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       We Are The Plague: Dext of the Dead, Book 1, p.1

           Steve Kuhn
 
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We Are The Plague: Dext of the Dead, Book 1


  WE ARE THE PLAGUE

  Dext of the Dead – Book One

  By

  Steve Kuhn

  “Fans of The Walking Dead are going to love this series. The characters are realistic and witty, the dialogue is great and the writing is quickly paced. The series should do well. Recommended.”

  ~ Weston Kincade, author of A Life of Death

  - BOOKS of the DEAD -

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  This book is a work of fiction. All characters, events, dialog, and situations in this book are fictitious and any resemblance to real people or events is purely coincidental.

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission except in the case of reprinted excerpts for the purpose of reviews.

  WE ARE THE PLAGUE

  BOOKS of the DEAD

  Copyright 2014 by Steve Kuhn

  Edited by Wake Editing

  Cover Design by Small Dog Design

  For more information, contact: [email protected]

  Visit us at: Booksofthedeadpress.com

  Read All 5 Books In Steve Kuhn’s Amazing

  Apocalyptic Series Dext Of The Dead:

  WE ARE THE PLAGUE

  WE ARE THE INFECTED

  WE ARE THE ENTOMBED

  WE ARE THE EXTINCTION

  WE ARE THE END

  Letter to Col. Lang

  To: Col. Lang

  Fr: SSG Chalmers

  Re: Documents

  Date: Jun 17th, 1 AO

  Sir,

  I was hoping to keep this off the record for the time being. That having been said, during our last pickup run in Sector C (California Coastline), our platoon walked right into an ambush. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, we lost a lot of men, but we also found something that we think will be of great importance to the ongoing epidemic.

  After clearing the wait zone where we grounded the watercraft, we did the usual decontamination of the area, body burning, and so on. No survivors this time around… but we found one body of particular interest. The guy was a mess. Like most, he was devoured, so finding a cause of death was nearly impossible. His left arm had been severed at the elbow, and the forearm was partially eaten, but the hand clutched a book unlike anything we’ve seen since the beginning.

  We’re transcribing the handwritten text and will be sending them to you via this format as they are completed.

  Sir, some of the things going on out there can only be described as horrific. This man has been through hell. I can’t believe he made it all the way here from the east, and the things he’s learned about the Zs along the way are crucial to our mission. I only fear that once the Zs are under control, we’ll have a whole other fight on our hands.

  - SSG Chalmers

  Entry 1

  It’s funny, man. The dead congregated in all the places they frequented when they were breathing: malls, schools, housing complexes. Yet here I am in a local book shop, and it’s empty. We have completely shit the bed as a society. So, as I sit here writing in this little journal I found, drinking this cold, stale coffee, I can only hope someone will read this one day. Hell, maybe it’ll become a classic little installment of our human history, but I doubt it. I just feel compelled to spill my guts on paper because it’s easier than talking to the straggling heaps of shit mankind seems to have become. The paper doesn’t have an agenda. The paper isn’t full of lies and deceit. The paper doesn’t want anything from me except to be written on. And so, I will write.

  I suppose I’ll start with my name. The name my parents gave me is Dexter Alexander Baxter, but Dext will do. They had a thing for the ‘er’ at the end of names, I guess. Unlike a lot of folks, I actually enjoyed my parents’ company and they’re on my mind all the time.

  Up until now, I’ve been moving like most of the ones left—constantly looking for a way out… safety, comfort. Groups stumble upon one another and run together following the last decent trail or rumor they’ve heard about. I started in Baltimore, like most others I’ve met so far. I tend to keep heading west. I keep hearing that the entire eastern seaboard is being abandoned, and I’ve seen nothing so far to make me believe otherwise.

  I generally sleep up high—rooftops, trees, on top of railcars, and shit like that. I did meet this one dude along the highway, and he clued me in on a good tactic as well. Seems he made it through many a night in the sleeper cabs of abandoned big rigs. Jon… Jon Campbell was his name. He was a cool guy, too. Stood out in my mind because of two reasons: one, he gave me his full name and two, he was the last ‘good guy’ I can remember. It’s a damn shame he snuck off when he did, too, because we made a decent team. I guess he had his own agenda like we all do. Regardless, I hope he’s okay… I actually miss him.

  From here, I’m gonna keep moving west. I’d like to get to some rural areas where the geeks are spread out a bit more. It’s still pretty thick here, and I hate running. Run, shoot, run, rest, run… seems like it’s all I do anymore. Hell, it’s all everyone does anymore. We’re all runners.

  Ugh… this coffee is making me all babbly and shit. I better head out and find a place to set up camp before I lose light.

  Entry 2

  I’ve only been out of the city limits for about a week now, and I’m tired; more tired than I’ve ever been—hungry as well. We were all so spoiled living in our own little bubble of work, bills, kids, whatever. None of us really knew how difficult life can really be. It’s interesting how fast priorities can switch in a moment’s notice.

  I was sitting at work in my own little cube acting like I was working as I perused the internet. I had been following the story of another flu outbreak, not because I cared, mind you, but because it was funny to me after Ebola, Hanta, SARS, H1N1 and so on, how the media played it all up—that is, until I saw the piece about how the people who were sick go apeshit and start biting people. I chuckled to myself and thought about how I’d kick the crap out of anyone who tried to bite me. Man, were we fucking stupid? When the shit truly hit the fan, it came on quick! The sad thing about that was the fact that so many people were just like me—at work, school, or whatever.

  When it became a true emergency situation, everyone just bounced out of wherever they were in an effort to get home. Roads were jammed. Shoulders were jammed. People couldn’t really go anywhere, and the first thing we all did was call home.

  Networks flooded and crashed, and then the panic set in. Imagine that, thirty miles from home, and your family… your kids… and you can’t even call to work out how you’re gonna meet up and shit. That, in my mind, was the real catalyst for the megaspread; the second wave, as they called it.

  Wrecks and fights broke out on the highways, and some didn’t survive. Then they turned and bit. See, when someone is hurt or dying, the first responders (EMTs, Good Samaritans, etc.) go straight to CPR, mouth to mouth and such. No wonder half of the first hundred we saw had their lips and shit bitten off.

  Just inside that little tree line on the sides of the roads were these loooong fences—maybe for deer, maybe for safety, who knows? In the end it was nothing more than a corral full of cattle that is mankind, ripe for the slaughter.

  Shit… I hate that sound. I know I’m safe for the night here, but sleeping, once again, will be a bitch. They never stop with the incessant moaning and gurgling, and the newly turned… Well, those are the worst. They’re louder and much quicker on their feet. People who say they can’t run are full of it. I saw a neo in nearly a full jog once or twice. It was clumsy, yeah, but still, they don’t get winded. We do, an
d after years behind a desk, it takes some time for us average folks to get our lungs back, if you know what I mean. Ah, well. I’m tired enough that I’ll fall out eventually.

  Entry 3

  After last night’s stay, once again, I hit the ground running. This morning there were a few loners milling around the street across from this old pizza joint I used to frequent from time to time. I realized a few things at that moment, which I felt were important to note.

  The first was that I hadn’t gotten as far as I had hoped. We’re talking twenty-two miles in a week. I made a mental note to try and find some wheels and do it fast. That’s not an easy undertaking right now, believe it or not. I watched enough episodes of Cops in my time to have a basic idea of how to screwdriver-start a car, but let’s face it… I’m an office manager, er was an office manager, not a car thief.

  Second, I’m grossly ill equipped at the moment. I have a bag from the trunk of my car, which now has some canned goods, a half-gallon jug of water, a Swiss army knife, and some old gym clothes in it. The only other thing I have is a shitty revolver I yanked off some kid back in the city.

  He was maybe thirteen or fourteen. The little fucker tried to rob me after I pulled him free of a crawler and stomped its head in. I got him to a quiet alley to assess if he’d been bitten, and he whipped out a little snub-nose and stuck me up. Here’s the worse part—I gave him my duffle bag, which, frankly, only had my gym clothes at the time. I told him it was all I had.

  Right then he leveled his arm and pulled the Goddamn trigger! Straight up, I literally shat my pants on the spot. I normally would’ve left that part out but, seeing the state of things, I’ve got nothing to prove. So anyway, the gun went—click! I came to find out later that there is no safety on a revolver… and that round should have fired. The primer dented and everything. Shitty ammo, crappy gun. Shit if I know. What are the odds of that, seriously? That was lucky-break number one for me.

  I’m not proud of this, but at that moment I punched him so hard in the fucking chin, uppercut style, that his front teeth hit me in the face. Long story short, I rifled through his pockets and found eight more rounds, snatched the gun and my bag, and left him lying there. It was then I realized that the Good-Samaritan role might not be for me. I almost congratulated myself on my badassery until I remembered I had shitty drawers on. Good times.

  Finally, I knew the owner of the pizza place pretty well—well enough to know he kept a sweet Nighthawk in the desk drawer next to the safe, and there were probably some foodstuffs to be had. I got my ninja on and crept past the few on the street and into the shop, hopping straight over the counter and into the office in the rear.

  Now, I’m guessing someone reading this is thinking, Bullshit! He didn’t even check to see if the place was cleared out. If you’re saying this to yourself then congratu-fucking-lations, because you’ve never smelled a deadhead before. They stink. All that shit you heard about them sneaking up (sleepers excluded) was embellished. Geeks don’t sneak; they reek.

  Well, my gun-luck must’ve been used up in the city because the gun was gone from the drawer. Man, did that piss me off! I grabbed some water bottles and some canned chili and snuck out through the back, making a straight shot for the tree line, with the ultimate goal being the field on the other side.

  There was an old water tower in that field, and, if I was slick about it, I was betting I could hunker down for the night up there. Rain was coming in, too, so if I managed to actually get inside of it, I could stay dry as well. Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one with that idea.

  Entry 4

  About a hundred yards into the fallow field, I could see the abandoned water tower in all of its pale-blue, rusty glory—not a biter in sight, save for about fifteen to twenty on the ground. They were all laid out in a bizarre pattern that reminded me of some morbid crop circle with a clear patch directly in the middle.

  I walked slowly for the first time in quite a while because I was wary of sleepers, which in my opinion are the worst type. Sleepers suck because they look like they’ve been put down already. They just lay or sit there until something grabs their attention, so it’s easy to get bit if you’re complacent. You’re walking past and then boom, their munchin’ on your ball bag.

  Approaching the mess, I was able to see the true carnage of the scene, and let me tell you, it was nasty. I counted twenty-three in all. Nine of them had no heads. Seriously, no head at all. The rest looked like they got ran over by a thresher or some other piece of farm equipment. Most had their limbs lying in close proximity—arms, legs, whatever, and in some instances the dead were sliced cleanly in half and then deliberately split right down the middle of their foreheads, with bits of brain and gore leaking out. I retched once the smell wafted over me. I hate maggots, man. I have a strong stomach, but damn.

  I broke into a jog and reached the ladder, which, luckily, started about seven or eight feet from the ground, so I was confident I’d be the only one at the top.

  After the long climb, I took a second to catch my breath and survey the 360-degree view. The semi-rural community looked strangely peaceful, save for the odd plume of black smoke here and there. I found an old service hatch and yanked it open only to be met with a ham-sized fist to my dome. I wasn’t just knocked out; I was knocked the fuck out!

  When I came to, I was inside the tower’s hold. It was like a bum’s studio apartment, heh. Winking slightly, I could see that there were candles to light the interior, some bedding, a little camping stove, and shit like that. It looked sort of comfortable, all things considered.

  Sitting on the opposite side of the ‘room’ was what could only be described as a white guy’s worst nightmare. I played like I was still out cold so I could assess the situation a bit. This hulking beast of a man looked like an NFL linebacker: bald head, massive and muscular, and dressed in filthy jeans and a sleeveless tee that threatened to burst at the seams.

  “What the fuck is we gon’ do wit’ him, man,” he asked someone out of my line of sight.

  What I heard next dropped my jaw—which ached like a bitch, by the way. It still does, actually. With a strong southern accent, the voice replied, “Boy, you are about as dumb as you are black.”

  Now, anyone who would say some shit like that to the guy I was looking at was one of two things. Either he was suicidal, or he was a Bad Mother Fucker. And it got worse.

  “Once a dumb nigger, always a dumb nigger,” he said with a slight sigh.

  I sat up slowly and adjusted my eyes the rest of the way in time to hear the black dude say, “Fuck you, cracka-ass cracka! Once a racist shithead, always a racist shithead.”

  It was about then that I made eye contact with the unseen voice for the first time. He was a pale, skinny, farmer-lookin’ guy with a lip full of dip and the most stereotypical overalls with no shirt underneath. I honestly thought this dude was about to die.

  The black guy turned his attention to me and less than politely inquired, “Da fuck is you lookin’ at?”

  Naturally, I stammered as I asked them both, “N-not g-gonna kill me, are ya?”

  Hillbilly spoke up and said, “Well that just depends, city boy. If you can pull your weight, you live. If not…” He shot a glance over at big black. “Then I suppose this spook here is gonna finish turnin’ your nugget into sour mash.”

  Black dude turned to hillbilly and was like, “Mutha fucka, if you call me that one mo’ ‘gain, I’ma bust yo’ shit first. Then, I’ma bust his shit and be done with the both of yo’ white-bread asses.”

  It was becoming clear that there was more to these two, and their bickering, than I had first assumed.

  “That there’s Cutty,” hillbilly said, motioning to his large partner and spitting that nasty-ass dip juice into an old Deer Park bottle. “He kills things. To be fair, it’s the only thing I’ve ever seen a jig like him do better than us white folks, ‘cept for sports a’course.”

  Cutty returned his motion, adding in a flip
of the bird, and said, “And this backwoods, cousin-fucker is called Junior. And that muh’ fucka is surgical with that huntin’ rifle he keeps slung across his back.”

  They went on to explain in almost comical fashion how they ran into each other the week before and had made their way to the tower and set up shop. They also told me they had a plan to snag one of those monster-ass dump trucks used for plowing snow from the state depot about a mile to the west and keep moving towards their ultimate goal, a rescue station some forty miles further out. They were heading the same direction as me. Nice.

  Once their plan was conveyed, they both looked at me and crossed their arms almost simultaneously as Junior said, “So that brings us to you, city boy…”

  Cutty picked up where Junior left off and asked, “Mm-hm. Who are you, and what do you do?”

  I said simply, “I’m Dext… and I’m a runner.”

  Entry 5

  Hahahaha! Fucking brilliant! Check this out: After nightfall, it rained hard. The tapping on the tower lulled us all to sleep after we shot the shit about days gone by, typical war-story stuff. I shared the ‘stickup kid’ story, but deftly left out the poopy-pants part. I couldn’t let these guys know I was super green compared to them, lest I look like a jerk-off.

  Morning was all business. I helped Cutty pack up while Junior went outside and scouted our westward path with the rifle scope. We reconvened at the bottom of the ladder, and Junior let us know he saw two geeks directly in our path.

  “Why you ain’t shoot ‘em,” Cutty asked in his typical vernacular.

  Junior informed us that he spotted another twelve or so about a hundred and fifty yards to the south of the pair, and he wasn’t going to waste the ammo or make any noise to attract the modest herd. It would be easier if Cutty handled them, except it came out like, “Twelve more yonder. Ain’t gon’ shoot and draw ‘em in when we can jes’ bash ‘em all quiet like… ‘Sides, I ain’t no walkin’ ammo shop.”

 
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