Zombie Kong - Anthology, страница 1
- BOOKS of the DEAD -
This book is a work of fiction. All characters, events, dialog, and situations in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.
Collection copyright 2012 by James Roy Daley
All stories in this collection are original for this anthology
Cover Art by Daniele Serra
Edited by James Roy Daley
Copyedit/Proofread by Ashley Davis
Graphic design by Derek Daley
Interior design by James Roy Daley
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BOOKS of the DEAD
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BOOKS of the DEAD
BEST NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 1)
BEST NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 2)
BEST NEW ZOMBIE TALES (VOL. 3)
CLASSIC VAMPIRE TALES (VOL.1)
BEST NEW VAMPIRE TALES (VOL. 1)
MATT HULTS - HUSK
MATT HULTS - ANYTHING CAN BE DANGEROUS
JAMES ROY DALEY - TERROR TOWN
JAMES ROY DALEY - 13 DROPS OF BLOOD
JAMES ROY DALEY - INTO HELL
JAMES ROY DALEY - THE DEAD PARADE
JAMES ROY DALEY - ZOMBIE KONG
GARY BRANDNER - THE HOWLING
GARY BRANDNER - THE HOWLING II
GARY BRANDNER - THE HOWLING III
PAUL KANE - PAIN CAGES
TONIA BROWN - BADASS ZOMBIE ROAD TRIP
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dr. Steven Rutgers - Understanding Zombie Kong
Shelley Ontis - Manny’s Candy
David Niall Wilson - In Today’s News… (Meanwhile In Suburbia, Part 1)
Simon Mccaffery - The Boys In Company Z
Steve Ruthenbeck - Lyceum
Adrian Ludens - The Elephant In The Room
Amanda C. Davis - Escape From Ape City
Mark Onspaugh - Dear Fay Wray, We Need Your Help…
Gustavo Bondoni - Shadow Of The Gorilla
Rebecca Snow - Monkey See
Megan R. Engelhardt - The Beast That Would Not Die!
Tonia Brown - My Life Was Saved By Coffee… (Meanwhile In Suburbia, Part 2)
Michael O’neal - Kooking With Kong
Max Vile - Bits & Pieces
Trever Palmer - Reach For The Sky
Tw Brown - Iced
William Meikle - The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of
T. A. Wardrope - The Upright Gorilla
About The Authors
Preview: Gary Brandner’s - The Howling
Preview: Gary Brandner’s - The Howling II
Preview: Gary Brandner’s - The Howling III
Preview: James Roy Daley’s - Terror Town
Preview: Matt Hults’ - Husk
Preview: James Roy Daley’s - Into Hell
Preview: Paul Kane’s - Pain Cages
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DR. STEVEN RUTGERS
Understanding Zombie Kong
The average size of a small intestine in an adult human male is approximately twenty-three feet long and three centimeters wide. It’s not uncommon for an intestine to reach a length of about thirty feet if the person is considered obese. Once a person dies that same intestine can measure up to 50% longer due to the loss of muscle tone within the tissue. With such losses, a three hundred pound man that has been dead for a few days can have a small intestine reaching a length of approximately forty-five feet. A three hundred pound gorilla that has been deceased for the same amount of time will have a small intestine that is similar in both width and length.
The average height of a male silverback gorilla is 1.7 meters, or about 5’ 7”. A gorilla at this height typically has a weight of approximately 390 pounds, or 5.82 pounds per linear inch. Most experts agree that the gorilla, now referred to as ‘Zombie Kong’, was slightly more than 52 feet tall and had a weight nearing 20 tons (40,000 pounds), or 64 pounds per linear inch. I have tried to find some facts and figures regarding the actual pre-death anatomy of the great beast, but so far I have been unsuccessful. It should be noted that my own investigations have led me to believe that Zombie Kong’s small intestine was close to 30 cm in diameter and more than 400 feet long. 400 feet, for reference’s sake, is roughly 14% longer than the soccer field inside Wembley Stadium.
Cesar wrung out his mop and swiped the last corner, not quite getting all the way into the crevice and not caring. They got enough work out of him––more than they paid. Break time, anyway. The mop sloshed water over the side of the bucket as he dropped it in, sending up the chemical smell that still made Cesar feel woozy, even after all these months.
“Man-ny,” he said. “I know you’ve been watching me, buddy.” Manny sat in the front of his cage, bouncing a little, looking as much like an excited kid as a gorilla. “Want something?”
Manny grunted and raised a thick black finger to his cheek, then twisted it back and forth.
“You want candy?”
The gorilla held his hands out, palms up. He pulled them toward himself, then repeated the sign for ‘candy’. He brought his fingers to his lips. Want, candy, eat.
“Yeah, I know, I know,” Cesar said, pulling a caramel out of his pocket and unwrapping it. He slipped it through the metal grate. “You’re a good little man, aren’t you?” Cesar had noticed that about him from the beginning, how good he was, how he seemed so human sometimes. He’d started calling him Manny since he didn’t have a name, just a number. He thought ‘little man’ was clever, since Manny was easily three or four times his weight, and at least a couple heads taller.
He glanced up at the camera in the corner to make sure it was pointed toward the exit and hadn’t been moved. Lindstrom would have twenty kinds of fits if he knew Cesar spent so much time with Manny every night, but they only ever watched the exits with the closed circuit TVs, never the animal cages. Cesar guessed it was more important for them to know who came and went than what they did while they were here.
Manny chewed the sticky candy slowly and Cesar felt a little pang of guilt. Lindstrom caught Cesar giving Manny a caramel one day and rode his ass about it, said it wasn’t good for his teeth. “Gorillas do not find candy in the wild,” he’d said. “Human junk food isn’t good for him at all.”
Cesar told Manny later not to worry—he’d still bring candy. If they were going to keep the poor guy cooped up in that cage, poking and prodding him, he ought to have candy and girl apes and disco music and tequila, if he wanted. Especially since whatever they did to him made him feel bad sometimes––Cesar could tell, and it wasn’t because of any candy. It was whatever they shot into him. He had that sick look about him tonight, too.
“Poor little man,” Cesar said. When Manny touched a finger to his lip and drew it down, red, Cesar gave him a piece of red, strawberry-flavored hard candy, another of Manny’s favorites. “Teeth are the least of your goddamn worries, aren’t they?” He slipped his fingers into the cage and Manny leaned forward to have his forehead rubbed. “I gotta fuck around in the fish room for a while, but I’ll be back.”
Cesar hated the fish room. Fish shouldn’t get that big unless they were dolphins or sharks or something. These were mostly the type of little fish that he might give his nephew or niece in a glass bowl, but they looked blown up enough they could e
By the time Cesar finished in the fish room, Manny was in the corner, his forehead against the wall. His back moved up and down a little as he breathed, like he couldn’t get enough air.
The gorilla spun, its lip curled back, and it lurched toward him, roaring. Cesar jumped back. “Manny! What the hell?”
Manny stopped, seeming to come back to himself. He sat, started breathing slower, and leaned his forehead against the door.
“What’s up, little man? You scared me.” Cesar put his hand on his chest, his heart thumping. He felt the urge to pee.
Manny put his fist on his chest, swiped it down. Sorry.
“That’s okay. Maybe you had a rough day, eh? Friends forgive,” he said, but his heart still hadn’t slowed.
Manny lifted both hands and hooked the fingers together, shaking them a little.
“Yeah, friends,” Cesar said, showing him the right way to do it, hooking the index fingers together then flipping them to hook the other way. Manny had never quite gotten the hang of that one, but Cesar figured it didn’t matter since they both knew what he meant. He wasn’t supposed to know any signs. He’d been sent here from another lab because of his inability to learn sign language. They’d called him a failure because he couldn’t talk, which Cesar thought was a shitty thing to do to a gorilla that wasn’t supposed to talk, anyhow.
It still amazed him that all those educated highbrows in the white coats couldn’t teach Manny sign language, with all their computers and their fancy degrees, and he’d done it in no time. All it took was a little patience, a smile or two, and some candy.
Manny, with his big forehead against the cage and those woeful eyes, clearly wanted his forehead rubbed. But Manny had never acted that way with him before, like he could have just chewed his head off. Cesar lifted his hand, pulled it back an inch or so, deciding it might not be a good idea, but then looked into those sad, black eyes again, and reached into the cage.
“All you ever needed was a friend, isn’t that right, little man? A trusting friend.”
Manny closed his eyes and hooked his index fingers together, while Cesar rubbed his head.
The vomiting started a few hours later, not long before Cesar’s shift ended in the morning. He knew there’d probably be hell to pay—night people weren’t supposed to be there for more than 10 minutes off the clock—but he waited far longer than that to make sure they knew exactly what had been happening with Manny overnight. He hoped it wasn’t Rico. That bastard would probably put his own grandmother in a cage and poke her if someone paid him enough, so Cesar didn’t think he’d care about a puking gorilla.
Dr. Lindstrom was first through the door. His blonde hair was slicked back so smooth that he almost looked bald. His whole face puckered in on itself when he saw Cesar.
“I know it’s past my time, but Manny’s sick, he’s been sick for hours.”
“The proper thing to do would be to leave a note, not break protocol.”
“I know that, Dr. Lindstrom, and I’m sorry. But I-I don’t write English so good, and I wanted to make sure you knew everything.”
Lindstrom sighed. Cesar wanted to punch him and point out that he wrote just fine, thank you, but in their eyes it was a better excuse for not leaving a note than him simply being worried about Manny.
He described Manny’s symptoms: how he’d charged the front of the cage, how he’d seemed so sad and tired, and how he’d kept vomiting and wouldn’t stop. He almost left out the caramels, but it might be important to Manny’s health. He’d rather get in trouble again than not tell them something that could make a difference.
Lindstrom wrote on a clipboard, looking up at Manny sometimes, then scrawling away. He pressed hard and wrote with a scritch-scratching that sounded to Cesar like something trying to claw its way out of a box. Then Lindstrom thanked him and told him he needed to leave now.
“Is he going to be okay? Manny? Do you know what it is? Like the flu, or something?”
Lindstrom smiled—the first time Cesar could remember—and said that he’d be fine, just fine.
Cesar worried all day. Lindstrom saying Manny would be fine didn’t reassure him; Lindstrom was the one making Manny sick. He didn’t know exactly what they did or why, but he knew it was cruel. The most he was ever told was that it was important work that would save lives. He almost hadn’t got the job when he’d asked who saved the animals’ lives. He saw the interviewer’s eyes go dark with disinterest, so he’d backpedaled and said at least their lives weren’t wasted like they would be in the wild, where nature was so cruel and they’d die for nothing. Here, they served a purpose, and he’d be proud to be even a small part of such an operation. He just needed the money.
That was before he knew exactly where the hell he’d be working. The compound was mostly underground, hidden from anyone who might wander that deep into the jungle, like tourists from Puerto Madero on ATV or hiking tours, looking for springs or ruins. Cesar and the other few people who cleaned during the nights stayed in a small camp about a mile away. They rode ATVs back and forth and went home on their days off. They had to hike to a base a mile or so on the other side of the camp, and then they were bussed to Puerto Madero where most took other busses home or had family pick them up. Two he knew of took trains home from there all the way to Guatemala. The bus ride sometimes lasted longer than usual because they took different routes all the time.
The whole point was to make it hard for the workers to find the compound on their own, Cesar guessed. He didn’t want to find it, except… he missed Manny on his days off and worried about him being there with the doctors who didn’t seem to care about anything but their charts. The smart people didn’t even know he knew sign language. Manny didn’t try it with them, only with Cesar. And they said he was too dumb to learn.
He opened his wallet and pulled out a piece of paper, soft with age and use, where he’d scribbled down the signs to teach Manny. His niece had brought home library books for him from school, one about gorillas and their habitat and one about Koko, the gorilla who knew more sign language than any other, with some of the most common signs included. She’d brought him an LSM book, the one that showed signs the deaf used in Mexico, but by then he’d grown familiar with the ones Koko used.
He’d written notes about the signs and made crude drawings so he could learn them himself before teaching Manny. He’d brought candy—caramels, butterscotch and the red, strawberry kind. When he talked to Manny in a sweet voice, he’d come right out of his shell, moving from the corner where he had sat at first over to the door. He was smart and gentle, and deserved much better than he had. Those eyes of Manny’s, they could show as much feeling as any of them were capable of experiencing. More than some of them, no doubt.
When Cesar got to work that night, he went right to the lab where Manny was kept, even though he usually didn’t get there until later in his shift. Manny sat in the corner, the back of his head against the wall. He stared up at the ceiling. And he looked different, darker or… bigger?
Manny turned his head and looked at Cesar. His lips twitched into a snarl.
“Manny, come over here, it’s all right.”
Manny roared and took a halting step forward.
“That’s right! Manny’s friend, yeah, like always.” Cesar reached his hand up, his fingers just poking through the door, trembling. Manny stepped forward and leaned his furry forehead against them. “That’s good, little man.”
Manny signed ‘candy, red’, but Cesar said, “Okay, but just one piece until we see if you’re going to get sick.” Looking into those gorilla eyes that seemed to have more caring and life in them than Lindstrom’s or Rico’s, Cesar doubted all the candy in the world could be the problem. The problem was whatever hellish experiments they ran in this place. That fucking deformed, huge fish in the other room stood as evidence to that.
He scratched Manny’s forehead while Manny chewed the candy with so little enthusiasm, that it broke Cesar’s heart. What could he do but be Manny’s friend? “Friends ’til the end, buddy,” he whispered. The end. That might not be far off for Manny, thanks to that fucking doctor.
Manny groaned. His eyes closed. Cesar stepped to the side in case Manny was about to throw up again, but he kept rubbing the poor gorilla’s head.
And he felt Manny’s forehead move under his fingers. It shifted. Manny’s eyes snapped open and he looked at Cesar in what Cesar could have sworn was pleading, please… Manny hit the side of his own head with his fist, grunting.
“Don’t hit yourself––don’t. You hurting?” Cesar rubbed his forehead a little harder, hoping to help, and he felt it again, as if the bones under the flesh were spreading out. “Jesus H.”
Manny threw his head back and howled. Cesar jumped back as Manny hurled himself against the door, growling like a rabid animal. Or a madman, Cesar thought. The door gave each time Manny slammed against it, something that shouldn’t happen so easily, not with steel. Manny stopped, panting and groaning, and looked at Cesar again with those same pleading eyes, even though his teeth were bared.