Read The Reaper: No Mercy Online
Authors: Sean Liebling
Tags: #undead, #zompoc, #rangers, #post apocalyptic, #special forces, #marine corps, #virus, #force recon, #adventure, #zombies, #action, #armageddon, #the walking dead, #marines, #zombie apocalypse
Ringo looked at the snowplow and slowly started nodding; then he smiled in an evil way. "I like it," he finally responded. "Find a couple more today, and don't let the men drink too much tonight, because tomorrow morning you boys will take them out once and for all." With that, Ringo exited the truck, followed closely by Duane, who plucked at his sleeve.
"Where you going, boss?"
"I told you earlier, and I hate repeating myself. We have thirteen dead and that's an unlucky number." Duane froze in place and watched as Ringo walked away. He didn't move because he no longer wished to draw Ringo's attention. He had no doubt someone would be dead shortly, and Duane didn't want it to be his corpse that was thrown into the woods across the street. As Ringo left his sight, he turned and walked towards the snowplow, wondering if the keys were inside. If not, he was sure they would be in the administrative office of the rectory.
As Ringo walked into the rectory, where he’d taken over the second floor for himself, he spotted his latest bitch! He didn't know her name, nor did he care to know it. All he knew was that he was angry, needed to kill someone, and her cries as he took her were getting boring. She looked up as he approached and cowered away from him, then sank to her knees with her arms outstretched.
"Master. You've returned. I will go upstairs to your bedroom and wait." And even though it was obvious from her shaking form that she was terrified, she rose and turned her back on Ringo, infuriating him even further. With hands trembling with rage, he pulled his .44 and shot her between the shoulder blades, watching as her lifeless body collapsed face down on the floor. He was no long shaking. The count stood at fourteen now, and that was not an unlucky number. Smiling, he reached down, gripped the dead body by its long hair, and dragged it out of the rectory. Pointing at two of his men who were standing nearby, he told them to toss her worthless corpse into the woods across the street, then went back inside.
As he entered the kitchen, he saw her. A honey-blonde, at least four years under eighteen. He liked them young, tender and tight. He heard one of the other women address her as Kelsey as he approached, saying something about mopping the floors when she was done with the dishes, but he paid them no attention, instead reaching out and grabbing the girl by the hair.
"You're coming with me," he growled as she shrieked in pain. This time he didn't tell a screamer to shut up,
for she would be screaming for some time to come
, he thought, as he dragged her up to his rooms above.
As the Reaper crossed the street, he saw the manor up ahead. Even from this distance, he could see the marks of pitched battle: blackened brick, chunks torn from the brick fence and building front, and burnt vegetation surrounding the front of the edifice. The Reaper never slowed, for he had little fear of Satan's minions—the zombies—and he would deal with them if they appeared. This other group of marauders he cared little about other than exterminating them in the name of the Lord. If they showed their faces, they would be dealt with like any other vermin. He was fearless as he continued to approach the manor, walking down the sidewalk while sidestepping trash and vehicles that had jumped the curb before stalling.
Its large, imposing structure dominated the corner ahead and was surrounded by a five-foot-tall brick fence with a wrought iron gate, akin to many older homes he had seen over the years. The Reaper propped his Remington against his shoulder as he approached, and swinging the front gate open, continuing to walk forward with purpose. His eyes took in every detail, sight, sound, and smell, and if the group he was approaching were also evil and it came to action, he was ready. The door stood before him, and so far he had not been challenged. He knew they were watching because he’d seen a curtain move in a nearby window; a challenge was only moments away. He reached outward, grabbed the ornate doorknocker, and let it slam home a single time.
Instantly the door opened partway, a rifle barrel poked out inches from his chest, and a surly voice snarled, "Who are you and what do you want!"
"I am Reaper, or Jason if you prefer, and I've come to talk. I'm not with the marauders who attacked you, but I'm sure you know that already just from my appearance." The Reaper spoke calmly and then waited. It was important to remain calm, as heavy suspicion along with
shoot first and ask questions later
was the new order of life since the apocalypse. It was only a matter of seconds before the door opened wider, wide enough to admit him, if barely.
"Come in quickly, hands raised. You'll be disarmed while we talk." The voice was no longer surly, simply apprehensive. The Reaper nodded as he raised his hands, holding his Remington upward by the fore grip, and strode forward into the dark interior. Immediately his rifle was taken from him, as was the Colt from its holster, the knife from his belt, and finally his rucksack. He waited as the hands roamed his body searching for other weapons and, finding none, a shadowy figure grasped his shoulder, pulling him forward further into the interior. Being disarmed did not unduly concern him. He could kill, and quickly, with more than the metal objects he carried.
Lanterns lit the room he was now led to, and four adult males regarded him somberly. He watched as his weapons were laid on a nearby table, then his rucksack emptied on the floor, its contents examined closely. He continued to wait patiently as the men watched him suspiciously while somewhere nearby he could faintly hear the sounds of women and children. After carefully examining the tools of death that marked Jason's trade, and running one finger down the barrel of the modified M40A1, one of the men looked up at him with a guarded expression while the others continued to remain wary. He was older, perhaps mid-forties, with a short, military-style haircut and a lined face that bespoke a life of hard knocks.
"A fine piece of equipment that you don't see very often, modified also if I had to guess. I assume you can use it."
"It's served me well in the name of the Lord," replied the Reaper. The other man nodded at his words.
"I think we should keep his weapons and throw him out!" blustered one of the men standing behind Jason. The Reaper cocked one eyebrow at the obvious leader, and decided then and there, that if it came down to a fight, he would take out the one who stood behind him first and then use his body as a shield while dealing with the others.
"Shut up, Harry. I didn't ask you to speak, so don't piss me off. So where are you from, Jason Reaper?" A boot scuffed behind Jason but no new comments were forthcoming from that direction, and he spoke.
"It’s Reaper, or Jason. Not both." The other nodded and waved a hand for Jason to go on. "I am originally from Newaygo, Michigan, but the Lord has given me a mission so I'm heading west, attempting to organize survivor groups to protect against evil both dead and alive." Another of the men gave a start at his words and leaned down to whisper something in the ear of their obvious leader, who nodded again.
"We have a shortwave receiver and have heard of Newaygo. In fact, I believe we've heard of you also, Reaper. The radio doesn't always work well, and the conditions have to be right, but we've gotten quite a bit of information about what's happening around us. So, you're here to talk. What about? My name is Tom."
"Tom, I would like to know your plans regarding these marauders and the other survivor groups in the city."
"Plans? We have few plans, other than wait until spring, and then head out to either one of the larger survivor centers, or to a region that is more secluded. The zombies and these ‘marauders’ as you call them, are simply a nuisance right now. We are well protected in here. We are also full with no room to accept more survivors, and as long as they leave us alone, we'll leave them alone. When we leave, any of these other groups that are not part of the marauders are welcome to journey with us. If you want to call that a plan, then do so." Tom sighed and spread his hands, saying, "Look Reaper, if the zombies become too numerous we'll bug out. If the marauders don't stop attacking us, we'll bug out. It's a pretty simple plan."
"I think your best chances for survival are to combine forces and remove them as a threat. It's only a matter of time before the marauders come after you again with numbers or tactics you can't survive against."
"We held them off once, and we'll do so again, and again. This is a stout building and easily defended. We've laid in enough supplies to last the winter. We'll be fine. We also have no intention of combining with the others. I can't allow our security to be compromised by new faces, people that we don’t know. Not until we're ready to leave in the spring."
The Reaper nodded soberly as he listened while wondering at the man's intelligence, and spoke again. "What happens when they breach your walls, which they eventually will?"
"Now that, we have a plan for." The other grinned as he spoke.
"If it involves fortifying your fence with vehicles and other large objects, I don't believe that will be enough. All they need is to find one large construction bulldozer, or snowplow, and they'll push aside any number of obstacles and drive right into the side of your building. That fence out there will not even slow them down. I know, because I've seen other groups of bad men do this before."
"That was our plan actually, but I don’t think any of us thought of a bulldozer, or snowplow." Now Tom looked worried, as did the other men arranged around him. All were looking at each other with guarded expressions.
"The marauders will, or something similar. Count on it," growled the Reaper.
One of the other men spread his hands helplessly and spoke. "What would you have us do? Our numbers aren't enough to take the battle to them."
"I heard they number around fifty. By everyone combining together, and careful planning, they can be taken with minimal loss."
"Your information is outdated, Reaper. They actually number over a hundred now. We've been watching them and they keep growing in size. Evidently, they're raiding a Sam's warehouse in nearby Moberly. It's a ten-minute drive at most, and I would guess they’re picking up more of their kind from that direction, or elsewhere, because we haven't seen any survivors heading in to the city in a long time. We would have headed in towards Moberly ourselves but it also has about ten thousand more of these zombies than Paris does."
"I can tell you why you haven't seen survivors entering the city in some time, Tom."
The Reaper then quickly filled them in on the bodies he had found in the ditches lining two roads heading in from the east and along the road in front of the cemetery where the marauders were camped. The men were shocked at the news, while their eyes hardened.
"Now you see why there's something that needs doing here, Tom," snapped the Reaper as he finished his story, and the other man ran a hand through his short hair in obvious frustration.
"What part of 'our numbers aren't enough' are you having trouble with, Reaper!" Tom's voice had risen and he stood to face the Reaper while waving his arms to the side. "What you see is what you get. There are only the four of us men, protecting over a dozen women and twice that number of children. The loss of any one of us would be a major blow to our group!" Tom's face was red as he expressed his frustration and helplessness at the situation, causing the Reaper to ponder that slowly before he spoke. It was obvious this leader of theirs, Tom, was out of his depth, and as far as Jason could tell was flying by the seat of his pants through most situations they had encountered.
"When you were attacked a few days ago, the four of you held off fifty marauders?"
"Well no, actually the women were firing from the upper windows. Some are excellent shots."
"Then the women will have to fight also. This is a fight between good and evil, Tom." As he said this, Tom looked down and laughed shallowly.
"What does that mean, and if so, why did God allow this to happen?"
"God didn't allow this to happen. Man did this all by himself, but I can tell you this. I have, over the last month, witnessed the Lord's hand in combating the evil spreading outward as fast as the zombies. He is taking a direct hand once again. Of that you can be assured." The Reaper’s words were emphasized, and slowly the others nodded.
"Reaper, I get it that you're religious. I haven't been in a long time. As you probably guessed, I am ex-Army, but out of my depth. I have a few skills and now I'm using those skills to try to keep all of us alive until spring. We are simply not enough to do what needs doing. If I had my old infantry platoon, we would wipe them up in short order, but I don't, and I'm the only ex-military here."
"Why don't you let me talk to the other groups and then we'll cross that bridge when we come to it," answered Jason.
"Fair enough, but I don't see it happening. Good luck, Reaper, and in the meantime I'm going to hold a meeting to see if anyone has any ideas on how to stop bulldozers and snowplows."
"You won't, Tom. They're almost unstoppable. Military-grade explosives work, but I'm assuming you have none." Tom shook his head, and the Reaper nodded. "Then I'll check on the next group and see where they stand, but I'll be back."
"Well I won't exactly say you're welcome here, but we'll at least listen to you," muttered Tom.
The Reaper nodded and, after stuffing his belongings back in his ruck, gathered up the tools of his trade and departed. He had three more groups to visit, and little time to do it in.