Earthbound: A Hero Chosen (book 1)

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PSY 33: Dead Man's Party



A zombie's groan came from right by my ear. Panic mode kicked in, and I thrust out my arms, shoving the undead monstrosity straight off the bed and to the floor. Only the zombie didn't continue to moan and groan; instead, it cried out.

"Ow! Ness, what was that for?"

My jaw dropped open, and I leaped to the edge and peeked over. Paula lay spread eagle on the floor. She glared at me, and I swallowed hard and whimpered.

"S-sorry!" I begged. "I thought you were a zombie!"

"Aren't I prettier than a zombie?" she asked, crossing her arms.

"Y-yes, you're extremely pretty! I mean you're cute! I mean you're not... ugly?" I swallowed again and gave up. I knew I wouldn't be able to win this one.

"You, sir, are a jerk!" she sighed, sitting up and rubbing the back of her head.

"I didn't mean to be." I sighed as well.

A giggle escaped her lips, and she grinned from ear to ear. "It's a good thing you're cute. Otherwise, you'd have no redeeming qualities."

I smirked. "Ha ha, it is to laugh."

Paula retrieved her slip on shoes from the floor and put them on. I did so as well and sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the window. Everything flashed back to the night before when something had shuffled past the window. In my gut, I knew it had to be a zombie, but in my mind, I knew that to be an irrational thought. There would never be zombies. There would never be a zombie apocalypse. Plain and simple. But then why did I feel so sure the figure had been one of the undead?

"Ness?" Paula pushed my shoulder, drawing me out of my mind.

"Huh?" I asked.

"I said we should go shopping and get some breakfast!" she said with her hands on her hips.

"Of course," I smiled. "Food's on me!"

"You don't have to..." she blushed, looking off to the side and bouncing on the balls of her feet.

"Did you bring any money?" I cocked a brow.

Timidly, she shook her head. "I f-forgot!"

"THEN breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything is on me."

"How do you have that much money?"

"Because my dad is a phone."

"WHAT?" she gasped.

I burst into laughter and doubled over. "I-I'm just kidding! But he has a lot of money from work and stuff. So he sends it to my bank account because he can't be around."

"Money can't buy a boy's happiness," she sat on the bed again, right next to me; so close I could feel her warmth.

"No," I said. "But I understand why he has to be away. He works. Who knows, maybe he's out there being a hero, too!"

She laughed and leaned her head on my shoulder. "Maybe."

My face burned as I blushed. Finally, I cleared my throat and stood. I grabbed my backpack and pulled it on. "Breakfast isn't going to get itself."

"I suppose you're right!" she smiled with her eyes closed.

We left the room and walked into the lobby. Immediately, a bellhop ran up to us. His eyes were wide, and he seemed to be trembling. He opened his mouth but looked to be at a loss for words.

"Um... can I help you?" I asked.

"S...sir...?" he whispered. "Are you going out?"

Paula and I nodded.

He swallowed down a lump in his thin throat, making his Adam's apple bulge. "The guest's newspapers that were delivered to the hotel today..."

"On with it, man!" I rolled my eyes.

"Are different than normal. The paper is called the Zombie Herald..."

My companion and I exchanged fear filled glances.

"I'm scared," the bellhop said." But let me tell you what is in it... 'Destroy the humans! Hold the town for our glory and for the glory of out master!'"

"You're joking, right?" I stammered.

He slowly shook his head. "I wish I were."

I looked to Paula, and she frowned. She, too, visibly trembled. I slipped my hand around hers, and she forced a smile. We turned back to the bell hop, and he'd vanished.

"Huh?" I looked around the common area and didn't see hide nor hair of him. "He sure took off fast."

"Almost like a ghost!" Paula whimpered.

"Don't be silly!" I said. "There's no such thing!"

She rolled her eyes. "We just saw them in the tunnel to Threed."

"I refuse to believe those were real!" I lied, mostly to myself. "Smoke and mirrors, that's all!"

"Let's just go check the store and get breakfast."

"Okay!" My turn came force a smile.

We turned and made out way out of the hotel. A strange fact hit me as we walked outside. The sky still appeared dark, and clouds blocked out any semblance of stars or the moon. Only street lamps provided light, spread out far apart.

"How long were we asleep?" I breathed.

"I thought it was morning!" she said. "It didn't look this dark through the window."

"Must've been under a bright street lamp," I said. "I guess we slept for nearly a day."

"How?" Paula's voice shook.

"I don't know. Anyway, let's just get going." I offered her a smile.

She squeezed my hand even tighter and nodded.

Jake A. Strife

Edited: 15.10.2019

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