Home > Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
Diana Rowland

Chapter 1

“So you hiding a body in here or sumthin’?”

The speaker gave a rasping chuckle as I pulled open the door of my storage unit, but behind his show of amusement was an avid curiosity that he was clearly desperate to satisfy. His question held a certain irony, considering that he fit the image of a serial killer a lot more than I did. Greasy black hair hung in lank tendrils from beneath a soiled Saints ball cap, his “Stor-This!” t-shirt with cut-off sleeves revealed slender arms with a surprising amount of muscle definition, and he apparently had the nervous habit of biting his nails—so severely that the tips of several fingers bore scabs.

On the other hand, I was the one who had a large chest freezer in a storage unit. Okay, yeah, so maybe that was a teensy bit suspicious. I could practically see the possibilities whirling behind his yellow-tinged eyes. Perhaps I was hiding the body of a past boyfriend? Maybe a parent? How about a too-nosy storage unit manager?

“Nah,” I replied with a friendly smile. “I won one of those grocery store shopping sprees and didn’t have any room back at my house to put a freezer. Didn’t want all the stuff I got to go to waste, y’know?” I flipped the lid of the freezer open so that he could see the contents. He peered in, hungry curiosity shifting to disappointment as he took in the sight of several dozen frozen dinners, various plastic containers, and a couple of slabs of ribs wrapped in plastic. Definitely no corpses. Even the ribs were obviously non-human in origin.

“Oh. Yeah, okay. Makes sense.” He straightened and stepped back as I placed two more plastic containers in the freezer.

“Made a big batch of soup yesterday,” I explained as the hunger nudged at me. It wanted what was in those containers, but I was trying hard to be super careful about not splurging. I knew I needed to ration my supply carefully. I had a nice surplus right now, however, I’d learned from hard experience not to depend on that. “I ran out of room in the fridge at home,” I continued, “so I figured I might as well put it out here for later on.” I closed the lid, made sure it was fully clasped. “Sorry, no bodies!” I said with a laugh.

His mouth twisted into an answering smile, but it was clear I’d ceased to be interesting now that he knew there was nothing mysterious to be found in storage unit number five-three-four. Good thing he had no idea that the contents of the freezer were far worse than a corpse.

He wandered back up to the office while I closed and locked the unit. There was nothing at all that said I had to show him what was in my unit, but I knew damn well that if I hadn’t let him look he’d have probably broken in to satisfy his curiosity, and then I’d have run the risk that the contents of the freezer would be ruined.

The slabs of ribs were exactly what they appeared to be—and from pigs, not humans—but the soup and the frozen dinners contained my very prized stash of about three months’ worth of brains.

Yes, human brains.

Hello, my name is Angel, and I’ll be your zombie today.

Chapter 2

“I know I’m the one with the so-called iron stomach,” I said, “but even I think this is seriously disgusting.”

I was under the floor with my head and shoulders in a narrow service tunnel-type thing, just far enough to where I could barely peer around the corner where another tunnel intersected the one I was in. There was a corpse in the tunnel on the left. I couldn’t see a whole lot, but I could definitely smell it, even through the protective mask that kept me from choking on the grit and dust. So could everyone else.

“Flashlight?” I asked, reaching my hand blindly behind me. Someone shoved one into my hand, but the light only confirmed what my nose had tried to tell me. He was about ten feet down—bloated up and completely filling the tunnel. Considering that the tunnel was barely two feet across at best, I had to wonder what could have possessed him to try to squeeze through this narrow space. One arm was extended over his head, and the other looked to be wedged tight by his side. A pool of reddish purge fluid extended several inches along the shaft—a disgusting reddish brown discharge from the mouth and nose. A shiver ran through me at the sight of his mangled fingertips and thin streaks of blood along the side of the shaft. He’d done his damnedest to claw his way out or shift position. Did he suffocate or did he die of thirst? God, I hoped it was the first.

I worked as a van driver and morgue assistant for the St. Edwards Parish Sheriff’s Office which meant I’d seen plenty of death. Most of the time the job was pretty straightforward—someone would die in their home or in an accident, a death investigator and I would come out, the investigator would do his or her thing, and then I would get the body into a body bag and bring it to the morgue where later I would assist the pathologist during the autopsy. It was nasty, smelly, sticky, and sometimes obscene and heartbreaking.

But I loved it. And not just because it provided me easy access to the brains I needed in order to stay…well, “alive” wasn’t the right word. “Nicely undead”? “Not rotten”?

I shivered again, though this time from cold. It was early December, and while it rarely got cold enough to make a northerner twitch, I’d lived in south Louisiana my entire life, and anything below fifty degrees was unbearably chilly for me. Besides, we had plenty of humidity, which meant it was cold and damp. And yes, I was a weenie.

I shimmied my way back out and climbed up through the gap in the flooring. “Look, that whole section is going to have to come apart,” I told Derrel Cusimano, the death investigator I worked with. “There’s no way I can pull him out. He’s stuck.” Supposedly these tunnels had originally been used to route steam pipes throughout the decrepit building we were in, but the factory had been retrofitted numerous times over the last seventy-five years; old pipes had been ripped out and new pipes had been laid, carrying everything from water to data lines. Not all of the old pipes had been removed, either, and I had a feeling that was how my dead guy had managed to get himself nicely stuck. I swept my gaze over the floor. Supposedly, sections of the floor had been designed to be easily removed for access to the tunnels, but renovations and construction had covered most of the flooring with tile or linoleum, which meant that getting to the body was going to require some strong hands and possibly heavy machinery. At least it wasn’t behind a wall. That would have been a disgusting nightmare.

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