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Zombie Drift 13: Peter, Aida, & Prisha

Zombie Drift

Thirteen: Peter, Aida, & Prisha

Peter Evers stood at the door inside the starlit lounge. Being on the main deck it afforded him a view of the ship’s activity. People seemed to be rushing nowhere fast. Through the glass he caught snippets of conversation. Things about “dead people in water” and “speedboats”, and “the guy just slid down the chain.” With the last, it made him think of his bodyguard Ethan. In his mind it was just the showboat kind of thing anyone hired by his dad would do. While he didn’t wish ill on the man, he thought as soon as he could he was sneaking out of here and getting out from under Ethan’s restrictions. There was nothing worse than being seventeen and stuck under an adult’s supervision.

He turned to see what the girls were doing. Prisha had stopped crying some time ago, and the lounge singer Aida had turned the TV above the bar back on. Images splayed across the screen showing carnage everywhere. Most of it were single shot live feeds as if the cameraman had strapped his video to a tree and ran for it. What was left behind was a view of the street, zombies walking, crawling, sliding, lumbering, trying their best to find live food that wasn’t escaping. The images were bad enough, but it was the sound that sent chills up his spine. Screams, moans, the crunch and munch of flesh and bone as zombies feasted, sometimes on each other.

He couldn’t understand why the girls were torturing themselves by watching it all. Peter guessed it was like driving by a fatal traffic accident. You knew it was horrible, and people were dead, but you just couldn’t tear your eyes away. He tried his best not to be drawn to it that way. Other things bothered him. Like what was going on board. It was obvious something was happening with all the flurry of activity. Were the zombies here too? He hated being locked up and out of the way, which is what Ethan had done with him while he went off running to wherever.

He looked back at the girls again. They could handle themselves, he thought. How hard could it be to keep others out the bar? With that he decided he wanted out. He wasn’t going to be stuck in here one second longer, he didn’t care how hot he thought Prisha was. He put his hand on the door handle and prepared to open it when something smashed against it.

He jumped back from the frantic face at the glass. It was a man with jet black hair and wild grey eyes. He was trying to look through the door and when his eyes saw Peter they grew wider and he began to pound on the frame.

“Aida!” he shouted. “Aida! Let me in!”

Peter looked at Aida. She had heard the shouts and beating on the door frame. Turning from the TV, she frowned. Something in her face told Peter she wasn’t ready for this. Whatever this was.

“Aida! Tell this little shit to open the door!” He began to thump his palm flat against the glass. The door itself shook.

Aida sighed. “Open the door, Peter.”

The boy looked at her as if to ask, are you sure? When she nodded grimly, he shrugged and threw the latch.

The man outside didn’t waste time. He shoved the door open, nearly knocking Peter down, and headed acoss the floor of the lounge towards the girls. ‘Trying to lock me out, Aida? Again?”

“No one is trying to lock you out, Jerome. You chose not to return last night. Guess you found some other room to sleep.”

He grinned. “It was a good room too. Wish you could have been there. Well, on second thought, maybe not.” He eyes caught sight of Prisha. ” Now, you however….”

Aida slapped him. “You pig.”

He seemed unaffected and laughed. “You know everybody is going crazy on deck over something. The three of us could get crazy on something too, you know?” He turned to glance at Peter. “Sorry kid, there isn’t room for two guys.” Then he smiled at the girls again. “Lock the door.” When Peter didn’t immediately lock it, the man glared at him with dangerous, almost empty eyes. If Ethan was here this situation would be different, Peter thought. But he wasn’t here. He’d left them here alone to face their own survival. “Lock the door,” the man said again, returning his psychotic gaze to the now frightened girls. He listened for the sound of the latch clicking and then smiled. He undid the cufflinks on his shirt and began to take it off. “It’s okay,” he said. “About time you took your punishment, Aida.” His slid his belt out of his pants. “Now which one of you likes to get restrained?” He looked at Prisha, staring hard into her dark frightened eyes, and licked his lips. He took a step towards her.

The chair hit the back of his head so hard the wood shattered against his skull. Peter held the remains of it in his hands as Jerome dropped to the floor with a resounding thud.

“So like, who did I just knock out?” the teenager asked, after they had tied Jerome’s hands behind his back with his own belt. “I can hit him again if it would help.”

Aida frowned and nodded at the unconscious man. “He’s Jerome Stipe. My sad excuse for a boyfriend.”

Peter looked up. “Shit lady, i think you need a new boyfriend. My bodyguard Ethan is available I think.”

Aida laughed a little, as he was the same man she’d tried to get to dance with her during last night’s performance. “We’ll probably need a bodyguard when Jerome wakes up.”

“I think we should call security,” Prisha suggested. “I know he’s your guy and all, but….”

Aida had already picked up the phone and dialed the number. She had to be strong while she had the support of others. Last time she’d called security on him she had been alone and earned a couple cracked ribs for it.

While the Nigerian talked to security, the Indian girl walked over to Peter, who was making sure the prisoner’s belt was as tight as he could get it. “Thank you,” Prisha said.

“No problem. I couldn’t let him hurt either of you.”

“I was very scared,” she confessed.

He nodded and tried to be cool, but he felt the truth was better. “Yeah, me too.” He looked at her and smiled. “I saw Ethan headbutt a guy unconscious before, but I thought i should use a chair.”

She smiled back. “Good decision. Why hurt your cute head, right?”

Peter raised an eyebrow at the mention of cute, but when she turned her face away in embarassment he decided she didn’t mean anything by it. She was just being grateful.
“Well, here’s hoping he don’t wake up soon,” he said getting to his feet. “I’d hate to break another chair.”

Prisha offered a smile. “Well, thanks for protecting us. Not everyone would have done that.”

Peter was trying to think of a zippy one-liner to say that would make him sound like an action hero at the movies, when Aida said, “I can’t get the phones to work. Someone will have to go get security.”

They all looked towards the door. There was still a lot of activity outside. People dashed by running in both directions, but most seemed to be heading towards the rear of the ship, peering over railings as they went.
It wasn’t the same panic as what was occuring on television, but Peter felt nervous about it just the same. He looked at Aida. “I think we should move Jerome somewhere and then all of us go. I got a feeling it’s not going to be too safe alone.”

“There’s my dressing room. It’s a glorified broom closet really.”

“Can it be locked from outside?”

“No.”

“Well shit,” Peter mumbled.

Prisha walked over to the glass door and picked something up. “How about this?”
In her hands, she held a wooden doorstop, obviously used to hold the entrance open during peak hours.

“That will work. Come on Aida, help me get him back there.”

As they both bent down to hoist Jerome’s limp body up, Aida asked, “Where did you hit him?”

Peter looked at her strangely. “In the back of the head. Why?”

Aida looked at both her companions with a look of bewilderment. “Because there’s a chunk out of his arm.”

“Zombie Drift” 2019 P. D. Aronson. All Rights Reserved.

Zombie Drift 2: Peter

Zombie Drift

Two: Peter

Peter Evers sat on his bunk, staring at the cellphone in his hand. He hated not having service. Up until five minutes ago he’d been texting pretty as you please to his best friend Alec. It’s not like his buddy was that far away. In fact, Alec was right there in Charleston, SC. He was supposed to be waiting for him when he disembarked from the boat. Of course, Peter would need to find a way to escape the all seeing eye of his father’s watchdog, Ethan. He’d been a constant presence, and somewhat of a nuisance, the whole voyage. It wasn’t the fact the man was fifteen years his senior. It was more like, well…the guy just didn’t know how to have fun. He had even turned down the chance to dance with the Ethiopian singer up in the jazz lounge the night before. To Peter that was stupid.

There were many things Peter found stupid. The fact he was seventeen and being made to go on a cruise with a man who was a complete bore had to top the list. His Father, Gerald Evers put Peter on the ship to get him off the mainland while they investigated where the death threats were coming from. Gerald owned Ever Sail Cruise Lines, as well as other profitable business entities, and so it was the easiest way to get the boy out of the way. Peter wasn’t sure who he resented more, his Father, or the man he’d hired to watch over him during his time at sea. He briefly wondered if his dad discovered who’d been threatening to kill his son and why, but then he realized he already knew the why. Like the current President, his dad knew how to piss people off on Twitter.

Tired of trying to get his phone to work, Peter picked up the remote for the wall mounted television and turned it on. There wasn’t much else to do while he waited for Ethan to get out of the shower. If he snuck out the room the man would be furious. Come to think of it, that might not be a bad idea, but before he could entertain that notion, images on the TV stopped all mischievous thought. At first, he thought it was a movie. There’s no way this could be real. On screen, the front of a grocery store had been vandalized. Windows broken, the front door hanging off its hinges. The parking lot in the forefront was littered with trash and heaps of rags. But wait, it wasn’t rags. No, it was bodies. Laying in the lot as if it were a battlefield. And like a war zone, there were moans of the dying coming through the television speaker. It sent a chill up his spine. But it wasn’t just the sound that bothered him. It was the way the bodies were trying to move. In jerky movements, as if the bones had been broken in their arms and legs, some of the bodies were attacking others. A voice came over the image. “Are you getting this?” Then something else lumbered into view. It blocked out the entire camera eye for a moment then moved out of frame. The camera view was different now. In fact it was sideways, as if someone dropped the camera on its side in the dirt. From this new angle all Peter could see was shuffling feet and the dead unseeing eyes of a woman laying on the ground in front of the camera. He waited for someone to pick it up but they never did. He was forced to view the poor dead woman. He began to wonder if this was one of those “Cloverfield” type movies. The ones that were made to look like someone’s home video to give it a touch of realism. He’d seen several such films in the past. Cloverfield. Blair Witch Project. District 9.

Still there was something way creepier with what he saw on the TV.

“Hey Ethan,” he called out. He didn’t know if the man heard him from the shower, but it made Peter feel better just to call out his name. He may have been a bore to the teenager, but he knew his dad wouldn’t have had the guy traveling with him if there wasn’t something special about him. Despite their close quarters, he had never asked the man what he did for a living when not babysitting on sea cruises.

“Ethan,” he called again, his eyes glued to the dead woman’s eyes on the screen. He entertained the notion of getting off the bed and going into the bathroom to retrieve the man. The only thing that stopped him was the thought of the man not in the shower, but on the toilet or in some other state that required privacy. As the long seconds ticked by, and they did seem awfully long, he continued to watch the still dead body onscreen. He noticed some things going on in the background of the image. Other fallen bodies were visible, but thankfully their gaze wasn’t directed at the camera. Peter could see shadows of movement past the corpses. Or at least he thought they were corpses as none were moving or otherwise showing signs of life. He stared a little closer to the TV. Did one of the bodies just twitch?

“Hey kid, What you watching?”

Peter turned to look at Ethan. The man had emerged from the bathroom fully clothed. He wore tan khaki shorts and a horrendous Hawaiian shirt that had so much color to it there was no way the man could blend into a crowd. The button up shirt screamed attention. Normally, Peter would have said something sarcastic about his attire, but the images from the television wouldn’t let him go.

“There’s something weird on the TV,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s a movie, the news, or what, but the camera has been laying on the ground for awhile.”

The older man walked over to get a better look. “Damn,” he muttered. “Is that a…”

“Yeah, she’s dead. It’s got to be one of those found footage horror movies, right?”

“Um..yeah..I guess. I don’t watch many of these new movies, so…”

“It’s got to be a movie..” Peter replied. “There’s no way it…”

Suddenly her eyes blinked. On the screen. The dead woman. Her eyes blinked.

Peter jumped. “Holy shit! Did you see that?” He looked at Ethan. The older man hadn’t jumped like he had, but Peter could tell something was going on behind his eyes, as if he was working things out in his head.

“What channel is this?”

“I’m not sure. I just turned it on and somebody was filming a store get vandalized or something.”

On screen, the woman twitched and she began to move.

Peter didn’t jump this time. At least not on the outside. But on the inside his nerves were thrashing around and a knot was forming in his stomach.

The woman tried to push herself up, but her arms were at awkward positions, and one even seemed to snap, producing a loud crack through the speaker. She looked at the camera and let out a low guttural moan. Then she began to chew up her own tongue.

TO BE CONTINUED

Zombie Drift. Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.