Authors: R.A. Neely
Apocalypse Empire Book 1
By R.A. Neely
Text Copyright © 2016
All Rights Reserved
I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy
schedule to read my book. This is my first attempt at writing a full length novel
and I have to say it’s been a labor of love. I’ve learned quite a bit along the
way and I hope that’ll you enjoy reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing
Greg Lyons crossed the finish line and started a cool down
lap. Three miles done. He grabbed his towel off the ground and wiped some of
the sweat from his face and head. Greg had a bit of a receding hairline so he
kept it shaved. The downside was that he sweated a lot when he worked out. He
practiced krav maga two to three times a week with his best friend James. On
the off days, like today, he liked to focus on some light strength training and
conditioning. He did the strength training to stay toned while the conditioning
helped with the krav maga workouts which were pretty intense.
Greg finished his cool down and gathered his things and put
them in his gym bag. A quick shower saw Greg on his way out the gym. He hit the
remote to unlock his car doors and threw his gym bag into the back
seat. Greg started the car and checked the clock. It was only seven. That
left him with just enough time to stop off somewhere for a quick breakfast
before he had to be at work at seven forty five. Greg pulled in to a
Panera Bread and ordered a steak and egg breakfast sandwich. He got back on the
road and made great time to his office. Traffic was actually really light which
was unusual. Stopping for breakfast typically meant he wouldn't get to the
office until seven forty five. It was only seven twenty and he was already
pulling in. Was there a holiday?
He grabbed his briefcase off the backseat and headed into
the office. It was one of those three story affairs where multiple businesses
could rent out space. There was a medical office and a dentistry on the first
floor. The second floor had an ophthalmologist and some insurance companies. He
shared space on the third floor with some company that sold fire safety
equipment or some such. Greg hit the call button and looked around. He
could see into the medical office from this vantage point. There were several
people in the lobby area. They were all bent over in their seats. Stomach
cramps? Food poisoning maybe? Greg put it from his mind as the elevator
"Morning, Carol," he said as he entered the
"Morning, Greg," she replied smiling.
Carol was cute. She was about five six with green eyes and
blonde shoulder length hair. She did a good job of keeping herself in shape too.
They'd been working together for a little over three years now. Several times
she had dropped hints that she wouldn't mind exploring a relationship outside
the office. Greg wasn't one to mix business and pleasure though. Carol was the
best secretary he'd worked with. Replacing her would be impossible if things
didn't work out.
"Hey, Carol. Is today a holiday or something? Traffic
was really light coming in."
Carol nodded. "There was an outbreak or something early
this morning. They're advising everyone to stay home."
Carol nodded towards the t.v. they kept in the waiting area.
She grabbed the remote on her desk and hit the mute button.
Greg noted the t.v. The screen was split. The celebrity news
anchor Shirley O'Hara was on one side and it was probably an expert of some
kind on the other. Ah. According to the caption he was Dr. Henry Pendleton of
"Thank you for taking time to meet with us today,
doctor. I know your extremely busy working on this issue."
"Of course," Henry said with a solemn nod.
"The people deserve to know what's going on."
"Thank you doctor, we appreciate that. Well, I know
your time is precious so let's dispense with the usual pleasantries. Can you
tell us exactly what we're dealing with?"
"I can. At approximately three thirty this morning
this was an incident of an unknown viral nature."
"Forgive the interruption, doctor. But some might
say that 'incident' doesn't accurately describe what's happening. Isn't it true
there's been more than one case of this mystery illness? Sounds like outbreak
might be a more accurate term."
"Defining this as an outbreak would be blowing this
way out of proportion," Henry replied. "The
things firmly in hand. In fact, as we speak, my lab is currently running tests.
I'm certain we'll have a solution very soon."
"So you're saying there's nothing to worry
"Even though citizens are being asked to remain in
"There's no danger to the public," Pendleton
replied. "People staying home keeps the roads clear. That gives
authorities the freedom to quickly get to the few affected individuals so they
can get the help they need."
"Thank you, doctor.
think I can
speak for our viewers when I say that my mind is at ease knowing the situation
The screen faded to a skyline shot of Chicago and listed
several pointers on the screen. The list included staying indoors and calling
911 if you came in contact with anyone infected.
Greg turned away from the t.v. "Interesting."
"Pretty crazy right?" Carol asked. "Looks
like its under control though."
"Maybe," Greg said. He frowned in thought. "I
think they left out some important info."
"Well, how is the virus spread for one? Does it spread
when they cough? Do they have to touch you?"
"That is important. Why would they leave that
Greg shrugged. "I imagine part of it is they don't want
to start a panic. Or, maybe they don't know but can't admit it."
"That would start a panic too."
"So what do we do?" Carol asked with a worried
look on her face.
"Nothing for now." He shrugged again. "They
didn't even list the symptoms. How do we know what to look for?"
"Do you think some of our clients are sick?"
"I don't know," Greg replied. "Without
knowing the symptoms...". He sighed. "For now, let's just get through
the day. If we haven't heard anything new by the end of the day...maybe we'll
close up for a few days. Just to be safe."
Carol nodded. "Alright. You'd better get ready
then," she said nodding towards the clock.
Greg glanced at the clock. Nearly eight. His first client
would be here soon. He nodded towards the t.v. "We should probably turn
that off. Don't want to upset anyone."
Greg walked into his office to prepare for his first client.
Greg liked wood. His office had wood paneling and soft green carpet. Greg
liked to think it had a cozy ambience. There were only a few pieces of
furniture in the room. There was a desk in one corner where he could work on
his laptop and two comfortable chairs in the middle of the room about six feet
apart. Close enough to suggest intimacy but far enough so as to not invade
There was a framed copy of his diploma on the wall near his
desk. The other walls contained pictures of various nature scenes. Each picture
selected was designed to promote calm in the viewer. Greg felt the influence
was subtle and helped his clients feel at ease.
Sitting at his desk he fired up his laptop and pulled up his
notes for his first session. Michael Ramsey. Ramsey had just gone through a
tough divorce. His wife of five years had just left him for another man. So far
they'd been working through how the divorce wasn't Ramsey's fault. They'd first
met when Ramsey was working his way through school. They had started out poor but
it looks like she was just around until he got successful. Now he was stuck
paying a significant portion of his salary in alimony payments.
The intercom on his desk chirped. "Yes, Carol?" he
"Mr. Ramsey is here. Are you ready for him?
"Yes, you can send him in."
A few moments later Greg's phone vibrated. Greg saw a
message from Carol.
"Heads up. Ramsey looks really agitated."
Greg typed out a quick reply and out his cell away. He rose
to meet Ramsey just as he entered the office.
"Good morning, Michael," Greg said as he
approached for a handshake.
"Morning, doctor," Michael replied. They shook
hands and Greg noticed Michael's palms were sweaty.
Michael's eyes were also bloodshot. Late night drinking
perhaps? He was also sweating profusely. Did he jog here?
"Are you feeling alright today, Michael?"
"I'm fine," Michael replied as he took a seat.
"Just a bit under the weather. Summer flu or something." Michael
rubbed a spot near his left elbow.
"Is it hot in here?"
"Not really," Greg replied. He usually kept the
temperature between sixty eight and seventy. Not cool perhaps, but most of his
clients seemed comfortable with that range. "I could adjust the
thermostat I suppose," Greg said. "But, I'm thinking a better idea is
to skip today's session. You're clearly not feeling well." He saw that
Michael rubbed that spot near his elbow again.
"I can handle it, doc. Besides, already paid for the
Greg waved a hand in dismissal. "Don't worry about
that. I'll make sure you're refunded for today. Why don't you rest a bit and
I'll get you a cab."
I can take the train, doc. I don't want to be any
trouble." Michael stood up and immediately sat back down.
"Rest. I insist. I'll feel better knowing you get home
safe. You can't even stand."
"Alright, doc," Michael replied as he rubbed his
"Is your arm okay, Michael? I noticed you've been
rubbing it a lot."
"It's nothing. Some guy bumped into me on the train.
Jabbed me with his pen or something."
"Alright. Rest. I'll go take care of that cab."
Michael mumbled a response as Greg headed towards Carol 's
desk. He couldn't be sick could he? The news didn't mention where people were
getting sick. So it's possible. Crap! How did it spread? Was he exposed? He
stopped. He didn't want to put Carol at risk. No, that's not right. Michael was
in the lobby. He would've walked right past her desk. If it spread that was
easily, they were both already at risk.
"What's wrong?" Carol asked as he reached her
Greg glanced down the hall. No sign of Michael.
"Michael needs a cab."
"Okay," Carol replied. "But why do you look
"Well...I think Michael might be sick."
Carol chuckled. "Obviously. Why else would I be calling
a cab? Oh...," she said as the implication sank in. "Are we sick too?"
Greg glanced down the hallway again. Still clear. "Keep
your voice down. I don't think so. At least I hope not. We don't know how it
spreads." He frowned in thought. "The news cast left a lot to be
desired but hopefully some of it was accurate. The way O'Hara spoke, it seems
like there were only a few cases. I don't think they could hide anything if it
spread that easily."
Greg smiled. "That's what I'm hoping at least."
"So...what now?" Carol asked.
"Get him a cab. We don't know that he's sick. Just send
him home so he can rest I'm thinking."
Carol’s eyes widened in shock.
"What?" Greg asked as he turned to follow her
gaze. He immediately saw what caused Carol's reaction. Michael was slowly
walking towards them. His movements were jerky, as if he was having trouble
getting his limbs to obey. Why was he walking like that?
And what's wrong with his eyes? They were completely red as
if all the blood vessels had burst. There was also a line of drool dripping
from one corner of his mouth. It was way more than anyone should be able to
produce. And his face. His face was twisted as if every moment was agony.
Greg took a step towards him. "Mr. Ramsey-," he
"Greg, I don't think-."
Michael zeroed in on them at the sound of their voices. A
low growl started emanating from his throat.
"Mr. Ramsey, please." Greg said.
Michael roared like a wild beast and charged towards Greg.
In contrast to moments before, his movement was swift. He tackled Greg to the
ground lunged for his throat with his teeth.
Greg barely managed to get his arm against his throat.
"Michael, calm down!"
"Greg, close your eyes!" Greg complied as Carol
brought a coffee pot down into Michael's head.
Carol stepped back in shock as Michael looked at her with
hate filled eyes. As he turned his gaze back towards him, Greg realized
something. There was nothing human left in those eyes. No spark of
intelligence. No trace of the sorrow Michael had been carrying since his wife
left him. It was if everything that made Michael who he was had been erased.
All Greg saw was animal rage. He could die right here, right now. Beneath this
thing on the floor of his office surrounded by the shards of the coffee pot his
mom got him when he first opened his practice.
A switch flipped in his mind. He would not die here today.
Not like this. Pushing up with his arm he gained just enough space to pull his
knees up. He kicked with all his strength and sent Michael flying across the
Getting to his feet, Greg brushed away the glass shards that
had clung to him. Michael got back to his feet and roared.
Greg beckoned him. "Come on!" he shouted. Michael
Greg stepped into the charge. Grabbing an outstretched arm,
he flipped Michael over his back. He kept hold of the arm so Michael landed
right in front of him. He kept hold of the arm with one hand and started
punching Michael in the face with the other.
After the fifth punch, Michael was dazed but still
breathing. Greg let him go and Michael dropped to the ground. Despite being
dazed, he made feeble attempts to reach Greg. Michael pushed himself to his
knees while Greg stood there shocked. How on earth was he getting up? There's
no way he should be moving, Greg thought. He came back to attention as Michael
made it back to his feet. Greg moved before Michael go on the offensive and
launched a kick at his midsection. Michael bent over from the blow and Greg
followed with an elbow to the back of his head which sent him crashing back to