Read Refuge From The Dead (Book 1): Lockdown Online

Authors: Joseph A. Coley

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

Refuge From The Dead (Book 1): Lockdown (6 page)

BOOK: Refuge From The Dead (Book 1): Lockdown
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



Michael sat in the tower, disbelieving what he was hearing. After getting his 870MCS and AR-15 and ammo, he and Helton had taken up their posts. Three stories above Black Mountain, they kept an eye out…on nothing. There was no movement during a lockdown, and from their vantage point, they could see very little in the way of officers, either. Now that he had thought of it, Michael hadn’t seen
aside from Helton and Captain Winston. The only other person that he knew to be there was Grant. There was very little traffic on the radio except the roving patrol vehicle making its laps around the facility. During certain operations, there would be a second vehicle making opposite laps of the primary, but this afternoon there was the lone, black Ford Explorer slowly circling the institution.

For the last several hours, Michael had been watching social media with interest. From the way it sounded, things were getting almost as bad as Ryan had described. There were videos of cars clogging up the roads in major cities, each person trying to find somewhere else to be. Family and loved ones took precedent, he could understand that, but getting to them in the chaos that was playing out by the minute was near-suicide. Adding to his stress was the fact that he had sent several texts to Lindsey, all of them unanswered. He knew she would be busy, but it rattled him nonetheless. Michael was starting to come to terms with what Ryan had been babbling on about.

There was some serious shit going down. It may not be the end of the world, but it wasn’t fucking far off. Michael leaned forward in his chair. He’d had Helton on speakerphone for the last ten minutes. The more they talked, the more he wanted to just
. But go where? He was in a very secure location, as Ryan had pointed out. Too bad that secure location was still populated with nearly a thousand dangerous assholes just waiting to get at someone.

“Won’t be long until martial law is implemented, Mike. Cities are the first to go, high technology, that kind of stuff. After that, the government will start to control basic utilities. Power, water, internet. Stuff like that will come next.”

“All right, Helton. I get your point. Shit is starting to go downhill a little too quickly around here. Have you seen New York? Place looks like it did after 9/11.”

“Yeah, I have. I told you, it’s not going to be long, now. We need to figure out a way to hole up, preferably here.”

“There is no way in hell that I am letting my daughter around these psychopaths. The most secure areas of the prison are on the inside of the secure perimeter. That means that these assholes would only be a locked door or two away from me and my family,” Michael said, shaking his head at the phone. “No.
no. there has to be a better way to do this, Ryan.”

“I hate to disagree with you, brother, but that’s the price we have to pay to be safe. How many did Captain Winston say we had left? Seventeen? Minus you, roving, Winston, and me that puts us down to thirteen officers. We are outnumbered nearly a hundred to one.”

“Yeah, thanks for putting my mind at ease, Ryan!”

There was a long silence. Helton had struck a nerve with Michael and he knew it. On the other end of the phone, Michael could hear him sigh deeply.

“I’m sorry, dude.”

There was another pause.
“Not your fault, brother. You still can’t get hold of Lindsey, can you?”

“No. I need to at least talk to her and her mother. My stomach is already doing laps around my ass thinking about Anna. I can’t let anything happen to her, Ryan. That little girl is my whole life, man.”

“I know what you mean, Mike. I think that…”

The radio crackling to life interrupted Helton. The roving patrol vehicle rarely stopped – if ever – and never stopped without a damn good reason. From Helton’s tower, he could see that the black Explorer had come to a halt about two hundred yards away below him.

“Roving 1 to Tower 2 can you see me?”

Helton strained to see the officer below him. While he couldn’t see the exact details of what was going on, he could make out the officer.

“Yeah, Roving 1, I’ve got you below me. What’s up?” Helton answered.

“Master Control has an alarm at the fence in this zone. Can you see anything from up there?”

Helton leaned over his desk and looked down. The zone that the Roving Patrol officer was looking at stretched beyond his viewing area, blocked by the corner of the sally port officer’s building.

“No, my view is blocked by the sally port, though. Can’t see the whole area. Let me get out on the catwalk and see.”

“What’s going on over there, Ryan?” Michael asked over the phone.

Ryan grabbed his AR-15. “I don’t know. Roving has an alarm on the fence, but I can’t see it from in here. Gonna try to go out and see if I can get a better view.”

Alarms on the fence were common, but ultimately
alarms. The generally sensitive nature of the equipment worked against the officers more than it worked
them. During strong storms, it would go off, indicating that someone was trying to get over the razor-wire barricade. Wayward animals would also bump into the sensors, setting them off. During a particularly bad stretch the year before, the fence alarms went off three times due a large black bear roaming around the institution.

“All right, Helton. Be careful,” Michael said.

Ryan exited the tower onto the catwalk. “Don’t worry dude. It’s probably nothing.”


* * *


Daniel Cunningham waved to the tower officer. Although he couldn’t see Officer Helton that well, he felt certain Helton could see him. Master Control had given him another wild goose chase from the looks of it. Just to make sure, he was going to have Helton look as well. He’d parked the Explorer and gotten out, hating that he had to do so. There was something going on over the local radio station and he wanted to make sure that he could hear whatever it was. They had stated they were going to make some sort of announcement in a few minutes, and he was eager to hear what it was. Nothing good could be coming, though. The entire time he’d been out in the Explorer, he’d been listening to the stereo. Instead of the usual classic rock, he had been greeted with a nonstop litany of news broadcasts, each one sounding more bizarre than the next. People in the outside world were losing their damn minds over this new virus. What was the name of it? Mortui? Something like that. Whatever it was, it was interrupting his evening run of Foghat and Deep Purple.

The problem was there was no wildlife and no wind right now.

Officer Cunningham walked to the section of fence where the alarm had come from. As one of the only armed posts at the prison, he had the ability to defend himself should there be someone trying to break out, or – a less likely occurrence – someone trying to get
to the institution.

This was the latter.

Cunningham didn’t know what to make of it. At first, it looked like someone had shimmied down from the top of the fence. Officer Cunningham’s first reaction was to draw his weapon, a Glock 23 .40 caliber handgun. The man – one in his late twenties from the looks of it – was beating against the chain-link fence adamantly, looking as if he was trying to get someone’s attention.

It worked.

Officer Cunningham raised his Glock and drew a bead on the man. “Hey! Turn around and keep your hands above your head!” He grabbed the mic for his radio, fumbling with the key before finally pressing the push-to-talk button. “Roving to Master! Roving to Master! I’ve got one unauthorized male on the fence in Zone 9! Send me another officer out here!”

“Master copies. Do not approach the subject if possible. Backup is on the way out, Cunningham.”

Don’t approach? Why the hell not? This asshole looks nuttier than squirrel shit, AND he’s trying to get into a prison.

“Copy that, Master. Roving to Tower 2, can you see me now?”

“Roving I can see you, but I still don’t have eyes on your guest,”
Helton answered.

“Copy that. He’s not trying to do anything, just beating on the fence.”

Cunningham watched as the man continued to physically assault the aluminum fence. It didn’t look as if he had a purpose. He never attempted to go over the fence, and it didn’t look like he had come from inside the prison. Cunningham couldn’t comprehend what he was seeing, but he was afraid of it nonetheless. But why? Why be afraid of some nut? There was a certain amount of fear to the whole thing, but he couldn’t figure out why. He swallowed hard, keeping the Glock on the man.

Where the hell is my backup?

The man stopped beating the fence.

“Hey, buddy! Keep your hands above your head!”

The man slowly shambled toward him, shuffling his feet, and keeping his arms at his sides.

Cunningham stepped back with his right foot, sliding it along the ground. This was to make sure that if there was an obstruction behind him that he wouldn’t fall over it or be tripped up. Cunningham’s heart pounded in his chest. Now, he was scared shitless. There was something very, very wrong with the man slowly coming towards him. Aside from the glassy stare and the odd gait, the man had blood on the front of his shirt and face. Cunningham swallowed hard and kept the Glock raised.

“I don’t want to have to shoot you, buddy! Get on the ground, now!”

The man lunged.

Officer Cunningham fired two shots, striking the man directly in the chest. While the .40 caliber rounds were one of the best “man stopping” rounds made, it did nothing for the man shambling towards Cunningham. Blood came from the wound, but not nearly as much as what should have. Cunningham nearly pissed himself when the man kept coming. Crimson began to spread across the man’s white shirt, further mucking the coagulated blood already there.

“What…Um…Get on the fucking ground!”

“On the ground! On the ground” Came a voice from behind him. It was Captain Winston, moving forward with and AR-15 raised at the man. “Cunningham, take a couple steps to your left and back up! I don’t want to catch you in crossfire.”

Officer Cunningham did as he was told, shuffling a few steps to the left, and quickly backing up. Once he was shoulder-to-shoulder with Captain Winston, he stopped.

“What the fuck is wrong with him, sir? Do you see the blood? I just put two rounds in this asshole’s chest! This fucker ain’t right!” Cunningham said, his voice cracking slightly.

“I don’t know Cunningham, but if he don’t get
the fucking ground I’m gonna put him
the fucking ground!”

“Master to Captain Winston! We have several other subjects walking towards you! They are approximately two hundred yards to your two o’clock!”

Captain Winston lowered the AR-15 slightly. With just a few cars in the parking lot, seeing across the area was not difficult. He scanned the area, looking for the people that Master Control had seen. While his vision wasn’t perfect, he couldn’t see anyone. Winston took a few steps back and keyed his radio.

“Master, I can’t see anyone!”

Several gunshots popped in the air. The shots were far off, but there was no mistaking the sound of automatic gunfire. The automatic fire was quickly followed by several single shots, much louder than the automatic fire and much closer.

“What the fuck? Master! We have automatic gunfire within earshot of the institution! What the hell is going on out there?” Captain Winston yelled over his radio.

“Sir! I see the others!” Officer Cunningham yelled. “This asshole won’t stop! What the fuck are we gonna do!”

What the fuck is going on here?
Winston thought.
Whatever this is, we are not fucking prepared for it!

Get inside.

Get inside NOW.



Officer Ryan Helton watched in morbid amazement at the man that Officer Cunningham had just shot. Cunningham had just put two rounds straight through the man’s chest with not so much as a stutter in the man’s step. The deranged man simply kept slowly walking towards the officer. Suddenly, the tower felt like a much less secure area.

“Ryan! What the hell was that? Was that gunfire?”
Michael asked over the phone, still on speaker.

“Michael, we have a very serious problem on our hands! This fucker at the fence just took two rounds to the chest and is still coming!”

“What? How the fuck is that possible?”

Ryan got back into the tower and sat the AR-15 down. His eyes were trying to tell his brain what he saw, but his brain couldn’t comprehend it. No man alive should be able to take that kind of a shot to the chest and keep coming. There was something else going on, something very fucking bad.

“Ryan! What the fuck is going on?”

Ryan braced himself against his desk, trying not to vomit. He swallowed hard. “I don’t know, Michael. Did you hear that automatic gunfire? There is something very fucking wrong going on outside the walls of this prison. We need to get the hell out of here as soon as possible. Fuck the job; the fucking world is ending. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be stuck here when it does.”

“Ryan, I have to get my family. There is no way in hell that I’m leaving them out there. I got a call into Lindsey’s mother. She’s all right and so is Anna, but they are scared shitless. What the hell are we going to do? I’ve got to get my wife and my baby girl, Ryan.”

As if to punctuate the urgency of the situation, the radio crackled to life.

“Master Control to all units. All officers are to report to the gym at once. This is not a drill. Captain Winston is acting Warden at this time, and orders all officers to report to the gym immediately. I repeat – this is not a drill.”

“Ryan, the Emergency Alert System just went active on my phone. It says to stay indoors and not make any contact with infected individuals. Jesus, what the hell is going on?”

Ryan hurriedly picked up the phone from the handset. “Michael, let’s go find out. We need to get to the gym, right now.”


* * *


The remaining thirteen officers at Black Mountain State Prison showed up to the gym, even those manning control rooms. The control rooms could not be abandoned, except in dire emergencies. Emergency keys were available in the event of a cataclysmic catastrophe, and the current situation seemed to fit the bill. No one had a clear and concise idea about what was going on in the outside world. The up side of the prison being located in a difficult to find spot was that it deterred most escape attempts. The down side was when certain situations arose – even bad weather – the institution was nearly inaccessible. For the time being, that was for the best.

Captain and Acting Warden Winston stood before his men. Each one was talking to another, trying to figure out what to do next. Most did not have families, but Michael Caine was the exception. He needed to get to his family quickly and get them somewhere safe, even if that meant bringing them to the prison for safekeeping. His gut rumbled, partially from hunger, partially from the wracking nerves. He’d always had issues with his stomach, especially when he got anxious or stressed, and now was no exception.

“All right! Everyone sit down and give me a minute to explain what is going on!” Winston said.

Each officer took a seat quickly. The gym had been set up for a meeting the day prior and still had seating and tables. As Winston looked at the faces of the men before him, he couldn’t believe what he was about to tell them.

“As most of you know, the Mortui Virus has been wreaking havoc in Africa and Eastern Europe. Approximately six weeks ago, the virus made the jump to the United States and began infecting people. The government largely tried to cover up the incidents with victims of the virus until recently. The virus was spreading too quickly and there was little they could do about it. The virus is…God how do I say this…the virus is bringing the dead back to life.”

A chorus of laughs permeated the room, echoing off the walls of the gym.

“This isn’t a joke, goddamnit!” Winston yelled. The laughter quickly subsided, along with the generally upbeat demeanor of the men in the room. Ryan Helton got to his feet and tried his best to give Captain Winston’s news some validity.

“He’s telling the truth! I had reports on my CB of the dead coming back to life a couple hours ago when I came in. I didn’t know what to make of it, but it seems like it’s true. From the amount of people that I heard talking about it, it’s spreading fast,” Ryan Helton said.

Winston pointed to Helton. “Helton, I’m sorry that I didn’t listen to you then, but I am now. Anything that you can add to the mix, I’m all ears. We need information more than anything else right now.”

Helton stepped forward and addressed the group. “From what I heard, the dead are coming back to life and attacking the living. They try to eat you, or at least take a chunk out of you. I was told that if you were bitten, you would become one of them that much faster. The virus kills you and then reanimates you. But it’s not you, it’s just the basic instinct to feed and spread the virus that takes over.”

“Are you fucking shitting me, Helton? You knew about this and didn’t tell anyone?” Cunningham said, getting to his feet quickly and pointing at Helton.

“And tell you what, exactly? The dead are coming back to life? I had very serious issues with saying something to Captain Winston and Officer Caine. You’re just some twentysomething asshole that got this job because your daddy worked here! Don’t give me any shit about not talking to
. I don’t even fucking
you, Cunningham!”

“Fuck you, Helton! You should have said something! Now what the fuck are we gonna do, wiseass?”

“I don’t fucking know, CUNTingham? Why don’t you figure it out for your goddamn self?”

“Why don’t
you assholes sit down and shut the fuck up? Then I will explain what we are
to do!” Winston yelled, interrupting both men. Both sat down.

Winston cleared his throat. “The Emergency Alert System is activated telling people to stay at home. Well, I say
fuck that
. I know that some of you have families at home that you want to get to. Since there is no protocol for what is going on, I am making my own.”

Four officers stood up and, without a word, walked out of the room. Winston spread his arms out as to say
what the fuck
, but it was too late. The four officers exited the room quickly. One of them was Zachary Grant, Caine’s roommate at the academy. Michael couldn’t figure out what Grant was doing other than trying to get to his family. Michael couldn’t blame him. He needed to get to his, post fucking haste. Five minutes later, the four officers were leaving the institution. Without manpower, they might as well just lock the place up and leave. There was too much to keep up with being short on personnel.

“Anyone else?” Winston asked, looking around the room. Several officers exchanged glances to one another, but no one made a move. The idea of leaving was on everyone’s mind, but no one acted on it. From what Winston could tell, the remaining few that he had left had no families or close loved ones. They had no reason to leave the safety of the prison, not yet at least.

“What the fuck happened to the Warden? The Assistant Warden? The Major? Where the fuck did all those assholes go?” Cunningham asked.

It was a damn good question. The Warden was a relatively new man named Carl Franklin, a man who had worked his way up the ladder from being a CO thirty years ago to a Warden. No one had seen hide nor hair of the top three ranking men at the prison, and no one had really noticed until now that they were absent. In the event of an emergency, they should have been the first three contacted. The Warden was in charge of everything overall, the Assistant Warden took his place if he was not available. The Major was Chief of Security and dealt with
issues concerning the security of the institution.

“I don’t know. Last one I’d spoken to was Warden Franklin. He said that he would be on his way up here. That was six hours ago and I haven’t heard anything from the other two, so it looks like we’re on our own.”

“Well, I say that we lock the place down and throw away the fuckin’ keys! These assholes don’t need to be let out in the middle of the goddamn apocalypse! Fuck ‘em!” Cunningham blurted out.

“So where do you propose that the rest of us stay, Cunningham? Did you think of that, you fucking moron?” Helton yelled, laughing. “Fact of the matter is that this is the most secure building in the goddamn state. That being said, the inmates are going to want to know what the fuck is going on. Question is, do we tell them or not?”

Cunningham’s face turned red. He didn’t like being put into situations he couldn’t control. He was young and impudent, though. He’d had a temper ever since walking through the doors of Black Mountain, and that kind of attitude combined with a “you can’t touch me” demeanor spelled disaster. Helton knew the truth about the kid, though. He’d been hired since his father had worked there previously, and Charles Cunningham was a hell of an officer, his son, however, was a total douche.

“I vote that we don’t tell them shit. We tell them that we are on lockdown until further notice,” Cunningham said. “And if they give us any shit, we tell ‘em to hit the fucking road since Captain Winston here doesn’t think we should have the public around criminals.”

“Well I sure as hell wouldn’t want them around my family if I had any, Cunningham, which brings me to my next point. We will be sending two and three man teams out into town, going as far as Bluefield. If you find people who want help, pick them up and bring them here. We have more than enough food for everyone for quite a while. We will figure out what to do with the inmates later.”

“Sir, with your permission, I would like to take myself and Officer Caine along with a couple rifles, shotguns, and Glocks and go get his family,” Helton said, looking towards Michael.

Michael had sat through the meeting, largely avoiding most of the conversation. He’d already made up his mind that – no matter what – he was leaving to go get his wife and daughter. The fact that Ryan Helton was willing to help was a godsend; he needed all the help he could get. In addition, taking the guns under the guise of the DOC could take some of the heat off them once they left the mountain. Martial law had been declared, not that anyone was paying attention. The streets were a dangerous place to be right now, law enforcement or otherwise. The chatter of automatic gunfire earlier had convinced him of that.

“I don’t think we should waste our assets on getting anyone else in here, Captain. I think we should focus on…” Cunningham started to say.

“I think you should shut the fuck up and mind your own damn business, Cunningham. It’s done. Helton, Caine, take one of the state vans, one of the four-wheel-drive ones. Pick up the people you need to get. I will get the armory open and everyone – and I mean
is to be armed right now. Once the power goes out and we are on generator power, we will only have a few days of it before we run out of fuel and this place will be a hell of a lot harder to control. We will stay armed until further notice. The rest of us will stay here and secure vital resources. I will take a team over to the warehouse after we draw weapons and get what we have over there. Commissary truck just ran the other day, so there should be more food over there. I want to grab tactical gear, clothes, anything that might be of use. Oh, by the way, Cunningham, you can pull chow by your damn self for that little comment. Get the hot boxes from the chow hall and make it happen. If you tell any of the inmates anything other than what they are having for dinner, I swear to God I will shoot you myself.”

Most of the men nodded in unison, minus Cunningham. He had other plans.

“Men, this place will become a hot spot for people to come to. Since the area isn’t highly populated, we might have a few hours to a few days before people come here. When they do, we need to be ready for them.”

“What about the inmates? What are we supposed to tell them?” Michael asked.

“I’ve already cut TV off, but chances are, they know already. We keep them on lockdown right now until we can figure out what to do with them,” Winston answered.

“Sir, this prison could help house a lot of good people. Much better people than we have here,” Michael said.

Winston nodded. “So that begs the question. In the apocalypse, is it better to have the dangerous people on the outside amongst the public, or do we keep them here to live among us?”

Michael didn’t have an answer for that.

BOOK: Refuge From The Dead (Book 1): Lockdown
6.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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