Read Trudge: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse Online

Authors: Shawn Chesser

Tags: #Science Fiction, #Fantasy

Trudge: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

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Trudge:

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

 

By

Shawn Chesser

 

SMASHWORDS EDITION

 

*****

 

Trudge:

Surviving the Zombie

Apocalypse

 

Copyright 2011

Shawn Chesser

Smashwords Edition

 

 

Smashwords Edition, License

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold 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’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to real persons, events or places are purely coincidental; any references to actual places, people or brands are fictitious. All rights reserved.

 

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*****

 

Acknowledgements

For Mo, Raven, Caden and Penny who is now flying up in cat heaven. Thanks for putting up with me clacking away at all hours. Mom, thanks for reading…although it is not your genre. Dad, aka Mountain Man Dan, thanks for your ear and influence. All of my friends and fellows, thanks as well! Lastly, thanks to Bill W and Dr. Bob…you helped make this possible. I am going to sign up for another 24.

 

 

Prologue

Day 1 Portland, Oregon

 

 

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning in Portland Oregon. Contrary to popular belief it didn’t rain here all of the time. It looked like a long hot summer was in store. Mount Hood towered in the east, white with snow year round. As they neared the airport, Cade pointed out to his daughter Raven the remnants of Mount Saint Helens visible to the north.

Brook wanted to have conversation time before being dropped off at the American Airlines departure area so they drove with the stereo off.

“Hey honey, while Raven and I are away, are you going to tackle the tile in the downstairs bathroom? Or are you and Ted going to tackle the Mariners game at the pub?” Brook asked jokingly. She was fully aware of the plans her husband had made with their neighbor Ted. Cade was no slacker, Brook was just being playful.

“Mom, give Dad a break.He’s driving. Didn’t you know that the number two cause of automobile accidents is because of distracted drivers?” Raven said, her brunette pigtails bouncing as she gave her mom a semi-serious stare.

“Yeah, listen to your factoid spewing daughter” Cade said as he glanced over his shoulder to check his blind spot before taking the next exit.

“Just so you two can squirm while you’re away. I’ll let you know that I am going to watch sports in my underwear, leave the toilet seat up the entire time and drink straight out of the milk carton. ” In the Grayson household these things were usually punishable by at least ten minutes of nagging. Cade had gotten his one dig in and he left it at that.

He maneuvered the silver Toyota Sequoia to the curb and engaged the caution flashers. A tall gangly man wearing a ball cap and a dark blue American Airlines uniform complete with faux gold shoulder epaulets opened the rear hatch of the truck. While Brook filled out the baggage forms, Cade helped wrestle the six bags onto the porter’s low slung cart. He peeled off a ten dollar bill and handed it to the man and thanked him.

Cade grabbed his petite wife and equally small daughter in a two armed bear hug.

“I am really going to miss you guys!” he said while he locked eyes with his wife for a moment. She had big brown doe eyes that he had fallen in love with at first sight many years ago. Brook was petite but her personality was enormous. She was the type that never backed down from anything or anybody. She had been an avid mountain climber years ago; now that she was in her mid-thirties she put all of her energy into raising her only daughter.

Raven tended to be cautious, neither a leader nor a follower. A big researcher, she thought most things over many times before taking action. Whether it was choosing which cereal she was eating that particular morning or which boy in sixth grade received her attention. She was a very cerebral girl and yet she still believed in the Easter bunny.

After hugs and kisses Cade got in the truck and pulled from the curb. He stole one long last look at his family as they entered the large revolving door and disappeared into the maw of the airport.

Halfway home he turned on the stereo and chose a classic rock station. The deejay was going on about a new mutant strain of H1-N1 that was making people sick in Washington D.C. It was the last thing he wanted to listen to on a worry free weekend. Monday would be bad enough. It was time to start the job hunt he had been putting off. It had been more than a year since he left the military with an honorable discharge. The economy was in tatters, unemployment was high and he knew that the job offerings would be slim. So for now he chose to live in the moment.

As he merged into the light traffic moving on I-205 he pushed the AUX button on the stereo and picked up his IPod Nano. He rapidly shook the electronic device and let shuffle decide which song he would get to listen to. He grinned when the first sitar riffs of the Doors song, “The End”, emanated from the speakers and then sang along with Jim Morrison for a few prophetic verses.

He was blissfully unaware of the situation now unfolding in the heart of Portland.

 

 

Chapter 1

Day 1 Portland, Oregon

 

 

Cade pushed the remote button on the rearview mirror and the garage door responded by starting to slowly open. He overshot the driveway by a few feet and reversed his truck up the driveway and into the two car garage. He walked into the house through the mudroom and deposited his keys on the top of the dryer. Before he entered the kitchen he removed his shoes and then pressed the glowing button on the wall. The garage door started on its downward journey. The house still smelled of bacon from the morning meal. The home felt very tomblike without his wife and daughter flitting about. The early morning sunlight streamed in between the horizontal slats of the blinds bringing a small semblance of warmth inside.

The flashing red light on the answering machine steadily pulsed. He strode across the room, and against his better judgment pushed the play button. Ted’s voice sprang forth from the tiny speaker.

“Hey buddy, Ted here. I’ve got bad news and good news. Lisa is dragging me downtown to eat breakfast. She wants to go to the Saturday Market and then do some people watching in the Square. The good news is that when we get back I have the green light to go to the pub to catch the second game of the Mariners double header. Call me later.” Cade erased the message and got a bottle of water from the fridge.

Cade’s plush leather recliner beckoned. Hours later he was awakened by his ringing cell phone. After fumbling to retrieve the annoyance from his pants pocket he looked at the display. It was Brook calling from her mom’s in Myrtle Beach. Trying to shake the cobwebs from his head, he groggily answered “Hello.”

“Hi honey we made it ok. Carl just dropped us off at Mom and Pops.”

“How was the flight?”

“Smooth flight, awful food. You know, how it usually is.”

“How did Raven do?” Cade asked.

“She slept the entire flight…I was amazed.”

“Put her on please.”

After a moment Raven cheerfully answered “Hi Dad, what’s up?”

“I just wanted to make sure you take good care of Mom for me, Ok?” He liked to instill as much self confidence in her as he could. A little esteem building went a long way.

She answered enthusiastically “No problem Dad. Nothing shall befall my Mom when I’m on the job.” She put the phone in Brook’s outstretched hand after saying bye to her dad.

“I almost forgot to tell you. Pops is coming home from the hospital early. Something happened at work and he’s not feeling well. I think Mom said he was bitten by a delusional patient.”

“Keep me informed. I have got to get ahold of Ted and borrow some of his tools. I want to work on the bathroom before you guys return. Have a great trip. I love you. Give your parents my love too. See you soon.”

Like always, Brook had the last words. “I love you too. Don’t worry I’m sure dad is going to be just fine. He’s a doctor for Christ’s sake. Bye honey.”

With that they both hung up.

Cade read a few pages of the latest Brad Thor novel before he got up off of his butt to change into his work clothes.

 Decked out in his Levis, tee shirt and tennis shoes he decided to walk around the corner and pop in on Ted and Lisa unannounced.

Cade considered Ted and his wife Lisa good neighbors and even better friends. Brook and Lisa had been known on occasion to visit the local Starbucks together for a latte. Ted and his wife also hosted a yearly neighborhood block party every summer, which the Graysons made a point not to miss. With Brook and Raven out of town Cade hoped to finish the tile job in the bathroom. No better time to shorten the honey-do list than when the girls were out from under foot. Ted had an industrial tile saw that Cade needed to borrow.

One block from Ted’s house Cade saw a man staggering down the street away from him.
Pretty early in the afternoon to tie one on
, crossed Cade’s mind as he rounded the corner.

There was no answer when he rapped on his friend’s front door. Since Ted’s truck was in the drive, Cade tried the garage around back. Ted had an old Hunter Green MG sports car that he liked to work on in his spare time; Cade assumed that’s what he was doing.

Nearing the garage, he heard some noises coming from within and decided to sneak a peek and see what Ted was doing. Cade silently stole a look into the open side door. He saw Ted with his face buried fully inside of Lisa’s exposed rib cage. Cade didn’t want to believe what he was seeing, there was blood pooling all around her prone body and Ted’s entire head of hair was slick with her bodily fluids.

“Ted, what the hell are you doing!?” Cade growled furiously. Something he will never forget greeted him. Ted’s bloody face, with a mouth full of dripping innards, looked directly at him with a blank, no one is home, stare. Exhibiting very little dexterity, what used to be Ted arose and jerkily started shuffling around the car in Cade’s direction. Snapping back to reality he thought,
whoever this thing is, it sure isn’t Ted
.

While searching for anything to use as a weapon, Cade spied a helmet and crampons on a shelf to his right. Finally he found what he was looking for. Hanging by a leather strap, next to the other gear, was a mountaineering ice axe.

Just as he grabbed it from the hook on the wall, Ted, mouth agape and moaning, lunged for his turned back. Quick reflexes helped him avoid the attack. All in one motion he spun around and buried the axe under Ted’s sternum directly into his heart. It had no effect. The thing that he used to call his friend kept clawing for his face.

From personal experience, he knew the blow should have killed any man. He put his tennis shoe clad foot on Ted’s chest and pulled the blood slickened axe free, sending his neighbor sprawling into his low slung project car.

He aimed his next blow for the top of the creatures head. Its skull collapsed with a pop and the dead weight rolled off of the car and impacted the concrete face down with a sickening crack.

On the other side of the MG, he saw the full scope of Ted’s attack. He had feasted on his wife’s abdomen, neck and all of the soft fleshy bits on her face. Lisa used to be a pretty woman; now she was appalling to look at.

There was no holding back; the vomit came up in waves. Nothing he had seen in combat operations all over the world could trump this spectacle. Cade had killed plenty and witnessed even more death. Barging in on Ted cannibalizing his wife was a surreal experience. Having to kill him was inconceivable.

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