Read Death Springs Eternal: The Rift Book III Online

Authors: Robert J. Duperre,Jesse David Young

Death Springs Eternal: The Rift Book III

BOOK: Death Springs Eternal: The Rift Book III
8.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub










Publisher’s Note:


This novel is a work of fiction. Names, events, persons, and

are used in a fictitious and imaginative manner. Any

to actual persons, living or deceased, circumstances,

locales are purely coincidental.


Cover and Interior Design by Catherine Santos Young


Copyright ©
2011 by Robert J. Duperre


Illustrations © 2012 by Jesse David Young


Cover Art © 2011 by Jesse David Young




EAN-13 #











: The Rift Book I

Dead of Winter: The Rift Book II





The Gate: 13 Dark and Odd Tales

The Gate 2: 13 Tales of Isolation and Despair (February 2012)



For Guido, Jack, and Jim

Honorable soldiers and true American heroes



“Police state,

Police city,

Police world,

Oh what a pity,


– The Fear ’

Police State






Sam roared, and all those around him cowered.

They were the lowest of the low, those for whom infection wasn’t a blessing like it was for his brood but a curse. They gathered on an empty stretch of highway beneath the rising sun. There was no intelligence in them to be seen, no desires but to move and feed, making them even less than the insipid animals they’d been before. What he saw now were exemplars of the cycle of life: that which is born of the ground will one day
only they moved and swayed with an elemental purpose. A sea of rotting humanity that stretched out before him for miles, meandering, stumbling, moaning, drawn to him just as any who had felt his influence, but these beings were dead inside and useless to him.

He reached out with his mind, trying to ensnare the pathetic beasts in the web of his thoughts, but they simply stared at him with eyes that seemed to approach some sort of recognition, only that recognition was now beyond their grasp. He held no sway over them, yet still they came, drawn forward by his essence.

He hated them.

Those in the front who had trembled at the sound of his voice forgot the reason for their fear and once more surged ahead, their decomposing limbs outstretched like children in search of a parent’s affection. One of them drew near, so close that Sam could smell the putrefaction saturating every inch of its being. Sam had witnessed so much death over the span of his life—or
—but these creatures were different. They had no meaning, no function, and if there was one thing Sam couldn’t stand, it was chaos. There was no order in the random, and that’s exactly what these monsters were.

He reached out and wrapped his fingers around the throat of the one who’d approached him. Its flesh felt spongy and no pulse beat in its veins. Grimy tendrils of its hair brushed against his wrist. Disgust filled Sam’s gut as he stared into its lifeless eyes, yellow and slowly liquefying in their sockets. In a surge of anger he swung his free hand, bringing it down upon the top of the dismal beast’s head. Its skull collapsed, drenching Sam’s arm and chest with blackened brain matter and thick, coagulated blood. The body quivered slightly, as if waking from sleep, and then its limbs slumped. Sam let go of the thing’s neck, and it collapsed to the ground in a jumble of useless arms and legs.

It wasn’t as if Sam hadn’t seen their kind before—they were an expected side effect of his awakening—but to observe them in such great numbers filled him with disgust. In that moment he wished to retreat into his Netherworld, to wander the hall of souls, basking in all he’d accomplished, but even that seemed lost to him. Whereas he once found comfort and dominion there, now confusion reigned. It took mere seconds for the
inside of him to rear its head, to prattle on about its loves, regrets, contemplations, and desires. This part of him should have been eliminated by now, swallowed by his divine authority, and yet still it went on, whispering, pleading, wanting—
for the opportunity to reclaim its hold over his body.

All I ever wanted was to learn from history
, the other murmured from deep within him.
I never wanted this…

“Shut up,” Sam said.

As he once more looked upon the approaching horde, Sam realized the connection between the lingering aura of his body’s former resident and these vile, rotting beasts. He had wasted too much time. He was losing control. He’d allowed his polar force to gather its strength, to guide the boy, the witch, and the others outside his influence. He could sense their strength and numbers growing, a miasma of brightness on the fringes of the dark era he’d ushered in. Sam grunted, thinking himself a fool. He should have gone north when he first learned of the boy’s identity, should have ended the game before it started. But his timelessness bred arrogance, and that arrogance was now gradually unwinding his faculties.

Sam reared back, bellowed, and charged through the crowd of undead. His arms flailed, fingers bent into claws, shearing flesh, snapping bone. The throng did not protect itself, did not cower at the sight of his anger. Instead they accepted their fate mindlessly, allowing their bodies to be ripped limb from limb.

Sam called out for his children—his
children—and they appeared, rumbling over the hillside. Once men, they had been changed, becoming derivatives of his view of perfection. They, too, descended into the mass of rotting bodies, biting and clawing, devouring all that stood in their way. The air was filled with hoots and howls and wet slurping sounds. The area above the fray grew hazy with pinkish mist as stagnant blood erupted from decaying veins.

Soon all was still, and Sam stood in the center of the carnage, barking at his followers, who shrunk away from him, dropping to their knees in servitude. He gazed upon the detritus of human remains, arms and legs and torsos and heads, all bearing deep gouges and leaking orifices, and felt that old pride wash over him again. He was still himself, still Sam. All would tremble before him just as his children did, and humanity would suffer for the ills he had suffered, even if the events that spurred these feelings were now just hazy fragments of memory.

A low rumbling sound reached his ears, yanking him from the reverie of his success. He stepped to the side, crushing a severed hand in the process, and gazed north. There appeared a giant cloud of dust, rising into the sky like a sandstorm in the dry spring air. Sam leaned forward and squinted, making out three tiny dots on the horizon. He reached out with invisible feelers, trying to touch whomever it was that approached, and sensed nothing but blind obedience in return.

It wasn’t obedience to him, however, and that was not good.

He frowned and snapped his fingers, and his children were yanked from their genuflecting states. They disappeared over the hillside without him having to say a word. Sam followed closely behind, crouched in the midst of the sea of tall, dying grass surrounding the highway, and waited.

The three approaching objects turned out to be something Sam had thought he’d seen the last of—working automobiles, two armored jeeps and a large, tank-like behemoth. The vehicles slowed as they approached the cluster of mutilated bodies. The two jeeps bucked forward and back, as if the operators didn’t know how to proceed. Sam closed his eyes and again tried to reach them, to ensnare whoever was inside in his corrosive web, but still came back with nothing. He ground his teeth and swore under his breath, the alien blood in his borrowed veins pumping harder than ever. If he couldn’t control these newcomers, he wanted carnage.

The top hatch of the tank swung open and a man popped his head out. He was an older sort, with long, gray-brown hair and deep crevasses around his sunken eyes. It looked like he hadn’t eaten in days, and when he opened his mouth Sam could see dried spit form a sticky mesh around the corners of his lips.

The two jeeps came to a stop and eight men—much younger than the one in the tank—stepped out, automatic weapons slung over their shoulders. They gazed upon the scene before them with equal parts awe and disgust.

These are soldiers
, the voice of the one who previously resided within Sam’s body whispered.
Your sleepers didn’t do their jobs as well as you would have liked.

“Be quiet,” Sam muttered. His hatred grew, thinking of his seven generals and their failures. All but one had been dispatched by Sam when they marched, one-by-one, to the City of the Dead. The only one who remained active was Tom Steinberg, who hid with his family in the mountains to the north. On more than one occasion Sam had considered calling him to the slaughter, as well, but he’d stayed his hand. Tom had been a good soldier, and though he was beginning to grow hesitant about his role, he could not defy Sam’s will, and the fact that he stood directly in the path that his adversary was traveling made him valuable, even if keeping him alive proved irritating.

BOOK: Death Springs Eternal: The Rift Book III
8.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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