A free look at the Zombie Plagues book four
The weather keeps jumping back and forth between 80 degree days and 60 degree days, sunshine and then days of rain and the lake keeps rising. Slowly but surely the new warming is coming: I can feel it.
I will leave you today with a free preview from The Zombie Plagues…
THE ZOMBIE PLAGUES BOOK FOUR
Created by Geo Dell
PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell
The Zombie Plagues Book Four
Copyright © 2010 – 2013 by Geo Dell, all rights reserved
This preview is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please point them to this blog. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
The names Geo Dell and Dell Sweet are publishing constructs used by Wendell Sweet and his assignee. Copyright 2017, all rights reserved, portions copyright 2010, 2012 and 2013.
THIS MATERIAL IS NOT EDITED FOR CONTENT!
Recommended age: Age 18+
Bear climbed up the steel ladder they had leaned up against the bus. Beth sat looking out at the street in an aluminum lawn chair. She turned as he made the top and smiled. Bear smiled back, turned and looked back into the junkyard for a moment. The view was unobstructed. The yard stretched away before him. He turned back to the front. A house lined street, like any house lined street, in any city. He assumed it went on into Hazleton, but they had not followed it.
“Very,” Beth agreed. “These zombies don’t seem all that interested in us. Or… I don’t know, they’re stupid… mentally slower.” She shrugged
Bear nodded. “But I wonder if it works the same. I mean, I wonder if these just haven’t caught up yet. And when they do, I wonder if they’ll be as bad as the others.”
Beth looked back at the house lined street beyond the bus. She had been watching the street, occasionally turning to the junk yard, and watching the fence line for hours now. She had seen two dead. Both had been farther down the street, a good quarter mile away, so far that it may have been the same dead woman both times. She had not really gotten much of a look the first time. “I guess I’m just glad we don’t have to fight them like we were. The brain rest is good.”
They both fell silent. Bear crossed and sat in the other lawn chair that had been set up on top of the bus.
“We should probably move out in a few days,” Bear said. “It’s nice, but it’s not getting us any closer to where we want to be.”
Beth looked over at him. “Where do we want to be, Bear?” she asked.
“You thought about these people that have this city all set up?”
“Yeah, except I haven’t heard anything at all about them on the radio. I wonder, if it truly did exist… if it has fallen to the dead. Just because they aren’t too smart here doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”
“So you don’t want to look for it?”
Bear laughed. “Have you considered that maybe I am not a man who can live a settled life, that maybe my life will always be in flux? I mean, in…”
“I know what flux means.”She smiled again “I am no dumb girl, Bear.”
“Oh, I didn’t mean to…”
She held up a hand. “I know you don’t think I’m a dumb girl. I over explain sometimes. Or react,” she colored. She turned away and looked over the street.
The dead girl was back, wandering the street, stumbling from house to house, slamming into the houses as she found them, apparently unable to see them or stop herself. She and Bear watched as she wandered up the street toward them and the bus that would block her way.
“I guess a place to call home,” Bear said. “The year is going by so fast. We need people who know how to plant gardens, raise cows, things like that.”
Beth laughed. “You? A farmer?”
Bear looked at her and smiled. “Uh, no. I’m not going to pretend either. What I would like is to be working steel again. That’s what I did all of my life. But that’s not going to happen. This will sound crazy, but I think… This really will sound crazy. I’ve thought about it, and it sounded crazy to me when I said it to myself, but I think I might drift.”
“Drift? You mean like a cowboy in a movie?”
Bear laughed. “More like a biker movie I saw once, but I think I did get the word from a western. Yeah… Just drift. I don’t think I want to settle down yet. I’ve been here one day and it’s old. Lonesome Dove … McMurtry. I think that was where I read it.”
“Good book,” Beth agreed. “So a woman can’t tie you down.”
Bear had been watching the dead girl stagger up the street. He turned now and looked at Beth. She met his eyes and held them. She looked away first
“Sorry… Not my business,” she said.
“It would depend,” Bear said.
“On whose business it is?” Beth asked.
“No. It would depend on the woman,” Bear said quietly. Beth locked her eyes with his again. This time Bear looked away.
The silence spun out. The dead girl slammed hard into the side of a garage three houses down the street, got up, stumbled to the back of the house, across the rear lawn, and then walked off the end of a retaining wall that dropped into a deep ravine at the back of the house. She emerged a few moments later rolling in a loose flap of arms and legs down into the pit far below. One leg flew up into the air and just kept going.
“Ouch,” Bear muttered. “Jesus.”
“Took half her ass with it too,” Beth said.
Bear choked trying to hold the laughter back. “You are a sick puppy,” Bear managed after a moment.
“Hey. You laughed too. Besides, if she had made it three more houses I would have shot her, and she would have lost more than a leg and half her ass.”
Bear choked again. “That is so fucked up.”
Beth laughed back. “It is… I’m sorry. Look what’s become of us.” She choked her own giggles back. The silence came back again. In the distance, somewhere over in Hazleton, smoke began to rise up into the air, a thick black pillar. Bear watched it, as did Beth.
“That did not start on its own,” Beth said.
“Nope,” Bear agreed. He laughed again.
“This is amusing?”
“No, but the situation is, because right about now I’m wishing I was somewhere safe and warm. Drift my ass.”
Beth laughed. “I don’t want to go see what that is.”
Bear sighed. “Neither do I, but I’m going to. Can’t chance they come looking for us tonight. If we can see their smoke it’s a bet they can see ours.”
Beth stood. “Me and you? We can leave this to Scotty. It’s about time to get him and Winston up anyway.”
“Winston is up. Didn’t see Scotty though.” Bear stood too.
“Send him back. I’ll wait,” Beth said.
Bear nodded and turned to the ladder.
The van was stripped down, wheels and frame gone, its doors off and interior stripped out. It was just a shell suspended from two A frames over the truck frame. Bear whistled as he walked by and headed up to the overhead storage area where they had set up sleeping quarters.
Scotty was up and getting dressed. “You came to get me? Must be something up,” he said as Bear walked in.
“Yeah. I hate to do it, but I need you to take my shift on the bus. Beth and I are heading over into Hazleton. Smoke, just a short while ago. I guess if they didn’t want us to know, they wouldn’t have started a fire. I’m guessing, but I’m sure they can see our fires here.”
“Take it to them before they can bring it to us?” Scotty said.
Bear shrugged. “I guess it could be good news. Maybe others that might want to travel with us.”
“But you don’t think so.”
“Nope. If they were interested in joining, they would have come over. We have fires that have been going since we got here. How could they miss it? No. Instead they start a fire on the other side of the city. Suspect.”
Scotty tugged his last boot on, shot the laces through the steel hooks that ran up each side of the boot and tied it. “Let’s go,” he said as he stood from the edge of the bed.
They were walking into the garage when Beth called on the radio.
“Company, Beth says,” Billy told him.
Bear swore. He had clipped his radio on his belt but had not turned it on. He plucked it from the belt and flicked the knob. “How many?” he asked.
“Three,” Beth answered. “But they’re attracting a crowd… dead. So don’t be surprised if you hear gunfire.”
She was no sooner done talking than gunfire erupted from the direction of the gate. All four men ran from the garage and headed for the bus.
Bear yanked his machine pistol free from the sheath that held it across his shoulder. He flicked off the safety as he ran.
They were not hers, and she did not understand them. There had been others she had met along the way that were the same. Dead, passed over into this new life, but not like her. There was no better explanation for it. These were slow, empty vessels full of holes. She could not lead them. They could not hear her voice or any other. She let the boy and the twin run them down. But they were not really good training for them.
She was on the outskirts of a small city. She and the three with her had spent the day before in the woods, not far from the city, going in at night to find the living. They were in those same woods now, Donita limping along, the twin and the boy at her side, the big man behind her. One leg had been a mangled ruin. It was still not much more than that, and she had taken shots to the chest that were healing too, but her body was rebuilding itself as she walked.
Her one remaining twin had lost an eye, a head shot that had ruined her face. It was rebuilding, but Donita did not believe the eye would come back. It seemed to be healing into a twisted mass of scar tissue that covered that side of her face. The boy was unharmed. The big man had taken most of the shots protecting the twin and the boy, but he was healing too as they walked, faster even than Donita was.
The living had thought they were like the other dead that they had found in the town, slow and stupid, so they had not been prepared for the reality that she had taken to them.
She had found them in the basement of an old farm house. No one guarding, or if there had been, they had fallen asleep. She would take six that were meant for her. The others she gave to the boy and the twin. The big man helped her with the six. It had seemed to go smoothly. The ones that were hers were stretched out on the cold concrete. She waited while the others fed. But the night passed and the morning came, and they had not come back.
It was late in the day when they did come, and they were not hers at all. They were the same slow, stupid, infestation that she had found within the town. Malformed, undeveloped. Not hers at all, not able to be made hers. She had let them go, set them free. They were no use to her at all.
They had wandered away immediately, into the small city, walking into houses, cars, street signs and whatever else was in their way as they stumbled along. She had watched them go. Blind babies, empty vessels that would never be anything more, and then the second bad thing had happened.
She and the others had been in the basement when the breathers had set it ablaze. She should have known they were there, felt them, sensed them, known, not only that they were there, but what they were about to do. But she had felt, sensed, nothing at all until a second before the house went up in flames. She had barely managed to get herself out through the small basement window that faced the rear of the house. Even then, she had nearly lost her own.
The breathers had been waiting and opened up on her as she crawled through the window. But they expected the slow, stupid ones, and that was their downfall. Donita had screamed and launched herself at the nearest breather, riding him to the ground where she had ripped his throat out before he or the others could react. That bought time for her own to get out of the basement and the burning house. Three more of the breathers had fallen before the others had fled. The big man had picked her up and carried her back to the woods, and she had lapsed into twilight as the healing began.
When she had come back to herself, they had set out through the woods. The longer she walked, the stronger she felt. She would not make the same mistake again, she told herself. She looked over at the twin with her now scared face. She would not make the same mistake again, she repeated to herself. And they would pay for this. They would pay. She remembered their scent, would never forget it, and they would pay.
He was up the ladder faster than he would have thought possible. Billy, Mac and Scotty were up next, but the firing was over. It had not come from Beth, except at the very end. There were half dozen dead laying in the roadway a hundred yards from the bus. Directly below, as Bear walked to the edge and looked down, two frightened young kids stared up at him. Teens, maybe, he told himself, not much past that, and they were both carrying machine pistols, yet they had somehow allowed the dead to get as close to them as they had – a girl and a boy. The girl had a gash on one side of her face and looked pretty bad off. He glanced back up at the dead in the road, and then let his eyes fall on the other houses on both sides of the road. Nothing and nothing. He looked back down at the two.
“How did you get injured?” he asked the girl.
Beth stepped up beside him. “Dead girl had her pinned to the ground. She wasn’t hurt before that. Had the boy too.”
“That’s a fuckin’ lie! A fuckin’ lie!” The boy screamed. “They never touched us… never. We got away,” he added in a near normal voice. He turned and looked back down the road at the dead, and when he did, Bear saw the blood leaking from his hairline. He looked back at the girl and her eyes were locked on his, staring up at him.
“Girl?” Bear asked.
She frowned and then nodded. “I don’t know. I think I cut it on the road… He did,” she turned and pointed at the boy. “They slammed his head into the road,” She tilted her head as she looked up at Bear and then Beth. “It might have been. It was this close,” she held her index finger and thumb barely apart. “Could have been.” She cleared her throat.
“We been here. We didn’t just get here. They’re dumb… They can’t even get out of their own way. But we found some this morning that weren’t dumb… somehow,” she seemed confused. “Set them on fire. Some got away,” she shook her head, staggered, and then her eyes cleared. She continued, “Hell, maybe all of them got away. The thing is, they weren’t stupid. Not like the ones we’ve been dealing with,” she shrugged. Her eyes fluttered as she spoke, and she staggered again.
“Sick,” Beth whispered.
The boy looked up. “I’m telling you, they never got her at all. Never did.” His own eyes were glazed, no doubt due to the head injury hiding under the hair that was slowly darkening and becoming plastered to his head. The blood was bright red now, flowing down his neck. He held the girl for a second, but it seemed all he could take, and they both sagged to the ground.
“Goddammit,” Bear muttered. “I guess that explains the fire though.”
Down the road, three dead staggered into the street from a house where they had seen several others come from. Before Bear could speak, Mac and Billy dropped all four with just a short burst from their weapons. “Getting a lot better,” Bear said. “A lot.” They said nothing. He looked back down at the girl and boy and then walked away and looked over at Beth.
“I am not for it. I think she’s sick… Maybe not the boy, but what the fuck can we do?” Beth asked.
Bear nodded. When he spoke, his voice was a deep whisper. “Nothing. He’s not going to leave her.” He leaned forward and looked down at her where she lay curled in the boy’s arms. He was out. Maybe not coming back. The blood was still pumping from his head and flowing down his neck.
Bear squatted and peered down at the girl and the boy for a few moments before he spoke again. “What do you think of her hand?”
Beth squatted beside him and looked down at the girl. She stood and shook her head. “I can’t tell. It looks like she’s turning. Turns black, you know, but just under the skin… like… like a spiderweb flowing out under their skin. Bad description, I know,” she finished.
“Not really. Pretty close to what I have seen. Looks like the capillaries just under the skin turn black. Takes no time at all… spreads to the rest of the body. Can take the finger, hand, foot… if you’re fast enough. Stop it right there. I’ve seen it done.”
Beth met his eyes. Her voice was low. “Can’t take her head off. She’s got the other cut on her face and that seems to be turning black too… around the edges. Can’t tell for sure yet.”
“No. Looks it to me too.” Bear sighed. He rubbed at his eyes and then turned to Billy. “How long do you guys need to finish your project?”
“Rest of today. Tomorrow to test it and make sure it’s okay.”
“Yeah? All that work and that’s it?” Beth asked.
“Not as complicated as it looks. It’s swapping out the body, really. Everything is in the wiring harness, just run it into the van cab… wire up a switch. The big deal is mounting the body. I have a welder, I have a gennie, but I’m not so hot with welding.”
“Really? Well, like I said, I am. Show me what you got, what you need, and as long as you can juice up that welder, I’ll get it done for you,” Bear said.
Billy laughed. “Man. That’s good. I was worried about it, but…” He broke off as Bear turned away and looked back over the edge of the bus. “I’ll wait for you… get the gennie fired up. I have to cut some plate steel and make what I need you to weld. We’ll be waiting.”
Bear turned back and nodded. “Be there in a bit.”
Billy’s eyes slid up to Mac, and a second later they both turned and made their way down the ladder.
“Scotty… we got this, Scotty.” Bear turned and looked at Scotty. Scotty nodded, relief clearly written on his face, turned and hurried down the ladder.
Bear reached into his pocket, pulled his pouch out and rolled a cigarette.
“Roll me one,” Beth said.
“Yeah? This is rough stuff.”
“Yeah. Roll me one,” Beth repeated.
Bear rolled a second cigarette, handed it to Beth and then struck a match. Beth leaned in and pulled a deep breath as Bear held the match to her cigarette. He lit his own, looked over the edge, and then tossed the match after he shook it out. His eyes looked down the street where the three dead had now become four, bumping around parked cars. One had walked into the side of a house. It kept backing up and then walking straight forward again, slamming into the side of the house over and over again.
One had found the middle of the street and was drunkenly staggering its way toward them. Bear flicked his machine pistol to single shot, raised it, sighted and squeezed the trigger. Half the zombie’s head instantly disappeared from its shoulders. The other half seemed to hold together for a moment and then toppled to the left. The zombie dropped in to the street in a heap. Beth coughed beside him. He turned.
“Jesus, Bear. Rough is not the word.”
Bear nodded and then looked down at the two teens. The girls face was beginning to darken, her hand was a mass of small spidery black lines. The boys head wound was slowing, but there was a fine mass of black lines running across one cheek. “Guess that answers that,” Bear said quietly.
Beth took a deep pull off the cigarette and rubbed at her temples with her free hand. “Is this the way it’s going to be, do you think?”
Bear’s cigarette dangled from his lower lip, seeming plastered there. “No…” He raised his eyes. “We’re gonna find that place and settle down there. No more of this shit.”
Beth flicked her cigarette off the edge of the roof. “Bullshit. I don’t see it. I don’t believe it exists, and if it does, I don’t think you can settle down.”
Bear took a deep pull from his own cigarette and then flicked it off the roof too. He said nothing, but leaned forward and looked off the edge of the roof. He looked back up and held her eyes for a moment. Beth stepped forward too, shrugged her machine pistol from her shoulder and into her hands. She raised her eyes to Bear. He nodded, thumbed his pistol to full auto, and sprayed the two where they lay up against the bus below. Beth’s pistol hammered away too. They were brief bursts, but they did the job. They both backed away a moment later.
“Okay?” Bear asked.
Bear slipped his pistol back into the sheath on his back, walked to the other side of the bus, snagged the ladder and dragged it upward. A moment later he was lowering it on the other side.
“Got you,” Beth said tightly.
Bear climbed down the ladder. A few moments later he was pulling the bodies away from the side of the bus, dragging them over behind the nearest house and rolling them down into the ravine that the rains had cut into the hillside there. In less than a minute, he was climbing back up the ladder and then pulling it up behind him.
Beth watched the street. There were two more dead that were getting closer. The one was still slamming repeatedly into the side of the house down the street.
“Okay?” Bear asked quietly.
She turned to him. “Yeah. It is what it is.” She thought for a second, but didn’t know what else she could say.
Bear nodded. “I’ll send Scotty back.” He waited for a second.
“Got a pint… Got a couple actually…” Beth said.
“You offering to buy me a drink?” Bear asked.
She held his eyes. “I think I’m offering more than that. I don’t want to cause problems…”
Bear nodded, “I’ll send Scotty. We’ll take a little walk. We can talk this out, I think.”
I hope you enjoyed this free preview. Check out the Zombie Plagues at the links below.
That is it for me today. I hope you enjoyed the free reading. Check out the entire series at the links above! I’ll be back next week…