Authors: C. E. Martin
(STONE SOLDIERS #6)
Copyright 2013 by C.E. Martin
This book is a work of fiction. The characters, names, places and events are purely fictional and not based on any real event. Any resemblance to real perso
ns, living or dead, is an amazing coincidence and nothing more.
All Rights Reserved. No portion of this work may be reproduced without the express written permission of the author, [email protected]om, with the exception of excerpts for the purposes of review or discussion, as explained in the Fair Use Act.
In memory of my grandfather—thanks for introducing me to science fiction and adventure novels.
WARNING: This novel contains extreme violence and pulp action that may be too intense for some readers.
Stone Soldiers Adventures (Prequel Short Stories)
Stone Soldiers: Catching Fire
Stone Soldiers: City of Bones
The Stone Soldiers Series
(Stone Soldiers #1)
Brothers in Stone
(Stone Soldiers #2)
Blood and Stone
(Stone Soldiers #3)
Shades of War
(Stone Soldiers #4)
Black Knight Down
(Stone Soldiers #5)
(Stone Soldiers #6)
To combat the supernatural, the U.S. Military has formed a Joint Forces Unit of psychics and supersoldiers. Based in Miami, Flor
ida, Detachment 1039 responds to threats conventional forces cannot handle.
Stone Soldiers—men turned to living stone—lead the battle against the forces of darkness. Comprised of former special forces operatives, a post-cognitive psychic and a Cold War-er
a commando with the power of electrokinesis, the Stone Soldiers are led by America's oldest supersoldier: Colonel Mark Kenslir.
Rendered immortal by a combination of curses that grant him enhanced strength and endurance and possessing a natural resistance
to magic, the Colonel has defended America for over sixty years. Training a new generation of super soldiers, he and the Stone Soldiers are joined in their fight against evil by Josie Winters, a cryokinetic who can freeze objects with her mind, Jimmy Kane, a former stone soldier-turned-werewolf, and Dr. Laura Olson, a vampire M.D. who uses her undead powers to kill, or to heal—all in the name of National Security.
Together, the Detachment puts their lives on the line to protect America from the mythical an
d the magical…
OUTBREAK, DAY 14
Kenji Nakayama wasn't ready to die again. Not so soon, anyway. It had been nearly two weeks since his last death. He had taken his small band of survivors so very far this time. He knew in his bones he was
almost done with this latest nightmare. He just needed to go a little further.
So, as the slavering pack of formerly-human monsters ripped his band of friends apart, Kenji ran. He ran for his life. He ran into new, unexplored territory. He ran through the
terminal of a small, Midwestern airport he'd died in twice now. He wanted to put off dying here one more time. He wanted to reach somewhere new, before his next, inevitable death.
Fortunately, Kenji had been running most of his life—he was an avid jogger,
despite the fact it had resulted in his death many times over. Running was a release for Kenji, a way to purge his mind of the many awful experiences of his past. He ran whenever he could.
The red-eyed creatures eager to rip him to shreds weren't so prac
ticed. Most of them had led sedentary lives before their deaths. Reanimated into horrible caricatures of humanity, they were held back by the limitations of the bodies they had abused in life. Despite no longer feeling pain or fatigue, they simply couldn't keep up with Kenji.
The fleet-footed Japanese-American college student was building quite a lead between himself and his followers, exhaling long plumes of breath in the cold of the airport. But the abandoned building was only so big. Eventually he would
run out of room to run. He would literally come to a dead end. Then, his pursuers would kill him. Again.
As always, luck was with him and Kenji spotted a door ajar. He ran to it, shouldering his way past the heavy metal barrier, hoping the other side was c
lear of the horrible monsters that had been spreading across America for the past two weeks. His adopted homeland was falling under their ever-expanding numbers.
Kenji caught the door as it rebounded back from the wall it had been violently swung open aga
inst. He pressed it closed, hearing the metallic sound of the latch engaging over the banshee-like screams of his pursuers. He looked around desperately for something to brace the door with or hold it in place.
The door he had charged through led into a s
mall lounge—possibly for employees of the once-thriving airport. While there wasn't anything he could use to secure this door, Kenji was relieved to see another door. A simple sign above it gave Kenji hope. It read "Stairs".
Kenji bolted for the stairwell
door, and prayed under his breath that it too was unlocked. Again, his luck held and he was able to open the door. It led into a stairwell leading up—and free of potential attackers.
Kenji charged up the stairs, his breath coming in great gulps now. Even
with his regular jogging, he was reaching the limits of his endurance. His next death was inevitable. But he pushed on. He had to, he had to see as much as he could in this life.
The stairs wound up several flights. As Kenji reached the top, he heard the
crash of the first door he had gone through—his pursuers had made it into the lounge.
Kenji now stood before what he knew to be the last door he would see in this life. He pushed through it, closing it behind him and thankfully finding a lock. Then he tur
ned and looked around at the empty control tower.
Where there should have been multiple traffic controllers on duty, there now were just empty chairs and dark computer monitors. The tower had been abandoned in the mad rush to evacuate the airport and the
surrounding towns when the plague first arrived.
Kenji dragged chairs and a small table over and braced them against the door, his heart sinking.
For several days now, he and his fellow survivors had been headed to this airport, following a radio broadcast that told of rescue—of a flight away from this awful slice of reanimated middle America. But there was no one here now broadcasting. Kenji and his friends had gotten there too late.
He looked around the tower and found another door after all—leading out
onto a small walkway that circled the control tower. He stepped through it, then sat down on the edge of the cold metal walkway and checked his watch. He could already hear the pack that had been chasing him, thundering up the stairs. Soon they would be pounding on the door to the tower. A door designed to deter a single person at a time. Their combined weight alone would eventually break it open.
Several stories below him, Kenji could see more of the reanimated headed his way. Running from all over the n
ight time airstrip to join the pack after him. That was how these creatures did. They sensed each other and formed ever larger mobs of killers.
Something caught Kenji's attention from the corner of his eye. He turned his head and was shocked to see somethi
ng falling from the dark sky. It was a person—parachuting down from the darkness above.
They glided quietly, steering a black parachute. When they were within fifty or so feet of the ground, the skydiver suddenly dropped free from their parachute. Kenji c
losed his eyes, not wanting to see the impact.
He was startled by the sound of gunfire.
Kenji opened his eyes and was surprised to see what appeared to be a soldier firing short bursts from a machinegun pressed to his shoulder. The man all in black had survived the plummet to the ground with no apparent ill effect. And he was not alone.
Three other dark figures had also dropped to the ground. Their abandoned parachutes were just now settling to the damp tarmac, discarded.
The soldiers were walking towards each other—some walking backwards—firing precise shots at the mob surrounding them. Heads and legs burst as bullets tore into the undead. The reanimated began dropping—swiftly.
Still, there were only four men. And they were making a lot of noise.
More and more reanimated began appearing, charging from the shadows and from out of the terminal itself. They were attracted by the noise, or maybe by their own kind dying.
The soldiers continued to fire, but there were just too many targets. Eventually, one o
f the reanimated reached a soldier. And that is when something truly amazing happened.
The soldier seemed to lower his rifle for just a moment, then swung his left arm around. His fist made a very loud crunching noise that even Kenji could hear at this di
stance. And the reanimated went flying.
The formerly-human being was hurtled through the air like a rag doll, as though he'd been struck by a car. Kenji knew exactly what that was like—he'd been killed in car collisions at least three times.
The soldier then calmly resumed firing.
More of the reanimated closed on the soldiers. And the same pattern was repeated. When a reanimated got close enough, the men in black would pause from firing and punch, or even kick, with tremendous effect.
A crash behind Kenji made him tear his gaze away from the carnage below. His pursuers were through the control tower door.
Kenji made a decision. He'd been torn apart several times now by the reanimated. He didn't want to go through it again—not when his possible salvation l
ay below. He slid under the railing of the control tower and plunged down toward the pavement.
Kenji awoke with a start, his legs kicking at the blankets over him. His eyes snapped open and he released the death grip he had on his pillow. His eyes fo
cused on the alarm clock beside his bed. It was nearly 9:00 AM. He was back at his parents' house on a Sunday morning.
It was all about to start over.
OUTBREAK, DAY 20
Her name was Josie Winters and she was running for her life.
Only nineteen years old, with long black hair, a creamy complexion and an athlete’s body, Josie ran as fast as she could through the large warehouse—barely keeping ahead of the murderous pack of S2R's chasing her. It was an easy run. She ran every day—normally up and down the stairs of the tall office building she'd been calling home these past few months.
It seemed a lifetime ago when Josie had graduated high school and set out with her friends for one last excursion into the desert. Then she'd met her grandfather
—the grandfather she never knew she had. And he had recruited her into the secret military unit he'd been a member of for the past fifty years.
Where most of Josie's friends had gone off to college, Josie had spent the past few months defending America fro
m terrible things. The pack chasing her was new, but as terrible as they were, she'd seen worse. So she paced herself, keeping just ahead of them. She didn't want to lose them.
At last, she neared the end of the warehouse and the small offices there. Josie
increased her pace, widening the thirty foot gap between herself and the two dozen monsters pursuing her.
She sped through the open doorway of the office, grabbing the door frame to stop herself, then slammed the door shut. She quickly locked the door an
d stepped back.
Josie was dressed all in black—combat fatigues and an assault vest. Large, oversized goggles covered her green eyes and filled her field of vision with data displayed on the lenses of the goggles. She saw the temperature, a compass heading
and even an altimeter as she looked out the windows of the office at the angry undead now beating on glass.
"Any time, Jimmy," she said.
Above and slightly behind the mob of reanimated, something moved in the shadows atop the long rows of shelving in the warehouse. It dropped down, falling twenty five feet, right into the pack of undead.
Most of the reanimated were taken by surprise and whirled to face the newcomer. Those closest suddenly found themselves ripped to shreds as long claws raked across their
faces. Inhuman muscles bulged under skin covered with thick, brown hair as a werewolf began to destroy the surprised reanimated.
The beast stood well over six feet tall. It had a wolf-like head atop a long neck connected to a muscular body with long arms a
nd legs. Where its hands had once been human, the beast now had long fingers tipped with sharp nails that rended reanimated flesh as easily as though they were metal blades. Broad feet, far longer than a human's, gripped the concrete floor of the warehouse.
Blood erupted in fountains around the beast as it slashed and ripped at the reanimated. The blood splashed on the black t-shirt and stretch pants the monster wore over its furry hide.
In the office, Josie was concentrating now, her gaze moving from one reanimated to another as fast as she could. She kept focused on each creature only for a second, then moved to the next. Each of the reanimated she looked at briefly screamed in pain, then fell to the ground, clutching their heads.
One of the monsters Jos
ie had looked at stood still after briefly screaming—somehow balanced just right on feet that were once more lifeless. The werewolf slashed into the creature, exploding its head like a ripe melon. Of the pieces that rained down on the concrete, several bounced and clattered since they were frozen solid.
In just under a minute the battle was over, and the werewolf stood alone, surrounded by bodies.
Josie walked calmly to the door of the office and opened it. As she walked through, she unholstered a silenced pistol from her right thigh. In her field of vision, a small square appeared, showing an aerial view of the warehouse she was in. Only two bright red spots were visible—representing the heat signatures of herself and the werewolf.
"That's all of them, J
immy," she said. She thought she saw one creature still moving, so she quickly sighted her pistol and fired. A .45 caliber bullet punched into the reanimated's head, ending any further possibility of attack.
The werewolf was shrinking now, his hair pullin
g back into his body, disappearing into his pores. His limbs shortened, as did his snout. In seconds, he was once more an average-height young man with dishwater blonde hair.
"Can I have my shoes?" he asked, lifting a bare foot from a puddle of blood.
Josie holstered her pistol and pulled a pair of deck shoes from the cargo pocket of her left pant leg. The werewolf, her best friend since childhood, and her boyfriend, took the shoes and slipped them on.
"I can't wait to take a shower," Jimmy Kane said, wip
ing one foot on the back of a once-more dead creature to get some of the blood off. His t-shirt and pants hung loosely on him now, like a sweat suit.
"We have some shopping to do first," Josie replied, pulling papers from her vest. "You did close the door
"Yes," Jimmy said, taking his half of the inventory sheets. "I made sure they were locked in with us. Nobody else is getting in for awhile."
An hour later, and Josie and Jimmy were waiting by the closed doors of the medical supply warehouse, next to four large pallets of supplies. When they could hear the sound of approaching rotors, they slid up the wide rolling door then each pulled a pallet of supplies out on wheeled skids.
A large, twin-rotored CH-47 Chinook helicopter settled down nearby
, the rear ramp lowering and Marines spilling out. They formed a semi-circle around the helicopter, rifles at the ready.
Josie and Jimmy tugged their pallets over to the helicopter were two more Marines helped wheel them up into the aircraft.
"Two more just inside the door," Josie said.
She and Jimmy quickly went back and got the supplies, then boarded the helicopter once they were loaded. The Marines on overwatch followed them in and the aircraft thundered up into the air, the ramp closing as they gaine
"You get everything?" A Marine Lieutenant shouted over the roar of the rotors.
"Yes, sir," Josie said. "I've already notified Command."
"All right," the Lieutenant said. "Let's get this stuff back to Miami."
A month into the end of the world, these supplies were very much needed by the few survivors left in America. Josie hoped they would last.