Welcome one and all to my stop on the Bewitched Tour! This is perfect for the season, and author Cambria Hebert gave me a special post for you on one of her FAVORITE subjects — chickens!! Now, for those of you that know Cambria, you know that there was a lot of sarcasm in that statement. So, without further ado, I give to you…
Zombie Chickens – Heidi
Stranded. I never gave much thought to his word before. I never gave much thought to actually being this word before.
Being stranded really smacks a girl in the face. In all my thirty years of living I have never felt stranded. I have never been stranded. But, here, now, on the side of this country road, stranded is exactly what I am. Never mind the fact that my husband is here with me. That just makes him stranded too. Never mind the fact that I guess we aren’t technically “stranded” but the twisting in my belly and the fine tremor in my hands says different.
Of course, the trembling could be from cold. Because it is cold. And dark. Of all the times to get stranded, we would have to be so when it is cold, dark and on a back country road with no flashlight.
And a busted tire.
Whatever we hit back there was one nasty piece of trouble because in less than two minutes the white SUV began to sag as air rushed from the tire. I find it ironic that our house is maybe one mile away, in a sub division that is well lit. But looking around… a girl could forget that safety and warmth is so close because here there is nothing but cold and darkened unfriendly houses perched along a winding two lane road.
“I’ll change the tire. It will only take a minute,” Shawn says, lifting the back hatch up.
“In the dark?” I ask, doubtfully.
“I got skills,” Shawn says and reaches for the false bottom of the trunk to get out the spare.
“I’ve got an iPhone,” I retort and quickly install a flashlight app. I don’t know how people possibly live without an iPhone. I clicked the light on and it shone brightly in the dark, down into the place where the spare was supposed to be. I gasp. “They forgot to put a spare in! Oh my Gosh, what are we going to do now?” I say dramatically, the light wavering in my hand. “You think you get quality when you buy a brand new car and look at what you get.”
“Cambria, the spare is strapped under the car,” Shawn says, blandly.
“Oh. Well how was I supposed to know that?”
Shawn just shakes his head and gets to work with some tools I don’t know anything about, lowering the tire from underneath the car. In my opinion, the people who put it there could have left a note.
As I stood there holding the light and shaking with cold, I looked around. There was no need to watch Shawn with the tire because there was no way I would ever need to change a tire. That’s what my iPhone was for: calling people to change them for me. I snickered at the thought as I glanced at the ground.
I bent down to get a better look, turning the flashlight toward the objects of my attention. Behind me there was a sound and then a muffled curse.
“Oops! Sorry!” I said and shined the light back to where he was working.
I didn’t listen to his reply because I was busy freaking out. Turns out what couldn’t be—was.
Chicken feathers. There were fluffy white chicken feathers littering the ground all around us. I shuddered. Chickens were nasty. Added to the fact that I kept dreaming about chickens and an angry, vile emu… well… I briefly considered locking myself in the SUV and letting Shawn hold the flashlight himself.
But I was being silly. Yes, my fear was real, but I could be scared and still stand out here in the dark. Who cares if there are chicken feathers everywhere? Who cares that we got stranded just yards from a chicken farm. I looked behind me and across the field where a long, silver building sat. It had a metal roof.
The chicken shack.
I’m sure the farmer had a much more business-like name for the place, but to me it was shack that housed chickens. I shuddered, picturing the large screen panels along the sides of the shack. Those panels were far too flimsy in my opinion. One tenacious peck of a sharp beak could set the nastiness free.
A vision of chickens swarming out a hole in the screen had me gagging.
Shawn paused in the tire changing. “Are you all right?”
“There are chicken feathers on the ground.”
“They probably took a truckload to wherever they take them and the feathers blew out.”
I let out a breath. “Yeah, that chicken shack is probably empty.” I looked at his handy work. He had the car jacked up into the air and was using some long metal thing to take the bolts off the ruined tire.
“Almost done,” he said.
Just then a rooster crowed. There was answering gaggle from some chickens.
Apparently, the chicken shack was not empty.
“Hurry up!” I said to my husband.
He laughed. “Can’t rush a man, Cambria.” I bit back the many sarcastic retorts on my tongue while he continued to dig himself a hole. “Who is scared of a little chicken?” he said, not really asking because he already knew who.
Clearly, he wasn’t afraid of chickens, but he perhaps he should be afraid of the lady with the flashlight.
All of a sudden, I noticed how very dark it was. I looked up to the sky. The moon had been hidden by a large drifting cloud. There were hardly any stars outside… the brightest things besides my phone were the white feathers on the ground. A light wind picked up and blew against me, pulling at my hair, and sending the feathers blowing toward me. I side stepped them and began shivering with cold.
“Why don’t you get my sweatshirt out of the car?” Shawn said, noticing the way the light seemed to jerk with my shivering.
I handed him the phone and went around to the passenger side, reaching in to find the shirt. I pulled it on, grateful for the warmth. Then, I shut the door and turned around.
Not two feet from where I stood was a chicken.
Okay, that doesn’t sound very frightening. But it really is, see the visual aid below for proof:
You’re scared now, aren’t ya?
So anyway, this is what was standing there and it was making this sound… this horrible sound. A cross between a cluck and a moan.
Adrenaline and fear slammed into me, knocking me backward to come up against the side of the SUV, which was still jacked up. The force of my bump sent it teetering.
“What are you doing?” Shawn called.
I didn’t answer. I was too busy watching the zombie chicken prowl closer. Its sharp, pointy toes clawed into the ground as it went, making little ripping sounds in the grass.
Then, another zombie chicken popped out from beneath the car and lunged at my shoes.
I began screaming, and I kicked it, hearing the sick sound of rattling bones as it knocked into its friend. It gave me a moment to get free.
I began to run.
“Run, Shawn!” I yelled over my shoulder. I wasn’t going back for him. He was a Marine; he’d be okay. Maybe he would catch up.
Out of nowhere, a gaggle of nasty chickens began to chase me. They were in various states of decay. Some still had their feathers and some were bald. A few were missing their wings… have you ever seen a wingless chicken? You don’t want too.
There were a few with holes in their beaks and they all had red, crazed eyes. They darted across the ground, chasing me, giving me doubt that I would be able to outrun them.
One ambitious zombie chicken caught up and began yanking on my shoe laces. I screamed and stumbled. My knee hit the ground, but I bounced back up, allowing myself to be overcome by zombie chickens was unacceptable.
Another caught up and began pecking at my ankles. Panic bubbled within me. “Shawn!” I screamed. I probably shouldn’t have left him behind.
Sweat ran down my face and I pulled at the sweatshirt, swiping it over my head and holding it by one of the arms. I stopped and turned. Zombie chickens swarmed around me. There were five or six. I started swinging the shirt, hitting them right and left, trying to get them to back off.
Out of the darkness ran Shawn, coming toward me, gripping that long metal thing he used to change the tire. He began sending the chickens sailing through the air away from us. When they were all gone (for the moment), he turned to me.
“Seriously? That’s what you have to say?”
“There’s a chicken behind you.”
I screeched and jumped forward, grabbing his shirt and shoving him forward. He laughed. There was no chicken.
“That’s what you get for leaving me behind.”
I wondered if there was another iron tool in the car. Then I noticed that in my haste to get away from the zombie chickens I had run toward the chicken shack. (Hey, I never said I was bright.)
“Let’s go. There is something wrong with those chickens. There might be more.”
As we turned to leave, there was a great ripping sound from the chicken shack and I watched, completely horrified, as a gaggle of blood-thirsty zombie chickens raced out of the rip. They ran right for us.
Yup, I screamed again and took off running. Shawn caught me around the waist and hauled me off to the side, behind a dense bush. Most of the zombie chickens weren’t very bright and kept heading straight, passing us. There were a few though that followed. Shawn used his tired iron to whack them.
Once the herd of hungry beasts had gone by, he pulled me toward the shack.
“Are you crazy?” I whispered.
“You want to go back that way?” He pointed to where the chickens went. A vision of angry zombie chickens taking over my car filled my eyes.
“Fine,” I said and we crept toward the chicken shack.
It was smelly here. It smelled of poop (just keepin’ it real), blood and some other fowl odor I could not name and wouldn’t want too. There were a few clucks coming from inside the shack so I knew it wasn’t completely empty.
“Hey, look,” Shawn whispered, pointing ahead. At the end of the long shack sat a dirt bike. “We can take this to the house and come back tomorrow for the car.”
I snorted. I wasn’t gonna drive that zombie-mobile ever again. As we crept toward the dirt bike, I made the mistake of looking inside the shack. It was dimly lit so I was able to see this:
No, I am not making this up. I tripped over an empty bucket and sprawled over the ground. My clumsiness alerted the zombie chickens and they began flying at the screen. Their bodies made gross thudding sounds as they hit it.
I scrambled to my feet as the dirt bike roared to life.
“Come on!” Shawn yelled and I jumped on the back just as the chickens ripped through the screen and rushed us. We tore across the ground, the wind whipping through my hair as we traveled at break-neck speed through the trees and across the uneven grass. He didn’t go back toward our car, but headed instead up the road toward our neighborhood.
The entrance to the neighborhood came into view, and just as I thought we were home free, something burst from the trees with incredible speed.
It was an emu and it was growling and spitting with an alarming tenacity. This thing was exactly the thing from my nightmares.
As you can see, it practically unhinged its jaw to take a bite out of my body, so I grabbed the tire iron and jammed it in its mouth. That slowed it down considerably as we sped through the street and into our driveway.
Shawn stopped the bike, and I leapt off and rushed toward the front door. He followed and I turned waiting for him.
“Who’s afraid of chickens now?” I asked.
“Those things weren’t chickens. Those were zombies.” He said it like it was something we encounter every day.
“Give me the keys,” I said, holding out my hand.
“I thought you had the keys,” he said.
We both froze, staring at each other through the darkness.
“You left the keys with the zombie chickens?” I finally asked.
“I thought you had them.”
“I was busy not getting eaten!”
He actually rolled his eyes. “Let’s go back and get them.”
“Let’s?” It was almost cute he thought I was going back there.
He shrugged. “Okay. You stay here. Alone.”
I watched as he went and picked up the dirt bike, firing it up. He turned back to me, a devilish grin on his face as he revved the engine.
I sighed. I wasn’t about to stay here alone. I reached behind the giant rose bush by the front door and pulled out a long wooden rod. What? Like you don’t stash weapons outside, too.
I heard Shawn laugh over the rumble of the engine and I ran to jump onto the back, flinging my free arm around his waist as we sped down the driveway.
Zombie chickens here we come.
Thanks SO MUCH for that, Cambria! Now, if you’ve never heard of the Heven and Hell series, well, you better get up to speed! I hear there’s another novel coming soon, so grab Bewitched and the rest of the series now!
For years, I accepted that Heven was more popular than me. I never liked it but I lived with it. I walked in her shadow, I stood by her when no one else would. When I finally thought her spotlight was mine things began to change. She began to change. Now she hardly ever calls me back, she spends all her time with her hot new boyfriend and everyone at school thinks she’s back on top. She had it all. But apparently she wants more. She wants Cole – my boyfriend. What’s worse is that it looks like she got him. I’ve had enough and she’s going to be sorry. Why?
Because I am bewitched.
Buy Link: Amazon
Oh, did I mention I got to review this? Check it out here.