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    Walker Bait lonewanderer's Avatar
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    Arrow 'till death do us part

    so this part of the board has been dead.. don't like that i'm into undead things after all so im starting up anther story. not sure how many parts i will add but it will follow the same characters unlike my past one. enjoi :mrgreen:




    part one.TRANSMISSION

    Marcus awoke at the sound of the alarm. Waking quickly he hit the stop button and removed the batteries. Lying back down he checked his watch. 10.40. He looked over at his wind-up alarm clock and saw the time showed 8.24. Damm. How drunk had he been last night? Drunk enough to forgot to wind his alarm clock but not so drunk that he had put batteries in his digital clock. Still, he had twenty minutes to spare.

    He rose from his bed, rubbing his head and made his way to the bathroom. He pulled a few switches and climbed under the warm shower water. Apparently, after food and life, everyone who had stayed with him had always said a warm shower was the thing they missed the most. Being an engineer, it wasn’t difficult for him to have set up a container on the roof to catch rainwater and solar panels to heat the caught liquid. So the water wasn’t always hot, and it didn’t really get you clean, but the sensation of being under warm flowing water really made you feel that nothing had changed. After drying and dressing Marcus went back to check the time. 10.54. He’d left it late, but still on time. Putting his watch on his wrist, and picking up the alarm clock, he made his way through the empty house to the locked door, winding the clock as he hurriedly walked. He entered the correct code and pulled the now unlocked door open. The sunlight burnt his eyes for a few seconds until they slowly adjusted to the glow. Making his way up the small flight of stairs he made his way to the roof. Before he reached the top he heard the groans all around him. Stepping out onto roof he glanced around. Despite being several hundred meters away the groans were almost as loud as if the undead were right next to him. Were there more today, or less? He walked the short distance to the man made shack and stepped inside. Flicking a switch the generator started up. A row of little lights blinked into life on the console on the back wall of the shack. He had always been a bit of a radio fanatic. He had built his first short wave set at just 11 years old using various household appliances. That had got him in to a lot of trouble with his parents. Now instead of getting a smack round the back of the head it was, hopefully, saving his life. He picked up the mouthpiece and looked again at his watch. 11.00. He flicked a switch on the radio and took a deep breath.

    “This is Marcus calling any and all listeners. As per the pre-recorded message it is now eleven o’clock and I’m beginning my daily transmission. My position is still secure. I have light, heat and water. If anyone has tuned in and is able, I’m offering sanctuary to anyone who can make his or her way here. The grounds are big enough for a helicopter to land, and if you have vehicles there is room to park at least a dozen. Of course you would need to make your way in first as the compound is surrounded by several hundred of the undead. I will be waiting for any response from now until thirteen hundred hours. Next personal transmission will be at seventeen hundred hours until nineteen hundred hours. Ending personal transmission.”

    Sitting back down Marcus waited. Every day for the last, what was it now, nine months; he had gone through the same routine. Wake, broadcast, wait. At first he got a response at least once a week. Some came, others told him to come to them. He had never left, but always accepted those who came to him. They never lasted long though. Soon it became once month. Then even less often. It had been three weeks since the last lot. An old man who had had drove to the gate after hearing his broadcast, but unable to respond. He had been convinced that he knew of an island that was safe and tried to make him leave, but Marcus knew he was safe where he was. He knew the old man was no longer alive. And so every day he made the same two broadcasts. And every evening he put the automated transmission on, until around 1.00am, which sent his co-ordinates in case anyone was still listening.

    Leaning back on his chair Marcus pulled open the cupboard to his right. He pulled out a can and opened it. No matter what everyone else said, Marcus always thought beer was the greatest thrill, not a warm shower. As he took a long swig, he wondered how long his supply would last. Oh, he had been prepared. Food to last several years, the ability to make sure he had power for as long as needed, but beer. Maybe he would have to look into brewing his own. Could it really be that hard? At least he didn’t smoke. There was no way he could grow tobacco plants. He finished his first can, opened his seconded and wondered if today would be the day.

    The alarm went off at 12.55. Marcus jerked awake and looked at his watch. The time checked out. He knocked the empty beer can off his chest and sat up. Six empty cans lay on the floor. He really had to cut down on the drinking. Well, five minutes until transmission end. Then a long four hour wait until more nothing. Marcus considered what to do now. Drinking was probably a bad idea. Not only was he already a bit drunk, it would diminish his already dwindling beer supply.

    12.56.

    Should he stay here? Maybe it was time to move on. See if there were others alive in the world. Was it worth it? Maybe he should just forget about others. Just give up on the transmissions. Go cold turkey on the beer until he could brew his own. No more early mornings. No more late nights.

    12.57.

    How about just end it all? If he were the last man alive would it really matter? Or was that the beer and loneliness talking?

    12.58.

    But why give up? Surly someone has to live on. There must be others out there.

    12.59.

    “Hello? Is that Marcus?”

    Marcus sat up suddenly. He stared at the basic two-way radio set up. Was he asleep and dreaming? Or maybe he was more drunk than he thought, and hearing things.

    “Marcus? Hello. Is this transmission still on?

    Marcus looked at his watch. 12.59. Less than one minute left. Could someone really cut it this fine? Was it real? Why wasn’t he responding? He picked up the mic, and held it to his lips.

    “Hello?

    “Oh thank the Lord, you’re real. As it was an automated transmission we weren’t sure there was anyone actually on the other end.”

    “Erm, yes I’m here. And alive. Where are you? How many of you are there?

    “My name is John. I’m here with my wife and three other survivors. We have a helicopter and I think enough fuel to make it to you. We’re currently in an abandoned airfield, that’s where we found the helicopter. ”

    “That’s great. Are you planning on coming here? What’s your ETA?”

    “Ermm, if we set off in the next few minutes, we’re looking at around two hours I guess.”

    “That’s fine. I’ll get dinner on.”

    “Sounds good. See you soon.”

    With that the mic went dead. People, thought Marcus. After so long. As it was now after one o’clock it was time to shut down the transmission anyway. Two hours to get everything ready. Marcus stood up and walked back to the stairs. Even though the moaning was still there, he hardly noticed it. He walked as if through a dream. Walking back into his house he went to the door that lead to the basement. He opened the door and walked down the stairs, flicking on the lights. He stopped at the metal gate at the bottom. Staying away from the grasping hands he looked at the zombie in front of him.

    “Don’t worry my dear,” he said to his wife, “dinner’s on the way!”

  2. Back To Top    #2
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    Problem Child box86rowh's Avatar
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    Ill hold any opinion till its done.

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    part two.
    WAITING

    John had always been impatient; he hated waiting not just the, “Oh I can’t stand waiting around” type of hate, but the physical makes you want to punch a wall in anger, hate. He just couldn’t stand the thought of waiting around for anything, if he needed something it had to be straight away. He would order fast food all the time instead of going to restaurants because it meant he didn’t have to wait for his order to be taken, the food to be cooked, and then brought to his table. He also couldn’t stand waiters the name gave it away, WAITers, they wait on you then you wait on them. If he had to catch a train he would figure out the time down to the second when he would be able leave his house so he could arrive at the station with a few minutes to spare before the train would leave, of course this sometimes meant he would be late, miss the train and have to wait for the next one which was something that he could not stand.

    However that was then, and this was now. John thought back to how he never believed he would be doing what he was doing now. He edged slowly along the side of the building, with each footstep he took his time, carefully placing his feet so he would make as little noise as possible. It had taken him nearly ten minutes to walk twelve-feet from the edge of the building to the door. For dead things they had amazingly good hearing in fact, from what he had observed of them, most of their senses were heightened to a point of almost super human ability, especially when it came to locating food. He had taken this into consideration when they had decided to search the small airfield. The airfield had only a few hangers, an office, a fuelling station and a control tower with two runways. The gem of the airfield was a helicopter that sat by the fuelling station. That helicopter could be their ticket to freedom. He had told his wife Amy, and the other members of his group, Matt, Oliver and Kurt to wait by the van. He and Amy had joined forces with the three guys a few weeks before and they all pulled their weight and wanted to go to the chopper together but John knew that the way to the helicopter was a one-man job.

    John was dressed in olive drab fatigues that he had removed from a dead soldier that they had found a few days before, the soldier was one of six that they had stripped and looted for necessary reasons. Not only did their group manage to find fatigues, but they were also able to scavenge ration bars, a few MRE’s, some basic medical supplies, two hand guns with a few spare magazines of ammo and three grenades. Of course in the zombie apocalypse the good also comes with the very bad and even disgusting, John had to strip all six bodies in order to find something that fit him and wasn’t to badly torn or caked in dry blood, once he did that, some zombies, possibly the ones who had killed the soldiers, had decided to make an appearance and the group had to use several rounds of the ammunition in order to escape. John was hoping that the military gear would make him blend in with the scenery enough so that the zombies wouldn’t be able to spot him at a distance.

    He had come to the conclusion that zombies could actually smell the living, he had seen one of them follow him around a house, despite not having any eyes left. He had stood at the back of a room, not moving, being as quiet as he possibly could and watched as the zombie walked past the door, stopping to move its head from side to side before continuing into the room, and heading straight for him. The only thing he could conclude, after turning its head into jelly was it could smell him either that, or its hearing was so good it could detect a heartbeat at least 20 feet away. So in order to try and mask his scent John had covered himself in bits of rotting flesh. When they were scoping out the airfield, they had bumped into a roamer it had been easily dispatched and John had decided to use the corpse to hopefully disguise his natural scent. He had rubbed the corpses hand over as much of his bare skin as he dared, being careful to avoid any cuts or open wounds that could allow the infection to transfer to him to add a bit of extra security he had torn off a few strips of the decaying flesh and placed them in all the pockets he had, which being military gear, was a lot.

    All of that had brought him to this moment, wearing a dead mans clothing, covered in pieces of a dead man and moving as slowly as possible so not to make a noise. Although he couldn’t see anyone or anything in the immediate area, that however didn’t mean the buildings were clear which led to questions and different possibilities. Why was the helicopter left abandoned? Maybe the pumps were empty and the pilot, not being able to re-fuel, had just left it behind to travel on foot. Quite frankly, the helicopter was a bonus, as there was another reason they were here, they had heard a transmission with on the van’s radio as they were driving looking for a petrol station in a less populated area. Matt had been flicking through the channels on the radio getting nothing but static, irritating the others in the van but he had redeemed himself when he had come across a repeating signal. The radio signal talked about a safe haven for the living, they listened to the message over and over, repeating the same coordinates trying to memorize the message in its entirety then at eleven o’clock the message stopped and an actual message person began speaking. There was someone else alive and in a safe location and apparently there were only two ways they could get to the location, either by road or air and both presented problems.

    They had the means to drive there, but according to the message the compound was surrounded by hundreds of the undead so they would have to find a way to get past them first. The easy option was to fly in, but where could they get a helicopter and who would fly it. Oliver had mentioned he could fly if needed, so one thing was sorted, now they just needed to find a way to fly out of their location. It seemed too good to be true when after a few more minutes of driving they saw a sign pointing to the small airport only 5 miles away, like maybe someone was looking out for them. They honestly didn’t expect to find a helicopter, they really only wanted to find a radio and let this Marcus person know there were other survivors and that they would try and get to him somehow. So when they saw the machine sat next to fuel pumps the excitement was hard to contain. Of course they airport looked deserted, but after the one zombie attacked them as they were doing their recon, it was a safe bet that there would be more down there somewhere, or even the pilot who could be both hostile and armed and not take too kindly to people stealing his helicopter. It was John who had argued that he would be the one to check it out, he would rather not go down into an unknown area, with who knows how many of the things shuffling around, covered in rotting flesh and only 8 shots to protect him, but it was either that or wait in the van until the all clear was given and John hated waiting.

    The only building left for John to checkout now was the office block; the hangers had been easy to check, they were empty save for a few pallets and empty oil drums and John could see all the way around them by just standing in the entranceway of each one. The control tower had been a bit unnerving, as he had to climb up a thin spiral staircase; he had visions of sticking his head up over the floor at the top of the tower and looking straight into a decaying mouth as it closed in on him, but luckily enough the building was also empty. He did find a few old newspapers dating back to before the event; the front-page headlines were all to do with the prime minister accepting a bribe. Under one of the headlines was a story about a viral out break in Devon, which had already killed over twenty people. ‘If only we’d known, John thought as he took the papers since they were something to read to escape boredom, and also a few still had the crosswords that weren’t filled in. Better not get stuck he’d thought to himself, as there was no chance of finding the paper with the answers in it. The best find in the control tower was a pair of expensive looking binoculars which he’d slipped over his neck before moving on.

    So now it was time to check out the offices, he stood outside the main door, breathing deeply. He had looked through all the windows and could see nothing, but that didn’t mean the building was empty. He couldn’t see every part of the building and he was sure there would be cupboards to hide in and desk to hide under. No point putting it off he thought with a solid kick that opened the door. He took a step back and waited for a few minutes, all the time his eyes stayed on the open doorway. After what seemed like an eternity, but what was no longer than two minutes, he decided he had to go in. He didn’t really want to but he wasn’t going to wait any longer. He smiled with pride because he had been able to stay in the same spot for so long. Holding his gun in his left hand he walked up to the doorway, he reached out with his right hand, grabbed the doorknob and quickly stuck his head in, looked around and pulled his head out again. Now that he knew the immediate area was empty he took a step in and quickly switched the gun back to his right hand. He remembered how Chris had first shown him how to enter a room in this fashion.

    Kick the door in, arms straight out in front of you with both hands on the gun, walk in the room and do a quick sweep with the gun in front of you at all times. Chris had died after he started walking into a room, he been bitten on the arm by a zombie that had been to the immediate right of the door. If it had been a few seconds later the zombie might have been behind the door when Chris had kicked it in, and he would still be alive today. It was Chris who had put a bullet in the zombies head and then his own before John had even got close enough to help. From that day on, John always used the safest method he could think of, kick the door and do the horrible act of waiting to see if anything was near the door, then grab hold of the door handle in order to shut the door if needed and quickly scan the room. Getting in the room was just the first step though. Next he had to check the whole room from top to bottom. It wasn’t unheard of for someone to have been bitten whilst trying to escape by climbing into false ceilings, then dropping down onto people unexpectedly after they had turned. John got down on his hands and knees and checked the floor line, nothing crawling along, and no sign of any legs, so far so good. After about five minutes of checking and double-checking every possible place a body, or half a body, could hide, John came to the conclusion there was nothing and no one in the building.

    He had however found a few items of interest while he was searching, a couple of walkie-talkies and a pistol with a few rounds of ammunition in one of the desk drawers and he also found a radio that still worked. The walkie-talkies were battery operated and still had some use in them; he would worry about replacement batteries when the time came. He mad his way back out of the office building and moved into open space so that Amy and the others would be able to see him and waved his right arm in the air three times, the code that would let them know it was all clear and safe. Waving his left arm three times meant there was trouble and to run for it. Confident that the other would be here soon he went and checked out the fuel pumps by the helicopter. He pulled the leaver on the first one and squeezed the handle gently. Fuel started to pump out of the nozzle and he quickly stopped. He tried the other two and the same happened. So there was some fuel at least hopefully enough for a few hours flight. He made his way to back to offices and went straight to the radio and switched it on. Checking his watch he saw it was nearly one o’clock cutting it close but still on time.

    “Hello? Is this Marcus?”

    The others arrived in the van just as he was hanging up the receiver. He walked out the office to meet them outside.

    “Anyone for dinner in a few hours?” he asked with a smile on his face

    Amy jumped out the passenger side and ran up to hug him but stopped short before saying, “If you expect me to go anywhere near you you’d better get rid of that smell.” John had become so used to it he had forgot the rotting pieces of flesh that occupied his pockets.

    “So what’s the plan now, mate?” asked Oliver.

    “Well,” replied John, “I know there is some fuel in the pumps, so Oliver and Kurt should start filling up and checking the helicopter. Matt if you want to double check the buildings in case I missed anything useful and I’ll get changed into my good clothes.”

    “Sir, yes sir!” said Matt as he pulled off a mock army salute.

    The three guys went off on their appointed tasks and Amy walked John to the back of the van.

    “So you think this could be the solution to our problems?” she asked him

    “For a while anyway.” John replied shedding his military fatigues and slipping into a pair of tatty jeans and white shirt. “It’ll be nice to actually rest easily for a few days, but you know I’m not the kind of guy who’s happy to sit around in one place for any length of time.”

    “You hate waiting, I know.” She said with a slight smirk on her face.

    “I just think if we end up staying in one place to long we’ll become lazy and lower our guard. In this world you have to be ready at all times. A safe place may keep them out, but it can also keep us prisoner.”

    “I know, I know. But promise we’ll at least think about staying for longer than a few days.”

    “Ok, after we get there and see the place we’ll discuss it. For all we know it could just be a cardboard box in field surrounded by barbwire.”

    “But you promised dinner.”

    “We will be the dinner!” John joked not knowing how close he was to the truth.

    “So how come you know how to fly one of these things?” Kurt asked Oliver.

    “I used to be a member of the coast guard.” Oliver said pausing for a second, “I only took a few lessons but it seemed easy enough. I can take off and land well, and once I’m in the air I’ll be able to get us where we need to go, just don’t ask me to dodge any incoming fire, or perform any stunts.”

    They reached the helicopter and Oliver went to the pumps.

    “What you need me to do?” asked Kurt

    “Check inside the bird. I’m hoping the keys are still inside. If not there’s no reason to start fuelling it as we’ll never get it started.” Oliver said nodding towards the helicopter.

    Kurt went up to the passenger side door and pulled. The door opened more quickly than he expected causing him to fall backwards which made it easier for the zombiefied helicopter pilot to land on top of him. Oliver turn round just as the pilot bit a chunk out of Kurt’s cheek. Kurt’s scream was more like a gurgle as the blood and saliva filled his mouth and leaked out of the hole in the side of his face. Oliver pulled his gun and aimed at the pilot’s head. There was a chance of hitting Kurt, but Olivier knew there was nothing he could do for his friend anymore. He fired of a single shot and looked on in horror as the shot ricocheted off the pilot’s helmet harmlessly. Kurt let out another gurgle scream as the zombie bit off two of his fingers on the hand he was using to push its head away with. The gunshot had brought John and Amy running over; John aimed with his gun and took the shot.

    “NO!” Oliver shouted a fraction to late.

    Again the bullet ricocheted off the pilot’s helmet but this time, instead of harmlessly bouncing away; it went straight into Kurt’s eye. There was still enough velocity behind the bullet to drive it though the back of his eye and into his brain. The zombie carried on eating its no longer struggling meal, ripping a huge chunk of flesh from Kurt’s shoulder. Whilst its mouth was full Oliver ran over to it and pulled the helmet off, the zombie didn’t seem bothered by Oliver or its helmet and went back for another bite of Kurt.

    “God damn son of a bitch!” growled Oliver as he kicked the zombie in the face with his borrowed army boots. The zombie rolled off Kurt and landed on its back a few feet away. Almost as soon as it had stopped rolling it sat up its nose was just a crumpled ruin in the middle of its face, and broken yellow teeth fell from its rotten gums.

    Oliver screamed something neither John nor Amy could understand and ran towards the sitting zombie aiming another kick right at its head. His foot connected just under the creatures chin sending more teeth flying and causing its head to slam back onto the concrete landing strip. Thick black liquid started to leak from the back of the zombies cracked skull. Oliver stood over it and positioned his boot in the air above its head he paused a second, breathing heavily, before lowering his foot back to the ground.

    “No.” he said. “I’m not going to dirty my new boots with filth like this.”

    He walked over to where he had dropped the pilot’s helmet, picked it up and walked back to the twitching zombie.

    “I really hope you things feel pain.” He said as he brought the helmet down with all his might. There was the sound of metal hitting bone and more black liquid splattered the surrounding area. Amy turned away, hiding her face in John chest as Oliver kept bringing the helmet down on the zombie’s head, over and over. After John had heard metal hit concrete three times he walked over to Oliver and grabbed his arm in mid swing. Oliver looked at John, angry tears in his eyes and sweat dripping of his forehead. John just shook his head and felt Oliver’s arm relax. The helmet hit the concrete one last time as Oliver released his grip there was almost nothing left of the zombies head.

    “You missed a first aid kit.” Said Matt, walking up to the others, with no idea what had just transpired. “Not like you at all John…. Oh”

    Matt stared down first at the remains of the zombie his eyes moving over to where Kurt’s remains were.

    “Is he?” he asked.

    “Yes.” John said with a hint of sadness in his voice.

    There was silence for a few seconds before Matt spoke again. “Well it means the fuel will go further now there is less weight in the helicopter.” He winced a little when he said it before turning to look at Oliver.

    “Let’s fuel up and get out of here then.” Oliver said as he had got his breathing down to a regular pace again.

    And that was it, the period of mourning was over, they had all seen it; if you dwell too much on fallen comrades you were likely to join them soon. It was a harsh fact to learn, but one you had to learn if you wanted to survive in the modern world. Each of them would pay their respects to Kurt in their own way later, when they were safe; Amy would cry in John’s arms and John would comfort her, letting his grief out through the act of hugging her. Every time Oliver killed a zombie, Kurt’s name would be on his lips, and Matt would carry on as if nothing had happened. He had lost a lot of people in the nine months since the initial outbreak, and knew he would probably lose a lot more in the future. Maybe when or if, it was all over he would sit down and take time to grieve, but for now he had to keep his mind sharp.

    Before fuelling Oliver checked the helicopter, but there were no keys in the ignition. Could Kurt’s death have been for nothing? He went over and checked the pockets on the pilot’s flight suit, finding the keys in the trouser pockets, at least some things were going right.

    “All aboard.” Oliver said after he finished fuelling, and the remaining four survivors climbed into the helicopter.

    “About time,” John muttered, “We’ve been waiting here far too long and….”

    “You hate waiting.” The other three said together, John just grunted his response.

    As the helicopter took off, Oliver looked out of the window at the two bodies on the runway.

    ‘Goodbye my friend,’ he thought, staring down at Kurt’s lifeless body.

    The helicopter flew off towards the promise of safety and food; although not one of the people on the helicopter could possible know exactly what that meant.

    - - - Updated - - -

    as always open to any type of criticism. bring it. also shout out to soras for doing a little betareading for me as well.

  4. Back To Top    #4
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    Mama Michonne xXSorasXx's Avatar

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    My pleasure Lone. Can't wait to read chapter 3!

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    Problem Child awalkerbitme's Avatar
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    Enjoying this!

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    as always good job lone. i always look forward to readin your stories

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    Quote Originally Posted by tarheelsunc528 View Post
    as always good job lone. i always look forward to readin your stories
    Tar your back hurray :) Long time no see :) and lone chapter 2 was great :)

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    Walker Bait lonewanderer's Avatar
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    awalkerbitme-thank you, always nice to see a new fan heh. im enjoying your work as well
    tarheelunc-glad to hear it! looking forward to your new editions as well. coming from a duke fan too.. lol
    shadix-you read chapter 2.... but regardless thanks and i hope you enjoy chapter three just the same haha

    sorry its taken so long for this but ill be updating with chapter four very soon, thanks again to sora for the betaread.





    part three.SALVATION

    James Saxton stood up and allowed the two guards to each hold an arm as he was led out of his small cell. He was drugged, he was sure of it, there was no way he would let these men take him to his death without a fight otherwise. Not that there was much he could do about it anyway since his wrists and ankles were shackled together and a sturdy chain linked the two. As he shuffled past the other cells he groggily looked at the faces of people he thought he knew staring back. The fear in their eyes was obvious, but he wasn’t afraid. Just another sign he was sure he’d been drugged. There must have been something in his final meal, it still tasted good though. He’d forgotten the last time he’d had such a beautifully cooked steak, such perfect fries and peas so fresh they could have been straight from the pods and a chilled beer as well. He wasn’t sure they would go for that request, but they had allowed him one last frosty cold one.

    Someone shouted his name, but James didn’t care. He probably recognized the voice but that memory was currently gone. ‘Man these drugs must be good,’ he thought. ‘I’m off to die, but whatever; at least it won’t kill me. Will it? Where am I again? Ohh this orange jumpsuit is nice. I’ll have to get me one when I get out of this restaurant. Man these drugs are good.’

    His name was shouted again. This time James did look to his left, towards the sound. A man wearing the same jumpsuit as him was pressed up against the bars to his cell, his knuckles white as he tightly gripped the bars.

    “James, fight it man. Remember what happened. Fight it”

    Something in James’s drug addled mind suddenly clicked. A moment of clarity shone through the drug induced fog.

    “Don’t let them do this James, fight it!”

    _______________

    “Fight it James!” Ray shouted as he ran towards him.

    The zombie was on top of James trying its hardest to rip a bite sized piece of flesh out of him. James had the thing at arms length, its neck held tight in his black biker’s glove, keeping the rotten snapping jaw as far away as possible.

    “SUMATH!” Ray yelled, he had reached James now and swung a large fire axe at the zombie. The axe connected with the zombie’s head, splitting it open like a melon, black liquid that might once have been blood, brains, skull and rotten skin splattered the side of James’s face and the surrounding floor.

    “Don’t move mate,” Ray said as he slowly reached out and took hold of James’ chin; he turned his face so he could see it fully then after a few seconds he let go.

    “All clear mate, you live to fight another day.” Ray helped James to his feet and patted him on the shoulder.

    “Come on James, only a few more to go and we can head back to Salvation.”

    _______________

    The fogged rolled in once more, clouding James’s mind again, the memories slowly disappearing. The two guards continued to lead him further down the corridor, the shouts of the strange man slowly fading away, until they could no longer be heard over footsteps on the stone floor. Finally they reached a door where two more guards stood, these two were armed with automatic weapons; one turned removed a set of keys from his pocket and opened the door. As soon as James and his escort had entered the new room the door was closed and locked again. James looked sleepily around the room, it was a basic square with only two noticeable features, the first was the fact that one of the walls was just a mirror, and the second was the metal chair in the middle of the room facing the mirrored wall. It wasn’t like a normal chair, unless normal chairs have high backs with a helmet attached, or leather straps on the arm rests and legs. This was the kind of chair that once you sit in it you didn’t stand up again.


    James willingly sat in the chair and allowed himself to be strapped in, the helmet secured on his head.

    “There’ll be no salvation for you now” said one of the guards with a chuckle.

    Salvation…The word sparked another cord in his brain and once again James was able to focus on the past and drag up another memory.

    _______________

    It had become clear almost as soon as the zombies had begun the invasion that in order to survive mankind would have to adapt, and adapt quickly. When small groups of survivors got together and formed a make shift community wherever they could, rules would always become important, it was no different in Salvation.

    It was a small place, ten houses, a garage and a small church, in the middle of America. It had been easy to defend, as the surrounding land was flat as far as the eye could see and the nearest bit of cover was a small patch of trees about half a mile out.

    When James had first stumbled upon it, the Andersons had nearly shot him. They were an old couple that had refused to leave the home they had lived in for the past forty odd years. All the other houses were empty, as the families who had lived there ran for the safety that the army had promised everyone. Mr. Anderson and James had started to build defenses’ around the village. They removed any flat wood they could find from the empty houses, like doors and furniture, and used them to build a fence around them. Then James had dug a ditch around almost all of it, leaving one end of the road intact as an entry and exit point. Over time several other people found their way to Salvation and the community slowly grew.

    Zombie attacks happened, but they were infrequent and dealt with quickly and easily. After a year a section of the fence was removed, the ditch filled in a several new shelters built in order to accommodate the increasing number of residents. They had discovered a lumberyard ten miles down the road, and once there were enough people and trucks available it wasn’t too much trouble to go raiding for supplies. As they scouted further out they found other garages where small amounts fuel, food and other essentials could be acquired. They always stayed away from the more populated areas that they knew of. The risk of being followed back to Salvation by hoards of undead or other scavengers just wasn’t worth the risk.

    That was one of Mayor Saxton’s laws; don’t do anything that could endanger Salvation. James couldn’t believe he had been made Mayor, he had been told it was because he’d been the one to start turning Salvation into the secure community it now was and everyone trusted him. Although James had argued that Mr. Anderson had been there first, Mr. Anderson had refused the role, saying he was told old. So James had been elected Mayor and Saxton’s laws were created. Most dealt with ensuring the community was kept safe at all times. Others dealt with how to deal with the undead, and the rest dealt with how to behave in the community. The ones concerning the undead were fairly straightforward. If you got bit, you would be killed on sight, there were no last requests, no period of mourning, no chances to say goodbye to loved ones and no chances to be able to live until you turn.

    As everyone knew the zombie virus spread with a bite, it stood to reason that any form of fluid exchange would probably have the same effect. Therefore it had been decided that if there was the chance you had ingested any part of a zombie, accidentally or otherwise, be it fluid or solid, then you would be killed. Most of the adults had worn face masks when facing up to zombies in close combat in order to avoid any chance of being splashed in the mouth with blood, but for the few who didn’t, they just turned their heads away and closed their mouths. In order to teach the lesson to the few children who were in Salvation, a rhyme was created.

    Shut your mouth and turn your head
    Or else you could end up dead..


    Of course in some cases it wasn’t always the person who the zombie was attacking that would do the killing. So if someone was about to kill a zombie that was attacking someone else, and there was the possibility of fluid being transferred, they gave the warning shout “SUMATH”, which stood for: Shut Ur Mouth And Turn Head…No one remembered who came up with the cry, but it had saved many lives.

    The other law concerning the undead was if you hesitate about killing one, you won’t be allowed to. It sounded stupid, but if you were in the middle of a fight, the slightest hesitation, maybe because you recognized one of the undead, could cost lives. It was safer to have people who were focused on doing what had to be done, without the distraction of wondering if the man behind you was covering your back, or trying to reason with their undead ex-girlfriend.

    The laws that dealt with behavior were pretty straightforward as well, no stealing, fighting, killing the living or general unsociable behavior. A first offence was dealt with by imprisoning the person at the top of the church tower for one-week without food. The second offence was either: two weeks in the tower with only one meal during this time, or one was expelled from the community for a week and forced to fend for themselves. No one ever committed a third offence

    Things worked well, within the first few months all surrounding farms had been raided for animals that had survived and soon Salvation had its own livestock. Cows, pigs and sheep gave the residents milk, meat and clothing. Vegetable patches were commonplace on the lawns of every house, as each person had grown something different to add to the storehouses, Salvation had been the perfect place in a world of hell. Then the soldiers had come, the first sign was when a helicopter had flown overhead. Some of the children had never seen a helicopter and ran screaming to the protection of their homes, unsure what to make of the flying beast. James on the other hand had called together the adults for a meeting. It was unclear whether or not the helicopter had seen anyone on the ground, or if in fact it had been looking for people in the first place.

    It had been decided that no one was to leave Salvation for the next 48 hours just in case. All guards were put on high alert and told to raise the alarm at the first sign of anything out of the ordinary. Almost 36 hours had gone by before they noticed the convoy of army vehicles approaching, four troop transports and an open topped jeep. As the convoy had approached, the town of Salvation had prepared itself for the unknown. Rumors were abundant amongst the residents, were the army there to help or take over. Had they brought news that the Undead been repelled from the country or were these soldiers a rouge unit, come to take what they wanted? James had told the town to have guns ready but not to show aggression, just be ready to defend themselves if needed.

    Things had started out friendly enough; the convoy had stopped a few hundred meters away from Salvation and a single man exited the jeep and walked slowly towards the town, arms outspread to show he was unarmed. James had gone to meet him at the gated entrance to Salvation and he had introduced himself as General Baxter. He was an older looking man, but James had suspected the lines on his face showed an age past his actual years. White hair cut close to his scalp added to the impression of a much older man. General Baxter had explained how his unit was traveling the country, looking for communities like Salvation and letting them know that things were slowly getting back to normal. The undead were still at large in the country, but the army was fighting back with the help of the citizens. All communities of sizable proportions were being recorded so help could be delivered at a later date. General Baxter had inquired about numbers, average age and sex of the citizens; James had given rough numbers, not wanting to give away too much information. The General had thanked him and began to walk away, which is when it all went wrong.

    The General must have given a signal to his men because suddenly two of the townsfolk fell to the floor. James had instantly noticed darts sticking out of their necks. Within seconds more and more people fell unconscious and he’d ordered the gates shut, but it was in vain as he noticed two soldiers already inside. They must have somehow made their way in over the perimeter fence at the back whilst everyone’s attention was at the soldiers at the front. They carried small thin guns with large hoppers on top. The guns had fired darts at the panicked people, every shot hitting its mark be it man, woman or child. The last thing James had seen was the General smiling before he’d felt a sharp prick in his neck and he’d passed out.

    _______________

    As he came back to the present James saw the two guards leave the room. He was alone now. He thought back to a few weeks ago. After he had woken up following the attack he’d discovered he was in a cell on his own. No one had told him why he was there or if he was the only citizen of Salvation who had been taken. After several days of being questioned by soldiers about everything he had done up until the point he was arrested, (he hated that the soldiers kept calling it an arrest, it was abduction to him) he had been taken to the joint cells where he’d found all the men from salvation. None of them knew the fate of the women or children, and the soldiers said nothing. They had been kept in the cells since that date, then two days ago General Baxter had paid him a visit. He had told him he was to be executed and ask him what he wanted as his last meal. Now here he was, about to die.

    The door to the room opened and James looked to his right and watched as a soldier in a red biohazard suit walked in carrying a long needled syringe.

    The sweat started to build on James forehead and his heart began to race faster. The drugs must be wearing off, he thought; I wouldn’t be panicking as much if they weren’t.

    The soldier walked carefully to James, all the while watching the syringe intently, as if it would explode suddenly if he took his eyes off it for a second.

    James lost sight of him as he walked behind his chair. A few seconds later he felt something cold being rubbed on the back of neck, then pain so intense it felt like a beam of pure fire was being directed at his neck. Almost as soon as it began the pain dissipated. James felt his core temperature slowly begin to rise, starting at his neck and slowly spreading throughout his whole body. He just assumed to blood was carrying whatever was in the syringe to every part of his body. So not long to live now then. Would it be a gentle sleep, or a sudden stop of everything?

    As the soldier in the biohazard suit left by the door to his right James heard a small click to his left. He turned his head and noticed, for the first time there was a door in the wall. There was another click and the door began to open. A low moan reached James’s ears as the door opened further. Suddenly three undead shuffled in the room. Without a pause they all moved as one towards him, the door closing as soon as they were clear.

    “No.” James whispered, the drugs were still holding his full emotions in check, but the parts of his brain that had recovered quickest tried in vain to bring the realization of the situation to the rest of his mind.

    The zombies advanced on James, their arms now raised, fingers grasping at the air as they got closer to their meal.

    Final the full danger of the situation caused James to snap out of his drugged fuelled state for on final moment of defiance

    “NO!” he screamed as the undead final reached him.

    _______________

    The two figures stood silently, watching the scene of carnage taking place through the two-way mirror.

    “How long before the serum is supposed to show signs of success, General Baxter?” One of the dark figures asked, he wore a black suit and sunglasses, despite being indoors and in a darkened room.

    “About between 3 and 5 minutes after adequate consumption…sir.” General Baxter responded sounding a little irritated.

    A spray of red arterial blood splattered the glass; both men took a small side step in order to continue viewing the spectacle unhindered.

    The black suited man removed a packet of cigarettes from his breast pocket, put one of the sticks in his mouth and lit it. As an afterthought he offered the packet to the General.

    “No thank you sir. I gave up when this whole thing kicked off. It wasn’t easy to get them back then so it wasn’t a hard decision or an easy task, but I’ve kicked the habit.”

    The other man just grunted.

    Both men continued to watch as the three undead ripped chunks of flesh and muscle from James’s now dead body.

    Finally there was nothing left of James to continue eating. The three zombies shuffled towards the mirrored glass and started ineffectively pawing at it.

    “Amazing…” The man in the sunglasses said. “They can’t see or hear us, yet somehow they know we are in here.”

    He dropped the cigarette butt on the floor and ground it under his heel.

    “I am curious though, why do you use three zombies to devour one man?”

    “Well sir, current stats show that the creatures need to consume at least one third of the human body in order for the virus to fully integrate with their system. After observing the eating habits, the men in the labs found some interesting traits”

    The General paused and looked over at the other man. He nodded so the General continued.

    “Well it turns out they are very competitive when it comes to food. One of them will take its time over a meal; whereas the more there are the quicker they eat. It’s almost as if they know there is less food to go around the more of them there are. So to go back to the original point, two will not eat enough of the body before the virus passes it’s termination point, and four or more won’t have enough meat to go around.”

    “And why can’t we just inject the virus straight into them?”

    “It needs time to gestate, and it can only do that within living tissue. As you know the reason the creatures don’t rot is because nothing lives on them, even the basic bacteria that breaks down dead tissue. This is the only way to get the virus inside them whilst it’s still active.”

    The man looked at his watch and then back to the zombies who were still trying to get though the unbreakable mirrored glass.

    “I take it this batch is another failure…”

    “Looks that way Sir, we’ll try again in an hour. I’ll get the boys in the lab to start getting cooking up V one-six-nine.”

    “Carry on without me General, I have more important things to look into. Only contact me if you make any kind of break through.”

    “Yes Sir. By the way Sir, has there been any success in tracking down Dr. Matt Pointer?”

    “Nothing yet, although we believe he managed to board a plane back to England before the virus got too widespread.”

    “It would really help if we had him here. He couldn’t have created this thing without having some knowledge of how to stop it as well.”

    “I’m working on it General. Now dispose of those three failures and prepare for you next set of tests. I want to see some positive results soon or you could find you get to personally try out V one-seven-nine.”

    “Yes sir.” General Baxter said in a mock salute as the other man left the room. He walked over to an intercom that was situated on the wall near the mirrored glass. He pressed to talk button and waited a second.

    “Sergeant, please dispose of the three specimens in the observation room, and tell the chef to get ready to make another last meal. The lab will be sending up the secret ingredient soon.”

    He smiled to himself at the little joke he just made and looked out at the three zombies still trying unsuccessfully to get though the glass. They were right in front of him, having followed his movements from the other side.

    “Soon you bastards will be gone. I won’t loose this war to you. Even if it means I have to sacrifice every man, woman and child in this country, I will win.”

    He watched as the zombies turned away from him. They had noticed the two soldiers who had entered their room and seeking easier prey had decided to go for them. The general turned and walked out of the observation room as three gunshots were fired.

    “I will win.”

    - - - Updated - - -

    as always i'm welcome to all criticism that serves a purpose. this story will revolve around a core group of characters rather than my other series. have to introduce them first heh.

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    Poor James.

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    part four.OLD MEMORIES

    'Such a soothing sound,' thought John as he looked out the window of the helicopter. The horrors below him far away. They were almost out of the city closing in on their new home he had hoped. Hordes of zombies littered the streets still and fires stilled burned outta control. He looked down on his lap as Amy yawned she had yet to fall asleep but he was sure she wasn't to far off.

    "Shouldn't be much longer. I'd say hour and a haft, two hours tops," said Oliver

    John nodded he trusted Oliver with his life and knew he could get them to Marcus in one piece. He sat back and tried to relax putting his head up on the window. Looking below he saw people on top of a little building, waving for help trying to get their attention. Zombies stumbled and climbed onto each other reaching for a little ladder toward the top. John knew he could do nothing for them and just closed his eyes. 'This is a new world,' he thought to himself as he focused on the hum of the blades..


    ____________________________________
    The rifle was light, unlike Pop’s shotgun. That thing was heavier than any firearm should be and the kickback could damn near knock you on your ass if you’re not ready for it. He called it Ox—I guess it was an appropriate name for something so powerful. One time, my brother, Leland, thought he was man enough to wield such a beast. I set up a can on the old fence post by the pen. Leland took aim, the shotgun in the crook of his shoulder, right in the socket where the collar bone and shoulder come together. He squeezed the trigger.

    Seven hours later, he came home from the hospital, arm in a sling, shoulder dislocated and collar bone broken.

    “Did I hit the can?” he asked me before he went to bed that night.

    “Nope. But, you did take out one of the runner planks along the fence.”

    Memories. It’s the hardest part of this whole damn war. That’s all I have now, the memories of loved ones and friends passed on and, in many cases, rose up.

    I stood from my pickup, closed the door and left the keys in the ignition. Just in case. I shouldered my pack and walked the center of the street, rifle in both hands. An old blue sedan sat off to the left, up on a curb. From the side of it, I could see the left front tire sat at an odd angle, a dead person beneath it. I moved to the front of the vehicle. Another dead man slumped over the steering wheel, his skull ruptured. Hair and bits of tissue clung to the windshield, the glass spider-webbed from where his head struck.

    I let out a long breath. Recognition could sometimes bring you to tears, but not in this case. It only brought back old memories. “I’ll come back for you in a little while, Mr. Martin.”

    He had been my baseball coach in another time, back when it was safe to play games. Back when there was no fear of something dead coming out of the woods to rip you apart. From the looks of him, he wouldn’t be getting up and joining the zombie ranks.

    I scanned the small neighborhood—an odd cul de sac, not quite a square, but no where near a circle, either. The six houses formed a U, that’s the best way to describe it. It was a U shape of small homes and overgrown yards. A few skeletal remains lay about, here and there. The one lying in the second yard to my right was a woman at one time, and from the flower print skirt she still had around her decomposing hips, I guessed she was still fairly young, maybe not even thirty yet. Jeanette entered my thoughts and I tried to shove her back into the deepest corner of my soul. Swallowing hard, I shook my head, hoped she and little Bobby were okay; that Jake had managed to get them to a safe zone before they managed to swarm our small town. I closed my eyes and saw her, the fear on her face, the look of disbelief as Jake pulled her by the arm, further away from me. I stayed behind with Leland and Pop and Davey Blaylock from down the road from us. Someone had to fight. The military wasn’t going to be coming to his small South Carolinian town. A little do nothing town that existed just to exist.


    A slight shuffle brought me from my memories. I looked pass the back of Mr. Martin’s car. There she was, Mrs. Crenshaw, shuffling along, barely standing, her body a gray mass of ugly. White puffs of dirty hair hung along the sides of her face, one eye dangled by the optic nerves. A bloom of blood sat across the front of her night gown. Her feet were bare and torn up.

    “Morning, Mrs. Crenshaw,” I called, knowing full well the only answer I would get was . . .

    She groaned, turned her whole body toward me, not just her head like a living person would, but her entire dead, stiff body. She picked up her pace, one hand extending outward the other one appearing as useless as tits on a boar hog.

    It pained me to see my old sixth grade teacher like this. In life she was a cantankerous old bat, especially when I was a kid, always fussing about not spoon feeding her students. If we wanted to learn, we would earn it in her classroom. Not many of us passed. I scraped by with a low D, not great, but passing.

    Raising my rifle, I took aim. Brown drool trickled from her mouth, slinked its way down her chin. I waited as she drew closer, her moan echoing in the cul de sac. A tingle of dread crept into my stomach. What if others heard her? I still didn’t know if they could hear or actually see, but what if they could?

    I shrugged. The rifle would be louder than any moans she could make.

    “A little closer, Mrs. Crenshaw,” I said, drew a bead on her forehead I pulled the trigger. Mrs. Crenshaw’s head snapped back, she stumbled on impact and tipped forward. I let out a long breath, held my rifle on her as I approached. With my boot, I nudged her foot, then her arm, then the side of her head. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Crenshaw,” I said, lowered my gun.

    Just as I thought, others came out of hiding, their rotting bodies lurching along. Two at first, then three, four more from around the back side of one of the houses. Mr. Mitchell stumbled over a Radio Flyer sitting in the driveway, crashed to the ground with a thud and a clatter as the wagon toppled over. His fat stomach burst, sending brown sludge onto the ground. He tried to stand but could only manage to roll over. Part of his intestines spilled out.

    Biting back vomit, I took aim at the nearest corpse, squeezed the trigger. The top of her head disappeared and she dropped to the ground. The next shot took the man closest to her. The third one missed and I back pedaled back to the front of Mr. Martin’s car. They closed in quick, their moans escalating. I crawled onto the hood of the car, then onto its top. It gave slightly but held my weight.

    The next three rounds dropped the nearest zombies. The others clambered over their fallen comrades. I slid the pack from my shoulder, reached inside for the pistol. Easier. Faster. Four shots and only one undead still remained. My hand shook for a moment. Killing the ones I knew was always hard. Tommy Banks was no difference. His son played with my son, two six year olds with heads full of dreams and lots of mischief left undone.

    “Deep breaths, Walker,” I said to myself. “Slow and steady.” I took aim, pulled the trigger. Tommy Banks slumped against the car, his head dragging down the passenger’s side door, leaving a smear of black in its wake.

    My shoulders sagged and I lowered my head. Forcing back tears, I slid onto the hood and jumped over the bodies. I wasn’t done. A clean sweep of the neighborhood was needed and I hadn’t even reached the first house. A few feet from the car I turned back, stared at the mass of rotting flesh surrounding Mr. Martin’s old blue sedan. Mr. Mitchell was still moving, crawling toward me, his blackened intestines dragging behind him.

    How did I forget about him? I raised the rifle. A second later he stopped moving, the bullet taking off the side of his head.

    At the truck, I slung the rifle in the bed and grabbed the pick axe and shovel. They were good people, these folks from Sipping Creek. I couldn’t leave them to rot or to let the elements wear away what remained of them and the animals . . . I didn’t know if eating their flesh could kill the animals, most of them dogs that used to be well fed and loved, but now wild and starved.

    In the old world we buried our dead. It was a closure for those left behind. Stones marked graves, sometimes witty or profound statements went on the markers. At that time I wasn’t concerned with phrases or even closure. Respect held me in that neighborhood.

    Three feet in to digging a mass grave, I stopped. A faint groan held my attention. Staggering from the Banks’ open door was Thomas, Tommy’s son. His jaw sat slack, his hair stuck up in cowlicks as if he just woke up from a year long nap. Drooping white filmed eyes sat in deep sockets. He stepped off the side of the porch, landed on the ground, rolled over and pushed to his feet.

    Daddy, can I go to Thomas’ house?

    How many times had Bobby and Thomas played together? How many times did they have sleep-overs? How many times had Tommy and I taken them to the nearest race or to one of the ball games over at the University in Columbia?

    Spiderman sat across the front of Thomas’ blood stained shirt. A chunk of flesh was missing from his neck. I wondered if he was awake when he had been killed, if there was terror in his eyes, fear in his heart and a scream cut off from his throat.

    We stood, watching each other, me in the hole, Thomas at the base of the front steps. I tossed the shovel to the edge of the hole and climbed out. Thomas shambled toward me, his groan so much like a child in pain. Honestly, I guess he may have been. Maybe the rotting dead weren’t so dead after all. Maybe they could do more than see, stumble and eat.

    I braced myself, glanced toward my truck. I could run, grab a gun long before he could reach me. Instead, I held my ground, shovel in hands, eyes fixed on my buddy’s kid.

    “He’s not Thomas,” I whispered over and over, trying to calm my nerves.

    The shovel shook in my hands as he approached. Ten or fifteen feet from me, he lifted his arms, his face changed from a once loving little kid’s to a horrible semblance of what he used to be, lips turned down in a sneer, brows furrowed. He bared his lips as I backed away.

    “I’m sorry, Thomas,” I said and swung the shovel with every ounce of strength I had. The hollow metal on skull sound echoed in the silent neighborhood. Thomas staggered sideways, fell, but he wasn’t done. Black blood seeped from the nasty gash on the left side of his head. On his belly with his legs pushing and arms pulling, he crawled toward me, unfazed by the blow he had taken.

    Raising the shovel above my head, I brought it down. Once, twice. His skull cracked and, mercifully—for both of us—it was over.

    I dropped the shovel, backed up until my ass hit my truck. I climbed in, locked the door. For the first time since the world went to hell, I cried. Straight up and down bawled. Images of my family scampered across the front of my mind, Jeanette and Bobby, my brothers, Pop. It was all too much to swallow.

    “Get a grip, Walker,” I said, wiped my eyes. Several deep breaths followed.

    Most of the rest of that day I dug holes—three of them, one fairly large and two smaller. Zombies are heavier than folks might think they are, especially Mr. Mitchell with his trailing insides. I laid them in the big hole, human matchsticks all in a pile. Mr. Martin and the dead body beneath his wheel and whatever remains of folks littered the street went into the second hole. Tommy and Thomas Banks went together in the last one.

    I had never been much on praying before. Like most folks after the dead rose, I guess I found some sort of religion. Not knowing who I was really praying to, I said some words out to the air, hoping the wind would carry them to the right ears, the right heart.

    Night was well on its way. There was no time to sweep the houses like I had hoped to. The day’s events had drained me, both heart and soul. I went back to my truck, locked the doors and loaded my pistol and rifle. Behind the seat sat Pop’s old shotgun. I still had never fired it, not having the luxury of a broken collarbone like my brother. Maybe one day I would. But not that day, the day I took down my first undead child and his father. The children, they’re always the hardest to kill.

    I closed my eyes, pistol in hand. Exhaustion claimed me as night settled in...

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