The first story can be found here: https://radioactiverabbitink.com/2015/10/26/under-the-october-moon-1-of-3/
I have seen the movement of the sinews of the sky, And the blood coursing in the veins of the moon. – Muhammad Iqbal
The radio crackled to life in his hand. Bill almost dropped the CB handset. Nobody came over or said anything, which made it odd, but the long-haul truck driver was used to weird, especially this close to Stull, Kansas. He had been driving for years before he had ever needed to pass through the small town just to the north of Gatlin. The other drivers told strange stories about the small town, but Bill had long ago learned not to pay attention to the idle chatter of other truckers. They were worse than old women about spinning yarns. Waiting until the static quit, Bill pressed the button and sent out a general broadcast to see if there were any other truckers nearby. A few moments later, something came through, but it was too garbled to make out.
“Come back, good buddy,” Bill replied. “Couldn’t quite hear ya.”
No response ever came.
There had been plenty of trucks on Highway 40, but ever since he had turned onto 442, the roads had been empty. It was eerie. The moon was shining brightly over the rows of corn, giving the stalks the look of a silver sea lining the road. Bill preferred the silver sea to the standard crop of dead stalks that seemed to hold some sinister menace. A barn rose above the tops of the plants with a flickering red light reaching to the heavens.
Refusing to slow down, Bill kept his speed up and raced on along the country road. Once he reached the actual city of Stull, he’d hang a left on 1023 for the last leg of his trip. Headlights finally appeared in the distance. Bill slowed his speed just in case it was the local sheriff. The road continued to draw ever closer to the hellish-looking barn.
As Bill drew nearer, he could see several bonfires burning. A pumpkin-headed scarecrow held a sign, pointing the way to the local harvest fair. The closer he came the more signs dotted the shoulder of the road: corn maze, fresh apple cider, rides, games, and all of the other trappings of a community fair. Bill shook his head in disgust. He hated when these little towns decided to have some kind of event; it always meant that he would have to keep going to get something to eat. The man hated the drive through Stull, but he loved the diner in town. It had one of the best bowls of chili that he had ever had; coupled with the cute girl that worked the counter and Bill always stopped in Stull.
Maybe on the way back, he told himself. With a fair in town, the diner would probably be closed, and the cute girl would be fawned over by all of the farm boys. Refusing to glance over at the festivities, Bill kept going, leaving the happy townspeople of Stull in the fading glow of his taillights. Up ahead, the gates to the local cemetery raised up with the white church behind it; they were the only thing that broke the monotony of the farms.
Bill caught sight of several people in the necropolis. Kids telling ghost stories, Bill thought as he pulled the air horn.
Imagining the frightened kids jumping out of their skin, Bill laughed to himself. The cemetery behind him, he concentrated on the darkened road ahead of him. It was going to be a long night without his bowl of chili and a stiff cup of coffee. A loud wrenching sound broke from underneath the hood of the rig. The engine whined for a moment and then died. Letting out a string of profanity that would have embarrassed his father, a former sailor, Bill managed to guide the large vehicle to the shoulder before it quit moving.
The trucker knew that his cell phone would not have any signal this far out, but checked it anyway. The display screen confirmed his thoughts, no cell towers would be carrying his signal. The CB was his only chance. Sending several calls out, Bill waited. He was greeted by nothing but static. Tossing the handset onto the dash, he opened the door and stepped into the chilly night. The farm wasn’t too far back, several miles maybe. High up in the cab of his truck, Bill had been able to spy over the tops of the corn, but now, on the road the plants formed two perfect walls to keep him hemmed in.
As he started to close the door to the cab, the radio crackled for a moment followed by a strange whelp and then fell silent. “Sounded like a scream,” Bill muttered.
Ignoring the strange sound, the trucker started walking down the blacktop, thankful for the bright orb in the night sky. A breeze blew overhead carrying eerie noises with it. Bill thought it sounded like a mournful cry. Grumbling to himself for acting like a frightened child, he shoved his hands in his pocket and marched back the way he had driven.
The steeple bearing a white cross rose above the field, which meant Bill was getting near the cemetery. “Get those kids to give me some help.”
Shifting direction, the breeze blew open the gate to the cemetery. “Hey!” Bill shouted as he stepped through the gate.
The burly truck driver stopped short. He was not sure what was going on, but it wasn’t kids telling ghost stories. The soil of the cemetery had been dug up, leaving gaping holes where the dead had been buried. Something brushed against a nearby tombstone. Bill was not prepared for the thing that stumbled towards him. A half-rotted thing in a few mouldering scraps that had been a gown reached out a skeletal hand with only three fingers, the others having fallen away long ago.
Bill wanted to run as far as possible from this place, but his muscles refused to obey him, leaving the man standing in the path of this creature. Opening its mouth, the monster let out a mournful moan; the same sound Bill had heard. It was so close that Bill could smell the putrid stench of its breath. When a rotting hand fell on his shoulder, Bill’s paralysis was cured. Shrieking, he swatted the hand away and pushed the rotten woman from him. He saw more of the corpses trying to reach him. Screaming, the trucker ran back onto the highway. A single figure stood in the road, blocking his path to the farm.
Not wanting to touch another of the putrid things, Bill made tracks for his rig. “Zombies, they were zombies,” he whimpered as his feet slapped against the asphalt.
It was not long before a stitch developed in his side, and Bill stopped to work it out, checking to make sure that no shambling corpse was nearby. Doubling over, he wretched up the last meal he had eaten. A scraping sound came from behind him. Not wanting to look, but unable to stop himself, Bill checked. The corpses that he thought he had escaped were lumbering after him; their arms held out to embrace him, and their mournful sound reverberating in the night air. The moon overhead washed out a lot of their colors, which Bill was thankful for, but provided him with more detail than he would have ever wanted.
Unable to run any further, the trucker set off at a fast pace as he hurried back to the safety of his vehicle. The exhaust pipes raised up to the heavens like silver sentries. Giving another look, Bill saw that the monsters had gained on him, but not enough to overtake him. Tears of joy started to fall down his unshaven cheeks. The tears fell that much harder when Bill opened the door and pulled himself into the cab. Maybe, if they can’t see me they’ll go away, he thought as he laid down in the seat.
The wail outside the truck told him that they had not forgotten him. There was a steady scratching at the door…
Tune in Friday for the third tale.