"Shadow of the Dead" my zombie apocalypse story

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CHAPTER 1 ; WORMWOOD

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon a third of the rivers, and upon the springs of water; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and a third of the waters became Bitter; and many people had died of the waters, because they were made bitter." -Rev 8:10-11

I don't know why I'm writing this journal. Chances are I'm the only person who is going to read it. Perhaps someone will find it if I die and can use my experiences to further their own survival. Or perhaps I'm merely writing it as an outlet for my jumbled thoughts. All I know is I am alone and the past week has filled me with dread and despair like I have never experienced in my life.

The date is 16 October.

I'll start from the beginning and say all I know so far in this is found and for myself I suppose. Roughly a three months ago the news reported that scientists had discovered an asteroid that was near Mars and that it was on a trajectory that would bring it very close to the planet and that there was a possibility it could impact Earth. They said that worse case scenario it was big enough to damage a large city, but not large enough to be what they considered a "planet killer".

The asteroid indeed did impact the planet one week ago on 9 October. As it entered much of it's surface burned off and the rest fragmented into several pieces, hitting various parts of the western United States and even one smaller chunk impacted Vancouver, destroying nearly three city blocks. The vast bulk of the asteroid landed in the Pacific Ocean. A number of fragments hit California, Nevada, Arizona, and my home state of Utah. And Utah is where the horror began.

The residue of the asteroid burning on atmospheric entry and the fallout of the impact has left a thick blanket of dust and other particles in the air, turning the sky various shades of amber and orange during midday. In the earlier and later parts of the day when the sun is not so bright the sky is blood red as has been the moon at night. The red moon disturbs me greatly, as I'm sure it would anyone who has read the Book of Revelations.

"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." - Rev 6:12

The impact sites were examined by scientists and the areas evacuated by FEMA and the National Guard. It was discovered by the scientists that the asteroid had contained an unknown radioactive mineral or ore. The radioactive fallout from each site range from as severe as a small leak at a nuclear power plant, such as the chunk that hit the Vegas strip, to roughly the amount produced in the Hiroshima or Nagasaki blasts for the largest impact site. That impact site was here in Utah and hit a military facility called Dugway Proving Grounds.

Dugway is located in the Great Salt Lake Desert in western Tooele County, just south of Interstate 80. I live approximately 120 miles South East of the impact site and so far the winds have been blowing most of the radioactive fallout north west. Still I sealed off all my doors, windows, and anywhere else that could be exposed to contaminated air, just as the official from FEMA had instructed us to on the news.

Back to Dugway. The facility was started by the US Army to test biological and chemical agents. In it's history it has been a key part of the development of chemical sprays, flamethrowers, protective suits for chemical/biological/and radiological warfare, and even firebombing techniques and devices used in World War Two. There is also a large stockpile of various chemical and biological agents that is kept there for testing and evaluation, including nasty shit like VX nerve toxin, Anthrax, Ebola, and many others the I don't know the name of. I know all this because both my father and grandfather were stationed there while serving in the military. That is how our family first came to Utah in the 1950's when my grandfather was transferred here.

The day after the impact is where most of the news came from. From what could be gathered a team of government scientists were taken to the site to examine the damage and determine the possible threat that the impact could have on the area seeing as how it was certainly a large enough impact to destroy most of the facility and possibly expose the area to some or all of the different substances stored there.

An area roughly the size of Rhode Island was cordoned off by the military, including the stretch of I-80 nearest to the base. An additional 25 mile "contamination threat buffer zone" was established and anyone in that area required protective environmental suits and gas masks to protect them from residual radiation from the dust and debris kicked up.

The second day the news reports were much more sparse on the impact site and geared more towards what citizens should be doing to protect themselves and their families until more information could be gathered. Things such as buying canned foods, bottled water, first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights, emergency radios, thick plastic sheets and duct tape to seal of people's houses, anything like that. The panic started almost instantly. Stores became mob scenes as people scrambled to get their supplies. There were riots and looting and even a few murders over things like canned soup and toilet paper.

Many decided to pack up their families and head east away from the insanity. Others, like me, holed up in their houses and waited for it to all die down. I was one of the fortunate ones who had a large food supply and emergency water, enough to last me a few months. My friends all thought I was paranoid, but my parents brought me up to be prepared for anything. Being a military brat will do that to you.

I had always planned on going into the military like my dad and his dad before him, but an accident in high school left my right knee injured and I wouldn't have been able to pass most of the physical requirements of boot camp. So I wound up going to college and got a business degree and wound up using one of my passions in life to make some money. I opened up a motorcycle dealership in Utah County catering to British and Italian motorcycles like Triumph and Ducati.

It's allowed me to live quite comfortably and to feed my other hobbies, such as my firearms collection, and to build a decently sized home complete with a large garage for my vehicles and an 8 foot tall rock wall surrounding my property. I bought the land and built the house shortly after I got married, hoping to have a large family with my wife. Unfortunately with my busy work schedule we didn't get to spend much time together and that put a serious strain on our relationship. I came home one evening to find her loading her bags into her car. She never said a word or even looked at me. She simply got into her car and left. I never saw her after that and the only communication I received from her was when she mailed the divorce papers. It's just me and my greyhound Athena all alone here now. That was a year ago.

The day the asteroid stuck I closed up shop early and haven't been back there since. I've been worried about exposure and haven't left the house. It's not worth possibly getting sick or worse just to check to see if my shop has been looted. Besides, that's what insurance is for. I've been spending most of the past week just trying to not be bored. I've checked my food and water supplies to make sure everything is fresh or still withing it's expiration period. A lot of what I have are sealed military MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) that I bought when I started my food storage. The rest is mostly canned or dehydrated foods that I keep in a rotating supply, eating the oldest stuff before it expires and replacing it with new stock when my local grocer has it's regular case lot sales or buying in bulk at the big warehouse stores. I also have several blue plastic 55 gallon drums filled with fresh water. If I really had to stretch it out, eating only the bare minimum, I probably have enough food to feed myself for a little over 6 months. I even have a diesel generator in a shed behind my garage just in case.

Other things I've been doing to pass the time are listen to music, watch movies, catch up on any news updates, and play with Athena. She's taking being locked up in this house as well as I am. I have a large section of basement that is unfinished and fairly wide open. It was going to be an in-home movie theater and game room, but with work keeping me busy and going through the divorce I just never got around to it. I did have a pinball machine, one of those big game hunting arcade games, and a digital jukebox that looked like an old fashioned bubbler jukebox with the neon lights. The only real difference between it and the old style jukes is that instead of having a window into where the turntable and records would be it has a large LCD screen to display the music library.

Athena and I spend a lot of time in here, listening to music while I throw her favorite ball for her. The room gives her enough space to run around when she needs to. I adopted her from a group who rescues former racing greyhounds. She is a unique brindle color being mostly grey with a little black and tan striping. She's very gentle and actually quite laid back. I thought she would be much more high strung being a former racing dog, but apparently the opposite is true. They spend a lot of time resting to store up energy for when they do need to run. Her company has been priceless to me.

On the other side of the basement is my gun room. The room has no windows and is lined with cinder blocks filled with concrete and rebar reinforcement. The door to the room is a custom vault door with a high tensile steel door frame that extends into the wall and foundation. Inside the room is like an old hunting lodge with hard wood floors, walls with built in book shelves and gun racks with glass doors, a bench with my reloading supplies, and my stockpile of ammunition in various calibers, mostly 5.56mm, .308, and .45 ACP for my semiautomatic weapons because they are the ones I shoot most. I have a few hunting weapons, shotguns, and a collection of Smith and Wesson magnum revolvers, but I've always been drawn to military style rifles ever since my dad started teaching me how to shoot. I've been hooked ever since even going as far as taking several handgun and rifle courses for self defense and practicing regularly. In fact I had just gotten home from Las Vegas taking my most recent course two days before the asteroid hit. Lucky it didn't hit three days earlier when I was on the Strip where one of the fragments hit. From what the news said several hundred people on the street were killed or injured and thousands more had to be quarantined for radiation exposure and decontaminated. Most of the city was evacuated.

On the third day there was a total news black out, at least on television. The phone lines were also quite busy and I couldn't get through to my dad in Florida. I haven't talked to him since before my trip to Vegas and I knew he would want to know if I was alright or not. We normally talk to each other twice a week since he retired to Miami when my mom died. I went to my office to see if the internet was still up and running. I figured it would be since it was fiber optic and not on the regular telephone lines. Sure enough it was, although it was running at a much slower speed. I sent my dad an email assuring him that I was fine and that none of the particles had made it my way, except for the orange haze that was blanketing the sky. The last news broadcast I saw said that there would be no danger to the areas of Salt Lake and Utah Counties. Still, Athena and I stayed inside most of the time, except when I let her out to go to the bathroom.

While on the internet I checked some of the web forums that I frequent, usually catering to firearms or motorcycle enthusiasts. This is where the first bit of real news came from. There was a link to media upload website and it contained a clip from one of the local news stations who were covering the operation going on at the Dugway crater. They were forbidden to air it, but the reporter at the beginning of the video said that she could not in good conscience keep the truth from the people. Apparently the group of government scientists investigating the Dugway crater had an accident and some of them were exposed to the radiation and Lord knows what else that exists there. From what was gathered the exposed men became very ill quite rapidly. They had to be contained as they were showing signs of severe illness or exposure to nerve agents, as well as signs of radiation exposure.

The video changed from the reporter in what looked like an editing room to an exterior shot either very early in the morning or right around twilight as there was little light in the sky and the whole area was illuminated by floodlights. A doctor from the Center for Disease Control was giving an interview saying that those involved in the accident and subsequent exposure had gone unconscious shortly after and were going to be transported to a secure facility for treatment. Watching the video I could see that the group of reporters and government officials were standing on a highway that I recognizes as I-80. There were several military vehicles, trailers, RVs, news vans, and other mobile structures set up along the highway as well as a roadblock along the road surface itself with several armed soldiers in protective gear standing guard. At that time a group of soldiers came up to the group of news people, one of them bending his head down to remove the hooded gas mask he wore. As he lifted his head up I had to do a double take. The man was Colonel Lewis Bradford, a good friend of my father's when he was still in the military. I hadn't seen him since my dad's retirement party two years ago.

There were many voices coming from the crowd of news reporters wanting to ask just what the hell is going on. Colonel Bradford raised his hand to try to silence the crowd so he could make a statement. He looked very tired and weary and he wiped sweat from his broad forehead as he began to speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen if you'll give me a moment please. The area behind us is still highly dangerous and we aren't sure when it will be safe again. We have had a team of specialists from the CDC and military investigating the area for the past two days to try to determine what the danger level is, how much radiation was emitted by the asteroid fragment that hit Dugway, and how much, if any, chemical or biological agents have been exposed. As Doctor Erickson has stated there has been an incident and some of the group has been exposed to the radiation and possibly some biological or chemical compound and need treatment. At this time we would like you all to please clear the highway so that our people may take the exposed to a secure facility. As soon as their convoy passes you may come back to your positions and we will be more prepared to answer any questions you may have. Thank you all for your cooperation."

As he stepped away from the group I was surprised that there wasn't more questioning coming from the group of reporters. They all started to clear the road and set up on either side of the interstate appearing to get ready to get footage of the trucks as they passed by. The video image shook for a few moments as the cameraman holding it took his new position on the side of the road. He then turned to face west down the highway to get his shot. About 60 seconds after he repositioned the convoy came into view. The trucks, mostly tan HMMWVs (Humvees) along with a five ton transport truck and what looked like a large bus or RV with military markings and a red cross on the side signifying that it was a medical transport of some type, came barreling down the road at a rather high rate of speed.

The convoy was almost to the crowd of people when suddenly the medical RV jerked it's tires and flipped over on it's side, sliding rapidly toward the shocked group of people. Sparks flew everywhere as the RV continued sliding on it's side and finally barreled into the group of people on the south side of the highway. The image shook violently, apparently the cameraman was running to avoid getting hit as well. The reporter with him could be heard screaming at him to "move his ass". The image stabilized and panned over to the wrecked RV.

It was horrific. The RV had come to a stop in the dirt. There were people screaming and crying, one man was laying on the ground screaming. His legs were mangled and torn up, one of them very nearly ripped totally out of his hip. His face was pale and blood was pouring out of his pelvic area and thighs. He gave one last weak sob and moved no more. I was in total shock at what I was seeing. I tried to turn away but couldn't. A part of me felt sick and guilty for staring at these people's suffering. But the most shocking images were yet to come.

The camera moved around to the front of the RV. The windshield was covered in bright red blood and a man's left arm and shoulder could be seen just past the dashboard. As the camera moved for a straight look down the length of the vehicle, through the gore smeared windshield, movement towards the rear of the RV could be seen. It appeared that there were four people trying to get to their feet. One of them got shakily to his feet. It was hard to make out though all the gore staining the glass, but he appeared to have several lacerations and his right arm was cocked at a very odd angle. Probably broken. The man turned and moved towards the camera. As he got closer the extent of his wounds could more clearly be seen. He did indeed have several deep lacerations all over his body, including one deep into his neck and his right arm was just hanging by a small strip of flesh at the elbow. How he was still alive and moving after such a bad crash and severe physical trauma was beyond me.

As he got to the cab of the RV he looked around as if looking for something he had lost. He then bent over and came back up with something in his left hand. He then moved unsteadily to the windshield and started pounding at it with the object in his hand. The glass started to spiderweb and finally he was able to push it out and onto the asphalt. He dropped the object and stumbled out of the vehicle and fell onto the road right in front of the cameraman's feet. The view panned up and over towards a group of soldiers. The cameraman could be heard yelling at them, "Hey! This guy's alive! He's hurt! Hurry, he needs help!"

The soldiers started running towards them and the view then panned down to the injured man. Just as the image settled the injured man reached for help towards the cameraman. "Don't worry bro, the army guys are coming to help" he said to the injured man. The man on the ground responded with a gurgling moan. It looked like the poor bastard couldn't talk with that gash in his neck. He grabbed the cameraman's leg and started pulling. "Hey man! Let go of me! I told you they're coming to help! Just be cool."

The injured man pulled himself towards the camera man. He lifted his head up and looked into the camera. His eyes had a crazed, hungered look to them. It chilled me for a moment. He must be suffering a head injury as well, or perhaps it was a symptom of whatever he was exposed to. He pulled even harder at the cameraman's leg. "Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?" No sooner had those words been spoken when the injured man lunged forward and bit right into the cameraman's ankle.

Blood gushed around the injured man's mouth and the screams of the cameraman burst out of my speakers. The cameraman collapsed to the ground, the camera tipping sideways until it settled on the pavement. The image sent slightly shaky and pixelated from the impact. The cameraman was screaming and kicking at his attacker until the flesh on his ankle gave way and he was able to scramble back away from the man on the ground. It looked like he was actually chewing on the mouthful of cameraman. I felt sick to my stomach and almost vomited on the screen. What in the blue Hell was wrong with this man.

The cameraman could be heard off screen screaming and sobbing. The reporter with him could also be heard trying to comfort him. "Just get to the van and get the first aid kit" she said. "I'll get the camera." The image moved again as the reporter hoisted the camera up on to her shoulder. She backed away keeping the camera trained on the man feasting on a chunk of her coworker's leg.

The image panned up a little as the other three people, two men and a woman, tried to exit the turned over RV. "Be careful! Don't get too close to him, he's crazy or something." The others didn't seem to hear or care. They just looked at her with that same crazed stare the other one had. The soldiers came up and asked the reporter to go back with her colleague. One of them followed her with a medical kit, presumably to bandage the cameraman. As the reporter turned the camera back on the soldier helping the wounded two of them lunged at the soldiers, ripping off their protective hoods and biting into their face and necks the third one, the woman, turned her attention on another cameraman nearby, rapidly walking toward him on uncoordinated legs. The cameraman tried to turn and run, but lost his balance and fell hard on his face, his heavy camera hitting him square on the back of his head. The crazed woman jumped on him, ripping off his shirt and biting into his back and neck.

The news reporter holding the camera was screaming in terror. Other soldiers cam running up to pull the two crazed men off their comrades. They too were attacked and bitten. The man on the ground had finished his mouthful of cameraman and shakily got back to his feet, joining his fellow crazies now feasting on the corpses of soldiers like a pack of wild animals.

What the fuck was I watching? I couldn't believe that this was happening. I was totally numb with shock. It was like some kind of horror movie, but much more graphic than any I had ever seen. I knew deep inside that it was real and it was only going to get worse. The soldier who was helping the bitten cameraman came running past the reporter with his pistol at the ready. He was issuing commands for the crazed assailants to stop their attack. They all lifted their faces towards him, almost in perfect unison, and slowly rose to their feet. In a shaky voice he ordered them to stay where they were or else he would open fire. They ignored his command and quickly moved towards him, not quite at a run, but faster than walking speed. They seemed very uncoordinated like their equilibrium was off. One of them stumbled and fell, but got back up and advanced again.

The soldier took a few steps back, then open fire on his attackers. The rounds all slammed home at center mass, spinning the attackers backwards and onto the ground. The soldier inserted a fresh magazine into his sidearm and advanced on the four crazies. The camera edged a little closer to them. You could see where the 9mm rounds had stuck their chests and abdomens. Thick, blackish blood slowly oozed from the wounds. The soldier backed away from the corpses, turned around and pulled out a two-way radio. "Bravo One Actual this is Bravo Two Zero. Medical transport vehicle has been wracked and scientists exposed mutant viral strain at Dugway crater escaped from vehicle. Viral agent has caused them to act violently and erratically. Need HAZMAT team to come assist. Over"

The voice of Colonel Bradford crackled over the radio. "Bravo Two Zero this is One Actual, Colonel Bradford speaking. Two Zero I need you two stay tight where you are and keep the area as secure as possible. Do not approach infected. Be prepared to used deadly force if needed, understand?"

"Two Zero understands. Sir, I did have to fire on the infected. All four are dead and they killed five men trying to help them. One killed a civilian and...and he fucking ate him sir! They fucking ate six people sir!" The soldier was obviously losing his cool. His face was pale. Tears were welling up in his eye. He was going into shock.

Bradford came back on. "Two Zero repeat your last."

"THEY FUCKING ATE SIX PEOPLE! They bit out their throats and ate them like fucking animals sir!"

"Calm down Two Zero! They're dead now. Just sit tight and we will be there shortly to relieve you."

The young soldier sniffled and lifted the radio again. "Two-Two Zero copies. P-please...please hurry sir." He turned and saw the camera was still trained on him. His face flushed with anger and embarrassment. "Get that fucking thing out of my face and get away from here!"

He turned his back to her and was tackled by two of the crazies, his sidearm flying away from his hand and into the darkness. He screamed in pain and in terror as they tore at his uniform and bit into any part of him they could expose. "NO! YOU'RE DEAD! I FUCKING SHOT YOU! I FUCKING SHOT YOU! AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

The camera spun back toward the news van. The reporter was running as fast as she could while still carrying the heavy camera. The video image shook back and forth as she ran. "Ryan! Ryan get in the van! We've got to get the hell out of here!" Ryan got up unevenly. He stumbled to the passenger door to the van and got in. The reporter got into the drivers seat and handed he camera back to Ryan the cameraman. She slammed the door and the sound of power door locks could be heard. She turned the key and the van roared to live. Grabbing the shift lever she threw the van into drive and rocketed off. Shortly there after the image ended and cut back to the reporter in the editing room.

"As you have seen an unknown infection has caused those people to become crazed and violent...even cannibalistic. Ryan, my cameraman, was taken to Intermountain Medical Center Hospital to treat his wounds. After being bitten he showed signs of confusion, agitation, other physical symptoms like nausea, sweating, and turning pale. Shortly after arriving at the ER he had to be restrained because he attacked and bit two nurses and a doctor. I was told to leave after that and came here to edit the video. Shortly before we were set to broadcast the video a group of military men came to the station and seized the edited copy, but neglected to take the original which is what I am uploading to this site. The truth must be known. God help us."

It ended there. I sat there in silence for a long time, possibly hours, just stunned at what I saw. When I slept that night it wasn't restful and it was filled with horrible dreams. Dreams of gnashing teeth and clawing hands. When I woke on the fourth day I checked both the media website and the internet forum that I found the link on. Both were down as were many other websites I tried.

Athena can tell that something is wrong with me. She keeps trying to get me to play ball with her in an effort to cheer me up. She is such a sweet, sensitive dog and it hurt me deeply that I could not bring myself to play with her. I fed her and then went back to bed. The rest of the day passed in a blur of restless sleep and horrible, waking dreams.

The fifth day I woke feeling s bit better, but not close to my usual self. I was able to play a little with Athena today, she deserves it, and got a few things done around the house. I went to turn on a movie and before I could switch it over from TV to Video I saw that the news was back on. I forgot about the movie and sat glued to the new news on the screen. There was footage of down town Salt Lake City as seen from a helicopter. It looked like a riot had broken out downtown. People were running every which-way, cars were wrecked in the middle of the road, there were police in body armor and holding ballistic shields, firing tear gas and rubber buckshot into the crowd. Others in the mob didn't look quite right. The way they moved freaked me out and reminded me of the video I saw on the net. The last shot was of several bodies on the ground with a small group of people bent over them.

The screen cut back to the reporter in the news room. His blue suit was rumpled and he looked tired and disheveled. "Avoid downtown at all cost! The mob is violent and has killed several people. The police are on site and are trying to control the situation. The national guard is on it's way to assist the poli-" the power went out. Great. Just fucking great.

I went outside to go start up the generator. Stepping out into the sunlight I looked up into the hazy orange sky. I miss the baby blue that it normally is. Athena went for a run around the yard while I went to start up the genny. Opening the door to the shed I walked in. I looked over the panel on the front of it and checked all the gauges. Everything was good so I turned the key and it sputtered into life. I checked the voltage output gauge and it read that it was putting out the maximum possible voltage. Satisfied I turned and exited.

I decided to check the gate to my driveway to see if anyone has tried to gain entrance. I saw no sign of tampering and went back to the house. I let Athena play outside for a while. I was feeling better about not being exposed to fallout, but now something else was bothering me. The news about the rioters and looters got me thinking about my own protection. I decided to go downstairs to my gun vault and bring up a few of my weapons.

I first retrieved my HK45 compact and leather belt holster. This is the gun I usually take with me to handgun courses and I carry it regularly as a concealed carry weapon. I also grabbed my AR15 carbine and my HK91. The carbine I built myself one weekend using new parts that looked like Vietnam era vintage parts. It had a 16" barrel, gut down triangular hand guards, a first generation style 2 position butt stock, and an early prototype "trigger" style charging knob under the carrying handle. I had other AR15s that were much more modern, but this one was light and handy and I liked it best.

The HK91 carried a 1.5-6x Elcan scope on it. I brought this up in case I needed something with a little more range or penetrating power. I had fitted it with the heavy buffer and clubfoot style stock off of an HK21 to make it a little more comfortable to shoot. Also fitted was an MSG90 trigger pack to make it more accurate and a paddle magazine release to facilitate in faster reloads. This was my favorite rifle as it was more robust, more reliable, and more potent than the AR. It was also heavier, longer, and recoiled harder due to the larger .308 rounds it uses.

Along with the rifles I brought up several loaded magazines for each, a load bearing vest to carry each type of magazine with me for easier reloads, and two ammunition boxes of each caliber in case I needed to reload empty magazines. Not that I needed all this, but it made me feel better just in case someone decided my house looked like a nice place to get some free stuff. Lastly, I grabbed a sound suppressor for each weapon. I had invested in them last year when I really got heavy into the various defense courses because my hearing was starting to get damaged. They were expensive and I had to fill out some paper work and pay the ATF a $200 tax on each one, but they have saved my hearing and allowed me to continue with my hobby.

I tried to watch the news again before bed that night. No such luck, it was static on every screen. Not even the emergency alert tone and colored bars like other times. The power must be off elsewhere as well. I took my flash light and went down stairs to kill my generator. Better to save it for when I need it. Besides, I don't want the sound attracting anyone to the house. I feel a low profile is going to be most prudent for a while. I did one last check on my gate and then went to bed.

Waking yesterday the first think I noticed was Athena at my bedroom window looking out and whining anxiously. Looking out my window I could see about four people walking past my house. They looked dazed and moved fairly slowly. Athena did not like the look of them and neither did I. I walked over to the side of my bed to retrieve my HK91 and a pair of binoculars from my nightstand. Looking at the people I saw that they all had various lacerations and what looked to be bite marks on their bodies. I was reminded of the uploaded news footage and shuddered.

I decided to step away from the window, as I became aware that they could see me if they looked up, and walked down stairs for breakfast. I did not want a confrontation or even bring attention to myself, letting them know someone was here. They were not trying to get in so I decided to leave them be. They were probably just trying to make their way home. I was subconsciously tiptoeing around my house and trying to make as little noise as possible. I didn't realize this for several hours and when I did I felt kind of foolish.

Breakfast consisted of eggs, fried potatoes, and thick cut peppered bacon with some berry flavored juice to wash it down with. I was never a fan of milk. Athena had her usual dry kibble and I let her lick my plate as a special treat. When she was done I took everything to the sink to wash it.

After breakfast I tried to read a book, the first of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, but I just couldn't get my mind off of those four people down on the street. The wounds and bite marks, the way they walked, all reminded me of what I saw three days ago and then again the other day with the rioters in Salt Lake. My mind began to play out various gruesome scenarios about spreading infection and mass attacks. Could this really be happening? How can it? This is the kind of stuff that only happens in movies and novels, right?

I had to get my mind off it. I didn't want to turn on the genny as those people could still be outside and I didn't want to gain their attention. I went to my storage room and retrieved my short wave radio and a pack of batteries. After installing the batteries and replacing the cover I extended the antenna and started slowly making my way though the different frequencies, trying to find a radio station. I was able to get AM860 where a man was speaking.

"...Just received word that the infection is spreading. Police and military forces have been unable to keep back the mass of infected as they are now swarming through the greater part of Salt Lake County. Hospitals and government run aid stations are filled to capacity with wounded. Citizens are warned to stay in their homes until further notice." He paused for a while, apparently listening to new information. "Oh my sweet Jesus! I have just been told that the infection causing these people to act out in violence, and even cannibalism, is actually reanimating the deceased! At first it was believed that the infected were entering a state of catatonia or other unconsciousness, but it has been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control that it is not in fact catatonia, but death itself. Shortly there after the infected are reanimated and begin attacking and even devouring those around it! I repeat, the recently infected are rising from the dead and feeding on the living! Uh...we'll, uh...Oh my God what do we do?"

There was nothing aired after that. I've been in a state of shock up until just this morning. Somehow I know it was real and it terrified me. Reanimated corpses, feeding on human flesh. Fucking zombies. I just woke up in a George Romero movie.

That brings me to now. I am sitting in my gun vault with Athena at my side. I will continue to update this journal as I go along. Right now though I am filled with despair and exhaustion. I haven't eaten since breakfast yesterday. I'm afraid to look out my windows, afraid of seeing more of them on the street. I refuse to go to the second or third level of the house as any of those windows is high enough to look over my rock wall. I know the wall will keep them out, but my mind still keeps being filled with the image of a sea of living death surrounding my house.

That's it for now. It's almost 1:00am. I've spent hours writing this and I am exhausted. I will write more tomorrow when I wake up. I hope I don't have anything "interesting" to add. I don't know if I want to wake up.
 

Cave

Eyes Without A Face
kiwifarms.net
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Dec 6, 2015
CHAPTER 1 ; WORMWOOD

"And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon a third of the rivers, and upon the springs of water; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and a third of the waters became Bitter; and many people had died of the waters, because they were made bitter." -Rev 8:10-11

Definitely like the quote. I think it fits the story quite well. I've never heard this passage before either, which is great, because using a cliched passage would do more to hinder your story than help it. I hope this becomes a running motif in the story. If you used a verse or passage for every chapter, that'd be really cool. Each one would highlight either something that was happening in that chapter or foreshadow something later. I figure you're already planning to do this, but I thought I'd bring it up just in case.

I don't know why I'm writing this journal. Chances are I'm the only person who is going to read it. Perhaps someone will find it if I die and can use my experiences to further their own survival. Or perhaps I'm merely writing it as an outlet for my jumbled thoughts. All I know is I am alone and the past week has filled me with dread and despair like I have never experienced in my life.

The date is 16 October.

What time period does this story take place in? Is it modern-day? Does it matter? If it doesn't, then feel free to not include it; but if it does matter, I'd bring it up some time. Time period adds context, especially if it takes place in a very familiar territory.

I'll start from the beginning and say all I know so far in this is found and for myself I suppose. Roughly a three months ago the news reported that scientists had discovered an asteroid that was near Mars and that it was on a trajectory that would bring it very close to the planet and that there was a possibility it could impact Earth. They said that worse case scenario it was big enough to damage a large city, but not large enough to be what they considered a "planet killer".

Any other details? How did people react? How did the news handle this? We know they mentioned it, but in what tone? How detailed did they do? What details did they not have? Did the government respond? These are important to mention as they establish how your world works. It tells the reader a little bit about the society the story takes place in. What the people in it value, how they act. It lets us relate and also understand the world more. I know it takes place in our world, but it's alternative history, so it's important to discuss public reaction.

The asteroid indeed did impact the planet one week ago on 9 October. As it entered much of it's surface burned off and the rest fragmented into several pieces, hitting various parts of the western United States and even one smaller chunk impacted Vancouver, destroying nearly three city blocks. The vast bulk of the asteroid landed in the Pacific Ocean. A number of fragments hit California, Nevada, Arizona, and my home state of Utah. And Utah is where the horror began.

The residue of the asteroid burning on atmospheric entry and the fallout of the impact has left a thick blanket of dust and other particles in the air, turning the sky various shades of amber and orange during midday. In the earlier and later parts of the day when the sun is not so bright the sky is blood red as has been the moon at night. The red moon disturbs me greatly, as I'm sure it would anyone who has read the Book of Revelations.

Go into more detail about the impacts. Public reaction is important. How did the news cover these events? How many died? What happened to survivors? We know your MC was in Utah, but what was he doing? Often, after a traumatic event, people remember distinctly what they were doing before hand. Was your MC talking to someone they love? I believe you mention something like this later, but it'd fit better here, I feel.

"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." - Rev 6:12

Another great verse! I'm aware of this one, I believe. It looks familiar enough. I haven't seen it used before, though, so nice!

The impact sites were examined by scientists and the areas evacuated by FEMA and the National Guard. It was discovered by the scientists that the asteroid had contained an unknown radioactive mineral or ore. The radioactive fallout from each site range from as severe as a small leak at a nuclear power plant, such as the chunk that hit the Vegas strip, to roughly the amount produced in the Hiroshima or Nagasaki blasts for the largest impact site. That impact site was here in Utah and hit a military facility called Dugway Proving Grounds.

Dugway is located in the Great Salt Lake Desert in western Tooele County, just south of Interstate 80. I live approximately 120 miles South East of the impact site and so far the winds have been blowing most of the radioactive fallout north west. Still I sealed off all my doors, windows, and anywhere else that could be exposed to contaminated air, just as the official from FEMA had instructed us to on the news.

Back to Dugway. The facility was started by the US Army to test biological and chemical agents. In it's history it has been a key part of the development of chemical sprays, flamethrowers, protective suits for chemical/biological/and radiological warfare, and even firebombing techniques and devices used in World War Two. There is also a large stockpile of various chemical and biological agents that is kept there for testing and evaluation, including nasty shit like VX nerve toxin, Anthrax, Ebola, and many others the I don't know the name of. I know all this because both my father and grandfather were stationed there while serving in the military. That is how our family first came to Utah in the 1950's when my grandfather was transferred here.

If you're going to mention the facility, I'd like if you added more of the finer details. Anything interesting about the building's architecture? Size? Does it look intimidating? Foreboding? Did it before the impact?

The day after the impact is where most of the news came from. From what could be gathered a team of government scientists were taken to the site to examine the damage and determine the possible threat that the impact could have on the area seeing as how it was certainly a large enough impact to destroy most of the facility and possibly expose the area to some or all of the different substances stored there.

An area roughly the size of Rhode Island was cordoned off by the military, including the stretch of I-80 nearest to the base. An additional 25 mile "contamination threat buffer zone" was established and anyone in that area required protective environmental suits and gas masks to protect them from residual radiation from the dust and debris kicked up.

More details. Did the news say anything else?

The second day the news reports were much more sparse on the impact site and geared more towards what citizens should be doing to protect themselves and their families until more information could be gathered. Things such as buying canned foods, bottled water, first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights, emergency radios, thick plastic sheets and duct tape to seal of people's houses, anything like that. The panic started almost instantly. Stores became mob scenes as people scrambled to get their supplies. There were riots and looting and even a few murders over things like canned soup and toilet paper.

Describe the riots in detail. Flesh them out. I'm sure there was footage of the riots. Create a scene. What was going through everyone's minds? Desperation? Facial expressions? Make us empathize or chastise these people.

Many decided to pack up their families and head east away from the insanity. Others, like me, holed up in their houses and waited for it to all die down. I was one of the fortunate ones who had a large food supply and emergency water, enough to last me a few months. My friends all thought I was paranoid, but my parents brought me up to be prepared for anything. Being a military brat will do that to you.

Why? What as your MC's motivation for staying? It's not enough to say that you just did. You must specify why. Or, at the very least, do so later. If you plan the latter, then it better be a big reveal or it'll just be pointless.

I had always planned on going into the military like my dad and his dad before him, but an accident in high school left my right knee injured and I wouldn't have been able to pass most of the physical requirements of boot camp. So I wound up going to college and got a business degree and wound up using one of my passions in life to make some money. I opened up a motorcycle dealership in Utah County catering to British and Italian motorcycles like Triumph and Ducati.

What was the accident? Mention it later or now. If it's the former, make sure there's a good reason for waiting. It's lazy to leave out details like this. Is there any reason your MC chose to open a motorcycle dealership? Are motorcycles important to your character? Flesh out your MC. Make us like him, care about him and--most importantly--understand him. If we don't understand or care about your character, then you might as well throw out this story.

It's allowed me to live quite comfortably and to feed my other hobbies, such as my firearms collection, and to build a decently sized home complete with a large garage for my vehicles and an 8 foot tall rock wall surrounding my property. I bought the land and built the house shortly after I got married, hoping to have a large family with my wife. Unfortunately with my busy work schedule we didn't get to spend much time together and that put a serious strain on our relationship. I came home one evening to find her loading her bags into her car. She never said a word or even looked at me. She simply got into her car and left. I never saw her after that and the only communication I received from her was when she mailed the divorce papers. It's just me and my greyhound Athena all alone here now. That was a year ago.

Don't gloss over the divorce. Go into detail. How did it make your MC feel? How does it make him feel now? Is he over it? Is he happier? Does he regret driving her away? This is a great chance to humanize your MC.

The day the asteroid stuck I closed up shop early and haven't been back there since. I've been worried about exposure and haven't left the house. It's not worth possibly getting sick or worse just to check to see if my shop has been looted. Besides, that's what insurance is for. I've been spending most of the past week just trying to not be bored. I've checked my food and water supplies to make sure everything is fresh or still withing it's expiration period. A lot of what I have are sealed military MREs (Meal, Ready to Eat) that I bought when I started my food storage. The rest is mostly canned or dehydrated foods that I keep in a rotating supply, eating the oldest stuff before it expires and replacing it with new stock when my local grocer has it's regular case lot sales or buying in bulk at the big warehouse stores. I also have several blue plastic 55 gallon drums filled with fresh water. If I really had to stretch it out, eating only the bare minimum, I probably have enough food to feed myself for a little over 6 months. I even have a diesel generator in a shed behind my garage just in case.

Other things I've been doing to pass the time are listen to music, watch movies, catch up on any news updates, and play with Athena. She's taking being locked up in this house as well as I am. I have a large section of basement that is unfinished and fairly wide open. It was going to be an in-home movie theater and game room, but with work keeping me busy and going through the divorce I just never got around to it. I did have a pinball machine, one of those big game hunting arcade games, and a digital jukebox that looked like an old fashioned bubbler jukebox with the neon lights. The only real difference between it and the old style jukes is that instead of having a window into where the turntable and records would be it has a large LCD screen to display the music library.

What music? What movies? Any updates? What does Athena look like? In fact, what does your MC look like? What does his house look like? It's important to build a scene for the reader. They'll have a foundation for where they are and can then put more of their focus on the character. Also, how a house looks says a lot about a character. This is a chance to express your MC's personality through his decor and furniture. How much of the house was designed by the wife? If it's most of it, mention that. Have your MC talk about how good or bad she was at decorating. This is a chance to show whether he resents her, misses her or is relatively indifferent. It'll make your character more relatable and understandable.

Athena and I spend a lot of time in here, listening to music while I throw her favorite ball for her. The room gives her enough space to run around when she needs to. I adopted her from a group who rescues former racing greyhounds. She is a unique brindle color being mostly grey with a little black and tan striping. She's very gentle and actually quite laid back. I thought she would be much more high strung being a former racing dog, but apparently the opposite is true. They spend a lot of time resting to store up energy for when they do need to run. Her company has been priceless to me.

Anything else? Talk more about the dog's origins. Her behavior is important to flesh out as well.

On the other side of the basement is my gun room. The room has no windows and is lined with cinder blocks filled with concrete and rebar reinforcement. The door to the room is a custom vault door with a high tensile steel door frame that extends into the wall and foundation. Inside the room is like an old hunting lodge with hard wood floors, walls with built in book shelves and gun racks with glass doors, a bench with my reloading supplies, and my stockpile of ammunition in various calibers, mostly 5.56mm, .308, and .45 ACP for my semiautomatic weapons because they are the ones I shoot most. I have a few hunting weapons, shotguns, and a collection of Smith and Wesson magnum revolvers, but I've always been drawn to military style rifles ever since my dad started teaching me how to shoot. I've been hooked ever since even going as far as taking several handgun and rifle courses for self defense and practicing regularly. In fact I had just gotten home from Las Vegas taking my most recent course two days before the asteroid hit. Lucky it didn't hit three days earlier when I was on the Strip where one of the fragments hit. From what the news said several hundred people on the street were killed or injured and thousands more had to be quarantined for radiation exposure and decontaminated. Most of the city was evacuated.

On the third day there was a total news black out, at least on television. The phone lines were also quite busy and I couldn't get through to my dad in Florida. I haven't talked to him since before my trip to Vegas and I knew he would want to know if I was alright or not. We normally talk to each other twice a week since he retired to Miami when my mom died. I went to my office to see if the internet was still up and running. I figured it would be since it was fiber optic and not on the regular telephone lines. Sure enough it was, although it was running at a much slower speed. I sent my dad an email assuring him that I was fine and that none of the particles had made it my way, except for the orange haze that was blanketing the sky. The last news broadcast I saw said that there would be no danger to the areas of Salt Lake and Utah Counties. Still, Athena and I stayed inside most of the time, except when I let her out to go to the bathroom.

While on the internet I checked some of the web forums that I frequent, usually catering to firearms or motorcycle enthusiasts. This is where the first bit of real news came from. There was a link to media upload website and it contained a clip from one of the local news stations who were covering the operation going on at the Dugway crater. They were forbidden to air it, but the reporter at the beginning of the video said that she could not in good conscience keep the truth from the people. Apparently the group of government scientists investigating the Dugway crater had an accident and some of them were exposed to the radiation and Lord knows what else that exists there. From what was gathered the exposed men became very ill quite rapidly. They had to be contained as they were showing signs of severe illness or exposure to nerve agents, as well as signs of radiation exposure.

More detail. What happened to this whistleblower? Was he punished?

The video changed from the reporter in what looked like an editing room to an exterior shot either very early in the morning or right around twilight as there was little light in the sky and the whole area was illuminated by floodlights. A doctor from the Center for Disease Control was giving an interview saying that those involved in the accident and subsequent exposure had gone unconscious shortly after and were going to be transported to a secure facility for treatment. Watching the video I could see that the group of reporters and government officials were standing on a highway that I recognizes as I-80. There were several military vehicles, trailers, RVs, news vans, and other mobile structures set up along the highway as well as a roadblock along the road surface itself with several armed soldiers in protective gear standing guard. At that time a group of soldiers came up to the group of news people, one of them bending his head down to remove the hooded gas mask he wore. As he lifted his head up I had to do a double take. The man was Colonel Lewis Bradford, a good friend of my father's when he was still in the military. I hadn't seen him since my dad's retirement party two years ago.

It might be a good idea to talk about Bradford's and the MC's father's relationship.

There were many voices coming from the crowd of news reporters wanting to ask just what the hell is going on. Colonel Bradford raised his hand to try to silence the crowd so he could make a statement. He looked very tired and weary and he wiped sweat from his broad forehead as he began to speak.

"Ladies and gentlemen if you'll give me a moment please. The area behind us is still highly dangerous and we aren't sure when it will be safe again. We have had a team of specialists from the CDC and military investigating the area for the past two days to try to determine what the danger level is, how much radiation was emitted by the asteroid fragment that hit Dugway, and how much, if any, chemical or biological agents have been exposed. As Doctor Erickson has stated there has been an incident and some of the group has been exposed to the radiation and possibly some biological or chemical compound and need treatment. At this time we would like you all to please clear the highway so that our people may take the exposed to a secure facility. As soon as their convoy passes you may come back to your positions and we will be more prepared to answer any questions you may have. Thank you all for your cooperation."

As he stepped away from the group I was surprised that there wasn't more questioning coming from the group of reporters. They all started to clear the road and set up on either side of the interstate appearing to get ready to get footage of the trucks as they passed by. The video image shook for a few moments as the cameraman holding it took his new position on the side of the road. He then turned to face west down the highway to get his shot. About 60 seconds after he repositioned the convoy came into view. The trucks, mostly tan HMMWVs (Humvees) along with a five ton transport truck and what looked like a large bus or RV with military markings and a red cross on the side signifying that it was a medical transport of some type, came barreling down the road at a rather high rate of speed.

The convoy was almost to the crowd of people when suddenly the medical RV jerked it's tires and flipped over on it's side, sliding rapidly toward the shocked group of people. Sparks flew everywhere as the RV continued sliding on it's side and finally barreled into the group of people on the south side of the highway. The image shook violently, apparently the cameraman was running to avoid getting hit as well. The reporter with him could be heard screaming at him to "move his ass". The image stabilized and panned over to the wrecked RV.

It was horrific. The RV had come to a stop in the dirt. There were people screaming and crying, one man was laying on the ground screaming. His legs were mangled and torn up, one of them very nearly ripped totally out of his hip. His face was pale and blood was pouring out of his pelvic area and thighs. He gave one last weak sob and moved no more. I was in total shock at what I was seeing. I tried to turn away but couldn't. A part of me felt sick and guilty for staring at these people's suffering. But the most shocking images were yet to come.

The camera moved around to the front of the RV. The windshield was covered in bright red blood and a man's left arm and shoulder could be seen just past the dashboard. As the camera moved for a straight look down the length of the vehicle, through the gore smeared windshield, movement towards the rear of the RV could be seen. It appeared that there were four people trying to get to their feet. One of them got shakily to his feet. It was hard to make out though all the gore staining the glass, but he appeared to have several lacerations and his right arm was cocked at a very odd angle. Probably broken. The man turned and moved towards the camera. As he got closer the extent of his wounds could more clearly be seen. He did indeed have several deep lacerations all over his body, including one deep into his neck and his right arm was just hanging by a small strip of flesh at the elbow. How he was still alive and moving after such a bad crash and severe physical trauma was beyond me.

As he got to the cab of the RV he looked around as if looking for something he had lost. He then bent over and came back up with something in his left hand. He then moved unsteadily to the windshield and started pounding at it with the object in his hand. The glass started to spiderweb and finally he was able to push it out and onto the asphalt. He dropped the object and stumbled out of the vehicle and fell onto the road right in front of the cameraman's feet. The view panned up and over towards a group of soldiers. The cameraman could be heard yelling at them, "Hey! This guy's alive! He's hurt! Hurry, he needs help!"

The soldiers started running towards them and the view then panned down to the injured man. Just as the image settled the injured man reached for help towards the cameraman. "Don't worry bro, the army guys are coming to help" he said to the injured man. The man on the ground responded with a gurgling moan. It looked like the poor bastard couldn't talk with that gash in his neck. He grabbed the cameraman's leg and started pulling. "Hey man! Let go of me! I told you they're coming to help! Just be cool."

The injured man pulled himself towards the camera man. He lifted his head up and looked into the camera. His eyes had a crazed, hungered look to them. It chilled me for a moment. He must be suffering a head injury as well, or perhaps it was a symptom of whatever he was exposed to. He pulled even harder at the cameraman's leg. "Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?" No sooner had those words been spoken when the injured man lunged forward and bit right into the cameraman's ankle.

Blood gushed around the injured man's mouth and the screams of the cameraman burst out of my speakers. The cameraman collapsed to the ground, the camera tipping sideways until it settled on the pavement. The image sent slightly shaky and pixelated from the impact. The cameraman was screaming and kicking at his attacker until the flesh on his ankle gave way and he was able to scramble back away from the man on the ground. It looked like he was actually chewing on the mouthful of cameraman. I felt sick to my stomach and almost vomited on the screen. What in the blue Hell was wrong with this man.

The cameraman could be heard off screen screaming and sobbing. The reporter with him could also be heard trying to comfort him. "Just get to the van and get the first aid kit" she said. "I'll get the camera." The image moved again as the reporter hoisted the camera up on to her shoulder. She backed away keeping the camera trained on the man feasting on a chunk of her coworker's leg.

The image panned up a little as the other three people, two men and a woman, tried to exit the turned over RV. "Be careful! Don't get too close to him, he's crazy or something." The others didn't seem to hear or care. They just looked at her with that same crazed stare the other one had. The soldiers came up and asked the reporter to go back with her colleague. One of them followed her with a medical kit, presumably to bandage the cameraman. As the reporter turned the camera back on the soldier helping the wounded two of them lunged at the soldiers, ripping off their protective hoods and biting into their face and necks the third one, the woman, turned her attention on another cameraman nearby, rapidly walking toward him on uncoordinated legs. The cameraman tried to turn and run, but lost his balance and fell hard on his face, his heavy camera hitting him square on the back of his head. The crazed woman jumped on him, ripping off his shirt and biting into his back and neck.

The news reporter holding the camera was screaming in terror. Other soldiers cam running up to pull the two crazed men off their comrades. They too were attacked and bitten. The man on the ground had finished his mouthful of cameraman and shakily got back to his feet, joining his fellow crazies now feasting on the corpses of soldiers like a pack of wild animals.

Not enough detail. What do the zombies look like? Describe their design. Use imagery. Juxtapose their design with the design of the regular civilians. Talk more about the violence. Make it multi-dimensional. How was one attack influenced by another? What reaction did these attacks get? Did anyone try to fight back? Talk about the quality of the recording as well. Was it fuzzy?

What the fuck was I watching? I couldn't believe that this was happening. I was totally numb with shock. It was like some kind of horror movie, but much more graphic than any I had ever seen. I knew deep inside that it was real and it was only going to get worse. The soldier who was helping the bitten cameraman came running past the reporter with his pistol at the ready. He was issuing commands for the crazed assailants to stop their attack. They all lifted their faces towards him, almost in perfect unison, and slowly rose to their feet. In a shaky voice he ordered them to stay where they were or else he would open fire. They ignored his command and quickly moved towards him, not quite at a run, but faster than walking speed. They seemed very uncoordinated like their equilibrium was off. One of them stumbled and fell, but got back up and advanced again.

The soldier took a few steps back, then open fire on his attackers. The rounds all slammed home at center mass, spinning the attackers backwards and onto the ground. The soldier inserted a fresh magazine into his sidearm and advanced on the four crazies. The camera edged a little closer to them. You could see where the 9mm rounds had stuck their chests and abdomens. Thick, blackish blood slowly oozed from the wounds. The soldier backed away from the corpses, turned around and pulled out a two-way radio. "Bravo One Actual this is Bravo Two Zero. Medical transport vehicle has been wracked and scientists exposed mutant viral strain at Dugway crater escaped from vehicle. Viral agent has caused them to act violently and erratically. Need HAZMAT team to come assist. Over"

The voice of Colonel Bradford crackled over the radio. "Bravo Two Zero this is One Actual, Colonel Bradford speaking. Two Zero I need you two stay tight where you are and keep the area as secure as possible. Do not approach infected. Be prepared to used deadly force if needed, understand?"

"Two Zero understands. Sir, I did have to fire on the infected. All four are dead and they killed five men trying to help them. One killed a civilian and...and he fucking ate him sir! They fucking ate six people sir!" The soldier was obviously losing his cool. His face was pale. Tears were welling up in his eye. He was going into shock.

Bradford came back on. "Two Zero repeat your last."

"THEY FUCKING ATE SIX PEOPLE! They bit out their throats and ate them like fucking animals sir!"

"Calm down Two Zero! They're dead now. Just sit tight and we will be there shortly to relieve you."

The young soldier sniffled and lifted the radio again. "Two-Two Zero copies. P-please...please hurry sir." He turned and saw the camera was still trained on him. His face flushed with anger and embarrassment. "Get that fucking thing out of my face and get away from here!"

Not a big fan of this dialogue. These are soldiers. I'd prefer if he kept his cool until the very last moment.

He turned his back to her and was tackled by two of the crazies, his sidearm flying away from his hand and into the darkness. He screamed in pain and in terror as they tore at his uniform and bit into any part of him they could expose. "NO! YOU'RE DEAD! I FUCKING SHOT YOU! I FUCKING SHOT YOU! AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

Here's where he should lose his cool. Not before.

The camera spun back toward the news van. The reporter was running as fast as she could while still carrying the heavy camera. The video image shook back and forth as she ran. "Ryan! Ryan get in the van! We've got to get the hell out of here!" Ryan got up unevenly. He stumbled to the passenger door to the van and got in. The reporter got into the drivers seat and handed he camera back to Ryan the cameraman. She slammed the door and the sound of power door locks could be heard. She turned the key and the van roared to live. Grabbing the shift lever she threw the van into drive and rocketed off. Shortly there after the image ended and cut back to the reporter in the editing room.

"As you have seen an unknown infection has caused those people to become crazed and violent...even cannibalistic. Ryan, my cameraman, was taken to Intermountain Medical Center Hospital to treat his wounds. After being bitten he showed signs of confusion, agitation, other physical symptoms like nausea, sweating, and turning pale. Shortly after arriving at the ER he had to be restrained because he attacked and bit two nurses and a doctor. I was told to leave after that and came here to edit the video. Shortly before we were set to broadcast the video a group of military men came to the station and seized the edited copy, but neglected to take the original which is what I am uploading to this site. The truth must be known. God help us."

It ended there. I sat there in silence for a long time, possibly hours, just stunned at what I saw. When I slept that night it wasn't restful and it was filled with horrible dreams. Dreams of gnashing teeth and clawing hands. When I woke on the fourth day I checked both the media website and the internet forum that I found the link on. Both were down as were many other websites I tried.

More details. Describe the environment. Did paranoia set in? Did little bumps in the night drive the MC crazy? There's very little here. Talk about the dreams. What does your MC think they mean? What were the dreams, in detail?

Athena can tell that something is wrong with me. She keeps trying to get me to play ball with her in an effort to cheer me up. She is such a sweet, sensitive dog and it hurt me deeply that I could not bring myself to play with her. I fed her and then went back to bed. The rest of the day passed in a blur of restless sleep and horrible, waking dreams.

The fifth day I woke feeling s bit better, but not close to my usual self. I was able to play a little with Athena today, she deserves it, and got a few things done around the house. I went to turn on a movie and before I could switch it over from TV to Video I saw that the news was back on. I forgot about the movie and sat glued to the new news on the screen. There was footage of down town Salt Lake City as seen from a helicopter. It looked like a riot had broken out downtown. People were running every which-way, cars were wrecked in the middle of the road, there were police in body armor and holding ballistic shields, firing tear gas and rubber buckshot into the crowd. Others in the mob didn't look quite right. The way they moved freaked me out and reminded me of the video I saw on the net. The last shot was of several bodies on the ground with a small group of people bent over them.

Talk more about the riots.

The screen cut back to the reporter in the news room. His blue suit was rumpled and he looked tired and disheveled. "Avoid downtown at all cost! The mob is violent and has killed several people. The police are on site and are trying to control the situation. The national guard is on it's way to assist the poli-" the power went out. Great. Just fucking great.

I went outside to go start up the generator. Stepping out into the sunlight I looked up into the hazy orange sky. I miss the baby blue that it normally is. Athena went for a run around the yard while I went to start up the genny. Opening the door to the shed I walked in. I looked over the panel on the front of it and checked all the gauges. Everything was good so I turned the key and it sputtered into life. I checked the voltage output gauge and it read that it was putting out the maximum possible voltage. Satisfied I turned and exited.

I decided to check the gate to my driveway to see if anyone has tried to gain entrance. I saw no sign of tampering and went back to the house. I let Athena play outside for a while. I was feeling better about not being exposed to fallout, but now something else was bothering me. The news about the rioters and looters got me thinking about my own protection. I decided to go downstairs to my gun vault and bring up a few of my weapons.

How is your MC feeling? It's in the first-person, so take advantage of it. It's never a bad idea to stop and discuss the mindset of your character. We need to know how he's doing almost all the time. The only time we don't need to know is if it's for good reason.

I first retrieved my HK45 compact and leather belt holster. This is the gun I usually take with me to handgun courses and I carry it regularly as a concealed carry weapon. I also grabbed my AR15 carbine and my HK91. The carbine I built myself one weekend using new parts that looked like Vietnam era vintage parts. It had a 16" barrel, gut down triangular hand guards, a first generation style 2 position butt stock, and an early prototype "trigger" style charging knob under the carrying handle. I had other AR15s that were much more modern, but this one was light and handy and I liked it best.

The HK91 carried a 1.5-6x Elcan scope on it. I brought this up in case I needed something with a little more range or penetrating power. I had fitted it with the heavy buffer and clubfoot style stock off of an HK21 to make it a little more comfortable to shoot. Also fitted was an MSG90 trigger pack to make it more accurate and a paddle magazine release to facilitate in faster reloads. This was my favorite rifle as it was more robust, more reliable, and more potent than the AR. It was also heavier, longer, and recoiled harder due to the larger .308 rounds it uses.

Along with the rifles I brought up several loaded magazines for each, a load bearing vest to carry each type of magazine with me for easier reloads, and two ammunition boxes of each caliber in case I needed to reload empty magazines. Not that I needed all this, but it made me feel better just in case someone decided my house looked like a nice place to get some free stuff. Lastly, I grabbed a sound suppressor for each weapon. I had invested in them last year when I really got heavy into the various defense courses because my hearing was starting to get damaged. They were expensive and I had to fill out some paper work and pay the ATF a $200 tax on each one, but they have saved my hearing and allowed me to continue with my hobby.

I tried to watch the news again before bed that night. No such luck, it was static on every screen. Not even the emergency alert tone and colored bars like other times. The power must be off elsewhere as well. I took my flash light and went down stairs to kill my generator. Better to save it for when I need it. Besides, I don't want the sound attracting anyone to the house. I feel a low profile is going to be most prudent for a while. I did one last check on my gate and then went to bed.

Waking yesterday the first think I noticed was Athena at my bedroom window looking out and whining anxiously. Looking out my window I could see about four people walking past my house. They looked dazed and moved fairly slowly. Athena did not like the look of them and neither did I. I walked over to the side of my bed to retrieve my HK91 and a pair of binoculars from my nightstand. Looking at the people I saw that they all had various lacerations and what looked to be bite marks on their bodies. I was reminded of the uploaded news footage and shuddered.

I decided to step away from the window, as I became aware that they could see me if they looked up, and walked down stairs for breakfast. I did not want a confrontation or even bring attention to myself, letting them know someone was here. They were not trying to get in so I decided to leave them be. They were probably just trying to make their way home. I was subconsciously tiptoeing around my house and trying to make as little noise as possible. I didn't realize this for several hours and when I did I felt kind of foolish.

Good! A little nuance is exactly what I'm talking about. He's tip-toeing around his house? That's a great detail and tells the reader both the mindset of your character and a quirk in their personality. It makes the character feel real. More please.

Breakfast consisted of eggs, fried potatoes, and thick cut peppered bacon with some berry flavored juice to wash it down with. I was never a fan of milk. Athena had her usual dry kibble and I let her lick my plate as a special treat. When she was done I took everything to the sink to wash it.

Is there a reason to mention the milk? If there isn't, remove it. If you want to keep it in, then connect it to something later.

After breakfast I tried to read a book, the first of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King, but I just couldn't get my mind off of those four people down on the street. The wounds and bite marks, the way they walked, all reminded me of what I saw three days ago and then again the other day with the rioters in Salt Lake. My mind began to play out various gruesome scenarios about spreading infection and mass attacks. Could this really be happening? How can it? This is the kind of stuff that only happens in movies and novels, right?

I had to get my mind off it. I didn't want to turn on the genny as those people could still be outside and I didn't want to gain their attention. I went to my storage room and retrieved my short wave radio and a pack of batteries. After installing the batteries and replacing the cover I extended the antenna and started slowly making my way though the different frequencies, trying to find a radio station. I was able to get AM860 where a man was speaking.

"...Just received word that the infection is spreading. Police and military forces have been unable to keep back the mass of infected as they are now swarming through the greater part of Salt Lake County. Hospitals and government run aid stations are filled to capacity with wounded. Citizens are warned to stay in their homes until further notice." He paused for a while, apparently listening to new information. "Oh my sweet Jesus! I have just been told that the infection causing these people to act out in violence, and even cannibalism, is actually reanimating the deceased! At first it was believed that the infected were entering a state of catatonia or other unconsciousness, but it has been confirmed by the Center for Disease Control that it is not in fact catatonia, but death itself. Shortly there after the infected are reanimated and begin attacking and even devouring those around it! I repeat, the recently infected are rising from the dead and feeding on the living! Uh...we'll, uh...Oh my God what do we do?"

There was nothing aired after that. I've been in a state of shock up until just this morning. Somehow I know it was real and it terrified me. Reanimated corpses, feeding on human flesh. Fucking zombies. I just woke up in a George Romero movie.

That brings me to now. I am sitting in my gun vault with Athena at my side. I will continue to update this journal as I go along. Right now though I am filled with despair and exhaustion. I haven't eaten since breakfast yesterday. I'm afraid to look out my windows, afraid of seeing more of them on the street. I refuse to go to the second or third level of the house as any of those windows is high enough to look over my rock wall. I know the wall will keep them out, but my mind still keeps being filled with the image of a sea of living death surrounding my house.

That's it for now. It's almost 1:00am. I've spent hours writing this and I am exhausted. I will write more tomorrow when I wake up. I hope I don't have anything "interesting" to add. I don't know if I want to wake up.

I know this story isn't yours, but I still wanted to comment on it. It's a decent foundation for a story. It just needs to be fleshed out.

Is there any more of this story?
 

Sanshain

Avatar? I don't need no stinkin' avatar.
kiwifarms.net
Joined
May 3, 2015
A zombie story in 2015 is about as relevant as research into curing the Black Death.
 
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