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Authors: Edward Chilvers

Plague Of The Revenants

BOOK: Plague Of The Revenants
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Published by One Fine Day Reading 2014

www.onefinedayreading.co.uk

Edward Chilvers asserts his right to be identified as the author of this work

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By the Same Author

 

The Shallow Valleys

Perished

The Executioner’s Apprentice

The Executioner’s Apprentice: The Siege

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Royal Pretender

The Madman, The Witch  And The Executioner’s Apprentice

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Penitent Monk

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Blind Bandit

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Inquisitor

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Baron’s Daughter

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Leper

The Executioner’s Apprentice and the Last Stand

To the Land of the Vertical Mountains

The Man of One Million Years

The Forever Rain

Legacy of the Forever Rain

Escape From
The Forever Rain

Curse
Of The Forever Rain

Goldenglow
Towers

The Man From Beneath
The Mountain

The Arsonist
And Her Lover

The Bitten Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The revenants were attacking in large numbers and there seemed to be no end to them. They came out of the night, through the trees, a seemingly never ending swarm of undead hordes, turned by a disease we would now surely never fathom. There could be no doubting they were now in the ascendency, and they must have outnumbered the rest of us humans some ten thousand to one. Those that remained of the human race were now in a state of decline, and perhaps it was terminal for it was far easier for a human to be turned that it was for a child to be born and survive in this new epoch. After two million years of human history was this how it was all to end? Was this now the limit of our evolution, or were the revenants in fact our final form? I did not know and at that moment I did not care. I charged forward and swung the axe hard into the head of the first revenant, splattering it in two against my blade and sending a gush of rotten brains flying into the face of the second monster who now advanced upon me regardless. Those things moved quickly when they were up close but I was lean, I was fast, I was strong. I swung the axe with the full force of my strength and it scythed through their rotten skulls like they were overripe melons. And still they kept coming. They did not appreciate my work, did not fear it, did not even seem to regard it, did not blink or turn tail and run. I wondered whether they felt anything as I smashed my weapon against them. The revenants were unyielding, uncontrolled and ravenous for blood, but I was all of these things and more. I was smiling. I was laughing. I ducked and dived, dancing to an obscene ballet. Maybe this was the day they got me. But I knew that if I was bitten I would never become like them. I was not afraid of death, there were times when I would have welcomed it but at the same time I was in no hurry to die. Some ran from this type of work, some committed suicide so they might not have to do it, but not me. I was in my prime. I was born for this world.
It is dangerous to be poor and yet ambitious. It is not money that makes success, rather it is contacts. Money buys contacts. A poor boy or girl might get lucky, might find a contact of whom to take advantage whether it be a sugar daddy, a benevolent boss or just some guy off the street who happens to spot your natural, God given talent. It is dangerous to be poor and yet naturally clever and here I do not mean clever in the academic sense but rather cunning, tactful and streetwise, able to read people and take advantage of their weaknesses accordingly. I was born in the worst part of London. My parents were second generation Afro-Caribbean and I just another poor black kid from the wrong part of town. My father left before I was born. He still remained around the estate, fathering kids he never paid for, and I still used to see him around sometimes but I never spoke to him and certainly never thought of him as my dad. My mother did the best she could but the two of us were never close. Truth be told I was never really that close to anyone and from the earliest of ages I was left to my own devices, wandering the streets and observing the world around me; watching and learning, storing up the knowledge which would go on to serve me well in later life, or so I thought. I wasn’t expected to succeed, none of us were. As long as we kept out of trouble, or rather as long as we didn’t bother the rich white neighbourhoods where the liberals and the social workers lived, we could more or less do what we liked. But a boy will seek male role models and if the father isn’t there to provide it he will look elsewhere, often towards less reputable sources.
Sometimes your talent is spotted by the wrong type of person, or maybe your talents were rotten to the core in the first place. There were minor, little league gangs on the estate and it was not long before I fell in with them. By the time I was twelve I could read and write well enough and decided school had taught me all it was going to. I never went back again. Who cared if a poor back kid stabbed up another poor black kid? We saw the police every now and again; they came in black masks to kick people’s doors down at five in the morning and drag them off to the cells, often with a TV camera or a politician in tow. They called it equality. They weren’t fooling anybody. The police were alien, unapproachable. They spent their time liaising with so called ‘community leaders.’ Every now and again the local MP would come down for a photo opportunity with his bullet proof vest concealed beneath his well-tailored suit and he would crow about the various ‘community projects’ that none of us had ever heard about. Meanwhile myself and the rest of the boys were more or less left to it. We went around terrorising people. We smashed windows, cars, anything that was nice, that was new. We struck up rivalries with other gangs for no reason and engaged in pitched battles with them to which we brought knives. I was thirteen the first time I was stabbed in the arm. It was nothing serious, nothing to cry over. More of a badge of honour really.

I grew up tall and stocky, cast an intimidating presence and this made me useful. It wasn’t long before some of the bigger gangs, led by the bigger men, started to take an interest in me.
These were the large scale drug dealers, the ones who dealt with more than the powdered down coke or the weed mixed with lavender. They dealt with the suppliers, the really big men from Columbia and places like that. They wanted me to be their thug so I played up to the part. I shaved my head and worked out at the gym at every opportunity. Of course I never touched the drugs myself. You needed to keep a clear head in this kind of work. And all the time I was watching, just waiting for the opportunity to strike. I had always seen myself as something special, a cut above the other drones in the estate. I was going to be the big man, the biggest gangster in all of London. The gang paid me well and respected me. But I wanted more. That was my problem. I always wanted more.
“Give me the blow. Hand it over now.”
The lieutenant laughed. “You must be out of your fucking mind.”
“Oh yeah? Because from where I’m standing there’s a single guy pointing a lever auctioned shotgun at three unarmed men who don’t seem all that disposed to doing as he says. That sounds pretty fucking crazy to me.”
The lieutenant looked at me then exchanged a glance with the other two goons. It was the sort of look they’d have on their faces whilst watching the football match when the opposing goalkeeper had fumbled a shot into his own net, which was exactly what they thought I was doing. They thought I was an opportunist, a grasper. They were wrong. I had planned a long time for this moment, indeed I had thought about everything else for the past fortnight since the plan had first hatched in my head following a boozy night at the local pub in which I’d had cause to question the futility of my existence. I was twenty-one years old and I was frustrated. Others in the gang seemed to be progressing faster than I was and I considered myself ten times more intelligent. I was nothing by comparison, a minor lieutenant in a minor gang that was going nowhere. A yes man to the big chief. Well I was smarter than the chief, I worked harder and I deserved it more. With me in charge I’d hit the big time before the year was out. I was greedy. I wanted it all. This was the chance to make my name. By the time I was thirty I’d be retired and relaxing on a beach in Spain with millions in my offshore bank account, set up for life. And whilst lounging on that beach I would look back and think about how this was the moment that had started it all. I thought I had it all worked out. I had listened in and overheard, exploited the considerable trust the boss had in me. These three guys here, they were nothing, just a bunch of low level bag men. They had just picked up the blow from the car park and now all they had to do was carry it back to the office where it would be cut and divided amongst all the street dealers to sell across London. All I had to do was take it. I had covered my face with a balaclava and taken care to disguise my voice. What I hadn’t planned for was the possibility that they might not actually hand over the drugs. What was more they were laughing at me, actually fucking laughing at me. They didn’t think I had the bottle. They thought I was going to back down. They thought I was going to grit my teeth and stare at them with wide eyes for a few seconds and that afterwards I was going to back away. And whilst I was backing away they were going to keep laughing at me, and afterwards they were going to come after me, turn the tables, point the guns in my face. And when they did that they wouldn’t flinch, and I wouldn’t be laughing at them either. But they really had underestimated me. They had underestimated my rage, my sense of pride that dictated there was no way I could possibly back down. I was going to have those drug whether or not they handed them over to me. I stepped forward and reached out for the bag. Then the lieutenant uttered seven little words that changed everything. “We all know this is you, Grant.”
I hesitated, my hand stopping in mid-air. Now there was nothing for it. I raised the shotgun and fired into the lieutenant’s face. He was not laughing now and neither were the two other goons. “I’m sorry boys,” I said with a shrug. “I’m afraid I can’t back down now. You should have done as I asked.” Two more shots rang out in quick succession. Three men lay dead on the floor before me. I picked up the bags of drugs and placed them into my rucksack, carried them over to my car. The plan could still work, could still work even better now the three goons were dead. I had a contact up in Manchester who could shift the stuff for me. As for the big boss, he didn’t even know I was there. This could have been done by anyone. I could swing up to Manchester, drop off the blow and be back the next day before he even realised I was missing. In the meantime there was over a hundred grand’s worth of drugs here, more than enough to start up my own operation, to bribe my own goons. This was the start of my takeover. The boss would never see it coming.
Those four and a half hours I took to drive to Manchester were the best of my life. I was on a high. I had called my contact and he was ready to collect the stash as soon as I pulled up. We had arranged the meeting point and everything. But it was not long before everything went to shit. As I reached the Manchester suburbs I turned on the radio and found news of the triple killing all over the headlines. I pulled up by the side of the road and checked my phone: I had twenty-three missed calls from the boss. I was fucked. I called my contact again. He didn’t reply and I knew he wouldn’t be at the meeting point. I drove out to a spot at the start of Pennines and buried the gear in the forest, hoping to pick it up later. This done I decided to lay low for a while. I still had a bit of money in my account and even though I knew I could never go back to London again I was still confident I could find another contact to take the blow and all would be well again. I booked myself into a hostel for a few days, went to the pub for dinner then went back to the common room and stuck the telly on. I never realised the sort of impact my actions would create, thought us gangsters lived under the radar and could do more or less what we liked to one another provided we didn’t hurt innocent members of the public. Instead the killings led the news bulletins and to make matters worse my face was all over it as suspect number one. I left the hostel straight away and took to my car only to abandon it an hour later when I realised it would be one of the first things the cops would look out for. I started resorting to the skills I had picked up as a teenage tearaway. I stole three cars in quick succession and headed north. Listening to the radio I heard the announcer tell how I had been spotted at the hostel and interviewed the manager. They even spoke to my father who urged me to hand myself in, said he loved me! Funny how many people come out of the woodwork when you’re famous. As I drove past newsagents I saw my name on the boards outside. People were warned not to approach me, said I was one of the most dangerous men in the country. Here was notoriety. Here was the respect I had claimed to crave for so long. Funny how the cookie crumbles.

BOOK: Plague Of The Revenants
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