This previously released short story will be featured in installments over the next few weeks in celebration of the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour. The story features characters from my Zombie Lockup Series. Reading this story will not ruin the series for anyone. Check out the newest offering, Caged 3, available on Amazon. Grip the prison bars and enjoy…Caged Barbarians.
Caged Barbarians – Part 1
“I’ll fight him.”
Jack Turk was the unofficial leader of C-Pod. The inmates either looked to him for guidance or they feared him.
“Jack, we can’t afford to lose you. Let’s pick someone else.” Melvin scratched his gray afro. The bags under his eyes had grown since the viral outbreak.
“What about Swede? He’s a big, dumb honky.” 8-Ball thumbed at the huge man perched on the bunk. His tone betrayed his typical hatred of other men, especially whites.
Melvin shrugged his shoulders. Jack didn’t want to send his bunk mate to lock horns with Muncie. He had a long history with Muncie. The nasty prison guard had used his baton on Jack more than a handful of times over the years. Now that he was a steroid-laden zombie, there was more to be concerned about. Jack shook off the suggestion.
“No way. Muncie is mine. It’s been a long time coming and I’m going to end it. Today.” Jack cracked his knuckles and shot a glance at 8-Ball. He liked the man’s pissed off attitude, but he didn’t agree with his idea.
Swede stood up. He approached Jack, towering over him. Jack had to crane his neck to look up into Swede’s face.
“I can take him, Jack. Let me do this.”
The rest of the men expressed their approval. It was obvious Swede’s size provided a formidable advantage over opponents. But size didn’t matter. Jack knew first hand as he had dropped Swede like a bag of dirt the first day he was incarcerated. Swede had sauntered into C-Pod like the cock of the walk. All the inmates had stepped aside as the imposing figure approached. Not Jack. And when Swede expressed his displeasure with Jack’s disobedience, Jack took Swede to the woodshed. They’d been friends ever since. The lesson still had to be learned, Jack recalled.
“Alright. I don’t like it but it will give me more time to figure out how we can get out of this mess.” Jack shook hands with Swede. “Give ‘em hell. But leave me some scraps, will ya?”
Swede grinned and embraced Jack. The rest of the prisoners started to pump up Swede with chants and slaps to the back.
Muncie gnashed his teeth. Although, he wasn’t Muncie the prison guard anymore. He had become a hulking zombie. A zombie cage fighter to be more exact. And he enjoyed his new job. Tearing apart prisoners had always been one of his favorite pastimes. It became more enjoyable now that he was given the tools to enhance his nasty disposition.
His veiny biceps strained at the worn uniform sleeves. Muncie flexed his pec muscles so they alternately jumped up and down. It was one of his favorite scare tactics before facing off against an inmate. Muncie pounded his fists into the cinder block walls. He couldn’t wait to rip Swede apart. His bloodshot eyes taunted the big man as the guards shoved him inside the cell. A long gob of drool trailed from Muncie’s purple lips. Just four walls and a man about to die. Muncie liked to keep the cement wall behind him so the rabid guards could observe the fight through the bars on the other three sides.
Muncie smelled him. The fear and doubt sweated through Swede’s pores. Muncie charged forward and slammed the huge opponent into the bars. He felt Swede’s head rebound off the iron. Muncie lifted the enormous man over his head and slammed his body down onto the concrete floor. Blood sprayed outward like a bug splat on a windshield. He roared over the body and riled up the other zombie guards, who desperately wanted a piece of the action. But Muncie was Warden Gorgon’s favorite.
The zombie guard yanked Swede’s right leg until it snapped with a bone-cracking echo. He knew the Warden frowned upon too much damage because his goal was to convert all the losers of the cage matches into members of his legion. The Warden wanted to create an army of zombies to protect him from the masses beyond the walls of the prison. And damaged bodies couldn’t heal after death. But the steroids halted the decaying process. So Muncie figured Swede would still be serviceable. He just couldn’t help himself. The zombie rage wanted so much more than mere fighting. It longed to feed.