Ambition, by Chad A. Clark
Morris ducked through the archway into the cemetery, trying to stay out of sight. That intern had been at the movie and clearly was interested in conversation that Morris wanted no part of. As soon as the credits started to roll, he jumped up out of his seat and darted out through the rear emergency exit. He thought he had made a clean getaway but still, he heard the sound of dragging footsteps, coming from somewhere behind him. The kid was nothing if not relentless.
A certain amount of hero worship was to be expected when you were a vice president of foreign acquisitions. He was used to that, but the unending barrage of questions and requests was almost enough for him to consider early retirement. He had neither the interest nor the time to be just some renewable resource. Not unless he was getting paid.
Besides, it wasn’t as if there was a career path that he could recommend, based on his vast experience. Granted, climbing the corporate ladder had always been easy for him. What he could never say was that the reason was that people ahead of him on the food chain always seemed to fall victim to convenient accidents. How could he phrase that in the form of a mission statement? Kid, just make sure you’re always in position to step up, if and when someone kicks the bucket. Better yet, make sure you provide the bucket.
The VP before him had been his latest step up the ladder, the cast iron bitch to end all others. While he usually found women in the corporate world susceptible to his charms, this bitch had been foreign territory for him. Right away, their relationship had been hostile. Up until the end, she had been regularly threatening to fire and replace him with one of her idiot, knuckle dragging yes-men.
He found that if he let things play out naturally, his luck was almost uncanny, and this proved to be no exception. Before the bitch could make any headway with HR, she had passed away under mysterious circumstances. The medical examiner had described it as an “anomalous coronary incident”. No one seemed to take note of the fact that the incident had happened shortly after she had just consumed one of her vile-smelling energy drinks. Whether or not something had been put in her drink to induce the “incident” wasn’t for him to say.
These thoughts were running through his mind when he heard the shambling footsteps behind him again. God dammed intern. Morris picked up his pace and turned down the lane of ornate, over-sized tombstones. One of the names made him stop short and he shook his head in irritation. What were the odds? Of all the graves, how could he have ended up standing over the bitch’s remains, of all things?
He sensed an approach from behind and turned to tell the intern off. He instead found himself face to face with the bitch herself, or it-self would probably be more accurate. The corpse’s skin hung loosely off the protruding cheekbones, and the jaw swung from side to side, apparently no longer able to shut. Morris stumbled back, trying to find the words to say, or the way to react. He looked into the dull eyes, ensconced in rotting flesh and saw nothing but undead rage.
The thing lunged forward and took hold of him. Hands wrapped tightly around his face and lifted. His feet were jerked up and he kicked his legs wildly, trying to re-acquire contact with the ground. It occurred to him in a panic that this thing was going to rip his damn head off.
Luck came Morris’ way again as smothering darkness flooded in before he could find out how right he was.