A New World: Chaos
by John O’brien
Series: A New World #1
Publication date: April 9th 2011
Genre: Post-apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
There is no sanctuary.
That was taken away in the blink of an eye. Humanity went out not with a whimper, but a bang.
Jack, a sometimes humorous, sometimes philosophical ex-special operations pilot and soldier is one of the few left to struggle through the desolation left in the aftermath; seeking to survive as a new ferocious species emerges from the rubble, hungry and unrelenting. Will his special forces training be enough? Will he be able to keep his children safe and guide the few survivors through perils that now roam the world they once knew? Or will the hordes that now own the night prevail, forever removing the last of mankind from existence? Humankind was once at the top of the food chain. But that has now changed.
This hard-hitting, action-packed series begins with Jack Walker being suddenly thrust into a world where the infrastructure which cherished Armani suits, night clubs, fast and expensive cars and watching the daily stock market are gone. Left in its place is the material world mankind built but a majority of the population has vanished; replaced by a new, savage, unrelenting, cunning, animalistic species which hunts and operates at night.
I proceed up the stairs, counting them as I go, and focusing my light and carbine as far up the next flight as my vision permits. My stomach is clenched tight with a tingling sensation as my system continues to pump adrenaline through my bloodstream. No matter how many times I have done this in the past, it is always the same feeling, hyper-alert, time slowing. My heart beats strong in my ears to the point where it seems that it can be heard externally. With a team around, this feeling was minimized to a certain extent, but when solo, the feeling intensifies. You can get used to the feeling, but not the circumstances.
Keep focused and keep moving.
Approaching the second floor, two metal fire doors exit from the landing to either side. With my back to the wall, I continue up to the third floor landing. Two additional fire doors exit here. Crouching by the left door, I ease it open with my shoulder and enter into an inky black hallway. To my left, toward the emergency room parking lot, the hallway goes a short distance before turning left to another hallway. A small amount of light leaks from under a closed door at the juncture, a natural light most likely from windows facing the parking lot.
To my right, the hallway extends into darkness with several closed doors set into the walls. The stairway door closes behind me with a soft thud. I check to see if it opens. It does, so I am not stranded having to find another way down. The hospital diagram shows the administrator’s office lies down the hallway to my right at the other end of the building. I edge down the darkened hallway panning my light to the left and right. The third door on the right lies open.
As I approach the opened doorway, I see it is actually a set of double doors and begin to hear a faint panting sound. The noise is similar to a room full of dogs on a hot day or after a day of chasing sticks but heard as if from a long distance. The sound fills my ears at the same time as my light zooms into the room. I see the end of a folding table on its side jutting out into the doorway with several orange plastic chairs lying upended and scattered throughout the room. Against the far wall, huddled together on the floor, lie fifteen to twenty bodies, their skin pale and blotchy. It is from this huddled mass that the panting sounds emit.
The one closest to the door, and hence, me, opens its eyes, staring at me through the light. Rising with lightning speed to its knees, it opens its mouth and lets out an ear-blasting shriek of alarm. I pull the trigger and the gunshots join in this sudden escalation of noise. The flash of my rounds gives a quick strobe-like quality to the room and hallway, only slightly affecting my vision. The burst of rounds stitch across its body from the chest upwards hurling it back into the huddled mass. Its scream changes in mid-shriek from alarm, to pain, to nothing.
The smell of gunpowder wafts in the hallway as time stands still for a moment. The only sound being that of the empty cartridges bouncing metallically on the floor. The stillness ends with an explosion of activity and noise as the things all rise instantly, the shrieks from them deafening as they charge for the door. Two more bursts lift the ones in front off their feet and into those behind as the others streak for the door. I am going to have to reload before I can take them all down, therefore, allowing them to pour into the darkened hallway. With this in mind, I start backing down the hallway toward the stairway, focusing on the room’s entrance and thumbing the fire selector to ‘semi’.
The first one appears at the door. My round enters its head just beside the left eye rocking its head backwards. The back and side of its head explodes outward coating the doorjamb with blood and bits of bone and gray matter. It falls forward to the ground onto its chest and face, its momentum carrying it forward farther into the hallway. A second one appears leaping with a shriek over the body falling in front. Another strobe of light and popping sound of a round leaving the chamber fills the hall. The body is thrown sideways in mid-leap from the round slamming into the side of its chest, cutting the shriek off mid-way. Hitting the floor, it skids across the linoleum and comes to rest against the wall.
Three more enter into the hallway at an almost full run, turning toward me as they exit. Three more rounds fly from my barrel sending them all to the ground. The one on the right flies backward with its feet over its head, slamming head first into the floor with a meaty smack. By the time the last one has fallen to the ground, five more have poured into the hall and launch themselves toward me. I continue backing toward the stair door with the smell of gunpowder strong in the air. I fire once at the one closest, bringing its forward momentum to a sudden halt. It just stands there as if its body doesn’t believe it has just been shot in the sternum. Unable to continue forward, it slumps toward its final resting place. A movement brings the next one in line with my barrel as a loud, metallic crash erupts close behind me.
I’m so outta here, I think, turning to bolt toward the fire door that stands between the stairs and me.
Racing to the door, my light catches the aftermath of the metallic crash. An upended aluminum cart lies on its side at the hallway juncture. Shards of glass on the floor glitter faintly in the light. A beaker rolls in slow circles amidst small metallic shapes scattered about. Three more of the things have rounded the corner running in my direction, the one on the right shrieking loudly. I hear footsteps pounding behind me, mixing with those that have now entered the hallway in front, with more coming from around the corner.
I reach the steel fire door at a run, throw it open, and race through it on the fly with those things right on my heels. I can almost feel the warmth from their bodies on my back and hear their breathing seemingly inches away. Launching down the stairs, I keep my light focused on the stairs themselves. This would be the absolute wrong time to trip or stumble. Rounding the corner of the landing, I use my hand on the railing to help my turn. One of them enters into my cone of light just ahead apparently having jumped over the railing from the flight of stairs behind me. Too close to bring my M-4 to bear for a shot from the hip, I duck my shoulder and head and slam into its chest knocking it backwards. It flies off the stairs and lands almost at the bottom, close to the second floor landing, hitting the stair with the small of its back. Its head slingshots backwards and smacks into the concrete landing with a sharp crack. Blood spurts outward from where its head was introduced to the concrete, and it slides backward into the concrete brick wall with another, slightly smaller, wet crack, coming to rest face up. Blood immediately pools outward around its head.
The impact slows my momentum. I feel the brush of a hand against my left shoulder as my feet continue their flight down the stairs, the thing reaching over the stair railing directly beside me. Leaping off the second stair from the landing and over the prone body, I turn quickly in mid-leap facing both the next flight down and the flight I just traversed thumbing the selector to ‘burst’. My light flashes to the stairs coming down, my direction reversed. The stairs are completely filled with an ashen gray horde barreling toward me a few scant feet away.
Just before my feet encounter the landing, three rounds exit my M-4 at the nearest one, sending it backward into its companions as the steel-core rounds pound into its chest and neck spraying blood outward. I feel a few warm splashes hit my cheek and forehead. Flashes bounce off the concrete brick walls. My feet contact the landing and gunshots echo loudly in the stairwell, overwhelming the growling from the horde. My second burst slams into the next ghoulish thing setting foot on the bottom stair, spinning it to the right and into the arms of the one behind. I gain another foot of separation. Launching forward, I tear down the stairs toward the first floor.
I hit the magazine release button before reaching the third step. The magazine clatters down the stairs, its metallic bouncing sound on the concrete mixes with the growling right on my heels. Clearing the bottom of the upward flight of stairs, I grab the handrail and vault over to the final flight, concentrating on landing square on a stair. Hitting a stair edge could cause a trip, stumble, or twisted ankle, and that is something I can’t afford right now. Several shrieks fill the enclosed space as I land with bent knees and race to the fire door. Reaching into my vest pocket, I withdraw a fresh mag and slam it into the receiver. I hit the door at a dead run, smashing into it with my shoulder and spin through the opening. Planting my foot, I shift my momentum toward the emergency room lobby and exit. The first of the many things streaks out of the still opening door before I have taken my second step.
The lobby opens just ahead with the glare of the light from outside pouring through the glass doors. I feel something swipe across my back and am jerked backwards, slightly, the back of my flight suit in the grasp of a hand for a split second before being released.
Fucking A! These things are faster than I am. This may not end well, I think, focusing every bit of energy into my legs.
I sweep into the dim grayness of the emergency room lobby, the light growing brighter as I get closer to the exit. Almost across the lobby and to the doors, I slide to my knees, do a 180 across the linoleum, and face back toward the hallway as I slide to a stop, bringing the M-4 to my shoulder. The roar of seemingly a thousand shrieks fills the room. The ghostly outlines of gray faces mill agitatedly at the edge of the radiating light. I fire a burst into the milling crowd concentrating on one face that is thrust toward me, its mouth open and emitting a loud, shrieking roar, and watch its head explode as it falls backward into the darkness beyond.
“Motherfuckers!!! Come and get some, you assholes!” I yell back into the gloom. Adrenaline-rushed fear seems to refocus itself toward anger in me once a situation has stabilized to a certain extent.
Check out the entire series HERE
~About the Author~
John O’Brien is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career gathering his campaign ribbon for Desert Storm. Immediately following his military service, John became a firefighter/EMT with a local department. Along with becoming a firefighter, he fell into the Information Technology industry in corporate management. Currently, John is writing full-time on the series, A New World.
As a former marathon runner, John lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and can now be found kayaking out in the waters of Puget Sound, mountain biking in the Capital Forest, hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, or pedaling his road bike along the many scenic roads.
John’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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