From the Desk of the Editor;
Hello and welcome to the Twenty-Second issue of Larks Fiction Magazine's Third Volume! With only two more issues till volume four we want to thank you for driving us to keep putting out quality fiction.
We apologize for lateness of this issue. We had a catastrophic computer failure on our newly upgraded system and had to perform emergency surgery. Afterwards we had to find a backup of our issues. Luckily we found them!
On a sad note my iPhone went for a swim with me at a cook out and may or may not pull through.
Thank you for reading and please enjoy this quirky zombie issue of Larks.
Daniel J. Pool
Berk Dementis was not a man of many fears.
He was, in fact, training for the zombie apocalypse.
His days began with a routine chugging of raw eggs before setting off on his 15 mile run around suburbia.
“Hello Mrs. Winkles. How are you?” He would greet his elderly neighbor every day with a smile and a wave of his hand; all while envisioning her flesh turning green and her frail legs becoming powerful under the spell of fleshy hunger. He felt the blade of the bowie knife strapped to his calf and was reassured. Zombie grandma wouldn’t stand a chance.
In his work as a gym instructor, Berk worked out almost as much as he taught. Rock climbing, weight lifting, long-distance swimming; he did it all. Not one muscle that rippled through his body held flab.
After work, Berk went to target practice.
“I dunno why you come here day after day,” said the owner of the range, grinning at his best customer. “You get it dead center every time.”
“You can never be too careful,” replied Berk in a gravelly tone that rivaled that of Wolverine.
Though his body was in peak physical condition, Berk still felt unprepared for a zombie invasion. So, a few nights a week, he signed up for classes that would teach him skills he might need in an emergency situation. He learned how to do CPR, how to find food in the wilderness, and how to keep calm with the remarkable art of Zen.
His ritual was the same each night: go home, guzzle down a chalky protein shake, and settle into his vacuum of a basement for some television and trail mix.
Berk had been living alone ever since he left home. Once he was on his own, he distanced himself from his older brothers and parents. His heart never panged for love or attention, and if it did, it was brief and usually satisfied by eating copious amounts of beef jerky. When the zombie apocalypse started, he couldn’t worry about anyone else. The emotional damage of losing someone he was close to would have rendered him unable to go on. Completely impractical.
Days passed, as did weeks. Months and even years went by and Berk still kept his same routine, each impending second becoming even more apprehensive with the idea of a zombie outbreak.
One day, he even broke down and told some of his fellow gym instructors that the world would soon turn into a flesh-rotting, moaning, blood-and-guts spewing warzone. And all he got were chuckles and the sound of feet shuffling away. No one was as excited as Berk when one morning, inhuman moaning could be heard from outside.
Grinning like a kid on Christmas morning, Berk strapped his bowie knife to his leg and gathered his artillery- guns, grenades, knives, and the odd flame thrower. He threw open his front door to find…nothing
What was going on? He was sure he heard moaning from somewhere…
Berk screamed as diseased teeth pierced his shoulder, hungry growling echoing in his ears like thunder. More bites followed quickly, bringing the once strong Berk to his knees in agonizing pain. He couldn’t even reach the halter of his knife. He could feel the venom sinking into his veins and knew that he would soon be done for.
His final regret was that he hadn’t attended the How to Quietly Hunt class scheduled the same day.
About the Author;
Sarah Last began her career of literature as a young reader. Inspired by tales from great authors, she set out on her journey to become the best writer she could be. Her only wish is to bring as much joy with her writing as she has gotten with her reading.
Before the Fire
by Tyler Hansen
by Tyler Hansen
It's my Birthday, and Christine bought me a new journal! Everyone is downstairs right now, but I had to run up and at least write something in it. I know after I go out with Brandon and everyone later, I won't feel like writing by the time I get home. Mom and Dad think I'm just going out bowling, but Andrea's parents are out of town and her older brother is picking us up some beer and a bottle of vodka. Between the five of us, that should be enough to catch a buzz. Okay, off I go. Hopefully I will have something interesting to write about tomorrow.
Yesterday was absolute hell. Mom and Dad found out I had been drinking instead of bowling, and now I can't do anything. It's so unfair. Especially since Mom told me all of those stories about her and her sister sneaking vodka from Grandpa's liquor cabinet when they were my age. She's such a hypocrite. Daddy was less mad about the drinking, and more mad that I was in Andrea's house with Brandon. He yelled at me, and called Brandon a loser. He said he would never do anything with his life and that all he wanted to do was take advantage of me. I know better than that. Brandon and I made out most of the night, but he never once tried anything else. He knows I'm a virgin and that I don't want to have sex right now. Not until I find the right guy anyways.
On top of all that, I spent most of the day in bed with a hangover. My head still feels a bit fuzzy, but I think I'm okay. It's not the first time I have ever got drunk or anything. I'm 16 after all. If you haven't gotten drunk by the time you're 16, you're pretty much a loser. Andrea, Christine, and I agreed on that our freshman year when we snuck out to go to Brad Milton's party.
Well I guess that's it for today. Back to school tomorrow. Blah. Hopefully Mom and Dad calm down by then so I can go out after school with Andrea to pick up hair dye.
It is so not fair that I can't do anything! Dad was outside school, waiting to pick me up. It was so embarrassing. I screamed at him and told him just how much he was ruining my life. He told me that I was doing a good job of that myself hanging out with Andrea, Christine, and Brandon, who he calls “the shithead”. When I asked him if he would at least drive me to Sally's to get hair dye, he just about blew up. He told me I didn't need pink or blue or purple in my hair, and that if he ever caught me with it he would shave my head. The minute we got home I came up here. This is such bullshit. I can't go out and do anything with my friends. Not to mention that now I'm going to be the only one without colored highlights in my group of friends. I hate my Dad so much.
School today sucked! Andrea, Christine, and I were headed out the west entrance to skip science, when Mr. Paulson caught us. He brought us back to his class, but didn't write us up, which I guess is cool. His class is so boring. We had to learn about a meteor shower that's supposed to be happening tonight. Mr. Paulson asked us all to watch it tonight and write a page on what we see. Normally, I wouldn't bother, but my grade is really bad for Science right now. I asked Daddy to open the attic window for me and I'm going up there after dinner. At least I can call Andrea and Christine while I'm up there, and Daddy won't be able to hear me.
The meteor shower last night was really cool! There were so many colors in the sky, it was unreal. I was on the phone with Christine when it started, and she saw it too. We tried to get Andrea on the phone after a bit, but she didn't answer. I wrote down everything I saw, and it was over two pages! Mr. Paulson was really impressed, and said it would bring my grade up. After he collected everyone's papers, he told us that there was a good possibility that there were a lot of impact sites in a few places outside of town. He explained that a lot of the colors we saw last night were different elements burning up in the atmosphere. He is going to try and arrange a field trip for next week to go and look. I don't like science, but this just sounds cool. Christine wasn't excited at all, and Andrea wasn't in class. We figured she wasn't feeling well and was asleep when we tried to call her last night.
Andrea wasn't at school again today, and she didn't answer any of my calls or texts. She's either sick for real or she's playing it up really good. Brandon said he would skate over there instead of going to fourth period and check on her. I don't know if he did or not and he wasn't outside after school. Christine said he probably just skated home after dropping by. I know Andrea has a thing for Brandon, so I was just pissed off. The only good part of the day so far was Mr. Paulson saying he got approval for the field trip. He just has to go and check the place out first. I've never seen the old guy so excited. I guess when you're a high school teacher, there isn't much to get excited about in your life.
Daddy was complaining about the cable and internet being out when I got home, but that's nothing new. They go out every few months for an hour or something. He said the phone lines were dead too, but who uses a landline anymore? We all have cell phones, and mine works just fine. Mom told him to read a book or do the dishes instead. That shut him up and I laughed. I could tell that pissed him off, but I don't care. He has been an asshole lately. I just hope he lets up soon. I can't go without a social life for much longer, and it's so boring being stuck at home every day after school.
I'm so sick of living here! I can't go out all weekend, and since the cable is out, Mom made a list of things Daddy and I have to do! Chores! This is so stupid! Andrea gets to fake sick all week and hang out with Brandon, Christine is supposed to meet up with them tomorrow at the mall, and I have to clean out the attic. This is such bullshit.
Even after taking a shower last night, I feel gross as hell. I was up in the attic all day with Daddy while Mom went shopping. We moved out so much crap and went through so many dusty old boxes. I didn't think there was that much stuff up there! When it was all done, Daddy told me I could move up there if I wanted to! I'm so excited! I texted Christine, but she didn't reply. I guess I will just tell her at school tomorrow. I have to keep cleaning the place up and I already have stuff packed. I have to get back to work. SO EXCITED!
WORST DAY EVER! To start, my cell phone is not only out of service, but I can't contact anyone about it until daddy takes me to the mall. Then, at school, Christine, Andrea, and Brandon wouldn't even talk to me! I don't know what is going on with them. They were all crowded around Andrea's locker after first period, but when I walked up to them they turned and left. I ran down the hall to catch up with them, but they bolted out the door. Then, to top it all off, Mr. Paulson wasn't even in class today. There was a sub, and she just had us watch a movie on photosynthesis, which we aren't even learning. The only good thing about today is that I got the rest of the attic cleaned out yesterday and I can start moving upstairs! Not that I can tell anyone since all of my friends are being jerks.
So this whole cell phone thing is ridiculous, but I found out it's not just mine. Everyone at school had their cell phones die yesterday. Mr. Paulson was back in class today and told us it was probably something to do with the cell phone towers. Same thing with everyone's cable and internet. It was weird that he brought it up though. Like he wanted everyone to be alright with it. I don’t know. He said he was sick all weekend but still got out and checked out the place for the field trip. He still looked sick too. Poor guy.
Andrea, Christine, and Brandon didn't talk to me again, so during third period I wrote them a note and put it in Andrea's locker. I just said that I didn't know what I did to deserve being treated like that, and I didn't appreciate it. I guess I will see if they say anything to me tomorrow. A lot of other kids were missing today. Guess there must be a bug going around. I hope I don't get sick too.
Didn't hear from Andrea, Christine, or Brandon today. I saw them again, standing around Andrea's locker, but I didn't even bother trying to talk to them. I said all I had to say in the note. Brandon looked up at me when I walked by, but went right back to talking with them. I'm so angry and hurt. The only good thing that happened today was that Mr. Paulson said we are going on the field trip on Friday. I guess I will be alone for that one since Andrea and Christine pretty much ignored me the entire class like they have been doing. Mr. Paulson looked worse today. The dark circles under his eyes were bad, and he was coughing a lot. I hope he doesn't call the whole thing off.
Daddy was pissed off today when he picked me up. He said that the ramps to get on the highway were all closed. He had to get to Minneapolis for a meeting, but the way he takes each day was blocked off and he couldn't even get out of town. When we got home, Mom made the comment that we were cut off from the outside world. The scary thing is, with no phones or internet, and now the roads being closed, it's kind of true.
I brought my permission slip to Mr. Paulson today and things got weird. He looked really bad. His eyes were bloodshot and his skin looked really papery. He asked me to write down a bunch of extra stuff too, like my Mom's name and phone number as well as Daddy's. Class was really off too. All we did was discuss things like what to bring tomorrow, and how Mr. Paulson wants us to find whatever meteorites we can and take them home for homework, observing them and writing a page on everything we see. It's like he expects us to find enough for the whole class. Maybe when he went and checked out the place he found a bunch.
Nothing new with Andrea, Christine, and Brandon. I am just going to stop trying. I don't know what I did, but I'm done with anyone who would treat me that way and just cut me out of their lives and pretend like I'm not even there.
I'm just about finished with moving in upstairs. Daddy is going to help me move my bed up there after dinner, and then that's it, except for my desk. I am so excited to be done with it. I am sad that I don't really have anyone to tell, but whatever. I have a huge new room!
Today's field trip may have been the weirdest thing to ever happen to me in my entire life! So, we get there, and immediately everyone is miserable. It was cold and drizzling out, so everyone was damp and freezing, but Mr. Paulson acted like everything was fine. He told us to spread out all over the open area and that we could go in the wooded parts, but not too far. As expected, I was by myself, so I started looking for anything that might be a meteorite.
I guess I wasn't paying attention to where I was going because I looked up and I had moved into the woods a bit. I started to head back the way I came when I heard something farther in. It sounded like some people laughing, so I decided to catch up with whoever it was so I didn’t look like the only person in class by themself. After a minute of walking, I see its Andrea, Christine, and Brandon with Mr. Paulson. They are all together and seem to be staring at something on the ground. I thought maybe they had found a meteorite, so I started walking up to them when Mr. Paulson turned around. He called me over, and the rest of them just stared at the ground. I walked over and saw a bunch of fist sized stones with a bluish color on the ground, all piled up.
Mr. Paulson said they had found them and collected them for the class, but a lot of them were stuck in the ground, like they had landed that way. There seemed to be enough for the whole class, and that had Mr. Paulson pretty excited. The thing was, Andrea, Christine and Brandon didn’t even make eye contact with me. They just kept looking at the meteorites the whole time and acting like I didn’t even exist. That really hurt, but I didn’t say anything about it.
We all went back to school shortly after. Mr. Paulson had us all congratulate my “friends” on their find and he gave us all our pieces to take home. So, I’m in my new room staring at a rock. I’ll write my observations later. For something that flew through space, it looks kind of boring.
I may as well forget about ever having a social life again. No phone or internet, and there is nothing to do in town unless I have a fake ID, which I don’t. The on ramps to the highway are still closed and I thought Daddy was going to have a meltdown when he found out. Once again he went on his rant about how it’s all the President’s fault, or something. I hate politics, so I just tuned it out.
I guess I can stare at the rock some more and see there’s anything else I can add to my report. So bored!
So, it’s 10 in the morning and I’m home. I should be at school, but after last night and earlier today I don’t know if I want to go anymore. Something weird is going on there and I think it has something to do with my friends and Mr. Paulson.
Last night I decided to finish my report on the rock. I held it up to the light when I saw that if you chipped away some of the outer stuff it was clear underneath. Then it broke. Like, my fingers crushed it and there was this liquid stuff inside. It smelled horrible and got all over my bedroom floor. I tried to clean it as best I could, but it STILL smells like it in here!
I took the pieces to Mr. Paulson this morning right away to show him what had happened. When I got to his office Andrea, Christine and Brandon were there. They looked startled and angry that I was trying to talk to Mr. Paulson. It even looked like Andrea was going to hit me at one point until Mr. Paulson asked what I wanted. I showed him the pieces and he looked sad. He told me it was unfortunate and asked Brandon to get me one of the spare samples in the classroom. Then, and this is the crazy part, he gave me an “Excuse to Leave the Building” pass and told me to go home with the new rock and finish my report.
I know enough not to question a legit excuse to leave school, so I took the pass and the rock and left, but my friends followed me the whole time. I mean, even to my house. They were trying to hide, but I saw Brandon duck between two houses in the rear view mirror of a car I walked past. I think they might still be out there. I don’t want to look outside and find out, and I don’t even want to touch the damn rock. I left it in my backpack downstairs, and I think I’m going to fake sick for the rest of my high school career. I don’t know where Mom and Dad could be since the highways are closed, and I can’t call them to find out anyways. Screw this.
I can’t go home. I have to keep hiding here in the sewers or else they will find me. Mom is out there with them, and Daddy is dead. I ran and I hid down here. Nobody has come looking for me. Every so often I can hear them above me. They walk by talking about the portal and the “Light Ones” or something like that. It’s all they ever talk about.
I haven’t even bothered to look at this journal since I ran away, but reading through it, I can guess where this all started. I have so much I want to write, but I don’t know if it will ever be read or matter at all. I guess it is just keeping me sane at this point. Here’s what I know about what is happening.
There is stuff inside the meteorites taking people over. I don’t know why my first one didn’t work on me, but I think maybe it was dead or something. The people who have been taken over have killed everyone else. Then they started building something big. They call it the portal and it is supposed to bring the “Light Ones” here. I think we are being invaded, and I could very well be the last person who hasn’t been taken over by the meteorite stuff or isn’t dead.
I have to figure out a way out of town. I have to get help for everyone.
There is no way out. I have tried, and almost been caught twice. I was lucky to make it back to my house. They aren’t the people I knew before. Not anymore. They came at me and I fought. I killed Andrea’s brother, and they didn’t even care. I care. I’m not a murderer!
The entire neighborhood has been abandoned and all of the people who have been taken over are working around the clock on the portal. I was able to get close enough to see it last night after I calmed down.. It’s just a big hunk of metal in the shape of a half circle. There was a big console in front of it that I can only assume controls it. When they are done, they are going to open it.
Coming back here was hard. They moved Daddy’s body and burned it with the rest, but the blood stains are still there on the living room floor. The power is out like everywhere else. It’s all being rerouted to the portal. Everything in the fridge has gone bad, but I found a box of cereal to eat.
I read everything in my journal again and cried. I have been doing that a lot since I got back here. Less than a month ago, everything was completely normal. Nothing will ever be normal again. I miss my friends. I miss my parents.
If anyone reads this, my name is Jamie Anders. I held out this long, but I have to do something now. I have Daddy’s gun that he kept in his closet, and I have gas from the lawnmower to make Molotov cocktails. I am going to leave this journal here, in my new room I never got to really make mine, and go out to destroy that portal before they turn it on. I don’t know what’s happening in the rest of the world, but I hope this ends it.
About the Author;
Tyler D Hansen is a 26 year old writer living in Saint Paul, MN. He has been previously published on Microhorror.com ("6 Bullets") and is a writer/producer/actor for a comedy webshow, "The Breaks". When he isn't writing, he is spending time with his 4 year old daughter, Eris.