This is a ZF10 Prologue – It won’t give much away if you’re new to the series, with that being said, do you really want to start here? Go read the first nine and a half then come back, I’ll wait. (Insert Monty Python intermission music here) WELCOME BACK, I missed you! Do you have a cookie for Henry?
Oh yeah this is a warning, the scene is relatively graphic and violent, if you have delicate sensibilities you may want to go find a Garfield comic strip instead. :) Otherwise I hope you enjoy it.
Deneaux was halfway through Indiana when whatever hell’s angel was tasked with looking out for her, took the morning off. She’d stopped at a rest stop just outside of Indianapolis. Apparently, even demons hell-bent on undeserved revenge and retribution need sleep. Her head was thrown back against the seat rest, a burned down cigarette with an incredibly long ash firmly planted in her mouth. When the heavy rapping came on her window, she started awake and the residue fell onto her lap. She lifted her revolver, expecting to find a zombie at the window, but what she got was worse.
“Put it down.” The man said with a gap-toothed smile. A thick, brown beard covered his face and the old acne scars he’d developed in his youth. An orange hunter’s cap adorned his head. Deneaux could recognize evil in another, and his eyeless grim smile was unnerving.
“I won’t say it again.” He pointed to the front of the truck, where a man with a wicked looking assault rifle aimed straight at her. “And in case you have a Jesse James complex.” He pointed to the passenger side, where another man had a large caliber handgun directed at her.
Deneaux did her best to remain calm. She placed the gun on the seat beside her.
“There, all better now. I mean you no harm.”
“Unlock the door.” The grin had faded almost immediately.
“We’re all in this together. I’m just trying to get back to my family.”
“We’re in it together.” He said, pointing to the men with guns. “You’re just a resource. Unlock the door. I won’t say it again so kindly.”
Deneaux looked around the cab. The truck wasn’t even started. There were not even odds available to her warming up the glow plugs and getting the truck out of there before she was riddled with bullets. She undid the door lock.
When she unlocked the door, the man flung it opened and wrenched her out. She smacked onto the pavement hard, wincing in pain. The man leaned down.
“The next time I tell you to do something, I suggest you hurry up.” The man roughly patted her down. “Get up.”
“I’m … I’m hurt.” she had her hands out to show the road rash she’d suffered.
“Not yet, but you will be.”
“Please, please it doesn’t need to be like this.”
“Fuck, Wember. What is she, like a hundred and twelve?” The man with the assault rifle had come over. He’d shouldered his rifle and was moving to look inside the cab of the truck.
“Quit your bitching, Veeral. At least she’s got a pussy.”
“Are you sure?” Veeral laughed, “Thing has probably fallen off from disuse.”
“Naw, when they’re this old, the things fill with dust and scab over,” the third said.
“Fuck, Jolly. You’re gross. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
“Just this piece and a shitload of cigarettes,” Veeral said while he put the gun in his waistband.
“Can … can I have a cigarette?”
Wember took one step over to her and punched the side of her head hard enough that she blacked out. She heard laughter as her head bounced off the ground, then nothing. When she awoke, it was hours later. Night had settled. Her head throbbed, but that wasn’t the worst of it. She was propped up against a decent sized oak, her arms were behind her, and she was tied to that tree. Her breath hitched when she realized her boots and pants had been removed. Her panties were torn and pulled to the side. Blood coated the inside of her thighs. She saw Veeral’s back as he approached the fire. He was fumbling with his zipper.
“Bitch is as dry as a funeral drum,” he complained.
“Like that’s ever stopped you,” Wember said, handing him a piece of cooked rabbit.
“Please,” Deneaux croaked. Her shoulders threatened to pull out of their sockets. Her head felt nearly concussed. Her genitals ached from the abuse. But it was the siren call of the nicotine that she begged for.
“Haven’t you learned bitch?” Wember said, arising from his log around the fire. He grabbed a burning switch and smacked it along the side of her face. She screamed out in pain as the side of her face charred. “You talk when I tell you to.” He turned back and tossed the stick back into the fire. Deneaux whimpered, the pain momentarily making her forget about her addiction, but only momentarily.
“She smells better than she looks. Maybe we should just eat her,” Jolly said.
“I ain’t doing that again. That boy tasted horrible, and I was sick as shit for like a week.”
“I told you before, Veeral. It wasn’t the boy that made you sick. It was the damned crushed can of beans that did you in. Botulism or some shit. How many times do I have to tell you? You can’t eat the damaged cans. Bacteria gets in them.”
“I was hungry.”
“His calf wasn’t enough?” Jolly smacked Veeral’s arm good-naturedly.
“I’d rather have cow,” Veeral said sadly.
“We all would. The chewers aren’t leaving much behind, though,” Wember said, turning the spit. “At least now we can play with our food and not get in trouble!” They all laughed. Deneaux shivered.
She didn’t believe in karma. This wasn’t about things coming full circle for all she’d done. This was a current bad situation from which she needed to extradite herself. She slept in fitful spurts; every time her head hung, low it would pull against her shoulders, jerking her back awake. More times than not, she would awake to have Veeral standing over her. Her mouth was parched, her cheek stung, she would have just about quit smoking for a glass of water right then. She thought her pleas had been heard when she felt water raining down on her. That quickly changed to disgust when some of the broccoli smelling saltiness of urine entered into her mouth. Her spitting and retching noises were met with Veeral’s laughter.
“You like that?” he asked as he shook the last few drops free. “Don’t want to get any in my pants,” he said as he kept at it, making sure the clingers departed as well. “Gotta admit, you’re not much to look at, but you fuck nice enough.” He leaned down and stroked the side of her face. She did not flinch, a smoldering coal red burned in her eyes. Veeral slapped her. “Don’t you look at me like that. Don’t you ever!” He smacked her again, hoping that would stop the shiver that had niggled into the base of his spine.
“Be nice to her. Don’t you know who she is?” Wember asked as he untied her.
She again cried out as her shoulders slid back into place. She hated herself for being so weak.
“What do I give a fuck who this dried up hag is?”
“You’re just about giving it to royalty.”
“She’s the Queen of England? Are you fucking kidding me?” Veeral got down to get a closer look at her. “She don’t look like the Queen. What was that bitches name? Eliza or something?”
“Elizabeth, you idiot, and I said like royalty. Naw, this here this is Vivian Deneaux if her license is right.”
“Do know what?”
“No Den-oh. Damn, you really are an idiot. If you weren’t my brother’s best friend, I would have shot you by now.”
“Fine, Deneaux. So what?”
“Her husband was a senator or something. She comes from money or has money, or more likely, knowing these rich fucks, they stole money. Why aren’t you riding this out in some super-secret government bunker?”
Vivian didn’t immediately answer, too lost in her own pain and misery. Wember shook her back to reality quickly when he smacked a switch across the bottom of her bare foot. Pain rocketed up her legs and spine and flared at the base of her neck, where it radiated around her entire skull.
“So is you is or is you ain’t?” Jolly asked coming up. The three men were standing over her.
Her tongue burned with a verbal acidity that she wished to spew. It would do no good in this situation. They’d already proved they would hurt her, and the killing would come soon enough at this pace.
“I am Vivian Deneaux.” She tried to hold her head high, but it pulled on her shoulders.
“So what?” Veeral asked. “She was a rich bitch once. What’s that mean?”
“Isn’t this about the time you tell us you can get us money?” Wember laughed.
“I could, but we both know money is no good. What about gold?”
“Where am I going to use gold?”
“Smart man like you has to have this figured out by now. Don’t you?”
“Why don’t you go ahead and let me know what my plans are.”
“This has to end sometime. And you’re right, regular paper money will be useless. But gold has been valuable since man discovered it. Thousands of cultures and civilizations have perished and fallen, yet gold has always remained a valuable commodity. The people that have it will always be able to rule over all others that don’t.”
“And you’d just hand this gold over would you?”
“I’d be willing to trade some of it in exchange for my life.”
“What if I just took it all?” Wember asked.
“Yeah, what if we just took it all?” Veeral asked, not realizing the minor discrepancy between his and Wember’s words.
“Where’s this gold? I’m going to need to see it.” Wember pushed Veeral out of the way.
“Do you really believe that I carry my gold around with me? Could I have some water, please.”
“Where’s the gold bitch?”
“I need some water.”
Wember raised his hand.
“I’m no good to you dead or rendered unconscious. I need some water and a cigarette.”
Wember’s hand wavered in the air. He turned and smacked his brother on the arm. “Get the hag some water.”
“And a cigarette.”
“And a cigarette.”
Wember lit the cigarette. She took two long drags from the stick before she even spun the lid off the water bottle.
They watched her every movement as if she had just become fascinating. That somehow the rich and elite did the mundane things differently.
“Why ain’t you in your bunker with all your gold and the other douchebag government types?” Wember asked.
She took another long drag. “We were on a mission of mercy. Bringing supplies to those in the greatest need when we were attacked by a horde the size of which we’d never encountered before. Five of us had escaped, two had been bitten. We cared for them as best we could.”
“The only care you could have given them was a .45 caliber aspirin.”
“I’ve seen it.”
“There’s a cure?” Jolly asked.
“Not a cure, dumb ass. It prevents you from ever becoming a chewer,” Wember told his brother, but looked over to Deneaux for acknowledgement
“There’s something like that out there?” Veeral asked.
“Well, if we’re to believe Hagatha here.”
“Civilization is closer to being restored than you know. That’s why we were out there helping those people. The more that survive now, the more there will be to rebuild.”
“Yeah and you rich fucks need the little worker bees to do it. Don’t you?” Wember sneered.
“I’m offering you a chance to be part of the ruling class. You won’t be a worker bee anymore. We can have the planet back in a year, maybe less.”
“I like the way the world is now,” Jolly said. “We can do what we want to whoever we want whenever we want.”
“You can do that when you’re rich and powerful, too,” Deneaux said. “But you can do it while you’re living in the lap of luxury. People will actually bring the things you desire to you.”
Deneaux could almost see the thought bubble form over Jolly’s head as he thought about sitting on a couch, being fed grapes by nude women.
“Where’s this bunker?”
Deneaux did not hesitate. “Maine.”
* * * * *
The stench of frozen flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Winter of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 40+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of November.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!