Pray To Stay Dead
Mason James Cole
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The Summer of Love is a fading memory, the Cold War rages on, Richard M. Nixon is barely holding onto the Presidency, and the dead are returning to life.
Five friends on their way to a week at Lake Tahoe, a Vietnam veteran in Sacramento trying to get home to his daughter in New Mexico, an older couple idling in a dusty shop in the hills, and a dangerous man who has spent twenty years preparing his strange family for the end of the world.
As civilization collapses, these scattered survivors cross paths, and the hungry dead are the least of the horrors unleashed.
Those who die will walk. Those who live will hope for a quick death, and they will.
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Come on, Brock, we have to do something. ” Daniel shrugged. “Whatever. ” Richard put his arm around her. “It looked dead to me,” he said. Kimberly looked like she was about to cry. Guy moved the van onto the side of the road and brought it to a halt. “It was pretty messed up,” he said, looking back at Kimberly. “I think it’s dead, too, but if you think you saw it moving, I’ll check it out, okay? ” Kimberly nodded. Guy hopped out . He went to the back of the van, opened the doors, and, after a few seconds of rummaging, removed the tire iron from the spare tire well.
Daniel wasn’t sure he’d ever heard Kim call Colleen by her first name. “Yes,” Colleen said. “I just want to get out of here. Are we all set up? ” “Mm-hm! You ready to have a good time? ” “I’ve been ready. ” “Good. ” Shifting into hushed tones, his sister and her best friend stepped from sight. Outside, someone said something. It sounded like Guy. Daniel shoved himself up from the couch, picked up his bag, and shuffled toward the front. Colleen’s bag was where she left it, either on purpose or accidentally, just inside the door by his mother’s godawful wrought iron umbrella stand.
She saw herself cramming the bastard’s cock into his mouth with the knife she’d used to slice it off. “I hope you get the chance, honey,” Sally said, letting go of Colleen’s hand and struggling once more to her feet. “And I hope I’m there when you do it. ” She held out her hands, indicating the sleeping child. “Here. ” Colleen passed the nameless boy to Sally, who held him to her chest and slowly shuffled out of the room, her slipper-clad feet dragging across the deep carpet. Colleen stared into space, her mind racing, the images in her head overlapping into jumbled and bloody chaos.
And a bigger one about twenty miles east. ” “Do we really want to go where people are? ” Colleen asked. “What else can we do? ” Guy said, giving her a reassuring smile. “We need to get to a phone. I need to talk to Chris. ” “Oh, God,” Colleen said, punching her thigh. How had she not thought of Chris? Guy adored his little brother, a charming and hilarious six-year-old who was the spitting image of his big brother, right down to the ridiculous dimples, and she was too busy assembling fears about her dead mother for the boy to even cross her mind.
Guy looked in the direction Kimberly and Richard had gone. “Hey, you two,” he yelled. “Get up here. Now. ” He reached out and pulled the joint from Daniel’s mouth, brought it to his own, inhaled. “Hey,” Daniel said. “What are you—” “Shut up,” Guy said. Daniel shut up and took his diminished joint when Guy passed it back to him. Colleen said: “What’s wr—” He cut her off with a look, leaned in and turned up the volume. “Listen. ” She listened, pressing herself closer to him. He held her. A moment later, Daniel leaned closer.