Call Me Lazarus

It’s that time of year again. Time for a rather horrific story.

Part three of “Event Zero.”

Part One – Event Zero

Part Two – Shadow of the Valley

>ERC Document - “Event Alexandria”
>pp. 114-117
>Filed 05-11-2025
>ERCD 1001
>Current security status: Classified
>These pages of document 1001 are a record of files 
>from the harddrive of Alexander Vick, shortly after the
>Alexandria Event. Dates given are the timestamps of 
>the recovered files.

>View Log:
>Jocelyn Kramer, M.D., Ph.D, Center for Disease Control
>Col. Albert Hammer, Air Force, Department of Defense
>Capt. Elizabeth Friendly, M.D., Walter Reed - Bethesda Naval
>[REDACTED]
>[REDACTED]
>[REDACTED]
>Yuri Hrab, Special Agent, Event Research Commission

 
2024-06-14 11:58 pm

All I know is what I hear on the tv. All about the dead rising from the graves. Just like in the good book. And all those movies.

There’s a graveyard next to my house. It’s old and small. About a dozen graves in all. The last body in there is the old woman who sold the house to me. The first one was from the civil war.

House has been here a long time. The wood on the floor, especially on the back stairs, is warped and creaks like my old Chevy when Dolly jumps in the flatbed.

I don’t spook easy, but there are times at night when the stairs settle on their own. Charlotte sleeps through it, but it always wakes me and Dolly up. Half the time I got the .45 in my hand before my eyes are all the way open.

Dolly just curls back up at the foot of the bed and goes back to sleep.

It’s not like anyone is going to sneak up on the house like some sort of ninja. I ain’t paranoid. And if someone drives up the gravel Dolly would hear it when it started a quarter mile away.

It’s one of those nights. The staircase is in rare form. I actually got up and checked it out, half expecting a visitor from one of those graves.

Couldn’t get back to sleep. The doc told me I should write shit down when I get this way. Since Anne passed… well I do my best. But I started to get pissed real easy, and I almost hit Charlene.

Hardest decision I ever made, but I went in and talked to a therapist. But For Charlene I’d do anything. She’s all I have left, and if anything happened to her…

Hell, I didn’t even talk to a shrink after Iraq. Didn’t seem much of a point. I did what I did and I’m proud to have been a soldier. If it wasn’t for a half-inch piece of metal that sliced up my leg real good I might still be out there.

Shrink says business is booming since the dead started coming back. I told her, “no shit, Sherlock.” But I seen enough dead already, some I made that way myself. It wouldn’t bother me to convince those bone bags they made a mistake coming back.

That’s what I thought. Until I realized I have a dozen dead bodies in my back yard.

Doc says the dreams are related to Iraq, but I don’t buy it. I think it’s just stress. I mean, who could blame me, I’m alone with Charlene out here. Girls need their moms, and she ain’t got one now.

She seems well adjusted enough, considering. Got good grades, lots of friends. She says that helps.

I ask her what she thinks of this whole zombie thing. If she’s bible believing and knows about the End Times.

She just rolls her eyes like I’m talking about some movie. And maybe she’s right to do that. I can’t say the good book has been a lot of comfort recently. In a way, it’s just the opposite. If this really is the end, I’m not sure I want to know it.

Read More …

Event Zero in SFWG anthology

My short story “Event Zero” is featured in the new Short Fiction Writers Guild anthology volume 2.  The Anthology is called “Zero Plus Seven” in honor of my story.  I haven’t read the other entries yet, so I can’t yet vouch for the anthology, but it’s kinda cool regardless.

On the Amazon link if you click on the preview, you actually see my whole story, which is funny.  I freely gave Event Zero to the SFWG for their anthology, and I hope that it helps them raise funds.

If anyone’s interested, I actually do have a sequel to Event Zero, called “Shadow of the Valley,” also available here on my site.

 

Emo Kev, 1990

 

In which I talk about a Smodcast and think about 20 years past.

 

I listen to podcasts when I walk from my apartment to the Metro, and from the bus to my office. While actually on the bus and Metro I usually do my best to write.

The other day, I listened to an episode of Smodcast where they were listening to Emo Kev.

If you’re not familiar with Smodcast, it’s Kevin Smith’s podcast he does with his friend and long-time producer, Scott Mosier. The format is that they sit in front of a couple of mics, Keven gets stoned, and they talk for about an hour.

Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier talk about Emo Kev

Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier talk about Emo Kev

Smith is a natural born storyteller, and is always entertaining. He seems to have no filters- he’ll talk about whatever pops into his mind without much deliberation, sparing no details about his intimate life while engaging in purile and ribald humor. It’s not for everyone, but then again, nothing is.

Emo Kev is a recording of Kevin he made of himself in 1990 when he was 20 years old. And, like the ramblings of a late-teen, early-twentysomething art student, it’s filled with strained metapohr and peppered with self pity. Smith mocks the recording relentlessly, driven to nearly mad cackling when Emo Kev pontificates into the far distance of his uncertain future.

You feel kind of sorry for Emo Kev, but Smith just wants to reach back and smack Emo Kev silly. Mosier has a lot more sympathy for Emo Kev, justifying the philosophical ramblings as a phase everyone goes though, they just don’t have a recording for posterity.

And it’s really damn funny.

I’m about Smith’s age now, and I wonder what kind of thoughts I would have recorded when I was 20. I’ll spare you the details for now, but suffice it to say that I was in a much more aggressive state of mind back then, though I had a significant emo window of my own.

What would I have said, in my quieter moments, where I wasn’t blazing against the world or drowning in self loathing?

It was a lifetime ago, and so much has changed in the last 10 years that I have trouble putting myself into that frame of mind. Perhaps its so alien to me now as to be impossible to guess.

I can say this, though- if my life had been softer, and there was such a thing as a ‘goth’ scene where I was in high school, I would have made a good one. I know that somewhere in my piles of boxed away papers and letters, (I wrote a lot of letters in college, yes, acutal paper letters, each reply I now have in a box under my bed-) I have a book of poems and some other writing from that time.

I deeply fear it. Perhaps one day I will drag it out and post some of it, with mocking commentary much like Smith does with Emo Kev. But more likely I will find a hot enough fire in which to fling it to ensure no trace of it remains.

What would you say to yourself twenty years ago? I suppose if I did have a message for my 20 year old self, as trite as it sounds, is that simply that things can and do get better.

Jovian Shadows available for download

I made some downloadable versions of my science fiction story, “Jovian Shadows.”  The formatting is wonky, but it works.

There are consistency problems.  I labeled Europa Station as E-2 early in the book, and E-1 later.  I’m sure there are myriad other little problems.  This was a first draft intended as something fun I wanted to do.

If I ever want to do something serious with this story, I’ll likely keep the first draft available and sell the second, edited draft as a novel.

With that said, here’s the full story in three different formats.

Jovian Shadows - PDF  Jovian Shadows – Aaron C Engler – PDF

amazon  Jovian Shadows – Aaron C Engler – Kindle

epub    Jovian Shadows – Aaron C Engler – Epub