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Authors: Chris Harris

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Zombie Castle (Book 1)

BOOK: Zombie Castle (Book 1)
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Zombie Castle

Chris Harris

© Chris Harris, 2016

Published by Chris Harris Publishing

First Edition 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, adapted, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the author.

The rights of Chris Harris to be identified as the author of this work have been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978-0-9932455-6-5 (epub)
ISBN 978-0-9932455-7-2 (mobi)
ISBN 978-0-9932455-8-9 (Paperback)

Book layout and cover design by Clare Brayshaw

Cover images © Flashzenit | Dreamstime.com
© Sazori | Dreamstime.com

Prepared and printed by:

York Publishing Services Ltd

64 Hallfield Road

Layerthorpe

York YO31 7ZQ

Tel: 01904 431213

Website: www.yps-publishing.co.uk

Dear Reader

I do hope you enjoy reading this book but I feel I should warn you that, unlike my series UK DARK. Am I a Prepper? which contains few profanities and limited descriptive violence, this book is different.

For the sake of realism there are frequent uses of the ‘F word’ and the violence and gore is obviously more graphic. If this upsets you then I am sorry, but in my defence I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone under imminent threat of being eaten by a zombie who wouldn’t swear profusely!

Thank you for your understanding.

CHAPTER ONE

WOLFE MEDICAL RESEARCH LABORATORY,
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND

‘It works, it bloody works! Yes! We’ve done it!’ Professor Andy Lawrence shouted, his eyes fixed on the screen in front of him.

He was Chief Scientist at Wolfe Medical, a small, privately funded research laboratory where the past eight years had been spent striving to develop a genetically modified ‘virus killer’. Thousands of failed attempts had been made to develop a carefully altered rhinovirus (common cold virus) that would attach itself to a living virus in a cell and turn it into a harmless replica of itself. This process would continue until all virus cells were destroyed. It would then lie dormant in the body until another strain of the rhinovirus was detected, when it would spring into action, modifying itself to match the new variant and starting all over again.

On the screen small spiky blobs could be seen meeting and linking with other spiky blobs and then moving off to begin the process again.

‘This,’ said Andy, ‘is the twentieth different serotype this beauty has attacked and rendered harmless!’

His ‘second in command’, Professor Ian Devey, sat beside him and stared at the screen, lost for words. More staff gathered round as word spread quickly around the laboratory.

This was the Holy Grail of viral research, Nobel Prize winning medicine, and they were all part of it. Careers had been made by moments like this. Once the silent wonder of what they were witnessing had passed and realisation of their achievement had sunk in, the celebrations began.

The serious lab technicians and research assistants abandoned their usual reserve and began to cheer and clap. Shouting to make himself heard over the noise, Ian shook Andy’s hand, ‘You must tell Mr Wolfe, he needs to know about this!’

Andy shook his head, ‘I can’t yet Ian. I need to run more tests. Come on man, you know good research can’t be rushed. I’ll tell him as soon as we’re sure it really works. We both know what he’s like. He only wants positive results, not maybes. Another couple of months or so and then we’ll tell him.’

Disappointed, Ian nodded, ‘Of course, let’s not get his hopes up. Shall we call it a day? It’s two o’clock on a Friday afternoon. We won’t get this lot back to work so let’s all finish early and I’ll buy the first round in the pub.’

‘If you promise to buy the second one as well, I’ll get this place cleared in ten minutes,’ Andy replied grinning.

Later on in the pub Rose, one of the research assistants, typed a short message into her mobile phone, pressed send and put the phone back into her pocket. No one took any notice. Why would they? Texting was such a normal everyday activity.

Looking back, it was this moment that began the process by which human beings would cease to be the dominant species on the planet, and would become the hunted.

CHAPTER TWO

Late that evening Andy and Ian left the pub and made their way unsteadily back to the penthouse city centre apartment they shared.

Over the past eight years the research had taken over their lives. Both men had been married, and within six months of each other, both their wives had filed for divorce, citing abandonment as the main reason. To combat the unhappiness they’d felt, both men had responded in the only way they knew how; by throwing themselves into their research even more.

Once both divorces were finalised, they had found themselves house hunting at the same time. They’d reached the following conclusion: as they worked together for twelve hours a day, often found themselves eating together after work rather than eating alone, and were both far more interested in their research than in the opposite sex, they might as well live together as confirmed bachelors.

To begin with, they’d rented a small two bedroom apartment, but once Mr Wolfe had realised how many more hours they were spending at the laboratory and the advances they were making in the research, he’d seized the opportunity of renting the nearest available penthouse apartment on their behalf as a ‘thank you’ for their efforts.

Andy grabbed at a lamp post for some support, swayed and looked up at the office block that housed their research laboratory.

‘We forgot to turn the lights out,’ he noted, slurring slightly.

Ian, just as unsteady on his feet, replied, ‘I’m not doing it now. I’ll do it in the morning.’

They continued to make their way home.

Had they been more sober, they might have noticed the car parked outside the office block. The dark rear windows made it impossible to see Mr Wolfe, the laboratory’s sole benefactor, watching them from within. A smile flickered across his face as the sight of the two friends, helping each other home after one too many drinks, stirred up distant memories from a time long past.

Mr Wolfe was a non-descript man in his late fifties. He possessed the ability to make the best Saville Row suit look like a charity shop cast off. This camouflage, perfected over the years, had led many a competitor to underestimate his abilities. The empire he had built up spanned continents and countless industries, from hotels to fishing and from oil exploration to diamond mines. He seemed to have the golden touch, and over the past three decades, had put together a truly impressive portfolio.

Outwardly everything looked perfect. He had the empire, the yachts, the houses and cars that everyone expected him to have. He was seen at all the right events and regularly featured in high profile magazines. But he was a worried man. His hand shook slightly as he picked up his mobile phone and re-read the text he had received earlier during a meeting with his main creditor. The man, who had been demanding to know when he would be meeting the next instalment on the huge mountain of debt he had amassed, had watched open mouthed as, without hesitation, Wolfe had stood up and walked out of the room.

The words ‘Viable virus ready’ were illuminated on the screen.

He had started to fund the laboratory when everything seemed to be going well for him. A bit of philanthropy had appealed to him. Funding a medical research laboratory would make him look good, give him the right kind of profile and encourage more people to invest in his business deals.

At first he’d shown no interest in the results; the laboratory was just a way of helping to raise more money. But then he’d realised the potential of what they were working on. The wealth and fame that such a medical breakthrough could bring to the person who delivered it to the world, would be incalculable.

Then came the global downturn that he’d confidently assumed would never touch him. Instead it had dealt him blow after blow. Oil wells ran dry, factories closed due to poor order books and hotels sat empty, as governments discouraged their citizens from travelling to certain countries due to terrorist threats. His business empire, which had always seemed so solid and unshakeable, proved to have an Achilles heel. As his debt increased, so did his inability to pay it off.

He should perhaps have closed the Wolfe Medical Research Laboratory, as a vanity he could ill afford. But deep down he felt it might prove to be the saving of him and it gave him a credible air of respectability in the current financial market, which he sorely needed. And let’s face it, another couple of million a year of debt was neither here nor there, given the amount of trouble he was already in.

As the retreating pair turned the corner and disappeared from view, he stepped from the rear of the car and walked to a service door around the side of the building. As owner of the office block he had already procured the access keys and security codes for the entire place. While he had been waiting for Ian and Andy to leave the pub and go home, he had used his tablet computer to disable the CCTV system for the building. There must be no record of him ever having been there.

He had visited the laboratory many times and knew his way around. He made straight for the storage safe, where the viruses were stored in specialised metal containers that kept them frozen at a specific temperature. Quickly identifying the right one, he donned thick gloves, opened it up and removed two vials containing the genetically modified virus. He took out a second, smaller container from the bag he had been carrying and placed the vials carefully inside.

After locating Lawrence’s computer, he overrode his security code with his own, which had already been embedded into the software, and finding Lawrence’s research notes, copied them over to a memory stick which he had inserted into the USB drive.

On his way out of the laboratory, he made his one mistake. Instinctively, he switched off the lights as he closed the door and locked it. He made his way down the emergency stairs and was soon back in his car. He was out of breath from the exertion, but felt more alive than he had in months. He was reminded of the few shady deals he had been involved in when he had started his empire and the rush that you got when you knew you had succeeded.

He instructed his chauffeur to take him to an airfield just outside London, where he had arranged for his private jet to be fuelled and waiting for him.

CHAPTER THREE

As the car pulled up alongside, the sleek jet’s engines began to whine as the pilot prepared for take off. Wolfe boarded the plane, and having made sure that the bag was secured, poured himself a large drink from the bar. He settled himself back into one of the luxurious seats and waited for the familiar sensation of being pressed back into it, as the plane accelerated down the runway.

As soon as the wheels had left the ground, he closed his eyes and smiled to himself. The first part of his plan was complete; now for part two.

In an ideal world he would, of course, have waited for Lawrence to complete the testing and confirm that his ‘wonder cure’ for the common cold really worked, before releasing the news to the world. The problem was, he didn’t have the time. He needed results now. He needed the banks and financiers to see what he had created.

They would, Wolfe reasoned, instantly recognise the value of what he had, and the money would start to pour in again as they all clamoured for a piece of it. For a share in his success.

He simply couldn’t afford to wait for months, or even years, of rigorous testing before the product could be deemed fit for human trials. ‘Maybes’ didn’t impress the banks anymore. Guaranteed successes did.

He had been planning this for a long time. A few years before, he’d bought an old Soviet era military base on the shores of the Black Sea in the Ukraine. The plan had been to redevelop it as a luxury holiday resort for the ‘up and coming’ middle classes of the old Soviet bloc countries, not the ones who seemed to fill most of the fashionable European resorts these days, but the ones who aspired to do so and would therefore willingly accept the slightly cheaper option offered at his resort.

The resort had been another spectacular failure. Having spent tens of millions buying the place and bribing government officials to speed up the development process, the civil war had started in the Ukraine, rendering his two thousand acres of prime Black Sea frontage property virtually worthless.

Rose had proved a useful informant inside the laboratory and well worth the substantial sum of money he had paid her. When she had confirmed that Lawrence was close to success, he had lost no time in fitting out an empty building on the old base as a laboratory, and engaging a number of scientists who cared more about money than ethics, to be on standby to travel there as soon as he notified them.

BOOK: Zombie Castle (Book 1)
12.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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