Read Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) Online

Authors: Jay Brenham

Tags: #Zombies

Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1) (11 page)

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
6.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Jack chuckled. “You know I’d love to, even if I met you at a campsite for one night. But I need to stay with Theresa. Anyway somebody needs to pick up your mail while you’re off being irresponsible.”

“Fair enough, I’ll take some pictures for you.”

“That will have to do.” He gave Sam a friendly wave. “Talk to you later. I have a golf game that needs playing.”

Sam put his equipment back in the garage and headed inside the house. He turned the hot water on so high that steam was already filling the small bathroom as he stepped into the shower. Out of habit, he sprayed shaving cream into his hand and rubbed it onto his face. As he pressed the razor blade to his skin, Sam paused. He wasn’t in the Navy anymore; he could skip the shave if he wanted to. He set the razor blade down with a smile. Today he would start growing a beard, for the first time in five years.

By the time Sam finished showering and eating it was almost one in the afternoon. He’d left the TV on before he got in the shower with hopes of hearing the news, but the sound of the shower had drowned out the TV. Now the screen was filled with images of what appeared to be protests or riots.

Probably some stupid political thing. Sam turned on his streaming service instead. If it was important he’d see it later in the night or tomorrow; the twenty-four hour news cycle would never let him miss something important.










Khalid could already see his target. There’d been advertisements for days: a live radio broadcast from the oceanfront. Now the crowd swelled in front of the stage beneath a large sign that read “
Rock on, Oceanfront.”

It was 11:53 a.m. Seven minutes to go. The timing needed to be exact. His instructions were clear.

The male DJ had left and now a woman named Shelley was on stage. A few people stood next to her, holding various instruments like they were about to play some live music. His timing would be perfect.

The hotel next to the stage had a patio with fire pits and large tables. Each one was filled with people. Khalid crossed the patio and entered the hotel lobby, walking straight to the bathroom on his right. The music from outside and the sound of people cheering was loud enough that he could hear the rumble from inside the bathroom.

Khalid began to sweat. His time was waning. He wasn’t afraid to die, or of what the afterlife would bring; he knew with certainty what awaited him. The nervousness inside Khalid was what anyone feels before a large life event. He gulped water from the faucet.

Another glance at his watch. 11:58 a.m. There were others like him all across the United States. He didn’t know how many or where, just that together they would cripple the West.

When Khalid first learned his target would be in Virginia, he’d protested. Why couldn’t it be Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington, D.C.? How could a city he’d never even heard of be important in the fight against America? His handlers were prepared for his objections and explained that he was being given an honor: this area was home to the United States Navy. If this city was crippled, the American military would be crippled,
the way a severed spine makes the rest of the body immobile
. Entire carrier strike groups would be relegated to the sides of the dock. No longer would America have the power to launch air strikes in any country they desired. Without their interference, the Caliphate could be restored.

11:59 a.m. Khalid stepped into the handicap stall and locked the door. This was it. The culmination of his life. Other men talked of the virgins waiting for them in Paradise, but Khalid only wanted to be reunited with Nadiya.

He lifted his shirt and glanced down at the belt. It wasn’t laced with explosives or ball bearings. From the outside it looked like something you’d find in a department store. Many lives had been given to the cause but none like this. Not yet.

Withdrawing a small pocket knife, Khalid separated the seam along the upper edge of the belt. Between the two pieces of leather lay a miniature syringe, pale and unassuming except for the green fluid inside.

The handlers explained he had nothing to fear. The compound inside the syringe would make him slowly drift into death. It would be like falling asleep. He wouldn’t feel the virus destroying his body, but the American people would suffer.

Khalid’s watch switched to 12:00 p.m.

It was time.

The cap of the syringe came off easily and he glanced down at his forearm to select a vein.

“Allahu Akbar,” Khalid whispered so only he could hear. He pushed the syringe into his forearm, depressing the plunger and releasing the virus into his blood stream.

Khalid carefully wrapped the syringe in toilet paper and tossed it into the garbage. The injection site felt warm as he walked outside into the summer sun. The warmth spread up his arm and into his shoulder, turning so hot it felt like he was on fire. Surely something had to be wrong. He’d been promised a painless sleep. The crowd in front of the stage was larger; people drifted toward the sound of the wailing guitars echoing across the waterfront. Khalid pushed his way into the crowd, following his orders despite his agony.

The fire spread to his chest. When it hit his heart he could feel the flames of the infection radiate outward until all of his extremities felt hot. Mucus started to drip from his nose and a cough built in his lungs. He brought his hand to his mouth automatically, stumbling at the same time. He put a hand out to steady himself. It was covered in blood.

The people around him were oblivious, transfixed by the music on stage. Blood and mucus pooled in Khalid’s hands as he tried to cover up his condition, but he could not control his coughing or the flood coming from his nose. The front row was bouncing up and down to the beat of the music as Khalid pushed through. Shelley, the female DJ, was directly in front of him, throwing her hands in the air along with the rhythmic beat.

The fire had spread everywhere. He was losing control over his movements. He didn’t even know why he was moving toward her. Khalid stumbled into the table in front of the DJ, coughing up a mixture of bodily fluids as he went down.

The DJ was singing along with the crowd when the blood hit her open mouth. If she had a plan for this sort of thing she wouldn’t be implementing it. Shelley was the first person infected with Rhabdo-786, a biological weapon derived from the rabies virus.

People ran to help as Khalid collapsed onto the table but it was too late: the fire had fully consumed him,
turning any semblance of humanity to ash
. In its place was the twisted mind of an already twisted human being. Khalid grabbed, bit, and tore at the people trying to help him and with each bite and scratch another person was infected. The good Samaritans would soon feel the fire of infection course through them, destroying the humanity within.


Thanks for reading
Fall of the Seven Cities
! I hope you enjoyed my story. Reviews really help drive sales for indie authors like me. So if you liked
Fall of the Seven Cities
, please leave a review so other readers can connect with my work.

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Don’t stop reading! If you liked what you read you can get the second book in the series,
Exodus from the Seven Cities
, and start reading it today. Visit and type in Jay Brenham EXODUS FROM THE SEVEN CITIES.

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First and foremost, even though this isn’t enough to express the extent of my gratitude, I want to thank my wife. Without her, I would never have been able to make this story publishable.

Thank you to my family for supporting me and, in particular, my mother and father for being good beta readers. C.T.C., thank you for your boundless enthusiasm and for throwing me a launch party.

In no particular order, I would also like to thank:

My childhood friend, Mike, as well as his father, for introducing me to a genre I love. As well as Mike’s mother for pretending not to notice we were watching age inappropriate horror and action movies.

My good friend, Nick F, for painstakingly reading what I produce and for volunteering to edit. I hope one day I get to repay the favor.

I owe a significant thank you to my beta readers: Sander, Casey T, Vic, Dave, James S, and my college roommate, M.K.

James Cook, author of the
Surviving the Dead
series, for sharing his pre-publishing checklist with a random fan. His books are a great read and anyone who’s interested in the survival horror genre should check them out.

Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant, for replying to me when I asked for advice. Their book,
Write, Publish, Repeat
, was a key factor in getting my book finished.

And last but not least, Orson Scott Card, who is my favorite author of all time. When I’d written no more than a single paragraph, I wrote to him asking for advice about feeling self-conscious with my writing. To my surprise, Card wrote back to me and essentially told me to get over myself. That was exactly the kick in the pants I needed.

BOOK: Fall of the Seven Cities Saga (Book 1)
6.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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