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.

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.