Friday, June 27, 2014


Genre: Horror (Zombies)


Carson Ryder: Former Marine/Has retrograde amnesia/Searching for clues to his past
Damien Albright: Found and saved Carson/Has no family/Doesn’t seem to care about anything
Kenny Sudrow: Former spa porter/Happy to be doing something else
Trevor Virden: Former comic book store owner/His knowledge of useless facts is limitless
Janice Whitfield: Four months pregnant/Wife of Regis Whitfield
Chuckie Razzano: His only concern is his Rolex and his hair gel
Chase Crawford: Religious zealot/Loner/Keeps to himself
Willard Pickman: Scientist/Worked for the C.D.C./Knows of a cure
Brent Blaze: Mall survivor/Former police officer
Ally Burton: Mall survivor/Sister of Eli Burton
Eli Burton: Mall survivor/Brother of Ally Burton
Vern Sheldon: New ally/Drives a box truck/Carries a badass flamethrower


Arnold Vesti: Biters got him
Regis Whitfield: Biters got him
Devin Morris: Strangled in his sleep
Darren Mays: Shot by Damien Albright/Claimed that Carson arrested him at one point

Daniel Skye

Day Thirty.
Normally, Dorchester is about a two hour drive from Cherrywood. It took five days to get past the roads that were jammed up with abandoned automobiles, not to mention all the encounters with the Biters that surely slowed them down. Some of the sectors were virtually impassable, forcing the coalition of survivors to seek alternate routes.
They were running on fumes by the time they finally touched base in Dorchester. And by fumes, I don’t mean gasoline. They had expended so much energy just traveling a hundred and ten miles. The concept of escaping New York itself seemed impossible at this rate. They’d all be dead before they reached Jersey.
Carson Ryder scanned his ID, the only remaining clue to his past, and took the wheel of the van from Trevor Virden. He didn’t know where Newtown Lane was, but he was hoping his instincts would kick in and guide him to the property, much like his instincts seemed to take over when he operated a firearm.
Ryder couldn’t help but think of Darren Mays’ final words. “You arrested me.” What had he meant by that? Did I used to be a cop? Did I work for the FBI or the DEA, the ATF? Was I a military police officer? Who the fuck am I?
When he reached the end of Dorchester Avenue, he had two options. If he went left, he’d be going down Fulton Street. If he made a right, he’d be driving through Canon Street. Something awoke in his brain, his mind lighting up like a Christmas tree and ordering him to go right, so he listened and turned the van onto Canon Street. Four blocks down, they had found Newtown Lane.
            Ryder tapped the brakes gently and as the van came to a halt, Vern Sheldon pulled up behind him in his box truck. 816 Newtown Lane. That’s where they stopped.
            A two-story snout house with a protruding garage that nearly grazed the sidewalk. Ryder studied the diamond windows. All the ones on the first floor had been smashed.
            He studied the green color of the house, and the tall elm tree beside it. The tree, the garage, the diamond windows; none of it jogged his memory.
            “Are you…are you going in?” Kenny Sudrow asked.
            “I guess I have to,” Ryder said. “It’s the only way to know if this is my place for sure.”
            “You’re not going alone,” Damien Albright told him, checking the magazine of his pistol. It still held eight rounds and they had plenty of ammunition to spare. Still, they tried to remain conservative. So when Damien tucked the pistol into the waistband of his jeans, he made sure he was carrying his Bowie knife, too.
            Carson took a pistol and a fire axe they had acquired at the mall. They both exited the van and Carson instructed them to keep the doors locked until they got back.
            “Need some backup?” Brent Blaze had asked. “I can cover you. I used to be a police officer. And I’ve still got my gun.”
            “We’ll be fine,” Damien dismissed him as they walked from the van.
            The wooden steps leading up to the porch were dilapidated and the first step caved as soon as Carson placed his boot over it. They climbed over the decaying steps and reached solid ground atop the porch.
            They didn’t need to knock. The door had been kicked to splinters some time ago.
* * *
            In the van, Chase Crawford had removed the crucifix from his neck and was grasping it loosely between two fingers, letting it dangle back and forth as if he was trying to hypnotize a pregnant Janice Whitfield.
            Janice stared at the crucifix intently, not because she was actually being hypnotized or put into a trance. She stared because it was a symbol of hope. If there was a God, He had guided Janice and her unborn child this far. She was hopeful He would guide her through to the end.
            But Chase didn’t see it that way. Chase saw this plague as the wrath of the Almighty himself. He believed he was being condemned for the sins of others.
            “Doomed,” Chase muttered. “We’re all doomed.”
            “Please don’t start in again,” Kenny said from the front of the van.
            “What do you care?” Chase asked. “What do any of you care? You’re the ones that brought the wrath of God down upon us. We’ve all been struck by the vengeful hand of the Lord. And let me tell you something, when the Lord strikes you, the sting doesn’t go away.”
            “So, what you’re saying is we’re all marked for death?” Blaze asked.
            “Please don’t engage him,” Trevor shouted from the front. “He’ll drone on and on forever. He’s a fucking broken record.”
            “I’m more interested in hearing the story about you and that black dude in the box truck,” Kenny said to Blaze, leaning over his seat, eyes toward the back of the van. He was really showing his mental age by using the word dude.
            “There’s not much to tell,” Blaze said, clearing his throat. He was parched, but he knew they couldn’t be careless with the water supply. “He was a truck driver and a smalltime dealer. Marijuana. I busted him years ago. DUI. A week later, the tires of my Mustang were slashed. I never could prove it was him, but I know it was.”
            “We’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and you’re harboring a grudge over your car tires?” Trevor asked, but it wasn’t really a question. More of a rhetorical statement. “Let it go. He saved our asses. And that flamethrower makes him an even better ally.”
            “Just be careful he doesn’t use that flamethrower on you,” Brent said. Trevor didn’t follow up and that statement hung in the air, making Kenny really wonder. He wondered in a world like this, with no laws, no rules, was there anyone you could really trust?
* * *
            In the house, Carson and Damien did a full sweep of the first floor. The place looked as if it had been looted. There was a television unit, but no TV. A wide groove in the carpet where a couch or sofa used to sit. Spots on the wall where picture frames might’ve hung.
            A lone Biter had wandered through the open backdoor and Carson saw that it didn’t make it past the kitchen as he buried the axe so deep on its skull, it stuck. He wiggled the axe free and they ascended the stairs to the second floor.
            More signs of destruction, as the rooms had been ransacked and vandalized. Damien found a picture frame lying face down on the floor of what he assumed was the master bedroom. It was the biggest room in the house.
            He picked the frame up and flipped it over. The glass was cracked and the picture had a slight tear in the upper right-hand corner, but Damien could clearly make out one of the three people in the photo. It was Carson standing next to a red haired woman with fair skin. Beside the woman was a little girl with pigtails, no older than nine or ten.
            “Carson,” Damien summoned him from the hallway. “You better take a look at this.”
            Carson stepped in from the hall and took the frame from Damien’s hands. In the photo, he was wearing a blue uniform and a blue cloth police hat. An NYPD badge was pinned to the front of his uniform. “Is that your old lady and your daughter?”
            “I…I can’t remember,” Carson said. He undid the back and slid the picture from the frame, folding it and placing it in his back pocket. He surveyed the rest of the bedroom. There was a metal bedframe with no mattress.
The only thing that remained besides the bedframe was an oak dresser. Ryder checked, but every drawer was barren. “I guess this answers one question,” Carson said as they exited the room. “I did used to be a cop, just like Blaze.”
“A cop and a marine. Man, you’re full of surprises.”
“But this doesn’t explain everything. If I had a wife and daughter, where are they now?”
“I don’t know, buddy. But if they’re out there, and they’re alive, there’s a good chance we’ll find him.” When Ryder heard that, he thought of what Janice had told him when he promised the group would protect her. She said, “You can’t make promises like that. Not in this world.”
“Hey,” Damien said as they descended the staircase. “I saw a door beside the kitchen. It was locked, but I’m willing to bet it leads to a basement or a cellar. Maybe there’s something down there. It couldn’t hurt to check it out. We came all this way.”
Damien led the way and motioned with Carson to take care of the door. With one swing of the axe, the brass knob snapped off, and Damien nudged the door forward. It was dark, but Carson saw the glow of a flashlight as it beamed across a brick wall.
“I think we’ve got company,” he alerted Damien.
“Squatters,” Damien muttered, yanking his pistol from his waistband. He cocked back the hammer with his thumb and told Ryder to do the same.
“We don’t kill the living,” Ryder told him. “We should make that a rule. No more blood has to be shed.”
“We only have to kill the ones willing to kill us first. Now take out your gun and be ready for anything.”
* * *
            The box truck had a mesh partition that allowed Vern Sheldon to communicate with his passengers. Willard Pickman and Ally and Eli Burton were seated on crates of supplies Vern had attained in his travels.
            His trusty flamethrower he always kept in the cab, along with the .357 Magnum he had stored in the glove box.
“Is there really a miracle waiting in some underground lab or are you just blowing smoke up our ass?” Vern felt compelled to ask Pickman.
“I assure you the antivirus is as tangible as the virus itself. The C.D.C. always had a backup plan. I just can’t understand why that plan hasn’t been put into effect. The only assumption I could make is that everyone else who knows about it must be dead already.”
“So the president, the vice president, they’re all dead?”

           "It's very likely."

           "And the president, he was behind all this?"
“I never said this virus was commissioned by the president. The secretary of defense was the one who approached us, and if I had to guess, he approached on his own volition. As far as I know, the president and vice president were in the dark on this one. I think the S.O.D. planned to use this in a time of warfare. Maybe it was intended as a weapon, maybe to use against our enemies. But I don’t think he anticipated an outbreak of this magnitude.”
“If we make it to Texas and this cure does exist, I owe you a beer.”
“You’ll owe me more than that.”
“What’s your story?” Vern asked, directed towards Eli and Ally.
“Not much to tell,” Ally did the talking. “Our dad was a very wealthy man and when he died, he left us both a large sum of money. Not much good that does us now.”
* * *
            Ryder and Albright found the missing mattress in the basement, along with the sheets, duvet, and pillows. The couch, the kitchen utensils, even the television had been transported to the basement by two male squatters, both in their teens. They claimed to have moved in after the sixth day, when the house had already been abandoned. They made no mention of a red haired woman and a little girl with pigtails.
The squatters were armed. Albright spotted a large machete propped against the wall and several firearms that lay beside the mattress. And they both had guns tucked into their waistbands, visible underneath their stained shirts.
“So how’d you get here?” one of the squatters asked when they were done with their line of inquiry. “You got a car or a truck?”
“Yeah,” the other squatter said. “And supplies? We’ve been living on jars of preservatives and cans of beets. I swear if I eat another beet, I’ll puke.”
“We’ve got a van,” Damien said. “But I’m afraid there’s no room, guys.”
“Wait,” Carson said. “Vern could fit two more in the box truck.”
“No way,” Damien said.
“Hey, your friend said there’s room, so what’s the problem?”
“The problem is I don’t trust you,” Damien said frankly.
“Well, I can be very persuasive,” the first squatter said, reaching slowly under his shirt. Damien saw what he was going for and put a stop to that with his pistol. He didn’t kill him. He just blasted a gaping hole through his hand.
The first squatter fell to the floor, writhing, squealing in pain. The second squatter reached fast for his gun, but Carson was a shade faster and raised his pistol, firing one deafening shot through his temple.
“You said no killing the living,” Damien reminded him.
“And you said only if they don’t try to kill us first.” Carson looked at the squatter writhing on the floor. “Put him out of his misery. Don’t forget to aim for the head so he doesn’t come back as one of those Biters.”
* * *
Carson had traded the fire axe for the machete the squatters had left behind. It was incased in a green sheath and the blade was about eighteen inches long and razor-sharp. The handle was black and tied to the hilt was a lanyard, a thick strap that can be used to secure around the wrist.
Damien had his Bowie knife. Vern had his flamethrower. And now Carson had his machete.
As they drove on, Damien and Carson dared not speak a word of what happened in the basement.
By Day Thirty-Two, they had escaped Long Island and were heading for the big city. But again, the roads proved to be treacherous. Several sectors of the city were rendered virtually impassable by vehicle from the oceans of abandoned cars left by fleeing motorists.
As they navigated their way through the rough terrain, taking detour after detour, they came upon a mock Georgian style house that was unscathed by the chaos. As night was rapidly gaining on them, they decided this could be a good place to set up camp.
Damien pried the backdoor with a crowbar and they all piled in. There was more than enough room for the entire group to spread out and get some rest. Carson, Damien, and Brent did a full sweep of the house with their guns to make sure they were alone.
They found no Biters. No squatters. No threats.
What they did find was that the stove/oven combination ran on a propane tank that was still half full, and the mini chest freezer they discovered in the basement had been running since Day One. It was a wireless, battery operated model. And the batteries still had life in them.
There were steaks, pork chops, racks of ribs. It was like hitting the post-apocalyptic jackpot.
“Who in God’s name would’ve left this place behind?” Blaze wondered.
“Who cares?” Damien said. “Their loss is our gain.”
They took the meat and poultry out to thaw overnight. Then they all retired to their separate quarters to catch up on some much needed sleep.
* * *
            Day Thirty-Three.
            With the help of Janice Whitfield and Ally Burton, Vern Sheldon volunteered to prepare a sumptuous feast for the group. He spent the day frying, roasting, broiling everything the guys had removed from the chest freezer. The girls had raided the pantry and cabinets and had rounded up every sauce and seasoning at their disposal.
            By nightfall, the entire group was seated at the glass dining room table. There were eight white fiberglass dining chairs that lined the table.
            Damien took a seat at one end of the table and Carson was going to take the other end, but he graciously offered his seat up to Vern for all the effort he had put into this meal. Extra folding chairs were carried up from the basement so that everyone would have a place to sit.
            Janice had found candles and holders in the pantry and placed them at both ends of the table to illuminate the pan-fried chicken, marinated steak, and mouthwatering pork chops.
            At Janice’s request, they all joined hands and said a prayer of thanks before they dug in. The only one who didn’t join them at the table was Chase Crawford, who opted to subsist on jars of preservatives.
            As Brent Blaze finished the last plate of ribs, he let out a tremendous belch and covered his mouth a second too late. “Excuse me,” he muttered, embarrassed.
            “No need to excuse yourself,” Trevor Virden laughed. “Social etiquette isn’t exactly a requirement in this new world we’ve found ourselves in.”
            “So you’re saying the rules don’t apply anymore?”
            “With all due respect officer, have you taken a look outside? What rules are there left to follow?”
            “What do you guys miss about the old world?” Kenny Sudrow asked, changing the subject.
            “The internet,” Chuckie Razzano answered first.
            “I’d have to say the internet, too,” Ally Burton said. “And I’d just about kill for a French vanilla latte.”
            “I miss horror movies,” Eli Burton said. “It’s sad to think I’ll never get to see Phantasm Five.”
            “I miss comics, fantasy football, video games, Netflix,” Trevor Virden rambled on.
            “All the essential things in life,” Kenny chuckled. “Me, I miss my family the most.”
            “I miss my wife,” Willard Pickman confessed. “I feel terrible for what I did. And I feel worse for having a hand in all this. I miss the entire world. I just want things back the way that they were.”
            “I wish I had something to miss,” Carson Ryder said, trying to remember anything from his past life that brought a smile to his face.
            “Since we’ve got nothing to lose here, I’ll be the first to admit I miss marijuana. I’d do just about anything for a blunt right now.” Blaze rolled his eyes at Vern Sheldon’s statement.
            “I miss my old house,” Janice said. “And television. I never thought I’d miss it this much, but I’d be satisfied watching a soap opera marathon at this point. I’d even watch infomercials.”
            “What do you miss?” Kenny asked Damien.
            Damien thought about it for what seemed like an eternity, scanning the archives of his mind for anything that brought him joy over the years. He finally replied with, “Nothing…I don’t miss a single thing about the old world.”
            “Uh, guys,” Chase called from the spacious living room that caused an echo to carry through the house. “I hate to break up your party, but we’ve got company.”
Through the pane glass windows, Chase could see a mob of Biters slowly creeping towards the house. The group gathered in the living room, where they saw what the commotion was all about.
“Fuck me,” Trevor muttered.
“Vern, where’s the flamethrower?” Carson asked.
“Shit, I left it in the cab,” Vern slapped his palm across his head as if to say stupid me.
“They must’ve smelled the food,” Pickman surmised.
As the Biters crept past the lawn, their numbers became visible. It was dark and they couldn’t see all of them, but Trevor lost count after fifty.
“We need to find something to barricade the windows,” Brent suggested.
“No time,” Damien said as the Biters made their way to the front of the face, pressing their decaying bodies against the glass.
Their chests bloated and distended. The flesh rotting away from their arms, blackened skin peeling from their faces. Among this congregation of the dead, Janice spotted a little girl, the skin missing from the lower half of her face, fully exposing her jaw and bottom row of her red stained teeth. Janice’s heart sank and she turned away, clutching at her belly, thinking of the unborn child that was growing inside of her.
            “I don’t think the glass is going to hold them,” Kenny said, taking a few steps back to prepare himself for the inevitable.
As the men scrambled for their weapons and extra rounds of ammunition, the glass couldn’t hold anymore and as it shattered, the mob of Biters began to spill in one-by-one...

To Be Continued With Part Seven: Death Comes Knocking

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