Yellow Mama Archives II

Jon Park

Acuff, Gale
Ahern, Edward
Allen, R. A.
Alleyne, Chris
Andes, Tom
Arnold, Sandra
Aronoff, Mikki
Ayers, Tony
Baber, Bill
Baird, Meg
Baker, J. D.
Balaz, Joe
Barker, Adelaide
Barker, Tom
Barnett, Brian
Barry, Tina
Bartlett, Daniel C.
Bates, Greta T.
Bayly, Karen
Beckman, Paul
Bellani, Arnaav
Berriozabal, Luis Cuauhtemoc
Beveridge, Robert
Blakey, James
Booth, Brenton
Bracken, Michael
Burke, Wayne F.
Burnwell, Otto
Campbell, J. J.
Cancel, Charlie
Capshaw, Ron
Carr, Steve
Carrabis, Joseph
Cartwright, Steve
Centorbi, David Calogero
Cherches, Peter
Christensen, Jan
Clifton, Gary
Cody, Bethany
Costello, Bruce
Coverly, Harris
Crist, Kenneth James
Cumming, Scott
Davie, Andrew
Davis, Michael D.
Degani, Gay
De Neve, M. A.
Dillon, John J.
Dinsmoor, Robert
Dominguez, Diana
Dorman, Roy
Doughty, Brandon
Doyle, John
Dunham, T. Fox
Ebel, Pamela
Fagan, Brian Peter
Fillion, Tom
Flynn, James
Fortier, M. L.
Fowler, Michael
Galef, David
Garnet, George
Garrett, Jack
Glass, Donald
Graysol, Jacob
Grech, Amy
Greenberg, KJ Hannah
Grey, John
Hagerty, David
Hardin, Scott
Held, Shari
Hicks, Darryl
Hivner, Christopher
Hoerner, Keith
Hohmann, Kurt
Holt, M. J.
Holtzman, Bernard
Holtzman, Bernice
Holtzman, Rebecca
Hopson, Kevin
Hubbs, Damon
Irwin, Daniel S.
Jabaut, Mark
Jermin, Wayne
Jeschonek, Robert
Johns. Roger
Kanner, Mike
Karl, Frank S.
Kempe, Lucinda
Kennedy, Cecilia
Keshigian, Michael
Kirchner, Craig
Kitcher, William
Kompany, James
Kondek, Charlie
Koperwas, Tom
Kreuiter, Victor
Larsen, Ted R.
Le Due, Richard
Leotta, Joan
Lester, Louella
Lubaczewski, Paul
Lucas, Gregory E.
Luer, Ken
Lukas, Anthony
Lyon, Hillary
Mannone, John C.
Margel, Abe
Martinez, Richard
McConnell, Logan
McQuiston, Rick
Middleton, Bradford
Milam, Chris
Miller, Dawn L. C.
Mladinic, Peter
Mobili, Juan
Mullins, Ian
Myers, Beverle Graves
Myers, Jen
Newell, Ben
Nielsen, Ayaz Daryl
Nielsen, Judith
Onken, Bernard
Owen, Deidre J.
Park, Jon
Parker, Becky
Pettus, Robert
Plath, Rob
Potter, John R. C.
Price, Liberty
Proctor, M. E.
Prusky, Steve
Radcliffe, Paul
Reddick, Niles M.
Reedman, Maree
Reutter, G. Emil
Riekki, Ron
Robson, Merrilee
Rockwood, KM
Rollins, Janna
Rose, Brad
Rosmus, Cindy
Ross, Gary Earl
Rowland, C. A.
Saier, Monique
Sarkar, Partha
Scharhag, Lauren
Schauber, Karen
Schildgen, Bob
Schmitt, Di
Sesling, Zvi E.
Short, John
Simpson, Henry
Slota, Richelle Lee
Smith, Elena E.
Snell, Cheryl
Snethen, Daniel G.
Stanley, Barbara
Steven, Michael
Stoler, Cathi
Stoll, Don
Surkiewicz, Joe
Swartz, Justin
Taylor, J. M.
Taylor, Richard Allen
Temples. Phillip
Tobin, Tim
Traverso Jr., Dionisio "Don"
Turner, Lamont A.
Tustin, John
Tyrer, DJ
Varghese, Davis
Verlaine, Rp
Viola, Saira
Waldman, Dr. Mel
Al Wassif, Amirah
Weibezahl, Robert
Weil, Lester L.
Weisfeld, Victoria
Weld, Charles
White, Robb
Wilhide, Zachary
Williams, E. E.
Williams, K. A.
Wilsky, Jim
Wiseman-Rose, Sophia
Woods, Jonathan
Young, Mark
Zackel, Fred
Zelvin, Elizabeth
Zeigler, Martin
Zimmerman, Thomas
Zumpe, Lee Clark

An Education

by Jon Park


Vincent twisted the body’s head into the light, so the bullet entry wound could be clearly seen. The bullet had entered just above the left eyebrow. Using a ballpoint pen, Vincent gestures at the wound and turns to young Frankie, who stands off to his left.

“Here, Frankie, come closer. Get a look at this,” said Vincent, beckoning him closer. “Look how neat the entry wound is. See the cordite burn? This tells us the gun was close to the head when it was fired. Now give me a hand to turn him and I’ll show you the exit wound.”

Frankie reluctantly steps forward and helps Vincent turn the body onto its side.  He winces when he sees the damage to the back of the victim’s head.

“Now, look at the state of that,” Vince continued excitedly. “The bullet’s blown the back of the fucker’s head off.  See the bits of bone and brain stuck in his hair. The bullet’s trajectory was pretty much straight in and out. One time I saw a bullet that had entered the side of the head, near the temple, and made its exit out the lower back. Pass me the saw and we’ll take a gander inside.”

Frankie handed Vincent the saw. He closed his eyes as its teeth bit into bone. The burger he had eaten earlier did a double take.  He prayed the lecture would end soon, but he knew Vincent was just warming up.

“Right, let’s take a look inside.” Vincent took hold of the top of the skull and lifted it free, with a wet, sucking sound. “Woah! Fuck! Here, Frankie, get a load of this. The brain looks like Jell-O.”

Frankie felt the burger begin its ascent. He turned and stepped out of the golden rays cast by the Cadillac’s headlights, into the cool darkness of the cornfield. Cornstalks scratched at his skin. He bent over and threw up, trying his best to avoid his Nikes. Over his shoulder, Vincent was laughing like a demonic hyena.

The Cadillac’s driver door opened. From beyond the light, Frankie heard Joey shouting.

“Vincent, will you stop fucking with the kid?  Just get the souvenir to show the problem is solved, and let’s get back to Tony’s and get our money.”

“Okay, Joey, calm the fuck down. I was just trying to educate the kid.”

Frankie stood up straight. He could hear the saw biting into bone once more.  He closed his eyes, trying to shut out the sound. The sawing stopped. Sweet silence.

Vincent called to him. “Here Frankie, get over here and give me a hand lifting the stiff.”

Frankie made his way back into the light. Taking a deep breath, he helped Vincent lift the body and drop it into the shallow grave they had dug earlier.

“Listen kid, sorry for fucking with you. No hard feelings, eh?” Vincent held out his hand. Frankie took it, surprised at how cold it felt.

He was still pumping the hand as Vincent turned and began walking back to the car, laughing.


The Connoisseur

by Jon Park


It wasn’t unusual for Mark and his wife Sue to spend Valentine’s night with their best friends Tony and Michelle. They had been friends for well over ten years, spending most weekends in each other’s company. So, when Mark had suggested rather than heading out to an overpriced restaurant in Newcastle, Tony and Michelle could come round for a meal, they had readily accepted.

Tony and Michelle arrived at seven. Mark greeted them at the door, took their coats, and guided them straight into the dining room. He settled them down at the table which had been hastily set for four. A solitary, burning candle was reflected in the silver cloche that covered a plate sat in the centre of the table.

“Can I get you some drinks?” Mark asked.

“JD and coke for me, my good man,” Tony joked. “Let’s get this party started.”

“I’ll just have a white wine, please,” replied Michelle. Mark disappeared into the kitchen to prepare the drinks. He returned a few minutes later, placing the drinks down on the table.  He sat down with his guests.

“Is Sue still getting ready?”  Michelle asked.

Mark laughed. “No, no, no, Michelle.” Michelle nervously glanced at her husband. “As I’m sure Tony, can attest to, my wonderful, unfaithful wife, it would appear, is always ready. Especially where old Tony is concerned.”

Tony moved uncomfortably in his chair. He glanced at his wife. “Not following you, Mark.”

Mark gave a grunt, “Well let me enlighten you, Tony. I’ve seen the messages you’ve been exchanging. How could you? My best mate, fucking my wife.”

Tony pushed his chair back from the table. “What the fuck are you insinuating, Mark? Listen, if the two of you have had a lovers’ tiff, don’t try and drag me into it.”

Mark held a mobile up so Michelle and Tony could see it.

“That’s Sue’s,” said Michelle.

“Very observant, Michelle. It’s just a pity we weren’t so observant of our cheating spouses.”

Michelle, pushed her hands through her hair. “Mark, please. This isn’t funny. You must be mistaken.”

Mark tapped away at his wife’s mobile. He turned the screen so his guests could see it. “Then why would Tony feel the need to send this photo to my wife? That is your bathroom, isn’t it?”

Michelle gave a sharp gasp. The photo showed her naked husband, his erect cock in his hand. “Oh, no. No!” Tears filled Michelle’s eyes as she felt her world beginning to collapse.

“Michelle, I can explain,” Tony cried, reaching across the table for his wife’s hand.

“Oh, really, Tony. You can. Come on then, let’s hear it. Let’s hear why you have been sending messages like this to my wife, and I quote. ‘You are the best fuck ever.’ Or this one. ‘I love eating your pussy. Your tits taste of honey.’  Quite the connoisseur, Tony.”

Michelle covered her ears. A trail of black mascara ran down her cheeks. Tony stood up. “Come on, Michelle. Let’s go. This is all bullshit. We can talk about this at home. You know the pressure I’ve been under at work.”

“Oh, no, please don’t go, Tony.” Mark reached across the table and took hold of the silver cloche covering the plate. “We haven’t eaten the meal I’d prepared. I really want to see you enjoying the taste of my wife for the last time. Here you go, Tony. Tuck in.” 

Mark lifted the silver cloche clear of the plate.  

Michelle began to scream.

A Christmas Collection

by Jon Park

Brian pointed the house out. It was set back from the main road. Hidden by two giant redwood trees that grew on either side. Colin swung the white van, affectionally known as the “meat wagon,” onto the narrow drive and killed the engine. The house was a single-storey, wooden structure. Shrouded in darkness of the trees that towered above it. The garden was overgrown. He could see parts of a pick-up truck scattered amongst the undergrowth.

Brian sat slumped in the passenger seat. He tapped away at the screen of an iPad that sat in his lap. Even the collection of the dead had moved with the times. Gone were the clipboard and forms. All the deceased’s data was now held in a cloud somewhere. Which amused Colin to no end, as every time he heard this, he had the image of the recently deceased sat on this cloud, strumming away on a harp while surrounded by filing cabinets.

“Bet they didn’t tell you who the stiff is we’re here to collect?” said Brian, his face illuminated by the screen of the iPad.

“I’m guessing if he lives here, he ain’t no A-list celebrity.” Colin replied.

“Adam Croft is his name. Or was, should I say. Quite the celeb round here when I was a kid. I used to live just down the street from here, on Beech Lane. This fella was the main suspect in some pretty heavy shit back in the noughties. Me and my buddies watched the police haul his sorry arse out of this very house. He came out kicking and a hollering like a stuck pig.”

“Really?” Colin said, suddenly interested. “What kind of shit we talking?”

“He was only the main suspect in the disappearance of seven local women. “

“How come he’s not lying dead in a prison cell, then?”

Brian opened the passenger door and jumped from the van. Colin took another look at the house and followed him, wanting to hear the rest of the story. Brian was already hauling the gurney from the back of the van, lowering it onto the driveway.

“Go on then,” Colin urged.

“Well, the cops had him in custody. But then they picked up this homeless guy down at the church shelter. He had one of the women’s purses on him. Reckoned he had found it down some storm drain. And with no bodies, the cops released our stiff and the homeless dude went down for life. The cops were under pressure to solve the case, I guess.”

“Fuck. Don’t you just love a happy ending on Christmas Eve? You haul the gurney and I’ll get the door. If we get sorted quick enough, we can join the rest of the crew at Reds for a festive beer or two.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Colin ripped the police tape off the door and opened it. He stood back and allowed Brian to pass with the gurney. The darkness swallowed his partner in one gulp. Even stood here on the porch, with the door open, Colin could smell the decaying flesh.

Brian found the light switch and lit up the hallway. Colin let the door close behind him.  The hallway ran the length of the house down into the kitchen. It was empty except for a small table set back against the wall. A black dial telephone rested on the table. A phone book lay open next to it.

Brian manoeuvred the gurney into the living area that opened off to the left.  Colin followed. Brian found the light switch. They both stopped and looked up at the large Christmas tree that seemed to fill the room. It was so tall; the tree’s crown was crushed against the ceiling.

“Now that’s what I call a tree, “Brian said.

“How the fuck did he manage to get that in here?” Colin asked.

“Well, why don’t you ask him” Brian said, pointing to the frail body that lay slumped in a battered armchair.

“Adam Croft, I presume?” said Colin, laughing at his own joke. “Let’s get him out of here and then we can get to Red’s for that beer.”

Brian pushed the gurney to the left of the armchair and began to unfurl the body bag. Colin brushed past the tree. A large, red bauble began to swing on its branch. He instinctively grabbed the bauble to steady it. The bauble was the size of a small football. It looked handmade, the kind of thing a child would bring home from school. The weight of it surprised him.

“Stop admiring the tree, Colin, and get your arse over here.”

Colin gently released the bauble and joined Brian at the gurney. They both pulled on masks and surgical gloves.

“Legs or head?” Brain asked.

Colin reached down and took hold of the body’s thin legs. Brian took hold of the torso and together they peeled the body away from the fabric of the armchair and laid it down gently into the body bag. Brian gave the body a final adjustment, then sealed the bag.

“We’ve got seepage,” Brian said, pointing to the dark stains on the cushions of the armchair. “I’ll grab a couple more bags off the van.”

Colin moved to the tree. Another bauble had attracted his attention. This one was green. Similar in size to the red bauble. Again handmade. But it was the shape of this one that attracted him. He reached into the tree and removed it. It was heavy. He tapped it with his finger. Turned it in a couple of times. Then dropped it to the floor.

The bauble hit the floor with a satisfying thud and broke open. Colin reached down and lifted part of it from the floor. His stomach dropped. He counted another six baubles of similar shape and size hanging from the tree.

Brian returned from the van. He began to pack the stained cushions into a bag with “Surgical Waste” written on its side. He then noticed Colin, staring back at him from across the room

“You okay, Colin? You look like you’ve seen a ghost?”

“I think I have,” he replied, holding up the jawbone he had removed from the remnants of the green bauble. He turned and reached into the tree again. Grasped the red bauble this time and threw it down onto the floor, already knowing what he would find.


The Grimsby Reaper

by Jon Park


Steven Burnett was known as “Baby Face” to his friends, on account of his youthful looks. The press called him “The Grimsby Reaper,” on account of he killed his first two victims, students Mary Davis and Claire Ward, in the apartment they shared in the North East coastal town of Grimsby. 

Steven’s job as a travelling salesman, selling animal feed to farms, meant he travelled extensively across the North of England. His killing spree went on for four years, until he was eventually caught in York one cold December morning.

He had been staying at a hotel in the city and planned on heading home to Manchester for Christmas.  He had stopped at a newsagent to buy a packet of cigarettes, when a young police officer, Patrick Keene, on foot patrol in the city, spotted that the tax disc displayed in his car had expired.

The young police officer was making a note of the car’s registration, when Steven came out of the newsagent’s. Seeing the police checking out his car, Steven panicked and tried to make a run for it. Unfortunately for him, Patrick was the Yorkshire force’s reigning cross-country champion. He caught Steven without breaking a sweat.

When the car, registered to Steven, was searched, police found a blood-stained towel in the trunk. Wrapped in the towel was a blood-stained hammer and knife, the gruesome tools used to dispatch and mutilate his victims. Blood samples lifted from the towel matched his last victim, Rosemary Stephenson, killed a week earlier in Wakefield.

Steven was eventually charged and convicted of the murder and mutilation of fourteen women. He was sentenced to life in prison.

It was in Durham prison, thirty-two years later, now aged sixty-two, Steven’s evil black heart exploded in his chest. He died alone on the cold, hard floor of his cell. Guards found him the next morning. He had been dead for several hours.

All Steven recalled of his demise, was a sharp pain in his chest and then a blinding flash. When he opened his eyes, he found himself stood naked in a field of golden wheat. The wheat stretched as far as he could see, gently swaying under a painted blue sky. It was so quiet.  A serenity Steven had never known.

The silence was broken by the sound of a bell ringing. Steven could see a white painted church, floating on the sea of gold. He began to walk towards it, brushing the wheat aside.

As he approached the church, one of the twin central doors opened. A woman, tall with the body of an Olympian, a goddess, stepped from the church. The long white dress she wore hugged her athletic figure. Hair golden, the colour of the wheat, fell about her shoulders.

Gracefully, this goddess descended the church steps and made her way to where he was stood. Steven tried to cover his nakedness, feeling a stirring he hadn’t felt in a long time.  

“Hello Steven,” she said.

“Is this heaven?” he asked.

“For some,” she replied. Then turned and looked back at the church. “Ladies, if you please?”

Steven watched as more women began to step from the church. Fourteen of them, if he had cared to count. All as beautiful and radiant as the goddess. They made their way down the steps, circling him. Steven smiled and licked his lips. He failed to notice each of the women carried a hammer and a knife.

“Now, remember, ladies,” shouted the goddess. “You have eternity. So, take your time and have fun.”

They moved forward, arms raised. Steven began to scream.


Sibling Rivalry in a Zombie Apocalypse

by Jon Park


My sister Sandra and I were the personification of sibling rivalry. Let me start by saying, I loved her. I really did. After all, as they say, blood is thicker than water. Sandra was two years younger and from the moment she made her entrance into this world, she became my rival.  Suddenly, she was getting all of our parent’s attention. I had always been at the centre of their universe. I was the golden one. Adored and cherished. Now, I found myself competing with this new interloper.

Now, in our twenties, we have never stopped competing for our parent’s attention.  Sandra is my nemesis.  We competed at everything.  Academia. Sport. Even relationships. Tirelessly seeking our parent’s attention and affirmation. If I came home from school with an “A” in a subject, you could bet your last dollar, not long after Sandra would waltz in with an A+. If Sandra ran track in a personal best, I would go out the next day and smash her time into oblivion. If either of us brought a boy home and Mom and Dad didn’t immediately warm to them, then they were gone. History. Kicked to the kerb.

Mom and Dad dealt with it all with patience and good humour. They always ensured we received equal attention. Letting us know we were both loved. Though deep down, I always suspected they loved Sandra more. And Sandra believed I was the golden one.

Mom died when we were in our teens. So, Dad became the centre of our attention. It never phased him, he just dealt with it in his own interminable way.

When the virus struck, I was working in finance and living in London. Sandra was studying at Edinburgh uni. The government advised us to remain in doors and only leave home for essential supplies. I called home to check in on Dad.  Sandra answered and explained she had moved back home to be with him. The devious bitch. That very day, I packed a suitcase and caught one of the last trains out of Kings Cross and headed back home to disrupt her little scheme. No way was I leaving her alone with Dad.

Initially it was strange being back home. The three of us back under the same roof.  In the past few years, we only got together for Christmas, birthdays and Mom’s anniversary. We soon fell into a simple routine.  Sandra and I would shop for food and cook, while Dad kept a check on the unfolding disaster.

 We still competed for Dad’s attention.  That would never end. Though now it was done with less malice and more humour. Our competitive nature took the form of cooking. Sandra and I would take turns to prepare and cook the evening meal. We always chose one of Dad’s favourite dishes.

Every evening at six, we would gather ceremoniously around the dining room table, taking it in turns to present our culinary delights.  It was Sandra’s turn this time. She presented her beef casserole to Dad and handed him an ice-cold beer.

Sandra served it up and placed the plate down before him, as if she were making an offering to her god. As Dad tucked into the meal, Sandra, a twinkle in her eye asked him, “How’s the casserole, Dad?”

“Its lovely, pet,” he replied, theatrically dabbing at the corner of his mouth with a kitchen roll.

“Better than my lasagne?” I asked, suppressing a giggle.

Dad looked to the heavens. “Please, ladies. Not again. Can we just enjoy the meal?”

We fell silent for a beat. Then Sandra started. Just like she always did.

“Dad? Can I ask you something. It’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you for a long time, but never had the courage.”

Dad turned to her, a concerned expression on his face. “Course you can love. You can ask me anything.”

“It’s really important, Dad”, Sandra continued, taking a deep breath. “Which of us is your favourite. Me or it?”

Dad almost choked.

“We always knew this day would come, Dad,” I said. “Give it to her straight. Put her out of her misery. We all know it’s me, your first born. I’m your favourite.”

“Bull shit,” Sandra squealed. “I’m his favourite. Tell her, Dad. End it now and we need never speak of this again.”

Dad looked to the heavens once more, seeking divine intervention. “Now, now girls. You know the answer.”

 We all laughed. Sandra and I in unison repeated his mantra, “I love you both the same. Always have done and always will.”

Sure, we laughed, and made light of it, but deep down, I knew neither of us believed him.

Then the plague played its final card.  And what an ace it was. The dead were resurrected. Rose up like Lazarus and began to pour into the streets. We gathered round the television and watched the news in horror as the army and police fought to control the situation. Soon, the television screen went dark and began to broadcast an ominous message.

“Please, remain indoors. Do not leave the safety of your home. The authorities will get to you as soon as we can. If any member of your family dies, you must immediately place them outside. You must remain indoors.”

The dead began to appear on our street. Initially it was just one or two. Dad said if we were careful, our food should last a couple of weeks.  We just needed to stay put until help arrived. We lost power a week later. Thankfully we could still get water and so we filled the bath up as a precaution.

Without the television, we spent the days watching the street outside as it filled with the dead. We even recognised some of our neighbours amongst them.

Early one morning, we heard a commotion outside. Mrs Burnett, the old lady across the street was stood at her door. She held a broom in her hand and we watched in horror as she stepped out onto her porch and tried to move the dead that had gathered on her lawn as if she was trying to brush up fallen leaves.

 We all frantically waved, urging her to go back inside. The dead fell upon her like a pack of wild dogs. We covered our ears to try and block out her screams as they ripped her apart.

Dad pulled the curtains closed. But the horror remained. We could hear the dead as they clawed and brushed against the outside of the house. The smell of rotting flesh was unbearable. The slightest sound would animate the rotting mass.

Dad decided we should retreat down into our basement. I was reluctant at first. No way did I want to be trapped down there if those things broke in. When Sandra bounced down the basement steps, I quickly followed.

And, so down there we sat, an old camping lantern our only source of light. Above us, we could still hear those creatures, scratching to get in. When our food ran out, we knew no one was coming to rescue us; so, we agreed it was time to get out and find help.

At sunrise, we crept up from the basement and looked out into the front street. A sea of dead swayed back and forth. Submerged beneath this rotting mass of flesh was our car. No way would we be escaping that way.  Dad frantically rubbed at his forehead. “Let’s check the back yard,” he said. We followed him into the kitchen.

Out in the yard, we counted twelve dead. They stood like sinister scarecrows, barely moving.

“Right, we’ll have to go out this way,” Dad said. “We just need to get past those bastards.”

“We’ll need a car,” Sandra replied.  “There is no way any of us can out run those things.”

“Let me take a look from upstairs,” Dad replied.  After a few minutes he rejoined us in the kitchen.

“Okay. Howie’s yard next door is clear. The Berlin wall has kept those things out. His pickup is there as well and I have a spare set of keys for it.”

Howie was our neighbour. When he first moved in next door, he had torn down the battered fence between our properties and built the wall. He worked offshore and had been away when the pandemic kicked off and we hadn’t heard from him since. The wall was over six feet tall and ran the length of our yard down to the back lane.  

“Now all we need to do is get over the wall and we’re on our way. So, girls if you want to grab a few things and we’ll get this show on the road.”

Sandra and I packed a few items of clothing in our back packs then rejoined Dad in the kitchen. He was stood at the door that led into the yard, watching the dead.

“Okay, Sandra, you ready?  When I open this door, you run for the wall like the devils on your tail and get over into Howie’s yard.”

“What about them?” Sandra asked, pointing at the dead.

“Don’t you worry, I’ll take care of them with this,” and he held up one of his golf clubs. “Rosie will be right behind you. She’ll help you over the wall. Okay, you ready?”

“I don’t think I can do it,” Sandra whispered.

“That’s okay, love.  No problem. Rosie can go first. You follow her okay.” Dad turned to me “Okay kid, you’re up.”

“Wait, wait. I’ll do it,” Sandra cried. I could see the fear in her eyes. “I’ll go first.”

“Great, good girl. Now, get ready. When I open this door, you kick for that wall and don’t look back. You hear me?”

Sandra nodded. She clutched the holdall to her chest. Dad’s hand hovered over the door handle. She stepped forward. I watched as Dad brushed the hair from her face and gently planted a kiss on her forehead. He then hugged her close.  “I love you baby girl.” Then he unlocked the door.

I reached out and touched Sandra’s arm. “I’ll be right behind you.”.

Dad pulled the door open.  Sandra leapt through it. I watched her go, legs pumping as she made her way across the yard towards the wall. The zombies had already started to move towards her. I took a deep breath and stepped forward, ready to follow. Dad blocked me and pushed me back inside and closed the door.

“What the fuck, Dad, what are you doing.” He was crying, tears streamed down his cheeks. He held the door firmly closed.

I could see Sandra had reached the wall. The dead were already closing on her. She looked back at the house, searching for me. She turned and leapt at the wall, got a grip of the top and began to pull herself up. I gasped as she slipped and fell, landing on her back.

I pleaded with Dad to help her. He looked down at the floor and held the door firmly closed, pushing me back. Sandra was back on her feet. The zombies almost upon her. She swung her backpack in a wide arc, trying to keep them back. Our eyes met. Confusion and fear etched upon her face. She pushed a zombie back, avoiding its snapping jaws. All the dead in the yard had now converged on her and the realisation hit home.

Dad opened the door and pushed me outside. I tried to run to Sandra, but he grabbed my arm and dragged me across the yard to the wall. The zombies were preoccupied with my little sister.

Dad pushed me up onto the wall then clambered up next to me.  Just before he dragged me down into the safety of Howie’s yard, I glanced back to see one of the zombies had broken through Sandra’s defence and was dragging her down the wall as she held its snapping jaws away from her face.

Dad shoved me into Howie’s pickup and climbed in beside me. The pickups engine fired into life. I watched as he wiped his arm across his face, punched the pickup into gear and we leapt forward, crashed through the wooden gate and bounced out into the back lane.

As we drove down the lane, we could hear Sandra’s screams.  Dad looked straight ahead, hands gripping the pickup’s steering wheel.  His cheeks were wet with tears and he kept repeating, “I had no choice. I had no choice.”

And I smiled. He did have a choice. It was me. I was his favourite.

Jon Park lives in the North East of England and loves to write.  His story “Too Tough to Die,” appeared in Gabba Gabba Hey, an anthology of fiction inspired by the music of the Ramones published by Fahrenheit Press in 2021.

He loves loud music and plays guitar badly. If you meet him, you will need to shout.

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