by Phillip Tomasso III
Series: The Vaccination Trilogy #3
Publication date: March 18th 2014
by Severed Press
Genre: Horror, Zombies
It started with the flu in VACCINATION and became a full blown zombie apocalypse in EVACUATION.Find out how the nightmare concludes in PRESERVATION.
Former 911 Dispatcher, Chase McKinney, learned that those inocultaed with flu shots became zombies; that the US government and military were largely infected, rendering them useles in the crisis; and that he and his family are forced to continue along on a dangerous journey.
Crossing into Mexico might provide the only sanctuary from the millions of zombies plaguing America. The question is, could they make it safely from New York to the border …
by Phillip Tomasso
Everyone said it could never happen; that it would never come to this. I guess I was like them, like everyone else and just accepted that inevitable was impossible. The joke was on us all. Only thing was, no one was laughing, because nothing about the dire situation was funny. Nothing.
I started a journal with the hopes of documenting events. The hope was someone might find it one day and that the entries would help them make sense of the catastrophe as it unfolded, grew and consumed humanity in its entirety.
Holed up in this place, I had no supplies left. No food and only limited ammunition. There was running water in the washroom, and kitchenette. That surprised me. I’d affixed a tarp and raggedy bedspread over the windows. Sunlight still crept in, setting a pie slice of light into the main living room. With the back of my hand I could part them and see the street easily enough. I didn’t venture into the one bedroom, so I kept that door shut. The washroom window was frosted so I didn’t need to worry about anyone seeing inside there.
The dilemma presented was food. I would need to eat and soon. I felt my energy draining with nearly every breath I took. I can’t recall when I’d eaten last. Felt like days had passed since I’d even consumed a morsel of anything. Food was not just in short supply, it was nonexistent. The grocery store shelves had been cleaned out by looters. I’d been a looter when the getting was good. The food only lasted so long, even with strictly enforced rationed portions in place. It goes. And when it is gone, that’s that. I thought about exploring other houses next to this one, going door to door or window to window, and checking for items in cupboards. It was what made the most sense. The only problem was the danger presented in the undertaking of such a mission. It was just me. I was alone. There would be no one to watch my back.
I don’t believe I was always alone. It felt like I had others, someone who had been with me at one time. The memories, I’m afraid to admit, are foggy and transparent. There were nights when I convinced myself that the others I had been with were close to me, special; that I hadn’t just imagined them. A woman, a beautiful woman who if she had a name, it escaped me at the moment. I remember times when I remember her, remember her name, but right now, there is nothing—a fleeting image of a strawberry red hair and bright green eyes . . . but little else. No name.
I am alone and hungry and scared.
Sitting with my back to the wall by the useless heater vents, I shiver. I clap a hand over my stomach to push back at the insistent rumbles that remind me I need to make decisions about dinner. Or Lunch. Or breakfast. The strung bedspread is just to my left, and what is beyond is horrific, and unexplainable.
I don’t know how it started. It could have been a virus outbreak or a government experiment gone awry, or some bacteria that washed onto shore during one of the countless hurricanes that pound our coastal regions? Whatever caused it, make no mistake, there was no one prepared for it. No one had a plan in place to stop or contain it.
So it spread fast and furious. If bit or scratched by one of the infected, you might as well surrender your very life in suicide. You were as good as dead anyway at that point. The problem wasn’t that the infection killed you. That was almost normal, and acceptable. The flu did that. Cancer did that. People died every day in a thousand different ways. Sad as it seemed, it was part of life. We all knew that; expected death. It was part of life. Hell, the minute we are born our bodies begin to die. If that isn’t a fucked up thought right there, then I don’t know what is. The point is it’s the cycle. No one would argue death with you.
Until now. The dead don’t stay dead, and right there—that’s the problem.
Whatever gets inside people and kills the host, reanimates the corpse and possess it, takes it over. These sluggish corpses sprouted up all over the place. At first it was almost comical. News reports aired about hospitals enforcing quarantines an attempt to isolate and investigate whatever it was behind the . . . reanimated bodies. I don’t think anyone realized the people being treated had actually died, and come back. I think doctors and specialists and the military involved suspected a mere illness. A serious one, no doubt, but still just an illness. I don’t believe for a minute that at the start of it all anyone suggested the idea of zombies.
I knew it was zombies.
I didn’t share my opinion with anyone. They’d think I was crazy. I’d get myself arrested under some Medical Hygiene bullshit. I couldn’t have that. What would Bernadette do—
Strawberry blond hair and bright green eyes.
Who was she?
What woman? What was I just thinking? It had to do with food. I needed food. That didn’t feel right. I’d lost my train of thought. With a fist I hit myself in the forehead once, twice and then a third time.
It felt like my brain had come loose inside my skull, and was sloshing around between my ears.
Between my ears . . . I heard it.
Something boomed, like a roar. It was one of those things and it sounded like it was trying to talk, or scream. The sound of its voice was loud and made me want to press my palms to my ears and scream, too. But I didn’t.
Instead, I got up onto my knees and lifted my rifle. I used the barrel to slightly part the bedspread to see what was happening outside.
They were everywhere; more than I had ever seen gathered in one place at the same time. I’d shot some earlier. Or yesterday. Might have been last week. Thought that would take care of them, and hoped it would keep me safe and my location secret.
The exact opposite happened. More came. And more still.
I knew immediately what the problem had been. The sound of gunfire. It had to have been like the ringing of a dinner bell for them. I’d inadvertently called them to me. The haven I thought I’d found was now the prison I had no way out of.
There were just too many of them now. A box of shells on the hardwood floor by my knees was all that I had left. A stand needed to be made. Food needed to be gathered. Those creatures needed to be killed. A box of shells was not going to kill them all. It might be just enough to shoot my way out of here, to run and find another place as a sanctuary. There was a saying, Live to fight another day. It was a saying or movie title, or a song.
Bernadette. That strawberry blond hair. And blue eyes. No. That is not right. She had dark hair, dark eyes. And her name was on the tip of my tongue. Right there. Right. There.
I emptied the box of shells into my hand, and after ensuring my rifle was loaded, placed the rest into my pocket. It was time to flee.
I stood up, kept my back to the wall and slid along it toward the front door.
I’d count to three, then throw the door open . . .
# # #
“Movement. We’ve got movement!” Special Agent Wilson lowered the bullhorn. He used the radio affixed to his shoulder. “Snipers on the ready.”
“Door handle’s turning,” Agent Paige said. He had his issued Glock drawn, stood perched behind and over his opened car door.
The house was surrounded and had been for over thirteen hours. Both a media and police helicopter flew overhead continuously filming and observing the ground work underway.
The door opened. A man in jeans and white tank top erupted from the threshold. The rifle he carried in front of him had time to pivot from left to right before strategically stationed SWAT members opened fire. Bullets tore through the man’s chest, exploded out of his back. Blood sprayed the white siding on the house, and front wood door.
“Hold!” Wilson said, and held his hand up. “Paige, come with me.”
The agents walked toward the house, guns still drawn. They approached the suspect. Paige knelt beside the man and pressed his fingers onto his neck, feeling for a pulse. “He’s gone.”
There wasn’t really any question as to whether the man was dead or not. Someone just needed to verify. EMS would not be called in from their staged area until the scene was secured. A dead body wouldn’t be transported via ambulance, regardless. Someone needed to notify the M.E.
Wilson entered the house first, kept his back to the wall, gun extended in both hands in front of him. He scanned the hall way and living room before taking another step.
His foot crunched down on something when he entered the living room. He cursed under his breath. He should know better. “Crack pipe,” he said out loud.
“Drug induced home invasion. Go figure,” Paige said.
The living room and kitchenette were cleared. So was the bathroom. Two doors were closed. One was a linen closet, filled with towels and clean sheets and toiletries. The other must be a bedroom. Wilson and Paige stood on either side of the door and then entered on three.
Tied to the bed, arms and legs secured with neckties to the bedposts, lay a naked woman. She had long red hair, skin going blue and splotchy, and a gaping hole in her gut where shotgun shells annihilated her stomach and bowels.
Paige walked out of the room, head down.
“Ah, shit,” Wilson said. He walked around the bed, getting a closer look at the murder scene, and careful not to step on or touch anything. Always hoping for the best, police figured the homeowner, Bernadette Carson, might be dead. Neighbors called police when they first heard a series of shots fired.
“Wilson,” Paige said.
Wilson left the bedroom and went back to the living room. Paige knelt by the bedspread that covered the front window. He wore latex gloves and held a notebook in his hand. “Our friend out there was on the bath salts it seems,” he said, and turned a page in the book with the tip of his pen. “Then he thought zombies had taken over the country. Saw walking dead everywhere. This, that dead woman in there’s house, was where he was hiding from monsters. Us? We were the zombies he saw when he looked out the window. Guy was stoned out of his mind. High as fucking kite.”
Wilson shook his head.
There was nothing he could think to say.
Two people were dead. That was what hit him the hardest.
The Vaccination Trilogy
~About the Author~
Phillip Tomasso III is the award-winning author of many novels: Mind Play, Tenth House, Third Ring, Johnny Blade, Adverse Impact, Convicted, Pigeon Drop, Pulse of Evil, and The Molech Prophecy–writing as Thomas Phillips, Sounds of Silence and his most recent, Vaccination and Evacuation — two of three in a zombie trilogy. He lives in Rochester, NY with his 3 kids, works full-time as a Fire Dispatcher for 9-1-1 and is hard at work on his next story!
Phillip’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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