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Authors: JT Sawyer

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Carlie Simmons (Book 2): In Too Deep

BOOK: Carlie Simmons (Book 2): In Too Deep
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In Too Deep

A Carlie Simmons Post-Apocalyptic Thriller

By

JT Sawyer

 

 

Copyright

 

Copyright
2015 by JT Sawyer

No
part of this book may be transmitted in any form whether electronic, recording,
mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without written permission of the
publisher.

This
is a work of fiction and the characters and events portrayed in this book are
fictitious. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, businesses,
incidents, or events is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Edited
by Emily Nemchick

 

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed
writing it. You can get updates on future releases and my free, non-fiction
survival eBooks by signing up at the
JTSawyer
website.

Prologue

 

The Caribbean, Island of Nuevo
Gerona, 1963

“Move faster, durocs,” said Sergei, the
tall Russian commander who towered over Anotoly from the rim of the massive
hole where he and three other Soviet soldiers were digging a huge pit.

Duroc
yourself
, thought Anotoly,
who despised how the burly commander kept referring to them as idiots. For the
extra hazard pay he was being offered for working in this bare strip of jungle,
he could submerge his disgust. It was twice as much as he earned doing regular
infantry work. One more day of toiling under Field Marshal Sergei Mitrinov and then
Anotoly was going to be granted a day off. Not that there was anywhere to go.
They were deep in the jungle with only a small cluster of canvas tents and a
mess hall as their sole inholding in this green hell. All Anotoly was told was
that they were building a new research lab to provide countermeasures against
the Americans. Unknown to him and the other men was the scope of what their
nation’s military was undertaking. The Soviet Union had its new clandestine
bioweapons facility near Kiev that had produced enough lethal virus pathogens
to wipe out the world twice over. However, they were behind their enemies in the
West in productivity and it was Mitrinov’s duty to see that their output rate
changed drastically. The United States had enough to annihilate the human race
ten times over. With the new cache of pathogens they would be burying on this
remote island, the Soviets would have one more strategic inholding against the
Americans whose shores, at the Florida Keys, were only two hundred miles to the
north.

A heavy bead of sweat was rolling off Anotoly’s
forehead as he thrust his rusty shovel into the fragrant earth which held the
usual smell of damp loam coupled with decaying vegetation. For the past four
hours, they had only taken one break and the effort of digging the eight-foot-deep
hole was wearing on his back. A polished silver medallion swung loosely around
his neck, glinting in the faint light with each plunge of his shovel. He and
the other men had been given the medallions prior to arriving as a token of their
acceptance into the new unit that Sergei had created. The other soldiers around
him were only delivering half-motions with their shovels while they sighed with
fatigue. The sound of metal implements clanking against the earth and the
snorts of his co-workers had been the only sounds for some time…until now.

As the jungle treeline behind the hole
was illuminated by headlights, Anotoly heard the ground tremble as a two-ton
flatbed truck drove along the muddy road that sliced through the thick swath of
trees as it headed out to their location.

Anotoly rested his shovel against the
eight-foot-high earthen walls and stepped up on a wooden crate to peer over the
edge. He saw the massive truck meandering along the muddy jungle road, its
chassis swaying from the crushing weight of a large object on its frame. Two
soldiers dressed in the usual brown fatigues were waving their flashlights,
directing the truck towards the nearly completed pit. As the moon crept out
from the cloud cover, Anotoly could see a large cylindrical steel container
strapped on the back of the flatbed. On its topside was a row of valves and
gauges.

The lone driver of the truck grimaced
with each bump in the road and his face was pale. As the other workers clamored
up on the wooden stepstool next to Anotoly, Sergei turned and kicked dirt in
their faces.

“Finish working, durocs,” he said while
resting his right hand nervously on a pistol hanging off his leather belt.

Anotoly stepped down into the pit while
retrieving his shovel. Sergei seemed more agitated today compared to the past eight
weeks, thought Anotoly. Normally, the man was gruff and dispassionate, barking
orders at everyone like they were dogs. Anotoly found it odd that Sergei had
asked him at breakfast if he was married and had any children after not
speaking to him at all during the previous weeks. And now Sergei’s normal stoic
expression was replaced with a look of something else.

As Anotoly slammed his shovel
half-heartedly into the inky earth, he heard several men above shout, followed
by the shrieking noise of metal violently wrenching against metal and then a
rumble through the ground. He and the other men raced to the makeshift steps
and scurried out of the pit to see the capsized truck which had separated from
its cargo.

Sergei stood still with a look of horror
on his face as he stared at the lopsided truck whose rear axle had broken under
the weight. In the moonlight and flailing flashlights, Anotoly and the other
workers rushed to the scene twenty feet distant. A sick, honey-like odor was
permeating the air. Silver-gray fumes were hissing forth from the breached
metal cylinder which had impacted a small boulder upon capsizing.

Sergei was yelling at the other men but Anotoly
could only make out a few words above the din of shouting. A thin soldier came
running out of a green canvas tent holding an armload of gas masks. Sergei
nearly plowed the man over as he raced to get a gas mask over his face.

As Anotoly approached the truck, he saw
three soldiers on their knees gasping for air, their faces turning yellow while
their cheek muscles began spasming. To his right, hundreds of fruit bats began
tumbling from the treeline, their lifeless bodies resembling black hail falling
from the sky.

The sickly-sweet odor descended on the
encampment like an ocean fog. Anotoly looked around and saw his fellow workers collapsing,
their faces contorted. The other soldiers spread like oil on a hot surface and
disappeared into the jungle, a few of them dropping dead before making the
treeline. Anotoly veered away from the damaged truck, his lungs filling with
the thick vapor, making him nauseous. He felt his legs quiver and his face
began violently twitching, his cheek muscles sagging like they were made of
bread dough.

As he rushed up to the lanky soldier
with the gas masks, Sergei stepped between them. “It is too late for you.”

Anotoly collapsed and his eyes rolled
back in his head as his lungs began constricting. As he lay dying, he saw
Sergei yell to three soldiers behind him clad in their masks. “Dig a large
grave over by the treeline and dump the bodies there,” he said. “Then use the
crane to deposit the tanker in the other pit. We must wipe this place clean of
our presence.”

As Anotoly took his last breath, his
chest collapsing, he saw Sergei squat down beside him as the man casually
brushed his gloved fingertips against the silver medallion around Anotoly’s
neck. “The Motherland thanks you for your service.”

 

Chapter 1

White
Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Four Hours after Departing Tucson

“Why is the sand here
so white?” said Carlie to the helicopter pilot as they flew towards a great
wave of glistening dunes in south-central New Mexico.

“It’s gypsum, actually—in fact this is
one of the largest gypsum dune fields in the world. It’s around 275 square
miles of barren ivory monotony,” said the pilot. “The whole region is contained
in this basin and bordered by mountains on every side. Funny thing is there are
African oryx, impalas and other exotic animals that were introduced back in the
60s so you think you’re on another planet.”

“With all that’s happened in the past few
days, I already feel like I’m occupying another world,” Carlie said. She
scanned the undulating features below that resembled snow. Carlie could see
long strings of animal tracks crisscrossing the arid substrate with a few
sporadic clumps of yucca as the only other form of life that was evident.

Matias, Eliza, and Jared were still
asleep to her right while Shane was peering out the door window to the eastern
horizon as the sun was cresting a series of jagged desert peaks. To Carlie’s
left were Amy, Professor Beauchard, and the two university students, Nadine and
David, who were sunk into their seats. Then there was Phillip Alderman whose
irritating conduct in Tucson she was trying to purge from her memory.

“Any word on the other cities around the
country?” said Carlie.

“Most of them have gone dark with the
exception of small pockets of survivors here and there. The smaller towns have
fared better, especially the ones that were isolated to begin with like those
in Wyoming, Montana, and parts of western Colorado.”

Carlie’s gazed drifted to the dunes
below as images of her brother’s home in San Diego pierced through her psyche.
He
and his family must have gotten out in time. Maybe they were at their cabin in
the Sierras when this hit.
I need to find him.
What is the point
of all my training if I can’t even save my loved ones?
She looked at the
mountain range to the west and wanted to steer the helicopter towards them and
keep going to the coast. Carlie forced her mind back to the present as the helo
crested a series of serpentine ridges.

“Any intel on the outbreak and what
caused it?” Shane said.

“All I know is that Ground Zero for the
virus was New Orleans. The word is that General Adams is assembling a team to
investigate that site.”

Shane leaned on Carlie’s shoulder. “What
a crap shoot that’s gonna be. Sure as hell don’t envy the unit heading up that
mission.”

Jared leaned forward. “The only thing to
worry about in New Orleans now are all the cat-sized roaches that have probably
taken over the city. That city was a dump growing up in. I can’t imagine how
bad it is now.”

“How many personnel are at the missile range?”
said Carlie.

“A few hundred, I think—I’m not entirely
sure. Things fell apart fast with refugees from the surrounding towns flooding
in just before my crew and I departed to come get you. Once we arrive there I…”
The pilot paused, tapping his helmet, indicating a message was coming in.

When he was done listening, he and the
co-pilot looked at each other with pale expressions then he turned over his
right shoulder towards Carlie. “Tell your people to saddle up—this is going to
be a hot landing. There’s a flood of those creatures pouring in from the east.
Looks like the nearest town, Alamogordo, has fallen and they’re all headed this
way. We should be able to land and get this chopper underground in time but be
prepared for a dicey touchdown. Let’s hope that this upcoming meet-and-greet
will be a lot smoother than your hasty departure from the U of A campus in
Tucson.” The pilot glanced back at Carlie. “Though, we don’t have much choice
on where we can retreat to these days. White Sands is about the only safe haven
now in the region for you and your people, not to mention the president. And
trust me when I say that while the president’s daughter was our main priority
in heading your way originally—it’s been a pleasure having you on board.”

“Appreciate your candor, Chief, and your
timeliness in getting us out of that hellhole. I’ll relay what you said to the
rest of my people,” said Carlie as she nudged Matias and the others, informing
them of the situation.

She grabbed the M4 that was beside her,
dropped out the magazine for inspection and then reinserted it.

“Don’t we get a round of coffee first
before the head-splitting begins?” said Jared, who was peering out the window.

“Hell, I’d even take some of those nasty
MRE egg packets right now, I’m so hungry,” said Matias.

“Or a magnum burrito with extra hot sauce,”
Shane said.

“Seriously, all you boys can talk about is
food,” said Carlie. “Well, once we land, I’ll be sure to buy you both some ham-and-egg
omelets and foo-foo coffee at the local diner.”

Jared leaned forward, tilting his head
at the front window ahead. “Lord Almighty, I think it’s gonna be us who are on the
morning menu,” he said with his mouth agape.

Everyone in the helo turned to the front
in one motion to behold a torrent of barbaric creatures clamoring over
themselves along the two-lane highway ahead as they rushed towards the concrete
retaining wall of the missile base. They were trying to climb the massive thirty-foot-high
embankments like a river of fire ants but kept falling back on themselves or
becoming ensnared in the thick rows of stacked razor-wire lining the exterior.
The wrought-iron entrance gates were stained red from the thrusting motion of
desiccated arms being jammed between the metal bars.

As the helo landed on the rectangular
platform that led to the underground hangar, the doors on either side swung
open. Carlie hopped out and motioned Eliza to stay near her. Situated on the
tarmac sixty yards away was Air Force One.

Two twelve-man teams of soldiers were
streaming in from both sides and formed a perimeter around the helicopter.
Carlie could see the hordes of undead at the end of the base trying to breach
the fifteen-foot high entrance gate. She felt the thumping of heavy mortar fire
from behind her as the creatures on the road beyond the gate were pounded by shells
and .50 caliber machine guns. As she instinctively felt for her rifle on her
shoulder, Carlie heard several soldiers yelling outside to her right. She turned
and saw four men delivering a shattering volley of gunfire towards the gate. A
fast-moving creature with smooth yellow skin was sprinting along the other side
of the entrance trying to search for a way over. Carlie noted its agility as it
leaped atop wrecked vehicles and flailed its ropy arms in fury. Its sharp,
angular moves reminded her of a Peregrine falcon slicing through the air before
descending on its prey. She knew it was something different than the shambling
flesh-eaters that she’d dealt with in Tucson. The men continued shooting, only
managing to riddle the other zombies massing along the entrance road. A second
later, the creature sprung upon the gate end post and jumped into the main yard
of the compound then hit the ground running. 

Carlie and the others in her group
immediately unslung their weapons and started to gather in a tight formation. The
soldiers stopped shooting and the barrage of mortar shells ceased as a Blackhawk
swept up from the right of the undead. The helicopter unleashed an earsplitting
stream of rounds from its mini-gun, instantly shattering the swift-moving creature
and leaving a pile of splintered body parts around the entrance.

Carlie took a deep breath while staring
at the plume of fine desert sand rising skyward near the shredded corpse
. I
thought we were going to be safe in this place. What the hell was that thing?
She turned around to look at the others and could see the same worried expression
on their faces.

She peered beyond her immediate group
and noticed a lone figure in desert camouflage fatigues trotting up to the
platform. He stopped before their helo with his M4 slung off his chest. The man
bore an Army Ranger tab on his shoulder and he had a long comma-shaped scar
below his right ear. “My name is Staff Sergeant Michael Boyd,” he said with a
New Jersey accent. He moved forward, extending his hand to greet Shane, Matias,
and the other men while brushing past Carlie. Then he gave a nod to Eliza. Carlie
squinted her eyes in surprise at the man’s brash demeanor and was about to
speak up when Boyd started talking.

“Right now, we need to get you all below.”
He motioned to the soldier standing near the controls of the landing area who
depressed a red button, causing the entire platform to begin descending.  

“Does everyone get a greeting like this?”
Shane said, nodding his head in the direction of the undead mob.

“No, this just started in the last six
hours as the two nearby towns succumbed to the creatures. Now they are all
headed this way as we’re the only fresh meat left in this region. Not sure what
that creature was that breached the wall. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”

“Is your entire facility underground?”
said Phillip, who was nervously fidgeting with his fingers.

Boyd nodded. “It’s one hundred fifty feet
down with the main compound being around thirty million square feet in size.
Then there are separate wings with medical, weapons, and food and water storage
along with a science department,” he said as the elevator platform settled on
the cement ground and the overhead doors began sealing off the top. Boyd
stepped away from the helicopter and motioned the group to follow him off the
platform. “We’ve got the basics here for sustaining life but after a while it
feels like you’re living in a mall from the 1970s as the architecture is pretty
dated.”

As Carlie walked alongside Eliza with
the soldiers forming a line behind them, she momentarily craned her head back
to watch the bay doors seal out the sunlight and the sound of weapons fire
above. “Are these platforms the only way in and out of here?”

“I’m not at liberty to say but I can
tell you that this is one of the safest military installations in the world.
Given the focus here has always been on testing missile capabilities, you can
imagine this place is secured tighter than a camel’s rear in a sandstorm.”

Boyd led them along a corridor lined
with close to a quarter-mile of shelves that went up seventy feet high. Each
was lined with nondescript wooden crates that had serial numbers stamped on the
side. A forklift operator was moving supplies off a green eighteen-wheeler that
was parked near an up-sloping tunnel entrance to the right. The aisles were
bustling with an assortment of workers dressed in fatigues, jeans, or ranching
accouterments. Everyone bore the same tired, frightened expression in their eyes
that Carlie had come to accept as a familiar sight in recent days.

Boyd spoke into the radio mic on his
left shoulder and then came to a halt and turned to face the group. “After
President Huntington arrives, you’ll be taken to medical for a quick exam and
then I’ll show you to some makeshift quarters where you can get cleaned up. Following
that, I’ve been instructed to debrief each of you before you meet with General Adams
and get your new assignments.”

Carlie looked at Shane with a startled
expression and then back at Boyd. “I think most of us would like to find out
about our families first and see about getting back to them,” she said.

“I understand that, Ms…” Boyd said while
glancing over her figure.

“Agent Carlie Simmons.”

“Right now, Ms. Simmons, I was told to
escort you down here and then get you familiarized with your new home.” He took
off his mottled tan cap and ran a hand over his stubbly hair. “I won’t pretend
to know what you’ve all been through but in case you’ve not gotten any fresh
intel on this pandemic, we are, ugh…” He paused while swallowing hard. “We’re all
that’s left in the American Southwest as far as we know, other than a few
scattered pockets of survivors in the smaller towns.”

“But what happens after…” Shane paused
as everyone stopped to look at the approaching entourage of people led by
President Huntington. Four men were dressed in the typical garb of the Secret
Service that Carlie knew all too well. She didn’t recognize any of them. The
other three people looked to be assistants.

All eyes turned towards the president
and everyone stood at attention as he walked by. Boyd quickly stepped aside and
he and his men formed two lines on either side of Carlie and her group. Eliza
pushed past everyone and burst into her father’s arms. The president engulfed
her, running his hands over her hair while he closed his eyes, sighing and
squeezing her tighter.

When he was done, the president took a
deep breath and adjusted his tie. Then he walked past Boyd and stood before
Carlie and her group, quickly glancing at Carlie and then into each person’s
eyes. “I am indebted to each of you for your valor. When time permits, I’d like
to speak with each person here privately. Right now, I have some pressing
matters to attend to as you might imagine so get a well-earned meal and take
time to catch your breath.” He paused, raising both hands up. “And welcome to our
new headquarters for the time being.”

BOOK: Carlie Simmons (Book 2): In Too Deep
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