Mark Henry_Amanda Feral 01

Read Online Mark Henry_Amanda Feral 01 by Happy Hour of the Damned - Free Book Online

Book: Mark Henry_Amanda Feral 01 by Happy Hour of the Damned Read Free Book Online
Authors: Happy Hour of the Damned
Tags: Fiction, General, Fantasy, Contemporary, Paranormal, Zombies, Seattle (Wash.)
that smile, man. You look like a retard.”
    I had spent twenty minutes rocking and heaving brownish fluid from my ass; it burned as though I’d been raped with the serious end of a red-hot poker. When there was nothing left to pass, I dabbed, yelping at each thunderbolt of pressure. I stood at the mirror a good five minutes, clutching the vanity, then ventured out to be humiliated.
    “Lesson number two,” Ricardo said, sliding a vodka martini across the ice in front of me. “There are only two things you can consume and coffee’s not one of them.”
    “No doubt. It’s a good thing alcoholism runs in the family.”
    “That’s the spirit!” He either ignored my joke, or took it as sincere. “Alcohol and human flesh, blood, muscle, sweetbreads, and bone marrow is particularly tasty, but primarily for the epicure. Pig will do in a pinch but plays havoc with the bowels.”
    “Are you trying to gross me out?” I asked. But I found I was not in the slightest queasy or disgusted, just kind of sad. His words meant no more pizza, garlic fries, coconut cream pie, and greasy churros dipped in hot chocolate. I would need to beef up the black in my wardrobe for the mourning period.
    “Nope. Until they come out with Zombie Chow, those are your options.”
    I thought back to my temptation to bite into Martin. It explained so much. The pangs in my stomach, prickling like a bag of thumbtacks; my inability to self-lubricate 32 ; the ghostly pallor of my skin, not to mention the bluing of my veins, now visible through my foundation; and the chill coming off me, like an ice storm. It sunk in then, the death. Or I sunk into it. Either way, I was dead.
    “Hungry?” Ricardo asked.
    My head snapped in his direction. I was unsure how to respond.
    “I guess the real question is: hungry enough, right?” As in: hungry enough to eat a person, Amanda? Hungry enough to kill? Hungry enough to go balls-to-the-wall Night of the Living Dead -savage on a human being?
    Ricardo resumed polishing cocktail glasses; he studied me over his work. A sly grin danced across his mouth.
    “I don’t think so,” I responded. “Not yet.”
    “You will be. Soon. But, it’s not a problem. Luckily, for you, you live in a city—a state, really—that houses a significant underclass. The best thing for us, as hunters, is a welfare state. And, you live in a prime example of that concept. The tri-county area spreads out like stockyards of human castoffs.”
    “So—let me get this straight—we feed on welfare recipients?”
    Gross, right? Where do you procure one, the Dollar Store? Jesus!
    “Welfare recipients, criminals, runaways, the homeless, those who, once gone, go unnoticed. If there’s one thing you can count on in this town, it’s people not noticing. There’s a plague of self-absorption, self-help books, yoga studios, on-call psychotherapy and twenty-four-hour massage. For Christ’s sake, we’ll never go hungry.” Ricardo was laughing, hard. A hearty bellowing laugh, the beef stew of laughs. Gil hunched over in silent glee, seizing in fits.
    He took a break to say, “Tell her about the fun runs .”
    Ricardo spit his drink across the table in a fine spray, his eyes tight with laughter. A bit may have come out his nose. “Once a month, we rent a van—and by we, I mean somebody, whoever—we load up and drive down to the welfare office. Someone, usually a werecreature of some sort, in human form, waits outside with a clipboard and screens applicants for computer training, day labor. The goal is to get them to agree to get in the van. When they do…it’s a feast, and we laugh and laugh. We keep going like that until we’re full or security notices, which is so rare.”
    “That’s really nice,” I said. “Way to go with the empathy.”
    Ricardo and Gil busted up; there was God’s-honest knee slapping.
    It was viral.
    I started to laugh, too. Then flinched, from a delay in processing the conversation, “Did I hear that we eat

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