Z-Burbia: A Zombie Novel

BOOK: Z-Burbia: A Zombie Novel
12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub





Jake Bible









Copyright 2013 by Jake Bible







Zombies, man. Zombies.

What can I say? I dig them. I’ve written many different types of zombies stories from military scifi in the Apex Trilogy (zombies in mechs!) to religious satire in Bethany and the Zombie Jesus (satire, yes, but not blasphemous) to young adult different in Little Dead Man (conjoined twins where one is alive and one is undead). But the Z-Burbia series is my first time tackling straight up, Romero-esque zombie fiction. And I had a blast doing it!

As many of you zombie aficionados know, Romero was all about the social satire. So I figured why not go all out and make my setting a suburban subdivision? I had  one hell of a good time taking my own personal experiences in a subdivision and add
ing in some undead and post-apocalyptic flavor.  I hope y’all like the result.

I do have plans to keep this series going so I’m looking forward to the feedback from my fans and readers. This series will have plenty of gore and violence, but also plenty of tongue in cheek humor. I think y’all will like the balance I strike between those.

And just a big thanks to all you zombie lovers out there! You’re why I write this crazy stuff!






Chapter One


People that
move to a subdivision do so for only a couple of reasons. Ours were price and location. Great price for the size of the house and great location since it was just on the edge of Asheville, NC, down by the French Broad River. Once the dead began to walk the earth, the price didn’t matter so much anymore. It was all about location.

The Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain range, a range that stretches from Georgia up to Maine. Our neck of the range is in Western North Carolina, specifically Asheville, known as the Paris of the South because of its eclectic mix of arts, music, and vacation possibilities. A long time destination for those that think outside the box, Asheville is surrounded by hollows (hollers)
, coves, gaps, and valleys, filled with generations of hard working North Carolinians that, while free thinking and independent, aren’t known for their outside the boxedness. Conservative through and through, most are used to making it on their own in the best of times. Come the apocalypse? That conservative pragmatism kicks into overdrive and sure comes in handy.

This makes for an interesting dynamic in the region. You see, when the dead began to rise from their graves, morgues, funeral homes, and other places
, urban dead are supposed to stay dead, they pretty nearly wiped out the progressive, freethinking population of Asheville. Well, wiped out the living population; the undead population is growing and thriving. Let’s hear it for undead progress! This left a few urban survivor pockets (Whispering Pines being one), surrounded not only by a sea of undead, but by multiple groups, families, factions of rural survivor pockets hell bent on getting, taking, and scavenging what they can from the ruins of Asheville.

Good times for all.

So, I stand in front of my bathroom mirror, razor in hand, wondering what will become of my family, as I hear a stray gunshot here and there from outside our two-story, 2700 square feet, cookie cutter house. The image in the mirror is of a forty-year old man, blond-red beard, soon to be bald head (okay,
head since growing hair hasn’t been my forte for years), six feet, 200 pounds, exhausted, and semi-malnourished. Yeah, I’m a peach.

Another gunshot goes off and I set the razor down. Normally
, I’d yell from the bathroom at the kids to find out what is going on, but that was pre-Z (pre-zombies). In today’s world, you keep your mouth shut and stay quiet. Noise attracts the undead. We take the whispering part of Whispering Pines, very seriously nowadays.

So I’m a little more than alarmed as to why I hea
r gunshots. Guns are noisy. We’re an arrows, spears, slingshots, and other quiet projectiles kind of subdivision. This was signed into the covenants by the HOA (Home Owners’ Association) Board and ratified at one of our first post-Z HOA meetings.

“Jace?” Stella asks from the bedroom door. “Have you heard anything?”

Stella Stanford, my beautiful wife and mother of my two children (boy: Charlie, sixteen, and girl: Greta, thirteen), the rock that I rely on, and asker of the obvious.

“You mean other than the gunshots?” I ask as I grab a shirt and pull it on before coming out of the bathroom.

“Don’t be an asshole,” Stella says. “Have you heard anything over the Wi-Fi?”

, you ask? Oh, we have it. No internet, since the apocalypse ruined that, but local Wi-Fi which helps us all stay in touch in the neighborhood.

“I haven’t checked my messages,” I reply. “Hand me my phone.”

Stella crosses her arms and gives me a stern look.

“Please?” I ask. “
Sorry for being an asshole.”

She hands me my phone and I see a text from Jon Billings, my best friend in the neighborhood and Head of Construction. Jon is one of the few people I truly trust in Whispering Pines. Everyone else we watch with caution and keep at a friendly distance. Makes it easier to shove a crowbar through their heads if you don’t get too attached.

“Bums down by the gate,” the text reads. “You coming? You know Brenda is going to want you there. I’m sure she’ll pick apart any ‘weaknesses’ she sees in the gate.”

“Who’s shooting?” I text back.

“The bums,” his reply comes quickly. “Where the fuck are you, Hoss? Get your butt down here. Brenda is already trying to redesign the entire gate structure. Jesus…”

Jon is also a minister which cracks me up when he texts. He saves all his cursing for texts to me. No one has a clue, otherwise.

“On my way,” I text back.

“Bums,” I say to Stella. “I need to bike down ASAP.”


Brenda,” I nod as I grab my socks and hurry to the garage. I throw on my sturdy, steel-toed work boots and snag my mountain bike.

I barely wave at the inquiring faces of my neighbors as I speed by, focusing on the twists and turns, dips and rises of the neighborhood. I race down the last hill towards the gate that is set at the e
ntrance to Whispering Pines, blocking all access to the neighborhood from the former State Road Hwy 251. I say “former” because there really isn’t a “state” anymore, and I’m pretty sure the DoT has lost its jurisdiction during the apocalypse. Or maybe not. They could be planning to re-paint the yellow lines next week for all we know.

“There you are,
Hoss,” Jon says as I brake to a stop by him. “Brenda thinks we need more spikes on the outside, because spikes are apparently a deterrent to starving bums.”

“Jesus,” I mutter.

“Hey, Lord’s name and all that?” Jon smiles.

“Smart a
ss,” I smile as I walk past him to the watchtower sitting to the side of the fifty-foot gate.

“I am sorry for your situation, folks,” Brenda says, trying to whisper and shout at the same time which comes out as some grotesque croak. “But Whispering Pines is a gated community and we are not taking new residents at this time. You will need to move along
please. Again, I am sorr-.”

she’s talking to replies with a pistol shot. Splinters of wood explode from the post next to Brenda’s face.

“Where is Stuart?” Brenda hisses. “These bums need to be dealt with!”

Bums are what we call the stragglers that come knocking on our quite impressive (if I do say so myself) gate doors. Survivors that have somehow managed to stay alive while avoiding the Zs and the not so friendly groups of people out there. We’ve been seeing less and less over the months, but they do show up. It isn’t hard for them to spot a beacon of living in the darkness of the world around them.

, “Don’t Call Me Jimmy”, Stuart, is suddenly at my elbow, looking up at the watchtower with his usual look of pissed off and slightly surprised that everyone else isn’t as pissed off as he is. Five feet and eight inches, late fifties, tight crew cut, wiry and strong, Stuart is a retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant. Head of Defenses (not to be confused with Head of Security, God forbid!) he sees anyone without the proper training and understanding of military tactics as a pain in his well-trained and tactical ass. Pretty much that means all of us.

“Gates are holding,” Stuart says without looking at me. “What’s she bitching about then?”

Stuart likes to end questions in “then” sometimes. It’s a strange affectation, but since he can kick the living shit out of me with his perfectly trimmed mustache, I don’t question it.

“Bums,” I say.

“Bums,” Jon echoes.

“Padre,” Stuart nods to Jon.

“Yes, my son?” Jon smiles. Stuart doesn’t smile back. “Right. Hey.”

Stuart sighs with amazing discipline and skill and climbs the ladder into the watchtower. We follow. Once up there
, he takes a key ring from his belt and unlocks the steel locker bolted to the watchtower floor.

“How many
then?” Stuart asks as his hand hovers over the open locker.

“Eight,” a mousy man answers,
looking from Brenda to Stuart to me to Jon and back to Stuart. “Three adults and five kids. Look like they’ve been running nonstop. Didn’t think much of them until they started shooting.”

“Let us in!” a dry voice cries from below. “Please!”

“Kids?” Stuart asks, his eyes finding Brenda’s as he pulls an AR-15 and magazine from the locker. He slaps the magazine home and stares.

Brenda Kelly is our HOA Board Chairperson. Short, fat, ugly as sin, she took control of Whispering Pines in the first few days of the apocalypse, giving some semblance of order in a world that went from normal to “HOLY SHIT I’M GOING TO GET MY FACE EATEN!” in less than twenty-four hours. Despite her lack of everything that makes a human being decent, she does make one damn good administrator. Once you get past that lack of human decency part. That’s a tough one to get past, believe me.

“We don’t have room or resources,” Brenda states, her whisper like the hiss of a hidden viper. “You know that, Stuart. Resolution 856 was very clear on the subject of no new residents allowed. You were there for the vote, Stuart. Do I have to get---”

“Shut up,” Stuart says. “I know the resolution. Just wanted to be clear before I do my job.”

There are two sentries posted to the watchtower at all times, but they defer to Stuart when it comes to discretionary violence. Stuart is very clear on this point: no one kills the living except him, unless they are defending themselves. I have wondered more than a few times how many people Stuart has killed in his years as a Marine. I’ve personally witnessed him kill no less than fourteen souls since the apocalypse started. I can’t even count how many Zs he’s killed.

On that subject
, let me explain that the Zs we are talking about are your classic, shuffling, shoot the brain, zombies. The freshly turned ones have some more mobility than the veteran undead, but really can only break out into a half-run at the best. Kind of like a power-walking grandma at the mall. They can be outrun. But, as always, it’s about numbers. And the Zs out number our asses by an easy twenty to one. Okay, okay, I’m being delusional. They outnumber us by fifty to one. I just hate admitting that. What? Fine, fine, 100-200 to one. Sheesh.

“Hello, folks,” Stuart says as he peers over the watchtower. “I am sorry to be rude, but it has been decided that we cannot take on more residents. I am going to ask you to leave. Please comply. Non-compliance is not an option.”

“Fuck you!” a man shouts. “Let us in, old man! We have kids here! We’re fucking starving! Stop being assholes!”

Stuart sighs and puts the rifle to his shoulder. “I am not going to warn you again, sir. I am sorry, but you have to leave now. All that noise you are making is bringing the Zs your way. We try to avoid that.”

I risk
a look and see that Stuart is right, as all of us had expected. From both ways of Hwy 251, the undead are shambling their way towards the small group of bums. If Stuart doesn’t take the people out, then the Zs are going to. None look too fresh, which means about a three feet a minute shamble rate. Ten minutes before they’re on the bums.

“Is that our old mailman down there with the Zs?” Jon asks, peeking over with me. “Guess I won’t have to get him a Christmas present this year.”

“For a man of God, you sure are a callous bastard,” I whisper to him. He just shrugs.

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up,” Stuart grumbles.

“Sorry,” I say. Jon just shrugs again.

A gunshot goes off and we all, except for Stuart, hit the floor of the watchtower. I count three shots as Stuart returns fire. Jon and I glance up at him and see he is looking over his shoulder at Brenda. She nods. Five more shots.

“Those were the kids,” Jon says as he gets up and walks to the ladder. “Children.”

He doesn’t make eye contact with anyone as he descends and grabs his own bike, pedaling off up the hill back to his house.

“Brenda,” I say, looking directly at her, “really?”

“How will we feed them?” she asks. “This has already been decided.”

“Gonna need to clear the road,” Stuart says as he hands the rifle to one of the sentries. “Clean that and store it. I’ll be back to check to make sure it’s cleaned properly. One speck of dirt and you’re outside the gate.”

The sentry nods, his hands shaking as he takes the rifle.

Stuart looks to me as he takes his phone from his pocket and starts to send the text for his defensive crew. “You in for some Z killing?”

“I guess,
” I shrug. “I’m already down here.”

Back home I have a great baseball bat that I’ve stuck spikes through and wrapped in duct tape. I call it the Silver Slugger. Stupid name, I know. But I left that in my hurry to the gate, so once down on the ground
, I arm myself with a crowbar taken from one of the huge racks of melee weapons that line each side of the gate.

Stuart and I wait only a minute before his defensive crew is there, armed with their own weapons of various sizes and styles. Axes, steel pipes, more
crowbars, sharpened to a point baseball bats, even a sharpened cricket bat and a couple of hockey sticks. The crew keeps changing, but their objective never does: keep the road and perimeter clear of Zs so they cannot ever overwhelm Whispering Pines. It’s a full time job.

BOOK: Z-Burbia: A Zombie Novel
12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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