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Zombie Flood: Disaster of the Dead

Zombie Flood: Disaster of the Dead

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Zombie Flood: Disaster of the Dead

Length:
216 pages
2 hours
Released:
Aug 16, 2014
ISBN:
9781502271600
Format:
Book

Description

A storm of undead is coming to the Louisiana swamps.

In the churning fury of the strong winds and rain of a natural disaster, an unnatural contagion is born. The sickness is carried within the storm surge's relentlessly advancing tide.

As the first wall of the hurricane assaults the lush swampland, humans and innocent creatures are infected. Their resultant mutation brings with it an insatiable and shocking hunger. The savage herd of monstrosities goes in search of food.

Guided by one-hundred and thirteen mile-per-hour winds at their backs, the gruesome horde slogs towards a small rural town known for its alligator tours.

Stranded by the flooding in Lustre Perle, federal agents fight alongside local Cajuns against the horrifying and deadly invasion, and although they are from different worlds, they must overcome their prejudices, fears, and distrust and rely on each other if they are to survive.

This ebook contains the novel  Zombie Flood: Disaster of the Dead.  This original story by Victoria Champion is 54,000 words, or approximately 202 pages.

First Edition. Originally published on Aug 16, 2014.

Released:
Aug 16, 2014
ISBN:
9781502271600
Format:
Book

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Zombie Flood - Victoria Champion

Champion

Zombie Flood

Disaster of the Dead

Victoria Champion

Evacuation

Distracted by a shower of glass spraying onto the back of his head and shoulders, Jannick turned away from the open cage door. His unused hypodermic clattered onto the tile and shattered. Brown-tinted liquid spattered across the cold surface and beaded into grout filled crevices.

You okay over there?

Jannick cringed at the sudden attention. Fine.

Everyone, let’s hurry this up.

Wind buffeted the exterior walls of the remote laboratory. The gusts were a precursor to the destructive force of the approaching hurricane. Battered windows bowed and cracked under the inertial stress of the creaking building.

Jannick muttered under his breath. The palpable anxiety among his coworkers had him teetering on a thin psychological tightrope. He glanced at his colleagues milling around the white-walled space which was stacked with shiny wirebound shelving, steel cages, two broad operating tables, and a row of sinks along the far wall.

He checked to see if anyone had noticed his clumsiness with the syringe. To his relief, the others were preoccupied with their own tasks.

Kneeling down, he grasped along the bottom exterior of the steel cage bars to recover the capped needle which had rolled under the edge. He would clean up the mess and start the sedation process over, though it galled him that precious time was being wasted.

Listening to the building groan, Jannick worried the flight off their perch might be too risky to accomplish if they did not leave soon. However, it would not do for someone to injure themselves due to his ineptitude. The idea of the guilt it would cause appalled him.

He glanced over his shoulder at the window. They would need to board it up. Wind whistled through the broken pane, spraying the interior with a fine mist of precipitation, but heavy rain had not yet arrived at their location. It could wait.

Inexperienced as an on-site biotechnician, Jannick fumbled through the unexpected duties of a hasty evacuation. He was unprepared mentally for the ominous threat of the Category 2 storm.

He preferred working with books, but his mother had pressured him to work in the lab. He could not defy her — it was unthinkable. The domineering woman had made a grievous error, he was sure of it, but his opinion in regards to how he should run his own life was seldom heeded.

As was his way, much to the frustration of those who had the unenviable experience of spending prolonged time in his company, his mother included, Jannick committed a simple error which spiraled into a vortex of self-sustaining chaos.

Preoccupied with the habitual nursing of his neurotic self-consciousness, the recently graduated scientist lost focus on the work he was assigned to perform that day. He had been instructed not to open the small barred door, but rather to deliver the intramuscular sedative through the vent holes in the cage.

The animal subjected to his ill care took notice of Jannick’s exposed limb and conceived in an inspired moment that the time had come to make its long awaited attack. The rhesus macaque leaned out the opening and sank yellowed teeth into its hated tormentor’s outstretched arm. Sharp incisors pierced crisp white sleeve, tender skin, and tore through layers of muscle, tearing tendons on its journey to bone.

Jannick’s agonized scream echoed in the expansive surgery area.

The other scientists hurrying around the workroom securing animals in transport carriers turned in Jannick’s direction, startled.

The first person to reach him was his direct supervisor, a tough and ruthlessly efficient scientist. Her usual reserved mannerisms slipped away at the man’s cry of pain.

She whacked the monkey on the head with a nearby clipboard until it extricated its teeth from Jannick’s flesh and released its strong grip on his arm. The screeching monkey withdrew into its cage. In her haste to assist her vulnerable charge, the panicking woman deviated from her normal stringent adherence to protocol for an irretrievable moment and neglected to fasten the unlocked cage door.

A harsh and solid older woman of German descent, Annagret Esslinger cradled the slender and effeminate young Jannick in her embrace. Once a pale and sickly child due to his defective heart, her only son was, in her hopeful and biased expectations, a promising neurologist. In reality, he was a mediocre student who had graduated due to her financial influence and not on his own merits.

Annagret had recruited him into the classified off-shore assignment, and in response Jannick withheld his affection towards her — a passive-aggressive act of protest he knew would hurt the controlling matriarch. The ongoing tension between them disturbed everyone in the isolated habitat.

If he must be compelled to toil in a laboratory, he would rather have worked in the lab at company headquarters. At least he would be on solid ground and not teetering on stilts in the ocean. The quarters were cramped and he lamented the loss of privacy.

Up until the moment the monkey sank his teeth into his arm, Jannick nurtured his small emotional triumph over his mother, though it had done little to alleviate his constant suffering. Yet, despite their feud, Jannick’s unexpected relief at finding himself in the arms of his mother was the last happy thought he experienced.

Annagret crooned to him, shushing him while she applied pressure to the puncture wound. Bright red blood pumped out of the bite mark in tune with his heartbeat. The pristine white cloth of his sleeve darkened and swelled, the fibers saturated. Dizzy, Jannick took note that his brachial artery was probably ripped open by hideous primal teeth, and his radial nerve appeared to be severed. The arm was numb and his life ebbed out.

Jannick knew something like this might happen. He had tried to tell Annagret, but as usual she had dismissed his concerns and would not listen. His anger throbbed and burned.

The pressure his mother applied to his injury did little to alleviate the loss of vital fluid. Red stained her fingers.

Tourniquet, you bitch, he whispered.

His mother leaned in closer. "What’s that, mein schatz?"

But her darling boy’s eyes rolled back into his head. And his body fell limp in her embrace.

Several of his colleagues rushed to his side, but their intervention arrived too late.

Caught in a gust of wind, the laboratory door slammed open. The assembled staff flinched at the loud thump. Agitated, the macaque kicked at its errant cage door and the safety barrier flew open.

The monkey’s fight or flight instinct commingled with the human engineered chemicals coursing through its circulatory system. Shrieking, the primate launched itself out of its prison and whipped its razor sharp nails at the weeping woman in its path.

Wind whistled and squealed through the sterile room, picking up shouts and screams and tossing them around in a cacophonous whirl.

A force of nature and an experiment that could not be controlled, the rhesus macaque’s neurological capabilities were strengthened by design beyond its natural abilities. The escaping hostage repaid its captor for her cruel hospitality with the penance of blood.

***

On the deck of the satellite oil platform, the company’s helicopter pilot waited in his cockpit seat for the payload of six employees and five transport cages. Watching the illuminated tips of communication antennas swaying in the blustery weather, Roger Anders regretted agreeing to the flight. The nighttime wind conditions were hazardous, but he had a job to do. He was told to evacuate personnel and live cargo from the remote structure.

What pencil pushers were doing out here on the far edges of the Gulf Coast he had no idea.

Roger toyed with his helmet strap and pondered his employers while he waited. His corporate bosses at Chemsig were known in the freelancing military contractor community for using greedy tactics to circumvent lawful restrictions. No regulatory agency had been able to hold them accountable because they were clever at finding international loopholes.

What concerned him more than the company’s manipulation of the legal system was the recent rumor he had heard about the sinking of an eco-activist boat, which he realized was in the vicinity of his current location in the ocean basin, and he wondered if his employer had anything to do with it. He tried to remember the name of the organization. Something to do with animal testing, he recalled. Seven crew members had been taken along with their vessel into the depths of the cold waters. He reminded himself to check on the status of the investigation on the internet, although he doubted there would be any evidence left to further the case after the hurricane blew through.

The door to the single story building atop the oceanic platform slammed open, returning Roger’s wandering mind to his present mission. He guessed that the wind had picked up and caught the door in a gust. Roger scowled, and decided they needed to leave post-haste.

Ortiz, let’s begin warm-up.

Yes, sir.

He flicked switches and pressed buttons on the control panel in a practiced cadence, preparing for liftoff, and started up the rotor blades. The loud whooshing of the blades reverberated within the shell of the cockpit, yet he thought he heard muffled shouts and screams coming from inside the structure. He paused, and shook his head. No. It was probably the wind.

Gunshots drew Roger’s attention back to the open doorway. He mentally counted the concussive notes out of habit. Six bangs in quick succession, followed by a brief pause, followed by two more shots, meant someone was either panic shooting and emptying the clip, or that the final two were insurance to make sure the job was done. Acid roiled in the pit of his gut.

Ortiz, did you hear that?

His copilot, a young man with soft caramel toned skin and large brown eyes glanced at him, nodded, and looked back at the building’s open door.

Anders, what should we do?

Don’t get out of your seat, Ortiz. Let’s see what happens. We can’t just abandon the clients.

Anxious seconds stretched into intolerable dread. Roger’s left hand ached from his prolonged grip on the collective pitch control.

Several people backlit by the light pouring from the open doorway emerged and headed in his direction. He counted three silhouettes. Two of them carried a large squarish object between them.

Steady, Ortiz.

But what if …

"Be ready for liftoff. If they try anything, we are bugging out."

We are what?

Roger pressed his lips together and fixed Ortiz with a hard stare. Getting the fuck out of here.

The lights of the helipad illuminated the approaching personnel. Cherry-red blood on white lab coats registered in his heightened awareness.

He had experienced snafu scenarios on the regular in the Air Force while he was stationed in Iraq, and considered himself something of an expert. He knew without a doubt that trouble had just found him.

Roger eyeballed Ortiz, a young and antsy hotshot fresh out of flight training. The copilot turned back to Roger with widened eyes. The fear and confusion on his face revealed his lack of on-the-ground combat experience. Roger sighed, signaled to Ortiz to get his gaze back onto the approaching civilians, and reassessed the situation.

If it was a panicked firing he had heard, they could be in actual danger, but based on the steady approach of the blood spattered group walking towards them, he tempered his reaction.

It would not be a smart move for him to antagonize his employer. He needed the money. There were not a lot of job opportunities for older veterans who had few people skills, even if he had a good amount of flying expertise. He was lucky he had signed on with Chemsig as an independent contractor and he knew it.

Roger scanned his memory for what type of gun held only eight rounds but filed the question away for later. Something of greater interest caught his attention.

The object the evacuating employees carried turned out to be an acrylic glass cage with a small tank affixed to the side. Roger thought it might be an oxygen tank, and upon closer inspection decided his guess was correct, since the walls of the cage lacked any air holes. Its occupant opened and closed its mouth and appeared to be screeching and hollering, but its voice was muffled by the sealed walls of the airtight enclosure.

The pilot had never seen a monkey aggressively agitated the way this one was. At the zoo they usually preened, or laughed and hooted while they threw feces. He chuckled at the thought and the copilot glanced at him, a bewildered expression on his face. Roger frowned at him.

He turned his attention back to the group. They struggled against a crosswind, and one slipped to the ground. Roger surmised these civilians were more of a danger to themselves than to him and his copilot.

Ortiz, go and assist them so we can get loaded. And find out what in the hell the trouble is.

The copilot dismounted from the cockpit and opened the rear side hatch. The bloodstained pair of lab techs wrestled the animal transport cage into the helicopter, pulled thick strapping across it, and clipped the straps into the recessed slots in the cargo hold deck.

An older utility model of the CL-11, the helicopter had reinforced flooring to carry heavy loads, as well as a luxurious passenger cabin situated beneath twin engines. It was a favorite aircraft of wealthy executives and entrepreneurs, and Chemsig had a small fleet of them.

Roger twisted in his seat to get a better look at the activity in the side door. What in the goddamn hell is going on?

The bloodstained technicians did not hear him over the noise of the blades, which Roger was belatedly grateful for, and they raced back into the building. But Ortiz acknowledged the transmission over the helmet headset by shrugging at the pilot.

Roger waited until Ortiz looked away, and rolled his eyes.

Ortiz helped an unsteady woman into the passenger cabin, turned back into the gusting night wind, and followed the others.

The woman climbed into a seat and buckled herself in. She clung white-knuckled to an expensive cream-colored leather suitcase. Her skin gleamed pale and clammy in the helicopter’s interior lighting and her face was a tight mask. A cascade of tears streamed down her cheeks. She shivered.

Roger motioned for her to put on one of the helmets stowed under her seat.

She slipped it over her head and adjusted the chin straps. He gestured at her to explain how to flick on the helmet’s communication system. She did as he instructed, and nodded.

Having lost his patience, Roger yelled into his mic. Now, tell me what the hell is going on!

The crying woman looked at him, startled, fear etched in her face. Her strained expression aged her beyond her years, the nervous tension marring her attractive features. Straw-blonde hair spread in delicate wisps on her temples and cheeks, and under the bottom rim of the helmet her hairstyle ended in a swooshing curl on her collarbones. She was thin enough to be considered underweight, but not yet gaunt. He could see the slight trembling outline of her bones. Yet, even in her distress, she was beautiful.

Roger took a deep breath, and spoke in a calmer tone. What is your name?

Jessica Esslinger.

Ms. Esslinger, what happened in there?

Monkey got loose.

I see, so they had to put it down?

Jessica nodded.

And that’s what upset you?

Jessica squeezed her eyes shut. It attacked them.

Were you hurt? Someone else?

Jessica nodded again, tears running down her cheeks.

Ortiz, come in.

But there was no answer.

Roger unclipped his seatbelt, ready to go into the building, but the two techs reemerged, carrying another crate onto the helipad and he hesitated. Roger could see they were straining under the load. He huffed in derision. They had probably never done a bit of hard physical work in their lives.

Ortiz raced out of the building and past them, carrying several pieces of luggage which he launched into the cargo hold. They banged against the monkey’s cage and it jumped up

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