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The End As We Know It (1 Viewer)

Elsey2

Senior Member
Archer Callahan sat in the front seat of a school bus and stared out the window at the standstill traffic all around them. He sighed for what felt like the fiftieth time in ten minutes, drawing his baseball cap from his head and scratching his head before placing it back down.

He glanced over his shoulder at the nearly empty bus, as a majority of the ball players he coached opted out of the bus ride home. As their coach he required them to ride home on the bus, though mother after mother had handed him a note after the game claiming there was a 'family situation' or something along those lines. Calling a parent a liar would have surely gotten him fired, or at least a long talk in the Athletic Director's office and so he didn't dispute it. The end result? Two players, himself and the bus driver sat in the worst traffic jam in state history an hour away from home on a hot Friday night in May.

"This sucks," he muttered to himself, wishing to toss the scorebook across the way into the next seat. To add insult to injury, the team had lost in the semi-final game of the state tournament to end the season.

Archer wiped sweat from his forehead and sighed again, prompting the bus driver to glance in the oversized rearview mirror. The two of them made eye contact a moment but neither man started a conversation.

Over the course of the next fifteen minutes he found himself daydreaming of the past when he had been a high school baseball player some twenty years earlier. Some of the best memories he had from those days were from the bus rides home. It's where friendships developed, friends dared friends to do stupid things and the guys were able to recap the goods and bads of the game. In 2016, not so much.

Damn Iphones, Archer thought to himself. He reached into the pocket of his pants and removed his own phone seeing no messages and minimal battery.
"I got no service," the bus driver claimed, holding his phone out.

"Might want to keep your eyes on the road." Archer was beginning to feel more and more confrontational as the minutes went by. The bus felt like it jumped up a degree with each passing second.

"In case you haven't noticed," he pointed outward toward the windshield, "We ain't moved three feet in a half hour."

"I've noticed," Archer grumbled. He looked for the little image that showed service bars on his phone, watching the battery life drop from eleven to ten percent as he did. "I don't have service either."

"Me either coach!" a voice called from the back.

"Same," the second teenager echoed.

"Hunker down," he called back to them, "We're going to be awhile." Archer ran a hand across his trim beard of blacks and grays watching as a few people began to exit their vehicles. "Great..." He shook his head.

"Late for a date coach?" The bus driver laughed.

Archer shook his head and stood up to stretch his legs. He ignored the comment and glanced out the front windshield. "What the hell is going on out there?" He tapped on the handle of the door, "Let me out."

"You sure?" The middle aged man raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah." He headed down the few stairs and the doors opened up.

Archer glanced around the world that stood still and then walked in front of the bus toward the other side of the highway. He hadn't noticed before that it was vacant. There were no cars traveling, stopped or otherwise.

A window on the bus popped open in the back. "Coach what's going on?"

"Just stay in the bus Frankie," Archie told his senior captain.

"I bet someone died up there in a car wreck," the young man said to his friend as he ducked back down into the seat.

"Hey man, what the hell is going on up there? Any idea?"

Archer turned to see a man and woman in their twenties walking toward him. "Nope. Just coming back from a baseball game." He removed his hat and tapped the side of the bus with it. "No service on the phone to even look it up."

"We don't have service either," the woman explained, holding out her phone.

"No cars coming from that side either." Archer shook his head, "Must be serious."

"Might as well get to know each other." The man chuckled and Archer was almost annoyed by his chipper mood given the circumstances but he didn't say anything. "I'm Miles. This is my girlfriend Jen."

"Archer." He shook their hands and then stood with his hands on his hips. More people emerged from their cars and exchanged in conversations ahead of them.

"Whoa look!" Jen pointed as a car came speeding down the highway on the other side.

"Cop?" Archer squinted as the car grew closer and he crossed into the median to get a closer look.

"Turn around! Get out now while you can!" a male voice shouted, barely recognizable as the car whizzed by.

Archer turned to Miles who stood at his heels and Jen squeezed his hand.

"What's he mean?" she asked.

"No idea." Miles's tone was far more nonchalant.

"What if something bad is happening?"

"Well it ain't something good," Archer said, motioning to the area around them.

"Maybe we should get the hell out of here," Jen suggested, panic rising in her voice.

"And go where honey?" Miles asked, running a hand through his shaggy brown hair.

"That way." She pointed to where the car had long since disappeared into the distance.

"I don't feel like getting arrested today." He turned back to Archer who hopped the guard rail to glance down the way again. He put a hand up to shade his eyes despite the fact that the sun had already dipped down behind the horizon.

"What is it?" Miles asked.

"I don't know." He walked a few feet upward and then jumped back when he heard a series of gunshots.

"What was that?" The panic in Jen's voice hardened her boyfriend's features.

"Relax." Miles shook his head and then made eye contact with Archer as he turned his head to face them.

"Coach what was that?" Frankie put his face in the narrow, horizontal window. His eyes were wide with excitement.

"Stay on the bus," Archer called back calmly.

"Was it gunshots?" Lance, the other teenager on the bus hopped up to the window beside his friend. "It sounded like gunshots."

"I think it was," Jen told them honestly, looking over her shoulder at the boys.

"Just stay on the bus!" Archer ordered a little more sternly as sirens sounded off in the distance. The flicker of blues and reds illuminated the sky and drew more patrons from their cars. "What the hell is going on?" he wondered aloud to himself.

Miles jumped the guardrail and the two of them stood shoulder-to-shoulder staring off into the distance. "Felon on the run maybe?" the younger man asked.
"Who knows." Archer didn't take his attention off the chaotic scene ahead. A loud bang, like metal on metal, crunched through the air and everyone out standing on the highway looked around at one another.

"Something's not right," Jen said from behind them. Her voice was shaky and high-pitched.

"Jen-" Miles began, but turned when the bus driver opened his window.

"Coach Callahan!" the man shouted, holding up his CB radio, "Get back in here!"

"What is it Larry? Parents?" Archer asked.

"No... no I just crossed over into the police frequency." He shook his head with eyes like saucers that flattened out the wrinkles beneath his eyes.
"What's going on?" He hopped the guardrail, glancing over his shoulder as squeeling tires led a second car flying down the opposite side of the highway in their direction.

"Seems there is some type of infected person up there... or people; lots of them."

"Infected?" Archer rounded the front of the bus with his two new acquaintences at his heels. "Stay off the bus," he ordered to them, hurrying up the short set of steps.

Larry turned up the radio and the boys rushed up from the back. Archer leaned in to get closer to the small speaker and Miles and Jen turned an ear to listen.

"All units available!" a frantic male voice shouted, "All units, I repeat, get down to Route 55 by the 91 connector! Officers are down! Attackers are not responding to tasers or firearms!"

"North or southbound?" a voice replied.

"South! We need immediate assistance! Assailants are not going down! They look... they look fuckin' dead! I shot a woman three times and she did not go down!"

"Coach?" Lance turned to Archer, who was as confused as the rest of them. He glanced all around him at the worried faces, Larry and Miles included.

"Something's not right." Jen's panic rose higher. "Shit, we can't even try to go back in the opposite direction because of the guard rail."

"I can't even call my mom," Frankie added.

"This bus is too big to turn around." Larry shook his head and Archer stiffened up his posture, nonchalantly turning down the radio as the voices on it became more erratic.

"We've got to just ride this thing out," he told them. "If something is going on it's way up there. More police are on the way."

"What if whatever's up there comes down here?" Lance asked.

Archer patted him on the back, "Well, Lance, we've got the biggest damn automobile out here. I say we'll be just fine if we sit tight." He turned and glanced out the window, hearing more sirens coming from all directions. When one whizzed by in the breakdown lane next to them the boys rushed back to look out the windows.

Larry slowly turned the knob on the CB radio, drawing everyone's attention back to the chaos.

"Hey man," Archer began, "Can you-" Boom!

An explosion rang through the air and Jen screamed, leaving everyone else either jumping ten feet in the air or grabbing the person next to them.

"What was that?" Jen asked.

"What was that?" Frankie echoed.

A cloud of smoke puffed up into the air and Archer hurried off the bus again, pushing past Miles and Jen, this time with Lance and Frankie just a step behind him.

"Whoa!" Frankie said aloud. His mouth hung open and he stared at the dark gray cloud that hung above the highway.

"Frankie, Lance!" Archer wanted to order them back onto the bus but he couldn't keep his attention from the smoke cloud. There was another loud bang, this time all of them could see that it was a car attempting to jump the guardrail down the way.

"Think this bus could plow through it?" Lance asked, looking to Archer.

"No." He shook his head, "That guy's an idiot."

More cars tried to follow suite, each one as unsucessful as the next until there were a collection of cars with popped tires and popped hoods.

"Look!" Miles pointed, seeing a man running straight down the center of the two rows of cars that were all at a standstill on their side of the median.

Archer walked toward him, seeing his face was frantic; his hands dirty and covered with blood. On his chest over a dark blue uniform was a shiny police badge.

"Hey!" he called to the officer, "Hey, what's going on up there?"

The man continued breathing heavy and wore an expression like he had just seen a ghost. On his arm was a gaping wound that he covered with the other hand.

"Officer!" Archer shouted as the two were about to cross paths.

"Get out! Go!"

"What?" He grabbed him by the shoulder, prompting the officer to release his wounded arm. Behind him he heard Lance and Frankie gasp. "What happened to you?" The wound was gushing blood and in the shape of teeth marks.

Still slightly incoherant and choppy in his response, the officer's terrified eyes looked back at him and he grabbed Archer by the shoulders. "Heaven help us. Heaven help us all."
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
I would go through and see how much you can cut to make it 'snappier', look.

Archer Callahan sat in the front seat of a school bus and stared out at the standstill traffic around them. He sighed for the fiftieth time in ten minutes, drew off his baseball cap and scratched his head, before replacing it.
He glanced over his shoulder at the nearly empty bus, as a majority of the ball players he coached opted out of the bus ride home. It reads like that's why he glanced rather than that's why it's empty
He glanced over his shoulder, the bus was near empty, the majority of the ball players he coached opted out of the bus ride home.

As their coach he required them to ride home on the bus, but mother after mother had handed him a note after the game. Calling a parent a liar would have surely gotten him fired, or at least a long talk in the Athletic Director's office, comma both ends of subordinate phrase so he didn't dispute it. The end result? Two players, himself and the bus driver sat in the worst traffic jam in state history an hour from home on a hot Friday night in May."

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with what you have written, but there is information that most people won't need, if you are staring out of a bus it is through a window, take a hat off and put it back on, it is only worth mentioning where if you wear your hat on your elbow :) and we know what is in those little notes mothers hand in, they are always the same. Your average reader wants to get on to zombies chewing on cops, the exciting stuff, you are making a bit too good job of what a boring bus ride this is for the start of a story. This is a huge chunk of what editing is about for someone like you who has good SPAG, getting it moving and keeping it moving, deciding what is relevant and what can be lost. Good luck, a good basis to work on.
 

Elsey2

Senior Member
I would go through and see how much you can cut to make it 'snappier', look.

Archer Callahan sat in the front seat of a school bus and stared out at the standstill traffic around them. He sighed for the fiftieth time in ten minutes, drew off his baseball cap and scratched his head, before replacing it.
He glanced over his shoulder at the nearly empty bus, as a majority of the ball players he coached opted out of the bus ride home. It reads like that's why he glanced rather than that's why it's empty
He glanced over his shoulder, the bus was near empty, the majority of the ball players he coached opted out of the bus ride home.

As their coach he required them to ride home on the bus, but mother after mother had handed him a note after the game. Calling a parent a liar would have surely gotten him fired, or at least a long talk in the Athletic Director's office, comma both ends of subordinate phrase so he didn't dispute it. The end result? Two players, himself and the bus driver sat in the worst traffic jam in state history an hour from home on a hot Friday night in May."

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with what you have written, but there is information that most people won't need, if you are staring out of a bus it is through a window, take a hat off and put it back on, it is only worth mentioning where if you wear your hat on your elbow :) and we know what is in those little notes mothers hand in, they are always the same. Your average reader wants to get on to zombies chewing on cops, the exciting stuff, you are making a bit too good job of what a boring bus ride this is for the start of a story. This is a huge chunk of what editing is about for someone like you who has good SPAG, getting it moving and keeping it moving, deciding what is relevant and what can be lost. Good luck, a good basis to work on.

Thank you for the input! I love to write and I rarely get on here enough to get my writing broken down (but when I do I love it!). Do you think I should cut out some of the hoopla in between Archer getting off the bus and the CB chatter (i.e. - the speeding car, the gunshots, the cars crashing into the guard rail), or do you think that's all okay to leave in there?
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Thank you for the input! I love to write and I rarely get on here enough to get my writing broken down (but when I do I love it!). Do you think I should cut out some of the hoopla in between Archer getting off the bus and the CB chatter (i.e. - the speeding car, the gunshots, the cars crashing into the guard rail), or do you think that's all okay to leave in there?
No, the actual content seems fine, if you can keep it short it acts as as background and tension building, why would people be driving their cars at a barrier built to stop cars?
Over the course of the next fifteen minutes he found himself daydreaming of the past when he had been a high school baseball player some twenty years earlier.
" For fifteen minutes he daydreamed of twenty years past when he had been a high school player."

Look at the original and pick out the elements; fifteen minutes pass, he day dreams, he used to play, that was twenty years ago; re-arrange and compress. Look for tautology, repeating things in different words, eg. 'twenty years ago' is also 'the past', one is establishing his age, the other when he is dreaming of, but they can be combined.
 

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
What you're doing is visualizing the film version and describing the visual, with editorial comments as necessary to clarify. So you note that he removes his hat to scratch his head, for example, and then puts if on again. But in the time it takes the reader to get through that, word by word, the viewer would see him do it, and know what he looks like, how he's dressed, the number of people in view, would see his mood via his expression, plus his age, hair color, and a thousand other facts. There would also be time to pan the camera around the bus, so we'd know the age of the players, and that they're dressed for baseball, which the words haven't yet said. We'd know the weather, and that the road is jammed ahead and empty in the other direction. Without being told we would know, by the difference in ages between our protagonist and the players, that he's a coach. All in the time you took to describe a head scratch.

But what has the reader gotten? Knowledge that someone we know nothing about is wearing a hat, and that he scratched his head. But that scratch matters not at all to the story. And that's only the visual part of it. A the same time the film's audience would hear the conversation in the bus and the soundscape the coach would know.

My point: print is a serial medium, and cannot match the wealth of data available in life (and film) in the space of an eye blink. So if we include visual the information that's not absolutely necessary to setting the scene as the protagonist views important, it takes longer to read than for him to do and the story slooooows to a crawl. That's why we're advised to make every line pass a simple test: Does it move the plot, set the scene meaningfully, or develop character.? If not, cut it.

Were someone to ask the man a question he might scratch his head exactly as you said. And by our having mentioned it we've deliberately slowed the action as he thinks—a meaningful pause, in other words. Couple that with a few lines of introspection relevant to what he does/says next and it's an effective tool. Dropped in as a visual detail the reader can't see, it serves only to slow the narrative.

So how do you tell where it's mandated and where it's getting in the way? A simple test: Is it in response to something that has his attention—something he will react to? In other words, is it something that he either is motivated by, or the reaction to a motivation? If not, it's not important enough for the reader to notice. Take a read of this article. It's the best I've found on how to provide a strong viewpoint, and a condensation of a piece of my favorite book on writing technique. Chew on it for a while, till it makes sense, then try applying the technique to this scene to place it in his viewpoint, rather then your own. I think you'll like the result.

Hang in there, and keep on writing.
 

Elsey2

Senior Member
First draft of Chapter 2

Chapter 2

"Coach?" Frankie's eyes lit up as he studied the wound for a moment as the police officer hightailed it in the opposite direction he'd come from. There were more crashes as cars attempted to plow through the metal barrier to escape down the other side of the highway. Each time was an unsuccessful as the next.

"People are panicking," Archer said with a loud sigh. He tugged on his ball cap and then looked to the speechless crowd around him. When there were more shouts, hollers and cries from down the highway he decided to make a judgment call. "Let's head south down the highway back the way we came."

Miles glanced over his shoulder at the bus. "There's no way we're maneuvering this thing out of here. I won't even be able to get my little Honda out."

"We'll go on foot," Archer went on. He pointed toward the woods. "Up that way."

"No way." He shook his head. "I'm not leaving my vehicle."

"Stay then." He waved to the bus driver, "Larry!"

"Coach, my mom... my dad." Frankie shook his head. "What's going on?"

Archer looked down the way again seeing people beginning to flee. A number of people were beginning to weave in and out of the parked cars and the smell of smoke took over the air.

"Yeah, our families," Lance swallowed hard, eyes beginning to get teary. "There has to be a way we can wait this thing out; get in touch with them."

"There will be," Archer promised. He glanced at Larry as he exited the bus. "Shit's about to hit the fan. We need to get out of here."

"I think it's already hit the fan Archer."

"Yeah..." He looked downward toward the chaos and then to Miles and Jen. "Do what you want. We're heading that way." Archer hurried past Larry a moment and rushed onto the bus, returning with the two baseball bags that belonged to the boys and then lead the march over the median onto the opposite side of the highway.

"It could still clear up!" Miles shouted after him, standing in place with Jen at his side.
Archer turned to him and walked backwards. "Take your chances then." He turned back around and headed toward the coverage of the trees.

"We've got to get home," Lance said in a panic. "What was wrong with that guy's arm back there?"

"I don't know Lance." Archer breathed heavy, scanning the area and then urged everyone to move faster. "Let's go!"



"But my parents-"

"Lance!" he turned abruptly and looked into the young man's eyes. "We'll head back toward home. We're an hour away by bus, which means a long way by foot." Archer remained calm and put a hand on his shoulder. "Right now we need to get ourselves out of harm's way."

"What's going on?" the boy begged.

Archer looked back toward where they had come from seeing Miles and Jen running toward where they stood at the edge of the woods. Up ahead he could see the scene more clearly. There were sirens and smoke and people running wildly. It was hard to tell what was what, but he knew it was bad.

"I don't know," he confessed. "But it's nothing we want to stick around to witness."
"Terrorists?" Frankie asked.

"I don't think so," Larry told them.

"Keep moving." Archer waved an arm and they hurried deeper into the woods until the highway was barely visible anymore. When Miles and Jen caught up they stood in a collective group in silence aside from all the heavy breathing.

"Well, if it's not terrorists then what?" Frankie asked.

"Dead people," Larry explained, "Dead people walking."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Miles asked, putting his hands on his knees.

"I heard it over the radio. The police, they had no idea-"

"Look, we need a real explanation for whatever the hell happened back there," he cut him off. "And my car..." His face twisted painfully.

"Screw your car Miles," Jen shook her head. "I believe you." She nodded to Larry, "That police officer said Heaven help us. He was bitten."

"By some crack head probably," her boyfriend said.

"No." She shook her head again, "No it's the undead. This is it. This is the end of humanity as we know it."

"Stop being dramatic Jen." Miles raised his voice, "Just shut up!"

"Hey!" Archer bellowed and stared him down. "Now's not the time for this shit."

"Who made you the boss?"

"I'm not the boss but if you talk to her like that again we're going to have a problem." Archer stared him down and when he didn't say anything back he took a deep breath and relaxed. "Look, we need to put some distance in between ourselves and whatever is going on here. So, I say we keep moving."

"I agree," Larry nodded. "Ya'll didn't hear what I heard on that radio."

"We saw the cop," Frankie said with a sigh.

"I just want to get home," Lance added.

Archer looked around the group, noting mostly everyone's eyes were on him. He decided to step up and take the lead again. "Come on." He waved an arm. "Let's move."

No one argued. They followed close behind, each with their own worries and scenarios. The truth was no one knew where they were headed, or where the woods would lead. All they knew was that they were separated from the chaos for the time being.

"Death march," Miles said under his breath, prompting Jen to shoot him a glare.

"Be quite Miles."

"What?" he asked, "Where are we even going?"

Frankie looked over his shoulder at the couple, prompting a snooty remark from Miles.
"What the hell are you lookin' at kid?"

Archer turned to Miles, stopping in his tracks and put a hand on his chest. "Cut the shit or turn around."

"Listen-" he began to shout, but Archer cut him off.

"No you listen!" he put a finger in his face. "No one forced you along so keep your mouth shut or go on your own way!"

Miles clenched his jaw and then pushed himself back roughly. "Screw it, let's go Jen." He reached for her hand but she pulled away.

"Go where?" she asked.

"Back to the highway. My car-"

"Screw your car!" she shouted, "There is something terrible that's happening and I'm not running back to it."

The two of them stared each other down and then Archer attempted to make the peace. "Look Miles, I know you're freaked out. We all are."

"I'm not scared." He shook his head and smirked. "I'm just not up to follow you on this yellow brick quest. There are no undead people walking around. The cop was bitten by a crack head probably. Whatever chatter was going on that radio shows the incompetence of-"

"Oh my God!" Jen's jaw dropped and she pointed in the distance.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared in the direction that her arm was extended.

"What the hell..." Larry's voice trailed off.

A man stumbled through the trees covered in blood and as he got closer to them he began a series of scratchy growls. His eyes were glazed over, a combination of gray and red and he snapped his teeth in an animalistic fashion.

Archer stepped in front of the boys, putting an arm out. "Stay back." He eyed the man. "Hello!"

The snaps and snarls continued as the stranger honed in on him, beginning wobbly, uneven steps in Archer's direction. When the person stumbled and fell the rest of the group jumped backwards, but Archer took a few steps forward.

"Do you need help?" he maintained a cautious distance, but then felt a fear rise in his chest when the man began to crawl, using just his arms and dragging his legs like dead stems behind him.

"He's dead," Jen said quietly. "That man is dead."

"No..." Archer shook his head and looked at the man in the eyes. "Do you need help?" he called out again as he continued to scrape across the forest floor, digging his fingers into the weed-choked landscape with dead eyes fixed on Archer.

"What's wrong with him?" Lance asked. "Why won't he answer?"

He took a deep breath, allowing the man to come within a few inches of his feet and then backed up slowly at first, and then put some more distance in between them.

Up close, Archer could see the man's skin beginning to peel and fall off his face, beginning around his mouth. "Radiation?" he wondered aloud.

"We'd all be affected by that." Larry watched in amazement, and no one took their eyes off the crawling stranger.

"We need to try to help him," Lance chimed in, breathing heavily.

"No," Frankie argued. "No, look at him. He's diseased."

"Don't touch him," Jen added.

"He's dying," Lance said.

"He's dead!" she said back.

"He's moving," the teen argued. "Dead people don't move."

Another louder growl drew everyone's attention back to the man on the ground.

"I think she's right," Larry told them. He sighed, eyes still wide watching things unfold in front of him.

"It's got to be radiation." Archer looked at the old bus driver. "No?" He shouted at the man again. "Do you need help?"

"This isn't right," Larry went on. "He's like a rabid dog now."

"Rabid..." Miles swallowed hard and felt as if he couldn't move.

"You need to put him down," Larry said, prompting Archer to look up at him.

"What?" he asked.

"Put him down Arch."

He shook his head. "I'm not... I can't kill a man."

"That's not a man. That's a rabid animal."

Archer sighed and looked at the person again. He knew Larry was right, at least to an extent, but he also knew he wasn't about to kill the person. "We don't know enough."

"Coach!" another man stumbled toward them through the trees in similar fashion and everyone stiffened up.

"Hey!" Miles called, "Hey you! Do you... do you need help?"

The second stumbler walked in their direction with no response aside from a series of similar growls. Like the first one, his eyes were glazed, his mouth was laired in blood and his arms were outstretched.

"This isn't right." Lance looked around. "This... this is crazy."

Archer looked in all directions, wondering if there were more of them and then refocused at the man at his feet.

"Put him down," Jen urged.

"I can't do that!" he said loudly. "These people look... sick. They need our help."

Lance approached the second one as it headed in their direction.

"Lance don't!" Archer shouted.

A snap of the man's jaws made him pull back. "Sir..."

"Get back Lance!" he said again.

The stumbling man continued on in Lance's direction, fixated on the young man in front of him. With each snap of his teeth a new wave of panic rose in his chest. "Dude..." He raised his eyebrows.

Archer left the crawler and rushed to where the young man was struggling now. He almost froze when Lance's hands seemed to go right through the fragile flesh of the being in an attempt to hold him back.

"What the hell..." the young man's mouth dropped he only pulled his hand away when the person's teeth clamped down on his hand.

"Lance get back!" Archer pushed the young man away and then proceeded to fight the walking corpse at it turned its attention to him. Like Lance, Archer's hands seemed to push right through the man's body, but he managed to wrestle him to the ground, glancing at his hands in disgust as they were now covered in blood and guts.

"Holy shit!" Jen wanted to scream but she couldn't.

Frankie, Larry and Miles could only watch, frozen like statues, as Archer contemplated what to do next. When the thing lunged for him from the ground, Archer turned to Frankie.

"Bat!" he called.

"Huh?" the stunned teen stared back at him.

"Give me your bat!" Archer shouted, "Come on! Now!"

Frankie hesitated a moment but then felt reality sink in and he managed to upzip the end of his bag, tossing the bat to Archer a few feet away.

Archer raised the bat high above his head and brought the barrel down hard onto the skull of whatever it was that was in front of him.

Jen screamed, and the rest of them watched in horror as the being collapsed into a heap in the dry leaves.

"Holy shit!" Lance shrieked, "Holy ****ing shit!"

"Archer!" Larry motioned to the other one as it began to crawl toward them.

Frankie ran to his friend, reaching for his injured hand. "You okay?"

Lance couldn't speak. His whole body shook and his face went pale. He shook his head and then closed his eyes as Archer took a swipe at the other seemingly undead being that made an attempt to attack them.

For a moment the woods were silent. Archer stood above the creature, feeling adrenaline flowing through his core and into his arms and legs. He didn't know what to make of his actions, or of the rotting, bloody people in the woods.

I just killed two men, he thought to himself. He glanced down at the bloody baseball bat and then let it slowly drop from his hand.

All eyes were on him again as he switched his gaze from one person to the next. Their expressions were unforgettable - all wide-eyed, scared and frozen. It was Lance's shaking body and terrified eyes that put Archer over the edge. He looked back down at the corpse at his feet and then keeled over and vomited.
 

Harper J. Cole

Creative Area Specialist (Speculative Fiction)
Staff member
Chief Mentor
This is a fast-paced zombie story; I think that you set the scene well, making it easy to picture. I did notice a few things while reading through it though ...

"Coach?" Frankie's eyes lit up as he studied the wound for a moment as the police officer hightailed it in the opposite direction he'd come from.

While not technically an error, using "as" twice in a sentence makes for a less smooth reading experience. Also, you don't really need the last three words, as "opposite direction" has already implied them (as Olly said up-thread, it's best to trim superfluous words where possible).

"People are panicking," Archer said with a loud sigh.

Sighing tends to be associated with boredom or frustration. By this point, Archer is becoming more alarmed, so displaying a stronger emotion may be better.

Archer hurried past Larry a moment and rushed onto the bus, returning with the two baseball bags that belonged to the boys and then lead the march over the median onto the opposite side of the highway.

Should be "led" as it's past tense.

Like the first one, his eyes were glazed, his mouth was laired in blood and his arms were outstretched.

This doesn't look right. Did you mean "layered"?

With each snap of his teeth a new wave of panic rose in his chest.

You have to be careful here, as your readers will expect "his" to refer to the most recently referenced male character, in this instance the zombie. However, your second use of "his" is actually referring to Lance; it's better to give his name, for greater clarity.

He looked back down at the corpse at his feet and then keeled over and vomited.

Keeling over actually entails losing consciousness, so he wouldn't be able to do anything immediately afterwards.

I hope that some of this has been helpful.

HC
 

Moonlight

Senior Member
I really can't add anything more than the other critques. I see a few grammar issues, but I think the story flows nicely. Looking forward to Chapter 3!
 
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