Each year, Cleveland Jackson and Alexandre Raffali of Stepienrules.com put together a unique Cleveland Cavaliers periodical that has everything you need to get ready for your hometown basketball team. Fear the Sword has been proud to be a part of it in the past, and are proud to be a part of it this year. If you are unfamiliar with CavsZine, it's a collection of articles from authors at WaitingForNextYear, Fear the Sword, and more about everything you can imagine relating to Cavs fandom. In the past, interviews with Terrell Brandon and Mike Fratello have featured prominently.
I've had the privilege, along with Angelo Benedetti and Conrad Kaczmarek, of being part of the contributing team. This year Justin Rowan and Ryan Mourton will be involved as well. This is year five of the series, and to date, each issue has been free. Usually about 300-400 issues are produced, and they are sold out within hours. This year, we want to make it more accessible and easier to distribute. The easiest way to do that was to set up a Kickstarter, and the goal is to produce 5,000 copies. This isn't a for profit exercise. It's quite honestly a true labor of love for everyone who helps put it together. The easiest way to guarantee yourself a copy of the Zine is by making a modest donation.
For more information on CavsZine5, as well as how to donate to the Kickstarter, go here. I feel quite certain you won't regret it if you do. In the coming days I will post another excerpt of a piece I wrote last year for the Zine on Tristan Thompson's hand switch. In the meantime, here is a sample of Angelo Benedetti's "The Walking Delonte: a tale of the Cavs vs. the Undead" . Until now, CavsZine2 was the only place you could find this. In a month or so, CavsZine5 will be the only place you can access some of the work of your favorite Cavs writers. We don't make digital copies of the Zine. I hope you enjoy.
There were nine of them shambling up the alley. The blood soaked pistol that was in his trembling hand had been fired three times earlier. The hot stink of gun powder burned underneath his fingernails, his mind still trying to make sense of what was happening. He had pulled the gun out of the cold, dead hands of a cop earlier in the evening, one of the many unlucky ones who had fallen to the undead horde that was now chasing poor Dion Waiters across Cleveland. There wasn't enough time to grab any additional ammunition, so at most he had seven shots left. The worst case? Not even enough to put himself out of his misery. Either way, unless he could get out of the parking lot he was in, the lumbering undead slowly shambling their way down East 31st would spell his certain demise.
Dion suspected something was wrong earlier in the day when he returned to his locker to find 15 missed calls from Kyrie Irving. Kyrie had missed practice that day as he was at the Cleveland Clinic for the final checkup on his hand he had broken during Summer League. Dion's stomach dropped as he imagined the worst, some sort of setback that would keep Kyrie from playing during opening night against the Wizards. He had no idea that the calls were to warn him, to warn the team, of the hell being unleashed upon Cleveland outside the Arena.
They were blindsided as they walked back to their cars in the underground parking garage. Samardo was first, a ghoul taking a bite out of his throat as it leapt out from the shadows. Casspi was next, bitten by the same ghoul as he attended to his dying teammate. Dion stood there stunned as the creature lunged for him, but Luke Harangody jumped in the way, pushing the rookie to safety as the undead teeth sunk into his arm, spilling crimson across his milky skin.
Dion had seen enough horror films to know what the creature in front of them was, it was a zombie. He bolted for the door leading out of the parking garage, only to find that the garage was crawling with undead. His explosive first step and ability to get to the rim proved crucial to his escape as he spun and drove past scored of the hungry dead. He wasn’t sure how many of his teammates had escaped that garage, but there was no turning back. It was every man for himself. Life or death.
From there, Dion ran across the wasteland that Cleveland was fast becoming. He held his phone to his ear as he flew past scores of the walking dead, stopping only once to bend over and retrieve the pistol he was now clenching. It came in handy as the swarm of zombies was sometimes too thick for even he to find a clear path. Kyrie’s voicemails gave him hope. The infection was contained to the downtown arena. Get to the Clinic and he’d be out of harm’s way. The way out was simple, run like hell as fast as you can while continuing to go east.
He ran up Superior from the Wolstein Center to the south. There was a concert that night, and he knew the streets would be clogged with ghouls. By the time he got to 31st, his legs were aching, lungs pounding. He needed to stop, to rest, to catch his breath before he continued on. He stopped in that very same parking lot he was currently standing in, facing down his death.
He knew the swarm from the Wolstein Center and certain death awaited if he ran south. The shambling dead blocked his only path out of the parking lot and to the east. He was left with only one option, go up. Get on the roof and wait this out. He pushed a filthy dumpster towards the back entrance of an Asian strip mall and crawled up to safety. Once on the roof, with a clear view of his path forward, his heart sank.
They were everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. Even if he could get past the nine in the alley, Superior was jammed just to his east. When the hordes hit the barricade by the Clinic they must have doubled back towards downtown. Dion dropped to his knees. It was hopeless. Absolutely hopeless. He was trapped. This is how it ends, waiting for the creeping hordes of the undead to crawl up and over themselves so he can be eaten alive above a Pho shop. He looked down at the pistol in his hands and held back tears.
He held the pistol to his temple, the barrel still warm from earlier in the night. His hand shook violently as he realized he was too weak to carry through with the act. He lowered the weapon and burst into tears as the nine zombies from the alley began swinging their limbs violently into the walls of the Pho shop, trying to crawl up after him. But yet, underneath the noise from the ghouls, Dion could hear something faint, the sound of engine. A motorcycle. And it was getting closer.
He looked off to the west and saw it clear as day; a bright yellow motor-tricycle tearing down Superior mounted by a shadowy figure with a guitar case slung over his back, leather coat flapping in the wind. The trike drew closer and whipped down the alley in front of the strip mall. Dion caught a glimpse of the man’s face. He had heard stories of this man. But could it really be him?
"Hot sauce in my bag" the figure said to himself as he pulled a shotgun out from the bag over his shoulder. He cocked the gun and in one blast blew the brains of all nine zombies across the wall underneath Dion. The undead bodies fell to the ground with a wet slap. "Barbecue sauce" the figure whispered as he blew the smoke from the barrel and holstered his weapon back in the bag. He looked up at Dion, and in that moment, Dion knew exactly who this man was. It was in fact the man he had heard so much about. A man he wasn’t convinced actually existed. It was the man who would save his life.