Authors: T.W. Piperbrook
ABOUT CONTAMINATION 4: ESCAPE
Dan and Quinn Lowery may have survived the initial infection, but their journey is far from over.
Their once-safe location has now been compromised, overrun by the agents and the infected.
Now, in order to survive, they must first escape…
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BOOK FOUR: ESCAPE
BY T.W. PIPERBROOK
Contamination Book Four: Escape
Copyright © 2013 by T. W. Piperbrook. All rights reserved.
First Kindle Edition: November 2013
For more information on the author’s work, visit:
Dedicated to my son Liam, for providing me with endless inspiration and joy.
All rights reserved. This eBook is licensed for the personal enjoyment of the original purchaser only. This eBook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you are reading this eBook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
PART ONE – FULL COLLAPSE
addy, wake up!”
Hands pawed frantically at Dan Lowery’s arm and a voice hissed in his ear. When he opened his eyes, he could just make out the frightened visage of his daughter, her eyes wide, lips trembling. He immediately grabbed for the 9mm he had tucked under his pillow and jolted from the floor.
“What is it?” he mouthed.
His daughter pointed to the side window of the RV, where a thin sliver of moonlight crept through a crack in the blinds. He padded over to it and peered out, prepared to see a face on the other side, fingernails rapping on the glass.
The window was empty.
Still, he knew his daughter had heard or seen something. She wouldn’t have woken him up if she hadn’t.
He pressed his forehead against the pane. They’d positioned the RV diagonally in a corner of the lot, allowing them a view of the entire salvage yard as well as a clear path to the front gate. At the slightest hint of trouble, Dan wanted to be ready to leave.
Now, as he stared out at the dark and ominous lot, he wondered if the time had come.
Between the absence of power and the darkness of the night, the salvage yard was a tangle of shapes and shadows, and if he stared hard enough, almost all of them appeared suspicious. Ever since they’d arrived, Dan had felt less than comfortable, but given their situation, the options were limited.
It didn’t help that they were alone on the property.
Quinn joined him at the window and gripped his shoulder. With her free hand, she pointed to a group of dark objects in the yard. Dan followed her stare and felt his body tense up.
One of the shadows was moving.
“Stay still,” he whispered.
The figure was hovering by one of the junked vehicles near the front entrance. Every so often, its head would swivel or its arm would wag.
Dan scoured the rest of the salvage yard, but saw no indication that there were other intruders. So far they’d been lucky. In the few days since their companions had left, Dan and Quinn had seen only a few straggling creatures make their way into the salvage yard, and each time he’d easily taken care of them through the fence. None had posed any immediate threat to him or his daughter.
Of course, none had found their way inside until now.
Dan stared at the creature lurking in the shadows, unnerved. He’d assumed that if one of the things attempted to climb the fence, he’d hear it, asleep or not.
This one seemed to have simply appeared.
No matter how it had gotten in, Dan knew he had to take care of it. He wouldn’t rest until he did.
He rose to his feet. Before he could turn, his daughter snagged his attention.
“Dad, look!” she whispered.
Two more shadows had appeared next to the other one. Unlike the first, these were moving quicker and it looked like they were headed in the direction of the RV. He scoured the yard.
What he saw next made his heart drop in his chest.
The front gate—the one that he’d kept locked since they’d arrived—was hanging open.
Dan lowered the shade.
“What’re we going to do, Dad?” Quinn asked.
“Listen to me carefully, honey. I need you to get in the passenger’s seat and buckle your seatbelt, just like we talked about earlier. Can you do that?”
Even in the darkness, he could see the outline of her head as she nodded. He stalked toward the front of the vehicle. His daughter followed, clinging to the back of his shirt.
He’d just reached the driver’s seat when something clicked the door handle. He froze, reached for his daughter. A similar noise sounded from the opposite side of the RV.
Thank God he’d locked the doors.
Pistol in hand, he crept to the driver’s seat and peered out the window. At the same time, a shadow scurried to the rear of the vehicle. He pushed his daughter toward the passenger’s seat and sat down himself.
Earlier, he’d left the key in the ignition. He reached down to verify that it was still there.
It was. He swallowed.
Each day he’d been starting the RV to ensure everything worked, and each day it had fired up without issue.
Here goes nothing.
He turned the key, preparing for the engine to start and expose their position.
Only this time, when he turned the key, nothing happened.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he muttered.
He tried again, but to no avail.
“Daddy, what’s wrong?” Quinn hissed.
Before he could answer, Dan heard a bang on the rear windows, then the sound of someone trying the door handle in back.
He leapt up from the driver’s seat and grabbed his daughter’s arm, leading her to the rear of the vehicle. Past their bedding and belongings was a door leading to the bathroom. He found the handle, ripped open the door, and ushered her inside.
“In here,” he said.
“No arguments, Quinn. Don’t come out until I come get you.”
“But what if something happens to you? What if—“
“Everything will be fine, honey.”
He gave her one last squeeze and then shut the door. In spite of his words, he was far from convinced. The banging had increased in fervor; it sounded like the doors were going to crash open.
He aimed his pistol in all directions, trying to anticipate which one of them would fly inwards first.
What he didn’t anticipate was the front windshield shattering.
Glass spattered all around him and bullets whisked through the interior of the RV. Dan dove to the ground. He hit the floor hard, scraping his elbows and knees on the thin carpet, and bit the inside of his lip. Blood sprayed the inside of his mouth, and he covered his head as glass rained down on top of him.
He heard shouting and commotion from outside now, and he struggled to his knees, certain someone would be coming in after them.
At that point, they’d be trapped.
Dan crawled to the front of the vehicle and hid behind the driver’s seat, clutching his pistol to his chest. The gunfire had ceased. He poked his head around the headrest, trying to get a glimpse of the outside.
The second he peered out, a pair of headlights snapped on from the salvage yard and illuminated the interior of the RV. He slipped out of sight, but he was too late. The voices grew louder; he’d been seen.
Who was out there? Was it the agents? A gang? Another band of survivors?
Regardless of who it was, one thing was for certain: if Dan and Quinn remained inside the RV, they were sitting ducks.
He looked back at the bathroom. The door had opened to a crack and his daughter’s face had emerged from the darkness. She was calling out his name.
Dan motioned for her join him. She scampered across the floor and into his arms, squeezing him tight. He handed her the pistol.
“Remember what I showed you?”
She nodded. He pointed to the safety.
“Just like we talked about.”
Yesterday he’d given her some simple instructions on using the weapon, telling her that someday she might need to use it.
He just hadn’t expected that day to come so soon.
She held the gun, eyes wide. While she stared at the weapon, Dan reached underneath the bench seat next to them and pulled out a shotgun.
“Stay behind me,” he whispered. “We’ll go out the side door.”
He pointed to the passenger’s door across from them. For the moment, all was quiet.
He crawled over to it and unlocked the door, grabbed the handle. He looked back at his daughter and put his finger to his lips.
“On three,” he mouthed.
He counted silently with his fingers, then threw it open. Instead of flying ajar, the door stopped with a
, knocking into someone on the other side.
A man in a white coat was waiting for them.
Dan let loose with the shotgun. The impact of the blast flung the agent backwards, riddling his coat with blood, and he collapsed into the dirt.
The yelling rose to a fever pitch.
“Come on, Quinn!” Dan shouted.
The two of them jumped into the dirt. Dan hung behind the open door, then sidestepped into the open and took an officer’s stance. He fired off another round toward the gate. A sickening grunt sounded in the distance.
A broken-down Camaro was parked about twenty feet away. He guided his daughter toward it and they ducked for cover. Gunfire exploded once again. He looked down at the shotgun, realizing he’d expended the last two rounds.
How many of the agents were there?
A few days earlier, two of the agents had paid a visit to the salvage yard, and Bubba, the salvage yard owner, had killed them. Afterwards, the survivors had driven the agent vehicles out into the desert to hide them.
Despite taking care of the men, Dan had suspected that the other agents might not be far behind. He just wished he and his daughter had left sooner.
He glanced next to him, taking in his daughter’s small frame under the glow of the headlights that cut across the yard. She was still clinging on to the pistol, her hands shaking.
I’ve got to get us out of this.
In just a few days, the two of them had survived hordes of the infected, car chases, and encounters with the agents. On top of that, they’d somehow managed to keep their sanity in spite of losing Julie—Dan’s wife and mother to Quinn.
And here they were again, fighting for their lives. It didn’t seem fair.
Dan reached over and borrowed the pistol from his daughter and aimed it over the back of the Camaro. From their new position, he had full view of the attacker’s vehicle—a cargo van with the lights blazing parked just inside the front gate.
Two agents were lurking beside it. When they spotted Dan, they lifted their weapons and started to advance.
Dan fired off a volley of suppressive fire, forcing the men back to the van. One of them opened the driver’s side door and fired around it, and Dan hunkered down, listening to bullets rip through the air. Quinn lay on the ground next to him, her hands clamped over her ears.
Bullets dinged off the side of the Camaro.
After a few seconds the shooting stopped. Dan poked up again, squeezed off a round. This time he hit his mark and the agent to the left of the van fell to the ground. The other man—hiding behind the driver’s side door—appeared to be reloading.
Instead of crouching again, Dan remained poised and ready, and when the other man reared his head, he aimed and fired.
The bullet struck the last man in the chest, sending him sprawling to the ground.
Two for two.
Dan exhaled the breath he’d been holding.
He waited several more minutes, certain that someone else would emerge, but the yard remained silent, and there was no one else in sight. The air was thick with dust and dirt, creating a smoky residue under the headlight’s glare.