Thank you for visiting. I have been a fan of the zombie genre for some time now, enough that I decided to try my hand at serious writing. My first series, White Flag of the Dead, chronicles the experiences of a man who is trying to survive a plague of the infected dead, and keep his son alive as well. It is a story of desperation, survival, and hope. It is a story that reminds us the most important thing is not just being alive, but living. Hope you enjoy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

White Flag of the Dead - Prologue

Found this the other day, it was the first chapter I had ever written of the White Flag Series.  It was taken out of the first published book, but it will be familiar to anyone who bought the original, self-published work

Chapter 1

“Southwest corner.”
“You’re kidding, right?”
“Nope.  It’s right there by the side of the creek.”
“Son of a bitch, I was right out there!  Why do these things always wait until I am farthest away from them to make their appearance?”
“Dammed inconsiderate if you ask me.”
“Always are.  All right, I’m going.  Keep me posted as to its movements; I’m heading to the back doors through the band room.”
“Will do.  You want a noisemaker?”  A noisemaker was an egg timer lobbed out into the grass, timed to go off just before we attacked.  It kept the zombie’s focus off-center, which made for an easier kill.
“No thanks, I’m just going straight in.”
“Stay alive, brother.”
“Yup.”  I shucked my bag and picked up my rifle.  It was a relic from the Second World War, an old Enfield No.1 Mk.4.  The spike bayonet on the end likely didn’t see much use in the battles of old, but these days, it’s a decent close quarters killer.  In all honesty, I’d rather have this old gun than any of the high-tech AR’s out there.  Sure they could shoot a lot more a lot faster, but I doubt any of them have the range of my Enfield, the bayonet, or the clubbing capabilities.
I headed down the stairs, pulling on my gloves and balaclava, adjusting my radio earpiece to keep in touch with Tommy, my lookout.  He was on the roof of the building doing constant sweeps of the area.  I’d put my goggles on before I headed outside.
As I walked the hall to the back doors, I couldn’t help but notice the signs of battle as we fought to secure this building.  The undead wanted in, we wanted them out, and a whole two days of serious disagreements about possession ensued.  In the end though, we won, losing twenty-seven of our own to the other side.  We killed over nine hundred of them, many of the fights in vicious hand to hand combat.  But as the man once said, we will not go quietly into that dark night.  Dark stains marked the walls and floors, water being too precious of a commodity to waste cleaning up right now.  Black marks where we burned the splatter from the zombies, not taking any chances with infection.  One hundred-five of us survived.  One hundred and five maybe being the last ones on earth.  Doubt it, but we haven’t had any contact with anyone else for months since the Upheaval.  I had some theories about the lands in the Rockies and north of the border, but I didn’t have the time right now to go exploring.
The Upheaval.  That’s what we called the dead coming back to life.  Wasn’t anything magical or biblical about it.  Just a little virus with a very strong will to survive. The Enillo virus, named after its discoverer and first victim.  Dr. Roberto Enillo was a brilliant researcher, by all accounts, and some said he was on the brink of a vaccine for several of our Third-World killers.  Trouble was, vaccines only prevent 98% of the viruses, letting the strong survive.  Well, survive they did, and the little bastards had the nerve to mutate into a super-virus which, in a serious bid for self-preservation and spreading, managed to bring the infected back to life.  Dr. Enillo was working in a small country in the center of Africa, when the virus came calling.  He and the world would have been fine except he wasn’t able to take the correct number of precautions being out of equipment as he was.  An unhealed cut on his hand allowed the virus access, he got infected, then spread the virus all over the world.
No one could have predicted what happened next.  Dr. Enillo was infected, yet didn’t know it.  The little virus had an incubation period of one week, which allowed for rapid deployment when you consider how interconnected our societies had become.  A person who was infected could board a plane, land in another country, infect someone there through casual contact, get in their car, drive to another locale, and spread it further before they even knew they were sick.  The virus, upon infection, completely saturates all bodily fluids, so an infected person is literally a walking disease center, and not even knows it.  A sneeze could infect across a room if someone got it on an open cut..  It wasn’t airborne, but it tried its best. This saturation was fast, within 2-4 hours.  After 72 hours, a person begins to feel ill at ease and starts coughing and losing bodily fluids through vomiting and diarrhea, profuse sweating and salivating. We figured out too late this was the virus attempting to spread itself out to new hosts.  After 96 hours, a person would fall into a comatose state and die.  At this point, things got interesting in the host.  The virus, saturating the blood barrier that surrounds the brain, takes over the brain and stimulates the recently dead neurons with new oxygen transmitted by the virus itself.  The virus takes over the functions of the body, and the infected person revives, being dead only for a few minutes with one thought: survival of the virus.  In order to survive, and spread the host needs new hosts. We don’t know why they need to eat, since being dead, food is useless.  But, the hunger is all consuming with these creatures and, as we discovered, they attack without mercy, remorse, or regret.  Lately, the virus seems to have mutated again, causing death within hours of infection and reanimation quickly thereafter.
I walked out to the band room doors, and checked my gear.  Hard-won knowledge required me to be absolutely sure of my gear.  Rifle was ready, clothes were secure and not loose, balaclava fit correctly and goggles were tight.  I checked my earpiece and touched base with my spotter.
“Tommy, you there?”
“Right above you ,brother.”
“What’s the location of our friend?”
 “Forty yards out, near the edge of the parking lot.”
Silently I cursed.  Right near the creek and our water supply.  I was going to have to be creative.
“Heading out.  Keep me posted for other friends.”
“Roger.”  We weren’t going to talk long to save on batteries.
Tommy was a good friend these days, and always volunteered for lookout duty.  We had assigned duties in the community, and he always took the lookout post.  I figured he liked the solitary nature of the work.  Didn’t hurt it was the safest place, too.  I didn’t begrudge him the solitude.  He had lost his family to the disease, and some alone time away from the families we had rescued probably saved his sanity.
 I opened the door and looked out to the left.  No other zombies were there so I moved along the building, quickly stepping away from the door and any possible Z’s on the other side of the door, not realizing I had bumped my radio and managed to switch it off.   We lost a few to that doorway tactic before we wised up.  Z’s were pretty stupid for the most part, their virus-infected brains wiping out most of their usefulness save basic motor functions.  If they did not see prey, they tended to wander in slow circles.  If they bumped into something, sometimes they would stop there until they were distracted.  So sometimes a Z would be up against the side of a building, just standing there like they had been punished by their parents.
Of course, once they located prey, all bets were off.  They homed in mostly by sound, smell, and sight (if they had eyes), and they were focused little suckers.  Until their prey could no longer be seen or heard or smelled, they stayed on the hunt. 
I moved out and quickly located my target.  She was a medium-sized woman, probably late twenties, judging by what was left of her clothes.  Her right arm looked pretty torn up, like she had fought off an attacker.  Infection probably killed her, and judging by the blood down her front, she had fed on the living upon re-awakening.
Her eyes were closed and she was moving slowly, the shambling walk the dead had.  Unstoppable and inexorable, the dead marched forever until they were killed again or their feet wore off.  I knew her eyes were closed so she could hear prey, something else we learned about them.  They close their eyes when they are not locked in pursuit, and open them when they start the chase.  If you were silent, they could be dispatched without ever knowing you were there, although their hearing was amazing.  It was unsettling to sneak up on a zombie only to have it turn around at the last second and lunge at you.  You needed to change tactics quick, fast, and in a hurry.
I circled to the right, closing the distance quickly.  I figured to deliver a spike to the back of her head before she even knew I was there.  The sun was beginning to set, and nothing brought out the imagination than darkness with ghouls about.  I crossed the parking lot and picked up a rock, figuring to throw the stone ahead of her and keeping her focused while I killed her.
When I was within twenty feet, I paused, checking my environment.  The ghoul that kills you is the one you didn’t see.  Tommy hadn’t called in so I figured I was clear.  I tossed the stone and readied my rifle. 
The Z jumped slightly at the sound, and I could almost see her eyes snapping open with the thought of prey.  She took a larger step forward and I matched my steps to hers as I came up behind her.  I was facing the school and away from the creek when I caught movement on the roof.  Tommy was waving his arms and trying to attract attention.  I figured he was doing this to keep her attention on him and not me.  I stepped up and thrust my spike, spearing the former woman in the back of the head, near the top of the spine.  We discovered that destroying the brain killed them for good, this was a hard lesson learned for the military, and led to more than one base being overrun because they couldn’t figure out how to kill them soon enough.
I removed my spike from her corpse, and used a small, unsoiled section of her shirt to clean her brain goo from it.  I noticed Tommy was still waving.  I waved back and noticed he was getting more frantic.  I noticed my radio was off, turned it on, and was rewarded with him yelling in my ear.
“Get out of there!  Move you dumbass!  Run!  Run!”
I spun around and saw nothing.  “What are you talking about? It’s clear.”  I started to cross the parking lot and move toward the door.
“There’s a group of about twenty about to come around the corner of the building!”
That changed the equation.  My eloquent response consisted of a single word.  Figuring that I would never make it in time, I decided to try the old method of hiding and hope to hell they don’t notice me.  I ran back to the tall grass and lay down, training my rifle to approximately where they would be coming around the corner.  Tommy was still on the roof, watching their progress.  He didn’t have a weapon, as we decided that if you’re on the roof, shooting was a waste of time and if the building was overrun , you could just jump off and land on your head.  It was better than being on the menu.
                  I hunkered down as the first rounded the corner.  They were looking for entrance, something I had watched them do while I was on the roof.  Seemed like some of them retained some of their former memories, like how to open doors and climb stairs, and this had led to more than one “safe” area being overrun.  Their greatest strength was swarming, and attacking en masse.  One on one, the average guy was a match for any Z.  But with three or five or fifty trying to tear you apart, things got bloody in a hurry.  The good news is they weren’t fast or intelligent.  Bad news is they were walking infection farms.  One bite, one bit of zombie goo on an open cut or in your eye, and you were gone.  It was theorized that the virus kept the heart pumping to keep the body moving, but who really wanted to perform an autopsy on a dead guy trying to eat you? 
                  I kept my gun on the group as it approached the door. They stopped and one of them pounded on the door and then tried the handle.  When it didn’t work, they started to shuffle off towards the next entrance, which was a barricaded door about thirty yards to the south.  That stopping and waiting behavior was new, I hadn’t seen that before.  I was just about in the clear to make a run for it when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye.  Another Z was about to fall down into the ditch and if it hit the water, it was going to make noise.  Shit, crap, and dung.  Tommy was still on the roof and raised his hands in a helpless gesture.  The Z’s made it to the other door and were pounding on it.  I hoped that would mask the noise of the other one behind me. 
                  Of course, the best of hopes never make it to reality.  Just as the ditch Z fell face-first into the water, the pounding stopped at the door.  Twenty heads snapped around and as one, they opened their mouths and, moaning, started for the creek.  They would pass within ten feet of me and there was no way they were going to miss me.  If I lay still, they would still get me, as their sense of smell would alert them to prey nearby.  Another hard lesson learned:  their sense of smell had increased in order to find prey.  Not as good as dogs or anything, but certainly better than living humans.  We could smell them, of course, since they smelled like rotten anything, but they seemed to have one up on us.  It was another theory that they could distinguish between dead and living flesh.  They never attacked each other, so this seemed plausible.
                  I figured I had two options.  I could shoot the Z’s in front of me, hoping for head shots on all of them before they got close, or I could make a run for it and hope to hell I made it to the door and someone let me in before the rest came a-chomping.
                  I chose option C.  I popped up like a jack in the box and ran the fifty yards to the water ditch.  The group turned as one and shuffled a little faster.   Prey was near, the hunger was all-consuming.  I ran to the edge of the ditch just as the now-soaking zombie, a fat man without a shirt and a huge open gash across his chest groped for a handhold.  Little wonder how he died.  I stepped up to him and just as he opened his mouth to try and take a bite, I shoved the spike into the top of his head.  He wiggled a bit, then lay still.  I pulled on the spike, but the guy’s head was like a suction cup and didn’t want to let go.  I could hear the grass rustling behind me as the other group came closer to the attack, their moans becoming a grim chorus.  I snuck a look and saw they were about twenty yards and closing.  I pulled on the spike but it was really stuck.  Must have hit the bone somewhere in the neck.  The zombies were about fifteen yards now and were staring to raise their hands, twisted into grasping claws. 
                  I cursed aloud and gave the old gun one final yank and ripped the spike out of the fat man’s skull.  The leader of the group was about five yards now and closing fast.  They began their moaning again, a sound any survivor hears with dread.  Death approaches, and its call is a moan from the grave.  I spun on my heel, snapped my rifle to my shoulder and lined up his head.  The Enfield boomed loudly and the Z’s head exploded as the .303 round punched through it and nailed a taller guy behind him in the shoulder, spinning him to the ground, and tripping two others into a writhing mass of legs and arms.
                  I didn’t stop to admire my handiwork.  Turning back to the ditch I scrambled down the side, jumped the water and climbed back up the other side.  I turned back to the group as the first to reach the ditch were rolling down the side into the water.  I lined up the still standing ones in the front and fired three aimed shots.  Three zombies went down, and caused eight more to get tangled and fall.  I lined up two more head shots and ended the miserable existence of a housewife whose ear was torn off, and a very old-looking man, who managed to operate without his left arm.  The ones in the ditch were getting to their feet and starting to climb up my side.  I dropped three more then turned my attention to the ones getting very near.  When the first one came up I spiked it in the head, sending it tumbling down and knocking another off its feet.  I shot another on the other side in the eye, leaving 9 more to deal with.  I had one shot left in my magazine, then I needed to reload.  Firing at a teenage girl whose throat was torn out, I dropped her and did a fast reload with my second magazine.  That left me eleven shots, which should be enough for the rest.
                  Two were climbing out of the ditch and I shot one, then clubbed another back into the ditch.  I killed the remaining three on the other side of the ditch, then waited for the rest to come to me. 
                  I walked back about ten yards and that kept me out of sight of the zombies in the ditch.  When their heads came up they would pause to look around, and that was when I would nail them.  I got kind of a sick laugh when the old lady’s wig popped off after her head exploded.  If another Z came up wearing it I would probably miss my next shot.
                  No one did, more’s the pity, and the group was dispatched with extreme prejudice.  I collected my thoughts and heard a “Nice shooting” in my ear.  Tommy had seen the whole thing and was impressed.  I pulled a rag out of my pack and using some water upstream, washed off my Enfield.  “Thanks,” I said.  “Did any of the newbie’s watch?”
                  “No idea, but I’m sure some watched after hearing the shots.”
                  “Good.  Let today’s lesson be about not panicking and using terrain to your advantage.”
                  “School’s out, professor.  Now get your ass back in here ‘cause that shooting will have every Z in a mile’s radius coming hunting, and sunset is in twenty minutes.”
                  “I hear that.  Post on the bulletin that cleanup is tomorrow and water collection is on the northeast side until this is cleared.”
I dropped my rifle’s magazine and saw that I had about four rounds left.  Not enough for any lengthy engagements, and I could see movement in between the houses on the far side of the baseball fields.  A moan could be heard from behind the tree line.  Time to go.  I jogged back to the band room door and knocked the code.  The door popped open and I jumped inside.  I was immediately was doused in some chemical spray and I quickly undid my vest, boots, shirt and pants.  My balaclava was carefully removed, and my gloves removed as well.  Everything went to be cleaned, except my rifle.  That I kept to clean myself.  I stood there in my boxers and grinned at the group that had assembled.  Tommy came down and smacked me in the back. 
“Next time, asshole, don’t turn your radio off.”
I smiled back, “But then I wouldn’t have any fun.”
Several eyebrows in the room shot up.  Mostly the newbie’s, who hadn’t fully adjusted to the personalities of our little community.  But they will learn.  They usually do. Or they die.  Things were very simple these days.
“Are you going back out there?” a voice called from the back of the room.
I located the speaker and locked eyes with him.  “Not on your life.  Feel free, if you want to; Tommy will set you up with gear.”  I recognized the man, a smallish specimen who complained about everything, and found every excuse necessary not to work.  He contributed very little to the community, and more than once I wondered why I had bothered to save him when I was out hunting supplies two weeks ago.  Frank Stearns was his name and useless was his game.
“No thanks.  I can’t face them yet.” Frank replied.
“No one can face them in the dark.” I said.  “They are master killers at night.”  I moved closer to him, never breaking eye contact.  “No matter where you run, they will find you, by smell, sound, or feel, they will find you.”
Frank broke eye contact and looked down.  “Just wondering.”
“Yeah.”  I looked around the group.  “Double watch tonight, kids go to bed early.  Everyone is armed.  The noise I made out there will bring more tonight, and tomorrow will be a busy day with cleanup and eradication.”  I looked at Frank. “Everyone works.  No exceptions.”
His head snapped up and he glared at me.  I returned his stare and waited for him to speak. He didn’t.
I turned my back to him and walked away, going to my room.  I needed to see my boy, and put on some clothes.  I went down the hallway, and turned to the small classroom off the main hall.  I chose this room because it was on the first floor, and if things got bad, I could get out easier than they could get in.  Plus, if something was going down, I would be better placed to deal with it.  Not that I was Mr. Bad Ass, but I had managed to survive this long, and that takes something.  Opening the door, I found home.
Jacob, my 10-month old son, was in his high chair being fed by his sitter, a fourteen year old girl I had found on one of my forays.  Her name was Kristen, and she had been hiding in her bathroom for three days.  She had seen her mother turn on her father, and then heard her parents tear apart her two brothers.  I brought her back, and she hadn’t spoken for three weeks.  But after she got over her shock, she bounced back pretty quickly.  Kristen watched Jacob for me when I had to go out, and he loved her company.
“Hey Kristen,” I said. “Hey big boy!” I said to Jacob, earning an applesauce-filled smile from him.  “How’s everybody?” 
Kristen glanced at me, noting I was largely undressed.  “He’s a good boy.  Little fussy about his green beans.  Work out there tonight? I heard the shots.”
“Yeah, some trouble by the creek.”  I put some cargo pants on.  “Lot of work to do tomorrow.”
Kristen grunted as Jacob tried to spray baby food at her. “Great.  When do I get to forage with you?”
I looked at her.  Her faced had hardened and she seemed distant with most adults, although she opened up and was great with Jacob.  He loved her, and was all smiles when she was around.  I worried, though, that she had a lot of anger to work through.  I couldn’t ask her to risk her life, but I didn’t think that was going to be an issue.  I had seen her practicing, and she seemed ready.
“Maybe next time.” I said.
“Really?” she asked, looking up from her feeding. 
“You need to test yourself.  I understand that.”  I went over to my weapons locker and belted on my sidearm.  She noticed the gun.
“Armed tonight.?”  Kristen asked.
“Everyone is, including you.”  I replied, pulling out a second gun and holster.  I handed her a Glock 9mm.  Fishing around I found two additional magazines and loaded them for her.  Kristen took the gun and looked at me.  “You’re ready,” I told her. “I’ve seen you handle a gun and seen you shoot.”  That was common practice here.  Everyone was taught to use two weapons, a gun and a secondary weapon, be it a knife or some other favored object.  It didn’t really matter, it just had to be lethal.  Mine was a knife.  We had a couple of ex-military gents who had taken over training of our newcomers.  Everyone was trained, even the kids.
Kristen put on the Kydex paddle holster for the Glock and adjusted it for fit.  She then ejected the magazine from the Glock, found it full, and reinserted it.  She pulled the slide back and chambered a round.  I handed her another round to put in the magazine later, and she holstered the weapon.  Jacob just watched with little enthusiasm.
Kristen looked at me.  “Thank you,’ she said. 
“Don’t worry, you’ll earn it.”  I said, reaching down to pick up Jacob.  Never failed.  Every time I had an encounter with the zombies, I needed to hold my son to regain my hope for the world.  Jacob smiled at me and grabbed at my shirt, pulling down my collar.
Kristen packed up to leave.  “By the way, you’re running low on fruit for Jacob,” she said.
“Thanks, I’ll add to the list for the next trip out.”
“Would that be the one I am going on?” she asked.
“That’s the one.  Get your brain ready.”  I said.
“Will do.  Bye’ Jakey!” Kristen said to Jacob, kissing his little cheek.  He smiled at her then buried his head in my shoulder, doing his shy routine.  Kristen left the room and went back to her room, which she shared with three other girls.  They ranged in age from 10 to 16, and they relied on each other for support and comfort, all of them having horrific stories to tell.  I rotated them on babysitting, and since Jake was so easy to care for, they all liked doing it.  I didn’t think for one minute about the awesome responsibility I just handed Kristen by giving her a gun.  She was more responsible than most adults I had known, and I trusted her with my world, meaning Jacob.  The world was a different place now, and the old rules didn’t necessarily apply.  You adapted or got eaten, that was the way it was.
I closed the door and checked my carbine hanging on the wall by the door.  It was my M1 Carbine, in my opinion probably the best close quarters gun out there.  If the Z’s ever got in, I could likely drop most of them before my ammo ran out.  A sling with four loaded 30-round clips hung next to it. That gun saved my ass not too long ago.
Jacob and I played for a while, the sun setting and the room going dark.  I lit a hurricane lamp, and the soft light gave me some more time with Jake before I bathed him and put him to bed.  I spoke to him about all the things I did while I was gone.  I figured it was wrong to hold anything back, because this was the world he might inherit.  I know he didn’t understand a word, but he was just happy to have his daddy back.  I looked around our room and as usual, my mind drifted back to when it all started five months ago.
Back when I was making a living, and the dead weren’t.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Epilogue - United States of the Dead

              Ken Thorton cursed as he crawled along the floor.  The room was dark, and he kept cutting his hands on glass and debris that was scattered all over.  He couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that John Talon had bested him, then left him alive.  It just didn’t work with his way of thinking.
          It galled Thorton that Talon had beaten him.  No one had ever come close in his life, and the one man who stood up to him had taken him out with little effort.  The only consolation Ken could take from it was he was still alive, and his focus now was getting even with Talon.  No matter how long it took, Major Ken Thorton would get his revenge.
           These thought warmed the big man as he crawled towards the stairs.  He had bound up his leg with a strip of cloth torn from his dead companion, and he had managed to find his gun in the darkness that fell after Talon had left.  He didn’t bother with the rifle, figuring he would get another from the upper levels.  He had no illusions that any of his men were alive.  If the men with Talon were half as capable as John had proved to be, his men wouldn’t have stood a chance.
         Thorton was painfully making his way up the stairs when he heard the first sounds coming from the gallaries upstairs.  It sounded like stealthy  footsteps, and Thorton was cheered by the thought that one of his men might have survived.
         “Hello!  Anybody up there?  It’s Thorton!  Who’s up there?”  He called.
            Thorton called out again.  “Hey!  It’s Major Thorton!  I need a hand here!  Get your ass down here, now!”
              Ken’s blood turned to ice when he received  an answer.  Instead of a sharp ‘Yes, Sir!’, all he received was a deep, soulful groan.
           “Oh, Jesus.  Oh Jesus.”  Ken turned around and slid down the stairs on the bannister, crying aloud when he hit the landing and tumbled to the floor.  His injured leg left a stain on the floor and part of the stairs.  He dragged himself up to the next bannister going down and slid down that one, holding back his cries when he landed on the next stairwell.  He out flung hands smacked against a doorway, and he quickly dragged himself inside. 
               The smell of the room told Ken he was in some sort of storage area for documents, and he had a brief thought of setting everything on fire, but he realized that would have trapped him as well.  He would have to hope the zombies would pass by the door and eventually go away.  
              He crawled along the stacks, feeling to see if there was any place he could hide, or anyplace he could light a match.  His flashlight was back at the examination room, having fallen off his belt when Talon had forced him to duck for cover.  Ken had to be careful.  If the zombies saw the light, they’d stay outside the door forever, but he was heartened by the fact that they couldn’t open the door.
              Reaching the back of the room, Thorton went to the nearest corner and grabbed the nearest piece of paper.  Thumbing a match from his pocket, he lit it, then the paper.  He didn’t care what it was or what had warranted it to be saved in the Archives, but he didn’t care.  He needed the light and so he did it.  A quick glance around showed him boxes and boxes of documents, stacked from the floor to the ceiling.  Where he was hiding was only partially hidden from the door, so Ken quickly put out the lit paper.  He pulled his knife out of its sheath and his gun from his holster.  From his corner he could only be approached from two directions, so he figured he was good for now.  He hoped he zombies would discover the fresh corpses, eat their fill, and wander off.
              About two hours later, Ken was awakened from a light nap to the sound of something bumping against the door.  He immediately became fully awake, and his ears strained to hear every small sound while his brain raced to figure out what each one meant.  As long as he didn’t hear anything that sounded like a latch opening or a door opening, he was okay.
              When nothing happened, Ken started to drift off again, his gun and knife hanging limply from each hand.  It may turn out okay after all, he thought.
                A loud bang startled him awake, and he struggled to drag himself to a standing position.  Peering over  the top of the stacks, he could see nothing, but he thought maybe he could hear better.  A creak sounded, then another bang.  He couldn’t tell for sure what was going on, and then he heard a strange sound.
              “Heee.  Heeee.  Heee.”
               Thorton froze, unsure of what to do.  If something was there, he had to move.  If he moved, he might attract it.  If he stayed still, it might pass by.  He didn’t think he could be smelled out due to the stench of the documents, but he wasn’t sure.
               Thorton kept his eyes and ears strained on the long pathway in front of him, waiting to see if there was movement.  Nothing happened, and he began to wonder if he had dreamt the whole thing.  Setting back to the ground, Ken turned his head to the left and screamed.
                Five feet away from him were ten sets of glowing eyes, all level with his own.  At his scream, the eyes and the little zombies they were attached to launched themselves at Thorton, knocking away his gun and burying their teeth into whatever they could reach.  Ken brought his knife into play, but screamed again when sharp teeth tore his thumb off.  The zombies ripped and shredded his fresh, tearing into his gut and pulling out ropy strands of bloody intestine.  Ken lay on the ground and screamed for all he was worth.
               His screams took a long time to die.  Other zombies, attracted to the noise, shuffled back to the feeding frenzy in the corner of the storage room, and bit off chunks of their own.  When the zombies finally had their fill and tasted the virus-infected flesh, they stopped eating and began to wander off.
               Ten minutes later, Ken Thorton opened his eyes and raised his dead head.  He could see nothing, but his dead ears picked up the sounds of other zombies and his nose was filled with the smell of his own blood.  He tried to get up, but his arms and legs wouldn’t obey.  They had been torn so badly in the feeding that they were useless. Zombie Ken could do nothing but stare into the darkness and shake his head back and forth. 
               Around his inert form, several small ghosts took a look at the monster, and smiled as they vanished.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Charlie's Guide

Most of the zombies you meet will be slow and stupid. They're pretty easily taken care of unless you get swarmed or put yourself in a stupid situation and got caught. Happens sometimes, you won't win them all. Just keep a cool head and your back to something solid and you might make it.
But the little ones? The kids who are fast and nasty? They're a whole different breed. They're almost too fast for head shots, and you can barely outrun them in the short sprint. They can climb ladders and stairs, and we're pretty sure they can figure out doorknobs. If a swarm of kids ever got rolling on the outside, it would be tough to put them down. Best thing you can do (outside of some high ground they cant climb to)is get on one knee, shoot til you're dry, then take them on hand to hand. The upside is they're weak, so you can forget about being overpowered. Duncan swears his sword is the best thing, but I'll have to see that one in action.
Until the last one is killed, stay alert, stay alive. If it feels wrong, it is.

Charlie out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Just Sarah

Hey everyone!
John was busy so he asked me to come out say a few things, answer a few questions, and such. Just make myself useful. Whew! Where to start? I guess I could talk about the things I get asked all the time. Well, not all of them, some will stay private.
Most frequent question is Whats it like being married to John Talon?
Simple answer is wonderful. He's kind, loving, gentle and he listens. He's also the best fighter and strategist we have, but he'll never admit it. That's what makes him so darned attractive. He always thinks he can do better and tries to do just that.
Next question is What's John like in bed? Straight answer is none of your business.;-)
Third most frequent question is what did I say to Pamela to scare her and set her straight? Simple enough...I told her I would tie her to a tree, pull out some of her intestine and call up the nearest zombie to feed on her while she watched.

You don't threaten MY man. Ever.

See you soon!

Sarah Talon

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlie's Guide

Zombies are dead.  They don't feel, they don't get hurt, and they don't ever stop.  I can't think of anything that has killed more people than the virus itself than people fighting zombies and forgetting they're dead.  One guy bought it because he was in the middle of killing a zombie when he dropped his weapon.  Like a damn fool he punched the Z in the face, expecting it to fall back like a living person would.  Z just walked through the punch and bit him on the face.
I remember one time Sarah was training some women on takedown techniques, and one timid little thing tried really hard, but she kept holding back when it came to incapacitating the enemy.  Sarah asked why and the woman replied she wanted to kill the zombies, but she didn't want to hurt them.
The big takeaway here is zombies don't feel anything.  No emotions, no feelings, no pain, no nothing.  They will not stop until stopped.  You have to get it out of your head that they will be knocked unconscious, that they will retreat after you cut their arms off, or they will run from superior numbers.  They don't think, and they never will.  They are pure instinct, wrapped up in a rotting corpse of a body.
If you think of them in any other way, you will be one of them in short order.

Charlie Out

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

United States of the Dead

The fourth book in the White Flag of the Dead series is now out in Kindle version!  Hope you reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Book 5 and (hopefully) book 6 (if I can get a farking moment to write!) should be finished by Christmas.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Update !!!!

United States of the Dead, Book IV of the White Flag of the Dead series, has just finished it's final editing and is being sent to the printers by next week! With luck, it should be available within the next few weeks!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Duncan's Diary

We had such a short way to go, and I figured speed was essential. Up and Down were right behind me, and we crashed through the brush as quickly as we could. Behind us, a loud crack reached our ears, and the howling of the dead suddenly grew louder. Sneaking a quick glance over my shoulder, I saw a section of fence had come down and a nice little horde of ghouls was literally falling over each other in pursuit.
I looked over at Up. "You realize I owe you a kick in the nuts for this, right?"
Up said nothing, but managed to look sufficiently gloomy.
When we reached the service road, we stopped to take a breath. Looking back the way we came, the vegetation was thrashing wildly as the dead tried to find us. Tree branches swayed and bushes rocked and cracked from the onslaught. We didn't see any immediately, which gave me an idea.
"Duck down, and get to the side of the road! Now!" I whispered. We scampered over and ducked low, peeking around the tall grass. Still there was no sign of the dead, so I motioned the two closer.
"Listen. We're going to keep low and to the side of the road. Watch your side, and keep your silent weapons at the ready." I said this with a meaningful glance at Up.
They nodded and got ready. Behind us, the ghouls were quieting down since they hadn't found their prey.
We made it all of twenty yards when a couple of Z's stumbled out onto the service road in front of us. Their moans were unusually loud, and at that moment, the zombies behind us stumbled out and added their section to the choir.
"Great." I said.
Just then, about fifteen more joined the ones ahead of us from the subdivision, putting us smack in the middle of around fifty zombies.
"Just great."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Duncan's Diary

To say I was nervous was like saying I wish the Upheaval had never happened.  It was so obvious it was like a punch in the head, drag your dumb ass through the street obvious.  We were in the woods, which were right next to a small subdivision, which were teeming with zombies.
Did I say teeming?  I meant to say crawling.  There's a difference.
The odds of zombies being in the woods was stupidly high.  The woods of course were thick, so it was entirely possible that we could step on one at any moment, and have the damn thing sit up and take a bite out of our balls.
After three steps, I was sweating.  But I figured our best chance of getting back was to stay along the river, then make our way out towards the safety of our compound.  Through the trees and brush, I could see a small access road on the river, so we worked our way towards it, hoping we could stay out of sight of the Z's infesting the homes.
We made it twenty of the hundred yards we needed when Up suddenly raised his rifle and before I could stop him, fired a shot across the canal and hit a zombie wandering over there.  The zombie didn't even fall. The bullet passed through the Z like it was passing through Jell-o, and was about as effective.
I looked over at Up and the stupid fool actually smiled at me.
"Hell of a shot, hey?"  He smiled.  His smile died when I raised my rifle and pointed it at his head.
"It would be easier to do this now, then later." I said.
"What?  Why?"
I didn't answer, I just waited.  Sure enough, hundreds of groans started on our side of the water, and dozens of zombies suddenly came rushing at fences. I could see slats being pounded and in some cases, being broken through.
Up looked ashen as he realized what he had done.
I saved my breath, ducked my head, turned towards the road, and ran like hell.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

United States of the Dead

The fourth book in the series, United States of the Dead, has been sent to the publisher and should be completely edited within the next six weeks!  Hopefully a Kindle version will be available soon!

Also, I have started work on the 5th and 6th books in the White Flag series, and these two will be the last of the White Flag of the Dead series.

But take heart, another series may rear its rotting head sometime in the near future.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

A word from John

One of the things I get asked a lot is how I managed to stay sane when the world turned inside out and dead people kept trying to kill me and my son. Truth be known, I never gave the situation as a whole a lot of thought. I focused on what was in front of me and what I needed to do to survive. I found that when I took care of today, tomorrow became easier to handle. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months. Kill the zombie in front of you and worry about the next after that.
In addition, a sense of humor helps a lot. If you can find the ridiculous in the macabre, you'll do okay.
Third, surround yourself with like-minded people. If you hate whiners, don't hang around one.
Finally, no matter how unrealistic it might seem at the time, envision a better future and believe in it. Make it the goal you work for, because without it, you don't have a world. You're just waiting for the end.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Charlie's Guide

What's your plan?
Easy question. Hard answer. Plans come in all shapes and sizes. Trouble is, a lot of people don't make or have any plans at all. A lot of times it comes down to mental preparathion, asking youself a lot of "what if's."
What if the zombies busted through your defenses and you had sixty seconds to get out. What's your plan?
What if the zombies were coming in force and you had thirty minutes to evacuate. What's the Plan?
You see where I'm going with this? The reason a lot of people survived and continue to survive is because they had a plan. They knew just what they were going to grab in a bad situation and not waste time wondering what they needed and what they didn't.
So here's the exercise. Look around and identify everything you would have to take with you in a flight. Put spare food, water, knives, ropes, candles, whatever in a pack and just gave it handy. Don't worry about looters, there's not enough of them out there to worry about. You need a pack you can grab and go, get away. Come back later when the coast has cleared. You'll find nothing has changed. But you managed to survive.
If you find yourself occupying a larger area due to crops or forest, have a couple of bags stashed in spots so you don't even need to grab anything, you can just run.
It's all about saving your ass, not your things.

Charlie out.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011


I am in the final editing stages of America the Dead, and have seen the awesome cover art for the book.  Extremely cool.
Hopefully it will be available within the next month.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Duncan's Diary

I stepped out onto the barge, figuring to cut it loose and drift for a bit while we figured out how to make it work.  Contrary to popular belief, it isn't so easy to make things go.  People were forever forgetting to leave their keys in the ignition when they abandoned their vehicles, boats, and motorcycles, making it difficult for people like me to fully take advantage of all the leftover cars and planes and such scattered about.
Truth be known, if I could figure out how to get a train running, I'd be set.  At least until I had to stop it.
I crossed over the bow of the boat, keeping an eye on the wheelhouse.  Nothing stirred up there, so I made my way to the hatch on the side.  On shore, Up and Down were untying ropes that held the boat to the dock, and were jumping aboard. 
The boat drifted away and flowed very gently with the canal.  Down grabbed a pole and was standing on the port (starboard?) while Up manned the starboard (port?) side. 
Knocking on the hatch, I waited a full minute before turning the handle and looking inside.  It was dark and rank, but I couldn't detect any telltale odors of the dead, with diesel fumes penetrating everything.  I flicked on my weapon light and stepped inside. 
To my right was a tight stairwell/ladder to the wheelhouse, and to my left was a small hallway.  I followed the hallway and saw that it opened up into a small galley.  In the center of the hall was a door, and I went back to it to see what lay beyond.  A deep pounding sounded like it was coming from the hold, but it was irregular and could have been from debris in the canal.  Through the doorway was another hall, and there were four small rooms on the left off the main, crew's quarters by the looks of things.  These were tight little cubbyholes, barely big enough for a small bunk and chair.  On the other side of the hall was a little recreation room, and a bigger cabin.  I figured that one was for the captain, wherever he was.
All the rooms were empty, and this was looking better and better.  I went to the end of the hall and found a ladder going down into a very dark hole.  I figured the engine room was down there, so I'd better look.
Tossing down a marble didn't create any stirs, so I slid down the ladder as fast as I could.  Bringing up my weapon, I quickly scanned around and saw I was in an engine room. behind me were the big twin engines used to push freight up and down the canal. They were sitting lower than the platform I was on, and I could see about two inches of water around their base. Ahead of me was another hatch, and right away the warning signs were there for all to see.  Dark hand prints were all around the hatch, and I could see more dark stains around the porthole.  The stains were streaks, and I knew what caused them.  Zombies always tried to chew through the glass when prey was close.
Knowing that, I figured I could guess what made the splashing sound behind me.  I spun around, bringing up my weapon and scanning the darkness.  Sure enough, a Z was making his way around the engines, his feet not quite getting out of the water, but enough to make a little noise.  When the light hit him, he moaned, a very loud sound in the darkness.  His features were very white, and he had long dark hair that was curiously swept back, as if it had been recently brushed.  His dead eyes fixed on me as his mouth opened to moan again.  I didn't want to fire a shot in the confines of the engine room, since I didn't relish a ringing in my ears.  Looking at my options, I slung the rifle back over my shoulder and drew my field knife, retreating around a low table used for maintenance.  I had lost my light when I put away my rifle, but I pulled another from my belt and placed it on the table, beaming the light toward my enemy.  That little bit of time nearly cost me, as he was quicker than I thought.  Raised hands were already reaching for me when I turned the light on, so I thrust quickly with my knife into the open mouth that was coming at me.  My blade was long enough that the point came out the back of the Z's head, stopping him in his tracks and dropping him to the floor.  I wiped off the fresh goo and went back to the hatch, looking in the porthole. 
Looking back at me were about fifteen zombies, all in horrid states of decay.  No point in going any further.
I quickly retreated back up the ladder and made my way to the wheelhouse.  It was unoccupied, but I wanted to see if I could get the boat started so we could make our way back to the safe zone. 
A quick search yielded no keys, so we just managed to secure a tugboat raft.  Spiffy.
I got out of the wheelhouse and went forward, explaining to Up and Down our situation.  We were drifting in a canal, no way to start the boat, with zombies on board, and hostile territory all around.  Every moment took us further from safety and deeper into danger.
Up looked nervous, but Down had thoughts, I could see that.  He hunted around the debris on deck until he found a six foot long piece of one by six.  Up and I looked dubious, but Down proved his worth by going to the back of the boat and angling the board in the water.  Slowly, slowly, slowly, the big boat drifted to the banks of the canal, and when it was just close enough, Up and I jumped clear, with Down right behind us.  The tug crashed into the side of the canal, then careened away slowly, difiting off to the other side of the canal before crashing and bouncing off.
Up and Down looked at me and I quickly scanned my map.  We were two miles from were we wanted to be, and we had few options to get ourselves back to safety.
We had a long walk through the woods ahead of us, and inside those woods, there be monsters.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tommy's Tips

When the world ended, I was amazed at how many skills we had lost over the past century.  We had to re-learn how to plant crops.  We had to go back to our roots and figure out what plants had medicinal value and what ones would make us sick.  If something broke, we couldn't just walk down the road and buy another one.  That little stroll could get you killed.  In the blick of an eye we needed to become self-reliant, self-sufficient, and to a certain degree, self-absorbed. 
Every day, you need to wake up and be worried about YOU.  Do a quick inventory of your limbs and parts.  Any cuts that need a wash?  Any open wounds that need covering?  Any joints feel stiff?  Any headaches, earaches, or aches in general?  If you are not at the top of your game, do not go out there.  Stay safe and get better.  Duncan nearly got killed when he ignored a head cold that settled into his ears, and the hearing loss became critical when we sweeped some small towns.  If you nose is running, you might inadvertantly sniff when you don't want to and bam, you're in a fight.
Small forgotten skills have become important again.  Learning to sew has been a huge benefit.  Not only do you get to repair your rents and tears, but you get to laugh at the sight of a guy as big as Charlie sewing his socks by the fire.  Trust me, you'll learn to do it right quickly enough.
Everyone I know has learned how to hunt small game and skin animals.  You'd be surprised at who takes to those kinds of things.  Guy I knew in Wisconsin was a film editor for a local TV station.  After things settled in it was discovered he had a weird knack for hunting wild turkeys.  Go figure.
Pay attention to yourself as you never have before, and remember EVERY skill has value.  No one is too big to do the little things.  Just ask Charlie.

Tommy C

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A note from John

What gets to me sometimes is the emptiness and the quiet.  I remember before the war how I could sit on my porch and hear neighbors' dogs, listen to the kids down the street playing, hear the rythmic patter of joggers on the bike path, and occasionally a plane would fly overhead on its way to Midway or O'Hare airport.  Since we lived near a relatively busy road, there was always the background noise of cars and trucks.  Once in a while there was sirens, but overall it was thing you were used to, something that made you comfortable, that the world was moving as it should.
When the Upheaval came, it got noisy as hell for a while, then it got quiet.  Cars were stopped, planes no longer flew, children didn't dare play outside, and the only people running were the ones running for their lives.  For a long time, the world moaned and groaned and bit and bled.
But it got quiet. It had to.  You couldn't survive being noisy like before. Not with the way the dead could find you by sound.  Nowadays, we use the quiet as a tool, but I have run into those who have gone somewhat crazy from the lack of noise.  I have no doubt that if a cell phone were to go off in their vicinity, they would kill themselves in the scramble to just have a familiar noise from the past in their hand.
But things are changing.  Noise now is a sign of safety, a sign that an area is secure and safe.  Eventually, we'll all make some noise, and that will be a hell of a party.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Charlie's Guide

So here's a scenario.  You've just gone through a building and are about to leave when the zombies arrive.  The door is busted and they're making their way in.  There are too many of them to effectively fight off, you need an escape route.  Which way to go?  You could head down to the basement and barricade yourself in, hoping you might be able to wait them out.  You could make your way to the roof and hope to get down that way, escaping while the zombies try to find you in the building.
Which would be the best choice?  If you're new to the game, you might think the basement is the bast way to go, hiding out and hoping they don't find you.  You'd be protected from the elements and you'd be relatively safe from attack, provided your barricade was effective.  Down side to that situation is you would have to be extremely quiet and hope that none of the little suckers are able to sniff you out.  The real down side is if the zombies lose their prey, they will go quiet and just stay in one place.  If that's the case, then the basement was a really bad idea becasue at some point, you're going to try and get out, and then they have you.
The roof, while unprotected from the elements, does give you more options for escape.  If you're seasoned enough, you have some length of rope on you, anywhere from fifteen to fifty feet.  You can casue a ruckus on one side of the building, then shimmy down the other side to make your escape.  No such option in the basement.  If there aren't too many zombies, you could shoot them and casually make your way back down the way you came.  Additionally, you might have the option of jumping to another building, something you can't do in the basement.
In short, always go up, don't go down.

Charlie out.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Duncan's Diary

I watched the smoke from the fire rise over the piles of rock and sand, and wondered if I had done the right thing.  Truth be known, I wouldn't mind having few zombies show up right now to take out a little aggression on.  I couldn't get that little finger out of my mind, wondering what that poor child's final moments must have been like. 
I stood with my back to the fire, watching the waters of the canal go by when Up, my companion who was very tall and whose name I could never remember, called out to me.
"Company.  Fire must have brought them."
"How many?" I checked the surrounding area but couldn't see anything.  The water was to my back, as were the boats, so we could make an easy run for it if we had to.  Even if we coldn't get the boats started, we could cut the mooring lines and drift away.
Down, the shorter of my companions who was shorter than I was, came trotting back from the trees.  He was holding his rifle loosely in his hands, but I was glad to see the safety was on since he was pointing the barrel at my nuts.
"Has to be at least twenty.  Oh, sorry." Down apologized as I pushed the barrel away from me.
"Well, that's not a surprise.  Did you find anything else in the woods?"  I checked my AR mag, and loosened my Glock in it's holster.
"There's a boat ramp by the road, and an access to the main highway there." Down pointed to the bridge down the way where assorted zombies were milling about, unusre of what the smoke was, or even how to get to it.  As I looked over, one of the zombies tumbled over the rail and disappeared into the waters of the canal.
"Good enough.  We'll use it later, I'm sure.  Whoops, incoming."  A zombie was making its way across the loading yard, focusing on the two of us.  Down moved off to the left, bringing his rifle up, but I waved him down.  A shot would be more trouble than it was worth at this point, and we had what we needed to know right now.  The best thing to do would be to retreat and come back with more people. 
As the Z stumbled towards me, I waited until it got close, then I kicked it in the chest, tumbling it through the burning walls of the shed.  The flames quickly engulfed it, and the intense kerosene flames made short work of it.  It did manage to regain its feet before the fire reached it's brain, but only for a second.
Its not your killer, little ones, but it will have to do. I thought as I watched the flames flare bright red for a second, then return to normal.
I waved over to Up and Down.  "Time to get out of here."
"Walking back?"
"Nah.  Let's take the boat." 
Little did I realize the small decisions were the ones that effected us the most.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A note from John

Okay, I tried it, and I have to say that it's just not working out for me.  Maybe it's me, maybe I'm just not balanced for it, maybe I'm just inept.  Whatever the case may be, I have to come out and finally admit that I am totally worthless when it comes to using a sword on zombies.  Duncan and I found some in a store and he actually knew what was a good brand and what wasn't, so we grabbed a couple becasue I was interested in being able to finish off a Z without having to shoot it.  Truth be known, I was kind of looking forward to to serious slaughter with a sword.  Who wouldn't? 
I was a bit iffy about it though, since we had in the past buried a few people who had tried to off zombies with swords.  But I was willing to try, so we took a few back to the lodge and started some training.
I will admit, I sucked.  I was using a Cold Steel Hand and a Half Sword, a big two handed cutter. I was off balance, I swung too hard, or I overextended and left myself exposed.  It just wasn't somthing I was comfortable with. 
On the other hand, I did try out a what Duncan called a mortuary hilt sword, and I liked that a lot better.  It was a straight-bladed, single edged sword that I basically could use like an axe.  Much better.  I was used to my trusty pickaxe, so this worked out pretty well.  Don't know as I would use it as a primary weapon, but it held promise.
Point to all this is, don't be afraid to try something new.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Charlie's Guide

Physical Fitness.
Once upon a time it was the fashion, everyone was climbing stairs to nowhere and running like gerbils on treadmills and other machines for their cardio.  Good for them. 
Then came the Upheaval.  All that cardio was absolutely useless when a dead bastard was pulling you in for a virus-ridden kiss. 
Who were the survivors?  The ones who actually managed to fight off the zombies were the ones who were stronger than your average person, someone who spent some time in the weight room, or someone who had a job that required a good amount of strength.  I'll be honest, there were a lot more laborer survivors out there than lawyers.  God is kind, occasionally.
So what does this mean for you? Should you find some weights and start a routine?  You'll be betting your ass on it, so what do you think?
Here's the math, as we have figured it out.  Your average zombie is not as strong as your average person.  But a bigger zombie will be stronger than a smaller person.  In that confrontation there will soon be another, smaller zombie.  The best estimation we've come up with is to assume the zombie's strength to be  half to two-thirds of what it would be if they were alive.  More muscular zombies mean greater strength, skinnier ones and children mean lesser strength.  We won't discuss tenacity here.
You upper body strength in this new world is more important than your lower.  Don't ignore your legs, but you don't need to go crazy.  Find a weight that makes you work for ten reps, no matter the exercise.  Then add an additional five pounds.  When you can lift that without too much difficulty, add an additional five pounds.  Your goals should be to be able to bench press your own weight or more, and curl half your weight on a bar.  You should be able to do fifty push-ups without difficulty, and be able to lift one half to three quarters of your weight over your head.
Now for zombie specific exercises, I would recommend finding a sack of some kind and filling it until it weighs one hundred to one hundred anf fifty pounds.  Practice grabbing that sack off the grounds and throwing it from you as far as possible.  Whatever technique you are comfortable with.  The further the better, but if you lose your footing, you lose.
Practice makes perfect, but strength defeats the Z.

Charlie out.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Duncan's Diary

The inside of the room was a disaster.  It looked like someone had holed up in the place, hoping the zombies would pass them by, or maybe they would be able to catch a ride down the canal.  Why they didn't take one of the tugs was beyond my understanding.  In any case, there were the identifiable remains of a man and woman, plus a couple of children corpses.  Bits of flesh were in every corner, along with scraps of clothing and some survival gear.  I didn't see any spent casings on the floor, so I guess this family was unarmed when they had been attacked.  Their meager belongings were still in the corner.  Some backpacks, a container of water, and a baby bag.
I looked around, but I didn't see any evidence of any babies.  I wasn't surprised, though.  A large zombie can completely eat an infant in twenty minutes. 
I wish I was kidding.
I took my kerosene bottle from my pack and squirted some on what was left of the family.  I sprayed some on the walls, the smell very powerful in the small room.
As I stepped back out of the room, I tossed a match in, igniting the fuel and starting the pyre. As I walked out of the shed, I walked around slowly.  Outside of one window, there was a bloodstained blanket on the ground.  I walked over and picked it up, and a small object fell out of it. 
I squatted down to pick it up, then stood back up quickly when I saw what it was.  Reaching down with the blanket, I picked up the severed infant's finger and tossed both into the shed, putting the remains of the family's baby with it's parents. 
The smoke from the burning shed spiraled lazily into the sky, and I watched the flames finish off the work of the zombies. 
I guess when the zombies attacked, the mother tried to save her child by getting it out of the shed, hoping it might stay quiet enough for the zombies to pass it by, praying another family might come along in time to save it.

I hate zombies.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Duncan's Diary

Just for kicks, we worked our way along the canal, trying to clear out a path for anyone to use.  It wasn't easy, since the canal was fenced most of the way, but it worked in our favor keeping the zombies out. 
We could see the debris of flight all over the place, things people took with them only to realize they had no value or were too cumbersome. 
The weird stuff we encountered quite a bit were tied-up zombies.  They must have been loved ones left behind once their famlies realized they weren't going to get any better.  They couldn't kill them, so they just left them.  Easier on the conscience, I guess.
We moved cautiously to the northeast, passing by a number of subdivisions that had been hit hard.  The vegetation had been very helpful concealing our movements, but once in a while we really had to take it slow.  All it took was for one Z to spot us, and the rest would come running.  We knew the fence could hold a few of them, but if a hundred hit it at once, the whole thing was going to come down and we were going to do some swimming. 
Actually, we weren't.  One of the guys had a bright idea to bring along a small bass boat and it trailed in the water.  If things got bad, that was our escape.
We came up to a loading platform for a small quarry, and there were a couple of channel boats sitting quietly by the docks.  The water of the canal lapped quietly against their hulls as we looked over the small operation.  There wasn't anything we needed from this place, but we wanted to make sure it was clear so we didn't have to worry about surprises.
In this world, surprises killed you.

I stepped up to the small foreman's building and looked inside.  It seemed quiet so I shouldered my weapon and pushed the door open.

Right away I wished I hadn't.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Note from John

You can't save them all.

If there was ever a hard lesson to learn from the Upheaval, that one was the worst.  So many times we had to stand by and watch helplessly as some group of survivors let their defenses lapse and the dead came in.  We did not want to just let it happen, and on more than one occasion cooler heads than mine had to prevail upon me to not go charging to the rescue.
Believe me, there is nothing worse than letting a massacre happen, but if you realize that the only thing you will contribute to the slaughter is another corpse, you will find that you can live with the decision much easier.
I remember once coming up to a house that had at least twenty ghouls in it.  They had trapped a person in the bathroom, and were relentlessly pounding on the door, trying to get in.  I could have charged the mob, taken out a few.  But I would have been quickly overwhelmed and killed.  In the end, I just had to move on.
Those are the ghosts that visit in the quiet times.  They stay just out of sight, but you know they are there.  I tend to ask forgiveness and let it go.

You can't save them all.

But if you save one, and learn your lessons well, then you can save another, and another.  Pretty soon, you're saving enough.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Tommy's Tips

When the world went upside down, one of the things we noticed very quickly was how much we began to rely on our senses again.  Before the Upheaval, we could pretty much get through our days without too much trouble, focusing solely on what was in front of us, and not paying too much attention to the peripherals.  But when survival meant paying attention to the details, it became interesting to see how much we realized we could use our senses to save our lives.
One of the things I noticed right away when the world ended was how quiet it was.  It seemed like the whole world was holding its breath, waiting to scream.  You could hear things a long way away, and it was to the zombies advantage, sadly.  I remember walking down a path and I thought my footsteps were too loud, even though chances were no one could hear them further than three feet away!
Once we got used to them, we realized how valuable they are and how much we can use them to save ourselves.  
The one advantage we have over the zombies is eyesight.  They can't see really well, mostly because the fluid in their eyeballs is clouding up with decaying matter, but they can find you by smell and sound, no worries there.  But if a zombie is far enough away and you don't move suddenly or make noise, they might not know you're there.  I've snuck up on a lot of zombies.
Use your hearing.  Don't listen for the sounds of things that are supposed to be there, listen for what shouldn't.  Dragging sounds have no place in a forest, nor do they belong in a store.
Use your nose.  I've noticed once the crap filtered itself out of the air, my sense of smell has been getting better over time.  Zombies smell, but not as bad as you might think.  Sort out the smells that belong where you are and identify the ones that don't fit.
Trust your instincts.  What people call their intuition is the subconscious mind sorting out the signals coming in through the senses and telling you exactly what is on the other side of that creepy door.  Pay attention.

Later, TC.