Authors: D.N. Simmons
Tags: #Zombies | Vampires
The Dead War Series
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidences either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real in any way. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
First Edition Editing 2014 by Heather Gantt
Beta Proofing 2015 by Judy Halldorson and Carrie Seguin Champion
Copyright 2015 by D.N. Simmons
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the author. Exceptions are in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
I would like to dedicate this novel to my absolutely wonderful, loyal, understanding and
patient readership. Your unwavering support has meant the world to me. Writing these books for you has been one of my greatest pleasures and I am thrilled to have you all as readers.
As always, I would also like to thank my editor H.I. Gantt, for being honest and so very supportive. I love you. I would also love to thank my wonderful betas, Carrie Seguin Champion and Judy Halldorson for giving this novel your professional touch.
I’d like to thank my mother for being the wonderful, supportive and loving person you are, honestly, I wouldn’t be here without you. I’d like to thank my father (may he forever rest in peace) for his encouragement, sense of humor and advice given, that has guided me on my life’s journey.
Last, but not least, I’d like to send a special “thank you” to all of you who have supported me in life and in my career.
The Horror Continues...
“What the fuck are you talking about?” Nicholas asked as he rubbed the sore spots on his throat. “What do you mean the 'only beings that can save us'?”
Cassian sighed. “We don't have time to explain.” He placed the headset on his head. “Can you hear me?”
Vincent pulled back from the monitors. The drastic turn of events left him with an even bigger sense of fear and uncertainty. Still, he knew the stranger on the other end was waiting for his response.
“I can hear you,” he said.
“Excellent, who am I speaking with?” Cassian asked.
“My name is Doctor Vincent Masterson and if you're going to help those two soldiers get the research material, you're going to have to move quickly. There's another stairwell down the hall and to your right. You can take that to the lower level.”
“That would put us in direct contact with those things,” Logan pointed out. “We need another way.”
“I agree,” Cassian said. “Doctor Masterson, are there windows in your laboratory?”
Vincent blinked, having been taken aback by the question.
What in the hell were they planning on doing?
“Um, there are windows located in Lab A, but only an observatory window in Lab B which is broken now. So if you go through Lab A, you'll need a decontamination suit to get into the next room, unless you plan on going through the broken observatory window of Lab B from the hallway.”
That was the only way he could imagine, even though it would mean they'd have to go through the zombies. He had no idea of any other options. Apparently, they did. He just couldn't fathom what they were.
“Getting there won't be a problem. Although, I will need you to direct me once I'm inside, Dr. Masterson,” Cassian said.
“What are you planning on doing?” Vincent asked, turning toward the others for any answers they might have. At this point, he was extremely confused and from the expressions on the faces of those standing behind him, he knew he wasn't alone.
“I plan on gathering whatever these soldiers came here to get, doctor,” Cassian answered. He turned towards Logan, “I need you to take them to St. Louis. They're tactically trained, we'll need them.”
“Whoa, what the fuck are you talking about, you ain't taking us anywhere,” Nicholas said.
With lightening quick movement, Logan slammed Nicholas against the wall and leaned forward, so that their faces were nearly touching. “Listen to me well, human. You
follow our orders whether you like them or not. Your cooperation is mandatory.”
“Get your fucking hands off me,” Nicholas gritted out.
Logan growled, the inhuman sound rolling from his diaphragm and reverberating throughout the room. Nicholas' eyes widened as he began to register the danger he was in. He stared at Logan's eyes, seeing an unnatural darkness rising beneath the depths of his blue irises. The area surrounding the men filled suddenly with a malevolent presence so powerful, it pricked the surface of the two soldiers' skin, raising the hair on the backs of their necks.
Nicholas pressed his back harder against the wall, cringing as he fought to keep the tremors of fear at bay.
“What are you?” he asked, his heartbeat began to quicken as his breathing increased.
Sensing the other vampire's aura, Cassian decided to interject.
“Logan, calm down,” he said in Italian.
Logan took a step back and inhaled deeply, releasing the breath slowly.
Vincent clicked off his Bluetooth headset.
“Did you all hear that?” he asked the others who were watching the monitor with him.
“Yeah, he sounded like some kind of wild animal,” Maj. Garrett said, after silencing his own Bluetooth device. “Not to mention his aggression.”
“Or a demon,” Felicia added. “I don't know about you, but it gave me the chills.” She rubbed the back of her arms as they lay crossed over her chest.
“Get back to him, we need to know more about these two,” Maj. Garrett said.
Vincent nodded and turned his headset back on.
“I'll be with you in just a moment, Doctor,” Cassian said, then he removed the camera headset from his head, turning it off.
At the same time, Logan removed the headset from Gary's head and did the same thing.
“Hey, what's going on?” Vincent asked, as the screens went black, but he didn't get a response. “What the hell just happened?” He turned to the others, looking at them.
“I don't know,” Maj. Garrett said, he looked up over the people hunched over several laptops typing away and yelled. “Where's the information I asked for?”
A young man turned to address him. “Sir, I'm still waiting to hear back from the FBI. With everything that's going on, they're pretty backed up. They said we should have the information in a little while,” said Samuel, the employee who had been assisting him on the facial recognition.
“Damn it. I want to know how two men, who came outta nowhere can systematically neutralize my men and take out several of those freak zombies. Not to mention, jam a steel door into its frame with one hand,” Maj. Garrett said.
“You aren't the only one,” Felicia said.
She was definitely curious about who those two men were. She thought back to the thing they saw climbing the John Handcock Building. How it moved, how fast it was and how far it could jump. More importantly, how it killed. It didn't kill like the other zombies did. It didn't eat the bodies. It ripped them apart and seemed to just want blood.
“What are you thinking about?” Dr. Powers asked her.
“Oh, um, I was thinking about that thing we saw take out the other helicopter,” Felicia answered.
“How it wasn't like the other zombies?”
“Not at all. It was worse.”
“What thing?” Maj. Garrett asked, his gaze darting from one doctor to the other.
“When we rescued Dr. Anderson and the others from their condo rooftop, on the way to Dr. Pierce's home, we witnessed a creature climbing the Handcock building.”
“Climbing?!” Maj. Garrett's eyes bucked as his brows shot up.
“An entire skyscraper in a less than a minute. When it reached the top, it attacked the second helicopter that was traveling with us, killing everyone inside,” Dr. Powers said.
“Apart from its remarkable ability to climb tall buildings, it could also leap massive distances in a single bound, and I'm not trying to be funny, here. That's an accurate description.” Vincent said.
“Have you received any other reports about other strange creatures?” Dr. Powers asked the Major.
“Not to my knowledge, but something isn't making sense. This epidemic is spreading far too fast for something else not to be going on. These things, they're fast, but not fast enough to spread this virus from one side of the city to the other in less than half an hour. They can't be,” Maj. Garrett speculated. “These two men who intercepted my men know something they aren't telling us and I want to know what it is.”
“We all do,” Felicia added pointedly.
“I have to get in contact with my men.” Maj. Garrett bit his bottom lip as he mulled over their situation.
“What about the other guy on the roof?” Vincent asked.
“I want him right where he is. He needs to be there at the ready if they need to get away in a hurry. Besides, his situation is dangerous enough as it is. He wouldn't be able to get to them without having to go into a stairwell that's full of those things now,” Maj. Garrett replied.
“We're at a disadvantage from where we stand,” Dr. Powers said.
“I want that son of a bitch to get back on the line, now,” Maj. Garrett gritted out.
They all kept their eyes on the screens waiting for that to happen.
Cassian stepped closer to the two men. He had plans for them, they would be needed in the coming days. Soldiers were always a chosen favorite of his kind. The more skilled one was at combat, the more valuable they were. These two were the surviving members of an elite squad, and now they were his. He decided to offer them a brief explanation of what they were doing.
“We are in the process of organizing safe zones in St. Louis. It should come as no surprise that Illinois is most likely doomed. We're looking for people who can help save the human race, that means the two of you have just become relevant,” Cassian said. “Logan will take you to St. Louis, as I've mentioned before. There you will help us maintain order among the humans we have saved. Also, you will help fortify the locations to insure none of those things will be able to break through.”
“We don't take our orders from you,” Nicholas said, still giving both Cassian and Logan sideways glances.
“Do you need to be reminded about rule number two?” Logan threatened.
“You do now or we will toss you to those things just waiting outside that door.” Cassian pointed to the jammed door that the zombies were pounding on. “Your decision. What will it be, because I have neither the time nor desire to argue with you, especially when I'm trying to save your life.”
“Sergeant...” Gary began as he locked eyes with Cassian.
Nicholas exhaled. “We came here to do a mission--”
“You were about to fail in that mission had I not saved you,” Cassian said. He made an offhand gesture. “Enough of this. I'm done attempting to reason with his human.”
“I can take it from here,” Logan said. He stood in front of both men, making sure he had their attention.
“Sleep.” With one word, both soldiers fell to the floor in deep slumber.
“I should have done that five minutes ago,” Cassian muttered.
“You give humans far too much leniency... at least, that's how my Master puts it.” Logan offered Cassian a friendly lopsided smile.
“I'm sure he's referring to my servant. Besides, both you and Ovidius should be so grateful that I experience momentary lapses in judgment regarding humans,” Cassian teased.
Logan smirked. “How so, sir?”
“If not for my uncanny ability to tolerate the antics of certain humans, Ovidius would have never have been reborn... and through him, you,” Cassian obliged then he looked down at the slumbering soldiers.
“What is that?” He pointed to a device in Nicholas' pocket that had a tiny, glowing, blue screen.
Logan leaned down, pulling it free from the soldier's pocket and examining it.
“Looks like a navigation device. It has the layout of this place.” He handed the device to Cassian.
“Good. This will be useful,” Cassian said, flipping through the pages on the touch screen.
“You'll probably need these, too,” Logan said, removing the duffel bags from the soldiers’ torsos.
He handed them to Cassian.
“I'm sure I will.” Cassian took both bags and swung the straps over his shoulder.
“Let's go.” He turned, walking down the hallway towards the broken window Logan had entered through.
Logan smirked briefly before leaning down, picking up both soldiers and hoisting them on each shoulder. He followed Cassian down the hallway.
“Do you need me to come back, sir?” he asked, one leg on the ledge, poised to take flight.
“No. I'm going to meet up with this scientist and bring him back with me. Go now, I don't want to linger here any longer than necessary,” Cassian said.
Logan nodded and took off. Cassian levitated from the window, floating downward to the sixth floor. He looked through the windows of several rooms, checking the room number signs over each door. When he reached 608, he punched through one of the thick glass pane windows, shattering it. He entered, landing softly on his feet. Cassian looked around, seeing and smelling the blood that was spilled only a few hours ago. There was so much of it. He looked into the adjacent room through the little glass windows on the decontamination doors and saw that the observatory window had been shattered and there was blood on the broken glass as well as a huge puddle where it was obvious bodies had been. Blood covered the walls in hand-prints as well as arterial spray patterns. To Cassian, it looked like a war zone. Bullet holes riddled the walls and there were hundreds of empty casings on the floor. Turning, he looked around laboratory A and one thing caught his eye, among the blood and debris: the nameplate of Dr. Vincent Masterson sitting atop of a metal desk. Cassian walked around the desk and began gathering the papers he saw. He stopped briefly to look at a photograph of a man who he presumed to be Vincent and a pretty blonde female with bright blue eyes that seem to sparkle with delight. They looked to be happy in the picture, as if they hadn't a care in the world with their entire lives ahead of them.
“Humans,” Cassian muttered before placing the headset back on, and flipping the switch. “Are you with me, Dr. Masterson?”
Vincent jumped when he noticed the headset was operational again. “Yes. What happened?”
“I turned off the headset, now it's back on,” Cassian answered dryly. “I'm inside your laboratory. What do I need to retrieve?”
“Where are the other soldiers who were with you?” Maj. Garrett asked.