What follows is a free short excerpt from Clickers vs. Zombies. While this scene does include the death of two secondary characters, I have changed their names in this excerpt so that you can avoid spoilers for the book. There are less than 20 copies of Clickers vs. Zombies left. Click here to reserve your copy. And here is the free preview.
To Jim, it seemed as if time suddenly slowed to a crawl. He noticed the shocked expressions on Rick and the kids’ faces as they stared at something behind him. The rotten stench grew more powerful. He turned toward his house and saw a group of zombies coming toward them, carrying Tammy and Danny in their clutches. And behind him stood Anthony, Samhain, several other dead neighbors, a few dead animals—and a horde of zombie Clickers. Then time snapped back to normal, and Jim screamed. Hands on his hips, Anthony threw back his head and laughed.
Rick’s aim swayed as he glanced around in panic. More zombies came out of hiding, quickly surrounding them. Melody whimpered in fear. Richard tensed, fists clenched at his sides. Mary closed her eyes.
“Fuck this,” Pete said, and ran.
“Pete,” Richard yelled. “Don’t…”
The dead fell on the fleeing teen before he’d taken a dozen steps. A zombie yanked a canister of pepper spray from its pocket and sprayed him in the eyes as he ran by. Pete fell to the ground, shrieking, eyes clenched shut. Then Samhain darted forward, going for his throat. At the last minute, the stunned boy managed to blindly throw his hand up to ward off the attack. His hand slid into the dog’s mouth and the slavering jaws snapped shut, severing his fingers at the knuckles. Pete yanked his ruined hand free. Blood spurted from the stumps, squirting all over his attackers.
Rick swiveled the rifle toward them, and fired a shot at the dog. Instead of hitting its target, the round slammed into the thigh of the zombie with the pepper spray. The creature simply laughed.
“Lower your weapons, Jim.” Anthony grinned. “And tell your friend to do the same or we’ll tear Tammy and Danny apart right here in the street.”
Jim knelt, laying the .45 and the hatchet on the asphalt. Then he glanced back at Rick.
“The hell are you doing?” Rick’s eyes were wide.
“Do it,” Jim gasped, glancing back at Rick. “Please? He’s got my family.”
Scowling, Rick did as Jim requested.
Anthony smirked. “They’re not your family anymore, Jim. You’re divorced. They’re my family now. Well, my host form’s, at least.”
“Anthony,” Jim pleaded. “Why are you doing this?”
“Because I’m not Anthony. My name is Ob. Now I want all of you to watch this, because if you don’t obey me, this is what will happen to Jim’s family—and to all of you.”
Writhing in the street, Pete screamed as the dead encircled him. He kicked and thrashed as they held him down and tore into him with their bare hands, clawing open his stomach and reaching inside.
“No,” Martel cried.
Rick reached for her as she ran to help Pete, but she slipped past him.
“Humans,” Ob muttered. “They never listen.”
A zombie Clicker charged into the street, blocking Martel from reaching Pete. As she skidded to a stop, it jabbed forward with its tail, plunging the stinger into her abdomen. Gasping, Martel reached down and grabbed the appendage. Her hands came away slick with her own blood. The tail pulsed and throbbed as the zombie pumped venom into her. Then, with a wet sucking sound, the creature withdrew the stinger. It glistened in the sun, and parts of Martel’s insides clung to it. She fell to the ground, the gaping hole in her stomach bubbling and steaming as her flesh began to melt.
“Oh God,” Richard moaned. “Do something, Dad. We’ve got to do something!”
“I…” Rick shut his eyes, unable to watch.
The horde continued shredding Pete. His intestines, kidneys, and lungs were yanked from his body and pulped in the zombies’ fists. One of the creatures stuck its head inside his open chest and made motorboat sounds. The others cackled gleefully.
“He’s still alive,” Melody wailed. “Pete’s still alive, Dad!”
Rick opened his eyes again, and stared. Pete was indeed moving, but the smile on his face told Rick all he needed to know. He hugged his daughter tight, turning her head away from the carnage.
“He’s not alive, baby. That’s not him anymore. It’s one of those things.”
Ob nodded. “Very good, Mister…?”
“Rick Sycheck. And go fuck yourself.”
“I like him,” Ob said, turning his attention back to Jim. “He reminds me of you.”
Tammy and Danny’s captors reached the rest of the group. They shoved the two forward. Both of them rushed to Jim’s side. He picked Danny up and hugged them both tightly.
“Daddy,” Danny sobbed. “I’m scared. You said they wouldn’t get us.”
“Ssshh.” Jim kissed his head, breathing in his son’s scent. “It will be okay, Squirt.”
“Awww, how touching.”
“Anthony, if there’s any of you left alive in there, then let them go. It’s me you have a problem with. You loved Tammy, right? So why do this?”
“I told you once before, I am not Anthony. My name is Ob. Do you not know me?”
Jim shook his head. “Should I have?”
“We’ve met before, on other worlds than this. You blew me up once, in the sewers beneath New York City. And you dropped me off a mountain in West Virginia. And out of an airplane, once. Oh, and you cut my head off in Japan. Those are the times I remember, at least. I’m sure there were more. When you are as old as me, you sometimes forget the little details. But I certainly haven’t forgotten you, Jim Thurmond, or your brat there, or your friends Frankie and Martin.”
“I don’t know anyone named Frankie or Martin. And I don’t care who you are—don’t talk about my son that way again.”
“Always defiant to the end,” Ob replied. “Well, you got one thing right, Jim. I do indeed have a problem with you.”
“Fair enough. Let my family go then. And these folks, too. They’ve done nothing to you.”
“Yes, they have. They were born. That is affront enough. They are beloved by the Creator, as are you all. That alone is cause to hate them.”
“What are you going to do with us?” Rick asked.
“With you?” Ob asked. “I’m sure I’ll think of something creative. There are so many different ways to kill. But you’ll have it easy compared to the Thurmonds. I want Jim to suffer.”
Tammy moaned. Jim squeezed her tight, keeping Danny protected between them.
“But in general,” Ob continued, “we will continue with the corruption of all flesh. Normally, that takes some time, but the Clickers, as you call them, unwittingly helped us speed up the process. Remarkable creatures. I wish I could be one all the time.”
“Do you honestly think,” Rick replied, “that we’re just going to let you destroy our planet without doing something about it?”
“And what would you do, little man? Look around you. Behold the small army I have amassed against you right here on this suburban street.”
He made a sweeping gesture with his hand. The zombies leered and grinned. The human corpses raised a cheer. Engastrimathos du aba paren tares! Hail, Ob!” The dead Clickers raised their claws and clacked them together. The noise was nearly deafening. CLICK-CLICK… CLICK-CLICK… CLICK-CLICK… CLICK-CLICK… CLICK-CLICK…
Inside the SUV, Princess howled.
“Stop it,” Melody screamed, slipping loose from Rick and clapping her hands over her ears. “Just make it stop!”
“As you wish,” Ob said. “We’ll kill you quickly, let one of my minions inhabit you, and then Daddy can watch while you choke him with his own intestines.”
Melody collapsed to the street, skinning her knees on the bloody pavement. Rick glanced at the rifle, but two zombie Clickers edged toward him, tails hovering menacingly in the air above him.
“Oh, don’t take it so hard,” Ob said, turning back to Jim, Tammy, and Danny. “That’s nothing compared to what I’m going to do to Jim’s little brat. Here, I’ll show you.”