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Authors: David Rogers

Apocalypse Aftermath

BOOK: Apocalypse Aftermath
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Apocalypse Aftermath

By David Rogers

Apocalypse Aftermath

Copyrigh

2014 by David Rogers

[email protected]

All rights reserved

 

Cover Copyrigh

2014 David Rogers

All rights reserved

Cover Art created by Jeanine Henning

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.  This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.  If you’re reading this ebook and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased or lent for your use, then please purchase your own copy.  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This is a work of original fiction set in Georgia, USA.  Some real locations and businesses have been used to set scenes, but all such trademarks are the respective property of their owners.  All depicted characters are fictional and not intended to represent specific living persons.

Table of Contents

Chapter One – Just another day in paradise

Chapter Two –
Should we stay or should we go

Chapter Three –
Home sweet home

Chapter Four –
Crying in the dark

Chapter Five –
Helping hands

Chapter Six –
Take a look ahead

Chapter Seven –
Alone

Chapter Eight –
Good with the bad

Chapter Nine –
Bad moon rising

Chapter Ten –
Just, keep thinking

Chapter Eleven –
This is crazy

Chapter Twelve –
Decisions

Chapter Thirteen –
Problem Solving

Chapter Fourteen –
Let’s make a deal

Chapter Fifteen –
Desperate measures

Chapter Sixteen –
Healing

Chapter Seventeen –
New rules

Afterword

Foreword

Zombies

Chapter One – Just another day in paradise
Jessica

“Here we go again.”

Jessica glanced away from her study of the scene beyond her window as the SUV began slowing.  “Zombies or cars?” she asked, looking at the road ahead.

Austin was letting the SUV’s speed – which had rarely been much above thirty miles per hour – drop as he took his foot off the accelerator.  “Cars, I think. I hope.”

“You and me both.”

He grinned.  “Sure no one else would vote with us?”

There was a twisted mass of metal
on the road ahead that had been, at some point in the probably not too distant past, cars and trucks.  A few of them were still cars and trucks, but even the mostly intact ones were dented and banged up.  Most of those on the right side of the road were scorched black from having burned.

“Okay, we’d probably get some more votes for cars.”
Jessica allowed as she studied the blockage.

“Can’t we go around this one?” Candice asked from the back seat.

“Shoulder is really soft here.” Austin shook his head as he reached for his radio.  “And anyway, there’s not enough room between the cars and the trees.”  He squeezed the button on the radio hanging from his equipment harness.  “Carter to Morris, we’ve got another roadblock up here.”

“Just a roadblock?” Tyler Morris’ voice asked after a moment.

“I think so, but I can’t be too sure just yet.”

“He just wants it to be zombies because they’re quicker to get rid of.” Jessica said under her breath.

“Well, they are.” Austin pointed out.

“Assuming there’s not too many.” she said quickly.  “And
if we don’t run out of ammo.”

“Do we need to find a detour?” Tyler asked.

“I’ve got enough ammo to last us all the way to Knoxville.” Austin assured Jessica.  “Trust me.”

“You keep saying that.”

“So do it.” he chuckled before pressing the transmit button again.  “Ah, negative.  I think I see a way we can get through pretty quickly.”

“At your discretion then, Mr. Carter.”

“I trust you.” Candice said.

“Why thank you girlie-girl.” Austin said over his shoulder as he held the SUV on the center line of the two lane road and continued approaching the wrecks.

“I do too.  But there’s no reason not to be cautious.” Jessica said.


Cautious is my middle name.”

“A while ago you said your
middle name was Careful.” Candice pointed out.

Jessica laughed at the look of momentary surprise that crossed Austin’s features.  “She’s got you there.”

“I guess I need to work on my material some more.”

“Well, which is it?” Candice persisted.

“Maybe I’ve got two middle names.” Austin said as they drew closer to the roadblock.

“Most people don’t.”

“She’s got you there.  Again.” Jessica grinned.

“I’ll tell you a secret.”
Austin said, turning his head to look over his shoulder.  There was no way he could quite lay eyes on Candice, who was sitting directly behind him on the rear driver’s side of the bench seat, but he made it clear he was trying to talk just to her.  “I’ve got as many middle names as I need.”

Jessica watched her daughter’s face wrinkle in thought as she considered that for several seconds.  “So how many do you need?”

“I’m careful, cautious, strong, smart, big, tall, trained, ready, willing, able, and a whole bunch of other things.”

“Don’t forget to stick egotistical
and overconfident in there somewhere.” Jessica told him in a light tone that jabbed at him in amusement.

“Ouch.  You know, this would be more fun if you ladies didn’t both keep ganging up on me.” he said somberly, though he winked at Jessica when he said it.

“I’m not ganging up on you.” Candice protested.  “I’m just trying to make sure I understand.”

Austin brought the SUV to a complete halt about twenty feet short of the wreckage.  “Understand I’m a professional and my job right now is to get everyone where we’re going, safely.”

“You’re doing a great job.” Jessica said.

“Thanks.” he began, but she smiled wickedly as she went for the
punch line.

“So far.”

“Ouch.  Wow.  Where’s the gratitude?”

Jessica shrugged nonchalantly.  “
Please sir, please protect us as we flee the city.  What ever will we do without you?”  She pitched her voice higher and fluttered her eyelashes at him theatrically.

He lifted the stubby black submachine gun from between his seat and the center console.  “You’re lucky I’m such a great guy.
  I know guys a lot less awesome than me who won’t put up with a tenth of what I am so far on this trip.” he told her in a mock growl.

“I know.” Jessica nodded
, the truth of the statement dashing a bit of her humor finally.  “You’re a real white knight.”

“But—” Candice began.

Austin looped the strap of his submachine gun across himself, settling the weapon on his left side.  “I know, I wear black.  It’s because I’m trying to confuse the bad guys.”

Candice giggled, and Jessica rolled her eyes.  “Seriously?”
Jessica asked him.

“Hey, you started this.  I was going to just move the car, but no, you wanted to question my motives.”

“I bet I know a way to make sure Dennis kicks your . . . butt.” Jessica said mischievously.

“He can’t take me.”

“He can, because he’s the only doctor, and he’s Tyler’s brother.”

“How are you going to convince him to come at me.”

“I’ll get out to help clear the roadblock.” Jessica made her eyes sparkle merrily at him by tipping her head down to catch the sun coming in through the tinted windows.  She gestured at her left leg, immobilized at the knee by a thick wrapping of stretchy bandage and propped up on a bundle of folded towels.

“Ouch, enough said.” Austin raised his hand like he was acknowledging a point.  “Okay, so are you ladies ready to
do your part?” he asked.  “From the
car
.” he added, giving Jessica a knowing look.  “I’ve got enough to deal with.  I don’t need angry doctors on my case atop everything else.”

“We are.” Candice nodded vigorously.  The ten-year-old’s tone was now solemn and serious, utterly at odds with the otherwise childish timbre and lit of her voice.  Her eyes went from Austin’s profile to her mother, and Jessica gave a small nod of agreement.

“Yes, absolutely.” Jessica told Austin.

“Well okay then. 
I’m off to be awesome.”

Candice giggled a little more as she unbuckled her seatbelt and scrambled up on her knees so she could see over the back of her seat.  The arrangement worked out was Jessica watched the front and right windows, while her daughter covered the back and left sides.  If they saw anything, Jessica would honk the horn to make sure the people on foot outside the vehicles were alerted.

“Be careful.” Jessica said, her own tone serious.

“Always.” he mouthed at her before turning and checking out his
side of the SUV.  After a moment, when he’d decided nothing was about to immediately try to eat him, he stepped out and closed the door quickly before taking a longer, slower look around.

The scene outside was typical Georgia suburb; pine trees rising from the reddish clay soil dominating as usual.  The
convoy was somewhere just north of Stockbridge according to the map Jessica was using to carefully monitor their progress.  The two-lane road would take them into Stockbridge soon, but the plan was to cut around the outskirts to avoid the more heavily developed areas.  McDonough lay beyond Stockbridge, but by then Austin was hoping to put the convoy back on the Interstate.

The SUV rocked on its suspension as Austin stepped up on the running board, using the extra height to get a better view of the area.  She shook her head mentally in mild amusement; it seemed silly for him to need the advantage.  He was enormously tall.  Actually, he was just plain enormous.

She wasn’t sure of his exact height, but it was well past six feet.  And even through the body armor and gear he wore like rumpled second skin, his build obviously tipped toward muscled bulk.  He said he was a runner, but with arms like his she knew he’d spent time in the gym.  She found his looming presence a constant reassurance, even more than his obvious skill with all things dangerous.

With a guilty start, Jessica realized she was staring at him.  She tore her gaze
away and started scanning around through the windshield and passenger side windows.  Nothing hungry was in view, though she saw doors on the other convoy vehicles behind the one she sat in opening.  More people in black jumpsuits and carrying guns and equipment were emerging and heading toward the roadblock.

She had mixed views on the weapons.  The middle of a zombie apocalypse was dangerous and clearly called for them, but it made her nervous to see so many in the hands of people she knew were barely, if at all, trained to properly handle them.  Especially the
MP5s.  Austin had already demonstrated how deadly the little gun was on previous zombie encounters while out trying to clear a path through the Atlanta suburbs.

It was a lot of firepower for people who’d only been security guards, mostly
desk
bound guards, a couple of days ago.  Wearing the same sort of gear as Austin didn’t make them as good as he was.  She was happy they were around, but they still made her nervous all the same.  Hopefully Austin would have a chance to train them some once everyone got to Knoxville where it was supposed to be safe.

She needled and teased him because he seemed to like it, but she was actually quite grateful to have him close.  The big man seemed unphased by the horrors that had engulfed everything since it all started coming apart.  His calm confidence and steady
aptitude for not flinching from what was happening were a great comfort.  Since the moment she staggered into Dennis’ back yard, he’d done nothing but offer her and Candice protection.

That counted for
a lot
in Jessica’s book.  She had nothing to offer him, but he gave no sign of anything other than a complete willingness to help however he could.  That he offered it without her even having to consider using charm or what Brett had called ‘feminine wiles’ just made her more trusting of Austin.  As Tyler’s wife, Vanessa, had pointed out before the convoy left Johns Creek; the veneer of civilization wasn’t as thick as people liked to think.  It was already fracturing.

Jessica was prepared to do whatever it took to keep her remaining child safe.  Candice was all she had left.  That Austin never even
hinted
at needing more than simple pleasantness from her as he enfolded them both within the circle of security he projected as naturally as breathing made her willing to trust him to an extent that would have been odd – considering she’d known him about twelve hours now – if the situation weren’t so serious.

BOOK: Apocalypse Aftermath
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