You can find another post regarding my Military Zombpocalypse Thriller, TRANSPORT, on Mr. Rosamalia’s regular blog. Here, I thought you might enjoy a little excerpt from TRANSPORT (Book Three) UNCIVIL WAR. My main character, Captain Jake Billet, finds himself in a bit of a predicament while on the west side of town where the “local” undead are contained.
There is nothing more agonizing to listen to than the bawl of the undead. It is like listening to a cow at slaughter, where the beast isn’t quite dead and the chainsaw doesn’t bite through in that first stroke. All you know is the poor creature feels every steel tooth of the saw tearing into its flesh. The horrible death knell increases on the street as UCRA civilians, once living, breathing folks, humans, turn to puddles of gore. They are unable to move, only able to dissolve like plastic in a hot furnace.
Jake loops his arms under Bob’s armpits and lifts. For an emaciated bag of flesh and bones, the old boy weighs a ton. Ignoring the pain in his side, the gunshot wound to his arm, Billet lifts and drags Bob away from the spreading yellow fog curling and undulating toward the gas station.
“It affects healthy and unhealthy flesh,” Lettner says skipping along excitedly beside Billet.
“Is this real? This can’t be real,” Jake says.
He spies a large garbage dumpster sitting behind the service station. It butts up against the wall of the one story building. “Who would bring this to the city? How could they without someone knowing. All the people we work with. We would’ve had Intel on this.”
Black Hair’s one word, one name, closed Jake’s mouth, and then: “Largo.”
Rupert Largo is well known for his contempt for Mayor Honeywell. Everyone knew, including the mayor, the City Treasurer bucks for his position. Rumors also abound there was a city commissioner leading an underground group of radicals looking to eradicate the zombie populace in the UCRA. GRAZA, Grand Rapids Anti-Zombie Association it was called.
With the activities of Loyalists well-known in West Michigan since Lettner’s death, and GRAZA, and singular folk who take things into their own hands: the big city was hard pressed to really dig deep and pursue anyone in these extreme factions.
Now, adding hired armed insurgents—mercenaries—to the mix…
Jake’s head spins with the endless possibilities.
“Quite the shit storm you’re in, Captain,” Lettner says as Jake drags Bob to the trash gon.
Lifting, pushing, struggling, Jake hefts Bob onto the steel trash receptacle. He climbs upon himself, then lifts the old undead gas station attendant to the roof line. A sack of potatoes would be easier to maneuver. He fumbles, almost drops them both back to the pavement below. The holes in his chest, arms and legs ache dully. His clothing sticks to his flesh, pulls away every time he moves, causes pain. He takes it, the only thing that makes him feel alive, motivated.
The yellow mist sweeps around the corner of the gas station. Lettner stands there, ground level, smiling, unaffected; it’s an old friend to him.
“I see pretty clearly,” Jake says, one last thrust upward, heaving Bob over the edge. He hears the crunch of gravel as the old zomb hits the flat roof top. Jake follows, starts to pull himself up and over. “Largo’s involved in this somehow. Maybe the whole thing.”
The toxic fog coils around the gas pumps, roils around and beyond, spreading like an incoming ocean tide. Jake sees the black haired rotter sent to kill him shrouded in the stuff, like a body lying just under a watery surface. Flesh melts away from skull. Clothing deflates as the body is eaten away. Red-black liquid gore oozes from shirt collar, sleeves and pant cuffs. A skeleton in ragged black combat attire is all that remains within a few heartbeats.
“At least he’s better off,” Lettner says, the first hint of glumness in his usually sarcastic jovial tone.
Jake ignores the man and pulls himself over the roof’s ledge. He rolls, pushes himself upright, kneels, body crunching the gravel and tar-lined service station rooftop. The heavy fog doesn’t rise any higher than the mid-way point of the big metal trash gon. Thankfully.
It’s still a problem though as Jake peers down at the swirling, spreading mist. If it’s the same stuff Lettner used on the West Olive populace years ago, the substance affects healthy, living flesh the same as necrotic, dead flesh; eats it down to the bone, all flesh, all muscle, tendons, organs. It turns one to sauce without the blender.
In the distance, from the city, sirens wail.
“They’re bringing in the firefighting units,” Jake says aloud, kneeling beside the still form of Bob. “They don’t know what they’re driving into.” Taking his tattered and torn, bloody shirt off, he gently winds it about Bob’s head to keep what’s left of the ancient man’s rotting gray matter inside his shattered skull. He ignores the deep gashes and puckered, weeping holes about his own uncovered body.
It will take the city several minutes to gather the protective convoy to flank the lone, special UCRA-designated pumper truck—an old converted MRAP the size of a school bus.
All the buildings west of the gas station are one story; Bridge Street Fluorescents, a short hop from the service station roof to it, then down and a quick jog across the lawn of the West Side Savings & Loans, Flamingo Lounge, a vacant lot and then Squire John’s Fish-n-Chips.
An overturned Buick blocks the front entrance of the old restaurant on the corner of Lane and Bridge, purposely situated, along with wood-plank and steel-reinforced front and side windows. The rear entrance, a steel door with an electronic sensor pad and video monitor above, keeps the contents inside safe from the local populace and then some.
“Radio in the Lane Avenue safe house,” Billet checks one last time that Bob was secure.
Lettner looks up at him through the bloody shirt. “You better hurry, Captain. You don’t want anyone else to die on your watch.”
Unholy screams from below, Jake glances over the roof’s side to see several more curious neighborhood civilians engulfed in the yellow fog.
“Help… us,” his wife Jenna cries from the roadway, the ghost image of her and Joey starting to sink beneath the ochre waves.
“Fuck you. Not this time,” Jake says back to Lettner, finding just Bob’s shattered visage gazing up at him. The old boy lives, and there’d be plenty others if he can get to the Lane safe house, to the communications radio he knows is within.
He stands and runs for the west edge of the rooftop. He leaps the arm-length span between the gas station and the Bridge Street Fluorescents rooftop. With all his wounds, he expects more pain versus the dull throb.
On the opposite side of the lighting distributor store, a short drop to street level again. Jake stops, peers over the roof’s edge. The heavy yellow vapors have flowed like flood waters further down the street, swirling around the West Side Savings & Loan, the Flamingo Lounge and further.
“How much did that plane carry?” he asks himself.
Never the less, he swings himself over the edge of the roof, and drops to ground level. He turns, standing on the grassy sward lining the old bank building ahead of him. The cloying yellow mist swirls about him, waist level, rolling up along his bruised and bleeding naked abdomen and chest.
He begins to scream.
Peter Welmerink (www.peterwelmerink.com) was born and raised on the west side of pre-apocalyptic Grand Rapids, Michigan. He loves his hometown and West Michigan, which is why he writes about it. He writes Fantasy, Military SciFi, and other wanderings into action-adventure. His work has been published in ye olde wood pulp print and electronic-online publications. He is the co-author of the Viking berserker novel, BEDLAM UNLEASHED, written with Steven Shrewsbury. TRANSPORT is his first solo novel venture. He is married with a small barbarian tribe of three boys.