June 6, 2014

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour Guest Post: Mark Tufo



Happy Friday, y'all!

Today I'm excited to take part in the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour, hosted by the indomitable Armand Rosamilia, who may have the best name EVER. But the tour itself is really cool, too - 30+ zombie writers (though I was too late to hop on the train; maybe I'll get to play next year), visiting 30+ blogs through the month of June. There are giveaways, contests, you name it. If you like zombies, it's really the place to be right now, so definitely go check it out.

Right now I'm happy to introduce to you author Mark Tufo. His Zombie Fallout series never fails to make top ten zombie lists, and I've kept an eye on him from afar for quite some time. He's here with a story of teenage trauma, weed, and pure, dumb luck, that'll set your teeth on edge.

And since I'm normally fairly family-friendly here, though you know I have an affinity for the f-word, I'll go ahead and give a warning: this post is rated R, so if you're offended by the occasional cuss-word, I can only say: sorry! 

Welcome Mark, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Mark Tufo

ZOMBIES!!!! (Armand said this had to be about zombies so I figured I satisfied that requirement with my initial word, plus he won’t read any further than that anyway so I should be safe.)

This is a true story.

It was a dark and stormy night. (No really it was!) The temperature had to be hovering around 40 degrees. Fall in New England was rapidly degenerating to its more blustery cousin Winter. A driving rain, closely resembling ice pellets, sheeted down upon my 1970 Buick Skylark. I had just stopped at my best friend’s house, Dennis, to be called Wags henceforth.

“Hey man want a hit?” I’d no sooner pulled up into his parents driveway when I lit up a joint and took a large drag.

“Dude you do realize you’re still in front of my house right,” he asked as he hopped into the passenger seat.

I was still holding on to my intake as I urged the bone onto him. I put my car in reverse, let go my exhalation, and drove off. Wags just shook his head and took a drag himself. We didn’t say another word as we finished off the mary jane.

“That’s pretty good stuff.” Wags said, playing air drums to Ozzy on my dashboard.

“California Goldies, a hundred and ten an ounce.” (Trust me that was a lot back in the day).

“I would have held my breath longer if I’d known.”

I drove a little further. The rain was beginning to abate even as the wind picked up, and leaves were now dropping down almost as hard as the rain had been. We were still a little early for Beckie Wilson’s party (her name has been changed to protect her identity - her house got so trashed by the party she threw she had to tell her parents that someone had broken in. They didn’t buy it but that was the only way they were going to get the insurance company to cover the damage, but that has nothing to do with this story).

“Want to head to the bluffs? The rain has stopped,” I asked him.

He looked up at the sky. I don’t know what he was hoping to see. It would have been easier to see the bottom of a full inkwell. “Tufo I’m not a fan of your excursions, definitely not while I’m baked. Plus I’ve got my decent clothes on. I don’t want to get all muddy before I go to a party.”

“I didn’t say anything about rolling around in the dirt, but whatever we’ll just sit in the car and talk about school.”

“Asshat.”

“I’ll take that as a yes, and your ‘decent clothes,’ what the fuck does that mean?”

I pulled off the main road onto a deserted path, which stopped after going into the woods for a hundred feet or so, far enough back that the cops couldn’t see it on an ordinary patrol. From here it was a mile and a half hike up. Maybe five or six hundred feet in elevation, at the very end it got tricky scaling a twenty foot outcropping of ancient sledge, that’s where it got the name the Bluffs. The view though, that was what made it worth it. You could see the distant lights of at least four or five towns. Plus I’d yet to meet a cop who would make that hike just to nab a drinking teen.

I was putting all my paraphernalia into my pockets checking it at least three or four times. I didn’t know what it was called back then but even in my teens I showed signs of OCD, oh the joy to come. When I was confident I had everything I did one more check. I was now kind of wondering myself if I wanted to do this, it was cold and certainly wet, and maybe I was wearing my ‘decent clothes’ too. I was near to telling Dennis that maybe we should just go get some food. I glanced out the windshield, just as my hand grabbed the door handle.

“You see that?”

“See what?” Wags was now looking where I had been.

Whatever it was, had departed. I was left with the after-image of a vague body shaped blue, transparent figure.

“Are we going or not.” His face looked pale under the dome light as he opened the door.

“You alright man?” I asked.

“Huh?” He had quickly exited the car and now stuck his head back in. “Shit man I could say the same about you. You’re as pale as a ghost. Is the weed bad?”

“Fuck no I’ve had it for two days, been nothing but a good time. Must just be the weather.” A severe chill ran up and down my spine. “Maybe we should just go.” Whatever I’d seen was something I could not explain, and I saw no reason to seek out answers to questions I didn’t even know I had yet.

“Tufo, was it blue?” Wags was peering over my hood looking down the path we would need to take that led to the top of the Bluffs.

“Fuck, yes.”

“We going to check it out?”

I answered with the same two-word sentence I’d used previously. The creature or being, or more likely hallucination, flitted from tree to tree like a giant blue fire-fly. It finally brightened to the point where Wags and I both had to shield our eyes and then immediately it went out like it had spent its energy. This was followed immediately by the distant sound of multiple tires screeching violently and then the heavy impact of metal on metal and it was continuous like a vengeful Thor was taking out all his frustrations on a used car parking lot for having sold him a lemon.

Dennis and I hadn’t moved as we listened to impact upon impact. It was the thunderous explosion that got us moving.

“What was that?” Wags asked.

He didn’t clarify whether he was asking about the accident or the apparition, for that was what I was convinced it was.

“Let’s get to the top of the Bluffs we’ll probably be able to see what happened.”

We made that mile in pretty decent time considering we didn’t have much ambient light to work with and the weed had performed its job admirably.

“Holy shit.” Wags said. Having made the rock climb first, he was looking off to the east (honestly I have no idea which direction he was looking but I figured I’d pretend to know).

“Fuck me.” I was now looking where he was. The tangled wreckage was about two miles up the road from where we had parked, at least half of the cars involved in the accident were on fire, the rest soon would be. We could see and hear the approach of multiple rescue vehicles.

I was doing the math in my head, had we not pulled off for the Bluffs and not gone chasing whatever spirit we’d encountered there was a good chance we would have been in that cluster-fuck that raged below us. Was the paleness we had seen on each other’s features a portending of an event we had been allowed to avoid? Was the specter sent to further entice us away from death’s cold embrace? Listen, I don’t fucking know, I ask the same questions I do now as I did thirty years ago.

We would later learn that five cars had piled up when a seventy year old man lost control on a patch of roadway strewn with wet leaves. Every New Englander knows that leaves in enough abundance are as dangerous as black ice. Two cars had plowed into him from behind, and three that were coming in the opposite direction it was that third vehicle a chemical truck carrying ethanol that had sealed all of their fates. It had slid sideways before finally dropping onto its side, a weak weld in the tank had broken under the abnormal pressures exerted on it and had coated the entire scene in a fiery phosphorescence that burned in an unearthly blue much like our guide.



The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie





62 comments:

Liz Zee said...

Holy hell, that's an awesome story. You two are very lucky!

Jessica Althoff said...

Thank you for sharing! Great short story.

Tommy Hagler said...

That was an awesome story as always from Mark Tufo . He has got to be one of the great authors of my time

Tommy Hagler said...

That was an awesome story. As always mark Tufo kills it

JustSasha said...

That Was AWEASOME..... I experienced an "apparition" (don't know what else to call it) when I was younger .Here is one of them, I woke up in the middle of the night because I kept hearing people crying. Since we were very humble when I grew up, I shared the only bedroom with my mother and my brother. So I woke up and looked out of the window to see where the crying was coming from, and i see a long procession of people all dressed in white carrying a wooden white box on their shoulders;. My mother wakes up and asked what I was doing; since I was putting my shoes on to go outside. when I told her I wanted to say goodbye to the little boy in the box she told me to go back to bed because there was no one there.. I replied YES there are!!!!!!. there are hundreds of them!!!!. CANT you see? she got vary pale and began to pray (as usual). I look back out of the window it seem like all of them Simultaneously turn their heads towards me, smiled and vanished in the spot. I can not described the shivers I still get down my spine when I think of it or talk about it.. I know it sounds insane but I assure you is a true story and unfortunately not the only one I have.
PS Please forgive my writing skills...

MaryJane sablan said...

Lured me in...great story!

emma said...

good story very much enjoyed thanks

Season Edwards said...

Wow! Amazing story!

Connie Key said...

Loved the story...you have a gift for writing :)

Justin Scheffler said...

Anything Tufo writes is like beer(ambrosia from the gods)

JAM said...

Great story.

mistyrainshawnwillia said...

Mark Tufo... my one and only zombie writer... until now ;)

Nancy Lauria Spedding said...

Awesome! More...we want more...stories from your brain!!

Andrew Garrett said...

Dun dun dunnnnnnnn! Nice lil story Mr Tufo. :)

Diana Candy said...

Wow... that was intense! Great story. I love reading about all your "journies" in life. Personal experience makes for some of the best stories and I truly believe in ghosts! Give me chills though a little bit :)

Michele said...

That was an amazing story!

Wicked Princess said...

Well done Mark ! - Marrah Goodman

Greg Setzer said...

That's a great story but is it true or just stoned but either way I loved it. Thanks.

Stephanie said...

Loved it!!

Kimberly Sansone said...

Either way, truth or not, wicked awesome.

samantha walsh said...

Mark Tufo is the man! For real! WWTD?

ChuckStultz said...

Awesome short story Mark. As always enjoyed reading it.

Stacie Shular said...

Scary stuff Mark!

shawnee marshall said...

I just discovered Mark's books in the last few months and I swear I am devouring them with the zest of a zombie with caged food...lol..his humor and style is what makes his writing different...so glad to have found his work!

Victoria Davis said...

Once again I was pulled into the story!

Simon Hodgkinson said...

Nice one..spooky.

Andrew Knoll said...

AWSOME! Mark Tufo is da man! Can't wait for the next lycan fallout!

Rebecca Parker said...

Great story haven't heard Mary Jane since high school.

Murderous Loki said...

I dont know how you do it, you must write with magic or something cause foe a short story that rocked it had so much for the imagination to work will. Like all your work! I bow down to you.
Baylie Poller

Shauna Osteen said...

I'm suppose to be working, but yet I am sucked into another of your stories........

Brian Menard said...

Holy shit I had a similar experience but the apparition was red, no wreck, and I was sober. Oh yea and it wasn't friendly.

Kevin Rohla said...

Great stuff as always Mark!!! Needs more cow bell!

Kelly Bammel said...

Great story!!!!

Dan Modzik said...

Mr. Tufo's books are a must read!!! everything he puts out is great stuff, whether it is a 400 page novel, or a 1 page short story. Just good stuff all around!

Katie Cadena said...

Love it!

Martin said...

An other Insight to Captain Tufo's miss spent youth :)

Anders Andersson said...

Nice surprise for vacuming break.....the wife told me to get back to work pretty fast so the lenght was perfect.......

Elizabeth said...

I missed the actual zombies. But also good story! !

jbroveak said...

Tufo just has a way with words. He could make a grocery list sound good - because you know there would be a back story or two in there :)

sparkyleegeek said...

That was great!! Tufo is the shit.

Nevin E. Adams, JD said...

I was hooked from "ZOMBIES!!!!"

Vera said...

Thanks for sharing this story Mark! It was a "fun" read before I start my long drive to work...
Great Blog Leah!

Nicki Holm said...

Your are awesome as allways ;) but where is BT and talbot :)

nicole dale said...

Great story. Thanks for sharing. A awesome way to start my weekend!

Iain Johnston said...

A short blast from the past.

Tracey Devonshire said...

You never disappoint...another awesome story. :-)

Sean Daly said...

I wish stuff like that happened to me when I smoked. The only ambition I had was to sit down and eat a bag of jalapeno cheese curls haha

Christina Mead-Palmer said...

That was just plain crazy! But still loved it....

Sara Miller said...

Awesome story, Mark. Thanks for sharing with us. I wish it didn't have to end. I always wish your stories never had to end.

kricat said...

Awesome story...but I would expect nothing less from Tufo!

sarah said...

Yet another fab read Mr T,you are a legend :)

imnotali said...

Gave me goose bumps!

Shelly LaRouche-Arbogast said...

Ohhhhh, loved it! Was pulled right in and left wanting more. Another homerun Mark!

julie nugent said...

I believe that many truths are possible, ive seen "miracles", ive felt that nudge, ive even heard that audible inner voice , believing is where the strength of the spirit resides��

CornBeefTaco said...

Wow Mark you REALLY are old if 110 for an oz was considered expensive!

But back to the story, I thought it was pretty good, but I expect that whenever I read one of your stories bro.
Keep up the great story-telling.

Bonnie Baker said...

Great story, as usual Mark can take an every day event, and turn it into something terrifying. He can also make a shopping list funny. My favorite all time author.

angelmythology said...

Love Mark! Have had some interesting ghostly stories myself! Glad to know I'm not the only one!

Mark Smart said...

I read a lot. Different genre's, fiction, non-fiction, biographies, you name it. But whenever Mr Tufo releases new work, it has the power to make me immediately stop what I'm currently reading. No other author has that effect, not Lee Child, Peter James, James Herbert or Stephen Leather (4 of my favourite authors).
The man's wit, prose, tempo and style always makes for a great read. This short story exemplifies the talent.

lynn Hamilton said...

Awesome as always Mark Tufo.....I love your work.

michele heeder said...

Great true story Mark, you have a story tellers gift of bringing a tale to life!

Mark Tufo said...

Hi all just wanted to thank everyone for posting and Leah for hosting! Hope your week has started off great!

Robbie Wilkes said...

Finally got the chance to read this, and, as with anything that Mark writes, I loved it... and, of course, heard it in Sean Runnett's voice. :-) I'm almost scared to ever hear Tufo speak, because it would extremely disappointing to find out he sounded like Lindsey Graham, or something. LOL! Just kidding Mark, I'm sure you've got an appropriately manly baritone to compliment that goatee.

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