R.I.P.: A Zombie Novel [MultiFormat]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Harrison Howe
eBook Category: Horror/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Be careful what you wish for ...
Lonely, overweight Billy Barton's birthday has come except he has no friends to share it with. So he wishes upon a shooting star for a friend and is almost immediately granted his wish. His friend: a zombie named RIP.
Chaos and blood-soaked mayhem ensues as Billy, with RIP's help, seeks to level the playing field between him and the school bullies who make fun of his weight. But all is not what it seems, and when a new girl arrives at the school who piques Billy's interest, it soon becomes apparent that RIP has an agenda of his own.
eBook Publisher: Coscom Entertainment, Published: 2009, 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2009
"R.I.P.'s mad cocktail of Night of the Living Dead, After School Specials, and coming-of-age drama is sure to plaster lunatic grins on the faces of horror fans of all ages." - Lorne Dixon, author of The Lifeless and Snarl
"Harrison Howe has crafted a hilarious, action-packed, and occasionally moving 'be careful what you wish for' tale." - Tom Piccirilli, author of A Choir of Ill Children
"Harrison Howe takes readers on a fast, funny, and gruesome ride. R.I.P. is a treat for twisted kids of all ages." - Lee Thomas, Lambda Literary Award- and Bram Stoker Award-winning author of In the Closet, Under the Bed and The Dust of Wonderland
"Harrison Howe writes as if he's channeling nightmares, which, for ordinary writers wouldn't be possible, but because Harrison is no ordinary writer, it works achingly well." - T.M. Wright, author of Blue Canoe
Chapter One: The Star
The star fell on the night Billy Barton turned twelve.
He watched in bright-eyed anticipation as it burned a trail across the otherwise-starless night, cutting a path of light through the darkness, his eyes eagerly tracking its arc over the silhouettes of tree- and roof-tops, the exact same way his eyes swept over pastries and cakes in the window of Pap's Bakery. Its fiery tail illuminated the underbelly of a few slate-colored clouds that hung low over Daleview, threatening an autumn storm that would never come. He tracked it until it disappeared behind some towering pines. Billy leaned forward, trying to keep sight of it, and nearly toppled out the open window in his excitement.
"Please, God," he wished at it, after hauling his upper body back inside. It took some effort, the window was narrow and Billy was not (his considerable girth having saved him from slipping entirely out the window.) He whispered in the empty room, kneeling on the bed with his elbows propped on the windowsill. "A friend. I wish I had just one very best friend in the whole wide world." It was the same wish he always made; the same wish when he closed his eyes to blow out his birthday candles, same silent plea he recited when he gripped one end of the turkey wishbone with his mom on Thanksgiving night, the same wish he repeated like a mantra in his head as he walked to school, from school, during school.
He said amen because that was what he'd been taught to do when finished talking to God. He had not prayed in a long time, not since his father had gone away. He'd taken up the practice immediately after, but when results had not been forthwith and his father had remained a thousand miles away with "that younger bimbo" --as his mother put it--he had impatiently given it up.
But this was different. Special. Billy was sure that falling star was a sign that God was listening after all, practically begging him to make his wish.
Please, God. Just. One. Friend.
Not such an impossible request. God was God. All-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, all that stuff. Surely He could conjure a single friend. Golly, He had created Eve for Adam. How tough could it be to toss down a sixth-grader?
Such a simple wish ... no harm in it at all. Yet why, then, would things unravel so completely in the coming weeks: start strange, turn effortlessly to unexplainable, and finally turn out so horribly?
The world, as the Tootsie Pop Owl used to say, might never know.
Whether Billy's star came in answer to his wish none could say. Some might say "God worked in mysterious ways." Or, "It was God's will." Most would be sure God didn't have His hand in this at all. Whatever the case, it was what it was.
And what Billy had seen streaking across the autumn sky was a small hunk of an exploded moon from some far off galaxy; it had trekked thousands of years and billions of miles to fall burning less than several hundred yards from Billy Barton's house in Daleview, Pennsylvania, Pop. 12,720 (and a half--Mrs. Russo was five months pregnant). The chance that it had survived hurtling through space for all that time without having been sucked into a black hole or smashed by a passing asteroid or having crashed into a planet or moon was miraculous in itself; that it landed on an inhabited planet light years away from its origin was roughly the equivalent of dropping a penny into a beer bottle from the top of the Empire State Building.
In any case, the well-traveled meteoroid--now meteorite--cut a smoking trail through the woods that stretched for miles and miles behind Billy's house (a body could get lost deep in those woods. Daleview lore had it that those woods had eaten a dozen children and several hikers over the past hundred years or so, a legend largely ignored except on Halloween night; it was during that night that apparitions were glimpsed floating above the pine-needled ground, moaning and groaning and carrying on the way ghosts do), momentarily blacking out TV reception and radio signals in the entire neighborhood. Some residents of Lancaster even called police to report flickering lights. Eventually, the giant rock came to rest against a small headstone in one corner of Daleview Cemetery, just a mile and a half from the Daleveiw Elementary School, where Billy Barton attended the sixth grade.
Steaming. Hissing. Leaking an acrid yellow puke-smelling pus right down into the grave below it. It left nothing of the gravesite but a few broken chunks of tombstone and scattered weeds, charred and smoking.
A stray dog wandering through the boneyard got a whiff of that yellow pool and took off yelping, its tail between its legs, a thin stream of its own yellow liquid trailing behind.