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Word count: 45,503

It’s not even 1PM and I’ve already written 2500+ words today, putting me 500 words past today’s minimum, on pace for an on-time landing. Goodness gracious, November is almost over.

Today’s excerpt is a grand discovery of the true nature of the evil that is Tim Stimph. You might not remember that when Zach and Westy tried to go to the library, they found it had been completely destroyed — Anti-library terrorism had become a problem. People equated books with book-learning which had led to the science and research that led to the cure for cancer that led to the zombie problem. So….people started blowing up books. Anyhow, upon discovering the rubble of the one remaining library in Chicago, Zach blames Stimph. Not for any real reason. It was just the sort of thing that he would do. So, Westy and Zach have gained access to Stimph’s apartment and discovered a locked door within. Undeterred, Zach puts his foot through it, and that is where our story picks up…..

I wrestled my foot from the door, an endeavor which took more time than I’d like to admit, and provided Westy with no end of amusement. Finally free, I shoved my hand through the hole I’d made and found the door knob on the other side.

“Brains.” Careful now.

“Nonsense. Just a simple twist of the wrist, et voila.”

“Brains.” Wait —

Westy’s warning was cut off as the door swung open on oiled hinges followed immediately by an explosion, which though it was, in terms of explosions, small and controlled, still rocked the apartment and slammed me against the wall behind me.

Had I been knocked out? Was it possible for a Z without a nervous system to be rendered unconscious? It was some moments, or minutes, or hours later that I opened my eyes again. I checked my head and limbs — habitual self-diagnostic — and found everything to be in the right place. The only thing amiss was the foot long piece of a Masonite Palazzo Series interior door sticking out of my chest.

“Holy fuck!” I exclaimed. “Would you get a load of that?”

“Brains.” The door exploded.

“Must have been booby trapped.”

“Brains.” Would someone go to such lengths to protect his porn collection?

“I don’t know — I might. Not that I have a porn collection. Really.”

“Brains.” Right.

I rose to my feet, yanked the splinter from my chest and tossed it aside. Why would Stimph booby trap a door in his own apartment? And how had it been rigged? And how was it possible to disable the defense system to allow for safe entry by authorized personnel. A quick examination of the wall to the right of the door revealed the remains of a keypad that had previously been hidden from view by a sliding panel.

“Crap. Should have thought of that first.”

“Brains.” We did.

“Well, you could have said something.”

“Brains.” We tried.

“I suppose you did,” I admitted. “Well, no matter. We’re still in one piece, I think.”

“Brains.” Your shoe is on fire.

I looked down to see that Westy was right — my shoelaces were smoldering. I stomped on one foot with the other, putting it out.

“Good looking out, Westy.”

“Brains.” No problem.

I peered through the smoke into the bedroom. Apparently the trap had been designed only to kill or maim someone breaking into the room, and not to destroy the contents of the room itself. I guess that spoke to Stimph’s confidence that the bomb would do its job, and a lack of foresight that a mostly indestructible member of the walking dead might be curious about what was behind that door. I supposed that had I been your every day run of the mill human being that I might be in worse shape. If the splinter through my chest hadn’t done me in, there were plenty of other dangers that would take care of an ordinary homo sapien: the shockwave of the explosion forcing al the air from my lungs; the resulting fire; or the smoke. Whoever had made this bomb knew what he was doing.

As the smoke cleared, I took stock of the bedroom. There was no bed — where one might have gone, there was a large table that had been covered with beakers, test tube and other lab equipment. The glass, of course, had all shattered, and anything sturdier had been thrown aside, but it was still clear that this was a work table of some sort.

“Was Stimph cooking meth?” I wondered aloud. But I immediately knew this wasn’t the case. I’d watched Breaking Bad and knew that even the smallest meth labs required more space, security, and ventilation than this room could offer. Still, it appeared as if he was making something that required chemicals; something that required the greatest secrecy.

Smoke still obscured much of the room, but I could make out a closet to my right. The doors had been thrown off their rails by the explosion, and they had absorbed some of the blast, but they were still mostly intact — the blast really was designed to blow out of the room. I pulled the doors down and threw them aside. Inside the closet were two large drums — one of ammonium nitrate, the other of some sort of sulfate. Bomb making stuff. It appeared as if Stimph had rigged the bomb himself.