Read The Dead Divide Us (Book 1) Online

Authors: Vincent S. Tobia

Tags: #zombies

The Dead Divide Us (Book 1) (3 page)

BOOK: The Dead Divide Us (Book 1)
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“Carl, dude we’ve got to get you looked at. Come on man!” Robert pleaded again.

Carl was now leaning on Robert’s bed, shifting his weight around. He was about to stand up.

“No! Carl, I will bash in your fucking knee caps! Don’t get up!”

Carl had shifted more and was now halfway standing up. His left knee was still on the ground and his broken bloody left hand was still reaching out for Robert. Carl’s moans were reaching their loudest yet.

“I will break your legs. Do you understand me?” Robert stated calmly and slowly.

Carl brought his left leg up and wobbled to a full attention stance. He leaned toward Robert and lunged at him. Carl’s face was almost excitable with blind rage.

Robert stepped forward, swung his bat low, and struck the outside of Carl’s left knee cap. The knee made an incredibly loud snapping sound and for a moment that was all Robert heard; he cringed at the sound. Carl collapsed under his own weight, falling onto his left tibia. Carl’s back slammed against Robert’s dresser. As Carl landed on the floor, his left leg lay beside him and his foot was behind his neck.

No sooner than he hit the floor with a severely broken left leg, Carl was at it again trying to move forward and grab a hold of Robert. Robert was stunned.

“You gotta be shitting me. Don’t you ever stop?” Robert said, confused and tired.

Carl just rolled around, back and forth trying to right himself. It was as if Carl didn’t realize his left leg was broken and unusable. Robert decided to just leave him be, the damage was done.

He made sure he still had his truck keys and then jumped onto his bed stepping around Carl in the process. Robert did not want to risk jumping over Carl. He looked to his left and saw the stinking pile of Carl’s vomit all over the floor; the stench smelled to high heaven. Robert gasped out loud as he recognized that a human ear was sitting in amongst the black and bloody vomit.

Robert felt something hit his feet hard as suddenly they were pulled out from under him. He fell backwards onto his own bed. Looking down at his feet, Robert saw Carl had a rather strong hold and was trying to bite through his boots.

He screamed and sat upright quickly. Carl was ferociously gnawing away at the hard leather of his work boots. Panicking, Robert raised his bat again and swung down as hard as he could onto the top of Carl’s head.

Carl stopped biting immediately as the top of his head split open with a huge crack. Robert swung again with that same amount of strength. That was all Robert would need to do to Carl Riggins; the last swing divided Carl’s face into two pieces from the top of his skull right down to the bottom of his nose.

Carl let go of Robert’s boots and slid down to the floor. Robert quickly jumped up and raced to his doorway.

“No pain anywhere it seems unless you whack their head good and plenty. Gotta tell Paul,” Robert said looking back at Carl’s body, now a broken and bloody mess.

As Robert caught a really good look at Carl’s split head, he thought he’d never in his life be able to see that far into someone’s skull. He was astounded.

Robert had to run to the bathroom and puke.

 

4

 

Robert closed the door to his apartment and locked it, double checking that he had his cell phone and baseball bat (which he also made sure to clean off while in the bathroom). Robert looked down the hallway and then down the stairs which lead outside of his apartment. It was dead silent: a very eerie and dry silence.

How could he have just left that miserable nightmare of a situation and walk twenty feet to where complete morning silence held its ground? Robert thought, “Does this happen everywhere? Does the world really work like this? To have such polar opposites happen so close together?”

Not wanting to waste any more time, Robert ran down the stairs and out into the dim morning light.

Not a soul around. It was still pretty early Robert supposed. His green Ford Bronco was parked on the curbside about fifteen feet away.

Robert then spoke out loud to himself, “Gotta get to Mom and Dad’s and then call Paul about what happened here.”

“Why? What happened here?” a voice from behind Robert asked.

Surprised and alarmed, Robert whirled around to face two men in army fatigues. Both were holding fully loaded assault rifles.

“Sir, I repeat, what happened here? Did you encounter a hostile?” asked the taller of the two Army men. He was a skinny man and very young. The thin mustache he was trying to grow looked incredibly weak and sparse.

“Um, no sir. I didn’t encounter any…hostiles you say?” Robert said, lying like a sickly lawyer on the verge of a million dollar conviction.

The taller Army man looked back at the shorter one incredulously. He asked the shorter man for a cigarette.

Robert wasn’t sure what the entire situation was exactly. But he
was
sure that he just beat a man to death in his own apartment. As crazy as Carl was acting, definitely trying to bite and kill him, Robert was still the one who did the killing. That was for sure.

“Okay, good. Hostiles have only been reported way east of here. You should head toward the fire hall. We got a safe house set up just in case,” said the taller Army man before lighting up his cigarette.

“Okay, sir. Will do,” Robert replied, turning to his truck and fumbling with his keys.

“Hang on a sec, mister,” the army man said.

Robert slowly turned around; he could hear the suspicion in his voice. Robert just desperately wanted to get into his truck and drive to his parents’ farmhouse.

“You got a nice bat there,” the Army man said, taking a long drag off of his cigarette.

“Decided to bring it along; the TV scared me with all of its emergency alerts and…”

“Ain’t a bad idea, but I don’t think you’ll need it. Sounds like they’ve got this thing under control. 'Prolly got all them crazies in Manhattan all quarantined already,” the Army man finished.

Robert turned and walked to his truck. Both Army men stayed back and shared a laugh. Their redneck laughter was somehow unsettling.

Robert thought, “Quarantined my ass. It’s here. In Colton. This is spreading worse than Paul had heard.”

Something had to be truly wrong if these good-ole Army boys were fully aware of the situation. Not only them, but the news stations here had been far too vague with their information. This could be bad, very bad.

As Robert turned the keys to the ignition he looked up toward the sky. The gray overcast clouds looked like they were promising snow. He could smell it in the air. Yet there was another odor, or maybe it was just something inside of Robert’s head. It was a gigantic smell and had an even bigger feeling, a very different feeling altogether.

It was the end; the end was near.

Chapter 2: West Coast

 

1

 

Paul Landry snapped his cell phone shut. As he did, a deep shiver passed through him, and he thought he could feel his toes going numb. It was way too early, close to 3:30 in the morning. Sunlight and promises of a new day seemed impossible; his world was different now.

Paul hoped the call to his younger brother Robert, all the way back in Colton, Pennsylvania, was not in vain.

He looked outside his large bay window. The night was as dark as tar, but every single house in his neighborhood was lit up like Rockefeller Center during the holidays.

“Suburbia gone to shit,” Paul muttered to himself.

“Daddy, you cursed,” said Paul’s son Eddie.

Paul turned back around to face his family. His eight year old boy, Eddie, sat on the couch with his younger brother Shawn (soon to be 6 years old). Both boys were watching television, glued to it actually.

“I’m sorry, Eddie. Anything new on the TV?” Paul said as he walked back over to Eddie and Shawn. Paul already knew the answer: there was nothing new on the television. All the news stations had just been repeating the same things--in Manhattan and parts of New England people were getting sick and killing each other. Once the news reports a bomb like that, people want to know more about it. They don’t want to keep guessing about unconfirmed bits of news.

“Nothing new, Dad,” Eddie said just as Paul expected...

Paul grabbed onto the back of the white couch and propped up his body, arching his shoulders high up. He looked down at his two sons. They really should be getting back to bed. If anything got any worse or changed they’d still be just as safe tucked under their covers. But Paul supposed that a lot of the problem was the shock of the whole thing. How could anyone sleep with such strange news being reported?

Just then, Paul’s wife Ruth came running down the stairs. Paul noticed that she was still in her pajamas, as was the entire Landry family, only now she had a clean white robe thrown over her shoulders. She rushed past her family and flipped open her laptop computer. The glow of the laptop’s screen lit the bottom portion of her face with a light blue tint.

“What’s the news from Robert? Is he okay? And your parents?” Ruth asked eagerly.

Shawn Landry, who had woken up like everyone else when their neighbor Roy Benton came knocking loudly just after 2:30 am, turned away from the television and looked up toward his father.

The news that had abruptly jarred them from sleep, that had made them all think confusing and awful thoughts, was now starting to weigh down on little Shawn. It had been a long hour, indeed. Clinging onto his brown and beaten plush Pound-Puppy, five year old Shawn had tears gathering in his young eyes. He hadn’t taken his attention away from the television since he sat down. He was very afraid of what was happening around him even though for the last hour he had been “acting strong” and not letting his fears take control.

“Uncle Rob?” Shawn started to say, his voice cracked and he coughed a little. Shawn instinctively raised his finger toward the TV then continued, “Nana and Papa? Are they okay? Is that happening where they are?”

Shawn barely got the words out before he burst into tears. It was a completely desperate, confused, and tired cry. Paul’s heart broke for his child.

Ruth put down the laptop and quickly swept Shawn into her arms. Shawn cried into Ruth’s shoulder but still had his watery eyes locked on the television.

“Uncle Rob is fine. I had to wake him up and tell him the news, but now he knows what’s happening east of him,” Paul explained.

Eddie, now aware that his parents were talking about the situation, grabbed the television remote and lowered the volume.

“Is he going to your parents’ farmhouse?” Ruth asked.

“Yeah, he’s on his way there to make sure they’re alright. I told him to head toward a military safe zone they have set up there too…” Paul said.

“Military? That can’t be good, can it? I mean that’s bad isn’t it?” Eddie said, turning to face his father on the couch.

Paul thought that it was definitely not a very good sign, but he didn’t want to admit it to his boys until he heard more from Robert’s end.

Eddie was a strong kid, even for 8 years old. He was taking all this relatively well. Paul was proud of him, yet something about it seemed off. Perhaps both of his children should be upset by all of this? Would that make him feel better?

Now who was really afraid? And who is more afraid? The Human of the Ghost? Or the Ghost of the Human?

“It just means that they are taking every precaution necessary; it’s a good thing, Eddie,” Paul said trying to sound reassuring; then he turned back to Ruth.

“You try your folks?” Paul asked.

Shawn had stopped crying, but he looked incredibly tired. Ruth put him back down onto the couch and pulled a fluffy, heavy blanket over him.

“Yes, I called them. I emailed my cousins too, they’re all fine. It seems like they’re in the same situation as us--waiting and watching,” Ruth said.

Ruth’s family, the Marsh’s, were from northern Wisconsin. Ruth’s entire family came from a long history of Green Bay Packer fans, something Paul and Ruth always joked around about, because while growing up, Paul Landry always rooted for the Chicago Bears. Any American football fan will tell you that the Bears and the Packers are long time bitter rivals. During sophomore year at Virginia Tech when Paul first laid eyes on Ruth, she was actually wearing a Packers t-shirt. His first instinct was to ignore his own body and mind’s compulsive attraction to Ruth. She was absolutely his type, so finally he looked past the Packers t-shirt and asked her if he could buy her a drink.

A year later Paul made his first visit to the Marsh homestead to meet Ruth’s parents. When he walked into their den he pretended to faint and carried on saying “My eyes are burning! Burning!” The Marsh’s den was made up entirely of Green Bay Packer’s memorabilia: curtains, trash cans, coffee table, couch, blankets, posters, signed footballs, actions figures, trading cards, umbrellas, shit paper in the bathroom (Paul actually liked that one)... you name it and they had it.

Ruth had a few cousins in Wisconsin, but she was an only child. At the moment, Paul was feeling very glad for Ruth not having any siblings on the East Coast. He did worry greatly for Robert and his parents, Thomas and Rita.

“You’ve got to call your parents, Paul,” Ruth said, snapping him back into the nightmarish reality that was this late night.

“I know. I’m going to warn them that Robert is coming to get them. I’m sure I won’t have to wake
them
up though,” Paul said as he walked back over to the large bay window of his living room. Looking out into the perfect suburb that was his street, he saw all the houses were lit up...

Ruth sat down between her sons as Eddie picked up the television remote and turned the volume back up.

“Reports coming in from our affiliates in New York City are stating the number of outbreaks has not changed. Again, this is hard to say, but it seems there is a virus or something on the loose causing some people to become very sick. It is also believed that the sick are attacking other civilians. The good news for us here in the greater Seattle and surrounding area is that right now all reports of the outbreak seem to be contained to the Manhattan and lower New England areas.”
The local newsman rambled on, but Paul tuned him out as he raised his phone and dialed his parents’ phone number.

 

2

 

Paul was starting to get extremely nervous. His parents were not answering the phone. After four unsuccessful tries, Paul hung up and dialed back right away. He did not want to get their answering machine again. Something about talking to a machine at a time like this seemed infinitely pointless to Paul. He looked back at his family sitting on the couch with their blank stares directed at the TV and gave them a quick smile. Shawn looked like he was drifting in and out of sleep, his head propped up against his mother’s thigh.

Paul’s cell phone continued to ring; each ring seemed slower then that last. Paul thought to himself, “Where can they be? It’s not even 7 in the morning there yet!”

Paul turned back to look out his front window at the street again. Their house was at the end of a cul-de-sac. Looking out front, he had a great view of the curvy paved road and its long line of large two-story houses. This was a nice little family community that Ruth and Paul decided to settle into. Sure it had its minor problems here and there, but Green Falls had been good to them---so far.

As the phone rang a long fifth time, Paul noticed that his neighbor, Roy Benton, had walked out of his house onto the front lawn and headed toward the street with his cell phone in his hand. Then on the left side of the street, closest to Paul’s house, two front lights suddenly came on as Glen Fry and Warren Blakely walked out of their separate houses. Glen was also holding a phone up to his ear.

Paul was a little puzzled by this but soon realized what was going on. His neighbor Roy was a pretty stand-out and stand-up character in their little community of Green Falls, Washington. If you came around this area and needed help of any kind, Roy was likely to meet you. Roy was the head of both the Green Falls community and the local school boards. No, Roy wasn’t the Mayor of Green Falls, but he might as well have been. Actually, he always joked about running for it.

Every Fourth of July, Roy would invite the entire street to his place for a day long party. He’d always rent one of those large inflatable bouncy castles for the children. His wife Kirsten and their nine year old daughter Alexis would bake a truck load of America themed bake goods. The Benton’s went out of their way to be outstanding citizens of their fine community. One year, Glen Fry and his wife had actually screen printed a few custom t-shirts for Roy’s big party. They read: “In Roy We Trust."

So it was no surprise to Paul that Roy Benton was the first one to come knocking at 2:30 in the morning to tell them the current unsettling news. Roy probably felt like it was his duty as the make-shift leader of Green Falls. It was also no surprise to Paul to see that Roy met Glen Fry and Warren Blakely in the middle of the street. Roy was busy making plans. What would they do if things get any worse in the east?

“Hello?” an out-of-breath voice said over the phone.

Startled, Paul replied: “Hello, Mom?”

 

3

 

“Oh, Paul! Is everything okay? Isn’t it late in Seattle?” Rita Landry asked.

Paul’s thought process was stunned for a brief second.

“Um, yeah, of course it is. Mom, I had to call a few times to get you.”

“I’m sorry. Your father and I were out back settling the horses; they were kicking around in their stalls this morning. Something spooked them good... probably a fox,” Rita explained.

Something spooked them? “Oh shit,” Paul thought.

“Paul, it has to be almost 4 a.m. there. Are you okay? Ruth and the kids are okay?” Rita asked, concerned.

“Yes Mom, they’re fine. Listen, have you guys turned on the T.V. today?”

There was a second of empty silence that made Paul suddenly very cold. The possibility that he’d have to explain again, in detail, that people in the east were getting sick and turning on each other never crossed his mind, until now.

“No honey, we haven’t had a T.V. for a few days now. The old clunker finally burned out,” Rita said.

Paul thought about his parents’ old television. It was the old tube style circa 1970s -one of those big ass wooden framed televisions that also doubled as a table or countertop. You could stand on top and jump up and down on those old beasts. Growing up, Paul and Robert had watched everything on it. It was an amazing feat that it lasted as long as it did but what a time for it to finally die.

“Okay Mom, listen up,” Paul said, now serious.

“Who is it?” Thomas Landry hollered from somewhere in the background noise of the phone.

“It’s Paul,” he heard Rita say to her husband.

“Paul? Isn’t it late there?” Thomas said back.

God, not this again.

“Mom! Listen to me. Something is happening east of you in Manhattan and parts of New England. People are getting sick,” Paul blurted out.

Again there was a moment of silence that bothered Paul. But this time, before Rita spoke, he could hear her finish sipping something (probably coffee) and cough with surprise.

“Getting sick? Paul, are you joking around?” Rita said, now with fear in her voice.

“This is no joke Mom. Can you and Dad please turn on your radio?”

Ruth moved from the couch and startled Paul as she walked up behind him and put her hand on his back. Ruth mouthed the question, “They okay?” Paul nodded his head “yes” and waved her backwards.

“Tom, get out the radio. Turn it on,” Rita yelled to her husband.

“Mom, Robert is coming to get you guys. He should be there soon. I already talked to him and he’s fine,” Paul said, making sure to not let his mother reach panic status.

“Your dad is getting the radio, Paul how serious is this? You’ve got me pretty scared.” Rita said back to her son. Paul felt a large sum of guilt now. Why did he have to tell everyone in his family about this? It’s not like this mess was his fault.

BOOK: The Dead Divide Us (Book 1)
10.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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