Read Pulse: Retaliation (Anisakis Nova Book 2) Online
Authors: Eloise J. Knapp
"As people turn into monsters, a monster learns how to be human.... The zombie apocalypse meets its match in sociopathic survivalist Cyrus V. Sinclair, the antihero of Eloise J. Knapp's THE UNDEAD SITUATION."
--Craig DiLouie, author of THE INFECTION
"Eloise shows the reader a funhouse mirror, where humanity's reflection shines back dark and perverse."
Charnel House Reviews.com
"It's downright cold-hearted and shockingly brutal--and virtually unputdownable."
--Paul "Goat" Allen, Barnes and Noble
"Brilliantly unusual characters are the reason that [The Undead Situation] stands out. Bluntly put...I've never so thoroughly enjoyed a book full of people that I can't stand."
--Jill McDole, Impact Online
copyright © 2015
By Eloise J. Knapp
All Rights Reserved.
Cover art by Eloise J. Knapp.
This book is a work of fiction. People, places, events, and situations are the product of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living, or dead, or historical events, is purely coincidental.
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission of the copyright owner, expect in the case of brief quotations within critical articles and reviews.
1 – The Infected
Washington State: 16% Infected
Marcus wanted to see their blood spill and feel it on his hands. He wanted to hear their screams as he cut into their flesh and buried his face into the soft parts inside. His body felt electric at the thought.
But he had to wait. His time—everyone's time—would come soon and they could live freely in the world again.
He glared at the people lining up a block away from the hospital through his dark tinted sunglasses. Traffic was thick and the line moved faster than he drove. Stupid people. They thought they were safe with their hospitals doling out Marla Ainsworth’s Cure, MAC, like it would save them, like it would make a difference. They thought the infection was over but they couldn't be more wrong. Marcus hated seeing them milling about, ants swarming their workplaces, taking their ant babies to school and making more of them at home. They would be cattle soon. Slaves to the infected.
It surprised Marcus how fast they tried to make the world normal again. How fast they returned to old habits that they never liked to begin with. People wanted to forget bad things and by forgetting they made the same mistakes.
He was glad Dr. Baker showed him the true meaning of life. To spread the parasite, to raise up the world so it could mutate into something superior. Before all this, he was a vice principal at a high school. He didn't care for it, but once he had the parasite within him he saw his job for what it truly was. Trying to help make a difference in the lives of sniveling little bastards was a joke. They didn't care. If they had the option to skip school every day they would. All they wanted to do was text on their damn phones and take pictures of themselves.
Disgraceful brats. Stupid stupid bastard kids
It was hot, the weather blistering and making him sweat. The AC in the delivery truck was broken. His armpits and back were drenched. He was glad the disguise he wore was navy blue fabric. It hid his nervousness better. Dr. Baker gave Marcus a few special drops before he left so his eyes wouldn't give him away, but it wore off eventually. And in the backseat, the body of the driver he killed stank, made so much worse by the heat.
If he didn't get in there soon, the soldiers would kill him on sight and he will have failed.
Failure wasn't an option. Marcus saw what happened to people who didn't perform right. Dr. Baker left punishment to the general population, which always resulted in the cruelest acts. Just yesterday, the man who was supposed to do the task Marcus was doing now did not show up to go hijack the truck. He was stuffed into a 500 gallon drum filled with rats. He screamed longer than anyone thought he would. It was fun betting with the others on how long he’d scream, but Marcus didn't want that to happen to him. The pain...
He stopped thinking about it. He would succeed. He'd already hijacked the truck, taken the man's uniform, and applied the special eye drops. Half the mission was already complete! There would be a reward for him. Maybe a few of the healthies to do with as he pleased.
Marcus checked his side mirror. Behind him were two school buses. Each child and teacher inside was infected with the parasite, all on the same timer as him. Dr. Baker chose them because they could act normal. Children also had the highest priority to receive flu shots, vaccinations, and classes on how to administer MAC should they need it. It was easy cover.
Many of the infected were insane and so violent they couldn't help but try and kill everyone the moment they could. Sometimes they did things worse than kill. That's what Marcus enjoyed doing, but kept it in check. The children were hand-selected for this mission. They wanted to do bad things, oh they wanted to, but could wait until the time was right.
Ten minutes later, Marcus drove the truck around to the delivery entrance of the hospital. The school buses parked in the loading zone and all the little infected children and their chaperones filed out. Many of them would die today. Marcus might die today, too, but it was all worth it. If he could get one kill, one delectable kill, he'd be happy.
There were soldiers everywhere, all wearing gear that covered them from head to toe. They never took off their masks and all carried deadly assault rifles. Marcus hated them. He wanted to kill them, peel away their armor and cut into the tender skin beneath. Everyone's skin might look different, feel different, but it all cut the same. It all bled the same.
Maybe he'd spare a soldier and take him to the rat drum. See how long it would take the rodents to chew through the armor.
One flagged him down. He took a deep breath, putting on his normal face. He didn't toss the body out of the truck because he knew they couldn't smell it through their heavy duty masks, and didn't want to risk anyone finding it. The truck was locked and he knew the soldiers at this checkpoint weren't allowed to open it. Only the people inside the hospital could, when they went to transport the MAC into storage.
Marcus brought the truck to a slow stop. The window was already rolled down, and he leaned out to greet the soldier. He made himself smile. Was it a normal smile? Did it look wrong? He let it disappear. Better not to do anything to risk looking off. "MAC Delivery."
Two other men circled the truck. One had a mirror at the end of a pole they used to check under the truck. Then they checked the top. They checked again. The one in front of him reviewed a clipboard.
"You're late," he said. His voice sounded distant and robotic through the mask. "This delivery was due fifteen minutes ago."
"Got a lot of traffic out there. Lots of people driving again." Marcus swallowed. He felt the parasite writhing beneath his skin the more nervous he became. It was like they felt the stress response in his body. He considered trying to make a friendly joke, but wasn't sure how the soldier would take it. Plus, he wasn't good at making jokes anymore that didn't have to do with murdering people. Instead, he kept his expression neutral.
"Take off your sunglasses," the man said. Perfunctory. He wasn't suspicious yet.
Marcus obeyed, shifting the glasses down his nose. He saw his reflection in the soldier's mask. He looked normal. Or at least, he thought so. The eye drops were still working.
"You're clear to move through." He stepped away from the truck and regrouped with his comrades, gesturing Marcus through the gate to the delivery entrance.
He went through one more checkpoint before driving into the delivery zone. Following the direction of the workers, he backed his truck up a ramp and into the hospital. Now his body was surging with electricity and anticipation. Marcus felt his arms starting to twitch; it took all his will to stay them. If even one person suspected he was infected, they wouldn't open the truck.
For the second time that day, someone commented on him being late. He laughed and played the traffic card again, which the woman he spoke to accepted immediately. She made a joke about how the first thing to go back to normal was traffic. Marcus made himself laugh. He followed her inside the warehouse and to the back of the truck where they inserted keys in unison to unlock it.
Then they poured out. The worms. They slithered over his body as they came out, spreading like a crashing wave into the warehouse. Marcus shuddered and moaned as he heard the first scream of many.
Beautiful worms, beautiful fucking worms
He stood and watched in rapture as the parasites burrowed into healthy bodies, forcing their way into every orifice, every soft spot. It took a lot of the big bellied infected to fill up the truck. Their sacrifice was worth it. He wished they could see the beautiful scene they helped create.
An alarm sounded and Marcus knew somewhere inside the hospital the children were attacking and infecting, tearing into flesh. The ants were hesitant to kill their own young. That's why they used kids.
Biting gnawing ripping shredding. Kill them. Rip up their insides and wear their guts like a necklace
Marcus didn't fight the urges any longer. Their plan succeeded. He tackled the nearest healthy he could find and tore her stomach open with the truck key. It took effort and strength, but rewards came to those who worked the hardest. Even as the gunfire began and the first rounds thudded into his back, he kept pulling out the loops of intestines from the woman beneath him.
2 – Pvt. David Stewart
This isn't happening. This isn't real.
Pvt. David Stewart loaded a fresh mag into his M4 and prayed to God he'd live through the carnage in front of him. Security at a hospital was supposed to be a milk run and this was anything but. Fuck,
had been a milk run for the past year.
He'd seen the parasite while in Iraq, when it crossed the seas and began infesting the entire world. Already in the mindset that the hajis were targets, not people, taking out infected didn't faze him. Hell, it made it easier. They were less human than ever.
Back home, every servicemen he knew talked about how hard it was taking out their own people. Stewart couldn't imagine it. Not even when he visualized what it would be like to be in combat in his own country. His brain couldn't process it. By the time Stewart managed to get back to the USA, then to his hometown of Seattle, MAC was already being distributed and most of the annies had either disappeared into the woodwork, been killed, or were in the early stages of infection and were being cured.
Annies. What a stupid ass name, but it spread among the military fast. He'd even heard civvies use it. It was a slur of Anisakis Nova put together. Anything that dehumanized them, Stewart guessed. Soldiers had been doing it forever. Annie was still a human name and it didn’t sit well with him, even though he used it himself.
When he heard the screams and entered the hospital, his blood ran cold at the site of masses of parasites mowing down everyone in sight. The floor was moving, alive with them. There weren’t many firebirds on duty at the hospital. Most of them were in the field, which meant they couldn’t burn the wriggling monsters like usual.
That fucking MAC delivery guy was in the midst of it all. And to think, Stewart just let him in. God, how could he have known? His eyes were normal. Nothing weird. The truck was clean.
Stewart fired three rounds into him. Only the final shot to the head brought him down.
Once he was dead, Stewart experienced a split second of hesitance. He was trained to normalize the situation, and was faced with two options. Everyone was either trying to rip the wriggling parasite from their body or already on the ground. He could eliminate them all—they were all potential targets once infected—or try to save some of them. Some
Despite MAC being effective if administered before coma stage after transmission, they were authorized to eliminate infected of any stage on sight. This was one of those situations. He could start picking them off now, but he knew each of them could likely be saved. Innocent civilians. Every fucking one of them.
"All squads proceed to hospital lobby! We've got annies up the wazoo in here!"
His radio saved him from making the decision. He and his squad filtered out of the warehouse, looping around the hospital to the front. There were nine of them, not a full squad, and he became very aware of it as they moved.
The entrance of the hospital was something straight out of a horror movie. Worse even, because it was real. Stewart saw it in flashes of extreme details. Braids. Shiny shoes. Skirts. Spider-Man and Barbie backpacks. Blood on the checkered floor, nurses screaming.
The annies were all kids. Little kids in school uniforms, all of them covered in gore. They moved in packs of two or three, swarming people and lingering just long enough to bite them before moving on. One tiny boy, no more than eight, had a cut in his arm gushing blood. Two bigger kids held a body down while he forced his blood into their mouth. They were systematic about it. They were on a mission.
"Annie 3 o'clock!" Carew shouted. He hefted his M249 SAW to the right.
A lady old enough to be his grandma was running straight for them. Carew put a bullet in her head. Her body skidded across the ground before coming to a stop. More shots tore through oncoming infected who were paces behind her. The impact of the rounds made their bodies dance midair before they collapsed into bloody heaps on the floor.
Stewart's mind was racing. His focus was back on the kids, and he couldn't look away.
His nephew Jonathan, same as the kid annies in front him, got infected at school at the very start of it all. He gave it to his brother. They in turn killed the entire family together. Stewart's brother-in-law, sister, and both nephews gone in one fell swoop. This is what his kid nephews would've looked like; rabid monsters with killing on their minds.
Right then he wished he'd stayed in the back and taken out the annies in the loading dock. It was a million times better than mowing down children.
But that's what he had to do; they were murdering and infecting everything in sight. They were targets. They were the enemy.
Stewart took a deep breath. Let his mind go blank.
He opened fire.