Willet, a novel.
Here is the first part of the novel I’m writing. It’s just something I’ve been working on and thought I’d use this forum to share it. I’m using this story to convey some of the skills and tricks I’ve learned for urban survival. I can’t promise I’ll post the next part every week because there are 72 Hour Bag topics I still need to cover but I will continue to serialize my novel and let this audience read it first.
Here you go, have fun…
Chapter 1 Part 1
You never really understand the stench from the books or the movies on the mythology of Zombies. I wasn’t in the military so I was never in combat and never experienced what rotting corpses smelled like… until now. It’s a stench so raw, so pungent, that it triggers a gag reflex deep in your gut. There were rumors of alternative non-lethal weapons to disarm mobs and protesters with the acrid bitter smell of rotting flesh, this must’ve been where they got their samples from.
Right now I lay in a loft flat on my back; yesterday while ending the miserable existence of a Zombie I twisted the wrong way to plunge my tomahawk in his skull and felt my L5 go pop again. Before the world went to shit I had been in a forklift accident when I was 17 working in a warehouse and ever since then if I turned the wrong way I’d be on my back for at least a week. In the past taking a week to recover would’ve been okay. But now, it could be a death sentence. The timing is bad, August in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.
The years leading up to the crash we were experiencing increased temperatures. The thermometer outside the window says 105 but it’s in the shade, inside must be even hotter and even though there’s some airflow 105 is pretty fucking stale.
I’m not going to risk getting down out of this loft. I can see a couple moaners down below just circling. Funny, in years past having a couple of moaners meant you were in for a good night with a couple of ladies who knew how to party. I have named them moaners, unlike in the TV shows where they are called ‘zombies’, ‘walkers’ and whatever, simply because they never shut the fuck up. This party though would be one I’d take a raincheck for.
I’ve got about 1.8 liters in my hydration pack and some food, but it ain’t gonna last me a week so my back better get better quick. What I wouldn’t give for some muscle relaxers and a hydrocodone. Advil will have to do for now.
The window faces East so in the morning when the light is streaming in I hide and try not to get too hot. As the sun moves through the sky I lay with my head almost dangling out the window to get fresh air; man it’s fucking hot. I’ve stripped down to just my underwear but laying on the plywood of this unfinished loft is beginning to rub my skin raw. What’s worse? Melting from the heat and coming close to heat exhaustion, the pain from trying to even move with my back fucked up, or the raw flesh that’s on the plywood?
I keep running through my mind what led up to this mess. People always thought there’d be one single event that would end the world, but as with all tragedies it’s a series of small razor cuts that will do you in. Strike one was China launching a series of cyber attacks on companies and government agencies which created mayhem then they dumped the dollar which led to the stock market crash.
Strike two was soon to follow, the US being in a compromised position in the world opened the door for the North Koreans to launch their weapon. The US and UN thought the North Koreans were trying to make a nuclear weapon and reported they were at least 10 years from completion, but in fact they weren’t trying to create a nuclear bomb after all. That was a cover story. What they were trying to accomplish was to create a deliverable weapon capable of generating an EMP to knock out our electronics. They knew the next war wouldn’t be won by bullets or bombs. Ultimately it would be won by economics and they had to figure out a way of destroying our financial infrastructure. If they could send an EMP through the major hubs of power grids and internet there would be a cascading series of dominos which would send us back to the early 1800’s. We suspected they might have a missile but not more than one. As it turned out they were able to hit several major metropolitan areas simultaneously. I personally don’t believe it was just North Korea, I think Iran had to have been working hand in hand with the North Koreans. There’s just no way North Korea could’ve had a missile capable of striking New York. But if the two were working together then they could have coordinated a simultaneous attack. They hit New York, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Los angeles, Denver as well as some other cities.
At this point the market had crashed sending the US into depression, then the North Koreans wiped out our electrical grid and along with it every electronic device where someone hadn’t had the forethought to put it in a faraday cage… which there weren’t many. So every car, computer or radio built since 1975 was kaput. In turn this meant some Military Medical facilities lost power. They of course had generator back up, but those didn’t work because their electronics were fried along with everything else. This was the thing that put the nail in the coffin.
Here’s strike three:
Without power to the facilities the security measures collapsed and then the virus was released. Of course this is all conjecture, I mean no one can know for sure, but the rumor is that the military was trying to engineer a super virus: blending Mad Cow Disease with Rabies. Unfortunately, someone somehow was in the wrong place at the wrong time, became patient zero and now we have a bunch of Zombies roaming the planet instead of healthy people.
It didn’t take long for the virus to spread. I think it originated somewhere in a lab in Colorado, but that’s hearsay – it coulda been anywhere. But once the transmission started it was furious. It’s funny, the movies and the books got so much correct. The only way to really kill a Zombie is to end the signals from the brain. Beheading, bullet, tomahawk through the skull, so on so forth, pick which ever method you like best. It doesn’t really matter what the delivery method is, you just have to figure out what’s best for you. Your personality, body type and any skills you may have had before things went to shit. I met one guy who liked to use a hard rake. I couldn’t do it well, but he was like a fucking ninja with that thing until one day they got a little too close. Then it was over.
The other thing they got right was the moaning. The incessant moaning, all the time. At least it’s an early warning sign, a lot of times you can hear them coming. But like now up here in this loft I’m going bonkers. I have ear plugs to try to sleep but the pair I have are just the cheap yellow disposable ones and I’ve had them for about a month now and they’re pretty haggard – on the list of items to get are more ear plugs. Another correct fact, they do walk slower. I think probably because of the stiffness in their joints and possible pain, although I haven’t asked one if they’re in pain.
The thing they got wrong is the rising from the dead. They’re not dead. I don’t know if they’re really alive, but they don’t rise from the dead, so I don’t think they’re technically dead. But when you split their skull in two their brains are almost liquid and I’m sure that means they aren’t really alive. If you get bitten, you catch the virus, the same way rabies is transferred. Then you slowly spiral downward and you go into a frothy mouth watering psychotic state where you begin to crave red blooded human flesh. Although your brain turns to mush it still sends impulses to feed off the human flesh.
Rolling on my side I see the two Zombies bumping into the unfinished railings and the piles of debris from the remodel which must’ve been abandoned when the crash happened. Fuck, my back hurts. Quietly, pulling my pack closer to me, I dig into my med kit and pull out the ibuprofen bottle. One pill rattled in the bottle as I shook it. I usually go by the adage two is one and one is none, but in this case one is better than none. I pop it in my mouth and took a long pull off my hydration bladder. It’s down to less than a half liter and that won’t last tomorrow much less through the night. I have to get out of this loft, find some water and get moving. Rolling onto my knees and trying to stretch my lower back by pulling my chest down to my knees. It always feels better when I can stretch out the muscles in my lower back and get the vertebra to begin to move again. Pulling more I feel a pop as my back gives a little releasing some tension.
“Ah, that’s better.” Sitting back up is a double edged sword. Slowly raising my head I began to exhale and open my eyes.
A hand slams on the plywood floor of the unfinished loft from below. That fucker figured out how to balance on the wheelbarrow. It had been on its side, I would’ve never thought it would have had the coordination to stand on it, balance and then reach the loft, but it is. I had pulled up the ladder when I climbed up here two days ago. When I finished that task the pain was so bad I passed out for a couple of hours. My tomahawk was by the window, of course on the other side of that ladder. This is gonna suck I thought. I dive for it, landing half on the ladder with my torso on the floor and my hips on the edge of the ladder.