Old Clerks Don’t Die – Chapter 1

Okay, after last week’s unfortunate delay, I should now be back on track.  As promised, I am starting to serialize the sequel to The Apocalypse Shift (which is available for purchase here if you haven’t read it yet).  I’m trying to write this one so you don’t need to have read the first one to understand it, but it will probably contain quite a few spoilers for the first, so you have been warned.  I will be posting one chapter a week for now, which will make the individual entries much shorter than when I was posting large chunks of stories. 

So let’s get this thing started.  I hope you enjoy!

Derek J. Goodman

Old Clerks Don’t Die, They Slay Away 

Chapter 1


     Snookie Winters was nodding off in her recliner when things from another planet tried to destroy the world outside her apartment door.

     She jerked awake and looked around, confused for a moment.  She had that problem more and more these days.  Every time she woke up she forgot for a moment where she was, what year she lived in.  She could almost make herself believe it was the old days again, the glory days. 

     Then she felt all the aches in her body and the wet patch on her chest where she had drooled on herself as she napped, and she remembered that the glory days were a long time gone.

     Despite the deafening noise coming from the hallway, she still remained confused for several seconds about what had awakened her.  The TV was on, stuck on the episode menu of a DVD.  The old familiar song from the TV show she’d been watching- ba-da-da-DUMP-snap-snap- was extremely loud in the small living room, turned up so she could still hear it even with her failing ears.  Old shows like that were the only reason she had bothered buying a DVD player to begin with.  They reminded her not only of a time when she had been younger, but also the kind of people she had once known.  They were all gone now, leaving behind a new generation that didn’t care where it had come from.

     The noises in the hallway got louder, and finally she realized what had brought her out of her restless slumber.  Someone screamed, and something wooden broke, and there were shouts.  Something buzzed and whined, a noise completely unlike anything that should have occurred in nature.  Snookie’s heart sped up, something she would have rather avoided if possible.  Her troubled ticker didn’t like excitement much anymore.  Despite the strain, however, Snookie got up out of her recliner as fast as she could.  She still knew the sounds of an apocalypse when she heard it.

     She grabbed her cane from its place against the chair and walked to the door.  She still kept a rack of what she had used to call her “just in case” items right next to the door, although she hadn’t used them in years.  Still, before she grabbed any of them, she peered through the peep hole.  It would be best if she knew just what the hell was going on first.

     To anyone on the other side of the door, her peephole looked completely normal.  However, she’d had some modifications done to it when she’d moved in here, just like she had her entire apartment.  When she looked out, she didn’t get the typical fish-eye view of whatever was directly in front of the door.  Instead the view was widescreen, covering nearly the entire length of the hallway.  If she just tapped lightly on the door, the magic spell on the peep hole would switch views to somewhere else in the hall, making sure that no matter where somebody stood out there, Snookie could still get a look at them.  And what she saw looked like a small army of six foot tall orange salt shakers.

     “Hmph,” Snookie muttered.  “These things again.”  They moved down the hall like they were on wheels and had only long thin sticks for arms.  Each had a single eye.  They looked ridiculous rather than scary, but Snookie had seen them come around once or twice before and knew what they could do.  There wasn’t much around here that she hadn’t seen.

     She tapped the door, and the view changed to one at the end of the hall just above the stairwell.  One of the doors near the end was broken with a smoldering dead body lying just outside.  Snookie didn’t know why these things had chosen to come into this building, but they obviously didn’t intend to leave it peacefully.

     Snookie reached for the rack, her hand falling on the necklace hanging from a nail on the rack’s side.  It was made of hemp with a smooth green stone dangling from it, and it looked like it had seen better days.  It had been made several decades ago when it became obvious she would never again be the same person from her youth, but she had never worn it.  It would only work once, and she hadn’t wanted to waste it.  These creatures seemed like a good enough reason to put it on, but she hesitated.  She knew this neighborhood.  It didn’t need her anymore when it came to stuff like this.

     Snookie tapped the door again as she heard a rattling doorknob.  The view changed to something closer, giving her a clear look as the door of the apartment immediately to her left flew open and a young man and woman came jumping out.  Each one held a katana in hand.  The weapons were rather elegant, the sort of thing one would expect from warriors in heavy samurai armor.  But neither the boy nor girl wore armor.  In fact, they wore nothing but a single bed sheet draped over them both. 

     “Every freaking time,” the boy said to the girl.  “We’re just about to get all hot and heavy, and then either the phone rings or we’re invaded by a bunch of…”  He paused, cocking his head at the salt shakers as they turned to look at the naked couple.  “What the hell are these things, anyway?”

     “Not a clue,” the girl said.  “These are a new one, even for the Hill.”

     Snookie made another “hmph” noise, but she let her hand drop away from the necklace.

     The lead salt shaker pointed a stick arm at them and spoke in a high-pitched robotic voice.  “You will not resist!  You will not resist!”

     The boy looked at the girl.  “You’re up, Gloria.”

     “No, I came up with the last clever insult before a fight, Caleb.  It’s your turn.”

     “Are you sure?  Cuz I kind of remember it being pretty lame.”

     “Which is obviously why it must have been yours.”

     “Are you kidding me?  My quips are far better than…”

     The salt shaker spoke again.  “You will not resist!”

     Caleb waved the katana at it.  “Would you be quiet?  No one is fucking resisting yet.  Just hold your horses until we can come…”

     A door opened across the hall, revealing a sleepy neighbor in a red bathrobe.  “What the hell is going on out here now?”

     The girl, Gloria, looked alarmed.  “Get back inside!” she yelled at the man.  “Change into a different colored bathrobe!  Hurry!”

     The man looked thoroughly confused.  He could only be a mundy.  Snookie again reached for the necklace, but she was too late.  Events moved too quickly for her to do anything.

     The lead salt shaker turned to the man.  “Exfoliate!  Exfoliate!”

     Caleb looked at Gloria.  “Really?  That doesn’t sound like much of a threat.”

     The lead salt shaker aimed his stick arms at the man, and brilliant blue beams of light shot at him.  The man dropped dead to the ground, all the skin now gone for his body.  His red bathrobe became a whole lot redder.

     “Oh,” Caleb said.  “Right.”  He swung his sword before the lead salt shaker could move.  The blade sliced right through it at a diagonal, sending a thick purplish blood splattering all over the other salt shakers.  The shaker next to it screamed and backed away as Caleb moved to take another swing, but he got tangled up in the bed sheet.  He tripped and fell to the ground, nearly pulling the other end off Gloria.  She gripped it tighter over her chest but still jumped over Caleb’s prone form, tangling him even further, as she swung her own blade.  She only missed because all the other shaker things were backing toward the stairs. 

     “Gah!  No!” the closest creature said.  “You will not resist!”

     “Resist what?” Caleb asked.  He hadn’t been able to unwind the sheet from around himself, so he had instead cut it open with his sword.  He stood holding the katana threateningly at them with one hand while he tried to cover himself up with a torn piece of sheet in the other.  “You’re barely even doing anything now that your leader guy is gone.  Aren’t you even going to put up a fight?”

     “We are sorry for what he did!” the nearest one said.  “That ‘Exfoliate’ thing is just something he got off on!”

     The next closest shaker-thing spoke.  “He was a douchebag!”

     They all spoke in unison.  “Douchebag!  Douchebag!”

     Gloria lowered the sword and looked like she was trying to find a way to scratch her head without setting it down or lowering the sheet.  After a moment, she took the hand and sheet away from her body long enough to scratch.  Snookie guessed that she didn’t think the creatures cared whether or not she was clothed.  The girl probably didn’t realize anyone else might be watching.

     “So what exactly is it you guys don’t want us to resist?”

     The first one spoke.  “Do not resist giving us directions to the bowling alley!”

     Gloria and Caleb both stared for several seconds.  “That’s it?” Caleb asked.  “You just broke into the building, let your friend kill people…”

     “Not our friend!  Douchebag!  Douchebag!”

     “Whatever,” Gloria said.  “What do you expect to do at the bowling alley?  You don’t even have hands!”

     One of them waved a stick arm at one of the creatures near the back.  “Larry over there thinks the girl who sprays the shoes with disinfectant is hot!”

     Caleb and Gloria gave them the directions, then went back into their apartment.  They didn’t bother to watch the shaker-shaped things leave.  Snookie had no idea how they had made it up the stairs in the first place, but they didn’t have any trouble getting down.  They just wheeled to the stairs and fell the rest of the way.

     Snookie continued to watch the hallway until she was sure no one else was coming.  If the boy and girl knew anything about how things worked around here, they had probably called someone about cleaning up the dead bodies and coming up with a plausible story in case any of the mundy neighbors asked the wrong questions.  But just because they knew how to get rid of strange things didn’t mean Snookie would admit they knew what they were doing.  Snookie shook her head as she stepped away from the peep hole.  Amateurs.  They were complete amateurs, acting like they had the slightest clue about anything, even when they didn’t.  They should have known katanas weren’t the best weapon in that situation.  Any true beastie-basher worth her salt would have used a Scottish claymore. 

     Snookie leaned her cane against the rack and grabbed her own Scottish claymore from the “just in case” rack.  Her frail arms strained at the great weight, but the hilt still felt good and familiar in her hands.  The sword was almost as tall as her, but there had once been a time she could have wielded it easily.

     Her eyes misted a little as she carefully put a hand on the blade.  It desperately needed a polish, but she hadn’t been able to make herself clean it since she had last used it.  There was still blood on it.  Not a lot, but just enough to remind her.  Four distinct spots of old, dried human blood, one for each of the OneStop Mart employees she had killed.

     She carefully put the sword back in its place and grabbed her cane again.  She shuffled back to her recliner, trying to accompany the music on her TV with a double-finger snap from her free hand.  Her arthritic joints just couldn’t do it anymore.

 (c) 2010 Derek Goodman


5 Responses to “Old Clerks Don’t Die – Chapter 1”

  1. 1 JackieH.
    February 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Ooh, nice cliffhanger!

  2. February 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Pssh, broadswords. I’d take a Katana any day… though a Falcata would do in a pinch, I presume. 😛

    Starting off nicely. 🙂 Suppose the little ones are a bit too eager on the whole topic of ‘Shoot first, ask questions later’, huh?

    Oh, in case you’re wondering: I’m the same guy as matzebrei85 on twitter. I heard Jackie already told you who I am. (Speaking of which, I should have accepted her offer to buy The Apocalypse Shift and ship it to me personally. Wonder how bad the communication between amazon.de and .com must be… and if I’ll get the book before you’ve put up everything from book 2)

    • February 22, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      I don’t know how easily it is to get the book from Amazon in Germany, but no matter how slow it takes to get it, I can say that if you tried to order it now you would almost definitely get it before I’ve finished posting book 2 on here. The last book had 30+ chapters, and this one looks like it will be longer.

      Glad you’re enjoying it!

      • March 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm

        Well, they finally did sort themselves out well enough to send it to me. Picked it up today, right on time before leaving the country for a week.
        I started reading a couple minutes ago and I got one thing to say: I’m only at page 6 and already laughing my butt off. *g*

        Stupid question, though: Are there any problems uploading the next part? 😉

      • March 6, 2010 at 1:51 am

        Um, yeah… I had a little technical glitch called “Mass Effect 2 ate up all my time and parts of my soul.” Don’t worry, though. Game done, and back to writing.

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