DYING DAYS are upon us….
The Man – Armand Rosamilia.
Armand is the author of the Dying Days Collection.
“Dying Days are upon us. The Undead roam the Earth…searching for the living…to eat…to feast…to rip apart…”
We are always lucky to have Armand. Not only because all the ladies love him, but turns out he’s a pretty damn good writer as well. Today he is sharing an unreleased flash fiction story in anticipation of his forthcoming June release DYING DAYS 3. You should also check him out in Miami Spy Games and Fifty Shades of Decay (I love that title!)
Take it away, Armand…
This is an unreleased short story set in the Dying Days zombie world. The idea came to me after meeting one of my girlfriend’s friends and listening to his obsession with reality TV shows, and pretty much just watching every show available. I took it to the extreme and it’s not really about him (although his real name may or may not be Patrick), and it might be 100% what he would do during the zombie apocalypse. Or not (especially if he decided to sue)…
Dying Days: Television
Patrick held the universal TV remote in his hand and pointed it at the blank screens until gravity forced it down. He sighed loudly (like the winner of season five’s Survivor had done to psyche out the other two remaining contestants) and fell back onto the couch.
Even though the power had tripped, the backup generators were working and, therefore, the cable and satellite feeds should be working. The televisions were definitely on, because he kept turning each individual one on and off and making sure the green lights flashed before him on the wall of TV sets.
He checked his watch and was frustrated. He only had four minutes until the Amish reality show was coming on, and he needed to see if Levi was going to leave the community or stay and ask for forgiveness.
If the power was out the third DVR in his back bedroom wouldn’t record it and he’d miss an episode. That was unacceptable. He searched for his cell phone among the Entertainment Weekly magazines on the coffee table and hit speed-dial #1, which was the cable company. The phone just made a weird beeping noise, and Patrick finally tossed it down in frustration. This wasn’t good.
In two hours the pawn show marathon started. Even though he’d seen them all, he needed to sit through them again. Just in case he missed something funny or important. Tonight was also the season finale of the annoying little girl who was in the beauty pageants. He hated her and her media whore mother, but he still wanted to see if she’d win the Little Miss Kentucky Pageant. After watching an entire season, what else could he do?
“Damn,” Patrick said when he realized the phone being out meant he couldn’t order his Meat Lover’s pizza tonight. It was Tuesday. He always ordered a pie. Tomorrow would be Chinese food, and Thursday was Jimmy Johns, followed by Friday night delivery of cheeseburgers from the corner barbeque place. Saturday was back to pizza, but always with sausage, pepperoni and onions. Sunday was another delicious order of Chinese, and Monday leftovers from the previous week.
Patrick had his life planned out. What else did he need? During the day he could do his online copywriting job, check his stock portfolio, sell a few things on eBay, and never have to leave the house except to collect his mail, packages, and open the door for the delivery person. But now…
He wanted to scream when he looked at his laptop and saw his internet connection was lost. How would he get any work done? There were several jobs due in the morning he’d already finished and only needed to submit. Now he couldn’t.
Through the closed blinds he could tell the sun was going down. He didn’t know his neighbor and he didn’t care to know them. They weren’t important. Only the real housewives in New Jersey mattered to him right now, or the Alaskan gold miners and the bad ass truckers in the ice.
Was that a scream he’d just heard? Patrick ran into his bedroom, hoping it was on the seventy-two inch wall unit he had mounted at an angle so he could see comfortably from his bed, but the screen was blank. Could it have come from outside?
He found a pair of jeans on the floor and put them on. His white t-shirt was hastily pulled over his torso and it was even tighter than he remembered since last week when he’d put it on.
Patrick turned the front door knob but hesitated. What if someone was in trouble? What if they needed his help? This was realreality, and he didn’t do well in these situations. He didn’t want to have to deal face to face with people. It was why he worked from home, and had for years. People were opinionated, nosy, leeches and bloodsuckers who only asked you for things. No thanks. It was better to see them act like selfish brats on his television than in person.
Before he could talk himself out of it, he opened the door and took a step outside. The fresh air was a nice change from the air conditioning. It felt… well, fresh.
“Ugh,” he muttered when he saw the neighbors standing in their driveway looking right at him. Before he could turn and run back inside the annoying wife was waving her arms at him and her and her husband came running.
“We didn’t think anyone else was still around,” she said. “Hi, I’m Merna.”
“Nice to meet you,” he lied and mumbled. There was nothing out here for him. “Did I hear a scream?”
“Yes,” the husband said, looking around. “It isn’t safe. It also might be too late for us to leave. On the news it said the roads were blocked in and out of Jacksonville.”
“Why?” Patrick didn’t watch the news. There was really no point in it. He didn’t want that much reality. School shootings, accidents, fires, police reports… all boring. There was no payoff for him, no inside scoop on the people involved. The show Cops had started him on the great reality television craze, and he never wanted to stop.
“Don’t you watch the news?” The man said incredulously. “Rumor has it you have fifty TV’s in your house.”
Patrick laughed. “Fifty? I wish. It’s only twenty-two screens. Plus three computers, two laptops, and my tablets. But not fifty. Not yet.” He had been eyeing a seventy-inch plasma online, waiting for the price to drop so he could order two for the dining room.
“There are zombies,” Merna said. “This is my husband Earl.”
“Did you say zombies?” Patrick said and scoffed. He was done with these crazies. This was why he didn’t bother with people. They were certifiable. Like the nutty guy in season two of Big Brother.
“I know it sounds crazy, but before the power went out they were showing live shots from all over the country. They are taking over and eating people.” Merna shivered and crossed her arms. “This isn’t a joke.”
“Too bad the power is out, or else you would see for yourself,” Earl said. “This isn’t like that zombie show on TV, either. These things are nasty and ripping people apart.”
“I don’t watch that show. It’s not realistic enough,” Patrick said.
Merna looked at him oddly. “Realistic? It’s about zombies.”
“It was nice meeting you,” Patrick lied again. “I’m going inside to see what the fuss is about.”
“You have power?”
“Yeah. I am always prepared. Not that it helps, since all the channels are out.”
“Can we come in? Safety in numbers seems smart right now,” Merna said.
Patrick didn’t want these strangers in his home. It was bad enough when the cable guy came over to install another line. “Sorry… the place is a mess. Maybe some other time.” He turned and walked as fast as he could to his house.
“Are you kidding me? We’re going to die out here,” the husband said.
“Sucks to be you,” Patrick mumbled as he went inside. This was obviously some stupid joke, and he wasn’t buying it. What if this was some reality show? A hidden camera program, maybe. He could end up being a star, but only if he played his cards right.
Patrick sat down on the couch and thought of a strategy. Would he be the in-your-face guy, brash and defiant, bruising his way to victory? Maybe he’d be the under-the-radar guy, who subtly screwed everyone around him out of the prize. He could make pretend he was everyone’s friend, and then find their strengths and weaknesses.
But what was the grand prize? What were the rules of the game? How could he gain the advantage and keep it? He did another click-through on the televisions, but they were all still out.
The knock at the door startled him. Patrick was going to ignore it, but then decided his best course would be to answer and play his part… he decided he would be the gullible, friendly guy and take the other contestants in with his Aww, Shucks! Attitude.
When Patrick opened the door the neighbors were standing there.
He smiled. This was his first test, and his first screen time unless they’d be filming him before. “Howdy neighbors.”
Patrick noticed the blood spitting from Merna’s neck, a shambling crowd gathering behind the couple, and the vacant look in their eyes the second before Earl wrapped his cold fingers around Patrick’s neck.
You can read even more about Armand Rosamilia by visiting his site at armandrosamilia.com and buying his books so he has enough money to stop the coming zombie apocalypse… and he can buy M&M’s.