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Love in a Time of Zombies #1

The following is my first few pages of what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. I’m six days behind now and it is only day eight. I hope to catch up some on the weekend. I probably won’t, but that said I’ll do something.

My original story was a super hero style story set in a fictional land that was part Russia, part USA, and part East Germany. I scrapped the whole thing because while I KNOW what I want to do, I don’t have a road map for it yet, and I want to treat it right. So instead I figured I’d write something funny, something in the line of my Zombie News Now posts. So what follows is that, the first (short) draft of the first short chapter of Love in a Time of Zombies. 


Rene cursed his parents for giving him a woman’s name, at least his middle name was manly, damn manly. His middle name was Sioux like the Native American tribe. For some reason however people always snickered when they found out his last name, snickered and beat the unholy bajeebus out of him. Nowadays Rene kept his middle name secret as it seemed the world was filled with racists.

“Rene August,” announced a bland administrative female voice over the installation’s PA system after a brief ear biting chirp, “please report to General Whoremonger”.

Geesh. What a great name, Whoremonger. Now THAT was a manly name. Rene secretly believed that as soon as they saw the name Whoremonger on an enlistment form, the Army gave the applicant the rank of General on the spot. Too bad General Whoremonger was a woman. Such a great name to be wasted on a woman.

Rene was no sexist really. He just thought that Whoremonger was an excellent man’s name. Occasionally he’d admit to himself that there would have to be SOME Whoremongers who were woman, namely those married to barrel chested mammoth men named Whoremonger. Said women would give many Whoremonger sons to their Whoremonger spouses to allow for more men to have such a terrific manly name. See? Rene was no sexist at all.

The General always hated to be left waiting so Rene stood from his desk chair in such haste, his right leg pushed his chair backward causing it to quickly roll back. The chair quickly stuck Rene’s foot locker with a thump, then bounced back violent to collide once again with Rene’s leg. Cursing his luck, Rene turned to see the chair tipping over and about to spill on the plan painted concrete floor. Rene bent over to grab the chair but took a bad step while shifting his weight and fell over the chair planting his face squarely into the floor.

Blood poured from Rene’s nose. It wasn’t the first time. It seemed to Rene that every time he met the General he somehow got a bloody nose, so while the fall was unexpected, the nose was not. Taking a clean but blood stained handkerchief from his pocket, Rene pressed it to his nose as he extracted himself from the tangle of chair, floor, and legs. He grabbed his lab coat from a hook on the wall next to the door and swapped the hand holding the handkerchief in place while getting the coat in place and buttoning it up.

The door to Rene’ incredibly small office/bunk opened inward. This forced Rene back against his desk turned slightly with handkerchief held to his face. Stepping out into the hall, pulling the door shut behind him, Rene collided with Special Agent Kifah Ruben. Knowing Rene’s timing, the special agent was prepared for the collision and held them both in place as Rene caught his balance. Rene finally realized Special Agent Kifah held him upright, his eyes met hers. They were olive drab with flecks of orange and brown around the iris. The fluorescent lights sparkled within those organic spheroids. Why if Rene were to look long enough, he was certain he could see his own reflection. Yes. There it was. He smiled.

“Find your reflection again Mr. August,” asked the Special Agent. Rene finally realized he was in the arms of a woman and tried to step back. The Special Agent still had hold of Rene.

“Sorry about that Special Agent,” Rene stammered as he dabbed his nose, checking to see if the blood had yet abated. It had not.

“Don’t worry about it Rene,” Kifah purred, “I walk on this side of the hall for a reason”. Only then did Rene realize that in a twenty foot wide hallway, the Special Agent walked within inches of the wall and against the flow of normal traffic. Perhaps, he reasoned, she did that to get a different perspective of the people she was protecting and investigating.

When she finally did release Rene she made a quiet sound that was something between a sign and groan, but Rene was so focused on his bloody nose he didn’t notice. “Going to see the General as well?”

“Yes,” Kifah replied, “I received a text a minute or so ago”.

“Well your timing is impeccable. You kept be from falling for the second time today”.

Kifah stifled a laugh, “Three times it seems”.

“What?” Rene asked with a brief squint, “I must have missed one. Sorry. Thank you anyway. Will you accompany me to the General’s office?”

Kifah’s smile was so genuine that Rene seemed to notice her beauty for the first time. “I would be delighted,” she replied taking his arm and sliding hers into and around it.

Rene looked as if he knew he was missing something but wasn’t quite sure what. Regardless, “Is it proper for a Special Agent to be so, um, familiar with others?”

Seven steps, Kifah thought, I was happy for seven steps.

“Perhaps not,” Kifah replied, “but I’ve never been one for convention”. This reply gave Rene a few more seconds of confused thought.

“I would hate for you to lose face Special Agent. I think it best we walk at least ten inches apart. In this manner no one might get the wrong impression”.

Kifah sighed and separated from Rene. Sixteen more steps, she thought. Twenty three in all. A new record.

The two walked in silence save for the hollow echo of their steps in the massive hallway which disappeared in the distance behind and in front of them. Soon the whine of an electric motor and the occasional squeak of rubber could be heard. Kifah and Rene turned to look behind them and saw a Corporal in a golf cart. He pulled up beside the two.

“General is anxious. Get in.”

Kifah greeted the Corporal with an unamused tone as she took the seat behind the Corporal and hoping that Rene would take the other rear seat, “Nice to see you too Corporal Frank.”

Rene took the front seat and checked his bloody nose. It was a fountain again. “Aww.” Rene complained, “It had just stopped and now it is flowing again like it just happened”.

Corporal James Franklin glanced sideways at Rene, “Are you a hemophiliac, Mr. August?”

“No. I have never had an issue with bloody noses until working here,” Rene answered.

Corporal Franklin considered some more. “Perhaps it’s too dry here. Get yourself a humidifier”.

“Ha!” Rene barked, “And keep it where? My bunk is a shoe box barely large enough to be a bunk, AND I have to use it as my office too! I simply have no additional space. Besides I’m from Arizona and the temperature and humidity are both regulated tightly. Finally, this bloody nose is a result of …” Rene trailed off. He wasn’t entirely sure he wanted the general populace to know he tripped over his own chair and struck the floor – WITH HIS FACE all within the confines of his ridiculously small bunk slash office space. “Well this nose is the result of other circumstances”.

The Corporal was aware enough what kind of circumstances might give the lanky scientist a bloody nose. The first came from the General herself after she punched Rene after he first showed her the results of Project Fellhammer. For some reason the General denies it ever happened. Another time Rene, Kifah, and the Corporal were waiting for the General when a steam value burst thirty feet from where the trio stood striking Rene in the face. He awoke to the General staring down at him, his face a wreck of broken nose and blood. Another time the General was the last person to a meeting of egg heads which Rene was the eggiest. Rene had gotten up to open the door for the General when he noticed that the door knob was refusing to cooperate with her. She managed to force the door open just as Rene got his nose within range. Finally there was lunch two weeks ago. The Corporal just sat on the opposite side of the table as Rene in the mess hall when his nose began to bleed. The Corporal looked up to see the General enter the mess looking for Rene.

“Perhaps you are simply allergic to women,” the corporal suggested.

Kifah gave a short bark of a laugh from the back row of seats.

“No,” Rene replied. “Special Agent Ruben is a woman and I feel quite good around her,” he finished unaware of the significance of what he just said.

The Corporal uncharacteristically took his eyes from the road long enough to turn to look at the Special Agent who looked simply stunned. A slow smile spread between the two. The Corporal whistled and turned back to look straight ahead as regulations demanded. Kifah slid over in her seat to sit more directly behind Rene. Reaching up to take the bloody rag from Rene, she swatted his hands away and applied light pressure to sides of his nose.

“Let me do this. Despite being the most intelligent person I’ve ever met, you seem to have no idea what you are doing. Now just tilt your head back and we’ll get you presentable.”

Rene sighed and reclined his head backward. He admitted to himself that the Special Agent was more effective at stopping his bleeding. After a minute, Rene realized the cart was stopped and the Special Agent was wiping his face with a clean wet portion of his handkerchief.

“We’re here Mr. August,” Corporal Franklin announced. Rene noted that the Corporal had a curious half smile that on anyone wouldn’t qualify as anything more than a smirk. “For once it seems you are actually presentable for once”.

“Good,” Rene replied, “Thank you for your help Special Agent.” Rene then straightened his

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