Authors: M.D. Massey
Tags: #dystopian, #werewolf, #shapeshifter, #horror, #vampire, #vampire hunter, #post apocalyptic, #zombie, #werewolves, #werewolf hunter, #zombie hunter, #apocalypse, #post apocalyptic books, #Zombie Apocalypse
Season 1 Episode 3
A Post-Apocalyptic Thrill Ride By
Modern Digital Publishing
Copyright © 2014 by M.D. Massey.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the address below.
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THEM Season 1 Episode 3 / M.D. Massey. —1st ed.
Dedicated to those who stalk the night
so that others may sleep in peace
Swift blazing flag of the regiment,
Eagle with crest of red and gold,
These men were born to drill and die.
Point for them the virtue of slaughter,
Make plain to them the excellence of killing
And a field where a thousand corpses lie.
~Stephen Crane, from
War Is Kind
s I walked into Kara’s garage to access my weapons cache, I heard a sharp creak from the rafters above, as if the attic floor was settling under some unexpected burden. Like many modern tract homes, Kara’s garage was drywalled and left half finished by the builders, so it was impossible to see what, if anything, was up there. To be safe, I drew one of my Glocks and backed away from the sound, and then used my free hand to throw a wrench across the garage.
No sooner had the wrench clattered on top of my workbench than the drywall ceiling exploded above me, and a fully shifted werewolf came crashing down into the garage with me. Without hesitation I began emptying a mag into the thing, pelting its dark-grey-and-black fur with round after round of silver-tipped .45 hollow-point ammo. I could see holes appearing in the creature’s hide as the rounds hit, only to partially close and stop bleeding almost instantly. In spite of the lack of blood, I knew my efforts were at least having some effect, as the thing howled bloody murder and turned toward me with a wicked gleam in its yellow eyes.
My sidearm locked open as the last round left the chamber, and I was already moving laterally toward the door as I grabbed a mag from my belt pouch and reloaded. But just as I dropped the mag home, the wolf swiped the pistol from my hands and sent it clattering across the garage. It must have leapt the distance between us when I was reloading, as just a moment before it was fifteen feet away on the other side of the garage. Never could get the knack for reloading without looking at my weapon; I made a mental note to put that on my to-do list, if I was still alive tomorrow.
As the ’thrope swiped at me again, I dive-rolled out of the garage and through the hall doorway, drawing my other Glock left-handed as I came up on one knee. I stitched the wolf from stem to sternum with .45 ACP as it came bounding through the garage entry, howling like a banshee and slobbering all over the hall carpet. Again, I watched as the rounds hit, punching holes that left small, smoking cavities, but that didn’t bleed. I could only assume that, as with the .223 round that had hit Gabby, the silver in the rounds would prevent the ’thrope from fully healing. I silently hoped that would at least slow it down, and I rocked up to a standing position as I backpedaled down the hallway with
bounding after me.
Once I hit the living room, I turned into a full run and high-jumped over Kara’s sectional couch. As I landed, I grabbed the only weapon at hand, which happened to be an authentic assegai spear that I’d picked up at an “estate sale” a few years back. “Estate sale” was scavenger speak for hitting the jackpot, and this particular piece came from some rich white hunter’s ranch who’d eaten a bullet not long after the deaders showed up. I’d taken a fancy to it and decided it’d look good over Kara’s fireplace, and despite having a disagreement about my design aesthetic, she’d relented when I pointed out the utility of the thing. I’d have to thank her for giving in on that one, once I got her back from the Corridor pack.
Before I could turn to face my attacker, I caught a flash of black and grey in my peripheral vision and dropped to a crouch, simultaneously spinning the spear in one hand and driving it back behind me with the butt jammed into the fireplace and the tip pointing up at a sixty-degree angle. I felt more than saw the ’thrope land on top of me, and figured I was a goner, as that thing’s claws were sure to rip me to shreds once it got close to me. I collapsed under the bulk of the werewolf and twisted under it in an effort to turn into the attack and defend myself. However, as I rolled over the creature fell off to my right, allowing me to roll away and spring to my feet unharmed.
As I stood up, I could see exactly why I hadn’t been turned into wolf kibble, as the assegai’s shaft was protruding out of the wolf’s solar plexus at an angle that ensured it had pierced the wolf’s heart. The creature was pawing and grasping at the spear shaft in a vain effort to slide it out, but without much success. Frankly, I was surprised that it was still moving at all. Fearful that it might dislodge the spear and come at me again, I drew my combat Bowie in a reverse grip and leapt into the air, landing on top of the creature as I drove the blade into the wolf’s skull. With the knife blade buried to the hilt in its brain, it jerked once, and finally went still.
I was still catching my breath when I heard footsteps hit the front porch, followed close behind by someone with a lighter step. Bobby burst into the room with a panicked look on his face, followed by Gabby, who took one look at the scene and ran to the kitchen to vomit in the sink.
I yelled after her, “Don’t use the good dish towels to wipe that up, or Kara’ll be pissed!” I groaned my way up to a standing position as Bobby rushed to my side to support me. “I’m alright, I’m alright —don’t even think I’ll have any bruises to speak of.” I shrugged Bobby hands off and collapsed on the couch.
The young ’thrope looked at me in awe. “Holy shit, boss—do you know what you just did? Nobody’s ever done that before, and I mean no one.”
“What, killed a ’thrope? Surely there’ve been people who have managed that before me.” I winced and checked my left knee. It was popping and crackling a bit, and I was pretty sure I might have twisted it when that wolf landed on my back.
Bobby shook his head and just kept looking back and forth at the wolf and me with a stunned look on his face, as Gabby walked back into the living room, still looking green around the gills. Then she plopped down on the couch next to me and started bawling.
I looked to Bobby, and Bobby looked back with his hands up in that universal “shit, dude, your guess is as good as mine” gesture that guys all know so well. I rolled my eyes at him and mouthed “thanks,” then leaned forward and laid a hand on the kid’s shoulder.
“Gabby, it’s okay—I wasn’t hurt. Look at me, I’m fine.” I lifted my shirt. “See, not a scratch.”
She turned and looked over, then wiped her eyes and gave a halfhearted backhand punch at my shoulder. “Gross, Scratch—you’re almost as hairy as the wolf over there.” She gave a weak smile and rocked back and forth against the couch, hugging her knees to her chest as she did so. “Sorry for the meltdown, but this is all just a bit overwhelming. First my uncle disappears and leaves me with Captain Perez, and then she sends me off to find you and tells me to keep you alive no matter what, and you almost get eaten by a freaking ’thrope—” She paused and wiped snot and tears out of her face. “It’s just a little much, ya know?”
I nodded. “Yeah. I know.” I looked up at Bobby. “Mind telling me why you’re still catching flies with that motormouth of yours?”
He sunk back into a recliner and stared at me wide-eyed. “It’s just that, well—no one’s ever managed to kill one of us. I mean, not up close and personal. As far as I’m concerned, you just won the badass-of-the-year award, hands down.”
I shrugged. “I filled it with at least fourteen rounds of silver-tipped .45-caliber hollow points, and the damned thing still kept coming. Kept trying to hit it center mass hoping for a kill shot, but it moved so fast it was all I could do hit it as many times as I did. If that spear hadn’t been in easy reach, I believe I’d be puppy chow right about now.”
Bobby whistled. “That ain’t no pup you killed, he’s a full-grown beta, second generation. That’s no joke, they don’t go down easy. If you’d have hit me with that many rounds of silver, I’d have been out of the game. But this bad boy, he’s running on 190-proof alpha-gene mojo, straight from the source. I’d bet money that this is one of Van’s favorite hit men. They weren’t foolin’ around with you, that’s for sure.”
I was unconvinced. “Yeah, but they only sent one wolf. Seems like a halfhearted effort to me.”
Bobby laughed. “Scratch, one wolf like this one can take out an entire settlement. Trust me, they meant for you to sleep with the fishes tonight.”
Gabby gave me a look that said she didn’t get it. “It’s from
, an old movie from the seventies about organized crime. It means someone killed you and dumped your body in a lake or river.” She nodded as if to say that it only made minimal sense to someone raised in a postapocalyptic world.
Bobby sucked in through his teeth and sat up like someone stuck a light socket up his ass. “Oh, shit! When this dude doesn’t report back in, they’re going to send a full kill team after you. We gotta get the hell out of here, and fast.”
I sighed. “Alright, let me get some things together and we’ll be gone in a half hour.” I leaned forward and ran my hands through my hair, and wished to hell that I still smoked. And that I could still get a pack of Dunhills and a nice Cohiba any time I wanted from Heroes and Legacies in Austin. “Did you guys find any horses?”
“Yeah, and some donkey-looking thing that wouldn’t let me near it. It kept following Gabby around, so we just led it back here along with the horses we rounded up.” He shrugged and pursed his lips in a frown. “I figured I could eat it later if I got hungry.”
I got up and stomped on the ’thrope’s chest, and then pulled the assegai from its corpse with a loud sucking sound. I turned and pointed the tip at Bobby, still dripping wet with werewolf blood. “If you even think of eating my mule, I’ll shove this thing so far up your ass you’ll be wearing a pointed hat to your funeral.” He backed up and yelped a bit, not unlike a coyote that just got pelted with birdshot at range. “Now, help me drag this thing outside before it ruins Kara’s rugs.”
- - -
beheaded the ’thrope, which was already showing signs of recovery despite the 6.5-inch blade sticking through its skull. I had no doubts that it’d fully recover in a few days if we left it as is, and decided to finish the job I’d started earlier. Once I took my golok machete to its neck, I carved “XCVI” in its chest, and propped it up against the front gate with the head in its lap for shits and giggles.
I checked on Donkey, and thankfully she was none the worse for the wear. She’d been to the Outlands with me enough times to know when it was time to head for high ground, so I figured she split at the first scent of wolves. I swear that mule was smarter than some hunters I knew, and twice as ornery at that. Good thing Bobby brought her back before he tried to take a bite out of her; I might have actually killed him if he’d have touched her.
As for the little mustang I rode in on, I didn’t have the heart to make it pull double duty as a relief mount on the trip back. So, I rubbed it down good, made sure it got some water, and turned it loose in a pasture outside the gates. I worried a bit about whether it’d be okay in the wild, but common sense told me its instincts would kick in once it realized there wasn’t anyone around to keep it penned. After that, I checked out the other horses, and while they wouldn’t win the Kentucky Derby, they’d serve for the intended purpose.
With the transportation taken care of, it was time to get strapped. I headed back into the garage to get what I originally came for in the first place, thinking all the while on what my options were for the coming mission to the Corridor.
Whether or not I decided to accept Captain Perez’s offer to turn me into some sort of occult super soldier, that wolf attack proved that I needed an edge if I was going to take on an entire pack of ’thropes. As far as the “treatment” was concerned, I still wasn’t entirely certain that I wanted to go through with it, but at the moment my options were limited. Even with an entire platoon of experienced operators at my back, meat eaters all, I still might not make it back from taking on that pack.