A New Death (Savannah's Only Zombie Novel)

BOOK: A New Death (Savannah's Only Zombie Novel)
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A New Death

By

Josh Vasquez

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places
and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or
dead (or undead), is coincidental.

 

Copyright
©
2013 by Joshua Vasquez

 

All rights reserved.

 

Kindle Version 1.2

 

Cover design by Xavier Martinez

 

 

To my Laura,

To whom this book would not be possible.

 

 

“There’s
too many people in this world. We need a new plague.” Dwight Schrute

Prologue

 

The marsh had been extremely pungent this afternoon. All day
it had stunk, but this afternoon it seemed to be so much stronger. Brad Wilcox
noticed the smell continued to grow as time slowly ticked away. His partner,
JW, didn't seem fazed by it one bit. The old man was much accustomed to the
tidal scent of the low country. The man grew old on this smell.

Brad, on the other hand, was relatively new to it. And he
hated it. Having moved from up north near Chicago, he had yet to be
indoctrinated in the coastal South’s muggy summer evenings and marsh-stink. He
was use to city smells like traffic exhaust and refineries. How he ended up
down here in Savannah was a story in itself.

His ex-wife was born and raised here, so of course once they
got married, they had to move back here. She just had to be near her family.
Brad left his good-paying office job in the city to come down and work for his
father-in-law’s landscaping company. Which was fine, he had no problem working
for the man, or hard labor, except for the fact that once they got divorced, he
lost his job too. She cheats on him, so he loses his job. Makes perfect sense,
doesn’t it?

And that’s pretty much how he ended up here on this
god-forsaken boat in the middle of the stinking marsh. More or less. When the
economy tanked, he didn’t have many choices on the job front. A friend found
him this job and when you’re broke, you’ll take anything.

“Does it always smell this bad?” he asked.

“What smell?” huffed the old man.

Brad heard him swear under his breath. He decided to ignore
it, as the two men had already had their post-civil war conversations. It’s
amazing how after over a hundred and fifty years, the resentment for each other
still lingered between the north and south. Brad didn’t even consider himself a
Yankee. He was originally from Virginia, which if you knew your history, was a
part of the Confederacy. But if you come up from up north, and you have an
inkling of an opinion, you just became a “damn Yankee.” Brad could care less
what the old redneck had to say.

Their small fishing boat puttered along the coastal
waterway. He didn't have all the names down yet, but if he remembered right,
this was Turner’s Creek. It had been a pretty unsuccessful day. All they were
returning to dock with was empty nets and sour attitudes. Brad saw the dock off
in the distance. Too far it seemed. This day seemed to have lasted forever. In
the hot Georgia heat, five minutes seemed like forever, much less ten hours.
The only thing that mattered to Brad right now was the frosty six pack of cold
beer at the house.

Brad walked to the front of the boat to the anchor hoist. It
was rusty and slow, but still better than dragging the chain up by hand. He had
the anchor on the deck by the time they pulled up to the dock. The two dock
hands, Julio and Alberto, were there waiting on them, ready to secure the boat
and the equipment.

They were good guys, illegal, but good guys nonetheless.
Brad didn’t know what loop holes they jumped through to get their jobs, but
that’s the thing with illegal immigrants; they’re cheap labor. And the guys
didn’t care. Most of what they made, they sent back to their families in Mexico
and what they didn’t, they spent on tequila and beer. Brad spent many a night
getting shit-faced with the two amigos.

As Brad began to put things away, the two dock hands and JW
began to secure the boat to the floating dock. He put the few fishing poles
they had back onto the racks, but as he did, he noticed something floating
nearby the shore. At first, he didn’t recognize what the shape was, but very
quickly his mind figured out the familiar object. It was a human body.

“There’s a body in the river!” he yelled, jumping into the
shallow, brackish water.

The three others took notice of the alarm in Brad’s voice
and ran along the shore to where Brad was standing. He reached the body, which
he now knew to be a young, Asian woman’s. He grabbed her by the shoulders,
yanking her down-turned face out of the water.

“Miss! You alright?!”

Her body was limp. Cold. Lifeless.

“Lady?” This time more concern filled his voice.

Nothing. JW kneeled down at the shore. His face had
softened. It was no longer the stern, grumpy face that he sported at all times.
This face was much gentler. More concerned.

“Brad…” he said.

“LADY!” Brad screamed, giving the woman’s body a firm shake.

“Brad,” JW tried again.

“We gotta do something. CPR or something!” Brad shouted.

JW just shook his head.

“Brad,” he started. “She’s gone…”

Brad couldn’t believe him. He kept looking at the girl’s
pale white face, thinking to himself that she couldn’t be dead. This can’t be
real. This isn’t the way his day was supposed to end. Hell, this wasn’t the way
her life was supposed to end.

Not like this. Not like this
, he thought to himself.

He closed his eyes tight, trying to see if he could wake up
from this nightmare. He tried to put himself somewhere else, somewhere happier.
At home, with his beer. But as he was trying to focus his mind elsewhere, he
felt movement in his arms. His eyes shot back open to see the girl beginning to
stir back to life.

“She’s alive!” he yelled.

The others lifted up their heads to see. Julio and Alberto
began to smile and light up, but JW look worried. Something was not right in
his mind. Something was not right.

She moaned.

“She’s alive! She’s alive!” Brad yelped.

She moaned again, this time louder and longer. She seemed in
pain or agony. Her hands slowly but stiffly grabbed onto Brad’s arms. Her body
seemed rigid and tense.

“Miss? You all right? What happened?” Brad asked rapid fire.

She froze. Her head slowly tilted to the left, looking Brad
directly in the face. When she moved her head, she revealed a fatal looking
wound in her neck. It was a dark purple and reeked of infection.

“Ma’am? You okay?”

Brad began to grow uneasy. That wound looked like it should
have killed her. Actually, there should be no reason to why she was moving
right now. It was then that the look of concern on JW’s face made sense. This
woman should have been dead.

Her eyes shot open. They were pitch black; her pupils non-existent.
Brad tried to set her back down, but her grasp tightened around his arms as she
began to pull him in closer. He struggled to push her off of him and began to
panic.

“Lady, let go!” he yelled.

There’s no way she should be this strong, she’s so tiny
,
his mind raced.

But despite her small frame, the woman pulled him closer,
her jaw moving up and down. JW jumped into the water and began to try and pry
the young woman off of Brad. Both men struggled to fight off the tiny woman’s
unwelcome advances. JW slipped on the river bottom, falling backwards, and giving
the girl enough momentum to lunge forwards.

 

She sank her teeth into Brad’s neck.

 

He screamed as the others watched on in horror. She
continued to bite down on his neck. Her teeth taking out huge chunks of meat.
Brad no longer fought back. He felt his body slip into shock. The pain both
excruciating and numbing at the same time. His eyes began to roll back into his
head, his body convulsing. JW rushed back to his feet, while Julio and Alberto
ran away screaming. He grabbed the girl, this time successfully pulling her
away from Brad. But as he pulled her off, she turned, using the motion and sunk
her teeth into JW’s face. Brad sunk into the water, breathing his last
remaining breaths. Blood spurted from his exposed jugular, turning the
surrounding water a brownish-red.

JW was now screaming as the girl began to eat his face. He
could barely hold her at bay. The blood poured down his face, his eyes burning.
He used what last bit of energy he had to give one final push, knocking the
deranged woman off of him and over to the side. He could barely see, his own
blood obscuring his vision. His face seemed numb around the bite marks.

He scrambled back a few feet on his backside. Wiping what
blood he could away from his eyes, he noticed that there were now two shadows
standing over him.

 

The girl.

 

And Brad.

 

Brad’s neck was no longer bleeding, but the same dark,
purple as the girl’s open wound. His eyes were also now black, and he moaned in
agony, just as the girl had earlier.

“Brad?” JW asked, wondering if his partner could still
understand him.

Brad, or whatever you call the shell of him, looked at JW
with a dead stare. His mouth began to move up and down, teeth clattering. The
two shambled towards JW and began to finish what the girl had started.

JW screamed, but quickly went silent as Brad ripped into his
abdomen, spilling the old man’s intestines into the mud. The two dead kneeled
down and began to eat the man while he was still alive.

Chapter One

 

Jeremy Riggins sat in the break room, procrastinating about
going back to work. Brian, his douche of a manager, told him before his ten
minute break that when he was done, Jeremy was on shopping cart duty. Jeremy
hated shopping cart duty. What made it worse was that Jeremy was a cashier, not
one of the courtesy clerks. They were short a few people that day, so Brian
told Jeremy to close his register, and take care of the carts.

Now, the carts weren't below Jeremy; he had no problem doing
what needed to be done. He was a team player. He just didn’t like Brian. Brian
was one of those guys who, once they got a little authority, liked to flaunt it
and abuse it. Everybody was now his peon. He must have had a rough life in high
school and now it was his turn to be on top of the food chain.

Jeremy downed the last sip of his energy drink and tossed
the can into the recycling. He slowly made his way back downstairs. He was in
no hurry. It was way too hot outside. Middle of November and still ninety
degrees out. He was already wearing his work polo and khakis. Add the
reflective vest he had to wear while in the parking lot and you had one
extremely sweaty Jeremy.

As he passed by the registers towards the time clock, Ashley
smiled at him, and mouthed the word, ‘sorry.’ He nodded. She felt bad for him.

Great
, he thought.
The pity card isn’t exactly the
way I wanted to work things.

The two of them had just started “talking”. Jeremy had yet
to work up the nerve to ask her to go see a movie or something. Timing just
hadn’t been right. But now that he was going to be all hot and sweaty bagging
her groceries, now seemed like the opportune time.

Jeremy clocked back in, grabbed the safety vest off the rack,
and then began to make his way outside. He soaked in the store’s air
conditioning, mentally preparing himself for the sauna outside. Savannah’s heat
wasn’t just hot, it was humid too. Within a minute, he’d be drenched.

“Jeremy!”

He turned to see Brian behind him. His large, obtuse belly
hung over his belt, and his hands were sitting on his hips. The man was tall,
which probably led to more awkwardness and ridicule in his teen years.

“Hurry up with the carts. We need you back in here bagging
too.”

“I can’t be in two places at once, Brian,” Jeremy said.
“Maybe you should bag while I’m out there frying in the sun.”

Jeremy noticed Ashley giggle, but Brian turned bright red.
This wasn’t the first time that Jeremy shot back at him, but it always produced
the same results.

“Just hurry back in here!”

He pointed towards the doors. Jeremy started to say
something else, but decided against it.

What was the point?

 

***

 

“I hate my job.”

Jeremy whined to himself as he pushed the train of shopping
carts back towards the building. It was hot. Just like he knew it was going to
be. His clothes were drenched in sweat. The sweat dripped off his forehead like
a heavy summer rain. Except that, this summer, there was no rain. Just heat.
And sun.

He pushed the carts back into their appropriate place within
the building and turned back to the parking lot to continue his torture of
collecting them all.

“Sweet Jesus, it’s way too hot for this,” he mumbled to
himself.

Jeremy watched as a woman on the opposite side of the
parking lot pushed her cart onto a curb, got in her car, and drove off. The
very action annoyed him down to his core. Her car was two parking spots away
from a cart corral. Two.

“Why can’t you people put the carts back into the corrals?
It’s not that hard of a concept! You take a cart, you put it back! It’s not
rocket science!” He asked out loud as an elderly woman passed by.

She didn’t seem to be too amused by Jeremy’s tone, because
she huffed and scurried herself into the store. He let out a sigh and walked
towards the rogue buggy. She was probably going to go complain to the manager.
Who just so happened to be Brian. He thought about the lecture he was going to
receive once he was done with the carts.

And that’s when he heard the screaming. Screams came from
inside the building. Blood-curdling screams. The kind you don’t run to and
investigate. Jeremy left the buggies in the middle of the road and sprinted for
the store. He ran in past the door and stopped dead in front of the registers.
It was there he saw something he thought he would never see.

 

A human eating another human.

 

There really is no way to prepare yourself for that kind of
thing. A small, Asian woman was hunched over the register, clawing and biting
the face of one of the cashiers. There was blood everywhere. So much
bright-red, fresh blood. His hand went to his mouth, as if to hold back the
impending vomit, but nothing came. The scene had shocked him so badly that it
took him a moment to realize who was being attacked.

 

It was Ashley.

 

Jeremy’s mouthed opened to scream, “No!”, but no sound came
out. He was frozen in place as the woman began to maul the girl he’d been dying
to take out to a movie. The store was in full panic now. Customers were
running, knocking things over and bumping into each other. Some even tried to
make off with their groceries. Brian ran up to the woman attacking Ashley. On
top of being a huge douche, Brian was also not very bright. He was holding a
mop.

Yeah, good choice Brian
, Jeremy thought.

He swung. Missed. Swung again, missed, and lost his balance.
He tumbled forwards, arms flailing, into the woman. She lurched forward and
began ripping and tearing into her new snack. It all was happening so fast it
almost looked choreographed. Things this bad couldn’t run so smoothly. Jeremy
barely had any time to react. He quickly snapped out of it and grabbed the mop
from the floor.

“Ma’am!” he yelled. “I’m going to need you to stop eating
Brian!”

Perhaps yelling at the person who just started eating
people’s faces off was not such a good idea. She lost interest in eating Brian
and was now completely focused on Jeremy. She moaned and began to shamble over
towards him. He swung the mop back and forth, trying to keep a good safe
distance between the two of them.

“Lady! Back off!” he shouted.

She didn’t listen. She didn’t even seem to comprehend. She
just continued to claw at him; her jaw clamping up and down. Jeremy realized
there was no reasoning with her. She was insane. The car was running, but there
was nobody behind the wheel-kinda thing. He swung the mop again but this time
she caught the mop head, breaking it off from the handle.

“Great, now all I have is this pointy stick...” he muttered
to himself.

Instinct kicked in and he jabbed her in the right arm. The
splintered wood sank into her flesh like a hot knife into a tub of butter. He
expected screaming and pain, but it didn’t faze her one bit. No grimace, no
shrieks. She just continued to try and eat Jeremy. He was not going to let her
do that.

A rage sunk over Jeremy, a kind of anger he never felt
before. Something primal, something buried deep within him. He yanked back on
his makeshift spear, pulling free from her arm. The jolt sent her back a few
steps. She regained her footing and came at him again. He hit her again, this
time square in the right lung. Nothing. Again no screaming or any signs of
pain.

What in the world is going on?

He yanked back on the mop again, freeing the handle. She
lost her balance again, but quickly was right back on top of Jeremy. This could
not be happening.

She should be dead right now...

The anger rose up in him. He set his feet, let out a yell,
and lurched forward, sinking the stick directly into the girl’s eye socket. It
sunk in deep and she fell to her knees, then to the floor. She was dead. For
good this time.

Sweet Jesus, what did I just do?
He thought to
himself.
I had to. I had no choice. It was self-defense. I just had to. She
wouldn’t stop...

As Jeremy reasoned with himself, trying to find some reason
to make what just happened okay, or believable for that matter. The store was
empty now. All the customers and the rest of the staff were long gone. It was
now just Jeremy and three dead bodies. One of which, was because of his doing.

“Uhh...”

A moan came from Ashley’s collapsed body. Jeremy ran over to
her and knelt down next to her. He pulled her up into his arms. She was still
alive. Her breath was shallow, her breathing affected by the loose, mangled
skin covering her face. She looked completely unrecognizable to him. The only
thing that Jeremy could connect with her former self was her bright, blue eyes,
which seemed much more vibrant compared to the ground hamburger look of her
face.

“Ashley,” was all he could muster up.

He sat there and watched as she died in his arms. Her body
tensed and then relaxed as she breathed her last strained breath. She was dead.
Jeremy sat there for a moment, soaking in everything that was happening. He was
having a hard time believing it. He so desperately wanted to be dreaming, but
he knew that just was not the case. He laid Ashley back down on the floor
gently.

What the hell is going on? I just killed a woman and
Ashley just died in my arms. What the hell? And Brian’s dead too, but who the
fuck cares about Brian?

As he hung his head low, eyes shut tight; he tried to figure
out what to do. Mid-thought, he heard movement. The store was still empty. The movement
came from in front of him. The girl that just died in his arms, the girl who he
felt the life go out of her, was now getting back onto to her knees, and
attempting to stand back up. This was not good. There was no thinking, “Oh,
good! She’s alive!” No, this felt all wrong. This was not a happy ending.

Jeremy watched on in horror as she began to do the same
chomping movement that the other girl had been doing. He tried to slowly back
away towards the door, not trying to draw any attention to himself. She didn’t
seem to notice him. Brian was also making his way to his feet again. The two of
them just stood there, in what seemed like a daze. They were aware of each
other. Brian tilted his head back and let out a bellowing moan.

It was horrible. Long and drawn out, it was filled with
anguish. It seemed to last forever. Jeremy was mere feet from the door, his
steps quiet and calculated. There was no need to bring attention to himself.
The two newly reanimated corpses began to shuffle around, noses up in the air,
sniffing for something. It seemed that Ashley was having trouble, seeing that
she had lost her nose. But it quickly dawned on Jeremy what they were sniffing
for. They were looking for food. They were looking for him.

As soon as his foot hit outside the doors, he turned and
bolted for the back of the building. He had chained his bike up there before
his shift. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that the parking lot was
a mess due to all the panic. There were cars smoking from collisions, a few
people yelling, but most had just fled the scene. Which was exactly the same
thing Jeremy was planning on doing. He had no intentions of sticking around
here to see what happened.

His bike was still there, chained to a fire hydrant sticking
out from the building. He heard moans in the distance. They were outside the
store. He quickly unlocked the chain and jumped on his bike, heading back out
towards the front and to the road. He saw both Ashley and Brian on his way out.
They were both now attacking the two guys who were arguing over what now seems
like a very minor car accident. Jeremy just pressed on.

Peddle like hell
, he thought.

He had to get home. And he had to get there quick.
Everything was going to hell around him. He had to make sure his mom was okay.

 

BOOK: A New Death (Savannah's Only Zombie Novel)
12.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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