Zombie road iii rage on.., p.1
Zombie Road III: Rage on the Rails, page 1
Zombie Road III
Rage on the Rails
David A. Simpson
Also by David A. Simpson
20. Madame President
31. Madame President
Also by David A. Simpson
Zombie Road: Convoy of Carnage
Zombie Road II: Bloodbath on the Blacktop
Zombie Road III: Rage on the Rails
Zombie Road IV: Road to Redemption
Tales from the Zombie Road: The Long Haul Anthology
Undead Worlds: A Reanimated Writers Anthology
Treasured Chests: A Zombie Anthology
Splintered Dreams: A Guide to the Apocalypse
If you haven’t read the first books in this series,
Convoy of Carnage
Zombie Road II:
Bloodbath on the Blacktop
I urge you to do so before continuing.
The first few paragraphs in the following prologue is a brief summation of those books. If you read it, it will totally spoil all of the suspense and surprises that await you in the 1st two volumes.
Some of the actions of the characters in this third book may not make much sense without the background.
Zombie Road III
Rage on the Rails
Book 3 in the Zombie Road Series
This is a work of fiction by
David A. Simpson
All characters contained herein are fictional and all similarities to actual persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental.
No portion of this text may be copied or duplicated without author or publisher written permission, with the exception of use in professional reviews.
Copyright © 2017 David A. Simpson
All rights reserved.
Zombie Road III
Rage on the Rails
A two-fisted trucker tale
Dedicated to my dearest partner in life:
The nit-picky OCD, grammar-Nazi, Robin.
He felt much older than his years, all this sitting and talking to the interviewers was harder than actually doing the work of homesteading. More exhausting than swinging an ax or tending his garden. He wanted to wrap up the story. He wanted to get away from all these people. He wanted to go hunting.
He hadn’t realized it would take him so long to tell it. Once he started to open up, the words that had been penned up inside of him just seemed to flow. He had probably forgotten a lot of the people, a lot of the names, but he had given it his best effort. He wasn’t trying to hide anything. He didn’t care what people thought of him, if they thought anything at all. Their opinions meant nothing to him. If the reformed world wanted the truth, he would give it to them, unvarnished, the best he could. He hadn’t been there for everything, some parts of the story he only knew from listening to the people that had lived it, tell it. Or people who knew those people.
Civilized society had come very close to becoming extinct. If Lakota had fallen, the other struggling empires that were just getting started would have been next on the list to be destroyed. Sure, some of them were a little harsh, but they were all much better than the Sharia system the radicals were trying to establish. To the Americans, anyway. They would never be subjugated, and the extremists didn’t even try, they had a scorched earth attitude.
He was getting ahead of himself, trying to organize the story in his head so he could tell them what they came all this way to hear. He still had quite a bit of the tale to tell, a few more heroes they may or may not know about. Some of them did mighty deeds, some of them simply made sure the right number of bullets were in the right place, at the right time. He hadn’t asked them who else they had interviewed, who else was still alive and doing well. He wondered if their stories contradicted his, if he remembered wrong. If the campfire tales and holiday retellings had subtly grown and changed, and original truths became embellished fictions. Maybe it didn’t matter. Maybe the world needed another Pecos Bill or John Henry or Paul Bunyan. Larger than life heroes. Maybe it needed the bad guys to be really, really bad and the good guys to be really, really good. It was a different world than it was the day before everything went to hell.
Life wasn’t easy in the new world, it was still dangerous in some ways, and there was always the chance of a new outbreak of zombies popping up somewhere. The population had gone from nearly eight billion people, to probably less than a million. There was plenty of everything for everyone for a while, but supplies did eventually run out. Civilization had to be restarted and it rebooted a lot simpler than it had been at the dawn of the twenty-first century.
He sighed heavily when he saw the first trailer door open and the crews come out in the brisk morning air. He nodded at them and raised his coffee cup in a half salute. He’d finish this up today. He’d finish his story and they could write their book about the “definitive” history of the new world. The tale of the founders that no one thought to interview before they were all spread out to far places, or dead and buried. Most of the names and faces he was remembering hadn’t been seen or heard from in years. The world was a big place now, with lots of vast open places and empty cities fallen into ruin. It was easy to get lost. They were probably still around, just living a new life with a new name so they wouldn’t be bothered by people like the crew camping out in his parking lot. Maybe they had all moved to a beach somewhere and were enjoying ‘retirement’. They had only found him because he was kind of distinctive. He had a face that was hard to hide. He went to a trading post a few times a year, the folks there had told them where he was.
He stood on the deck, sipped at his coffee and watched the ducks on the lake, the mist rising lazily off the water as the sun peeked through the trees. He thought back, remembering where he’d left off telling the story yesterday, his throat too raw to continue. He had never done so much talking before.
He’d told them about Lacy and Phil escaping from the high rise in Atlanta and making their way to
“I brought you a cup of real coffee,” one of the young crewmen said as he came up beside him to admire the view.
The old man smiled his thanks and pitched the roasted chickpea blend over the rail. Real coffee was something he missed, but it was hard to get this far out from any of the cities. If the trading post did happen to get any, it was pricey.
“You don’t get lonely up here? All by yourself?” he asked.
I don’t like people very much, was on the tip of his tongue, but he didn’t say it. When he thought back to some of the people he’d met along the way, there were a lot of them he wished he’d never known.
No. He didn’t miss people. Not at all.
“I’ve got my mule,” he said. “She don’t talk much, but she listens pretty good.”
The kid nodded, as if he understood, but he really didn’t. How could he? He’d never known real danger, never been betrayed and left for dead, never had to fear other people more than the zombies. He’d been born and raised in a walled city in the Lakota Territories. By the time he was old enough to spread his wings, the world was a gentle place to live, for the most part. He had grown up listening to the stories about this man, and the others like him, his whole life. They were hard, savage, and brutal in the tales, doing what had to be done and killing the undead by the thousands. Violent men doing violent things, carving a place of safety in the midst of impossible odds.
The sound man was still a little in awe that he’d actually met him, was actually drinking coffee with him, and was hearing the tales of the beginning first-hand from someone who had been there. This man had achieved near-mythical status and then just disappeared, with only occasional sightings, and most of those nobody really believed. Traders and caravaners telling campfire tales. Bounty hunters and retrievers, bragging in bars about the stranger who appeared out of nowhere to save them. Freed men repeating their story to anyone who would listen. They told of a shadow who came in like a wraith and butchered entire encampments of slavers, unshackled the prisoners, then disappeared back into the night. The kid would love to put together a factual account of those years, but the old man had flat out refused to talk about it. He said he’d tell them what he knew about the founding, about the beginning, but that was all. The kid knew the story was almost over and they’d be politely asked to leave the mountain after today.
The old man savored the real coffee and didn’t mind telling the story of the first few months. It kind of felt good to finally set the record straight, to the best of his recollection. After that, parts of it were pretty hazy, he’d kind of gone crazy for a while when he lost everything, but they didn’t need to hear about that part of his life. The first few months he could tell them all about because he remembered it well. The good and the bad. The proud moments, and the shame of the mistakes. To him, it was all true, although some of it may not have happened.
They had gone over to Terry's place that evening when they finished searching in grids south of her house. Lacy had the keys, she was supposed to water the plants for the two weeks they were gone on their anniversary cruise. She had dropped them off at the airport the morning this whole zombie uprising began, nearly a month ago. Planes had been falling out of the sky that first day, infected passengers wreaking havoc onboard. Even if they made it to the port in Miami, she doubted if they survived the city.
Phil kept watch, loaded for bear with pistols and an M-4 from Johnny’s collection, as Lacy unlocked the door and started looking for the keys to the Earth Roamer. They had decided to take it on the trip to Lakota. It was the most ridiculously overbuilt and overpriced camper she’d ever seen, but Terry and his wife liked to travel and camp, and he’d done well for himself before he retired. It was based on a four-wheel drive Ford F-550 super duty chassis, and was built like a tank. It would get them across the country in style and comfort and they’d never have to get out, except to refuel. Phil said he was pretty good at siphoning gas, a holdover skill from his misspent youth.
She found a bunch of keys in a dish on the kitchen counter and pulled out the set she came for, They drove it back to the house to load it up with all the guns, bullets, and canned goods they had. Phil slept soundly that night as Lacy tossed and turned, knowing they were abandoning the search. If they couldn’t find Johnny’s old Mercury parked in front of a store somewhere to the west of them, they would be leaving without Jessie and his friends. They were doing everything they could think of to find them, but how long did you look? How many more times did they risk their lives? Phil wanted to go, and she was grateful he had stayed this long. The kids could be anywhere, gone in any direction. They could have met other survivors. They could already be in Lakota. They could have left for the hills of north Georgia to look for a cabin.
They could be wandering around in a horde, searching for their next victim.
The next morning they ate one last meal at the house, killed a shambler that had stumbled into the neighborhood during the night and took off, Phil driving and familiarizing himself with the big RV. They started rerunning a grid pattern, looking for the car, or any heavy zombie activity surrounding a store. Morning turned to afternoon as they continued circling back and either losing, or running down, the undead that kept picking up their trail. They were nearing the edge of the grid they’d agreed upon, getting close to the mall. If the kids weren’t there, they’d head to Oklahoma. Lacy didn’t think she could talk Phil into staying any longer. She knew he thought they should have left days ago.
As they approached one of the last strip malls, they saw a vast horde gathered around a Kwik Mart. They weren’t in a frenzy, they were just milling around, waiting. Someone was inside. Someone alive, or the mob wouldn’t be so tightly packed, still mindlessly drawn to living blood. Something was keeping them in the area.
“Pull in close, lead them off?” Lacy asked, searching the parking lot for any sign of the old Merc.
Phil didn’t answer, just made sure he had a clear route out of the parking lot, then hit the gas. He had gotten used to dealing with the mobs, and they didn’t scare him much anymore, as long as they had the protection of the RV. The turbocharged diesel instantly responded, leaped forward through the intersection and into the strip mall lot. He kept the speed up, zipping past the horde as they all turned to give chase. Their keening drew the rest that were behind the building and they spread out for nearly a half mile, the runners reaching and pawing at the rear bumper. The slowest of them were crawling along as fast as they could on broken limbs, or in one case, a teenager’s paralyzed legs. Sheila was near the front of the pack, one of the newest turned, her shrieking the loudest of them all. If Lacy had looked carefully, she would have recognized her multi-colored jacket she had gotten at a flea market. It was now hard to identify through all of the blood covering it, though.
Phil lead them a few miles out, holding the speed to about twenty-five so he wouldn’t lose any of them, before he made a sharp turn and floored it, heading back in on a parallel street. The RV was tough, but he didn’t want to test out just how tough by plowing through hundreds of the undead.
“Gotta be fast, Miz Lacy,” he said, as he pulled back into the parking lot, “they’ll know where we’re at as soon as we start shooting.”
Lacy was already locked and loaded, a pistol at her hip and one of Johnny’s “horse traded” shotguns at the ready. As soon as the Earth Roamer came to a halt, she had the door open and was running for the entrance of the Kwik Mart. There were dozens inside, unable to find their way to the exits until she was right in front of them. She didn’t h
Whenever they went to the range together, the boys had usually finished out the day with a “mad minute”, as Johnny called it. They would line the loaded guns up on the table and shoot at the targets as fast as they could, not concerned with accuracy but in just trying to expend as much ammo as possible, in the shortest time possible. She always thought it was silly and a waste of money, but boys would be boys, and they certainly liked explosions and loud noises. She’d usually be sitting in the truck waiting for them to finish up, her earplugs still in. Now she understood where such an exercise would come in handy.
by David A. Simpson have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes