Saturday, February 11, 2012

"Zombie Kong" by James Roy Daley (Novella)

Genre:  Horror

Type of Short Story:  Novella

Summary:  Zombies are bad, but ZOMBIE KONG is worse. Way worse.

Big. Bad. Heavy. Hungry. While a 50-foot tall zombie gorilla smashes the hell out of a small town, Candice Wanglund drags her son Jake through the hazardous streets in an attempt to get away from the man that is determined to kill them. She wishes her husband Dale was by her side; he would know what to do. The good news––Dale’s alive. Problem is, he was eaten by Kong.


When the giant zombie gorilla tossed me into his mouth he did not chew, nor did he swallow. Instead, he turned his head and roared. The sound, quite simply, was the loudest thing I had ever heard.

Hugging the monster’s dehydrated tongue while balancing on one knee, I found myself desperate and highly troubled. The massive teeth stacked around me were frightful. The canines interposing the calcified walls resembled the grand ivory tusks found on an African elephant, only thicker, more dangerous, and somehow… sinister.

The animal’s mouth sprang open and snapped shut. Then it opened again, slowly this time, allowing sunlight to creep in like the promise of a morning that would never come.

Trapped inside, clutching where I was able, in my state of absolute fear, I recognized those teeth as being something I had been extremely lucky to avoid. But how much longer could my good fortune continue? Another minute… maybe two? Clinging to that terrible wad of dead meat, which was cold and slimy and reeking so bad my eyes watered, my thoughts, when fully formed, were at best unsystematically erratic. But I did manage to keep my wits. Oh yes. Somehow I managed that much. Just.

While smudging the dirty tears across my face, I looked past the monster’s tongue, lips, and teeth, eying the world I thought I knew. But what kind of world was this? A flaming bus held no spectators. A squashed taxicab was overlooked. People running, a dog barking, fires consuming buildings that had been knocked over like mounds of blocks in a child’s playroom.

There were cars––

Cars had been recklessly hurled across the landscape and could be found leaning against trampled trees which had been snapped into sections, lying alongside busted telephone poles while live wires danced beside them. Dead bodies were scattered about, sometimes in pieces, sometimes not. And for a moment––one final moment, I could only assume––I saw my wife, Candice, and my son, Jake. Running. Screaming. Hand in hand, they were fleeing the monster with a group of ten, one of whom was a man I knew quite well: Roy Berkley.

Roy had dark hair, a slim nose, and a big smile that was waiting for me every time I saw him working at my local coffee shop. He always seemed to have everything in order. Everything in its place, he would sometimes say, smiling like a guy that had the whole world figured out. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life it’s that while some men wear their hearts on their sleeves, others hide themselves behind a false exterior of counterfeit cheerfulness. I’d always assumed Roy to be a false exterior man, because his sleeves seemed to be whistle-clean at all times… until that moment. Missing a limb and bleeding profusely, Roy fell to his knees with his mutilated arm flapping insanely while the other arm pinwheeled for balance. With death but a wink from claiming the man, I saw the look of terror fastened to his colorless face. A face haunted with fright. There was no false exterior at that moment. No sir. Everything was real. His feelings were genuine. Roy, I realized then, wore his heart on his sleeve. I almost felt bad for not knowing.

After Roy tumbled to the ground, my wife looked over her shoulder, glancing at my friend before staring up at the animal… and then straight at me. For a single moment, a precious moment, I like to think that our eyes locked together, uniting our souls one last time before the oversized mouth closed tightly, imprisoning me. Did it happen? Did we share a glance, or was my mind so lost within the depths of despair that I imagined the event? The answer remains unknown, for the moment the jaws closed, my existence changed. The beast had me. And it swallowed me down. Whole.

I slipped past the pharynx, past the epiglottis and the larynx, and into the tight confines of the esophagus. Before it happened I was wondering if I could free myself; escaping my frightful predicament was the only option I was willing to entertain. But as the swallowing occurred and my world turned dark, the prospect of escape looked bleak and unrealistic, unless, of course, I could crawl my way back into that miserable mouth once again. It would be no easy task, and even if I managed to claw my way into that cursed place a second time, what then? What would I do? It was a practical question without a reasonable answer, but it didn’t matter. If I couldn’t re-enter the mouth I still had to escape. Somehow. Even if the esophagus muscles had already begun squeezing me, gripping me, pulling me down. Pulling me in.

I felt movement all around. I could tell by the way my world was shaking that the beast was walking, or perhaps running, for I was being pushed this way and that––shuffled about as if living through an earthquake.

Inside that moment, if I could feel grateful about one thing, it would be the fact that the beast had swallowed me feet-first. This isn’t much to smile about, I know. But with my head pointing north and my feet pointing south, I felt as if I had maintained some measure of control, as negligible as that control may seem.

Being inside an esophagus––a strange miracle of evolution––is like being devoured by a toothless python. It grips and pulls, squeezes and clutches, constricts and suffocates.

Suffocation. That was my newest fear, the latest thought picking at my brain and making my heart race, encouraging the sweat to bead up on my forehead and run squiggly trails down the back of my neck. But there was air inside the beast. Enough to breathe, anyhow. There wasn’t as much as I wanted, but there was more than I could have hoped for considering the situation.

Grunting and cursing, I dug my fingers into a wall of flesh. A handful of slippery, fungus-covered meat was my reward.

Something shifted and moved beneath me. I heard a grunt and I lost my footing. The muscles in my body instinctively flexed as I tried to maintain my ground. I was leaving the esophagus. About to be dropped into that stretchy sac known as the stomach.


Looking back, that’s the first word that comes to mind. Not ‘scary’. Not ‘terrifying’. Not even ‘murky’ or ‘stinky’… and it was stinky,exceptionally stinky. But as rancid, and curdling, and god-awful barf-doggish as it smelled, gross is the appropriate word.

Gross, man.

When I dropped out of the esophagus and into the stomach, it was gross. It was also dark; I could hardly catch a glimpse of anything. There was air… sort of, which is why I didn’t die. But the air was so wrong. The taste on my lips was akin to bile.

I should point out that there were holes in the stomach, the skin, and the muscles of the abdominal area. Every few seconds the beast would twist one way or another and a little bit of light would seep into the sac, and with the light came nitrogen and oxygen and all the other molecules of gobbledygook that we call ‘air’.

By the way, do you know what a stomach is?

I know you’re well aware that you have a stomach, but do you know what a stomach is? I mean, really know?

Let me tell you:

A stomach is a mixer, wrought like a J-shaped bag. It churns, mashes, and pulverizes all the food that travels down the esophagus, slamming it together and breaking it into small pieces of fodder. This is done with the help of stomach muscles and the gastric juices that the walls of the stomach create.

And there I was––hanging out in a stomach, waiting to get broken down into digestible fragments. But there was a snag. The beast no longer had gastric juices. After the beast had died, the juices went missing.

My guess––and this is a guess––is that the enzymes and acids that aid with food digestion had leaked out, or dried up, or eaten their way through the tissue. No stomach acid meant no digesting. Fantastic news, for sure… however, I found myself sitting in something terrible, something snaking around in a slow-moving circle.

A question came; it was simple and obvious.

What am I going to do?

The answer…

Phone my wife.

A stupid solution, I know. But it was all I had.

I suppose now, looking back at the situation, that I could have called 911. The thought never occurred to me. So I rammed my hand into my front pocket and pulled out my cell phone, thinking about Candice. My keys––house keys, car keys, garage keys, a couple of mystery keys––they also came out of my pocket and slipped from my fingers. The keys were gone, but I still had my phone, and that was the important thing.

I looked to my left. No keys in sight.

I looked to my right, just as the monster released another roar, and this time the noise was louder than I can possibly explain. The sound was coming from everywhere, from all directions. The sound was penetrating, getting right inside me, into my heart. When the noise ended, I found that I was screaming in terror with my hand gripping my chin and my bottom lip trembling uncontrollably. Frightened beyond words, I clicked on my phone and coughed a number of times, in desperate need of a germ-free environment.

The air, of course, was toxic. How long would it be before the air itself killed me? It was impossible to say, although I couldn’t image I’d survive much longer.

I guess this is a good time to tell you that I have asthma, for it was at that moment I felt the first signs of an asthma attack, which, in so many ways, was the very last thing I wanted to add to the situation.

Half the phone number was dialed with jittery hands; then I saw something, and needed a moment to see it again. I hung up.

My phone, like most, came with a backlight. And because I had a light, I could see…

Dead bodies.

I was sitting in a pile of dead bodies: faces pale, mouths opened, noses smashed, eyes locked in fear, arms chewed into mulch, scalps yanked from heads, skin torn, spines protruding from shattered backs, legs broken, fingers missing, feet twisted, kneecaps obliterated, a child…

A child with little yellow ribbons braided into her blonde hair… she had her face pounded into her shoulder. I saw a man that had been bitten in half at the waist; he looked about forty. A pair of chubby arms sat alone, stacked together almost neatly on a mangled corpse. The owner of the arms was nowhere to be found.

I saw a baseball glove, an unopened bottle of wine, a laptop, a pack of cigarettes, a pair of sunglasses, and what I later realized was a horse’s head, covered in blood, guts, and bone. And this––all this––was turning in a circle, blending, mixing, churning.

Fighting for balance, I stood up and dialed my wife’s number. My legs sank into the mulch.

And then it had me: the small intestine. I was going in.

The phone began ringing.

Candice answered, sounding completely stressed out. “Hello?”


“Dale, is that you?”

“Oh my God, yes! It’s me! It’s me!”

“Where are you? I thought––”

“I’m inside the monkey!”

A slight pause came before Candice said, “What?!”

“I’m inside! He tossed me into his mouth and swallowed me down!”

“You’re kidd––”

Panic consumed me in a way I can’t possibly explain, and I started screaming: “I’M IN THE MONKEY’S STOMACH! YOU’VE GOT TO TELL SOMEBODY! HELP ME! GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE! I’VE GOT TO GET––”

The monster unleashed another thought-crushing yell and pounded on his chest. Instead of finishing the sentence, I screamed more loudly than before. Then something happened. Not inside. Outside. Maybe the monster fell; maybe he jumped off a car or did something as simple as sit down. I don’t know, but my center of gravity changed and the corpses around me shifted position. The dead were piling my way, causing the phone to pop from my hand and tumble from my fingers. The world became a fraction darker than the far side of the moon and before I had a chance to catch my breath––before I realized what was about to happen––Kong’s intestine sucked me in.
Buy this story on Amazon.  Find a list of Daley's work here.

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