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The Meal

A short story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic world, where zombies roams the face of the earth, forcing the survivors to barricade themselves into their homes, living out their lives with no or little contact with each other. In one house an old man heads down the basement, carrying a food-tray in his old hands. You can also get this story in other formats, free @ Smashwords.

The quivering hands caused the pistol to drum against the tray. In silence, he stood in front the doorway, looking down at the dim light pouring up from the basement. With a sigh, he began to stagger down the stairs. A smell of decay and flaking walls greeted him as he stepped out onto the old plastic carpet in the worn-down basement.

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Exploration

Bloober’s large eyes were set on the dark silhouette, beside a glooming structure, elevating a couple hundred yards ahead. The dust-filled wind played with his dark leather cloak as his green bulbous body slid over the rough surface, leaving a trail of thick sludge behind.

Seen, heard, felt anything, scout?

Sahaen’s telepathic question popped up in his head like a vague thought.

Sound detected, approaching objects’, report follow.

Even though most would never set their sole on an unknown planet, Bloober relished it. The mere thought of exploring a new world for edible life, sent his mind spinning and his acid glands in overdrive. He had been so optimistic about this planet before he descended upon it. That was many sun lapses ago, though, and the only sign of life he had slip over, was dry fossil bones and withered debris of ancient structures.

The dark silhouette had details now and Bloober could recognize an oval body, with a head and four limbs attached to it, two supporting ones and two hanging at the sides. A classic design, just as he suspected.

It was unexpected that this one didn’t move. The norm was that these spices often used their long, limbs to move their meaty bodies out of his way. That was not a problem, though, since their thoughts always revealed them. The other unexpected thing was that it didn’t emit any thoughts, fears or shock. A black devouring void greeted Bloober every time he scanned it.

He was close now and his acid glands moistened as he approached this peculiar specimen, whom still stood erect, gazing into the horizon, paying no notice of him.

It lacked the usual distinguished features. Bloober thought that maybe its body could be incased in a hard shell. The eyes and mouth consisted of three small holes, which lit up in a flickering yellow light, as it repeated a couple of strange, jagged sounds. On the middle of its rusty torso, there were three small slits.

Bloober’s excitement rinsed off and his acid glands begun to dry up, as he realized that the thing before him wasn’t edible, it was not even biological. It was more like a machine of sorts.

Report, Scout.

Nothing. Just machines. The planet dead.

Come back, scout.

The disappointment rippled through Bloober as he swung around and begun to slide back to his shuttle, all while the machine repeated itself in the background.

“Please…Insert Coin…Please…Insert Coin…”

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· Copyright © 2015 by Ken Bergman All Rights Reserved ·

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The Last Card

The bet was crazy, like the look in the Major’s grey, bloodshot eyes. Jack couldn’t help it, not if he wanted to leave in one piece. The droid whirled as it prepared to throw that last, life-changing, card on the table. With a pop, the card flew through the air, thick of smoke and anticipation.

Nine of Spades.

The room roared. The Major sprung up on unstable legs, sending his chair crashing to the floor. Jack swallowed, chuckled and felt his jaw relaxing. It was over – the pot was his.

He looked at the girl. She greeted him with pinched lips and faint furrows on her forehead. A silent tear escaped her alerted eyes.

“Am I free to go now, daddy?” She asked.

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· Copyright © 2015 by Ken Bergman All Rights Reserved ·

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Her Vow

The dinner knife slid into Eric’s throat like butter. He sniveled and froze in his seat. A couple of guests gasped, gazing confounded at them. They had known about it, long before she stumbled upon them, going at it like rabbits. Now it was her turn to be demoralizing.

With a smile, she pulled out the knife, blew a kiss to her sister’s ash gray face and rose from the seat. The blood created jagged pink stripes, on the white dress. A thin film of blood covered the diamond on her finger. Is it a blood diamond now, she pondered. Then she buried the knife deep into Eric’s neck, sending his face into the broiled salmon.

She leaned down and whispered, “’Til death do us part, darling.”

Eric’s rattled puffs and the rustling from her dress, accompanied her out, into a brand new world.

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· Copyright © 2015 by Ken Bergman All Rights Reserved ·

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A Quarter Short

“There is a quarter missing…”

Her head begun to spin like a slow carousel, her throat dried up and when she tried to swallow, she started coughing. The tall man in front of her uttered a hollow sigh, while his bluish-gray eyes, moved over the endless line of people behind her.

“Excuse me?” she asked with a hoarse voice and shook her head.

The man stared deep into her eyes.

“A quarter, there’s a quarter missing, for the charge.” His voice was sharp and it planted a seed of doubt in her head.

“But, but I gave you the money,” she looked back at the man with big innocent eyes, “I know I did!”

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The Girl in The Woods

As she pressed her youthful body against the moss-covered tree log, rough bark plates nibbled her skin through her T-shirt. Her heart was acting like a powerful and sweaty drummer solo. She moved eyes moved back and forth, as she listened.

She had felt psyched this morning. As she had stretched the sleep out of her limbs, with sun caressing her freckled face, there had been just one thought in her head – today she would meet her little brother. This positive mind set had now taken an abrupt turn to the worse and now she was afraid that she would never see him again. She banned herself and the little reckon expedition of hers that she set out do, two days ago.

She swallowed and breathed with her mouth open. With each breath, her body became more relaxed. It was dead silent now. Besides her anxious breathing, all she could hear was the faint rustle from the treetops. She must have escaped, she thought, and a wave of relief washed over her. So far so good, she thought, raised her head and let her scared eyes look over the tree.

The sight of a pair of blood shoot eyes, staring back at her, hit her like a rock in the forehead. With a shriek, she shot backwards, landing on her back on the forest’s soft carpet. She watched in horror as the zombie scrambled over the tree. Like a baby who had just learned to walk, the zombie’s movements were clumsy, lacking any kind of rhythm and human grace.

Her legs shake as she rose to her feet. She looked around the small glade, but she didn’t discover any more zombies. This one most have strayed away from the rest of its herd, she guessed and brushed the moss and pine needles off her dirty jeans.

The zombie made it over the tree and now its lifeless gaze was aiming for her. He come at her with a crouch-like walk, with its head moving like a slow pendulum, accompanied by groaning sounds. She took a few steps backwards as she watched the zombie moving towards her. Its clothes were filthy and torn and they did just hang onto the body, much like the flesh on its face.

The mess of fabric could once have been a fancy suit, she reflected. Perhaps he had been a banker or a corporate hotshot, she speculated. She smiled a little as she imagined the zombie, driving around in a shiny new muscle car, attending high-class charity events, throwing money around him, with his grunting moans.

It had been her mother’s idea, to come up with funny stories about them undead, making them less scary and intimidating. That worked like a charm, as long as you didn’t let your mind drown in the imagination, forgetting your surroundings, that is.

The unmistaken smell of decayed flesh hit her nose as the zombie approached her. She backed up a few feet and buried her foot into the ground. Then, she set off against it and like a heated hockey player; she jumped up and gave him an excellent tackle, she brought him groaning to the ground.

She landed like a graceful cat and turned around. Seeing the zombie, struggling on its back like an upturned beetle, she giggled. It felt refreshing, she thought, and soon her rippling giggles expanded into full-blown laughter, making her stomach flex so hard it almost hurt.

It had been a long time since she’d have this much fun she thought as tears of joy ran down her cheeks. Then she thought of her little brother and the laugher subsided as she realized that she wouldn’t get back to him today.

She wiped the tears from her face while a sense of compassion rolled over her. She felt sorry for the zombie. Once, it had been full of life, with its own hopes, dreams and free will. Now, it was nothing else than a mindless mumbling flesh-eating abomination. Somehow, it all felt so unnecessary, like if God made a terrible mistake and instead of fixing it, it was like if he just shrugged and decided to looked the other way.

She reached back and pulled out a small, yet sturdy, gun from the leather belt, which went double lap around her waist. She looked how the gun fitted in her hand, almost as it was for lost girls, she thought. A slanted smile grew on her lips while memories flashed before her eyes.

She remembered little from the crash, but she remembered that it felt as she sat in a roller coaster jumping out of its tracks, plunging to the ground.

She shuddered as she remembered that horrible sound of wailing metal, just before the plane broke in two pieces. Before she understood what was happening, she was in the cockpit, and everything spun around her. The last thing she remembered was the harsh warning signal from the instrument panel, which flickered like an overcharged Christmas tree. After that, it all became dark.

She remembered the pilot though. His eyes were the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes again. She noticed something warm flickering in his eyes, which made her feel safe, despite their dire situation.

The crash had twisted his legs in a horrible way, almost ripped his nose off, and he had deep scars running through his forehead. It was a gut turning sight. Despite his injuries, he smiled at her, told her how happy he was that she was alive and that she didn’t need to worry.

The increasing moans from the zombie, before her, made her snap back to reality. It was still struggling on its back, unable to understand how it would do to get back up again.

“I’m so sorry!” She whispered, aimed the gun at its head, and closed her eyes hard.

The recoil almost made her threw the gun over her head, and she felt a sharp, numbing sound ringing inside her ears. She glanced at the body, avoiding looking at the head, making sure that it had stopped moving. It had, it was dead again, for good this time.

He had grimaced of pain as he pulled out his gun from the waistband of his dark-blue pilot trousers and handed it to her.

“The noise from the crash will attract them like a moth to the flame,” he said with a strained and mucus filled voice, “They’re probably here soon. Make sure you’re always quiet. Now, run child!”

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Monsters Are Real

Deep inside he knew what had woke him up, and caused that cold sweat materialize on his forehead. He held his breath and listened. The only thing he could hear, out of the compact darkness, was his heart beating, hard and fast. Once again he heard the razor-sharp shriek, striking against the inside of his ears and he closed his eyes so hard, it almost hurt.

Even though he hadn’t heard that sound for years, he knew it far too well.

In the past, it would make him squirm in fear, screaming for his mother, who would come rushing to his aid, embracing him in her protecting bosom. For a short moment, he cursed her and the day she died, leaving him all alone in dark.

He heard something shamble under his bed. By the sounds, he reckon that it was something big and heavy, making its way to the edge of the bed. His chest burned of fear and with a grimace, he tossed his head to the side, as he heard it slowly crawling out.

The sounds of the thing’s damp breathing came closer, with a strange odor that smelled like a mix of something sweaty and rotten. He wanted to move his body, jumping out of the bed and just keep running, but it was paralyzed. A tear slowly squeezed its way from one of his eyelids, and tumbled down his cheek.

The dampness of the rattle breathing, hit the surface of his sweaty face. He knew that this was it; his life would come to a much premature ending.

A sore and monotone voice broke the trembling silence.

“Shh, listen… Your mother has a message for you… She is sorry for not believing you, when you cried out that there was a monster under your bed, when you were a kid… But she believes it now…”

He gasped and tried to comprehend what the voice just told him. Even though he was afraid, hearing that his mother gave him justice, made him feel comfortable. His body started to loosen up and the worse fear started to rinse off.

“She also wished that you could have a blistering birthday tomorrow, but… since monsters are real…”

A short, grueling scream echoed out from his bedroom and further into the dark night.

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· Copyright © 2010 by Ken Bergman  All Rights Reserved ·

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The Cane

This short story, original published in 2014, drops you off at the start of a bank robbery, and let’s you experience the consequences that follows. You can also get this story in other formats, free @ Smashwords.

The old lady spiraled to the floor with a shriek; her seasoned wooden cane flew high in the air, as the man pushed passed her. She landed on her back, with a dry thud, arms and legs scattered, on the dark, shiny marble floor. The man stopped in his thrust, turned, and gave her a bland gaze from under his wild eyebrows, as if he just had bumped into a lamppost.

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