Read The Living Dead Series (Book 3): Dead Coast Online

Authors: L.I. Albemont

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The Living Dead Series (Book 3): Dead Coast

BOOK: The Living Dead Series (Book 3): Dead Coast
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Dead Coast

 

A Novel of The Living Dead

 

L.I. Albemont

 

 

Copyright 2013

All rights reserved

Pale Peak Press

 

This is a work of fiction. Characters, locations, names and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Liberties have been taken with dates and geography. Any resemblance to anyone living or undead is purely coincidental.

 

 

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Also by L.I. Albemont

 

             
The Kirk

              “What do you do if the very ground is evil? If something so horrific happened here that it can never be cleansed?”

Welcome to
The Kirk
,
the just-released page turning new horror thriller from best-selling author L.I. Albemont.

A picturesque town with a dark history is the setting for Albemont’s newest offering. Secrets lie beneath the prosaic surface of the small town of Falkirk. Bucolic beauty conceals an ancient evil that lurks in the quiet woods and lanes, an evil that feeds on murder and madness and fear.

 

Contagion: A Novel of The Living Dead- Book 1

A remote mountain town is isolated by a snowstorm as an ancient evil, gone pandemic, turns the residents into the living dead. Almost overnight the town becomes a snowy tomb of the roaming, hungry dead. Stranded, hiding, a small group of survivors is determined to survive. Will they be able to adjust to this hungry new world?

 

World Without End: A Novel of The Living Dead- Book 2

When deadly earthquakes devastate the Caribbean, an ancient disease of almost unimaginable destructive force engulfs the globe. As the earth continues to convulse and the seas encroach the dead rise with an appetite for human flesh. Survivors must learn to navigate a world in which they are now the hunted. And the hunters never sleep.

 

A Haunting

Fleeing a troubled past, Sarah Faust thinks she has found the perfect place to start a new life. Neglected but with potential, the three-hundred year old townhouse in the port city of Charleston offers a refuge and a place to start over. But all is not as it seems at 5 Rue Lane and she soon finds that her new house harbors something that has been there for a very long time. Something that refuses to stay buried.

 

 

The story thus far…

The origins of the outbreak were never in dispute although at first almost no one believed the dead were actually rising. When the island nation of Haiti was struck by wave after wave of violent earthquakes killing thousands, the Z-virus lurched spectacularly to life. Early reports of cannibalism from inside the country were disregarded until shocking live video splashed across the world’s television and computer screens. Suddenly everyone was a believer.

Nevertheless, in many ways it still didn’t seem real. Anything could happen out
there
, in the barbarous realm of the third world, beyond the pale of civilization. There were myriad reasons that it could never happen
here
. Health and security protocols, a literate, well-informed public, etc., were all on our side.

In truth, the virus was already here and spreading like the viral videos sent out from Haiti during the first days after the quake. News anchors and subject-matter experts (yes, there were subject-matter experts on the living dead) speculated and conjectured until theory gave way to the infected, pus-filled reality breaking down doors and smashing through windows with flailing, rotten hands.

Prologue

 

 

The manners of the Androphagi are more savage than those of any other race. They neither observe justice nor are governed by any laws. They are nomads and their dress is Scythian but the language they speak is peculiar to themselves. Unlike any other nation in these parts, they are cannibals.

-Herodotus 

5th Century B.C.

 

What shall I say of other nations- how when I was in Gaul as a youth I saw the Scots, a British race, eating human flesh, and how, when these men came upon the herds of swine and sheep, they ravaged the buttocks of shepherds and paps of the women and consume these for their horrid repasts.

-Saint Jerome

Anno Domini 400

 

And the god, tiring of the sacrifices of his children, gave a new command. Henceforth, the slaves slaughtered in the tombs of the mighty and left to serve the master in the after-life, should not die but, submitting themselves to the bite of Apophis, should arise in the darkness and live forever.

-Strabo

1st Century B.C.

 

 


A
aron, you coming?”

Aaron looked up from his computer and grimaced. “Nope. Someone has to be here to keep the west coast from logistical meltdown. Besides, you know I’m trying to quit. I can’t afford that nasty old habit anymore. ”

Catherine laughed, “You and me both. I just can’t give it up yet. Back in fifteen, sooner if it’s still raining hard.”

She walked away, taking a pack of cigarettes from her purse and pulling an umbrella from her coat pocket. She stopped at Jill’s desk halfway down the aisle and said something Aaron couldn’t hear. Laughter drifted his way, Jill’s laughter, which sounded like heavenly silver bells to him. She had transferred to this office a week ago and so far he hadn’t had the courage to do more than say “Hi” in passing.

The blue glow of computer screens shone from only three other desks. Because of the time difference between here and the west coast a skeleton staff was required to stay late in order to deal with logistic issues that arose out west. It averaged out to four evening shifts per month and Aaron didn’t really mind it. Sometimes they all got together and ordered Chinese or pizza. He didn’t know exactly all of whom were here tonight but was really hoping the consensus vote would be for pizza. The moo-goo gai pan last week had been gristly and flavorless.

The building, consisting of one floor honey-combed with cubicles and the whole enclosed with plate-glass walls, continued to empty out. It hadn’t been that full to start with. An unprecedented fifty percent of staff called in sick or just hadn’t shown up this morning.

The whole town (it was a small town) was still talking about what happened Monday night. Aaron knew more about it than some because his aunt was there when it happened. During a guest lecture series at the satellite campus of Ford-Emory, the assistant of the visiting lecturer from Haiti attacked a classroom of anthropology students, sending four to the hospital with bite wounds. The assistant was taken into police custody and was supposedly in the hospital, under guard.

Catherine finished her conversation with Jill and went outside, the briefly open door admitting the harsh shriek of an ambulance before it closed again. He caught a glimpse of flashing red lights near the parking lot before turning back to his computer.

His phone rang and he spent forty minutes trying to calm down an irate distributer in Portland who was still missing a shipment of shower doors that should have arrived yesterday. By the time he called around and found a shipment he could divert to Portland (taking them from a builder in Texas who wasn’t quite ready for them anyway) it was after seven o’clock and he was hungry. No one messaged him or stopped by for his order.

Aaron stood up and looked across the cubicle sea all around him. He missed cigarette breaks more than he cared to admit and looked longingly at the side door that led to a small concrete patio, the one spot on which the company allowed smoking. He glanced away then turned back and looked again. Red lights still flashed outside and the siren- he listened- was still there, muted but wailing. Whatever was going on out there was taking a hell of a long time to sort out.

Time for a break and a little stroll around the office. The stroll just might take him by Jill’s desk and he could ask her what happened to the supper plan. He looked at his reflection in the now night-black window. Half of his shirt collar had disappeared under his sweater. Sighing he fished it out. He always looked slightly rumpled no matter how much time he spent getting ready. This slight dishevelment aroused a desire in women to reach out and smooth his hair and straighten his collar just to have an excuse to get closer to him but he was unaware of this. He nervously made sure his collar tag wasn’t sticking up again, took off his ID badge and hung it over his computer. Stupid thing looked like a necklace. Ok, good enough.

She wasn’t there. Her computer was on and her jacket hung on the back of her chair but she was gone. A silver framed photograph of her with a group of friends on a white, sandy beach somewhere stood next to her phone. He studied it. Was one a boyfriend? It wasn’t obvious if so.

Thinking she was in the break room, he headed that way but found her in the hallway, standing indecisively outside the ladies’ room. The janitor had wedged the door partially open with a trashcan and from the sounds echoing off the hard tile surfaces someone was really losing their lunch in there. Jill saw him and raised her eyebrows a little comically. She wore a red, sweater dress and black, leather boots that stopped just below her knees. When she smiled, dimples appeared near the corners of her mouth. It’s official, he thought, I am smitten.

“It’s Trina. She felt sick at lunch but didn’t want to go home. Some crazy guy attacked her last night outside her apartment. She got away and called the police but the guy
bit
her,” Jill said.

“What?  You’re kidding!”

Jill shook her head. “No, she had to get antibiotics and whatnot.
I
would have taken the day off but she hasn’t missed a day in something like four years and doesn’t want to ruin her perfect record. You’re Aaron, right? I’m Jill. I just transferred from Cleveland a week ago.”

“Nice to meet you. Shouldn’t one of us go in there and make sure she’s ok?”

“I’m going. I have a really weak stomach so I’m trying to wait until she’s finished, um…”

“Praying to the porcelain god?”

“Yes.”

The vomiting ceased but a foul odor drifted into the hallway. Jill covered her mouth and nose preparing to go in but hadn’t taken two steps before something slammed into the glass double-doors at the main entrance. They turned. A man pressed against the glass and pounded the doors until they shook, shouting something. Abandoning Trina for the moment they ran down the hallway.

Aaron recognized Hugh, the evening security guard. Screaming and banging on the glass he kept looking back over his shoulder. Aaron wondered why he didn’t just run his ID through and come in. Then he noticed his face. One ear was gone and the flesh from his scalp and part of his cheek was torn away and hanging. Blood poured from his torn throat and covered the front of his shirt. Smears of blood soon streaked the glass.

Horrified, Aaron moved to open the door then stopped. Three figures, a woman, and two men emerged from the swirling mist and darkness. Even in the scanty illumination from the parking lot lights they were something out of a nightmare. The woman lurched forward on legs that were little more than bloody bones. Her mouth worked as if she were chewing on something and she clutched a pack of cigarettes in one bloody hand. It’s Catherine, he thought with a shock of recognition.

One of the men was in better shape and he reached Hugh first, falling against him mouth wide and biting deeply into his shoulder. Hugh screamed, a shrill note of desperate agony that faded as he was knocked to the ground and pulled apart. Catherine hooked her fingers into his flesh and peeled the skin and tissue away in thick strips, pushing them eagerly into her mouth. Blood pooled then ran down the concrete steps, spilling over them in a trickling red cascade. The mist crept in and darkness swallowed the gruesome sight.

Jill was on her knees, staring at the scene outside with her hands pressed to her face. He pulled her up and away from the doors, back down the hallway just in time to watch Trina, oh-so professional Trina, crawl from the ladies’ room on her hands and knees.

She appeared to have partially swallowed a dirty string mop with the strings hanging from her mouth. Then he realized that what dangled from her mouth was the shredded and rotten tissue lining her throat. Her eyes bulged and she continued to retch, slowly choking to death before their eyes. Her legs jerked and kicked then slowly, slowly became still.

More people were pounding and scratching on the doors now. They were all wounded in some way, horribly, bloodily wounded. Aaron and Jill looked at each other then quietly moved farther away, deeper into the building, leaving Trina’s body behind.

“We have to get out of here. There’s a door to the side parking lot in the break room. My car is out there. Where did you park?” Aaron asked.

“Front parking lot. There’s no way I’m going near those people.”

“I’ll drive you home.”

They grabbed their coats and headed to the break room. The lights here were motion activated and came on as soon as they opened the door making it impossible to see out into the night. Aaron looked for a switch to turn them off but found nothing. Great. Just great. He really, really craved a cigarette right now, could almost taste the welcome burn of the smoke filling his lungs and feel the calming release of nicotine. They heard glass shatter somewhere in the building.

“We’re going to have to run for it and just hope there’s no one out there. Ready?”

“Wait. Do you hear that?” Jill took a few steps toward the hallway.

Someone was in the hall outside the break room door. Shoes squeaked on the floor, the sound gradually getting louder. Hands slapped on the door and they saw a face pressed to the glass. Trina, skin dead-white and skeins of tissue still spilling from her mouth, pushed on the door and had it halfway open before Aaron got there to slam it shut, catching some of the tissue hanging from her mouth in the process. She drew back, more and more rotten tissue pulled out through her mouth until it was at least a foot long. She finally pulled free, the tissue hitting the floor wetly before she began a new assault on the door. The expression in her eyes was dead and the eyes themselves glazing over with some sort of white film. Aaron stepped back, more frightened than he had ever been in his life.

Jill moved closer, saw Trina and screamed. Aaron pulled her toward the exit and out into the dark. They took deep gulps of the cold air. Somewhere around the corner the ambulance still keened.

“She’s dead, she died; I saw her! I know I saw her die!” Jill shook and her breath formed vapor in the air.

“I thought so too but...” He felt a sense of unreality wash over him. “Dead people don’t walk and bang on doors. Come on, the coast is-”

A nightmare mob, bloody flesh torn and hanging, materialized from the mist and rounded the corner of the building and more, some wearing only hospital gowns blowing in the chill wind, approached from among the cars in the lot, slow, clumsy but closing in.

“…not clear,” Aaron finished. Jill made a soft, frightened sound and ran back to the door, pulling frenziedly on the handle, forgetting to run her ID card through the reader.

Aaron shouted, “Where’s your card?!” She looked blank. “Your ID! Swipe it now!”

She screamed, “They gave me a temporary! That’s all I have. It won’t open the door!”

He fumbled for his then remembered it was hanging on his computer. He looked around for a weapon, anything. Decorative white gravel filled a shrub border next to the building and he scooped some up and threw it. Their attackers never even flinched.

They went for him first, tearing the skin from his face and throat, biting the hands he held up in defense. Striking out, punching, kicking, he was no match for his attackers who tore into his body while he was still alive. As he thrashed in pain, feeling the skin torn from his flesh, Jill’s screams were the last sounds he heard.

BOOK: The Living Dead Series (Book 3): Dead Coast
9.29Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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