It's not enough to merely survive the Zombie uprising

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Chapter 1

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Too bright, too sunny, and I could use a Pepsi. Sometimes the worth of getting myself out the door in the morning can be questionable. That being said it means another day at Crusader HQ and that’s never a bad thing. Last night was weird, though. What little sleep I got was filled with strange dreams. I never sleep well when I dream and this was no exception.

“I could really use an I.V. drip of caffeine.” Not really sure who I was talking to since I was the only one up but then again I’m just that tired. Luckily I left a king sized RockStar energy drink in my office yesterday.

The drive to the shop was like any other day. Filled with Utah drivers being their usual narcissistic selves and causing near misses at every intersection. Birds were flipped and road rage abound. The front of the shop was an inviting sight and stayed with me as I pulled around back and jumped out. I unlocked the back door and entered Crusader Weaponry’s Headquarters. It’s not a huge shop with hundreds of workers, in fact most days it’s just me, but it’s my home away from home. The familiar smell of Hoppes #9 and gun oil filled my senses.  That smell is better than perfume to a gunsmith.

I knew right where I was going, even in the dark. Across the workshop to my office, light switch is on the north side by the front entrance. The front looked like a reception area but had no door out into the shop. In the office I cracked open the giant RockStar energy and drank until the carbonation made my throat burn. I opened my laptop and put on the local talk station 105.7fm. Glenn Beck was going on about the usual political battle and the crap surrounding it. The hippies in D.C. were pulling the usual stunts to destroy the fabric of our country and blaming the results on the Republicans. As usual, the Republicans were caving to avoid looking like douches. “When are they going to figure out that we’re tired of that crap? Nothing ever changes but the faces in office. Very few of them actually do their job. The rest are too busy being elitist dirt bags! They want real change, they want a good economy…then get the hell out of the way and we‘ll do it ourselves!” Okay, I knew yelling at the radio wouldn’t do any good but it made me feel better for a moment. Looking around I was glad no one else was here. The last thing I needed, with no caffeine on board, was to listen to the guys making fun of me for talking to myself.

I was mentally going through what I needed to accomplish for the day while turning on the lights surrounding my work benches. I had four customers bring in Glock 22’s for the Crusader’s Edge upgrade package. That was next on my list so I might as well start them this morning. The Ghost trigger connectors have to be fitted into each one and properly tensioned. Good thing I’ve done it enough times to know right about where the sweet spot is. Just enough trigger reset length to keep a customer from bump firing the pistol while “working” the trigger reset and maintain only needed over travel. No need to fit a little and check it…a few more file strokes and check it. The trigger bars needed work and, of course, they needed a Slipstream treatment. If I can get that much done on this batch I can refinish them tomorrow. That meant a full day at the workbench.

I was working on the second trigger connector for the day when the news broke for an emergency message. There was a situation at the Salt Lake International Airport. Some lady went nuts and started biting people on a flight from California. “Where’s George to say something about the Zombie Apocalypse when you need him?” ,I was thinking out loud and, once again, ended up glad there was no one to make a crack about it. All the same, there was something about this that didn’t seem right. Something about my weird dreams last night but I didn’t remember anything from them. I just had an uneasy feeling about it. They said on the radio that they would keep us posted. “Sure ya will…” ,I said shaking my head. I kept it in the back of my mind that I would let it go for now but one more report like that and I was locking up and heading home.

I kept working but it was only a half hour until another emergency message and right in the middle of Glenn Beck getting pissed about something and yelling into his microphone. Everyone on the plane that was bitten died. Normally that would be weird enough but the report wasn’t over. They all started twitching their limbs. They had a doctor from a local hospital on saying something about residual nerve responses making phantom twitches and that it wasn’t something to be worried about. That is until they started to get up from the first aid station a little later and shuffled into the crowd. Their eyes had turned milky white. The reporter came back on to tell us a doctor had come to check on them and the people. The dead people charged at him with amazing speed. They started eating the poor guy. Everyone that ran by was leashed out at by gnashing blood stained teeth. All in all I thought they could have done a better job of describing it.

My cell rang. I knew who it was by the ring tone. “Hey, Chuck. Looks like you guys have your hands full today.” Chuck was a friend of mine that stopped into the shop a few times a week. Usually to pry me out of the shop for some range time. He just happened to also be a Sargent with the Salt Lake Police.

“Doc, brother, you have no idea. You need to pack up the shop and get the hell out of here. I could loose my job for this but screw it, what job? People in a mile radius of the airport have started looting and destroying everything in their path. Some are even banding together in trucks and breaking into houses and stores and taking everything they can get their hands on, shooting store clerks or home owners, and some burning places down. More and more people are moaning and shuffling around, and biting people. Some got a hold of the looters. That wasn’t so bad. Served them right but that just meant more milky eyed freaks roaming the streets.”

“None of this is on the news, bro.”

“Screw the news. They’re just trying to keep even more people from panicking. This started early this morning, like 0200 early and it’s been ‘all hands on deck’ ever since. People are leaving the airport and biting everything in sight. They don’t even know if any bitten people made it home just to start biting somewhere else or not. This is some seriously bad juju. You get the clan and get out.”

“Dude I should be kitting up and coming to help.”

“Don’t even try it. You can’t help if your family isn’t safe. Besides, anyone armed in the streets we are to shoot on site. They just can’t tell who’s a looter and who the good guys are. It’s only the uniform keeping us from getting shot.”

“Then get me a uniform.”

“Get your family out. You know I live in the effected area. They already got to my family because I was on the job. Don’t let them get yours.”

“Chuck, I’m so sorry.”

“Looters, man. Promise me you’ll get your clan out of here.”

“You have my word”, I said as the line went dead.“That’s it, it’s time to go.”

I looked around. If this was a Zombie outbreak then I’d need a few things from the shop. I packed up my toolboxs and some other things and loaded them in my suburban. I also had a few guns that were finished except needing to be Cerakoted. They got loaded as well. I then counted them to make sure it would do. Two 12ga tactical shotguns (a Remington 870, and a Mossberg 930), one each of our Templar (18“ polygonal rifled barrel good for dealing punishment from near or far), a Paladin (24“ polygonal rifled bull barrel for ultimate accuracy), and a Guardian rifle (16” polygonal rifled bad to the bone carbine) all in 5.56. Then for rifles with more punch I grabbed my 7.62 Broadsword rifle (18” polygonal rifled barrel and an Eotech) and a 7.62mm Longbow rifle (24” polygonal rifled barrel and a 10 power Leupold Mil-dot scope).  I had my G23 Reaper on my hip so I snagged a couple of the finished G22’s and a G19 for my wife. She wasn’t much of a shooter but she would get that way in a hurry. As long as I could find ammo these weapons would be everything I needed to keep my family alive. Sure there were more than I could shoot but they would arm additions to our group down the road somewhere. After grabbing all the ammo I had on hand to test fire all the new builds with it was time to leave.

Shocking End

The end of the book is now written. Can you believe that? I’m a little chocked myself. I’m in the middle of the big edit section of the process and will be sending it off to White Feather Press soon. I’m really looking forward to announcing it being ready to buy and seeing if we get anyone to actually buy it. That’s the hard part. Till then…Stay safe.

Near the end

So I’m about to finish the ending of the book. As part of that I started to listen to the first book in the series, Uprising USA, one more time to make sure I had everything tied in together. I made a correction and thought I was good. Then towards the end George makes a return to Colorado…in my books backyard…that I forgot all about.

Well crap…..

That’s okay. I still have to edit that end of the book so I can add in a surprise.

More later.

Chapter 1, Part 2

My cell phone rang again. It was Christy, my wife, “have you heard anything on the news? My dad just called and told me to get my ass to Colorado because the Zombies have all but taken over Denver and it‘s already started in Salt Lake! He said we could make a safe place for survivors in Glenwood but he needs your help to secure his area first.” Her words were frantic and I could hear the fear in her voice.

“Yeah, I know all about it but I didn’t hear anything about Denver. I just finished packing up some things we’ll need from the shop. Have the kids get started packing things they want. They will need some small toys to keep them distracted. Grab the bug out bags, extra food, sleeping bags, every knife on my shelf, and ammo. Anything else you think of too. I’m bringing extra guns, some for you too, because I think we’re going to need them, and tools to repair or rebuild as we go. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

“Done”, the phone went dead. She must be scared if she left it like that. Her dad was a man of few words unless he was trying to be charming. This would not have been one of those times. He probably scared the crap out of her because every word from “daddy” is gospel with her.

I jumped in the drivers seat and put my Bluetooth in my ear. I brought up Nightcrawler’s number and hit send. It rang twice and I heard, “go for Mike”.

“Mike, it’s Joe. You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m about to leave for the base.”

“Dude, grab your Broadsword. You’re going to need it”.

“Good idea. I’ll grab a couple other .308’s in case we run low on weapons at the shop.”

“Good. I’m rounding up the family so call if you need anything.”

“Roger that. You guys headed for the mountains?”

“Yeah. Got the call from the father in-law. We’re needed to secure the valley. If you guys need a fall back position you know where to find me.”

“Absolutely.”

“Hey, keep a couple pilots alive. I’ll still be close enough if I need a little help from above.”

“You have comms?”

“I’ll find a way to contact you. Don’t worry. Watch your six.”

“Roger that. Out”, he said as the line went dead. I thought of calling George. He would be at work by now and doesn’t have a cell. “Damn”, I thought as I turned onto State street and headed south. People paid no attention to the speed limits. They were driving scared. I got pinned behind an elderly woman and some tool driving a Prius. “Why a Prius? I freak’n hate those things.” They took up both inside lanes, right where I needed to be, and both drove the same lethargic speed. It wasn’t even the speed limit. The road ahead of them was completely clear from people driving like they had a death wish and I have to turn at the next light so I was stuck. One block. That was it but it took forever to get there. I began wishing they were zombies so I could just shoot them and be done with it. My family needed me and they needed me now.

My turn came and I hit the gas. I pulled up a couple side streets and was in front of my drive way. Christy was already loading the van. I hated that van. It was her pride and joy but it just didn’t ride right for someone six feet tall and built like a logger. I pulled up and parked behind her. I made sure everything was being loaded and went inside for my gear. I grabbed my A-Tacs training uniform, desert boots, and Boonie hat and shoved them into a duffel bag. I reached for other clothing and crammed everything in with the uniform.  Then I snatched up my tactical vest with extra magazines. My Reaper was already on my hip, never left home without it, but grabbed a couple other holster as well as my Springfield G.I.1911. Well it wasn’t a G.I. model anymore. I am a gunsmith after all so it had been upgraded. New bushing to make it more accurate (it sucked before), Beavertail grip safety to deal with the hammer bite that had permanently scared the web of my hand, full length guide rod to smooth the slide’s travel, and bobbed the hammer to fit it to the Beavertail. The sights remained GI because it shot so well with them and it was accurate enough to not need a lot of help. If you could point your finger at a target, this 1911 would destroy it. Everything had a purpose on that pistol. It would ride next to me in the suburban so I tucked it behind me in by belt.

Coming out the front door I heard foot steps out on the side walk I whispered, “looters”, to Christy and motioned everyone inside. I slumped against the back of the suburban and hung my head while watching the driveway from the corner of my eye. My goal was to look dead, not manly…I know, but if they thought I was a Zombie there was a chance I could get loaded and out of here without having to kill anyone. A figure peeked around the corner of the driveway. I watched him come closer while playing dead against the suburban until I heard him yell something. Didn’t pay attention because my neighbor was coming out of their house moaning. I slowly started taking a grip on my 1911 as the figure darted his attention to the zombie neighbor so I took 4 running steps to the fence line, he wouldn’t see me move if focused on the zombie.  I drew the 1911 and switched it to my left hand. Crouching by the fence and leaned out, taking advantage what concealment I could from a vinyl fence, weapon ready. A couple quick shots rang out and my neighbor fell but the shots weren’t mine. I almost cheered. I hated those bastards.

The man’s attention went back my direction. He began looking around when he didn’t see me against the Suburban. I had my front sight leveled at center mass when he spoke questioningly, “Joe?”

Chapter 1, part 3

“No way. I know that voice”, I thought. It was George. I didn’t expect to see his face here in the valley. Especially not in full kit and shooting my neighbor. We exchanged pleasantries and discussed what my plans were. I knew if we could secure the valley my father in-law lived in we would have a place that everyone could fall back to. All the natural resources you could ever want and limited access so it would be easy to defend.  I knew my friends could handle what was ahead of them but if anything went wrong they would have a safe place to come to. I hated feeling like I was on rear guard again but I had to get my family out of this God forsaken valley before I could be of any help. George knew I would have the broadsword with the Eotech because it was one of my favorite weapons. He handed me an ACOG for it. I always wanted one of these. It had the bullet drop marks calibrated for 7.62×51 so target acquisition would be fast and accurate at a variety of distances. Just for good measure he tossed me a box of Hornady TAP ammo in case we needed to dish out some long distance judgment.

George was off just as quickly as he came. He was in operational mode so I expected nothing less. The last of the food stuffs and supplies were loaded and we mounted up. Christy jumped in the van with the kids I handed her a Glock 19 and 22 that I saved for her. “Put these in the crack of the passenger seat. Think of it like a holster. Make sure they are within arms reach. Make sure you stay on my tail but if we get separated I will meet you at the turn off for Heber. Don’t let anyone stop you. Just remember I’m blazing the trail and you ride my wake. Got it?”

“Yes, I’m not dumb”, she shouted in frustration.

“I wasn’t saying you were. We just need to start out with an understanding. That way  you know what to expect of me and I know you’ll be where I expect you to be if something goes wrong. I don’t want you in the line of fire.”

“I know I’m just freaking out a little”.

“Yeah, but we don’t have time for that so let’s mount up and make it to the mountains.”

I jogged over to the suburban, got my gear situated so I had the 1911 and one of the G22’s and mags within reach, both shotguns loaded , and the 18″ Broadsword and the Guardian loaded and on safe. I was prepared as I could be for the moment. My tac vest felt awkward sitting behind the wheel with the front and rear ceramic plates in. That didn’t matter now so I was about to get use to it really fast. I put the suburban in reverse. In the rear view mirror I could see a couple of our neighbors shambling around with milky colored eyes. They had turned. I hit the gas. The suburban slammed into them as I cranked around into the street. Their heads busted like watermelons against the back of the vehicle and bloody slime trickled down the rear window.

“I think we went to church with them. I don’t want to think about what happened to their kids.” I picked up my cell and called Christy.

The line connected and I heard, “is now really the time?”

“Yes, plug it into the car charger and put it on speaker. This way we’ll have some hands free communication. To make things short I’m just calling them Zeds, okay?” I still had the Bluetooth in so I plugged the phone into the car charger and put it in the cup holder to keep it from flying all over the truck.

“Done.”

“Good. Just keep the line open.” We went up a little rise and past the city cemetery. I found that a little ironic. Cars were speeding in every direction. Looters were breaking into houses and parked cars then running down the street with their arms full of stuff. Waiting for a chance to move through the intersection a teenager with a metal bat started toward my window. I grabbed the 1911 and leveled it at him. The enormous forty five caliber hole made him freeze and drop the bat. The poor kid ran away as urine drenched his pant leg and the pavement with each step.

We passed a car that had hit a pole. Looked like the poor sap turned while trying to drive home. I noticed on our way by that he still had his shirt and tie on but it was stained with blood. Maybe his family will have a chance since he didn’t make it home. He just sat there squirming against his seat belt and I was inclined to leave him that way.

There were about twenty Zeds in every direction wandering around or attacking some unsuspecting bystander. Faces pale, eyes dead fish white, blood everywhere. From the blood on their faces it wasn’t all their own blood. I really wanted to stop and help people but I knew if I stopped for every pretty girl or unarmed jock getting eaten I’d be out of ammo before I got out of town. It tore at me to watch people suffer and yet do nothing about it. I saw the absolute horror and pain on their faces as they were ripped apart and eaten alive. Little girls screamed while Zombies had their heads buried ear deep in their stomach cavities. Full grown men cried out for their mothers and clawed at the ground to get away while three and four Zeds at a time feasted on the flesh of their backs and breaking off bones to get closer to vial organs. others trying to get away fell to their knees vomiting at the sight of what they were escaping. These were city people. Soft and sensitive. That did all their shopping at local stores and never payed attention to how their meat gets to them. Even hunting couldn’t have prepared them for this kind of carnage, though. This was more than just cruel rage and destruction of a gang banger. This was a nightmare straight from Hell the likes no one had ever seen.

My family has to be taken to safety. That was my first mission. I had to get them out of here before I could do anything else. After they are safely in the mountains no more watching this happen.  I silently vowed, once they were safe, to be a plague on the undead.

Chapter 1, part 4

Another car drifted off to the side and smacked into a house. It must be another one on his way home from the airport. A Zed clamberer up to a young couple’s car at a stop light. Why they got out screaming and ran I’ll never know. The Zed gave chase with surprising speed. I clipped the parked car smashing the zombie between their car and mine. Blood splattered everywhere and left a greasy streak across the car. The zed’s body was crushed and yet it kept dragging itself across the pavement, driven by it’s hunger, leaving a slimy trail behind it like a slug. If only we could throw salt on it to kill it. There was another ten miles until we hit the mouth of the canyon and I had the feeling I was going to bash my vehicle up some more to get there.

You could see the outbreak spreading. Every block there were more Zombies than the last. Every time someone tripped or was tackled by a zed, five or six would pile on them to feast. The screams of the dying pierced the air like lightning as mouthful size bites were taken out of them. I could hear my children scream in terror over the cell phone. I had to get them away from this. These are the things that scar adults for life, much less kids.

A twenty something young woman started running through the crosswalk in front of us. Even in the midst of all of this people still took the time to use the crosswalks. It just shows how programed people are. There was only about 30 yards between us. A Zombie was right on her heals. She tripped trying to run in heals and went down in the other lane. The Zed was on her like a fat kid on a cupcake. She was wailing for help. Fear and desperation filled her eyes. She looked up and I swear she looked me right in the eye. She was gorgeous. Long red wavy hair, pale complexion, glowing green eyes that a man could get lost in. She was something right out of a slow motion dream and for a brief moment she was just that. I shook  myself out of it just as the Zed tore into her abdomen, spreading it wide open, spraying blood all over her face. She scrambled to grasp hold of something that wasn’t there in the attempt to escape. I did the only thing I could. I swerved. It killed me inside but I swerved. The only thing I could do to help her was to end her pain. I felt her head as it crushed against the bumper of the Suburban. Part of me died inside but I kept telling myself that it was a blessing for her to not turn. This quick death was better than taking other lives as one of the undead. It didn’t help much. She was dead and I’m the one that killed her.

Chapter 1, part 5

I did what I could for others along the way by side swiping the zeds chasing them. In the back of my mind I wished I could be out with George and my other friends on the hunt but he had something I didn’t. He had his family in a safe place. My focus, my mission, was to get my family out of this zombie infested valley of death. There would be plenty of time to search for survivors later. For now I had to provide a Zed free wake for my family to travel in.

It took us an hour to close in on the canyon but it was finally in sight. My ugly suburban was now coated in sludgy gray zombie gore. I heard every scream my kids made through the phone. I thought about telling them to keep it down but in this living horror movie it just wasn’t going to happen.

“Are you still back there?” I didn’t have time to be checking the rear view mirror all the time. I just had to know they were still close.

“I’m about fifty yards behind you.” My poor bride sounded terrified.

“Stop where you’re at unless you have Zombies trying to get in the van. Some gang bangers have the road blocked.”

“What are you going to do?” Her voice was shaky. The last hour had taken it’s toll and now I was having her keep back where she couldn’t see me. She wasn’t liking this at all.

“Better you don’t know”. I took a peek through the six power ACOG. These morons had pulled their cars sideways to block most of the road. It looked like they were armed with KelTec carbines and an SKS. They had some elderly man on his knees execution style, while they took everything he had out of his car. The old guy wasn’t going to survive this one. He must have gotten mouthy because he got a muzzle strike to the back of the head.

“What do you mean it’s better that I don’t know?”

“Shut it for a minute…sorry, concentrating and need you silent.” I was making a plan and didn’t need other questions. “One, two, three, four…”

“Four what?”

“Gang Bangers. They’re about to kill an old man. Not today.” I took the Bluetooth out of my ear and set it on the dash. Then got the scoped Longbow and a gray wool blanket from behind my seat to better deal with the situation. Looking through the ten power scope I could see that they had surplus Load Bearing Vests on with a couple extra mags. Underneath was only bare skin, Rambo style, so there would be nothing to stop what was coming their way. I always thought they should make it open season on gangs and today it was going to be just that.

I knew the BattleComp on the end of the rifle would keep me on target so I dropped into a prone position in the left lane the exit ramp. It left me a little more exposed but they wouldn’t see any dust clouds from the muzzle blast. I stayed slightly rear of the Suburban to deflect the sound of the rifle. Now they would probably think the rounds were coming from my vehicle and direct any return fire away from me. I brought the rifle to my shoulder and spread wool blanked over me so only the brim of my had and the rifle barrel was visible. I quickly surveyed the situation through the scope. Two with their backs to me taunting the old man verbally. One brandishing a rifle in the man’s face. That one made himself the clear leader as he yelled at the other two for getting a little too out of control. A fourth one was actually standing watch for other cars or dangers. I was still too far off and he took no notice of me or my vehicle. Not the sharpest tool in the shed. I had my fire plan in a split second. The first jackhole to die was the guard. I brought him into view. They were all about 600 yards away so this was an easy shot for this rifle.

My concentration was such that I didn’t even hear the rifle. I just felt the recoil of the 7.62mm round slam the stock into my shoulder. The guard doubled over like he was hit in the chest by a cinder block. The Hornady TAP rounds exploded out his back sending red spray all over the pavement. A quick adjustment and I was on the leader. I put a 168 grain Hornady round through his nasal cavity and the banger was down like he was never born. The rifle hit the ground and came to a rest right in front of the old man.

The other gangsters looked around, saw the suburban and started spraying bullets in that  direction. It looked like something out of a modern gangster movie the way they held the carbines almost over their heads, aiming at nothing and yelling in feigned intimidation.

“Worthless bastards”, I whispered to myself.

Amidst a few close bullet strikes I adjusted my point of aim to the next douche wad. Only his head and shoulders were visible above the cab of the old man’s car.

BOOM!

The round smacked him in the throat. His head flopped like a wet rag as he fell. Adjusting for the next shot I could see the last guy giving me a few parting shots as he turned to run so I fired again catching him in the lower back, smashing his spine. There must have been another gang banger in one of their vehicles because out of no where another, much bigger, dude grabbed the old man around the neck like he was taking him hostage. I waited for a good shot as the thug backed away dragging the old man. The rifle spoke with authority. The old man’s head recoiled to the side as it was covered in pink mist and chunks of thug brain. He picked up the thug’s SKS and fired a quick double tap into the one I shot in the back then lowered it in one hand like he knew what he was doing. I put the scoped rifle back in the case, grabbed my Guardian rifle, and hooked it on the single point sling on my kit. I drove closer to the barricade and stopped about 50 yards away. I got out and made my way over to the old man in low ready just in case there were more that I didn’t know about.

As I got within ear shot of him he yelled over to me, “Good sniping, son”. He had a World War two veteran’s hat on with a Master Sergeant chevron on the front.

“Yes sir, master sarge”.

“Come on, boy that was a few life times ago”.

“Old habits die hard, sir”.

“Indeed.”

“Let’s get these cars out of the way and get out of here.” There were no keys inside so I put each in neutral and started pushing them off the road and over the edge of the slope.

“Where you headed sir?”

“Wyoming”.

“We’re headed to Colorado. Would you like to stay with us until we turn off?”

“Us?”

Crap, I realized I didn’t have the Bluetooth in and ran over to the suburban and put it in my ear. “Christy, you there?”

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