Read The Search For A Cure Online

Authors: C. Chase Harwood

Tags: #Amazing and unique zombie series.

The Search For A Cure (10 page)

"Pretty big shoes…”

EXCERPT FROM PART 3 TRIBULATION

TWISTED

Before It had joined the attack on the Fresh Ones that came from the flying machines, It and the female that It hunted with had sat and watched from the tree line, expecting more of the Others to start twisting in agony and vomiting and then dying like the Others that tried when it was still light, before the rain got heavy. But they didn’t. It had been hard to see, but they crawled right past those dead Others.

 
The Fresh Ones carried the sticks that killed in their hands, but there were only a few of them. It knew from previous experience that if It watched where it was pointed, the sticks that killed could be avoided. When lots of the Others charged, It could always dodge its way past the sticks that killed, and take down a Fresh One with a savage bite to the neck or a hack with its ax. The female was even better at this than It was; waiting for Others to be the target of the sticks that killed and running past them as fast as it could.

 
It and the female had been quietly fucking in the trees and keeping an eye on the Fresh Ones from the flying machines, when the second group of Others began to move forward. It and the female liked to fuck almost as much as they liked to kill and they did it all the time. It noticed that the female was getting round in the belly. Another female had had the same thing happen and a little one of the Others had come out of the hole that felt good to put its piss and fuck organ in. That female had fed the new other from her teat. It liked to watch this and it made It want to fuck the female that it hunted with even more. The new Other, the little one with the sharp teeth, liked to talk to them all in their heads. It almost hurt sometimes when the new Other was in there, inside its head, making It do things against its will; like now, as It and the female were crawling through the grass, following the Others. It feared the twisting death, but that was more than overwhelmed by the power of the new Other. Besides, It was hungry again. It longed for the cries of its victims, tasting their hot blood as it filled Its mouth. There were other creatures that tasted good too and It had enjoyed the big slow ones with the teats hanging under the belly, but there was no excitement in that kill. It was a kill only for sustenance. The best to hunt were the ones that looked like It; the ones that were fresh, the blood rich with salt and iron and that smelled different than the Others that It hunted with.
 

 
To It and the Other’s frustration, most of the Fresh Ones that were here before these new ones had arrived were gone, or had locked themselves away. It and the female had had to eat grass and leaves to cut the hunger as they migrated in search of more food. Then the new Other had found the Fresh Ones that were hiding in the place with the big machines. The flying machine had made many holes in the fence that was hard to get past, allowing It and the Others to get through. They had a feast, gleefully killing the Fresh Ones inside. When they got to this place where the new Fresh Ones had come from
 
machines in the sky, a handful of Others crawled forward, but for some reason they died in agony in the grass and the rest of the Others held back. When the water fell from the sky it made the dirt come off some of the skin and rags that the Others used to keep warm. The big male Other that they mostly followed, looked at its clean skin and then looked into the wet grass. Making a fundamental connection, it crawled forward into the grass and when it passed one of the Others that had had the twisting death, it crawled faster. The new infant Other had watched this and had made them all follow.

 
When they reached the edge of the grass, It and the female It hunted with couldn’t believe that the Fresh One was going to walk right toward them. Usually the Fresh Ones were very nervous and hard to catch. When this Fresh One stopped and took out its organ for fucking and pissing, they and the Other that they followed, quickly reached up and pulled the Fresh One into the grass. They stabbed and chopped while the female bit the Fresh One’s organ off and It drove its teeth into Its favorite spot, relishing the taste and feel of the hot blood spraying in its mouth and on its cheeks. The Fresh One could only let out a terrified and muffled yelp and a moan before the windpipe was crushed and torn open. The Fresh One then kicked briefly, but stiffened up when the female stripped off its leg coverings and bit into its inner thigh. Others grabbed onto the Fresh One as well and they dragged it back from the flat black rock that was at the edge of the grass. The Others tore into the Fresh One with almost silent glee, pulling back the Fresh One’s rags and exposing the delicious warm flesh. It felt the Fresh One shudder once and then the life force pulled away; the blood still hot but no longer spurting.

 
Before, when there were lots of Fresh Ones, the Others would frequently only take a bite. In the place with the giant stone and glass shelters, the Others had so many fresh ones to bite or fuck that It never felt hungry or had that almost painful desire to use its piss and fuck organ. Sometimes the Fresh Ones would turn into Others when they were bitten and the desire to eat them went away. Instead, the new Others joined in the hunt for Fresh ones or if there were no Fresh Ones they ate the other creatures that had the hot blood.

 
Sometimes, when It wasn’t all that hungry, It and the Others played a game with the Fresh Ones, seeing what delicious parts they could eat while keeping the Fresh One from dying. If It waited too long, the Fresh One would become one of the Others and the game would be over. This was better than fucking the female It hunted with or any of the other females or sometimes males that It fucked. Seeing the terror in the Fresh One’s faces made It get a huge erection. Sometimes It would get overwhelmed with excitement when it was biting off and eating parts of one of the little Fresh Ones, the newborn and very young. Their flesh tasted the most exquisite and almost melted in the mouth. It loved to listen to their high-pitched screams and squeals, which made It laugh with delight, and It would stroke its pissing and fucking organ until it climaxed.

 
Robert, Susan and Aaron couldn’t agree about whether to confront Captain O’Shea about whoever was banging on the plumbing. It was in Tran’s nature to question authority, heck it was his job to question everything, but he understood the reasoning behind the Captain’s decision. Aaron had no desire to argue with the Army. As far as he was concerned, if there were folks next door, the dead up top at the open door told the tale. They were probably all Fiends now. Susan was nevertheless adamant that something be done to help, and decided to speak with Sergeant Bullock.
 

 
Rick Decker was angry about the whole conversation. For him, the Army was in charge. O’Shea was the voice of the Army. “Susan, I remind you that we are on a singular mission. By what authority are you considering jeopardizing that mission?”

 
Susan sat back down. “I have a moral authority, Rick.”

 
Decker shook his head, “I’m so fucking tired of tree hugging liberal twits like you. Your lack of proper discipline is a perfect example of the spineless mentality of this society. If we had nuked southern Florida when we had the chance, this thing might have been contained and tens of millions would still be alive. Instead, people like you waffled, whining about the precious and unique ecosystem. And now we find ourselves going back to the start of this thing - when it’s probably too late.”

 
The rest of the group stared at Decker, speechless.
 

 
Finally Robert spoke up. “Actually, Rick, if my calculations are correct, the Tree Swallow had begun heading north about a month before Everglades became untenable and the nuclear option was discussed.”

 
“Shut up, Tran,” spat Decker, “Asshole. Always with the quick answer, you are.”

 
Susan jumped in, “Doctor Decker, what’s gotten into you? You will not speak to your colleagues that way and you will show me the proper respect. You are entitled to your opinions, but you will deliver them with the decorum expected of a top scientist with the CDC.”

 
Decker was quiet for a moment and then said, “Tran, you’re not an asshole. I’m sorry I called you that. Susan, you
are
a liberal tree hugging twit and you can fire me for saying so.” Decker got up from the table and walked away, leaving his leftover dinner for someone else to clean up.
 

 
Most of the soldiers had overheard the last part of this exchange and the room had gone silent as it played out. The awkwardness was finally interrupted by Sergeant Bullock. “Right. Preston, it’s your squad up top next. Let Jones’ boys grab some grub.”

 
Preston and his squad mates began to pull their JLISTs back on, assembling their gear. The rest of the soldiers finished up dinner and got back to cleaning their weapons.

Next door, Jones and Copper sat on the stairs next to the three naked corpses discussing their options. The men were shaken, but determined. They were veterans of other battles with Fiends. They’d seen plenty of their comrades die or worse, turn into one of the goddamn things. They were hardened to it. They’d been trained to put their softer emotions in a box. They still had work to do.
 

 
The laughter below had stopped as quickly as it started. Instead they could hear a distinct banging echoing from below. There was a pattern to it so it probably didn’t come from a Fiend. They had whispered various ideas on what could be making it, but finally settled on the only option – it had to be human. The batteries on their NVGs weren’t going to last forever. Going back outside was suicide. They decided to go down. Perhaps they hadn’t heard the laughter coming from below. Perhaps it had been on the other side of the door behind them. In either event, they needed to find out if there was a working intercom between the bunkers to warn Captain O’Shea.

 
The walk down was ponderous, each switchback a cause for tension as they rounded into unseen territory. The men’s muscles became locked with it and Copper actually had to stop for a moment and massage out a muscle spasm in his right hamstring. The rhythmic pounding they had heard up top had gotten louder and then it stopped. The silence was unnerving now. Each footstep, each brush of fabric as they moved, seemed to echo in the tight space. Copper didn’t know it, but he kept holding his breath.
 

 
Jones finally pulled off his gas mask, breathed with a bit of trepidation and then brought his lips to Copper’s ear, “Breathe, dummy. You’ll give yourself a headache or pass out.”
 

 
Copper pulled off his gas mask as well and they continued.

 
They finally reached the last turn and Jones signaled for them to stop. The door from the landing to the common room was open. A quick glance revealed knocked over tables and chairs. Jones quietly slipped his hand inside his pocket and pulled out a small penknife. He signaled to Copper what he was going to do, then turned and tossed the penknife into the room. It clicked and clacked across the floor and made a dull thump when it hit a turned over tabletop.

 
The men braced themselves for assault, the machine gun ready to unload, but there was nothing. The only sound was that of their own breathing. It would have been better to get charged. They could mow anything down that stepped in front of the stairs.

 
Jones looked toward the ceiling, said a short prayer, and motioned for Copper to follow him. They bent low as they entered the room and quietly crouched behind a table. Jones looked over his shoulder and spotted the light switch panel. He nodded to Copper who duck walked over to it. He paused and they both lifted their NVGs so as not to be blinded when he flicked the switches – nothing - the room remained pitch black - visual abyss. They quickly flipped their NVGs back down to stop the disorientation.
 

 
Option two was to use a flashlight. Both men carried small flashlights with super bright krypton bulbs. By turning them on, their NVGs would see the whole room lit up. Trouble was it also made them a perfect target - no question who held the flashlight. Copper signaled that it would be him and he pulled out his light, pointing it at an angle toward the ceiling, going for maximum bounce. He nodded and turned it on.
 

 
The room was instantly lit and that’s when they saw the dude with two M4 assault rifles standing at the entrance to a bedroom hall.
 

 
The man had the guns held out under each arm and he screamed, “Fuck you, Fucking Fucks!”
unleashing a hail of bullets in the Ranger’s direction.
 

 
Both soldiers lay flat on the floor and rolled away from their original positions, Copper turning off the flashlight. Bullets plastered the wall behind them, shattered furniture in front of them, the aim scattered and irregular.
 

 
Jones was able to get a slight angle on the assailant, but before he could pull the trigger, the man stopped firing and stepped back into the hall.

 
“Hey!” yelled Jones. “Were United States Army. We’re here to help.”

 
Copper added, “We’re not no fucking Fiends, man!”

 
Something was lobbed into the room from the hall, metal and heavy, skittering across the floor and hitting a chair.
 

 
“Grenade!” yelled Jones.
 

 
Both men covered their ears, opened their mouths and curled into fetal positions.
 

 
The explosion was loud -
really fucking loud
. The Rangers survived the blast but their ears rang out with temporary deafness. Bits of furniture and acoustic tile rained down upon them. The room filled with smoke and dust and they reactively pulled their gas masks to their faces.
 

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