Authors: Stephen Woods
WE GO ON
1 of the DELL Series
book is dedicated to my wife Michelle, my muse.
Today is April sixth, I think, in the year of our Lord 2019.
It’s been four years, eight months, and three days since the world fell apart.
I've no idea what day of the week it is. I know if I sat down and tried I could
figure it out but it doesn't matter. Calendars haven't been at the top of my
priority list lately.
I know the day it all started, though. I’ll never forget
that day. Sunday, September the third. It had been an absolutely beautiful late
summer day. Kat and I had worked in the yard. We weren't church goers and our
schedules usually meant Sunday was the only full day we had together, just us.
Kat, by the way, is my wife, Katherine Renee Williams. I should tell you who
the hell I am. Me, I'm Jonathan Scott Williams. Most people call me Scott, Kat
calls me Scotty. Unless she's pissed, then it’s J. Scott Williams. She won't
call me Jonathan because she knows that will just escalate things. I was named
after my paternal grandfather, who was a son of a bitch, by the way. Anyway,
back to the story.
Sunday, September third. We got up late, as usual. Coffee on
the back deck, as usual. Neither of us were breakfast eaters. We are now. Eat
anytime you have food now. Back then we had all the food we wanted, so if you
skipped a meal or two, no big deal. Besides we both thought we could lose a few
pounds. At the time, I was forty-three and finding it harder to stay in shape.
At five-feet-ten-inches and 200 pounds, okay 207, I wasn't in horrible shape
but I didn't have the flat stomach of years past. Kat always complained about
her ass being too big. I thought her ass was great, in case she ever finds this
and reads it.
So, we skipped breakfast and discussed our plans over
coffee. We both like flowers and spent a lot of time planting, weeding,
watering, and cussing over the beds in our yard. For Kat, it's a growing thing.
You know, the female mother nurturing instinct. She knows the names of all the
plants we had, what they needed. Shade, light, fertilizer, that stuff. Me, I
was the grunt. I liked the digging and playing in the dirt. Sunday was the only
day I could come into the house with dirty hands and not get
I’ve never grown up. Kat's two years younger than I am and sometimes I think
she was born an adult.
After our coffee, we went to work pulling weeds, talking,
and just generally having a quiet and relaxing day. Too bad it was our last. If
I'd known, well you know. I miss those Sunday's. I had been a police detective
back then and Sunday's kept me going. Kat was an assistant prosecutor for the
criminal court and her stress level was about like mine. Being together up to
our elbows in the dirt kept us sane.
Around 6:30 p.m., we went in and after cleaning up and
started fixing dinner. I'm not a big sports fan and didn't watch a lot of
sports but, on Sunday's at 7 p.m., I always watched my favorite show. Kat
thought it was sick but I loved it.
The Walking Dead
. It’s about a group
of survivors around Atlanta after the zombie apocalypse. Ironic, huh? I always
thought it was a neat concept. Picture yourself in the survival situation. What
would you do, how would you do it? Another of those, “If I'd only known,"
Anyway, we were fixing dinner while I watched
on the TV in the kitchen when the show was interrupted by a news
bulletin. A newscaster in Boston reported that several attacks had already
occurred. At first I thought it was a publicity stunt for the show. But no, the
real zombie apocalypse started in Boston and quickly spread. Spread much faster
than anyone could believe. While we watched, reports from up and down the East
coast came on telling of attacks and outbreaks. We ate dinner while switching
from news channel to news channel. On one station, we watched as a reporter was
eaten alive. The cameraman never stopped filming until they came for him and
the network didn't cut away. It was great programming for the end of world.
I didn't sleep at all that night. I got on the phone with my
boss to discuss emergency plans, evacuation routes, and deployment rosters. Kat
called her boss, then eventually fell asleep on the couch. I spent the night
going through the house checking flashlight batteries, filling water jugs, and
counting the cans of green beans in the pantry. I also checked my gun cabinet.
I'm not stupid. As a cop you learn to believe your eyes. The
old, if it walks and quacks like a duck; it's a duck theory. My brain kept
telling me it can't be zombies. There's no such thing. Zombies come from
Hollywierd. This was just gang violence or a terrorist chemical attack. We'd
have this squared away in a couple of days, a week at most. But the things I
saw on TV, shambling bloody people in groups attacking other groups of people
who were screaming and running. It looked an awful lot like my favorite TV
series. Then the stations went off the air.
I guess the government decided to shut down everything.
Total news blackout. I tried to call my chief on my cell phone. No service. I'd
almost forgotten we had a house phone. Tried that—no service. Checked the radio
on the stereo. Same thing—nothing. I finally got through to the dispatcher on
my police portable radio. He informed me that the assistant chief was in and
had issued a general recall of all off duty officers. The plain clothes guys
like me were to report in tactical uniforms and help out wherever needed.
I woke Kat up and told her to get dressed; she was coming in
with me. She tried to argue. She had court in the morning and there wouldn't be
anything for her to do except sleep and she could sleep right here in her own
house. Besides, she'd have to come back home to get ready for court. Something
told me not to give in on this one, so I stood my ground. I explained I was the
man and she had to do what I said. I even grunted a time or two. Of course,
this did no good so I resorted to what I know always works. I begged. She
finally gave in and got dressed. She did demand to drive herself though and
followed me in her Tahoe. I'm glad I didn't give up because we never made it
back to that house. I hope those cans of green beans I counted do someone some
I did remember to bring the guns and all the spare ammo I
had. Although it proved to be inadequate later, we were well armed that morning
when we left home. Kat had her 40 caliber Glock and her Ruger mini 14. Wood
stock, stainless barrel and receiver. She got it because it was pretty. Girls!
I had my 40 caliber Glock, my department issued M-4 with six magazines and my
personal Remington 870 pump shotgun with lots and lots of ammo. When I loaded
it in the trunk of my unmarked, Kat looked at me. "Paranoid much?"
“I liked to be prepared,” I said.
The ammo lasted two days. Waves of refugees flooded west
trying to escape what had happened back east and they brought the plague with
them. In St. Louis, where we lived, we tried to close the bridges over the
Mississippi. It didn't work. After the ammo ran out I resorted to a baton but
there's not enough reach with that. Next, I tried a baseball bat. Aluminum made
a pleasant ring when you connected with a skull just right. I finally settled
on a combination of aluminum bat and machete, though I found the blade on the
machete dulled fast.
It took four days for everything to go to shit. Countries
closed their borders on day two. The plague went global on day three. I guess
the borders weren't completely closed. The plague reached the west coast on day
four. The government decided to pull out all stops trying to contain the thing.
Homeland Security notified us of the military plan to use nukes on the biggest
They'd started using Napalm the day before and all the
bridges across the Mississippi were blown. That was the last news we heard.
Four days for the greatest nation in the world to take a flaming nose dive into
the toilet. We were already in survival mode by then. I'd kept Kat close to me,
trying not to get separated. With the information about the nukes, I knew it
was only a matter of time before St. Louis became a smoking hole. So Kat and I,
along with two other officers, decided to get the hell out of Dodge, or St.
Louis. We stopped at a strip mall and loaded up on supplies. We lost one of the
guy's there. I can't remember his name. I can see his face and I remember the
look in his eyes when he went down but I can't remember his name to save my
I'd given up my unmarked car on the first day because it was
needed elsewhere. So we were in Kat's Tahoe. I figured it was good for
survival. Big vehicle, lots of metal, lots of room to store survival gear. I
pictured us bulldozing our way through hordes of the un-dead as we headed south
toward the Missouri-Arkansas border on highway 21. Ever hit a deer in a car?
Ever seen a car that's hit a deer? Deer weigh in area of 200 pounds. Guess what
else weighs in the area of 200 pounds and walks upright, well mostly upright?
We made it about twelve miles south of Mehlville with Kat
driving. We were running about forty miles an hour when a group of three of the
recently departed stepped in front of us. Kat slammed on the breaks and I
yelled no, floor it! She's a good girl. She did exactly what I said. She caught
the far right zombie dead center of the hood. The grill caved in and the
radiator was pushed back into the engine. The hood buckled and, instead of the
zombie getting sucked under the truck as I had pictured in my mind, he flew up
and over and right into the windshield before going on over the roof and
landing in a pile of bones, rags, and goo behind us. This slowed him down
somewhat. Him and his two friends—a big fat guy wearing a plaid blazer about two
sizes to small and a tie with hula girls on it, and a naked chick that looked
like she might have been a stripper before somebody took a great big bite out
of one of her breasts—were now making their way toward us. At least bone bag
guy was slower than his friends.
We, on the other hand, had come to a grinding complete stop.
I spit a gob of airbag dust out of my mouth and looked at Kat. She picked
little pieces of glass off her face and looked at me. She didn't say a word.
Have I mentioned she's a good girl? A real trooper. Of course, she didn't have
to say anything; the look she gave me was enough. I figured I needed to say
something and the best I could come up with was, "Uh, that may have been a
I remember Officer Robert's name. He was the second cop that
started south with us. He chose that moment to remind us of his presence in the
back seat. "We have two problems," he said calmly.
"Only two?" I asked.
"Yeah, that zombie stripper is at the back bumper and
I've got a broken leg," he replied.
Kat summed it up when she said, "Shit."
"Stay inside the truck," I said as I grabbed my
bat and climbed out.
I closed the door. “Don't get bit,” Kat said. I told her I
thought it was sweet that she cared so much. I still tried to be polite because
I thought she might think the wreck was my fault. She confirmed this by saying
she was only concerned because if I got bit, she'd have to shoot me, then she'd
have to carry Officer Robert's by herself.
"Nice,” I mumbled and then went to do battle with the
un-dead lap dancer and the fat guy.
Thank god those things are slow. It took everything I had to
put the two vertical zombies down. After a quick breather, I walked over to Mr.
Bag-O-Bones and finished what Kat had started with the Tahoe. A quick look
around told me the rest of the area was deserted, which surprised me. I had
been expecting to see hundreds of cars on the roads. People trying to escape.
We'd passed a few cars sitting in the road and a few wrecks, but nothing like I
expected. Guess it was due to the speed the plague traveled. I don't think many
people made it out of the cities.
After checking for any more of those things, I went back to
truck. Kat saw me and opened her door. Together we got Officer Robert's out
without doing further damage to his leg. It turns out he had been sitting in
the middle of the back seat so he could see. When she hit the zombie, he slid
forward and his left foot got caught under her seat. There's my public service
message for wearing seat belts. His left shin bone was badly broken and needed
medical care. Not just the first aid I could administer.
Looking back, I think Robert's knew that he was done. We
talked as I splinted his leg and he told me his first name was Mark. He didn't
seem to be in much pain and never got upset about the wreck. I'd have been
screaming my bloody head off about the stupid ass that caused me to get hurt
but Mark just sat there on the pavement, leaned against the rear tire of the Tahoe.
He was to live two more days. Of course, we didn't know that then.
I splinted his leg with pieces of the hard plastic molding
from the Tahoe's bumper and strips from my T-shirt. As soon as Mark was ready,
we set out heading south with Kat and I supporting his weight. Houses were
plentiful along this stretch of road and I knew we'd be able to find one with
no trouble. Finding one unoccupied, or at least unoccupied by the dead, would
be more problematic.
Our survival in those first few days was a matter of luck
more than skill. I'm former Army, I was a cook. Not really, I was in Special
Operations but I tell people I was a cook so they won't ask me a bunch of silly
questions. Anyway, survival training had been a big part of my Army experience
and I did well enough, but knowing how to build a snare to catch a rabbit or
make a solar still for drinking water doesn't prepare you for the challenges of
living in the post zombie apocalypse Midwest.
A lot of what we learned was through trial and error. Like,
once you've found a house, how do you check it to see if there's a flesh crazed
zombie waiting behind the door? And, if said flesh crazed zombie is in the
house, how do you get it out of the house and hopefully make it permanently
dead before you become the appetizer? Questions I never have had to deal with.
Sure, I'd gone into a lot of houses after bad guys, some that we knew had
weapons but those guys were just trying to kill us. These things wanted to eat
you and they preferred their meat fresh and wriggling. Whole lot different
feeling going through a door when what’s on the other side might try to turn
you into dinner.