Authors: S.A. McGarey
This book is dedicated to my
other half, Taylor Cheek. She inspired the idea for this book, and has been
behind me every step of the way.
I love you.
The Dead in
Alan woke up to the smell that comes after a humid
rain. The fire he’d made in the old oil drums had burned out overnight, and the
rundown structure he’d taken as his shelter for the night was damp from the
overnight rain. He woke up alone, same as every day before. Ever since the
bio-weapon hit, he’d been alone. He saw no sign of change any time soon.
He gathered up what little belongings he had before
setting out. With so many Dead Ones wandering the streets, Alan never stayed in
one place too long. He could defend himself to a point, but he dared not wage
all out war upon the Dead.
“Why was Louisville even a
asked incessantly in his mind. A valid point, as it wasn’t one of the major
cities in America. Alan just chalked it up to the sheer amount of warheads that
Russia had loaded with their X7 chemical. They’d made enough to start wasting
them on less populated cities, just for the purposes of killing. They targeted
America in such a way that the entire country was afflicted. The only thing was
that they didn’t foresee the outcome. It went far beyond their wildest
X7 was a unique chemical, weaponized to cause mass
death. While it did prove lethal, it didn’t quite carry out its function. X7
destroyed the body from the inside out, while the skin decayed and fell away.
However the brain would persist. The bodies became weakened and frail, but
still able to move and have limited functionality. The brain still drove the
body, but only just. They no longer had coherent thoughts. The only goal was to
kill, and to feast.
This is the world Alan lived in now. After the bombs
fell, many electrical systems ceased to function, and most of the city had been
damaged in some form. He was one of the few survivors who hadn’t been infected.
He’d heeded the early warning system and got to shelter before the bombs hit.
He stayed in for a week and a half, until the air was clear of X7. The world he
knew was gone, replaced by a city of living dead.
He left the ramshackle building, with his bag slung
over his back, and revolver in his hand.
He scanned the area for Dead Ones, and moved from building to building
with a singular purpose: find survivors. Alan had only found a handful of
survivors in the weeks since he ventured out into the city he once recognized,
but all of them had run off or perished. Alan began to think that his search
was all in vain.
Eventually he reached Main Street. He was nearing
the river, thinking there might be people by the water. It was then that he saw
a small group of Dead Ones. They didn’t notice Alan lurking in the shadows. It
mattered little, as he was about to make himself seen and heard.
You could say that Alan was… impulsive, or perhaps
even trigger-happy, when it came to mowing down the Dead Ones. He aimed the old
revolver he found weeks ago, and focused on the head of the nearest Dead One.
Taking deep breaths, he pulled the trigger.
He rhymed in his brain. Mere seconds later, the Dead One
went down, and his 3 friends immediately turned and began shambling towards
Alan had 5 bullets left in his gun, and 3 walking
corpses to finish off. He learned by this time that only a headshot was going
to work on them. He aimed at the remaining Dead Ones and began firing off
shots. The first missed, and the second only grazed the nearest one. The third
landed lower than its intended mark, hitting the neck of another Dead One. In a
rage, he fired off the last 2 shots, blowing off the head of the one he’d
Now Alan was out of bullets, and still had two Dead
Ones to deal with. His brain ran at the speed of light, trying to find a way
out. He could run, but it was risky, as he could easily run into more Dead
Ones. He needed to dispatch these 2 before they could reach him and get the X7
chemical into his bloodstream. Looking around, he found a metal pipe, likely
wreckage from one of the buildings, and dropped into a fighting stance.
Alan was ready to fight them in a melee, but before
he could, the nearest Dead One’s head burst in an explosion of decayed flesh
and discolored blood. The second one’s head followed suit and their bodies
dropped to the ground. Alan looked around, trying to find out exactly what
happened. He looked up towards a nearby building. He couldn’t see clearly, but
he heard a voice.
“Nice job, hot-shot!” a female voice mocked him.
A rope swung down from the nearby building, and Alan
watched as the source of the voice he heard descended the rope. She was wearing
the simple, yet classic, jeans and t-shirt combo, and had her long brown hair
pulled back in a ponytail. Alan thought she was quite striking, even though
she’d not had access to a shower in a few days at least, and wasn’t wearing a
single speck of make-up. Alan didn’t mind; he still thought she was a beautiful
woman. It only then occurred to him that he was staring at her, and that he
should be more worried about surviving the Dead Ones, than admiring a
beautiful, yet fierce-looking, woman.
“Are you just going to stare at me all day?” The
woman asked in a half-joking, half-serious tone.
“Huh? Oh, sorry!” Alan replied, finally coming to
his senses. “Thanks for the save back there. I though I was a dead man.” He
said, rubbing the back of his neck.
“You almost were.” She retorted, almost deadpan.
“Normally I wouldn’t waste the ammo, but you needed the help. Plus it doesn’t
hurt that you’re kinda cute.” Alan couldn’t tell if she was joking.
“Well, thanks regardless.” Alan extended his hand.
“I’m Alan.” He said.
“I’m Kendra.” She replied, shaking his hand. Even in
the grim days of the Dead Ones, a smile like hers lit up the world.
Alan was about to ask her next move, but before the
words could leave his lips, Kendra was already walking away. Alan wasn’t one to
impose upon other people, but he knew he might not survive much longer at this
rate. He’d exhausted the ammunition for his six-shot, and had no real means of
effective melee combat. Alan needed help, and right now, Kendra seemed like a
perfect apocalypse buddy.
“Kendra! Wait!” Alan called out. He hoped she would
be willing to help, but he wasn’t holding his breath over it.
She turned to face him. “You want my help, don’t
you?” She said, seemingly annoyed by his unspoken question.
“I guess it’s not the first time you’ve been asked
that?” Alan shied away from her, embarrassed that he even considered asking
“I hear that question every time I find another
survivor.” Kendra confessed. “My knack for survival attracts unwanted
attention. I can’t afford to have people slow me down. Plus, I don’t want
anyone else’s blood on my hands. I’m a loner, it’s just how I operate.”
Alan paused before continuing, finding a roundabout
way to possibly get on her good side. “Well, can I at least help you get to
wherever you’re going to next?”
Kendra paused. “I suppose that’s not a bad idea.”
She said in a slightly more approving tone. “I was going to head down to the south
end of the city. I have a few ideas of places to raid for supplies and the
“We’ll need some kind of transportation… south end
is a long way to travel on foot.” Alan replied, thinking of places to find
Kendra beat him to his conclusion. “Lets check the
local government buildings. Chances are their parking lots have some cars that
we could get running.”
“Let’s get moving, then.” Alan replied flatly, as
they made their way to one of the nearby parking lots.
The lot was filled with cars that hadn’t been turned
on since the attack. These cars were driven into work that fateful day, never
again to return home. Unfortunately, cars weren’t the only things occupying the
lot. There were Dead Ones, and lots of them. Alan and Kendra both knew there
was no getting a car from that lot.
They sneaked away from the lot, and made their way
to a nearby parking garage. It was 5 floors of concrete and steel, and there
was most likely a working car. Alan and Kendra walked inside and began
searching for a car. In the darkened shadows of the garage, something lurked,
waiting for human flesh to cross its path.
Alan wasn’t a fan of this kind of darkness. The
still cloudy daylight poured into the parking garage from the outside, but it
didn’t reach all the dark crevasses and corners of the building. Kendra didn’t
seem unnerved, but then again her emotions didn’t always shine through like
they should. Alan never saw it, but Kendra was sweating, and her heart rate
would increase at every little noise she heard inside the building.
They made their way through the garage, floor by
floor, in total silence. All the cars they found on the floors were newer cars,
harder to hotwire. They would need something older, something easy to hack.
They’d made it to the 5
floor before any words were spoken, and
they finally found a few cars that might work.
“Kendra! I think I found one that might be
workable.” Alan exclaimed.
Kendra rushed over to him. “What’d you find?”
“It’s not much.” Alan began. “Just an old blue car.
I can’t even identify the make and model. Looks pretty standard to me.”
“As long as it works, I couldn’t care less.” Kendra
replied as she broke the glass of the driver side window.
That sound was the catalyst of what happened next.
The sound of the glass shattering into thousands of pieces was enough to alert
nearby Dead Ones. So near that they had been hiding in the shadows of the
“Hotwire the car, I’ll hold them off!” Kendra
shouted as she reached for her weapons.
Alan opened the door and jumped into the driver
seat. He went to work trying to hotwire the car but his limited knowledge
proved to slow him down. Kendra began firing away with her side arms,
immediately taking down a few of the nearest Dead Ones.
“I’m having some issues over, here!” Alan yelled
out, frustrated by his difficulty in starting the car.
“I’m having a few of my own, Alan!” She furiously
yelled back. “Just keep touching all the wires until you make it work!”
Alan did just that. He kept touching the wires,
looking for the perfect combination that would start the car. Meanwhile, Kendra
was shooting down Dead Ones like there was no tomorrow. Each of her side arms
ran dry, and her rifle she used to save Alan was not only useless in close
quarters, but also out of ammo. They were running out of time. If Alan didn’t
get the car started, they were dead.
Kendra was backing up towards the car, working her
way towards the passenger door. “Alan! Hurry up! We’re out of time and I’m out
of ammo!” She shouted in a panic.
The car started up as if Kendra’s words acted as a
magic phrase. She opened the door and climbed in quickly. No time for
seatbelts, just enough time to get the door closed. Alan wasted no time in
backing the car up and getting out of the garage.
The carnage was near unbelievable. The tires of the
old car dismembered the already decaying bodies. They needed to get the car out
of the garage, but didn’t mind running down a few Dead Ones on the way.
Luckily, the genesis of the crisis didn’t occur during rush hour, otherwise,
getting a car through the city would be beyond impossible. Alan maneuvered the
car back down to the street, floor by floor. He had to be careful to keep the
zombified bodies away from the now shattered driver side window. If they broke
his skin, he was a dead man. He couldn’t let that happen. The world may have
gone to Hell, but he was determined to make it to Heaven… the long way around.
The car reached the street, the old engine rumbling
as the car moved. Alan steered around all the cars clogging the streets. He
took the car down Sixth Street, heading out of downtown. The horde of Dead Ones
occupying the heart of the city wouldn’t be catching up any time soon. On their
way out of downtown, they saw Dead Ones scattered out everywhere. None of them
bothered chasing the car, but they instilled fear in both Alan and Kendra.
Right now, they felt like the only two people left alive in Louisville.
Alan drove towards the south end, with Kendra
directing him to their next stop; A local peddler’s mall off of the freeway.