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Zombie Road (Book 2): Bloodbath on the Blacktop, page 1

 

Zombie Road (Book 2): Bloodbath on the Blacktop
 


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Zombie Road (Book 2): Bloodbath on the Blacktop


  Zombie Road II

  Bloodbath on the Blacktop

  A Two-Fisted Trucker Tale

  Dedication

  To my dearest partner in life: The nitpicky, OCD, grammar-Nazi, Robin

  Spoiler Alert

  If you haven’t read the first book in this series,

  Zombie Road:

  Convoy of Carnage

  I urge you to do so before continuing.

  The first few paragraphs in the following prologue is a brief summation of that book. If you read it, it will totally spoil all of the suspense and surprises that await you in the 1st volume.

  Some of the actions of the characters in this second book may not make much sense either without the background of the 1st.

  Zombie Road II

  Bloodbath on the Blacktop

  Book 2 in the Zombie Road Series

  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, except for use in professional reviews.

  ISBN: 9781521440360

  Copyright © 2017 David A. Simpson

  All rights reserved.

  Prologue

  The old man looked out over his porch at the mist rising from the mountain lake in the early morning. The campers and trailers in his parking lot were still there, the recording and filming crews still sleeping. The vehicles were old, of course, but well maintained. He lived in one of the cabins at the Elk Falls Ski Resort. The Lodge was still standing but in poor repair. He patched the roof if he noticed a leak but it was just too big for one man to maintain. It was going the way of most of the rest of the world, falling into quiet decay and being reclaimed by Mother Nature. The little cabin was cozy and more than enough for him.

  He took a sip of his coffee, the pain in his arm making him wince a little. All the old hurts reminded him they were still there in the mornings. They really got chatty when the weather was damp and drizzly. He really wasn’t that old, not rickety grandpa old, but he sure felt like it some days. His body had taken a hard beating over the years and a lot of the repairs had been made with whatever medical supplies they had on hand. No hospital visits or the follow up doctors’ appointments and the prescriptions of pain meds.

  He’d talked long hours yesterday, telling them how all the truck drivers had banded together out at the old Three Flags Truck Stop in Nevada. He recounted the way their quick actions had saved everyone there from the virus the Muslims had unleashed. Most of the world had died in less than a day. They had been fighting the clock, too. They couldn’t just wait and ride it out, safe inside the truck stop. All the nuclear power plants were in danger of melting down and radiating everything. They had to get out, get to a safe place. The truck stop had a mechanic shop and they had built armored trucks to take them the thousands of miles they would have to travel.

  He told them the story of Lacy, trapped in a hi-rise office building in Atlanta and how hopeless her situation was. Every escape route they tried wound up getting someone killed. He told them of Jessie and his friends who had been stuck in a high school. They may have had the toughest time of them all. They were just children. Young teenagers. They had managed to escape and made it to the house but at what cost? The innocence of children was lost. They had been stranded and no parents, no police, no adults came to help. They had to kill their undead classmates and teachers and face the hard truth that they were truly on their own.

  It was the first time he had ever sat down to tell this tale and even though he skipped over a lot of things and only hinted at others, the story went on for hours. He was tempted to wrap it up with an easy “and then we won and here you are” but they were a really nice bunch. Genuinely interested in getting it all down as accurately as possible. The world had teetered on the brink of reverting back to the fifteenth century, back to feudal kingdoms or maybe even hunter/gatherer societies. The advances that had taken thousands of years to achieve were nearly lost. Everything still wasn’t as it was before but maybe it was better now. It was certainly a lot simpler. There hadn’t been much demand for reality TV shows or celebrity gossip magazines. Everyone was too busy living their own lives to have time to watch someone else’s.

  The interview crew wanted to establish a definitive history of the heroes, as they called it. He didn’t think of himself as a hero, he was just a guy who did what needed to be done. Most of the men and women who fought to save world weren’t very nice people if judged through the standards of today. They did things they weren’t proud of, things unacceptable in polite society. But when they were doing them, society wasn’t polite. It was a vicious and deadly time they had lived through with most of the world trying to exterminate or enslave them. He’d done things but at the time, it was the only option. It was kill or be killed so he did some killing.

  Some of the others, though… Some of his friends long dead and gone… Some of them were heroes and he didn’t want them to be forgotten so he told his tale. He would tell it all, as best as he could remember as he lived it and as it was told to him by the people who had been there.

  Even if it wasn’t all true, it was the way it happened.

  Chapter 1

  1357 Miles to Go

  Day 6

  Gunny didn’t have guard duty that night but Deputy Collins did and he was awakened a little before two a.m. as the soft knock came on the outside of the sleeper. She was quiet and competent, having laid her clothes out on the passenger seat the night before. She didn’t need to turn on any lights and for that Gunny was grateful. It always annoyed him when he was in the Army when somebody getting up for guard duty was such an ass they had to wake everyone else up also. He still wasn’t sure how he felt about sharing such tight quarters with a woman. The first night, after riding with him all day, she had asked to borrow a blanket. She was going to sleep by the campfire. He had pointed out that it was not only uncomfortable but dangerous if any undead made their way through the perimeter security. They would be drawn to the fire. He had a top bunk he could clean his stuff off of and she was more than welcome to sleep there. She wasn’t a big talker and he didn’t learn a whole lot about her personal life but she had good taste in music and they had whiled the day away with her DJ’ing his iPod that had nearly twenty-five thousand songs.

  When he awoke again, it was to a loud thumping on the sleeper and he was surprised to see the faint glow of dawn peeking through the windshield. It was a little after six. Another day closer to home. “Rise and shine, sleepyheads.” he heard as Packrat made the rounds, getting everyone up for breakfast. He hadn’t heard Collins come back in. She was either really stealthy or had just stayed up. Then he heard her roll over above him and saw her clothes folded on the passenger seat. He quickly pulled on his pants while laying down before he hopped up, grabbing a clean shirt and socks then climbing out with boots in hand to finish dressing outside. He’d give her the privacy of the cab to wake up and dress at her leisure. By the time he had finished lacing up his boot, she was already climbing out, fully dressed in her deputy’s uniform and her hair pinned in a neat bun. She just nodded at his surprised look and continued on to breakfast.

  Griz was coming out of his rig also and gave him a little knowing smile. “How’s she look without that uniform on?” he asked, waggling his eyebrows.

  “Dunno,” Gunny said, quickly changing the subject. “How about your passenger?”

  Griz made a face, shook his head and sighed. “She’s cute but it ain’t
worth it, Man. She’s a regular little chatterbox, never shuts up. Goes on and on about bands I’ve never even heard of. About boyfriends that treated her bad and about all her Facebook friends. I need to find someone else to ride with me before I strangle her.”

  Gunny laughed quietly. “Tell Cobb you need one of the mechanics with you, he’ll put her back on the tour bus.”

  “Yeah,” Griz said. “I’ll say I need Donnie to identify some noise the truck is making or something. I don’t want to piss her off. She is cute, and the swinging dicks around here outnumber the ladies ten to one…” he trailed off, watching Deputy Collins as she disappeared around one of the rigs.

  “Yep,” Gunny said. “Best to leave all options open.”

  After a quick breakfast burrito buffet, Cobb gathered everyone together to go over their refuel procedure one last time. He and Griz had worked on perfecting it yesterday and all the equipment was ready. Basically, they were going to pull up in a single file near where the fuel drops were, where the tankers would come in and refill the underground tanks. ZZ and Jellybean had Power Take-Off pumps on their trucks as a leftover from their oil field days, and with the end cut off of one of the hoses it would slide right down inside the four-inch necks on the underground tanks. The outlet hose from the PTO could be used to fill the trucks as they pulled up. With that much pressure shooting through them, it was sure to fill them up fast and make a big mess. All the guys not actually driving a truck drew straws to see who would be the unlucky ones to refuel everyone. It would go a much faster and there would be a lot fewer diesel smelling people if the drivers stayed in the trucks and had a crew refuel while everyone else had guns at the ready. If they drew a big crowd of followers, Scratch would head back out with his Western Star and cut them down as much as possible. With nothing left to do but the doing, they mounted up and fired the big diesels. Jellybean slid in behind Gunny with his PTO hoses already hooked up and strapped down. The two unfortunate refuelers, with their sunglasses and bandanna’s as safety equipment, were riding shotgun.

  Sara pulled in ahead of them and radioed back that it was all clear. When they got to the truck stop, Gunny had to move a few cars from the intersection at the bottom of the ramp with his plow but it wasn’t too bad, and he swung wide to let Jellybean get his truck in near the fuel drops. Gunny had five guys and Deputy Collins in the cab with him and they all climbed out, guns at the ready as soon as he came to a stop. They surrounded Jellybean as he and the refuelers got the hoses drug over to the drop and the PTO fired up and pumping. Jimmy Winchell ran his end of the hose up to Gunny’s truck to refill it first as Julio popped the diesel cap and dropped his end into the ground. Gunny could see through the tinted windows of the truck stop. The undead inside were pawing at them, trying to get out. He was glad there weren’t any doors on this side of the building. The glass was strong, it looked like it would hold. Jellybean hit the switch and within a few seconds, diesel was blasting out at near fire hose speed. He quickly adjusted it down to where it was manageable and the refilling began. They hoped they wouldn’t be there more than twenty minutes getting all the trucks topped off. Gunny stayed in his seat but had his M4 aimed out of the window, looking for targets. He heard a few shots at the rear of the convoy, but no chatter on the radio about massive numbers heading their way. A few minutes later he heard Winchell shout up at him that he was full, so he pulled clear, circling back around to line up for rear defense. That’s where they figured most of the danger would come from, with the infected following them in. He heard a few shots being fired up front near Jellybean now and started to second guess himself. Maybe he should have stayed up there to help out. But he would probably be in the line of fire, best stick to the plan, don’t start improvising yet. Scratch was at the top of the ramp, facing back the way they came, waiting to see if a crowd would show up. After a few more minutes he took off, aiming for a number of runners heading their way. The next truck pulled up beside Gunny and the line moved forward another seventy feet. There wasn’t much for the guards to shoot at. Out west, truck stops were generally on the outskirts of town, not near any residential areas and this one was no exception. There were plenty of trucks in the parking lot but this whole war started almost a week ago and it appeared that the zombies had wandered off. He scanned the rigs out there for any undead to come running out between them, but it was quiet. There was a brand new Peterbilt with an extended sleeper. “That would be nice to have,” He thought. “I bet it’s got a shower and a bathroom in it.” He kept scanning. Another truck pulled up and the line went forward another seventy feet. Scratch came back and got turned around at the top of the ramp, fresh blood and body parts hanging from the front of his truck, ready to go again if he needed to.

  Gunny scanned the roads for danger and let his mind wander back to the conversation he’d had with Carson the night before. The General had expressed his displeasure at Gunny taking such huge risks yesterday. Gunny asked him if he found a replacement for him yet so he wouldn’t have to be bothered with this nonsense. After that tense start, things got down to business and he shared everything they had found out during the days fiasco of events. He told him again their path would take them near Denver, they could come by to help if there was anything that could be done but the General had assured him it would be futile. The blast doors were shut and they were making headway, they hoped to have the area all the way to the mess hall cleared by tomorrow. He nixed the idea of peaceful island living. The Chinese had reported that the dead, being dead, didn’t breathe and didn’t have any buoyancy in their bodies. They didn’t float, they walked on the bottom of the rivers and lakes until they walked right back out the other side. There would be a period where the undead were gaseous with decay and would float but that would pass in a few weeks. So, an island would be worse than a tent on an open prairie. You would never see them coming until they were walking up your shores. The only good news he had for them was it appeared that the Muslims who had been holed up in the various mosques were on the move. The refrigerated tankers were gone from the lots and some of them had been photographed from the satellites at nuclear facilities. They were going forward with their plans and there was still massive celebrating in the streets of the victorious nations.

  “Victorious?” Gunny had asked

  “Yes, for a few more weeks.” General Carson had replied. “Then Russia and China will retaliate and their victory dances will be over.”

  Gunny wasn’t so sure of that plan. That many nukes going off would be worse than Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Couldn’t that cause a nuclear winter or something? He’d have to ask about that once they got settled.

  The rest of the survivors they had been in touch with were holding their own. Some of the groups were in pretty good areas and if the Muslims were successful at decommissioning the power plants, they would stay and try to expand their spheres of influence, taking out as many undead as they could. Others were in mountainous regions of the country with no hope of long-term survival without a supply chain to bring in food. Those groups were heading down to Oklahoma also. It had been decided that the town of Lakota would be the rebuild point. Away from the massive numbers of infected on the east side of the Mississippi and in an area with good growing seasons, it was the best town with move-in ready housing for the long term. After a little zombie cleanup, of course. Carson said it was like something out of the ‘50’s with angled street parking and a population of about 2,000. Typical small Midwestern town.

  “Isn’t that tornado alley?” Gunny had asked. He would have preferred something farther south.

  The General went into a lengthy explanation about the inherently low-risk factor in this particular area due to the prevailing winds, that there was an abundance of water, a hydroelectric dam, a low population density, rivers between it and major urban areas and a half dozen other reasons. Gunny just let him drone on, not wanting them to think he was ungrateful for the amount of work they had put into this project. It would do, he’d been through tha
t part of the country plenty of times over the years. It was beautiful and bountiful land. It was Indian Territory and they were a hardy lot so he imagined they would find quite a few survivors in the area.

  The General cleared up one other thing that had been bothering him.

  “Sir.” He asked him, old military habits dying hard, “when you said I was the only guy you could find to do this job, why didn’t the dishonorable I have disqualify me. You said yourself that everything was redacted, you don’t know why they kicked me out. I might have been a drug dealer or been a section 8 mental case.”

  When Carson came back on the line, Gunny heard the tail end of his chuckle. “If you had done anything like that, it would have been noted, not hidden.” He said. “You got booted right about the time there was that big upheaval in the service and all the good men, all the warriors who wanted to win the war, were being replaced with desk jockeys and yes men by the new administration. I figured you were one of the guys who wouldn’t play ball. Maybe you refused to bomb a wedding party, maybe you wouldn’t torture sheep herders. I don’t know, but I do know it was political. Anything else would have been boldly written in bright red ink.”

  A few other drivers had been hanging around as he spoke on the Ham. Cobb, Griz, Cadillac Jack and some others. He hesitated. No one knew why the Army had kicked him out but if they wanted him to lead them, they had a right to know the truth. They could replace him as soon as they got to Lakota, he'd be okay with that. Griz had probably guessed. He’d been in-country doing contract work when it happened and he had doubtless put two and two together. Slaughter in a bath house one day, Meadows the sole survivor of an ambush that took out an entire Tier One team the next. It didn’t have to be in the papers for guys in the know to know. He wasn’t the good guy they thought he was. It was time to come clean.

 
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