Here is the second chapter of my novella, Zombie Reflux (Meandi Books, 2014), a satirical poke at contemporary UK society, with elements of horror. If you like it, you can buy the paperback for £3.99 from Amazon UK.
Eric ran home barefoot. His dried soles slapped on the pavement, making a sound like fists hitting a buffalo-hide punchbag. He felt aware that as he ran, he didn’t need to gasp for breath. Those days were behind him. The days of being restricted to earthly turmoil.
This was a new turmoil, he decided. An existential crisis. What was he? Not living, but technically not dead. He had no death certificate and in fact didn’t even know if he had passed away or not. Maybe he was suffering from a tropical disease? Porphyria?
No, that didn’t make sense. He needed to stop all the hypochondria, forget reading the Medical Dictionary at home. It wasn’t in his head this time; this was real life. He couldn’t have a tropical disease because he hadn’t been abroad. Yes, rational explanations first. He couldn’t afford a holiday with the move to a new town; Bury St. Morts, out in the countryside of Norfolk. It was supposed to be a fresh start, away from his gold-digging distant relatives in Cheshire, who were after his inheritance money. But all the stress had started a nasty stomach illness. And this doctor; who was he to jump to conclusions like that? Maybe he’d got his Medical certificate out of an Easter Egg. What sort of small town hospital doctor made jokes about being dead? That was it, it had to be. He had an illness, a new kind of immunity, like the doctor said. Something living, something alive, that was eating at him. Yes, had to be alive. The thought of anything else killed him. No, no, no! Not killed him. Another word, think, quick. The thought of anything else… befuddled him. Yes! That would suffice. No talk of death, killed, dying, anymore… evermore.
The thing the doctor had pulled from him had been a tapeworm, not his intestines. Tapeworms grew to over ten metres in length, wound themselves the whole length of a person’s gut. That explained it; that was why he didn’t feel any more pain. Stomach problems in the past had been excruciating, but in the doctor’s room at the hospital, he had been numb. Now he had an explanation. The tapeworm had caused him pain, and now he was free of it. He was free of his parasite, not his guts.
Eric jogged up his garden path and fumbled in his pocket. He found his key and stuck it in the lock. His fingers jiggled, twisting it. Then there was a crisp snapping sound. A twig breaking? Eric looked down. His index finger lay on the doorstep.
“Oh God – oh Jesus, help!” Continue reading