The Zombie Plagues Book One
Created by Geo Dell
PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell
The Zombie Plagues Book One
Additional Copyrights 2009 – 2015 Wendell Sweet & independAntwriters Publishing All rights reserved
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Early morning darkness held the road that fronted the cave. The moonlight, sparse, reflected off the rapids of the Black river.
A shadow moved by one of the pickup trucks. Another moved by the Suburban. The sound of sand gritting beneath the sole of a shoe came clearly in the shadowy darkness. The door of the pickup squealed loudly as it was carefully opened. The shadow paused, looking towards the Suburban. The shadow there appeared to be fighting with the door to no avail. The shadow next to the pickup gestured quickly with both hands, and the shadow next to the Suburban gave up on the door, crossed to the pickup and quickly climbed inside. Once they were both inside, silence returned to the small patch of asphalt that fronted the cave. A few seconds later the pickup roared to life. The headlights snapped on, the wheels turned hard left and the driver launched the truck down what was left of the shattered roadway.
Voices were raised in alarm from inside the cave, and within just a few moments everyone inside was outside. Lydia, gun in hand, unloaded a full clip at the fleeing pickup truck. Both Tom and Mike snapped off a single shot, more in startled response to Lydia’s’ shots than with any real hope of hitting the retreating pickup truck.
“Jesus,” Lydia said breathlessly. “They stole our truck!” She turned and looked at Mike with wide, frightened eyes. “They stole our Goddamn truck,” She repeated. “How could they steal our truck?”
Tom headed for the suburban and pulled the keys from his pocket, preparing to unlock the door.
“Tom,” Mike called. “Where are you going, Man?”
“That’s our Goddamn truck. I’m going to get it.” His eyes were wild, the truck keys in one hand, a pistol in the other, no shirt, sock-less shoes, laces trailing.
“It’s an old truck, Man,” Mike said.
“It’s my old truck,” Tom said defensively. “And if I catch that fucker…”
“Fuckers,” Lydia said.
“Huh?” Tom asked.
“Fuckers, as in I saw two heads. Two of them. Not one,” Lydia said. Her voice held a breathless, excited quality to it that Mike didn’t like. She was dressed in jeans and a thin T-shirt. She shivered slightly, whether from the cold or the excitement, Mike couldn’t tell.
“Either way. One, two, how would we catch them? And then what? Are we going to shoot somebody for stealing an old truck? Is that what things have come to?” Mike asked.
“Look, don’t get moral on me,” Tom said. He leveled his eyes at Mike. “I do things my way. You take from me, you pay for it.”
Mike just stared back at him.
“You’re soft,” Tom said. But his fists, still clenched, dropped from the truck door and he walked away from the Suburban and back into the cave.
Lydia threw Mike a nasty look, finally managed to fish a replacement clip from her overly tight front pocket. Ejected the empty one into her hand and slid the new one into the pistol with a solid click. “Soft,” She echoed as the clip clicked home. She turned and went back inside the cave. In the distance, the muffler of the truck began to fade. It was hard to tell which direction it had gone.
Bob stepped up beside Mike where he stood with Candace and Jan. “I’m not going to kill anybody over an old truck,” he said.
“Me either” the other three said in near unison.
“Guess we better start making sure everything’s locked up tight,” Mike said.
“We’re going to have to start keeping a watch,” Jan said.
“We will,” Candace agreed. “What if the next thing they want is a woman?”
“That’s not funny,” Mike said.
She leveled her dark eyes on his, silvery moonlight reflecting from them. “I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now that they know we’re around…” she shrugged. “Lydia may have overreacted, but maybe not. Who the hell would pull a stunt like that anyway? Everything’s just lying around. Want a truck? Go get one. No… It’s a mind set. Someone who takes like that doesn’t take because it’s easy; they take because they like it, because they can.” She lowered her voice, “Truck, woman… might all be the same to them.”
No one answered.
Tom and Lydia sat talking in low tones as the others walked back into the cave. They had rebuilt the fire, and the warmth and light spread out, glowing on the stone walls. “Tom,” Mike started.
“Listen,” Tom said. “I shouldn’t have said that… I didn’t mean to say that. And, no, it would be stupid to go chasing after a goddamn truck in the middle of the night. And, no, I don’t want to kill someone over stealing a piece of shit truck,” Tom said. “But that kind of shit can’t happen. I mean, what’s next?”
“Yeah,” Mike agreed. “Yeah. I guess what’s next is locked up trucks. No keys left in them. And…” He looked over at Candace. “I guess a guard at night. Candace said… She thinks someone who would come to take a truck might come to take a woman too.”
The silence held only for a second.
“Fuckin’ A,” Lydia spat.
She looks positively rabid, Candace thought. “What I mean,” Candace said, “A truck… Maybe one of us… Who steals a truck when everything’s just lying around free for anyone who wants to pick it up?”
Tom nodded his head.
“Well, as soon as it’s light I say we follow the tracks. If we’re careful, it should be no problem at all,” Mike said.
“Goddamn right,” Lydia said.
“Should be armed. I’m sure they will be,” Candace said.
“Not you. You’re not going are you?” Mike asked.
“I’m the best shot we have,” Candace said. “It’s that simple. If we don’t go after them,” she shrugged and then shook her head. “No,” she said. “The more I think about it, they’ll probably come back. And they’ll probably come back armed as well, hell, maybe they were this time.” She looked at Lydia.
“Lydia saw two in the truck, but how many more were there? Or back where ever they went to,” she finished seriously.
“So. The idea is to take it to them before they bring it to us?” Bob asked.
“Got a better idea?” Tom challenged.
“No… No… But I’m no killer. It’s still just a damn truck.”
“Yeah, tonight it was a truck, tomorrow it might be me… Or Candace… Or Jan,” Lydia said.
Bob stayed silent, thoughtful. He sighed. “What a damn mess,” he said at last.
“It’s that,” Tom agreed.
“I got to agree, Bob,” Mike said. “It’s not the same world. What if they do come back? Do we decide then to do something? It might be too late.”
“Honey. I think it’s best to go get them,” Janet said quietly, her eyes on Bob’s own. Those eyes looked frightened, Mike thought. He supposed a little of that fright was resting in everyone’s eyes right now.
“I don’t like to be bullied or pressured into anything,” Bob said.
“Hey,” Mike said. “It’s no pressure, Man. It’s real. It really just happened.”
Bob nodded his head yes, but a frown remained stamped onto his mouth. Deep lines scarred his forehead. His hands twisted restlessly in his lap. He suddenly brought his hands together firmly. “Okay,” he agreed. “Okay. I see the point. I’ve done a lot of hunting. I’m a good shot with a rifle. I’d like to go too.”
When the sun began to peek over the top of the ridge on the opposite shore of the Black river, everyone filed out to the two remaining trucks. It had been decided that Mike and Jan would stay behind while the others went in search of the stolen truck. They switched on and tested two sets of F.M. radios.
“The range is normally only about two miles or so, but it’s not like there’s anything to interfere with them anymore,” Tom said. “We’ll take three with us, and you keep the other here to monitor us, or if they come back here,” Tom finished.
“Do you think that’s a possibility?” Janet Dove asked.
“I doubt it, Dear,” Bob told her with a reassuring smile. “It’s just to be safe.”
Mike walked over to Candace. Her eyes met his. He kissed her softly, and her arms slipped around him.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, “I’ll be careful. And I’ll make sure they’re careful.” She kissed him and pulled back.
Mike stared at the face of the two way radio for a long second and then watched her get into the Suburban. Bob got into the front seat with her. Her eyes met his once more, and she smiled reassuringly, then started the Suburban and fell in behind Tom as he drove the big State truck out across the pavement.
Mike and Janet stood quietly as the two trucks drove away. Neither of them wanted to go back inside the cave. The sun was up and warming the old asphalt of the road where it passed in front of the cave, and what little snow remained was already beginning to melt.
“Left here,” The radio squawked. It sounded like Lydia.
“Behind you,” came an answer that sounded like Bob.
Mike shifted the 30-30 Deer rifle he held in one hand and thumbed off the strap that held his Nine Millimeter in his web holster. Janet Dove grimaced and then thumbed the safety off the shotgun she was holding. A short clip protruded from the base of the shotgun, just forward of the trigger. She had two more clips in a small pouch on her side, as well as a fully loaded Three Eighty in a tooled leather side holster she wore.
What must we look like, Mike thought. Aloud he said, “They’ll be fine.”
“Really?” Janet Dove asked. “I truly hope so. I truly do.”