Chaos Theory: A Zombie Novel

BOOK: Chaos Theory: A Zombie Novel
4.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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Chaos Theory

Rich Restucci

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2015 by Rich restucci

 

For my brother.  You’ve missed so much…

F is for fire that burns down the whole town.
U is for uranium… bombs!
N is for no survivors when you…

 

The FUN song, as sung by Plankton before being rudely interrupted by SpongeBob

I Gotta Say Something

 

There’s still a government. I don’t think this, or believe this, I know this.

I know this because they want me. They want me badly. I didn’t kill anyone of great importance. I don’t possess nuclear launch codes or have a stocked underwater base. I haven’t come up with a cure or a vaccine.

They don’t want me because of who I am. They want me because of what I am.

I am the vaccine.

Somebody needs to know this, so I’m putting it here.

It was early on, back when people were still fighting instead of hiding. I was travelling on a prison bus in a caravan on the back roads of New Hampshire when we were attacked. We weren’t attacked by
them
, we were attacked by
us
. Another group of survivors with guns and vehicles who desperately wanted our guns and vehicles.

Bullets flew and people died. The attackers fell back when they realized that we weren’t going to lie down and die so they could have our stuff. Some of us did lie down and die, but not on purpose. Didn’t stay down though. Got up in short order and tried to kill everyone, attacker and defender. We had good guns, which is why we were able to fight off the bad guys. We were prison guards, cops with their families, and the prison doctor. And prisoners. Fourteen inmates that the guards decided not to leave in cells when they bugged out. They didn’t take all of us, but they took the guys that they thought would help them and not kill their families.

Yup, I was a prisoner. Three left of a four year stint. What I did isn’t important as it was a lifetime ago in another world.

Three of our seven vehicles, including the bus, were rendered useless in the attack, but we were able to scavenge two of the attacker’s trucks. I was working on a Ford F150 extended cab, trying to see if I could save the radiator for a third vehicle, when a bloody hand snaked out from underneath the truck and grabbed my pant leg. I wasn’t expecting it, and as I said, it was early on, so I wasn’t used to things grabbing me.

I looked down, and another hand grabbed my leg. The hands pulled, and rather than me sliding under the truck, the thing pulled itself out from under. Now, as I’m sure you know, these things are damn fast when they’re close to you, but this particular attack happened in slow motion. I remember it like it was yesterday instead of almost a year ago.

The man, who had been peppered by small arms fire I would later find out, pulled his mouth to my leg. He didn’t just go for the bite, like they always do, but he actually reared back with his mouth open. I remember he reared because he hit the back of his noggin on the bumper of the F150, and it made a thud that I thought would have really hurt. I thought it was quite funny.

Until he bit me.

He shot his face forward and latched his jaws around my lower leg, and bit down. Hard. I was an inmate, and we had to wear denim jeans at all times, prison rules. This guy bit right through them and into my leg. Not the meaty part, but the front right, sort of between my shin and my calf. Either way it friggin hurt. I let out a yell and jerked back, but the dead SOB didn’t let go. He was on me like a snapping turtle, dug in like a tick. He must have had trouble with the jeans, because he didn’t just rip out a chunk like a bite out of a cheeseburger, he just kept gnawing, and I fell on my ass. One of the cops heard me yelling and ran over. He shot the guy in the back, but that didn’t do anything, so he pistol whipped him.

The guy let go of me and I scuttled away like a crab. He started to crawl toward the cop and the cop ventilated his cranium. I remember that too because the dead guy’s head once again smacked into the bumper with the same thud.

Everyone came running at that point. Whether it was to help, or just to see, I’ll never know. The cop reached his hand down to me to help me up, but drew it away quickly when he saw my bloody leg.

Then he pointed the gun at me and screamed for the doc, who was standing right next to him. The doc put on some blue gloves and looked me over. I’ll never forget those gloves, or the look on his face when he looked me in the eyes. His face said it all, with sort of a sad revulsion, and helplessness.

Infected.

He stood and whispered to the cop, who nodded with the same look on his face. I glanced around at the people who were standing and looking down at me. Mothers, wives, kids, cops, and my former room-mates. Most of them had the same look, but others had looks of relief. I don’t know if the relief was because I was a prison inmate and I was going to die, or that there was one less mouth to feed. Didn’t matter, I was dead and everybody knew it.

I finally pulled my pant leg up and looked at my wound. There was a semi-circular bite pattern that was already beginning to bruise. And blood. There was some blood, but not much. The dead guy had most definitely broken the skin though.

It’s amazing how you can try to rationalize yourself out of your own doom. I thought that it was only a tiny bite, barely broke the skin. Maybe the jeans prevented any of the dead guy’s death from getting in me. Maybe he wasn’t even infected with the same stuff, but this was something different. A hundred other get out of jail free cards ran through my mind in the space of a nanosecond, but what brought me back to reality was the gun pointed at my face.

The cop told me I was infected. I sat there and came up with the only thing I could think of to prevent that inevitable lead headache. I told the cop I could fix the truck.

And I did. I fixed the hell out of it.

When that baby was purring like a cream-fed kitten, the cop, who no longer had his gun drawn, told me to come with him. He and this other guy, and inmate called Dave, or Don, or Dan… began with a D but I can’t remember now, they brought me behind this little shed thing that reminded me of an outhouse. I remember it had this gray antenna and some solar panels on it. I can’t remember that convict’s name, but I can damn well remember those blue solar panels with the white spots on them. They took me behind the little structure, and the cop tells me that the best thing for everybody would be to shoot me. Nobody gets better, it’s a bad way to die, and I would be adding to the enemy. Blah blah blah.

I told him I wanted every damn second, and he said he understood, but I couldn’t come with them. I was infected after all, and more than a liability, a potential catastrophe. Me, a catastrophe because I got too close to a dead guy. It was unfair, but I did the only thing I could:  I acquiesced. I told them to leave me. The cop, who incidentally I had never seen prior to the morning we bugged out of the prison, gave me some food and water, and said thanks and that he was sorry.

Another guard, I had saved his kid earlier from one of those things when we stopped for a piss break, said he would leave a gun and some ammo on the road a half mile up after they left. He didn’t trust me enough to give me the weapon now as I might shoot somebody. I was a con, and don’t think it didn’t occur to me. I thanked him and the convoy left me standing on the solid yellow line in the center of the road in southern New Hampshire.

I saw the guard’s pickup stop a bit down the road, so I went to see if he left me a gun. He did. An old fashioned wheel gun with half a box of .38 shells. There were twenty six rounds. Twenty six rounds between me and probably two hundred million dead people wanting to taste my important bits.

It didn’t take them long to find me either.

 

 

 

Hungry Hippos

 

 

I still haven’t found out why some of them can run, or can’t, depending on how you look at it. The Runners are still alive, the slow ones aren’t. That’s all I know. That’s all anyone knows. Except they’re
fast
. Everybody knows that.

Damn fast.

Did I mention that I waved as the convoy pulled away, leaving me to die, quite literally, in the middle of the road? Nobody waved back.

So with gun in hand, I followed the convoy at a modest three miles per hour or so. Within two hours, my leg hurt so badly I wanted to cut it off. Ten steps later I had to sit down.

It was unseasonably warm for November in New England. I remember that too. I also remember a couple of vehicles drove past me as I sat there agonizing in the New Hampshire sun, but nobody stopped. Better for them that they didn’t I guess. I was wondering how long I was going to hang out there before I got sick when nausea hit me like a major league fastball and I started to puke. It didn’t creep up on me, it grabbed my insides and kicked the hell out of them until my coffee and ramen noodles had been deposited on the median strip of the highway. The noodles looked like worms in the vomit, so that got me to keep with the void diet and I kept going.

I could see movement on the road about a half mile out. It wasn’t a car, but in my state my vision wouldn’t focus, so I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. I decided I should make all haste and vacate the area and tried to stand. I was thinking it wasn’t so bad when the dizziness hit and I swooned and promptly passed out.

You would think that waking up to a living dead thing staggering toward me at top undead speed while only a mere thirty feet away would scare the ever loving crap out of me, but I was serene. As serene as I could be with what felt like a horde of demons hacking at my leg from the inside and a shirt covered in stinking, partially digested stuff.

Arms outstretched, the thing came straight at my mostly prone form, and I was still woozy. She was hungry. I could see in her dead eyes that I looked like one of those delicious cooked roadrunners that the coyote always fantasized about. She was drooling and foaming, and bloody and dead, but the most important thing to me at the time was her proximity.

At ten feet I snapped out of it, but that was when her undead-burst-of-hustle kicked in.

You’ve seen it. Hopefully not up close, but you’ve seen it. They stagger and lurch, sometimes they stumble, but they always get up. In a group or singly, they’re very slow until they get within arm’s reach, then they’re like cheetahs. It’s like they save all their speed for a last ditch, one second surge. True survivors, those of us that no longer fear but respect the abilities and shortcomings of the dead, have learned to wait for that surge before making a critical move. You do this because all the speed and balance that the dead have is aimed in one direction and that direction is at you.

‘Course it doesn’t help you at all if you’re on your ass in a puddle of puke.

She was a blur of death and teeth as she came at me, lunging. Most people will say that the dead fall to their knees when they are attacking something on the ground but that’s not really true. Their knees don’t hit first. Her mouth came at me as fast as it possibly could, and it was open. I put my forearm up to stop her, but that was a panic move. Seriously, lie down on the ground and have somebody fall on you. Make it a ten-year-old kid if you have one handy, and stick your forearm up to try to stop the impact.

Nope.

Little Billy or Sara or insert-kid’s-name-here is going to plow through your feeble barricade like a freight train.

This lady was no ten year old either. She was a lot of woman, and I don’t mean her personality.

Bitch fell right on me teeth first. I thought the puke stank, but this woman was
ripe
. The plague was new, so I don’t know how she could have smelled like a week old dead thing that had fermented in the sun, but she did. Actually, maybe that’s what she was. She bit me just below the collar bone and I yelled. She pulled her head back and I screamed, because her mouth was no longer empty.

Something else you probably already know, but hey this is for posterity:  Once they lock their hands on you, they aren’t letting go. She slurped that nibble of my shoulder down with a bloody piece of prison purchased t-shirt as a garnish, but she multitasked, and latched her mitts on to my shirt and pants. She finished my shoulder, and leaned in for another morsel, but I was having none of that.

This lady outweighed me by fifty pounds, and I’m a big guy. She was not big boned. I rolled her sideways, and pushed for all my infected ass was worth, which was damn little at that point, but hey, it was
my
ass.

She wanted my nose next, and pulled as I pushed. It’s amazing what you remember and forget in certain circumstances. I can’t remember her hair color, or what she was wearing, or even what her dead face looked like, but I remember she was fat. Fat and
strong
.

We continued our tug of war with me as the prize for a few seconds until I heard shuffling footsteps over our struggle. I dared a furtive glance toward the new sound, and lo and behold, fat dead lady’s twin sister was coming for brunch. She wasn’t really her twin, but she was every bit as big.

The tide had definitely turned in favor of the dead folks, and I desperately needed a weapon. Like a gun or something. I wanted to smack myself in the head with my palm for forgetting the pistol, but I would have had to let her go, then the fat lady would get to sing.

Pinned lady started snapping. She chomped so hard that one of her teeth flew out and hit me in the cheek. The other dead lady was about fifteen feet away, so whatever needed to be done had to happen fast or I wouldn’t spend the next few hours dying in agony, but the next few minutes.

I seriously considered that. Should I just let the New Hampshire heifers finish the job now? I mean it would hurt. Like, agony on a level I don’t want to comprehend. But then again, not an hour previous I told that cop that I wanted every second. Although that was before I knew for sure I was infected. The puking and passing out, plus the look of the leg bite were both indicative of infection. Spot on. I mean I knew before, I just didn’t want to believe. So yeah, I was infected. And nobody gets better.

But being torn to pieces by a duo of tubbies? Seriously? I could always shoot myself if the pain got too bad later. If I started puking up important pieces of me instead of my breakfast, or if I saw a living person and pictured them wearing those little bootie thingies you put on a turkey’s drumsticks, I could always opt out then. Also, for some reason, the Scorpions
Winds of Change
just shoved its way into my thoughts. Didn’t even like that song.

So in the end, after all of those thoughts, which took, perhaps, point five seconds, I decided I wanted to end things my way. I gave a herculean shove and smashed my hefty hanger-on into the street. Her head banged off of the asphalt, and it must have stunned her because she blinked in rapid succession. Her grip didn’t slack, but she stopped snapping and pulling. I did it again, and this time I looked for the revolver, which was right next to her flabby right arm. I grabbed the gun and put it to the side of her head. She stopped blinking and looked into my eyes, almost pleadingly.

I can’t imagine how many people went out like that in the first couple of weeks. Not knowing or believing a loved one was one of them, and then just getting gnawed on by your kid or your grandma. This dead woman, who had already dined on a portion of me, however small, raised her eyebrows and frowned, jutting out her bottom lip slightly. She looked sad, and I blew her head off. I wasn’t going to be one of those dumb people I just mentioned. No gloomy-looking dead fat broad was going to get the better of me.

Except she already had. Bitch bit me.

The undead will let go if you disable their brain. Doesn’t make any sense to me either. All of their systems are shut down except their core nervous system. They don’t breathe, there’s no heartbeat, they don’t poop, and they feel no pain. They can hear and see, but I don’t buy that they can smell because they don’t breathe. Although they make audible sounds, so they must draw in air to push it past their decaying vocal cords. If that’s the case then maybe they
can
smell. OK, I’m on board with the smelling thing. As of now.

Now now, not then now.

So she let go of me and I rolled off of her and aimed at number two, who had gotten significantly closer during my hasty tussle with number one. I couldn’t focus for shit though, and missed my first two shots. Well, I mean, I hit her, just not in the head. She did the same face plant on me, but I blasted her on the way down. She hit me hard, but I was able to push her off before she chomped down.

I rolled left, or maybe it was right, it was a while ago. She was on her face, the back of her melon now spread out on fatty number one. It was gross. Them lying there with holes in them that I had put there. I would have tossed them again, but I was shit out of cookies.

I had never shot anyone before. No, I wasn’t
that
type of criminal.

I sat up, and I can remember looking at them lying there. They were pathetic. They had probably been eating pie (double portions) at a church lunch a couple of days before, and I had smoked both of them. I felt like I had just won a seal clubbing contest.

That was when that little dude who runs stuff in your body jerked the adrenaline shut-off valve extra hard. My leg and shoulder wounds decided to remind me of our acquaintance. That same little guy, who was probably giggling maniacally, next launched an all-out ballistic missile attack on my pain receptors.

And yet I stood. The sound of the last shot was still ringing in my ears when I started my trek north. My plan was to find someplace nice to swallow a bullet, because I did not fancy being eaten, and I didn’t want to be one of them. Either way, I would be part of the living impaired soon enough.

BOOK: Chaos Theory: A Zombie Novel
4.62Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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