope.” Aria flashed him her favorite grin. “Too much like my father.”
“Stubborn,” he said, turning back to the diner. “I’ll see you when I’m done.”
The rain had most definitely started up again. A down pour was well on its way.
“Bye, Dad,” she said.
Mr. Danes waved good bye and, crouched under his coat, ran through the muddy parking lot back to the diner.
Aria fought the mobile home window, which had jammed again. The thing was always sticking. The wind picked up and, just as Aria gave the window a punch to dislodge the misaligned frame, a sharp whistle cut through the night, and the rain suddenly stopped.
Richard Danes had just made it to the end of the parking lot where the diner’s cheap florescent lights flickered. He looked back at the mobile home. The window forgotten, Aria leaned out of the window and cocked her head to better see the sky. It was too black as if something had sucked out the light of the moon and the stars. Not even the outline of storm clouds was visible in the dark.
“Dad?” she called.
Dumbfounded, Richard looked around as if trying to determine where it was the rain had gone. He held a hand to his face, angling the street lamp light from his eyes to improve visibility.
“Dad?” Aria called. “What’s happe-?”
A second sharp whistle silenced Aria. Clasping her ears, she fell back, cringing against the sound as she lay huddled on the floor of the mobile home beside the foldout dining room.
Just as quickly, the shrill whistle stopped and the down pour continued.
Aria pulled herself to her feet and peered out the window. The rain fell as if nothing had been there moments ago, to disrupt the downpour. Everything had continued as it had before. Her father was gone.
“Dad?” Aria called over the rains. She gazed at the diner. The lights had gone out. It was silent. Everything was just too wrong. Worry pulled her nerves and Aria hugged herself against the gnawing fear that dug at her gut.
Her pace increased with her rising panic as she made her way through the mobile eatery to the driver’s cabin. Pushing open the door, Aria studied the parking lot for any sign of life.
Shadows moved in the distance. Aria strained to see through the rain and night at the movement on ahead. A kind of distant gurgling followed and, all before Aria could scream, a kind of thing, ragged and limp slogged through the mud. Its arms hung at its side like rags.
The stench hit her nose and, as she opened her mouth to scream, a cold hand clamped down around her, holding her mouth closed.
“Not a word,” a man’s voice muttered in her ear. “Not a sound.”
His cold slender fingers caressed her cheek as she breathed deep the stale scent of death.
“You don’t know what that is. Do you?”
Aria nodded. A strand of hair fell to her face.
“You do?” The man sounded surprised.
“You know then what it will do if it gets you?”
The walking limp thing slogged toward Aria who fought the hand that held her in place. The man holding her ran a cold cheek against hers and breathed deep as if smelling Aria.
“Nothing quite wets the appetite like frightened female,” he said.
A sudden grunt from the left forced the man holding Aria to shift, coming to face a second man-shaped thing slogging through the mud. Its arms hung like shredded rags. Its stench bit Aria’s nose. Up close in the street lamp’s light, Aria could see the shredded remains of rotting corpse. She screamed into the hand that held her mouth as the dead thing reached for Aria. Releasing a silk laugh, the man stepped again, taking Aria with him just as the walking corpse lunged. With a swipe of his arm, a blade flew up, taking the corpse’s hand with it. The man holding Aria shifted, and she broke free.
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