Read Green Fields (Book 3): Escalation Online

Authors: Adrienne Lecter

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

Green Fields (Book 3): Escalation

BOOK: Green Fields (Book 3): Escalation
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Green Fields #3

Escalation

Adrienne Lecter

Escalation

Green Fields #3

by Adrienne Lecter

Copyright © 2016 by Adrienne Lecter. All rights reserved. 
 

http://adriennelecter.com

First edition: January 2016

Produced and published by Barbara Klein,
1140 Vienna, Mauerbachstr. 42/12/3, Austria

Edited by Marti Lynch

Cover design by S.Marko

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses, events, or locales is purely coincidental.
 

Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written consent is strictly prohibited.
 

The author greatly appreciates you taking the time to read her work. Please consider leaving a review wherever you bought the book, or telling your friends about it, to help spread the word.
 

To my readers

You continue to blow me away with your enthusiasm. This one’s for you!

What happened in Green Fields: Incubation & Outbreak

Nate Miller is a man on a mission—and that mission is to find out how exactly his brother died, and who is responsible for it. He recruits Bree Lewis, a virologist, to help him, even if she doesn’t know it yet. They end up destroying the virus that killed Nate’s brother—and turned him into a zombie—but it is too late. The zombie apocalypse is already happening.

Together with his group of mercenaries and a few others who join along the way, they flee the city, barely escaping a mob of zombies that devours everything in its way. Scared and hungry, they start their trek across the country. Their destination: a shelter in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, half a continent away. With rations and ammunition running low, they soon have to resort to looting the dead to stay ahead of the undead hordes. And the zombies are not the only thing out there ready to end their lives.

In this new world, it’s either adapt or die, and once again Bree has to hold fast to her new motto—to survive, whatever it takes.

After two months on the road, they finally reach Wyoming, where they bug down for the winter.

Chapter 1

“Do you see them? North of that rock, five hundred yards out,” I whispered, breathing out slowly to steady the scope of my M24.
 

Nate gave a grunt that could have meant anything.

“Six hundred and twenty.”

“What?” I asked, tempted to turn my head and look at him, but refraining—he’d just snap at me.

“The distance to your target. You were more than a hundred yards off.”

At least the scope hid my eye roll. Ever the stickler for details, Nate.
 

“Whatever,” I grumbled, but diligently adjusted for the change in distance.

“With that attitude, you’ll never get a kill on the first shot,” he provided, scorn dripping from his voice.

“I can live with not being a bona fide sniper,” I shot back—and took the shot. The recoil was strong enough that it took me a moment to see where it had landed. Short, but not by much. A small puff of snow still hung in the air above where I’d sent the round into the drift.

“Case in point,” he commented dryly, eyes glued to his scope.
 

Grumbling, I ejected the shell casing and chambered the next round before adjusting the rifle again and forcing my mind to return to a focused state that was centered on something other than grabbing the rifle at the barrel and clubbing my less-than-forgiving spotter to death with it. Would have been a waste of good gear, really.

A light twinge of pain started up in my right hip, making me shimmy over onto my left with soft movements. I’d been lying on this snow drift for the better part of half an hour, and even with the heavy winter gear and the overwhites, I could feel the cold seeping in slowly. It was about time that I hit my mark so we could move on to the next position.

Exhaling slowly, I zeroed in on my target, and when I pulled the trigger this time, the head of the left-most zombie disappeared in a satisfying haze of red. It took another two steps before it fell to the ground, becoming just another heap that the snow drifts would cover up within the next few hours. Like at my previous three shots, the other zombies jerked around, trying to pinpoint the source of the shot, but they were too far away—and too sluggish from the cold—to even look straight at the drift we were lying on. Within the next three minutes, I dispatched the other two—a second headshot, the other a little lower in the chest cavity, severing the spine through the fist-sized hole of impact. Grinning, I reloaded, raising my brows at Nate.

“You want a cookie or something?” he jeered, but was unable to hide the ghost of a smile.

“How about some jerky? We’ve been out and about for, what? Four hours?”

Shrugging, he put his super scope away and reached for the side pocket of his pants. Chewing meditatively, we shared the small bag of dehydrated beef strips, savoring the rich flavor.
 

“That’s twelve today,” I summed up my kills. “Four more than last week.”

“They’re on the move again,” Nate agreed, coming to his feet in one lithe motion. It took me somewhat longer to force life back into my own limbs, and I spent another few seconds brushing the snow from my front. The winds were strong again today—one reason for why that first shot had gone wide—carrying enough snow around that my calves had already been partly submerged before I got up. I was so over this winter thing.

Before we left, I gathered up the empty shell casings and stuffed them in my pocket, while Nate used a pine bough to rough up the snow where it had become hard-packed from our weight lying on it for fucking forever.

Looking up at the setting sun, I tried to estimate how late it was. Four, maybe four-fifteen. About time for us to hit the deer trails again.

Nate took point, leaving me to trudge after him. About halfway to the zombies our track veered west, and there was no sense in checking on them. They would just look like the last ones—half-frozen, skin grayish from lack of food and the cold, any substance that had been on their bodies when they died long gone now. Some resembled little more than a moving skin bag with bone and cartilage inside. The smart ones weren’t those that ended up in a snow drift in west Wyoming when elsewhere spring had already arrived. Presumably. With no real way of global communication, it stood to reason that in California or Florida, the weather was balmier than here, close to the Rocky Mountains.

Our trail continued uphill until we reached another stone formation, suspiciously free of the fluffy white stuff that crept into everything else. Looking closer, the reason became apparent as my gaze fell on the few yellow marks in the surrounding snow. And because Andrej and Burns pissing on our boundary marker this morning wasn’t enough, Nate had to add to that now, of course.

Making a disgusted sound, I turned away, glaring down the hill toward the low prairies beyond.

“Seriously? And there you complain that we can’t sink as low as animals just because the world has gone to shit.”

Nate chuckled as he put his equipment away, gifting me with a bright grin.

“That coming from the woman who keeps complaining that she would have looted some adult diapers from the pharmacy in Cody if she’d known how many hours she’d spend on sniper duty.”

Reminding me of that—and my bladder, too—so did not improve my mood.

“I can’t just roll over and point my weiner at the next available target. Which is a truly disgusting habit, just saying.”

“Did I tell you that story about my second tour in Afghanistan when I spent four days in that ditch, where Bucky and I started building a tower out of the ziplock bag cubes we put our fecal matter into?”

I just gave him the deadpan stare that deserved. “You told me. Repeatedly. And the story doesn’t get better with each new round.”

“Always the critic,” he griped, still smiling.

We moved on, farther uphill, then cut to the left sharply, trudging along the very edge of the hill shoulder. Someone trained in reconnaissance might have picked out our silhouettes against the background, but with the dirt patches breaking up the white of our outer layer, we’d probably disappear right into the mountain. Within minutes, I felt hot underneath the billions of layers, a nice contrast to freezing my ass off before. Muscles burned and my breath came out in small, white puffs, but even carrying both the sniper rifle now strapped to my pack and my shotgun slung across my chest, the slope didn’t force me to slow down anymore. The first few weeks had been tough—particularly as I’d completely underestimated the impact of the elevation here—but months into this, everything was just routine.
 

About ten minutes later, we reached the plateau that held the next boundary mark, a larch tree this time. We walked right past it—thankfully—and over to the other side. A solitary figure clothed in muted browns and greens was already waiting for us there, a thermos in one hand, the steaming, unscrewed cap of it in the other.

Grinning at Dave, Nate raised his right hand in greeting, while I divested him of the coffee immediately. While I took a first sip—closing my eyes and trying not to moan in bliss too loudly—Nate got out a gallon-sized container from his pack, handing it to Dave in exchange.

“Rabbit stew, with the last of our turnips and onions. From here on out it’s just meat and rice, I’m afraid.”

Dave didn’t seem to mind.

“Beats only eating canned food all the time. If I have to eat another can of tuna, I’ll get an anaphylactic shock for real.”

I couldn’t help but snort at his exaggeration, but shared his sentiment all too well. Although tuna still beat cat food. Except for the red one, pork with beans.

“Any news?” I asked, trying to steer the conversation away from things I didn’t want to think about.

“Some,” Dave reported. “Simone lured in a third cat. The guys over in Reno said they were considering hitting one of the casinos next, mostly to see if they can liberate any gear from the security force. Haven’t heard anything from Holly and Ben for two weeks, but they said they were hunkering down for a winter storm; might just have killed their generator until the solar panels are free again.” I could commiserate with the last; we’d spent way too many hours this winter in the dark because the snow drifts had covered the panels on our bunker, too, and during the storms it had been too dangerous to get up onto the roof. And with inches of snow coming down each hour, making a run for diesel for the generator had been out of the question, too.

“Any idea if the roads have cleared up already?” Nate asked. For whatever reason, he and Andrej kept debating when the routes through the mountains would free up again—as if there wasn’t enough lowland around that hadn’t disappeared under yards and yards of ice and snow.
 

“Nope, but I doubt that will happen for another month,” Dave offered. “We’ve had a pretty mild winter down here, but the folks up in Montana said they haven’t seen anything like this in decades.”

Nate nodded, looking in the general direction of the mountains as if that was helping any. If getting buried under heaps of snow several times over the last months qualified as “mild,” I wondered if we could maybe relocate to Florida for the next cold season. Maybe the gators would help with zombie population control, too?

We chatted a while longer, watching the sun sink toward the horizon—which was to say, drop away behind the summits way before the orange glow was dissipating over the plains to the east. The moment we were standing in the shade, the wind whipping across my face, it got a hundred degrees colder. Shivering, I pulled up the neoprene face mask until my chin, mouth, and nose were covered. About time to head home.

I was about to mention that to Nate when a rather distinct growling sound made us both whip around, weapons at the ready. I didn’t need to get the rifle with its scope to make out the group of maybe fifteen—no, make that twenty—zombies barging out of the trees, coming straight for us. Unlike the ones I’d shot further down the slope, these ones moved fast, apparently still at full strength underneath their barely torn-up winter gear. The only reason why they were running spread-out was because what used to be women and children simply had shorter legs that didn’t carry them as fast as the others. Likely a caravan that had chosen the wrong food source, or else the smaller ones would never have survived long enough to actually turn.

BOOK: Green Fields (Book 3): Escalation
3.11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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